At some point in our lives we have all been inspired to make a difference in the world – whether in how we relate to family and friends, how we contribute to our community, or even how we might have a positive impact in the ‘great big world’. Curiosity is the spark that ignites this feeling. Hope, coupled with creativity, is what keeps it alive. It’s during the difficult times, that it’s hard to stay motivated. It’s hard to keep the spark lit – to believe that, despite our circumstance or what seems like the impossible task before us, we can, in fact, make a difference. For most of us, it’s at this moment, when we start to question our abilities and no longer believe what we know in our hearts to be true. It’s when we are most vulnerable to slipping into hopelessness and losing faith that anything we do, will really matter. It’s the time most likely for cynicism, apathy, or indifference to settle in.
John Beal, (1950-2006), was a man that chose to be hopeful. A disabled Vietnam veteran, facing significant personal challenges, he chose to believe that he could make a difference in his community. For nearly 30 years, he focused his energy on restoring Hamm Creek, a polluted, drainage ditch behind his house. With the realization of this creek connected to the Duwamish River, he established a river patrol to cite industrial polluters. Beal left his mark by simply deciding, in his words, ‘to leave this place better than it was when I found it’. Beal, along with many volunteers he helped inspire, restored Hamm Creek and helped draw attention to the need to clean up Seattle’s river, the Duwamish. View video…
Trying to carry on Beal’s legacy, Cass Turnbull (Plant Amnesty, TreePac) and members of the Seattle GreenSpaces Coalition, have been working diligently to save Myers Parcel, a 30+ acre property whose wetlands serve as headwaters to Hamm Creek. By trying to protect this publicly-owned space from privatization, preserving it as a greenspace, Turnbull and others are making a difference by seeing the possibility of place, like Beal before them. Saving this land as a public resource would be a big step in the city’s commitment to mitigate climate change by preserving tree-canopy, help contribute to the effort to restore the Duwamish River and potentially meet social justice goals by providing park space to the low-income neighborhood surrounding it. (Note: Sadly, Cass Turnbull, passed away in early 2017. Seattle Green Spaces Coalition and the Seattle Nature Alliance remain committed in making sure Myers Parcel turns into the Park Cass envisioned).
The Seattle Nature Alliance has sent a letter to Seattle City Council, urging them to reconsider selling the property. We individually have signed the petition. We urge all of our members and anyone who reads this post, to consider signing the petition. You can also send TreePac’s prewritten letter to Seattle City Council , or to write your own by Monday, February 29th.
LATEST UPDATE :
For the past two plus years many groups throughout the city have worked to preserve Myers Parcels, the last large property in Seattle that could be preserved as a green space and potentially developed as a Park. After originally proposing to sell the land off to developers, we are happy to report that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has reversed his decision to sell Myers Parcels. First reported by the West Seattle blog.
The Seattle Nature Alliance is very grateful that the Mayor had the courage to do the right thing and reverse his decision. Many thanks to everyone who signed the petition, wrote to the Mayor or to the City Council. Thanks for the individuals & organizations across the city who tirelessly worked on this issue, especially Cass Turnbull, Mary Fleck, Seattle Greenspaces Coalition and TreePac. A special thanks to Council member Lisa Herbold who took the time to really engage and listen to the community. Many thanks to great reporting by Crosscut and InvestigateWest, the Seattle Times, KUOW, KPLU, and of course, our own West Seattle Blog.
Send your own letter to the following:
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or if you want to just send a postal-mail letter to the City Finance Dept:
Attention: Daniel Bretzke
City of Seattle FAS
P.O. Box 94689
Learn more about Myers Parcel
Importance of Saving Greenspace
Learn more about John Beal