Category Archives: Neighborhood Pride

Small and Simple Neighborhood Matching Fund award winners announced

Updated with the new award information.

Neighborhood Matching Fund Small and Simple Award winners have been announced by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Projects for Beacon Hill that received matching funds:

  • Beacon Hill Family Bike and Pedestrian Circulation Planning – $15,000 in matching funds
  • Lewis Park Reforestation Phase II – $17,000
  • Cinco de Mayo Festival – $7,125

For more details on the projects and information about projects elsewhere in the city, consult the Department of Neighborhoods’ NMF Award Winners PDF which includes brief descriptions of each project.

The next round of applications for funds are due on July 12. Requirements and application info are at the Small and Simple Projects Fund page.

Thanks to the sharp-eyed Dee for alerting us to the outdated info.

Beacon Idol entrants sought

Bands and individual performers who are interested in performing at this summer’s Beacon Rocks! music series are invited to perform in Beacon Idol. Beacon Idol will take place at the ROCKiT Space open mic (3315 Beacon Avenue South) on these Saturdays: March 27, April 24, and May 29.

You can sign up to perform at a Beacon Idol event by emailing or contacting Jessie McKenna through ROCKiT space.

Beacon Idol is geared for smaller acts, but bands are encouraged to perform as well as long as they make arrangements with Jessie beforehand.

If you would like to submit your band/music or other talent that you think might be a good addition for the Beacon Rocks! event series, but are unable to perform at a Beacon Idol event, you have the following options:

  • Send a link to your webpage where your music can be found (three songs minimum), a brief bio, and some pictures of you to
  • Send a CD (three songs minimum) with a one-sheet/brief bio to ROCKiT space, 3315 Beacon Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98144
  • Or drop your CD and bio off in person at ROCKiT space (you may leave it in the mailbox if no one is around)

The Beacon Rocks! series is all-volunteer—artists will not be paid. The series is intended to be a fun opportunity to build community and give local musicians a place to play in their neighborhood. Music and performances must be family friendly. All bands/artists will be chosen by May 29.

For more information on Beacon Rocks! or Beacon Idol, see the Beacon Rocks! website.

Applications and donations now accepted for Beacon Hill Festival XVII

Photo by go-team from the Beacon Hill Blog pool on Flickr.

The 17th annual Beacon Hill Festival is coming Saturday, June 5th to the Jefferson Community Center at 3801 Beacon Ave S. Applications for vendors are being accepted now and must be submitted by May 7th. Donations for the silent auction fundraiser are sought, and tax-deductible donations and sponsorships are also welcomed.

PDF application forms for vendors, auction donations, and sponsors are available from the Jefferson Community Center page on the Seattle Parks and Recreation website.

If you have questions, contact Tiffani Harris, Assistant Recreation Center Coordinator at or call 206-684-7481.

Walking with Tica: Neighborhood Planning

North Beacon Hill neighborhood plan update cover

Cover of the North Beacon Hill neighborhood plan update from DPD

Have you checked out the North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Plan Update? In case you’re new to North Beacon Hill, this is the draft document generated out of hours of meetings with the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD).  The North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Council and many individuals have worked very hard to collect input and share neighborhood opinions about how our community (“urban village”) should look.

Perhaps the biggest change proposed in this draft is increasing the height limit of buildings surrounding the light rail station.  There’s also a proposal to update El Centro de la Raza’s zoning.  It’s currently single family residential—no, I’m not joking. In case you’re unfamiliar with El Centro, there are dozens of programs operating out of that building, serving thousands of people of all ages and from all backgrounds.  Childcare, senior meals, homeless services, a food bank, immigrant advocacy, and more.  There are also businesses operating within El Centro: CommuniChi acupuncture, Excelsior Travel Agency, and others.  For a complete list and to learn how to volunteer or make a donation to El Centro, visit their website. El Centro hopes to develop affordable housing and expand their program facilities.  This is an incredible opportunity for our entire neighborhood.

