Soil sample drilling continues for North Link Light Rail

Earlier this week, whilst driving east on Ravenna Blvd, I happened upon the following scene in the grassy median (at Ravenna Blvd and 12th Ave NE):


A few tweets and emails later, I get the scoop about the digging from Bruce Gray, who does media relations for Sound Transit:

Yes, that work is part of our advance geotechnical work for the North Link project to extend light rail from UW to Northgate.

The crew you saw, or are seeing, on Ravenna near 12th are taking soil samples to give us an idea of the type of materials we will encounter during tunneling for that extension. This is all part of the final design work for the alignment. We take soil samples along the entire alignment to get something akin to an underground profile of conditions the tunnel boring machines could encounter. The line is scheduled to open in 2021.

Bruce was also kind enough to reply in an earlier North Link Light Rail post to a commenter regarding the proposed names of the stations. (You can read his reply here.)

House fire on East Ravenna Blvd, no injuries

Flames escaping through the windows of the second floor apartment (Photo courtesy Dylan Cline)

Over a dozen area fire department vehicles were called to the 1800 block of Ravenna Blvd around 12:50 pm to battle a house fire. The resident of the apartment was home at the time, but was uninjured.

Showing the damaged second story apartment windows

The residence consisted of a rented out studio apartment on the second floor, and the office of an architect below.

Residents watch the action from the median

Fire department staff on scene said that the fire was started accidentally, in the apartment unit. Unfortunately for the renter, nothing appears to be salvageable.

I spoke with the apartment renter briefly at the scene. He said he’d been in the residence for about 6 or 7 years and greatly enjoys the neighborhood.

Two of the fourteen fire department vehicles called to the fire

The home itself was formerly a city light substation built in 1921, and found its second life through the work of the architect whose office is located on the first floor.  You can read more about Thomas Burkle’s work at his website, Architecture Inside Out (, and see photos of the residence in better times.

Fire department vehicles and staff on site at the residence, after the fire was extinguished.

UPDATE (3:40 PM): We have video of the fire and the firefighters putting it out (thank you to Benjamin):

Ravenna House Fire from b b on Vimeo.

UPDATE (6:14 PM): From the Seattle Times:

A house in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood burned Saturday in a fire sparked by overheated electrical wiring.

Flames were seen shooting out of the second floor before firefighters doused the blaze. Damage to the house was estimated at $120,000, said Lt. Sue Stangl of the Seattle Fire Department. Another $20,000 worth of property inside was lost.

UPDATE (10:14 PM): has a few pictures up in a slideshow as well, some from Dylan and others from Dale Steinke of


Thank you to Richard Lotz for the 911 site tweet and to Dylan Cline for the use of his photograph.