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Friday, January 5, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Monolith to make Magnuson encore

Seattle Times assistant metro editor

Seattle's monolith will return to Magnuson Park next week, not by mysterious forces in the night, but through an agreement between its owners and the city parks department.

The dark-gray, 9-foot steel rectangular structure will sit atop grassy Kite Hill until the start of kite season in mid to late March, C. David Hughbanks, the park's executive director, said yesterday.

The monolith, an apparent tribute to the one that appeared in the 1968 film classic "2001: A Space Odyssey," was discovered at Magnuson Park on New Year's Day but was apparently stolen Wednesday morning.

On Thursday, it was spotted on a small island at Green Lake.

Caleb Schaber, one of the monolith's owners, asked parks officials for help removing it, then sought permission to display it at Magnuson Park.

Schaber and parks officials used a boat to remove the 350-pound monolith from Green Lake's Duck Island yesterday afternoon. It's locked in storage at Magnuson Park.

Next week, Schaber and parks officials are expected to sign their agreement then erect the structure a few days after that. The agreement will not recognize the monolith as a piece of public art, but rather just as a happening, Hughbanks said.

"There's a lot of public interest in the monolith; that's what we're doing it for," Hughbanks said.

The monolith will be mounted atop the hill in much the same way as it was the first time. But this time, "it won't be put together in the middle of the night," Schaber said.

It will also be anchored more securely so that it doesn't pose a safety risk to park-goers and so that it can't be swiped again in the middle of the night.

Schaber is one of several members of a loosely organized group of artists called "Some People" who erected the monolith at Magnuson over a two-day period.

Last Saturday, they mixed and poured concrete into a rectangular hole and set four hollow tubes in the concrete.

The monolith, which was built with four pieces of rebar protruding from its base, was set onto that foundation the following evening using epoxy.

Local residents have come in droves to see it during its brief existence in public view, and it has attracted interest from far beyond the city's borders.

"It should be kind of interesting for a couple months," Hughbanks said.

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