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Thursday, August 2, 2007

sk8er h8ers

posted by on August 2 at 17:13 PM

by Rebecca Tapscott

As summer news intern, my job description was largely focused on organizing the Stranger’s endorsement interviews. With those out of the way, my phone has stopped ringing, my checklist has diminished to a paltry few daily activities—and I am trying to suppress the fear that perhaps I am—shudder—no longer needed.

So today, Josh gave me a project. I went down to Seattle Center to check out a couple of the proposed sites for the skate park, and nose around for some local opinions.

The DuPen Fountain


The City Council’s initial promise slated the DuPen Fountain as the future site for the new skate park—and it makes sense. The area is out of the way, a good size, and right next to the VERA project. (As I spread my Seattle Center map in front of a Seattle Fudge employee, and discussed the different locations, he immediately pointed to the star over the DuPen Fountain and promoted it as the perfect location, for above mentioned reasons, and also the “beautiful afternoon light.”)

When I went to see the fountain, there were about ten kids splashing around, their parents watching from the sidelines. These parents would definitely be a part of the anti-skate park coalition, referring to skate park users as “hooligans” and citing potential “liability issues” for the Center. Although the fountain seemed adequately populated on this most beautiful of Seattle summer days, I couldn’t help but realize, this was likely a high traffic day for the fountain. On the 350 days of clouds and rain, I doubt anyone will miss the DuPen swimming hole. No matter where the city builds a skate park, someone will be displaced. On the rare occasions of simultaneous sun and heat, these ten kids can walk another block and join everyone else at the International Fountain (the one shaped like a concrete bowl).

Aside from those present at the fountain, it does not seem particularly well known. Employees on the grounds of the Center couldn’t help me locate it on my handy map… and in fact, it is not marked on my handy map, which includes labels for obscure landmarks like the “Kreielsheimer Promenade,” “Drop off & Valet Parking” at the Space Needle and “Café Impromptu.”

My opinion: The City Council should keep its word and put the skate park here, if only to show that politicians aren’t all scummy liars. Although the fountain is nice, they should use the funds for something other than constructing a replica of this particular fountain in another area. Seattle Center already has enough fountains. If parents are still concerned, let Nickels implement an added activities license to ensure safety.

Status: The fountain will stay where it is, sans skate park.

Broad Street between 4th and 5th


Currently, the Broad Street green belt welcomes visitors into the Seattle Center. A sort of neutral zone where all visitors—tourists, natives, immigrants, tourists, hooligan fearing parents, teens and toddlers and Stranger interns alike—should feel equally welcome. To give a particular population (in this case, skaters) ownership of a gateway to the Center is unfriendly.

Plus they’d have to cut down a lot of trees.

Status: Business interests block this site from becoming the future skate park location.

RSS icon Comments


Superfluous and annoying use of quotation marks.

Posted by yikes | August 2, 2007 5:41 PM

Try again!

It is not the Fisher Pavilion (that was just built btw) being considered. It is across the way at Pavilion 3/4. The older buildings.


Posted by try again | August 2, 2007 5:57 PM
Posted by try again | August 2, 2007 6:00 PM

Oh yes, by all means, these evil parents must be stopped. Their opinions are disturbing and stupid, because they are not in 100% agreement with the Summer Intern and therefore don't support the latest Tragic Teen Trend.

Or maybe they do, but the Summer Intern missed that day in journalism class where they talked about sourcing your quotes.

Nuance, dear, nuance - perhaps there are parents that support skateboarders, but don't want it at their fountain. Or they might have other ideas about the topic of recreational skateboarding than those sanctioned by The Stranger.

It might even be possible to have an opinion about public art that isn't officially sanctioned by the the good folks at Pine and 11th.

THINK about what other people might think, and ASK them about it. Broadcasting your simple-minded and half-baked opinions is just TOO Frank Blethen.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | August 2, 2007 7:23 PM

I actually like the fountain where it is.

