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.

Theodora_exterior1

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)

***

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.

Theodora_comment_meeting1

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

Theodora_comment_meeting2

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.”

Theodora_comments1 Theodora_comments2 Theodora_comments3 Theodora_comments4 Theodora_comments5 Theodora_comments6 Theodora_comments7

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.

Mayor's visit to RavBryant 0514

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…

U_District_clean_up

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.

urban_decay

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.

Sisleyville_April_20145

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

Sisleyville_April_20143

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.

Sisleyville_April_20141

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.

RBCA May meeting features the City Attorney, SDOT, more (LIVE COVERAGE)

One of many signs up around the neighborhood, advertising the meeting. "You'all Come?"

One of the topics of the next Ravenna-Bryant Community Association community meeting (Tuesday, May 6 at 7 PM, Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center) is near and dear to many of our hearts here in Northeast Seattle: Hugh Sisley.

The full slate of topics for the spring community meeting is as follows:

  • City’s efforts to tackle housing code violations in the Ravenna and Roosevelt neighborhoods — City Attorney Pete Holmes
  • Safer roadways including safe routes to school and traffic calming — staff from the Seattle Department of Transportation
  • Getting creative: Community pARTnerships

We’ve also heard that someone Steve Johnson, Director of the Office of Economic Development, will be there to talk about the city’s Only in Seattle Initiative (Grants! Tools! Business Improvement Areas!).

We will be attending the meeting, and you can read our LIVE COVERAGE below (starting around 6:45 PM-ish) if you are unable to attend.

RECC3

UPDATE (Tuesday, May 6, 3:20 PM): Looks like KOMO News is thinking about Hugh Sisley today, too: Reporter Joel Moreno teased some shots allegedly from inside one of Sisley’s rentals.

UPDATE (Wednesday, May 7): KOMO News did indeed have a story about Hugh Sisley and the fines last night, which also features a walk-through of one of Sisley’s properties in Ravenna (6515 16th Avenue NE). 

You can read the story and/or watch last night’s report here.

Seattle Fire to conduct “live fire” training at old CHSW site on May 13-16 (UPDATE)

We’ve learned from our friends at the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association that the new owner of the old Children’s Home Society of Washington site (3300 NE 65th Street) has offered the use of some of the old structures on the grounds to the Seattle Fire Department for “live fire” exercises.

Three single-family homes on the site will become the training grounds for Seattle Fire recruits who are in their last weeks of training. These training exercises, which include “practice such as cutting holes in roofs, dragging fire hose lines inside,” and, in the case of the house at 6556 32nd Ave NE, actual fire, are scheduled for May 13-16.

6556 32nd Avenue NE, one of three single-family homes on the north side of the old CHSW property.

6556 32nd Avenue NE, one of three single-family homes on the north side of the old CHSW property.

Before homes are selected for training exercises, they must be evaluated and tested for household hazardous materials (ex. asbestos). From an email provided by the RBCA from Eric Evans with Polygon Northwest (the new owners of of the old CHSW site):

SFD_Training_Notice

Notice of Fire Department Training (click to enlarge)

This environmental investigation has been completed and a certificate from a professional hazardous material contractor has been provided to the Seattle Fire Department evidencing that the homes are free of any such materials. With these certificates in hand, the homes are now being disconnected from the existing overhead and underground utilities consistent with the underlying demolition permits that the City has issued for these single family homes. The homes are scheduled to be disconnected on Monday, 4/28 with the work being completed by Seattle City Light, Garner Electric and BDZ Construction.

After homes are selected and deemed safe for training exercise purposes, the neighborhood is notified and Seattle Fire Department staff begin preparing the buildings for the drills.

During the first week of May, Captain Brian Maier will be making the rounds in the neighborhood around the site, informing residents of the upcoming training exercises. On Tuesday, May 6, Seattle Fire Department staff will begin the training preparations, which include delivering port-a-potties and prepping the training homes. Then, on the morning of the following Tuesday, May 13, the recruits arrive and drills begin.

