UPDATE: Seattle Parks says it will bring back Orlando condolence banner removed from Alki Statue of Liberty after ‘complaints’

alkibanner2 (1)
(WSB photo, Sunday afternoon)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 4:07 PM: Less than 24 hours after West Seattleite Sam Samaniego and her wife put up that banner at the Alki Statue of Liberty expressing condolences for the Orlando massacre and inviting people to sign it – as reported here on Sunday afternoon – it’s gone:


We went by at midday and thought maybe Sam had removed it – but she said it wasn’t her. So we asked Seattle Parks if their crew had for some reason removed it – as has happened on occasion in the past (though, in this 2013 incident, with warning). Spokesperson Dewey Potter just responded to say yes: “The crew removed it after receiving complaints.” She added that Sam would be able to retrieve it.

6:01 PM UPDATE: Parks has just tweeted that “removing the banner was an error and it will be replaced in the AM.”

8:33 AM TUESDAY: Heather tweeted this photo showing the signature section of the banner is back, but not the sash:

We were just about to head down to Alki to follow up, and were already planning to check with Parks.

89 Replies to "UPDATE: Seattle Parks says it will bring back Orlando condolence banner removed from Alki Statue of Liberty after 'complaints'"

  • Corvonn June 13, 2016 (4:13 pm)

    Wow. I can’t believe someone would complain about that. That’s absolutely terrible. 

    Do we have a serial Parks dept complainer on our hands?

    • Louisa June 13, 2016 (10:47 pm)

      Too many hyper vigilant Parks Department people these days.  Compassion is needed here.

  • Marlaina June 13, 2016 (4:13 pm)

    How could anyone complain? That was an act of care that was turned down by, I’m assuming, more than one person. That was a sign of respect for a tragic attack. Who could possibly be so heartless?!

  • Taylor June 13, 2016 (4:23 pm)

    Come complain to my face. 

  • lovemyWS June 13, 2016 (4:29 pm)

    between this and the Ercolini toy round-up I think the Parks Department needs to grow a backbone!

  • CMH June 13, 2016 (4:30 pm)

    So disappointed. 

  • Trickycoolj June 13, 2016 (4:31 pm)

    Utterly disgusted that there are neighbors in West Seattle willing to complain about expressing condolences to the community involved in THE largest mass shooting in the US. To the LGBT  community from West Seattle to Orlando and beyond, this West Seattle resident proudly supports you!

  • Curtis June 13, 2016 (4:33 pm)

    Clearly – thinks that “those people” got what they deserved. And don’t try to deny it. As a human being, that kind of sentiment makes me way, way to angry for a moderated, family friendly neighborhood blog comment section.

    So, Ms. and Ms. Banner Putter Upper, please, please find a welcoming place (like a UCC Church, or Gay Bar on California) and please announce when those of us who would like to, can sign it.

  • onion June 13, 2016 (4:36 pm)

    At the very least I would like to hear the nature of the complaints. I try to have a very flexible and open mind, but this seems like an extremely positive gesture by our community. Very curious to know why it might be viewed as problematic.

  • Marcee June 13, 2016 (4:36 pm)

    That is just so petty and adds insult to an enormous injury. Why? I remember all the expressive outpouring after 9/11. This is the place where we can come together as a community to share our joys and our grief. Whoever complained should be ashamed.  

  • seaopgal June 13, 2016 (4:38 pm)

    If they took it down because of “complaints” they can put it back up because of “complaints.” I’m calling …

  • Mr E June 13, 2016 (4:39 pm)

    How very unfortunate for those who cannot see past their prejudice to affirm life.

  • Kathy June 13, 2016 (4:39 pm)

    This are human beings, not gay people.  I’m so sick of the ignorance in this country, where’s the compassion!  Idiots!  Shame on you Parks Department!

  • IsleWrite June 13, 2016 (4:40 pm)

    Wonder if the complainer had problems around 9/11, when our Lady Liberty was the beacon of the community? 

  • Cynthia Clouser June 13, 2016 (4:41 pm)

    It’s all good, that folks have, their feelings and opinions on something. But, this, banner, was put up in memorial of those HUMANS who died, a senseless death. It was in honoring them, their families and friends. It was a show of compassionate support..for HUMAN beings. 

