Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee Testimony

homeless and low-income housing at Fort Lawton near Discovery Park

Fort Lawton Redevelopment Testimony

Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee
6/6/2019 2:35:24

Agenda: Chair’s Report; Public Comment; Appointments to the City Light Review Panel, Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Program Governing Council; CB 119507: establishing a one-year prohibition on use of rental housing bidding platforms; Res 31887: adopting and approving an application for surplus federal property at Fort Lawton; CB 119510: rezone property at the Fort Lawton Army Reserve Center; CB 119535: Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan Application; CB 119537: relating to the sale of low-income housing; CB 119531: relating to housing for low-income households.

Phil Vogelzang, President of the Friends of Discovery Park gives testimony at timestamp 9:30:00

Full statement below:

Statement made to Council members Bagshaw and Mosqueda subcommittee meeting
June 6, 2019 9:30 am
Phil Vogelzang
President, FoDP

Since the early 1960s, Friends of Discovery Park has been advocating for the beaches, the meadows and the forests of Seattles largest and most beloved Parks. At the time of its inception in 1974, large amounts of federally owned inholdings remained, which fragmented the Park and limited its full potential. In its original Master Plan, city leaders urged that: “all lands remaining as Fort Lawton be returned to the Park”.

Sadly, despite the best efforts of all of Discovery Parks supporters, this does not appear to be the course this council will elect to take. Decisions such as this are always difficult, and we recognize the many overlapping and conflicting interests this body must adjudicate. Nonetheless, we urge you to consider one last time this decision, which cannot be reversed and will change the landscape of Discovery Park forever.

This Park represents many decades of hard work and advocacy by Friends and many other groups. We ask that all of you to remain committed to the ideals as first put forth by Senator Henry Jackson, Bernie Whitebear, judge Don Voorhees, and Bob Kildall. To create and protect this place that is free from the noise and the clamor of the City, to provide its citizens a place of refuge and solitude.

Not only is this parcel adjacent to the Park. It also is located within a few hundred feet of the riparian zone of Salmon Creek and Kiwanis Ravine, where a small band of great blue herons have been living and nesting for literally thousands of years. They too are stakeholders in this decision. And we ask that you consider their fate.

Friends of Discovery Park would like to thank Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda for her diligent efforts to provide a small portion of the proposed Parks Department maintenance yard for demolition and reforestation. Although only a few acres, this will potentially enlarge the very limited strip of forested land that represents their ancestral home. As decisions regarding the development of this last remaining Fort Lawton parcel proceed, we ask you to remember that play-fields are not habitat. Paved surfaces are not “open space”. We ask you to commit to provide as much real habitat for these animals as we can, by creating as much forested canopy as possible for both the humans that will be living and recreating there and the great blue herons, that have called this place home for millennia.

Thank you.

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