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Mayor Durkan, tear down this wall (and safely reopen Cal Anderson)

A petition organized by members of neighborhood community groups, organizations, and businesses around Cal Anderson have launched a petition to show community support for the reopening of the park and removal of the concrete barrier wall surrounding the East Precinct:

From the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council:

Cal Anderson Park, a 7-acre public park in the middle of Seattle, has been closed to the public since early July. Although many continue to use the park, its use is not supported by regular maintenance and repair and it has become an unwelcoming place for many. Since its closure there have been 2 deaths inside the park, sprawling encampments, piles of trash and human excrement, property damage and deferred maintenance. Reopening the park will provide much needed maintenance and allow for the park to be utilized by all. The City has installed large cement barriers and fences around the E. Precinct in response to property damage. While most businesses have removed the plywood from their windows and are open for business in the neighborhood, the barricades around the E. Precinct remain. Removing the barricades signals this is a safe and welcoming neighborhood. We created the petition and will send its signatures to the Mayor and City Council members – the support they say they need to act. But, to make an impact, we need a LARGE VOICE. Please sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/opencalanderson

The petition already had more than 200 sign-ups as of early Thursday afternoon.

CHS reported here on the Cal Anderson Park Alliance and the call for the reopening and return of regular maintenance of Cal Anderson which has been technically closed to the public due to what the city says are safety concerns following the July sweep of the CHOP protest from the area.

As for the bulky wall added outside the auto row-era building home to the East Precinct at 12th and Pine, Central Seattle Greenways last week joined neighbors in calling for the removal of the barrier. CHS reported here n August as the Seattle Department of Transportation installed concrete “eco-blocks” and a wire fence along Pine and 12th Ave, blocking sidewalks and crosswalks and obstructing bike lanes. The Seattle Police Department said the barrier was necessary amid ongoing protest and arson threats after reclaiming the building following the CHOP sweep.

“While businesses and residents have worked together to take down boards, remove graffiti, and reopen their businesses to serve the neighborhood, the East Precinct has barricaded and fortified its exterior,” the petition reads. “It’s time for the East Precinct to join its neighbors by removing the cement walls, fences, and boards.”

In Cal Anderson, meanwhile, city and parks officials have said the closure would continue due to unsafe conditions in the park and ongoing vandalism.


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Mimi
Mimi
10 days ago

I think it was a mistake to link taking down the wall with re-opening the park. I didn’t sign it because of that.

stan
stan
10 days ago

“… 2 deaths inside the park, sprawling encampments, piles of trash and human excrement…”

Isn’t that because of the ban on encampment removal that the City Council put in place? Is there going to be a petition asking the CC to reverse course on that decision? While I don’t think Durkan has done a great job this year the idea that she’s the only one at the helm is misguided. Where is the petition to Sawant, our duly elected D3 representation on the Council?

Bob
Bob
9 days ago
Reply to  stan

Well said, Stan. Totally agree.

RWK
RWK
9 days ago
Reply to  stan

I too wish the ban on encampment removals could be lifted, but during the pandemic this is going to be a hard argument to make. Shelter space is limited, and shelters are less safe than they ever were. The only way this can be done is for the City to construct large, FEMA-style tents (with services), and require that all the homeless in camps move to these tents. But this is unlikely to happen for several reasons, not least of which are the budget restraints during the pandemic.

By the way, I believe it was Mayor Durkan who put the ban in place, not the City Council.

CityOfVagrants
CityOfVagrants
9 days ago
Reply to  RWK

I don’t have a problem with the encampments (well I do but during the pandemic it’s understandable why we need to tolerate them) but what absolutely drives me insane is the crime that goes along with them and that nothing is done about that. Allow the encampments, but strictly enforce the laws we have on those in the area.

CD Kiester
CD Kiester
10 days ago

Is it so much to expect the police to have some degree of professionalism? Why do we have to bow down to the police just to get them to do basic enforcement? They are supposed to “Protect and Serve” not dominate citizens in general. The siege mentality is really ruining the whole social contract we all have to exist together in a city.

stan
stan
9 days ago
Reply to  CD Kiester

Hmm, tell that to the “anarchists” that have been trying to burn the building down since June. The wall came up in response to actual attempts to destroy the building. The “siege mentality” comes from people, who mostly don’t live in Seattle (much less Capitol Hill), bent on destruction. Also, look up the term siege in the dictionary and you’ll see it more aptly applies the the actions of the “anarchists” coming to Capitol Hill.

RWK
RWK
9 days ago

While I can understand that the Pike-Pine businesses want to get back to normal, I think their proposal is unrealistic at this time. The minute the precinct wall is removed, the far-left criminals will again attack and damage the building. And if encampments/trash/graffiti are removed in Cal Anderson, they will immediately return, unless the City decides to lift the ban on encampments, and enforce the law, which is not likely to happen anytime soon.

Hillery
Hillery
9 days ago
Reply to  RWK

Thinking the same. And when the bike cops shoo them away, they’ll go smash all the businesses not boarded up in anger as they retreat back to their suburb mansion where the live with daddy.

Adam
Adam
9 days ago

I’d love to see de-escalation and a return to civility on Capitol Hill, but that takes all parties. The last time the SPD had to unilaterally stand down in the name of de-escalation, we got the CHAZ.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
9 days ago

What’s wrong at Cal Anderson? We should be proud to allow a place for people to live during this time. We should be proud of the brave people in this city for standing up to the police state.

caphiller
caphiller
9 days ago

Have you been there recently? It’s filthy, covered in trash and graffiti. I’d be proud of taking care of vulnerable people in a compassionate way, but this is hardly it.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
9 days ago
Reply to  caphiller

Yeah I lived in the neighborhood for like 11 years I go through there in the afternoons all the time.

Honestly, yeah I know it “looks” pretty wild but what do we expect a society to look like when all it’s systems are failing and the government isn’t providing aide and we’ve had decades of people ignoring the systems of economic oppression that cause homelessness. It seems very ignorant for people to just “want the park to be normal” when it’s currently providing refuge to people who need it.

I always like to point out the clearing of “the jungle” many years ago as a very obvious example of people who need a place to live finding it and creating networks of mutual aide and then being destroyed and displaced by the city, causing the very visible tsunami of homelessness we see today as a turning point toward this very moment. We shouldn’t make those mistakes again. The people living there are americans and our neighbors and they’ve found a place to live that suits them for the time being. That’s much more valuable to our society at this moment than the park just having a small number of smiling people of means wander through it a few times a day.

S.
S.
9 days ago

A compassionate city would have safe, clean places for children to play outside.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
9 days ago
Reply to  S.

Exactly and so many other things right?

RWK
RWK
8 days ago

I am not proud of a City which has been totally inept in finding solutions to the homeless problem. The multiple tents seen in Cal Anderson, and many other parks, are a sign of government failure. Yes, the pandemic is a factor, but the problem is larger than that.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
6 days ago
Reply to  RWK

Exactly! This is great. We need all eyes on government to get it together and develop actual solutions for economic oppression like our regressive tax system and cash assistance to those who are only 1 or 2 months away from homelessness.. not shamefully shuffle encampments around town. And if that means allowing citizens who need to use our public spaces for shelter then the compassionate citizens of this city will bravely allow it :)

Crow
Crow
9 days ago

Why take down the wall around the Police station? Things have calmed down since it was put up. It will gradually become an historic monument to CHAZ.