Friday, December 9, 2016

November Neighborhood Private Security Patrol Report And Seattle Police Crime Report

Below are two separate reports for October crime activity in the neighborhood. 

The first is the Neighborhood Private Security Patrol activity report (subscribe here) provided by the Laurelhurst Community Club.
The second is the Seattle Police Department crime report.

Laurelhurst Private Security Patrol Report:
27 total patrols including:

Responded with SPD to residential burglary and patrolled the area looking for the suspect
Cleared 4 juveniles from the park late at night

Neighborhood Seattle Police Department Report:

11/3   4300 block of 52nd Avenue NE    2:13am
Laurelhurst Blog post regarding residential burglary

11/10   7:15pm  3300 block of 46th Avenue NE

11/11   12:35pm     East Surber Drive/41st Avenue NE

11/12    1:20pm     3800 block of 49th Avenue NE

11/12   2:25pm  4800 block of NE 45th Street

11/13   9:06pm    4400 block of 52nd Avenue NE

11/14   12:42pm    5000 block of NE 44th Street


11/15   3:20pm   4500 block of  54th Avenue NE


11/6  3:44pm    4300 block of NE 35th Street


11/17   11:54am   4500 block of NE 38th Street


11/18   11:0pm   3500 block of  46th Avenue NE


11/23   11:20am    3000 BLOCK OF WEBSTER POINT RD NE

11/29   9:14pm   4500 block of 46th Avenue NE

11/30    5:37am   4700 block of  NE 45th Street


11/30   2:03pm    4500 block of 46th Avenue NE


11/30   8:24pm    5000 block of  NE 44th Street


Tomorrow Free Ski Helmet Fitting and Giveaway Held By Children's Hospital

Tomorrow from 10:30 - to 12:30 p.m., in the Seattle Children's Administration Building  (6901 Sand Point Way NE), there will be a  free ski helmet fitting and giveaway for children  4 years old to age 18. 

The information says:
Get your kids set for the winter ski season at this free ski and snowboard helmet fitting and giveaway. Wearers must be present and fitted to receive a helmet; supplies are limited. Quantities are limited. First come, first served. No appointments needed.
And here are some tips posted on the Children's website about proper helmet fit:

  • Choose a certified helmet made just for snow sports. Look for a helmet that meets ASTM F2040, Snell RS-98 or CEN 1077 standards.
  • Bring the goggles that your child will wear on the slopes to make sure they work with the helmet you choose.
  • The pads are flush against your child’s cheeks and forehead.
  • The back of the helmet does not touch the nape of your child’s neck.
  • It is snug, but not tight, with the chinstrap fastened.
  • The helmet sits level, with the front edge being no more than 1 inch above your child’s eyebrows.
  • The helmet does not roll forwards or backwards.
  • It does not shift when your child shakes their head from side to side.
(photo courtesy of Hospital website)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Coyote, Deer And Rabbit Neighborhood Sightings

The Laurelhurst Blog has received reports and pictures about sightings of deer, coyote and rabbits. 

Here are some of the sightings and comments reported:

I thought I saw a smallish and skittish coyote around midnight on my way home through the Center for Urban Horticulture recently.  And there also have been plenty of rabbits.

So wonderful to have the urban wildlife.  For sure the rabbit population will benefit from the absence of three coyotes killed this summer. More food for the eagles.  
The deer and all the bunnies take one look at the state of the Talaris site and think it's the wild, hence they will roam towards it. 
Let's hope someone doesn't decide the deer is a threat to landscaping or something and have it "offed" in the dark of night by the Department of Agriculture.

This coyote (pictured above) recently watched us, as we looked at him from our windows, for at least a full 15 minutes recently one afternoon around 2pm.  The fence in front of him is a small enclosed area for our tiny 10 pound dog.  This is my first coyote sighting ever and just steps from our back patio.  Is it usual for coyotes to be out in the middle of the day and appearing to be unafraid of humans? Was he waiting for our dog to come out for his noontime snack? Or perhaps he prefers the numerous squirrels who like to play back there or even just a crow? Or could he have been rabid?  I prefer to think of coyotes hunting rats while we sleep in areas like the wooded portion of the Villa property or the Center for Urban Horticulture wetlands or Talaris. I have warned my immediate neighbors but I wanted to make a slightly broader neighbor warning to be vigilant and watch your pets closely as I could never predicted what we saw today.  He nearly drove the crows insane before turning and running into the bushes towards a neighbor's house and the Beach Club.

I saw a coyote in Laurelhurst Park on November 3oth. It seemed to be very curious about humans, but still somewhat fearful. It ran away from me and my dog and then stopped and looked back at us.


