A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Entries from May 2009

Sunny opening day of Phinney Farmers Market

May 30th, 2009 by Doree

Yesterday the weather was perfect for the first day of this year’s Phinney Farmers Market at the Phinney Neighborhood Association. Gary Paine (under the yellow tent) played guitar and sang while shoppers picked their fruits and veggies.

Beautiful flowers were on sale too.

And, of course, the little ones loved the super fast slides on the hillside!

Dozens of vendors also sell meat, cheese, cidar, jam, pastries, ice cream, pizza, Pan African food, honey, chocolates, bread and more. The market runs every Friday from 3-7 p.m., rain or shine, through Oct. 2.


Suspected drunk driver arrested at 60th & 3rd

May 29th, 2009 by Doree

James sent us these photos of the arrest of a suspected drunk driver near NW 60th St. and 3rd Ave. NW. on Friday about 5 p.m. James says the woman in the orange vest is an off-duty Seattle Police Officer who happened to be riding down the street on her Vespa and found the man allegedly trying to leave the scene after hitting some parked cars.

James tells us that when the on-duty officers arrived, they took over the arrest.


Meet your local legislators Saturday

May 29th, 2009 by Doree

State legislators Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson and Rep. Reuven Carlyle will host a town hall meeting from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday to provide an overview of the 2009 session and what future steps our state should take.The town hall is at the Seattle Labor Temple, Hall #8, at 2800 1st Ave.

The legislators will use the time to talk about issues affecting the 36th District, the state revenue shortfall and the budgets that passed, and to take comments and questions from constituents.


Garage sale to benefit food bank

May 29th, 2009 by Doree

Ben tells us that his church community is having a multi-family garage sale on Saturday to benefit the Greenwood Food Bank. The sale is at 9222 3rd Ave. NW, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

We are selling tons of clothes, kid and baby gear, kids toys, lots of shoes, household items (espresso machine etc). All proceeds are going to support the Greenwood Food Bank.

We’re also wanting to make this a Greenwood neighborhood party, so we will have free coffee in the morning, food all day, a BBQ from 11-1 and a bunch of neighbors hanging out. All the food has been donated, so every cent of the sale goes to the food bank.

Whether people stop to buy, eat, socialize or donate $ to a good cause, we’d love to see as many people from the neighborhood as possible.


‘Around the World in 80 Days’ reviewed

May 29th, 2009 by Dale

The Seattle Times has done a review for the latest play at Taproot, the rollicking adaptation of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” that does a better job of describing the fast-paced play than we could do as amateur theatergoers.

Taproot should be pretty happy about the writeup, considering the concern they’ve voiced about not having their last play reviewed by the papers, which they believe negatively affected ticket sales. To combat the recent loss of newspaper arts critics with the P-I’s closure, their marketing people are coming up with ways to encourage the audience to virally promote their shows, including handing out slips of paper reminding people to post critiques online and tell their friends.

Director Scott Nolte said they saw an uptick in sales for “Tuesdays with Morrie” when people started posting about it on Facebook. 

Left to right: Nolan Palmer, Ryan Childers and Alyson Scadron Branner. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.

The play runs through June 20 and even though we were lucky enough to have already seen it once during a Greenwood-Phinney Chamber of Commerce event held before the play officially opened, we had such a good time we plan to be back to see how it evolves.

“Around the World in 80 Days” runs from through June 20 at Taproot Theatre at 204 N. 85th St. For tickets, call Taproot Theatre’s box office at (206) 781-9707 or Ticketmaster at (206) 292-ARTS, or online.

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Strut’s 1-year anniversary sale & party

May 28th, 2009 by Doree

Strut shoe store at 7511 Greenwood Ave. N. is celebrating its one-year anniversary on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Owner Paula says they’ll have hourly drawings, refreshments, cake, and that-day-only discounts.

Strut’s motto is: “We are all about comfort and style!” Strut sells dozens of brands for women, men and kids, including Merrell, Crocs, Terrasoles, Dr. Scholls, Naturino, Relaxshoe, Planet Walkers, and Bobux and See Kai Run for the kids.


St. John’s School dedicates ‘Peace Wall’

May 28th, 2009 by Doree

Today St. John’s Catholic School formally dedicated and blessed a “Peace Wall” created by its students. Each tile was decorated by a St. John student and has a picture or peaceful word such as smile, appreciate, comfort, and grace. Fr. Crispin Okoth, originally from Kenya and current pastor at St. John Parish, said the blessing. The wall lines a path the students take to enter and exit the school grounds.


