Public Information Officer's Records, 1942-2013  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Parks and Recreation
Title
Public Information Officer's Records
Dates
1942-2013 (inclusive)
Quantity
5.6 cubic feet, (14 boxes)
Collection Number
5802-07
Summary
Records of the public information officer for Seattle's Department of Parks and Recreation.
Repository
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
98124-4728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-233-7807
Fax: 206-386-9025
archives@seattle.gov
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.

Languages
English


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Department of Parks and Recreation administers Seattles parks system and community recreation programs. It maintains over 6000 acres of city parks, 20 miles of shoreline, and 22 miles of boulevards. The department operates the citys 25 community recreation centers, the Woodland Park Zoo, the Seattle Aquarium, nine swimming pools, a tennis center, and more than 400 smaller facilities. In addition, it is custodian for four public golf courses, three moorages, and several other athletic and cultural facilities.

In 1884 David Denny donated a five-acre tract that was the site of a cemetery to the City of Seattle, stipulating that it be designated a public park. The site, initially named Seattle Park and later renamed Denny Park, was the first ordinance-designated public park in Seattle. The ordinance that accepted the property (Ordinance 571) also made allowances for its conversion from a cemetery to a park and included a provision that three Park Commissioners be appointed to oversee the conversion. At that time, the City of Seattle was operating under its 1869 charter which provided for a relatively small government of 13 elected officials and three other officers, in whom all municipal authority was vested.

Legislation in 1887 (Ordinance 874) created the Board of Park Commissioners, consisting of three members to be appointed by Council, and who served three-year terms. This unpaid body was charged with all management responsibilities for Seattle's parks and was expected to report to Council as often as each quarter, making recommendations for improvements and for the acquisition of new properties.

In 1890 the City of Seattle adopted its first home-rule charter. The citys population had expanded from 3533 in 1880 to nearly 43,000. The new charter mandated a dramatically larger city government composed of 34 elected officials, 13 departments, and six regulatory commissions, including a Board of Park Commissioners. A park fund was also established, consisting of: proceeds from the sale of bonds issued for that purpose; gifts; appropriations made by Council; and 10% of the gross receipts from all fines, penalties, and licenses. The new Board of Park Commissioners, appointed by the Mayor, consisted of five paid ($300 per year) members who served five-year terms. Although the Board had all management responsibilities for Seattle's parks, including the authority to appoint a superintendent and to negotiate for property, Council retained the authority to purchase property.

In 1892 the Board appointed E. O. Schwagerl, a noted landscape architect and engineer, to be the second Superintendent of Parks. During the four years that he held the office, Schwagerl developed the first comprehensive plan for Seattle's parks. This plan may have guided Assistant City Engineer George F. Cotterill. Cotterill organized volunteers to construct 25 miles of bicycle paths, the routes of which were utilized by the Olmsted Brothers in their 1903 city-wide plan for a system of parks and boulevards.

In 1896 Seattle adopted a new home-rule charter. This charter redefined the Board of Park Commissioners as the Park Committee: five unpaid appointees who reported annually to Council. In addition, all management responsibilities of the parks, including the authority to obtain new properties, were vested with the City Council. The Superintendent of Parks position was eliminated and its responsibilities were assumed by the new Superintendent of Streets, Sewers, and Parks, one of the three members of the Board of Public Works.

In 1903, City Council adopted the Olmsted Brothers plan to expand and develop a system of parks and boulevards. At the same time, the Charter was amended, re-establishing the Board of Park Commissioners and giving it the kind of independence that park commissions in the metropolitan cities of the East enjoyed. While Council retained the authority to approve the purchase of property, the Board assumed all management responsibilities of the parks, as well as the exclusive authority to spend park fund monies. In addition, all park-related authority was removed from the Board of Public Works, and the Board of Park Commissioners elected to appoint a superintendent. Public support, both for the implementation of the Olmsted plan as well as for the new, empowered Board, was substantial. In 1905 a $500,000 park bond was passed; followed by $1,000,000 in 1908; $2,000,000 in 1910; and $500,000 in 1912.

In 1907 the Superintendent was joined by a new staff position, the Assistant Superintendent, and in the following year the first directorship, Playgrounds Director, was created. In 1912 the first full-time engineer appeared under the title Chief Engineer, later to be changed to Park Engineer. By 1922 a Head Gardener had been appointed, and two more directorships created: the Zoo Director and the Bathing Beaches Director.

