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


Entries from September 2009

Update on Tigertail closure

September 28th, 2009 by Dale

Update 5:45 p.m.: Just went by Tigertail again this afternoon and noticed a letter from the Department of Revenue in the window. The Sept. 17 letter states that Tigertail’s Certificate of Registration has been revoked because of three unpaid tax warrants in the amounts of $6,897.34, $10,397.76 and $12,970.20. The warrants were issued Aug. 28, 2008, Feb. 26, 2009, and June 25, 2009. The letter states that the sign must be posted conspicuously. We never noticed it the three previous times we stopped by in the last week, perhaps because the non-descript white paper is sandwiched in between the menu, reviews and various other signs. What’s interesting is that while the sign must be posted for the public to view, the Department of Revenue told us this morning it couldn’t comment on the case because it’s a privacy issue.

The state Liquor Control Board says this morning that the Washington State Department of Revenue is responsible for Tigertail’s closure.

The state DOR will only say that Tigertail, 704 NW 65th St., still has an active business license. They won’t comment on whether they are pursuing a matter against the company, saying it’s a privacy issue.

Still no word from Tigertail’s owners about what’s happening.

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Fred Meyer Design Review meeting tonight

September 28th, 2009 by Doree

Don’t forget about tonight’s Design Review Board meeting about the proposed Fred Meyer redevelopment on 85th St. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Ballard High School’s Library.

Fred Meyer will present its revamped designs after community input from several meetings in the last few months. Last week I discussed the new designs with a member of Fred Meyer’s design team.

We’ll be at the meeting and will have a full report later tonight.

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Building fire at Greenwood & 86th Sunday night

September 28th, 2009 by Doree

Seattle Fire responded to a roof fire at 8539 Greenwood Ave. N., above Gary’s Games & Hobbies around 9:40 Sunday night. It was a pretty massive response, with six fire engines and two ladders.

Helen Fitzpatrick, Public Information Officer with Seattle Fire, told us this morning that it was an accidental fire from torch-down roof repair. The fire apparently smoldered unnoticed, until burning into the attic space. Damage is estimated at $16,000.

Kayce, the clerk at the game store, told us there was no damage at all to the store. “Not even water damage, it was kind of amazing,” she said. Gary’s Games & Hobbies is open for business as usual today. “Yup, I even vacuumed,” Kayce said.

Thanks to everyone for the tips, and Patrick for the photo.


Citylink provides city-wide info

September 27th, 2009 by Doree

The city of Seattle has launched a new website that provides a network of news feeds from 11 city departments, including utilities, parks, police and fire.

Citylink lets anyone check on the latest news about Department of Transportation projects, Seattle Police Department Blotter crimes and power outages on one page, instead of having to check each department’s web page separately. (You can bet PhinneyWood will make use of this too!)

The 11 newsfeeds are:

  • Power Lines: News and updates from Seattle City Light
  • SPD blotter: News and updates from the Seattle Police Department
  • On the Move: Advisories from the Seattle Department of Transportation
  • At Your Service: Seattle Public Utilities news and events
  • Fire Line: News and updates from the Seattle Fire Department
  • Building Connections: Seattle Department of Planning and Development news
  • Art Beat: Seattle Arts and Cultural Affairs news and events
  • Center Spotlight: Seattle Center news and events
  • The Scoop: Seattle Animal Shelter news and events
  • Parkways: Seattle Parks and Recreation news and events
  • Bottom Line: News and updates from Seattle’s Office of Economic Development

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New mural installed outside Phinney Center

September 26th, 2009 by Doree

Members of Mars Hill Church and neighborhood volunteers installed a huge new mural in the upper parking lot of the Phinney Center on Saturday.

The mural was designed by Priscilla, a Mars Hill church member (that’s her in the back row, third from the right in the green shirt), and volunteers from the church donated all the materials and most of the labor. 

The mural was partially painted when it arrived. Volunteers, including the PNA’s Marylee Newman, on the right, finished painting it after it was installed.

Thanks to Mike V for all the photos!

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Aurora Bridge closures Monday

September 26th, 2009 by Doree

Traffic to and from downtown could be a mess again Monday as Seattle Department of Transportation crews continue repairing expansion joints on the Aurora Bridge.

The left southbound lane will be closed for about two-thirds the length of the bridge, and the left northbound lane prior to the bridge deck will also be closed, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Advance warning signs will alert motorists of the lane closures. Expect slowdowns.

