Roosevelt neighborhood leader Jim O'Halloran didn't pour the concrete at the bottom of Roosevelt Station, but in his own way he helped lay the foundation for the station's location in the center of the northeast Seattle neighborhood.
O'Halloran, the former President of the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, organized local advocates in the early 2000s to lobby the Sound Transit Board to build the station in the heart of the neighborhood's commercial district across from Roosevelt High School.
At the time, planners were also considering an elevated station near I-5 to the east of Roosevelt.
"The community recognized that density was its destiny, and embraced this notion of 'Yes In Our Front Yard'," O'Halloran said.
And so one of the earliest, and rarest, local "Yes In My Front Yard - YIMFY" movements was born.
Celebrations and installations at each of the stations feature the communities around the stations and the people who live there.
You'll see O'Halloran and other Roosevelt neighborhood icons on the station walls.
O'Halloran's work to land the station in the middle of the neighborhood has paid off with new housing development springing up over the past several years.
According to a recent Seattle Times story, the Roosevelt urban village has seen 1,626 new housing units built since early 2016, a 95% increase. That’s a total of 3,346 homes an easy walk to light rail.
Another 624 are permitted, the Times reports.
That includes 253 affordable units under construction at the Roosevelt Station’s north entrance on land Sound Transit used for construction staging and worked with the city to make available for affordable housing.
Looking back, O'Halloran says building a broad coalition that tried to understand perspectives of all stakeholders, even their adversaries, helped their efforts to have the new line serve the heart of the neighborhood.
"We worked hard to frame our message in positive terms instead of creating protest," O'Halloran said. "We were passionate for our cause and consistent in our effort."
They invited Board members to tour the area and emphasized the benefits a new station could bring.
We look forward to seeing O'Halloran at the community celebrations on Saturday and exploring the neighborhood more over the coming months.
Thanks in part to him and his group's hard work, the neighborhood is right outside the station's doorstep.