After more than three years of public protest, the Woodland Park Zoo’s proposed mammoth parking garage has been ruled illegal by the Seattle Hearing Examiner. This is a huge victory, not just for garage opponents but for Seattleites and citizens everywhere who care about parks and the pernicious trend toward commercialization of public spaces.
“The Zoo garage was one of the biggest threats facing Seattle’s parks,” said Jeannie Hale, president of the Seattle Community Council Federation, an appellant in the case along with the Phinney Ridge Community Council and Save Our Zoo. Had the garage been permitted, “every park in Seattle would have been vulnerable to mall-sized parking structures and other buildings that were never intended to be placed in city parks,” Hale added.
More to come, but today is a day of celebration for civic activists, neighborhood advocates and average citizens everywhere who dare to fight City Hall. For more information and background, see the Save Our Zoo Web site. The Hearing Examiner ruling and a press release both are posted on the Save Our Zoo site.
Postscript: Dampening celebration over the decision is that Seattle environmental attorney Mickey Gendler, who eloquently argued the public’s case before the Hearing Examiner earlier this month, suffered a tragic bike accident on the Montlake Bridge on Sunday, injuring his spinal cord. Partially paralyzed, Gendler remains hospitalized with an uncertain prognosis. We wish him a full and speedy recovery.