In 1925 the charter was amended such that no more money could be spent in the acquisition of park properties than was available through the park fund. In that same year, the Park Engineer was replaced by a new position, the Landscape Architect. In 1926 the Board abolished the position of Superintendent, distributing that position's responsibilities between the Head Gardener and the Landscape Architect. In 1927 the position title of Park Engineer was re-established, but with the duties and responsibilities of the old superintendent, while the new Junior Park Engineer directly managed engineering and construction activity.

In 1926 Mayor Bertha K. Landes appointed a Municipal Recreation Committee, comprised of Park Board members, School Board members, and a representative of the community at large, to analyze ways in which they could cooperatively contribute to the municipal recreation program. The Committee submitted its report to the Mayor in January 1928. The report detailed which facilities were provided by the Park Board and which by the School Board; how the facilities could be more efficiently utilized; and what additional facilities were required.

A ten-year plan for the Department of Parks was announced in 1931. This plan, based upon a projected population for the Seattle metropolitan area in 1940, was a program of development aimed at making better use of existing properties, adding to those properties that needed more space, and acquiring new properties in those parts of town that were experiencing growth. Much of this plan would be realized by the Works Projects Administration later in the decade.

In 1939 administration of playground programs and bathing beaches was consolidated under the newly created position. In 1940, with the opening of the West Seattle Golf Course (the citys third municipal golf course) the position of Golf Director was established. A 1948 Charter amendment required the Board of Park Commissioners to appoint a park superintendent, and the position was to be excluded from the classified civil service.

A Charter amendment in 1967 reconstituted the Board of Park Commissioners as an advisory body to the Mayor, Council, the renamed Department of Parks and Recreation, and other City agencies. The amendment placed the fiscal and operational admistration of the department under the control of the Superintendent of Parks, who was now appointed by the Mayor to serve a four-year term. The specific duties of both the Superintendent and the Board, as well as the number of members and term length for the latter, were to be prescribed by ordinance. Council passed an ordinance in 1968 (Ordinance 96453) which defined the Board as a seven-member body with three-year terms of service.

