Alki Statue of Liberty – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 15 Aug 2018 01:30:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 West Seattle scene: Poem excerpt @ Alki Statue of Liberty Mon, 30 Jan 2017 04:33:48 +0000 IMG_7589

Thanks to DN for the photo: The most-quoted lines of the poem that graces a plaque at the Statue of Liberty have been placed at the base of her little sister on Alki Beach. The poem is “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus; you can read it in full on the Statue of Liberty National Monument website.

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9/11, 15 YEARS LATER: Alki Statue of Liberty tributes Sun, 11 Sep 2016 19:56:00 +0000 plazalong-1

While there’s no official observance planned at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza today, we stopped by at midmorning and found tributes already in place, on this 15th anniversary of 9/11. In the hours and days after the attacks, the statue became a focal point for Seattleites’ mourning and memorials, and that continues, to varying degrees each year.


Five years ago, on the 10th anniversary, hundreds gathered for a vigil. So far today, the tributes are quieter – even this small one we spotted:


As mentioned in our morning calendar highlights, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s Log House Museum – less than a block inland from Statue of Liberty Plaza, at 61st SW/SW Stevens – has brought out a 9/11-related display, today only. The museum is open until 4 pm.

P.S. If you are new, a bit more history — the statue itself was recast and returned to the beach in 2007, unveiled on September 11th of that year. One year later, the plaza – the result of a community-led project – was dedicated.

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Reverent removal for Orlando sympathy sash/banner @ Alki Statue of Liberty Sat, 18 Jun 2016 06:05:19 +0000 pipebanner
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

About an hour before sunset at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza tonight, West Seattleite Samuella Samaniego reverently removed the Orlando sympathy sash and banner she had placed on the statue five days earlier.


With Kevin J. Auld piping (hear him in this video clip), it became a simple, solemn ceremony.



Hundreds signed what became a two-piece banner after its earlier removal and return; Sam says she will be sending the messages off to Orlando, where six days now have passed since 49 people were killed.

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Final day for ‘from our coast to yours’ Alki Statue of Liberty sash/banner Fri, 17 Jun 2016 18:33:30 +0000 statuefriday
(WSB photos)

After five (interrupted) days, Samuella Samaniego says she plans to take down the Orlando-solidarity/sympathy sash and banners at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza tonight at 8 pm. She adds, “A bagpipe musician has made himself available for the removal. I realized (that) if I did not do something different (for the removal), it might end up feeling like I was simply taking down a petition that had all the signatures it needed. The people who lost their lives, and/or their loved ones, who now have to find a way to live with the loss, should be honored with something more than cutting the ties that have kept the memorial secured to the Statue.”


We visited this morning to take the photos you see above; the panels are covered in names and messages so there’s not much room to add new ones, but if you want to see them before they’re gone, or to be there this evening as a tribute, now you know.

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FOLLOWUP: Orlando sympathy banner back on Alki Statue of Liberty, and Parks says sash will follow Tue, 14 Jun 2016 20:08:35 +0000

(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.

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‘From Our Coast to Yours’: Alki banner sends love to Orlando Sun, 12 Jun 2016 23:01:51 +0000 image

The Alki Statue of Liberty has long been a place to gather, a place for tributes, and today it becomes that again: Sam Samaniego decided to make a sash for Lady Liberty, as a show of love in the wake of this morning’s Orlando massacre. It’s inscribed ‘From Our Coast to Yours’ and as we write, they’ve added a banner along the base that you’re invited to sign:


Sam says she’ll of course be sending the banner to Florida – but before then, she sees power in the photographs people will take, and hopes that they’re seen in Orlando so people there know people here care:


15 years ago, Alki’s mini Statue of Liberty became a gathering place to mourn the 9/11 victims, and five years ago, it drew hundreds for a tribute on the 10th anniversary of the attack.