Phinney Farmers Market opens Friday

May 28th, 2009 by Doree

Time to get your fresh fruit and veggies, flowers, jam, pickles, cheese, hand-made pasta, baked goods, pizza and a whole lot more as the Phinney Farmers Market opens the season Friday from 3-7 p.m. at the Phinney Neighborhood Center.

Live music from 4-6 p.m., a play area for the kids and sunshine – what a great way to spend a Friday evening and support your local farmers.

Phinney’s market runs every Friday through Oct. 2. They always have a whiteboard out front detailing what’s fresh that week, but you can also sign up for a weekly “Ripe and Ready Report” from the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance. Send an email to nfma@seattlefarmersmarkets.org to be added to the list.

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Oliver’s Twist robbed at gunpoint Wednesday

May 28th, 2009 by Doree

The Seattle P.I. reports that a bar in the 6800 block of Greenwood Avenue North was robbed at gunpoint about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday. The police report does not name the bar (because all crime reports are supposedly confidential), but we received a tip from someone who heard on a police scanner that it was Oliver’s Twist (which is also the only bar in that block).

According to the P.I.:

He was described as a black man, slim build, 6-foot-2 and was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants and a mask over the lower half of his face.

“I’m going to say this one time, you’re going to get the money and put it in the bag,” he told the man working there, according to a police report.

Facing a black semi-automatic handgun, the man turned over $300 to $400. The suspect didn’t approach either witness, but told them not to look at him.

The man fled north on Greenwood Avenue North. The employee, who was not injured, locked the doors and called police. Officers tried to track the man with a police dog.

Thanks to HL for the P.I. link.


School collecting old cell phones, printer cartridges

May 28th, 2009 by Doree

KapKa Cooperative School, right by the south entrance to Woodland Park Zoo, is holding a fundraiser. They’re looking for used cell phones, PDAs and ink jet cartridges that they will send to Phoneraiser, where they will be refurbished and reused or recycled in accordance with EPA guidelines. KapKa School makes money for each item they collect.

Please note they can’t accept accessories, chargers, or manuals.

The school has a drop-off bin near Green Lake at Mighty-O Donuts, 2110 N 55th St.


Greenwood getting 4 new blocks of sidewalks

May 27th, 2009 by Doree

Starting next Monday, a four-block section of Fremont Avenue in Greenwood will finally get sidewalks.

The Greenwood Community Council has been working for years to complete the sidewalk grid in its neighborhood and requested funding from the Neighborhood Street Fund funded by the Bridging the Gap transportation initiative. The contractor will build a sidewalk on the west side of Fremont Avenue North to connect the existing sidewalks south of the Boys & Girls Club (at N 86th Street) to N 90th Street. The project will fill the gap in the sidewalk between the Boys & Girls Club, Greenwood Park and N 85th Street.

In addition, SDOT has worked with Seattle Public Utilities to install a natural drainage system next to the sidewalk project. This green infrastructure will take water that would traditionally go into pipes and allow it to permeate into the planting strip to support plants and trees.


Former Phinney resident kicks off city council campaign

May 27th, 2009 by Doree

Jordan Royer, who grew up in Phinney Ridge, officially kicks off his campaign for City Council Position 8 today. Royer has a background in business and politics, and is the son of former Seattle Mayor Charlie Royer (1977-89). His mother, Annie Davis, lives in Phinney Ridge and runs the Ballard-based Annie’s Nannies. Royer recently sat down with me for an hour-long interview.

Royer is running for city council because he says the council needs “people who understand all levels of government and people who understand private sector.” He believes he knows government from the inside out. “It would be very difficult for people to shine me on.”

He lived in Phinney from middle school on, and currently lives in Wedgwood with his wife and two daughters. He lived in San Francisco for eight years and worked for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, starting as a volunteer and eventually managing the northern California part of her 1998 re-election campaign. He and his wife moved back to Seattle in 1999 after their first daughter was born.

In the Paul Schell administration, Jordan worked on the “Neighborhood Action Team,” bringing together interdepartmental teams and the public to work on chronic crime issues. He also worked in the Strategic Planning Department under Mayor Greg Nickels. Just after 9/11, Jordan was Nickels’ Senior Advisor for Public Safety.

For the last two years, Jordan has been vice president of external affairs for Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, representing major shipping lines and terminal operators on the West Coast.

His number one priority as a council member would be public safety. “It goes directly to livability of the city,” he says. “We need to make it desirable for people to live here.”

