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Originally published Friday, November 14, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Parks commission strips plan to prosecute for nudity

Seattle's parks commissioners have told Seattle Parks and Recreation to drop its pursuit of a new rule that would make public nudity in parks subject to prosecution for criminal trespass.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Nudists, relax.

Seattle's parks commissioners have told Seattle Parks and Recreation to drop its pursuit of a new rule that would make public nudity in parks subject to prosecution for criminal trespass.

The commissioners, who were going to take up the issue in January, abruptly decided to act at their regular meeting Thursday night in the face of strong opposition to the idea.

A crowd supporting the right to be naked outside appeared at the meeting, said Dewey Potter, parks spokeswoman.

"This is how we learn and find out what people want," Potter said.

For now, Potter said, the commissioners instructed the parks department to monitor for a number of months compliance with permits issued for parks events.

That means people must abide by federal, state and local laws, Potter said.

Public nudity is not illegal unless it is an affront to someone else or causes alarm, she said.

Parks officials had acted on the proposed rule in part because of concern about a World Naked Bike Rides event on July 12, one of three this year held to draw attention to oil dependency.

The cyclists got a permit to gather at Gas Works Park, where they stripped, painted themselves and rode to Seattle Center.

Nudity is not illegal "per se" under state law and the city doesn't have a law regulating nudity, according to a parks memo on the now-dead proposal.

In telling parks officials to back off their proposal, the commisioners also asked the department to look into the possibility of a clothing-optional beach in the city.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or smiletich@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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