Jun 29, 2008

Night paving work on Madison

SEATTLE-SDOT’s paving contractor plans to work at night on Madison Street between Terry and 10th avenues during the week of June 30 to July 3rd. The crews will grind off the old asphalt surface between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. At least one lane in each direction will remain open to traffic.

Crews will perform other roadway work on Madison Street during the day. Some side streets may be temporarily closed at Madison in the work area.

This week paving on Boren Avenue starts with sidewalk work and initial pavement base repair between Seneca Street and Denny Way.

This paving project is funded by the Bridging the Gap transportation initiative approved by Seattle voters. Other major paving projects this year are on First Avenue South, the Elliott /15th Avenue West corridor, and Fifth Avenue.

The Seattle Department of Transportation builds, maintains and operates Seattle's $8 billion transportation infrastructure. To further Mayor Nickels’ goal to get Seattle moving, the department manages short- and long-term investments in streets, bridges, pavement and trees, that better connect the city with the region.

(info from allie.gerlach@SEATTLE.GOV)

Jun 20, 2008

Miller Neighborhood priorities

My interview with Doug Schwartz, editor of the Capitol Hill Times, for his article about me got me thinking about what challenges might still face us as a neighborhood. (BTW, here's what I do with the rest of my life). In Jerry Large's recent column I remarked "in all honesty, now that Deano's bar has closed, there is very little for us to concern ourselves with.", but he noted: I'm sure he'll find something else. And now that the Deano's property has been sold and demolished, there's even less to do

Here's a list of the issues that I think might concern us. If they're BLUE, I've added a post/link about it and that's the link. If not, not yet.

BTW: See the Livable Seattle Movement's website for some neighbors' provocative views on many of these issues, and consider attending the Seattle Community Council Federation's Annual Workshop (Saturday June 21st, 10 - 1), which will be a dialog with the Livable Seattle Movement.

Jun 19, 2008

Neighborhood Planning

We did it back in 1998: here's the Central Area Plan, and the Madison-Miller plan is right here (RHS of page, ~ half way down). Here's a Crosscut article explaining Neighborhood Planning much better than I could and here's an academic article about it.

We've been talking for a while about the next round of planning, and had a forum about it this Spring. Contact Kathryn Keller to be kept in the loop about what the Central Area neighbors are doing about neighborhood planning ( ktkeller@earthlink.net).

There's some differences of opinion between the Mayor's Office (top down, all the same) and Councilmember Clark (and neighbors) about how the next round of neighborhood planning should be organized.

Irene Wall (City Neighborhood Council Planning Chair) notes:

The "current" sector based proposal for updating neighborhood plans has been *withdrawn* by the Executive. A modified program will be presented to the PLUNC committee on June 11th. This change appears to be motivated by 1) budget considerations in light of declining city revenues anticipated for 09/10 budget and 2) in recognition of public comment to date on the drawbacks of the initial proposal.

The new proposal may call for lifting the budget proviso to enable the city to proceed with a "citywide assessment" - not clear if this is the same as the "planning almanac" described in the previous proposal. Then criteria will be established to determine which neighborhood plans are in most need of being updated.
Want to know more? Stop by this meeting and ask Sally Clark!

City Neighborhood Council
Monday, June 23, 2008
6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
West Precinct Conference Room
810 Virginia Street

  • 6:30 Introductions, review/approval of agenda and of April and May minutes (web links below)
  • 6:35 City Councilmember Sally Clark will speak and respond to questions and discussion
  • (then a lot of other stuff, including a report from the Neighborhood Planning Committee).

Madison Street demolition movie

And don't forget the ongoing slideshow of the demolition.

Please send in your pictures: I'll miss the rest! Likewise pictures of the Fratelli's demolition.

Madison Development, Housing in the news

Articles in both the Seattle Times and the P-I, so you probably didn't see both of them.

The Times has a long and comprehensive article about Dean Falls, Jim Mueller and the redevelopment of the "Deano's" property on Madison. Jim is working on redesigning the look of the development: here is his brief handout and here are reports from the design meetings on the development (and pictures) - the overall shape/size will stay as planned. Expect a neighborhood meeting with him in the Fall.

Note also that the demolition (and hence presumably the redevelopment) of the Fratelli's site at 19th & Madison has indeed started.

