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


Green Lake closed to swimming and all water contact due to toxic algae

September 12th, 2014 by Doree

Seattle Parkes and Recreation today closed Green Lake to swimming and water contact for people and pets because of toxic algae.

People and pets should not swim, wade or play in the lake. Dog owners should be especially cautious not to allow animals to go in or drink from the lake. If there is water contact for a pet, it is important to rinse well to remove all algae.

Symptoms of illness from contacting the toxins in water are eye, nose, and mouth irritation and skin rash. If accidental contact occurs, use clean water to promptly rinse skin. Swallowing the toxins may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea vomiting and in severe cases liver damage. If symptoms occur after swallowing lake water, park users should consult a health care professional or veterinarian immediately. Pets are at highest risk.

Tests have revealed that high levels of toxins are currently found in the algae and are higher in areas where algae collect. King County Department of Natural Resources has been conducting weekly testing of water at various locations around Green Lake as well as scum samples submitted through the State Toxic Algae Program. After each test, the information is reviewed by Public Health – Seattle & King County.

The lake remains open to fishing (though fish should be thoroughly cleaned) and boating in stable boats. Avoid areas of scum when boating.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s lifeguarded beaches closed for the season on Sept. 1.

A warm, dry summer has promoted the algae bloom, and continued warm weather continues to promote it. Blooms have been known to last into November in particularly warm autumns, and typically disappear as the weather gets colder.

Toxic algae blooms appeared at Green Lake in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2012 and in 2013, resulting in warnings to the public about exposure to the algae. Intense blooms of blue-green algae have occurred in Green Lake since 1916. Phosphorus released from the bottom sediments stimulates algae growth. Treating the lake with alum inactivates the phosphorus that is released from the bottom sediments and prevents stimulation of the algae growth. Green Lake was successfully treated with alum in 1991 and 2004. The water quality improved for several years following treatment on both occasions, and has been mostly good since 2004.

Green Lake is home to cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae that are regularly present in small numbers. When nutrients are plentiful and the weather is warm, the conditions are right for an algae bloom to take place. Winds can concentrate the buoyant cyanobacteria into accumulations or scums along the shoreline, which may increase the amount of toxin that could be ingested by pets or people using the lake recreationally.

For more information on cyanobacteria, please visit Washington Department of Health toxic algae website.

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13 rotting alder trees to be removed at Carkeek Park starting Monday

September 5th, 2014 by Doree

Beginning Monday, Sept. 8, Seattle Parks and Recreation will fell 13 failing alder trees at Carkeek Park. A 24-inch diameter alder tree fell and destroyed the bridge adjacent to the Salmon Imprint Pond this spring. Crews will take down nearly two-dozen more that have trunk decay and undermined root systems.

When Seattle Parks tree crews fell the 13 trees, where practical they will leave the trunks’ lower portions as wildlife snags. Hydraulic lifts will be used to remove 12 of the trees in sections, and one tree will be felled from the base. Using the lift will limit the amount of woody debris getting into the stream and help protect the tree workers. The remaining stumps will help create wildlife habitat. This plan was created in collaboration with Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

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Aloha Ramen moving to Lake City

February 3rd, 2014 by Doree

Aloha Ramen, at 8102 Greenwood Ave. N., is moving to Lake City. According to a sign in the window, the restaurant will move on Tuesday, and reopen at its new location at 3004 NE 127th St. on Friday, Feb. 6.

Aloha Ramen and its neighbors, Manna Teriyaki and Greenwood Quick Stop, are moving because the land was purchased two years ago by Seattle Parks and Recreation for an eventual park. The site is between the Greenwood Library and Bleachers Pub.

Here’s what the site looks like now (Aloha Ramen is to the left of Greenwood Quick Stop):


Greenwood Quick Stop is constructing a new space at 8409 Greenwood Ave. N.

We’ll update this story when we know more about the Parks Department’s and Manna Teriyaki’s plans.

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Reminder: Meeting Thursday on possible parks levy

January 28th, 2014 by Doree

Seattle Parks and Recreation is looking at sponsoring a new levy in August to fund more facilities, services and programs. They’ve already held two community meetings; the third is this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N.

