Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Worthwhile Information

Something I found out at the Seattle Neighborhoods Summit that made my time there a little more worthwhile: an enlightened Seattle resident used the Neighborhood Matching Grant to get funds for Pollinator Pathway, a project that transforms resource-sucking lawn-covered planting strips into tasty pollinator buffets. Read more about Sarah Bergmann's amazing project at WorldChanging Seattle.

While I was fadoodling around WorldChanging Seattle, I also found out that City Council is planning on reducing the Office of Sustainability and Environment's budget by 15%, as well as eliminating the office and transferring 5 of its 7 staff to the Office of Policy Management. It also looks like the Council wants to increase OSE's workload by giving it more responsibility for lowering Seattle's greenhouse gas emissions. So, less money, effectiveness and status, more workload and responsibility. This will go well.

I know that tough economic times mean budget cuts, but from what I heard in Stella Chao's speech to the Seattle Neighborhoods Summit, smart fiscal management in the past means that now the city just has to tighten its belt rather than engage in drastic measures. Screwing over an office that not only makes Seattle look super shiny but may also be crucial in climate change planning seems like something a few notches above belt-tightening.

A fairly worthless meeting

I almost wish I hadn't gone to the Seattle Neighborhood Summit last night. The Summit itself was a complete waste of my time - this is a feat, considering my tolerance for the community meetings I choose to attend. It was designed well - long on networking about pertinent issues, short on speakers blowing hot air. Unfortunately, the citizens then took it upon themselves to blow the said hot air.

I had high hopes for the Zoning, Land Use, Design and Planning breakout session. Then we talked about Incentive Zoning for the entire 45 minutes. From what I've gathered, IZ is pretty small affordable housing potatoes. Why did that have to be the thing that we talked to death? Why couldn't I have raised by hand faster and gotten Transit-Oriented Development on the board first!?

Which reminds me - WorldChanging would like me to write an article about T.O.D. solutions. I'm going to try, but the only T.O.D. I've heard about involves a whole lot of expensive new apartments and condos surrounding new transit hubs, which then fuels a wave of gentrification. Maybe we'll get lucky with the light rail stations that will open up in Rainier Valley next year. Here's hoping Sally Clark was serious about the Rainier Valley expedited neighborhood plan updates being meant to give the neighborhoods a headstart over developers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Save the B&O Building!

I think it was a year or so ago when I first heard that the building B&O Espresso occupies (1650 Olive Way) was going to be torn down to make way for a typical 6-story-residential-with-first-story-commercial development. B&O protested and the neighbors did too, but the DPD said the plan was ok and that was that.

For the last few months I've been seeing little yellow business cards with "Save the B&O Building" on them. And then my mom(!) sent me a link to the Seattle Weekly blogpost on the subject. Apparently the fight's still on to the save the B&O building. It's a worthy cause - the building is pretty neat looking and it's over 75 years old (a "character building" as they call it in the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay-to-be). There are also 2 four-plex apartments on the lot, and we all know that whatever residential space takes their place will a lot more expensive than what's there now.

So, check out the Capitol Hill Organization Insuring Cultural Equity's website. It has pretty historical pictures and a convenient online petition if you feel like throwing your signature in to support the cause.

Note about B&O's new location-to-be on Broadway: I have heard that B&O is opening its Broadway location while it's still operating at 1650 Olive. So if the 1650 block is saved, we get two B&O's? Time to find out more...

Monday, October 27, 2008


I woke up this morning to the sounds of helicopters, which means two thing where I'm from: manhunt or car chase. Since this is Seattle and not Southern California, it was neither. As I found out later, 1605 Bellevue caught fire early this morning, and the news choppers had been there since six-thirty or seven to catch footage of the inferno.

Good news - the building was empty because it was slated for demolition (yet another six story mixed-use project to be). Bad news - an elderly man who had lived in the building died in the fire. Why he was still in the building when the place had been vacated...well, in a Times article I just saw, Dennis Saxman states that the man had lived in the building for 40 years. I guess he just didn't want to have to leave home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why I love having artists in the neighborhood

If you've ever seen the amazing spacewoman/Barbarella garage door mural on Olive near 12th, you too will mourn its loss to an idiot tagger who obliterated it with his(?) spray painted tag signature.

