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Seattle’s Chinatown-International District

Status: In the works!

Year Listed: 2022

Location: Seattle, King County

Located in the heart of Seattle, the Chinatown-International District (C-ID) has a long and rich history dating back to the late 1800s. Chinese immigrants first came to the region in the late 19th century to work in the booming lumber mills, fishing operations, and railroads. These immigrants established the first Chinatown in Seattle south of Pioneer Square. In 1889, this Chinatown was destroyed in the Great Seattle Fire, and the Chinese community relocated to a new Chinatown on South Washington Street. In the early 1900s, the City of Seattle underwent a major regrading project called the Jackson Regrade, which caused the Chinese community to relocate once again, this time to the current location of Chinatown-International District on King Street. Despite being completely bisected when Interstate 5 was constructed in 1969, the neighborhood has become a hub for the Asian community in Seattle, with a diverse mix of businesses, cultural institutions, and residential buildings. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of eight local historic districts established by the City of Seattle.

Today, however, the neighborhood is facing still new challenges. Sound Transit, the public transit agency serving the Seattle metropolitan area, is currently undertaking the third phase of its multi-billion-dollar regional Link light rail expansion, which will require the construction of a new tunnel under the Chinatown-International District. Sound Transit is considering two alignments for the tunnel: Fifth Avenue or Fourth Avenue. If built under Fifth Avenue, the tunnel construction will take place in the heart of the neighborhood and have a devastating impact on the Chinatown-International District’s Asian businesses and residents. The Fourth Avenue alignment, while not without impacts, would largely take place on the edge of the district, on the west side of Union Station.

A coalition of neighborhood businesses, community organizations, residents, and supporters called Transit Equity for All—alongside such partners as Historic South Downtown (HSD), Seattle Chinatown-International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), the Wing Luke Museum, and the Uwajimaya supermarket corporation—is urging Sound Transit to give the Fourth Avenue options a more thorough consideration and to remove the Fifth Avenue options from the table. Transit Equity for All is led by Betty Lau and Brien Chow, two longtime community leaders who are concerned about the future of the neighborhood. “This is our third and final Chinatown,” said Betty Lau. “The original Chinatown was forced from the waterfront onto Second and Washington. Then Chinatown was forced to move to the current location. If we’re forced out again, where are we going to go?”

Our decision to add the Chinatown-International District to our Most Endangered Places list highlights the importance of preserving this unique and vital neighborhood. It is crucial that any plans for development or infrastructure consider the C-ID’s cultural and historical significance and do everything possible to minimize the impact on the community. The C-ID has already endured too many disruptions and must be protected so that it can continue to thrive and serve as a vital part of Seattle’s diverse community.

Official Sound Transit Publications: https://www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion/west-seattle-ballard-link-extensions


Transit Equity for All [advocacy group]

Petition to Move Forward on 4th Ave [4500+ signatures]

Email Sound Transit Board [comment letter template included]




4th Ave S, Yesler Way, Interstate-5 and 8th Ave S, and S Dearborn St. [The endangered place is Seattle’s Chinatown International District as it relates to Sound Transit’s Link light rail extension through 4th or 5th Avenue and the adjacent construction zones]

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Old Parkland School

Status: Most Endangered Places

Year Listed: 2022

Location: Tacoma, Pierce County

UPDATE (May 2024): After the Parkland School was added to our Most Endangered Places list in 2022, the Parkland Community Association has been hard at work raising awareness and funding to save the school. We’re happy to report that on May 9, the Parkland Community Association signed papers with Pacific Lutheran University to close on the purchase of the building, which will be used as a community center.

For more information, read the article on My Northwest.

Constructed circa 1908, the Parkland School building at 214 121St Street S, in unincorporated Tacoma, Pierce County has retained its integrity of location, setting, design, material, workmanship, and feeling, as much of the building is intact, and the 1920 and 1937 additions have gained significance of their own. When the current owners Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) sought to delist the building from the Pierce County Register of Historic Places and ultimately apply for its demolition permit as a part of a sale agreement to developers in 2022, community members began to mobilize to show that not only does the building matter for its century-long record as an educational institution but that in its current conditions still yields major adaptive reuse potential including a community space if not retail, offices, and housing.

As the de-listing and demolition were recommended against by Pierce County Landmark and Historic Preservation Commission, PLU also recognized the community’s needs and efforts towards giving Parkland School a chance at preservation by renegotiating the sale agreement to exclude the parcel with the building and providing “up to twelve months [from August 2022] for the community to develop a viable option and purchase the east parcel, including the school building, from PLU” for a minimum purchase price of $2.85 million.

At this time, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is amplifying the efforts of the Save Parkland School community group, a committee of the Parkland Community Association, to raise funds towards acquiring a conditions assessment and preservation plan from which they can provide to potential partners in the purchase and redevelopment of the beloved Old Parkland School. Follow Save Parkland School at SaveParklandSchool.org and Facebook.


214 121st Street South Tacoma, WA 98444