City looking for clues about mystery plaque

The city is looking for information about a mysterious memorial plaque that’s on the bench outside Tully’s on the corner of NW Market St and 22nd Ave NW. The business wants the bench removed but no one seems to know where the plaque on the bench came from.

A sign that was taped on the bench by the Seattle Department of Transportation reads:

“This memorial plaque was placed without the knowledge of the city. The adjacent business is concerned about misuse of the bench and asked for it to be removed. SDOT is seeking information on the origin of the plaque prior to removing or relocating the bench. Please contact SDOT at (206) 684-8501 or SDOTpermits@seattle.gov”


The memorial plaque is for Edwin K. Davis 3-9-28 to 9-3-88. Marybeth Turner from SDOT tells us, “The bench was installed in 1989 with a permit approved by the Board of Public Works, but we don’t have a record of the memorial plaque. At this point we are looking for information about the plaque, and have not yet made a decision about the bench.”

Updated: Tully’s returned our call. We spoke with Scott Earle, the VP of Marketing, who tells us that the bench was originally placed about 12 to 15 feet from the door and somewhere along the line it was moved within inches of their front door and bolted down. He says that people sit and smoke on the bench all day, breaking the smoking ordinance in the city. “As you can imagine, we get a lot of people complaining,” Earle says, “It’s as if people are smoking inside the store.”

Earle tells us that Tully’s has asked the city to move the bench to either its original location or to an other location. Before doing so, the city is trying to track down information on the origin of the memorial.

40 comments on “City looking for clues about mystery plaque”

  1. Really !!

    How many thousands of $$ are we going to spend on this?

    Mary Turner is this the only way you can justify you job?

  2. Edwin Karl Davis, born Iowa; died 3 Sep 1988 in Vancouver (presuming WA) (age 60). Genealogical sources state that he was married to a [living] Virginia Marie “Ginny” O'Hara.

  3. How the hell could someone misuse the bench? Maybe they are worried about people sleeping on it… but come on… More bigger fish to fry… Another reason I skip Tully's! (I am assuming they are the ones who do not like it.)

  4. so the bench has been there since '89, but now some rogue memorializer is going around sticking plaques on street furniture?

    misuse of the bench?

    maybe desecrating it by inadvertantly pouring some piss-poor coffee on it?

  5. What do you mean you “saw this Monday morning?” The plaque or the paper taped next to it?

    How on earth can Tully's suddenly be worried about the misuse of a bench that's been there 20+ years? Are homeless people camping out on it? Conducting experiments on kittens on it? Standing on it and spreading the gospel of L. Ron Hubbard? Sounds like a crock to me.

  6. I forgot to mention that the widow, Virginia Marie “Ginny” O'Hara, may have been previously married or is later married with the last name “Morten”.

  7. Oh, my god. It's just a plaque, SDOT and Tullys. And not even a very large one. Can we just skip the extra trouble and expense and just leave it there?

  8. Ballardog and Edog, I'm with you! Another thought – is there any better way to get free advertising for T ullys?

  9. oh for pity sake….what's the big deal…….it's WAY better than the grafitti that shows up everywhere!!!!

  10. I have no faith in the cities record keeping. Remember the incident with the “spikes” at green lake? After thousands of tax dollars were spent removing them and investigating the “crime”, the city finally divulged that they put them there…..but forgot.

    Leave the bench and the plaque. City, buy a computer to store all of this information. No more post it notes.

  11. See, I read it as “City looking for clues about mystery plague”

    Which, frankly, would be far more interesting.

  12. Tully's wants to move the bench because homeless peeps are sleeping on it and that is “misuse”. They are respectfully trying to locate the family so they can let them know where the bench is going.

  13. Wait, I'm confused. Was the plaque JUST installed? Or is someone just getting around to worrying about it now. That's not entirely clear.

  14. zipper – thank you! That makes so much more sense than the original article.

  15. you mean they're trying to locate the homeless family so they can let them know where the bench is going? I'm sure they'd be very interested to know!

