Skateboarding is not a crime. But building a rogue cement ramp in a Seattle park is.
Police were called to the busy courts of Cal Anderson Wednesday morning to a report of a group hindering a Seattle Parks work crew trying to remove a rogue ramp installed on the basketball court on the park’s western edge.
A Parks representative tells CHS somebody was lying down on the ramp prompting the call to police.
Police arriving to the callout around 10:30 AM reported that things had worked themselves out. There were no arrests.
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“Unfortunately we can’t allow community to build their own skateboard ramps in the park.” the Parks rep tells CHS. “There are a dozen government-y reasons for this: best use of tax payer dollars, ensuring public safety, community process, historic landmark, ADA accessibility, etc. But more to the point, we are all sharing this city together, so we’ve got to come together to make decisions (and plans and funding) that work for the community, not just a few of us.”
Despite the Cal Anderson courts’ presence as a center of neighborhood skate activity, the Seattle parks department hasn’t exactly been friendly to skater culture on the Hill. The Summit Slope skatedot, one of the few official skate features added to a Capitol Hill park, is illustrative of the challenges skaters face in the neighborhood.
Not to make a trucks mount out of a molehill but Wednesday’s Cal Anderson episode also follows the city’s $30,000 settlement with a Capitol Hill skate shop in the guerilla Green Lake island skate bowl case that started the year as a reminder of just how few public facilities are available to skaters on Capitol Hill despite the activity’s strong presence in neighborhood culture. CHS talked with 35th North about 15 years of business on E Pike and the skate shop’s continued survival. “I would go down with the ship—there’s no, ‘Oh, I’m not making enough money, let’s close,’” owner Tony Croghan told CHS. “If you love something you get used to it and keep it going no matter what.”
In Cal Anderson, any skaters inspired by that kind of love just need to make sure their future efforts don’t involve pouring cement.