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Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza marks an anniversary of its own Thu, 12 Sep 2013 01:03:57 +0000

Right now, a few floral tributes rest at the base of the Alki Statue of Liberty, simple remembrances of 9/11 on its 12th anniversary, though a shadow of what was there two years ago on the 10th anniversary:

The plaza built around the statue, a touchstone for gatherings of many kinds, has just passed a milestone anniversary of its own: Five years since its dedication on September 6, 2008. If you moved to West Seattle sometime after that, you might not realize the statue was originally on a square concrete base in a sea of asphalt:

Now, it is the centerpiece of a swirling plaza of bricks and benches:

This West Seattle icon was renovated in two stages: The statue itself was replaced and re-dedicated in 2007. By then, a local couple who had met nearby was leading a committee pursuing the vision of something grander to surround it, a new statue pedestal and plaza. Libby and Paul Carr headed up the Seattle Statue of Liberty Plaza Project, a citizens’ committee that made it happen, mostly through private donations. We saw Libby last weekend at another special event nearby and talked about the plaza’s anniversary. She later shared this remembrance:

It was wonderful to see another great example of community support and participation with the celebration of the Harbor Seal Day festivities and dedication of the “Sentinels of the Sound” sculpture just north of the Bathhouse on Alki Beach.

It reminded Paul and I of another picture-perfect day just 5 years ago … and another wonderful community celebration for the long awaited completion of the new Statue of Liberty Plaza. The Seattle Statue of Liberty Plaza Project worked for almost two years to bring this long awaited project to completion, which was overwhelmingly supported by the whole West Seattle and greater Seattle community. In fact, people as far away as Brooklyn, NY, and even further, bought bricks, plaques and benches which raised the money to build this beautifully designed space, designed by architects Matt Hutchins and Chris Ezzell, who so generously donated their work.

Like so many people, we have have often enjoyed strolling on the promenade and then coming to the Statue Plaza to enjoy a slow meditative meandering and reading many of the brick inscriptions and getting glimpses of the meaning and history this place holds for so many.

I am glad that Paul and I and the whole community could participate in building this special space that promises to be here for a long time to come …

Libby Carr, Co-Chair of SSLPP

We were first reminded of the anniversary by one of the architects Libby mentioned in her note, Matt Hutchins of CAST Architecture. We asked for his thoughts, five years later:

For my part, the plaza is more of a success than I had hoped!

When we were working with our neighbors during the community design process, our goal (from my design presentation notes, Sept. 2007) was to:
‘Provide a community landmark with a safer, rejuvenated public space that celebrates not only the symbolism of the Statue, but also the commitment of this community to this part of Alki Beach history. The plaza is designed to inhibit vandalism and reduce the need for City maintenance. ”

Given the nearly three-year struggle to get it approved, funded and build, nothing is more satisfying that to see the Statue and plaza so well used and loved. I’m always filled with pride seeing how many people are hanging out there, meeting friends, doing tai chi, salsa dancing and, yes, even using it for guerrilla-art installations.

It is holding up very well given the environment and the use, and I credit the ongoing efforts by community members, the Parks Department, and the maintenance endowment written into the fundraising campaign.

Your editor here is finishing this story while seated on a bench at the plaza, where in just the past hour or so we’ve seen people stop by to look at the floral 9/11 tribute, to read the statue’s plaques, or just to bask in the sun and sea air on a 90-degree afternoon.

P.S. Stewardship of the plaza, by the way, is now in the hands of the Alki Community Council, since a 2010 agreement.

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West Seattle scene: More ‘guerrilla art’ at Alki Statue of Liberty – and then Walking on Logs Sat, 06 Jul 2013 23:05:51 +0000

4:05 PM: Two weeks after the first “guerrilla art” sighting at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza (WSB coverage here and here), and a week and a half after the followup, something new showed up today. Ben Hutchinson shared the photo and observation:

This one looks like an assault rifle. On the front of this work of art, it has written in French, “Ceci nest pa un fusil d’assault”. I put this into Google Translate, which gave me the English translation “This is not an assault rifle”. I’m not sure, but I believe this may have been a protest in response to a number incidents in various places that have been mentioned in the news over the past few months, about kids who were suspended from school or even arrested for simply carrying Nerf guns (shoot foam rubber darts) or other toy guns like squirt guns or cap guns either to school or onto pieces of property (such as a park/playfield) that belongs to a school. Children are often forbidden from doing so under so called “no tolerance” rules involving anything that even looks like a gun (in one such case, a kid was suspended for just pointing his finger in a way that looked like he was pretending it was a gun, while playing, as kids tend to do). I believe the artwork here is a protest against such no-tolerance policies, for how strict (and possibly unfair) they can be in some situations.

