VIDEO: ‘This kind of project isn’t supposed to happen!’ Celebrating Lowman Beach’s shoreline restoration

(WSB photos/video)

At today’s celebration of the shoreline-restoration project at Lowman Beach Park, Duwamish Tribe member Ken Workman shared the area’s historic name: gWal, or “capsize.” That certainly was once a risk for the at-times-controversial project, which took years of building public support and seeking grant funding to become reality. The project was originally centered on removing the crumbling north seawall at Lowman, but expanded to removing its beloved waterfront tennis court and daylighting the end of Pelly Creek.

The creek end won’t really come into its own until the fall/winter rains. But the expanded shore that replaced all but a small northern stub of seawall has been a joy for park visitors since the project’s completion earlier this summer:

Before this morning’s ribboncutting, there were speeches, emceed by Deb Barker, president of the Morgan Community Association, which hosted many community discussions about Lowman – as she observed, “This kind of project isn’t supposed to happen,” and yet it beat the odds:

Other speakers in our video were Workman, deputy mayor Greg Wong, who marveled at Lowman’s natural beauty, longtime acting Parks superintendent (and former West Seattleite) Christopher Williams, and Kathryn Gardow, representing the state agency that provided some of the funding. They were all joined in the ribbon-cutting by two local students, Ken from Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) and Ezra from Gatewood Elementary. The celebration also featured The Whale Trail – Lowman is a great spot for shore-based whale-watching – and Alki Kayak Tours/Mountain to Sound Outfitters (WSB sponsor) with stand-up paddleboarding demos. Williams also acknowledged the community:

Not only did nearby residents endure months of work on this project, but as Williams observed, they also had been through years of work on King County’s Murray Wet Weather Facility across the street (dedicated in 2017). His acknowledgment also included the Parks managers who made the project happen – David Graves shepherded it for years, including seeking grants:

And Janice Liang managed the project through its construction:

P.S. Looking into our archives for this story, we found this 2010 WSB clip with a 360-degree view of what Lowman Beach Park used to look like (not only before this project, but before the overflow facility across the street, which replaced a block of residences).

9 Replies to "VIDEO: 'This kind of project isn't supposed to happen!' Celebrating Lowman Beach's shoreline restoration"

  • clinker September 24, 2022 (9:53 pm)

    This new rework at Lowman really shines. The gentle sloping shoreline is a breath of fresh air after miles of sharp bleak industrial seawalls. Let’s hope Parks and SDOT can build more of this kind of natural design and give our sea friends a break.

    • RCS September 28, 2022 (10:16 am)

      Agreed. It looks so good! 

  • John September 25, 2022 (7:35 am)

    Agreed. Love this project. It’s created such a peaceful shoreline in our neighborhood. Thank you to Deb and everyone involved to make our community better. 

  • bluhorizon September 25, 2022 (9:11 am)

    Absolutely delighted to see stewardship for our ecologically valuable shoreline. It will benefit everyone including, and especially, wildlife and future generations. Myriad wild creatures who depend on these scarce freshwater shoreline creeks for survival and I – thank all of you. As mentioned in the story – improvements like these are hard fought /  won.  Cheers!

  • N September 25, 2022 (9:32 am)

    Love like ve this park.  But where are the restrooms?

  • Brad September 25, 2022 (10:16 am)

    Great work!Perhaps the creek will run in the winter. But just a few feet behind the creek opening, the ground is always soaking wet, even in the heat of summer.It’s almost as if there’s a leak in the pipe that is supposed to carry the water.

  • Gatewood neighbor September 25, 2022 (10:57 am)

    I LOVE this new re-design, and have loved seeing all the people enjoying it this summer. Somehow I didn’t realize what was planned, so to see it when it was completed felt like a pleasant little surprise. What a wonderful spot to enjoy our gorgeous peninsula. 

  • Smoosh September 26, 2022 (1:26 am)

    I have enjoyed launching my kayak with my daughters aboard from this beach this summer. I appreciate the heads up about its historical name as while we have stayed upright it is obvious that one must mind the wind well when seeking the water topped peace of the cove to the south.

  • C September 26, 2022 (4:38 am)

    Can we please put up a sign that tells all the kayakers/canoes/paddleboard‘s not to walk through new landscaping. There’s even sprinklers there and they just keep marching right through it to launch their boats by the seawall. Completely disrespectful to the Amazing new park that we’ve waited so long to reopen.

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