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

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GAIN neighborhood cleanup on Sunday starting at Greenwood Park

April 14th, 2015 by Doree

Greenwood Aurora Involved Neighbors (GAIN) is planning a neighborhood cleanup from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 19. Meet at Greenwood Park, 602 N. 87th St., (where other volunteers will be working in the park). GAIN will provide bags, grabbers, gloves and vests.

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Phinney resident Alex Van Loen serves as House page

April 13th, 2015 by Doree

Phinney Ridge resident Alex Van Loen , a student at Ballard High School, served as a page last week in the Washington State House of Representatives. He was sponsored by state Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle).


Pages perform a wide variety of responsibilities, from presenting the flags to distributing amendments on the House floor. In addition to contributing to the efficient operation of the Legislature, pages spend two hours each day in a classroom setting learning about the legislative process.

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World Affairs Council looking for host families for international students this summer

April 13th, 2015 by Doree

The World Affairs Council needs host families for five international programs this summer.

Four of our programs are 1-2 weeks of educational, cultural, and leadership programming for which the youth have received prestigious scholarships through the U.S. Department of State for their exemplary leadership in their respective communities. These students speak fluent English and will be provided with a bus pass, a cell phone, and weekday lunches during their program. From approximately 9 am – 4 pm on business days, the youth leaders will participate in a program organized by the World Affairs Council, while evenings and weekends will be free for time with the host family.

  • Mexico (Jóvenes en Acción): July 12 – 24
  • Iraq (Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP)):July 25 – August 8
  • Middle East and North Africa (MEPI): July 30 – August 5
  • Japan and South Korea*: August 8 – 22

*This program includes a unique opportunity for local area female high school students to participate in meetings and workshops with their Japanese and South Korean counterparts from August 10-14, 2015. The application deadline has been extended and spots are still available for local girls to be a part of this program, so encourage those you know to apply now!

The World Affairs Council will also be receiving a new and exciting fifth program this summer. This program consists of a group of Cuban high school students who have been selected through World Learning’s 2015 Summer Leadership Program for Cuban Youth. Please note that as this program is a Spanish-language program, we are seeking households with at least one fluent Spanish-speaker to host August 14-22. Due to the language barrier, host families are also asked to provide transportation to and from downtown for students on programming days.

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Earth Day Work Party at Greenwood Park on Sunday, April 19

April 10th, 2015 by Doree

Volunteers are organizing an Earth Day work party at Greenwood Park, 602 N. 87th St., from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 19. Work with staff from the Seattle Parks and Recreation to plant new vegetation around the park, clean up beds and generally take care of the park.

Tools and work gloves will be provided. Please email visiongreenwood@gmail.com if you plan to come.

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Plant care, live music, artwalk in Phinney-Greenwood this weekend

April 10th, 2015 by Doree

The Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N. 85th St., is hosting a Plant Care Clinic from 1-2 p.m. Friday.

Hopefully the beautiful weather of the last few days will hold for tonight’s monthly Art Up Artwalk from 6-9 p.m. at dozens of venues throughout the neighborhood. Check out the official Artwalk website for a list of all participating artists, venues and a map.

The Phinney Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., is hosting a Member Potluck and Happy Hour from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday. Bring a favorite appetizer or drink to share, or just stop by. A Member Orientation will be at 7 p.m. for those wanting to learn more about how to get involved with the neighborhood. The Phinney Center Gallery will then host an opening reception for “The Curious Worlds of Suz & Kelly O’Dell, Erika Rier and Kalindi Thompson.”

Seattle School Boardmember Sherry Carr meets with constituents from 8:30-10 a.m. Saturday at Bethany Community Church, 8023 Green Lake Dr.

Couth Buzzard Books, 8310 Greenwood Ave. N., presents Seumas Gagne in a Pacific NW Folklore Society Coffeehouse Concert from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Friday; and Kenny Mandell’s Music Improv Session with Randy Doak and Lamar Lofton from 7-9 p.m. Sunday.

Taproot Theatre continues its run of “The Best of Enemies” at 204 N. 85th St.