Posted by Simon | August 2, 2007 7:51 PM

I didn't know it was called the DuPen Fountain, but that has always been one of my favourite corners of the Center. I don't "use" it, I just enjoy it. But apparently the Unpaid Intern thinks its only utility is as a swimming pool for kids. And clearly the Unpaid Intern was hoping to find nobody in there so s/he could say it was totally unusued. But people were using it, so s/he had to say they probably don't use it much any other time during the year. Lame. Why did you bother doing this "research" when you've already made up your mind about something?
The fact that the fountain is a perfectly intact, 45-year old example of modernist public art, and a beautiful one at that, doesn't seem to bother the Unpaid Intern in the least. Cause, you know, the Stranger staff desparately wants to sk8rs to like them. Cause sk8rs are cool and the Stranger staff are a bunch of losers trying to be cool, I guess.

Posted by feh | August 2, 2007 8:12 PM

I'm a skater hater. I think that if you have been through have no business being on a skate board. I hate the fact that have no respect for any one who is not on a skate board. Why should the city build a skate park at all?

Posted by Yars | August 2, 2007 8:56 PM

Parent here. I like skate parks. Those parents will too, when they realize their kids will eventually want other fun things to do besides peeing in a fountain.

Posted by pox | August 2, 2007 9:03 PM

"if only to show that politicians aren’t all scummy liars"

This sentence is terrible. I have officially stopped reading your posts. The End.

Posted by what? | August 2, 2007 9:05 PM

I agree with Catalina; why paint parents as NIMBY simpletons? I take my kids to that fountain frequently, yet I also support Vera and skateboard parks. Why? Because when they get older, I want them to have safe places to do fun stuff instead of skateboarding down the middle of the street in heavy traffic or turning into mall rats.

Posted by YIMBY | August 2, 2007 9:09 PM

I like the fountain. I hate parents. I liked the blog post. Build the skate park somewhere else.

Posted by jamier | August 2, 2007 11:50 PM

This post reads like one of Schmader's sixth grader "I Anons". Just how old are these interns?

Posted by DOUG. | August 3, 2007 6:43 AM

Give the intern a break and stop acting all superior. We all had to start somewhere.

Posted by Jerks | August 3, 2007 6:51 AM

He's not an intern, but he's reporting like one. It seems he interviewed one person and made sloppy assumptions about the rest.

Posted by hey | August 3, 2007 9:17 AM

First: Get off the intern's back, for God's sake. The drizzle has some of you feeling a little pissy this morning, apparently.

Second, a story: I remember one year they turned that fountain into a beer garden at Bumbershoot. It was the single best time I've ever had at Seattle Center. The weather was sublime, the beer was cold, and wading dunkenly around the pool was fantastic. Why should this area be given over to little kids OR skate punks? How about letting us older kids have it?

Posted by Matthew | August 3, 2007 9:42 AM

"On the 350 days of clouds and rain, I doubt anyone will miss the DuPen swimming hole."

350 days? How many years have you lived here? Because that's just simply not true.

Posted by thankshappy | August 3, 2007 10:01 AM

Maybe people just like the fountain. You'll never know until you ask them. Back to Journalism 101 with you, unpaid intern.

Posted by J.R. | August 3, 2007 10:50 AM

You fail.

If you don't skate, you can't relate.

Leave it to us.

Posted by bobcat | August 3, 2007 11:30 AM

and Yars, dont be a dickhead

there's 200 fucking baseball diamonds in seattle and not one proper skatepark - you played baseball as a kid too? skaters make a very successful living off of people like you. Chances are you are wearing shoes or shirts designed or owned by pro skaters / surfers.

Posted by bobcat | August 3, 2007 11:34 AM

bobcat@18: So only skaters should have any say as to where the park(s) should be located? Good luck on that one. Even the mayor has to work with different parties.

Posted by YIMBY | August 3, 2007 11:41 AM

I believe Jonah isn't an intern, he's actually getting paid to complain. Lucky dog.

