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Dori: WSDOT chased out I-405 ‘skate park’ — now drug vagrants moved in

Skateboarders were told to stop using DOT land for a skate park, yet tents are routinely seen next to freeways. (KIRO Radio/Chris Sullivan)

I got this email Wednesday morning from listener Dennis in Redmond about the unofficial skate park that was shut down a while back.

Remember your story about the skateboarders under the I-405 bridge? Well, the DOT did their job by running out those “hoodlums,” and their fledgling skate park has fallen into disrepair. What has moved in to fill the void? Two broken down motorhomes and one truck with a trailer full of garbage. Can you check with the DOT to see if their view has changed? I would be curious. I drive by there every day and it has become disgusting.

What Dennis is referencing is, a couple of years ago, there were some skateboarders who decided to build their own skate park under I-405 in Renton. They brought in some concrete and started building ramps. At the time, they told me that they spent thousands of dollars building the unofficial park.

Skateboarders are sometimes looked at as “skater dudes,” but it’s a great, healthy activity. Young people at skate parks have a lot of camaraderie and support each other. I thought that what they did with the park was all very cool.

It was absolutely ridiculous that the Washington State Department of Transportation would force these skateboarders to tear out this skate park when WSDOT is hands-off drug vagrants who set up encampments on public right-of-way.

Dori: Seattle’s double standard allows drugs, tickets cars close to driveways

I understand that we can’t have anybody and everybody just camping out on public spaces. But WSDOT made the skateboarders move out, and now — assuming our tipster is correct — that same former skate camp has been replaced with RVs and a trailer full of garbage. It was a liability concern to have skateboarders there, but it’s not a liability concern to have people shooting up heroin on every stretch of grass along our freeways and every overpass around Western Washington? If they die on public land, couldn’t their families sue because you didn’t do anything about it?

I said it in 2017, and I’ll say it again now. The fact that our WSDOT is willing to tolerate the rampant drug use but will run out the skateboarders shows that our priorities are so messed up around here. We should have let the skateboarders stay and sent the drug vagrants packing, but instead, it’s always the other way around.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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