Category Archives: Health and Safety

Airplane noise meeting veers off the path

David Suomi of the FAA spoke with the audience. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

About 100 people from Beacon Hill and other neighborhoods came to Cleveland High School on Tuesday night for a meeting hosted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Port of Seattle, but the meeting did not go as planned.

The Port and FAA intended the meeting to “provide information on existing flight procedures into and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Boeing Field,” and started the evening with an introductory “Aviation 101” slide presentation. The crowd had other ideas.

Previously, the FAA had been criticized by some for the strictness of their meetings in Ballard and Federal Way, when residents were not given an opportunity to ask questions. This time, it was clear that they intended to let people ask questions, and ask they did.

During the presentation, people in the audience frequently broke in with shouted questions to ask about the topic that most were there for: airplane noise over Beacon Hill and other communities under the Sea-Tac flight path. There was no printed agenda available, so the neighbors in attendance were restless, and in no mood to wait through presentations to get a turn to speak.

The basic issue, said neighbor Tina Ray of the Quieter Skies Task Force with audible agreement from the crowd, is that flights overhead are “every 45 seconds to two minutes, and they are darn low. And it’s been going on for a year.”

The Port and FAA representatives would not commit to installation of more noise monitors on Beacon Hill, but promised to take residents’ concerns seriously. Some neighbors were skeptical.

Ray expressed the frustration many were feeling: “We’re not making it up; we haven’t dreamed this… This is what’s going on right now in Southeast Seattle. This is what the discussion needs to be.”

The crowd listening in the Cleveland High School auditorium. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

FAA/Port to meet with community tonight

Photo by Dr. Wendy Longo via Creative Commons/Flickr.

Reposting this as a reminder: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Port of Seattle meeting originally scheduled for October 23 has been rescheduled for tonight, November 13, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Cleveland High School, 5511 15th Ave. S. on Beacon Hill.

The FAA, Port, and Boeing Field representatives are holding the meeting, they say, to “provide information on existing flight procedures into and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Boeing Field.”

Members of the Quieter Skies Task Force, a group of Beacon Hill and other Southeast Seattle neighbors, plan to be at the meeting in force, bringing concerns about recent and planned future airplane noise over our neighborhoods, and a petition signed by more than 300 neighbors. See our earlier post about the original October 23 meeting.

Breakthrough Research: Dr. Rachel Ceballos at Beacon Hill Library

Dr. Rachel Ceballos.

Dr. Rachel Ceballos of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will visit the Beacon Hill Library (2821 Beacon Ave. S.) on Tuesday, November 13, for “Breakthrough Research,” a Science in the Community event to discuss what can be done in our communities to ensure the best possible quality of life for everyone while minimizing cancer health disparities.

Dr. Ceballos uses her expertise in stress and health-related outcomes to work with community partners to address distress in cancer survivors. Cancer survivors need effective physical and psychological interventions to ensure a high quality of life, and such interventions may be affected by cultural factors.

To RSVP for this event, contact Juan Cotto, 206-667-1246 or

“Greener Skies” flight plan gets FAA approval

This is part of a map on the Greener Skies website labeled “Future South Flow Arrival Procedures Over Current Flight Track Density, North of Airport.” See the full map here.
As reported yesterday in the Seattle Times, the FAA has approved the new “Greener Skies” flight method to land planes at Sea-Tac Airport new way to land planes at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday.

In this method, arriving planes would approach the airport in a smooth descent, instead of the stairstep pattern they currently use. According to the FAA, this will save millions of dollars in fuel use per year, and it will also be safer, by reducing the potential for miscommunication between pilots and air traffic controllers.

Though the plan has these advantages, many residents of neighborhoods under the flight path are concerned about Greener Skies’ auditory impact. Information that has been published about the changes implies that the plan would condense the flight path, possibly sending more flights over Beacon Hill than current flight paths do. Neighbors including North Beacon Hill’s Quieter Skies Task Force requested a meeting with the FAA to discuss the plan and ask questions about the very technical information that has been published so far.

The FAA turned down the request for a meeting on Greener Skies, but offered to hold a general meeting about air traffic on October 23. The meeting was then cancelled, due to the unavailability of a key FAA official.

Erik Stanford of the Quieter Skies Task Force sent out this letter to supporters yesterday:

“The FAA and the Port of Seattle abruptly cancelled our meeting just 5 days before it was scheduled. The meeting was cancelled within hours of receiving the following agenda:

  1. FAA to compel the Port of Seattle to install more noise monitors
  2. FAA to fund the Port of Seattle to purchase, install and actively monitor the devices
  3. Determine process for expanding the use of “Fly Quiet” procedures for Sea-Tac departures (in lieu of a “Noise Abatement” flight pattern)
  4. Explain what “fly Quiet” procedures/protocols are available? Being utilized? (ex: powering back on departure, lowering landing gear closer to airport, etc.)
  5. Extend the current FAR Part 150 Noise Study for Sea-Tac Airport to include 98144, 98118, and 98108.

We have rescheduled the meeting for Tuesday, November 13th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Cleveland High School Theater located at 5511 15th Ave S. Translation services and refreshments will be provided.”

According to the Times, less than 15 percent of arriving Sea-Tac flights will use the new plan next spring, starting with Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines. The FAA will gradually expand Greener Skies over time.