The problem with the DuPen site isn't because the are is ugly (Jonah's big argument), but that it's not large enough. This isn't some neighborhood skatepark. This will be a defacto regional skate facility and it needs to be treated that way. The old site was 8,900 square feet. This site is squished between Vera and the Key Arena and a big walkway. So basically, the skaters and the walkers will be getting in each other's way at this site. It's too small.

So talk about that, Jonah. And do some interviews!

Posted by yo | August 3, 2007 12:39 PM

#18, don't you want a proper park, not a fake work-around?

Posted by yo | August 3, 2007 12:41 PM

Actually I'm not "wearing shoes or shirts designed or owned by pro skaters / surfers" because they all suck.

In fact the best shirt that I own says, "Skateboarding isn't a crime, but it SHOULD be."

If you want a skate park get your mommy or daddy to buy you one, but don't demand one from the city. I think that the city should spend its money on more important things like say roads, or mass transit, or bike lanes, or really ANYTHING else.

Posted by Yars | August 3, 2007 1:49 PM

yars was hurt by a skater, back to eating and weeping.

Posted by matt | August 3, 2007 2:49 PM

boy there Yars - you sure hold quite a impressive punch with such a bold statement on your shirt. How much did you pay for that? $20? haha.

I've been skateboarding for over 25 years. I pay taxes. Skateboarding saved my life - coming from a broken home. Skateboarding is a great activity and you don't need to call up 12 other people in order to enjoy it, like other 'team' sports. Skateboarding can be enjoyed by all ethic groups and all age brackets by men and women alike. Skateboarding is pretty much the most coolest thing in the world and we don't need to have people with cool shirt slogans like you to remind us of that.

Posted by bobcat | August 3, 2007 3:14 PM

Reading the comments here makes me realize that the majority of non-skaters and "others" who aren't directly involved with this process don't have a fucking clue...

Skaters don't want the DuPen site.

It's 25% smaller than the last park (which was smaller than the previous)...Visibility and safety at this location are big issues...It's another temporary fix at best, since the C21 Plan for Seattle Center will likely displace the park again in 3-5 years.

The relocation process for this park, alone, has been going on for over 2 years!! The replacement park was originally to have been sited and under construction BEFORE the old one was destroyed, per the Gates Foundation purchase agreement. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent in identifying a new site(s)...Yet here we sit--no new park, no old park and half-assed options that NO ONE WANTS.

I'm personally glad that this option is facing resistance.

Skaters have been marginalized in this back-ass-wards city for 20 years, while tennis courts, baseball fields and "open space" go unused on a regular basis.

This entire bureaucratic nightmare has been like watching monkeys fling poop--amusing yet stinky and unproductive.

Keep your kiddy-pissing-pool, your Bumbershoot-beer-drinkin-hangout, your 45 year old piece of art...give skaters what they deserve:

A visible, adequately sized, safe, well-designed and well-built facility in which to excercise, socialize and enjoy.

That is all.

Posted by Doublewide | August 3, 2007 5:15 PM

I used to eat lunch regularly at that fountain for a year or two. I chose it precisely because it was DESERTED. I knew on any given day I could take my sandwhich there and likely be one of only 2-3 people using it, if I didn't have it entirely to myself. Often the only people I saw was a person or two passing by to go to the ticket booth.

Posted by K X One | August 3, 2007 6:28 PM

Isn't the fountain site a little small for a skatepark?

Posted by K X One | August 3, 2007 6:30 PM

"No matter where the city builds a skate park, someone will be displaced."

As if skaters have not been displaced TWICE in a city of, er ummmmm Two skateparks per how many people in residence? Gimme a friken break.

Posted by HAMBONE | August 3, 2007 8:12 PM

Wherever the new park is built, it will be used way more than the space was before. Portland is in the process of building 19 (nineteen) skateparks, three already completed. Why can't our uptight city can't build one?

Yars, don't hate what you don't understand. A lot of people enjoy the things they discovered in there early youth through their golden years.

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