Seattle’s Chinatown District now one of 11 most endangered historic places in the country

SEATTLE — Seattle’s Chinatown-International District is now on a list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in the country. It’s the first time a place in Washington has made the list since it was created back in 1988.

This comes as the neighborhood is at the center of a controversy over where to build a new light rail station.

“This is the sole of the city, this is an integral part of the soul of the city, what is that worth?” Joel Barraquiel Tan, the Executive Director of the Wing Luke Museum, said. “We’re not just a problem to solve.”

Community members say some of the options being considered by Sound Transit could bring detrimental consequences to this beloved neighborhood. One option that would include a new light rail station on 5th Avenue could result in nearly 50 businesses having to move according to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

“Hard no on fifth avenue because we’ve seen through the analysis that it’s the closest to the district, the heart of the neighborhood,” Huy Pham, the Preservation Program Director with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, said.

Sound Transit told KIRO 7 that it preferred an option that would include a station north and south of the CID but also said that a 4th Avenue location hasn’t been ruled out.

“We already have evidence of what the stadiums have done and i-5 has done, good bad, and otherwise,” Barraquiel Tan said. “We cannot let the CID become another zombie, another zombie district.”

The final decisions by Sound Transit are expected to come next year.