Quieter Skies update: meeting with FAA next Tuesday

Neighbor Tina Ray sent this letter to the blog about the Quieter Skies task force here on the Hill:

Hope everyone is enjoying the fall! All parties included on this email chain were on my earlier airplane noise list – if you have friends and neighbors interested in this issue, I encourage you to forward this email! We also have a Facebook page: Quieter Skies – you can “like” us and keep updated on what we are doing as a community.

Our meeting with the FAA is next Tuesday, October 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 at the New Holly Gathering Hall – the address is 7054 32nd Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118.

This meeting is very important for our neighborhood, and I encourage everyone to attend. Please get the word out to all your neighbors – this is such an important issue for our community.

I have flyers printed, and I have been delivering them to houses, passing them out at the Beacon Hill light rail station, and handing them to just about everyone I encounter throughout my day. In addition, these flyers are being translated into several languages, so all our neighbors can join together at this meeting. We are also trying to line up translators for the meeting – Spanish, Somali, Chinese, and Tagalog. If we need additional languages, let us know!

WE NEED HELP GETTING THE WORD OUT. If anyone can spend an hour passing out flyers, it would really help us out. I have flyer copies at my house, and we can forward the printable document to anyone interested. Black & white copies are inexpensive – about a nickel apiece, but I am more than happy to provide neighbors with copies myself.

Also: if you haven’t signed our petition, here is the link.

We are presenting the signatures and comments to the FAA at the meeting. If you haven’t signed, please do and PASS THE LINK ON TO YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!

Part with your old prescriptions at National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Photo by Dawn McIlvain Stahl via Creative Commons/Flickr.

Do you have a collection of partially-filled prescription bottles that you’ll never use? Or prescriptions well past their expiration date? You can turn them in for safe disposal on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, this Saturday, September 29, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Seattle Police Department South Precinct, 3001 S. Myrtle St.

A notice in the Seattle Police Email Community Newsletter this week said:

“The purpose of this National Take Back Day is to provide a venue for persons who wanted to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs. This effort has been a huge success in removing potentially dangerous prescription drugs, particularly controlled substances, from our nation’s medicine cabinets.”

Intravenous solutions, injectibles, syringes, or medical waste will not be accepted for disposal.

“Coal Hard Truth Forum” to discuss coal train impacts

Coal train photo courtesy of Washington Environmental Council.

Washington Environmental Council is holding a “Coal Hard Truth Forum” at Cleveland High School this Wednesday, August 15, to discuss the proposed increase in coal trains through South Seattle if a proposed coal export terminal opens in Bellingham.

According to a press release from the Council, up to 9 open-bed coal trains may be added to the city’s railroad traffic daily, which would result in increased pollution and traffic to neighborhoods along the route, including Georgetown and Beacon Hill. Here at the BHB, we confess that we haven’t yet done as much research on the topic as we’d like, but here are a couple of links to provide more information about the trains:

All interested neighbors are invited to attend the forum to ask questions and discuss the trains’ impact with community members. The event is at Cleveland High School, room 1201 (second floor), 5511 15th Ave. S, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15. If you have questions, contact Nicole Keenan, or 206-631-2606.

Vintage airplanes may be loud

Will we see this sight overhead next week? Photo by Marshall Astor via Creative Commons/Flickr.
Kiersten Throndsen at KOMO Communities (Beacon Hill Blog news partners) reports that things may be getting loud on some parts of Beacon Hill starting on Monday:

Starting May 21 through Memorial Day weekend, the Museum of Flight is hosting B-17 Bomber tours and rides on a variety of vintage military aircraft.

According to the notice from the city, these aircraft are sanctioned by permits from the FAA and are used for enjoyment.

King County International Airport is not authorized to restrict aircraft usage 24/7.

The city says you can file a noise complaint online or by calling 206-205-5242.

Though it may be loud, it sounds like there will be some interesting sights for fans of vintage aircraft.

Be prepared! Free Red Cross presentation this week at St. George School

1972 survival preparedness guide. Image courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives.

St. George School and the American Red Cross are holding a free disaster preparedness presentation this Thursday, April 19, from 6-7 p.m. at St. George School, 5117 13th Ave. S.

Topics covered at the hour-long interactive presentation will include:

  • Information on local disasters
  • What to do during an earthquake
  • Fire safety tips
  • How to plan your escape routes
  • Items to put into a disaster kit
  • …and more.

All are welcome to attend. The event will be held in the school hall.

Burn ban in effect

The burn ban is intended to prevent Seattle skies from looking like this. Photo by Flickr user by and by via Creative Commons.
Brrrr, it’s cold—but there should be no fires burning in Beacon Hill fireplaces for a while. As of 4 p.m. yesterday, King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties are under a Stage 1 burn ban, in which the use of fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves is prohibited until further notice. Violators are subject to a $1,000 fine.

The current high pressure over the area makes our skies clear and cold, but this is also causing our air to be more stagnant. Wood smoke adds to the problem, turning our clear winter air to a dull smog.

Information about the burn ban, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency:

No burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves. Residents should rely instead on their home’s other, cleaner source of heat (such as their furnace or electric baseboard heaters) for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is cancelled. The only exception is if a wood stove is a home’s only adequate source of heat.

No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimineas.

Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.

It is OK to use natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA certified wood stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.

The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors, especially when exercising. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung and heart problems, people with diabetes, children, and older adults (over age 65).

For more information, see the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency website.