A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Entries from September 2009

Pig Out tomorrow for soup kitchens

September 30th, 2009 by Doree

Don’t forget that Thursday is the 7th Annual Phabulous Phinney Pig Out (a PhinneyWood sponsor) to benefit the Phinney Center’s soup kitchens. All you have to do is eat at one of your favorite restaurants, and they’ll give a portion of the proceeds to the PNA’s two soup kitchens in Phinney and Ballard, which serve 150-200 meals three times a week.

Participating restaurants will have balloons out front donated by Metropolis. If you can’t eat out tomorrow, you can always made a direct donation to the soup kitchen by sending a check to: PNA, 6532 Phinney Ave. N, 98103.

Participating restaurants include:

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The Not-Its! open Ridge Romp season Saturday

September 30th, 2009 by Doree

The new season of the children’s entertainment series Ridge Romp kicks off Saturday with The Not-Its!, a Seattle band that introduces kids to rock music.

With the success of their debut album, “We Are The Not-Its!” released June 2009, it’s clear they are on a mission to make kids dance, with up-tempo, power-pop hits families will love. Featuring the vocals of Sarah Shannon (of lauded ‘90s indie-pop band Velocity Girl), The Not-Its! combine crunchy guitars with smooth, four-part harmonies, all nestled within ‘fantastic danceable pop gems about gettin’ fancy, birthday parties, bath time and intergalactic play dates.’”

The show starts at 10:30 a.m. (doors open at 10 a.m. ) in the Phinney Center’s Community Hall (in the lower level of the brick building). Cost is $3 per person (child or adult), babes-in-arms are free. A family season pass is $35 for four people for six shows, October through April. Each show is approximately 45 minutes. All proceeds go back into hiring performers. Check out the full season schedule here.

And if you want to volunteer to take money or help with set up or clean up, you and your family get free admission for about 30 minutes of work.

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Crown Hill QFC closing Oct. 17

September 30th, 2009 by Doree

MyBallard reports that the Crown Hill QFC will close Oct. 17.

The store had been slated to close as a new one is being built on 24th Ave. NW. The QFC on Holman Road remains open. The Crown Hill QFC is discounting many items and limiting its hours. It will close at 6 p.m. Oct. 17.

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Blood and Sand at Oliver’s Twist

September 30th, 2009 by Dale

Oliver’s Twist got a nice writeup about their happy hour in The Seattle Times today.

I can attest to the yumminess of their bacon and blue cheese stuffed dates drizzled with a tomato vinigarette, as well as the addictiveness of their truffle butter popcorn, but I’ve never had their Blood and Sand cocktail, which The Times reviewer makes sound better than the name would imply.

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Phinney filmmaker’s premiere benefits ‘Lost Boys’ of Sudan

September 29th, 2009 by Doree

Phinney Ridge documentary filmmaker Jen Marlowe will hold the world premiere of her film “Rebuilding Hope” this weekend at the Grand Illusion Cinema in the University District.

Rebuilding Hope follows Gabriel Bol Deng, Koor Garang and Garang Mayuol, who fled their villages in South Sudan due to civil war when they were small children. They grew up in refugee camps and resettled in the USA in 2001.

Accompanied by Seattle filmmaker Jen Marlowe, these young men, now in their twenties, embark on a journey back to Sudan to discover whether their homes and families have survived, what the current situation is in South Sudan, and how they can help their communities rebuild after devastating civil war.

Rebuilding Hope also sheds light on what the future holds for Sudan in its precarious struggle for peace and stability. All proceeds from the film go towards drilling water wells, building a school, and providing medical care in the South Sudanese villages where the young men are from; all these efforts are spearheaded by them.

Marlowe, who lived in Greenwood in the mid-90’s and just moved to Phinney Ridge in June, said this film really goes hand-in-hand with her first film, “Darfur Diaries: Message From Home.”

“The more I got engaged in the situation in Darfur, the more I understood there’s no way to understand what’s happening in Darfur without understanding what’s happening in South Sudan,” she said by phone this afternoon.

And when a journalist in Connecticut asked her to accompany him to Sudan to film the story of three former “Lost Boys” who were returning to their homes to help their communities, she couldn’t resist, even though she had to raise $100,000 and spend a year on the project.

“I was just so moved and touched by them as people and what they were trying to do. I wanted to be a part of their story,” she said.

But it wasn’t easy. “There’s no way in hell that this film should have actually been made,” she said of all the problems she encountered during filming. “There were so many times when it could have unraveled.”

Photo of Jen Marlowe by David Morse.

Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Grand Illusion. Marlowe and the men featured in the film will hold post-screening discussions. All proceeds from the screening will go toward health care and education projects in South Sudan founded by the “Lost Boys” featured in the film.

Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for students, seniors, and children, $7 for members of the Grand Illusion Cinema. Since space is limited, call the Grand Illusion Cinema at 206-523-3935 to reserve seats.