Luckily for us, the house's resident turned this stupidness into an opportunity: there is now a giant Obama mural in Barbarella's place. Luckily for me, they blogged about it here.

The new mural looks really cool - I'm going to have to go check it out in person soon. Maybe bring the poor tag-beleaguered residents some cookies...


I was talking to my mom the other day about how she reads my blog to get a feel of what's going on on the Hill (thanks Mom!). Now, Life on the Hill goes in-depth into issues that no one else but a community geek like myself would give a shit about. That means that my mom, who lives in Southern California, is better informed about what's going on community political circles than my neighbors. What the fuck.

Neighborhood Plan Update Update Update Update

Sally Clark came by yesterday's Capitol Hill (Neighborhood Plan!) Stewardship Council meeting to tell us how the neighborhood planning updates will go and to reassure us that we would actually have a role in the process.

As I've reported, the Neighborhood Planning Advisory Commitee (made up of District representatives like Dennis and also of persons nominated by the City Council and Mayor's office) is coming together now. Next year, I am presuming they will oversee the 2009 citywide status surveys of all the present neighborhood plans.

These yearlong surveys will assess each neighborhood plan to see what has been accomplished from the first plan over the last ten years and to determine the status of neighborhood elements like transportation, zoning, housing, etc. Sally Clark mentioned that the neighborhoods would have a say in what elements they would want included and focused upon in this status survey. The citywide status survey determines which neighborhoods will have their plans updated first. I believe that they will go in batches of three or four, and each batch will take several years to complete.

There will be three neighborhoods in the Rainer Valley that will fast-tracked in the updating process: Beacon Hill, Mt. Baker/N. Rainer Valley, and the area around the intersection between MLK Way and Holly. These areas will begin their neighborhood planning process in 2009 because they are scheduled to have Light Rail stations opening there in 2009. I believe the idea is to give these areas neighborhood plans before developers do it for them.

As for reassurances - the Stewardship Council has been getting the runaround from the higher echelons of the Dept. of Neighborhoods for the last few months surrounding its role in the Neighborhood Plan Updates. Sally Clark said that the Stewardship Council is a great neighborhood resource and that we should hold on a little while longer while DON figures out what the hell is going to happen during the Update process.

She also said that Stella Chao's circumspectness in regards to our role in the Neighborhood Plan Update was probably due to her desire to make sure as many people came to the planning table as possible, i.e. the Stewardship Council didn't run the show and hog the spotlight. This a problem in some neighborhoods, but as Sally Clark was quick to add, not ours. I really hope that's the case, because otherwise I would feel like such a dick.

Synthesis of Update the Third: Hold on, we'll know what the crap is going on in January. We hope.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

IZ addendum

I got a chance to talk to Sally Clark briefly about Incentive Zoning after the Pike/Pine Overlay meeting. The main thing that came across was that she was trying to figure out why there was such an extensive hooplah about IZ - to her, Incentive Zoning would only establish very modest amounts of affordable housing as compared to what the Housing Levy (coming up before Council early 2009) could create.

She also said that the average apartment is affordable to those making 110% of area/Seattle median income, which would make 80% Seattle AMI look like a big reduction. The other reason that 80% AMI was being used for affordable rentals in the IZ is because developers won't bite at 60% or 30% AMI if the only carrots are higher height allowances, etc. At that point, developers want subsidies, which means it wouldn't be incentive zoning anymore (subsidies are the business of the Housing Levy anyway).

Humour Denied

The company I work for just merged with another firm, so all our computer systems are different now. They just changed over the networks last week. I got blocked for the first time ever today, and this is what the "blocking" window said:

Access Denied

The web resource has been deemed by your administrator to be unsafe or unsuitable for you to access. The resource has been blocked. No further action is required.

Reason: The category of Humour has been blocked by your System Administrator

Oct. Capitol Hill Community Council meeting: Pumpkin Guns and More

I'll start with my favorite piece of information I learned last meeting: there is a pumpkin gunner loose around Cal Anderson Park. Not shooting at pumpkins, shooting out pumpkins. Apparently they're small pumpkins, but still, the gun must the size of a small rocket launcher. We got the report from a concerned citizen who found pumpkin smeared all over his deck.

Not so funny public safety note from the Michael Yatsutake, East Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator: now that school is in session, teenagers are taking to home robbery in the afternoons. They'll knock on doors to see if anyone is home, and if they aren't, they'll come in and take their stuff. Delightful.

