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Neighborhood Service Center closed, changes coming

January 5th, 2011 at 3:15 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Cuts to the city’s budget have led to the closure of the Greater Duwamish Neighborhood Service Center, located in the Beacon Hill Library on North Beacon Hill. District Coordinator Steve Louie will be relocated across the bridge to the Delridge Neighborhood Service Center. He sent out the following letter with information about the closure and the resulting changes to the Neighborhood Service Center program:

Happy New Years. As a result of the 2011-2012 Adopted Budget and Department changes, here is an update on my status. I am currently in the process of closing down the Greater Duwamish Neighborhood Service Center on Beacon Hill and will now be based out of the Delridge Neighborhood Service Center. Now that we are down to 10 from 13 District Coordinators we will be serving the City through a team approach. I will be working with 3 other District Coordinators and the 4 of us will be covering the South Division. The Districts we will be covering are SE, Greater Duwamish, Delridge, and Southwest. Below is more information from our Department.

Neighborhood District Coordinator Program Changes and Neighborhood Service Center Closure: Background and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As a result of the 2011‐2012 Adopted Budget, the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is restructuring services provided by the Neighborhood District Coordinator Program as well as the number of open Neighborhood Service Centers. Following are frequently asked questions and responses. If additional information is needed, please contact Pamela Banks, Neighborhood District Coordinator Program Manager at 206‐233-5044 or Kimberlee Archie, Deputy Director, at 206‐684‐0463.

DON 2011 Budget Impacts:

  • Neighborhood District Coordinators (NDCs) reduced from 13 to 10, effective 1/4/11. The Neighborhood District Coordinator (NDC) interim service plan divides the city into 3 geographic areas, each served by a team of NDCs.
  • Neighborhood Service Centers (NSCs) reduced from 13 to 7, effective 1/4/11. The remaining NSCs are all payment sites where few changes will be experienced for those who visit for information or payment services; however, co‐locators and those who utilized space at nonpayment sites will experience major changes with the closures of the 6 non‐payment sites.
  • More »


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ROCKiT space closed, community challenged to take over

November 21st, 2010 at 7:28 pm | 5 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Photo by Jason.

Another establishment on the Hill is closing, this time ROCKit space. The music and art organization on Beacon Avenue is closing due to illness in founder Jessie McKenna’s family. However, the space may not go away if there is the will to keep it alive, as McKenna is offering the space, equipment, and supplies to those in the community who can take it over and make something happen.

In a letter to the neighborhood this weekend, McKenna said: “I propose that those of you out there who feel there is a real need for a place like ROCKiT space to exist in our neighborhood… come forward with your ideas, motivation, financial contributions, whatever you’ve got to make that happen and propose to take it over. Our landlords will be advertising the space in about a week, but are willing to consider a lease extension for another party.”

ROCKiT space provided music rehearsal space and instruments, art supplies and workspace, books on the creative arts, classes in language and the arts for kids and adults, open mic nights, meeting space for local groups, and more. Additionally, it hosted the auditions for performers in last summer’s Beacon Rocks! music event.

Here is Jessie’s letter to the community:

Dear Beacon Hill,

You have been my home, my community, my friends for so long now. ROCKiT space was not our gift to Beacon Hill, but a potential commodity—a community space for us to share and use for whatever need it could fulfill. We have had an amazing go of it, but the time has come to say goodbye. Hundreds of people, probably well over 1,000, have shared ROCKiT space with us. We have laughed, cried, been frightened, overwhelmed with excitement and an outpouring of love and understanding; we have been appreciated and praised and we have used the space in so many ways.

Beacon Hill has confirmed for us what we knew going into this crazy experiment: It isn’t possible to fail when you set out to do something inherently pure and good with all your heart. We shared a vision with you. I want to see a world where people come first, where children are treated as equals, where adults are free to behave as children, where all people are welcome and encouraged and exist in a mindset that we are capable of anything we can imagine. I have truly glimpsed such a world in ROCKiT space and the people who have touched us with their individual and truly unique qualities and in turn have been touched by this place and the dream it represents.

I would like to give the Beacon Hill community the opportunity to turn ROCKiT space into whatever it is you are dreaming about. We have tried to make it a place for all people to share, and maybe it can be just that with enough time, money and energy put into it. But through unforeseen circumstances—a serious illness in the family—we have been forced to face reality. ROCKiT space has enormous potential, but after more than a year now, it is still rarely used as a creative space for teens or adults. Our open mic has been delightfully successful in the past, but has for some time now been a much smaller event. The people are incredible, the talent, the friendships made, but the event is not one that generates revenue for the space.

