Editorial: Everything in this post today is true*

Ah, the first day of April: The one day a year when you can’t trust ANYTHING on the internet.(1)

Every year as April Fool’s Day grows near, I think about potential tales I could tell about the neighborhood. I ponder writing a post that seems a little strange, but perhaps has just enough truth to it that it might be real.

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But I always chicken out. Two reasons:

1. It’s a tricky thing to write a good April Fool’s Day story. My favorite “big media” April Fool’s story is the one that NPR broadcast in 2003: The Library of Congress was (supposedly) hurrying to copy various audio formats (like cassettes and CDs and such) “onto a single, easy-to-access format that is absolutely stable.”

However, the story continues (emphasis mine), “[T]hanks to a grant from the Smolian-Giovannoni Foundation, all of these audio formats are being transferred onto 10-inch wide, 78 rpm shellac disks — the one rock-solid format archivists have identified that works every time.”

It made so much sense to me. “You can’t trust those zeros and ones, man,” I thought. “They wander off! But a groove is FOREVER.” April Fools.

2. To date on this site, the Ravenna Blog has been occasionally silly, crafty, and even whimsical, but it’s never tried to pull one over on you.(3) As well-meaning and good-natured silly hoaxes might be, they can cause trouble.

Seattle legend Ivar Haglund was known for his pranks. Paul Dorpat, of HistoryLink.org, is not.(4) However, in 2009, Dorpat helped Ivar’s (the restaurant) pull one over on the city (and the Seattle Times, which publishes Dorpat’s “Now and Then” columns on local history on Sundays).

In August of 2009, a large billboard for Ivar’s was hauled out of Elliott Bay. Supposedly, this billboard was  made in the mid-1950s and placed purposefully underwater at that time (and kept in place with anchors) to advertise the restaurant to divers. Plans for seven more were supposedly found in Pier 54, the current headquarters of the restaurant chain. A mini-documentary was filmed during the supposed discovery.

“Seattle historian Paul Dorpat [...] says he doesn’t believe the billboards are hoaxes,” wrote Seattle Times staff reporter Erik Lacitis in September 2009. Then, in November, Lacitis wrote, “So, OK, it all turned out to be a hoax.” Ivar’s Inc president Bob Donegan and Dorpat pulled one over on the city in true Ivar Haglund style. And then the Seattle Times executive director told Dorpat his “continued freelance relationship with the paper [was] ‘under review.’” Oops.

We’re no Seattle Times,(5) but I believe it is important that readers know that this place, this weblog of Ravenna neighborhood news, can be trusted. And it’s not worth marking a goofy holiday to wreck that ideal.

HOWEVER, I’m not going to let reasons 1 and 2 from stopping me describing the various April Fool’s Day posts I’ve considered writing. Coming up with the titles is pretty fun, actually (and happens the way the pros at The Onion start writing their stories).

Here are my Ravenna Blog April Fool’s Day Story Ideas That I Will Never Write About, in no particular order:

Rav-Eck Community Center and Ravenna School Apts to be sold back to school district, be turned back into school

Post accompanied by a picture of overcrowded Bryant Elementary students pressed up against the inside of a window the school.

Wedgwood Community Council finally realizes namesake boulder is in Ravenna, moves to rename it “Ravenna Rock”

While there are no official city-drawn neighborhood boundaries, the by-laws of the various community councils in Seattle DO have such things. The Wedgwood Rock is located south of NE 75th Street, clearly in Ravenna-Bryant Community Association territory. (Sure, this glacial erratic came through Wedgwood during the last ice age, but it’s OURS NOW.)

NE 65th St to be closed to ALL traffic, turned into dog park

We’ve fought about it enough, drivers, cyclers, and pedestrians: Now NOBODY gets to use it.

New Roosevelt Station night construction mitigation and safety plan includes glow-in-the-dark googly eyes on heavy machinery

This one nearly happened, sort of. Not long after our Northgate Link photo essay post went up, we had a conversation on twitter with the Archie McPhee account:

 

Should you need your own googly eyes, glow-in-the-dark or no, Archie McPhee has a nice selection.

Jeannie Hale declares self Laurelhurst Community Club president for life, invades Windermere

We’re not sure just how long Jeannie Hale has been president of the LCC, but we did find a Seattle Times article from 1996 where she was mentioned as holding the title.