  16. actually, this was just a study of the behavior of people and the conclusions and assumptions they make when not given all the facts. seems to happen a lot these days. however, i think the reporting could have been a little clearer, obviously several people had problems with the story.

  17. Um, well, yeah. There was nothing in the story about Tully's wanting to move the bench because of sleeping homeless people. The conclusions are made by the facts given. The story reads as the plaque itself is a 'misuse of the bench.' Which got the understandable reactions from readers.

  18. Not solving the problem yet – need to hire a consultant and produce a study first.

  19. I smashed my shin on one of those benches at least 15 years ago…. more like the benches are abusive towards us! =}

    Leave it Tullys. Don't be pussies.

  20. A mystery plaque is what you get when you don't brush your teeth at night. Before you go to sleep on your bench.

  21. Good work btw Shawn. Can you please find my ol' BFF Deltta Dujmovic?

    Yeah, after reading these comments and then going back and reading the article again, it's actually kind of farcically funny how a couple words in the better place make a lot of difference. But the Geeky Swedes are usually pretty good and I got a good laugh from Edog. Proffesor Plum with the candlestick. Harr.

  22. ding ding ding.

    We have a winner.

    Walk by anyday and random chain smoking scruffy character is there. They want the front of their business less comfortable to street people.

    They can make people order something from one of the tables they put out, but not if they are sitting on the bench.

  23. Interestingly, I was at Tully's this afternoon when a cameraman wearing a jacket that said “Fox” on it photographed the two pictures that appear in the article above. Although the article notes that Tully's PR did not respond to calls/e-mails, I also noted that the cameraman made no attempt to go inside and talk to a Tully's manager, although he did interview a street person. Assuming that this is shared news (such as the reciprocal relationship with the Seattle Times), I'm not quite sure I'd call this “fair and balanced” reporting.

    When I spoke to the Tully's folks last week, they said that the homeless have taken over all of the outdoor seating and monopolized all of the tables and chairs, which is why they pulled the tables and chairs. With all of the smoking that goes on at that bench well within 20' of the entrance and the monopolization of that bench by the homeless, the bench has become a nuisance, so they want it removed.

  24. Is this public property? If so, what right does Tully's have more than I do to say whether the bench stays or goes?

  25. The article doesn't say if the Board of Public Works built the bench or just installed it. I'm thinking that the bench was located somewhere else and was sold to the city of Seattle and installed without seeing the plaque.

  26. I think it's not the plaque, it's the bench. Tully's wants it moved for whatever reason, but if it was donated or a memorial, then the polite thing would be to contact the person who paid for it first I suppose.

    Wanna bet they want to sell newspapers there or put in their own seating instead, and this is in the way?

  27. I can totally get that. If I were to buy a coffee there some nice spring day, I wouldn't want to sit next to a smelly, smoking, homeless person while I read a paper and drank it.

  28. Have any of you ever looked at the doors on the old Tully's building? There is about a 1 inch gap on every side of them. Even with the doors closed, a person sitting and smoking on the bench makes the entrance to a coffee shop smell of stale cigarettes. Now, I do not think it is anyones right to judge the customers in Tully's, the quality of their coffee, their reasoning behind not replacing their doors, or their stance on homeless folks, without directly speaking with the employees/customers OF that Tully's- but no one seems to mention the fact that Tully's is not demanding the bench's removal per se: “Earle tells us that Tully’s has asked the city to move the bench to either its original location or to an other location”. Tully's doesn't seem to be concerned that the bench be removed- just MOVED. I know, as a smoker, I stood next to the pay phone at the end of that building, or even stepped around the corner, and have not been hassled…so move the bench there! As far as homeless folks go, I am never one to not give every now and then, but it is deterring to have people asking me for spare change, or a cigarette, every time I walk into an establishment. The people hangin on the bench are solicitiing right in front of the business, and aren't always friendly about it. So I say, go ahead Tully's, move the bench a few feet down- and as far as everyone else goes- lets stop the judgement.

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