Parks is looking at more funding for Woodland Park Zoo and Seattle Aquarium, more maintenance funds, Park Rangers to improve park safety, increased funding to keep community centers open longer hours, more P-patches, and acquiring more land for future parks.

Meeting participants will help Parks staff determine how to prioritize the list of possibilities, what exactly should be on the ballot, and what tax mechanism should fund it.

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Join others 50+ to train for a half-marathon walk

January 23rd, 2014 by Doree

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Sound Steps program is once again hosting free half-marathon walk training to active adults age 50+. The info session is from 2-4 p.m. next Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N. 85th St.

Participants work toward a 5K, 10K or half-marathon walk. Join others on Saturday mornings for a group training walk from February through June, meeting at Ampersand Café, 424 N. 85th St. at 9 a.m. Ampersand offers a 10 percent discount to Sound Steps walkers.

Members of the group will train for three walk events:

  • St Paddy’s Day 5K on Saturday, March 15 at Jefferson Community Center
  • Green Lake Loop 5K/10K on Saturday, April 19 at Green Lake Community Center
  • Lake Union Loop 10K/Half Marathon on Saturday, June 14 at Gasworks Park.

If you can’t attend the info session but would like to join the training group, please RSVP to Mari Becker, mari.becker@seattle.gov.

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Community meetings on new Parks levy in August

January 20th, 2014 by Doree

Seattle Parks and Recreation is sponsoring a new levy in August to fund more facilities, services and programs. So they’re hosting three community meetings to determine what exactly should be on the ballot, and how to fund it. One of the meetings will be close to Greenwood-Phinney Ridge, at the Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N., at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30.

Meeting attendees will be asked how they would prioritize the list of possibilities, and what tax mechanism should fund it.

Ideas that Parks is looking at include more funding for Woodland Park Zoo and Seattle Aquarium, more maintenance funds, Park Rangers to improve park safety, increased funding to keep community centers open longer hours, more P-patches, and acquiring more land for future parks.

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Woodland Park Play Area renovations to start in January

December 5th, 2013 by Doree

Renovations to Woodland Park Play Area on the corner of North 59th Street and Phinney Avenue North are scheduled to begin Jan. 6. Seattle Parks and Recreation expects the work to be completed sometime in April. The play area will be closed during renovations.


Play equipment will be replaced and access will be improved. The work will be done by A-1 Landscaping and Construction.

Check out the project website for renderings of what the completed play area will look like.

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All Seattle Parks community centers, indoor pools and teen life centers are now a Safe Place for teens in crisis

November 27th, 2013 by Doree

All 26 Seattle Parks and Recreation community centers and eight indoor pools (including Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool) plus three teen life centers are now part of the Safe Place network in King County, where teens can ask for help when in crisis.

Community center doors now bear the distinctive yellow decal that signals to young people that they can find help and safety inside. Facility staff have been trained in the protocol to follow when a young person asks for help: offer the young person a safe and quiet place to wait and rest, and call the Safe Place hotline to notify the Safe Place coordinator of the situation. Within 45 minutes, a Safe Place coordinator will arrive to assess the teen’s needs, helping them either return home or go to a youth shelter, as appropriate.

The King County Safe Place network is run in partnership with YouthCare in Seattle, Friends of Youth on the Eastside, and Auburn Youth Resources in South King County. Each agency has a Safe Place coordinator on staff, and has emergency shelter beds available to teens in crisis. This partnership ensures that no matter where a young person is, help is always close at hand.

The goal of the program is to prevent youth homelessness by preventing a young person from spending their first night on the streets, and to help youth who have been on the run for some time to reconnect with family and other services.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s community centers join a network of agencies and organizations providing more than 1,800 Safe Place sites throughout the county, including King County Metro Transit, King County libraries, YMCA facilities, United Way of King County, and the City of Snoqualmie. Launched in 2011, the program has expanded in 2013 thanks to support from the United Way of King County.

King County Safe Place is part of a national network of more than 20,000 partnering businesses and community locations that display the yellow diamond Safe Place sign.