The hard truth is that these are difficult times for most of us financially. We at ROCKiT space totally understand if this is not a time to try a lot of new things or work a new “hot spot” on the Hill into your routines. And we also get that it’s not for everybody. Many of the people who love ROCKiT and frequent the space are not even members or paying fees to “use” the space. They just genuinely like the vibe and support the mission. We LOVE that! But let’s face it, The wonderful fact of the matter is that kids get it. Kids know how to ROCK iT like nobody’s business. As the community at ROCKiT grew, we saw over and over again just how much children, especially young children and their parents/caregivers got out of the space.

I propose that those of you out there who feel there is a real need for a place like ROCKiT space to exist in our neighborhood, either in more or less its current form or in another form, such as a space dedicated to children and their artistic/creative/social growth, come forward with your ideas, motivation, financial contributions, whatever you’ve got to make that happen and propose to take it over. Our landlords will be advertising the space in about a week, but are willing to consider a lease extension for another party. It’s no done deal, but it’s worth a shot if you are interested or know someone who would be.

I personally am no longer able to continue my outrageous (and totally awesome!) attempt to build ROCKiT from the ground up and see it through to success in whatever shape and form it comes. I have been working on a “volunteer” basis for 16mos and have reached the limit of my ability financially, emotionally and otherwise to keep going. I have learned so much, had the pleasure to get to know countless individuals and meet new, amazing people all the time. I would love to be able to take all the things about ROCKiT space that are incredibly fulfilling and wonderful and shelve the perpetual challenges of starting a nonprofit art space during a recession. But as we all know, it doesn’t work that way.

We would like to offer to the community virtually everything that has been donated to us as well as many things that were purchased specifically for ROCKiT space: musical equipment, art/office supplies and we would love to offer our insight/advice based on our experience to someone who would like to combine it with their own vision and propel the space into 2011.

ROCKiT space is now closed aside from musician rehearsals and one more Tots Jam and Spanish class. The well-meaning gal who has been running the space needs to focus on family right now. If ROCKiT space, or some incarnation of it is to go on, it will go on in new hands. I’m hoping that will be the case! But if it isn’t and we do close our doors with no particular hope of opening them up again, I must say from the bottom of my heart, thank you Beacon Hill for being such a dear friend to me. This is not goodbye, not for me, or for ROCKiT.

ROCKiT space is a state of mind. And I for one will do my very best to maintain that state and continue to share not only that vision, but make it my personal mission to remain grounded, true to myself, my heart and to all of you.
Sincerely,

Jessie McKenna
Owner/Operator/Director/Janitor, ROCKiT space NPO
3315 Beacon Ave S
Seattle, WA 98144
206.323.7115

A young artist creates at ROCKiT space. Photo by Bridget Christian in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.


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North Beacon Hill Council protests closure of Neighborhood Service Center

November 15th, 2010 at 5:27 pm | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw spoke at a North Beacon Hill Council meeting earlier this year at the Beacon Hill Library. Closure of the Neighborhood Service Center will not only remove the services provided by the center, but also prevent the NBHC from holding its meetings at the library site. Photo by Wendi.

The North Beacon Hill Council sent a letter today to all members of the Seattle City Council, protesting the planned closure of the Neighborhood Service Center located at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South.

Severe cuts to the Department of Neighborhoods in the proposed City Budget would close the Beacon Hill (Greater Duwamish) Neighborhood Service Center and remove the Greater Duwamish District Coordinator, Steve Louie. The Service Center and the Coordinator provide services and help for the community, including (but not limited to):

  • Community and neighborhood organization contacts
  • Crime prevention and block watch materials
  • Information on heating bill assistance and food banks
  • Information on city and other job opportunities, including summer youth employment
  • Land use and zoning information
  • Application forms and assistance for the Neighborhood Matching Fund, business licenses, voter registration, and passports

Additionally, Louie’s access to the building allows the North Beacon Hill Council to use the space for council meetings even though the meetings usually need to run later than the library’s normal closing time.

If the Neighborhood Service Center is closed, neighbors on North Beacon Hill seeking equivalent city services would need to go to the Southeast Neighborhood Service Center instead, located 3.5 miles away on South Othello Street.

North Beacon Hill Council Chair Judith Edwards says, “The loss of our District Neighborhood Coordinator and Neighborhood Service Center would have a tremendous negative affect on all of us. Please contact the City Council.” You can find contact information for all Council members here. The council will vote on the new budget next Monday, November 22.

Here is the letter sent by the North Beacon Hill Council to the Seattle City Council today. Judith suggests that people use this as a starting point for their own letters to the Council.

North Beacon Hill Council
3211 Beacon Ave. S., Suite 14
Seattle, WA 98144

November 15, 2010

Dear City Council Members,

This is a final plea from all 150 members of the North Beacon Hill Council (NBHC) and its Board of Directors. We ask that you leave the Beacon Hill Neighborhood Service Center open to the public which it serves in our diverse, but active, neighborhood, and retain the services of our Neighborhood Coordinator.

