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SoDo Arena Opponents Consider New Legislation As Occidental Avenue Decision Nears

The fight against Chris Hansen's SoDo Arena plans continues to heat up

Plans for Chris Hansen's SoDo Arena are still moving forward as a decision on whether or not the city should vacate a stretch of Occidental Avenue to the developer nears. Also still moving forward is opposition to the plan, which kicked into high gear this week with a new call to strengthen laws that prohibit taxpayer subsidies.

The current arena deal calls for Seattle and King County to contribute as much as $200 million in bonds to help pay for the arena.

"I oppose subsidies for billionaires," attorney Cleveland Stockmeyer said at a news conference announcing that he is exploring a new initiative to stop the arena deal.

Opponents say they are working on a new, stronger version of Initiative 91, the 2006 law that prohibits taxpayer subsidies for sports arenas. Because that law is more than two years old, the City Council is now free to make changes.

Arena opponents don't want the council to vacate the portion of Occidental Avenue south of Safeco Field that is needed to build the arena.

Expect tonight's city council meeting to be heated as the council will review a city report that estimates additional travel time due to all three sports arenas being in use will be minimal.

While the number of times the Mariners, Seahawks and Sonics would all be playing at once would be minute, the chances two of them are playing at the same time would certainly rise.

The vote on Occidental is huge, not only because it would give the arena a necessary step forward, but it's considered the last major hurdle before Seattle extends a Master Use Permit to Hansen. At that point, he just needs to acquire an NBA franchise. No small feat, as we've learned.
· Opponents consider new initiative to stop new SoDo Sonics Arena [KIRO]
· What could stadium 'scheduling agreement' look like? [K5]
· "Vital" Occidental Avenue Stretch Not Actually All That Vital [CS]