City of Seattle revokes Lincoln Park Permit

On Tuesday, October 27th, Low Pressure Promotions received an email from the Seattle Parks and Recreation Deputy Superintendent Christopher Williams, stating the previously permitted cyclocross event scheduled for Lincoln Park has been revoked by the City of Seattle.
In short:  The cross race at Lincoln Park has been cancelled by the City of Seattle, and Lincoln Park CX is cancelled.
Low Pressure Promotions had followed every detail to a T in the application and permitting process including the following:
  • Application submitted well ahead of the requested 2 months before event date requirement
  • Paid all application fees and rental fees in full
  • Provided the necessary insurance and named the City of Seattle as an additional insured party
  • Received confirmation from the Parks and Rec department
  • Received actual permit to hold event from Parks and Rec department

Additionally, Low Pressure Promotions gave adequate notice to park users PRIOR to the event, by placing physical signs in the park, posting messages on the West Seattle Blog Forum, and alerting local residents of the West Seattle Community.

Currently, as of Tuesday afternoon, we are working on an alternative venue close to the city of Seattle.     We will post new information regarding the Saturday race by noon Wednesday, Oct 28th.

Below is a series of FAQ’s to help guide you given this circumstance.   Please be patient, as we are working on a positive outcome!

Q:    Why has the City of Seattle revoked the permit?
A:    The City of Seattle gave three main reasons for revoking the permit.   Please note that we are in NO way placing blame on our friends who put on the previous CX race in 2003 at Lincoln Park.   We respect their work, and believe the feedback from the community after that race was very one-sided.   That said, the city sighted three reasons for pulling the permit; the permit has been revoked because of the following (verbatim):

  • The department commitment in 2003 not to permit future cyclecross events in Lincoln Park following an event which caused significant damage and destruction to the park.
  • Correspondence we received from the coammunity expressing concern with your planned event. We provided you with copies these e-mail.
  • The potential for unreasonable levels of destruction and damage to what is considered to be a natural area park.

Q:   Who wrote correspondence to the City?
A:   A UW Professor and Boeing employee.  We have given the authors the benefit of the doubt, and chose not to publish their names, phone numbers, or home addresses.    The emails are public record and can be requested in full using the email addresses below.   Here is a link to one of the letters.   Think your voice doesn’t matter when writing to local, state, and national government?   Think again.

Q:   I pre-registered for the race, will I be refunded?
A:   We are trying to re-locate the venue.   We will have an answer by noon on Wednesday, Oct. 28th.   In the event you want a refund, please contact us and we will absolutely refund your race entry, or apply it to a potential new race which is still to be determined.

Q:  What will this mean for MFG point series?
A:   This will be determined after we’ve figured out the extent to which we can land an alternative venue
Q:   What can I do to help?

A:   Currently, the Superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department, as well as Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen, have only heard feedback from citizens expressing–very candidly–why the permit should be revoked.   While it is clear that this decision at Lincoln is final, you can provide your feedback to this news by writing three folks:

  • Tom Rasmussen, Seattle City Council Member, Chair of the Parks and Recreation Department:
  • Timothy Gallagher, Superintendent Seattle City Parks and Rec:
  • Christopher Williams, Deputy Superintendent Seattle City Parks and Rec:

Q:   As you choose a new venue with literally 48 hours to let the CX community know if a new venue is on or off, what priciples are you using to make your decision?

A:   Venues are very difficult to find.   We were first offered options from the City of Seattle which were not suited for Cyclocross.   We were then offered a great option, but the date was for Sunday, November 1st, and we specifically chose to yield to Seattle Cyclocross’s race at Maris Farm.    As we continue to look for an emergency venue, we look to previously established relationships which we have forged with City, County, and State Park relationships.


  1. This is ridiculous. So sorry to hear about this. As a West Seattle resident this makes me very sad to see the ignorance of a few individuals affect so many.

    I’m writing the email right now to the city. EVERYONE else needs to do the same!

    Brian Tucker – Starbucks/SCCA Cycling

    • Brooks
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 2:48 pm

    I encourage everyone to CALL and hopefully their office will get the idea. 206-684-4075. I just called and was told Christopher Williams was the one who made the decision, and was forwarded to his voicemail. I left a nice message asking him to call me and explain why this decision was reached at the last moment. I also encourage everyone to go train there as much as possible! :)

    • Sally
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 2:48 pm

    Best of luck in locating a new venue on such short notice.
    I’ll also be writing a an email to the city.

    If you fellas need any help or extra assistance, please let us all know.

  2. Very much upset about this. I’m also a West Seattle Resident (right next to Lincoln Park actually) and one person’s letter (which was very UNfactual) getting the permit pulled really upsets me.