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Memory loss brings them together, but the memories keep them coming back

November 26th, 2013 by Doree

By Shelby Ehlert, University of Washington News Lab

Most of us can remember a time in our childhood when we visited the local zoo, giddy with excitement to explore the exotic sights, sounds and smells. For one group of people, it’s memory itself that brings them to the Woodland Park Zoo in Phinney Ridge every Monday.

Since its inception in early 2011, the Memory Loss Walk has drawn individuals diagnosed with early-stage memory loss and their caregivers to partake in a morning zoo walk followed by coffee and conversation.

The program is sponsored by several organizations that partnered “because they wanted to offer individuals with mild memory loss the opportunity to join a supportive program that emphasizes socialization as well as the importance of living a healthy lifestyle,” according to Liz Rhine of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The groups involved are the Alzheimer’s Association’s Western and Central Washington State Chapter, Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Lifelong Recreation Program, the Phinney Neighborhood Association and Greenwood Senior Center, Rhine said in an email.

It was a chilly but sunny autumn morning when we met in the Woodland Park Zoo parking lot before heading out for the Northern Trail tour of the zoo.

As soon as the walk began I quickly forgot the environment we were in and became so enthralled in the conversation that it was easy to miss the many animals we passed, as these were clearly not the focus of the walkers.

This was much more than a community activity for individuals with early-stage memory loss and their caregivers – this was a family. They are united by a common experience unique to their group.

“ I think what I benefit most from is the time we spend together,” said Roger Stocker, a participant of the walk since early 2011. “It’s nice to see the stuff we see going around the zoo and I wouldn’t discredit that at all, but I think the big part of it is…the existence and presence of these people. What makes it different from other people is that we have something that we share.”


Memory Loss Walk participants take in the zoo’s bear exhibit.

As Rhine noted, the walk “offers participants an opportunity to hold conversations in a safe and stimulating environment around others who can relate and offer support.”

“You can talk about Alzheimer’s in this group,” said Ruth Mulligan, who has been participating in the walk for a year. “That’s one big difference (compared with other social settings.”

Charlie Reidy, a participant who is affected by Alzheimer’s, said there is a stigma around the disease: People are afraid of it. Because of this, the Alzheimer’s Association provides programs to bridge the gap between individuals with Alzheimer’s and the public. Reidy attends another program that helps people with early-stage memory loss learn to improvise when communicating because the struggle to recall specific words is one of the first symptoms of memory loss.

Reidy said that people react very uncomfortably if they’re talking to someone with memory loss who stops cold in the middle of a sentence. They don’t know how to respond. However, the discomfort can be avoided or at least mitigated if the individual with memory loss can learn to keep talking — even out of context — rather than dwell on the word they’re attempting to recall, Reidy said.

It’s small programs like this that the Alzheimer’s Association, along with its partners, work to provide for individuals with early-stage memory loss that are truly making a difference.

“What we’ve kind of taken as a reminder is that it is what it is,” Stocker said. “What we’ve decided is the only way we can really deal with this is take it one day at a time and live life at the moment.”

“And to the fullest,” added Myriam Marquez, another participant in the walk and an active Alzheimer’s advocate.

For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association’s programs and services and ways to get involved, please contact the 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900 or visit them online at www.alzwa.org.

Shelby Ehlert is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.

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Reminder of Seattle Parks beaches, pools, wading pools and spray parks

July 16th, 2013 by Doree

Seattle Parks and Recreation is reminding residents of its beaches, wading pools, outdoor pools and water spray parks open this summer. Here’s a list of those that are closest to Phinney-Greenwood.

Lifeguarded beaches include:

  • East Green Lake, 7201 E Green Lake Dr. N. (open through Aug. 25)
  • West Green Lake, 7312 W. Green Lake Dr. (open through Sept. 2).

Beaches are open daily, weather permitting, from noon to 7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Amenities range from swim rafts and low and high diving boards to nearby wading pools, play areas, ballfields, and more.

Lowery C. “Pop” Mounger Pool, at 2535 32nd Ave. W. in Magnolia, is a popular outdoor pool that is open daily through Sept. 8.

Mounger Pool is really two pools in one place. The “big pool” has a 50-foot corkscrew slide and the warmer, shallower “little pool” is great for relaxing and for teaching little ones.

