July 28, 2022

To: Sound Transit Board Chair Kent Keel, Sound Transit Board of Directors, Sound Transit System Expansion Committee, King County Council, Mayor Bruce Harrell, City of Seattle Councilmembers

RE: Selecting or confirming a preferred alternative for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions Project

Dear Chair Keel, Sound Transit Boardmembers, King County Councilmembers, Seattle City Councilmembers, Mayor Harrell, and Executive Constantine,

InterIm CDA is a community-based nonprofit 501(C3) community development organization. We are rooted in the Chinatown-International District (CID) and provide community-based real estate development services, housing services, and programmatic services for immigrant, refugee, API, and other low-income communities. We provide comment today through a lens of equitable development—where we intend to create space for everyone to participate in and benefit from the Chinatown International District neighborhood’s growth. Our representation focuses on those most easily left behind—low income people, immigrants, refugees, and people of color.

We support the expansion of the light rail system for the region. We recognize the challenges we all face expanding high-capacity transit systems in the densely built environments of Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties. We realize how important it is for the Sound Transit Board of Directors to identify a preferred alternative for the WSBLE project.

It is through this lens that we offer you our perspective on further developing the WSBLE project in the CID.

The community is unified in its call to reject another permanent injury to our culture and community. This neighborhood has been disproportionately harmed by past infrastructure projects, and our DEIS letter lists projects and policies in explicit detail. While our community may disagree about whether we support or oppose light rail and whether we prefer 4th or 5th Avenue, we are in complete agreement that this project must not result in yet another existential blow to the CID and people of color.

We support Sound Transit’s plan to expand light rail. InterIm seeks development outcomes that promote transportation mobility and connectivity, and we recognize that the WSBLE project is intended to add much needed capacity to the light rail system. We seek to find a just and equitable approach that improves connectedness between the CID and the Puget Sound region without displacing current residents, small culturally relevant businesses, and community organizations from the neighborhood.

All the alternatives in the DEIS for the CID Segment will result in permanent harm to the CID. The DEIS only studied direct impacts to residents and businesses resulting from project construction. It did not give any real consideration to how each alternative will impact residents, businesses, and community and culture after the project is complete. This is the primary way in which economic and cultural displacement, our top two concerns, work.

The CID is unique and important, and critical to our region’s social and cultural fabric. The Racial Equity Toolkit created for the project openly acknowledges the substantial displacement risk to the CID neighborhood, but admitting to risk is not enough. Sound Transit has not adequately analyzed or mitigated the impacts to the historically marginalized CID community.

Our community will need additional support to withstand the displacement pressure imposed by the project. Approaches to community support cannot be done in a business-as- usual manner. This neighborhood will require meaningful investment to reduce the economic, and cultural displacement forces at work from transit development. This must be done both with an eye of preventing the displacement of people already in the CID as well as keeping the CID a viable location for working class immigrants and refugees, small culturally relevant businesses, and community serving organizations. Mitigation for any of the alternatives will be substantial, and the cost is a direct result of a century of racially motivated and culturally insensitive planning and development in the name of “greatest good for the greatest number” of people in the region.

We will work with Sound Transit to clarify and eliminate impacts, and recommend mitigations. InterIm CDA is prepared to work with Sound Transit to examine impacts and trade- offs, and help find creative ways to avoid them. Only after really meaningful work to eliminate impacts will we be willing to help explore ways to mitigate impacts we can’t eliminate.

We appreciate the Sound Transit Board of Directors’ leadership during the process to confirm or modify the preferred alternative. Thank you for your understanding as you call for further study in the CID Segment before selecting an alignment. We are prepared to work with Sound Transit and the City of Seattle to identify community benefits and associated mitigations appropriate for the WSBLE project.



Pradeepta Upadhyay

Thank you, Enterprise for sponsoring InterIm CDA's 46th Annual Pig Roast

Thank you to our sponsor Enterprise for making the InterIm CDA 46th Annual Pig Roast a great event!

46th Annual InterIm CDA Pig Roast was a SUCCESS!

The 46th Annual InterIm pig roast was a huge success!
Thank you to all those who came and those who supported us! Special shout out to ICHS Legacy House, Phnom Penh Noodle House, Gourmet Noodle Bowl, Crawfish King, and all the volunteers who helped make it happen, along with all those who came! Keep an eye out for the Pig Roast next year!

Remembering Donnie Chin

credit Dean Wong


Remembering Donnie Chin, unsung hero, the CID’s guardian angel. We miss you Donnie.
This Saturday, July 23rd, is the 7th anniversary of Donnie Chin’s murder.

Remembering Donnie Chin, as he receives the Bob Santos Leadership in Sustainability Award

The 46th Annual Pig Roast happening TODAY!

The 46th Annual Pig Roast is happening TODAY at 6 PM!  

InterIm CDA’s 46th Annual Pig Roast will be hosted at the Danny Woo Garden! The Pig Roast allows us to connect with each other through storytelling and in-person connection. Bring your family and friends, all are welcome! 

