Happy Lunar New Year and more this weekend

The Year of the Rabbit is almost here! Photo by Bert Kimura via Creative Commons.
There are quite a few activities on and near the Hill today and tomorrow. Here’s the list.

Tonight, January 28, the Southeast Seattle Senior Center is hosting Burgers, Bingo, and Brews, an evening of fun with bingo (for money!) and the aforementioned food and beverages from 6:30-9:30 p.m. There will be soft drinks, too. Admission is a $15 donation. The Center is at 4655 South Holly Street in Rainier Valley. Call SESSC at 206-722-0317 for more information.

Tomorrow, January 29, local grassroots project Got Green will launch “Women in the Green Economy,” a new project to learn from women in Southeast Seattle what they need and want from the “green movement” for themselves and their families. Volunteers will survey women in the New Holly neighborhood about their needs and priorities for the Green Economy. The project is funded in part by a Neighborhood Matching Fund award of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

The project will launch with a reception at 10:00 a.m. at The Lee House at New Holly, 7315 39th Avenue South. At noon, volunteers will go out to collect surveys at various southeast Seattle sites. For more information, go here.

Also on Saturday, ROCKit space is holding a moving sale from 12 to 5 p.m. Betty Jean Williamson tells us “We have art supplies, office supplies, furniture, collectibles, music gear and reall cool stuff! We can use all the help we can get this weekend, Saturday-Monday, if anyone out there wants to give us a hand. Volunteers are very much appreciated. They might even get pizza! Call us at 206-323-7115 or email us at rockitspace@gmail.com for details.” ROCKiT space is, for now, at 3315 Beacon Avenue South.

And lastly, Saturday is also the day the Chinatown-International District celebrates the 2011 Lunar New Year (the year of the Rabbit). Our neighbors at the north foot of Beacon Hill will bring an expected 5,000 visitors to the area to enjoy cultural activities including calligraphy, Chinese yo-yo and games, and other activities throughout the district. Expect some streets in the ID to be closed all day, and potential heavy traffic in the area. (We recommend taking Link or the #36.)

The celebration will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hing Hay Park, Maynard Avenue South and South King Street.

(While you’re in the area, consider visiting the City Hall Open House a few blocks north at Fifth Avenue and Cherry Street, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.)

North Beacon Hill Council meeting next week

The North Beacon Hill Council meeting next Thursday will include updates on the activities of Beacon Hill merchants, pedestrians, cyclists, and artists, as well as the organization of a Festival Street committee.

Here’s the complete agenda:

  • 7:00 Welcomes and hellos
  • 7:10 What’s happening
    • Approval of meeting minutes
    • Beacon Peds and Bikes
    • Beacon Hill Merchants
    • Beacon Arts, Music, and Community Survey
    • South Seattle Police Department
    • Treasurer’s Report (update on NBHC balance, balance of fiscal sponsorship accounts)
    • Festival Street – Committee Formation (to form a committee to oversee activities this year on Roberto Maestas Festival Street)
  • 8:15 Executive Board Meeting (15 minutes)
  • 8:30 Close

The meeting is on Thursday, February 3, 7:00 pm, at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South. All are welcome.

Thanks to Judith Edwards for the info!

Design review and light rail zoning meetings coming soon

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has posted notices of two public meetings of interest to Beaconians.

The Design Review Board is holding a meeting to discuss the proposed development at 2421 14th Avenue South. The Findlay Street Christian Church plans to build a three-story building, including 12 residential low income units, and 4,902 square feet of church space. (We discussed this proposal last year: here, and here.)

At the meeting, Findlay Street will present their current design, and the public may comment. The meeting is on Tuesday, February 8, 6:30 p.m., in the community room at Wellspring Family Services, 1900 Rainier Avenue South.

View Findlay Street Church development site in a larger map

There is also a hearing scheduled regarding whether the land use code should be changed to allow parking lots to operate as an interim use in some Link Light Rail station areas (Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach).

The Beacon Hill station area would not allow parking lots, however, under this proposal, commuter and business support parking would be allowed on lots outside of the immediate station area that have existing parking and are also accessory to institutions in walking distance of the Link station. (For example, churches or schools with parking lots could allow commuter and business parking on their lots.)

