Up High

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[ Two Union Square ]

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[ Did they put the Space Needle on axis with 2nd Ave on purpose? ]

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[ Two ex-WaMus and a Sculpture Park ]

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[ One tall building hiding behind another ]

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[ Public benefit in exchange for development bonus: open space and daycare on the IDX Tower ]

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[ Green roofs on the Justice Center and City Hall ]

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[ Pile of buildings, a.k.a. the downtown office core ]

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[ Looking Southwest ]

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13 Responses to “Up High”

  1. NBeacon Jon

    Great shots, thanks. Reminds that we do have a pretty good looking downtown, all things considered.
    I work in 2 Union, and have a south view of Rainier, the sun rising to the left (clear days on both) and, I-5 seemingly running through the basement of the place. Also a view of Freeway Park : Question : why did they cut down the big pines there? Just curious.

    Actually toured that daycare area with the wife and wee one. Good equipment, nice open space, and secure. (but a little too many $$$ for us)

  2. Matt the Engineer

    I walk through Freeway Park often and ran across the sign they posted just before they cut them down. They cut down 86 (generally large) trees because the grass wasn’t getting enough light to grow well and to give homeless people fewer places to hide. This seems a little backward to me – now we have grass instead of trees, and the homeless people lay around in plain view.

  3. Dan Staley

    Matt, it’s still important to subjugate nature to our psychological past. You’ll feel a lot better if you’d just realize man’s dominion over nature and our divine right to reshape everything in our image. ;o) I haven’t been in SEA in a while, but that was the excuse for the sycamores they cut down in that little park by NBBJ that I can’t remember the name of.

  4. AJ

    According to the DJC and what I’ve been ferreting out of the ‘net, We’ll see more towers because apparently Seattle is projected to be the #1 city in the country for commercial starts in 2009, although it will be pretty vacant (in-line with the rest of the country, thankfully). Just Seattle, with Bellevue and Tacoma as their own entities from what I can tell.

    I suppose we will see more office tower proposals floated and turning dirt in 2009. I bet there will be a final decision from Russell in a few weeks and it could very well hinge on this (even though Tacoma could use some more density).

  5. wes

    I heard the trees were cut because they weren’t “in-line with the original vision” for the park. Though i can believe the homeless hiding spots and grass theory. Why not replace the stupid grass that no one uses, save the homeless, with thick bushy and tall grassy natives? They wouldn’t need all the sunlight and wouldn’t be as comfy to lie on as middle-america lawn. A little thought process at Parks before the chainsaws come out too much to ask for? I bet they had their hugeass trucks parked up on the sidewalks, blocking all the folks walking down the hill to work, for a few weeks to accomplish the tree slaughter as well.

  6. Matt the Engineer

    Actually no. One day there were trees, the next there weren’t. I believe this was about 4 days after they posted signs saying they were going to cut down trees. This was also around the time that Nickels was trying to save a few trees in a school construction project, yet not an ounce of media attention was aimed at Freeway park.

  7. JoshMahar

    Come on people, let’s be realistic here. Those trees were just as much of a fabrication of landscape as the grass or any other vegetation on a CEMENT SLAB OVER THE FREEWAY necessarily has to be. This isn’t like some type of nature refuge or something.

    I think the idea here was to open Freeway Park up so that people actually use it. For it’s location I would say it is one of the most under-used parks in the city and this is mainly because its meandering pathways and (once) tall vegetation made it feel very secluded, hence the clans of homeless and vagrants who tend to hang out in the coves through there. I know this probably won’t clear up the problem of the homeless but it may help this park gain a little more popularity.

    And don’t worry people, the city has an ordinance which states that every tree they remove, they have to plant two more trees elsewhere in the city, so perhaps some cement filled streets throughout the city will get a little more greenery in the next few years.

  8. dave

    I believe the intent was also to make Freeway Park feel safer for folks to walk through. You may recall there was a rash of attacks, mostly on young women, back in the mid-90’s, in the park. Since then they’ve been working on various ways to make sure people feel safe using it.

  9. Matt the Engineer

    [Josh], looks like you’re right: new trees.

    (also noticed while I was there: King Station loses the ugly antenna)

  10. cjh

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=11685 – This article gives some background on the changes to Freeway Park (it was written shortly before they were made). It was a much broader public safety issue than mumbo jumbo about removing trees and shrubs to drive the homeless out into the open.

  11. Matt the Engineer

    Good article, [cjh]. I wasn’t aware of the history, just went off the signs they posted in the park. I’m still not sure it’s the trees to blame.

  12. cjh

    Blame not the trees but where the trees where, if that makes any sense.

    The old Freeway Park was a grotty, poorly lit and dangerous space. It was also a triumph of modernist landscape architecture (seriously, it was amazing). Now, it is a much blander, less green but safer place.

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