TIM AND PATTY Crawford have once again stopped work crews on the site of a controversial retirement home that was proposed to be built on the banks of Thornton Creek in Shoreline. King County Superior Court Judge John P. Erlick ruled May 14 that Aegis Assisted Living must cease construction on the project immediately while a lawsuit filed by the Crawfords against Aegis and the city of Shoreline awaits his decision. All the couple has to do is post a $50,000 bond. The Crawfords, who live just upstream from Aegis' site, have already spent more than 50 grand in court trying to force the city of Shoreline to uphold its own environmental regulations and scale down the size of Aegis' project. But the Crawfords' attorney, Claudia Newman, says Erlick's injunction is a sign that the Crawfords will likely prevail in their fight with Aegis; the judge even gave the Shoreline couple a break on the bond (Aegis requested $2 million) because he deemed the Crawfords representatives of "the public interest."
"That was real important to me," says Patty, who has watched in frustration as Aegis poured concrete foundations in defiance of first one, then a second lawsuit the Crawfords filed against the project.
The Crawfords, meanwhile, have been gaining friends—while Aegis seems to have lost support, with the notable exception of Shoreline city officials.
Shoreline neighborhood groups, which have been reluctant to publicly join cause with the Crawfords, have recently read statements of support for the couple at Shoreline City Council meetings. Janet Way of the Thornton Creek Legal Defense Fund says her organization hopes to soon begin fund-raising efforts to assist the Crawfords. The Thornton Creek Alliance, a community group once friendly to Aegis, has pulled its support from the developer's project.
The Shoreline city government, on the other hand, continues to create openings to push the Aegis project through: Until Judge Erlick's last order, Aegis was building under a revised permit from the city that hadn't been aired at a single public hearing. "The thinking is that [the city] can bust us before they could bust Aegis in court," says Patty. "But we're not going away."