Hot housing market delays Link light-rail extension, adds to price tag

SHORELINE, Wash. – The wait for light rail north of Northgate is going to be a little longer.

And Dorthy McReynolds is losing her house because of construction.

“We don’t really have a choice,” she said.

McReynolds has lived in the home for 54 years and there will not be a 55th. She is one of dozens of owners and families who are being displaced to make way for SoundTransit’s Link Lynnnwood northern line.

“It’s traumatic,” McReynolds said.

Relocation is also traumatic for Sound Transit’s budget.

The agency says the fair market prices it has to pay for real estate along the line has jumped 75 percent over expectations and the overall budget 21 percent higher.

The region’s construction and labor costs are jumping higher than predicted, and that good economy is costing taxpayers. The project will need more than $500 million and six more months.

For Sound Transit and McReynolds, it’s the price of progress.

“But it's hard when you've been there so long and you don't want to move,” she said.

Tomorrow she signs papers for her new condo, leaving behind the house that's been there before I-5 was built and the place she raised her kids beyond graduation at Shorecrest High School.

The business of building - and red hot real estate prices - are dictating the future for many.

“We don’t want to move. We like it here. We love it here,” McReynolds said.