Today the King County Council authorized an agreement between King County and Eastrail Partners for the funding, design, and construction of a 400-footlong trail connection between the 520 Trail Corridor and Eastrail in Bellevue.

“At the crossroads of two major regional trails and the doorstep of an exciting new neighborhood, the Northup Connector will open up all sorts of new transportation possibilities for our region,” King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci said. “The agreement authorized today allows us to build Eastrail faster by leveraging the skills and expertise of our community partners. It’s a win-win for trail users, taxpayers, and King County as a whole”

The King County and Eastrail Partners agreement represents a significant step in a year-long effort by King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci, Eastrail Partners, King County Parks, REI Co-op and Meta (formerly Facebook) to complete the Northup Connector, a currently unfinished gap that will link Eastrail and the 520 Trail Corridor together at Bellevue’s Northup Way and serve as a gateway into the City of Bellevue and its fast-growing Spring District neighborhood.

In September 2020, REI and Meta invested $1 million each in Eastrail infrastructure and in November 2020 King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci included an amendment to the King County’s 2021-2022 budget to provide the remaining or “last in” funding needed to complete the estimated $2.5 million Northup Connector project.

This innovative agreement will allow Eastrail Partners to manage, design and construct the Northup Connector leveraging the expertise of its board members. It also allows King County Parks the opportunity to focus its energies on other segments of Eastrail, including the Wilburton Trestle which Eastrail Partners secured the last-in $7.5M funding for in partnership with Amazon.

“Eastrail Partners is truly excited about this finalized agreement that allows us begin design and construction of the Northup Connector project. This project is a holistic example of our organization’s role in the Eastrail effort of securing private sector investment for projects and accelerating timelines for a fully connected trail,” Eastrail Partners executive director Katherine Hollis shared. “With deep board expertise in real estate and development via KG Investment Properties, SRM Development, Wright Runstad and others, we look forward to constructing and opening the Northup Connector more quickly than otherwise, with exceptional quality and effective use of funds.”

The agreement approved today by Council will now allow Eastrail Partners to begin design work in 2022.


CONTACT: Katherine Hollis, 425-679-9595 (Eastrail Partners); Blake Trask, 206-496-7519 (Office of CM Balducci)