Scarecrow Video to start movie delivery by drone

Hey, if Amazon can dream…

Roosevelt Way NE to be renamed Ravenna Way NE to further confuse local businesses

Do more people visit your restaurant if you say it’s in Ravenna and not next to Interstate 5 where it is actually located? </hyperlocalbloggerrant>

Driver still looking for a surface lot spot at University Village 3 days later

People, those parking garages are filled with parkings spots ALL THE TIME. Just go straight there and save yourselves the frustration. Besides, the view from the south side of Level F (Flute) of the new south building is quite impressive.

City readies plans to turn empty Roosevelt Reservoir into giant ball pit

Back in 2011, somebody fashioned a legit-looking Notice of Proposed Land Use Action sign and put it up in front of  the long empty Green Lake Vitamilk pit. It read, in part, “one ground level ball pit pond containing 1,200,000 cu. ft. of rainbow plastic balls.” It wasn’t an April Fool’s Day prank — sign went up in August — but might as well have been.

And my personal favorite for last:

Roosevelt High School purchased by Hugh Sisley, closed

To be honest, I thought up around a dozen more involving Gentleman Sisley. But he seems to be a rather litigious sort of fellow, so I’ll be keeping the others to myself out of an over-abundance of caution.

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* As far as I know.

(1) The rest of the days average 90-95% untrustable material. (2)

(2) This is based on my own personal experience, and not any actual “data” or “studies.”

(3) Knowingly, anyway. And if/when a fact needs correcting, I try to do so as quickly as possible.

(4) In his professional life, anyway. Or perhaps he’d refer to it as “storytelling.”

(5) I’m not quite sure what I mean by that. Perhaps just, “Not on your lawn in a bag at 6 AM.”

Meet new Ravenna Blog contributor, Oralea Howard

SO EXCITED to share this news: Ravenna Blog now has a writing staff of TWO. (Intern #1, who is currently writing and reading thanks to kindergarten, is not quite ready for prime time.)

Oralea & Violet Meet Oralea Howard. She and I met through Ravenna Blog Intern #2′s preschool class at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center. Her family lives in Ravenna, too, and she’s graciously offered to join up to help me bring you all the hyperlocal news that’s fit to publish electronically.

After graduating from the University of Oregon’s Journalism program, Oralea began an eclectic career path which most recently found her teaching science and art to first graders. Now, when she’s not cleaning up art or craft projects gone awry, she’s trying her own hand at quilting, printmaking, or gardening. You can frequently find Oralea, her husband, and their two-year-old out on the sidewalk, covered in chalk, and sharing beers with their neighbors.

Oralea and I had our first editorial calendar meeting last week, and we look forward to many more!*

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*Coffee is involved, and our kids are not.

EDIT: Oralea’s last name is actually Howard, NOT White as I previously wrote. The publisher really regrets that 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.

Birthday party time! Plus a few ways to help support the Ravenna Blog

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This month, the Ravenna Blog turns five years old.

Can you believe it?! We hardly can.

We started the site back on August 8, 2008 with the following post:

The goal here is report on the doings and transpirings in Ravenna, a residential neighborhood in northeast Seattle.

Drop us a line if you see anything remotely interesting happening in the area.  As a new blog with no readers, we certainly appreciate any and all help.

Since then we’ve covered townhouses driving down the street in the middle of the night, made a video of President Barack Obama’s motorcade driving through the neighborhoodtoured a still under construction light rail station, provided live coverage of 12 events, and taken pictures of the mayor with a goat.

And since we started keeping track on May 31, 2010, the Ravenna Blog has been visited 204,182 times by 121,443 unique visitors.

Pretty darn good for a five-year-old, eh?

To celebrate this mighty neighborhood news site milestone, we’ve put together a bunch of ways readers can help make the next five years pretty darn good, too.

Birthday Party!

Gosh, we’d love to meet you. And share some cake with you.

On Thursday, August 15, from 5-7 PM, we’re holding an open house-style birthday party at Zeeks Pizza (2108 NE 65th St). There will be cake, pizza, free Ravenna Blog pins, a few of our new Kalevetica t-shirts for sale, a “News Tips” Jar for those who would like to make a donation to the site, and us!

Please be sure to RSVP to the party – we need to make sure there’s enough cake for all!

 

New “Support the Ravenna Blog” page

We’ve heard from regular readers for a while now that they’d like to help support the site in some way. We have advertising for local businesses available, but nothing in place for everybody else.

So, in honor of our five years (so far) of local news and events coverage, we’ve launched the Support the Ravenna Blog page.

