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For week ended March 19, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 21Mar00

Summarized by Janus Wilkinson

Mormon church now a party to U District light-rail talks
Seattle WA Post-Intelligencer 18Mar00 D1
By George Foster: Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter


Link light rail nearing deadline on UW issues
Seattle WA Post-Intelligencer 16Mar00 D1
By George Foster: Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- The LDS Church has been dragged into negotiations between the University of Washington and Sound Transit over a rail station near the University's campus. Sound Transit wants to put an underground entrance to its rail system near the LDS student center near campus. The student center is a 40-year-old Institute of Religion building used for worship, classes and recreation by hundreds of LDS students.

The station would require the Church to move the student center elsewhere, and while University officials have offered to help the Church find another suitable site, Church spokesman Gordon Conger has told them no thanks. "We're not going to sue anybody, but we will defend with all the resources available" the Church's right to stay there. Transit authorities have the governmental right of immanent domain, which would allow them to take the property. But Conger cites the First Amendment, which guarantees religious freedom, saying that it would keep Sound Transit from taking the Church's property.

Researchers at the college also opposes the move, voicing concerns that the agency's tunneling and train operations could damage vibration-sensitive research.

A decision will be made by the agency on April 1, 2000.


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