Neighbors with questions about the training exercises are asked to contact Captain Maier at 386-1771, or via email at allen.maier@seattle.gov.

For more information on vacant buildings and the training opportunities they provide for Seattle Fire staff, visit the Seattle Fire Department’s Vacant Buildings Wanted! page.

Page 29 from the Early Design Review #2 presentation of Bryant Heights (click to enlarge)

Page 29 from the Early Design Review #2 presentation of Bryant Heights (click to enlarge)

For more information on what is going up once the old CHSW buildings go down, the RBCA has a small update on Bryant Heights in their post about the SFD training exercises. You can download the latest design plans for Bryant Heights here (35 MB PDF).

And for more information on the Children’s Home Society of Washington’s long tenure at 3300 NE 65th Street, head over here to HistoryLink.org.

 

UPDATE (Tuesday, May 13): Sue Stangl of the SFD tells us the recruits will be doing room fires on Tuesday through Thursday (two fires, lunch, two more fires), starting around 7 AM each day. And then, on Friday, “they will strip the roof and then start the house on fire for a complete burn down.”

UPDATE: The training has definitely started!

Welcome to the 2015 Seattle City Council District Games (UPDATE)

Earlier in April, the City of Seattle finally released the official 2015 map of the Seattle City Council Districts. The reason for the map and the new way of electing our city councilmembers being (via seattle.gov):

In 2013, Seattle voters passed a measure amending our city’s charter to establish City Council districts. In 2015, voters will elect seven out of the nine City Council members by district. The remaining two positions will be elected “at-large” (city-wide) in positions 8 and 9.

Our Ravenna neighborhood is located in Council District 4, along with Bryant, Roosevelt, View Ridge, Sand Point, Windermere, Laurelhurst, Hawthorne Hills, the University District, Eastlake, half of Wedgwood, most of Wallingford, and a touch of Fremont — which is why it is so great to finally have a city-approved map with hard boundaries.

Northern portion of the Council Districts map. Click to open the interactive version.

Northern portion of the Council Districts map. Click to open the interactive version.

Within the interactive map above, Seattle residents can search for their address to find out which Council District they are located in, or just zoom in and around to see what neighborhoods are located in which districts.

On Wednesday, March 12, Crosscut held an event called “Mapping Seattle’s New Political Landscape,” where contributors Ben Anderstone and Knute Berger talked about Seattle’s newly created City Council Districts.

While we did not attend, we did follow along on twitter. Here’s what the duo had to say about our District 4, in one slide:

As for how City Council races will be scheduled in the future, the City Clerk’s office lays out the following timeline:

In 2015:

  • All nine Councilmember seats will be up for election and the transition will occur during that city election
  • Seven districted Councilmembers will be elected to four-year terms
  • The remaining two at-large Councilmembers will be elected to a two-year term

In 2017:

  • Seven districted Councilmembers will be elected to four-year terms*
  • The two at-large seats will be elected to four-year terms
  • The at-large Councilmembers will from this point forward be on the same election cycle as the Mayor and City Attorney

Then in the fall of 2022 (and every ten years thereafter), “a five-member Districting Commission will be created to redraw the district boundaries.”

Current City Councilmember Jean Godden has already tossed her hat into the ring for the newly created District 4 seat (she’s a View Ridge resident). But so far, at the time of writing, and with the filing deadline being over a year away, only current CMs have filed for reelection.

20140415-152041.jpg

One of Councilmember Tim Burgess’s legislative aides, Alex Pedersen, made a suspicious move earlier in April: His monthly “4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter,” published online or sent via email since August 2013, showed up in paper form in the Seattle Times. When asked if he’s considering running, fellow Council District 4 resident Pedersen told us (via email):

We hear a lot from interest groups but not enough from families because they are busy working to get by. So the newsletter highlights not only important neighborhood issues, but fun stuff that will be engaging and relevant each month.

I support Jean Godden and she’s aware of the newsletter :)

The deadline for getting on the ballot in 2015 is Friday, May 15, 2015, so District 4 residents have plenty of time to decide to run. You can track all the City Council candidates running in the 2015 Primary here, on seattle.gov.

