(WSB photo, this morning)
1:08 PM: Following up on the discovery yesterday afternoon that a Seattle Parks crew had removed the Orlando-sympathy sash and banner from the Alki Statue of Liberty because of “complaints,” less than a day after West Seattleite Sam Samaniego had placed it there:
Yesterday evening, two hours after we first reported on the removal, Parks said it was a mistake and would return it today. However, as noted this morning thanks to a photo tweeted by Heather, only the banner – covered with signatures – was returned. We’ve been waiting to hear back from Parks spokesperson Dewey Potter before publishing a separate followup. Now we have. Her reply starts with something else we had requested, details on the “complaints” cited yesterday as a reason for the removal:
A member of the grounds crew was at the statue yesterday afternoon. A man approached her and identified himself as a veteran. He said he was offended by the way the banner was attached to the statue and asked her to take it down. She tried to reach her crew lead by phone and could not reach him. It was late in (her workday) and she took it down. It is now back up on the statue. The crew chief reports that the sash was not in the truck with the banner.
Good news, though – while we were writing this, Potter e-mailed again to say the sash has been found and that Parks “will have it back up late today or tomorrow.”
In her first e-mail this afternoon, she also included this:
Seattle Parks and Recreation welcomes and supports spontaneous community events whether they are to celebrate a happy event or to mourn and grieve a horrendous one. Parks are gathering places where people come to be with their neighbors, and we welcome the expressions of happiness or grief that come along with those events. We regret that the banner was removed, and hope to identify local groups who may want to make a permanent home for it, as we did after 9/11 when the Southwest Historical Society Log House Museum made a home for the artifacts left at the statue then.
At Cal Anderson Park, we are waiting 30 days before we remove any remembrances, and are trying to identify groups who might have left items they would like to claim. It is our practice to post a sign at a site with items left behind giving a date when items will be removed, to give people an opportunity to collect them.
That was noted in our original report, looking back at several instances of guerrilla art at the plaza a few years ago that had warnings posted before removal – something that did not happen in this case. We will of course be checking back to see when the sash returns (let us know if you see it first!).
5:11 PM: As noted in comments, the sash is back (albeit windblown) – we drove by about 45 minutes ago; Parks says it was put back in place at 3:20 pm.