“No Olvidado”: Día de los Muertos event at El Centro tomorrow

Ofrenda artwork from last year's Día de los Muertos event at El Centro de la Raza. Photo by Leslie Seaton via Creative Commons.
Tomorrow evening El Centro de la Raza presents their annual Día de los Muertos celebration and ofrenda (altar) exhibit. This year’s theme is “No Olvidado” (“Not Forgotten”), a tribute to those who have lost their lives crossing the Mexico/United States border.

The opening ceremony is tomorrow, November 1, with dinner at 5:30 and a reception ceremony at 6:30. Admission, dinner, and parking are free.

If you can’t attend the opening event, you can still visit the ofrenda exhibit from November 2-18 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and on Thursday from noon-8 p.m.

Click to see a larger copy of this flyer.

Armed man barricades self inside Cherrylane Place home

by Kiersten Throndsen, KOMO Communities (Beacon Hill Blog news partner)

Just before 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, officers got a call about a man with a gun along the 1500 block of Cherrylane Place South. Emergency dispatchers say the caller reported the man had been arguing with his neighbors and had pointed a handgun at one of them standing by a window inside a house.

Police say the suspect made a firing motion with the gun and then placed it behind his back and walked back inside his home.

Officers set up a perimeter around the suspect’s home and began efforts to get him to come outside without the gun. The man was unresponsive to officers’ requests, so hostage negotiations and SWAT were called to the scene.

After six hours of negotiating with the man, he finally agreed to surrender. He was placed under arrest at 11:00 p.m. and taken to the South Precinct.

See also the Seattle Police Blotter blog entry about this incident.

Police call fire on S. Austin “Suspicious”

by Elizabeth Dinh, KOMO News (Beacon Hill Blog news partner)

A Seattle woman came home on Sunday to discover someone set fire to her home. Now, the neighborhood is on edge as police search for an arsonist.

While she was at church, police say someone broke into Eddye Davis’s Beacon Hill house by knocking down a door and then started a fire inside.

“You know—it’s one thing to break in and take something. It’s another to set the house on fire and take away what for some people could be a lifetime of memories,” said Thomas Poole, Davis’s son-in-law.

Davis moved into the home nearly 40 years ago. She lived in the home with her husband until he passed away five years ago. It was where her daughter, Maret, grew up.

“This is just evil. It hurts. It hurts more than anything because true enough—things can be replaced, but it just hurts,” she said.

Davis’s house has been broken into before and some neighbors said they’ve also been victims of break-ins.But this is the first time anyone here has seen an arson, and they’re shocked.

“Well, it’s very troubling. You are concerned about what goes through the minds of people that would do something like this,” said Thomas Poole.

Even more troubling, Davis’s family says is why someone would target her home.

“If she wasn’t at church, she was helping somebody,” said her daughter.

Now, a woman who’s known for lending a hand to those in need is out of home. There’s so much smoke damage it’s not safe to stay.

Even though Davis was too shaken to speak, her family says they know she’s strong.

“So we just have to pick up and move on—keep living,” said Thomas Poole.

A witness described the suspicious man fleeing the scene as a light skinned black man between the ages of 17 to 19-years-old. He is approximately 6’1″ tall and 160 pounds, and was dressed in all black at the time of the incident.

See also the Seattle Police Blotter blog entry about this incident.

A grand opening and a final closing among this weekend’s events

This weekend Beacon Hill will celebrate holiday festivals, live music and food, a grand opening of a neighborhood amenity, and a closing of a neighborhood institution.

The community centers on the Hill are both holding events for kids tonight, October 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. Van Asselt Community Center (2820 S. Myrtle St.) is hosting a free Halloween Carnival for kids aged 12 and under. Games and goodies are promised for the carnival guests.

Jefferson Community Center (3801 Beacon Ave. S.) is also hosting a Fall Festival and Haunted House for kids 11 and under (the haunted house is for older kids, per parents’ judgment). There will be games for 25 cents each or 5/$1, and the haunted house admission is $1.