     To leave it up, One or two days, wouldn’t have hurt anyone. 

    Rest in Peace & Love

  • Doree Fazio-Young June 13, 2016 (4:47 pm)

    All who complained “SHAME ON YOU”!!!!!!!!

  • Dburger June 13, 2016 (4:58 pm)

    Put up another one and have people stand guard!!

  • forgotmyname June 13, 2016 (4:59 pm)

    Oh, people, you continue to disappoint me.  

    However, I won’t fault Parks – since they are publicly funded they have to present a neutral political stance, as in, no pro- or anti- advocacy for any issue on public property or risk legal reprisals.  

    So disappointing someone saw an expression of human compassion as “advocacy”; guess freedom really means is ‘free to say what I say’ to some people.

    • CandrewB1 June 14, 2016 (5:17 am)

      I will fault Parks. That is the fastest I have ever seen the City move. This was even faster than the salmon truck overturn. A whole month faster than a rich guy cutting down hundreds of trees…

  • watertowerjoey June 13, 2016 (5:00 pm)

    Just a guess – because I cannot imagine anyone complaining about this particular banner per se – is that people think it may lead to a “walking on logs” type situation.  A slippery slope to where the next thing you know people will be “decorating” it for anything they deem worthy.

    But seriously people.  Get a life.

    • John June 14, 2016 (10:24 am)

      You bring up a good point.  Now who determines if a banner or ????  should stay or go?

  • Confounded WS Resident June 13, 2016 (5:00 pm)

    Complaining about a banner put up to honor those lives that were lost and wounded due to this senseless act of violence? Where’s your heart, man? Where’s your compassion?

  • Rebecca Guglielmo June 13, 2016 (5:06 pm)

    So who is going to put a new one back up? The Parks and Recs need a better system than simply responding to one complaint. If we rally around a schedule of new banners we can keep Lady Liberty wearing a banner. 

  • Kimbee2 June 13, 2016 (5:06 pm)

    Anyone out there know the short cut to get a copy of the complaint? There must be a public record of it in the Parks system, somewhere.

  • Alki Resident June 13, 2016 (5:08 pm)

    The person who complained needs to leave our community. This isnt how West Seattle operates. We support each other in times like this not shun certain people. Im so disappointed in this. 

    • hj June 13, 2016 (6:22 pm)

      Except when they disagree with you; then it’s OK to tell them to leave the community.

  • sc June 13, 2016 (5:15 pm)

    So a sympathy banner offends you?

    You are a very, very sad  little person.

  • JeffK June 13, 2016 (5:16 pm)

    Way to cave in on morality, solidarity, and patriotism Seattle Parks!

    Whiners gonna whine, don’t need to bow to them.

  • Neighbor June 13, 2016 (5:16 pm)

    I can see taking it down after a specified amount of time, but it is still a time of grieving for our fellow Americans. Not time to take it down yet. I was ok with Ercolini Park clean up (there are already over 15 toys there again), but this banner clean up is not a nuisance, it was not ugly, it was a instrument for going through the greiving process for 50 lives lost to ignorance and violence.

  • Double Dub Resident June 13, 2016 (5:28 pm)

    How pathetically sad. And interesting how “on top of it” the Parks Dept. are on it on the most trivial issues when there are far more serious ones that need to be dealt with. 

    As a City worker myself, I can say that the city/county has its head up it’s butt sometimes, or more than sometimes

  • Chris W June 13, 2016 (5:28 pm)

    My guess is that it could be an environmental hazard if it gets washed into the Sound. It’s pupping season. 

  • JIm June 13, 2016 (5:34 pm)

    Kimbee2 – Then what?

    • Kimbee2 June 13, 2016 (7:16 pm)

       @ JIm: Try to determine what grounds the complaint was deemed actionable, and counter argue to reinstate the banner. That’s the way a civil democracy is supposed to work, right? It looks like it was actually an error and it will be reinstated. 

