Vandal causes 'hundreds of thousands' in damages to art installations on Shoreline bridges

Shoreline Police are looking for a vandal that caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to an art installation.

Officers said a suspect broke the display on both Interurban Pedestrian Bridges that were the center of a major revitalization project in the city in 2007. Officials with the City of Shoreline said 86 glass panels were shattered on the bridges above the Aurora Avenue corridor. 

Several people use the bridges because they are connect to trails leading to Seattle and it’s a safe path above very busy streets. Public Works closed both bridges as they create a plan to stabilize the glass, then remove and replace it. 

"Some may discount this as just a harmless prank, a kid with a sling shot or whoever that suspect is. But it’s certainly more than that," said Sgt. Tim Meyer, public information officer for the King County Sheriff’s Office contracted with Shoreline Police Department.

"This is such a disappointment and inconvenience," said Charlie Tiebout, who rides his bicycle on the bridges.

"We didn’t expect this at all, so we have to figure out our reroute now," said Marti Verkuilen, who was bicycling with Tiebout. "It’s really sad to see because there’s so many nice changes being done. And then, to see somebody just go and destroy it just for fun, really no reason is very sad to see."

For the last several years, the city spent millions of dollars cleaning up Aurora Avenue and bringing the once abandoned part of town to life. Part of the revitalization project was the art installations on the bridges designed by artist Vicki Scuri in 2007.

"Creating a gateway and sort of an identify for Shoreline because it’s really been sort of a strip-type city without a downtown. And so this was really one of the first attempts to start to define its boundaries and say when you get here, you’ve entered Shoreline," said Scuri.

Investigators recovered several large marble-like glass beads pelted at the panels. Though each bridge has surveillance cameras, detectives said they didn’t catch images of the vandal. Shoreline police said they want to catch the suspect before something worse happens.

"Anyone willing to send a glass bead or a ball bearing into the air and harm those glass panels—what else might they do? So, this is far from just a thoughtless prank. This is a real concern for community safety," said Meyer. "We want to seek the community’s in finding those who are responsible for this and get this bridge back to its glory."

City officials said, "Damages are expected in [the] low to mid hundred thousands of dollars." Scuri said she believes the damages show her it is more than just the artwork that needs repairing. 

"It makes me realize how important it is to knit communities together. And that we need to do more work in our community in order to make everybody feel like they belong," said Scuri.

The city said it could take staff a few weeks to develop a temporary project to remove the glass and a longer long-term project to replace and repair it. There is no set time when the bridges will reopen. In part of their assessment of the damages, officials said, "Another decision point still to be made is to consider reopening the bridge.  To consider this option in the short term, for security and safety concerns, may require removing the damaged panels entirely and installing temporary barriers of some type to prevent to allow temporary access and use to the bridge. If the panels are deemed stable enough to remain in-place until replaced, temporary panels can be installed to prevent additional damage to the glass panels."

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