If the Neighborhood Service Center no longer exists in the Beacon Hill Library, an average of 3-5 citizens per day will have no one to turn to with questions regarding the City and other neighborhood problems. Many of these citizens speak English as a second language, use bus transportation or walk, and find the Service Center to be very accessible when they come into the Library for other services, such as classes, computer use, etc. Since diversity and reaching out to under-represented populations is a high priority for the City, closure of this Neighborhood Service Center will be a great injustice to one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, and will diminish greatly the City’s outreach to under-represented populations.

Our District Coordinators have helped many members of the North Beacon Hill Council to apply for and receive many Small Sparks and Neighborhood Matching Fund grants. Without this guidance, I suspect that the applications for these grants will diminish in number. Stairwells have been cleaned of drugs and prostitution; cross walks have been made safe; parks have been restored—all thanks to the guidance of our Neighborhood Coordinators.

The North Beacon Hill Council will be without a meeting place if the Neighborhood Service Center is closed. As many as fifty (50) concerned citizens and citizen activists regularly attend these meetings. We are able to use the Beacon Hill Library Community Room for meetings which end at 9:00PM only because our Neighborhood District Coordinator is housed in the Library and has authorization to lock up after hours.

We, the Board and members of the North Beacon Hill Council, ask that you give strong consideration to keeping the Neighborhood Service Center and Neighborhood Coordinator in the Beacon Hill Library, where a very strong community need is now being met.

Thank you.

Judith Edwards, Chair – North Beacon Hill Council


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Red sunset

August 2nd, 2010 at 4:02 pm | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

The red sun last night was caused by smoke in the atmosphere from forest fires. Photo by Jason.


Alley art near McClellan. Photo by melissajonas in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool.


Doll in the sunset light, in the window of the about-to-close Three Brothers Cleaners/Gift Shop a couple of weeks ago. Photo by Wendi.


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UPDATED: A Touch of Sweden closing

June 19th, 2010 at 4:03 am | 2 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Sunday will be your last chance to buy pastries like these from A Touch of Sweden. Photo by Wendi.

Update: Sale postponed until next weekend due to inclement weather.

We are sorry to hear that one of our new Beacon Hill businesses is closing. Kajsa Soderlund sent us this email:

A Touch of Sweden is sad to announce that we are going to need to close our business in Beacon Hill due to a family emergency. My dad who is in Sweden has cancer. It has become increasingly hard emotionally for me to be this far away from him, especially since learning to know his cancer has spread. Because of this, we have decided to go back to Sweden in August. At the end of this month, we are going to move to Minneapolis where PopTop is from and stay there until we leave for Sweden.

We are going to have a garage sale/bake sale this Sunday June 21 1pm to 5 pm between 1308 and 1312 Beacon Ave S 13th Ave S at S Judkins Street. We will sell furniture (like a platform bed, a dresser etc), glassware, books and other items to economically support our move. We would be most grateful for any donations or tips.

We will also have some baked goods for sale at this event.

Please, spread the word among family, neighbors, and friends. We need all the help we can get.

Thank you,
Kajsa and PopTop

(Edited on July 2 to add a new letter from Kajsa:)

Hello all.

This is an announcement regarding the rescheduled date and time for A Touch of Sweden’s yard sale/ bake sale this Saturday July 3rd 9 AM to 5 PM at 13th Ave S/S Judkins Street (right next to the Pacific Medical building/Amazon). The previous yard sale/bake sale was canceled due to not good weather.

We are asking the Beacon Hill community to please support us. At the moment, we don’t have enough money to buy or rent a car and a trailer to take us back to Minneapolis since we only have $150. We are looking for a way to get a car through donation or a car we can sell in Minneapolis and send back the money to the seller before we leave for Sweden.

As of Sunday evening, we will have nowhere to stay in Seattle so it will be necessary for us to leave and head for Minneapolis Sunday July 4th in the afternoon/evening. Whatever donations or purchases at the yard sale will be greatly appreciated as we are in an urgent state where we need to leave Seattle for Sweden.

We will be selling a platform bed, a 1.2.3 futon, a wooden dresser, bookshelves, tv/video/dvd, vaccuum cleaner, curtain rods (brand new) trampoline (barely used) household items, cd rack, 2 pairs of speakers, large kitchen garbage can, bolt cutter, clothes, shoes, rocking chair and so much more.

We do know in our hearts that everything will be fine in the end but need your assistance to create some magic.

Thanks for the opportunity to prepare and share our baked goods with the Beacon Hill community. Your support and wonderful feedback has meant the world to us.