  • Donna Lawson June 13, 2016 (5:35 pm)

    It’s so disappointing to read this was taken down due to complaints. I’m so glad see to everyone here is bothered by this. It might be the first time I’ve seen all the comments on the same side of the fence. It makes me happy to be part of our West Seattle community. We will stand stand for hate. We stand for love. Our hearts are with those who lost one of those many people. 

  • Alkirose June 13, 2016 (5:36 pm)

    Wow. The people complaining should be ashamed of themselves and Seattle Parks and Rec, wtf??? How about leaving this one alone, show some respect! Who cares if people complained? That is their issue. I’m disgusted to live among people who complain about a vigil to people who were horrifically murdered.

  • CanDo June 13, 2016 (5:40 pm)

     What is up with Parks Dept?    I would like to lodge a formal complaint that the Parks Dept. is over stepping their bounds and need to learn that they work for us… the public/taxpayers.  And, they need to consult with that community before compulsively acting on random complaints.   This is shameful.  I agree with Seaopgal..  if they take it down because of a complaint then they can put it back up because of a complaint.

     What kind of person complains about toys in a park?  What kind of person complains about a banner expressing grief and support over a national tragedy?  Pony up, complainers.  Post your complaints publicly.  Let’s see who you are.

  • Trish June 13, 2016 (5:42 pm)

    Heartless!  Similarly, I’m disappointed in corporate Bartells on Delridge. After several calls, they still refuse to lower their US flag- which is a direct order from President Obama.   But they can pop up a Seahawk flag in moments! 

  • Kipseawa June 13, 2016 (6:01 pm)

    One person is all it takes to ruin anything these days! And they say one person can’t change the world…. Stay strong people and make your impact on the world a positive one.

    • WSB June 13, 2016 (6:05 pm)

      Just tweeted by Parks: “Removing the banner was an error and it will be replaced in the AM. We welcome expressions of grief after a tragic event.” – TR

  • Cynical girl June 13, 2016 (6:03 pm)

    Could it have been the Muslim community that complained? 

  • NativetoSeattle June 13, 2016 (6:11 pm)

    I’ve been waiting to see when they lower the flag. I’m hoping it’s a misunderstanding. 

  • CanDo June 13, 2016 (6:13 pm)

    Hey Cynical Girl…  I seriously doubt it!  Muslims showed up at a gathering on Capital Hill memorial with signs saying “Not in my name” to show support and sorrow at the tragedy and were hugged and welcomed by the LGBT community.   I don’t know who complained but apparently they enjoy anonymity within the Parks Dept.  who is more than willing to do their bidding… and quickly.

  • CanDo June 13, 2016 (6:14 pm)

    Hey…   OK Parks Dept!  Putting the banner back will be most appreciated!

  • Please June 13, 2016 (6:15 pm)

    I don’t know what’s worse: the person who complained or the commenters here with sharpened pitch forks in tow. Leave West Seattle if you don’t agree with us? Really? I support the banner, but that is a slippery slope you are treading. Also, no one has seen the complaint yet all agree it is hate based. Also very troubling. 

  • astro June 13, 2016 (6:16 pm)

    These are dark days. I’m so glad the parks department responded to pro banner voices. Thanks WSB for posting this story and giving the community a voice. :)

    • WSB June 13, 2016 (6:22 pm)

      Turns out Parks’ Dewey Potter (acting communications manager) also e-mailed us a few minutes before the tweet – this is what they were sending to citizens who e-mailed to complain about the removal:

      Thank you for your email. I learned of the issue too late in the day to get detailed information from the crew, who were leaving for the day. I can say it was an error and the banner will be replaced in the morning. 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.

      At Cal Anderson Park, we are waiting several days before we remove any remembrances, and in fact 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.

  • Double Dub Resident June 13, 2016 (6:28 pm)

    So the Parks Dept is returning the banner, meaning they have discretion. Who the heck then is in charge who is initially making such poor decision making?

  • Alki Resident June 13, 2016 (6:52 pm)

    Thank you parks dept.

  • KT June 13, 2016 (6:52 pm)

    Amazing.  Can’t get trash cans and trash pickups outside of their schedule on Alki but this they can jump right on.  “Removing it was an error” – well then train your people!!!

