Leaks in Beacon Hill Station being fixed

During last week’s miserable, rainy weather, we noticed something disconcerting—it was raining in the southbound tunnel of Beacon Hill Station.

You can't see it, but there are droplets constantly falling into this puddle. Photos by Wendi.

The leaks along the wall in the tunnel (seen above in the photo on the right) were noticeably worse, and a constant shower of droplets was falling over the platform, all the way back to the wall, where drops were falling out of the front of the light fixture there.

We asked Sound Transit about this, and spokesperson Bruce Gray told us: “The short answer is, we have a leak and are fixing it. We don’t think it’s indicative of anything seriously wrong. Our engineering folks tell me this is fairly common over the first year or so of deep-mined projects, which is why the work is all covered by warranty.”

Indeed, this week work is being done on the south platform.

Repairs to the south platform at Beacon Hill Station. Photo by Jesse Odam.

Roberto Maestas, El Centro founder, dies

Roberto Maestas, a founder of Beacon Hill’s El Centro de la Raza who led that non-profit organization until he retired last year, passed away this morning of lung cancer at the age of 72.

Mayor McGinn has ordered that city flags be lowered to half-staff today in honor of Maestas.

A former Spanish teacher at Franklin High School, Maestas was among the activists involved in the peaceful occupation of the then-empty Beacon Hill Elementary School building on 16th Avenue South in 1972. After three wintery months in the run-down building, the group negotiated an agreement with the City to lease the building for $1 per year, and the El Centro organization has been there ever since. Maestas led the organization as executive director until he stepped down in 2009.

The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project at the University of Washington has this page about Maestas, including a biography and several video interviews.

Here is a story from last year about the Four Amigos: Maestas, the late Bernie Whitebear, Larry Gossett, and Bob Santos, who as activists and friends worked together to make Seattle a more just place.

The Seattle Times (BHB news partners) posted an obituary here. More obits at KIRO TV, Seattle P-I, Seattle Weekly, and The Stranger.

Update: Details of a memorial celebration for Mr. Maestas are in the comments.

Analysis: Neighborhood action plan still lacks clarity

This poster from the Beacon Hill Festival in June was covered with stickers that Beacon Hill neighbors used to vote on projects to prioritize in our neighborhood plan update. Photo by Wendi.
by Frederica Merrell

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has introduced legislation to the City Council for adoption of our neighborhood plan update in Councilperson Mike O’Brien’s committee next Tuesday, September 28. You can download the Action Plan PDF file here. In the past week, they have finally put in all the details that people have been asking to see. Don’t blink, you will miss it!

For comparison, here is the matrix of projects voted on at the Beacon Hill Festival (only the ones that received an average support rating of 2 or higher). Many great ideas are not included in the DPD update.

DPD actions are phased as: o for on-going, p for planning, u for underway, or d for done. There are lots of blanks where they don’t know which phase we are in. I have to wonder why we are getting “done” projects in our action matrix for a ten-year plan for the future? I guess we need a little padding in a few spots! Here is my educated review of the Action Plan:

Goals #1, 2, and 3. DPD has put a lot of emphasis on developing low-income housing. DPD again claims to be developing an urban design framework for us, but I still don’t know what that means. Clearly zoning and land use is DPD’s main interest and expertise area. (It doesn’t hurt that every development project that gets permitted puts money in the department coffers.)

All the actions under the first three goals (housing and commercial district development) are on-going or planned. There is one interesting exception: Resolving litter issues in the town center is listed as done! I am not sure how that has manifested in our town center, exactly.

There are no housing goals, nor is there acknowledgement of the huge amount of multi-family housing going in at the north end of the hill. Rating: OK but incomplete for rest of neighborhood and maybe a little inaccurate on the litter front.

It starts to get weird under Goal 4: Parks and Open Space. They have only two policies: Preserve and support El Centro, and Seek Small Pocket Parks. There is emphasis on the El Centro Civic Gathering Space, an indoor facility, I believe (see Goal 6). The only actions with a planning designation are El Centro’s civic gathering space, El Centro’s children’s play area and an urban design framework element for Jose Rizal Park. In spite of the fact that eight different proposals for open space were submitted to the Parks Opportunity Fund this year, the only one acknowledged by DPD is the El Centro Children’s Play Area project. What about the other five: Lewis Park, North Beacon Central Park, Walker Street, 12th Street View Spot, and the Gatehouse project at Jefferson Park?

