The heavy cement “eco blocks” are tumbling and being carted away outside downtown’s West Precinct Tuesday but Seattle Police officials aren’t ready to say a twin fortification added to the East Precinct will also be torn down soon.
“Nothing has been announced for the East wall yet,” an SPD spokesperson tells CHS.
The spokesperson confirmed social media reports of the West Precinct wall’s removal and said while the barriers are being taken down, the lobby area of the downtown precinct will remain closed for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19 concerns.
— Landon Harris (@BoldInterrobang) March 2, 2021
At 12th and Pine’s East Precinct, the cement blocks typically used for street safety projects in the city and cyclone fencing were added late this summer over what SPD said were concerns about arson attacks after months of protests and anti-police marches in the city.
Last week, commander Capt. Eric Sano said there is no timetable for taking down the wall around the precinct building on Capitol Hill, saying Chief Adrian Diaz’s staff is currently figuring out the process for fixing windows, taking down wooden boards, and removing the concrete blocks that have become a frequent flashpoint in recent conflicts with SPD and activists over graffiti and tagging of anti-police messages on the wall.
In addition to antagonizing activists, the wall is an eyesore and many have complained about blocked sidewalks and safety issues related to the structure. Central Seattle Greenways documented the wall’s dangers for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers here.
In January, the mayor’s office said the process had begun with the removal of some of the plywood but nothing else has been taken down since.
“I want to get that precinct open because it’s not right, it’s not a good way for our officers to work or for the community,” Sano said last week.
SPD says when the wall and fencing is removed, the East Precinct will also remained locked down due to the pandemic tough, as first responders,
SPD officers are eligible for vaccination. CORRECTION: At the time of this report, SPD officers receiving vaccinations were doing so independent of their status as law enforcement or first responders, a department spokesperson tells CHS. On Thursday, March 4th, Gov. Jay Inslee announced law enforcement, grocery workers, and grocery workers would become eligible as the state moves to the second “b” component of its first phase in vaccine rollout.
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