Tour and imagine the Beacon Food Forest this weekend

This is the site that will become the Beacon Food Forest. Construction will start later this year. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Beacon Food Forest.

The Beacon Food Forest team invite the community to visit the Food Forest site during the Beacon Hill Festival this Saturday, June 2, to imagine what will soon be.

Christina Olson tells us: “The Food Foresters will have their site ‘planted’ with over 40 varieties of fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, compost bins, beehives, and everything else needed to realize a great community gathering spot and food resource.”

There will be signs in the ground to show what will eventually be planted or built in each location. Olson says, “You stroll along the path, you see a sign that says ‘#1: Apple’ then you look at the handout and see that #1 is the Chehalis Apple, which is large, yellow and sweet; it ripens in September. You stroll further and see #40 and read that that is the location of the beehives. And on and on. There are over 45 trees, berry bushes, or built elements that will be located.”

Grading of the site will begin in July, after which it will be a construction zone for a while as waterlines, retaining walls, paths, and other features are constructed. This weekend is the best opportunity to visit the site and visualize the future Forest before the mess begins.

The Beacon Food Forest is located immediately west and downhill of Jefferson Park, on the big grassy slope along 15th Avenue South between Dakota and Spokane Street. Follow the signs along the Park footpath to the tour starting point.

Beacon Bits: New employees, new businesses, new hours

The Oak restaurant's exterior is much improved. As far as we know, the owners are still waiting for the liquor license before they can open. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

No news yet on the opening of the Oak, though much work has been done on the building.

The Tippe and Drague down the street is also getting closer to opening, with the recent completion of drywall work in the interior.

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Browsing around the website, we noticed a Beacon Hill job listing, posted a couple of weeks ago:

“Bar del Corso is looking for that perfect person. MUST HAVE wood-burning pizza oven experience and a touch for dough. We are a small, owner-run restaurant / pizzeria, with a tight-knit group of professionals, in a family-like environment. There is lots of room for growth in this position. Knowledge of Italian cuisine, good knife skills, a passion for food are all a plus!”

See the listing at for further information.

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Speaking of Bar del Corso, we missed this last month but you should see it now: a video in which owner Jerry Corso reveals how to make a delicious margherita pizza. (The all-important ingredient Bar del Corso has that none of us have at home? That big blue pizza oven!)

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A new business has come to the hill: The Skin Firm, a skin care and waxing studio, opens tomorrow (Friday, June 1) at 4501 15th Ave. S., Suite 103, just west of
MacPherson’s Produce. There is a grand opening reception at 7 p.m.

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Luisa Taqueria at Beacon and 15th Avenue South has made a few changes. Starting June 3 they will serve brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.– 3 p.m, with coffee and new brunch dishes in a collaboration with Inay’s. The taqueria will also be open 7 days a week now, from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 10 a.m.–9 p.m. on weekends.

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The Station (2533 16th Ave. S.) has made a list of dog-friendly coffee shops in Seattle!

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According to the Wall Street Journal, the bidding wars for homes are back — right here on Beacon Hill.

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The Lockmore neighborhood blog reports that thieves recently tried a “brazen, balls the size of Texas-style” late evening break-in, netting only a garage door opener.

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It’s down on Rainier, not on the Hill, but some folks may be happy to know that a branch of Heaven Sent Fried Chicken, the new chain of restaurants operated by Ezell Stephens (of you-know-where fame), has opened at 3427 Rainier Ave. S., sharing space with former Beacon Hill restaurant Willie’s Taste of Soul. (For some reason, thinks that location is Rainier Beach.)

All are invited to celebrate Southeast Seattle Community History Project

Those interested in the history of our part of Seattle should journey to nearby Columbia City this Friday, June 1, at 5:30 pm for a free all-ages public event celebrating the Southeast Seattle Community History Project.

The Community History Project’s goal is to use traditional historic preservation methods combined with community-based research to identify and illuminate the people, places, events, and policies that shaped Southeast Seattle during the post-World War II era. See the Project’s website here.

Some of the Project’s activities have included studies by community organizations such as El Centro de la Raza, the Northwest African American Museum, the Wing Luke Asian Museum and the Washington State Jewish Historical Society; essays on geographic and social themes related to the neighborhoods within Southeast Seattle; a new local history app by; and a multilingual poster series in Chinese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

The event is at the Royal Esquire Club, 5016 Rainier Ave. S. in the Columbia City Historic District. Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith and City Councilmember Sally Clark will be there to join the celebration. Free Southeast Seattle posters will be available.

For more information, contact Melinda Bloom at 206.682.0228 or

Volunteers needed for Beacon Rocks!

Volunteers are needed to help put on the Beacon Rocks! summer music series. Help is needed for these roles (at all three events unless noted):

  • “Set up” shift, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.: unloading tables and chairs, setting up canopies, creating an information booth, helping folks cross at the crosswalk, helping performers get set up, setting out garbage/recycling cans, putting up signage, supporting youth volunteers and vendor set up.
  • Sound system technician, June 24 and July 29, 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Poetry facilitator, June 24
  • Event emcee, August 26, 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • “Running the show” shift, 12 noon – 3 p.m.: vendor support, information booth, assisting performers’ set up, crosswalk assistance, support of youth volunteers
  • “Break down” shift, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.: rounding up and putting away tables, chairs, canopies, signage, garbage/recycling.

Volunteers will get a free t-shirt. To volunteer or for more info, call or email ROCKiT Community Arts Volunteer Coordinator Liz Walsh-Boyd at or 206-324-6351.

