Another new development this morning in the saga of the stolen West Seattle Rotary Viewpoint Park totem pole. The other pole found along with it in Oregon last week, with information provided by the West Seattle man arrested in the case, is no longer a mystery: We’ve learned it was stolen from Renton.
In this case, as with West Seattle, some non-official sleuthing was involved. According to information shared by Alex Pietsch from the City of Renton, it started when Renton Municipal Arts Commission member Fred Lund brought up concern about the condition of a totem pole on the property of Fred Meyer at Rainier and Sunset, which had been there since 1975. After a subsequent discussion about some possibilities, Lund visited Fred Meyer – and noticed the pole was gone. At first, as a variety of parties started checking into what had happened to it, the possibility of theft didn’t even occur to anyone – they thought perhaps the Duwamish Tribe had it for restoration, since they had talked to a tribal artist about the possibility. Then last week they heard a radio version of the story about the recovered West Seattle totem pole, and the fact a mystery totem pole was found with it. They looked at the photos (same ones we ran here), and comparing them to archived clippings from the pole’s dedication, made the match. They contacted authorities and yesterday, Seattle Police met with store management to confirm. Now the city of Renton will be talking with Fred Meyer and the Duwamish about the pole’s restoration and return. We are working on more details and will add to this story as we get them – we may also have a separate story later today as we continue working on other aspects of the West Seattle pole’s story.