Further information, including instructions for submitting written comments, may be found here. The hearing is on Wednesday, February 23, at 9:30 a.m. in the City Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue.

Biking on Beacon: Family biking to Columbia City

I was at The Station the other night having a drink with some friends (Thanks Luis!), and we got to discussing Columbia City and how much it has changed over the past 10 years.  Today, there are a number of great destinations there including Empire Espresso on Edmunds (best latte in Seattle, though they can’t touch The Station’s Mexican mochas); Columbia City Cinema (now playing: Black Swan and a couple movies about hornets); Tutta Bella (a stopgap until we get our own brick oven pizza place); Full Tilt (old school video games and small batch ice cream… ’nuff said); a bakery, bar, toy store, etc.; and—of course—Bike Works!

Bike Works was established in the mid ’90s with the goal of promoting cycling in the underserved communities of Southeast Seattle.  When the bike shop went in, it was the only one between Capitol Hill and Renton!  They currently run the earn a bike program for kids and are generally bicycle angels in our midst. I biked there with my kids a few months ago to get some hand grips for Kai’s bike.  It was Malia’s longest ride and she did great (we took the light rail to get back).  The key to getting to Columbia City safely on a bike is Renton Ave. S. which runs between MLK and Rainier.  You can see our mapped route with videos here.

There are many reasons why Columbia City has changed so much while Beacon Hill has not (topography, demographics, arterial access) and I am sure the next 10 years will bring similar change to our community. This will, of course, have complex ramifications: some good, some bad.  One good one, that my kids will appreciate, is that our bike rides will get a little easier.

Beacon Hill to Columbia City (SAFE ROUTE) at EveryTrail

Car broken into? Report it!

Cat B wrote mentioning a spate of burgled and damaged vehicles near 17th and Bayview over the weekend:

The thieves broke a front window and stole some items from my car parked on 17th Ave S near S Bayview St. A friend’s car was also burglarized in a driveway on 16th Ave S near Bayview and her neighbor’s car was also targeted. I encourage those who were vandalized or burglarized to inform the police for tracking purposes.

We encourage that, too. Call the police and file a report. The non-emergency line is 206-625-5011.

Thanks Cat!

Beer and wine opening night celebration at The Station

The Station at their grand opening last summer. Photo by Wendi.
The Beacon Pub may be gone, but there is a new source for adult beverages on the Hill. The Station coffeehouse has recently moved beyond typical coffeehouse fare, and tonight from 7 to 11 p.m. is the opening night celebration of their new wine and beer bar. Owner Luis reports that they’ll be serving wine, beer, mimosas, sangria, desserts, and light fare. The Station is located at 2533 16th Ave. S., across from El Centro de la Raza and just north of Beacon Hill Station.

Beacon Bits: Catch-up edition

Apologies to everyone. We are way behind on posts this week. Here’s a catch-up edition of Beacon Bits to fill you in on the latest.

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Notice the newspaper up in the windows of the old Beacon Pub? According to the Bar del Corso blog, they have started work on the building, where their pizzeria will be opening later this year.

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Just south of the former pub, another change is about to take place: ROCKiT space is moving. Betty Jean Williamson reports that ROCKiT will continue regular hours of operation at the current location, 3315 Beacon Avenue South, through January 31. After that, Open Mic moves to Kusina Filipina (3201 Beacon Avenue South) on Saturday, February 5. The event starts at 8:00 pm and costs $5. Tots Jam is moving to El Centro de la Raza room 310 (2524 16th Avenue South) on February 2 at 9:00 am. Classes are $7.

In the meantime, the ROCKiTeers have a lot of work ahead before vacating the building at 3315 Beacon and moving their activities into other locations. It sounds like they will need some volunteer help, including cleaning, repair, and moving. Contact Betty Jean at 206-658-0187 or bjwlmp@msn.com if you can help.

There will be a ROCKiT space moving sale on January 29 from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. If you have loaned ROCKiT anything, please pick it up soon or let them know if you want to donate to the sale.

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Travis Mayfield at KOMO points out that Edwin Lee, the new mayor of San Francisco and the first Asian-American mayor of that city, was born on Beacon Hill!

