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Water Tower Fun Police

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Ah, so the sun came out finally in Seattle. No time to make it to the mountains to climb, so thought I would go for a quick session on the water tower at Volunteer park. The tried and true training ground for the broke Seattle climber.


I get a few laps in, when I hear "Sir! sir! Get down off of there!". I hop down (from a whopping 2ft) and am approached by a Seattle police officer (along with a parks employee hiding in his truck). The cop tells me that the tower is "private" (!!) property and that it is only to be used for its intended purpose. I tell him that I'm pretty sure its public property and that people have been traversing it for DECADES without incident. At which point he says, "Are you arguing with me? I am a POLICE officer, do you want to go to jail?". I say, "No.. I'm just trying to understand this. Why not put a sign up then? To notify people of the rules, because this is the first I've heard of this" To which he replies, "it wouldn't do any good, people will climb on it anyways" (um, OK!?). I head back to my car, while he sticks around waiting for me to leave.


I considered being arrested, just to see if any of this would hold up. Anyone have insight in to this? Are they justified at all? At any given day there is someone traversing the tower, are they for real?!


Anyone want to plan a water tower climb-off-protest in the near future...?



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That totally sux. I wonder if it was the park employee who complained...I don't think a cop would waste his time on something like that on Cap Hill. If it were on Mercer Island though...

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it's definitely public property. that doesn't mean you have free access to it, but unless they explicitly prohibit climbing or have some kind of blanket statement in some kind of use policy, you weren't doing anything even close to illegal.


the answer is knowable, though. find out who the regulating body is for the seattle parks department- probably city council- and see if you can get a straight answer as to who has authority over what. 'cause like i said, unless there's some specific rule, that cop has no more authority to tell you to get off the tower than he does to tell you to get off a sidewalk. that'd be like some cop coming up to the castle at Rocky Butte in portland and telling everyone to stop buildering.


i would have been very tempted to builder up above taser ranger and tell him, "you want me, fatboy, come get me." but we all know effective "fighting the power" seems to be.


too bad i'm not anywhere near seattle, or i'd offer to go wing-man you on it.

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