News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

‘Suicide fence’ project approved

June 4th, 2009 by Geeky Swedes

The Seattle Landmarks and Preservation Board has approved the “Aurora Bridge Fence” project. The fence is meant to deter jumpers from committing suicide. Construction on the $8.1 million project is slated to begin early 2010. The Queen Anne Community Council has opposed this plan for several reasons. According to a letter they sent the Landmarks and Preservation Board earlier this year, they believe that the fence will not prevent a significant number of suicides, the public dollars spent on the project will be wasted and adding the fence would greatly destroy the appearance of the bridge.

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Officer escapes Aurora collision unharmed

February 28th, 2009 by Beth

Seattle Police report that an officer escaped serious injury on Friday night, after a drunk driver slammed into his vehicle while he was responding to another accident on the Aurora Bridge. Seems like a rough weekend to be near Aurora, so stay safe out there, Fremonsters.

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Lane missing from Aurora Bridge

January 1st, 2009 by Geeky Swedes

We read in comments recently (our apologies, we don’t remember who posted it) that the snow plows and sanders had inadvertently eliminated a lane from the Aurora Bridge. Today, we drove over the bridge and snapped a photo:

Going in either direction, the reflectors and lines separating the second and third lanes have vanished. We found some drivers were swerving a bit, confused if there were really three lanes or two. (Reminds us of that Seinfeld episode when Kramer adopted a stretch of roadway and converted it into wide lanes, throwing traffic into chaos.) The same thing happened on the West Seattle Bridge. SDOT says it’s a priority to replace the reflectors and paint, so stay tuned.

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Police officer ‘not at fault’ in Aurora suicide

December 12th, 2008 by Geeky Swedes

On November 3rd, a man fell to his death from the Aurora Bridge just as an officer made a last-ditch attempt to handcuff him to a safety line. The man was clinging to the outside of the bridge (this archive story includes a photo), which police say created an extraordinary situation that required action to try to save the man’s life. A Seattle Police investigation concluded this week that the death was indeed a suicide, not an “in-custody” death.

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Fremont in the news

November 20th, 2008 by Beth

As reported by the P-I (note: there is a photo that may be disturbing to some readers), the man who fell to his death from the Fremont bridge has been identified, and a police investigation of how the situation was handled is to come. An excellent write-up of the incident is up at PhinneyWood, including information from the SPD Blotter about an off-duty officer who successfully negotiated with a suicidal woman on the bridge just a few days later.
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PhinneyWood also reports that members of the Seattle Mountaineers Club will be stopping in at the Fremont Library tomorrow at 12:15 during an urban hike between seven different library branches. If you get a photo of the hikers getting their passports stamped, be sure to share them in our Flickr pool!
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Last, but not least, Seattlest reports that the Seattle Department of Transportation is seeking an artist for a residency in one of the towers of the Fremont Bridge. While the artist can’t live in the tower, it can be used as studio or inspiration space, and is open to established professional artists living within 100 miles of Seattle. The artist is expected to create a work of art with the $20,000 budget, and present it publicly as the culmination of the residency. Applications will be accepted until Jan. 5, 2009.

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Police review handling of suicide

November 19th, 2008 by Geeky Swedes

A decision by Seattle Police that was made to “save a man’s life” is being investigated. On November 3rd, Derik Loso stopped traffic along the Aurora Bridge during the morning commute as he contemplated jumping off the “suicide span.” After nearly two hours, one of the police negotiators reached out and tried to handcuff Loso and pull him back onto the bridge. Moments later he fell to his death. Sources inside the police department tell the Seattle Times that this action is very unusual. Sean Whitcomb of the Seattle Police told the Times that the attempt stemmed from concern that the man was tiring and could lose his grip. Once the review is complete, King County Executive Ron Sims will decide whether or not to hold an inquest.

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Working under suicide bridge

November 3rd, 2008 by Geeky Swedes

“Sawit” wrote this comment on TheStranger.com after that site posted a photo of the suicidal man clinging to the bridge (see our story below):

“I work in the building under the bridge and this was what I saw as I walked to work this morning. I saw the man clinging to the bridge and could see people watching him from my desk for an hour after I arrived. I wish there was a better ending for him and I hope they put a fence up soon. We have seen so many suicides there that now it doesn’t really affect my co-workers and I anymore. I don’t want to be the kind of person who thinks ‘oh, just another jumper.’”

There’s no official word on whether the man survived, but given the circumstances and witness reports, it’s highly unlikely that he did.

Update: As R points out in comments below, the man died.

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Another person jumps from Aurora Bridge

November 3rd, 2008 by Beth

Updated: A man in his mid-30s jumped from the Aurora Bridge this morning (Monday) despite the best efforts of police and fire to talk him down. Officers arrived at 7:15 a.m., closing southbound lanes and creating long delays. The man jumped just before 9:30 a.m. Rescue crews attempted to resuscitate him, and he was rushed to the hospital. There’s no word if he survived.

As you know, a plan is in the works to install an 8-foot suicide fence along the bridge. WSDOT has held public meetings to work toward a mutually-agreeable design (that’s one of the early proposals above), and the state legislature is slated to consider $5.9 million in construction funding during the next session. If it stays on schedule, installation will begin in early 2010. More than 40 people have jumped to their death from the bridge in the last decade — the suicide place of choice in Western Washington.

Update: The Stranger has a photo of the person clinging to the side of the bridge moments before he jumped. (Don’t click if you don’t want to see it.) The Stranger says many people witnessed him fall.

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Band writes song about Aurora Bridge suicide

August 29th, 2008 by Geeky Swedes

When the Seattle band Massy Ferguson releases their upcoming CD, Cold Equations, it will feature a song called “The Ride” about a friend who jumped from the Aurora Bridge in 2006. “Don’t let it stall on Fremont Falls/just go, finish it out,” the song says, which musician Ethan Anderson said urges people not to give into the bridge. “I guess we’re asking people to press on,” he told the PI. Massy Ferguson will donate all proceeds from the song to Crisis Clinic, a local suicide prevention organization. The Tractor Tavern will host the band’s CD release party on September 13th at 9:30 p.m.

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