With love and light,
Kajsa and PopTop


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Van Asselt Community Center closed today, perhaps tomorrow

April 22nd, 2010 at 1:35 pm | No Comments | Posted by Jason

Joelle Hammerstad with Seattle Parks and Recreation wrote in to share that Van Asselt Community Center is closed this afternoon:

They had a sewage back up from one of the toilets, which caused a pretty big mess. Our plumbers are there and working to resolve the problem. We expect to get cleaning folks in later today, and open the facility for normal operating hours tomorrow. All classes and programs have been cancelled today.

We advise folks to call tomorrow before going to the center just to be on the safe side. The number is: 206-386-1921.

Thanks, Joelle!


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Community Centers among facilities closed today for furlough

January 15th, 2010 at 4:03 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Jefferson Community Center and Van Asselt Community Center, along with the rest of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s community centers and indoor pools, will be closed today for furlough. Other facilities such as the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center and the Amy Yee Tennis Center will also be closed (fully or partially).

City employees will take 10 days of unpaid furlough this year as the result of budget cuts. To achieve this, Parks and Recreation will close most facilities one Friday a month, except in July and August. A complete list of closures may be found on the Parks and Recreation website.


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Fourth Avenue ramp from Spokane Street Viaduct to close January 22

January 8th, 2010 at 4:27 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Some big changes are coming as the Seattle Department of Transportation continues the process of widening and improving the South Spokane Street Viaduct (formerly known as the West Seattle Freeway).

The westbound off-ramp to Fourth Avenue South from Columbian Way/Beacon Hill is closing permanently on January 22. From that point on, drivers will need to take alternate routes to SoDo:

  • From southbound I-5, exit at South Forest Street (before the West Seattle Bridge exit). Turn right on Sixth Avenue South. Turn left on South Lander to access Fourth Avenue South.
  • From northbound I-5, take exit 163 for the West Seattle Bridge. At the fork, stay right to exit toward Spokane Street/Safeco Field/Qwest Field. Merge onto lower South Spokane Street. Continue until Sixth Avenue South and then follow the detour signs to Fourth Avenue South.
  • From South Columbian Way, head towards I-5. Follow signs for the West Seattle Bridge. Follow the signs for South Spokane Street/Sixth Avenue South then follow the detour signs to Fourth Avenue South.

In late 2011, a new ramp will open at First Avenue South to replace the Fourth Avenue ramp.

Some other changes are coming in the next few weeks. On January 22, westbound
South Spokane Street (lower roadway) will be closed between Sixth Avenue South and Fourth Avenue South. From January 22-24, the southbound I-5 off-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge will be closed at night. And sometime in February, westbound South Spokane Street (lower roadway) will be closed between Fourth Avenue South and East Marginal Way.

Later, in the spring, the ramp to the viaduct from First Avenue South will be closed and removed.

For more information about the project, complete with maps, see SDOT’s Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project page.


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Car wash near station declared a violation; Grown Folks Coffeehouse closed

July 20th, 2009 at 4:49 pm | 6 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Signs at the entrance to the First Choice car wash illustrated problems with having an auto-oriented business in a pedestrian zone. Photo by Jason.

Signs at the entrance to the First Choice car wash illustrated problems with having an auto-oriented business in a pedestrian zone. Photo by Jason.

The city’s Department of Planning and Development has confirmed that the First Choice car detailing/car wash business that is operating at the corner of Beacon Avenue South and 15th Avenue South is not allowed to operate at that site due to light rail station area and pedestrian overlay zoning regulations. The case is being referred to the City Attorney’s office for enforcement action, and the owner of the business has been informed of the decision. Our understanding here at the BHB is that there is a certain grace period for the business to relocate, so the business may be in operation for some time still.

In other local business news, neighbor Chris sent in a tip about an interesting, and saddening, listing on Craigslist today: Grown Folks Coffeehouse has closed, and they are selling all of their equipment. A potential bargain for someone else who wants to open a coffee shop, but a substantial loss for Mid-Beacon Hill. (This closure wasn’t entirely unexpected. We mentioned the land use application for their lot last month, and it was known for months before that the lot owner was looking to redevelop the property. –Ed.)


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Beacon Ave street work this weekend

March 12th, 2009 at 3:18 pm | No Comments | Posted by Jason

SDOT’s Marybeth Turner wrote to let us all know:

SDOT crews will repair roadway pavement in the 5300 block of Beacon Avenue South on Saturday, March 14, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Southbound vehicles and bikes on Beacon Avenue South will be detoured at South Bennett Street to Columbia Drive South, returning to Beacon Avenue at S Brandon Street. Northbound traffic will not be affected.


View Larger Map
Thanks Marybeth!


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