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


Entries from June 2016

Second Early Design Guidance meeting for 10540 Greenwood Ave. N. project is July 18

June 30th, 2016 by Doree

Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections is holding the second Early Design Guidance meeting for the proposed project at 10540 Greenwood Ave. N., which will bring a a four-story building with 54 residential units above 1,500 square feet of commercial space, with parking for 36 vehicles. The buildings currently on the site will be demolished.


The meeting is at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 18, at the Ballard Community Center, 6020 28th Ave. NW, in the Sunset/Captain Ballard Room. The first design guidance meeting was on April 18.

If you can’t make the meeting, written comments on site planning and design issues can be emailed through July 18 18 to PRC@seattle.gov.

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Mr. Gyros food truck serving up favorites from former Greenwood site most evenings

June 29th, 2016 by Doree

Mr. Gyros, which lost its Greenwood restaurant in the March 9 natural gas explosion that leveled three businesses and damaged at least 50 more, is now parking its food truck in that now-empty lot at North 84th and Greenwood Avenue.

According to Mr. Gyros’ Twitter page, the truck will be open from 3:30-7:30 p.m. most days.

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SPD Chief O’Toole meets with Greenwood business owners, residents to talk about neighborhood crime

June 28th, 2016 by Doree

About three dozen Greenwood business owners and residents met with Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole on June 20 to express their concerns about rising crime in the neighborhood.

Chief O’Toole began the meeting with a statistic that has dismayed Seattle residents since she took the helm two years ago: Boston, where she previously worked, has 800-1,000 more officers for a similarly-sized city.

“Policing in Seattle is a work in progress,” Chief O’Toole said while acknowledging neighbors’ frustrations. “We are working very hard on reform. We are trying to use the resources that we have more effectively and efficiently.”

She said when she first arrived, she was surprised that Seattle didn’t have more visible police officers patrolling on foot, instead of in their cars simply racing from one 911 call to another.

One of the biggest concerns expressed by residents and business owners is the proliferation of RV camping, where derelict campers park on side streets or by parks and stay for weeks or months. Neighbors have long complained that people in some of those RVs are causing crime.

“We all agree that homelessness is not a crime, but if there are people committing crimes and terrorizing the neighborhood we need to address that,” Chief O’Toole said.

She said the North Precinct compiled a list of 207 RV and car campers and had offered services to nearly all of them, but many did not take them up on those offers of help. In the week prior to the Greenwood meeting, the North Precinct spent about 130 hours on the issue. Officers posted 86 72-hour notices to move and had impounded 26 vehicles since April. Unfortunately, with a 72-hour notice, cars can simply move down the street and start the process again.

“We’re finding a lot of people facing issues of mental health crisis,” she said of not only car campers but others committing crimes. “The property crime we see in the North Precinct, probably 95 percent of it is directly related to addiction issues.”

North Precinct Capt. Sean O’Donnell said there’s an undercover buy-bust drug operation in Greenwood every two weeks, with most of those arrested being from out of the area.

Elizabeth Chayer, owner of American Dance Institute on the corner of 80th and Greenwood, said her studio had been burglarized five times in the last few months (one of those was an employee’s car parked behind the studio). “My employees are totally wigged out,” she said.

Capt. O’Donnell said he had already directed additional patrols in that area, including officers in cars, on bike and on foot. He’s told officers on bikes to ride down alleys and those on foot to look into every doorway. Chief O’Toole said they could also ask the Major Crimes Task Force to get involved.

“It feels like we’re not safe or secure,” Naked City Brewery Co-owner Bryan Miller said, adding that his business hasn’t been hit yet but he feels like it’s just a matter of time. “It seems most of the crimes happen in the early morning hours before dawn. We just need more protection right now.”

Chief O’Toole said one offender admitted to 300 property crimes in the North Precinct. SPD is now working more closely with the King County Prosecutors Office and the City Attorney’s Office to help people get the services they need and not just go through a revolving door of arrest and then back on the street.

She said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recently assigned a prosecutor to work full time with the property crimes task force on prolific offenders. Two officers from the North Precinct are now assigned to work with that task force.

Marnee Chua, owner of Works Progress, a co-working space at 115 N. 85th St., Suite 202, that’s open to members 24-7, has its main entrance in the alley. She said her staff and members are increasingly worried for their safety, and a staff member recently was assaulted on their property. She said the suspects were not arrested and come by all the time and just stare at them through the window until they call the police again.

“I don’t know what else we can do. We have video surveillance, we’re doing the lighting, we warn our members,” Chua said in frustration.

