Category Archives: BH in the News

PIE features Beacon Hill

The latest episode of the KCTS9 show PIE, with the theme “wheels,” visits Beacon Hill for two segments featuring local people and landmarks.

The first is an impressionistic “then and now” about the beautifully restored Fire Station 13, with views of Jefferson Park next door. See it here.

The second segment, “Old Guy Skateboarders,” also visits Jefferson Park, and finds that many skateboarders using the skate park aren’t the kids you might expect. Skaters in their 40s and 50s and even older are out there too. Some are returning to skating after taking time off for families and work, while others never stopped skating. See the segment here.

Reacting to the Beacon Food Forest

Raspberries photo by Chris Gladis via Flickr/Creative Commons.
On Monday, Dan Stone of National Geographic’s Change Reaction blog featured “Seattle’s Free Food Experiment,” the Beacon Food Forest:

“Can food be free, fresh and easily accessible? That’s the bold question that the city of Seattle is hoping to answer with a new experimental farm not far from the city’s downtown that will have fruits and vegetables for anyone to harvest this fall.”


Beacon Hill named one of 10 Great Neighborhoods

The APA praised Beacon Hill’s connectivity to light rail via the Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, Columbia City, and Othello stations. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

Guess what, neighbors? You live in a Great Place. The American Planning Association (APA), an organization of “planners, citizens and elected officials — committed to making great communities happen,” named Beacon Hill one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2012. This puts Beacon Hill in the company of neighborhoods including the Garden District in Baton Rouge, LA; Fells Point, Baltimore, MD; Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA; Cooper-Young, Memphis, TN; Downtown Walla Walla, WA; and others. The Great Neighborhoods are part of 30 Great Places in America listed by the APA, that also include 10 Great Streets and 10 Great Public Spaces.

The characteristics of a Great Neighborhood, according to the APA, include:

  • Has a variety of functional attributes that contribute to a resident’s day-to-day living (i.e. residential, commercial, or mixed-uses).
  • Accommodates multi-modal transportation (i.e. pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers).
  • Has design and architectural features that are visually interesting.
  • Encourages human contact and social activities.
  • Promotes community involvement and maintains a secure environment.
  • Promotes sustainability and responds to climatic demands.
  • Has a memorable character.

The APA cited the Hill’s “dynamic and engaged community,” diversity, and light rail connectivity, while also mentioning our “commanding views and scenic vistas,” and landmarks including “the largest Olmsted-planned and designed green space in Seattle — Jefferson Park.”

Great Places are eligible for bronze plaques to mark the achievement, but it’s unknown at this stage whether Beacon Hill will have a plaque installed.

Seattle Times: South Seattle neighbors worried about Greener Skies

Alexa Vaughn at the Seattle Times has written an article about the FAA’s new Greener Skies flight path proposal, and South Seattle residents’ worried response to the plan. Some Beacon Hill neighbors are quoted in the article, along with regional FAA administrator David Suomi, and Robert Bismuth of the Magnolia Community Council.

Though Mayor Mike McGinn recently sent the FAA a letter requesting that the FAA reopen the Greener Skies comment period and schedule a meeting in South Seattle to discuss it, the Times reports that the upcoming October 23 meeting at NewHolly will not be about Greener Skies:

“The FAA has scheduled a public meeting for Oct. 23 in South Seattle, but only to address air traffic and noise in general, Suomi said. Extending the public-comment period for Greener Skies and hosting a meeting specifically about its impact on that part of town is not going to happen, he said.”

More at the Seattle Times.

Fire leads to landslide risk at Rizal Park

By Elizabeth Dinh, KOMO Communities
(Beacon Hill Blog news partners)

A fire at Dr. Jose Rizal Park on North Beacon Hill Saturday night did more than ruin a viewpoint—it has put some motorists in danger.

The area at Rizal Park is prone to landslides—and now that the plants have been destroyed in a fireworks-sparked blaze, the risk of a slide has re-emerged.

Volunteers have spent years beautifying this park, and Saturday night’s fire ruined some of their work. And if heavy rains sweep in before this charred land is reinforced, it could pose a threat to the many people who walk and jog there.

Nine years have passed since Craig Thompson first started putting a lot of time and effort into the park that’s a few minutes away from his home.

“And we’ve done quite a bit of good work,” he says.

Volunteers have planted an apple orchard and put in more vegetation—including thousands of trees.

“We’ve managed to put ivy control measures around about 1,000 trees. We’ve planted upward of 7,000 trees,” says Thompson. He has even worked with Seattle police on how to take back the park from drug lords.

Then, at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, fireworks touched off flames that raced across the dry land.

“I live about block and a half away from here, and we heard the bottle rockets go off,” Thompson says.

Below the beautiful Seattle skyline is now a charred patch of land that—with rain—could pose a danger to people who visit the popular park.

“This is a historically landslide-prone area,” says Thompson.

The devastation bothers David Choy, a visitor from Texas who’s been coming here for more than two decades.

“That’s a terrible shame,” he says. “I always come through here because this is such beautiful scenery. I brought my uncle and my aunt over here to look at the scenery.”

But Thompson isn’t mad about having to clean up and bring in more plants. He’s only looking forward.

“I look at it, and rather than becoming depressed or angry, I see what needs to be done,” he says.

He sees yet another opportunity to make this a better place. Volunteers already had plans to come out here on September 21 and 22 to clean up the park. Thompson says that with the added work needed to fix up the area where the fire was, it would be nice to have even more helpers come out.

