Northeast Seattle Link Connections open house (LIVE COVERAGE)

The University of Washington and Capitol Hill Light Rail Stations are now just one year a way from opening to trains and passengers. How is transit going to get you to those stations?

Ahead of the University Link light rail extension opening in the spring of next year, King County Metro is proposing a slew of changes to Northeast Seattle Metro routes to better integrate service with the next link in the light rail chain: the University Link.

Tonight, Thursday, March 26, from 6-8PM at University Heights Center, Room 209 (5031 University Way NE), King County Metro holds their last open house meeting about these proposed changes (previous open houses were held on Capitol Hill on March 19 and the Eastside on March 25).
 
You can see the changes proposed (and the two alternative route change plans) here on King County Metro Online. Additionally, the Seattle Transit Blog has an overlapping, interactive map illustrating the differences (more on this below).
 
We will be at the open house, and plan to provide live coverage below this post.
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The question for Northeast Seattle transit users regarding proposed route changes appears to be (generalizing here): Are we willing to trade in under-performing routes and stops for increased frequency?

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We asked around, and this Metro stop sign, with the daisy logo in the lower left corner, dates to at least the mid-1990s. (Stop #38000, west-bound on NE 65 Street and Ravenna Ave NE).

 

For example: Could you imagine life without the good ol’ 71 Express? It’s tough, especially for residents in Wedgwood and View Ridge where service would be reduced. But what if it were replaced by a heavily revamped Route 16 that arrived every 15 minutes (instead of the 71’s 30 minutes) and created an enhanced east-west transit corridor from Green Lake all the way to Sand Point Way? Are residents willing to walk a little further for changes like these?

More on the map I mentioned above: For a visual, flipbook-style look at present service and proposed changes, we recommend checking out the map found in this Seattle Transit Blog post. Hover your cursor over the map image found there, then click and hold the vertical white line. Move the line left and right to see the changes.

The Seattle Transit Blog posted their take on the changes proposed for Northeast Seattle routes earlier this month. If one is looking for more detail about the proposed changes (and what the differences between Alternate 1 and 2 mean), their post is a good read. Included in the post is a list of route-by-route changes for riders wondering what their new alternatives would be.

UPDATE (6:39 PM): Alternative 1 Montlake Triangle Vicinity Routes map:



District 4 candidates forum (LIVE COVERAGE)

On Wednesday, March 18, the District 4 Seattle City Council candidates will once again meet before a live and local audience.

A forum is being held at Sand Point Community Church’s Perry Hall (4710 NE 70th Street) from 7:30-8:30 PM. Candidates have previously met before District 4 residents on two occasions (before the Eastlake Community Council and the Roosevelt Neighbors’ Alliance). 

Candidates participating include: Rob Johnson, Taso Lagos, Michael Maddux, Tony Provine, and incumbent Jean Godden.  

Nancy Bolin (with the View Ridge Community Council) will moderate the event, sponsored by Hawthorne Hills Community Council, View Ridge Community Council, Laurelhurst Community Club and Ravenna-Bryant Community Association.

Wednesday night’s event is the last scheduled one for the current candidates before the Northeast District Council forum on Wednesday, June 17. 

We will be attending this event and will provide live coverage below (as reception at the venue allows).

Press conference regarding Sisley property fines (LIVE COVERAGE, UPDATES)

The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association shared some intriguing news this morning, regarding the approximately $3 million in fines owed to the city by a certain well-known local landlord.

The city attorney’s office is holding a press conference on Friday, March 13, on the northwest corner of NE 65th Street and 14th Avenue NE to provide details on how “the City is moving forward decisively in dealing with the $3 million-plus legal judgment owed by the Sisleys.”

You can read the whole press release here.

Once we secure arrangements for our youngest intern, we plan on attending the event and providing live coverage below.

UPDATE (Friday, March 13): This is the ordinance the mayor will transmit to the city council next week regarding the seizure of some of the Sisleys’ properties to create a park.  Click on any image to see the full size version.


 

UPDATE (Friday, March 13, 1:40 PM): In addition to the above ordinance being presented to the City Council next week, the mayor’s office put out a press release regarding the plans to seize two properties belonging to Hugh Sisley. Here are the main points of the plan (from the press release):

Should the judgments, interest and penalties related to the violations remain unpaid, the city will seek to have the properties seized by the King County Sheriff and sold at auction. Murray intends to transmit an ordinance to the City Council next week that allows the city to purchase the two properties at 1322 and 1318 NE 65th St.

