Montlake residents take to streets to save longtime businesses

SEATTLE — It is rarely seen in this leafy Seattle neighborhood, longtime residents of Montlake protesting to keep the cherished Montlake Boulevard Market and gas station open.

"We were just to a meeting just about a month ago when they said they absolutely needed it for staging," said Sally Welch, a Montlake resident since 1971. "The big trucks couldn't navigate coming through here."

Residents say that was first revealed last summer. When the state unveiled plans to build a new eastbound ramp to 520 and to demolish these businesses.

"It was a big shock to the community," says Mountlake Community Club president Bryan Haworth.

So the community decided to fight.

"These businesses are such an important part of Montlake," Haworth says. "They've been here for decades serving the residents of this community. And we can't afford to let them go."

"But when you say we can keep the market, you mean where it is?" WASH DOT spokesman Steve Peer was asked.

"Yes," said Peer.  And he reassured KIRO 7, the Montlake Blvd Market may not have to move afterall.

"We're trying to be good neighbors so we can work something out," said Peer. "So that it can be like you said. We're able to construct what we need to and hopefully they're able to maintain their business."

But Scott Baker, the owner of the businesses, said if the state condemns the land as it initially planned "even if they say the store will stay now, it will go later. It will be a first step.

"You don't trust them? he was asked.

"No, no, no," Baker said. "I mean I just don't trust the government."

And WASH DOT spokesman Peer is still saying the gas station will have to go, no matter what.  Nevertheless, both sides say they are willing to discuss a solution. Whether that solution includes saving the businesses that are already there time will tell.

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