by Luke Putvin
The incoming Light Rail will bring rapid transit to Lynnwood and allow for a way to get to Seattle without braving the traffic. However, it also brings the displacement of several local businesses.
Tadsanee Kumpongpinyo, TK, is the manager and owner of Talay Thai Restaurant on 200th Street. Talay Thai, along with all the other businesses in that strip, are forced to relocate with the introduction of Light Rail.
“[Sound Transit] sent out the paper asking us to move on the 26th of November,” TK told the Lynnwood Times in early November. “But we already talked; 90 days is not enough time for us.”
TK alleged that a nearby furniture store and gas station were notified approximately two years prior to Talay Thai. She kept asking her landlord whether they were going to be able to stay or whether they would have to go, but the notice was only provided about two months prior to our interview.
One option that Sound Transit is offering to Talay Thai is $40,000 dollars to walk out, but TK said that isn’t enough. She doesn’t know if the equipment they currently have will fit in a new location they may find.
“Our kitchen hood cost almost $20,000 dollars,” she said, “and we just remodeled a couple years ago. But we don’t have a choice; they need the building. They need the property.”
Talay Thai has been in Lynnwood at this location since 1987. TK said that some people, like some of the kitchen staff, have worked there for more than 20 years. “This place is like a home; sometimes we spend more time here than our own house, and we have a lot of customers. It’s kind of sad, you know?”
Sound Transit is a regional transit authority created in 1993 by King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. As such, the laws of eminent domain apply. Eminent domain allows government entities to take private properties for public use with fair compensation.
According to Sound Transit, 20 businesses have been identified as being impacted by the upcoming construction in the area.
“Sound Transit provides the full range of relocation benefits available through the Uniform Relocation Act under State and Federal laws,” said Rachelle Cunningham, Public Information Officer with Sound Transit.
“Each business is evaluated individually,” she continued. “We work extensively to ensure those affected are treated fairly, consistently and equitably. Affected businesses are eligible for relocation at the time an offer to acquire the property is presented to the land owner. We work with the affected parties individually and notices are provided individually in coordination with the offer to acquire.”
As for Talay Thai, things are still up in the air. Sound Transit is extending their deadline to leave from November 26 to the end of the year. At that point, if more time is needed, Talay Thai will be able to rent month by month from Sound Transit.
TK said that Talay Thai is still looking for a new location.