The city intends to bid on the properties at auction, using a credit bid based on the $3.3 million owed the city by the Sisleys, in order to build a new city park for the neighborhood.

If the supplemental proceedings that allows the city to collect more than $2 million in penalties have not concluded prior to the auction, the city will use a $1 King County Conservation Futures grant, in addition to credit based on the judgments and interest owed the city.

Roosevelt's Jim O'Halloran (center) speaks with Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes (left) and City Councilmember Jean Godden (right) before the press conference.

Roosevelt’s Jim O’Halloran (center) speaks with Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes (left) and City Councilmember Jean Godden (right) before the press conference.

While those residents gathered at the press conference were pleased with the actions the city plans to take, many were dismayed that none of them (as of yet) involved tearing down any dilapidated buildings. The parcels the city is zeroing in on for this first seizure have both been vacant for years.

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View from 14th Avenue NE/NE 66th Street south to NE 65th Street.

Once the date of the City Council meeting is known, we will post that information here.

Shop local, get a chance at touring new UW Light Rail Station

In February 2014, when Capitol Hill Light Rail Station construction started severely disrupting Annapurna Cafe  — a business which choose to remain in place and open while others around it shuttered or relocated due to the station construction — Sound Transit cooked up a contest with Annapurna to encourage diners to drop in.

Banner near the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station construction site advertising the Sound Transit/Annapurna  contest in February 2014. (Photo courtesy Capitol Hill Seattle)

Banner near the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station construction site advertising the Sound Transit/Annapurna contest in February 2014. (Photo courtesy Capitol Hill Seattle, used with permission)

From the contest details by Sound Transit:

When you eat at Annapurna Café, 1833 Broadway, you can enter to win a Sound Transit walking tour of the U-Link tunnel-from Capitol Hill to the University of Washington.

To be eligible, you must spend at least $10 at the Annapurna Café and fill out an entry form at the restaurant. You can enter every time you visit. You must be at least 18 and able to walk the entire 3-mile concrete-lined tunnel.

The fine folks at Capitol Hill Seattle also went along on the tour, and you can watch some footage of their travels below.

What does all this have to do with Northeast Seattle in the year 2015?

Lucky us, Sound Transit is holding another contest involving businesses located near our Roosevelt and University District light rail construction zones. This time, the prize is a tour of the University of Washington Station — open to all in early 2016, but open for winner(s) (sans trains) in the second half of 2015.

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Also, lucky us, entries can be found not at just one local business but two dozen: 10 near the future University District Station, and 14 near the future Roosevelt Station. And we only need to spend $5 at these businesses to receive an entry form.

More details from Sound Transit:

To be eligible, you must spend at least $5 and complete an entry form at one of the participating businesses. You can enter every time you visit. You must be at least 18 years old.

A drawing will be held in May 2015 to select the winners. You will be notified by email or phone. No entry form information will be sold to an outside party and this prize has no cash value.

You can see the full list of participating local businesses here (Cedars! Pies and Pints! Toronado! Brooklyn Avenue Dental!).

If you win, you can compare the current, finished University of Washington Station to these pictures we took in a 60% finished station, back in January 2013.

90% design open house time for Roosevelt Station (UPDATES, LIVE COVERAGE)

It’s been a good while since the last Roosevelt Light Rail Station meeting — October 2014 for the last construction open house, April 2012 for the 60% design open house. But that certainly doesn’t mean the station construction site hasn’t been busy.

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One of the plexiglass viewing windows on the south side of the Roosevelt Station construction area. The walls of the station box were formed first, underground. Since then, the soil in the box has been steadily removed. The two tunnel boring machines put in at the Maple Leaf Portal to the north will emerge from the far side of this pit.

The Roosevelt Station box excavation has come a long way since those meetings, and both tunnel boring machines are steadily making their way south from the Maple Leaf Portal. The first of the two, Brenda, is due to arrive in Roosevelt sometime this spring*.

And just what is this station going to look like in the future, when the boring machines are long gone and all this construction is over? We’ll find that out soon.

Sound Transit is holding the 90% design open house on Wednesday, February 25, in the Roosevelt High School commons (1410 NE 66th Street). Open house time is 6-8 PM, with a presentation starting at 6:30 PM.

