Roosevelt neighborhood activist Jim O'Halloran smiles for a photo at Roosevelt Station
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Roosevelt neighborhood activist Jim O'Halloran smiles for a photo at Roosevelt Station

Making connections: Roosevelt Station advocate to celebrate almost 20 years of work

Neighborhood leader Jim O'Halloran helped steer station location

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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. 

Stickers supporting "Yes In My Front Yard" from Jim O'Halloran's group advocating to locate Roosevelt Station in the center of the neighborhood commercial district.
Stickers supporting "Yes In My Front Yard" from Jim O'Halloran's group advocating to locate Roosevelt Station in the center of the neighborhood"s commercial district.

The hard work from O'Halloran and the rest of the neighborhood pays off this Saturday, Oct. 2, as we open new stations at the Northgate, Roosevelt and U District neighborhoods

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. 

A picture of Jim O'Halloran is featured on the Roosevelt Station windows as part of the celebration of the Roosevelt community.
A picture of Jim O'Halloran featured on the Roosevelt Station windows along with other neighborhood luminaries as part of the celebration of the Roosevelt community.

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.

Photo of Jim O'Halloran holding the North Seattle Herald-Outlook newspaper from 2004 that features a front page photo of him leading a tour of the area where his organization lobbied successfully to locate the Roosevelt Station.
O'Halloran holds a 2004 North Seattle Herald-Outlook newspaper that features a front page photo of him leading a tour for Sound Transit Board members of the area where his organization lobbied successfully to locate the Roosevelt Station.

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. 

 

 

Learn more about the opening day celebrations here.

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