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.

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.

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.

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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.

New, ongoing feature: The NE Seattle Development Tracker page

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“Crane and Land,” water color by Kathleen Coyle. Photo taken in Grateful Bread (7001 35th Ave NE).

There’s SO MUCH happening in Northeast Seattle in terms of large developments, we’ve decided to stop writing individual posts about them and give them their own PAGE.

We hereby introduce you to: The NE Seattle Development Tracker page, accessible from anywhere on the Ravenna Blog via a new tab (just to the left of our Search box).

For each development project listed on the map, you can find the following information:

  • Address
  • Main project number and link
  • Current permit activity link
  • Department of Planning and Development (DPD) documents page link
  • Description of the project in its final form (# of stories, apartments, retail square-footage, etc.)
  • Northeast Design Review Board link (to past and future meetings)
  • Design proposal PDF link
  • Website of the new project

Not all of the above information will be available for every project — some are far newer than others — but we’ll add new info and links as the projects progress.


View NE Seattle large development tracker in a larger map

Curious about a project you don’t see on the map yet? Leave a comment below with the address of the project (or contact us here, via web form). We’ll do our best to find more information to add to the map.

Design Review Board meeting on the old Fruit Stand blocks (LIVE COVERAGE)

Tonight, Monday, February 3, the Northeast Design Review Board will meet to decide the next steps for the development of the “old Fruit Stand block” just south of Roosevelt High School.

The meeting takes place at 6:30 PM at the University Heights Community Center (5031 University Way NE, Room 209). There is a public comment period during the meeting, but it is only 20 minutes in length and not for Q&A-style discussions.

Ravenna Blog will be in attendance and providing LIVE COVERAGE below, starting around 6:30 PM.

Page 12 from the Roosevelt Development Group's Design Review Recommendation presentation. Click the image to download the entire presentation (17 MB PDF)

Page 12 from the Roosevelt Development Group’s Design Review Recommendation presentation. Click the image to download the entire presentation (17 MB PDF)

The Roosevelt Development Group will be presenting their preferred project design (by Seattle architecture firm GGLO) for 6505 15th Avenue NE (Project #3013244) to the Northeast Design Review Board at tonight’s meeting.

Three different design schemes were presented during the early design guidance meeting on August 6, 2012. (You can find the notes from that meeting here.) Tonight’s recommendation phase design is the third of those three designs and features:

    • Approximately 221 dwelling units, in a mix of multi- and groun- level configurations;
    • 7,500-square-feet of ground-level commercial space;
    • 175 parking stalls, accessed from 14th Avenue NE;
    • Overall height of 7-stories (building heights ranging from 55 to 75 feet, depending on the slope of the property)

Jim O’Halloran, past Roosevelt Neighborhood Association Land Use Chair, had this to say about tonight’s meeting and the current design plans:

“Now that a zoning decision for the high school blocks has been made, and that a reasonably attractive building has been designed for the site with some engagement from the Community, let’s get on with it; build the building.  If for any reason the project will be further delayed, then it is important that the existing decrepit building structures be removed without further delay.  Allowing this sore spot to fester without near term improvement would surely undermine RDG’s relationship with the Community.”

Upcoming Design Review Board meetings of note (LIVE COVERAGE)

Two large development projects on NE 65th Street may before the Northeast Design Review Board in the next three weeks: The old Children’s Home Society of Washington land up at 33rd Avenue NE (recently sold to Polygon Northwest), and the old Fruit Stand block at 15th Avenue NE (owned by Hugh Sisley and leased to the Roosevelt Development Group).

Northeast Design Review Board meetings are held at the University Heights Community Center (5031 University Way NE, Room #209). You can see all upcoming meetings (and the links to their respective project information) at this Design Review Meetings page at seattle.gov.

For more information on these two particular projects (including links to design documents and their respective Department of Planning and Development permit pages), click on the map below.

View Jan/Feb 2014 NE Design Review Board meeting topics in a larger map

Ravenna Blog plans on attending both meetings and providing live coverage at ravennablog.com:

  • LIVE COVERAGE of the Monday, January 13 meeting (CHS of WA/Polygon Northwest) begins below around 6:30 PM.
  • LIVE COVERAGE of the (tentative-at-this-time) Monday, February 3 meeting (old Fruit Stand block/Sisley/Roosevelt Development Group) will be posted to a page-to-be-named-later.

NE 65th St Town Hall at Ravenna-Eckstein CC (LIVE COVERAGE; UPDATE)

On Monday, August 12, from 6:45-8 PM, Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle Department of Transportation will hold a town hall-style meeting at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center (6535 Ravenna Ave NE).

City officials will be on hand to to address residents’ and area business owners’ concerns about the Bicycle Master Plan Draft Update and the potential role NE 65th Street may play in it.

Our live coverage of the meeting will begin below, around 6:45 PM.

