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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

City Council Shits on Skateboarders

posted by on July 24 at 11:08 AM


The City Council has tabled for two weeks a proposal to build a skate park near KeyArena.

The council Monday had planned to vote on the proposal to build the skate area between the arena and the Seattle Center’s Northwest rooms. The proposal allows the removal of the DuPen Fountain and sculptures, which council members say would be installed elsewhere at the Center.

The topic led to an unusually snippy exchange between council members. Some members worried a skate park would be too rowdy for that area, which they described as a place for “contemplative” respite.

Yeah, that’s what I go to Seattle Center for: contemplative respite… and minigolf, elephant ears, and basketball games. Christ.

Time to face facts, skaters: the isn’t going to be another skatepark built in Seattle until skaters start showing up at city council meetings. Not to talk—there’s been enough of that—but to skate. Up and down the aisles, during the meeting, shutting it down, risking arrest. The message to the council: if you don’t provide us with a place to skate then we’re going to skate in council chambers. The city is playing you for fools with this process shit.

RSS icon Comments


Yup, you poor oppresed skaters.

Heres a novel idea, OBEY THEY LAW!!! Skating is not a civil right.

Posted by ecce homo | July 24, 2007 11:16 AM

Skating in council chambers would DEFINITELY assure no skateparks would ever be built. Don't listen to Dan. Show up and make cogent arguments.

Posted by Fnarf | July 24, 2007 11:18 AM

The last time I tried to skate wherever I wanted, I had a gun pulled on me. That was in Orlando, but still. I do not advise you send skaters to go skate in city council meetings, Dan. Cops hate us. Security guards hate us. City council members hate us, and 90% of mothers with children who just scored a hot new Veriflex hate us. Hate, hate, hate.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 24, 2007 11:20 AM

Fnarf, they've been doing that for YEARS. And they get fucked at every turn. Fearful of being accused of being JDs, the skaters are extra-special polite and respectful. And they get fucked, fucked, fucked. So why not a little CD? City Hall -- the inside of it -- would make a great skatepark.

Posted by Dan Savage | July 24, 2007 11:21 AM


All that is going to do is reinforce their image of us.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 24, 2007 11:24 AM

Skaters need to hire a lobbyist.

Posted by monkey | July 24, 2007 11:29 AM

Mr. Poe: They've been manipulating the skate crowd with that "their image of us" shit. You've been twice as nice, twice as respectful as any other group working with the city. You're being manipulated.

Take over council chambers -- respectfully, playfully. Get younger skaters in there, not skaters who look like thugs. Bring parents. Make it a party and SHUT THE PLACE DOWN.

Posted by Dan Savage | July 24, 2007 11:31 AM

I agree with Dan. Students against War and Racism has been very effective by working both inside and outside the system. Their loud protests, die-ins, and the like have kept the image in the public eye, and their leader at Nova has been working with the School Board and their lawyers to craft an alternate proposal that doesn't threaten public funding and accomplishes their goal. When I heard her on KUOW, I was so damn impressed with the group for getting it so soon.

So yeah, send a skateboarder with a libret, disks in his ears, and a nice, tan suit to talk with Jean Godden, but send in the skateboarders, preferably second gen skateboarders around the age of ten, and shut the place down. Have waves of new kids ready to go each time the first wave gets dragged off.

Posted by Gitai | July 24, 2007 11:42 AM

Students Against War and Racism has been effective how? Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

Posted by Fnarf | July 24, 2007 11:45 AM

That's soooooo dumb to say that the fountain there is a place for contemplative respite. Any time that you'd want to sit there, aka a sunny day, it is filled with toddlers in their swimsuits running around. Not quiet at all. Also, it makes perfect sense to put it right next to Vera. What bullshit. I'm writing.

Posted by Ari Spool | July 24, 2007 11:47 AM


You have this crazy notion that there would be a significant amount of parents that would think that's a good idea. I've been skating since I was eleven. Most of the parents of my buddies totally fucking hate skating. By most, I mean practically all of them. Schools manipulate our parents into believing that skating causes tons of trouble. They even go so far as to say that packs of skaters are technically gangs. We're all trouble-seeking thugs, regardless of the age.

