Updated: Good Samaritans clean up vandalized Brackett’s Landing Orca sculpture

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    Updated Monday night with additional details. 

    Sunday morning, walkers strolling Brackett’s Landing park were greeted with what many found to be a shocking sight — the much-beloved driftwood Orca sculpture by local artist John Hurley had been defaced by a graffiti artist, who’d added his “tag” in bright silver paint to the dorsal fin. The same graffiti tag in the same paint color was also found on an adjacent picnic table.

    Later that same day, Salish Sea Brewing owner Jeff Barnett and his 6-year-old son Evan came across the sculpture and attempted to clean up the dorsal fin. “We used a Mr. Clean “Magic Eraser,” water and a little bit of elbow grease,” Barnett said.

    We initially reported cleanup was completed by an unidentified Good Samaritan, but readers tipped us off that the work was done by the Barnetts.

    “This was not for glory or credit,” Jeff Barnett said. “I used it as a learning lesson for myself and my son.”

    A bit of the silver paint residue remains, and Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite said the city will be contacting John Hurley to repaint and complete repairs on the Orca.

    The much-loved Orca has been a fixture at Brackett’s Landing since 1994. The backdrop for thousands of photos of families, children and scenery, it is arguably among the most photographed, popular and yes, loved, pieces of public art in the city.

    Just how loved became apparent four years ago when an errant wind gust blew the Orca over in March 2015. At the time, parks staff found it badly deteriorated, beyond repair, and made the reluctant decision to send it to the landfill. But no sooner had word of this broken than the community rose up in a chorus of heartfelt appeals to save the Orca.

    Artist John Hurley was brought in to assess the damage. While he couldn’t guarantee success, he decided to give repairs a try. After weeks of removing more than 30 pounds of rotten wood, replacing it with an estimated 90 pounds of concrete mastic, then smoothing, shaping and repainting, the Orca was returned to its former location at Brackett’s Landing, where another generation can enjoy it.

    It’s not the first time that a piece of public art in Edmonds has been defaced with graffiti. Just last year, vandals hit the Andy Eccleshall mural showing the mills on the old Edmonds waterfront. Eccleshall made repairs right away.

    — Story and photos by Larry Vogel

    7 Replies to “Updated: Good Samaritans clean up vandalized Brackett’s Landing Orca sculpture”

    1. Let’s not call a vandal a graffiti “artist”, please. That person doesn’t earn such a respectable title with such bad behavior.

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    2. Look to the hip-hop and rap crowd, they are a bad influence. Not just nubile any longer. This is the real revenge they heap upon this whole society, influencing the young in a very bad way, using their street cred (a.k.a. criminal history) to be a bad influence on kids, all kids. Even your church-going son or daughter will be influenced via social media. Kids need heroes and this country is supplying the wrong kind! That’s how you get gangs, graffiti, foul language, criminal acts, violence, lots of violence. Look to the “artists” prancing around on a stage, listen to their words, I mean you, parents out there. Yeah, you don’t want to hear this, do you? For today’s young people, it’s too late, they have already been influenced. Rock music, by comparison, sounds like church music. Too political for you, Ms. Wippel? But it needs to be discussed. Fortunately, other forums are more receptive than your one-woman show.

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      1. Elena — you made two posts that were similar, apparently figuring I was censoring you due to the delay. I have approved the second one only because I had to guess which one you would prefer. As I have said before, sometimes I am away from my computer and there is a delay in approving comments. This morning, I was taking my grandson to music class. The only censoring that takes place is if someone violates our commenting policy or if I judge it is inappropriate for this forum. If you don’t care for that approach, you or anyone else are welcome to take your comments elsewhere.

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    3. No problem, Ms. Wippel, I know how it works. I have a journalism background myself, bachelor’s from CWU and worked at the Yakima Herald. Back to the graffiti, not just on the dolphin at Brackett’s Landing, but all over (I see it during my daily walks). Back to the influence from the rap & hip-hop crowd. I just want to pick out one of the “artists,” Snoop Dogg, because he has become so famous & mainstream, appears in commercials and is seen on photographs with well-known people, politicians, celebrities etc. He grew up without much of a father. He was in the Crips gang (ever heard of the Crips? One of the worst, I’ve been told.). He was doing / dealing cocaine. Maybe they didn’t have meth in those days, I don’t have time to research that right now. Fast forward to his notorious album “Doggystyle.” Who produced it? Not hard to guess — Larry Flynt. Do I have to tell anybody who Larry Flynt is? His last wife died of AIDS. He is a porn king, famous especially for his magazine ‘Hustler’. (cartoons about child molesting = ‘Chester the Molester). Snop Dogg’s album is about doing all that nasty stuff that makes a lot of women cringe and guys perk up their ears. In British English, it refers to having group sex in public. In American English, it refers to….. well, look at the album cover: There is a woman with her head in a doghouse, her behind sticking way out and up, with something inserted in it, I don’t know what that is. And on another cover, there is Snoop Dogg himself behind a woman on her hands and knees in the same position, except she is looking straight into the camera with her tongue hanging out (or something hanging out of her mouth). I am sure a lot of women or even some men would like to ignore this, but you are playing into the hands of people like Snoop Dogg if you do this. I remember many years ago some people were upset about the ‘Black & Blue’ album by the Rolling Stones. Now, that seems harmless in comparison. If you have a kid who is 30 or older, it’s hopeless. But if you have a kid of 12 or 13, you may still be able to have some influence. Or not. Too busy, I know. And who wants to deal with that, anyway? Snoop Dogg can surely afford much better attorneys than you…. Where are the class-action lawsuits? Why is there no law prohibiting this? Remember under former Pres. Nixon they. haggled about porn? They lost. Former gang members who publish hardcore porn disguised as “music” win. Congratulations! Have a nice day!

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    4. “For today’s young people, it’s too late…” One might wonder how much direct exposure you have to young people. I have coached and taught very many very fine young people, the older of whom are raising wonderful families, and the younger of which I’d trust with my life – like the one who is earning his second MD, or the one looking for work in a not-for-profit organization. Then there were the young men, about 20, who came with an older craftsman to install my front door, working in an apprentice program and doing very fine work and a super clean-up. Or look at some of the stories in these e-pages: high-school sports, scholarships, Eagle Scouts…

      Come to think of it, my grandmother predicted the downfall of everything because of jazz, and her mother was very skeptical about waltzing… At he beginning of Plato’s “Republic” Socrates and several “old guys” sit down for drinks and talk, and one of them laments how “the youth of today” just isn’t what it was. From this we can gather that the golden age of youth must have been abut 500 BC.

      Sometimes, when I look at the corruption in government and business I’m tempted to think that perhaps it’s the “old people” with their pseudo-morals and self-righteousness that we need to watch out for.

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    5. Technically the Orca is graffiti. All the gum stuck to the walls of the Seattle Market Theater is beloved and frequently photographed. Indigenous People’s Day scribbled all over Columbus Day.

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