Earlier this morning, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) rolled through Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), removing the concrete barriers that used to be along 10th Ave, the westernmost edge of the area.
Seattle Police Department (SPD) Assistant Chief Adrian Z. Diaz as well as other SPD officers were on the scene to assist SDOT as they removed the barriers.
In an interview with Omari Salisbury of Converge Media, Diaz said that SPD doesn't currently have plans to remove barricades further up Pine Street closer to the East Precinct. "Right now we're just trying to remove these ones and then we'll be able to assess what our equipment can hold," he said.
The discussion of the removal of the barriers began prior to the early Monday morning shooting that left a 16-year-old dead and a 14-year-old in the hospital after the pair allegedly drove through CHOP on Sunday night. SPD claimed today's action was not a result of that incident.
Diaz went on to say that SPD is not "in full discussion" regarding a path to getting back into the East Precinct, but are just making sure they have roads open and have the ability to get people some "needed services because there's a lot of people in crisis in and around this area." In the same live stream, SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe also emphasized that they had no plans to remove barriers in front of the precinct today.
After SDOT moved the barricades, protesters set up a makeshift barrier of trash cans, fencing, furniture, and a deep fryer along 10th where the concrete ones used to be. CHOP organizer David Lewis told me these objects aren't necessarily meant to stop a vehicle, rather, it is supposed to protect the Black Lives Matter mural that has yet to be properly sealed. If traffic is allowed on it now, the paint will come off.
This is what 10th and Pine looks like rn. SDOT came and removed the concrete barriers. This furniture is here to protected the BLM mural which has not been properly sealed for regular street use. #CHOP pic.twitter.com/i0KTB978dw
— jasmyne keimig (@jasmynekeimig) June 30, 2020
In addition to the SDOT activity this morning, Seattle Parks and Recreation has also announced that Cal Anderson will be temporarily closed starting at 12 p.m. today to allow city crews to "assess damage and clean up areas that have seen significant waste collection." In a press release, they say that there will be no changes made to the community garden or the protester-installed art in the park "at this time." They go on to say that barring any incident, SPD is not expected to be at Cal Anderson. Here's their full statement:
Today, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is temporarily closing Cal Anderson Park to the public at 12 pm to allow City crews to assess damage and clean up areas that have seen significant waste collection. At this time, no changes will be made to the community garden or art installed by demonstrators.
The City’s goal remains to create safe spaces for residents to express their first amendment rights, while also preserving the public safety and public health of the area. The aim is for Cal Anderson to be restored and repaired for future demonstrations and other park uses. SPR will begin to repair damage from newly created fires pits, graffiti, fencing, vehicles on the reservoir, impacts to the lawns and the play field, and other infrastructure.
Today staff will focus on removing litter, assessing the park and critical reservoir infrastructure to see what larger cleaning or repair efforts will need to take place in the coming days. Since last Tuesday, City departments including SPU, SPR, the Human Services Department, along with service providers have been on site to provide a wide range of social services to help individuals with needs move out of Capitol Hill area, and if experiencing homelessness, provide access to shelter or temporary housing (services have included: health care, food resources, access to COVID-19 testing, and mental and behavioral supports).
Over the weekend, artists and demonstrators began cataloging and removing plywood to preserve art for future installations. Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Office of Arts & Culture will be working with a range of stakeholders to memorialize aspects of the community protests, such as a garden, art and speaker’s corner at Cal Anderson Park.
Unless there are any incidents, SPD is not expected to be at Cal Anderson Park.