I hate to also add that they're statistically right when I think back to how I was (and how my friends were, and everyone else we would run into at a skate park). We're a bunch of loudmouth assholes. Depending on your age, vandalizing city property is mandatory for a good time when you're not skating. Making fun of kids, getting into fights, breaking little kids skateboards -- all in a hard days work when you're a skating teen. I hate to sound like the 'every skater is evil' sack of shit. I'm trying my hardest not to be that sack of shit here. All I'm saying is, I've seen it with my own two eyes. My friends did it, so I started to do it. We thought we were cool. I still see it happen all of the time. Do I do it anymore? Of course not. But the young ones do. It's all part of the process. They'll grow up soon, and move on to try to be those 'twice as nice/respectful' folk, but it will never change the fact that there will be tons of problems that the city council will trip over. It's like opening a nightclub, only worse, because there will be plenty of underage kids involved.

I've totally lost site of what I was saying. Okay, all I'm trying to explain is: skating around like rampant buffoons in a City Council meeting is a bad fuckin' idea. What do you think they'll do? Throw their hands up in the air and say "Oh you meddling kids! Fine, here's your area to skate!" I doubt it. They don't budge for polite behavior, they don't budge for crucial decisions, they don't budge for usually anything we give a damn about, so why would they budge for childish (and destructive) behavior?

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 24, 2007 11:49 AM

dan, that is the worst advice you could possibly give. such a scenario would only create more animosity between the Council and the skate community.

i agree that the City is manipulating the situation and people involved. that's the process. yeah, it sucks. but a free for all in chambers will only make it worse.

there are a couple few folks around town doing big things behind the scenes with regard to getting a park built. don't jeopardize their momentum with antics that will further reinforce the Council's misguided belief that skaters are a bunch of troublemakers.

Posted by kerri harrop | July 24, 2007 11:49 AM

and, yo, @1: who said anything about breaking the law? we're talking about a PUBLIC PARK that focuses on a particular sport.

i know i'm falling into the Troll Hole here but, seriously, shut the fuck up. you don't even live here.

Posted by kerri harrop | July 24, 2007 11:52 AM

I agree, sk8rs should just participate peacefully at agreed upon times, so that the Gates Foundation can kill their skatepark.

Oh, like you didn't know that deal was in the works ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 24, 2007 11:53 AM

We staged dance-ins in city hall chambers during the fight to repeal the TDO. They threw their hands in the air, and no one got arrested.

Posted by Dan Savage | July 24, 2007 11:53 AM

Ecce Homo no one is implying its a civil right. If the city is going to allow skateboards to be sold in Seattle than they should provide somewhere to ride them. We had a public skate park and they tore it down, all that is being asked for is a replacement.

Obey what law I ask? Skateboarding is illegal on all sidewalks, streets and public places - where should kids go to skate? The city is collecting sales tax on selling kids boards and then ticketing them for riding 'em - does that make sense to you? I'm sure someone is going to say, oh they have the ballard bowl - well that is a very advanced structure and not very big (square footage speaking). Not really the kind of place to take your son or daughter to learn the basics assuming they could actually get a run in being that it is almost always overcrowded.

Posted by jocko homo | July 24, 2007 11:55 AM

Dance-ins? That's not even comparable. What if some idiot kid tries to rail on a chair or a stairwell and eats shit? That would look good. Hey, we want a skatepark, so we're skating all over your little meeting, OH, and look, this little dumbass just broke his face. Give us our park. Viva le skatepark.

I agree with your attitude in spirit, but...I simply just do not believe it would work. I guess there is only one way to find out. Fortunately for me, I'm perfectly happy with setting up my own rails with pipes I can purchase at home depot for $5-10.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 24, 2007 11:58 AM

Seattle has the nation's squarest City Council. What a bunch of turds.

Posted by DOUG. | July 24, 2007 12:04 PM

Seriously? People are still slapping skaters with the whole delinquent label? That's bullshit, and I can't believe a big city like Seattle doesn't have a public skate park. We have no less than ELEVEN skate parks here in Winnipeg. You guys need something like this:

Posted by JessB | July 24, 2007 12:21 PM

Here's the problem: Seattle Center KNOWS that they can't propose something where a piece of art sits without a plan to relocate the piece of art. As expected, Councilmembers defended this little fountain sculpture that I doubt anyone has noticed, let alone sat near for any quiet contemplation. (Speaking for myself, I never noticed it until I almost fell into it one dark night whilst heading to an event because the thing is poorly lit.)