Michael Yatsutake also does home security surveys as part of his duties as EPCPC, along with personal safety presentations and business or block watch info/organization. You can get ahold of him at michael (dot) yatsutake (at) seattle (dot) gov, or you can find him at the East Precinct Station over on Pine and 12th.

Most of the meeting was a conversation about why SDOT is removing so many street trees from the area around the future Broadway Light Rail Station. The grand total is about a dozen from Denny, six outside of Chang's on Broadway, and three from inside Cal Anderson Park. The answer is that those trees are literally inside the excavation boundary, therefore they have to go when all the dirt goes.

The CHCC VP Charlette LeFevre along with a few community members want to see if those trees can be moved to another site - more about that soon. To everyone's relief, the landmark Chinese Scholar Tree in Cal Anderson is safe, even though a few of its arboreal neighbors aren't.

Speaking of the Light Rail Station - artist Denise Henrikson is creating a set of travelling art pieces to memorialize the buildings being removed to make room for the station. The pieces will be lanterns shaped as interpretations of each of the buildings being removed. Their first appearance will be on Oct. 24th at the Artist Trust (12th and Denny) from 6-8pm. Afterwards there will be a tour of the doomed buildings themselves.

Speaking of art - the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is still looking for help in coming up with a new "brand" for Capitol Hill. I thought they hired Kite for that, but I guess they want the neighbors to pitch in too. They meet every third Thursday, and the next meeting is on Thursday, November 20th at 6pm. The new Chamber office is in a little house on Thomas and 10th (or Federal?) right across the street from the Thomas St. P-Patch.

Also, the Community Council IS STILL LOOKING FOR A LOGO! Seriously, if you or someone you know is a graphic designer or a graphic design student, help us out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

He represents YOU

In case you missed the hubbub, Dennis Saxmann is the East District (i.e. our) representative on the Neighborhood Plan Advisory Council (NPAC). The council consists of neighborhoods and city department representatives and will the mayor's office on how to run the Neighborhood Plan Updates. Dennis is so committed to being inclusive and getting neighborhood feedback that's he's said I can give out his email address: peregrin(at)isomedia(dot)com. If you want to tell him how you think the Updates should be run or you want more info on the process, he's your man.

It's good to hear that Dennis is to committed to gathering input, because it sounds like the City isn't. I don't think many people outside of community activist circles have heard much about the Updates or how the process will be developed. It's also been notoriously difficult for the City to get the word out - they'll send out some postcards, put it up on a City website, post it in the libraries and that's it. Then there's the fact that the Mayor's office would like to see the Nickels agenda pushed through, and I know that most of the City bureaucrats want to avoid the grassroots chaos that is actual neighborhood involvement.

So, bully for Dennis - he's informed, he's cranky, he's committed, and he wants to represent you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hurray for the Pike/Pine Overlay

I have way too much fun at community meetings. I run into friends, I talk up new projects - it's the nerdy Seattle version of a Hollywood cocktail party.

Councilmember Rasmussen told us all about the Pike/Pine Overlay, which came out looking just like Liz Dunn's (local developer and neighborhood advocate) idea of it a year and a half ago. Not surprising, since she's a prominent member of the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, the group that proposed the project to Rasmussen about two years ago. PPUNC has also been the only neighborhood group to give input for this project, something I hope will change now that it's been presented to the public.

The goals for the new PPO are nifty, as you will see below. The Capitol Hill Arts Crisis (i.e. the great migration to where housing is affordable) is being addressed by the Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee (CODAC), and affordable/workforce housing isn't being addressed at all. There will be another piece of legislation concerning the PPO next year, so I guess we'll see what happens then.

