Today the Port of Seattle broke ground on a lovely new park along the banks of the Duwamish, which will feature beautiful views, local art, educational resources, salmon habitat, collaboration with indigenous people, and opportunities to generate revenue from businesses. This park is 100% pure good news and we should all give it a big hug.
And as luck would have it, the Port needs a little more public feedback before this little slice of heaven can be finished and named—which is where you come in.
The area known as Terminal 117 used to be an industrial wasteland. It was a dumping ground for waste generated by the nearby Malarkey Asphalt Company, which sounds like a name Elon Musk would give a sinister shell company, and the federal government tagged it as one of the most polluted areas in the country. It was gross.
After purchasing the land in the '90s, the Port has spent the last two decades gradually rehabilitating the land and getting it ready for people to actually use. They hauled off contaminated soil, cleaned the water, and even discovered—surprise!—some buried waste oil tanks that nobody knew about.
Now, it is finally ready to be turned into a destination, and today’s groundbreaking provided a little sneak peek at the park that you will soon want to bring your dog, date, or book club to.
If you’re the kind of person whose hat flies off your head at the mention of habitat restoration, you’re going to go nuts for this project. They’re rehabbing a long pier that juts out over the river (great news for fishing!), adding long shoreline paths, and installing plants that will facilitate the transition of young salmon from freshwater to saltwater.
The salmon-friendly features are particularly important because salmon populations support lots of other flora and fauna: More salmon means more bears and orcas and bald eagles, but also when those predators leave fish remains behind, they fertilize forests and lead to stronger tree growth.
In other words, fixing up this one little plot of land will lead to happier trees throughout the region.
So what’s this little respite from the horrors of life going to be called once it’s no longer “Terminal 117”? That’s up to you. The Port will be asking the public to submit suggestions later this month, with voting in September.
Currently, a lot of our major landmarks are named for rich white idiots who never even set foot in Washington (Mt. Rainier, originally known as Tahoma, is named for a British general who fought against America in the Revolutionary War). Start brainstorming better names now, and make sure your picnic blankets are ready for the park’s completion in 2021.