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


Seattle Public Library debuts new accessibility software for vision-impaired patrons

October 26th, 2015 by Doree

Every branch of the Seattle Public Library is getting new accessibility software on all public computers for vision-impaired patrons, through the Library Equal Access Program’s “Access for All: Accessibility Kits & Software.”

All public computers will have ZoomText, a text-enlargement software program for low-vision patrons, and JAWS, screen reading software to assist blind users.

The library is hosting a series of open houses to give patrons hands-on access to the new software. Library staff also will demonstrate how to use magnifiers, Braille systems and other items in the new Accessibility Kits.

The open house nearest to Phinney Ridge and Greenwood is from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, at the Broadview Branch, 12755 Greenwood Ave. N.

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Phinney Center unveils new elevator, community plaza

November 9th, 2012 by Doree

A happy crowd of members and donors helped the Phinney Neighborhood Association unveil its new elevator and community plaza, complete with a more welcoming staircase to the front door, on a beautiful, crisp Thursday evening.

PNA Capital Campaign Co-Chair (and former Board President) John Smith told the crowd that the Capital Campaign has raised $6.4 million to renovate the historic buildings, once home to the John B. Allen School. That includes $1.15 million from community members. The elevator, plaza and stairs cost about $2 million.

“I wanted to say a big hearty ‘thank you!’” Smith told the crowd.

The PNA made an elevator a priority so that it could be more accessible to the entire community, whether it was someone who was mobility challenged, or a parent with a stroller who needed to get to a class on the top floor.

State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles told of bringing her elderly mother to the PNA for functions, but it would take forever for her to walk up the stairs. “She’s turning 97 and I’m really looking forward to bringing her back,” she said with a smile.

PNA Executive Director Lee Harper, Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson and Kohl-Welles toasted the plaza and elevator with champagne.

Then they got to work on cutting the ribbon. (Former PNA Executive Director Ed Medeiros got to use the huge scissors.)

The Phinney Center is listed on the Washington Heritage Register of Historic Places. Susan Rohrer from the Washington State Historical Society told the crowd, “Historic buildings like this add depth and character to the communities they reside in.”

Here’s a shot of the plaza from above.

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PNA needs just $6,000 more for new elevator

November 15th, 2011 by Doree

The Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) needs about $6,000 more to install a new elevator as part of its Capital Campaign.

The Capital Campaign has raised about $5.3 million so far to purchase the site and buildings from the Seattle School District, create a more accessible campus both inside and outside, construct a more welcoming entry way and community plaza, perform seismic upgrades, repair the Brick Building’s slate roof and the main sewer line between the two buildings, update the boiler, insulate both buildings, and install an elevator in the Blue Building to make it more accessible to everyone.

The elevator will be installed in the current front entryway, about where the soda machine is now. The PNA received a grant from Wyncote Foundation NW several months ago, and is using part of that grant for the elevator. Community leaders, including Red Mill Burgers and several individual donors, also contributed, for a total of $60,000, and are challenging the community to come up with an additional $30,000 to help pay for it.

PNA Development Director Ann Bowden said 157 community members have contributed $23,840 towards that goal, leaving $6,160 to go by the end of the year.

The total cost for the elevator, entryway, community plaza and seismic work is expected to cost about $1.6 million, and the PNA still needs about $175,000 to meet that. Bowden said they are working on a few more grants and will probably have another fundraiser in the spring.

“We’ve raised almost $5.3 million, we’ve done some pretty significant repairs, and we’ve done all this in the middle of the recession,” PNA Executive Director Lee Harper said proudly. “We’re incrementalists here at the PNA. This is the next increment. We’re getting the elevator so we don’t have to carry 95-year-old women up the stairs to the Beer Taste.”

That actually happened last summer. Harper said Jeannette Miss came to the Summer Beer Taste with her granddaughter to celebrate her 95th birthday , and both were dismayed to find steep stairs to the second floor. So a group of men got together and carried Miss in her wheelchair up the stairs.

Four men carry 95-year-old Jeannette Miss in her wheelchair up the stairs to last summer’s Beer Taste. Photo courtesy of the PNA.

“You always talk about accessibility, and that right there is the problem. We cannot serve our whole community,” Harper said.

The PNA hopes to begin construction of the elevator in spring of 2012.

(Disclosure: We’ve donated to the Capital Campaign.)

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