Pike/Pine Overlay Legislation Outline as taken from the City of Seattle website:

Objectives of Amendments
The proposal calls for amending the Pike/Pine Overlay to accomplish the following:

  • Continue to promote new mixed use and residentially‐oriented development as
    intended under the original provisions of the overlay;
  • Expand the scope of the overlay to promote new development that is more compatible
    in scale with existing conditions in the area;
  • Provide incentives to retain “character structures” ‐‐ buildings that are 75 years old or older‐‐as part of new development;
  • Increase opportunities and flexibility to encourage the continued use of existing
  • Promote conditions that allow small, diverse local businesses to continue to operate in the area; and
  • Provide incentives for retaining existing art and cultural uses and attracting similar new activities to the area.
Highlights of the Proposal
The following actions, described in more detail in this report, are
proposed to achieve the objectives listed above:

  • Rezone the NC3 areas within the current boundaries of the overlay to a pedestrian zone designation (NC3P), while retaining current height districts.
  • Adjust the boundaries of the Capitol Hill Station Area Overlay District to exclude areas that overlap with the Pike/Pine overlay to eliminate redundant and potentially
    conflicting regulations.
  • Designate E. Pike/Pike Street and E. Pine/Pine Street, which currently require
    commercial uses at street level, as principal pedestrian streets, as well as segments of 10th, 11th, and 12th Avenues east of Broadway and north of Pike Street, which currently do not require street level uses.
  • Expand the boundaries of the Pike/Pine Overlay District to include existing NC3P and NC3 zoned areas in the Pike/Pine neighborhood along Broadway and east of Broadway and south of E. Pike Street.
  • Establish a maximum lot size limit for all new development [18,000 sq.ft. according to Rasmussen in the meeting] and a maximum limit on structure width for new structures with frontage along Pike and Pine Streets.
  • Provide incentives through exemptions from floor area calculations and/or limits on
    non‐residential use to:
    + retain existing character structures and “envelope” portions of existing
    character structures on a development lot;
    + encourage development on small lots of 8,000 square feet or less;
    + include space for small commercial uses at the street level of structures;
    + include arts facilities in existing structures and new projects; and
    + maintain economic viability of character structures by allowing the maximum
    range of uses to fully occupy these structures and limited additions to these
  • Allow a height exception [and/or development area] for projects that retain existing character structures [buildings that are 75 years old and over] and portions of existing character structures on a development lot.
  • Limit street frontage width of street level uses in new structures on Pike and Pine
  • Restrict certain types of signs that are incompatible with the local business character of the Pike/Pine area.
  • [From the meeting] Require large developments with commercial area to have half the commercial space split up into small bays (in order to encourage small businesses)
Here's the biggest question: Will anyone pay attention to the Pike/Pine Overlay once it's created? Will is have "teeth", or will it languish in oblivion like its unfortunate cousins, the Neighborhood Plans?

The other main questions raised were:
  • Where the hell is the affordable housing? (Me, though I didn't say hell at the meeting)
  • Why didn't you talk to renters when you put together this plan? (Dennis Saxman, East District rep. for NPAC)
  • What are you going to do about outdated use requirements that are assigned to buildings? (Lise Stone, local business owner)
  • Why didn't we receive more notification about this process? (Brad Augustine, local building owner)
  • Where are the open/green space incentives? (Robin Peale, Member of the Braeburn condo's homeowners association)
  • Where are the tax and infrastructure incentives for the community minded (often small & independent) developer? (Chip Wall, formerly of Capitol Hill Housing)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Neighborly Announcements: Pike/Pine Overlay Public Meeting and a Historic Preservation Workshop

A reminder to anyone who's following the Pike/Pine Overlay (i.e. conservation district) developments: There will be a public meeting discussing the project on Tuesday, October 14th. The meeting will be held at SCCC in room BE 1110 at 5:30pm. It should be interesting because I believe they'll be presenting the conservation district legislation in a more final form - I've only seen/ heard of a draft so far.

And now, a message from Historic Seattle:

Disturbed by insensitive new construction in your neighborhood?

Struggling to understand Seattle's historic preservation ordinance?

Seeking procedures for dealing with local historic properties?

Who is on the landmarks board anyway?

Historic Seattle will provide the answers to these questions and more at a full-day workshop featuring presentations by local historic preservation experts. Advance reservations are required! Workshop fees are $25 for Historic Seattle members and $30 for the general public. Please call 206/622-6952 to register or for more information. You can also register online at

Workshop participants will enjoy a lunch delivered to the Good Shepherd Center and receive an extensive packet of useful information about local, state, and national preservation issues and opportunities.

What: Protecting Historic Sites workshop

Where: Good Shepherd Center4649

Sunnyside Avenue N., Room 202

When: Saturday, October 18, 2008, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

How to Register: Reservations required. $25 for Historic Seattle members and $30 for the general public. Admission includes lunch.

