Patrick Robinson
Pat Whempner, Michael Oxman, and Diane Rolfe are all participants in the West Seattle location for Park(ing) Day.

Park(ing) Day is today; See it at the Junction

One of 37 in Seattle, the awards ceremony is tonight downtown

Park(ing) Day an international event is seeing some local participation today, Sept. 17 in the West Seattle Junction. The installation is directly in front of Easy Street Records at 4559 California Ave s.w. According to the organization's web site "PARK(ing) Day is an annual, worldwide event that inspires city dwellers everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good."

Participants are urged to occupy a parking space (legally by acquiring permits) and decorate it as they see fit. All the people involved will come together at 5th and Pine Streets at 6:00 p.m. for an awards ceremony. A large parking lot at that location has a number of displays set up there.

"Park(ing) Day at the West Seattle Junction is a demonstration project to show what to do with all these parking spaces after we run out of oil and don't have any more cars," said Michael Oxman one of the participants. The Junction space actually occupies three full spaces and has a free speech platform for "Anyone who wants to say anything" as a way to promote more free speech. The display also has graphics depicting moments in the history of the free speech movement, designed by Samuel Stubblefield. They show Hyde Park in London, Berkeley near San Francisco and others. "Today we have this platform set up for political candidates or counter culture people or any kind of advocacy group that feels they want to get their message out, this is a good place for them to come down today and do it," said Oxman.

The display was designed by Pat Whempner who said, "I'm here because I have enough time on my hands right now that I get to do things that I think are important, even though they don't pay me for anything. I think Seattle has a great track record in getting sustainability issues to the fore, and I'm proud of Seattle for committing to Park(ing) Day."

The design is based on Oxman's concept of a "Free Speech Platform". "More than ever, right now is a particularly good time to have this discussion, and I think it's a global discussion, it's not just national. Now that we have the kind of communication technology to have the kind of world we have it's more important than ever to have people understand why we have these First Amendment rights and we should be proud of them," Whempner said.

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