Daily news blog for Seattle's University District neighborhood

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Parks and Recreation Fourth of July closures

June 24th, 2015 by sarawilly

Many Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities will be closed for Independence Day or on special holiday schedules. Some facilities may be open, but have limited operations. Please call in advance.

These facilities and services will have closures:
•Community centers (July 4)*
•Environmental learning centers (July 3-4)
•Indoor swimming pools (July 4)
•Green Lake Small Craft Center (July 3-5)
•Baker Rowing and Sailing Center (July4-5)

*Laurelhurst, International District Chinatown, Van Asselt, Alki and Miller community centers will be closed on July 3 and 4.

These facilities are open:
•Golf courses
•Boat ramps
•Lowery C. “Pop” Mounger Pool
•Colman Pool
•Wading pools (Bitter Lake, Cal Anderson, E.C. Hughes, Green Lake, Hiawatha, Lincoln Park, Magnuson, Van Asselt, Volunteer Park, Wallingford)
•Spray Parks

These facilities are on special schedules:
•Volunteer Park Conservatory, open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on July 3 and 4.
•Amy Yee Tennis Center (No classes on July 3 or 5, but courts are available for reservation. The center will be closed on July 4.)

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Groundbreaking – University Commons-affordable apartments for homeless youth in U District

June 11th, 2015 by sarawilly

Rendering by Runberg Architecture Group

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and University District Food Bank (UDFB) celebrate the groundbreaking of University Commons and the University District Food Bank on Tuesday, June 16th at 3:30pm at 5019 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle. Speakers include State Senator Jamie Pederson, State Representative Brady Walkinshaw, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, UW Director of Community Relations Sally Clark, LIHI Executive Director Sharon Lee, UDFB Executive Director Joe Gruber, and others.

University Commons is located in the University District and will open in summer 2016. LIHI purchased the property to provide affordable apartments for homeless young adults age 18-24 and low-wage workers who are entering the workforce.

Sharon Lee, LIHI executive director said, “The project will bring multiple community benefits: food security from the food bank, affordable housing to the University District, and housing linked with services to reduce homelessness among our city’s young adults.”

New and expanded space for the University District Food Bank will be located on the first floor. A cafe will be built on the south side facing the University Branch Library. The housing includes 49 studio and one bedroom apartments on three upper floors. The second floor is designated for 15 homeless young adults with YouthCare and Ryther providing supportive services.

“University Commons is a unique mixed-use development where homeless youth and other underserved populations will have access to services,” said Aubré Dickson, KeyBank vice president. “Construction lending for creative endeavors that bring housing and services together neatly match the Key Community Development Banking commitment to both mission and margin. We are proud to partner with LIHI and the University District Food Bank in making University Commons possible.”

Joe Gruber, executive director of UDFB, said, “We are extremely excited about reaching this important milestone. The food bank wouldn’t be here today, however, without a tremendous amount of community support. We’re grateful that LIHI had the vision early on to involve the food bank in this project and the expertise to help us reach this point. And, we’re overwhelmed by the generous financial support provided so far by our neighbors, local government, and many private foundations. While there is much work still to be done, it’s important to pause and offer thanks as we begin construction on our new home.”

Runberg Architecture Group is the architect. The General Contractor is BNBuilders. The building will be built green and includes many energy efficient features. There will be a no smoking policy. The building features community space, classroom, counseling space and decks. The food bank will use the roof for urban agriculture by growing vegetables and herbs.

Funding sources for the housing includes City of Seattle, King County and Washington State. KeyBank is providing construction financing. Tax credit equity is being provided through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and National Equity Fund. SHA is providing rental assistance. A private donation from the Wyncote NW Foundation enabled LIHI to purchase the land.

For more information about the Low Income Housing Institute, please visit www.LIHI.org

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Draw, Dream and Discover at the Burke Museum Sat Apr 18 10-2pm

April 14th, 2015 by Nico Lund

this saturday, april 18, the seattle urban sketchers will be at the Burke Museum facilitating anyone who can hold a pencil to draw inspiration from the museum’s artifacts and make their own art.

Hoplophoneus at the Burke Museum Illustration by: Tina Koyama Courtesy of Burke Museum Website

Urban Sketchers, a nonprofit organization, is all about drawing. By promoting the art of drawing on location around the world, they are hoping to raise awareness and get people out and about recording their observations with pencil to paper. Saturday, they will be at the Burke Museum to draw with you.

The event, hosted by the Burke Museum, will be a day of drawing in the museum with SUS’s there to offer tips and suggestions. The Burke will have some specialty object available for close viewing and they will also be supplying art materials for you to use.

All you need to do is show up ready to be inspired and surrounded by a museum-full of artists and wonder.

Where: The Burke Museum

Sat., Apr. 18, 2015 | 10 am – 2 pm
Included with museum admission; FREE for Burke members; suitable for all ages; no previous drawing experience needed

For more information contact the Museum.

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Earthday Everyday: Reminders for Living a Green Lifestyle in Western Washington

April 14th, 2015 by Nico Lund

On Behalf of Washington Energy Services, this is a PSA: If you haven’t already, April is the month to CLEAN UP YOUR ACT!

Take a look at this great infographic and find out how good (or bad) you score on your clean living points as compared to your neighbors.

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Global Visionaries Takes Action for the ‘Miss Representation’ of Girls

April 13th, 2015 by Nico Lund

Global Visionaries, a Seattle-based non-profit working to empower youth to be global leaders, launches a film and lecture series centered around social justice and global issues.

The Visionary Viewings Film & Lecture Series is a community engagement and fundraising initiative organized by GV’s Youth Board. Each month from January to June, each team will select and present a film and speaker on a topic.

“You Can’t Be What You Can’t See”

Miss Representation interweaves stories from teenage girls with provocative interviews, to give an inside look at the media and its message. The film’s motto, “You can’t be what you can’t see,” underscores an implicit message that young women need and want positive role models, and that the media has thus far neglected its unique opportunity to provide them.

Social Action = Change

The film includes a social action campaign to address change in policy, education and calls for socially responsible business. GV has partnered with Young Women Empowered for this film and the event has been prepared by young women from GV’s youth board program.

Bring every woman and girl you know for a very powerful message about social justice for girls.

When: Sunday, April 19 4:30-7:30pm
Where: UW Savery Hall
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets
For more information, check out their Facebook Page

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What’s up with the Minimum Wage Increase? Know Your Rights!

April 1st, 2015 by Nico Lund

Sawant and labor is launching an independent outreach to educate workers on the new wage law

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

WHAT: Press conference unveiling new bus ad announcing minimum wage increase, with action at low wage workplaces immediately following

WHERE: Westlake Park, 4th and Pine

WHEN: Thursday, April 2, 11:15am

WHY: A coalition including Councilmember Sawant, 15 Now, Teamsters 117, Unite HERE Local 8, IBEW 46, and Casa Latina is launching a bus ad campaign to educate workers about the minimum wage increase that features a wage theft hotline.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant is concerned that there is not enough information for workers regarding their the new wage increase and how to deal with employers. In a statement, she said:

“On Saturday I talked to low wage workers at fast food chains and some of them were unaware that the minimum wage was going up and what they should be earning starting April 1. The city has not done enough to educate workers about their rights under this law, so I have contributed $10,000 from my solidarity fund to help fund a bus ad campaign along with labor unions and grassroots organizations that fought for $15.”

Jess Spear of 15 Now is worried that “the city’s outreach has been insufficient.  We have to learn from the failures of the paid sick leave enforcement, which focused on educating employers and did not aggressively enforce the law.  The city’s outreach on the new wage law appears to be focused on educating employers, not workers.”

Immediately following the press conference Councilmember Sawant and other coalition members will be going to low-wage workplaces in downtown Seattle including McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Target to talk directly to workers about the new wage law.

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Quick…Go Help Envision the Future of Public Transportation!

March 31st, 2015 by Nico Lund

WHAT: Public Transportation Visioning Event
WHEN: Tuesday, March 31, 6-8 p.m.
WHERE: Seattle Central Library
1000 Fourth Ave, downtown Seattle (map)

Just saw this and wanted to spread the word!

You’ll hear some visionary speakers and get an opportunity to share your own ideas about the future of public transportation in our region.

This event will kick off a community dialogue about a long-range plan for Metro Transit.

6-6:45 p.m.  Small group discussions: equity and access, innovations and technology, integrating transit modes, and more

6:45-8 p.m.  Speakers:

  • Jarrett Walker, Author of Human Transit
  • Rebecca Saldaña, Executive Director, Puget Sound Sage
  • Mark Hallenbeck, Director, Washington State Transportation Center, University of Washington
  • Moderator: Rita Brogan, Washington State Transportation Commissioner

For more info: check out King County Metro

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East West Moves South: Veteran Business in Roosevelt Has New Location

March 31st, 2015 by Nico Lund

Whichever directional you are existing at, East West Bookshop wants to direct you to its new location across the street!

After 26 years as an anchor business in the Roosevelt neighborhood, East West Bookstore is “movin’ on up!”

This landmark University area business is Currently located at N.E. 65th & Roosevelt and will not be moving far, just feet away at a new upstairs location at Roosevelt Square, just above Whole Foods Market.

The grand re-opening and New Location Celebrations happen on May 1st and 2nd, with festivities both evenings beginning at 7:00pm.

As one of Seattle’s most popular destination bookstores, East West Bookshop will continue to bring seekers great books, meaningful gifts, and dynamic workshops and programs to support their journey of mind, body and spirit through community.

In the meantime, they are advertising some moving specials on their Facebook Page going on now until their relocation at the end of April.

WHAT: East West Bookshop Move & Grand Opening
WHEN: Friday, Saturday May 1st & 2nd. Two Evenings of Celebration, starting at 7pm
WHERE: Upper Level Roosevelt Square 6407 12th Ave NE
For more information call: 206-523-3726 or email tickets@eastwestbookshop.com

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U-district Local Author Has a Best Seller

March 31st, 2015 by Nico Lund

If you are a regular at local coffee joints such as the U-district Herkimer, Cafe Racer and even the cafe at the Burke Museum, you may have been sitting next to a Amazon.com bestselling author.

Stephen C. Merlino must have gotten some sort of inspiration with the last name Merlino (get it…Merlin-O ?). Regardless, his fascination with the fantasy genre seems to have begun at an early age.

As a kid, growing up in our gray and rainy state, he spent the dreary months indoors reading the likes of J.R. Tolkein and other wizard heavy stories. As he grew up, his passions evolved to include Shakespearian drama and Chaucer, which eventually lead him to a trip across England with a backpack.

Merlino finally returned to Seattle after studying Shakespeare at the University of Reading. He now lives close to the UW and teaches teens at Mountlake Terrace High School.

Merlino plans to release books two and three in the series in August and December. “Then the second trilogy begins!” says Merlino. “They call that ‘Aggravated  Trilogy,’ but I don’t apologize. I love series.”

His book — The Jack of Souls — is the story of an outcast rogue who must break a curse laid on his fate, or die on his nineteenth birthday; it’s a story of magic, mischief, and the triumph of tricksters. Along with the roguish protagonist, the novel features strong female characters and a subplot from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Check out this super fun trailer animated by local artist Luke Shea!

You can find the book at your local bookseller such as Third Place Books or find it the eBook on Amazon

Read reviews on Amazon,  Goodreads

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Suddenly Kicked-Out of Home of 25yrs & On Disability: Where is there to go on $660 a month?

March 30th, 2015 by Nico Lund

When one property investor was asked this question he responded with “Oh, there’s lots of places for people on disability to go.”

Image Courtesy of the Seattle Weekly

But is there? One resident decided to investigate if that is really the case. After a longtime resident of her apartment building took his own life after learning that the new owner of their building was kicking him out, she found out what really can happen to the people who fall through the cracks.

As the University District witnesses increasing changes to its housing landscape, it’s now more than ever important to open a dialog about the consequences in the name of progress and improvements.

The Seattle Weekly recently published an open letter to a building investor written by Janice Harper, a resident of a West Seattle apartment building recently sold by its ‘mom & pop’ owners to a property investor.

After reading this article I was moved to approach the Weekly to request permission to share this important letter with the U-district Daily’s readership. It’s a poignant  story that opens up the issue of the disconnect between progress, gentrification and the daily struggles of everyday people trying to carve out a life in our city.

I am sure many of you know someone, or you are someone who struggles to make ends meet day to day, pay the rent and survive. What if the rug beneath your feet was suddenly pulled out from under you without due warning, where would you land?

Here is the first part of Harper’s open letter. For the full story, please go visit the Seattle Weekly and read it!

Beachwood Apartments in West Seattle.Photo by Kyu Han Used here by permission from the Seattle Weekly

Dear Landlord,

Last week they took Bill’s body away. You never knew him. He’d lived here for over 25 years, a quarter-century that saw him slowly decline from an excited young man who loved James Joyce, the Seahawks, and a good bottle of beer to a decrepit old man who hobbled on crutches and still loved James Joyce, the Seahawks, and a cheap case or two of beer.

Bill’s life wasn’t worth much; no one in their right mind would have ever hired him, and few would think to rent to him. He was just this side of homeless, but our landlords, Eve and Charles, couldn’t throw him out. They knew he had no options, so year after year, they let him stay on, even though he couldn’t pay any rent. They’re good-hearted people who had bought the building as an investment, inheriting him from the previous owners, like a quirk in the building you grow to love even if it makes you grumble and groan.

Bill got by on about $660 a month in disability, some food stamps, and the security of his single small room. He was always happy to see his neighbors, always had a small gift to share, whether a poem he had written, a recipe from his mom, or a flower he’d picked on his walk. He drove us crazy, and we drove him places after bus service was cut in our neighborhood. Year by year, Bill lost what little he had—his ability to walk; the bus that took him to museums, parks, and the grocery store; most recently his food stamps. But he always had his little room, so he felt safe and secure in this unsafe and insecure world.

Until the day Eve and Charles told us they were putting the property up for sale. Who could blame them? The building is a century old and so much work went into maintaining it, especially for a couple of people who, also, are aging. But it’s prime real estate, right on the water with a view that would make even Donald Trump drool. So we had a good idea of what would happen after the sale went through. Skyrocketing rents and a landlord we’d never see, much less ever know.

Our fears were fanned by a recent Seattle Times article noting that old “mom and pop” buildings are being bought up by investors who are raising rents in our area by as much as 130 percent. Another article noted that rents in Seattle are increasing faster than almost any other place in the country. In the last five years, rents have gone up 32 percent in Seattle, a trend that places our city second only to New York. That’s good news for you, as a landlord, because it means that investing in buildings like ours will bring you a steady flow of passive income. All you had to do is come up with a down payment and a management company to collect our rents. As our monthly rent checks roll in, we will provide you with the money to pay your mortgage, your taxes, your insurance, and your maintenance, and likely secure a considerable income for you as well.

Read the full Letter by Janice Harper Here.

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