Deadline for registration at the workshop: Wednesday, October 15, 5:00p.m.

New Bar on the Hill

The Buck is adorable. The owners did a really good job of creating a Western nostalgia kitsch interior that's very cozy at the same time. Everything's covered in rustic wood paneling. They even have a tiny gas fireplace! I love it!

Not so rustic, but still nice - the big TVs showing Keith Olberman and other liberal pundits dissecting the Presidential Race. With captions. If there's a break in conversation, you can look up and see Keith making fun of the silly neocons.

Drinks and food are pricey, but good. In fact, the food is really good. The Happy Hour pizza is amazing. At 50 cents a slice, you can get a whole personal pizza for $4, which is cheapie. The service is really good too, which makes The Buck a rarity on the Hill.

The Buck's right across the street from Clever Dunne's, on Olive near Howell. They just opened up a few weeks ago, but they're already packed...which isn't that hard since the place is smaller than my apartment. But anyway, it's good to see that they've gotten popular.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Double-header: Incentive Zoning in Seattle and Next Steps for a Capitol Hill Tree Map

I started my evening attending an Incentive Zoning Public Meeting at City Hall at the behest of Elana Dix and Puget Sound SAGE. The City Council and the Mayor's Office have separately developed legislation that would create a comprhensive incentive zoning plan for the City of Seattle, IZ being the fancy way of saying that if developer's build some affordable housing into their project they'll get a carrot.

Mayor's Proposal
  • Amount of BFA Required to be Set Aside for Workforce Housing: 11%
  • In-lieu Payment for BFA: Minimum=$15/sq.ft., Maximum=$18.94/sq.ft., Tiered cost schedule by floor
  • Affordability Levels: 80% of AMI for Rental Units, 100% of AMI for Condo Units
  • Replacement Housing: NA
  • Other Bonus Provisions: This bill contains regulations for achieving residential and non-residential BFA. Proposed bonus provisions contemplate provision of open space, physical public amenities, transferable development rights, and other public benefits
City Council's (Sally Clark's) Proposal
  • Amount of BFA Required to be Set Aside for Workforce Housing: 20%
  • In-lieu Payment for BFA: No minimum, maximum, or tiered cost by floor - flat $18.94/sq.ft. fee. Automatic fee escalation begins in 2010.
  • Affordability Levels: 80% of AMI for Rental Units, 100% of AMI for Condo Units. Deeper affordability down to 50% of AMI in exchange for a reduced set aside (lower % of BFA).
  • Replacement Housing: Units in buildings proposed to be demolished for which tenant relocation assistance is required must be replaced.
  • Other Bonus Provisions: Not included. The Council Chair proposes to draft a resolution outlining how these and other public benefits will be incorporated as the City considers upcoming legislative rezones. This resolution will be drafted this fall and will be a companion piece to the incentive zoning bill the Council considers this December
Some definitions:
  • BFA: Bonused Floor Area - floor area above and beyond what is allowed by regular zoning. At least that's what I gathered at the meeting. Let's say a developer puts an extra story on a building above what was usually allowed by the zoning for the area, and the square footage of that floor was 10,000 sq.ft. According to Sally Clark's proposal the area that would need to be set aside in that building for affordable housing would be 2,000 sq.ft. (20% of the BFA)
  • AMI: Area Median Income. For Seattle, it's about $57,000 to $65,000 a year depending on household size. 80% of median income is about $42,000 to $56,000 depending on household size. When the Mayor and the Council say that affordability levels are set at 80% AMI, they mean that the affordable housing will be affordable to those families of one or more making $42,000 to $56,000 a year.
  • In-lieu payment or fees: the amount of money that a developer would pay (per sq.ft.) if they chose not to build affordable housing on site.
I and most of my friends, who are not considered impoverished by most standards, make maybe 30-40% of the Area Median Income. Also, most market-rate apartments in Seattle are already affordable for those at 80% AMI (according to some of the speakers at the public meeting). This is a pretty fucking useless plan.

I'd also like to note both parties set the affordability level on condos at 100% AMI. I have a friend who's a beginning computer programmer, and she makes $60,000 a year. She'll be able to buy a condo after she's worked at her present job for three years.

She saves a big chunk of her income, mind you, but $60,000/year is about the level at which one has enough money so one can save a lot of it. I don't think that 100% AMI is "affordable housing" by any standards. It leaves poor working class peons (like myself) without any chance of owning their own homes, and gives developers a present for doing it.