I have summary maps for development and zoning, and an ever-growing photo album of the demolition.

Meanwhile, the P-I has an article (as did the SLOG) about the City Council Housing Committee's vote on extending the affordable housing legislation. Full Council vote on it next Monday: they rarely go against their committee's vote: only Licata voted against it.

Jun 18, 2008

More on Housing

Follow-up to yesterday's thoughts about housing and growth.

Seattle Times article about growth, with an accompanying Google map showing growth by neighborhood in the 38 urban villages. Note, as I pointed out in my letter to City Council, that the "percentage of growth target" noted on the map is the sum of built and permitted housing units.

East Madison Street has many sites where developers went through the planning process (Design Review, public meetings, building permits in some cases) and then nothing (or something different) happened: "permitted" does not mean it's ever going to happen.

BTW here's a neighborhood-run meeting this Saturday to talk about growth and livability issues.

Jun 17, 2008

Affordable Housing (MFTE) in Miller area

Our neighborhood has long been interested in maintaining a diversity of housing options in the area. Our low-income housing needs are well served by Capitol Hill Housing, but the rapid redevelopment of our area is surely pricing "those in the middle" out of the neighborhood.

The Mayor has proposed extending the Seattle Homes Within Reach (Multifamily Tax Exemption, aka MFTE) Program, which may address that issue. The legislation is being voted on by the City Council's Housing & Economic Development Committee this Wednesday.

I was approached (separately, very recently) by Councilmember Licata and by the Seattle Displacement Coalition, inviting me as a "Madison-Miller Neighborhood Leader" to express my concerns to the Housing Committee.

It appeared to me (personally) that, while the MTFE legislation may have flaws, it is the best way to stimulate the inclusion of "workforce" housing in the large number of apartments that are going to be built on Madison in the next couple of years.

I therefore wrote personal letters to the Housing Committee in favor of the MTFE legislation.

My act as a "Madison-Miller Neighborhood Leader" (if that's what I am) is to share with you the letters and data from Licata and the Coalition, and my replies to them, and to invite you to testify (in person or by letter/E-mail) to the Committee. BTW here's Licata's take on the issue.

This link should lead you to all the correspondence, and includes contact info for Councilmembers (or use links here). After you've shared your thoughts with the Committee, you might care to post them as comments to this post.

Many thanks for your time,

Jun 15, 2008

In the news

Capitol Hill Alano Club: corner of 19th & Madison.

Capitol Hill Community Council reborn.

Rats vs. Development:
a note on our neighborhood's rat issues, from the Stranger

Understanding how City Hall works!

I've been meaning to try and explain here my understanding, based on 18 years experience, of how the City of Seattle works, and how we as neighbors can influence it to our advantage.

Fortunately I've been scooped by a real author: Peggy Sturdivant, who's writing a series of such articles for Crosscut, Seattle's online newspaper (I guess that makes it a "newselectrons" and not a "newspaper"). Peggy is a freelancer who also writes a weekly column on community issues for the Ballard News-Tribune (paper or electrons).

Her series is called "There Go the Neighborhoods" and this link takes you to all of them, as well as a bonus article about neighborhood bloggers, taken in part from a neighborhood bloggers pizza get-together, where I had the pleasure of meeting her.

Happy Father's Day

Madison Development and Zoning maps

Redevelopment of E. Madison Street is speeding up, so I have started a Google map to visually display what's in the works, with links to assorted information about the projects. You can visit it here or (much easier) via this link. Your additions are always welcome.

BTW: here's a link to the present zoning of the area (as it was changed after a neighborhood study in 2001) or see lower map. Learn about zoning:

Fratelli's Cows DeMOOlition?

An alert neighbor reported a sighting of a large yellow thing on the Fratelli's site at 19th & Madison. The Cow Mural there has been a neighborhood attractions for 20+ years, but the site has had a development permit since 2002. Developer Val Thomas noted (6/2/08):
I believe we are at last going to proceed with the project as apartments. Some redesign of the internal structure will be necessary, but the exterior should remain essentially the same. We hope to begin demolition of the building within the next couple of weeks.

The bulldozer suggests that demolition is imminent, so you'd better go admire the cows while you can. After years of being spared by street artists, they've been tagged recently.

You can read the history of the art project, and see the cows in their native state, in this blog post.