One potential future for North Beacon Hill (looking north on Beacon Avenue, near McClellan).
Many people have concerns and fears about changes to our neighborhood, especially around the idea of increasing density.  What’s important to you? What makes Beacon Hill a place you want to live?  What would you change?  I’m concerned about preserving the character of our neighborhood and encouraging good design.  I want to keep what we have (Red Apple, Baja Bistro, La Cabaña, etc.) and add businesses that serve our community (a bookstore, a consignment store).  I want to preserve the charm of our single family blocks and add dense, affordable housing near the station.  I want our sidewalks and crosswalks accessible to the seniors who’ve lived here for decades and to those of us pushing strollers through the neighborhood.

My priorities around neighborhood planning were honed when we were looking for a house in 2003.  I attended Seattle Midwifery School at El Centro (they’ve now moved) and loved Beacon Hill.   It only took one walking tour to convince my partner that this was a great place to live.  Our goal is to live in this house for 20-30 years.  We planned where we were going to buy a house based on what was important to us:

  • walkability/run-ability (safety, accessibility, comfort, quality of sidewalks and trails)
  • services (grocery store, library, coffee shop, bar/pub, restaurant)
  • transit access and easy access by car to other places
  • diversity
  • established community
  • parks and green spaces

We’re expecting another human member of the family in May.  I’m excited to see baby/kid-friendly businesses opening in our neighborhood.  We always assumed we’d send our kid to the neighborhood school, and were content with Beacon Elementary and Kimball as choices.  The Seattle School District is shifting to location-based school assignment, which will (hopefully) mean that our south-end schools start achieving parity with the rest of the city.

Change can be challenging.  For some perspective on all the changes in Beacon Hill over the last 100 years or so, check out Seattle’s Beacon Hill by Frederica Merrell and Mira Latoszek. (Merrell is an occasional contributor to the BHB. — ed.) The book is chock-full of photos from the Jackson Regrade—when neighborhood planning meant washing huge portions of the city down into the Sound!  Now is our chance to shape our community for decades to come.  Get informed; get involved.  Attend meetings (the North Beacon Hill Council meets on the first Thursday of every month at the library) and talk to your neighbors.

(Editor’s note: If you’d like your own copy of Seattle’s Beacon Hill, you can order one from Amazon through the link on the lower right of this page.)

An artist's depiction of a future event at the Lander Festival Street, from the North Beacon Hill neighborhood plan update.

Beaconettes compete to raise funds for charity

The Beaconettes practice for the Figgy Pudding competition. Photo courtesy of the Beaconettes.
The Beaconettes practice for the Figgy Pudding competition. Photo courtesy of the Beaconettes.
This Saturday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Lander Festival Street will include entertainment by the Beaconettes a cappella group. On Friday, December 4 at 6:00 pm, the Beaconettes will also compete in the 23rd Annual Great Figgy Pudding Street Corner Caroling Competition near Westlake Center. The event is a fundraiser for Pike Market Senior Center and the Downtown Food Bank.

You can cheer on the neighborhood representatives in person on Friday, or vote with your charitable donations online.

The Beaconettes won “Best New Figgy” last year. Team member Betty Jean Williamson tells us, “This year we are going for most creative and adding costumes.” You can see performances by the Beaconettes on their YouTube channel, including “God Bless Our Ferries, Gentlemen” and “O Come, All Commuters.”

Thanks to Betty Jean!

Festival Street to open this weekend

Festival Street, nearly ready to open. Photo by Jason.
Festival Street, nearly ready to open. Photo by Jason.
A reminder: Saturday, Dec. 5, at 10:00 AM, Festival Street (South Lander Street between Beacon Avenue South and 17th Avenue South, next to Beacon Hill Station) will open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Coffee, donuts, and city leaders will all be there.

This long-awaited project extends the plaza north of Beacon Hill Station, giving the community a space for festivals and events. Workers from the Seattle Department of Transportation have been onsite since October, working on this improvement to Lander Street.

Photo from SDOT.
Photo from SDOT.

See more SDOT photos of the Festival Street project on Flickr.