DPD pads this section with completed or almost completed projects. Beacon Hill Playground project is listed three times and is already underway, probably to be finished before the end of the year. Under Jefferson Park Master Plan, a small number of projects are underway or done. Why is “recommission the South Reservoir” in there as an action? It was completed over a year ago!
Continue reading Analysis: Neighborhood action plan still lacks clarity

Bad behavior in Stevens Place Park

Neighbor Tess writes with concerns about Stevens Place Park (commonly known as Triangle Park, located on Beacon Avenue South between South Forest and South Stevens):

View Stevens Place/Triangle Park in a larger map

I don’t know if a blog post is the best venue for this query, but i would love to get feedback from the community. I live on Beacon Ave S, right across the street from the little triangle park at S Stevens near the library. I also live very close to the #36 bus stop. Obviously, where we are situated we get a lot of traffic and noise from passers-by. However, we also get a lot of drunk people who hang out on the benches in the triangle park, sometimes cross the street and sit in the bus shelter and sometimes also migrate to the dentist’s office parking lot. We get a lot of yelling, screaming, singing, smashing bottles, foul language, and even public urination (against the tree in the triangle park or against the hedges in the parking lot). We have a family with little kids that lives downstairs and they often play on their toy bikes in front of the house. It’s hard to know what to do. Does anyone deal with this? Any suggestions?

The BHB headquarters is very near Stevens Place, and we have noticed the same occurrences, including public urination, confrontational behavior with neighbors in the park, and activity that looks very much like drug transactions; this has been the status quo at this park for a while now. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Sunbathing, sleeping, or worse? One Saturday this summer, four men were sleeping on the grass in Stevens Park. Aid cars arrived slightly later to attend to one of these men. We don't know about the men in this particular picture, but often the sleepers in the park are intoxicated or worse. Aid car and police visits to the park have been very frequent this summer. Photo by Jason.

Beacon Bits: Breakfast, Black Stax, and the budget

Last week, Laura Onstot of the Seattle Weekly’s Voracious food blog visited Beacon Hill’s Despi Delite Bakery on the way to the airport on Link, and posted about her experience there.

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The new crosswalk on Beacon Avenue in front of the library is now complete and functional. When pedestrians pass between the sensors on either side of the street, flashing lights activate in the crosswalk to alert drivers.

The lights do not seem terribly bright; they are invisible during bright daylight and even in the evening, not as bright as we expected. But they should help make evening and nighttime pedestrians a bit more safe at that intersection.

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Neighbor Ray writes: “I found this guy this morning wandering and looking lost at the corner of S. Oregon and 10th Ave. S. He has no tags and no chip. I can be reached at 206-349-3147.” Is this cute lost dog yours?

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Camp Fire groups are forming in the area, with activities for boys and girls aged 3 to Grade 12. Groups can be all boys, all girls or boys and girls together. Parents decide where, when and how often to meet. For more information contact Janelle Kitson at 206-826-8910 or by email at janellek@campfire-usa.org.

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Local hip hop group Black Stax are opening for Les Nubians just down the hill at Showbox SODO this Thursday, September 23. You may remember that Black Stax performed on the rooftop of Spoons (at 15th and Beacon) last summer.

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As the City Council works to balance the city’s 2011-2012 budget, they are seeking input from residents to develop a budget that best reflects the needs of the city. To do this, the Council is inviting everyone to participate in this year’s budget process in one of the following ways:

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The Beacon Hill P-Patch needs volunteers on October 2 for a clean-up work party. Volunteers will weed and aid in brush removal in the upper slope of the P-Patch, and afterward gather for food, drinks, and socializing.

Further information and RSVP here.

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Nearly 800 freshmen and transfer students at Seattle Pacific University will be volunteering on Beacon Hill on Saturday, September 25 as part of SPU’s “CityQuest” program. From 10:30 am until 2:30 pm, SPU student and staff volunteers will be working on an orchard and a public garden at Dr. Jose Rizal Park, helping Operation Nightwatch with a community clean-up, and clearing out invasive plants at Lewis Park.