From the open house press release:

At the meeting, you’ll see:

  • Updated station design graphics
  • Latest designs for station art
  • Station and tunneling construction update
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The view west from Roosevelt High School’s “front porch.”

In the past, we’ve provided live coverage of these meetings, usually  the same post as the meeting announcement. We plan on doing the same for this meeting as well, if the smart phone reception strength permits; however, our current provider seems to have trouble getting through the thick walls of Roosevelt High School, so live coverage might not be possible.

Whatever happens with cellular service, we will be taking notes during the meeting (just as if we were doing our usual live coverage) and readers will find our observations available here, once we get back home to HQ.

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*We’re waiting for a more exact date from Sound Transit, and we’ll update “spring” when we’ve got it. Early 2015 for sure, though.

UPDATE (7:08 PM): We’ve heard from Kimberly Reason with Sound Transit who says the agency isn’t saying boo about an arrival time right now, “not even general windows.” Hopefully it’s safe to say that Brenda will likely arrive before 2021, though.

UPDATE (Tuesday, February 24): An update on the project from Sound Transit today contained the following tunnel boring machine location information:

The first of two tunnel boring machines is expected to arrive at the Roosevelt Station site within the next few weeks. Launched in July, it’s currently working its way through the ground just a couple blocks north of the excavation site. It’s already traveled more than 7,400 feet from the Maple Leaf portal.

The other tunnel boring machine is following a parallel path for a future southbound tunnel. It was launched November 2014 and has traveled more than 1,500 feet to just north of NE 85th Street.

UPDATE (Friday, February 27): The slides from Wednesday’s presentation have been posted. Click the image below to download the 14.9 MB PDF.

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South entrance of the Roosevelt Light Rail Station, as seen from the SE corner of NE 65th Street and 12th Avenue NE (Toronado corner). Click to download the 14.9 MB PDF of the presentation.

 

Public comment meeting TONIGHT on potential Theodora redevelopment (LIVE COVERAGE; PHOTOS)

On Thursday, August 14, representatives from the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development will be collecting public comment on the land use application to redevelop the Theodora Apartments (6559 35th Avenue NE). The meeting is being held at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center (6535 Ravenna Avenue NE) from 7-8:30 PM.

Prior to the meeting, at 6:40 PM, the Theodora Rescue Committee and their supporters will be marching from the Theodora to the RECC.

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Land Use Application information

The owners of the Theodora, the Volunteers of America (VOA), have agreed to sell the property to Goodman Real Estate, a private real estate developer. The apartment building is one of two buildings that the VOA owns in Western Washington and has been used as housing for low income elderly and disabled people. In redeveloping the Theodora and converting the building from low income senior housing, Goodman intends to:

“alter and change the use of existing two story, 62,937 sq. ft. 113 room congregate residence (The Theodora) to a 64 unit apartment building and to allow a 35,361 sq. ft. addition for new apartments (45 units) for a total of 109 units. Parking for 56 vehicles will be located below grade.”

Additionally, Goodman is seeking landmark status for the building. The Landmarks Preservation Board will be considering the nomination at their meeting on Wednesday, August 20, at 3:30 PM in the Seattle Municipal Tower (700 5th Avenue, 40th floor, Room 4060).

Theodora_exterior2

Additional information

Tenants With Disabilities Filing Suit Over Sale Of Seattle Apartment Building (KPLU, July 3, 2014)

Ravenna-Bryant Community Center information on Theodora sale and redevelopment (various posts from 2013-current)

Permit and Property Records and Documents for Project #3017233 (includes public comments already submitted)

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We’ll be providing live coverage of the meeting below, starting just prior to 7 PM.

UPDATE (Friday, August 15): First, a few pictures from last night.

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Marchers from the Theodora Apartments arrive at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center around 7 PM. The banner reads “GOODMAN REAL ESTATE BACK OFF OUR HOMES.”

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Peter Metzger, a member of the Theodora Rescue Committee, speaks at the public comment meeting. Metzger held up part of Goodman’s landscape plan, which includes the removal of trees on the present Theodora property. Then he held up the Seattle Times A section from Thursday (same day as the meeting) whose cover story was about Seattle’s dwindling tree canopy.

Theodora_comment_meeting3

Another speaker (this one with Real Change) takes his turn. In the background, Jerry Sudor (with the Department of Planning and Development) writes down parts of of all speaker’s comments. Carly Guillory (seated; also DPD) looks on.