And to all present and possible future Council District candidates, I say: May the odds be ever in your favor.

 

UPDATE (10:07 AM): Serendipitously, Crosscut’s Knute Berger has a piece out just this morning about this very topic: “New survey offers tips for implementing Seattle’s new city council districts.”

——————-

* Correction: We accidentally repeated the “Seven districted Councilmembers…” line in both lists. Thank you, Tony Provine, for alerting us to this error.

Fill Empty Bowls and support North Seattle families

Choose a hand-crafted bowl by a local student or artisan, fill it with delicious food from a selection of neighborhood restaurants, and support families in need in north Seattle.

Empty Bowls 2013

Empty Bowls Event 2013

North Helpline‘s 5th annual Empty Bowls fundraiser is Sunday, May 4th, Noon – 3:00 p.m. in The Commons at Nathan Hale High School (10750 30th Ave NE). Soup, salad, bread, and dessert will be provided by a number of local restaurants including Piatti Restaurante, Got Soup?, Wedgwood Ale House, and Kaffeekaltsch. There will also be an extensive silent auction and live entertainment. Tickets are $25 purchased in advance, or $35 at the door.

The event is part of the the Empty Bowls Project, an international grassroots effort to raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger. The bowl you enjoy a warm meal from and take home with you becomes a tangible reminder of hunger in our community.

North Helpline (12736 33rd Ave NE) combats hunger and homelessness in greater North Seattle by providing critical human services to more than 1,700 clients each week. They operate a food bank and health care clinic in addition to offering move-in support, eviction and utility shut-off prevention, help with obtaining a driver’s license or ID, and hygiene packs.

If you’re unable to attend the event but are still interested in supporting North Helpline, here are some other opportunities:

DSC00378

Food Bank distributions in 2010

  • Visit the Wedgewood Ale House on Thursday, April 17th and 30% of your order will be donated to North Helpline.
  • Volunteer to sort or distribute food in their Food Bank, to pick up donations at local grocery stores, or to provide emergency services to clients.
  • Donate food or money, anytime.

 

Help Sound Transit develop light rail station symbols

What single image would you use to represent the Roosevelt Light Rail Station? Or rather, what three adjectives and three landmarks you would use to describe the station area?

Sound Transit is developing “pictograms” to identify the new transit stations that are opening in 2016 and beyond. You can help by completing their Pictogram Questionnaire, open now through Monday, April 14.

First section of the Sound Transit Pictogram Questionnaire (click to start the survey).

First section of the Sound Transit Pictogram Questionnaire (click to start the survey).

From the survey:

Pictograms are intended to be station identification symbols for non-English audiences, primarily those that use a non-Roman based alphabet. To be effective, Sound Transit’s Link light rail station pictograms must meet these requirements:

  • Simple in form, and are an easily recognizable symbol
  • Readable at many scales; including signage, print material, online and mobile devices
  • Are individually distinguishable and read as a family

The pictogram may reflect the nature of the environment: neighborhoods, landmarks, geographic locations and may include points of interest around the stations.

Existing station pictograms — Westlake Station all the way south to SeaTac/Airport Station — were developed from points of interest around the station and in the community. Those points of interest were connected like stars in a constellation, and an image representing the station was developed.

The International District Station is a dragon. Pioneer Square is a ship. SoDo is an anvil. Westlake is… a tiara? I’ve always been curious and a little confused by these pictograms and admit to being pretty amused by this extremely thoughtful process (which we’ve heard that Sound Transit is NOT continuing for the new stations). Check out the “Stellar Connections” brochure explaining these transpo-constellations (1.1 MB PDF).

The University Link extension (Capitol Hill and University of Washington stations) are expected to open in the first quarter of 2016). The Northgate Link extension (U District, Roosevelt, and Northgate stations) are expected to be open for service in 2021. Approximately 8,000 daily riders are projected to board the train by 2030. 

The other station on the pictogram survey is Angle Lake Station, set to open in 2016 south of the SeaTac/Airport Station at S 200th St.