I saw a coyote that ran quickly across the entrance to the Park right in front of my car recently in the evening. He was small and very healthy looking.

I saw a coyote running down the sidewalk on NE 42nd Street.  Best to keep pets inside. 

Several coyotes killed our cat about two months ago. We are aware that there is a pack that lives in Villa' Academy's green belt. Be extra vigilant with your small pets.

Anyone encountering a coyote or others will help them by trying to scare them aware so that they don't get habituated and don't become afraid of people.

As I was driving past Talaris, I saw three full size coyotes running in a pack away from my headlights. 
Seems we have some new neighbors:  a fox family, and a doe and her fawn, in addition to the buck that moved into the Urban Horticulture area.  Let's all be aware that we share the roads with the people, pets, and wildlife in our neighborhood and slow down.


A few days ago I saw this deer in my yard. He stayed for a few minutes and then jumped the fence toward Yesler Creek area. Looks like a young buck.

We saw a young deer walking along on the sidewalk in front of the Horticulture Center.

Deer and coyotes pictures taken by neighbors:  

Neighbors also sent comments regarding coexisting with the various animals:

City of Seattle is not a healthy environment for deer. While it's wonderful to see wildlife in your won backyard, things probably won't end well for the poor animals as this is not a natural habitat for them and there are so many hazards they don't know how to deal with. 

The potentially dangerous urban coyotes are those that boldly show themselves in plain sight during daytime hours, like the ones reported in the neighborhood.
They are the ones most likely to attack pets, small children (1-year-old, a 4-year-old bitten by coyotes in separate incidents in the Eastgate area of Bellevue and even adult humans.  Coyotes can easily get into most fenced yards to attack pets and children, so beware of leaving yours unattended.  One study reported about a dozen coyote attacks [on humans] occurred each year between 1985 and 2006.  

One neighbor offered information his is from the "Urban Coyotes" page on Portland's Audubon website:
"Coyotes and Humans

Unless habituated to humans, coyotes are generally shy and wary and present a minimal risk to humans.

There has only been one human death attributed to coyote predation in the United States. This occurred in California in the 1970s when a coyote that had been deliberately habituated to human handouts preyed upon his human feeder's three-year-old child.

Those incidents that have occurred nationwide most often fall into the category of nips, bites and scratches rather than predatory attacks and almost always follow situations in which the coyote has been deliberately habituated to human handouts."

If people are smart about not providing food to coyotes, not letting small pets out unattended (many reasons why people shouldn't do this anyway...), or engaging with the coyotes as more than distant observers, there likely won't be an issue. But just one neighbor feeding a coyote can create a monster, so the more we can all learn to adapt, the better. Removing coyotes only opens up space for more to move in, and they will.

A curious coyote roaming in the daylight is not unusual.. They search out opportunities at all hours. They are no danger to people unless they're rabid, which is very unusual. They will run if confronted. Small dogs are on their menu, but they are more likely to go after small game such as squirrels and rats, they love to gooble up rats. If you leave dog food out, they will come by to help themselves. On occasion a coyote will become too acclimated to our environment and abandon their natural hunting in favor of feeding on our garbage and pets. When this happens animal control has to remove them. Most of the time they're just passing through and making some noise and assuming an aggressive posture will encourage them on their way. If they want to hang around a little while and eat some rats, I'll cut them some slack.

Here is information the Laurelhurst Blog has posted about living with urban coyotes.

Saturday "Birds in Winter" Story Time At Center For Urban Horticulture


Miller Library, located in Laurelhurst at the UW Botanic Gardens (3501 NE 41st Street)  is holding a storytime on Saturday with the theme of "Birds In Winter" from 10:30-11:15am.

Storytime is geared towards children ages 3 to 8. All ages and their families are welcome.

information s

Can you watch birds in winter? From the serious to the silly, these authors all have something to share about wintertime and birds.  
After the stories, come to the program room to make a birdfeeder for your feathered friends.

Books to be read are:

The next storytime is January 14 and the theme is "Funny Vegetables."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Police Prevention Holiday Tips Including Package Porch Thefts

The Laurelhurst Blog has received an increase in reports of packages stolen from porches with the holidays approaching. 

Some recent reports of stolen packages came from homes located on NE 41st, a few blocks from the park where the residents were out only a short time and the 3800 block of  42nd Avenue NE, where residents reported seeing someone in a light colored jacket, jeans, tennis shoes with brown hair and a baseball like hat. 

The Seattle Police said:
We are at a time of year when we see an increase in package thefts from homes.   Some package thieves will follow or watch for delivery trucks and then target a home after a delivery is made; other thieves may just happen to see the package left at the doorstep of the home, in plain view of the street, and help themselves.

