Category Archives: News

PacMed proposal “won’t work” for juvenile facility?

BHB news partners KOMO report that the proposal to move the county juvenile court and detention facility to the PacMed building may not get too far:

…Several neighbors said they had been personally contacted by King County Executive Dow Constantine earlier in the day.

“Three members of the group were contacted by the King County Executive’s Office indicating that a decision on PacMed should made by end of this coming week (Thursday or Friday),” reads the post on Facebook.

In a separate email circulating on the BAN list another neighbor writes about those phone calls:

“Earlier in the day several of us received a call from Dow Constantine’s office to inform us that the PacMed building probably won’t work for the project and we should expect a formal announcement sometime later this week.”

The latter comment was also posted here on the Beacon Hill Blog by Hans, the organizer of Sunday’s “No Jail at PacMed” meeting. Here’s the comment in full:

“We had a very constructive meeting on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 to discuss ‘No Jail at PacMed’. Earlier in the day several of us received a call from Dow Constantine’s office to inform us that the PacMed building probably won’t work for the project and we should expect a formal announcement sometime later this week. Needless to say that would be VERY good news. However, even if the jail does not locate to the building we still intend to make every attempt to engage Wright Runstad and let them know that the North Beacon Hill is very interested in whoever they select as a tenant and we would welcome the opportunity to work with them as a neighborhood.”

More about the PacMed proposal

The possibility that the King County Juvenile court/detention facility could move to the PacMed building on North Beacon caused a lot of conversation yesterday both here on the BHB and on other media outlets. KOMO (BHB news partner) covered the story, including quotes from neighbors Curtis Bonney and Craig Thompson.

Further coverage of the PacMed story comes from Eric Scigliano at Crosscut:

“At least one other prospect may still be in the picture: the Bellevue-based City University of Seattle, which, true to its name, has been trying to move to Seattle. ‘We have looked at their building, as well as a dozen other sites in Seattle,’ says City University spokesperson Christopher Ross. ‘We’re not far enough along in any of our negotiations to comment.'”

Juvenile court and jail could move to PacMed

The landmark PacMed building dominates the northern tip of Beacon Hill. Photo by Wendi.
The Seattle Times (BHB news partner) reports that King County’s juvenile court and jail could move into the historic PacMed building on the north tip of Beacon Hill under a proposal from the current leaseholders, development company Wright Runstad.

Wright Runstad were granted a 99-year lease on the PacMed property in 1998, and then converted the hospital to office space which it then subleased to Amazon. However, Amazon recently vacated the building for a new base in the South Lake Union neighborhood, and the Times writes that this has put Wright Runstad “in a financial bind,” owing more than $300,000 per month in lease and loan payments.

The Wright Runstad proposal is one of six proposals for the future of the county’s Youth Services Center and Youth Detention Center, and the only one that calls for moving the facility from its current location. County officials won’t comment on its viability, but according to the Times, it is “the leading proposal” among the six.

The Youth Services Center and Detention Center is currently located in the Central District at 12th Avenue and East Alder Street, and is in need of renovation; last summer, PCB contamination was found in the courthouse, and the building has had problems with plumbing issues, mold, and deteriorating infrastructure for some time.

City Light to remove tall pole, lines near 12th and Stevens

Utility poles in a row on S. Stevens St. Photo by Wendi.

Utility poles in a row on S. Stevens St. Photo by Wendi.

The power lines and tall poles that have concerned neighbors in the vicinity of 12th and Stevens will be changed starting next week. City Light crews will install new utility poles along S. Stevens St., as well as replacing the 71-foot pole at 12th Ave. S. and S. Stevens with a 55-foot pole. Additionally, one circuit of power cables will be moved underground to reduce view impacts in the area.

The work will begin on June 13 and continue until September.

The changes are the culmination of two years of discussions between Beacon Hill residents and City Light after a new power circuit was added to the Hill to support Link Light Rail and expected future demand. When the large poles and new wires went in, neighbors in the area of 12th and Stevens found the views from their homes were affected. Neighbors also expressed concern about the impact of the poles and power lines on the nearby 12th Avenue S. Viewpoint park. Over 100 neighbors signed a petition asking that the poles be removed.

Previous posts about the poles/power lines are here:

The power lines in question at 12th and Stevens. Photo by Wendi.

These power lines affect views for neighbors at 12th and Stevens. Photo by Wendi.

View S. Stevens St. power poles in a larger map. The blue line marks the location of the power poles on S. Stevens Street. The green area is the 12th Avenue Viewpoint park.

High winds knock down pole at Beacon Hill Station

One of the banner poles at Beacon Hill Station fell early this evening in gusty winds. The pole, one of three, displayed several cut metal banners as part of the “Community Threads” installation by artist Carl Smool.

Neighbors in the area strung ropes and put up warning tape while Sound Transit security staff moved some of the metal banners to a safer location after gusts of wind caught some of the downed banners and started blowing them down South Lander Street.

The damaged pole appeared to have broken at the point where it was welded to the base. The poles still standing seem to be constructed similarly, but were still holding steady this evening though they moved quite a bit in the wind gusts. Luis Rodriguez, owner of the nearby Station coffeehouse, was helping mark the area with warning tape about half an hour after the fall, and expressed concern for the stability of the remaining poles: “They should close this. Someone could get killed! These [poles] keep on moving.”

Please be aware that the area is still under a wind advisory until midnight tonight.

Photos and video of the scene at the station plaza this evening:

Sound Transit staff observe the fallen pole at Beacon Hill Station. Photo by Wendi.
The cut metal banners that were attached to the pole. Photo by Wendi.
The base of the fallen pole, at the point where it broke off. Photo by Wendi.

North Beacon Hill Council protests closure of Neighborhood Service Center

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

Beacon Reservoir Gatehouse to be mothballed

Seattle Public Utilities released the statement below on the landmark-nominated Beacon Reservoir Gatehouse at Jefferson Park.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has determined, through rigorous business case analysis, that the most cost-effective solution for the Beacon Hill Reservoir Gatehouse is to mothball the building and perform routine maintenance as required in its mothballed condition.

The mothballing approach preserves the opportunity for making future improvements to the gatehouse. It mainly consists of safe removal of dangerous lead-containing coating on the exterior walls and applying a new application of aesthetic paints around the gatehouse.

SPU will review the gatehouse mothball status as part of its routine three-year maintenance planning cycle.

Mothballing tasks will begin in early 2011, in coordination with the Parks Department Jefferson Park project team.

Loud booms rattle nerves on Beacon Hill, elsewhere

Two loud booms just before 2:00 pm startled people throughout a large part of Western Washington today. BHB news partner The Seattle Times reports that they were sonic booms, caused by two F-15 jets that were scrambled in response to a violation of the temporary airspace restrictions put in place for President Obama’s visit today.

Here at the BHB the booms felt (and sounded) as if something had slammed into the south wall of the building. The cats freaked out a bit.

Twitter lit up with reports from people who heard the booms and wondered what happened. According to Travis Mayfield at KOMO, people have reported hearing the booms from Chehalis in the south all the way north to Edmonds.

Did you hear the booms? Tell us about it in the comments here.

(Ed. Note: Post updated at 2:59 to reflect that they were F-15s, not F-16s.)