Another issue that residents brought up is the number of vacant houses that appear to house squatters and possibly other criminal activity. Two vacant houses recently caught on fire, including one at 79th and Dayton Avenue on June 6, and another in the 7100 block of Aurora Avenue about a week later.

Officer Joe Bender said SPD has a Vacant Trespass Program, where they work with owners of vacant properties to get blanket authority for officers to go onto the property at any time. That way they don’t have to look up the property owner or registered agent when someone complains of squatters or other issues. So, if any neighbors know of a vacant house with issues, call Officer Bender at 206-233-3984 and he’ll contact the property owner. If an owner won’t work with the Vacant Trespass Program and the home isn’t being kept secure, the city’s Department of Construction and Inspections can be called in.

In the case of the vacant house at Aurora and 71st, Officer Bender said the owner had joined the Vacant Trespass Program a few months ago and officers had been on the property a few times before the fire.

SPD also has a graffiti detective who can link graffiti to a suspect. So it’s important to report any graffiti right away. Take a picture and send it to SPD online before the graffiti is painted over.

Click here for a list of contact information for the North Precinct Community Police Team.

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Gumshoe detective walk looking for volunteer testers before August event

June 28th, 2016 by Doree

The Gumshoe, which leads participants on a fun 5 kilometer detective walk through the neighborhood to raise money for local nonprofits, is back for its 11th annual event Aug. 5-14. But before that, organizer Mike Veitenhans needs some volunteers to test drive his 30 clues to make sure they make sense.

During the test drive the Gumshoe answer man follows behind and eavesdrops to learn which clues need to be tweaked before going to print—he doesn’t want any Gumshoes taking a wrong turn and ending up in Poulsbo! Volunteers receive complimentary entry forms for their trouble, but still need to do the Gumshoe in August because the clues almost always change as a result of the test drive. If you’d like to do the pre-Gumshoe, email answerman@dothegumshoe.org.

Gumshoers do the 2015 walk.

Gumshoers do the 2015 walk.

Gumshoe entry fees ($20 each or $15 each when buying two or more), go to the Greenwood Senior Center, Greenwood Elementary School PTA, and the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church Food Bank.

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Next Think & Drink asks, ‘Is our country that polarized?’

June 28th, 2016 by Doree

Humanities Washington’s next “Think & Drink” on July 12 at Naked City Brewery, 8564 Greenwood Ave. N., is titled “American Rage: Division and Anger in U.S. Politics,” and asks whether our country really is that polarized.

“This election is like no other.”

Variations of this phrase have almost become a cliché of the 2016 election season. But how else to react to the fights at rallies, filibusters, interruptions of moments of silence, calls by a major candidate for the deportation of millions, and schoolyard Twitter taunts?

We have reached the point where roughly a third of each party views the other as a “threat to the nation’s well-being,” according to the Pew Research Center, and that the political center has drifted to the left and right at an alarming rate. Forty percent of us now even disapprove of people from different political parties marrying.

Part history lesson, part discussion, part brewpub hang-out, this Think and Drink event will ask: Is it really that bad? Has U.S. politics ever been more divided and aggressive? Will it get better or worse? And is our increasingly media-saturated environment, including the rise of social media, helping or hurting our divisions and discourse?

Think & Drink begins at 7 p.m. on July 12, with WSU professors Cornell Clayton, co-editor of “Civility and Democracy in America,” and Travis Ridout, co-author of “The Persuasive Power of Campaign Advertising.” It will be moderated by KUOW’s Ross Reynolds.

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News roundup: Girlchoir auditions, ice cream, NY Times #1 author in Phinney, zoo butterflies, youth transportation challenge, cider from urban canopy

June 27th, 2016 by Doree

Northwest Girlchoir is auditioning new singers in grades 3-12 for its upcoming season. The choir is actually six progressive choir levels of more than 250 girls. The choir also has space in its non-auditioned Prep Choir for grades 1-2. Girls from all musical backgrounds are invited to schedule an audition on the website. Scholarships are available at every choir level.

Design Hovie Studios has moved from Phinney Avenue and North 65th Street to Fremont.

Balleywood Creamery, based at the nexus of Ballard/Phinney Ridge/Greenwood, is scooping ice cream most Friday nights at Flying Bike Cooperative, 8570 Greenwood Ave. N.

Phinney Ridge author Boyd Morrison has his first New York Times #1 Bestseller as co-author of “The Emperor’s Revenge” with Clive Cussler, part of the “Oregon Files” series. The book was #1 in the June 19 issue.

Seattle Police Department’s North Precinct is hosting its annual picnic from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, at Ballard Commons Park 5701 22 Ave NW.

