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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Battle of the birds: Owl decoys mounted on Looff Carrousel roof to deter gulls after droppings cleaned

UPDATED: Thu., May 6, 2021

Volunteer Mark Starr, center, places a plastic owl decoy as Spokane Park and Recreation employees Jackson Striker, left, and Roni Torres clean seagull droppings Wednesday from the Looff Carrousel roof in Riverfront Park.  (Dan Pelle/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Volunteer Mark Starr, center, places a plastic owl decoy as Spokane Park and Recreation employees Jackson Striker, left, and Roni Torres clean seagull droppings Wednesday from the Looff Carrousel roof in Riverfront Park. (Dan Pelle/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Mark Starr was driving in downtown Spokane when he noticed a group of gulls had left their mark on the Looff Carrousel building in Riverfront Park.

With his restaurant, Dave’s Pizza, slower that normal due to pandemic restrictions, Starr has been looking for ways to volunteer his newfound free time.

He reached out to the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department to see how he could help.

Fianna Dickson with city parks said the building would typically be cleaned as part of annual maintenance, but the gull droppings left the structure noticeably tarnished ahead of Spokane’s peak tourism season.

“Let’s pressure wash the roof and get that cleared up,” Starr said.

With a donated lift used to access the building’s roof, Starr himself helped pressure-wash the building.

On the recommendation of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Starr helped install owl figurines with swiveling heads in hopes of deterring the gulls.

“The idea behind this is that they’ll find another place to roost,” Starr said.

The parks department will keep an eye on the building to see how well the deterrent works and when the building might need another cleaning, Dickson said.

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