Celebrate Seattle’s Freeway Revolt

A community-wide open house celebrating the 50th anniversary of Seattle’s Freeway Revolt will be held 3–6pm Sunday, September 23, at the Central Area Senior Center, 500 30th Ave S, Seattle.

Free and open to the public, the event will highlight the citywide grassroots movement that helped quash plans for a dense network of freeways in Seattle. It will include information about the planned freeway grid as well as materials from the citizens’ resistance, including maps, flyers, letters and more. A special preview of a forthcoming documentary by filmmaker Minda Martin will also be shown.

Visitors are welcome to stop by any time from 3–6pm, say organizers Anna Rudd and Allan Davis. Rudd and Davis are among several former activists who will be on hand to talk with visitors.

The program schedule includes:

3pm Doors open, displays and information available

3:30pm Welcoming remarks

3:45pm “Open Mike” – former activists and others are invited to share their recollections and thoughts about the freeway revolt

4:30pm Preview of freeway revolt documentary

Six Seattle community councils are co-sponsoring the event along with Seattle ARCH (Activists Remembered, Celebrated and Honored). They are: Laurelhurst Community Club, Leschi Community Council, Montlake Community Club, Mt. Baker Community Club, Portage Bay/Roanoke Park Community Council and Ravenna-Bryant Community Association.

Communities across Seattle can be proud of their role in helping Seattle remain the vibrant, livable city it is today, say Rudd and Davis. “We wanted to create an opportunity to celebrate this amazing grassroots movement and honor those who did so much to save the city,” says Rudd. “We hope their actions will be a source of inspiration to current and future generations,” says Rudd.

Anti-freeway activists helped to defeat or dramatically reduce three planned freeways: the RH Thomson Expressway, a major north-south freeway parallel to I-5; the Bay Freeway, which would have connected I-5 to the Seattle Center along South Union; and a massive, 14-lane I-90 bridge (downsized to eight lanes with two earmarked for transit).

Participants included communities from Mt. Baker to Lake City and organizations ranging from Allied Arts to the Citizens Planning Council, League of Women Voters and Black Panthers.

More information on the freeway revolt is available in an online publication, Seattle’s Freeway Revolt: A Directory of Historical Resources, hosted on the Seattle Public Library’s online special collections. The directory was funded by a grant from 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax Fund.

~Anna Rudd

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