Themes repeated time and again by the members of the public who spoke to the Council:
  1. Please delay immediate action on incentive zoning so that voices outside the development community/those who are most affected by IZ/the poor can be heard.
  2. The workforce doesn't make 80% AMI (I sure as hell don't). Don't give rewards to developers for creating housing that isn't truly affordable - affordability levels should be set for 60% of AMI and below.
  3. Please, for the love of God, don't let development equal displacement. We like development, but it's unjust if economic growth pushes out current residents.
Other speaker highlights:
  1. Affordable housing built on the site is preferable to in-lieu fee buyouts, which don't work. (Emily Patterson, Tenant's Union)
  2. If in-lieu fees are used, the should be set according to how much it costs to build below market rate housing (re-evaluate the present arbitrary-looking fee amounts).
  3. 11 and 20% are too low - 30% of the BFA should be set aside for affordable housing.
  4. All medium and large projects should be required to set aside 10% of their area for affordable housing. All these projects would then be entitled to a density bonus. (#2-4 = Howard from Puget Sound SAGE)
With all the issues that were pointed out in the meeting, I can't help agreeing that the City Council and Mayor's Office need to take some time and create an IZ plan that's actually useful. There is one small problem. The Housing Levy is coming up in the first quarter of next year. If the IZ legislation is pushed off for a few months, it'll have to be decided on at about the same time as the Levy.

The concern I heard at the meeting was that if uninformed Seattle voters hear that two pieces of affordable housing legislation are coming up for a vote at the same, they'll decide we only need one of them. Which is really stupid, and I hope for the sake of mankind that Seattlites aren't paying just enough attention to actually give a shit and but not enough to not know what's going on. It's a sad day when apathy is on our side.

The next stop in the evening was Office Nomads for a Sustainable Capitol Hill meeting on street tree mapping for Capitol Hill. Our ultimate goal is mapping the parking strips on the west side of Capitol Hill so we can tell SDOT all the good places to plant more street trees.

Four of us picked out test mapping areas so we could try out Brennon of SCH's mapping notation (Paved/Unpaved, Width, Wire Height/No Wire) and see how much area we could conveniently cover in one go (turns out that's about six blocks). Everybody's maps turned out well - Success! Now Brennon will run the maps by the SDOT arborist to see if he likes them, make up some more maps, and review our suggestions for locations where we can do a community tree planting event. Yay trees!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Work and Plants

It is so fucking nice out - why do I have to work today!? It is an idyllically crispy-clear autumn morning, and I am sitting at my cube with no windows doing filing. At least I have my officeplants...

Speaking of plants... Not only do they make a cubicle livable, they also improve indoor air quality (NASA say so!). Turns out that our little green buddies are really good at sucking up all the cancer causing stuff that's off-gassing from just about anything in the home or office. So if you don't want cancer, read this article and find out about the amazing air cleaning houseplants. Yay plants!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Swale on Yale

Breaking news from WorldChanging Seattle: Vulcan is partnering with the City of Seattle to build a big ole' two block biofiltration swale in the South Lake Union neighborhood. Its boundaries will be Pontius and Yale on the east and west and Republican and Thomas on the north and south. This is a super strategic spot seeing as the bioswale can catch much of the runoff jetting down Capitol Hill on its way to Lake Union. Read more here.

Ok, so Vulcan isn't completely bent on screwing up Seattle's livability. This doesn't get them off the hook for pushing for 400 ft. towers in SLU in the name of the environment, though.

LOL News: Not just for Stephen Colbert

I found Pundit Kitchen via I Can Has Cheezburger, which makes sense since the lovely Cheezburger folks make both sites possible. I think these sites prove that a funny caption can make just about anything funny. Even the collapse of a major Seattle economic institution.

Lolcats of the week

Your daily serving of adorable in 5...4...3...2...

Environmental Restoration is Fun

I got to go on my first dig-in-the-dirt field trip of the season, and for once, I didn't have to drive. Green Footprints Action Works hosted a work party this Saturday at 25th and Harrison at what they're calling the "Harrison Wet Spot". It's a designated wetland, but for now, the Green Footprints name is more accurate.