Note: Saturday’s Seattle Folklore Society concert with Reilly & Maloney has been cancelled due to illness. If you purchased advance tickets, you will receive a refund from Brown Paper Tickets.

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Spring Break programs at Seattle Public Library branches

April 9th, 2015 by Doree

The Seattle Public Library has plenty of options to occupy kids of all ages during Spring Break (which, for Seattle Public Schools, is next week). Here are activities at the two branches in and near our neighborhood.

For ages 5-18, kids can watch movies at several branches (bring your own pillow). Check the library’s Calendar of Movies to see if free tickets are required in advance and for more details.

The Broadview Library, 12755 Greenwood Ave. N., is showing “Frozen” (G) from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, April 11; “Annie” (PG) from 5:30-8 p.m. Monday, April 13; “Newsies” (PG) from 5:30-7:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 14; “Funny Girl” (G) from 5:30-7:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 15; and “The Wizard of Oz” (unrated) from 5:30-7:45 p.m. Thursday, April 16.

The Greenwood Library, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N., hosts “Shake It Up: Music and Art at the Library” for ages 4-7 from 2-3 p.m. Saturday, April 11; “Move it with Science: Build a Race Car” for ages 7-12 from 2-3:30 p.m. Monday, April 13 (registration is required); “Dance Your Way to Fun” for ages 4-7 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 16 (registration is required); and “Boredom Buster: Family Day” for ages 5-12 with Lego-building, games, crafts and more from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, April 19.

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Call for artists for Carkeek Park’s ‘Heaven and Earth VII’

April 9th, 2015 by Doree

Artists are requested to apply to become part of this year’s temporary outdoor art installation at Carkeek Park, just north of Greenwood. This year’s theme is “Propagation: Heaven & Earth VII.” Art will be in place from July 11 through Oct. 10.

In keeping with the spirit of the site, the organizers seek work that reflects an ongoing recognition of the precarious nature of the environment with attention to the metaphor of propagation, which is often associated with the production of plants (sowing seeds, grafting, and other forms of reproduction, multiplication, dispersal, pollination, etc.) but which can also be freely translated to reference human means of dissemination (such as internet memes and other forms of media transmittal). The organizers encourage experimental , kinetic, or interactive works that explore a broad range of contemporary interpretations of art and nature, including performance, new media, landscape interventions, installations, sound art, biomimicry, ephemeral work, and other interdisciplinary perspectives. We are particularly hopeful of proposals to project video into the urban forest from a secured location at the Park’s headquarters.

The Call is open to all artists (whether established or emerging), local, regional, national, or international. All work should have a minimal impact on the park and eventually leave “no trace” following removal.

Between 12 – 15 artists and/or artist teams will be selected from the pool of applicants and offered an honorarium of $300 – $700 depending on the proposal.

Deadline for final entries by midnight Saturday, May 2, 2015. Please send a check for a suggested $20 submission fee made out to Center for Environmental Art to: Carkeek Park Advisory Council, 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd., Seattle WA 98177. Please indicate “Heaven and Earth VII” on the check. The submission fee can be waived with a simple request to the curators and/or a sliding scale of paying what you can is perfectly acceptable.

Please send submissions to http://heavenandearthexhibition.org/submit/

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Neighborhood Conservation Districts information meeting tonight at Phinney Center

April 8th, 2015 by Doree

Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is crafting legislation that would create Neighborhood Conservation Districts, which would allow neighbors to agree to preserve the unique character of their communities. He is hosting a meeting at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday) at the Phinney Neighborhood Center tonight, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., to explain the concept and receive community input.

Here’s an overview of Neighborhood Conservation Districts from his website:

A neighborhood conservation district is an area with clear and consistent character defined by geographical boundaries. Typically a neighborhood conservation district board is established that includes neighborhood representatives and design professionals to make recommendations and decisions consistent with the authorities delegated to it by the city’s elected officials. The districts are established with the specific intention of conserving the neighborhood character of the designated districts, and would be individually established by a vote of the Seattle City Council.