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Health Care reform movies, discussion tonight

September 26th, 2009 by Dale

Greenwood Senior Center’s civic engagement project, Seniors, Active, Giving, and Engaged, is presenting a film screening and discussion tonight at 7 p.m. at the Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N. 85th St.

PBS special, Critical ConditionSAGE will be screening portions of two films, “Critical Condition” a PBS POV special that tells the stories of four uninsured individuals living in the U.S., and “Health, Money, and Fear,” a documentary that interviews a range of experts on the state of health care in the U.S. and what can be done to fix it.

Ming Chen, a primary care provider for the uninsured in Seattle and a Greenwood resident, will facilitate a discussion following the films. Questions? Contact Emily at the Greenwood Senior Center: (206) 297-0875 or emily@greenwoodseniorcenter.org (info via the Greenwood Discussion Group).

 [Photo credit: PBS]

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New Fred Meyer designs online for public review

September 25th, 2009 by Doree

Fred Meyer will present its revamped plans for a new store on 85th St. at the Design Review Board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Ballard High School library. You can view the entire proposal online here.

I sat down with Ted Panton of GGLO Architects this morning to go over those new designs and find out how the designers incorporated all the community input they’ve received over the last few months.

When Fred Meyer presented its three options at the last Design Review Board meeting in July, the DRB sent them back to the drawing board after seeing that two of the three options were basically throw-aways.

Panton said Design Review Boards typically know they’re going to get two options that no one really wants, and the third, best, option. But in this case the DRB wanted three viable designs. “They felt they needed to see a broader variety of site design options,” he said.

That’s something Panton said was actually a good thing, because he thinks the newer designs are a great improvement over the past designs after incorporating neighbors’ concerns. “It’s helped us coalesce a plan that really works for everyone,” he said.

Fred Meyer leases the site from Greenwood Shopping Center, which is owned by descendents of one of the area’s original families, the Morrows. Fred Meyer has a 20-year lease, with eight additional five-year renewals.

Complicating the design is the fact that the 7.31-acre site drops more than 16 feet from the southwest corner of the site to the northeast corner. About 75 percent of the Fred Meyer store will be underground, with other retail, residential and public spaces on top. The new design calls for about 680 parking spaces, as opposed to the original plan of 800.

While Fred Meyer will present three real options to the DRB, they still have their preferred option, Option A. Option B is very similar to Option A, but with some changes to the “lid” and housing. Option C is essentially a big, two-story building fronting on 85th Street with only 100 units of housing, a parking garage and large parking lots. Below is Option A.

Fred Meyer insists that a two-story building is not financially feasible for them, because studies show the second story of a large store gets 50% less revenue. Because groceries would have to be located on the first floor, that means furniture, clothing, electronics and other bigger-ticket items would be on the second floor, but wouldn’t be as profitable. Two-story stores also need more employees, increasing their labor costs.

After past community meetings where neighbors said they wanted to establish the old right-of-ways of through streets through the area, designers came up with a design that re-establishes 2nd Avenue NW and NW 86th Street to some degree.

NW 86th St. is now a wide walking and biking lane. The north and south residential buildings along 3rd Avenue NW will be connected by a two-level enclosed walkway that goes over the NW 86th St. pathway. This is the view to the east if standing on 3rd Avenue.

2nd Avenue NW will allow cars to drive from 85th St. into the parking garage, and will also have sidewalks for pedestrians. It will have a very slow speed limit, and will have a low rise street that goes up and over the Fred Meyer store.

What that does, Panton says, is subdivide the massive project into smaller regions or zones.

After residents along 87th Street expressed concerns about the town homes above and in front of the parking garage on the northeast corner, the designs have drastically cut back the number of proposed housing units from about 280 to just over 200. And all of the housing has been removed from that northeast corner and will be concentrated along 85th Street and 3rd Avenue NW, presenting a more residential “face” to those busy streets.

Those residential areas would have 10-foot sidewalks plus 10 feet for the housing’s yard/stoop areas.

The parking garage will be three stories, but the top story will not be covered. The conifers along 87th Street will be preserved, and will provide a visual buffer to the parking garage. There’ll be a new sidewalk, then a six-foot wide swath of landscaping, then a parallel parking lane next to the street.