For both festivals, kids should dress in their best costumes, and bring a bag to collect treats and prizes.

Tomorrow, October 29, the Mountains to Sound Trail Grand Opening celebration starts at 2:30 p.m. at 900 Sturgus Ave. S. Mayor Mike McGinn and other dignitaries will be there to mark the opening of the trail, and tours of the area’s improvements will be given.

Afterwards, head down Beacon Avenue to the first Beacon Boogie, a celebration of food, art, and music. See five bands at five different venues for the grand total of five dollars (free for kids 12 and under), as well as enjoying great food and art from Beacon restaurants, artists, and galleries. See the event schedule here.

On Sunday, October 30, a more somber celebration will mark the closing of Beacon Lutheran Church (1720 S. Forest St.) after 70 years serving the community. The final worship service is at 10 a.m., and at about noon, the church and community will gather for a potluck dinner and remembrance program. All are invited to either or both parts of the event.

The church community gathered in the unfinished sanctuary of the new Beacon Lutheran Church in Spring, 1949. Photo courtesy of Beacon Lutheran Church via John Graham.

Rizal Park Off-Leash Area reconfiguration announced

Dr. Jose Rizal Off-Leash Area reconfiguration. Click on this image to see a larger PDF of the area.
The reconfiguration of the Dr. Jose Rizal Park Off-Leash Area (OLA) has been announced. OLA suppporters had feared that the 5-acre dog area would be reduced to 1.5 acres in the new site design, but after community input, Seattle Parks and Recreation announced that the reconfiguration would give the OLA a 4.1 acre space. This would provide about the same amount of usable space as the previous site had, since part of the previous site was inaccessible.

Acting superintendent of Seattle Parks, Christopher Williams, sent the following letter out to the community:

Dear Off-Leash Area Supporter,

Thank you for your participation in our efforts to reconfigure the Dr. Jose Rizal Park off-leash area to accommodate the new Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail. We listened to what you told us in the recent public meeting, and I’m very pleased to let you know that Parks staff have identified a 4.1 acre area that maximizes the available, usable space in the park to serve as our off-leash area. To see the new configuration, please see the attached schematic.

Major change has come to Dr. Jose Rizal Park because of the construction of the trail. The trail, which is a wonderful new amenity for the city and for the neighborhood, unfortunately took about one acre of the original off-leash area. It has also brought about renewed interest in the park, increased volunteer activity by the ever-active and much appreciated Beacon Area Neighbors, and recent Parks improvements that include:

  • Thinning the quaking aspen and birch trees. This thinning, consistent with Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles, improves sight lines in the park, both within and outside the off-leash area. It also gives the remaining trees the opportunity to thrive and creates more usable space in the off-leash area.
  • Along with volunteers from Beacon Area Neighbors, maintenance crews cleared approximately 1.5 acres of blackberries, which also creates more usable spaces within the off-leash area.

Continue reading Rizal Park Off-Leash Area reconfiguration announced

More information about station block apartment project available

This was one of the slides with design alternatives discussed at Tuesday's Early Design Guidance meeting. The designs are preliminary and not very detailed yet; this is only a rough indication of what might end up on the site. Click the image to access the PDF with the entire presentation.
The packet of information presented at Tuesday’s Early Design Guidance meeting for the McClellan Apartments development on the Beacon Hill Station block has now been posted on the Department of Planning and Development website. Download the PDF here. It’s well-worth reading, containing a lot of information about the project and the versions that are being considered.

Other local publications posted about the EDG meeting yesterday:

Mountains to Sound Trail grand opening celebration Saturday

The end is here! …of the Mountains to Sound Trail project, that is. The portion of the trail on Beacon Hill is completed, and the community is invited to come out and celebrate the grand opening and ribbon cutting this Saturday, October 29 at 2:30 p.m., at the trail’s northeast point, 900 Sturgus Ave. S. (That’s just adjacent to Daejeon Park.)