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Tour local homes on Solar Tour

September 29th, 2009 by Doree

The annual Seattle Solar Tour gives homeowners a chance to see how incorporating solar energy into their homes could save their energy bills and the environment. The Solar Tour is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and covers 30 homes and businesses.

Two of those homes are in our neck of the woods. The Galvin home at 111 N. 74th St. features a solar hot water system, with solar panels that do double duty as sun shades for the koi pond. The Herndon home at 808 NW 64th St. features a solar energy system and tubular solar skylights, plus a rain water harvest system to water plants and flush toilets.

See a list of participating homes here, with links to maps and directions.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently designated Seattle as one of 25 Solar America Cities. According to Seattle City Light, only about two dozen customers had solar electric installations in 2005. That number has now climbed to about 200 residential and business customers.

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Pumpkin Prowl tickets on sale Monday

September 29th, 2009 by Doree

Tickets go on sale for Woodland Park Zoo’s Pumpkin Prowl on Monday, Oct. 5. The Prowl is from 5-8 p.m. on Oct. 23-25.

The after-hours event features three howling nights of treats for your little goblins, carved pumpkins and Zoomazium transformed into Boomazium! Trick-or-treaters are encouraged to wear costumes and bring trick-or-treat bags from home. Plus: Live entertainment including stilt walkers, performances by Alpha Marshal Arts and ARC School of Ballet, demonstrations by Killer Science, and Woodland Park Zoo live animal presentations.

Photo by Ryan Hawk, WPZ.

Tickets are $9 adults, $7 children 17 and under, and free for children 2 and under. Discounted tickets are $2 off at any Bartell Drugs. Memberships do not apply – this is an after-hours ticketed event. Enter at the South Entrance only at N. 50th St. & Fremont Ave. N. Parking is free.

Please do not bring flashlights, your own carved pumpkins, balls, balloons, Frisbees, toy guns or other toy weapons. Snacks and hot beverages will be available for purchase near the South Plaza and in the Rain Forest Food Pavilion.

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Design Review Board approves Fred Meyer design

September 28th, 2009 by Doree

More than 100 people packed the Ballard High School Library Monday night for the second Early Design Guidance meeting of the city’s Design Review Board. After three-and-a-half hours of presentation, public comment and discussion, the Board approved Fred Meyer’s basic design, with a number of comments for them to incorporate into their refined design for the next stage, which is a Recommendation Review.

Scott Kemp from the city started off the meeting by saying, “Design is a very individual sort of thing. It’s very situational, but it’s also very subjective. We can’t accomplish everything.” With Fred Meyer wanting one thing, and some members of the community wanting another, “We want to stimulate as good a design as we can possibly get,” he said.

PhinneyWood went over the new designs with a member of the architect team last Friday. You can read that report here. In a nutshell, the new Fred Meyer would be about 160,000 square feet on one level, mostly underground (about five or six feet would be above ground). On top of the store would be about 200 apartments on the west side of the site, about 25,000 square feet of retail for other tenants, a public commons area, a three-story parking garage, and several smaller parking lots.

This is a far cry from Fred Meyer’s initial idea of just remodeling their current store into a “big box.” “That was not received very enthusiastically, to say the least,” Tom Gibbons, Fred Meyer’s Director of Real Estate, admitted with a laugh. So they went back to the drawing board and came up with “a more sophisticated plan,” he said, which they first presented to the community last December.

After the first EDG meeting last month, architects with GGLO said they took many of the community’s comments to heart. Fred Meyer technically presented three options to the DRB, but it really only likes one, referred to as Option A. Option B is similar to Option A with a little different housing options, while Option C is a two-story Fred Meyer with less housing.

“I think the on-street experience is pretty negative,” GGLO Principal Chris Libby said of Option C. “You’re kind of subject to walking between loading docks and parking garages. It’s really not a deal for Fred Meyer. It’s not something that they want to do.”

While the DRB asked a few questions about Options B and C at tonight’s meeting, they clearly focused on Option A as being the best one.

Libby said the design team made many changes that the public commented on at past meetings. “People did not like the mass of housing on top of the garage, so we’ve… moved all of the housing to the south third of the site,” Libby explained. “We’ve taken all vehicle access off 87th. We’ve widened the alley substantially for truck access in, and then they’ll exit out onto 1st Avenue. We’ve got slightly larger apartment buildings, which is a little better for the property manager to manage and construct.”

They also recreated the old 2nd Avenue NW and 86th Street through the site. 86th Street would be a wide pedestrian walkway from 3rd Avenue NW to 1st Avenue NW. 2nd Avenue off 85th Street is a driveway for cars with sidewalks, leading to the parking garage at the north end of the site.

“As far as the community plaza, we need to get activities happening around it,” Libby said. “It could be food vendors, coffee shops, retail opening to it… as well as flea markets, farmers markets, that sort of thing.”

Some neighbors wanted to know why Fred Meyer couldn’t build a two-story store like they have now.

