Gridlock 2002

JEROEN VAN WESTENkunst en landschapCV@

Gridlock / 2002

Seattle is Rain City, sitting at the Puget Sound, high mountains in front and in the back, the Atlantic Ocean an endless source of clouds coming in. Rain. It is a hilly city, one would expect rivers and creeks … and there were, … where are they now? That was the question that set off a search for old topographical maps, visits at the watermanagement, hiking with maps of the sewersystem, looking for remnants of a stream. Most streams were partially blocked, filled in without an alternative, the city grew fast and still does! Yet, in the first month we lived in Seattle, a whole series of houses collapsed in a mudslide. I found out that Thornton Creek was more ore less complete, even though hiding in the sewer system under a giant parking lot , and …it was a ‘dead’ stream.
I left my archive of where to find Thornton Creek’s course in the hands of Buster Simpson, back then artist in residence for the City Council, working on awareness of water in the city. A wonderful artist. 15 years later, re-visiting Seattle, half of the North Gate parking lot now is a beautiful housing area with a daylighted creek. Thornton Creek is open and ecologically active again.