Update: Stolen West Seattle totem pole brought back from Oregon

That’s the stolen-then-recovered West Seattle Rotary Viewpoint Park totem pole, which we photographed a short time ago at the Parks Department facility – we agreed not to identify the location – where it’s now being kept, after a trip “home” from Oregon over the weekend. (Thanks to the tipster who gave us the heads up it had been picked up and driven back to Seattle.) Parks spokesperson Dewey Potter says it “will stay at our facility until Parks has formulated a plan for inspection, needed repairs if any, and re-installation of the totem. There may be a need to wait until the turf recovers before we allow another heavy truck at the site.” She also says a local firm that often helps with the city’s art collection has offered to help with the reinstallation, and Parks is mulling the offer; meantime, the Rotary Club of West Seattle, which donated the pole and the park to the city in 1976, has a fund going too (you can donate here). As for the mystery pole found along with this one, after the theft suspect told police where to look following his arrest last Wednesday, Potter says it’s being turned over to the SPD evidence unit. (No new information yet today from police/prosecutors regarding the case/potential charges; if you’re just catching up with this story, all the background links are in the first part of this update.) 4:50 PM NOTE: Just verified, the case is not yet in the hands of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, so no charges yet.

10 Replies to "Update: Stolen West Seattle totem pole brought back from Oregon"

  • WSResident December 14, 2009 (3:13 pm)

    I can appreciate there being a ‘donation fund’ but I think the culprits who were involved with the thievery should foot the bill 100% on the repairs etc.

    • WSB December 14, 2009 (3:18 pm)

      We explained this in previous stories but if you missed those: The Rotary is very clear that this doesn’t substitute for any restitution that the court will require should the suspect be found guilty – and if they get any reimbursement, whatever amount was donated, the equivalent will go to the many charitable works in which they engage in the community. Restitution, however, takes a LONG time (I am covering an unrelated case that is now into the second year in which that’s being pursued despite a court order, for example), and the totem pole can’t wait that long – TR

  • CandrewB December 14, 2009 (3:18 pm)

    Now would be a good time to repaint it…

  • LMA December 14, 2009 (3:41 pm)

    What if someone volunteer to work on the Totem pole. Would it be granted?

    • WSB December 14, 2009 (4:46 pm)

      LMA – I’d suggest they contact the Parks Dept. – as did the firm to which I alluded, apparently – I’ve got an inquiry out to see if I can get more info to share about that part of the story – TR

  • miws December 14, 2009 (5:14 pm)

    Welcome home, Totem! (Well, not quite home yet….)


    I’m sure the authorities are doing their best in the investigation, but, I’m getting a bit nervous that the (alleged) suspect may be released if charges aren’t filed soon.



    • WSB December 14, 2009 (5:17 pm)

      He was never jailed. If he’d been, there would have been a 72-hour deadline to charge or release, which is why in cases involving life-safety crimes you often see charges fairly quickly – TR

  • Sue December 14, 2009 (6:15 pm)

    Glad it is coming back home! Hope they make the guy or the crane company fix the grass that is torn up..

  • miws December 14, 2009 (8:08 pm)

    Thanks for the clarification, TR.


    I don’t know why I thought he’d been jailed, and knowing there is that 72-hour deadline, was confused as to why charges hadn’t been filed by now.



  • WSB December 14, 2009 (8:23 pm)

    I don’t know that I ever explicitly said that he wasn’t booked, so it would be an understandable assumption.

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