Community Post

City of Seattle does not observe Martin Luther King’s Civil rights for people living on and near Martin Luther King Way in the CD

The following information was in a Petition was signed by CD residents and submitted to Mayor M. McGinn and Councilor Richard Conlin. Neither have responded to it.

Re: 200 Martin Luther King Way. Seattle 98122

We, who are constituents of Seattle, object to the manner in which the Department of Financial and Administrative Services (FAS) has dealt and disposed of this piece of Public Property.

Required procedure is a notification and request for input from constituents living 1000′ radius of this land was not made regards ‘future’ use of it in 2013. FAS proceeded without constituent input to sell the land through a Realtor, and did not ensure a fair and transparent bidding process was used, either through Sealed Bids or an Open Auction. lnstead there appears to have been free communication about bids, the price dropped from $121,000 to $40,000 at the request of a developer bidder,  but the price drop was not placed in public view for ALL possible interested parties – either on the site’s Sale Board or on the Realtor’s website. Only a few interested parties were communicated with.

Constituents bordering this land objected to the manner of the bidding as they felt strongly unfair practice was/is evident at the end stage of the bidding.

The constituents living on the border of this land communicated with FAS concerned about the above facts. However FAS chose to proceed to complete the sale before responding. There has beeb strong objection to this exclusion of constituents in this process and the manner in which this City Department has sold public property without adhering to its duty to ensure due process which is fair and transparent to all.

This has served to betray the people’s confidence in it’s Administration of public property which the City is entrusted with.

Since the City has made the above omissions and errors we strongly believe that this sale is null and void, and the process should be recommenced, starting first with the Notification of all residents 1000′ of the property, This Notification is required by the City’s legislation of any public land in Seattle by the City.

The only response this community in the CD has had to the petition to the Mayor and to Councilor Michael McGinn is Silence. There has been responses to emails sent to Fred Podesta Director of the Dept of Finance and Administrative Services which manages Seattle’s public real estate, to Richard Conlin and to Hilary Hamilton Manager of Public Real estate. The Seattle City’s Customer Complaints Department have left a message on the phone that if we were not happy then we could take legal action. Similarly Fred Podesta and Councillor Richard Conlin has advised likewise. They are fully aware that most constituents are not in a position to do so. The Mayor has made no response to the Petition or any of the communications forwarded to him about the concerns.

People all over the city in all localities should be aware that similar pieces of publicly owned land can be disposed of by the city leaders without due regard to procedures and policy.

A person involved in looking out for the City’s Open Spaces writes:

“By selling this land, I believe that the City is not accounting for the benefits of keeping it in public ownership —  namely, the forested steep slope provides much stormwater retention and carbon sequestation, as well as aesthetic enhancement for Martin Luther King Way, a major community arterial.”

“There are two issues  — a policy and procedure that is running amuck, lacking consistent neighborhood notification;  and virtually a complete lack of discretion about public benefit of selling or not selling.

This case is egregious on both counts.  The impact of the sale of the property to a speculator for the neighborhood is substantial.  Currently, the band of steeply sloped, wooded land provides substantial stormwater retention, reduction of air pollution along a busy arterial, and carbon sequestration.  And, the band of green enhances the aesthetics of MLK Way as well as the neighborhood.  The sale to a speculator and the eventual development does not bode well, because the property is covered by Critical Areas regulations.  Building on a steep slope involves the cost of much mitigation and concrete to stabilize the site and process stormwater.  All the positive attributes of the current conditions will be eliminated by development.”

What can the CD community do now?
Councllor Conlin can! Apparently Councillor Richard  Conlin can direct the City Attorney to adopt an ordinace to set aside this sale.

10 thoughts on “City of Seattle does not observe Martin Luther King’s Civil rights for people living on and near Martin Luther King Way in the CD

    • I agree. I would like the details. The timeline on Redfin shows pending on Jul. 3 well before the price changing to $40,000.00 on July 18th and then indicates that it sold for $75,000.00 on July 19th. Anyway the way it is listed seems very odd. So far Parcel Viewer shows the price at zero. Hopefully that will change as more of the paperwork is filed. How and why did the City own the property? If it was due to it being a sensitive area, there should have been more environmental discussion and notice that public land was being sold. Who knows, if the details and thinking were public knowledge, I might even agree with the deal. Right now, it seems a little underhanded.

    • Agree with you…been trying to get Mayoral and Councilor Challengers concerned on behalf of the constituents regards this and they ‘want’ to see it in the media before they can ‘get involved’ with commentary etc they say. Dan Westneat, SeattleTimes, who thinks “escalator” bidding is OK in the sale of public land; no response from Jesse Jones, The Stranger etc. Please see what you can do!!

  1. The city only cares about thier pet projects and assuring they spend all that they can possibly spend.

    Your rights and regulations are irrelevant to city admin and staff. Council only cares that they get greased as well.

  2. Agree this should be bumped to the front page. I would also be interested in reading a more in depth write up on this.

  3. A new project cross the street broke grown, laid foundations, and started building elevation and one month after we neighbors received our official notification of the open comment period. Private land, different issue… But the government agency governing the breakup of a single lot into 3 town homes obviously delayed mailing notification until it was too late to say anything.

  4. Thanks to all who have read and commented on this ‘removal of public land from public ownership’ without due process andprocedures without observing the notification requirement of informing residents within the 1000’radius by Fred Podesta Director of FAS, City of Seattle and his staff. It is most likely the community would have petitioned to keep this small strip of land as Open Green Space on Martin Luther King, for enviromental ecological reasons had they been notified. Perhaps, that is why this step was ommitted. And though pressed on this issue in several emails, phone calls, requests for meeting, Mayor Mcginn, Fred Podesta and Councilor R. Conlin all avoid the issue of the non-notification of the community and have not responded at all to requests to meet at their convenience. They simply say in emails all procedures were observed which in fact they know they were not.

    Would folks like to talk to friends and family and coalesce into a group to collaboratively develop a plan? e.g to petition again Mayor Mike McGinn for some response given his continued silence on the issue. Councilor Richard Conlin, has tried to privatize, individualize and trivialize the matter as a single family’s concern, even though he has received the petition of 3 1/2 pages of signatures. Ed Murray’s campaign has said they would cover the issue if it got media attention. So call them! And, if folks want to get together, let’s!!

    Do email this space that you would. And then perhaps email directly to the email address [email protected] regards suitable times etc that would work for you. Thanks on this Labor Day!

  5. Was this a side lot or a house? Since when does anything in our area sell for that little? I bought my 1st house 1 block from there in 1987 for 65K. In 1987(!) What is it exactly that was sold for this little? I’m confused Going to walk by the address today if I can.