Miller Freeman, grandfather of Kemper Freeman Jr., reaching into his pocket to pay Washington State Governor Arthur Langlie the last toll on the Lake Washington floating bridge in 1949.
  • Used with permission of the Seattle P-I collection at MOHAI
  • Miller Freeman, grandfather of Kemper Freeman Jr., reaching into his pocket to pay Washington State Governor Arthur Langlie the last toll on the Lake Washington floating bridge in 1949.

Bellevue Square owner Kemper Freeman Jr.—grandson of the guy pictured above—is the major source of money behind Tim Eyman's Initiative 1125, which seeks to channel anti-tax sentiment into anti-toll sentiment at the polls this fall.

As the debate over that measure gets going, it's worth remembering: Freeman Jr.'s grandfather was a happy toll payer 62 years ago.

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You might say: Yeah, but the Freemans are probably only happy about paying a toll when they're paying the last one ever on a highway project (as in the picture above). To you I say: There's another picture out there, which I've seen but don't have permission to reprint, of Freeman Jr. himself smiling broadly, in August of 1963, as he rides shotgun in the car that paid the very first toll ever—of many tolls collected, at a rate of 35 cents each—on the brand new 520 floating bridge. That bridge was tolled for 16 years.

So the Freeman family—including Freeman Jr.—has a long history of liking and even promoting the paying of tolls when it suits their interest in getting more drivers to Bellevue. What Freeman Jr. now doesn't like, and what the measure he's bankrolling quietly seeks to torpedo through complicated fine print in the initiative text, is something totally unrelated: light rail to Bellevue.

(H/T to Goldy for the headline.)

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