Seattle council member suggests naming new light rail station bridge for Rep. John Lewis

The late U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia, who tirelessly marched, suffered, and ultimately legislated to secure civil rights, had schools and streets — even a ship — named after him. Now, a movement is underway to add his name to Seattle’s new Northgate Station bridge.

The 1,900-foot-long structure, supported in part by a white overhead beam, is likely to become an instant landmark on Interstate 5, connecting a Sound Transit light rail stop to North Seattle College, when it is hoisted later this month.

Seattle Councilmember Debora Juárez, who represents District 5 North, said she heard local support for honoring Lewis, which would serve the city’s wish to recognize the history and “indigenous and Afro-American footprint.” American”.

“We hope the community will come back with names,” said Juárez, an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, during a council briefing on Tuesday. “We would like to consider naming him after Rep. John Lewis.”

So far, there is no municipal legislation or official public awareness on bridge names.

The $56 million bridge is expected to open when train service begins at Northgate, Roosevelt and U District stations on Oct. 2, said Ethan Bergerson, spokesman for the Seattle Department of Transportation.

lewisa black son of sharecroppers who represented Atlanta in Congress, died last summer at age 80, still encourage young Americans to defend democracy. He spoke at the 1963 Civil Rights March in Washington, D.C., and survived a fractured skull in 1965 when state troopers in Selma, Alabama attacked nonviolent protesters. for the right to vote. Last year he backed street protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Lewis had no lasting ties to Seattle, where some residents might prefer the name of a local luminary on the Northgate Bridge. On the other hand, the entire state and the Seattle Highway 99 bridge were named in honor of George Washington, a Virginian.

Lewis spoke at the University of Washington in 2017 about his graphic novel “March” and the need for “good trouble, necessary trouble.” Years before, he joined a crowd of 30,000 in Portland oppose the war in Iraq.

Sound Transit display a plate at Northgate Station in honor of local supporter, State Senator Scott White, who died in 2011.

transit board Kent Keel chair said he had not been contacted to name the bridge, which is owned by the city.

“The contributions John Lewis has made to this country are monumental, and anything I can do to help commemorate that and help people remember him and his work, I would be for that and open to that discussion.” said Keel, who is Black and a board member at University Place near Tacoma.

The two main spans will be hoisted on columns this month. A northbound I-5 closure is scheduled for Friday, June 11 at 11:30 p.m., through Sunday, June 13 at 4:30 a.m., followed by a southbound closure the following weekend.

Jose P. Rogers