Capitol Hill Mural Watch | Student art graces Cal Anderson’s Gate House ‘windows’

Capitol Hill’s mural and suddenly popping-up out of nowhere public art game is strong. The latest edition is being worked on this week inside Cal Anderson:

This spring the historic Lincoln Reservoir Gate House at Cal Anderson Park will host Seasons all around, 14 original temporary artworks created by nine Washington Middle School students. The artworks will grace the windows of the gate house through December 2016 and feature images inspired by the four seasons.

Guess we should quit calling it “the pumphouse.” The project is a collaboration between the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation Program, the city tells us.

S. Jackson’s Washington Middle School students worked with teaching artist Nate Herth “to design and create 14 original paintings reflecting on the park and the vibrancy of the Seattle.” According to an announcement of the project, students “drew upon their varied prior experience with art, color, and Seattle’s neighborhoods to create this public art installation.” The artworks created by the students were photographed and printed and are being installed in the gate house’s window features that have also showcased various organic artwork over the years.

The new art comes after a good scrubbing of the reflection pool. Meanwhile, a few other Cal Anderson maintenance mysteries persist.

This Sunday, May 22nd at 11 AM, the students and Herth will be part of an opening celebration of the temporary addition to the park.

The water in the Cal Anderson duck pool was not red (but the algae was)

Work crews were at Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park Tuesday afternoon to solve a problem. It turns out the water in the park’s reflection pool — or duck pool, as we called it — was’t red. But the algae sitting on the bottom of the pool is.

Or was. Seattle Parks tells us the crew at the pool Tuesday was working to drain the pool with a special pump rented just for the job. The spokesperson said the department hopes to have the reflection pool drained, cleaned, and refilled by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, the water mountain fountain that has been dry over the past weeks should be spouting again by Memorial Day. Continue reading

Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris ‘rubber crumb’ turf to be replaced by new cork alternative

Bobby Morris Playfield, Capitol Hill, Seattle

Capitol Hill’s sunbathing center — and a popular sports field for youth teams, adult leagues, pick-up, and the occasional prom dress rugby match — will get a playing surface this summer underlaid with a new test replacement for the maligned “crumb rubber” used to pad artificial turf fields around the world:

The project is located at Bobby Morris Playfield – a part of Cal Anderson Park in the Capital Hill neighborhood. The project consists of the following elements of work but is not limited to: Removal and disposal of existing infilled synthetic turf surface and replacement with a new synthetic turf system consisting of a 25mm paved-in-place elastic layer and 2.25” fiber length FieldTurf Classic synthetic turf with PureFill (1.7lb/sf Cork and 4.5lb/sf sand infill. Project will also require provision of inlaid baseball, softball and soccer markings and installation and maintenance of temporary erosion and sedimentation controls.

The $1 million project is going out to bid now with plans to quickly put a contractor in place for the six to seven week project to rip away the existing coverage in Bobby Morris and install the new turf and cork and sand infill. Seattle Parks officials plan to have the new turf in place by mid-July. In the meantime, you’ll see Bobby Morris fenced off and closed once the work begins.

UPDATE: The work comes at busy time for the park. Seattle PrideFest is slated for June 25th in Cal Anderson with Trans* Pride taking place in and around the park on Friday, June 24th. We’re checking to see if organizers are aware of the turf work schedule.

Crumb rubber fields have come under increasing scrutiny over health concerns that the recycled tires used as infill could be contaminating the fields. Three federal agencies are now studying whether the crumb rubber fields are exposing people to dangerous chemicals. The move by Seattle Parks to find an alternative is a proactive effort to get ahead of the concerns.



“We hope that it’s just as playable and durable and meets safety requirements,” project manager Jay Rood tells CHS about the alternative being tried at Bobby Morris for the first time in Seattle. If the new cork and sand fill works out, Rood said the pilot program will be extended to artificial turf fields across the city, the workhorses of the parks system providing millions of hours of public use by Rood’s estimation.