Pit bulls attack 3-year-old girl, 74-year-old woman

by KOMO Staff
(Beacon Hill Blog news partners)

Roving pit bulls attacked two people outside a Mid-Beacon Hill church Thursday night, biting a 3-year-old girl on the face and knocking down a 74-year-old woman, police said.

Officers responded to the scene, in the 5500 block of 17th Avenue South, at about 8:30 p.m. after receiving a report of a little girl attacked by a dog, said Detective Jeff Kappel of the Seattle police.

A preliminary investigation found that the little girl had just left church with her sister and mother and were walking to their car when they were approached by two pit bulls running loose.

As the mom tried to get her daughters away from the dogs and into their car, one of the dogs jumped up and bit the 3-year-old girl on the face.

A few minutes later, both dogs knocked down a 74-year-old woman. She hit her head on the pavement and also injured her hand as she was knocked to the ground.

Medics responded to the scene and transported both victims to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The dogs were gone when officers arrived on scene. Police searched the area, but the dogs could not be found and remain at large.

Both dogs were described as full-size pit bulls, Kappel said. One had a white body with black patches on its face and was wearing a collar. The other was all black with a couple of white patches on its face and wearing a blue collar.

It has not yet been determined who owns the dogs.

Animal Control is investigating the attack and is hoping to locate the dogs’ owner. Anyone with information or who spots the dogs is encouraged to call Animal Control at 206-386-3787, and press 7.

Prometheus Brown speaks about gun violence

The Seattle Times asked Prometheus Brown (Geo from Blue Scholars) to write a guest column about the recent gun violence in the city. Geo gave them a song, performed from what looks like Dr. Jose Rizal Park on Beacon Hill:

Tryin’a do the right thing. I don’t have the answers,
but neither does a person who practices double standards.
If every death’s a tragedy then join us when we’re chanting,
and not just when we’re singing and dancing. Too many

shots fired in the south end, nobody cares.
Shots fired in the north end, everybody scared.
Nothing they can do for us that we can’t do ourselves.
Point the finger at the mirror instead of somebody else.

Click on the image to see the video performance.

The post has generated 132 comments so far on the Times page; sadly, many of them were racist or misinformed. “Big shout to the ppl who got my back against the @seattletimes comment section crazies,” tweeted Geo this afternoon. “My favorite @seattletimes comment section response to my editorial: ‘don’t quit your day job.'”

The Montlaker blog had the best tweet in reply: “While @prometheusbrown points out Seattleites live in different cities, @seattletimes commenters live in completely different worlds.”

The Times is also hosting a live chat on the Seattle shootings Wednesday, June 13 at noon with Geo/Prometheus and Cafe Racer regular Andrew Swanson, who also wrote an op-ed for the newspaper this week.

Geo will appear alongside many other performers at today’s Beacon Boogie Block Party outside The Station coffee shop at 5 p.m.

Cleveland High School “Beacon Hill’s best building”?

The Stranger’s Charles Mudede suggests that Cleveland High School (the new portion) is “Beacon Hill’s best building.” The new addition, designed by Mahlum (see a slideshow of the building here), was an AIA Project of the Month in May, 2010*. It also won a Citation Award in 2008 from the American Association of School Administrators.

Do you agree? What do you think is the best building on Beacon Hill? What makes a “best building” anyway? Tell us in the comments.

*Mudede’s post says “Cleveland High School, which was designed by Mahlum Architects, won one of the AIA’s 2008 Honor Awards for Washington Architecture.” As far as we can tell, this is an error; the award they won in 2010 is for projects which were previously nominated for Honor Awards but did not win. The website design at the 2008 awards website is ambiguous so the error is understandable.

Fortified wines, some beers a bit harder to buy on Beacon Hill

Photo (not of Beacon Hill, as far as we know) by Steve Snodgrass via Creative Commons/Flickr.

Casey McNerthney at reports that a pilot program to voluntarily restrict sales of certain beers and fortified wines on Beacon Hill (previously discussed here) has gone into effect.

The plan addresses retailers such as convenience stores, who will receive “strong prompting” (from alcohol distributors and the mayor’s office) to prohibit sales of the problem products between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., seven days a week. The plan does not include bars and restaurants.

According to McNerthney, the city is providing a kit of suggested options for small businesses that have previously relied on the sales of fortified wine and beer.

Some Beacon Hill neighbors have been working on creating an Alcohol Impact Area (AIA) on the Hill. In an AIA, retailers may be restricted from selling certain types of alcoholic beverages that are linked to local chronic public inebriation problems. This is the list of products currently banned in AIA areas. The current voluntary plan would not preclude the city from eventually creating an AIA if necessary.

We don’t yet know which Beacon Hill businesses are participating in the plan, but we have asked the Mayor’s office for further clarification.

PacMed on the auction block

The historic PacMed building. Photo by Erick Mota in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr. Thanks, Erick!
Grab your pocketbooks and warm up those credit cards: the Seattle Times reports that the landmark PacMed building on the north tip of Beacon Hill, one-time home to, is going up for auction. But it’s not on eBay, and the starting bid may be a little rich for the average Beaconian’s blood: $2 million.

According to the Times, the holders of the building’s loan, Wright Runstad, have put the loan up for bids at, a site that specializes in real estate auctions both online and live. A new owner of the loan might move to foreclose, or to renegotiate the $20.5 million outstanding debt on the building.

Wright Runstad has been unable to find a tenant to replace Amazon. The building was considered for a new King County juvenile court and jail last year, and City University also considered relocating to the historic building, but both plans fell through.

The auction will start at 10 a.m. on April 16.