Tag Archives: city light

Public hearing tomorrow on 14th Ave surplus property

Seattle City Light is hosting a public hearing tomorrow night (Tuesday, June 12) from 7-8:30 p.m. to take comment on the future of the property at 2107 14th Ave. S. The former substation site is part of a surplus property disposition pilot project for City Light.

The site is across the street from Beacon Hill International School, and next door to the Debre Medhanit St. Emmanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which has expressed interest in buying the property to expand the church facilities.

The hearing on Tuesday night is at El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Ave. S. If you can’t attend the hearing and still want to let City Light know what you think, you can send your comments to:

Seattle City Light
Real Estate Services
P.O. Box 34023
Seattle, WA 98124

The comment deadline is June 26. Your comments about the 14th Avenue South property will be included in City Light’s report to the Seattle City Council.

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Church has plans for surplus property on 14th Ave. S.

The Beacon Lights blog at the SeattlePI.com website has a new writer, Daniel Scheer. Scheer has kicked off his tenure on the blog with an excellent story about Tuesday night’s North Beacon Hill Council meeting, at which the topic of Seattle City Light’s possible sale of a plot of land on 14th Avenue South drew a big crowd:

“Vacant since 1993, the former substation at 2107 14th Ave S suffered lead exposure until City Light cleaned it up. The Debre Medhanit St. Emmanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, located next door, wants to buy the property to expand their already limited facilities. ‘We’re over full capacity and growing like crazy,’ said church member Maikele Mengesha. He added that the Church wants to build a big structure similar to the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption on Capitol Hill. ‘We want it to be a landmark,’ Mengesha added.”

The sale of the 14th Avenue South site would be part of a surplus property disposition pilot project for City Light, which has more than 40 surplus properties, most of which are former substations. As part of this project, City Light will be doing public outreach meetings and collecting comments on the fate of this property as well as several properties in Northeast Seattle. There will be a formal hearing on the sale at El Centro de la Raza next month; we will post the meeting info as soon as we have it.

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Power out in much of South Seattle

(At 2:15 p.m. the power went back on for many, if not most, of those affected by the outage. — ed.)

If your lights are out and your computer is offline, don’t feel alone. The power is out through a wide area of the city, including Beacon Hill, Sodo, Mt. Baker, Georgetown, and Columbia City.

Seattle City Light currently estimates more than 28,000 customers are without power, but the problem has been identified and they expect power to return by 5 p.m. (They have just updated it to 6 p.m. — ed.) See the outage map here.

In the meantime, please remember that intersections where traffic signals are dead should be treated as four-way stops, and drive carefully. Stay in if possible.

(Posted via phone — our power is out, too!)

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.

March NBHC capsule recap: new church, guidelines, green space

Bev Graff of Findlay Street Church opens a presentation on the new church building to be built at 14th and Bayview. Photo by Wendi.
If you didn’t make it to the NBHC meeting Thursday night, here are a few things you missed:

  • Al Terry and Barb Graff from Findlay Street Church presented the plans for their new sanctuary with affordable housing to be built at 14th and Bayview. You can see the slides on the church’s website. Some concern was expressed about parking impacts, but by and large the proposed development appeared to be welcomed.
  • Cheryl Sizov from the Seattle Department of Planning and Development presented an introduction to the DPD’s process of revising the Seattle Citywide Design Guidelines, originally created in 1993, used in the design review process, and used as the baseline for the various neighborhood design guidelines since. Largely, it’s a simplification and clarification measure, reducing the five original categories to three and the 31 original guidelines to 13, but bringing extra attention to the “sub-issues”, increasing them from 19 to 50. See the proposed revisions on the DPD website. Public comment is accepted until March 31st.
  • A motion was made to provide a vote of support to Glenn Herlihy’s 12-acre multi-focal gardening project on the western edge of Jefferson Park along 15th Ave S (some details in the forum), for use in applying for $250,000 in grants to advance the project. There was hesitance expressed by several attendees about issuing formal support for a project most of the council wasn’t terribly familiar with, and the motion was tabled until the April 1st NBHC meeting. Hopefully, there will be more details about the plan available here or in the forum by then.
  • David Gackenbach and Andrew Abian presented some initial thoughts about submitting for Parks funds for a project that would add to the open green space on Beacon Hill by using grant money to negotiate the purchase of the entire block at 17th and Walker, currently occupied by a single home, and converting it to a park. Expect more details about this project to appear here on the blog soon.
  • A neighbor involved with the 12th and Stevens power pole situation reported having their best meeting yet with Seattle City Light last Thursday, and that they are feeling optimistic. NBHC Chair Judith Edwards said “City Light is actually bending!”

