Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Parks/Recreation’ Category

Connected Seattle city worker stayed on payroll after felony

by Matt Rosenberg March 7th, 2012

In a ruling issued this week a state appeals court upheld the convictions for first-degree perjury, and gross misdemeanor counts of stalking and cyberstalking by a then-City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department employee named Andre L. (Luis) Franklin, now 30. The case stemmed from what the appeals court ruling details as a sexually-themed online vendetta by Franklin against another city parks worker, a woman with whom he had been romantically involved.

But the story goes deeper. Although Franklin was placed on leave in late 2008 after the victim notified city personnel authorities and parks officials understood him to have admitted the cyberstalking; public records show he somehow landed another city job – as a painter for Seattle Public Utilities earning $57,464 base pay in 2009 and $63,739 gross pay in 2010. Though public records confirm he was paid for a full year’s work in 2009 as painter for SPU, Public Data Ferret has learned he did not actually begin working at SPU until December of 2009. In addition, his defense attorney Steven Witchley of Seattle confirms Franklin is currently employed in a temporary position as a solid waste inspector for SPU.

Shoreline Mulls Smoking Ban In City Parks

by Matt Rosenberg January 24th, 2012

Shoreline plans to roll out an online survey of residents in the first quarter of 2012 to help officials decide if it should join a growing group of Washington jurisdictions which ban use of tobacco products in their parks and sometimes other outdoor public spaces as well. At a city council meeting last night, members considered as a study item a detailed information packet including a city staff memo on the policy-making process and written presentations from King County – which is taking a regional leadership role in promoting smoke-free public parks. A key provision identified by city staff in the packet is that there is no money for extra enforcement. That would depend on hoped-for effects of signage and enforcement by local parks users and any police or parks staff who happened to observe violations while conducting other work tasks.

Bald eagle viewing on Skagit River starts Saturday

by Leif Hansen December 12th, 2011

Starting this coming weekend of December 17 and 18 and through January 29, visitors can again witness one of the largest wintering populations of bald eagles in the lower 48 states descending upon the Skagit River’s supply of salmon. Providing assistance will be volunteers from the Skagit Eagle Watchers Program hosted by the US Forest Service. Three viewing stations with off-highway parking along North Cascades Highway 20 provide spotting scopes and binoculars to help you see the birds up close, at Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport, Sutter Creek Rest area (milepost 100 on Highway 20) and the Marblemount Fish Hatchery. Look for the yellow signs. Beforehand, you can view a special map which shows the sites and get background on Skagit River wildlife. Call 360-856-5700 for more information.

Removal from Endangered Species List
In 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list in the lower 48 states. According to a national bald eagle survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, breeding pairs of eagles in the lower 48 have continuously increased from 1963 to 2006. The same study showed an increase in breeding pairs in the state of Washington from 398 in 1990 to 848 in 2006.

Bald eagle in Skagit River Watershed/U.S. Forest Service

Resting in Washington, Nesting in Alaska and Northern Canada
The migratory eagles are coming to the Skagit River from as far away as Alaska and Northern Canada. “During the peak times of the winter you could be looking up and see several hundred eagles in a single day,” says Forest Technician and Eagle Watchers Program Field Coordinator, Tanya Kitterman. “Normally we count 300 [eagles] a day on average. It’s fun to go out every week to the same places and see the eagles and what they are doing. There was one day we saw 700 eagles.”

Northwest Salmon; Vital to Bald Eagles in Western WA
Nestled in the Mt. Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest, the Skagit River is the only river system in Washington to host all five native salmon species. Kitterman said, “The eagles that we’re looking at in our program are migratory and are coming down to the Skagit to feed on salmon in the winter time. The eagles aren’t nesting here, they’re nesting in Northern Canada and Alaska and they’re coming down here specifically for the chum run that we have in the Skagit River.”

Wildlife Refuge Locator: Online Guide to Washington, U.S.

Kitterman is unsure what this year holds. “Chum numbers are low this year and we don’t know how many eagles are going to show up.”

Human Interruption
Human activity can also play a factor in the number of eagles in the area.  According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, bald eagles can be deterred by pesticides, interference with feeding patterns at gravel bars, and other human disruptions. However, the eagles in Washington are usually non-nesting and have grown accustomed to a certain amount of respectful human presence. Kitterman said, “the eagles that are down here are kind of used to being around people. We teach people to not approach the gravel bars while they’re feeding.”

Last season alone there were 5,525 visitors that came to see the migratory eagles along the Skagit; and 7,200 visitors in 2009-2010.

Map of North Cascades bald eagle viewing areas/U.S. Forest Service

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City will remove race-based graffiti at Seattle Parks boating facility

by Matt Rosenberg September 29th, 2011

Only last month, after 12 years and a $3 million public-private fundraising effort, the George Corkery Family Boating Center re-opened at the City of Seattle’s Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center at Stan Sayres Memorial Park along Lake Washington Boulevard in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood. Our fellow Seattle Times news partner The Rainier Valley Post reported on the milestone. It’s a great, community-driven improvement to a government-owned site that’s a hub for aquatic recreation in boating-mad Seattle and a focal point every summer for the iconic hydro races of SeaFair.

It’s now unfortunately also the site of some ugly graffiti which blames “white people” for a U.S. “terror-hate” campaign in Iraq.

In a reference to the U.S.-led war in Iraq which began in 2003, graffiti over the men’s room urinals adjacent to the just-upgraded facility proclaims in blue magic marker, “terror-hate by White People in Iraq.”

Told of the graffiti, Seattle Parks and Recreation Department spokesperson Dewey Potter said it would be removed. She stated, “hate crimes come first. We’ll take care of this as soon as possible.”

UPDATE, 9:41 a.m.: Potter emailed to say that a work order has been sent and the department will get the graffiti “removed immediately.”

Race-based graffiti in men's room of Seattle parks department boating facility in Mount Baker neighborhood/Matt Rosenberg

Seattle-based EarthCorps teaches stewardship to the world

by Administrator September 1st, 2011

Editor’s note: Public Data Ferret’s “mother blog” site Social Capital Review periodically profiles noteworthy nonprofits or community initiatives with ties to our base coverage area of Western Washington.

By Scott Patton

You already know that Washington’s extensive trail network serves tens of thousands of annual users. But you may not know that it’s also a training ground for 15,000 volunteers a year from all over the globe, who learn outdoor stewardship from the local non-profit EarthCorps, headquartered off Sand Point Way in Northeast Seattle next to Magnuson Park.

On a recent summer weekend, EarthCorps member and crew leader A.J. Velon was helping move rocks that weigh hundreds of pounds to build a turnpike on the Snoqualmie Lake Trail. The Snoqualmie Lake camp used by the crew is an eight mile hike from a fairly remote trail head. The crew of six included participants from Kazakhstan, Peru, and Fiji. The work starts everyday at 7:30 am and goes until 5:00 pm and consists of tasks ranging from repairing campsites, to repairing trails and building drainage structures. This goes on for 11 days.