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City tells 103-year-old: We’re buying your parking lot, like it or not

 SEATTLE — The city is forcing a 103-year-old Spokane woman to sell her parking lot in Seattle to make way for, well, a parking lot.

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to take the lot near the waterfront by eminent domain, using a portion of the $30 million provided by the state to take care of parking issues around the waterfront. Hundreds of public parking spaces will be lost when the state begins dismantling the Alaskan Way Viaduct for the digging of the tunnel. The construction will last until 2020.

The lot is owned by Spokane resident Myrtle Woldson.  She doesn’t want to sell, so the City Council voted unanimously to use it’s power of eminent domain to take it after paying Woldson “fair market value.

parkinglot1None of the City Council members would speak about their vote, but property rights advocates call it ridiculous.

 “In this case, the city of Seattle is using eminent domain to seize a parking lot, so they can use it as a parking lot,” said Glen Morgan of the Freedom Foundation, which is an Olympia-based, conservative, free-market think tank. “There’s no public good in that at all.”

Morgan said there are several bills in the Legislature that would revamp eminent domain and give Washington property owners more rights.

“Eminent domain was originally intended for stuff like roadways, expanding roads, schools,” said Morgan. “Situations that are for the public good.”

Woldson can still challenge the move in court. She can also challenge the eventual selling price that the city decides on.

56 comments

  • Rich

    Just one more reason why all of the City Council, including the Mayor should be taken out and forced to take a long walk off a short pier.

  • kandise

    rather say “bullies” or “demacrats” how about we lobby for this women. It has been proven when the public speaks out politiacians tend to change their minds. yes they do so to save face but they do it just the same.

  • AlfredHusseinNeuman

    This is the liberal agenda. Take from one, because the community is more important than the individual. I'm surprised the NYTimes hasn't picked up this story to highlight the success of progressives. "A new and better parking lot"!

  • David

    The remedy of a lawsuit is far too expensive and very slow, too slow for someone at 103! She's a pot shot for the city. Hopefully she has heirs who can take the expensive grab and fight the expensive suit. It sure sounds unjust. Odds are good the planners have an eventual building project in mind after using the lot for a while, and maybe someone in mind for the contract.
    I thought better of Seattle.

  • Stateless

    After she pays capital gains tax of 23% on the sale, then leaves the funds to the family the government will likely take around another 40%+ of the remaining funds in inheritance tax, sounds like a great deal.

  • Anonymous

    LOL at you libs who vote democrat and then act surprised when the people you elect act like democrats. Democrats are all about power – no matter who is in their way.

  • Ben Name

    What the heck is central planning? What does that mean? I don't recall the City of Seattle having a Central Planning Department. Can someone give me a web link?

  • Ben Name

    If, according to the dude interviewed, eminent domain is used for improving roads making it easier to get to a place with no parking then what's the point of making roads better?

    • cedwards157

      This parking lot is full on a daily basis, having the government seize it will do nothing to improve downtown parking congestion.

  • TooRotten

    Wow, this is just so wrong, on so many levels! Shame on the City! People of Seatle need to back this Woman! She pays taxes, if the city gets it, they don't have to pay taxes! Help this Woman!

  • carol

    shame on seattle. talk about rampant abuse of power under the guise of eminent domain- i hope she battles this all the way to the supreme court!!

  • Respect Ma Libertah

    All of you people talking about democrats, republicans, progressives, conservatives, and *shocked* Obamacare? I'm not sure all caps is loud enough to say this, but here goes *ahem*:

    YOU MORONS ARE ALL PART OF THE PROBLEM. THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE LEFT VERSUS RIGHT, YOU STUPID, PATHETIC, AND WORST OF ALL, USELESS CATTLE.

    THIS IS ABOUT THE STATE VERSUS YOU.

  • ltcolc

    There is a very good reason for the City Council to do this. Once the lot is theirs they can award a contract to one of their larger supporters to run it. More revenue for the city, more election money for the Council members, less competition for parking fees (allowing the contractor to charge more for parking).
    The only real losers are the property owner, and the citizens who have to pay the higher parking fees, so what's to gripe about?

  • Jan

    Wonder what they consider "fair market value"? It's never what it's really worth. Bullies…and they'll drag it out until she passes away and the stress caused by all of this, will most likely make that happen sooner than it probably would have, had she not had to deal with this. Same kind of garbage happening right now to my father-in-law…(.but that's a whole story in itself). Sad, very sad. I hope this woman has some feisty children helping her deal with this.

  • possum

    This is a sad but all too common story, and it has nothing to do with political party. I'm down here in deep-red Georgia, and the good ol' boy Republicans who run this state love nothing more than stealing money, property or anything else. (Not long ago, a jury here ordered the state DOT to pay a quarter-million bucks to Home Depot after it tried to steal — er, "condemn" – a piece of property and pay HD $25K. Of course, HD has the money to fight these bastards, not like this lady.) Greed is bipartisan. The only way to stop this stuff is to let the greedheads know they'll pay at the ballot box.

  • Beverlee

    The people of Seattle love to be activists. Perhaps both sides could come together and protest what they are doing to this woman. Grab it like a dog with a bone and don't left go until it cracks. If there is anything that should be able to unite the left and the right…the young and the old…the poor and the rich(?)…it should be this. Find a celebrity and make it a cause. This should not be allowed.

  • AnhVo

    Who would believe this happens in Untied States of America in twenty-first century. Where are our freedom? Where are our property right? It is time to throw out these demo-rats out of the office.

  • jello

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