Tip from recycling center helps police track down stolen Arboretum gates — but not before one was cut down for scrap

(Image: SPD)

A tip from a recycling business has helped Seattle Police track down the set of bronze gates stolen from the Arboretum’s visitor center in mid-March — but not before one was cut down for scrap.

SPD announced the recovery Friday after detectives were able to track down and recover the gates after “a local recycling business” tipped off police to two people who had tried to sell the heavy gates for copper scrap.

Police have have identified and interviewed one of the suspects who revealed the location of the stolen gates. Detectives are attempting to locate the second suspect.

Police say the business contacted police after refusing to buy the gates and ornamental downspouts also taken in the overnight heist discovered the morning of March 18th: Continue reading

Mystery heist: Can you help track down bronze gates stolen from the Arboretum?

A massively heavy set of bronze gates were stolen in an overnight heist earlier this week from in front of the Washington Park Arboretum visitor center where they have stood — mostly open — since 1976. Officials and the Arboretum community are now in a race with time, hoping it isn’t too late to track down the prized creation forged by Seattle artist George Tsutakawa before it is sold for scrap and melted down.

“Police have been notified, and it would be helpful if anyone can report any suspicious activity from the area on the night of March 17 or early morning of March 18th or can review any home videos cameras along Lake Washington Blvd or on surrounding streets,” the Montlake Community Club reports.

The club also notes “that there are no video cameras allowed in Seattle’s public parks so there is no footage in the Arboretum.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | ‘Vine-cutting’ at the grand opening of the Arboretum Loop Trail

The Washington Park Arboretum is said to be home to the largest botanical collection west of the Mississippi, with some 20,000 trees and plants across its 230 acres, and countless birds and rocks and things. Sunday, officials and neighbors gathered along the new Arboretum Loop Trail to celebrate the route’s grand opening with a “vine-cutting,” speeches, and lots of good dogs.

“That is the cutest dog I have seen yet today,” Sally Clark, former Seattle City Council member and the University of Washington’s director of regional and community relations, quipped as a canine in attendance for the grand opening event barked during her address. “And I have seen a lot of dogs this morning.”

The 1.2-mile trail has created a new 12-foot-wide paved path through the leafy area along Lake Washington for walkers, wheelchairs, slow bikes, and strollers and to connect to the park’s meandering trails.  $7.8 million in 520 construction mitigation funds from WSDOT powered the project. Continue reading

Celebrate trails, trees, and the next big phase of 520 work at Arboretum Loop grand opening

Central Seattle now has its very own Green Lake. With the lake’s running, walking, and rolling trail serving as a busy superhighway of human locomotion in a lovely Seattle setting, the Washington Park Arboretum’s new 1.2-mile Arboretum Loop Trail is ready to serve a similar purpose winding through the wooded wetlands along Lake Washington. You can celebrate its grand opening Sunday:

Arboretum Loop Trail Grand Opening

Built with $7.8 million in 520 construction mitigation funds from WSDOT, the rambling park and botanic collection now features a 12-foot-wide paved path for walkers, wheelchairs, slow bikes, and strollers. The “slow” in “slow bikes” is operable — the path is to improve access to the plant collection and was designed with curves undesirable for speedy bike commuters. Continue reading

Big branch smashes car in Arboretum

(Images courtesy CHS reader Thomas)

E Pike wasn’t the only location for oddly smashed cars this weekend. CHS reader Thomas sent us these pictures including a scene of triumphant jubilation from a man who narrowly avoided injury in what must have been a surprising greeting in the parking lot of Washington Park field next to the Arboretum’s Seattle Japanese Garden.

According to Thomas, a man and woman said they were inside the car when the giant maple limb crashed down Sunday around 9 AM. The occupants of the car emerged unscathed, Thomas reports. A photograph of the adrenaline-boosted triumph of survival also created some buzz on Reddit over the weekend.

A Seattle Parks spokesperson tells CHS the city had “quite a few trees fall” over the weekend. In fact, as a crew arrived to assess the damage Sunday morning, they were called away to an incident involving a tree falling on a house elsewhere in the city. The spokesperson said the owner of the car was able to remove enough debris to move the vehicle. As for paying for the damage, “We have spoken with the owner of the car, and directed them to the City’s claims process for accidents such as these,” the spokesperson said.

She also said it’s the time of year to take note of precarious limbs and tree trunks. “It’s the season where we see a lot of trees falling, so if there is a tree that is threatening to fall, or a has fallen, please give our team a call,” she said.

As thousands walk new 520, Arboretum begins Loop Trail construction

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As thousands from around Seattle visited the new 520 bridge over the weekend — waiting in amazingly long lines so long, officials had to close down the celebration’s shuttle runs early to better handle the crowds already in the middle of Lake Washington — a much, much smaller part of the massive construction project is moving forward to create a new community asset to enjoy the swath of nature preserved at the eastern base of Capitol Hill.

The Washington Park Arboretum has seen plenty of alterations since it was sketched to an Olmstead plan in the 1900s. Now, with $7.8 million in 520 construction mitigation funds from WSDOT, the rambling park/botanic collection is getting an enhancement that has been on the wish list for years: a 12-foot-wide paved path for walkers, wheelchairs, slow bikes, and strollers. The “slow” in “slow bikes” is operable — the path is to improve access to the plant collection and was designed with curves undesirable for your fast bike commute.

Meanwhile, the new 520 — the “longest floating bridge in the world,” they say — is ready to open to traffic later this month. Watch for lots of planned closures of the crossing during the transition. Seattle’s western edge of the project including “a box girder style bridge including a bike and pedestrian path over Portage Bay, redesigned highway lids with a new land bridge, and multimodal connectivity improvements” remains under construction.Loop Trail map

In the Arboretum, starting at the southern end of the Arboretum at 31st and Madison, the 1.2 mile path will proceed along the east side of Lake Washington Blvd. to Arboretum Drive through what is often a swampy valley with puddles. It will connect to the existing paved path to make an accessible, all-weather 2.5-mile loop. Construction has already started, and is scheduled for completion in December 2017. Continue reading

Arboretum trail will give Central Seattle its very own Green Lake

Rendering of the future trail (Images: City of Seattle)

Rendering of the future trail (Images: City of Seattle)

Planners expect a center line to help split traffic on the trail's curves

Planners expect a center line to help split traffic on the trail’s curves

Following this winter’s rains, crews will begin work on a paved trail weaving in an out of the wetlands and gardens of the Arboretum allowing pedestrians a closer connection to the natural preserve and giving bike riders an alternative to busy Lake Washington Blvd.

“Seattleites love Green Lake… this is going to be a great alternative walk in a spectacular Seattle park,” said Paige Miller who works for the Arboretum Foundation and sits on the joint committee that is supervising the project.

The 1.2-mile loop will be 12-feet wide and paved perfect for slower traffic including joggers and strollers. Bicycle riders will be able to pedal through the Arboretum rather than brave the winding, motor vehicle-filled Lake Washington Blvd. Continue reading