Details of the building project are at this old website, and (along with all the other developments) are now being documented on the new Madison Development Google Map.

Jun 14, 2008

Neighborhood Aliens

Information about Deano's development

(see also excellent Central District News article)

Click to enlarge, read, print, share

Jun 12, 2008

Saturday: Garage Sale AND info about redevelopment

Capitol Hill Garage Sale

View Larger Map

AND Saturday Morning, 9AM - ?? , developer Jim Mueller will be at the (rapidly vanishing) ""Deano's" site at 21st & Denny/Madison.

In his own words; " it will be a neighborhood reception to meet and greet with signup opportunity for feedback and invites to any neighborhood meetings we’ll be holding".

Great chance to chat with Jim and learn about his plans for the redevelopment plans there. Pictures of plans, as they now stand, and the state of deconstruction await you.

Also note the opportunity to donate to Northwest Center at the Deano's site on Saturday afternoon.

Jun 10, 2008

Upstairs, Downstairs

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Deano's destruction

An ever-growing record of the demolition on the Deano's site (also movies).

Or view the slide-show separately as BIG pictures

Jun 9, 2008

Saturday: Garage Sale AND info session at Deano's site

Justin Carder of CHS Capitol Hill blog (and now Community Council president) fame, is organizing a Capitol Hill wide garage sale this coming Saturday (6/14/08): register and get details/map here.

One of the sites offering tables (for those without garages) will be the at the former Deano's site at 20th/Denny. It's sponsored by the new owner of the site (JC Mueller LLC), who will also provide coffee & doughnuts. Jim Mueller be there from 9:00 – 10:30, to chat about the project and get peoples' reactions, and then a staff member will be there with project information and to collect contact information for those who want updates.
click on either flyer to enlarge, read, print, share

Goodbye (former) Twilight Exit

Jun 8, 2008

Compact Fluorescent lightbulbs: not all they're claimed to be

The flyer for last Saturday's Clean & Green event advertised compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) recycling, so I duly turned up with half a dozen of them to recycle. Why did I have so many?

The City's been promoting them both as energy saving and long-lasting, but I'd noted that the first few I got seemed to last much less than the 7 years (10,000 or 12,000 hours) that the manufacturers claim. So I've taken to dating them on installation and retirement, and hereby report to you that they've only lasted a year or two ( 7/7/06 - 8/23/07, 2/24/06 - 3/21/08, 11/12/06 - 2/16/08 ). We put them where they probably stayed on ~ 4 hours a day, so they're lasting 1,500 to 3,000 hours, not the 10,000 claimed.

I saw a recent Consumer Reports article noting short lives with some of the bulbs they were testing (the bad ones were Feit brand, as were many of mine). The other brands/models seem to be lasting better (tests are ongoing) so maybe they aren't so bad after all.
However, note that while old-fashioned lightbulbs only turn 10% of the energy into light, you get the rest as heat which (let's be honest here) we can use for quite a bit of the year round here! Want to get them to reduce carbon emissions? 90% of Seattle's electricity comes from hydroelectric dams, so that's barely an issue.

Jun 5, 2008

Assorted Notes

  • The recent gathering of neighborhood bloggers at Piecora's is documented in this report from the online newspaper, Crosscut.

  • The Stranger's blog is featuring more and more land use and development reports (from Dominic Holden). Today he talked to me and Jim Mueller and posted a nice summary about the Deano's project.

  • Yesterday Dominic had nice words to say about local neighbor/activist/builder Marty Liebowitz (though note this reply on the Central District News).

  • Tonight the Capitol Hill Community Council had its elections. Saunatina A. Sanchez and Hong Chhuor ran unopposed for secretary and treasurer, respectively. In a tight race, Charlette Lefevre polled 23 votes and Ryan Shandera polled 22 votes in the race for Vice President.

    In a surprise move, Presidential Candidate Tim Durkan used his stump speech to announce his withdrawal from the race: he's just taken a Neighborhhood Service Center position in Fremont, and wouldn't have the time to be President of CHCC. We all congratulated new Community Council President Justin Carder.

    The meeting was very well attended by an attentive and interested crowd of Capitol Hillites. At my suggestion, several Community Council Officers from years and decades past attended to share artifacts, contact info and advice.