  • clulessinws June 13, 2016 (7:08 pm)

    Parks Dept batting a thousand lately. Brilliant.

  • Chemist June 13, 2016 (7:09 pm)

    Come on parks, that was a banner on lady liberty and not like those banners on the Fauntleroy walkway over the WSB.


    • WSB June 13, 2016 (7:18 pm)

      That was SDOT anyway, not Parks.

  • Samuella Samaniego June 13, 2016 (7:19 pm)

    Hello West Seattle Neighbors and WSB workers. I cannot feel more grateful than I do now for your active support.

    There are not enough words in any spoken or signed language that could fill in the cracks that have taken residence in our hearts from this particular commission of violence and the many other violent acts against others before Orlando. People took the time, exercised the opportunity, to get to Alki and write their expressions of love and presence with the people of Florida and all across the nation who feel the loss of these lives. My spouse, my little dog and I simply worked to provide a platform for broken hearts to pause, rest and perhaps unburden some tears you were keeping close to you and yours.

    With no contact returned from anyone other than Diane who looked for directorship staff at the Parks Department, and again, was so kind, I’m not sure when the sash and banner return will happen. The ladders are still in my truck and I would be happy to do it all again as long as someone holds the ladder. All they have to do is tell me.

    I know I am not alone for feeling oppressed as a result of not being able to express my mind and heart at the Alki Statue of Liberty as so many, many others have in the past. I fully realize and respect that there are people everywhere across the United States could never do what I did and be safe. Nevertheless, I did, still, feel the breadth of someone’s  handy rejection and control administered upon my acts of love and peace. I looked in the garbage cans, I looked in the dumpsters for the banner and sash. I answered people’s questions at Alki who were expecting to see the Orlando remembrance. It would not have been below me if someone let me know it was at the City dump. I would be fine and willing to look and find it if they permitted me to kick and crawl around in the vast field of garbage. The bright pink emblems would have stood out for sure.

    Television media asked for time at the Statue this evening at 8:00. It would be an honor to thank you in person there, or wherever, for your support through a confusing and difficult day. West Seattle, Seattle, you have my heart. Always and forever.

    Samuella Samaniego


    • WSB June 13, 2016 (10:31 pm)

      Sorry I didn’t get to read your full comment until now (10:30 pm, home from covering something for our White Center site) or I would have sent Patrick down to talk to you at 8 pm – as I always say, having spent 20+ years in TV, I usually can guess which WSB stories they will pick up. I texted you as soon as Parks sent the message that they’d bring it back tomorrow morning and I would hope they meant earlier rather than later – we’ll be going over to check, and if anyone sees the crew putting it back up, and doesn’t see us there photographing it, please consider texting our hotline 206-293-6302 – we’re on the opposite side of the peninsula from Alki so we can’t just keep going over every half-hour but I know Parks’ crews work fairly early, 8-ish or so, so I’m betting that’s when it’ll be put back. – Tracy

  • Joe Szilagyi June 13, 2016 (7:19 pm)

    I just filed a public records request for the full complete unredacted complaints and will publish them to the Seattle District 1 Facebook group when they fulfill the records request. I am disgusted.


    • CandrewB1 June 14, 2016 (5:24 am)

      Just asking since I have a neighbor who complains about trivial things constantly on or block and the City says I have no right to know who is lodging the complains. Is this subject to FOI? I would like to hear the response.

      • Joe Szilagyi June 14, 2016 (10:18 am)

        I believe who files complaints is not public record. In any event, I wouldn’t post that information even if I had it in this case.

  • dsa June 13, 2016 (7:21 pm)

    Parks got that right.  It certainly was an error.

  • Moose June 13, 2016 (9:00 pm)

    Right on!!!!!!!

  • flimflam June 13, 2016 (9:36 pm)

     what does the city really do all day? metro removes garbage can. metro returns garbage cans. WSF begins new procedure, WSF discontinues new procedure. parks dept removes banner. parks dept returns banner.

     tax money well spent… 

  • Jeannie June 14, 2016 (2:58 am)

    What the heck is going on with the Parks Department? Totally inept, with no sense of priorities. Sort of reminds me of the TV series “Parks and Recreation,” but those characters were slightly more competent.

