This Thursday, April 25, Lifelong AIDS Alliance’s Dining Out For Life returns to raise money to fight illness and hunger in our community. During the event, when you dine at a participating restaurant on Beacon Hill or elsewhere, a portion of your bill will be donated to Lifelong.
Restaurants in the Beacon Hill/Columbia City/Mount Baker neighborhoods that are participating include:
Besides the benefit of contributing to your community, if you dine at one of these establishments you’ll also be entered to win two domestic airline tickets from Alaska Airlines. Tweet photos of yourself participating, and you’ll have a chance to win a Dining Out For Life prize package.
See the restaurant locations in this interactive map:
While many people pay a great deal of attention to national politics, relatively few participate (or are even aware) of events happening in their own neighborhood—until issues percolate into the media. Recent events in Southeast Seattle might have caused some neighbors to wonder how the neighborhood planning process works, and what is actually in the North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Plan. Here’s a quick introduction to planning in our neighborhood.
What is a Neighborhood Council? Why should I get involved?
North Beacon Hill is fortunate to have an engaged neighborhood council and to be part of a dynamic, functional district council. The North Beacon Hill Council describes their role as follows:
“NBHC is one of the the major community groups that represents North Beacon Hill to city, county and state agencies. It is the major political body of the neighborhood that works to improve the living conditions of our neighborhood… We work to empower our neighbors to implement the improvements to the neighborhood that they envision, we work to inform our neighbors of issues that will affect our standard of living, and we work to create a sense of community for our neighborhood.”
If you can make it to one meeting, you’re a voting member of the North Beacon Hill Council. Attend a meeting to familiarize yourself with the issues and people involved. If you can’t make it regularly, stay connected and attend when you’re able or when an issue motivates you. It’s even possible to vote by proxy. We have the Beacon Hill Blog, the BAN mailing list, and the North Beacon Hill Council website as resources. Get involved!
Who represents neighborhoods?
There are important connections between neighborhood councils, district councils, and City Council. Seattle elects City Council members “at large”—all council members represent all residents. To ensure that residents of all neighborhoods have representation on the community level, Seattle has neighborhood councils—groups that meet in the community and are composed of residents, business owners, and other interested parties. Residents and members of the councils elect board members. Council Boards interact with the City and other levels of government, representing the community. The neighborhood councils also elect representatives to a district council. Seattle has 13 district councils. North and South Beacon Hill are part of the Greater Duwamish District Council. District Council representatives participate in the City Neighborhood Council.
The North Beacon Hill Neighborhood Council and the Greater Duwamish District Council are a key way for our community to engage with City Council members, the Mayor’s office, and other elected officials. They also advocate for our community to receive funds for sidewalks, crosswalks, greater police engagement, and more.
NBHC meets the first Thursday of every month at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South. The next meeting is March 4 at 7:00 pm.
Madrid interviewed Estela Ortega from El Centro, Bill LaBorde of Transportation Choices Coalition, City Councilmember Sally Clark and David Goldberg of the Department of Planning and Development, and also attempted to speak with North Beacon appellant Frederica Merrell and the appellants from the other Southeast Seattle neighborhoods—for the most part, however, the petitioners aren’t talking. (The exception is Jenna Walden of the Othello group, who suggests that the reason for her group’s appeal is that it is a protest against marginalization of neighborhood groups.)
The resulting article pulls no punches; it concludes, “…Merrell and her cohorts appear to be more concerned with winning than pursuing the best interests of their neighborhoods and the city.”
Responses from The Stranger‘s readers on the website have been mixed.
Rosie Kirby writes, hoping someone might have seen something of interest today near her home that was burgled today:
We live on the corner of 13th and Hill St. in North Beacon Hill. Our house was broken into with what looks like possibly some sort of crowbar or having kicked in the door somewhere between 7:10 a.m. and 4 p.m. today, 2/22/10. Our neighbor (these are town homes) reports that she heard the door open and shutting around 1:00 p.m. but did not think to look and see if anything was going on. Luckily, not too much was stolen; however, we would appreciate any information or if anyone saw any suspicious activity. The burglar may have left with the laptops, money, and miscellaneous in a brown QFC paper bag. We had one hanging in the kitchen for recycling and they dumped the contents onto the couch.