The main problem however is that the Seattle Center is putting the cart before the horse. The Master Plan for the Center hasn't been drawn up yet, but we're building a huge skate facility beforehand? What happens if they finish the Master Plan and then whoops, there's a better place for the skate park?

Also, don't blame the Council entirely, spread the blame to the Space Needle, the theaters, and all the other tenants who flatly refused to have the skate park near their facilities.

Posted by history | July 24, 2007 12:22 PM

Oh, yes, delayed two weeks... The Skating Youth is TOTALLY being shat upon here.

Posted by Justinius | July 24, 2007 12:22 PM

Form a PAC hire Colby Underwood to raise money and support candidates through independent ads. Don't think Nickels', Godden's, Venus', the Tunnel's and whoever & whatever else's fundraiser won't work for the kids - probably not but you could ask.

Seriously, follow the money and you'll find the Council.

Posted by whatever | July 24, 2007 12:42 PM

@19 - I don't think I'm delinquent.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 24, 2007 1:03 PM

Students against War and Racism has gotten the School Board to limit visits from military recruiters to two visits per branch per year, as opposed to the unfettered access they currently enjoy. Their end goal though is to keep them off campus altogether and restrict them to career fairs, with college and job recruiters as well. They've got two board members on board already, and they keep getting on the news each time the school board has a public meeting, so I think they're doing rather well.

Posted by Gitai | July 24, 2007 1:11 PM

Dan, you've got it entirely wrong - skaters should not skate in the council chambers. A far better location would be the atrium just below chambers, whose stone steps are just begging for a rail slide.

Posted by Trey | July 24, 2007 1:14 PM

@25 - true. One time when I went to a city hearing, that occurred to me as well.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 24, 2007 2:45 PM

A couple years ago Seattle skateboarders used direct-action tactics when Parks threatened to tear out the original Ballard skatepark with no replacement facility. This included staging a "1000 Skater" march through downtown, attending every Parks meeting en mass, and starting a renegade DIY park in SODO. That was then, this is now.

Currently, there are a number of individuals and organizations working in concert with the City to implement the Citywide Skatepark Plan. A two week delay isn't enough of a reason to throw a tantrum at City Hall and possibly alienate the last few hold-outs on the Council. There is a lot at stake for Seattle skaters right now, don’t blow it by taking Dan’s advice.

If things really start going south, rest assured, there will be a major ruckus. Until then, please attend as many meeting as you can.

Posted by Time Bomb | July 24, 2007 3:32 PM

Forwarded message from Ryan Barth of the SPAC steering committee:

Skateboarding advocates –

Per my string of emails below, the SPAC steering committee has been working for a long time to get a replacement site for the recently demolished SeaSk8 facility downtown. Read below for more background if you want it. The point of this email is to ask each of you to take a few minutes and call and/or email each of the City Councilmember’s (full list of contact information provided below) to show your support for the Dupen replacement site. This support could be the difference between a site or no site.

The Parks, Education, Libraries and Labor (PEL&L) Committee composed of Councilmember David Della, Jan Drago and Richard Conlin have been avid supporters during the skatepark replacement process and worked hard to help identify and “approve” of the Dupen site. Following their approval of the site on July 18, some of the other City Councilmember’s outside of the PEL&L Committee have expressed concern over the Dupen site for a variety of reasons, some of which may be mitigated if they understand the overwhelming need and support for this skatepark from the community. So please, please, call and/or email the Councilmember’s below ASAP to show that there is indeed a large community of people that want to see the replacement skatepark get built at the Dupen site and ASAP. Please pass this on to anyone else that supports skateparks.

