The bowl was erected without proper authorization as part of a contest sponsored by Nike SB and TransWorld SKATEboarding Magazine.
Seattle’s city attorney has filed a civil lawsuit against a Capitol Hill skate shop and 20 unidentified people who allegedly damaged Green Lake’s Duck Island by secretly building a skate bowl on it.
The concrete bowl was built in July in response to a contest challenge issued earlier this year by Nike SB and TransWorld SKATEboarding Magazine to build a skate park or add on to an existing one.
The city has named the Seattle skateboarding shop, 35th North, as the leading and only named defendant in the lawsuit because the store was the only one in the city asked to participate in the contest and was allegedly the entity that submitted the video created by the group of die-hard skaters who built the bowl. The case was filed in King County Superior Court Wednesday morning.
The city claims the small concrete structure was built on an environmentally critical area and proper restoration will take an amount of money estimated to be in the “low six figures,” according to a news statement released Wednesday by the City Attorney’s Office.
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“The restoration of Duck Island will include weed removal, storm water and erosion control, litter removal and planting of new vegetation and brush,” the statement said.
Tony Croghan, the owner of 35th North, said he was stunned to learn of the lawsuit.
“We were shocked to be named in this suit as we didn’t know the bowl was even built until after it was completed. We certainly didn’t know it had been built on a sensitive bird habitat and would not have submitted the video to Nike’s contest if we had,” Croghan said. “We’re all about supporting great DYI skate projects like Marginal Way, but never at the expense of our city’s natural resources.
“We’re a friendly store,” he said. “We’re not out to hurt anybody.”
The illicit skate park was initially one of the $1,000 prize winners in the competition but was later disqualified when contest officials learned the park had been built without proper authorization.
The city says it expects to learn the identities of the people who participated in creating the video and building the bowl as the legal case plays out.
The video begins with a stuttering Google Earth zoom from outer space to tiny Duck Island, then features the unidentified builders picking up a pallet of concrete mix at Home Depot.
Wooden stakes are pounded into the island’s dirt after a canoe ride, and a mold is erected before workers get busy mixing concrete in a tarp. A woman can be seen with a hose, filling 5-gallon buckets.
The bowl is smoothed out with hands and hand tools. A man sleeps on a pile of materials as the video cuts to more than two dozen waterfowl floating by. A bearded man paddles a boat with a shovel, then the boarders try out their creation.
Administrators with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department called police to investigate the illicit construction when they learned of the bowl through media accounts.
“As stewards of Seattle’s public parkland, we were saddened to see the misuse and destruction of Duck Island,” said the city’s parks superintendent, Jesús Aguirre. “We are thankful to our partners in the City Attorney’s Office for seeking to hold those responsible accountable for damage created.”