We didn’t see Ben’s e-mail in time to check while we were at Alki so we don’t know if it’s still there.

12:43 AM: The “not a rifle” has been moved to Walking on Logs. The sighting was reported by @macjustice on Twitter when we were downtown picking up a family member; checked it out on the way back, and it’s either the same one or a duplicate.

ADDED EARLY MONDAY: We heard on Sunday from Chuck, who identified himself as the artist, but said he is NOT the person responsible for the previous creations left at Liberty Plaza and in The Junction. He says somebody had removed the “not a rifle” from Walking on Logs by 10:30 am Sunday, adding, “I hope that whoever took it returns it. If they don’t, I guess it served its purpose. I had a lot of fun making it.”

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At Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza: First the eagle, then the guy with the hatchet, now … Tue, 25 Jun 2013 16:31:25 +0000 … a hatchet:

If you are just coming in on this – weekend stories: Saturday and Sunday.

While we were checking this out at Alki about 45 minutes ago, we spoke with a Parks Department crew member who was working nearby. He didn’t know about it until he saw it; he tried calling the local maintenance office but hadn’t reached anyone by the time he had to move on. So we’re checking on their plans, and also the larger question: Is it illegal to place something in a park?

11:16 AM UPDATE: Sandra DeMeritt from Parks tells WSB, “We posted a sign on the object a little while ago stating we will remove the item tomorrow. We like to give the public some notice. We also will have to bring the truck and front loader in to remove it. We won’t save it at the Parks Headquarters this time as it is so big. We will break it up and take it to the Transfer Station. We will also make sure the paint is cleaned up as well. I assume it is acrylic paint and not enamel (hopefully). One of our crew members is supposed to put some spill pads down to keep any paint from running down to the beach.”

12:42 PM UPDATE: And to the big-picture question, Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad replies:

It is not actually illegal to place guerrilla art in a park, unless you consider it litter…in which case it is illegal. We don’t really consider it litter. We consider it guerrilla art, which is sometimes fun, sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes beautiful, sometimes not. What we generally do with guerrilla art is post it to let the artist know they have a certain amount of time to remove it. When that time is up, and if the art is still there, we take it away. Guerrilla art is ephemeral, and the artists know that. They don’t have an expectation that the art will stay for the long term.

In this particular case, the guerrilla art is leaning against legitimate and permanent art. The Alki Community Council and the individual donors who raised money for the Alki Statue of Liberty worked closely with Seattle Parks and Recreation to develop the proposal for the redevelopment of the plaza. They also raised funds ($47,000) for its long-term maintenance. It would be unfair to them to allow the art to remain.

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9/11 tributes at Alki Statue of Liberty: ‘Help us to forgive’ Tue, 11 Sep 2012 20:34:20 +0000

Since the Alki Statue of Liberty has been a touchstone on 9/11 ever since that first night-after in 2001, we visited late this morning to look for tributes. On the side visible from the street, a few bouquets had been placed, plus a small creation from stones; on the water side, a note, and stones arranged in the shape of a heart:

The note is a prayer, reading in part, “Help us to live with love rather than hate. Help us to forgive.” Meantime, we’ll check back this evening. While there was an organized, well-attended vigil last year (WSB coverage here) on the 10th anniversary of the deadly East Coast attacks, we haven’t heard of any official plans this year (please let us know if you have).

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Video: Schmitz Park Elementary’s Alki ‘Shakespeare flash mob’ Tue, 19 Jun 2012 19:05:34 +0000 ORIGINAL 12:05 PM NOTE: Sorry for the late notice, but we just got word of this – Craig Parsley‘s 5th-grade Shakespeare production from Schmitz Park Elementary is planning a “flash mob”-style performance at Alki by the Statue of Liberty around 12:30 pm. Spectators encouraged!

ADDED 4:00 PM: Photos and video – the troupe did a great job in a tough setting! Here’s the teacher/director with a few of his students just before the (invisible) curtain rose on “Midsummer Night’s Dream”:

We didn’t fire up the video camera fast enough to hear him shout the announcement of the “flash mob,” but here’s some video from the first few moments (as he explained to them on the sideline, lots of “ambient” noise):

No costumes or set – but a few props:

Well, OK, there was ONE bit of costumery:

The play was performed recently at school – one performance for their fellow students, one in the evening for parents/community.