    My email to the city is on it’s way right now.

    Brian Snyder – Thumbprint Racing

    • Nijmegen
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 2:57 pm

    Someone please refer them to the Silverlake Park and Rec.

    • Joe
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 3:02 pm

    Sure hope this does not bode poorly for Woodland Park later in the year.

    • mark
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 3:17 pm

    Call the City of Everett and schedule back at Silver Lake. They were very accomodating and anxious to have us.

    • Matt
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 3:18 pm

    Yo guys. I just wrote a letter too. This is crazy. Hopefully everyone tells these guys what they think. I live in West Seattle and events like this are good for everyone.

    Matthew Clark – Joe Bar Racing

    • Eric Langlais
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 3:27 pm

    I was really looking forward to a race closer to home. Good luck in finding a new venue. Seriously, what a rediculous thought that two people can cause such a tidal wave of stupidity.

    I just sent my email off to the city.

    • Jason
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 3:43 pm

    Reactivism at its finest. I fully expect the email I just sent to Parks to result in an immediate about-face by the City and restoration of your permits.

    Jason – Joe Bar

    • JD
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 3:47 pm

    This is a real bummer, but you guys should be applauded for how incredibly professionally you are handling this. Great communication and great effort to find another venue and/or refund entry fees in short order. You rock!!!
    JD –

    • Karen T. Field
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 3:50 pm

    Actually, I walked my dog through the park shortly after the race and the race did tear up the trails and hurt native plants. So it wasn’t just one person ranting to the City. I think it was one of those wet, muddy days and there was damage left after the race.

    Some other organization just held a bike race at Westcrest Park in West Seattle recently (lots of wooded trails there) and it was a dry day (no mud) so no damage resulting. I think it was a combo of the bikes and the weather back in 2003.

    • Dan Doran
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 3:57 pm

    I agree on the professionalism point that JD just made – far more professional then cancelling a permit that was legally obtained just days before an event which draws hundreds of people from around the region. I’ve really enjoyed racing with MFG and I really hope to see you all somewhere this weekend. I’ve also sent my letter off to the persons you listed. The email you posted was so frustratingly inaccurate, and so poorly characterizes the cyclocross community and cyclists in general…

    thanks again for all of your hard work
    Dan Doran – First Rate Mortgage/ASC-Redline

    • Dan Doran
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 4:02 pm

    Karen T – the point is that the cyclocross community can work with the parks department to structure our courses in such a way that everybody leaves happy – cancelling permits the week before a huge event (after they were carefully and legally obtained) is inappropriate. Finally, Westcrest park was a dry day; the trails there would have been more injured had it been rainy; and more to the point, that event was atypical for cyclocross, and the course (while fun – thanks AVA/counterbalance!) not a true “cyclocross” course. The greatest problem with the email that was sent to the city, however, was the suggestion that our event “closed” the park to other users – this was patently false.

    • Mick
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 4:26 pm

    I emailed them and just spoke with Christopher Williams. I conveyed my disappointment, chided them for a reactionary response. I talked about the fun+family+health combination that cyclocross races are and that this is how I want my city parks to be used. He essentially agreed with the MFG account of the history of this and stated that the event should never have been permitted in the first place, that this is on them. He did say that they were not under the impression that this was going to be an event involving over 500 people and that SPD needs to be there for traffic/parking of an event of that size.

    It did not sound as if Lincoln Park for this weekend was a possibility. I tried to impress on Mr. Williams that cross racers do care about the environment and asked that for the future, that the City Parks work hard to accommodate us. I made a special point of telling him that the event is open to spectators – and playground users etc. – and that my family plans are affected by their decision to revoke the permit.

    Kudos to the MFG crew for staying positive/professional on this.

    Second Ascent

  3. I just sent my letter as well. I included the PDF assembled by some East Coast race promoters (Spectrasport LLC…they’ve put on some huge races) that shows the real after effects of cyclocross on parks. Check it out here (the nav is horrible…click on “After Effects”):

    I hope this is resolved in a positive fashion.

    • Nathan
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 5:49 pm

    Mr. Williams should talk to the park rangers at Silver Lake Park. They took one look at the “damage” from last Sundays SCX race, chuckled and said “you won’t even be able to tell that there was a race here”. They loved the fact that the park was being used, that the parking lot was full and the lively atmosphere that is Cross.

    Going back to that fateful weekend and subsequent action that was taken back in 2003, the local Cross community came out in force and put in 120 hours of volunteer labor in one day. The park ranger was amazed by the turn out and the amount of work that our group put out that day. He said it was the best turn out he had ever seen for a trail maintenance party. Despite that we still lost the park because of a few people complaining about a couple areas of grass that were “damaged”. A few people went back in the spring and you couldn’t even tell that we had ever been there.

