Contributions wanted for neighborhood status report

The status of Beacon Hill for the next few months is likely to be something like this -- rainy. Photo by Bridget Christian in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
The status of Beacon Hill for the next few months is likely to be something like this -- rainy. Photo by Bridget Christian in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
by Frederica Merrell

Beacon Neighbors,

It occurred to me this week we should put together a status report on our neighborhood issues, projects and forums, for Mayor-Elect McGinn. Here is a draft. I came up with a bunch of categories that we could write short summaries on. Some stuff we could pull right off the Blog. Volunteers?

Take a topic and write a short summary as a comment to this blog post. As I see them posted, I will compile into one doc. I will post the results and we can hand it out to our Mayor-Elect at the upcoming forums and also distribute to new council members. If this format works, we could do an annual or biannual report.

Game?

DRAFT North Beacon Hill Status Report to Mayor-Elect McGinn November 09

North Beacon is an active and articulate residential community. North Beacon Hill pioneered urban village planning in 1990 (North Beacon Hill Action Plan), before the City initiated the 1998 planning cycle. We are currently working on recommendations for our third neighborhood plan and have numerous other planning documents completed.

Here are the highlights of our areas of focus, projects and forums:

Primary Issues of Concern and Focus 2009 (Summaries below)

  1. Neighborhood planning and urban village investment
  2. Equitable High Speed Internet Access for local businesses and residents
  3. 15th Ave. S Street Project
  4. Public Safety
  5. Stevens Street Utility Poles Remediation
  6. Ongoing outreach to our diverse community
  7. Improving local schools and youth programs

Projects (Summaries below)

  1. Jefferson Park Reconstruction (Implementation by the City with stewardship of the community)
  2. Lander Festival Street (Implementation by the City with stewardship of the community)
  3. Beacon Rockit: Local folks initiating arts and gatherings in a storefront on Beacon Avenue
  4. Beacon Farmers Market: Long desired use for the new festival street
  5. Urban Agriculture Project: Designed for Jefferson Park by local permaculture students.


Forums where residents meet, discuss, plan and celebrate

Beacon Hill Blog: This is our wonderful local media site. It is a great place to go look at what is being discussed by local bloggers. The blog is maintained by Wendi Dunlap and Jason Simpson, who live happily on North Beacon Hill. Wendi and Jason have hosted the “beaconhill” email list for the neighborhood since 1999, first at slumberland.org, then at beaconhill.seattle.wa.us.

North Beacon Hill Community Council: Established in 1989 to address illegal dumping in the Cheasty Greenbelt. Our community council has had a plethora of chairs and board members serve ably over the years. A great forum for discussions and activities. Subcommittees are formed to take on specific tasks as the need arises. Meets the first Thursday of each month. Stewards the urban village portion of our neighborhood plan.

OTHER: There are some other community groups, including: BAN (Beacon Area Neighbors, mostly working on improving the very north end of the hill), Jefferson Park Alliance (stewards the Jefferson Park portion of our neighborhood plan), El Centro de la Raza (Latino and social services organization and sponsor for gatherings on the hill), South Beacon Hill Council, Duwamish District Council and others. See the Beacon Hill Blog for a complete list.

Annual Events: Beacon Hill Festival (June, Jefferson Park Community Center), Pinata Party (summer, Stevens Place [Triangle] Park), Dias de Los Muertas Exhibit (Early November at El Centro).

Summaries of Issues and Projects

  1. Neighborhood Planning and urban village investment
  2. Equitable High-Speed Internet Access for local businesses and residents
  3. 15th Ave. S Street Project
  4. Public Safety
  5. Stevens Street Utility Poles Remediation
  6. Ongoing outreach to our diverse community
  7. Improving local schools and youth programs
  8. Jefferson Park Reconstruction (Implementation by the City with stewardship of the community)
  9. Lander Festival Street (Implementation by the City with stewardship of the community)
  10. Beacon Rockit: Local folks initiating arts and gatherings in a storefront on Beacon Avenue
  11. Beacon Farmers Market: Long desired use for the new festival street
  12. Urban Agriculture Project: Designed for Jefferson Park by local permaculture students.

Frederica Merrell was the North Beacon Hill neighborhood planning co-chair from 1998-2000, and is the co-author of Seattle’s Beacon Hill, featured in the sidebar of this very blog.

10 thoughts on “Contributions wanted for neighborhood status report”

  1. 4. Public safety — does this mean taking a bite out of crime? Ongoing break-ins; infamous “drug houses”/apt complexes that house dealers who never get arrested; Drug dealing in and around the jungle; in and around Beacon Hill Playfield; inebriated folks passed out at bus stops across from BHIS; or buying more alcohol at Asian Mart and 76 station. To me this is the number one priority.

  2. Crime should be pulled out of “Public Safety”. It needs to be addressed specifically and separately from things like pedestrian crosswalks and bike lanes. We have seen a huge increase in the amount of break-ins, theft, and suspicious activity on the Hill in the past year. I’ve personally had thieves come to my door twice in the past 6 months to see if anyone was home during weekday hours, and our neighbors houses and cars have been hit. I agree with Curtis that it’s the number 1 priority for residents of Beacon.