This was another well-attended meeting, with likely more than fifty neighbors turning out. Next month, expect an appearance by City Council member Sally Bagshaw, speaking about parks and open space. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

Beacon Bits: Green Eggs, Helladope, LED streetlights, and sukiyaki

Green egg photo
Photo by camera-caritatis
It might be just a bit too late to catch their show tonight, opening for Goodie Mob at Neumo’s, but you can still catch Helladope at the Showbox SoDo on March 5th (opening for Snoop!), and then at their album release party at Nectar in Fremont on March 12th. Matson on Music in The Seattle Times

Not enough? The Musik Lounge has a Q&A with Helladope, too!

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Seattle City Light is in the process of testing various types of LED streetlamps in pilot neighborhoods, seeking to bring more reliable, more efficient, and longer-lasting lighting to your street.

Follow the progress of City Light’s LED testing program online. West Seattle Blog has a bit more. This program has been a long time coming. Capitol Hill Seattle talked about it almost a year ago.

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At 6pm on Friday, March 5th, the Jefferson Community Center will be celebrating Dr. Seuss‘s birthday with a movie, crafts for kids, and actual green eggs and ham! Bring your appetite. The community center is located at 3801 Beacon Avenue South.

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Not a novelty color, but the next evening, Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church is again hosting its annual Sukiyaki Dinner, benefiting homeless women and children. Dining hours start at 4pm and end at 7. Take out hours run from 2 to 7pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children 11 and under. Blaine Memorial is located at 3001 24th Avenue South.

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Late addition: Jefferson Community Center hosts the 3rd annual Black History Month Community Forum. Organized by the local chapter of Blacks in Government, the theme is “surviving and thriving in a down economy”. City Council members Bruce Harrell and Sally Clark, Langston Hughes Executive Director Royal Alley-Barnes, and Kitsap County Auditor Walt Washington are on the list to speak. It runs from 6:30 to 8:30pm tomorrow night (Thursday) at 3801 Beacon Avenue South. — Via Publicola

Power lines/poles subject of Wednesday meeting with City Light head Carrasco

Tall poles like this one are frustrating neighbors along South Stevens Street in North Beacon Hill. Photo provided by Anne Marie Harrington.
Tall poles like this one are frustrating neighbors along South Stevens Street in North Beacon Hill. Photo provided by Anne Marie Harrington.
As we mentioned last week, Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco will be meeting with all interested neighbors this Wednesday, December 9, from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Jefferson Community Center to discuss the new power lines going up the west side of Beacon Hill and the new higher poles running along South Stevens Street.

Neighbors in the 12th and Stevens area have been protesting the new lines and poles since they appeared last summer. They are concerned about the impact of the poles and lines on views and property values for houses in the area, and the impact on the nearby 12th Avenue Viewpoint park. About the park, neighbor Judith Edwards tells us “The tall pole and power lines are your first visual impression… Though the power lines have a great visual effect on the 12th Ave/Stevens St. neighbors, their impact on the park, which is a Beacon Hill landmark, is more than disturbing.”

Over 100 neighbors have signed a petition asking that the poles be removed.

These power lines affect views for neighbors 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.

Here are more photos of the power poles near 12th and Stevens, provided by Dulcie Claasen, Nick Papini, and Anne Marie Harrington.

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power poles 013 Continue reading Power lines/poles subject of Wednesday meeting with City Light head Carrasco

Meetings: Park plans, potluck, ribbon cutting, and Broadstripe

Photo by Bridget Christian
Photo by Bridget Christian
6:30pm Tonight at the Jefferson Community Center: Park enhancement and expansion with discussion of Beacon Mountain, the Park service road and promenade, improvements to Jefferson Playfield, and the Jefferson skatepark and basketball court.

Update: Missed one while assembling this post:
5:30pm Wednesday (tomorrow) at the Beacon Hill Library: SDOT community open house regarding the planned changes for Columbian Way between Beacon Avenue South and 15th Avenue South.

6:30pm Thursday at the Beacon Hill Library Community Room: North Beacon Hill Council potluck and December meeting.

10:00am Saturday next to the Beacon Hill light rail station on Lander Street: Festival Street ribbon cutting ceremony — free doughnuts and politicians!

1:00pm Saturday at the Central Area Senior Center: Broadstripe is to report on their February promises to the 30th Ave Neighbors group on the status of their recent service upgrades. Beacon Hill Broadstripe customers might also be interested in attending. Via Central District News

7:00pm next Wednesday (the 9th) at the Jefferson Community Center: Follow-up meeting with Seattle City Light regarding the new power lines going up the west side of the hill and the new higher poles running along South Stevens Street. Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco is expected to present remediation options to the nearby affected neighbors.

Check the event calendar for more.

City Light’s Carrasco pitches alternative for unsightly power lines

“We feel terrible that the community was made to feel like we didn’t take enough time to bring you into the assessment of this project.”

