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A month after its sweep and reopening, efforts to reshape Cal Anderson starting small with new tree lights on Nagle, volunteer work parties

The new tree lighting on Nagle (Image: Hunters Capital)

A month since Cal Anderson reopened after a sweep of activists and homeless encampments, new tree lighting along Nagle Place and community clean-ups planned for the area represent small progress in efforts to improve the park and address the long-term issues that have challenged the busy public green space.

Earlier this month, the trees along the western edge of the park on Nagle between Barbara Bailey Way and Pine were draped with strings of lights, “one of the many efforts that the Cal Anderson Park Alliance, community partners, and the City are working on together to revitalize the area around Cal Anderson Park,” the announcement of the small project reads.

Meanwhile, Seattle Parks-organized volunteer work parties hoped to give the community more opportunities to help the park deal with issues around trash, graffiti, and damage will begin this weekend.

As with most things Cal Anderson right now, the work parties are being positioned as the start of more effort to come. “These two work parties are meant to be a starting point and we plan on scheduling more volunteer opportunities in the future,” the invitation email from the city reads. “Don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.”

CHS reported here on the just before Christmas reopening of Cal Anderson following a Seattle Police and Seattle Parks sweep of encampments and activists that included 24 arrests.

The park had been officially closed since the CHOP occupied protest was raided and cleared in July though it has remained in use by strolling neighbors and dog owners throughout even as the space remained a center of protest and encampments through 2020.

In its announcement of the reopening, Seattle Parks promised “more activities, maintenance, and services.”

Since the reopening, the department has maintained a presence of city employees to act as ambassadors around the reopened restrooms and shelterhouse. The park’s ping pong tables have also been deployed.

It’s a far cry from what many activists and mutual aid volunteers hope to see at the park that carries more than its fair share of the city’s homelessness, mental health, and addiction crises.

But there is also small progress there.

Cal Anderson Park Alliance community discussions that began in the wake of CHOP have reportedly carried on with groups and advocates working to take on new projects around the park. Whether the city will truly have an appetite for assisting with providing things like increased services and outreach at the park, or resources like phone charging stations, rain shelters for mutual aid providers, or lockers will remain to be seen.

No significant encampment activity has returned to the park while other parks in the area have seen their number of tents increase.

Activists and protesters, meanwhile, continue to be active in the space and have found some creative ways to continue to be a presence including ongoing “antifa soccer” matches on the Bobby Morris turf. Sunday, a protest being billed as a family and friends appropriate “autonomous action” will begin in the park.

On Nagle, the tree lighting project meant “to brighten up the west edge of Cal Anderson Park” comes as the street is about to shift into new importance after years of construction as new developments along Broadway and above Capitol Hill Station open to new residents, new businesses, and a new home for the farmers market.

The 25-tree project was paid for by Hunters Capital, Seattle Central College, Gerding Edlen, Community Roots Housing, and Seattle Parks.

It’s a small start to a larger push to improve lighting “for people walking near the park during the evenings and early mornings,” the announcement from the Cal Anderson Park Alliance and the project sponsors reads.

The hope, CAPA writes, is to “kick-start new community efforts to reactivate the park after months of suspended maintenance services and upkeep.”


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Sojohnative
Sojohnative
1 month ago

Ha!
Im glad Hunters Capital has better luck getting the attention of Seattle Parks.
I’m very happy I can now walk up East John street using the sidewalk.
The requests I’ve made for basic cleanup that should continue regardless of the current encampment at Miller Park have fallen on deaf ears.
Just because there is an encampment and they behave that it’s hands off, I wish Seattle Parks would realize a whole neighborhood pays for the services.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago

cool an empty park with lights around it

CH Resident
CH Resident
1 month ago

The park is far from empty. I assume that people who say it is neither live close to it nor use it. It’s nice to see everyone using the park again. I plan to participate in the Volunteer Clean Up.

Glib Glub the Goblin
Glib Glub the Goblin
1 month ago

Uh. Have you seen the park lately? Tons of people using it and it looks great.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago

Many less than before.

Baby it’s cold outside
Baby it’s cold outside
1 month ago

…..which is natural because ITS WINTER. 🤦‍♀️

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago

this winter.. there were a lot of people in the park living in tents because they had no where to live and now they’re gone and there’s not many people in the park which is a shame because the park was being very useful before and now it is not.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

So nice to see Cal Anderson being used in a healthy way, it lifts the community. That’s the tax base you are now seeing enjoying the park. Keep them happy they are financing the roughly $100,000/yr per homeless person that is being spent in King Co according to a recent study.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

All the poors are gone horray its like magic! I can’t see them anymore so I bet they’re all employed now and have no more problems yay.

RWK
RWK
1 month ago

I would join the volunteer clean-ups if I was at least a little optimistic that the far-left criminals will not re-occupy/trash the park in the near future, but I’m afraid their past actions do not justify such optimism.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
1 month ago
Reply to  RWK

If you don’t want to volunteer, you don’t need to make some far fetched excuse. You could have said nothing instead of perpetuating your obvious anti-LIBRULZ bias.

Cal Anderson Neighbor
Cal Anderson Neighbor
1 month ago

Living near the park since May has been pretty intense. I am so happy to see the positive energy there and many people enjoying the park now that is being kept up. Great job to the community who got the park reopened.