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We’ve come up with four ways that readers can help support the work of the Ravenna Blog:

1. Reoccurring support: “Subscribe” to the Ravenna Blog at a level that works for you and your household.

2. Flat donation: Make a one-time donation — tell us who you are or be anonymous.

3. Swag: We’ve taken five long years to come up with a t-shirt that (we believe) fits the spirit of this parking-strip-planting, modern-life-loving neighborhood — and you can be the proud owner of one.

4. Advertising: We love seeing local businesses represented on the site. And the Ravenna Blog averages 12,250 pageviews and 5,200 unique visitors a month, so these ads get seen.

But no matter what, dear reader, thank you for coming here. Thank you for the new tips, the questions, the pictures-from-the-scene, the “Why is that helicopter over my house?” inquiries, and all the words of encouragement. They have meant more than we can say.

We hope we have represented you well these past five years.

BlogsGiving V is here!

Once again, the Ravenna Blog is a co-sponsor a little partay and fundraiser for Northwest Harvest called BLOGSGIVING V.

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Via BlogsGiving come-up-wither, Michael van Baker of The SunBreak:

This year, we’re gathering at Vermillion, Capitol Hill’s art gallery and wine bar, on Sunday, November 18, from 6 to 9 p.m.For a suggested donation of $10, drop in to mingle, browse art, toast with a festive Champagne-and-cranberry drink, and nosh on a variety of cured meats and delicious cheeses. There will also be hand-turkeys, as that’s become a bit of a tradition.

Yours truly will be there from 6 to 7ish, as we have an early bedtime. We’ll be sporting our RAVENNA t-shirt as we are wont to do whenever we’re outside of the neighborhood.

Happy Halloween, Ravenna!

Here’s part of our costume (old school newspaper carrier, complete with time warp hard copies of the Ravenna Blog):

Yes, that is a kale plant in the masthead.

Ravenna Blog Rewind: October Edition

It’s the last Sunday of another month, so it’s time for another Ravenna Blog Rewind.

Here are some stories of note from Octobers past:

October 2011

5: Steve Jobs remembered at University Village Apple Store – It just so happened that at the time of Jobs’ passing, the University Village Apple Store was undergoing a “refresh,” and the outside of the windows was covered with a layer of thin black plastic, perfect for leaving condolences and rememberences on. We went down on three different occasions to record the growing memorial.

16: Say hello to new Ravenna Blog staff! – We had a baby. And we are happy to report that he is still pretty cute and very smiley.

19: University Village Microsoft Store opens this Thursday – And a giant stage filled the north U-Village parking lot. It was all quite something.

26: S. Germany comes to Ravenna – Heidelberg Haus menu revealed! – No post pleases us more to write than news of a new restaurant coming to the neighborhood.  We’ve been to HH a couple times now, and the excellent-yet-simple food has won us over. See also: Very tall German beers.

28: Ravenna and neighboring ‘hoods win $50,000 from CleanScapes – Most of the money has been awarded to Sustainable NE Seattle’s Tool Library, which will be housed in a building near the corner of NE 80th St and 25th Ave NE.

October 2010

6: NE Library Firefighter Story Time: When you gotta go, you gotta go –  Firefighters read a story, show off their gear, and then get called away before showing off their engine. Lots of pictures, and video of their exit.

8: Lost White Ferret APB – More info (sort of) –  Hyperlocal news at its best!

21: Obama-cade: The video! - No matter your political preference, it is still quite a site to see the leader of your country drive his motorcade through your neighborhood.  The video has now been viewed on YouTube 357,274 times, which is also quite something.

31: HAPPY HALLOWEEN! - We’re still very proud of our creative use of zucchinis-gone-wild.

October 2008

15: Neighborhood 911 – First post on the RB involving a fire in the neighborhood. The SEO-less title is kind of cringe worthy, but we like looking back at these early stories to see how far we’ve come in our neighborhood news reporting abilities.

Ravenna Blog Rewind: September Edition (new feature!)

Our humble little Ravenna Blog has been up and around for over four years now, which means there’s a decently sized chunk of recent Ravenna neighborhood history chronicled here.

We’ve taken a look back at Septembers past to bring you a new reoccurring feature on the site: The Ravenna Blog Rewind*.

On the last Sunday of every month, over the next year, we’ll comb the Ravenna Blog archives for notable events from months past, and list them together for your perusal.

September 2011

6: This is not what I mean by, “Let’s hang out at Ravenna Park.” – There’s a long history of repelling off the bridge over Ravenna Park. And some people are better at it than others.