Seattle Parks and Recreation will turn on field lighting at ball fields throughout the city on July 4, in an effort to prevent people setting off fireworks and damaging the fields. Lights will be turned on at 8:45 p.m. and turned off at either 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., depending on the field. Lower Woodland lights will be turned off at 11 p.m. Fields will be monitored by security from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Metro Transit is looking for feedback on the future of Access Transportation, its paratransit service. You can take an online survey, or apply to serve on a community advisory group.

Seattle Youth Climate Action Network is launching its second annual Summer Transportation Challenge, which runs from July 1 to Aug. 27 and is led by teen leaders from Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium and Pacific Science Center. The aim is to encourage other teens to use alternative modes of transportation to reduce carbon emissions and features weekly themes, events and contests. The kickoff event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28, at the zoo. Sign up here to attend.

Woodland Park Zoo’s new Molbak’s Butterfly Garden opens on July 2. The 3,000-square-foot tent next to Zoomazium will contain about 500 free-flying butterflies representing at least 15 species native to North America.

The zoo also recently welcomed two new species: François’ langurs and white-faced saki monkeys. The all-male troop of François’ langurs was transferred from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and can be seen at the Trail of Vines exhibit. The male white-faced Saki came from the Jacksonville Zoo and the female from the Santa Ana Zoo. They can be seen in the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit.

Apples collected from neighbors’ yards in Phinney Ridge and elsewhere in the city that weren’t quite good enough for City Fruit to donate to food banks and other feeding programs have now been turned into cider by Seattle Cider Company to be sold at Whole Foods beginning June 29. Half of the proceeds from every bottle of cider sold will go back to City Fruit.

In 2014, 32 percent of Seattle’s urban fruit crop was composted after harvest. In 2015, thanks to the new partnership with Seattle Cider Company, that number was reduced to just eight percent. During harvest, as fruit was collected and sorted, apples unable to be used by food banks were dropped off at Seattle Cider Company and pressed. The result is a delightfully tart and tannic cider offering 6.3 percent ABV and just 1 Brix (measurement of residual sweetness), made from more than 40 apple varieties.

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Free summer meals program for kids and teens begins this week

June 27th, 2016 by Doree

The Washington State Summer Food Service Program provides free breakfasts, lunches and snacks to all children and teens 18 or younger. The program is designed to help fill the gap for children who qualify for free or reduced-priced meals at school.

To find your closest meal site, you can search online, call the USDA Hotline at 1-866-348-6479, text “Food” to 877-877, email SFSP@seattle.gov or call the City of Seattle at 206-386-1140.

Here are the closest sites to Greenwood and Phinney Ridge:

  • Broadview-Thomson Elementary School, 13052 Greenwood Ave. N. Open June 29-Aug. 5, Monday-Friday; breakfast at 8:30-8:55 a.m., lunch at 12-12:25 p.m.
  • Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N. Open June 29 – Aug. 26, Monday-Friday. Lunch from 12-1 p.m., snack from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Green Lake Library, 7364 E. Green Lake Dr. N. Open June 27-Aug. 31; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday; lunch from 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Wallingford Boys & Girls Club, 1310 N. 45th Street. Open June 27-Aug. 26, Monday-Friday. Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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Phinney Neighborhood Community Chorus raises $7,500+ for Haiti school

June 27th, 2016 by Doree

The Phinney Neighborhood Community Chorus filled Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church on Saturday night for its annual Haiti benefit concert. The chorus raised more than $7,500 in donations for the Mona Foundation, which supports the Georges Marcellus School in Guerot. That doesn’t include donations made to the foundation’s website, which haven’t yet been tallied.

9-year-old Josie Rough received a standing ovation after her solo at Saturday night’s concert. Photo by Ken Astrein.

9-year-old Josie Rough received a standing ovation after her solo at Saturday night’s concert. Photo by Ken Astrein.

The chorus has raised about $68,000 since its first fundraising concert in 2005, first for Lekol Pa Nou School in Pinchon, and then for Georges Marcellus School for the past three years.

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Hundreds of cars, thousands of people at today’s Greenwood Car Show

June 25th, 2016 by Doree

Thousands of people are strolling down Greenwood Avenue today for the annual Greenwood Car Show, with up to 800 classic and cool cars lining the street.


Mike V sent us a bunch of great photos, including from early this morning as cars started lining up for their spot at 4 a.m.






There are also lots of vendors for food and car merchandise, a play zone for the kids, and the Greenwood Community Council has a table set up at 81st and Greenwood with information on how to get more involved with the neighborhood. Also, designers for a new park that will take over that block are asking for public input on what you’d like to see at the park.

The Greenwood Car Show ends at 4 p.m. today, but it will take about three hours for all the cars to drive out and for Greenwood Avenue to reopen.

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