News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

Neighbors finish turtle street mural

August 29th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Neighbors who live in and around the intersection of 41st Street and Interlake Avenue North woke up early — some prodded by their excited children — to finish a project that has connected them: a sprawling sea turtle street mural that will not only be a beautiful addition to their neighborhood but also, they hope, a deterrent to speeders.

As the neighborhood is on the flight path to Seatac airport, passengers will get a bright surprise if they happen to look down at the right time. They’ll see this:

Finished turtle

“I’m relieved, but grateful to all the people in the community,” said retired Boeing engineer Bill Lindberg, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost 25 years and who spearheaded the project. “It proved to me how people come together in a community. It takes some coordination and effort. But everybody wants to contribute.”

Lindberg met many new neighbors in the petitioning process set up by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), which required the approval of neighbors who live along streets adjacent to the intersection.

Dozens of volunteers painted until about 7 p.m. last night and started again this morning around 9 a.m. Painting finished with the black outlines at about 4:30 p.m. Neighbors enjoyed a barbecue afterward, while kids jumped off their energy in a giant Blues Clues bouncy ball set-up provided by Brian Eaton, a firefighter who worked a 24-hour shift yesterday and spent all day today painting alongside his wife Kathy and their two young sons, Cooper and Mason, who all painted yesterday.

Turtle overall

Painting process
Cooper Eaton waits for more paint from Michael Sauer, pouring into a container held by Bill Lindberg

Kate Gengo (shown below) moved to Seattle from her native New York city and has lived in the neighborhood for four years. As a single woman, she hasn’t had too many opportunities to get to know her neighbors, who tend to be busy families. But getting involved with the project has changed that.

Kate Gengo

“This is the only way I’m able to meet my neighbors on a personal level,” said Gengo, who is studying to be an elementary school teacher. She is an avid gardener who has chatted with folks on their way to Wallingford Park as she’s worked outside.

Working side by side with her neighbors and their kids on the mural has been a memorable experience for her.

“I love to see kids problem solving, how they think creatively,” she said.

Adults tagged female progeny with special praise.

“The little girls work from dawn to dusk,” said Rachel Marcotte, the artist who came up with the design and who oversaw the chalking and painting. “They’re focused. Workaholics!”

Halle Sauer, 8, who was the first to think of making the design a turtle and who helped paint the turtle’s head and shell, as well as a leaf, has already given the new neighborhood pet a nickname: “Bubbles.”

Marcotte said its real name is “Arthur William,” in deference to Lindberg’s name.
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More turtle mural photos

August 28th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

The sun came out strong Saturday afternoon as volunteers from the neighborhood continued to turn the intersection of 41st Street and Interlake Avenue North into a massive turtle mural.

Families worked side by side in adding paint to the chalk outlines made earlier today, after hours of sweeping, cleaning and pressure washing to make the street canvas as pristine as possible.

Painting will continue Sunday.

Kathy & Mason

Kathy & Mason

Kathy Eaton, (pictured above painting with her 4-and-half-year-old son Mason wearing a turtle on his shirt) has lived in a house on the corner of this intersection for 7 years with her firefighter husband, Mason and older son 7-year-old Cooper. She’s glad for the project that has connected so many of her neighbors, who also hope the mural slows motorists down.

“We see a lot of cars go speeding down this intersection,” she said. “I’ve seen some bikers hit.”

Rebecca & Rachel
Rebecca Aldrich (left) & her mother, turtle artist Rachel Marcotte, a botanical and wildlife illustrator with a degree in design, share a light moment as they mark areas that need to be painted white

Sauers
Wendy Sauer and younger daughter Halle fill in spaces between the lines with white paint

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Street intersection transforms into a colorful turtle mural

August 28th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Our sister site, My Wallingford, gave us the heads-up about the turtle street painting today and tomorrow at the intersection at Interlake and 41st Street, in an area that overlaps Wallingford and Fremont, just a block east of Stone Way.

The streets are officially closed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and tomorrow.

Turtle sketch

Today, the process of turning a street into a mural began in earnest, with dozens of neighbors organized by retired Boeing engineer Bill Lindberg joining Maple Leaf artist Rachel Marcotte (pictured below directing Lindberg, upper right corner) at 6 a.m. this morning to sweep years of leaves and dirt away from the intersection. Marcotte’s son-in-law, Kevin Byers, operated a pressure washer to clean the surface afterward. By 10 a.m., Marcotte and other artists, including her jewelry-making daughter Rebecca Aldrich, were outlining the design with chalk. Later, they will chalk in the colors that can be filled in by volunteers, paint-by-numbers style. The painting will take place this afternoon and tomorrow.

Rachel and Bill

The Neighborhood Traffic section of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has provided oversight and coordination to help bring this street mural to life, including approving the quick-drying, water-based and non-toxic highway paint that will be used for the mural. Grit will be mixed into the paint to make it more durable. The mural is funded in part by the city’s Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund and will be repainted annually — though it won’t be as labor intensive as this initial work.

Rachel Marcotte

Neighbor Michael Sauer rose early with his wife Wendy and their two daughters, 8-year-old Ella and 6-year-old Halle, to help on the project, which has brought the neighbors together.

They came onto the project a few months ago after taking a walk past the ladybug street mural at 49th Street and Burke. They commented on it to Lindberg, saying it’d be a good thing for their own neighborhood and Ella said, “What about a turtle?”

From her initial suggestion, Lindberg moved forward.

“We were all kind of gung ho. Bill listened and his response was, ‘Let’s do that!’” Sauer said.

“Bill knows how to break a huge thing into smaller tasks,” Marcotte said.

“The purpose of this is to acquaint neighbors to each other better and make children feel pride in something they’ve helped create for the community,” said Lindberg, who’s lived in the neighborhood since 1986.

While it’s a coincidence that the design chosen was a turtle, neighbors do think it is a fitting image for the intersection and hope it encourages drivers to ease up on the gas pedal.

“We noticed people slowed down at the ladybug,” Sauer said. “At times during the day people just fly through here. I’m surprised there are not more accidents. In our minds, we feel it’ll make a difference.”

Rebecca Aldrich
Rebecca Aldrich (right)

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Intersection closed today and tomorrow

August 28th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Over the weekend, a turtle will take over the intersection of Interlake Avenue N and N 41st Street — at least in chalk, on the pavement.

The intersection will be closed from 9 a.m. to approximately 7 p.m. today and tomorrow.

The Neighborhood Traffic section of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has provided oversight and coordination to help bring this street mural to life this weekend, which has been months with the making in planning by the neighborhood and Bill Lindberg, the resident who spear-headed the project, and the artist, Rachel Marcotte. The mural is funded in part by the city’s Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund.

In order to prepare the “street canvas,” on Saturday the street will be pressure washed, brush scrubbed and then the design will be chalk out-lined. On Sunday the artwork will be re-chalked, painted and dried. At least 50 neighbors are expected to lend a hand to the work effort.

We’ll be there in a bit and show you the work in progress.

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