Cal Anderson Park is open — depending on which entrance you use and your willingness to be hustled off by a Seattle Parks work crew or a Seattle Police officer. After all, somebody needs to water the CHOP garden plots.
CHS reported earlier this week on the repair and clean-up work underway to restore E Pine and Cal Anderson — and some of the unintended consequences of good intentions leaving Black Life Matters organizers with a bad feeling about the city’s commitment to meeting the goals of the movement.
Seattle Parks has responded to make it clear that Cal Anderson is still not technically open to the public.
“The park remains closed for the time being,” a spokesperson tells CHS. “Our crews have at least another week (maybe two) of work to do—repair damage to the shelterhouse and restroom, repairing the irrigation system, and further repairs and professional sanitation of the turf field, along with additional graffiti removal.” The city says it is also working to preserve some of the CHOP art and “memorialize aspects of the community protests at Cal Anderson park, such as a garden, art and/ or speaker’s corner.”
CHS has found the park in use by neighbors and visitors out for a walk or taking dogs for a romp. We’ve also heard from a few people asked to leave the park by police — some, gasp, mid-picnic.
Some residents will need to access the space. Seattle Parks is telling neighbors that the community garden plots established by urban farmer Marcus Henderson in the park during the weeks of CHOP occupation and camping won’t be maintained by city staff.
“The current plan is to leave the garden in place until the late summer/fall harvest, and then work with Marcus and interested community on a longer-term plan,” the parks representative tells CHS.
The city has been reported watering some of the plots — and we’ve seen a few volunteer efforts from city employees — but residents are being encouraged to help take care of the plots.
Meanwhile, more substantial — but perhaps less unpleasant — work will be taking place at Seattle City Hall Wednesday, where the City Council’s budget committee will dig in on a core element of CHOP demands — the fight to defund SPD and cut the policing budget in Seattle by 50%.
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