• Sound Transit sues to get more than 50 properties for Link light rail

    By: Deborah Horne


    SEATTLE - This is what Sound Transit envisions for the city of Lynnwood.  But in order for Link light rail to get there, the transit agency says it needs these North Sound properties that hug the east side of I-5. 

    "It's gotten to that point that it's been a big stress on us," said Russell Thomas. 

    He stood outside his Shoreline home. It, too, is on the chopping block. But he says he and his wife don't feel Sound Transit is offering a fair price.

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    "They were supposed to give us a comparable house that we could buy," he said. "Well, the house they offered us sold the next day."

    "The day after they told you?" he was asked.

    "The day after (they told) us," he said. "And it sold for almost $60,000 more than they offered it. So, we can't afford it. We're both retired. And fixed income."

    Now the transit agency is suing him and more than 50 other property owners to force a deal. Still, a senior spokeswoman says the agency is open to reaching settlements.

    "We continue to negotiate with the property owner and through that process can come to settlements on many others," said Kimberly Reason of Sound Transit. "And there's only a small minority that go through the entire legal process through trial."

    "It's been pretty hard for us to deal with it all," Thomas said.  In the midst of it all, he suffered a heart attack last February.

    "It's destroyed our last five years of our life," he said. "We haven't been able to do anything on the house. Why do it? They're going to tear it down."

    In fact, the emotion is evident in his voice. And that, of course, is a large part of this.   It is emotional to give up one's home.

    Kimberly Reason of Sound Transit says they do understand that.   But they say they must reach deals with all of these property owners because they will not be building light rail around them.

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