Seattle’s Chinatown-International District makes list of nation’s most endangered historic places

SEATTLE — Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (CID) is the first place in Washington state to be included in a list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places since the list began in 1988.

The CID appeared on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2023 list.

The area is the only one in the continental U.S. where Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, African Americans, and Vietnamese settled together and built one neighborhood, according to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

The inclusion on the list comes as Sound Transit proposes options for expansion projects and new stations in the CID. The construction could have a negative impact on businesses and residents in the area and affect the neighborhood’s ability to preserve its culture.

“During the 1920s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, the construction of city streets, parking lots, two major sports stadiums, and a highway divided the neighborhood and demolished businesses, homes, and churches. Community members rallied to preserve the area’s heritage, and it was designated a City of Seattle special review district in 1973 and placed on the Washington Heritage Register and National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Since then, the CID has been known for its historic architecture, multigenerational businesses, multilingual residents and visitors, and annual festivals and events celebrating the culture and traditions of the neighborhood’s shared heritage,” the Washington Trust said in news release.

Sound Transit continues to study possible options for a new rail station. Its final environmental impact statement is set to be released early next year.

Meanwhile, Washington Trust and its partners said they hope that drawing the public’s attention to Sound Transit’s plans around the CID will help ensure that the agency will find ways to reduce the effects of construction and minimize people being displaced from the neighborhood.