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Kemper Freeman leaves Bellevue Downtown Association

Prominent Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman Jr. has stepped down from his position at the Bellevue Downtown Association.

BDA Vice President of Communications Patrick Bannon said Freeman's departure stemmed from "differences of opinion," that could not be resolved. Bannon was not sure about what caused the disagreement, but he did mention light-rail.

"Light-rail has been a major issue where there have been different positions," he said. "I'm not sure if that's the entire reason or not."

Calls to Kemper Development Co. were not returned.

Freeman is a notable opponent of Sound Transit's plan to bring light-rail out from Seattle to the Eastside. Freeman is one of the parties involved in a lawsuit against Sound Transit to stop light-rail from coming across the Interstate 90 bridge. The State Supreme Court's decision on the matter is pending.

Bannon said Freeman submitted a letter to the BDA in mid January announcing his resignation from the Board of Directors, and withdrawal of his company Kemper Development Co., from the organization as a whole.

Freeman's decision to leave the organization did not come as a surprise, Bannon said. The differences of opinion became too much of an impediment, he said. But Freeman's departure will not stunt the relationship between the company and BDA, Bannon said.

Freeman's father originally founded the organization in 1974. It started with nine members, but has grown to 242. Freeman owns many downtown properties including Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place.

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