Capitol Hill skateboard shop 35th North is being sued by the City of Seattle over the summer construction of a guerrilla skate park on an island in the middle of Green Lake.
City Attorney Peter Holmes announced the lawsuit Wednesday.
“As stewards of Seattle’s public parkland, we were saddened to see the misuse and destruction of Duck Island,” Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre said in a statement announcing the suit. “We are thankful to our partners in the City Attorney’s Office for seeking to hold those responsible accountable for damage created.”
The complaint from the Holmes office blames E Pike’s 35th North and 20 John/Jane Does for construction of a skateboard feature on the island this summer as part of a contest sponsored by Transworld Skateboarding Magazine. At one point, the Seattle project was named a winner in the Nike-sponsored contest but video of the project has since been removed from the magazine’s site. Neither Nike or the magazine are named in the suit.
“Named as the leading defendant is the shop, 35th North, the only skate shop in the City that was asked by Transworld Skateboarding Magazine to enter a contest to build a new skate park or add on to an existing one,” the announcement of the suit reads. “The video submitted to the contest by 35th North, the suit states, showed Jane and John Does building the concrete, bowl-shaped structure on the island, which is designated an environmentally critical area.”
The city alleges the construction damaged the island’s “trees, vegetation, and the underlying land” and is seeking “land restoration costs and an additional civil penalty of $5,000 per tree” as well as lawyer fees and other costs to be determined by the court. The City Attorney announcement says the office expects to seek damages in “the low six figures” in the case.
35th North does not appear to have responded legally yet to the complaint. Calls to the shop went unanswered and messages left with owners Hazel Moore and Anthony Croghan have not yet been returned. UPDATE: Croghan has spoken to the Seattle Times about the suit:
“We were shocked to be named in this suit as we didn’t know the bowl was even built until after it was completed. We certainly didn’t know it had been built on a sensitive bird habitat and would not have submitted the video to Nike’s contest if we had,” Croghan said. “We’re all about supporting great DYI skate projects like Marginal Way, but never at the expense of our city’s natural resources.
UPDATE 11/3/2017: Owner Tony Croghan tells CHS he hopes to be able to say more about the situation once legal representation for the shop is in place. “I would love to speak to you as this moves forward as we have so much history, friends and love for our neighborhood that we have been in for over the last years,” he writes.