“I’ll tell you why,” Gibbons said. “One thing that isn’t working is clearly two-level stores. These stores generate 40 percent less sales revenue than a single story store. On top of that, it costs us twice as much to operate in staff costs and shrink, which is theft and spoilage.”

Gibbons then said that if Fred Meyer can’t get the Master Use Permit to build the kind of store they want, their fall-back strategy is to just do a major remodel of the current store and turn it into a big grocery store, which wouldn’t require a Master Use Permit. Someone in the audience said, “Is that a threat?” to which Gibbons replied, “That’s not a threat, it’s just reality.”

GGLO architect Ted Panton said the property’s new West Portal, which is centered around the new 86th Street, would incorporate public and residential space with landscaping. “It would be like Harbor Steps downtown,” he said.

But at least one DRB member didn’t like the enclosed bridge over 86th Street that would connect the two apartment buildings. Libby and Panton explained that the bridge was necessary so they could have an elevator in just one building, instead of both. Adding a second elevator well would take up too much space. In the current design, the elevator would be on the corner of 85th and 3rd Avenue NW.

Below is the Design Review Board (far back) questioning GGLO Architects Chris Libby and Ted Panton.

As expected, several dozen people in the audience had questions and comments. And many times, the DRB chair had to remind the audience that the Board’s sole purview was design, not traffic or environmental issues, which come into play at a later stage of the process.

Several people asked if they could reinstate the townhouses fronting 87th Street in front of the parking garage. “Our challenge is it’s now become so isolated from a management standpoint, in terms of security,” Libby explained.

One man who lives on 78th Street and shops at Fred Meyer said he felt Fred Meyer had done a good job of working with the community. “I think this is a good solution. Having retail along 85th is significant, but I do agree that it will be tough without parking along 85th. I think the parking garage is in the best place in can be.”

Kate Martin, a landscape designer and former president of the Greenwood Community Council, has been very vocal in the past regarding her displeasure with the project. Tonight she thanked the design team for incorporating some of the public’s comments, but expressed her dismay that the design seems to her to have little regard for the peat bog on which it will be built.

“As a planner, the last thing you’d do from a hydrology standpoint is put a building underground,” Martin said. “The water moves through to the Greenwood bowl from every direction. It’s a huge risk to show us projects that only show us the building underground. I say analyze first and design later.”

She also wants to see the housing returned to 87th Street in front of the parking garage, because the neighborhood is hoping to turn a parcel across the street into a pocket park at some point. That park would be all about the Greenwood Bog, and having it across the street from a plain parking garage sends the wrong message.

One man in the audience, who is an architect or designer, said he liked this design better, but he doesn’t want them to rely on landscaping to make certain portions look better. He said his design professors always told him, “Try and never rely on landscaping around a building. It should be a beautiful building or garage or whatever it becomes, before you add the landscaping.”

Other major issues brought up were truck access into the site (currently slated as a one-way from 3rd Avenue and exiting onto 1st Avenue, but many people want it back on 87th Street); better accessibility for both bikes and wheelchairs; since the work would happen in phases, what happens if the residential phase falls through and we’re stuck looking at a blank store roof just a few feet above ground; truck access for the small retailers other than Fred Meyer (on 85th where they’d partially block traffic, or on 1st Avenue, where they’d have to use hand trucks to move merchandise); and the long distance from the parking garage to Fred Meyer or the other stores.

On a side note, a group of protestors stood outside the school entrance before the meeting, protesting Lorig & Associates, the residential property developers of the project. Holding signs that said, “Say no to Racism,” they passed out leaflets protesting Lorig’s alleged hiring practices. Bruce Lorig was at the meeting and said he’d look into their concerns.

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Time for Fire Prevention Month

September 28th, 2009 by Doree

October is Fire Prevention Month, and the Seattle Fire Department is having a kick-off event at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) on Friday, Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. While this isn’t in our neighborhood, it’s important stuff in light of the recent arsons around here.

Admission to the museum will be free, and from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., visitors can tour antique fire trucks, a modern ladder truck and see arson dog demonstrations with Henny the Arson Dog. The special program is “Lessons of the Past & Present: What the Seattle Fire can teach us about fire safety today.”

Inside MOHAI, kids can talk with firefighters about their jobs today, and enjoy firefighter story times and fire safety activities. Also on view is the Great Seattle Fire exhibit which includes the infamous glue pot that supposedly started the massive blaze.

During October, MOHAI educators, in partnership with the Seattle Fire Department, will be offering an elementary classroom program: Cracking the History Code: Lessons of the Great Seattle Fire. Registration is available at www.seattlehistory.org.

Fire Prevention Month activities include Firefighter Story Times at several Seattle Public Libraries, including Greenwood Library at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29. 

Each story-hour will begin with firefighters arriving at the library on their fire truck. The firefighters will then read books to the children that are related to fire safety and fire prevention. Following story time, the firefighters will show the children their firefighting gear and the hour will close with a tour of the fire truck.

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