Two separate E-mail reports today about rat sightings, presumably rats leaving the "sinking ship" of the ongoing demolition aroud the Deano's site.

Ok, listen, I don't know how relevant or interesting this is, but we here on 22nd Ave are experiencing what I believe is an invasion of biblical proportions of, ahem, RATS.

There have been numerous collaborative sightings. My back yard (One, about 10 days ago), the neighbors back yard, and as of last night, the laurel hedges in between the #131 and those townhouses. I actually saw a rat running on the overhead electrical wires. DEATH FROM ABOVE.

A neighbor speculates the rats are coming in from the demolition of the Deano's block. I know this is a "Rat City". It's an old "Wharf Town" and there's always been rats. But, we are not in Pioneer Square and we do not have huge open garbage/food sources so I'm at wits end.

I'm contemplating everything from repopulating the neighborhood with Barn Cats I "Find" out in Buckley (or wherever there's barns), to adopting a round dozen of Rat Terriers and/or both and setting them all loose in the streets. Or, moving to the Moon. The common consensus on 22nd is we lay traps, which is all fine and well for people that can deal with that sort of thing. It's not about being squeamish, it's about not being able to look at rodents, unless they're in a cage and even at that...

So. That's my report. Crack Heads didn't make me move. Encroaching development and the fresh hell that is parking on 22nd won't make me move. Ever increasing property taxes won't make me move. Even terrifying tiny field mice haven't made me move. But RATS? Rats will displace me. I will flee.

And from another correspondent:

Part of the demolition of the Deano's property has lead to an unwelcome group of 'guests'. That's right, Rats!

I live about a block away and I have seen big rats scouring around for new homes. Just today, there was a really big rat on my neighbor's front porch. Just sitting there. Not afraid of the humans around.

One of my neighbors saw three rats just kind of hanging around.

That is just the removal of the two houses and I'm wondering what will happen when the larger buildings go down. How many rats are going to come out of that?!

What should we do? What should we prepare for?

I certainly don't want the rats in my house and I suppose that other don't want them as well.

Sent the first messge to Jim Mueller and he noted:

We had an exterminator in the buildings for several weeks before demolition so hopefully we are not causing the problem.

Anyway, I doubt that you will see much from the demolition because of the precautions we took, and the rats are probably neighborhood denizens.

Nonetheless, keep us posted if it seems there is a continuing problem.

Jim notes further:

We had an exterminator in there for weeks to make sure no rats were left before we started demolition.

I am checking to see what is going on. It is possible these were woodpile rats or rats from outside the buildings in the tall grass area that were disturbed by the onsite activity.

Maybe we can put some benign traps out for a period of time on the site, behind the fence, to see if we can catch the critters.

My cat was taken by one of the infamous neighborhood coyotes last year, or I’d be able to bring her over.

We’ll need to ask the exterminator for advice in the AM.


So, please submit comments (or E-mails) about any rat sightings.

Update (6/6/08):
The exterminator says this described behavior is indicative of the "poisoned" rat. There has been a small amount of consumption of the poisoned bait in the last period.

Update #2 (6/06/08 PM): Jim and the affected neighbors are all in contact and are working together on the rat issue. Looks like the start of a long happy relationship with our new neighbor (Jim, not the rats!).

Photos of building projects

Watching the Deano's buildings being demolished inspired me to go through my pictures and put together this collection of pictures of building projects in the neighborhood from 2003 to the present.

See if you can recognize them. Maybe you live in one of them. There's also a variety of other picture albums of neighborhood sights available for your browsing pleasure.

Building projects

Jun 3, 2008

Things to do this week

(most of this should be in the Miller calendar)

Jun 2, 2008

Capitol Hill Community Council Election this Thursday

Help direct the future of Capitol Hill - Participate in the Capitol Hill Community Council elections THIS Thursday at the Capitol Hill Arts Center

Thursday, June 5 6:30pm-8:00pm @ the Capitol Hill Arts Center (upper level) 1621 12th Ave (at Pine St)

This is a great opportunity to meet other engaged neighbors like yourself and to help set the Council's new agenda. Come hear the candidates speak and vote for your favorites. Crave will be providing light refreshments. We look forward to seeing you there.

See chcc.wikidot.com for more candidate bios, Community Council bylaws and information about the upcoming election.

Thanks to Crave for the edible goodies!