The events’ themes have been decided. They are:

  • Sunday, June 24: “Transportation” theme. Light rail representatives and possibly Metro transit will be there
  • Sunday, July 2 “Save the (Weather-vane) Whale” theme. Water fun and a project to restore the “fallen” whale to the top of the Garden House
  • Sunday, August 26 “Barter Your Way” theme. An assortment of services/products and people who “trade” in these items.

Each event will also have a poetry activity.

These folks volunteered their time and labor to make the first Beacon Rocks! series happen in 2010. Photo by Julia Cheng in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool.

Hillbettys headline June Folk Club concert

The Hillbettys.

Next Sunday, June 3, “all girl bluegrass band” the Hillbettys are headlining the monthly Garden House Folk Club concert. The Hillbettys — Paisley (upright bass), Alyse (banjo), Milly “Racoon” (fiddle), and Kate (guitar) — will play “mountain music for the masses” at the Garden House, 2336 15th Ave. S. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, free for kids.

John Shaw will open the show. Shaw is a songwriter who has written 60 songs on commission over the last three years, many of them as a fundraiser for Beacon Hill International School’s PTA. He is also writing a book on the the visionary tradition in America’s national anthems, due out in late 2013.

Dinner, or “Beacon Bento,” is now available at Garden House concerts. Local restaurants Baja Bistro, Inay’s Kitchen, Taqueria Luisa, and Travelers’ Thali House will provide a variety of ethnic dishes, including mole enchiladas, pork Adobo, Tunga burritos, and Janti thali as take out meals to enjoy outside in the fresh air before the show or cabaret-style during the show. All meals are $10 or less. See the menu here.

Sunday morning shootings included two on Beacon Hill

Four Sunday-morning drive-by shootings in South Seattle — with 60 to 70 rounds fired — included two shootings on Beacon Hill. KOMO News (Beacon Hill Blog news partners) has a good round-up of the shootings here.

The Beacon Hill shootings were at the 4800 block of Columbia Drive S in mid-Beacon Hill, and the 4200 block of South Henderson Street on far south Beacon Hill. According to police, the Columbia Drive house is known to house gang members. A possible vehicle involved in the Columbia Drive incident is a white Acura or Honda.

No one was injured in any of these incidents; the police are investigating.

View Drive-by shootings, 5/27/12 in a larger map

Schedule announced for Beacon Hill Festival

A performer at last year's Beacon Hill Festival. Photo by Furchin in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool.

This year’s Beacon Hill Festival (Saturday, June 2 at the Jefferson Community Center, Jefferson Park) will feature two stages full of entertainment to go along with the food, games, vendors, and other activities at the festival.

Here is the current schedule (subject to change):

Park Stage

  • 11:00 Lion Dance — Jeffrey
  • 11:15 Ala Carte (a capella group)
  • 11:45 Jiffy (rock band)
  • 12:30 Kimball Elementary
  • 1:00 Washington Middle School Jr Band
  • 1:30 Washington Middle School Jr Strings
  • 2:00 Maple Elementary
  • 2:30 Skin Deep Belly Dance
  • 3:00 Tumbuka (marimba band)

Court Stage

  • 11:45 Hank Davis (singer-songwriter)
  • 12:15 Zumba — Carol
  • 1:15 Kung Fu Demo
  • 2:30 Dearborn Elementary S.C.A.T.S. (Seattle Cirque & Acrobat Team)
  • 3:30 Splinter Dance

Thanks to ROCKiT Community Arts for putting this schedule together and sending it out to us!

Beacon Hill Festival is next week

The silent auction at last year's Beacon Hill Festival. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.
The 20th Annual Beacon Hill Festival is only a week away! Make plans for next Saturday, June 2 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Ave S. (You won’t be able to miss it. The event is big!) There will be food, musical performances, bouncy toys, carnival games, vendors, a silent auction, and more. Admission is free for the whole family, and money raised through the vendors and silent auction will go to support scholarships and programs at the community center.

Past and present: Engstrom’s Pharmacy

Engstrom's Pharmacy, 3067 Beacon Avenue, in 1959. Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.
The same location today. Hello Bicycle is in the old pharmacy location. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

This is the intersection of Beacon Avenue South and South Hanford Street, looking north on the west side of the street. Beacon Hill is apparently much greener than it once was, at least as far as street trees are concerned. You can see that the 1959 view shows no trees at all.

Another notable difference between Beacon Hill then and now is the pharmacy. The Hill currently has no pharmacies, but in the past there were quite a few, including Engstrom’s where Hello Bicycle is now located. North Beacon residents could easily walk to their local drugstore for prescriptions or — as the sign on the front of the old pharmacy advertises — Carnation Ice Cream.

Nelson’s Gifts is also gone, unfortunately replaced by a completely blank storefront. (We’re told it’s an art/design studio.) On the other hand, the shop one door north of the pharmacy is now exactly what it was in 1959: a barber shop.

Cheasty Greenspace needs bucket brigade, bike park supporters

Will we see trails like this in Cheasty Greenspace someday? Photo by Explore The Bruce via Creative Commons/Flickr.

The Friends of Cheasty Greenspace/Mt. View have posted a plea for major volunteer help on Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. until noon. A “bucket brigade” is needed to help surface the Ridge Trail with gravel.

If you are able to help, meet the group at 2809 S. Alaska Pl. Tools and gloves will be provided, but volunteers should bring water and perhaps snacks to share.

In other Cheasty Greenspace news, a group of neighbors are working together to create an Opportunity Fund proposal to build a multi-use trail system (including mountain bike trails) in the north part of the Greenspace. Find out more at the Beacon Bike Park website.