He wants to see more police officers on foot, working with business owners on neighborhood crime issues. “One person can be a crime wave,” he says.

With the police department’s current beat system, the North Precinct is very big geographically. It includes the U District, Lake City, Aurora and other hot spots that keep officers busy, and too busy to respond promptly to every call that doesn’t involve imminent harm.

Royer thinks the community can help out officers by sharing information with neighbors about crime and suspicious people, and writing down the license plate numbers of cars visiting suspected drug houses. He says some city dwellers see the same problems over and over gain and get dulled to it. “What you don’t want to happen is everybody getting so frustrated they just throw their hands up.”

While living in San Francisco, he saw the city turning into a place of haves and have nots. “It sort of ate the heart out of the city,” he says. “It’s a very disenfranchised city politically right now. And I see shades of that happening here.”

Royer says another problem is that while many city programs work well, others do not. “We don’t have a good way of evaluating how good a job they’re doing,” explains. “If you can’t measure it you can’t control it. We just layer new programs on top of each other.”

Unlike mayoral candidate Michael McGinn, who lives in Greenwood (and who will be profiled on PhinneyWood in a few days), Royer does not think it’s a good idea for the city to take over running the school district. But he does think the two need to be better partners. He says the city is sometimes seen as a bully, and the good things happening in schools don’t get enough press. He says teachers tell him that the city needs to stop simply criticizing the school district.

“We need to get back to basics and bring common sense,” Royer says. “If we do the basics really well, we’ll regain the public’s trust.”

Part of regaining that trust may be a matter of style. Royer says the Schell administration was more chaotic, but that Mayor Nickels is too controlling.

Royer has high hopes that former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, as the nation’s new Drug Czar, will begin to solve the country’s drug and alcohol abuse problems on a federal level. “The way we handle drug crime in this country is idiotic,” Royer scoffs. He says most of Europe treats it as a public health issue and not a crime, which is why he’d love to see the expansion of Drug Courts, which closely monitor small-time offenders and waive criminal charges if they successfully complete treatment.

He says the federal strategy of making all drugs illegal doesn’t work. “Supply will always meet that demand,” he says adamantly. “People are willing to die to meet that demand and be incarcerated to meet that demand.”

Urban Growth is always a hot topic on a neighborhood level, especially since Phinney/Greenwood is designated as an urban village. And Royer is definitely in favor of smart planning for density. “Why do people love to go to Europe? Because it’s grown from density and trains,” he says. “We all like to walk to things. That’s why a neighborhood pub is fun and coffee shops, restaurants and hardware stores. That kind of community is safer when everyone is walking around.”

So how can City Hall help developers design prettier buildings? He says a developer will always try to maximize profit. The city needs to understand that motivation and steer the developer in the right direction. And he thinks too many individuals have veto power now, leading the city to feel hijacked by a vocal minority that may not speak for a neighborhood’s majority.

He’s a fan of nearly any kind of mass transit to help make that density viable. “Do you really want to get in your car every time you have to go somewhere?” he asks. “Frankly, if people aren’t going to support that they really can’t call themselves environmentalists.”

As someone who has lived in other cities and traveled extensively, Royer believes he has a broad view of local and international issues affecting Seattle.

“I love city issues and I love Seattle,” he says. “I’m here to stay. I want my kids to raise their kids here.”

Several readers submitted questions after the interview. Here are Royer’s written responses:

Question: ‘With the 26 neighborhood libraries serving Seattle for anyone who wants to access education and computers within their neighborhood, what will you do, if elected, to promote the value and use of The Seattle Public Library throughout Seattle?

Answer: “My wife and I have contributed to the library system over the years and our children are big users of the Wedgwood branch. I believe the city has to focus on core services and the library system is one of those services. I also have a very good friend who works at the South Park Branch who tells me all the time about what a great resource it is for new citizens and their children.”

Question: “The city’s General Fund is the revenue source for critical and essential services: police, fire, libraries, parks, and social services. Often these essential services are in competition for dollars. How would you decide which to prioritize during times of economic downturn and do you think the way the fund is apportioned now is serving Seattle best?”

Answer: “The Department of Transportation is also in the General Fund. I would prioritize those services that protect the health and safety of the citizens of Seattle first. Second, I would delay expansions or capital projects that can be put off for better times. I would prioritize programs in Parks, Libraries, and Human Services that provide assistance to our vulnerable populations. I would look for savings in open positions, early retirements or programs that are either not working or are no longer needed. We need to be serious about reforming programs that aren’t working in order to be able to fund and expand those that do.”