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Because of an all-staff meeting, all locations of the Seattle Public Library will open late on Thursday, September 30. All library locations will open at 1:00 pm that day.

People waiting for the library to open in the morning. On Thursday, September 30, library patrons will have to wait a bit longer because the library will open late. Photo by Jason.

NEPO 4 brings art to North Beacon this weekend

This Saturday, September 25, is the fourth NEPO art event, this time a “Back to School, Back to Earth Special.” The event is at the NEPO House, 1723 South Lander Street, from 6:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Curator Klara Glosova describes this edition of NEPO as follows:

“NEPO 4 is about learning. Inspired by the plight of guinea pigs, our brave artists stepped into the role of model organism and subjected themselves to all kinds of experiments (voluntarily or not). The role of our show is to make their failures and successes public, “with the expectation that discoveries made in the organism model will provide insight into the workings of other organisms”. These new discoveries will be presented in the style of a Natural History Museum, where exhibits will contain live humans (performances), objects and missing objects (some exhibits may be temporarily shut down due to lack of funding).

Warning: The museum also serves as a metaphor for our art world, and world in general – and it might reflect its current state!”

NEPO events usually include visual art, music, poetry, and more. Each event has a different theme. You can see images from the last NEPO event here.

The schedule and other information about Saturday’s event can be seen on the website.

Is your dog missing?

If your dog isn’t where he or she is supposed to be right now, you might want to call neighbor Wynona, who tells us she found a “well-cared-for dog” yesterday crossing Beacon Avenue South near South Orcas Street. The dog does not have a collar or an identification chip. If you think the dog might be yours, call Wynona at 206-930-0934 and describe the dog to claim it.

Indecent exposure near Cleveland High School

A neighbor snapped this photo of a man who exposed himself to her at 18th and Swift on Wednesday morning. Click the image to see a larger version. If you recognize him, you should call the police.
A neighbor who prefers to be unnamed sent us this:

While waiting for the bus I was flashed. I had been waiting for the 106 to downtown at the 18th Avenue South and Swift Avenue stop at 8:00 am on Thursday, September 16th. A man walked west on 18th to the stop and crossed in front of me along Swift than back again. When I turned to look at him he had turned his back to the traffic on Swift and exposed his erect penis. I snapped a picture but only got him as he ran back up the hill, east on 18th.

I called 911 and later filed a report with an officer. The man was Caucasian, 5′ 8″ to 5′ 11″, average build, between 35 and 45 years old with brown hair. He was wearing a grey fleece shirt and jeans.

I want to warn the parents of any kids who use that stop for access to Cleveland High School. The man did not seem to be one of the nearby registered sex offenders. If you have an encounter please call the police so we can catch this guy.

Columbian Way turns temporarily restricted

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) sent us an announcement about turning restrictions on Columbian Way to improve safety during the Columbian Way Paving Project. On the section of Columbian Way which stretches from 15th Avenue South to Beacon Avenue South, left turns are being restricted. Drivers traveling eastbound on Columbian Way are currently not able to make a left turn between 16th Avenue South and the V.A. Hospital, although left turns onto 16th Avenue South will be permitted. This means no left turns from eastbound Columbian Way into or out of Mercer Middle School until the end of the project, expected to be the first week of October, weather permitting.

A contractor working for SDOT is rebuilding major portions of South Columbian Way between Beacon Avenue South and 15th Avenue South during the next two weeks, weather permitting. One lane will remain open in each direction; however, flaggers may hold up traffic periodically for trucks entering and leaving the work zone. The traffic will be shifted from one side of the road to another several times during the next two weeks as the road is rebuilt and paved in sections.

View Columbian Way Paving Project Turn Restrictions in a larger map. The restricted area is marked here in orange.

Lanes changed on 15th Avenue South

It looks like the restriping on 15th Avenue South north of Spokane Street has finally happened. The new right-turn lane at Spokane when heading southbound is much nicer than the old “squeeze into the de facto turn lane that isn’t really a lane, and hope you have room to make the turn” situation that used to be there. The new bike lane is nice, too. The parking situation has changed a bit, though. If you live, drive, or ride on 15th, how are you handling it?