If you may have any information that could help track down the thieves or recovery their stolen property, please call Rosie at 701-610-4555 or Seth at 206-914-0557 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
April Jahns reported a Saturday-night smash-and-grab on the mailing list and followed up with video:
Some punk smashed the passenger side window of our minivan last night. We got it on video – it’s pretty grainy, though. When Ryan is done converting and snipping and whatever else he has to do to the footage I’ll post it on youtube and send a link to the listserv. The person had to rifle around for a minute before finding a grocery bag (hid well out of sight) to find my stash of Valentine’s Day candy conversation hearts. Maybe he’ll get a cavity as his punishment.
We did call the police and since we have the video an officer came out and he dusted the van for prints and will pick up a copy of the video tomorrow. He couldn’t stress enough how important it is for us to call when we see someone suspicious walking around – it enables the officers to talk to fishy looking people. He said the report allows them to pull suspicious looking people over to talk to them. Of course, this happened at 5:10 am – if I had seen him walking by my house I would have seen him breaking into my car. A
car around the corner from us was broken into as well. The officer said there have been lots of prowls in this area (I’m at 16th & Bayview) and they have been patrolling but the commission of the crime is so fast that its hard to catch them in the act.
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Mike Rosen wrote about another smash-and-grab Sunday night on the BAN list:
We live on the 1300 block of 13th Avenue South, close to Atlantic. Around 2 am the car alarm on our Honda went off. (I am sure some of you heard it.) One of us went down to check. No signs of break in. This morning I left for work and noticed the Eclipse that was parked behind the Honda had had its driver’s window shattered. I called 911 to report it, and they said that the owner must call it in. I left a note for the car’s owner. My older Subaru had not been broken into.
On February 22nd at approximately 7:11 p.m. officers on patrol heard shots fired near the light rail tracks at MLK Way South and South Winthrop Street. Officers searched further and discovered an adult male victim (possibly in his 30’s) who had sustained a through and through gunshot wound to the arm. The victim was transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment.
Officers are currently interviewing additional persons who were in the area at the time of the shooting. A possible suspect vehicle was seen fleeing the area. That vehicle is described as a green Chevy Impala with shiny chrome rims. There is no suspect description available at this time. Officers continue to actively investigate this incident. Gang Unit detectives have been notified and will be conducting the follow up investigation.
The Othello appeal was filed by Ron Momoda, Patricia Paschal, and Jenna Walden. The North Rainier appeal was filed by Pat Murakami and Barbara Marino. Most are well-known neighborhood activists in Southeast Seattle, and several were active last year in speaking out against House Bill 1490 and Senate Bill 5687, which would have created incentives and requirements for transit-oriented development and density near light rail stations.
The three appeals all request the same thing: that DPD’s Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) for each neighborhood’s plan update be vacated, and that DPD be required to take other actions including additional community notification, review, and validation, and environmental impact analyses.
The North Beacon appeal has been the subject of some heated controversy in the comments sections of the BHB posts linked above, with some commenters suggesting that the appeals are specifically intended to cause the entire update process to be scrapped, or that they were filed in order to block any upzoning or increased density, while some others say the update plan was flawed from the start, and that appeals such as this are a necessary and important part of the process of making this update work for North Beacon Hill.
The recently published Neighborhood Plan updates (the North Beacon one is here) were developed through a process that began in Fall 2008 and continued through 2009 with community meetings and open houses in March, May, and September.
(ed. note—Frederica Merrell occasionally contributes opinion articles to the Beacon Hill Blog.)
Going to Seafair festivities this weekend? Forget your car, and take Link light rail! Take the light rail to the Othello Station and catch a free Seafair Express Shuttle to the front gate, or go to the Columbia City Station and walk approximately one mile to the main gate.
