Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Victor Steinbrueck Park

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Here's a slideshow from downtown Seattle's Victor Steinbrueck Park, a little viewpoint area next to Pike Place Market and perched over the doomed Alaskan Way Viaduct. It seems like this is the edge of a steep bluff, but in fact the park forms the roof of a vast municipal parking garage.

Victor Steinbrueck, the park's namesake, was a local architect who was instrumental in saving Pike Place Market from one of Seattle's many ill-conceived urban renewal schemes. Now it's the park itself that's occasionally threatened by redevelopment schemes.

Unfortunately the park has had a reputation as a dangerous corner of downtown. In recent years there have been shootings and stabbings in the vicinity, and the the park's long been known as an open air drug market at all hours, day and night. Some would see this as a need for more police and harsher laws, but I tend to see it as a sign that prohibition breeds crime. I haven't been back to Seattle since Washington passed Initiative 502, the marijuana legalization measure, and I don't know if anything's changed since then. The "recreational industry" has had supply and price problems and it's probably just too new to have had an impact yet, but it'll be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few years.

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