Top Story

Councilmember Lisa Herbold explains her vote on the SODO Arena and street vacation

The controversial 5-4 vote to disallow the street vacation to clear the way for a SODO Arena led to a lot of anger on the part of people who saw the vote as the way to bring the NBA back to Seatle and the NHL to have a home here too.

In an email to constituents and supporters Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold explained her position and the reasons behind it.

By Lisa Herbold

Many people have written me about the street vacation proposed for Occidental Avenue South. This was not an easy vote to cast—I have heard from many people that I respect on both sides of the issue. When Monday, from the dais, the direction of the vote became obvious, I felt no joy, nor victory. The disappointment of my colleagues and that of the fans in the room was palpable. I too felt a pang of empathy for the people who have been engaged in a four years long campaign to bring back to Seattle a sport they love.

I absolutely understand the passionate desire to bring NBA basketball back to Seattle. However, I could not support this proposed street vacation, and thus was part of the Council majority in a 5-4 vote against the proposal. I believe the Council majority actually represented the public’s interest. A poll found 75% of registered voters said building a new arena in SODO shouldn’t be a priority for the city, and 77% either opposed the street vacation or wanted action delayed until KeyArena has been fully explored as an alternative.

More ›