  • cr June 14, 2016 (4:31 am)

    Reading Joe Szilagyi’s comments scare me. Smells like a witch hunt folks.  Does a person not have the right to voice a complaint? I don’t believe we need to put the details out for public display.    And Alki resident suggests the person must leave West Seattle??  You are delusional .  How is all this anger any different than that anger? Because you’re not using bullets its ok? It’s all hate.  What’s next will there be a call to fire the employee who took it down??

    • Community Member June 14, 2016 (7:34 am)

      I believe an open records request is entirely appropriate, and I appreciate Joe Szilagyi’s pursuit of more information.

      I don’t need to know who complained, but I’d like to see what the complaint(s) actually were, and whether they really happened. For all I know, there may have been no actual specific complaint, just past complaints about debris left after Alki picnics, followed by general  instructions to employees to quickly remove party debris and a parks employee mistakenly thinking the banner was in that category. Maybe the “complaint” is a fictional excuse covering an error.

       Or maybe there was a “complaint” that was just someone’s off-hand opinion that tributes or memorials should be at the base of Liberty rather than on the statue, so that flowers and candles  can be left.

      Or maybe someone is concerned that the banner was inadequately secured and would blow away.

      At this point, we just don’t know.  

    • Joe Szilagyi June 14, 2016 (10:19 am)

      What complaints are issued to government are  public record. That’s just how it is. The public is entitled to that information.

      I believe who files complaints is not public record. In any event, I wouldn’t post that information even if I had it in this case.

  • RayWest June 14, 2016 (6:17 am)

    The Orlando massacre was a horrible and senseless tragedy and people are saddened and outraged. They naturally want to show their respect and sympathy to the victims and their families. However, there are a number of appropriate ways to do that.  Taking it upon oneself’s to hang

    a banner on a public stature this way is not one of them. Why didn’t the people who did this first contact the Parks Department and ask for “permission” to do this? For one, there are safety concerns. Climbing up on a tall statue like that could result in injury. Not properly securing the banner is another danger, there are environmental concerns, and so on. It may well be that the complaints had nothing to do with what the banner was representing but were merely reporting what they thought was vandalism or a potential hazard.  Just to clarify, I do not work for the Parks Dept. and I was not one of the people who complained about this.  If anyone wants to honor someone or something by using a public venue in this manner, go through the proper channels. Now a precedent has been set, and people will think they can use the statue whenever and however they choose. The Parks Dept. responded in the appropriate way. When they do replace it, it will no doubt be done in a secure and safe manner.

    • HappyOnAlki June 14, 2016 (4:22 pm)

      RayWest, the Parks Department doesn’t require “permission.” From their statement: 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.

      • RayWest June 14, 2016 (6:36 pm)

        Yes, but there is a difference between a gathering in a public park and climbing onto statues to hang a banner. It would be prudent to inform the Parks Dept of this before taking action so that there are no misunderstandings and to ensure there are no safety issues.

  • Linda June 14, 2016 (8:01 am)

    @Trish:  Bartell’s only leases space in that building.  The building management for the West Seattle Corporate Center makes all of the decisions regarding the flag for that building.   Bartell’s may be able to make the request to the building management but they don’t have the final say about the flags in front of that building.

  • captainDave June 14, 2016 (9:06 am)

    This statue was placed by my family in 1952.  The purpose was to remind people about the liberty and freedom they have in this country.  Morning acts of terror by tyrannical forces inspired by other forms of governance is consistent with its intended purpose.  Reginald Parsons would have been proud to know that this place was used to remember those who died by the hands of tyranny because it would remind us all why we need to continually be on guard against those who want to suppress our rights and freedoms.   Muslims who are offended should think about the advantages they have under our constitution in comparison to the rigid and oppressive confines of Sharia Law. 

  • Gene June 14, 2016 (9:24 am)

    captain dave-did I miss something in these comments-where was it said that Muslims were offended?


    • WS Parent June 14, 2016 (9:32 am)

      Someone suggested it in the comments above…however, I think it was in jest.

