Mayor Statement Southwest County Park

Mayor Nelson Statement on Hate Symbols at Southwest County Park
Posted on 05/03/2021
(Edmonds, WA)  On Thursday, April 29th, the City and Snohomish County officials were made aware by an Edmonds resident of spray-painted swastikas on the trunks of several trees that occurred at Southwest County Park.  Unfortunately, this is one of several similar incidents in Edmonds in the recent past. 

Southwest County Park is owned and managed by Snohomish County, yet is located between Olympic View Drive and 76th Avenue in Edmonds. A coordinated effort to address the situation was launched between the City and Snohomish County Parks and the Snohomish County Executive’s office.

The Edmonds Police Department took a police report and the Snohomish County Parks Department dispatched rangers to the areas where the incident happened. After documenting the crime, rangers were able to successfully remove the symbols.

“The use of symbols like swastikas is an act of hate, meant to harass and induce fear in those who encounter them. Such continuing acts of hate, destruction of property, and intimidation to our residents will not be tolerated. We are taking action to ensure these acts don’t take place in our parks and community in the future,” said Mayor Mike Nelson.

The Mayor is instituting the following measures: 

Park surveillance cameras 

The City is researching the placement of night vision “game cameras” on and in trails and parks in the City. The purpose of these cameras in public areas is to deter criminal behavior and to potentially aid in the apprehension of those committing crimes. Signage would be posted at entrance and egress points notifying people using the parks that, due to factors of protection and safety, those entering may be subject to surveillance.  The City will ask Snohomish County to place similar surveillance cameras at Southwest County Park. 

Town Hall

With assistance from the City of Edmonds and various interested community groups, our community will be offered the chance for additional communication and education related to what defines Malicious Harassment (RCW 9A.36.080) and other hate-related crimes. The City will work with invited and interested parties to develop a town hall meeting that will address these types of acts, interested partner responses, and what community members can do to help.

Outreach to Edmonds School District 

The Edmonds Police Department plans to reach out to the Edmonds School District to explore aiding or supporting additional Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) and Diversity and Inclusion training and curricula within the school district. Prevention and education are key to helping forestall the hurtful impacts of these types of behaviors.

Work with community groups 

Edmonds City Departments (including the Edmonds Police Department) will work with community groups, the Diversity Commission, the Youth Council, Snohomish County Parks, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, the Edmonds School District, and other interested public and private groups to positively address the root causes of such hateful incidents and provide education related to diversity and inclusion.