A neighborhood scrap I've been following for the past year is a big step closer to a happy ending. That's great news--it looks like the Fremont Sunday Market won't be bullied out of the area by a neighboring gym.

The clash started last spring, when the Fremont Sunday Market's operator, Jon Hegeman, asked the city for a permit to move the market onto 34th Street and Evanston Avenue, since construction at a previous site displaced the nearly 13-year-old market. Immediately, Hegeman and the market came under fire from Sound Mind and Body gym, located at the same intersection. The gym said the market would hurt its business by blocking access to the facility and taking up valuable street parking. Fremont neighbors, for the most part, rallied around the market, packing public hearings about the permit and leafleting in front of the gym ["Squash!," Amy Jenniges, April 4, 2002].

Several months later, in October, the gym took the market and the city to court after the market got its city street-use permit. The gym's owners wanted an injunction to force the market to move 2,000 feet away (almost out of Fremont) and sought $6,000 in damages for every day the market was open.

This week, the Fremont Sunday Market won round one in King County Superior Court. On Monday, February 24, Judge Greg Canova ruled against three of the gym's five claims. Canova ruled that the market's not a nuisance, the city permit didn't infringe on the gym's property rights, and closing a block of 34th Street didn't hurt gym access. In essence, the judge agreed with what neighbors have been saying all along--gym patrons who can't park on 34th can kick-start their workout by walking an extra block.

The market's attorney, Duncan Manville, says that without an injunction, "the market can continue to operate along 34th Street." At least for now: The gym's other two claims--an equal-protection complaint in U.S. District Court, and a Superior Court claim that the market is interfering with the gym's business contracts with its members--will be argued later this year. The gym's attorney, Don Running, declined to comment.