10th Annual A&NH/PI Candidate Forum

Get your votes ready as we have a Primary election coming up soon! We will be having our 10th Annual A&NH/PI Candidate Forum happening on July 20th, 5-7pm featuring the 37th Legislative and 9th Congressional District Candidates that will represent our A&NH/PI Community. The deadline to vote by ballot and online is by July 25th. Click on this link to register now: bit.ly/anhpiforum

NCAPACD calls for volunteers

The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (NCAPACD) is seeking volunteers for their 2022 Seattle convention on July 11-13! The NCAPACD helps AAPI communities all over the country by publishing research that highlights issues within low-income AAPI communities, advancing national policy agenda which promotes social justice, and providing education and training. If you would like to volunteer or attend this convention, check out the links below:


National CAPACD 2022 Building CAPACD Convention – National CAPACD



South Jackson Street Under I-5 Community Art Wall Project

The South Jackson Street Wall Project will develop a community-based, meaningful, aesthetically imaginative, high- quality public art mural that spans 8th Ave and 10th Ave S. along S. Jackson Street, underneath the I-5 freeway.

Project Description:

InterIm Community Development Association and the I-5 Art Wall Steering Committee invite artists to submit qualifications to help the Chinatown-International District develop an integrated conceptual art plan on the retaining wall along the north side of S. Jackson Street underneath the I-5 Freeway. The art piece will be installed on a concrete retaining wall divided into 42 “panels” with steel beams. We will want the selected applicant to work with residents, youth, community members, and the artist selection committee to develop a community-based theme that will be utilized to create the public art piece. The artist will also develop the process in which we will select up to five other artists to work on this project. This project can potentially extend and connect to a larger project as part of the activation and beautification of the I-5 underpass at Jackson St and 8th/10th Avenue South.


Project Background:

Creating artwork on the South Jackson Street wall was part of the recommendations that came from a conceptual plan for the area underneath the I-5 freeway completed in 2021. The Friends of I-5 Freeway decided to move forward with this project after discussing this in late 2021.


Eligibility & Selection Criteria:

We are seeking a person or team who meets the following qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience with public
  • Aesthetic excellence in the design and execution of completed
  • Ability to design, fabricate, install and/or oversee the fabrication and installation of commissioned work.
  • Consider the physical constraints of the site, installation permitting requirements, and resistance to vandalism.
  • Ability to apply a racial justice lens and an understanding of the cultural and historical context of the Chinatown-International District (Japantown and Little Saigon) to the process and final product.
  • Engage the community at least in the conceptual phase of the
  • Ability to organize and work with other artists
  • Ability to work with an existing steering committee comprised of community

Project Budget:

The selected applicant(s) will receive $5,000 to work with the community on developing a community-based art theme, working with community stakeholders, developing an artist selection process, and working with the other selected artists in creating the design and installing our South Jackson Street art project. The selected artist will have a $10,000 budget for the other artists involved in the project and an additional $7,000 for material expenditures.


Project Timeline:

Phase 1 – Artist Search

August 5: Deadline for submission of artist qualifications

August 12: Steering Committee selects 2-3 finalists

August 17-19: Finalists present concepts/fabrication models/panels to Steering Committee for review

August 21: Final artist selected via evaluation rubric; artists notified with the committee and public feedback

Phase 2 – Design Development: September

Phase 3 – Implementation: October – December

Phase 4 – Unveiling/Opening Celebration: January 2023


Historical context:

The I-5 freeway is part of a larger American story – surbanization, the cold war, the lobbying powers of the automobile, concrete, and rubber industries, the destruction of inner-city transportation systems, and urban renewal. Throughout that history, freeways were designed to link urban centers throughout the US; however, communities of color mainly shouldered the brunt of these capital projects, as these projects often created, for the most part, unintended negative impacts on these communities.

The creation of the I-5 freeway cleaved the International District in half, displacing 100’s housing units. The highway also created, what many would consider, an ugly concrete barrier between the eastern and western parts of the neighborhood. In addition, the emissions produced by automobiles have created poor air quality for the community, leading to many health maladies for the community’s residents. In comparison, when the I-90 freeway was built, the State and Federal governments mitigated the project by making a tunnel and park for the Mercer Island residents.

In 1997, the International District utilized public stadium mitigation funds to design and paint the I-5 freeway columns. The community used input from the nascent Little Saigon community to alternate the painting from red to a combination of yellow and red. The project developed from the need to improve the pedestrian circulation between Chinatown/Japantown in the ID and Little Saigon. In addition, the project served as a gateway between the two communities.

The Friends of I-5 has been created to improve the areas underneath the I-5 freeway. We are planning to repaint the Jackson Street columns this year. In addition, we have developed this Request For Qualifications soliciting proposals to create a mural on the Jackson Street retaining wall.


How to Apply:

This is a request for qualifications. No specific proposals for artwork will be accepted at this time. Applications must include all of the following for consideration:

  • Artist’s statement of interest, considering the cultural and historical context of the site (1 page)
  • Resume(s) of artist(s)
  • Three professional references
  • Submit digital materials as a pdf attachment via email or provide a link to the website or portfolio
  • Self-addressed stamped envelope for return of materials (if sending physical materials)
  • 5 to 10 images with a max size of 2MB 72dpi. Up to 2 of 10 work samples may be video work, edited to 2:00 max, in Quicktime format or available on YouTube or Please label your images by name and number in the following format: LastName_01, LastName_02, etc.


Email Qualifications to: tim@interimcda.org

Subject: South Jackson Street/I-5 Art Wall Application Mail Qualifications to:

InterIm CDA c/o Thomas Im

P.O. Box 3363

Seattle, WA 98114



Deadline: August 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm