Daily news blog for Seattle's University District neighborhood

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City Councilmember O’Brien releases proposal to make it easier to build backyard cottages

May 19th, 2016 by sarawilly

By Doree at our sister site Phinneywood.com

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, NW Seattle) released a proposal today that would make it easier for homeowners to build backyard cottages.

Councilmember O’Brien’s bill makes a series of changes to the existing backyard cottage and mother-in-law unit building code, including:

  • Allowing both a backyard cottage and mother-in-law unit on the same lot, which provides additional housing options while maintaining the character and appearance of the property.
  • Increasing the height limit for backyard cottages by 1-2 feet, depending on lot width, which would allow enough livable space to make two-bedroom units more feasible. Setback requirements from property edges would not change.
  • Removing the requirement for owners to include an off-street parking space for backyard cottages or mother-in-law unit. Currently, this requirement often requires removal of green space on the property. Feedback found the parking requirement was prohibitive in creating new backyard cottages, as additional parking spaces were either unnecessary or unable to fit on the lot. For single-family lots outside urban villages or urban centers, the one required off-street parking space for a single-family house requirement will still apply.
  • If a backyard cottage is only one-story, its floor area may cover up to 60% of the rear yard (currently 40%), creating a large enough livable space for those unable to use stairs. Existing setback requirements from the lot edge would not change.
  • Requiring that the property owner live on-site for at least one year after a backyard cottage or mother-in-law unit is created, rather than the current requirement that the owner live on-site at least 6 months out of every year in perpetuity. The requirement prevents speculative developers from acquiring property and building backyard cottages that don’t fit the character of the neighborhood, while allowing the owner future flexibility for those who don’t want, or are unable to continue living on-site.
  • Allowing backyard cottages on lots 3,200 square feet or greater in area (currently 4,000 square feet), which would make approximately 7,300 additional parcels eligible to provide this additional housing option.
  • Increasing the maximum gross floor area of a backyard cottage to 1,000 square feet (currently 800 square feet), which would provide more livable area and increase the likelihood of two-bedroom backyard cottages to better serve families with children.
  • If a backyard cottage is built above a garage, the garage square footage will no longer count toward the maximum floor area, which often results in an unreasonably small living space.

The city’s Office of Planning & Community Development released its SEPA determination of non-significance today. The public can comment on the proposal through June 2 by emailing Nick Welch at nicolas.welch@seattle.gov, or by mail at City of Seattle, OPCD, Attn: Nick Welch, PO Box 34019, Seattle WA 98124-4019.

The proposal is scheduled for consideration in the Council’s Planning, Land Use & Zoning Committee in July.

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Testing shows our water is safe according to Seattle Public Utilities

April 25th, 2016 by sarawilly

SPU tested water in a small percentage of older Seattle homes with galvanized piping.  Results  showed lead levels well below allowable federal limits.

Seattle Public Utilities released the results yesterday. From KOMO:

“This sampling protocol was much more extensive than the standard federal test, and should give customers an added sense of confidence in their water,” said SPU Drinking Water Quality Manager Wylie Harper.

The alarm rang Wednesday when officials in Tacoma found that water in four homes were above the allowable lead limits.

Tacoma officials attribute the presence of lead in their water to sections of pipes known as “goosenecks.” On the city website, the pieces of lead pipe are described as having been used between 1900 and 1940 to connect the water main to customers’ service lines.

In the wake of that finding, Seattle Public Utilities asked all Seattle residents to run water for two minutes before drinking it, as a precaution.

The utility tested five older homes that have the potentially suspect galvanized pipes, and so-called gooseneck fittings between the water main and the home. After allowing the water to sit overnight, they tested samples.

The highest lead level was 1.95 parts per billion (ppb), well below the federal limit of 15 ppb, according to SPU.

“Seattle Public Utilities is in compliance with U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations,” said Derek Pell of the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) Office of Drinking Water.

The Seattle water supplier also posted an interactive map to allow homeowners to determine what kind of material – copper, plastic or galvanized steel – the service line that supplies their homes.

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Runners- will you beat the bridge?

April 6th, 2016 by sarawilly

The 34th Annual Nordstrom Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes race is coming up Sunday May 15th.  As in years past, the race will take place at Husky Stadium and will conclude with an on-the-field celebration, complete with an awards ceremony and a Diaper Derby for the little ones. Local food trucks are going to be a new addition to the event, serving up lots of delicious options for event participants and their families. Participants can register online at www.beatthebridge.org. Will you beat the bridge this year?

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How to help our Greenwood neighbors

March 14th, 2016 by sarawilly

From Doree at our sister site Phinneywood.com
The Phinney Neighborhood Association has compiled a very long list of businesses inside and outside our neighborhood that are helping to raise funds for businesses, employees and residents affected by last Wednesday’s explosion in downtown Greenwood. That list is being continually updated, so please check it often. Here are a few fundraisers happening this week:

Peddler Brewing Company, 1514 NW Leary Way, is hosting an all-ages fundraiser for G&O Family Cyclery, which is adjacent to the three demolished businesses and sustained heavy damage. Fifty percent of all beer sales from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday and funds from a raffle will benefit the bike shop. Raffle drawings will take place at 6:30 p.m. and 8 pm. Cycle Dogs (pedal-powered vegan hot dog cart) will be on site from 6-10 p.m. and will donate 100 percent of its revenue.

Magic Magpie Studio henna artist and Greenwood resident Antoinette is hosting “Henna For Greenwood” from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday at Makeda & Mingus, 153 N. 78th St. All proceeds will go to the Greenwood Relief Fund, with Makeda & Mingus matching every penny.

Gainsbourg, 8550 Greenwood Ave. N., is donating 20 percent of all sales Wednesday. The restaurant is open from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Phinney Books, 7405 Greenwood Ave. N., is having a week-long silent auction of neighborhood storefront paintings by Mark O’Malley, whose art has been for sale at the bookstore this past year. His painting of Mr. Gyros and Neptune Coffee sold last year, but he’s offered to create another one. There will be plenty of other paintings of iconic neighborhood stores to bid on. The silent auction closes Friday night. Everything over $50 for each painting will be donated to the relief fund. And Phinney Books is donating all proceeds from Friday’s sales (beyond what it cost to buy the books).

Art-sold-at-PhinneyBooks-GyrosNeptune-sentbyTanya-resized

Tanya, the Phinney resident who purchased the Mr. Gyros and Neptune painting last year and is now living temporarily in Japan, emailed us a photo of the painting, which hangs proudly on her wall.

Greenwood Fred Meyer is donating all the proceeds from their coin boxes at cash registers.

Verity Credit Union and Taproot Theatre are holding a raffle for two gift baskets, with tickets to Taproot and gift cards to Naked City Brewery & Taphouse. Stop by the Verity branch at 8533 Greenwood Ave. N. to purchase raffle tickets.

Hooyman Family Chiropractic, 143 NW 85th St., is donating 20 percent of all proceeds in March and April to the relief fund.

Umpqua Bank, 7120 Greenwood Ave. N., is collecting donations and will match the first $500.

The PNA was selling its whimsical holiday monkeys as a fundraiser for the fund and has already sold out, raising $11,000 for the Greenwood Relief fund.

Greenwood Elementary School families selling the “Show Greenwood Some Love” shirts raised $4,100 in just a few hours during Friday night’s Artwalk. Another batch of T-shirts will be available this week.

There is a GoFundMe just for G & O Family Cyclery. So far it’s raised more than $33,000.

Another GoFundMe account was started hours after the explosion by a community member with all proceeds going to employees of affected businesses (the PNA became the fiscal sponsor):  So far it’s raised more than $45,000.

Tax-deductible donations can be made through the PNA’s Greenwood Relief Fund.

A few days ago the Green Lake Community Council donated $500 to the PNA’s Greenwood Relief Fund.

The Bureau of Fearless Ideas (formerly 826 Seattle), Greenwood’s tutoring and writing center, is about to publish “Encyclopedia Greenwoodia,” with stories by BFI students and professional writers. (The very first piece in the book, written by a BFI student, is about Mr. Gyros.) They’ve decided to increase the publication run and have pledged 100 percent of the profits to the Greenwood Relief Fund. The book will be available in mid-April.

Numerous neighborhood businesses are collection sites for the Greenwood Relief Fund. Check the PNA’s special webpage for a complete list.

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Locals create new “Seattle” movie to premiere at UW

March 11th, 2016 by sarawilly

Seattle’s an amazing city, right? We all know that. But surprisingly, not all of the outside world does. A group of filmmakers, including Director of Photography & Fremont denizen Dan McComb, have set out to change that with “We Make Seattle,” a community funded short film highlighting why Seattle is the ideal home for creative workers and entrepreneurs. Watch a teaser here.

Bryan Zug and Scott Berkun were inspired by questions raised at a Startup Roundtable hosted by Mayor McGinn in 2012. “I overheard many entrepreneurs asking the Mayor to help promote the vibrancy of the city to the world and I thought: wait a second! Why are we asking the government to do this? We’re entrepreneurs! We’re makers! Shouldn’t we do this ourselves?” That night he asked his friend Bryan, who runs Bootstrapper Studios, to help, and “We Make Seattle” was born.

The pair teamed up with Dan and set out to make a video profile of Seattle that highlighted the energy and quality of life in the city, which has been rated the #1 tech city in America by The Atlantic yet still is not considered by outsiders to be a destination for creative enterprises.

They raised funds through Kickstarter and with the support of over 250 backers and several local companies, including Tableau Software, Zillow, Filter, and more. The project was truly a grassroots effort–Scott and Bryan love Seattle and saw a way they could help attract new businesses with their combined skills.

It’s also a community film because they are making all the footage available for reuse, and are encouraging institutions, businesses, and residents to share and embed the video wherever they like. The pair are also developing a website with additional regional job finding, business building, and relocation resources.

All are invited to premiere “We Make Seattle” beginning at 6:30pm on March 24 at UW Startup Hall.

1100 NE Campus Parkway
University of Washington

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Join Mayor Murray to discuss homelessness 3/2

February 24th, 2016 by sarawilly

Seattle Channel, Seattle CityClub and Crosscut are hosting a Civic Cocktail March 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tom Douglas Palace Ballroom. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will join us to discuss equity and growth, working with a new city council and the city’s homelessness crisis. Then, a panel including Seattle city council member Mike O’Brien and Daniel Malone, Executive Director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center, will further discuss homelessness in Seattle.

Date/Time: March 2, 2016 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Location: Tom Douglas Palace Ballroom (2100 5th Ave).

Click here for more information.

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Name the new baby gorilla!

February 24th, 2016 by sarawilly

Photo from Woodland Park ZooPhoto from Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo needs help naming its new baby gorilla. The winner will receive a variety of great gifts from the zoo, including a chance to visit the gorilla up-close!

To enter, participants must choose a female name from the African languages of Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo, and submit an entry form via mail, online here, or by dropping it off at any ballot box located on zoo grounds between now and Monday, February 29.

One winner will be selected by a judging panel of zoo staff to take home the Grand Prize:

  • One 1-year annual Woodland Park Zoo membership for one family
  • One ZooParent gorilla adoption
  • One opportunity to join a gorilla staff member for a private meet and greet for up to five people at the public viewpoint of the gorilla exhibit once the baby is on view (arranged at a mutually agreeable time)
  • One framed photograph of the newly-named gorilla infant

For official rules and terms of participation or to submit an entry online, click here.  More about the little cutie from Woodland Park:

The baby gorilla was born on November 20, 2015 to mom Nadiri and dad Vip. “Nadiri is a first-time, inexperienced mom,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Knowing that, we planned for different outcomes while she was pregnant, including the need for human intervention.”

Nadiri gave birth naturally but did not show strong maternal skills initially; as a result, staff immediately stepped in for the safety and welfare of the baby and to allow the new mom to rest. Since her birth, the zoo’s gorilla and veterinary staff have been providing 24/7 care for the unnamed baby gorilla behind the scenes in the gorillas’ sleeping quarters in a den next to Nadiri.

Multiple times a day, the mom and baby gorilla spend time together in the same den. “During recent sessions, the two have lain just inches apart, played and eaten together. The close proximity is a good sign they’re comfortable together and getting to know each other,” said Ramirez.

The baby gorilla remains off view where she is growing and thriving. “She’s developing normally; introductions are progressing slowly but steady,” said Ramirez. Currently, there is no time frame for when the baby will be on exhibit.

In the meantime, zoo staff is excited to officially give the baby gorilla a name. “As an ambassador for her species, an authentic regional name helps share the story of her counterparts in the wild,” said Ramirez.

The baby gorilla’s father is 37-year-old Vip, who has sired six other offspring with three different females at the zoo. He currently lives at the zoo in another group with two females.

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Ballard teen missing: Have you seen Stone Fennell?

February 15th, 2016 by sarawilly

From our friends at Phinneywood.com

Stone Fennell, a 16-year-old Ballard resident, is missing. He was last seen in Crown Hill late on Friday night, wearing dark blue jeans and a black or dark grey jacket with a black baseball cap. He is 5’10” and 215 lbs.

Stone-Fennell-missing-2-12-16-resized

Seattle Police are searching for a 16-year-old boy who was reported missing.

Stone Fennell disappeared from his home on Crown Hill. He was last seen at about 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Police say family is concerned. They say the disappearance is out of character.

Fennell is 5-foot-10, 215 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

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Dinosaurs at the Burke Museum

February 2nd, 2016 by sarawilly

Dino Day and Free Dinosaur Lecture
This March, dig into dinos with the Burke Museum! Discover the ancient lost continent of Laramidia and the remarkable dinosaurs that lived there at a free public lecture with paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson—better known as “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist,” host of the hit PBS KIDS series, Dinosaur Train. Also see newly collected Triceratops and duck-billed dinosaur fossils on display for the first time, along with dozens of other prehistoric plants and animals at the Burke’s most popular annual event, Dino Day!

Dino Talk: Dinosaurs of the Lost Continent
with Dr. Scott Sampson
Friday, March 11, 2016, 7 pm
Kane Hall 130, UW Campus
FREE FOR ALL
Seating is limited, pre-registration recommended at
burkemuseum.org/events
For more than a century, paleontologists have collected spectacular dinosaur fossils from the Western Interior of North America. Only recently have we learned that most of these dinosaurs existed on a lost continent called “Laramidia.” About 96 million years ago, exceptionally high sea levels flooded central North America, resulting in a north-south oriented seaway extending from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. This shallow sea isolated life-forms on the eastern and western landmasses for most the next 26 million years. Although a small continent only one-fourth the size of today’s North America, the Western landmass Laramidia was home to a variety of dinosaurs including horned, duck-billed, dome-headed, and armored plant-eaters, as well as giant tyrannosaur meat-eaters and smaller raptor-like predators.

Find out more about this lost continent and its dinosaurs with Dr. Scott Sampson—better known as “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist,” host of the hit PBS KIDS series Dinosaur Train. A book signing will follow.

Lecture sponsored by Nathan Myhrvold and Rosemarie Havranek.

DINO DAY
Saturday, March 12,

10 am – 4 pm
Burke Museum

Included with museum admission; FREE for Burke members and UW Staff, Students, and Faculty with UW ID

See hundreds dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures from the Burke’s collection that once lived on the lost continent of Laramidia, from giant Triceratops to tiny two-legged crocodiles! Also meet paleontologists and talk to them about their research around the world.

Additional activities:

  • Uncover a fossil in the Dino Dig Pit
  • Watch scientists prepare a large Triceratops skull
  • Crack open fossils with the Stonerose Interpretive Center
  • Dress up in dino-gear and give your best roar
  • Draw your own dinosaur or have a professional illustrator draw one for you

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Seattle Parks and Rec presents design for new waterfront park in the U District

February 2nd, 2016 by sarawilly

Community invited to provide input

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to review the design for the development of a new park at 1101-1137 NE Boat Street on Portage Bay on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at the Bryant Building, 1117 NE Boat Street.   Please join Seattle Parks and Recreation and the design team from Walker Macy at 6:30 pm. Families, students, and neighbors are encouraged to attend and participate in the design.

Seattle Parks and Rec and the design team have incorporated community feedback from previous meetings into the design.  This meeting is an opportunity for the community to learn more about the project and provide input on the final design.

Seattle Parks and Rec purchased the Bryant marina site (1101-1137 NE Boat Street on Portage Bay) from the University of Washington in 2014.  The goal for the park project is to provide upland and shoreline/water-related recreational experiences for all ages and abilities. The development will include remediation of site contamination, building demolition and potential partial re-use of building elements and shoreline enhancement. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2017 and completed in 2018.

For more information about the Portage Bay park project click here or contact David Graves, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 684-7048 or david.graves@seattle.gov.

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