  3. Curtis and MKD, i completely agree with you regarding public safety. I don’t want to speculate what the intent of this category is, but there should be a “public safety” category unrelated to transportation issues and pull out issues such as pedestrian and/or bike safety, driver education, traffic enforcement, etc. into a separate transportation safety category. I think those issues are very important, but shouldn’t be lumped into the same category as criminal activity.

    So, regarding public safety: I would like to hear about our new mayor’s strategy for reducing crime in BH associated with homeless/criminal activity in the Jungle as well as the pattern of inebriates migrating to BH from adjacent alcohol impact areas. Specifically, would McGinn support agressively maintaining the Jungle camp-free by coordinating no-trespass areas with the various property owners in the Jungle and committing regular SPD enforcement patrols? Does he have other ideas he thinks would work to prevent camping in the Jungle, or does he even consider this issue a priority? Also, would McGinn support adding Beacon Hill to the list of existing AIAs?

  4. Regarding projects, there are a couple important projects that should be included in the list to present to the Mayor. The first is the extention of the Mountains to Sound Greenway trail (www.seattle.gov/transportation/mountains_to_sound.htm). The trail currently ends at the Rizal bridge and is being proposed to extend down into the off-leash area of Rizal park and connect with both Holgate and the section of the trail that ends at Safeco Field. You can see more details at the link above. This ties directly into my comment above regarding public safety in the Jungle. This project proposes installing a nice multi-use trail right through an area of the jungle with a history of encampments and criminal activity.

    The second project is the plan for improvements at the Jefferson golf course (www.seattle.gov/Parks/Publications/golf_master_plan.pdf). This includes constructing a new clubhouse, completion of a perimeter trail around the 18-hole course and constructing some improvements to the course itself.

  5. Public Safety usually refers to crime issues. The transportation stuff goes under individual projects or urban investment if it is right around the urban village. So improving cross walks and ped safety is a transportation issue.

    Keep writing! I am catching it.

    FM

  6. Thanks all for the comments so far. I’m in agreement with the public safety category. We should treaty it as crime prevention and law enforcement. Some of the needs that have been suggested at Neighborhood Plan meetings include establishing Park Ranger patrols for BH, especially Jefferson Park, getting SPD to commit to a patrol plan for Jefferson Park, continue SPD enforcement in the Jungle. Chris has is right.

    And with regard to MTs-to Sound, Jose Rizal and now Lewis Park, all at the north, we need to recognize the massive effort from neighbors and citizens that has reclaimed the forest from English Ivy and blackberries. These re-forestation efforts are making the area more appealing for legitimate use, if we have the support of the SPD we’ll actually use it for recreation. The forest reclamation is accomplishing “green goals” : improving tree canopy to clean the air, provide habitat for birds and other animals, provide a buffer to freeways. Consider an initiative to link up the Forests of Greater Beacon Hill and have a healthy forest all the way around and across the Hill.

  7. The plan for Dr. Jose Rizal Park and the woods to the south was collaborative. Part of the process involved a public meeting of 35 neighbors and various reps of City and state agencies, and non-profits. We were able to execute the plan because some of the neighbors really cared, and because the project came to have a life of its own. It took six years. It succeeded because, from a public safety perspective, failure was not an option.

    The work around Dr. Jose Rizal Park, the woods south, in Cheasty, and along southwest Beacon Hill has been collaborative, though at times not formally so. For the work along I-5 south to Columbia Way, those of us involved with the task force came to rely on informal and professional relationships. There has been some recognition for the work – by the City Attorney’s office, the SPD Annual Report, the Dept. of Neighborhoods, Parks & Recreation, King County, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, the Seattle Green Partnership.

    There hasn’t been much recognition on Beacon Hill, I think because people tend to get involved in their own projects, and what with work, family, the thousand details of life, they only have time for so much.

    If you want the Jungle to be a forest, pitch in to do some work, whether it’s at Lewis Park, Jose Rizal, Cheasty, the 14th Avenue Overlook, the Bayview Stairs, there are dozens of sites that could benefit. It wasn’t just the cops who chased large dealers out of Jose Rizal Park – it was the presence of volunteers, too.

    The question to pose isn’t whether SPD patrols of “the Jungle” should continue, but whether the encampment rules and procedures published in 2008 will continue to be supported. SPD patrols of the East Duwamish Greenbelt are a part of a larger strategy; the encampment policy touches on the redevelopment and restoration goals for the greenbelt. If the policies are not enforced, then the greenbelts become dangerous, for homeless people and neighbors alike. That’s what happened in summer, 2008, after the city stopped cleanups, and through this past summer and fall. It takes a couple of years for an area to stabilize if it goes through a period when it’s not maintained.

    An encampment, btw, is not a couple of guys with a couple of tents at a camp for a couple of weeks. An encampment is an entrenched area of related sites. Contrary to what some activists say, there are not sweeps of homeless people in Seattle’s greenbelts.

    If you want to see what’s been done along I-5, get in touch, and let’s go for a walk.

  8. What can be done to encourage development on Beacon Hill? Other than re-zoning efforts to raise height levels, what can the city / neighborhood / neighborhood council / individuals do to actively entice businesses to open here? I guess the first question to ask is: Why aren’t there more amenities here? Something is hindering development. Is it a lack of store fronts for new businesses to move into? Do businesses think they will not get neighborhood support?

Comments are closed.