The Past and Future of Freeway Park and a Note on I-976

In this newsletter:

  1. Join us at the public celebration of life for civic leader Jim Ellis on December 8.
  2. Help shape the future of Freeway Park and see the exciting design concepts for capital improvements.
  3. We have a statement on the passage of Initiative 976, which will devastate transportation funding across the state.
  4. The City’s next lid feasibility study meeting is December 11.
  5. See our full list of upcoming events at the bottom. Check out the webinar on how wildlife is using the new I-90 wildlife overpass at Snoqualmie Pass on November 20 (register here). šŸø


Jim Ellis Public Memorial

(Photo courtesy of Freeway Park Association.)

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news: civic icon Jim Ellis passed away in October at the age of 98.

The public is invited to a celebration of life and public memorial on Sunday, December 8 from 1:30 PM – 3:30 at the Skybridge of Seattleā€™s Washington State Convention Center (Level 4).

Jim had a tremendous list of accomplishments, much of which you can read in his Seattle Times obituary. He is known to Lid I-5 as the visionary behind Freeway Park, the first successful effort to restitch an urban fabric torn by the I-5 freeway. The park opened on July 4, 1976, less than 10 years after traffic started flowing. Jim was so instrumental to its creation that the park officially bears his name.

Jim later expanded the lid concept by joining the board of the Washington State Convention Center during its planning years. With other options at the old Kingdome site and at Seattle Center, the board ultimately opted to bridge I-5 and leverage the vibrant urban life of Downtown. The first building opened in 1988.

He championed many other long-lasting public works projects, including the Forward Thrust bond package, cleaning up Lake Washington, the creation of King County Metro, and the founding of the Mountains to Sound Greenways Trust.

The Lid I-5 team seeks to carry forward Jim’s optimism and energy by thinking in generational terms for the future of our community.


Shape the Future of Freeway Park

The Freeway Park Improvements Project hosted 100 people at its public forum last month, which featured an expert panel discussion and a suite of design concepts. Among the many ideas are opportunities for concierge staffing, food/drink vendors, new restrooms, expanded lawn areas, improved access to the fountains, and better entrances.

There’s a ton of ways to get involved in the project and get up to speed! Here are your resources:

The continued success of Freeway Park is vital for the health and growth of our core neighborhoods. If you support Lid I-5, we encourage you to support the Freeway Park project by staying engaged – and visit the park to see what it’s all about! Check out the Freeway Park Association website for a list of upcoming family-friendly events, too.


Statement on Initiative 976

This year the Lid I-5 campaign made its first political endorsement when it opposed Initiative 976, which sought to lower car tabs to a flat $30 fee across Washington State. Like many of our government, non-profit, and private sector partners, we were encouraged to see that nearly 60 percent of King County voters stood alongside us and voted against it.

However, the statewide passage of I-976 means big challenges lie ahead for transportation funding. Cities and transit agencies now face hard choices about funding street repair, seismic retrofits, safety programs, bus service, and light rail expansion.

Here at the Lid I-5 campaign we are firmly focused on the future. That’s why even during this time of uncertainty, we will continue to fight to heal the scar of Interstate 5 in the center of our city. This grassroots movement has made incredible progress and continues to grow in impact and support.

Will you stand with Lid I-5 to continue to fight for the Seattleā€™s future?

Right now it is more important than ever that Lid I-5 continues to build a coalition of supporters. If you know of a business, organization, or community group that would be interested in learning more about the Lid I-5 campaign, please drop us a tip at We appreciate it!

Lid Study Meeting Set for Dec. 11

The next meeting of the OPCD Lid Feasibility Study Committee has been reset for Wednesday, December 11. See details below and join us to learn more about the consultant team’s latest work, concerning density and development scenarios for the 17-acre study area.

Learn more and see past presentations at the project website.

That’s it for this newsletter! As always, learn more about the Lid I-5 campaign at our website,, and social media channels.

Best regards,
Lid I-5 Steering Committee