View Lander Festival Street in a larger map

Potluck and planning on agenda for NBHC meeting 12/3

Time to warm up those Crock-Pots and start prepping something tasty for the NBHC potluck! Photo by _e.t.
Time to warm up those Crock-Pots and start prepping something tasty for the NBHC potluck! Photo by _e.t.
The next North Beacon Hill Council meeting is a special one: a year-end potluck celebration to recognize community members who have contributed to the neighborhood this year, and to plan for next year. The potluck and social will be followed by the monthly business meeting. All are welcome to attend. You are a voting member of the Council if you have attended one meeting previously.

The potluck starts at 6:30 pm (1/2 hour earlier than the usual meeting time), Thursday, December 3, in the Community Room at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South.

The agenda, as forwarded by Council Chair Judith Edwards:

  • 6:30 – Social time, potluck
  • 7:00 – A time to honor those who have given so much (and finish eating!)
  • 7:15 – Business meeting
    • Estela Ortega, Executive Director, El Centro de la Raza: Future plans for development of S. parcel of El Centro property (25 minutes, including Q&A)
    • 12th Ave. and Stevens St. neighbors request to become an ad-hoc committee of NBHC in order to challenge City Light’s installation of obtrusive power lines (5 minutes)
      — vote required
    • Discussion of final draft, Department of Planning and Development’s Neighborhood Plan Update (15 minutes)
      — vote required to approve/disapprove
    • Letter to Council Member Sally Clark, Chair, Planning and Land Use Committee: Action to ensure that N. Beacon Hill Development Design Guidelines are employed in future construction (10 minutes)
      — vote required
  • 8:05 – Future focus: where should we put our energy in the coming year? What are the issues the community is concerned with?
  • 8:30 – Closure

Rocking, cycling, and gardening: Beacon Hill sights

A guitarist tries out the music space at ROCKiT space. Photo by Bridget Christian in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
A guitarist tries out the music space at ROCKiT space. Photo by Bridget Christian in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
The new ROCKiT space non-profit music and art organization on Beacon Avenue held their grand opening this weekend. Bridget Christian was there, and has posted a great set of photos from the event on Flickr. She says, “GREAT place for kids… all kinds of art stuff to do, books, instruments to mess around on.”

Jesse Vernon, of The Stranger, recently discovered the Chief Sealth Trail, which, he says, starts on Beacon Hill and then “transports you to Kubota Garden via Ireland. Or New Zealand. Or some other place with rolling green hills I’ve never been.” However, some commenters on Vernon’s post complained about the trail’s hills, and one commenter, Kinkos, suggested that the best way to ride the trail is to “take light rail to beacon hill, ride to the trailhead, then ride downhill on the trail to near the end – to the rainier beach sta. catch the train back to beacon hill, and repeat.”

Willie Weir has been photographing his Beacon Hill garden all year as part of an “exercise in extreme local travel” — enjoying the sights close to home that we often overlook. He’s posted a gorgeous video collection of last spring’s photos on YouTube.

Beacon Hill public art website debuts

Kissing fish fountain at Jefferson Park. Photo by Joel Lee.
Kissing fish fountain at Jefferson Park. Photo by Joel Lee.
After the post earlier this week about public art on Beacon Hill, Joel Lee was inspired to create a website dedicated to the public art all around us on the Hill. The site, Beacon Hill Public Art, contains pictures of and information about artworks from all parts of Beacon Hill. Lee welcomes your information, ideas, and photos to add to the site.

Not just good looks: station lights indicate elevator position

And here we thought they just looked nice. Photo by Wendi.
And here we thought they just looked nice. Photo by Wendi.
Apparently the new lights on the Beacon Hill station that we featured in a photo post the other day are not just for looks. We’re told they have a function, too. The lights are blue when the elevator reaches the street level, then change to purple as the elevator goes down to the platform. If this is true, it makes it easier to see which elevator to stand in front of while waiting for the door to open — as long as it’s dark enough to see them, and if you are not color-blind.

Edited to add: I watched them tonight and the colors constantly change, whether the elevators are moving or not. When an elevator opens, the light over that elevator does turn blue — but it also turns blue randomly when the elevator isn’t even moving. When the elevator closes and goes down again, it does seem to turn purple. But since the colors randomly change, and the blue color change does not come until the doors open, it doesn’t seem very functional. It’s awfully pretty, though!