Nature and Derelicts of the Duwamish River

Duck in Duwamish Marsh
Duck in Duwamish Marsh

The Duwamish river is a conundrum of Nature and Industry.   That industry part has not been nice to the river with blight abound.   Despite restoration projects like the small park I visit, there are still a considerable amount of  derelict boats, buildings and people on her banks.   The duck above is floating on the high tide that has filled the recreated marsh and inter-tidal zone.  He and his family bask in the beauty that has been formed here.  However, just a glance to the side one can see the looming industry over this idyllic place.

Mega crane on Duwamish
Mega crane on Duwamish
Reclaimed Marsh on Duwamish
Reclaimed Marsh on Duwamish

A little further behind the trees can be found the remains of old maritime ships.  A crow has found them an perfect place to watch his surroundings.

Crow roost on unknown #1 ship
Crow roost on unknown #1 ship

Some are being used as a temporary dock to moor barges, some are still active and one appears to just be rotting attached to an old dock.  Pictures tell a thousand words, so here is a slide show of these derelicts.

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On the side of the rotting dock is a row of box cars.  In one of my previous posts I talked about them and a shed that was behind them.  That day I was getting shots of the Osprey nest on a light pole on the adjacent property.  “The Shed” creeped me out.  It smelled like something died in it and had lots of rubbish inside a slightly open door.  I did not have the nerve to open it and left wondering if someone died there.

Today I had gotten my courage back up and as I walked down the box car row I saw the shed between them.   Low and behold, someone had cleaned out the debris and removed the door.  You can see this shed has some sort of valves and piping and the stink was pretty much gone.  Some of the homeless person’s junk is still around but no dead bodies.   Thank God!!

Shack on dock - cleaned up from homeless storage
Shack on dock – cleaned up from homeless storage

More evidence of homelessness and human dereliction could be found on the paths in the park.   A pile of clothing on a tarp is a sad reminder of this human condition.   I also, went back to a place where I had found a dug out homeless home years ago.   This was with mace in hand but I found they had been routed and only the dug out area left.  The roof and belongings long gone.   Someone has use it recently to enjoy a fire pit but that was all.

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Industrial blight does not end on the river, as I walked down the bike trail next to West Marginal Way, I spotted an old empty derelict building.

Derelict building across from Park
Derelict building across from Park

This is right next door to the new Longhouse – Museum that was built by the Duwamish Tribe.  Believe it or not, this tribe of Chief Sealth (which Seattle is named for), is not recognized by the US government.  They were almost official at the end of the Clinton presidency but when Bush entered office he threw out that ruling.  They have struggled to prove they are real to this day.   Recently, some litigation has gone their way and perhaps in the near future the tribe of this river will be official.

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  1. WHAT: What Crows Talk About
    WHEN: March 1, 2014, Talk 1-2pm, Pop-up Art Show from 12-4pm
    West Seattle artist, author & photographer, Judy Lane, offers her observations and images taken on the Pacific’s NW Salish Sea to tell the story of a community of crows. Talk 1-2p. Free.
    Lane’s Pop-Up Art Show, 12-4pm, features prints of crows and other birds from the Duwamish area, eagles, orcas, & ravens that represent our beautiful Northwest. A taste of an art show called Crows and Ravens: Myth and Magic.
    Judy Lane is the author of the delightful children’s book “Keiko and the Crow”. It tells the story of her dog Keiko’s interaction with Crooked Feather Girl and the other crows that inhabit the shorelines and forests of one of Seattle’s beautiful parks.
    Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center
    4705 W Marginal Way SW, Seattle, WA 98106

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