Skaters have been enjoying the unauthorized skatepark feature on Green Lake's Duck Island. But its end is near, Seattle Parks officials say.
No, thank you. The city does not want to turn the illicit skateboarding bowl that was recently installed on Duck Island into a birdbath.
“No, no, no,” said Seattle Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Rachel Schulkin, about an idea proposed by readers of a previous Times report on the skateboarding bowl built on the tiny island in Green Lake. “That’s not actually good for the birds. We don’t want an artificially created birdbath. We’re concerned about how to minimize our presence and the disturbance.”
Instead, she said, the parks department will begin removing the concrete bowl next week.
The irregular feature was built by a crew of skating fans in answer to a challenge issued from Nike SB and TransWorld SKATEboarding to build a skateboard park or expand an existing one. The Duck Island bowl creators hauled construction material to the island by boat, mixed the concrete by hand, built the bowl, did tricks on it, filmed it all and then were named one of the competition’s three $1,000 winners.
Nike withdrew the prize, however, after learning this week that the skate bowl had been erected without authorization.
“The purpose of the TransWorld SKATEboarding Nike SB Project 58 DIY Contest was to inspire people to build and/or add to an existing skate spot in their local communities,” a Nike spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Neither Nike SB nor TransWorld SKATEboarding were involved in selecting the locations chosen by consumers, but the terms and conditions of the contest were clear to indicate all federal, state and local laws and regulations should be followed.”
Schulkin said removal of the bowl will not be as complicated as she initially feared.
“They will bring out equipment that can break apart concrete and then haul it out on flat-bottomed boats,” she said. Crews will also remove whatever other garbage and debris remain. Once that’s done, restoration experts will begin returning the island to its natural state.
It’s not the first time parks employees have had to deal with the appearance of an unexpected object on the island.
In January 2001, a gray steel monolith — which was likened to the structure in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey” — appeared on Duck Island after first being placed on a hill in Magnuson Park.
The monolith was removed as quickly as it appeared and caused no further problems for the parks department.
The skateboarding bowl, though, has parks officials talking about what to do next to prevent further damage to the unofficial bird habitat.
“This is going to require a little more thought,” Schulkin said. Often parks department employees remove vegetation to improve visibility where visitors are not wanted, but in this case that would be detrimental to the birds, she said.
Increased signage and patrols by parks employees and police are likely, she said.
Police are investigating the incident and a detective wrote in a July 19 police report that an unlawful structure was built on Duck Island. The parks department also told police that it was unsure about the exact amount of damage and the cost of restoration.
One local attorney has offered to represent the perpetrators for free should they be identified. The attorney said in an email that he had practiced maritime law for decades and thought the case could prove an interesting challenge.