I understand that you all have not been privy to all of the discussions with the various players so I have provided some general text that can be discussed and/or emailed in support of the Dupen site:

· Skateboarders have been working to get a replacement for nearly 2.5 years by proactively working with all involved stakeholders

· To date, 6 sites identified only 2 of which were viable in the city center per an objective, transparent siting criteria evaluation

· Of the 2 viable sites, the Dupen site is the only site that had support from all the major stakeholders (i.e., City Council, Seattle Center, Dupen site neighbors such as VERA, and the skateboarding community)

· It is your understanding that no other viable replacement sites are available in the city center that will garner the multi-stakeholder support provided for the Dupen site

· Approval of the Dupen site will allow an expedited design and construction schedule to replace the displaced downtown skateboarding community

· You hope that the design can incorporate art and passive perimeter green space for viewing

· This truly is the best available site for all parties and will create a win-win for the community and Seattle Center organizations.

The City Councilmember’s contact information is provided below:

Nick Licata: (206) 684-8803

Peter Steinbrueck: (206) 684-8804

Richard McIver: (206) 684-8800

Tom Rasmussen: (206) 684-8808

Jean Godden: (206) 684-8807

Jan Drago: (206) 684-8801

David Della: (206) 684-8806

Richard Conlin: (206) 684-8805

Sally Clark: (206) 684-8802

And can be directly copied from below for email use:; ; ; ; ; ; ;

Please also cc the following city officials on all email correspondence:

David Namura: (City Council)

Scott MacColl: (City Council)

Robert Nellams: (Seattle Center)

John Merner: (Seattle Center)

Jackie Kirn: (Mayor’s Office)

Posted by Time Bomb | July 24, 2007 4:00 PM

@26 I don't think you are either.

Posted by JessB | July 24, 2007 4:39 PM

I didn't know the City Council was into scat!

Posted by Scat Queen | July 24, 2007 7:08 PM

I'm conflicted: I'm all for skaters, and skateboarding parks - anything that gets kids active is A-OK with me.

BUT, I am probably one of the few people in this town who is dorkish enough to like that little fountain area. That whole side of the coliseum looks like something out of the original Star Trek series. While I'm not a Trekkie, I do love the look of the original series.

There should be a place at the center for skaters. But not there.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | July 24, 2007 10:06 PM

Even my little town in BFEastern WA has a skate park for the skaters in town... What's with Seattle?
When asked the city sponsored one. When it was vandalized, the city repaired the vandalism. They deemed it better to have a place for the skaters than have them run over by cars.
Yes, skaters may look like hoods, but my 13yo nephew never had any problems there. They're decent kids and the city council figured that out in the heart of conservative-land.
Get with the 21st Century, Seattle.

Posted by Eric Heikell | July 25, 2007 1:00 AM

you gotta give it to seattle - while every other city in the nation is building skateparks - they're tearing them down. RIP Rain City, Seask8, Ballard1

The major shitpile here is that we were supposed to have a replacement site in the works before the old seask8 was demolished. That was 8 months ago. Oh yeah, seask8 was also a memorial park but I guess that doesn't mean anything to the Parks dept.

Posted by bobcat | July 25, 2007 9:58 AM

I don't skate, but my brother still does. He's 29 now and in grad school. Ended undergrad with a 4.0. He still gets bothered by cops. What, because he's a hoodlum? Should he carry around a diploma saying he's a doctor when he's done? I always get angry when hearing what cops spend their time doing in respect to kids trying to have fun and get exercise.

A big part of having skateparks around is to expose the rest of the city to the fact that most people aren't hoodlum punks. If there were five or more skateparks in town, the only hoodlums around would be the hoodlums, instead of the way it is now, where my brother is considered to be one of the hooplums just by choosing to skateboard.

That said, my brother is in a different state, but in a similar situation there. To the first poster "Skating is not a civil right", I say, opressing people in this country is not a civil right. That whole innocent until proven guilty thing seems to get thrown out the window if you carry around a skateboard. If you can hang out with some skaters and see how they are treated by the authorities maybe you would change your attitdue a bit.

Posted by Ian Page-Echols | July 25, 2007 1:10 PM

Oh, Lord. A SKATEPARK? Like with way cool halfpipes and stuff? Get out of the 90's people, and go skate in the streets where you belong. Removing a historic fountain to put up a skatepark would be like tearing down the Blue Moon Tavern to put in an Oxygen Bar.

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