    I look forward to whatever the MFG boys come up with.


  4. I work for the City of Lakewood and would like to know if you would like me to inquire about the availability of Fort Steilacoom Park. I know it is pretty far removed from Seattle, but it is a proven venue and may be available.

    • Daniel
    • Oct 27, 2009
    • at 8:53 pm

    After reading that e-mail I’m fairly certain the professor doesn’t teach English or anything involving writing of any kind.

    • T Crow
    • Oct 28, 2009
    • at 7:44 am

    Hats off to MFG for the PRO nature of their reaction to the bomb that the City of Seattle has just dropped. I was looking forward to my first cyclocross race this weekend. Bummed.

    • mark eamer
    • Oct 28, 2009
    • at 8:36 am

    Unbelievable. I’m a resident of West Seattle and this is embarrassing for my neighborhood. Here’s the letter i sent Christopher (and cc’d the two other folks). Good luck finding another venue.


    As a resident of West Seattle I find your justification for cancelling the West Seattle Cyclocross race embarrassing to my neighborhood. You cancelled it with four days notice which leaves everyone in the lurch. Personally, I convinced two friends from Portland to come up for the race and now I’m sitting in Seattle with egg on my face because of your decision. Not to mention the promoters are scrambling to find another venue and the hopes of creating a unique event in the heart of West Seattle is gone.

    When I looked at the three reasons that you gave for the revoked permit it was clear you completely ham-fisted this decision. Two of the reasons you would have known about when you issued the original permit and the third one (letters from concerned locals) were rants that were not based on facts – but opinion.

    In order to really protect Lincoln Park why don’t you put a fence around the perimeter? That way the park can stay in its natural state and you won’t have to issue any more permits that you’ll later revoke.

    • Jim
    • Oct 28, 2009
    • at 10:16 am

    Just sent my note to all three contacts above.

    I also added RIchard Conlin, who’s the council president. He’s up for re-election, and is on Cascade’s list of endorsed candidates. It can’t hurt.

    I also asked them for a clarification on the Woodland Park GP. I want them to know that there is more local support than they apparently realize. There are several local sponsors who probably care and more than a couple city residents as well.

    Hope this helps!

    • Mo
    • Oct 28, 2009
    • at 10:16 am

    I, too, emailed the three Parks officials last night. I also decided to write to the Mayor.

    I received an email from the Mayor’s office within the last hour stating that they are asking the Parks & Rec. Department to “promptly address and respond directly” to my letter. I am awaiting a response from Parks.

    Mo, resident & cross racer
    West Seattle

  5. I called the Parks office at the number listed above and left a message last night.

    My stance was as a visitor to the city, who has already made other arrangements for a special holiday in Seattle (event tickets, lodging, etc), and whose plans had just been derailed. I was upset but calm and clear, much like MFG has been in their communication. Important!

    I also gave them my phone number and offered to put him in touch with our city parks department who are supportive of cyclocross events.

    I’m glad to see the CX community rallying around this travesty of public space management.

    • Mick
    • Oct 28, 2009
    • at 3:51 pm

    Here is the “official” response from City Parks Timothy Gallagher:

    Dear Cyclocross Participant:

    Thank you for your e-mail expressing your disappointment with the decision not to allow this weekend’s cyclocross event to take place in Lincoln Park.

    Several years ago, a permitted cyclocross event at Lincoln Park drew many complaints from the community because of damage to the park and an event that was simply too large for the park and the neighborhood to accommodate. At that point, after holding community meetings, we made a commitment not to hold cyclocross events at Lincoln again. Unfortunately, that notation did not get into the Lincoln Park event file. The event sponsor worked in good faith, but our staff failed to review the full implications of an event of this size.

    As the sponsors noted, they expected 500 to 600 participants and an equal number of spectators. Events of this size, clearly beyond the design and capacity of the park, would at a minimum require review by the City’s Special Events Committee to evaluate parking, traffic, and other impacts.

    We regret the need to revoke the permit, but with the commitment made and the size of the park, we must reiterate that Lincoln Park is a site noted for its natural qualities and small-scale recreation opportunities.

    A cyclocross event at Lower Woodland Park scheduled for November 15, 2009, will take place, and we have issued the permit and waived the fee in consideration of the inconvenience to the cyclocross participants. We are committed to supporting future cyclocross events, but at locations designed for that type of recreation activity.

    We look forward to a long and positive relationship with the cyclocross participants and sponsors.


    Tim Gallagher, Superintendent
    Seattle Parks and Recreation

    “Creating community through people, parks, and programs.”

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