Below are the notes that Sudor took during the public comment period (not in chronological order, however). Click on any of the images to view the larger, readable version. The full phrase on the last on the last sheet (partially blocked by a reporter’s shoulder) is, “Portland/Bellevue better keeping trees.”

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Bull Moose Festival this Saturday!

Festival-Logo-website

Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Festival is back! Let’s show the Moose some love and head over to our next door neighborhood’s community party which this year is celebrating aspects of sustainable living.

When: Saturday, July 26th, 11:30 AM-7:30 PM

Where: NE 68th Street and Roosevelt Way NE  Festival Map

Food, music, beer garden, dog show, fashion show, raffle, and more!

In fact, you can print out a raffle card and start getting stamps at participating neighborhood businesses ahead of time. You’ll win a small prize just for submitting your completed raffle card and will be entered in a drawing for $25 prize from the same businesses for things like spa services, food, and fair-trade goods.

You can also donate your unwanted textiles in any condition at the festival. Clothes for the Cause turns these recycled donations into funds which will go to the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association. Just bring them in a tightly closed plastic bag to keep them dry.

The annual-ish festival is coordinated by the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association.

Bull_Moose_FLYER

 

 

 

Mayor Murray would like to have coffee with you, Ravenna

Mayor Ed Murray is starting his rounds through Seattle’s many neighborhoods with a visit to Vios Cafe inside Ravenna Third Place Books (6504 20th Ave NE) this Saturday, May 17.

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e-Flyer for Mayor Ed Murray’s visit to Vios Cafe at Ravenna Third Place Books on Saturday, May 17. Click to enlarge.

The event runs from 11 AM until noon.

Annual Clean Up this Saturday; 45th Annual Street Fair next Sat & Sun

A few ways to love the University District coming up…

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Meet your neighbors THIS SATURDAY, May 10, in the NW Parking Lot of the University Heights Community Center (NE 52nd and Brooklyn Ave NE) for the Annual U-District Clean Up. A continental breakfast will be available before you head out for some raking, sweeping, painting-out of graffiti, removing of litter, planting, and/or landscaping. Whew!

If you work up an appetite and pizza is your thing, lunch is provided afterwards. And a “trash contest” might just score you four tickets to Bumbershoot, among other prizes. Register for this good work here. 45thOn45th Celebrate your hard work getting the Ave into tip top shape by joining the longest running street fair in the nation the following weekend, Saturday, May 17, 10 AM-7 AM and Sunday, May 18, 10 AM-6 PM.

The free, open-air University District StreetFair centered at NE 45th Street and University Way NE features:

  • Hundreds of artisan vendors (such as clothing and jewelry, pottery and painting, candles and lotions, and food items, oh my!)
  • Food courts (at 42nd and 47th Streets) and food truck corral (43rd Street) and beer garden (at 41st Street)
  • Two large stages (schedule here but location to be announced) and scattered buskers of all types
  • Kids’ area (arts and crafts, various ongoing activities, and the kids stage schedule includes Zumba, Taiko Drummers, and Magic with Uncle Stinky)
  • Face painting, henna tattoos, balloon art, etc!

The Street Fair will close University Way NE between NE 50th Street and NE Campus Parkway from 2:30 AM on Saturday to 2:30 AM on Monday. Bus rerouting has not yet been announced, but we’ll post an update when it is. You can also check here for yourself.

The University District Street Fair began 45 years ago and was conceived by the late Andy Shiga, founder of Shiga’s Imports (located just south of the University Bookstore), and dedicated peace activist. The fair was created in an effort to to promote peace and heal community divisions during the height of the Vietnam War protest era (HistoryLink.org article). 

So, about those boarded up houses at 15th and 65th…

With Tuesday’s Ravenna-Bryant Community Association spring community meeting roster including City Attorney Pete Holmes, we thought we’d take the opportunity to assemble some reading material about one Hugh Sisley.

We don’t know how much Holmes will be able to say about the city’s plans for collecting the three million dollars in fines owed by Roosevelt’s most well-known landlord. But we do know that there are strong feelings running very deep about Mr. Hugh Sisley, and providing a more focused review of the situation (in terms of current, property-related events) wouldn’t hurt.

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Graffiti on one of Hugh Sisley’s properties. The words on the right read. “I [heart] urban decay.”

