Tag Archives: mount baker

Dine out in SE Seattle to help your community

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:

Process, participation, and progress: a neighborhood planning primer

Many Beacon Hill neighbors took part in a planning meeting last March. Photo by Jason.
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.

What are neighborhood plans? Who develops them?

There has been active debate recently around the three identical appeals filed to oppose Neighborhood Plan Updates in North Beacon Hill, North Rainier (a.k.a. Mount Baker Station), and Othello.  The appeals themselves are intended to address concerns about the environmental impact of development in the area. The appellants and their supporters are also concerned about the process the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) used to create the updates.  This is a separate, but very important issue.
Continue reading Process, participation, and progress: a neighborhood planning primer

The Stranger weighs in on SE Seattle appeals

Organizers set up tables at the Festival Street opening last December in front of El Centro's empty south lot. Photo by Jason.
Cienna Madrid at The Stranger has written a story about the recent appeals filed against the North Beacon Hill, Othello, and North Rainier (Mount Baker) neighborhood plan updates. The article discusses El Centro de la Raza’s plans to develop the land just south of their building, plans which are—for now—on hold. State law allows neighborhood plans to be amended only once a year. Whether the appeals are upheld or not won’t be determined until it is too late to meet the deadline for this year, so the appeals are automatically forcing a one-year delay to any plan changes.

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.

The article is here. Seattle Transit Blog also posted about the Stranger article.

(ed. note—Frederica Merrell occasionally contributes opinion articles to the Beacon Hill Blog.)

Crime notes: Smash-and-grabs and a bank robbery

Crime map
V - Vehicle break-ins, B - Burglaries, R - Robberies, S - Shots fired
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 rak711@hotmail.com.

* * *

Recent selected BHNW-logged scanner activity:

  • 2/15 7:15pm near 29th and Hudson — Gunshots
  • 2/16 3:45pm near Beacon and McClellan — Bank robbery*
  • 2/17 6:15pm near 21st and Columbia Drive — Burglary/casing
  • 2/17 8:30pm near Beacon and Monroe — iPod robbery**
  • 2/18 1:30pm near Spokane and Columbian Way — Burglary
  • 2/18 8:00pm near 28th and Columbian Way — Gunshots

* Oddly, there are no additional details currently to be found about this bank robbery than what’s in the scanner logs at bhnw.org and CDNews.

** The time doesn’t quite match up, but the location and crime description sounds like “Robbery On Metro Bus on Beacon Hill Last Night” at SeattleCrime.com.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

Update: While preparing this entry, there was a report of a man shot near the Mount Baker light rail station. From the SPD Blotter:

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.

SeattleCrime.com has been updating with additional information.

North Beacon plan update appeal is one of three

Frederica Merrell’s appeal filed recently against the Determination of Nonsignificance (DNS) of the North Beacon Hill neighborhood plan update (also discussed here and here) is not unique. The Beacon Hill Blog has been made aware that Merrell’s appeal is one of three nearly-identical appeals filed on January 29 by residents in each of the Southeast Seattle neighborhoods that recently went through a neighborhood plan update: Othello, North Rainier (Mount Baker), and North Beacon Hill. (Read the Othello appeal here, the North Rainier appeal here, and the North Beacon appeal here.) The appeals are nearly word-for-word identical, with only a few minor differences (such as the sections describing each distinct neighborhood and the appellants’ connection with them).

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.

El Centro de la Raza, who have had plans to develop their property just north of Lander Street, have filed their own motion to intervene and dismiss Merrell’s appeal.

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.)

Beacon Bits, Getting Around edition: shuttling to Seafair, making light rail work, and who is riding Link?

This crowd of folks was in Mount Baker watching the Seafair hydroplane races in 1965. Plan to do the same this year? Light rail can get you there. Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.
This crowd of folks was in Mount Baker watching the Seafair hydroplane races in 1965. Plan to do the same this year? Light rail can get you there. Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.
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 Weekly discusses 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.

Going places on light rail: Mount Baker station

Cheesesteaks are a very short walk away from the elevated Mount Baker Station. Photo by Jason
Cheesesteaks are a very short walk away from the elevated Mount Baker Station. Photo by Jason
The Mount Baker Station is located just west of Rainier Avenue South, and just south of South McClellan Street. Had it been built 40-some years ago at that site, it might have been called Stadium Station; the former site of Sick’s Stadium, home of the American League Seattle Pilots in 1969 (not to mention the Seattle Rainiers for 40 years), is just across the street. It’s now Lowe’s, and there is a small historical display there. (Here’s a video on YouTube that shows the stadium in its heyday, and later in its decrepitude, before it was demolished in the 1970s. And here’s an old documentary about the Pilots, in two parts, with more footage of the stadium and 1960s Seattle.) Sick’s wasn’t just known for baseball, either — Elvis and Jimi Hendrix, among others, played concerts there.

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.

Rainier Grocery Outlet to close

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.

Some time between March 31st, 2007 and June 19th of this year, Steve Christman took over from Steve and Debbi Mullen, operators of the Madrona Grocery Outlet. The Mullens stated in 2007 that, while the store had taken a 20 to 30 percent hit in business due to light rail construction, they hoped to tough it out until the rail station opened, running the Rainier store at “zero profit” until then and “didn’t want the store to close.” Looks like that plan didn’t pan out.

If your bargain-hunting regularly brings you to Grocery Outlet, you might want to get down there soon.

Light rail = increased home values on North Beacon?

Will this train soon bring higher housing values to the Hill? Photo by The Lebers.
Will this train soon bring higher housing values to the Hill? Photo by The Lebers.
According to the Denver Post, homes near light rail stations on the new Southeast line there have increased in value by nearly 4 percent since the line opened, even while homes in the rest of the Denver market declined by an average of 7.5 percent. The closer the home is to the station, the more the value increased, with those less than half a mile from the station increasing by an average of 17.6 percent.

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.

Thanks to Seattlest!