Jim Ellis Freeway Park – Seattle

Sometimes you don’t get what you expect when you go out taking pictures.  For a few years now I’ve been fascinated by the concept of Seattle’s Freeway park which has existed as a lid over the freeway since 1976.  Through out most of my life my only interaction was passing beneath it when travelling through Seattle, completely oblivious to its existence.  That all changed when I stumbled across it with Google maps.  The idea of this hard edged concrete park intrigued me enough that I decided to make a trip to photograph it.  I live several hours away in Canada so the easiest thing was to stay overnight in Seattle and then get up in the morning and photograph it.  A wrinkle in my early morning low light idea was that while I packed my tripod I managed to neglect taking any of my tripod plates to actually mount a camera to it.  As I write this I have only seen the digital photographs that I took the film remains undeveloped.  The park itself is around 5 acres splayed along the line of the freeway and abutting a number of buildings.  In this manner it seems less like a cohesive park and more like a number of similarly landscaped open courtyards.  There is one area near the southern end of the park that is different and the main feature.  This deep concrete canyon is the largest element and includes waterfalls.  However as I was visiting in February if the water features are still operational they were likely turned off for the winter.



In the easily accessible public spaces the park was clean and well maintained but just as it serves as a lid over the freeway it also covers a separate living space for people on the edges of society.  I’m not sure how many people call the nooks and crannies beneath the park home but once you are looking there seems to be evidence everywhere.

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It’s an interesting location both for its history and its unique look

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