Roger Valdez of Beacon Hill writes in Sightline Daily about the long path to geting light rail in Seattle, and suggests steps the city will need to take to make it work in the long run, including smart land use policies that enhance and create transit demand by creating denser communities, and establishment of policies that will encourage and support transit ridership.
City Councilman Bruce Harrell reports his involvement in securing federal funds for lighting, pedestrian, and transit improvements at the Mount Baker light rail station and the Rainier Avenue South and South Jackson Street areas. The Rainier project will provide buses with “queue jumps” and traffic signal priority, as well as adding 15 bus bulbs. These changes will allow buses to save time by bypassing traffic and avoiding merges into heavy traffic. The Mount Baker project will involve lighting which will link the station with Franklin High School, and provide safer crossing for pedestrians on Rainier Avenue and MLK.
Nina Shapiro in the Seattle Weeklydiscusses issues of cultural disparity on Link light rail: is the train just “stuff white people like?” However, her article currently contains one big error — she suggests that riders of bus routes such as the #42 avoid Link because transfers from Link to the bus are not free. This is not true. Link tickets allow you to transfer to a bus for free. If #42 riders are avoiding Link for that reason, it is because of a misunderstanding of the fare system, and perhaps because Sound Transit/Metro haven’t yet done the best possible job of communicating how it works.
Thirty years after the stadium’s demise, the area is a relatively automobile-focused district containing fast food and big stores like Lowe’s, Rite Aid, and QFC, mostly surrounded by large parking lots, with cars speeding by on Rainier Avenue. It’s not a pedestrian-friendly environment, but the intent is that the new station, and the potential transit-friendly development it will attract, will improve that.
East of the station rises the imposing neoclassical façade of Franklin High School, which opened in 1912 and was renovated in the late 1980s.
Northeast of Lowe’s on MLK, between South Walker and South Bayview streets, you’ll find the Martin Luther King Junior Memorial Park, a tiered, grassy amphitheatre-like space containing a reflecting pool and a 30-foot-tall granite sculpture by Robert Kelly, inspired by King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.
There is good eating to be found near the station, even if you have to dodge a few cars to find it. Thai Recipe is located in the same strip mall as Domino’s on McClellan, and it is the only Thai restaurant we know of that even borders on North Beacon Hill. The very friendly staff serves good, reliable, and tasty Thai food, available for take out or to eat in the small dining room.
Perhaps your current craving is for a cheesesteak sandwich instead. If so, there’s The Original Philly’s, almost in the shadow of Mount Baker station at the intersection of Rainier and McClellan.
The art at this station includes chandeliers on the underside of the guideway, made from recycled “cobra head” street lights (Sky Within by Sheila Klein), and painted glass forming splashes of color on the glass face of the station (Rain, Steam and Speed and Seattle Sunrise, both by Guy Kemper);
If you continue on the train toward downtown from Mount Baker, you will then turn west and enter the Beacon Hill tunnel. Here’s a video taken by Oran Viriyincy to give you a taste of what it’s like to ride the train from Mount Baker into the tunnel.
We stopped in at the Rainier Grocery Outlet this evening and saw that entire rows of shelving were gone, the freezers were half-full, and a lot less “stuff” was in the store. I asked the checker if they were closing or just remodeling. He said they’re closing November 26th.
We haven’t been able to get more details yet, but we’re wondering if the store is a casualty of the lengthy construction of the Mount Baker light rail station that has made access to the store more difficult for the last few years. The building and property are owned by the University of Washington, with their laundry facilities next door.
The article mentions a similar effect in other markets, with single-family home values showing increases ranging from 2 percent in San Diego to a blistering 32 percent in St. Louis. The article also suggests that it is not just station location that causes the biggest increases, but transit-oriented development (TOD) that adds to the attractiveness of the area. North Beacon and Mount Baker (Rainier and McClellan) will have their stations soon, but will the TOD follow? Will we see a similar increase in housing value here on Beacon Hill? The Othello and Columbia City stations are already seeing some development, but there hasn’t been much up on top of the Hill or at the foot of McClellan.