The $65 million Forward Thrust bond was approved by voters in 1968. By 1974, with matching funds, interest, etc., it had grown to 92 million dollars in working capital; by 1976, over 40 new properties had been obtained by the Department of Parks and Recreation utilizing these funds. Forward Thrust and the Seattle Model City Program together supported the largest expansion of the Park system in Seattle history. These programs funded more than 70 new parks and park facilities.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Records in this series include news releases, public feedback, park complaints, and general parks management materials. The main focus of the records is on public relations on a wide variety of park related issues, most notably materials about off-leash areas in parks for dogs. Much of the material comes from the papers of Dewey Potter and spans a large period of time from the 1980s through the 2000s. There is a small amount of information from 1942 and 1976.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item and date], Public Information Officer Records, Record Series 5802-07. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1 Assorted Mailings & Pamphlets 1990-1990
1 2 Newsletter 1990-1990
1 3 Longfellow Creek Photos Spring 1991-1991
1 4 Snowstorm Photos December 1990-1990
1 5 Black & White Photos taken by Catherine Anstett 10/6-10/8 1990-1990
1 6 Generic Slide Show Materials 1991-1991
1 7 CFF Slide Collection Narrative 1992-1992
1 8 Greenbelt/Natural Spaces Handout 1990-1990
1 9 King County Open Space Bond Issue 1989-1989
1 10 Greenbelt Lollipop Trees 1994-1994
1 11 Property Owner's Handout Nov. 1991-1992
1 12 Acquisition Update Feb. 13 100 Acres 1992-1993
1 13 College St. Ravine 8/15 1991-1991
1 14 Photos from Greg Davis Event 1/26 1993-1993
1 15 Larry Phillips Tour 2/25 1992-1992
1 16 Belltown P-Patch 7/27 1991-1991
1 17 Holly's Photo Sep. 1990-1990
1 18 Mekwar-Mooks NA 1990-1990
1 19 Catholic Hill Link Ribbon-Cutting 1991-1991
1 20 Madison McGilvra Clearing 1991-1991
1 21 Slide Production Info 1986-1986
1 22 College St. Ravine Terrell Photos Jan. 1990-1990
1 23 George White Photos 1990-1992
1 24 Westlake & NE Queen Anne Greenbelts 1990-1990
1 25 Fairway Estates Photos 1995-1995
1 26 Thornton Creek-Watershed Aerial 1997-1997
1 27 Candidate Forum 10/21 1991-1991
1 28 Art Wolfe-Pelly Place Photos 1995-1995
1 29 Assorted Color Xeroxes 1994-1994
1 30 News Releases 1991-1997
1 31 Dogs: Board 1995-1996
1 32 Off-Leash Area Evaluation 1997-2007
1 33 Off-Leash Area Pilot Extension 1997-1997
1 34 Dogs: Other Cities 1996-1997
2 1 Dogs: SEPA 1995-1995
2 2 Dogs: Off Leash Area Proposals 1994-1995
2 3 Dogs: Park Planning 1995-1995
2 4 Dogs: Historical Materials 1942-1994
2 5 Dogs: Behavior & Safety 1995-1995
2 6 Dogs: Waste & Health 1994-1998
2 7 Dogs: Enforcement 1996-1997
2 8 Dogs: Implementation 1996-1996
2 9 Dogs: Pilot Costs 1996-1997
2 10 Dogs: Environmental Checklist & Process 1997-1997
2 11 Dogs: Final Council Decisions 1997-1997
2 12 Dogs: Final Pre-Project Survey 1996-1996
3 1 Dogs: Council/Schedule 1995-1997
3 2 July Meetings 1997-1997
3 3 Dogs: Volunteer Park Pilot 1997-2000
3 4 Dogs: OLAVP AH Site Search 1997-1998
3 5 Dogs: Rec & Leg. 1997-1997
3 6 Dogs: New Sites 1997-1998
3 7 Dogs: SCL #3-S. Cloverdale & MLK Jr. Way 1997-1999
3 8 Dogs: VPOLA: I-5 Site 1998-1999
3 9 Dogs: Southwest Seattle 1995-2000
3 10 Dogs: Agreement 2000-2000
3 11 Dog Park Chronology & Court Documents 1997-2001
3 12 Greenlake Park Safety 2002-2008
3 13 Greenlake PSE Pipe Replacement 2012-2012
3 14 Woodland Park Zoo Docs 2010-2011
3 15 Soccer Goal Safety 2007-2007
3 16 Meeting Agendas/Materials 2007-2007
4 1 Unique Complaints 2003-2007
4 2 Citizen Inquiries 2002-2010
4 3 Communications Plan 2001-2001
4 4 PR & Marketing 1998-2004
4 5 Public Involvement Policy 1998-1999
4 6 Park Guide Materials 2005-2006
4 7 Park Guide Materials 2005-2006
5 1 Website Info 2004-2011
5 2 Civil Defense Siren MOHAI 2012
5 3 Volunteer Services 2013-2013
5 4 Parks Overview 2007-2008
5 5 Parks Meeting June 23 2009-2009
5 6 Parks & Photography 1999-2012
5 7 Assorted Live Issues 2007-2007
5 8 Hempfest 2007-2007