Here are Seattle Police holiday prevention tips:

Package prevention:
  • If you are having packages delivered from an online order try to get them sent to your place of work if that's allowed. If not, there are some companies that have lockers available as a pickup location.
  • If you are leaving presents out to look at until it's time to open them, try to make sure you can't see them from a window or door in your home.
  • If you see someone suspicious checking out mailboxes for deliveries call 911. We need your help on this one, get a good description of the person and their vehicle if they have one.
  • Track your shipment: All of the major delivery companies offer package tracking, some providing free alerts letting you know where your package is in the shipping process. 
  • Require a signature upon delivery.
  • Pick up the item(s) from the carrier’s local hub.
  • Ask the delivery service to hold your package for customer pick-up at their local shipping facility.
  • Request the package be left with a trusted neighbor who has agreed to accept the package for you.
  • Arrange to have the package shipped to another location where someone can receive it.  This could be your workplace, a friend or relative’s home, with a trusted neighbor, the leasing office at your apartment complex or even the local “mailbox” business that may agree to accept shipment of your item for a fee.
  • If none of the above are viable options, at the very least request the package be placed in a discrete location not visible from the street.

Car Prowl Prevention
  • When you exit or enter your parked vehicle, take a moment to look around the area.
  • Turn off and lock your car whenever you have to walk away from it.  This includes at gas pumps, ATMs, coffee shops, etc.  Never leave your car idling and unattended.
    Before leaving your parked car, always remove the keys, roll up the windows and lock the car.
  • Leave No Valuables in Your Car.  Never leave valuables in your car.  Items of little or no value to you still look inviting to a thief.  Even pocket change is enough of an enticement for some thieves.
  • If you must leave valuables in your car (say you’re out shopping and still have some stops to make), make sure that nothing of value is within plain view.  Place items in your car trunk out of sight.  Do this when you get to your car, rather than waiting until you park at your next stop.
  • Don’t leave accessories visible in your car.  You may have taken the Laptop or IPod in with you, but if you leave the USB cables for your laptop or earbuds for the IPod in the back seat, the offender may think those items are in the car and break in anyway.
  • If you have a GPS, think about how it is mounted in your car.  If the mounting for the GPS is visible, the thief may think the GPS is in the glove box or under the seat and may break in to try to get it. Have removable mounting for the GPS and put that out of sight as well.

Personal Safety
  • Before you leave home decide what you actually need to take with you rather than automatically taking your entire handbag or wallet out of habit.  For example, if you are going to the grocery store for a few items, you can carry cash, a single check, or credit/debit card, I.D. and keys in a pocket.
  • Wear clothing and shoes that are comfortable, low profile and appropriate for the weather.  This may not be the most fashionable choice but it is the safest.
  • Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings.  Avoid shortcuts.  Walk confidently.  Scan your surroundings and make eye contact with people.
  • Carry your keys and ID separately.  If someone gets your keys and ID, they may go to your home or business and access that location with the keys.
  • Always maintain positive control over your items.  Don’t tempt a thief by leaving your purse, wallet or packages unattended.  It only takes a second to grab them.  Never leave your purse unattended, even if it is in a shopping cart.
  • If you carry a purse, don’t dangle it from your arm.  Carry it very close to you, preferable with the strap over your shoulder and the purse to the front of your body.  Even better would be to carry the purse over your shoulder across your body and under your coat.
  • Take a friend along when doing holiday shopping.  Using the buddy system reduces your chances of being a victim of robbery.
  • When paying by cash, only take out the amount needed and keep the remainder out of view.  It’s always a good idea to carry minimal amounts of cash, regardless of the time of year.
  • Beware of strangers who bump, shove or get too close. Pickpockets may use these diversions to lift your wallet.
  • Be cautious of those you don’t know who offer to carry bags and packages for you.  Depending on where you shop, store personnel or mall security may offer assistance in carrying packages to your car or escorting you to your vehicle.
  • Before returning to your car, make sure you’re not over-burdened with packages.  Have your car keys in hand to avoid searching for them when you reach your car.
  • If you are attacked on the street, make as much noise as possible by calling for help or blowing a whistle.  Do not pursue your attacker.  Call 911 and report the crime as soon as possible.