I spent most of the time excavating concrete slab that used to be a driveway, but now is simply a nuisance buried under six inches of soil. Those with more upper body strength than I (thank you Eric, Randy and sons) hefted a sixteen pound hammer and broke the said nuisance into removable chunks. Those not engaged in concrete-oriented activities laid down cardboard and woodchips for weed control. Sigh...good times.

Work parties for the Harrison Wet Spot are every first Saturday :D Guess who'll be there next month. If you want more info, contact the wonderful, wonderful organizer Eileen at

Oooh, this looks like fun

2008 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival - October 17-26, 2008

Neighborhood Plan Update Update Update

Breaking news: the neighborhood district councils have until November 15th to pick out representative for the Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee, not October 7th as previously reported by the Department of Neighborhoods. That's a little more like it.

From Chris Leman, City Neighborhood Council Chair:

On Sept. 22, the City Council passed Res. 31085, creating a Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee. Thanks to strong advocacy from neighborhoods throughout the City, the resolution empowers each of the 13 district councils to appoint one member of NPAC--a majority of its 24 members. Res. 31085 states that the district councils "will be responsible for selecting their own representatives to the NPAC." It also gives each district council the power to remove and replace their representative at any time.

Resolution 31085 can be found here or by going to and clicking on "resolutions" and then typing 31085.

Mischief Night - DIY Horror at Central Cinema (Thurs, Oct. 30th)

From CHS Blog to you, courtesy of Central Cinema.

Break out the fake blood and rattle some door knobs! Make a short horror film in any genre from Gore to Psychosis to Zombies. Keep it under 10 minutes-ish. Burn it on a DVD and submit it to Central Cinema before Midnight October 26th. Extra credit for including a STIFF Festival T-shirt, STIFF Poster, Central Cinema T-shirt, or Central Cinema Sticker somewhere in your movie.

Bring your friends ready to SCREAM on Mischief Night Oct 30th. The judging will be heavily influenced by the Scream-o-meter! Drink Beer! Eat Pizza! SCREAM! Win Fabulous Prizes!

Watch the trailer:

I know what I'm doing the night before Halloween. You?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stand up for Development with Justice

From our friends at Puget Sound SAGE. If you have the time, please go - development in the City of Seattle has some serious social justice issues:

Stand up for Development with Justice
How can we make new development work for social and economic justice?

Right now, our elected officials are debating what standards and public benefits we will expect from developers in return for increased density.

The Incentive Zoning (IZ) policy currently under consideration at City Council will shape development in Seattle over the next 10 to 20 years, and low-wage workers, people of color, tenants, and immigrants haven't all been at the table. It's time to promote a vision of development that reflects our values of social and economic justice. This is an opportunity to positively impact our communities for years to come.The stakes are high for affordable housing and the creation of family-wage jobs.

Add your voice to the debate and demand that IZ include more benefits for communities that need them the most.

City Council Public Hearing on "Incentive Zoning"
Tuesday, October 7, 2008 5:30 PM
(Arrive at 4:30 to sign up to comment)
City Council Chambers
600 4th Avenue, Second Floor
Seattle, WA

Even if you do not wish to speak, please plan to attend - your presence is powerful.

Drag Charity Bingo at Cafe Metropolitain every Sunday night

Giggle Galore and Bingo Boy Marc have been kind enough to have the proceeds of October's Drag Charity Bingos go toward the development of John and Summit Park. So everyone should come and spend a lot of money. Anyway, Cafe Metropolitain is a far too adorable little bar on the corner of Olive and Boylston and Drag Charity Bingo is held there every Sunday from 8pm until 11pm.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cap Hill Chamber Tastes Wine, Hires Kite, Sweeps Streets

Can you tell this is my week of getting way too much neighborhood news in my inbox?

From the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce e-newsletter (get it direct - join by emailing

Wednesday, October 8th @ 5:30 PM
Poco Wine Room is hosting a special member event for us this month - a Fall Wine Tasting Fundraiser featuring outstanding Northwest wines. Owner, Peter Moore, and his partner, Bart Reynolds, have hand picked 6 of their favorite Northwest wines (+1 "mystery wine") specifically for us to try out! While you are tasting enjoy the delicious appetizers prepared by Poco Wine Room's talented chef.

This month's event is not only a great chance to socialize while sipping on some great wine, but also an opportunity to visit a Chambers member businesses and support your Chamber at the same time!

