Lake City’s newest street mural is amazing

Aerial photo of the mural.

Mural at 32nd Ave NE and NE 140th Street. From SDOT: “The large piece is a Tlingit ocean monster that was used by the Shatx’Heen Kwaan and the smaller designs are Chilkat blanket sections. Artist Romel Da Vinci Belleza’s intentions are to uplift native youth and honor his Indigenous heritage. Photo: Stuart Danford”

Street murals are wonderful, and the newest one in Lake City is one of the best in the city. Designed to be part of the Little Brook Stay Healthy Street, Romel Belleza’s mural is the product of a partnership between SDOT, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the community organization Lake City Collective.

Street murals may have a traffic calming effect, but they are more than that. They are a way for a community to define a space that otherwise looks like every other intersection. Now it is special, and it tells a story.

“This is my way of giving back to other communities who respect our struggle for our Tribal Sovereignty and that we are the children of the land and the oceans we fish from and the true owners of this territory where people don’t acknowledge this,” said Belleza in the city’s press release.

The process of creating and celebrating the mural is also a big part of the benefit. It is a community-building exercise full of positivity about their neighborhood. Congratulations to everyone involved. SDOT is collecting feedback on the short Little Brook Stay Healthy Street through November 17.

More details from SDOT:

Lake City Collective and neighbors have advocated for traffic calming and safer crossing improvements in the neighborhood for a long time. During the pandemic, they asked us, after hearing feedback from community members in a pilot project, to have a Stay Healthy Street in their own neighborhood.

We worked closely with Lake City Collective to apply for the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery Grant Program, which provides funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies to transportation agencies that are partnering with community-based organizations to reimagine streets, implement ideas, and support ongoing community efforts that meet the needs of populations disproportionately harmed by COVID-19.

Seattle was one of ten cities selected for the grant earlier this year. Since then, Lake City Collective has brought joy, recreation, and community connection to the space in a time when that is much needed. They have hosted movie nights, wellness classes, gardening, and cultural events, such as a mariachi concert.

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