Here’s the latest update on the years-long effort around UW’s Nuclear Reactor Building (NRB), which was bulldozed in July 2016 to make way for a new Computer Science and Engineering II Building. The University filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle and Docomomo WEWA (who submitted a Seattle landmark nomination in late 2015) to settle a longstanding dispute about whether the University is subject to the City’s Landmarks Preservation Ordinance. Historic Seattle, along with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, joined in the lawsuit. An April 2016 decision by a King County Superior Court judge ruled in UW’s favor.
In May 2016, the City appealed the decision, with all three preservation groups joining in the appeal. In March 2017, the Court of Appeals asked the State Supreme Court to review the case, which they accepted. As our attorney, David Bricklin (Bricklin & Newman, LLP), explains “This is a rarely used process. Presumably, the court of appeals decided that the issue (whether the UW has to comply with the city's historic preservation ordinance) was of great public import and existing precedent uncertain; that whatever they might decide, a further appeal to the Supreme Court was likely; and, therefore, it would be more efficient for the Supreme Court to decide it in the first instance." Supreme Court oral argument is set for June 6, 2017 at 9:00 am at the Temple of Justice in Olympia.