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.


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.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:46 PM

Oh, and I’ll post any KOMO newscast stuff here when it gets posted.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:43 PM

Meeting adjourned!

I’ll get the SDOT presentation material sent to me and will post that here.

I’ll also see how much more NE 75th Street traffic data I can get out of Curtin/Dongho Chang as well.

Thanks for following along! I’ll continue to monitor the Sisley stuff as well as I can. Very interested in what happens in King County Superior Court on May 16.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:36 PM

RBCA President Tony Provine pitching the monthly board meetings held here in the RECC. 7 PM, first Tuesdays of the month. Also, go to ravennabryant.org.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:34 PM

Looking for comprehensive plans. Not just banners.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:33 PM

In early fall, areas can apply to be included in the next year’s round of supported neighborhoods. Various tiers of support are available.

In application, big focus on the collection of stakeholders. The major players in the business district, supporters, residents, etc. Having an actual business district is a biggie.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:30 PM

Only in Seattle initiative: To draw and attention and assistance to local business districts.

$3.9 million in assistance to neighborhood biz districts in the past (combined with moneys raised by those areas as well). $2 million this year for the chosen areas.

Here’s the current full list: http://www.onlyinseattle.org/neighborhoods/

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:27 PM

Only In Seattle Initiative time. Theresa Berraras speaking.

Office of Econimic Development: Works with small biz, industry sectors (and neighborhood districts), and workforce development.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:23 PM

[Starting to feel like the community association drags these folks out here to get yelled at. Or rather, that’s what ends up happening. Maybe more engagement by residents during the whole process would help?]

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:22 PM

One audience member has a school question, but commented first to Jim that he loves the changes in 75th and wouldn’t change a thing. Applause. But some very vocal folks who disagree.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:20 PM

Going over recent traffic data. Volume of vehicles is the same (15-20K). Speeds have dropped. 85th percentile folks down 2-4 mph.

Top end speeders reduced by 90% eastbound, and 62% westbound. [Wow.]

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:18 PM

Jim Curtin now talking about NE 75th Street rechannelization. Some preliminary data to share.

Oops, he was talking about parking. And there’s a contingent who are not happy about the rechannelization.

In 2014 there will be tweaks: Some already planned (ped countdown signals, photo enforcement at Eckstein MS) but more could happen with resident input.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:13 PM


Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:12 PM

Arterial Traffic Calming Process [*cough* 65th? *cough*]

55th looked at recently (a request after a pedestrian was struck on 28th). Average speed was below 30 mph, but 85% of drivers are closer to 32 mph. These are good results, but still want to add some safety features. Less parking near particular crossings for better pedestrian visibility is mentioned.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:09 PM

SDOT talking safety programs.

Traffic circles! You can contact SDOT and request a traffic circle for an intersection. Requires checks with first responders and some other research. Also needs four neighbors to volunteer to care for it.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:07 PM

[About half the crowd either left after the Sisley piece or went out to talk with Holmes.]

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20148:06 PM

[Insert SDOT safety info here. Sorry, I got caught out in the RECC lobby with lots of emotional people and a cornered Pete Holmes. He his hearing your concerns, neighbors.]

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:47 PM

Holmes: From the judgement side, for the first time, we have liens on property that will not going away. The toll is racking up.

Audience not having it. “The Sisleys are an example that we don’t have to” follow these rules and codes. When’s it going to end?

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:44 PM

Q: Sisley tear things down? RDG tear them down? City demands things get torn down? What is the hold up?

Answer from the code enforcement speaker: A little of all of that.

[Note: No permit for demolition has been applied for for the old fruit stand block.]

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:42 PM

And, again, the question from the floor: WHEN?

Audience not satisfied, at all.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:41 PM

Code enforcement person now speaking. Looking at changing things, but legal hurdles to exists, and the process is slow.

No open code violations on any Sisley homes at this time. Monitoring 15 vacant homes at this time.

