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The View From Denny Park

Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R Bounds, Superintendent

No. 29. August 30, 2002
A periodic electronic newsletter
about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events
from Seattle Parks & Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds

The View from Denny Park: News and Views from the Superintendent


Earlier this summer, Crown Hill's Baker Park was the site of a spate of criminal activity: two shootings, the discovery of a loaded gun, and reports of nocturnal boxing matches and other violent confrontations. Nearby neighbors and Parks staff were understandably alarmed and upset.

Over the past few weeks, Parks staff, working with neighbors and the Police Department, developed a strategy for remedying this disturbing situation. After a public meeting in early August to brainstorm ideas for improved park security, Parks crews improved sight lines and hiding places by pruning shrubs and trees, and increased the intensity and duration of lighting in the park at night. We will also be installing signs that explain park rules. We're hopeful that these measures will work to keep Baker Park a safe place for all to enjoy.


Like many of you, I was first astonished, then outraged, to learn that dozens of trees were cut down in Colman Park, overlooking Lake Washington. This was first discovered by a City sewer inspector on Aug. 5. Soon afterwards we filed a complaint with the Police Department.

In subsequent days, Parks urban forestry staff determined that a total of 108 mature trees, mostly big-leaf maples, were cut down on three quarters of an acre of park land. The estimated value of the trees is approximately $137,000, which doesn't include site cleanup, restoration or staff time.

Staff have provided information to the Police and the King County Prosecutor's Office for the filing of possible criminal charges. City Attorney Tom Carr and Mayor Nickels are equally appalled. We are encouraging the Prosecutor's Office to aggressively pursue the case, and are also considering civil action to recover damages.


Green Lake is as beautiful as ever this summer, but not a good place to swim. In early August, on the advice of the Public Health department, we closed the lake to swimming and "wet-water" activities because of a high level of liver toxin in the water and in live algae cells. The lifeguarded swimming beaches at East Green Lake and West Green Lake were not reopened as they were due to close soon for the summer anyway.

A series of tests on the lake water showed a level of the liver toxin above the one milligram-per-liter level considered safe by the World Health Organization. The toxin is produced by lake's blue-green algae, especially when the algae grows or "blooms" in warm weather and calm waters.

The Green Lake Small Craft Center and Green Lake Boat Rental remain open for most types of boating; however, no small boat sailing and sailboarding are being offered. The greatest risk is to pets that drink or swim in the water. If algae is ingested the toxin could be released in the digestion process.

The long-term prognosis is not good. We will revisit the use of alum to treat the water and the removal of bottom feeding fish from the lake in order to control the algae growth.


This has been a big summer for Parks acquisitions. We purchased:

  • A 3.5-acre property at Northgate for a new park, community center and branch library. The park portion of the property was funded by the Pro Parks Levy and King County matching funds, the community center portion was funded by the Community Center Levy, and the library portion was funded by a library bond measure.
  • A 3-acre property along Delridge Way SW for green space preservation. This was a cooperative effort with affordable housing on an adjacent 3-acre site.
  • Three properties along Thornton Creek at 100th NE for creek restoration.
  • The first property to be acquired through the Pro Parks Opportunity Fund, Fremont Peak park, on Aug. 23. The site offers panoramic views in a densely developed neighborhood.


I'm pleased to announce that three Seattle parks received new names in August:

  • I officially renamed the "cloverleaf" of softball fields at Lower Woodland Park, formerly known (not very poetically) as "Fields 3, 4, 5 and 6." The new name is "Leo Lassen Fields at Lower Woodland Park" after the local radio announcer who called about 5,000 minor league baseball games between 1931 and 1960. Lower Woodland Park is located on the west side of Green Lake Way N. just north of N. 50th St.
  • A new park located at 5th N. and Blaine St. on Queen Anne will be known as Trolley Hill Park after the trolley lines that used to run along 5th Ave.
  • At Taylor Ave. N. and Newton St. a new park will be called MacLean Park after the family who settled in the neighborhood at the turn of the 20th century.


Also last month, I was honored to rename the former Seattle Tennis Center after the late local tennis legend Amy Woo Yee. A community event to celebrate the renaming will be held on Sept. 15 at the center, which is located at 2000 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S.

Yee, who passed away two years ago this month, was the dominant women's tennis player in the state during the 1950s. She was a longtime instructor at the Seattle Tennis Center and taught tennis to generations of Seattle young people. The Amy Yee Classic Tennis Tournament has been held for the past 23 years.

I can think of no more fitting tribute to Amy Yee than to name the tennis center after her.

I will be in touch soon.

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