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On the less-happy side of things, you may have heard that some very bad people were out and about last week, posing as Water Department workers to convince neighbors on Beacon Hill and in Columbia City to let them in their homes for a “water quality check,” but stealing their stuff instead. Here’s a Seattle Times (BHB news partners) report. The Seattle Police South Precinct Email Community Newsletter went out yesterday with their own take on the subject:

“For those of you who are ‘seasoned’ enough to remember the song ‘Let ’Em In’ by Paul McCartney & Wings from 1976 (I know, so last century), it should not be a surprise that we disagree with Sir Paul. Just because someone knocks or rings at the door does not mean that you let them in.”

The SPD reminds you that City employees will have laminated picture ID that includes a name, department, and serial number. If you see a suspicious person come to your house, and that person can’t produce a City of Seattle picture ID, call 911 to report the situation immediately.

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The Nova High School Book Night is coming on January 26. We are told it’s a “book fair/book exchange with books of all kinds, free for all!” Beacon Hill neighbor Levecke Mas is collecting books for the the book exchange; contact Levecke at leveckeinseattle@gmail.com. You can also drop off your book donations at the Nova office, in the Meany school building on East Capitol Hill (300 20th Avenue East).

The event is from 6:30-8:30 pm on Wednesday, January 26, and it is open to all.

Learn more about Nova and the Book Night at http://novaproject.my-pta.org.

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Rainier Valley Cooperative Preschool invites the community to learn about the school at an open house on Saturday, February 5, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am, and Thursday, February 10, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

The parent-run preschool is located in Beacon Hill Lutheran Church at 1720 South Forest Street. More info at their website.

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Cass Turnbull of Plant Amnesty doesn’t approve of Beacon Hill-style yard topiaries. Joel Lee begs to differ:

“I can certainly appreciate wanting to protect plants from senseless mutilation but Plant Amnesty seems to have nominated themselves the arbiters of taste with comments like ‘When the inherent beauty of a plant is compromised, it’s painful for those of us who know what it should look like.’ Who gave Plant Amnesty the authority to decide what plants should look like?”

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While it’s not Beacon Hill-specific, I can’t resist posting this link to a photo of former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck with a man in a heron costume. Thank you, Seattle Municipal Archives.

Sewage spill latest problem for 12th Avenue building

Some North Beacon Hill folks had a smelly problem recently when a backed up drain caused raw sewage to back up in the parking lot of the apartment building at 1308 12th Avenue South. Neighbors on the BAN list reported seeing cars driving through the sewage and people walking through it, and that the smell was very bad.

A KOMO report showed a rather disturbing sea of brownish sewage with floating waste, and people wading in the spill, scooping the mess up with buckets and dumping it onto a walkway where it ran directly into a storm drain. The building’s owner, Walford Eng, told KOMO reporter Michelle Esteban that the cause of the problem was that a “stranger came in our apartment and peed.” The city is investigating, and the Department of Planning and Development website shows that a notice of violation was issued to the property owner on January 13, with compliance due today.

The apartment building has had quite a few reported code violations in the last few years, including reports of roaches, weeds and vegetation violations, junk storage, and other violations. Last July, we wrote about neighbors’ concerns regarding criminal activity, garbage, and broken windows at the building.

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Past and present: Beacon Avenue streetlights

Beacon Avenue South, looking northward from roughly Beacon and Stevens, February 24, 1955. The photo was intended to show the street lights. Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.

Nearly the same shot, taken on January 11, 2011 in the falling snow. Photo by Wendi.

It was difficult to match this image exactly because, though you can’t see from the photo, the snow was falling heavily and the photographer’s fingers were freezing. However, they are a fairly close match.

The Mobil Station on the left is now an auto repair shop that looks quite different, but if you walk by and look behind the building, you can see an old Mobil “Red Pegasus” sign. The house beyond the Mobil station is now the Beacon Hill Library. The sign on the corner that advertised the Mobil is in the same location today, and may be the same structure.

The trees that now grace the planting strip on the east side of Beacon, as large as they are now, weren’t there at all in 1955.

The trolley wires are still intact for the use of Beacon Hill’s trolleybuses.