The Chopp Challenge

Speaker of the House Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-Disrtict, Wallingford) is getting away with murder. Other members of the House aren’t willing to go on record against Chopp’s loopy great wall on the waterfront plan because, well, Chopp’s the Speaker of the House. Erica interviewed a bunch of legislators last week for her column in the Stranger and Chopp’s House colleague’s were predictably vague.    

This is frustrating because of course, we know that off-the-record, lots of legislators think Chopp’s plan is a cockamamie idea. But without any of these elected officials coming out against Chopp’s $2.2 billion elevated freeway plan—knock knock are you there Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, where 73% of voters came out against an elevated in March 2007)— we’re stuck with the political illusion that Chopp’s plan has political support. 

Well, let’s flip this around on Chopp and put that assumption to the test.

Let’s start asking a different question.

Sure no one is coming out against the Speaker’s plan. But are there any House members (or any elected officials at all, for that matter) who publicly support Chopp’s plan?


  1. 1

    Blue John spews:

    Is that the one where we replace the viaduct with a shopping mall strip with a freeway on top? In this economic climate and monoculture business diversity, are there even enough businesses to fill a long strip mall like that?
    Can you repost the artist ideal image, in contrast to the grey wall visualization, from a couple of months back?

  2. 2

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    I was looking at the visualizations that were posted at the PI a few weeks back. The two surface options were by far the most visually appealing, plus they would better coordinate with the proposed expansion of light rail along the waterfront. I think the tunnel options looked as horrible as the “wall” did, which was pretty bad. I can’t believe anyone would be seriously entertaining “Chopp’s Folly.”

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Now that gas prices have fallen back to levels that encourage people to drive gas guzzlers, this might be an opportunity to build the expensive tunnel option after all. In order to maintain the momentum toward more eco-friendly vehicles that we gained this year from $4.50 gas, we should immediately slap a statewide $2-per-gallon tax on gas and use the proceeds to pay for the tunnel and light rail so senior citizens on fixed incomes don’t have to pay sales taxes for light rail.

  4. 5

    Steve spews:

    Chopp’s plan would give us a long structure with retail space on the ground level, offices on the second level, four highway lanes on the third level and a park on top. A BIAW lackey, a Sonics hater, and now this. Chopp sucks.

  5. 6


    If anything, people want less structure around the waterfront and Chopp goes in the opposite direction.

    There is something specifically masculine about wanting to erect (and be associated with) huge buildings.

  6. 8

    Tomahawk Chopp spews:

    Just a mere $600 million – $700 million for a few more Skittles SLUTs and, voila!, no billion-dollar boondoggle El needed. Problem solved.


  7. 9

    Ridin' That Train spews:

    Maybe, if we called ‘em Skittles SLUTs to Nowhere, Frank would get his thinking straight.

    Or maybe if we call ‘em Chopp ChooChoos.

  8. 10

    Michael spews:

    The folks from Fuse sent me a survey and told me they wanted to know what I think about what they’re doing. Yeah, they might regret sending me that.

    It seems like we get a new big progressive group like Fuse out of Seattle every couple of years that, unlike groups like The Sierra Club or The Washington Toxics Coalition, doesn’t have a tangible background in anything. And, quite frankly, after watching groups like Fuse come and go over the last 20 years I can say that they never get much done.

    Reading your “about fuse” page one gets the impression that you don’t know what the hell you are about. Lots of verbage, little meaning (see point 5).

    Here’s what I think you should do.
    1)Shutdown your office.
    2)Go outside. Go do something. Anything.
    3)If you liked what you did and you can find a way to scale it up in a way it can be used to bring people together and advance a (or a few) clearly stated, tangible, progressive goal(s)* go for it.
    4) If you can’t do step 3 start over.
    5) Fuck Policy. Fuck “securing major advances in progressive public policy for Washington State.” What does that even mean? It’s gibberish. Set goals. Meet goals. Move on.

  9. 11

    Chris Stefan spews:

    Chopp needs a primary challenge for this and a zillion other reasons.

    At best he’d loose his seat, at worst he might be scared into representing his constituents a little better.

  10. 14

    jason spews:

    Oh, joy. The hiring of Josh means the know-nothings have another venue in which to spread lies (like the 2007 vote meant anything) and vitriol. I’ll grant that Chopp’s plan may not be the best, but the surface option remains the stupidest, most illogical plan only supported by those who never drive and aren’t cognizant of the reality of the situation.

    Cars aren’t going away, especially not anytime soon. Our city and region need more than 1 N-S route to move freight and traffic. Accept that the city planners didn’t think far enough ahead and at least people like Chopp are trying to come up with realistic solutions. Maybe in the future we’ll all have light rail & monorail and other transit solutions, but for now, you can’t put the ~60,000 vehicles anywhere else.

  11. 15

    Chris Stefan spews:

    @14 Jason
    The falicy of your argument is no matter what option is chosen the viaduct will be out of service during construction. That means those 60,000 vehicles per day are going to have to find an alternate route for at least 5 years. If we can do without the capacity for 5 years why can’t we do without it for good?

    Furthermore the surface options increase the traffic capacity of exsisting N-S routes. If you are on 99 through downtown you will only travel surface streets between Battery and King St. with fewer lights and less cross traffic than 4th/2nd.

    Both elevated options are much more obtrusive and imposing than the current viaduct and non-starters from an asthetic view. Chopp’s plan is more expensive than any option than a bored tunnel. Strictly on a cost basis I believe a surface option or lidded trench will be chosen.

  12. 16

    Deb Eddy spews:

    My support for Speaker Chopp’s plan is at least as strong as my support for any of the other plans on the table, at the moment. The question is now in the hands of three people: the governor, the mayor of Seattle and county exec.

    The legislature and legislators don’t have to approve/like/support anything. The question is: what will we fund?

    BTW: You use the plural “legislators” to identify the I-know-these-guys-are-against-this-travesty-but-they-are-too-chicken-to-own-up-to-it group. Please list, beyond Rep. Pedersen.