Friday, March 12, 2021

Occidental Square Park Seattle

The Weyerhaeuser headquarters, offered for sale in 2020.

The old information kiosk, now gone.

Photos above taken in 2017

Photos above taken in 2018

Occidental Square (117 Washington St) is a city park covering 0.6 acres at the center of  Pioneer Square in Seattle, entirely paved with bricks & concrete pavers.  It was cobbled together when 2 blocks of Occidental Avenue S were closed to vehicular traffic & joined with half a city block behind the Grand Central Building, that had been a parking lot.  That happened in 1971, during the general renovation of Pioneer Square, Seattle's oldest neighborhood.  Dozens of mature shade trees now stand in graveled wells.  The park has 4 monumental sculptures (2 are totem poles) carved from cedar in the northwest coast native style.  A tasteful children's play area was added in 2019.  Construction of a wood & glass pavilion began in June of 2020 & was expected to be completed in Spring 2021.  It will cover a 30-by-90-foot area with a glass canopy supported by timber beams & steel columns. This sleek shelter will have an information center & can be used as an outdoor classroom, stage, or covered seating area. Events, such as a weekly crafts fair, live music, food trucks & art installations are normally scheduled during the summer, when you can also find tables & chairs, ping pong tables & a giant chess set during more quiet times of the week.  The Grand Central Building, a historic building with ground floor retail, opens onto the park.  Facing the park on the opposite side, is an elegant modern building of brick & glass built by the Weyerhaeuser Company as its new headquarters in 2016.  Many shops & restaurants can be found nearby.  Some flank the single block of Occidental Ave, now known as Occidental Mall (between S Main St & S Jackson St) closed to cars, nicely paved in brick & lined with historic buildings.

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