Home Prevention Tips
  • Don’t openly display wrapped or received gifts so they are easily visible from the street.  You increase the possibility that a burglar will be tempted to gain entry and steal the gifts.
  • When disposing of the packaging in which gifts and other purchases come, realize that when you place these out for recycling or trash collection, those boxes sitting out on the curb on collection day give a passer-by a pretty good indication of what’s in your home.  Recycle the packaging, yes - but break the boxes down first, turn them inside out so the exterior writing does not show, and don’t put them on the curb until collection day. 
  • Burglars often enter through unlocked doors or windows.  When exterior holiday light extension cords are run inside through a window, this prevents the window from being secured, and this unsecured window is visibly noticeable.  Consider installing an inexpensive exterior outlet for your holiday lights so you don’t provide an opened and unlocked entry to your home. If you are going to be away, let your trusted neighbors know that you plan to be out town so that they can watch your home for you.  If they see suspicious activity while you are gone, they will know to call 911 for you.

Seattle Police recommend that citizens should always call 911 if they see a crime in progress or are a crime, no matter how small a person may think it is. 

SPD Public Affairs Officer Michaud said:

Without accurate data we can't make educated decisions on where officers are needed because we are only seeing a part of the issue and cannot put more officers into an area.  
So please, always call 911 if you want something done. Just remember that we will always prioritize life safety emergencies over a property crime. This prioritization can drive up response time to property crimes, but we will get there. This will allow us to track it but you won't have to wait for an officer to come speak with you. 
Also not reporting has a secondary effect that manifests in less officers being assigned to an area because call volume for that area goes down.

Crimes can also be reported on-line here.


Upcoming Classes At Center For Urban Horticulture

UW Botanic Gardens’ Center for Urban Horticulture  (3501 NE 41st Street) is having two classes in the next few days:

"Wetland In a Bottle Workshop" is on Thursday from 7-8:30pm and the cost is $30.

The information says:

Wetlands rely on the right balance of invertebrates, plants, water, and nutrients to stay healthy. In this class you will learn about plants and animals living in our nearby wetlands, and you will build your very own mini-ecosystem for your living room or office. Bring your own bottle, and we’ll supply the rest of the materials.

The second class, called "Pressed Plant Workshop," is on Saturday from 1-4pm and meets at Merrill Hall at the UW for a tour of the Hyde Herbarium.  The cost is $50.

The information says:

Explore the world of pressed plants and flowers, and make your own personalized gifts and card for the holiday season. Take a tour of the Hyde Herbarium with Herbarium Manager Eve Rickenbaker and learn about how and why plants are preserved. She will show you the basics of selecting plants for pressing, the pressing and drying process, and finally how to mount a herbarium specimen.

You will also be able to choose and mount a specimen of your own, complete with an official herbarium label. Pressed plants make wonderful cards, so you will also have the chance to create elegant cards to give away or keep. (Retail value of materials taken home: $100)

Register online or by calling 206-685-8033.

(Photos by Joel Bidnick)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tomorrow SR520 Meeting Update and Notes From Recent SR520 Lighting Impact Public Meeting

unaltered photo from Webster Point
looking at 520 bridge

Tomorrow from 5:30-6:30pm at the Graham Visitor Center inside the Arboretum, WSDOT is holding its monthly meeting to inform the public about the progress of the new 520 bridge.

There will be a presentation looking forward to the final year of construction as well as to  the next phase of SR 520 construction,  the Montlake Phase

A Laurelhurst Community Club representative said that tomorrow's meeting will have a larger scope than other meetings in several areas:
  • The WABN (west Approach Bridge North ) out over Union Bay is currently being heavily constructed, and it will review what was done in 2016, and plan for its opening in late 2017, as well as providing an update on the South (WABS), the Montlake lid and land bridge.
  • One issue that should be noted to WSDOT is that they should mock up the Shared Use Path lighting  type as the current system on the Floating Bridge is not acceptable, because it has created adverse impacts from its spill light onto Lake Washington.
  • Annual update on the Montlake Phase of the bridge. They will discuss the status of retaining the Montlake Market and the Neighborhood Traffic Mgt Plan.
  •  The timeline on the phase will be discussed.

Bryan Haworth, Montlake Community Club President said, as posted on their Blog:

I urge all concerned residents to turn out for this meeting because we are running out of time to have an impact on the design of this project.   
WSDOT also indicates they still plan on taking the Montlake Boulevard Market and 76 gas station through purchase or by eminent domain so please speak up and let them know this is unacceptable and alternatives to this plan must be part of the discussion.   
Let’s keep up the fight and I hope to see you there!

A Laurelhurst resident attended the recent Neighborhood special meeting  at the Center for Urban Horticulture, held by SDOT and State elected officials from the 46th District regarding the impacts of the lighting from the 520 bridge, which not only affects neighbors, but also  the health of the migrating salmon and the ecosystem.

