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Full City Council To Vote On Yesler Terrace Plan

Derek Wang

Twelve–hundred people who live in a low–income housing development in Seattle could learn more about their future Tuesday. Some may have to move out of Yesler Terrace, at least temporarily, under a plan that's before the Seattle City Council.


Yesler Terrace is 70 years old and its infrastructure shows that age. The sewage and water systems often have backups.

The development is owned by the Seattle Housing Authority. The agency wants to sell part of the property to a private developer. The money would pay part of the costs to rebuild the development. The private developer would use the land to build new housing and office space. Funding for the redevelopment would also come from a voter approved housing levy.

Last month, a Housing Authority board member resigned after raising questions about whether the financing would actually pencil out.

Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata was also skeptical. Among other things, he was concerned that residents might be displaced for years during construction. So he pushed the Seattle Housing Authority to make some changes.

Licata: "They promised to maintain a certain number of units on the property at all times. And so we had amendments made that they have to be 2, 3, 4 bedroom units, they can't just maintain single bedroom units. So this way we know that there's a greater chance of families being able to remain on the site at all times."

Licata also voted in favor of legislation that restricts how the Seattle Housing Authority might use money from the sale of the property. If the Housing Authority wants to the use that money for anything besides revamping Yesler Terrace, it would first need to get permission from the City Council.

But those changes have done little to sway critics. Opponents say they'll be speaking out before the City Council's vote.

Derek Wang, KUOW News.

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