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


Entries from December 2009

‘Evil happens, but good can always get the last word’ – mural unveiled

December 31st, 2009 by Doree

Greenwood spent the morning putting aside the evilness of this year’s months-long arson spree and instead focused on the good – community, caring neighbors, and talented individuals donating their time to clean up the neighborhood.

The unveiling of the mural along the safety fence in front of what used to be the Eleanor Roosevelt Building – housing Pho Tic Tac, Szechuan Bistro, C.C. Teriyaki and Green Bean Coffeehouse, and which was destroyed in the Oct. 23 arson – brought out a couple hundred people to the sidewalk by Taproot Theatre.

Greenwood Chamber of Commerce President Steve Giliberto summed up the experience this way.

“To be on the site of darkness and have a light shine over it,” Giliberto said. “It’s not only a testament to our neighborhood, but a testament to the human spirit. Evil happens, but good can always get the last word. It’s a great ending to a tough year.”

I spoke with two of the mural artists – John Osgood and Kevin “Sensei23” Sullivan – as they stood across the street in the Gorditos parking lot. They installed the mural in panels yesterday, then quickly covered it up with black plastic for the official unveiling. Osgood says the muralists worked in the empty space beneath Bartell Drugs for the last month or so, creating the mural in sections. There wasn’t space to lay it all out down there, so they saw it all for the first time during the installation.

“When we were like halfway through, I got goose bumps,” Osgood said. “Once I started seeing it go up, I was like, oh my god.”

The mural features the drama masks symbolizing Taproot Theatre (which owned the Eleanor Roosevelt Building), a firefighter rescuing a PAWS Cat City kitty during the arson, muscle cars from the annual Greenwood Car Show, a huge phoenix rising out of the flames, the name Greenwood, and images promoting the monthly Greenwood-Phinney Art Walk. Sitting on top of the Greenwood name and on top of a tree are two owls. Sullivan told me the owls symbolize watching over the neighborhood.

Taproot Theatre Artistic Producing Director Scott Nolte told me that Taproot had the initial idea to do something with the site, then a number of other people ran with the idea. While Taproot provided money for materials, the muralists donated all their time.

“It was a labor of love on their part,” Nolte said.

The crew of Station 21 was there (although not all are actually stationed there, but some were filling in because of the holidays).

And plenty of people watched from across the street, so they could see the whole mural at once.

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Wacktastic winners

December 31st, 2009 by Doree

The organizers of the neighborhood Wacktastic Holiday Light Show have been so busy with the holidays, they finally just had time to send us pictures and the list of winners, which were awarded on Dec. 20.

The winner of the community voting, with 883 votes, was Toby Hilden at 731 N. 88th St.

Second prize was Karl Picard at 6819 Phinney Ave. N., with 782 votes.

And third prize was Deborah Marlott at 8737-8735 Greenwood Ave. N., with 562 votes.

Click here to see more entries in this year’s contest. Congratulations to all the winners!

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Caspar Babypants to rock out Ridge Romp

December 31st, 2009 by Doree

Saturday morning’s Ridge Romp concert at the Phinney Center promises to be one of the best yet, with Caspar Babypants, aka Chris Ballew, lead singer of the bouncey 90’s band Presidents of the United States of America.

For just three bucks a person, you get to see a real live rock star, performing kids’ songs. Such a deal.

We’re hoping he’ll perform a special song off his new album, “More Please!” The song “bold little bird” was written specifically for neighborhood resident Joyce Lem, who won the personalized song at last year’s PNA auction. Turns out he liked it so much he decided to put it on his album.

Here’s what he says about the song on his website:

This one is also very old but made fresh. I had the chorus and music back in the early 90s but didnt have a clear idea for the words in the verse. Then I gave away a “custom song” at an auction and the winner talked about getting out of her shell and getting into life and being bold about it. I took her feelings and mixed them with the images of the bird and BAM! a song is born!

Ridge Romp starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday (doors open at 10 a.m.), and lasts about 45 minutes. Cost is $3 per person (non-walking babes-in-arms are free).

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Mural installed at arson site, unveiling tomorrow

December 30th, 2009 by Doree

I drove through downtown Greenwood late this morning and happened to see the new mural being installed in front of the arson site next to Taproot Theatre. As soon as they were done, they covered it in black plastic to prepare for tomorrow’s unveiling at 11 a.m.

The mural features a phoenix rising from the fire (those flames you see on the far right), a Greenwood firefighter rescuing a PAWS Cat City cat during the Oct. 23 arson, muscle cars from the Greenwood Car Show, and other iconic neighborhood images.

