We don’t know what’s next for the Volunteer Park stump tree…

But we like it. We’ve asked Seattle Parks about the cutback tree that has become a “natural” play structure near the Volunteer Park amphitheater but we’re pretty sure they have something better to deal with on a Friday than the latest CHS goose chase. All we know is the tree was clipped weeks ago and we assumed it would be fully removed. It’s still there. We’ll update when we hear more about the park’s strange (and fun)¬†new feature. In the meantime, along with the jade vine and the last few days before a long closure for the Seattle Asian Art Museum, you have a few reasons to gather up a few friends and visit Volunteer Park this weekend.

UPDATE: Yay for Seattle Parks. Here’s what they told us about the tree — and its future:

This is a large cedar tree that was damaged and blown over as part of the snow we recently experienced. Crews will likely leave some of the tree in place, but will probably need to cut some of the tree further back to make it safe for the long term.

Fur-ther? Nice one, Parks.

LGBTQ solidarity rally at Cal Anderson, ‘2-17-17 General Strike’ gathering in Volunteer Park

Some of the signs from a November protest at Cal Anderson Park -- still applicable

Some of the signs from a November protest at Cal Anderson Park — still applicable

Capitol Hill parks continue to play important roles in Seattle’s anti-Trump activities. Saturday, activists have organized a¬†LGBTQ Solidarity Rally Seattle in Cal Anderson:

Trump‚Äôs administration has begun an attack on marginalized and oppressed people across the broad spectrum of humanity. We are going to peacefully demonstrate on Saturday, February 11th, at 1030AM as an act of solidarity with those who have been impacted. In his first month in office, Trump has issued executive orders and proposed nominees which stand against fundamental human rights including a Muslim Ban, reallocating federal resources to start construction of a wall with Mexico, and restarting an attack on Oceti Sakowin land for the Dakota Access Pipeline. We have already heard and seen proposals for executive orders which would grant so-called ‚Äúreligious liberty‚ÄĚ to discriminate against LGBTQ people and target those seeking abortions and other family planning services. In addition, it is clear there is speculation on national Right to Work legislation destroying our already-under-attack unions.

Saturday will bring an activism double header of sorts, with groups also planning to target the Wells Fargo branch inside the Broadway Market with a “No DAPL” boycott rally.

16402970_1670106883281821_960711515827668356_oMeanwhile, the following weekend will bring more rallying to the Hill as groups are planning to meet at Volunteer Park’s amphitheater as part of a planned nationwide general strike against the Trump administration on Friday, February 17th:

Solidarity Demonstration to #Resist the WA Senate Republican proposal to fund education by undermining collective bargaining rights of Education Workers. All Labor Unions are welcome and encouraged to stand in support of this Legislative attack on Unions. No Right to Work in Washington.

Here’s how much the City of Seattle spent to license Pac-Man for its Capitol Hill pavement park

$0. Turns out, a municipality can (probably) use all sorts of characters in its civic investments.

Along with our questions about the logistics of the pavement park program, CHS asked the Seattle Department of Transportation about any¬†licensing arrangement required for Summit at Howell at E Olive Way’s Pac-Man Park. It’s all about fair use, a spokesperson tells CHS:

SDOT worked closely with attorneys on evaluating this installation under the Fair Use Act provisions. SDOT believes that the use of the Pac Man inspired mural falls into the non-profit educational clause of the Act- particularly because this interpretation on a street is transformative and new; it captures the original use and design for an entirely different, educational, and not-for-profit purpose. Because we are not using the image for proprietary purposes, the city’s attorneys considered this installation to be defensible.

Forgive us for being paranoid. Capitol Hill just happens to have a history of litigation related to some of its more popular examples of street art.

Meanwhile, this might be now be the closest point to the park at which to play its namesake game:

CHS Pics | Ribbon cut at Central District’s new ‘Community Living Room’

It wasn’t a very pleasant day to show it off but residents, community leaders, and city officials made do Sunday with a ceremony inside the Central District’s Garfield Community Center to celebrate its new outdoor “living room.”

