Edmonds to accept religious artwork

By Janice Podsada

Herald Writer

EDMONDS — Reversing the city’s earlier position, Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson said Wednesday the city will accept a watercolor print that depicts a trio of New York City firefighters huddled in front of the American flag and three faint crosses in the background.

The print, a gift to the city from former police chief Tom Miller, was deemed inappropriate by the city attorney for public display because it contained religious imagery.

Haakenson said Wednesday that the city will gladly accept Miller’s gift. Haakenson has asked that a wall at the main fire station in downtown Edmonds be specifically designated for the public display of artwork with religious overtones.

"It will be right on the main entrance into the fire station, where we can put donated art from any faith or denomination. It’s where we’re going to display art donated to us," Haakenson said.

But city attorney W. Scott Snyder cautioned Monday that if city officials choose to accept a painting with Christian symbolism, it will then be responsible for accepting representational art from any religious segment — even symbols that some might consider offensive.

"You can’t choose what’s religion and what’s not," Snyder said Monday.

Miller said he was pleased by the mayor’s decision.

"I’m really very appreciative for what the mayor has done and with such quick action," Miller said Wednesday.

"I think it is a very appropriate location," Miller added. "The fire department is the appropriate place for this painting."

Miller, an Edmonds city councilman and former police chief, purchased the watercolor print from the Main Street Gallery in Edmonds after learning that city officials planned to give him a plaque commemorating his years of service to the city. Miller said he wanted to give the city a gift in return.

Miller did not seek re-election to the council because his work will transfer him to Southern California early next year.

The artist, Denise Cole of Brier, said she was pleased to learn that the city will accept her work after all.

"It’s not that I care about the sale," she said. "I’m really happy the mayor and the people are willing to do this. I think people could see that this political correctness has just gone awry."

Cole said she is donating 20 percent of the proceeds from the print to a World Trade Center victim’s fund. She plans to produce 500 of the limited edition prints.

Miller, who paid $374 for the print, said he will present the watercolor print at the regular meeting of the Edmonds City Council on Dec. 4.

You can call Herald Writer Janice Podsada at 425-339-3029 or send e-mail to podsada@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

911 received multiple calls reporting a fire at Marie Anne Terrace apartments early Monday morning, Feb. 6, 2023 in Everett, Washington. There were no injuries or fatalities. (Everett Fire Department)
Fire damages Everett apartments, displaces 10

The fire at the Marie Anne Terrace apartments Monday night displaced four families and caused extensive property damage.

A rack with cards bettors can use to choose their own numbers to purchase lottery ticket on a counter at a market. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Been to Auburn lately? That’s where $754M Powerball ticket was sold

This is only the second time a Powerball jackpot has been won in Washington.

Granite Falls
Man shot near Granite Falls; assailants at large

Two suspects fled after shooting a 33-year-old man in a motorhome Tuesday morning, according to police.

Photo by David Welton
A federal grant will help pay for the cost of adding a charging station to the Clinton ferry terminal.
Federal money to help electrify Clinton ferry dock

The Federal Transit Administration awarded state ferries a $4.9 million grant to help electrify the Mukilteo-Clinton route.

Community Transit is leasing a 60-foot articulated BYD battery electric bus this year as an early step in the zero emission planning process. (Community Transit)
Community Transit testing 60-foot electric bus

The agency leased the BYD K11M for $132,000 this year as the first step in its zero-emission planning process.

Angelica Montanari and daughter Makena, 1, outside of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County Everett-Central Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Amid patient woes, CHC of Snohomish County staffers push for a union

Doctors and nurse practitioners are worried about providers being shut out from clinical decisions, which hurts patient care.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of education.
Public school enrollment still down, even as rural districts grow

Smaller districts in Snohomish County seem to be recovering more quickly — and gaining students — than their urban counterparts.

Exterior of Arlington high school (Arlington High School)
Marysville schools employee accused of raping Arlington High girl

Police said Christopher Carpenter sexually assaulted a teenager he was training while working at the Boys and Girls Club.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Democratic Latinos form a caucus, hospital staffing bill clears a hurdle

It’s Day 31. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Most Read