Marysville hopes cameras deter vandals at skate park

MARYSVILLE- Skateboarders here will soon be caught on camera, but not to showcase their talents.

The city plans to install video cameras at the skate park at 1050 Columbia Ave. as early as this spring or summer to deter vandalism.

Mill Creek and Arlington are considering using cameras for security at their skate parks as well, officials said.

For each of the cities, vandalism is the issue. In Marysville, it’s been an ongoing problem since the park was built in 2002 at a cost of $542,000.

Graffiti tops the list, along with other incidents such as knocked-over portable toilets and damaged fencing, parks director Jim Ballew said. No arrests have been made.

Last summer, the city closed the park for two weeks to repair damage, one of several times in recent years the park has been shut down.

The vandals “are not representative of the entire user group; it’s just a handful of people,” Ballew said.

“Usually it’s bikers and gangsters” doing the graffiti, said skater Michael Chamberlain, 13, of Marysville, a regular at the park. The vandalism occurs at night as “taggers” hop the metal-bar fence when no one’s around, skaters complain.

Many park users would like to see the park lit at night so they can skate late, which would also deter the crime, they said. Now, the park is open from 9 a.m. to dusk seven days a week.

Ballew said the city considered, and rejected, lighting the park at night primarily because it would shine into nearby homes and late skaters would generate noise for those neighbors.

The cameras are expected to cost about $6,500, Ballew said. They’ll be focused on the park 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Infrared technology will allow the cameras to record images in low light.

“I don’t really like it,” said skater Tito Jack, 16, of Tulalip. “I think we should be able to have some privacy.”

Some skaters like the graffiti. “I think it looks good,” Chamberlain said.

The city has worked hard to curb a recent rise in graffiti citywide. The city passed a law last month that allows it to order property owners to cover or remove graffiti within 48 hours.

Removing graffiti quickly is essential to discouraging the activity, city officials say. In many cases, it’s a form of communication between gang members, they say.

Graham Callan, co-owner of the Unknown Skate Shop and Art Gallery in Marysville, agreed. But he’d rather see lights than surveillance.

“I say focus on the gangs,” he said.

In the future, when funds become available, Marysville would like to connect the cameras to the Web so the park can be seen live on home computers, Ballew said. Woodinville in north King County has a webcam for its skate park.

In Mill Creek, officials are studying other options, such as lighting and fencing, as well as cameras, Police Chief Bob Crannell said. They plan to address the issue in the next few weeks, he said.

Arlington has had only occasional problems with graffiti, city spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said, and cameras are probably a year or two away.

In Marysville, at least one skater won’t mind the cameras.

David Noriz, 34, makes the trip about three times a week from his Granite Falls home to skate at the park.

“I think it’d be a good idea,” he said. “I personally would like to see (the vandals) get caught because one ruins it for 50 kids.”

Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Separate road rage incident ends with fatal shooting in Lake Stevens

A man, 41, died at the scene in the 15300 block of 84th Street NE. No arrests have been made.

Nursing Administration Supervisor Susan Williams points at a list of current COVID patients at Providence Regional Medical Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of Providence patients in medical limbo for months, even years

About 100 people are stuck in Everett hospital beds without an urgent medical reason. New laws aim for a solution.

Lynnwood man arrested, released on $25K bond after road rage shooting

Deputies arrested the suspect, 20, for investigation of first-degree assault on Tuesday.

Mt. Baker visible from the summit of Mt. Dickerman on a late summer day in 2017. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Hornets pester hikers on popular Mountain Loop trails

“You cannot out run the stings,” one hiker wrote in a trip report. The Forest Service has posted alerts at two trailheads.

Most Read