Rood said Seattle Parks also looked at alternatives involving material like coconut husks, a mineral-like sand, and a synthetic material but ultimately went with the new cork product after visits from several manufacturers who visited Seattle to pitch their creations. While Parks wants to find a dependable alternative, new health concerns aren’t driving the schedule to upgrade to Bobby Morris. The current turf was installed a decade ago and is overdue for replacement, Rood said.

Lighter in color and form, the cork fill could also have a side benefit perfect for the warm evening hangout that Bobby Morris becomes every spring and summer. Rood said the new fill is nice for soccer, etc. — but it also should be more comfortable to sit on.

Why did the Cal Anderson duck pool turn red?

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

There is a lot of water testing going on around here these days. Seattle Parks officials tell CHS they’re working to figure out why the Cal Anderson reflection pool water has taken on a red hue. If it turned purple this week, there would be no questions. But apparently water testing is needed to figure out what, exactly, is plaguing the duck-friendly pool. “Our crews will take a sample to have the water tested this week,” a spokesperson said. “Once we have results, we will develop a plan to drain, clean and refill the pool.”

While a working reservoir still lurks below Cal Anderson (CHS wrote about it here in 2015 when the facility was due for a cleaning), the reflecting pool next to the pump house is purely for aesthetic. There has been a reservoir at the site for 115 years. After the state mandated that Seattle’s open water sources needed to be covered in the early 1990s, community groups helped lead an effort to cap the reservoir with a park. The ripple pool and water mountain have become an iconic element of the neighborhood. But a murky red pool? Not as much.
Continue reading

The Goat Man of Capitol Hill wants to save the planet

Erick Rock Club and his goat Deer would very much like you to come to the Earth Day festival he has been planning for months Friday afternoon in Cal Anderson. But he’s pretty sure you won’t. And not just because of short notice.

“I’ve been walking around with this goat trying to tell them about this Earth Day festival,” Erick told CHS earlier today. “People are too busy. They keep walking.”

With a threat of rain, Erick said Cal Anderson might not work out and maybe he’ll need to move the music and gathering he hopes comes together to someplace out of the drizzle — maybe the entrance to Capitol Hill Station, he says.

It turns out the man with the goat has a lot of vision and a lot to say about the way the world works and the people who are too busy to talk to him about Earth Day. CHS walked by plenty of times — We should have asked him about the Earth Day festival earlier.

Over the past six months, Erick and Deer have been come part of the Capitol Hill legend. Drunken packs of bros and woo girls pay a buck to pet Deer in the midst of crowded nights in Pike/Pine. The money is mostly inconsequential. Erick says he received regular government support because of his disability from a brain injury as a child. Erick and Deer live in his van, moving around the neighborhood and city as needed. He puts what money he can and all of his energy into an organization he formed called the Rock Club Foundation, “created to empower the people by encouraging creativity, igniting passion and spreading love.”

Erick and Deer's "goat fun me" page

Erick and Deer’s “goat fun me” page

Erick hoped things like the Earth Day festival and a Free Day Market he works on every Sunday with Food Not Bombs down near the Cascade Playground would help him start to make the changes he wants to see so badly in the world. The Bernie Sanders campaign, he says, also offers hope.

But it probably won’t be enough to keep him on Capitol Hill and in Seattle.

“I’m leaving Seattle. Because Seattle doesn’t care,” Erick said Friday. “What do I have to do? Climb a tree?”

Erick said he is making plans for moving on now that April 22nd has come and almost gone.

“The whole reason I have this goat is to tell people about my organization to try to make the world a better place. All I’m trying to do is save the planet.”

You can learn more and connect with Erick on the Rock Club Foundation Facebook page. There is also a “goat fun me” fundraising page if you’d like to give him a few bucks without bugging Deer.