Addressing a fairly large crowd of 30-40 people including many new faces at the October NBHC meeting last week, Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco came to discuss the impact that new higher power poles and thicker cables have had on neighbors near 12th Avenue South and South Stevens, where new lines have been installed to supply additional power for Sound Transit and anticipated load growth in Rainier Valley, on Beacon Hill, and Capitol Hill.

Mr. Carrasco first learned of the problems via email shortly after the new lines went up. He admitted that, while there was good engineering work done on the project, a community outreach component was not included, and that work is being performed internally at City Light to determine why a project of this size was done without input or feedback from the community. He has asked their engineering department to require that affected communities be contacted and a communication strategy be implemented before final designs are implemented for any future projects. This process, however, is not yet finalized.

With large towers and cables going up the western bluff and along Stevens Street from 12th to 15th Avenue, design issues included soil stability issues, and whether or not lines could go underground. Among possible overhead wiring implementations, multiple cost alternatives were looked at. This one was chosen because other options included a mid-slope pole partway up the hillside. A mid-slope pole would have meant maintenance access issues for City Light, so they engineered around it, pulling the lines up higher and using stouter poles at the top and bottom of the slope.

When asked why the Sound Transit tunnel was not used for the power lines, Mr. Carrasco mentioned concerns from Sound Transit as well as within City Light about having these general purpose power lines running alongside transit power lines. If there were a fire in the tunnel, it would not only damage train power but also likely cut power to a big chunk of Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill. Additionally, access for maintenance and repair would require working around the transit schedule.

A buried cable option was not pursued not only due to its expense in construction and maintenance, but also because, as a utility, City Light is actually restricted from spending money for non-utility use. If undergrounding is pursued for aesthetics, the city has to chip in.

“We’re not punting on this project.”

Along the line path, there are currently sets of double-poles. Many of these are there because another utility is still using the old pole. Mr. Carrasco said that by the end of this* week, the cable television wires should be removed, bringing seven poles down. The remaining poles include four Qwest poles which City Light doesn’t have authority to address, but they are in contact with Qwest to get them removed as well. (* From my notes, I’m fairly confident Mr. Carrasco said this week, but Mike Eagan from City Light commented that they won’t be gone until the end of next week. Thanks for the clarification, Mike! –Jason)

As for remediation to the view blockage for neighbors nearby, a mid-slope pole alternative will be reconsidered. With a mid-slope pole, the pole at the top of the hill could be about 20 feet lower, however the cables would be the same thickness and run in the same number. Mr. Carrasco estimated that this change could be done fairly quickly, being completed within a month and a half to two months after work begins. This is only an option they’re prepared to look at, and City Light is interested in discussing it further, setting up another meeting, bringing some concept photos, etc. The ballpark expected cost of this alternative is about $200,000 and would be using the same cable, adding a mid-slope pole, and swapping out a shorter pole at the top of the hill. Not addressed (and seemingly not well understood by City Light when brought up during the Q&A by neighbors) is what would happen with the new, higher poles now on the plateau between 12th and 15th.

Streetlight replacement also came up during the nearly hour-long conversation with Mr. Carrasco. A process of “group re-lamping” is underway in quadrants city-wide, and currently on Beacon Hill. Group re-lamping involves changing out all of the streetlights in an area at once, instead of addressing lights one at a time as they fail. This process allows for replacement in bulk every 4-5 years. The process is expected to be complete here by November 1.

Judith Edwards, NBHC Chair, is working to schedule a follow-up meeting with Mr. Carrasco and City Light. We’ll keep you posted when the meeting has been scheduled.

If you attended the meeting or have insights or opinions to share, we’d love to have you join the discussion at the linked Forum topic, or leave them here as comments on this article.

NBHC meeting agenda for Thursday

The NBHC meeting this Thursday brings a couple of guests with presentations in addition to regular business. Remember: if you live in the neighborhood and you’ve been to even one NBHC meeting before, you’ve got a vote.

North Beacon Hill Council Agenda
Thursday, October 1, 2009, 7:00 PM
Beacon Hill Library Community Room

Please join us in making decisions that affect our community. All are welcome!

  • 7:00 Introductions and hellos
  • 7:10 Superintendent Jorge Carrasco, Seattle City Light; presentation on placement of sight-line obstructive poles on West Beacon Hill in 12th Ave. neighborhood with Q&A afterward
  • 7:25 Brian Dougherty, Seattle Department of Transportation; presentation on proposed parking changes for 15th Ave. S.; presentation with Q&A afterward
  • 7:55 Community reports and council business:
    • Seattle Police Department
    • Neighborhood Planning Ad Hoc Committee (vote needed, quorum required); if motion is passed, formation of committee to draft a grant for ongoing neighborhood planning work
    • Other: Matthew Stubbs as NBHC representative to GDDC – vote required; announcements from Steve Louie, Neighborhood Coordinator; other announcements and any concerns from the community
  • 8:30 Closure

Thanks Judith!