Seattle Courant Archive

No Parking Anytime: Is Sound Transit fighter plane sculpture threatened?

No Parking Anytime: Is Sound Transit fighter plane sculpture threatened?

By Kery Murakami
May 30, 2008

"Unfortunately, the only people who have been moved to write letters are those who object to the sculpture, and the transit agency is seriously considering canceling the project. It has been demoted from "approved" to "not yet approved," and the rest of the station development is now proceeding without the sculpture, until we can demonstrate significant community support," the e-mail says.

Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray told the P-I the status of the proposed sculpture has not changed. "There's no box that says approved or not approved that's checked until the sculpture is sent for fabrication."

He said the agency will co-host a panel discussion about the proposed sculpture June 11, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The meeting will be at the Capitol Hill Arts Center and the Capitol Hill Chamber Arts and Entertainment Committee. An e-mail sent to the sender of the note -- who has the same e-mail address as the one on Mike Ross's Web site -- was not immediately returned.

Ross surprised neighborhood residents with the proposed design at an April 3 public meeting.

To many, the use of fighter jets -- even chopped-up ones -- was offensive in the anti-war neighborhood.

"I liked what you were saying until you got to the fighter jets. It's sad after seeing them on the news to think we'll have the systems of warfare here," said Paulo Nunes-Ueno, at the meeting.

Many in the audience clapped, but Ross tried to explain at the meeting: "We're taking a tool of war and transforming it into something else," he said.

In an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he said a lot of his idea came from the station itself. Descending on either of the station's two escalators, people pass large support beams.

Ross thought of descending through clouds. And in his Brooklyn, N.Y., studio, he worked on drawing clouds, "but it didn't have the force or the tension I was looking for," he said.

He also thought of the idea of soaring. And as he contemplated that, "one of the first things I did was to Google 'I love Seattle because,' and (he found that) at some point, everybody mentioned the rain. Some people love it here because of the rain and the weather.

"Other people say they love 'blah, blah,' but they hate the rain and the weather. I expanded on that in thinking about the environmental surroundings, and the incredibly beautiful natural world. I was also thinking of this being the forefront of technological development with Boeing and Microsoft."

So, as he thought about the "tension between the delicacy and fragility of nature, and the power of machinery," he came up with jet planes -- except cut up with the pieces flowing in air.

Supporters are asked to write a letter or e-mail:

Joni Earl, CEO

Sound Transit

401 S. Jackson St.

Seattle, WA 98104


Barbara Luecke, Sound Transit art program manager

Sound Transit

401 S. Jackson St.

Seattle, WA 98104

Living in the city has its great moments, the overheard conversations that stick in your mind, and the memorable scenes on the street. And, it has its hassles -- like looking for a place to park and seeing signs that say "No Parking Anytime." This is a periodic look at the times that describe life in Seattle. Let us know when you come across one of those moments. Email