What you can do for us: Got a call last week about people getting into one of the vacant buildings on the corner of 15th and 65th (Espresso?). See something similar, CALL. Open buildings? CALL.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:37 PM

Q: City is earning income (through interest). What is the course of action for the city, and at what point to you say, “Time’s up?” That income and fines are all imaginary until there’s a course of action.

H: We want to break this economic model (slumlord model), and give some recompense to the neighborhood that has suffered. This takes more departments than just me. We’re working on a plan.

Q: But WHEN?

H: Waiting for this 60-90 day appeal period to end. In the meantime, we’re looking for other things that can be done with the judgement. Can’t say too much at this time.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:33 PM

Holmes recommending a piece called “One Last Homeless Person in Times Square.” City looking at this example as a way to work on similar problems here in Seattle. Comprehensive, coordinated effort by city departments, not just police. Not jail, but managed care.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:30 PM

Q: Some permits out on creating parking lots in some of the zones for Sound Transit construction. What’s the deal with that?

H: Don’t know.

[I do: Contractor at the Roosevelt site, NOT Sound Transit itself, looking into solving its offsite parking problem. Exploring options.]

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:24 PM

Q: Why aren’t those buildings torn down?

H: That’s a question for the Roosevelt Development Group. Again, we don’t want to get in the way of the development stuff. Those plans either are or will be soon accepted.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:22 PM

Holmes going into detail about how property might be taken from Sisley if he continues to refuse to pay fines, even after all his legal avenues are exhausted. Properties would be selected to be sold off and money would go into the city’s general fund.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:20 PM

Q: Impacts on the leases with RDG?

H: All junior to the money owed the city.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:19 PM

Holmes: Sisleys have thrown every possible legal hurdle at the city, and we have said we will continue.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:18 PM

WHY has this taken so long? WHY all the vacancies?

Holmes has been city attorney for four years (2010), decided to focus on the Sisley situation halfway into those four years.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:14 PM

Questions now for Holmes.

Is it time to change the law, about these vacant properties? Fundamental flaw to let these boarded up houses stand?

Short answer: We could always have more effective tools. Department is flooded with complaints, and tries to prioritize.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:12 PM

“I wanna make it more expensive to NOT comply with city housing code than to ignore it.”

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:11 PM

One pending action before the Superior Court. 9 AM on May 16. And an appealed judgement city should hear back in the next 60-90 days.

No compromise. Seeing all the cases through. But Sisleys can pay at any time.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:09 PM

OKAY. Pete Holmes up first. Also a DPD enforcement person here as well.

18mo-2 years ago, Holmes says: Let’s stop taking this piecemeal. No more breaks. Let’s move forward.

Superior Court jury said, no, first amendment rights not violated.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:08 PM


Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20147:03 PM

Fun times: Can’t get my keyboard to work. Might be typing the meeting with my thumbs.

Rebecca Nelson May 6, 20145:09 PM

Logging in early to make sure you’ve read up on the Sisley Situation before the meeting starts: http://www.ravennablog.com/so-about-those-boarded-up-houses-at-15th-and-65th/


  1. Ellen Stoecker says:

    Thanks, Rebecca, for the live blog of the RBCA meeting! You do a great service to our communities. I appreciated your question/ comment “Maybe more engagement by residents during the whole process would help?” Venting pent-up displeasure at a public meeting doesn’t seem fair or productive. The leadership in both RBCA and RNA can use more help in working with city officials on these matters. ems

  2. Andres Salomon says:

    Thanks so much for live tweeting! Even if I couldn’t make the main event, I can now read the synopsis.

  3. Ellen Stoecker says:

    Rebecca, Any news on the May 16 court hearing?

    • It didn’t happen: I called the City Attorney’s office on May 15 and was told that the Sisley’s had dropped the case. I apologize for not adding that info here earlier!

  4. Very nice post. I definitely appreciate this site. Keep writing!


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