Marginal Way: The Skate Park Under Highway 99

As a photographer, I’ve always had a great amount of anxiety when approaching a community I’m not a part of. It’s experiences like the one I’ve had at Marginal Way that remind me that this fear is only in my head. From the moment I arrived, I was greeted with smiles and, often, an offer of a cigarette. There is a palpable feeling of support and enthusiasm at the park that I’ve only ever felt at my own family gatherings. Marginal Way is truly special, and it is clear the park’s community understands that.

Marginal Way was founded in 2004 during a frustrating time for Seattle skaters. The city had been demolishing public skateparks, leaving very few options for the skate community. Out of necessity, founders Tim Demmon, Shawn Bishop, and Dan Barnett started their DIY construction of the skatepark in a neglected area under Highway 99 in SODO, a neighborhood located in Seattle’s industrial district. The park has had a notable change since 2004 and has built a sizable community.

I’m a sucker for photographing wild and high-energy environments, and Marginal Way definitely delivered. Moving through crowds along narrow walkways with punk bands destroying the longevity of my hearing is exactly what I wanted when I started photographing this park, but the more time I spent there, the more I was drawn to the quieter moments. Looking closer at these intimate moments, I got the feeling that Marginal Way was just as much a place for gathering and reunion as it was a skatepark.

The month I’ve spent here is just not enough time to do the skatepark the justice it deserves. I’m excited to continue this project and see where it takes me. I want to give a sincere thank you to everyone I photographed at the park for being so welcoming and making this experience so special.


  • Liam Griffith

    I’m Liam Griffith, and I’m a street/documentary photographer based in Seattle, Washington. While the outcome of my photos is important to me, it's really the process of street photography that I’ve fallen in love with. My camera has taken me places I never would have gone without it and has given me a great appreciation for the people and places that make up Seattle. It might be my ineptitude to express myself with words, but I’ve found that photos have the capability to translate some feelings and messages that spoken language cannot. With my photography, I try to capture these meaningful experiences I have on the street to share them with others.

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