posted by June 8 at 9:42 AMon
People who complain that Seattle doesn’t have enough “open space” usually turn out to be unaware of much of the copious amount of it we do have, sometimes in the most unexpected places. It’s not always easy to find. I had often wondered about some mysterious park-like spots along West Marginal Way, on the West Seattle side of the Duwamish, but I could never find out anything about them on the city’s Parks Department web page.
That’s because they’re not City of Seattle parks. They’re Port of Seattle parks.
For all of the many malfeasances of Mic Dinsmore’s and Pat Davis’s crony operation down on Port 69 (where elected officials and port businesses gather to fellate each other), they did a fantastic and largely unheralded job building a network of waterfront parks. Some of these fulfill the classic parks ideal of picnic tables in a field of grass, but they also don’t shy away from the truth about Seattle’s waterfront. Work goes on there, heavy industrial work, work that is a lot of fun to watch.
These parks are tucked in between working port sites and can be hard to spot. Some of them have sexy, romantic names like “T-105 Park”, but don’t let that put you off. They’re quite pretty, and have lovely river views. The Duwamish lives beneath the radar of most Seattleites, but it is the center of our Indian heritage, our early white settler heritage, and our industrial heritage.
The last time you filled your tank with gas, it probably came from a truck distributing the contents of one of the storage tanks on Harbor Island; there’s a nice park there at Terminal 18 that only a few skateboarders seem to know about, where you can watch those trucks go by.
Sure, the water’s weirdly grey in a lot of places, and the mud seems somehow more than just mudlike, and some things glisten with an oily sheen that strictly speaking shouldn’t, but what’s a little toxic waste between friends? There are informative signs detailing the Indian and white history of the area, and there’s a bike path running own West Marginal between several of the parks. You can see the working waterfront too. Check it out.
This is supposed to be a restored salmon spawning ground in T-107. The salmon are reportedly skeptical.
All photos by Fnarf.