The neighbor provided these notes to the Laurelhurst Blog along with this presentation he put together:

November 29 Meeting attendees: 
  • dozens of concerned neighbors
  • several representatives from WSDOT including the overall 520 bridge project lead (Julie Meredith)
  • The Secretary of Transportation
  • representatives of Cascade Bicycle Club
  • State Rep. Jessyn Farrell, Rep. Gerry Pollet, and Sen. David Frockt of our own 46th district

WSDOT presented their current findings, summarizing where we are. They clearly expressed that they are interested in a solution, and are trying to evaluate options. 

They expressed that at present time, they were looking to update neighbors and also get feedback on which solutions to pursue, and in which priority order. A repeated request for a neighborhood representative to be involved in future evaluation was made; WSDOT said they'd take that under advisement and get back to us on that idea. Some neighbors expressed skepticism at the accuracy of some of the visuals WSDOT presented of the current lighting, as they didn't fully show the light pollution levels, and some photos actually had some lights that were not turned on as they currently are. 

Providing clear prioritized feedback was rather difficult to do since no specific cost-of-solution data or budget constraint data was shared, so presumably their desire was to get desired feedback in the absence of relative cost and/or current feasibility.

The key options being considered viable at this time are:

1) Replacing the light fixtures altogether with other fixtures that ideally directs from the railing or a kickplate southward, rather than from the wall pointing north through the railings.

2) Adding some kind of shrouding to the existing light fixtures to direct the light down and onto the path rather than out, through the railing and over the water.

3) Adding some kind of opaque barrier to the railing to prevent light escaping.

4) Switching out the power supply entirely and moving from metal halide (3000+ lumen lights, more than twice as powerful as a car headlight each) to something less powerful.

Neighbors generally agreed with the above prioritization. Incremental funding to help fix the issue might be addressed by the legislature in January or February. Constituents who are concerned about this should write in and help provide input to their representatives. Some neighbors zeroed in on solution #2, assuming (perhaps wrongly?) that option #1 wasn't going to be feasible due to cost. Conversation afterward seemed to suggest that option #1 might actually be on the order of single-digit millions of dollars to implement, whereas option #2 was felt to be something that might be doable at perhaps one tenth that cost.

WSDOT stated that the design guidance they gave to the design/build contractor for the bridge stated that no more than 0.2 footcandles can be put onto the lake surface. WSDOT indicated that at least their own measurements taken from the water indicate they are under that limit, but this claim has not yet been independently verified, and some neighbors privately expressed skepticism that this measurement is accurate given the amount of reflection that can clearly be seen, especially on still nights. Neighbors also indicated that several fishery studies have shown harmful effects on salmon at as low as 0.009 footcandles. A WSDOT participant made a claim that light levels coming from the bridge are actually less than the prior bridge's light levels; this assertion was roundly rejected by neighbors in attendance as just not matching the reality they have experienced. Rep. Pollet indicated that the I-5 bridge overpass at Northgate (a current WSDOT project) does have low-lighting levels that seem like a viable design.

A suggestion was made to turn off the lights to the path now, while solutions are being evaluated. WSDOT expressed a view that they have many constituents that enjoy the path today and Sen. Frockt indicated that turning off the lights now might make a proper long-term solution politically and/or legislatively more challenging

Neighbors who are concerned about this issue should contact the following people with their input:

Also all lanes and ramps between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast on SR520 will be closed from 11pm on Friday through 5am on Monday. The SR 520 bicycle and pedestrian path on the floating bridge will also be closed over the weekend.
During the highway closure crews plan to:
  • Begin removing the remaining portion of the old westbound SR 520 off-ramp to Lake Washington Boulevard that extends over SR 520.
  • If weather permits and as necessary, evaluate lane striping and restripe lanes.
  • Pour new sections of roadway deck for the permanent WABN structure.
  • Complete various maintenance projects on the eastside of Lake Washington.
What to expect:
  • Nighttime construction lights to illuminate the work site.
  • Trucks delivering concrete for roadway-deck pouring.
  • Construction vehicles moving in and out of the old-MOHAI site for concrete delivery.
  • Noise from construction activities as crews use a concrete “muncher” to remove the old off-ramp. Crews may also use a hoe ram to remove the old off-ramp. Hoe ram activity will end by 10 p.m. each day.
A temporary noise variance will be in place to complete this work. Crews will follow all city of Seattle noise requirements and WSDOT inspectors will be on site to verify that construction activities comply with the city of Seattle noise code.

Closure map:

These closures are weather dependent and subject to change. We will keep you updated and provide more details regarding the closures through these emails, our SR 520 Orange Page and our SR 520 twitter feed.