Picture courtesy Thom George (and son James), taken with a Windows Phone 7

14: A day in the life of a North Precinct patrol officer – As a part of the Seattle Police Department’s burgeoning experimentation with social media, Officer Acuesta takes the neighborhood along on a Tweet-a-Long through his beat, Union 1.

17: Busy weekend for police at the northern Ravenna/Roosevelt boundary – Neighbors along 15th Ave NE between NE 65th and 75th St report a lot of police activity over one weekend (which includes some warrant service, and flash bombs).

19: Public Hearing on the Roosevelt Rezone – Big public meeting in the Roosevelt High School auditorium, with all nine city councilmembers in attendance.

September 2010

14: Picardo P-Patch’s First Fundraiser Dinner – You’re Invited – Picardo P-Patch holds its first fundraiser dinner in the garden, and mother nature tries to chip in by washing the dishes (pictures from the dinner posted on October 3: Picardo P-Patch Fundraiser Dinner – Eatin’ in the Rain)

21: CSA for Carnivores: Thundering Hooves (new Bryant delivery stop) – Thundering Hooves is no more, but Blue Valley Meats picked up where they left off. Deliveries to our area every three weeks to Grateful Bread (7001 35th Ave NE)

September 2008

4: Gelato spoon at the ready? – Da Pino (2207 NE 65th St) opens! And now I’m hankering for boar meat.

9: You may now commence the fun. – The newly improved playground at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center opens! Councilmember Rasmussen was on hand for the ribbon cutting.

10: No soup for you! Unless you’re in Fremont. – Nana’s Soup House closes, and moves business to Fremont. It has since changed its name to Korner Kitchen.

30: Let the sunshine in. – Ravenna Third Place Books undergoes some remodeling, losing a mural but gaining some windows.

See you back here on October 28th for Ravenna Blog Rewind: October Edition.

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*Astute locals will rightly assume that the name is an homage to my favorite KUOW show (1998?-2004).

Four? Score! Happy birthday to us.

In August 2008, after six months of strolling an infant through the neighborhood, we decided to start the Ravenna Blog.

Four years later, and with the addition of one more staff member last October, we’re still here!

Since we started keeping track in June 2010, the Ravenna Blog has reached 61,226 unique visitors and served up 137,680 pageviews. (And that YouTube video of President Obama’s motorcade driving down NE 75th St in October 2010 has now been watched a mind-boggling 347,419 times).

And this post, this very post right here, is the 444th post.*

But this year on our birthday, instead of looking back at the biggest stories of the last year, we’d like to share with you our dreams for next year. They are three-fold:

  1. We’ll turn FIVE next year, and that deserves some kind of PARTY, don’t you think? You’re all invited, of course.
  2. Have you noticed, the Ravenna neighborhood doesn’t have a fair/art walk/bite of/festival? We need to change that. How about a family walk/run/ramble through the neighborhood? We’ve just begun to plot about it, here.
  3. We’re also thinking of putting together some kind of Ravenna Blog Pledge Drive Week, for neighbors who might like to contribute to the costs of running the site. (Tote bags would be involved, OF COURSE.)

More on all of that in the near future. STAY TUNED.

To close out this here birthday post, we’d just like to say: thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, thank you for sharing our site with your neighbors, and thank you sharing your stories with us.

See you around the neighborhood!

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* Kind of a cool coincidence, all the fours. Unless you’re Chinese. *gulp*


My Green Lake evolves, says goodbye. We say THANK YOU.

Some bittersweet local neighborhood news to report today: My Green Lake, the local news website for the Green Lake neighborhood, has ceased regular operations.

The content on the site will remain, but no new stories are to be published. Readers and Green Lake neighbors are encouraged to check out the Seattle EveryBlock site to get their local happenings fix and connect with each other.

You can read about the site’s transition in the final post, here.

The old MGL on the left, and the new MGL on the right.

We here at Ravenna Blog have not only linked to MGL’s great info in the past, but have pestered sought local news blogging advice from publisher Amy Duncan on countless occasions. She has been endlessly helpful and encouraging. We will continue to consider her one of our Hyperlocal Gurus.

We are also thankful to MGL/Amy for helping us goad encourage Patty over in Roosevelt to start Roosiehood, the Roosevelt Neighborhood Blog.

Thank you, Amy, for your years of service to your community, raising the bar for hyperlocal reporting in Seattle, and for being a good friend.