Shakespeare has been a tradition in Mr. Parsley’s classes at Schmitz Park; he’s moving to K-5 STEM at Boren next year and told us recently he was hoping to take the tradition along.

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West Seattle scene: 9/11 anniversary, the morning after Mon, 12 Sep 2011 17:56:29 +0000

They arranged for last night’s vigil to happen at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza (here’s our as-it-happened coverage) – and this morning, Southwest Seattle Historical Society/Log House Museum volunteers are literally picking up after it. While the flowers will remain, they’re collecting unretrieved keepsakes/tributes, as the museum is keeping an ongoing collection (including John Loftus‘s 9/11/01 photos) regarding the statue’s role as a touchstone in 9/11 mourning and memorializing. (Regular museum hours are Thursdays-Sundays, noon-4 pm, by the way, if you haven’t been lately.)

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Video: 9/11 anniversary vigil at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza Mon, 12 Sep 2011 02:13:49 +0000

ORIGINAL 7:13 PM REPORT: Hundreds have gathered at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza as the day ends and the 9/11 10th anniversary vigil begins, at the site of so many vigils in the first few weeks after the attacks. Though it’s not dark yet, candles are being lit:

At right, looking at the tributes and memorials that have accumulated at the statue’s base during the day (our earlier report is here), is Vicki Schmitz-Block from Fauntleroy. We’re told there is no formal program – you can just come down to remember and look back, as this solemn anniversary makes way to night. At least two TV stations are here too.

7:24 PM: A round of “America the Beautiful” has broken out – and then applause. This event was organized by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society/Log House Museum, whose Clay Eals has been showing their 9/11 memory album to visitors:

And now, they’re singing the national anthem, loudly, proudly. Some are waving small flags. One woman is wrapped in a flag-pattern sweater. … “Amazing Grace” followed, as did other songs, including “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (update: here’s the video):

7:48 PM: It’s getting dark enough for the candlelight to stand out, ringing the base of the statue (which was recast four years ago and unveiled here on September 11, 2007; the plaza was built around it the following year, and dedicated in September 2008). Rev. Randy Leskovar of West Seattle’s Calvary Chapel offered a prayer. Absent a formal program, people are coming and going, and probably will for a while.

8:10 PM: Still at least 60 or 70 people gathered. More candles, and quiet tributes, and a luminaria bearing a wish:


A memorable sunset graced the event:

Some attendees wore their tributes:

The tributes were considered by young and old:

There was always room for another candle:

And in the end, there were dozens:

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Before tonight’s vigil, a look at Alki, exactly 10 years ago Mon, 12 Sep 2011 01:23:24 +0000

These first two photos are from September 11th, 2001, when the first night after the 9/11 attacks brought the first gathering at Alki’s Statue of Liberty, and they are by John Loftus. He thinks he might have been the only person to take photos that night.

John tells WSB, “I had an early (2 megapixel) digital camera and was able to shoot discreetly without using flash. The objects left at the Statue of Liberty have been extensively photographed, but I don’t know that there are other photos capturing the images and mood of the people at the shrine that same night it happened. When the Log House Museum did a show on the 1st anniversary, one of my photos was blown up 6 feet long, I recall.” Today, John placed a framed poster at Liberty Plaza, with a collage of his photos. WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand captured an image of it this morning, even before we heard from him about it; we published a wide shot this morning, but here’s a closer view:

He says he visited the Log House Museum 9/11 display this afternoon and that his photos were indeed the only ones in the album from that first night. Meantime, tonight’s vigil, organized by the museum, is coming up at the top of the hour (7 pm).

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9/11 anniversary dawns with Alki Statue of Liberty tributes Sun, 11 Sep 2011 15:27:45 +0000

Tonight, the Alki Statue of Liberty will again be a gathering place, to remember, and to hope, as it was a decade ago. This morning, tributes are already there – including this poem:

As shown here earlier this week, Alki’s Lady Liberty is holding a flag for the occasion. Across the street, a large flag went up this morning:

Tonight’s vigil is at 7 pm, sponsored by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society/Log House Museum, whose 9/11 exhibit is viewable today from noon till 7, just a block south at 61st/Stevens. (photo added 1:48 pm)

Other West Seattle/White Center commemorations are on this list.

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