5 9 Public Involvement Policy 2001-2006
5 10 Benches & Plaques 1995-2006
5 11 Benefits of Parks 1994-1997
5 12 Ball Field Lights 2000-2005
5 13 Bathhouse Greenlake 1999-2000
5 14 Beach Fires 2000-2003
5 15 Awards 2002-2006
6 1 Athletic Fields Newletter 1997-2003
6 2 Seward Park Audubon Center 2003-2003
6 3 Arts Policies 2000-2001
6 4 Arboretum Lakeside Trail 1999-1999
6 5 ARC/DPR Newsletter 1998-2003
6 6 Artist in Residence 2002-2003
6 7 Aquatic Ecology 2004-2004
6 8 Arboretum 1999-2007
6 9 ADA Audit 2007-2007
6 10 Advertising 1995-2004
6 11 Aquatics 1999-2010
6 12 Betty Bowen Viewpoint 2004-2007
6 13 Birds 2006-2006
7 1 BMX Biking 1998-2003
7 2 Brochures 2001-2003
7 3 Cal Anderson Park 2003-2003
7 4 Cameras 2008-2009
7 5 Camping Everett 1998-1998
7 6 Camp Long 2002-2006
7 7 Carkeek Park 2003-2013
7 8 Capehart Housing 2004-2005
7 9 Cascade Park 2004-2004
7 10 Chinese Garden 2004-2005
7 11 Citizen Participation 1999-2001
7 12 Community Centers Levy Program 1999-2000
7 13 Code of Conduct 2008-2010
8 1 Colman Trees 2002-2006
8 2 Comfort Stations 2000-2000
8 3 Complaints 1997-2005
8 4 Conservation Futures Citizen's Committee 2003-2003
8 5 Conservation - Water 2001-2001
8 6 Conservatory 1998-2008
8 7 Corporate Sponsorship 1994-2003
8 8 Assorted Correspondence 1997-2008
8 9 Coyotes 2008-2009
9 1 Customerville 2007-2008
9 2 Customer Service 1987-1997
9 3 Cyclocross 2009-2009
9 4 Dangerous Dogs 2001-2003
9 5 Daybreak Star 1998-2006
9 6 Dogs 2002-2005
9 7 Earthquake 2001-2001
9 8 Email Policy 2001-2001
9 9 Encroachments 1996-2005
9 10 Environmental Stewardship 2001-2001
9 11 Endangered Species Act 2000-2000
9 12 Other Events 2001-2005
9 13 Flags 2004-2009
10 1 Gasworks Park 1998-2008
10 2 Gasworks Park 2003-2003
10 3 Gasworks Park 2007-2007
10 4 Gasworks Park 2010-2012
10 5 Geese Letters 1999-2002
10 6 Geese 2003-2004
10 7 Geese 2007-2008
10 8 Gifts/Donations 1998-2002
10 9 Goats 2003-2005
10 10 Golf 1999-2005
10 11 Gray to Green 1998-2001
11 1 Greenlake Closure 1999-2004
11 2 Lake Water 2000-2004
11 3 Greenlake Trees 1998-1999
11 4 Green Seattle Partnership 2004-2005
11 5 Gypsy Moths 2000-2006
11 6 Hamilton w/ Ford 2000-2007
11 7 Health & Fitness 2004-2004
11 8 Hempfest 2006-2009
11 9 Heritage Trees 2003-2003
11 10 Incident Reports 2009-2013
11 11 Joint Athletic Facilities Development Program 2002-2002
11 12 Japanese Garden 2000-2005
11 13 Kalakala 2002-2003
11 14 Ken Bounds 2001-2001
11 15 Kerry Plan 2001-2001
12 1 Kiosks 1999-2000
12 2 Kubota 2004-2004
12 3 Lake Washington Boulevard Vegetation Management 2005-2007
12 4 Lawn Bowling 1995-1998
12 5 LEED 2003-2005
12 6 Levy Renewal 1991-1999
12 7 Logos 1995-2005
12 8 Lost & Found 2000-2000
12 9 Loyal Heights 2005-2006
12 10 Lynn St. Park 2002-2003
12 11 Magnolia Vegetation Plan 2000-2002
12 12 Managing for Results (Austin Notes) 1993-1995
12 13 Mariners 2001-2001
12 14 Marine Reserves 2002-2002
12 15 Marketing 2006-2007
12 16 Meetings Training 2004-2004
12 17 Millennium Trees 1996-1999
12 18 Mounger Pool 1998-1998
12 19 Monolith 2001-2001
13 1 N30/WTO 2001-2001
13 2 Nudity in Parks 2006-2008
13 3 Neighborhood Plan 1998-2000
13 4 Noise 1999-2000
13 5 Non-Park Use of Park Land 1996-1999
13 6 Olmsted 2000-2010
13 7 P-Patches 2001-2001
13 8 Paper Reduction 2005-2007
13 9 Performance Management 1993-1993
13 10 Sand Point 1999-2004
13 11 Lincoln Turf 2003-2003
13 12 Strategic Action Plan 2009-2013 2008-2008
14 1 Seattle Park & Rec & Seattle School District Joint Use of Facilities Agreement 2010-2015
14 2 Sustaining Seattle's Parks 2011-2011
14 3 Rejuvenating Neighborhoods & Communities Through Parks 2011-2011
14 4 Program Budget Review 1997-1998
14 5 Sand Point Park: A Final Statement 1976-1976
14 6 Martha Washington Park: Final 1981-1981
14 7 Historic Resources Plan 2004-2004
14 8 Maintenance Info Sheets for Public Art in Seattle Parks 2000-2000
14 9 Business Plan Budget Issues 2001-2002

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Parks
  • Parks for dogs--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Parks--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Corporate Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Parks and Recreation