Say goodbye to Hugo House’s old Capitol Hill home with party where you can write on its walls

Your 2016 calendar is filling up but make sure to leave a mark for the going away party for an old friend. Hugo House has announced details of its May 7th Epilogue/Prologue party:

It’s the end of one story and the beginning of another. Come to the last party at the current Hugo House to celebrate your time here and look toward the future. We have plenty in store for you.

Have a beer or wine on us (if you RSVP below)
See mock-ups of the new building
Browse through a gallery of photos from great times at Hugo House (since 1997)
Snag food from a food truck
Meet new people and spend time with old friends
Confess your Hugo House stories in a confession booth
Take photos with friends in our writerly photobooth
And, best, of all:Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.39.59 AM

No, this isn’t a cliché—we actually want you to write your poems and stories and anything you want on almost every wall of Hugo House. Then we’ll send you an ebook of excerpts from the wall and photos from the night.

You can learn more and RSVP here.

In January, CHS reported on Hugo House’s plans for an interim home on First Hill before its 2018 return to 10th Ave in its new mixed-use home. The old Hugo House will be demolished later his year to make way for a new six-story, apartment development that will include a new 10,000 square-foot writing center. More than 100 years old, the one time Manning’s Funeral Parlor was deemed unworthy of landmark status in 2013.

Meanwhile, V2, a new creative arts space and facility is busy making over the old Value Village building before its planned development in 2017.

CHS Pics | Cal Anderson egg hunt feels the (Easter) Bun

Happy spring. Before the big kids spilled into the park searching for answers about who will next lead the United States, the little ones showed them how it was done with an efficient, thorough, and mostly polite running of the annual Cal Anderson spring egg hunt Saturday morning.

In its fourth year in Capitol Hill’s central park, the Seattle Parks event this year shared a day with the Washington State caucus and Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris playfield with groups of caucus-goers whose precincts had to be assigned portions of the park after Century Ballroom and the Odd Fellows building quickly reached capacity.

More pictures, below. Continue reading

Capitol Hill 2016 egg hunts — Here comes the Spring Bunny

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill is a little preoccupied with a holiday of another sort this month so forgive us if we haven’t given an early Easter much thought. The good news is Seattle Parks has been planning and is ready to bring the fourth annual spring egg hunt to Cal Anderson on March 26th. Details on the hunt and a few more around the Hill, below. Here’s what it looked like in 2015 with the Spring Bunny and DJ keeping things hopping in Cal Anderson.

4th Annual Cal Anderson Spring Egg Hunt
What: Bring a bag or basket to hunt for eggs. Ages: 11 and under Location: Cal Anderson Park Time: 10 a.m. sharp, arrive by 9:45 a.m., March 26 Cost: Free
Join Seattle Parks and Recreation for our 4th Annual Spring Egg hunt at Cal Anderson Park. for ages 0-11 we will have Starbucks coffee while supplies last, face painting, Peddle head bike station, Stem pathways demos, the Spring Bunny will be out walking around and of course Eggs and prize baskets!

Mighty Mites “Egg” stravaganza
What: Egg hunt, play equipment, bounce house and other fun activities. Ages: Five and under Location: Miller Community Center Time: 10 a.m. to noon, egg hunt at 11 a.m. sharp, March 24 Cost: Free

Montlake Spring Egg Hunt
What: Bring a bag or basket to hunt for eggs. Ages: One to 11 Location: Montlake Community Center Time: 10 a.m. sharp, arrive by 9:45 a.m., March 26 Cost: Free

Meanwhile, the folks at Grace Seattle are hosting a hunt in Volunteer Park:

Grace Seattle Volunteer Park Easter Egg Hunt
What: Meet on the lawn of the Seattle Asian Art Museum and bring your friends, neighbors and a basket to collect candy and prize filled eggs. Time: Saturday, March 26 — 10 AM Cost: Free

You can learn more about egg hunts from Seattle Parks across the city here.