Activists propose rainbow sidewalk in Capitol Hill



SEATTLE - A group of gay community activists in Seattle wants to put a rainbow-colored crosswalk in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.


The group, Social Outreach Seattle, was formed last summer. 

They want to paint a crosswalk in Capitol Hill because it's the epicenter of the gay community in Seattle. 

Shawn Knittel, the founder of the group, said the rainbow is a symbol of inclusion that Seattle should make visible to people who visit.

"Whenever you see that rainbow anywhere, it means everyone's welcome," Knittel said. "And that's basically what this project would say, for tourists, for people who live here, that this neighborhood is inclusive."

Knittel got the idea from a rainbow crosswalk that was painted in West Hollywood, Calif., for Gay Pride week.

He said putting one in Capitol Hill isn't a political statement, but a way of creating a sense of place.

"We really want our allies to know that they're welcome," Knittel said, "and this neighborhood has always coexisted gay and straight."

Other Seattle intersections have been painted in the past. A large ladybug was painted in one Wallingford intersection about 10 years ago. It has become a way of bringing neighbors together.

"We're friendly people, we like to hang out together," Wallingford resident Carrie McClinton said, "and we have other neighborhood-type events because of this."

Reaction in Capitol Hill is mixed.

"I could do without it," Charles Heaney told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Frank Field on Capitol Hill. "I think (the white crosswalk) is easier to see."

"I think it sounds great," Mary Kay Roberts told Field. "We need more color."

A city engineer said that the project can be done, but the city won't pay for it or maintain it.

The crosswalk would cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Social Outreach Seattle hopes to make it happen by Pride Week in June.