The Community Living Room was conceived as a gathering space for the neighborhood and features barbecues, benches, a large picnic table, game tables, a beautiful seating stone, and a large flexible space for events. When the doors are open to the Garfield Community Center gym and multipurpose room, the indoor and outdoor spaces will connect and provide a new welcoming space for the community.

Continue reading

Cal Anderson’s all-gender restrooms part of park’s summer 2017 construction plans

In the summer of 2016, Bobby Morris got a new playfield surface. In 2017, Cal Anderson Park’s notoriously gross restrooms are getting an all-gender, all-ability makeover. Both projects could become models for parks across Seattle.

Plans to redo the park’s bathrooms as an all-gender and mobility-friendly facility¬†have been filed with the city’s¬†Department of Construction and Inspections and are awaiting approval. The project will be paired with infrastructure upgrades for Cal Anderson’s much-loved mountain fountain for another busy summer of construction inside the popular Central Seattle park.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs one of the first ones that we‚Äôre doing in the city transforming men‚Äôs and women‚Äôs restrooms into individual stalls,‚ÄĚ Kathleen Conner, planning manager with Seattle Parks and Recreation, told CHS about the bathroom overhaul. Continue reading

Just don’t call it Yesler Park

yeslersiteplan12th Ave Square. Broadway Hill. Seven Hills. Summit Slope.

The results of the most recent naming of Capitol Hill-area parks haven’t¬†resulted in the most interesting collection of public space branding.

Seattle Parks has announced an extension to the process to name a new park coming to the area where Broadway meets Yesler in the midst of neighborhoods undergoing massive redevelopment. The First Hill Streetcar and Broadway bikeway pass through the area. The city is now collecting nominations for what to call the planned 1.7-acre neighborhood park:

The scope of this project is to develop a 1.7-acre neighborhood park that is part of the Yesler Terrace Master Planned Community. The intent of the park is to serve as a gathering place for current and future residents of Yesler Terrace as well as people who live and work in the surrounding community. The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy provides $3,000,000 for a new park at Yesler Terrace. Additional funding has been secured from the Seattle Housing Authority, State of Washington Recreation Conservation Office Recreation Grant, RAVE Foundation, Stim Bullitt Park Excellence Fund, Wyncote Foundation, and Pendleton and Elisabeth Carey Miller Foundation.

The $4.3 million park isn’t planned to open until spring of 2018. By that time, massive Yessler Terrace redevelopment projects from developers including Vulcan will be in the midst of construction creating hundreds of apartments in a mix of affordable and market-rate housing.

The deadline for submitting name ideas to the Parks Naming Committee is February 1, 2017:

The Parks Naming Committee is comprised of one representative designated by the Board of Park Commissioners, one by the Chair of the City Council Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Waterfront Committee, and one by the Parks Superintendent. Criteria the committee considers in naming parks include: geographical location, historical or cultural significance, and natural or geological features. The Park Naming Policy, clarifying the criteria applied when naming a park, can be found here
The Parks Naming Committee will consider all suggestions and make a recommendation to Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jes√ļs Aguirre, who makes the final decision. Please submit suggestions for park names for Yesler Neighborhood Park in writing by Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2016, and include an explanation of how your suggestion matches the naming criteria. Send to Seattle Parks and Recreation, Parks Naming Committee, 100 Dexter Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109, or by e-mail to paula.hoff@seattle.gov.

As you can see in the most recent Hill-area park names, the process tends to favor geography. Here’s hoping the Yesler park might end up with something more interesting — and, maybe, just maybe, make somebody besides Henry Yesler the subject of some kid’s future 5th grade essay. If you’re looking for ideas, here are some discussions from the CHS archives about the naming of Seven Hills Park (we still don’t like it), and a bad idea that fortunately went nowhere for naming what is now known as Summit Slope Park.

