After a lengthy delegation, the Seattle City Council has finally set a schedule for the final vote on a vacation of Occidental Ave S to make way for Chris Hansen's arena project.
Mike O'Brien, the head of the Sustainability and Transportation committee that is overseeing the vacation, told KING 5 that a public meeting on the issue will take place Tuesday, March 15 at 5:30 pm (paging Sonics Guy). This will kick into gear a series of meetings, with O'Brien's committee meeting on April 5 and April 19. According to O'Brien, the 19th is the earliest they could vote the bill out of committee and put it in the hands of the full Council. Assuming all goes well (a pretty grand assumption given the state of affairs thus far), a full Council vote could take place on April 25.
After all this talk and delay, why now, you may be asking? Well, it sounds like Mayor Ed Murray got involved and dropped the hammer, according to KING 5's sources, pressuring the council to get to work and set a date. It's nice to see that Mayor Murray is as tired as we are of the delays and finally stepped in. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes also got involved and gave advice on the best way to move forward.
The vacation of Occidental Ave S is seen as the last major hurdle in Chris Hansen's pursuit of a new multipurpose arena in SoDo. The next step will be a decision by the Department of Construction and Inspections (formerly the Department of Planning and Development) to decide on the Master Use Permit and issue its decision. The city and King County councils and Hansen's group will then review the final steps of the Memorandum of Understanding.
It would be beneficial for Hansen and his team to be a more prominent figure in the process moving forward and to put pressure on the Council to get this done. We need a strong voice to counteract the Port of Seattle and lead the charge in favor of bringing the NBA and NHL back to Seattle.
To share arena support and encourage the committee to keep to their schedule, you can contact Mike O'Brien on Twitter: @CMMikeOBrien. Be respectful.