Three artists from Seattle Mural Art created the mural: Zachary Bohnenkamp, Kevin “Sensei23″ Sullivan, and John Osgood. We’ll bring you a full report after tomorrow’s unveiling.

And we just heard from Cindy Potter, one of the trustees of the Greenwood Fire Relief Fund, who reports the relief fund has now collected more than $14,000 for the businesses affected by the string of arsons.

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Couth Buzzard changes grand opening date

December 30th, 2009 by Doree

The new Couth Buzzard Books Espresso Buono Cafe at 8310 Greenwood Ave. N. had hoped to have its grand opening party on Jan. 9, but they just changed it to Saturday, Jan. 16. The celebration lasts all day, with food and entertainment.

Come on by and check out our new and beautiful bookstore. Try items from our great new menu of coffee, Italian sodas, Panini sandwiches, soups and much more. If you are interested in performing, reading poetry, playing music, helping out, then please let Theo know. You can call me at the store at 206 436-2960, my cell 206 418-9522, or email me.

Couth Buzzard/Espresso Buono had their soft opening on Dec. 16.

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Phinney Center gets insulation upgrade

December 30th, 2009 by Doree

The Phinney Neighborhood Center is adding insulation to the walls of the Blue Building, and as part of the process they took infrared images of the inside of the walls Tuesday morning.

Brent Foster with Northwest Infrared LLC came up from Olympia with his equipment. The PNA’s Facilities Director Bill Fenimore said using infrared helped ensure that the wall insulation was complete, and also helped educate the contractor so they can provide an even better product for all their clients.

Fenimore sent us two photos of the process. Here’s Foster showing PNA Executive Director Ed Medeiros the infrared camera.

And here’s a contractor blowing the cellulose into the walls.


Now here’s an infrared image from the process, courtesy of Foster.

Here’s how Foster explained those dark blue spots.

What is visualized here is that lateral sheer wall bracing prevented insulation to be blown into all wall cavities primarily at the corners of the building in a few small areas. This insulation installation was performed very well and in a professional manner by the contractor and they should be commended. A little touch up with the help of infrared technology and your community center will have a fabulous end result.

And here’s a photo from Mike V as workers finish re-roofing the west side of the Brick Building.

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Arson mural to be unveiled Thursday

December 29th, 2009 by Dale

The mural going in at the site of the largest arson fire in Greenwood will be unveiled at 11 a.m., Thursday. 

Here’s the press release from Taproot Theatre:

SEATTLE – December 29, 2009 – Taproot Theatre Company and Seattle Mural Art will unveil the mural created for the site of the October 23 arson in Greenwood on Thursday, December 31, at 11 a.m.
Taproot Theatre Company commissioned Seattle Mural Art to create a mural to cover the safety fence where the Eleanor Roosevelt Building stood until the arson. Concerned about leaving a hole in the core of the Greenwood business district, Taproot Theatre, which owns the property, saw the mural as a way to add beauty to the neighborhood and facilitate more art.
The mural celebrates Greenwood’s character and artistry, and demonstrates its resilience in the wake of the fires.

WHAT Unveiling of Greenwood mural

WHEN Thursday, December 31, 11 a.m.

WHERE North 85th Street, just west of Greenwood Avenue. Meet in front of Taproot Theatre Company, 204 North 85th Street, Seattle.

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Graffiti all over the neighborhood

December 29th, 2009 by Doree

We’ve received several emails from artman1951 about a rash of graffiti along Greenwood Avenue. He says the graffiti escalated since schools went on holiday break. He says the graffiti has shown up on the sides of Greenwood Hardware, Fiber Gallery, Strut, the Masonic Lodge, the building housing Moonphoto, a condo building, even a fire hydrant.

He sent a number of pictures of graffiti – many from a specific tagger spelling out “KLASP.” We’re hesitant to publish the photos because the last time we did, a number of people commented that the publicity is exactly what taggers want.

Do you think taggers actually read sites like PhinneyWood to see if their tags are making them famous? Should we publish the photos? Would a parent see a tag and realize it’s their child’s handiwork and punish them?

He also sent us a photo of a graffiti removal service truck parked out front of the Fiber Gallery yesterday, ready to get rid of the tags.

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Armed robbery at Ballard Walgreens

December 29th, 2009 by Doree

Our sister site MyBallard reports that an armed man robbed the Ballard Walgreens at NW 15th Ave. and Market Street about 6:45 this morning. The man apparently robbed the pharmacy.

The 5′10″ suspect is wearing all black, with black sweats, black backpack, black hoodie, grey scarf, tennis shoes with white soles, and was carrying a silver pistol.

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