A conservation district would provide guidelines, support and potential incentives for the conservation of important neighborhood buildings and design characteristics, but would not be as prescriptive as the landmark and special review districts that the city currently uses.

If you can’t make the meeting, you can share your thoughts with Councilmember Rasmussen by emailing tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov or calling 206-684-8808.

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Phinney-Greenwood residents can file for compensation if their home was damaged by Feb. 17 electrical transmission line failure

April 8th, 2015 by Doree

Update: We have more information from the city about filing a claim for damages, and from City Light about how many people were affected and why they don’t directly contact customers about filing claims. Click on Read More below to find the info at the very end of the post.

Earlier: A Seattle City Light transmission line in Phinney Ridge failed on Feb. 17, taking out electricity to a number of homes in Phinney, Greenwood and the southeast end of Ballard, and causing damage to some houses’ electrical systems when the power surged.

The transmission line is on a pole on the east side of 3rd Avenue NW, just north of NW 67th Street.


The red line shows how the transmission line failure affected customers from the southeast end of Ballard north through parts of Phinney Ridge and Greenwood. 

If your electrical system or electronics were damaged by that failure and surge, you can fill out an online City of Seattle Claim for Damages.

One neighbor tells us her home, across the street from the failed transmission line, incurred more than $1,800 in damage. She had to replace 10 GFI outlets (three of which were charred), and had two portable stereo systems burn out.

From her initial email to us:

The scary part is that SCL has chosen to not directly inform anybody in the affected area that this dangerous incident occurred (though apparently you would have gotten notice if you were on their “alert” notification list), but it will pay claims for damage that occurred as a result of the power surge. Some people may have what we had — GFI outlets frozen in the “on” position, or just completely not working. When the GFI is frozen “on”, it appears to work, but in the case of an electrical surge it will not switch off as it is intended to do. People may also not realize that some outlets are not working until months pass (especially external outlets), and by that time they may not be able to link the failure of the outlet to the power surge.

(Note: I left a very detailed message with a City Light spokesperson yesterday, with a long list of questions, and am waiting for a response. I will update this post when I hear back.) See the update at the very end of this post.

Here are some excerpts from SCL’s Transmission Line Incident Report:

On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, at approximately 1:45 pm, a ceramic power line insulator located in the Phinney/Greenwood neighborhood experienced a mechanical failure. This failure led to a series of events that resulted in disruption to service as well as electrical damage to personal property. City Light received 61 customer calls regarding the incident…To the best of our knowledge, this is the first and only failure of its kind to have occurred on City Light’s system.

The insulator was installed on a power pole located on the east side of 3rd Avenue NW, one pole north of NW 67th St. This pole has two levels of power lines: higher voltage transmission lines on the top; lower-voltage distribution lines beneath. Insulators support bare, energized conductors…

The insulator that failed consisted of a ceramic body with a metal base cemented to the bottom and a metal cap on the top. The cap supports a trunnion-type clamp that attaches to the conductor.

In this case, the end cap broke away from the ceramic body, allowing a bare, energized, 115 kilovolt (kV) line conductor to fall and make contact with a bare, energized, 26.4 kV line conductor situated below.

The 115 kV transmission line conductor briefly energized the 26.4 kV distribution line conductor to the higher voltage until the conductors were de-energized by protective relays designed to activate in such an instance…

Surge arresters, another piece of protective equipment in the system, absorbed the brunt of the surge, redirecting a portion safely to the ground system. Still, some of the voltage surge made its way down the distribution line through a transformer and into some of our customers’ home circuitry, causing electrical damage and outage.

A pole replacement project is planned for the area affected by this outage. As part of the project, all suspect insulators in the affected area will be replaced with the new polymer insulators. The project is set to begin May 2015, with an expected completion date of December 2015.

KIRO has a story on this incident, with an electrician explaining how such a power surge can affect electronics throughout the house.

If you were affected by this transmission line failure, please let us know in Comments or email us at tips@phinneywood.com.


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