Fort Lawton Redevelopment Project opponent Elizabeth Campbell claimed on Nextdoor last week that she was getting help in her fight to stop the former Army outpost from becoming affordable housing.

When the organizations she cited as having a hand in a lawsuit to protect the blue heron habitat in Kiwanis Ravine denied having any knowledge about it, Campbell accused them of lying out of fear of reprisal.

Now Seattle Parks and Recreation is also setting the record straight by way of its own Nextdoor post, denying all claims by Campbell that the city department was also supporting a legal challenge of the redevelopment plans.

Campbell’s own lawsuit continues to move slowly through U.S. District Court, partly due to a need to acquire new legal counsel, which she now has.

On Nov. 14, Judge John Coughenour ordered Campbell and her Discovery Park Community Alliance to refile a land-use petition to the court that includes the U.S. Army and Seattle Public Schools, as requested by legal counsel with the City Attorney’s Office.

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission offered up the former 70th Regional Support Command headquarters to the city in 2005. The City of Seattle became the 34-acre site’s Local Redevelopment Authority in 2006.

Campbell and DPCA successfully challenged the original plan for a mixed-income housing redevelopment, forcing the city to conduct an environmental study. The Great Recession then sidelined plans for nearly a decade.

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans to create 237 affordable housing units for rent and homeownership on a portion of the decommissioned Fort Lawton Army Reserve Center on June 10, and Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the legislation during a ceremony at the site a week later.

Campbell had unsuccessfully challenged the final environmental impact statement.

The same day Coughenor ordered her to refile her petition — to include the Army, which owns the land, and the school district, which plans to develop two playfields on a portion of the property — Campbell put out her Nextdoor post.

“Collaborators” Campbell cited as being involved in the lawsuit included Friends of Discovery Park president Phil Vogelzang, the Seattle Audubon Society and the Discovery Park Advisory Council, adding “there is likely at a minimum tacit support for this lawsuit being provided by Parks, including through its Environmental Learning Center and DP management — yay newly re-minted Superintendent Jesus Aguirre!”

Queen Anne News reached out to organizations to confirm whether a lawsuit was indeed moving through the courts.

“It seems to me that she’s stating that I, or we Friends, or some cohort is involved in this lawsuit,” Vogelzang said. ”I don’t know anything about it, I have not seen it. I hope I’ll get a copy of it.”

The Seattle Audubon Society also had to correct the record.

“Seattle Audubon is not a part of this lawsuit and does not oppose the low-income housing project at the Ft. Lawton site adjacent to Discovery Park,” said Seattle Audubon conservation manager Joshua Morris in a statement.

Campbell’s original Nextdoor post also criticized the Heron Habitat Helpers organization for not participating in the alleged lawsuit. HHH board member Marla Master said no one had approached the organization about a legal challenge.

“We’ve never been asked to come up with a statement, like a global statement,” she said.

The organization did work with the City of Seattle to create a 500-foot buffer to keep construction activity from affecting blue herons in the area, Master said, adding the Fort Lawton project is outside that buffer area.

SPR strategic communications advisor Christina Hirsch made a Nextdoor post on Nov. 19, after the city department learned about Campbell’s post.

“The statement by Elizabeth Campbell regarding Ft. Lawton, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and SPR’s Superintendent Jesús Aguirre is false,” a portion of the post reads. “Both Seattle Parks and Recreation and Jesús Aguirre are in support of the City’s Ft. Lawton project to bring additional housing and recreational space to the Magnolia community.”

Sixty percent of the entire property is slated for greenspace, including a 13-acre addition to Discovery Park, which is already 534 acres, but Campbell wants the entire property added to the park.

As of Nov. 22, Campbell has not provided hard evidence of another lawsuit, and on Thursday she updated her Nextdoor post, accusing SPR of “spreading false information,” and “working their back channels with these groups in order to not totally fly in the face of one of the Mayor’s and the Office of Housing’s pet housing projects, Fort Lawton.” Campbell then closed the discussion, so no more comments could be made.


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