UPDATE (Thursday, August 15): The Seattle Channel has posted their video of the event, and you can watch it right here (Flash required):

 

 

Town Hall on Monday, August 12 to address NE 65th St/Bicycle Master Plan concerns

The time to comment on the Bicycle Master Plan Draft update is over.

Or is it?

According to the Cascade Bicycle Club’s blog, the Seattle Department of Transportation “received more comments on the NE 65th Street protected bike lane than any other project proposed in the draft Bicycle Master Plan Update.”

Not a surprising observation to hear, especially after a less-than-stellar open house on the BMP Draft on June 13 at Roosevelt High School, and a “small business owners/residents meeting” held on June 23 at the Varsity Restaurant on NE 65th St.

We think it is a fair point to make, for all sides of the issue of NE 65th Street’s place in the BMP Update, that there is a lot of confusion around the issue.

Which is why we are grateful to see that a neighborhood town hall regarding NE 65th St and the Bicycle Master Plan Update is being held at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center (6353 Ravenna Ave NE) on Monday, August 12, from 6:45-8 PM.

NE 65th St

Click the image above to view the Neighborhood Town Hall invitation in full.

 

If you yourself are not able to attend this meeting, and/or would like to read about it after the fact, the Ravenna Blog will be providing live coverage of the events. We’ll post the link here on Monday the 12th.

If we may be so bold: If you are planning on attending the meeting, please consider taking an alternate mode of transportation than your usual. The journey might give you some insight into the concerns of others in the area.

Community along NE 65th St to gather and discuss Bicycle Master Plan concerns

Ahead of the Bicycle Master Plan Update public comment deadline of Friday, July 26, a group of business owners and residents near NE 65th Street are meeting to discuss the BMP’s proposed cycle track for the Ravenna thoroughfare.

Ravenna Bicycle Path Small Business Owners/Residents’ Work Group
Next Meeting Tuesday, July 23, 7 p.m.
Varsity Restaurant, 2300 N.E. 65th St.

Flyer about the meeting up just outside the Ravenna Varsity. Click the image to see the full version (6.4 MB file).

Flyer about the meeting up just outside the Ravenna Varsity Restaurant. Click the image to see the full version (6.4 MB file).

Concerns about NE 65th St and the BMP listed on the flyer include:

  • Loss of parking along NE 65th St, and cars being displaced to nearly residential streets;
  • Effects during special events (like University of Washington Football home games);
  • Emergency vehicle access to Ravenna Ida Culver;
  • Recommendation for a cycle track on NE 65th St was accompanied by “no empirical evidence to support it,” and no studies (environmental, traffic impact, or economic impact.

For more information about this meeting, residents are asked to contact Mark Briant at mcbriant@seanet.com.

Public comment on the City of Seattle’s 2013 Bicycle Master Plan Update can be sent to bmpupdate@seattle.gov. For a guide on making comments, you can use this form (Microsoft Word or PDF), supplied by the BMP Project Library page.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signs tougher DUI bill into law (VIDEO)

While Wednesday’s joint Mayor’s Office/Seattle Department of Transportation press conference was held at the intersection of last March’s DUI tragedy, the topic was overall street safety along NE 75th St and the SDOT proposed street design changes.

The next day, however, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed DUI legislation (SB 5912) into law down in Tacoma at the Washington State Patrol District 1 headquarters.

Screen grab from SeattleP-I.com's coverage of Governor Jay Inslee signing new DUI legislation into law. Click through to read the whole article, and see more photos from the event by Associated Press Photographer Ted S. Warren.

Screen grab from SeattleP-I.com’s coverage of Governor Jay Inslee signing new DUI legislation into law. Click through to read the whole article, and see more photos from the event by Associated Press photographer Ted S. Warren.

Dan and Marilyn Schulte both attended on their family’s behalf, and were joined at the signing by over a dozen legislators and law enforcement leaders, as well as family members of a woman killed by a drunk driver in 2010.

About the bill, Associated Press reporter Rachel La Corte wrote:

Under the new law, a driver suspected of a second impaired driving offense faces mandatory arrest and will have an interlock device installed on their vehicle within five days of being charged.

The state also will begin a pilot program in as many as three counties and two cities not in those counties to conduct daily alcohol monitoring of anyone convicted twice under the DUI law. Additional money will be put toward ensuring that local jurisdictions prosecute and punish more offenders more quickly.

The final version of the bill was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate.

Most of the law will go into effect on September 28 of this year; however, the monitoring program and a few other components will not go into effect until January 1, 2014.

You can read more about the path to the bill’s final version here (“How budget constraints narrowed Olympia’s DUI crackdown,” June 26, 2012, Seattle Times,” and read the full signed bill here (near the bottom, the link titled “Bill as Passed Legislature.”)

Video of the bill signing event was broadcast live by TVW, the “C-SPAN of Washington state” (our words), and also available below. Dan Schulte begins his statement at about the seven minute mark.