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Friday, June 8, 2007


posted by on June 8 at 9:42 AM


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.

RSS icon Comments


That's showing Josh Feit!

Posted by Gitai | June 8, 2007 9:48 AM

I knew Fnarf would get a reference to the Port scandal in somewhere, but who knew it would take a whole post on these imaginary Port parks to do it!

Posted by Justy | June 8, 2007 9:56 AM

Damn farnf, your giving away all the secret kegger spots.

Posted by west side rocker | June 8, 2007 9:56 AM

Yeah ports! Fnarf, of all us freaksters you are most likely to be offered a job as a full time Slogger.

Posted by elswinger | June 8, 2007 9:58 AM

Those are some cool parks along the westside of the Duwamish. Fnark, keep on a-rockin.

I've been a part of a few guitar-djembe picnics there. Cool foliage and those signs about the Indians are nice too.

Last summer, a friend from Michigan was out here visiting and he swam across the Duwamish and back, very cool. What is a little toxic waste between friends?

Posted by Garrett | June 8, 2007 10:01 AM

While cyclists do battle with joggers, skaters and strollers on the Burke-Gilman Trail, the Duwamish River Trail remains virtually empty (except for a few homeless). And is, indeed, more scenic.

Posted by DOUG. | June 8, 2007 10:06 AM

As a Seattle native and long-time biker, I knew about most of those parks (not to brag), BUT I was shocked that in 27 years I have never looked at a map of Seattle sideways. The city has a whole new and more interesting look with the East at the top. Thanks, Fnarf.

Posted by Jude Fawley | June 8, 2007 10:07 AM

Brilliant, FNARF.
But that's just the problem: Too much original observation and substance.

Posted by David Sucher | June 8, 2007 10:32 AM

The port also should get credit for its part in creating one of the coolest urban fisheries in the world. Few things make me happier than swinging a buzz bomb from the Elliott Bay fishing pier at the top of Myrtle Edwards. I caught a silver on my fifth cast -- 6 years ago -- and not another keeper in thousands of casts since.

Posted by j | June 8, 2007 10:32 AM

@2, they're not imaginary. these are real parks.

Posted by b | June 8, 2007 10:43 AM

j @ 9 - You didn't actually eat that fish, did you?

Posted by Explorer | June 8, 2007 10:45 AM

I visited one of these parks recently. So lovely. I heard that they've even had weddings at some of them. Bargain!

Posted by yup | June 8, 2007 11:03 AM

Nicely done Fnarf! =)

Posted by Original Monique | June 8, 2007 11:04 AM

Fnarf, you are still and always my favorite Slogger.

Until you piss me off.

Posted by Mark Mitchell | June 8, 2007 11:12 AM

There is no love without occasional off-pissing.

Posted by Fnarf | June 8, 2007 11:16 AM

this is wonderful, utterly wonderful. yes, i'm envious and humbled.

Posted by charles mudede | June 8, 2007 11:27 AM

These parks look like the perfect antidote to Cal-Anderson on C.Hill. But Fnarf, how many expensive dogs will you see at these parks? I need an average daily count before I decide if it's safe enough to go.

Posted by Katelyn | June 8, 2007 11:36 AM

I fell into that water once. We used to have our boat at one of the marinas partway up the Duwamish, and it had these teeny tiny narrow finger piers that turned into mechanical bull-rides every time a tug went past. I was standing near the end of one, tying off a line, and a tug went by. The pier went north, I went south, and just like that, my DNA was permanently mutated.

On the upside, I no longer need a flashlight to see at night.

Posted by Geni | June 8, 2007 12:11 PM

The Duwamish River is an amazing example of the juxtapositions of urban ecology. On one side you see giant cranes stack shipping containers into impossibly huge stacks. Just next door, salmon jump in the river and harbor seals curiously peer at you while bald eagles, osprey, and great blue herons glide overhead.

The Port has done it's bit to provide habitat for these critters, but if you want to do more than sight-see (or have a kegger, apparently), you can. There are lots of citizens' groups who come out to give these vulnerable urban habitats a little help.

OK, here's my shameless plug: check out People For Puget Sound at Spend a morning in a lovely spot, with like minded people, but please, no swimming!

Posted by Eliza | June 8, 2007 2:42 PM

I haven't seen any dogs at all. If they do show up, they're not going to be expensive show breeds; they're most likely going to be mutant killer pit bull hybrids covered with scars and hanging by their teeth from an iron rod.

Posted by Fnarf | June 8, 2007 3:27 PM

Thanks Fnarf. I can't wait to see the salmon spawning in Seattle! That is really cool how you have places right in the water where one can look straight down and see the salmon spawning! Never get your feet wet! Looks like Seattle is the shiznet!

Posted by lawrence clark | June 9, 2007 12:27 AM

Jack Block Park (number 19 on the map) actually has one of the best views of Downtown around, and it's got this huge half suspension bridge thing that seems to be built entirely for the purpose of holding benches to look at the view. It's pretty great.

Posted by Macj | June 9, 2007 3:27 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 2:52 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 2:53 PM

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