Truck access has been moved from 87th Street to 3rd Avenue NW. The loading docks are now below grade. Trucks will move one-way through that route, and exit onto 1st Avenue.

“Once the trucks are on site, all the backing motion and the noise are all below grade,” Panton said. “This is the best low-impact solution.”

The Garden Center, which was originally proposed to be on the “lid” of the project next to a small parking area, has been moved down to the ground level next to the community plaza, now called Piper Commons, on 1st Avenue. The lid will now have two small parking lots dedicated to residential parking, plus a third lot that is open to all. Below is the Commons area.

A parcel on the north side, referred to as Parcel 3 in the designs, currently houses the Fred Meyer loading dock, but is not incorporated into the current designs. Fred Meyer leases it from a different owner (not Greenwood Shopping Center). Panton says that lease runs until about 2020, but Fred Meyer has determined it doesn’t need that parcel.

At Monday night’s DRB meeting, Fred Meyer will present its plans, then the public will have ample time for input before the board discusses the project. We’ll have a full report after the meeting.

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PhinneyWood joins ‘The Conversation’ on KUOW 94.9 FM Friday afternoon

September 24th, 2009 by Doree

KUOW 94.9 FM will be discussing the proposed Fred Meyer redevelopment on 85th St. during Ross Reynolds’ 12 p.m. show, The Conversation, on Friday. I’ll be a guest on the show, talking about the neighborhood’s views on the project. I’m told the segment will air somewhere between 12:10 and 12:20 p.m.

Fred Meyer is proposing to replace its current two-story store and the Greenwood Market (which will close) with a 160,000-170,000 square feet one-story supercenter. The $77 million project would also include an 800-stall, three-story parking garage with three stories of residential on top (along 87th St.); two stories of residential units along 85th and 3rd; about 20,000 square feet of retail space for tenants other than Fred Meyer; open space near the main entrance along 1st Ave. NW. and a tiny pocket park adjacent to the bus stop on 85th.

Fred Meyer hopes to start construction in late 2011 or early 2012; construction would take 18-24 months.

Fred Meyer will present revamped design options to the Design Review Board at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Ballard High School Library. We’ll have a full report after the meeting.

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Bingo Karaoke at Senior Center on Friday

September 24th, 2009 by Doree

Time for the monthly Bingo Karaoke at the Greenwood Senior Center at 7 p.m. on Friday night. This extremely popular event brings out folks of all ages. Here’s the younger crowd with their bingo cards.

And here’s a more seasoned neighbor singing on the stage.

As always, $10 gets you entrance to one of the neighborhood’s most entertaining events. That $10 buys you 8 bingo cards and the chance to win cash prizes throughout the night. We play a game or two of Bingo, then sit back to enjoy the musical stylings of some of our community’s best (and worst) karaoke singers. Beer and wine are available for $3 each, and some tasty bingo-hall food (think hot dogs, jalapeno poppers, cookies, popcorn, etc.) is also available for purchase. Come one, come all!

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Tigertail on 65th is closed

September 23rd, 2009 by Doree

9/25 update:  The State Liquor Control Board now says there is no issue with Tigertail’s license and the King County Recorder’s Office has no liens on record that would indicate an IRS property seizure. Still no word from Tigertail’s owners.

Tigertail at 704 NW. 65th St. has been closed for the last few days, and we’re still trying to find out exactly why. Chris emailed MyBallard on Monday to report seeing a sign on the bar’s door saying they were closed by the IRS. But when we went by the sign was gone – just some strips of tape left.

Today, Roy sent MyBallard a picture of a new sign, which said Tigertail had issues with the Liquor Control Board, and would reopen soon.

We called the IRS, which referred us to the county auditor’s office, which then referred us to the county Recorders office, where we’ve left a message. We also called the public records line at the State Liquor Control Board, where we were told there is a “pending issue on their license.” We’ve been promised a call back tomorrow with further information.

We’ve also left a message for Tigertail’s owners.

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Dish Up Literacy day is Thursday

September 23rd, 2009 by Doree

Thursday is Dish Up Literacy day in Seattle, an event put on by Page Ahead, a non-profit organization that works to increase and develop literacy programs for children. They also distribute 160,000 books to children in need every year.

You can help by eating out at one of the participating restaurants, which will donate a portion of their proceeds to Page Ahead.

In our neighborhood, Mae’s Phinney Ridge Cafe and Carmelita are participating.

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