The following information focuses on Sisley’s properties in and vision for his corner of the Roosevelt neighborhood, his position as a landlord in the area, and his relationship with the City of Seattle.

Map

We’ve spent a few weeks over at the King County Parcel Viewer, looking up publicly-available property information for the map you see below. The cool-colored markers (and accompanying brown shapes) are properties where the primary taxpayer is listed as either Hugh Sisley, Hugh and Martha Sisley, or the Roosevelt Development Group.


View Properties around Roosevelt High School in a larger map

For more information about the map, including the description of the all symbols used, please open the map in a new window.

We will continue to add to it as we find more owners of multiple properties in the area.

 

Seattle Weekly articles

Earlier this year, the Seattle Weekly published a duo of articles on Mr. Sisley and his dealings (or non-dealings) with the city in terms of his housing-code violation cases and fines:

Seattle Weekly (January 10, 2014) “The Reign of Seattle’s Most Notorious Landlord Could Be Coming to an End

The 86-year-old is facing a record $2 million fine that continues to increase at the rate of $1,600 a day, plus 12 percent interest. And now, after years of foot-dragging of its own, City Hall is finally moving to collect the debt. As officials launch a new initiative approved by the City Council to inspect every rental unit in town, City Attorney Pete Holmes is planning to recover what the stubborn rental king owes by confiscating prized Roosevelt properties held by the penny-pinching millionaire.

And then, a follow-up, just 10 days later: “Hugh Sisley’s Slumlord Tab Now $3 Million, City Says After Recalculation.”

Sisley, whose property is concentrated in the Roosevelt neighborhood, has amassed close to 200 code-enforcement cases dating to the 1980s, according to city records. Among them are violations for faulty wiring, unsafe conditions, insect infestation, junk storage, emergency situations, and unfit vacant buildings subject to demolition.

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RR Hardware, on 15th Avenue NE. “Total chaos envelopes the customer who bravely ventures into this 1940’s holdover,” says one reviewer on Yelp.

 

hughsisley.com

For a glimpse at Hugh Sisley’s vision for Roosevelt, we need only get on the internet and time travel a bit.

Although hughsisley.com is no longer up and running, the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine has some snapshots stored from the days when it was. Here is the full archived selection, but we’ll point out a couple links to the two different forms the website took while it was live:

View of the progress (and the lack thereof) along NE 65th Street. Taken at 15th Avenue NE looking west.

View of the progress (and the lack thereof) along NE 65th Street. Taken at 15th Avenue NE looking west.

As the Sisleys’ attorney Jeff Grant says in the first Seattle Weekly article mentioned above, “That’s really the story of Hugh and the Roosevelt Neighborhood today. Progress.” This sentiment is echoed strongly on the pages of the old hughsisley.com.

 

Old Fruit Stand block project

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Roosevelt High School standing in the background between two of Sisley’s properties on the NW corner of 15th Avenue NE and NE 65th Street.

The Roosevelt Development Group, which has long-term leases with the Sisleys on many of their properties, is currently working with architectural firm GGLO on a project on one of the three small blocks just south of Roosevelt High School (in orange on the map below).


View NE Seattle Large Development Tracker in a larger map

Project #3013244 at 6505 15th Ave NE is described as a “seven story, 220 unit residential building with 8,000 sq. ft. of retail use at ground level. Parking for 267 vehicles will be located below grade. All existing structures to be demolished.”

Roosevelt High School stands in the background between the two buildings proposed for the Old Fruit Stand block. This view is looking north from NE 65th Street through the half public, half private plaza area. Taken from page 30 of the February 3, 2014 design proposal (click to download; 17 MB PDF).

Roosevelt High School stands in the background between the two buildings proposed for the Old Fruit Stand block. This view is looking north from NE 65th Street through the half-public, half-private plaza area. Taken from page 30 of the February 3, 2014 design proposal (click to download; 17 MB PDF).

The project is currently in the Review phase, and has been presented twice at Northeast Design Review meetings (Early Design Guidance meeting on August 6, 2012, and a Recommendation meeting on February 3, 2014).

You can view the project’s current permit activity and associated documents here. The design proposal presented at the February 3, 2014 meeting can be downloaded here (17 MB PDF).

At this time, initial information has been collected for a new construction permit, but not a demolition permit.

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A graffito adorns a previously graffitied spot on the recently officially shuttered Funtiques (1512 NE 65th Street). We believe it is missing a question mark.