Wading pools open three days a week, from 12-7 p.m., include:

  • Bitter Lake, 13035 Linden Ave. N, (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
  • Soundview, 1590 NW 90th St., (Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
  • Wallingford, 4219 Wallingford Ave. N, (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)

Green Lake wading pool, North 73rd Street and East Green Lake Dr. N. is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Daily water spray parks, open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., include:

  • Ballard Commons, 5701 22nd Ave. NW
  • Northacres Park, 12800 1st Ave. NE

Click here to download Seattle Parks’ 2013 Summer Guide.

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Neighborhood news roundup: Safe school routes, PNA partnership, playground renovation, zoo lights and gym move

September 27th, 2012 by Doree

Here’s a roundup of neighborhood news.

West Woodland Elementary is one of three schools that will receive a combined $800,000 as part of the Safe Routes to School project. Beacon Hill and McGilvra are the other two schools. Mayor McGinn made the announcement at West Woodland on Wednesday. The funding comes from the City’s Real Estate Excise Tax. The money will be used to upgrade a half-signal to a full signal at NW 58th Street and 8th Avenue NW, and install new marked crosswalks and curb ramps.

The Phinney Neighborhood Association will now manage all of the facility rentals for the Sunset Hill Community Association in Ballard. The SHCA clubhouse is at 3003 NW 66th St.

Because PNA and SHCA are both nonprofit organizations with similar missions to connect neighbors and foster community, this partnership is a good fit for both organizations. PNA has a history of success in managing rentals and programs at the Phinney Center and Greenwood Senior Center and welcomes the 1929 meeting hall into the rental options. PNA’s staff will promote, rent and provide custodial services for the SHCA clubhouse.

Questions regarding rentals for both the SHCA and the Phinney Center can be directed to Margaret Pai by email margaretp@phinneycenter.org or 206.783.2244 x 42.

A Community Project CrossFit, which moved into 7216 Linden Ave. N. less than two months ago, is moving to a larger space a few blocks away. ACP CrossFit will be closed Saturday through Monday for the move, and will reopen Tuesday at 7622 Aurora Ave. N. (a former Kung Fu studio). The new space is much larger and has locker rooms and showers.

The Phinney Ridge Community Council will host an informational meeting about Woodland Park Zoo’s new annual “Wildlights” holiday event, a nightly light display with live entertainment from Nov. 19 through Jan. 1. The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Room 6. Zoo staff will address plans for traffic, parking and other neighborhood impacts.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is holding its second public meeting on the renovation of Woodland Park Playground at 1000 N. 59 St. The meeting is from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the PNA, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Room 1. Landscape Architect Shwu-jen Hwang will present three play area options for community discussion. Construction is planned for fall of 2013.

And the Rotary clubs of greater Seattle are seeking business and professional people ages 25-40 for a month-long cultural and vocational exchange program in Russia in April and May 2013.

The Group Study Exchange is a longstanding program of Rotary International. It offers an all-expense paid experience with home stays with Rotarian host-country families, vocational visits, and an opportunity to exchange ideas and customs with Russian counterparts. Applicants must live or work in Rotary District 5030, which covers all of King County and the communities of Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Mill Creek in Snohomish County. The exchange is not open to Rotarians or their lineal descendents.

Applications for team members are due by October 22,2012. Complete information and application forms are available at www.gse.rotary5030.org.

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Community meeting on Lower Woodland Park lighting replacement project

August 30th, 2012 by Doree

Seattle Parks and Recreation plans to replace the lighting system for the ball fields and tennis courts in Lower Woodland Park, but first it wants community input.

A public meeting is scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the Green Lake Library, 7364 E. Green Lake Drive N.

This project provides for demolition of the existing outmoded lighting system and replaces it with a state-of-the-art system. Parks goal is to eliminate as much objectionable glare and light spill into the neighborhood as possible while providing safe and efficient lighting for the field and court users.

The project is funded through a 2006 ballfield lighting upgrade program from the Cumulative Reserve Fund and the Parks and Green Spaces Levy. It provides for planning, design, and construction of the park lighting improvements.

Parks is working with an expert in the field of ballfield lighting who has extensive knowledge of the latest technology. The community is encourage to come to the meeting, meet the design team and learn more about the project.

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