Mayor Mike McGinn, Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, Mountains to Sound Greenway Executive Director Cynthia Welti, and others will participate in the celebration. There will be a tour offered for all to learn about the new improvements around the trail.

The trail is part of the Mountains to Sound Greenway, 1.5 million acres of green space and trails extending from Ellensburg in Central Washington to Seattle.

Construction of this portion of the trail began in June 2011. Find out more about the project on the project website.

Neighbors get first look at planned station block development

Clayton Smith shows an example of a courtyard from another Pacific Housing NW project. Photo by Wendi.
A couple dozen community members attended the Early Design Guidance meeting held last night to discuss the proposed development on part of the Beacon Hill Station block. Representatives from Pacific Housing NW (who, previously, were involved in the Beacon Hill Central Park proposal) presented preliminary ideas for the building to the Southeast Design Review Board as well as to the community members in attendance.

It is very early in the process, so all the designs shown were nowhere close to a final form. (The designs are currently not available online, but should appear on the DPD website soon. I’ll post a link then.) Several options were presented, including 40′ buildings and 65′ buildings, depending on whether the rezone currently in process goes through or not. All the options had a few things in common: an entrance to a 14-17 space parking garage via the alley, a courtyard to the north of the building, and some commercial space on the southwest corner of the building. The options varied in height, the presence of live-work space, and the configuration of entrances and setbacks. A 40′ building would probably have 30 units, and a 65′ building would have 45.

Pacific stated that their goal is “sustainable principles”; they hope to include solar cells and possibly even wind power generators on the roof. They intend to plant large trees in the planting strips around the building.

Materials Pacific said they may use for the building include “some lap siding,” masonry, concrete, and some paneling for upper levels. (Several community members expressed a strong dislike for panel-type siding during the public commentary period.) “Green walls” would probably be included as well.

Parking would be below-grade, with a small 14-17 space garage. Parking is not required at all within the station overlay area, so there is no requirement to have spaces for each unit.

The amount of commercial space in the building, as presented by Pacific last night, is very small—one small unit in the southwest corner. This was the most frequent concern mentioned by commenters during the public comment period. Neighbors who spoke up about it were unanimous in wanting more retail/commercial space in the building, preferably along the entire McClellan frontage. The current proposal “is not lively,” said neighbor Judith Edwards.

Some commenters also expressed concern about setbacks. The designs showed setbacks above the fourth floor. Judith Edwards commented that, according to neighborhood design guidelines, setbacks are supposed to start above the second floor. She concluded, “We are going to hold firm on this.” However, this was not a unanimously-held opinion. Another neighbor commented that setbacks are unnecessary for this building because it will have plenty of visual interest already.

Another major concern mentioned by the neighbors in attendance was the alley. In the proposed designs, the alley side of the building contains a driveway into the parking garage, but seemingly nothing else. Commenters wanted to see the alley as an “active alley,” with shops and cafe tables, preserving the view toward El Centro de la Raza. (See this illustration by Joel Lee for the basic idea.)

In general, however, the commenters seemed fairly supportive of the development.

After discussion, the Design Review Board members recommended “significant modulation” and an increase in commercial space. Setbacks will be required if the building is 65′ tall. The designers should draw on existing structures in the neighborhood for materials influence. They must enhance the alley, activating it for pedestrian use.

There will be another meeting in the future, after new designs have been created to address these issues. Stay tuned for the rest of the process.

(Thanks to Melissa Jonas for some additional information.)

Man crashes into church, leaves car behind

By KOMO Communities Staff (Beacon Hill Blog news partners)

The search is on for the driver who crashed into a church, then fled the scene.

Service was canceled at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on 14th Ave. S. Tuesday morning after a car rammed into the side of the building.

The crash, which occurred just before 2 a.m., tore through the stage inside the church, and left behind a large gaping hole.

No one was injured in the crash. Firefighters said the driver ran from the scene, leaving behind his car, before police arrived.

The crash displaced several church elders who live above the church. The Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents while investigators determine whether the structure is safe for occupancy.

A description of the sought driver was not available.

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