Eastrail_092420

The Eastrail trail system crosses NE 145th in Woodinville heading north to Snohomish County. 

BELLEVUE — REI Co-op and Facebook are contributing $1M in capital funds each for the Eastrail project. Built on a historic railroad line, the Eastrail is a trail system that runs 42 miles on the east side of Lake Washington, from Renton through Woodinville and up to Snohomish County.  

The announcement was made in a Sept. 15 press release.

“The combined $2 million donations by REI Co-op and Facebook will accelerate our work to complete Eastrail, a 42-mile trail that will knit together Eastside communities and connect to four of the 10 light rail stations we will open in 2023," said King County Executive Dow Constantine, who is also a member of the Sound Transit Board of Directors. "Our strong public-private partnership is helping us create a healthy, prosperous future for more people in our region by offering safe, reliable connections to some of the world's leading job centers."

The Eastrail offers significant benefits to these diverse communities by providing connectivity to transit including four new Sound Transit Link light rail stations, boosting economic growth and state-of-the-art fiber-optic connectivity, and improving access to outdoor health and wellness.

“This is exactly the collaboration and public-private partnerships we work to create,” Katherine Hollis, executive director of Eastrail Partners, said in the release. “REI and Facebook understand the impact the Eastrail will have in creating active transportation options for their employees and communities of Lake Washington’s Eastside.”

The Puget Sound region has already made great strides in realizing the vision for the Eastrail with over $93M invested in purchasing and improving the former rail corridor. However, an estimated $233M still needs to be raised for the trail to be fully realized as a multifaceted community asset.

Eastrail Partners, the nonprofit established to catalyze the Eastrail effort, unites the diverse communities, governments, the private sector, and nonprofits of Lake Washington’s Eastside to make the vision for the completed Eastrail a reality and improve equity through access. As the entity solely focused on this effort, they convene and catalyze advocacy and community engagement for the trail and establish community awareness to build diverse support.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has given us an even deeper appreciation for how much we rely on open spaces and trails for our physical, social and emotional well-being,” King County Council Chair and Eastrail Regional Advisory Committee Chair Claudia Balducci said. “This exciting investment in Eastrail Partners represents REI delivering on their ongoing commitment and Facebook joining the journey to expand our amazing regional trail system. With government, community and business support, we are building momentum to complete a world-class regional trail system that will make lifelong access to the outdoors a reality for everyone across King County.”

The Puget Sound region has already made great strides in realizing the vision for the Eastrail with over $93M invested in purchasing and improving the former rail corridor. However, an estimated $233M still needs to be raised for the trail to be fully realized as a multifaceted community asset.

King County owns several sections of the trail, including the Wilburton Segment through Bellevue, past REI’s Bellevue Store and by the Spring District.

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