$30 for members $35 for non-members
Half the proceeds go towards supporting the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce!

Where and When:
Poco Wine Room located on 14th and Pine (1408 E Pine)
Wednesday, October 8th 5:30-7:00 PM

Brand and Messaging will help Update and Elevate Seattle Neighborhood's Status as Great Place to Live, Work and Shop - The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce has hired Kite Inc., a full-service brand strategy and design firm, to begin work on the first phase of a brand development project for Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Kite will help promote and accentuate the neighborhood as a great place to live, work and shop.

Part of a comprehensive 5-year strategic marketing communications effort, one of the primary goals of the program is to promote Capitol Hill as a shopping, dining and entertainment destination that will remain vibrant during the 6.5 years of Sound Transit light rail construction beginning in 2009.

Kite will work closely with a group of community stakeholders that include local business owners and residents to gain a deeper understanding of the neighborhood's needs and ambitions.

Financial partners in this effort include the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, Broadway Business Improvement Area, and Sound Transit.

Volunteer's Needed for Capitol Hill's Fall Street Sweep!
Saturday, October 18th, 10AM-Noon
Join with neighbors, teams from local businesses and organizations, family, friends, and other volunteers to help clean up a stretch of Capitol Hill. On October 18th, volunteers will pick up trash, clean windows, and get to know one another along Denny & Olive between Cal Anderson Park and I-5. Get there early to enjoy pastries and coffee, and stay afterward for pizza and live entertainment.

When: Saturday, October 18, 10AM-12PM
Where: Meet at Cal Anderson Park Shelterhouse, 1635 11th Ave. Boundaries will be Denny and John from Broadway to to Olive and Olive to the freeway.
Contact: CHCC Community Clean Up Coordinator, Allyson Fredericksen at

More on the proposed Pike/Pine Conservation District

Developments continue apace concerning the Pike/Pine Conservation District. It looks like there will be a "[City] Council Public Workshop" on Oct. 14th that will "discuss the Draft Pike/Pine Action Plan". No news yet on what time or where the meeting will be held. Here's the rest of the timeline concerning the Conservation District from the City's website:

Council public workshop to discuss Draft Pike/Pine Action Plan October 14, 2008
DPD submits Pike/Pine Phase 1 legislation to Council November 2008
Council holds public hearing and votes Pike/Pine Phase 1 legislation First quarter 2009
DPD submits Pike/Pine Phase 2 legislation to Council Second quarter 2009
Council completes review of Pike/Pine Phase 2 legislation Third quarter 2009

As for posting the Conservation District Study or the proposed legislation - I've got them on PDF, but I've yet to discover a way to put up PDFs using any Blogger gadgets or options I've ever seen. Argh. Ideas, anyone?

Neighborhood Plan Update....update

Just got this tasty treat in my inbox:

(sent, with District Council Chair Paul Stom's permission, in the absence of Jose Cervantes, by Andrew Taylor)

Dear East District Council members,

As you may recall, the City Council has passed a bill laying out a mechanism for updating Neighborhood Plans ( ).

Last Friday I received the message copied below, inviting community members to indicate to their District Councils if they would like to serve as that District's representative on the Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee. There will be one representative from each of the 13 District Councils (and assorted other members).

You'll note that the invitation (received last Friday PM) gives us very little time to choose our representative [by 5pm on Tuesday, October 7th -thanks City of Seattle!-JJP]! I complained about the short time frame, to no avail.

East District Council member Dennis Saxman, whom many of you know as a very dedicated, involved and knowledgeable neighborhood volunteer, indicated that he would be happy to serve as the East District's representative.

I invite you (as East District Council members) to:

a) volunteer for the position yourself or

b) make other East District residents aware of the position

and c) indicate to me your opinion on Dennis Saxman's offer to serve on our behalf.

I will communicate your replies to East District Council Chair Paul Stom, and invite him to make the final decision.

I apologize for the unconventional nature of this communication, but the City's very short time frame (and the absence of Jose Cervantes on vacation) seemed to leave us no alternative.

Many thanks for your time and input,

Andrew Taylor
East District Council member

I believe the person to contact with your nomination is Sebhat Tenna, Strategic Outreach Advisor with the City of Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods - 206-733-9977, That's the only likely contact that I have an email and a phone number for, anyway - no such luck with Paul Stom.