Gift of Julia Lee’s Park celebrated in Madison Valley

#seattle #VSCOcam

A photo posted by Patrick (@patrickirl) on

Central Seattle has a new city park though neighbors around the Madison Valley are pretty familiar with the neighborhood open space. In a ceremony Monday, members of the Knudsen family celebrated the donation of the quarter-acre Julia Lee’s Park to the City of Seattle.

The plaza-like park at 27th, MLK Jr. Way, and E Harrison was established by¬†Calvert Knudsen in 1993 “as a statement of his love for his wife and life partner Julia Lee Roderick Knudsen who passed away in 1990,” according to a statement from Seattle Parks and Recreation about the gift.

‚ÄúOur father created this park as a physical representation of the depth and power of love between him and our mother,‚ÄĚ daughter Page Knudsen Cowles said in the parks department statement. ‚ÄúHe believed that a small neighborhood park in Madison Valley would uniquely serve as a memorial to her, while further enhancing the greater Madison Park community with a natural, quiet place for reflection and enjoyment.‚ÄĚ Continue reading

Finally giving up on the grass, Tashkent Park celebrated as international symbol of goodwill

(Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

(Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

An international symbol of goodwill and a formerly worn down public space connecting some of the most densely populated blocks on the West Coast, Tashkent Park’s makeover was marked with a rededication celebration on Saturday featuring remarks from representatives of Seattle and its sister city, the park’s namesake, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The sister city relationship between Tashkent and Seattle was formed in 1973 and was the first Soviet and U.S. sister city agreement in the nation. Of Seattle’s 21 sister cities, Tashkent is one of the few to have a park dedicated to it.

Secretary Abdufarrukh Khavirov of the Uzbekistan Embassy in the U.S., said the park is a piece of his country in Seattle.

‚ÄúIt (is) a symbol of our friendship of our nations,‚ÄĚ he said. Continue reading

Work to ‚Äėpedestrianize‚Äô E John near Summit Slope Park inches forward

If you have been eagerly waiting for work to start on the final section of Summit Slope Park, don’t get too excited by the arrival of work crews this week.

While the “East John Street Open Space Development” is seven years in the making, there is still some work to be done before the final piece of the park comes to fruition. Before the street is ripped up to extend the park into part of E John in January 2017, Seattle City Light¬†is taking advantage of the timing¬†by installing a new duct bank for electrical wiring and electrical vaults along the park. Continue reading

Homelessness, addiction, two deaths, a father’s search: how the human remains in Interlaken Park were found

The large cedar tree where LeBaron's son's body was found (Image: Jonathan LeBaron with permission to CHS)

The large cedar tree where LeBaron’s son’s body was found (Image: Jonathan LeBaron with permission to CHS)

Jon LeBaron with his sister. (Image courtesy of Jonathan LeBaron)

Jon LeBaron with his sister. (Image courtesy of Jonathan LeBaron)

A¬†search¬†through¬†Capitol Hill’s Interlaken Park to the spot where his son’s body was discovered¬†in the greenbelt’s wooded ravines led Jonathan LeBaron to another lost life. LeBaron found the human remains CHS reported on over the Labor Day holiday weekend¬†while walking¬†to a¬†tall cedar tree inside the park, the site where the body of his son¬†Jon¬†LeBaron had been found by two people a few days earlier. Authorities are investigating not one set of human remains found in Interlaken in the weeks around Labor Day, but two.

‚ÄúI think that place should be combed,‚ÄĚ LeBaron tells CHS. ‚ÄúIt was a needle in a haystack where I found that body.‚ÄĚ

The discoveries underscore the epidemic of addiction and homelessness that continues to grow on Capitol Hill and the region despite the city‚Äôs renewed attempts to address it. They also illustrate a dilemma with Interlaken Park, loved¬†for its wild terrain filled with tall trees and steep ravines ‚ÄĒ the same terrain that makes it an ideal place to camp undetected and nearly impossible for those overdosing or in need of help to be found. Continue reading