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Summer Streets, public performance art and development discussed at Greenwood Community Council meeting

By Mali Main, UW News Lab
Summer streets. Love poems. Public urination. These were among the topics discussed at the Greenwood Community Council meeting on Tuesday at the Greenwood Library.
The Seattle Summer Streets event comes to the Greenwood/Phinney area on Aug. 10. Drivers be warned: Starting at 6 p.m. Greenwood Avenue from Northwest 67th Street to Northwest 87th Street will be closed for four hours. Instead, streets will be used for foot traffic, music, food stations and activities like soccer, recycling relay races and scavenger hunts. The event will be held in conjunction with the art walk. Artists of every medium will create works of art in front of Art on the Ridge and the Greenwood Collective.
But, the art won’t end there. During the next month, residents can expect to see local performance poet Mimi Allin reading love poems to the light poles and lamp posts along Greenwood Avenue. This is part of “Art Interruptions,” the City of Seattle’s series of temporary public-art installations. This project is also responsible for the miniature houses nesting in Greenwood Avenue trees.
OK, now for that non-art item. J.J. Wandler, owner of Gainsbourg Lounge on Greenwood, explained that for the past month a seemingly homeless woman has been sleeping on the east side of the street, near 85th Street. “She has been seen urinating in front of Greenwood Optical,” Wandler said. “I’m all about compassion in dealing with it, but at the same time she is frightening people from the downtown area. She is prone to really loud outbursts with racial epithets, cussing and she does this in front of children. I’ve seen elderly people walking by and she bursts out at them.”
Wandler said the Community Police Team at the North Precinct told him there wasn’t much they could do unless she was harming herself or others. The phone number they gave him for King County Mental Health was disconnected. Council members suggested Wandler contact NAMI, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. (Editor’s Note: There is a lengthy discussion about this woman in PhinneyWood’s Forum, with a long response from Officer Penelope Fulmer of SPD’s Community Police Team.)
In other action, the council agreed to send a letter to the Seattle City Council supporting development of the lot at Northwest 85th Street and First Avenue Northwest where a Pizza Hut formerly operated. It is across the street from Fred Meyer. Council President Rob Fellows called it “a neglected area that has collected all kinds of criminal activity.”
The developer, Security Properties, plans to reconfigure the site. “He wants to put in a lot of retail and housing,” said neighborhood activist Kate Martin. She is friends with Security Properties Chief Development Officer John Marasco. “Possibly a grocery store and 120 apartments. He wants to be creative about it, make it more inviting at the sidewalk level but be practical,” Martin said.
Before the meeting ended, the council formed a Graffiti Task Force to address ways to remove and prevent graffiti in the neighborhood. If you would like to join, contact Michelle Averill at [email protected] or join the Greenwood Graffiti Sheriffs at Google Groups, greenwoodgraffitisheriffs.googlegroups.com.
The Greenwood Community Council Meeting usually meets on the third Tuesday of odd-numbered months, at 7 p.m. at the Greenwood Public Library. The Sept. 25 meeting will be replaced with a local candidates forum at the Taproot Theatre. For more information visit greenwoodcommunitycouncil.org.
(Mali Main is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.)