Last month, on a sunny afternoon in Hing Hay Park, the International Examiner had the pleasure of sitting down with Bill Lee to learn more about his role as an employee of the InterIm Community Development Association. As a park concierge, Lee oversees Hing Hay Park and the Danny Woo Community Garden and has been a part of the neighborhood for 31 years. Here’s what he had to say.
International Examiner: How did you find yourself at InterIm?
Lee: I was working out here delivering supplies to restaurants. And, Uncle Bob and them would order a pig for the pig roast and I took it up there. So it started with me delivering them a pig, and after that it came around to me helping them in the garden.
Johnathan Chen saw me in a bad mood one day and said he would let me help take care of the chickens and then Rachel [Duthler] wanted me to work there.
IE: What do you want people to know about Hing Hay Park and the Danny Woo Community Garden?
Lee: The Danny Woo Garden is a place for the elders but it’s a place for the neighborhood, too. A lot of the military veterans that have had PTSD, and other people, like it up there because there’s a peacefulness to it. And, it’s a nice place just to sit. It’s also a place to celebrate, especially if there’s something going on here. And now, remembering Uncle Bob.
IE: What brought you to Seattle?
Lee: The Navy. I was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan and they transferred me from an aircraft carrier to a minesweeper.
IE: So after the navy, you decided to stay here?
Lee: I like the people, I like the scenery, I hate cold weather, but two out of three isn’t so bad.
IE: What do you like most about your work here in the ID?
Lee: It’s become a part of me. I spent 20 years delivering supplies to restaurants. I got to know a lot of people. Then, I had a chance to work with the business improvement area and my connections really started coming through.
IE: What do you think makes the ID so special?
Lee: The community in general. The people, the scenery, what we are trying to do. It isn’t just all the problems we have but what we do that is good.
IE: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Lee: The more help we get, the more support we get, the better. That’s just from what I call the citizens of Chinatown. And that’s the business, the residents, the visitors. But the citizens of Chinatown is a much bigger thing.
IE: How can people get involved and help out?
Lee: They can contact any of the communities, any of the organizations, or just come and join any of the events. Like, I’m a part of the block watch, so if they see us, they’re welcome to join.
For more about the Chinatown International District Block Watch, contact IDEA Space at (206) 624-8929. For more about Hing Hay Park and the Danny Woo Community Garden, visit interimicda.org.
Editor’s note (11/22/16 at 3:46 p.m.): The names of Jonathan Chen and Rachel Duthler were misspelled in a previous version of this story. The IE regrets the errors.