Seattle plans to redevelop Fort Lawton with 238 units of affordable housing and more than 20 acres of park space.

he idea to build affordable housing at a former military installation in Magnolia has been a source of neighborhood conflict for almost 13 years, was subject to two legal challenges and was likened to war by neighborhood activist Elizabeth Campbell less than two years ago. The project’s opponents have been digging in their heels and fighting to expand Discovery Park instead, successfully stopping construction in the process.   

But if Fort Lawton was once the frontline of a war between some Magnolia residents and the city of Seattle, Monday night’s surprisingly civil open house for the proposed affordable housing development was perhaps a sign that armistice is coming. Somebody booed Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda as she stepped up to the microphone to explain why she supports the plan, and there was the occasional hiss or bout of derisive laughter from one side directed toward the other. But on the whole there was little drama among the 200 or so attendees, evidence that the city might finally move forward with its long-delayed effort to redevelop the 34-acre, former military site adjacent to Discovery Park.

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