  • Heather June 14, 2016 (11:31 am)

    Is anyone nearby who can check to see if the sash has been put back yet? I can’t check again until after work later tonight. 

    • WSB June 14, 2016 (12:15 pm)

      I still haven’t heard anything from Parks so far this morning – but we were heading that way anyway. Wasn’t there when we stopped by shortly after your tweet, 9 am-ish.

  • FJ June 14, 2016 (12:20 pm)

    When you care enough to do the very least… Pray! Sign a Banner!

  • Heather June 14, 2016 (12:47 pm)

    Thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to check. 😀

    • WSB June 14, 2016 (1:01 pm)

      I am about to publish a followup now that I’ve heard back from Parks. It would have been five minutes ago but first they said the sash has not been found – then a followup reply, it HAS been found and will be back late today or tomorrow.

  • JanS June 14, 2016 (12:50 pm)

    CaptainDave…your comments about Muslims and Sharia Law are completely over the top here, offensive, and shouldn’t have happened. For the record…the shooter, now deceased, was an American born man, raised in the US, of Afghani immigrant parents. I am ashamed that the Muslim religion was even brought up in these comments. People, you need to keep your politics and your prejudices out of these conversations like this. We are, or at least should be, better than that. NoH8! There  is a forum on this website to voice things like that.

  • I. Ponder June 14, 2016 (1:10 pm)

    What’s with the Parks Department? Is it part of a fascist state? First they seize and destroy toys used by children at a local park and now they seize and destroy a memorial. Is a complaint all the excuse they need for bad behavior? I’ve got plenty to complain about. I rarely call for firings but would like to see management behind these decisions lose their jobs. 

  • zephyr June 14, 2016 (2:18 pm)

    Thanks Captain Dave for your comments and your family’s contribution.  I did not know much about the statue’s origin.  

  • Double Dub Resident June 14, 2016 (4:51 pm)


      Yeah, a precedent has been set, like after 9/11 happened and the statue was decorated with remembrance paraphernalia. 

      If you were around here then, were you critical of that also? 

    • RayWest June 14, 2016 (6:41 pm)

      Once again, no one thinks about what they are saying or reading. I have NO issues with having ANY public memorial.  My point is to FIRST go through the proper channels, let the Park Dept. (or other agency) know ahead of time of what is being planned, and make sure it is being done properly and that there are no safety issues or other concerns. 

  • lindy June 14, 2016 (6:08 pm)

    Many of the comments are judgmental and unkind. I thought the point of the banner was to unify. The banner isn’t the thing – unity is the thing. Now we are fighting over a banner…………the vision is lost.

    • sam-c June 15, 2016 (8:04 am)

      hear, hear !

  • Double Dub Resident June 14, 2016 (7:10 pm)

    Yeah Raywest, I did read. The point is, this wasn’t a planned event like 9/11 wasn’t a planned event. So trying to go through the usual BS red tape and bureaucracy of the city, and get ones “ducks all in a row” isn’t always the focus of paying tribute to people lost due to a tragic event. 

     Just like Orlando, 9/11 caused a spontaneous tribute in the very same spot.

    Did you have the same criticisms of the 9/11 tribute that you are voicing now? As this particular tribute hardly set “a precedent” as you claim

    • raywest June 15, 2016 (11:02 am)

      Who cares WHEN a precedent was set. The “focus” here is PUBLIC SAFETY and how to avoid confused and angry situations like the one that has occurred here as a result of someone’s impulsive actions. Let’s not jump to broad conclusions that just because someone reported something “unusual” to the Park Dept. that it is because they are against honoring the fallen.

      Once people start bringing in their own ladders and are climbing atop statues to hang banners that may not be secure, it is irrelevant as to whether or not it is a “spontaneous” memorial to the victims or whether or not this similar to what was done for 9/11. And  complaining that there is too much “red tape” is not  an excuse. I think it is great if people want to commemorate victims in this way, but first think about what is the best way to do this.  

  • Double Dub Resident June 15, 2016 (7:17 pm)

    LOL Ray, your whole argument is stating that this scenario set the precedent. Now you backtrack 

Sorry, comment time is over.