Friday, February 24, 2017

All About Eva And Albert On 520



Here is a recent post from the Union Bay Watch Blog published by Larry Hubbell, long-time photographer and birder. 

Here also is an in-depth article about Larry and his work.



Making Memories
On behalf of all the 520 bridge commuters, I want to say,' Thank You' to Eva and Albert for all the memories. For many years, our local bald eagles have graced the light poles above Union Bay.

Each morning drivers, locked into their daily routine, search the light poles hoping to spot a flickering flash of freedom. On good days, both eagles might be seen - sitting on consecutive poles. In a city filled with cubicles, computers and nature-crushing conveyances the emotional boost of a three-second eagle sighting, even at sixty miles an hour, is universally treasured.


A few years back, I watched Eva lift off one of a 520 light poles, pick a meal out of the bay and return to eat it in front of me. For some reason, this red-tailed hawk was under the ego-inflated impression that it might scare Eva away from her breakfast. The table was quickly turned and it was the hawk who got the scare.

I have also watched Albert leap off of a light pole and snatch a gull out of the air. 

Sadly, the days of watching Eva and Albert hunting from light poles may be behind us. Earlier this week, I spoke with a gentleman who drives the 520 bridge every morning. He confirmed my suspicions. Neither of us have seen the adult eagles hunting from the light poles, in quite some time.

During the last year or so, I have spotted the eagles sitting side-by-side above the Broadmoor retaining pond.

I have heard them calling back and forth while perched high above the Arboretum. 

I have watched them soar peacefully above Montlake...

... and occasionally seen their silent hunting disrupted.

Last November, I saw one of them venture north to hunt from the Foster Island cottonwood tree - overlooking Union Bay.

However, ever since the new 520 construction moved in just to the east of Foster Island, I do not remember seeing Eva or Albert on the light poles. The pressing question for commuters is, When the construction is finished and all the clean up is done will the eagles return and begin hunting from the new bridge?

Sadly, when the old bridge is removed the light poles will go with it. The new bridge has no similar elevated hunting perches. In the new design, the light bulbs can all be easily accessed from the bridge deck. 

In my harmony-with-nature fantasy, I can imagine two of the old non-functioning light poles being reinstalled on the new bridge as hunting perches for the eagles. In reality, the eagles will most likely be relegated to using the conventional cottonwood trees which dot the shorelines. Possibly, they may hunt from the shorter, multicolored sculptures which sit on either side of the bridge. Even though the new bridge is fairly high, I will be surprised if the eagles venture close enough to the traffic to hunt from the railings. I suspect Eva still remembers Eddie's ill-fated encounter.

On a positive note, last week, I watched one of the eagles fly over to the south end of Foster Island and break a branch off one of the cottonwoods.

The eagle then returned to the distant nest and deposited the branch in front of its mate. Given the distance, I could not be sure which eagle was which.

On Monday evening, I again watched an eagle bring a branch to the nest. In this case it turned out to be Albert. Eva was overlooking his efforts from near the top of the tree. Albert situated the branch and then calmly sat down - as if to watch the sunset.


When Eva called out, Albert leaped out of the nest like a man on a mission.


He did a half circle around the tree, steadily gaining elevation with every stroke of his wings.

It quickly became obvious, that Albert understood Eva's invitation. They appear to be committed to their relationship and the process of reproduction

The 520 construction may have reduced the eagle encounters for commuters and it may have caused Eva and Albert to readjust their hunting territory, but in spite of any inconvenience our local bald eagles are making memories and once again planning on raising eaglets above the bay.

Have a great day on Union Bay...where nature lives in the city!

Larry


Going Native:

Without a functional Environmental Protection Agency, it falls to each of us to be ever more vigilant in protecting our local environments. Native plants and trees encourage the largest diversity of lifeforms because of their long intertwined history with local, native creatures. I have been told that even the microbes in the soil are native to each local landscape. My hope is that we can inspire ourselves, our neighbors and local businesses to plant native flora and to support native wildlife at every opportunity. My intention is to include at least one photo each week and visually challenge us to know the difference between native and non-native lifeforms. 

Which of the following are native to Union Bay?

A)

B)

C)

Photo A shows an eastern gray squirrel eating the fruit of an ash tree in the the Washington Park Arboretum. Neither the squirrel nor the tree is native to our area. However, the ash tree is carefully tended part of the Arboretum collection and not particularly invasive. The gray squirrels on the other hand are untended, invasive and continue to expand their territory. I met a gentleman the other day who said he can remember seeing native squirrels on Foster Island. I challenge you to find anything but eastern gray squirrels on the island today.

Photo B is of a native muskrat. Their Union Bay dens are usually in muddy banks with an entrance hidden underwater. They are probably the least seen of the three creatures in today's photos.

Photo C is of an Old World or Norway rat. They are now a nearly worldwide, invasive pest, which went along for the ride with european expansion. Barred owls, cooper's hawks, coyotes and other native creatures help us by eating these rats. Sadly, the bioaccumulation of the poisons, which we use when attempting to kill the rats, often cause unintended deaths. Old fashioned spring-loaded rat traps, baited with peanut butter, work fine and do not spread poisons among native creatures, our dogs and cats, and the environment in general.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

STEAM Science,Technology And More At NE Library On Sunday





STEAM Sunday at the Northeast Branch
 
 
 
The Northeast branch of the Seattle Public Library (6801 35th Avenue NE) is having a special event called "STEAM Sunday" from 2-3:30pm.  

The information says:
Tweens and teens ages 9 to 15 are invited to drop in for activities arranged by teen volunteers around science, technology, engineering, art and mathematical (STEAM) themes.
 
For more information go here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

City Council Passes University District Upzone



Yesterday Seattle City Council voted unanimously to adopt the University District upzone, which could increase building heights to up to 320 feet (32 stories), plus another 15' for mechanicals.

The affected area is the main University District core (15th  Avenue NE to the freeway and 41st to NE 50th Street) and potentially 240' buildings in other areas of the core area.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold issued this statement after Council’s adoption of the University District MHA Rezone:
As I considered the U District Rezone and the new MHA requirements, my top priority was insuring that the new requirements to contribute to affordable housing were adequate to meet the need.  The historic new requirements in MHA help but I’m concerned that they aren’t robust enough to both expand housing opportunities for people who move to our City and to prevent displacement of low-income residents who make the University District their home today. 
Displacement prevention is the reason I pursued an amendment to increase affordable housing requirements for developers in new U District highrises and why I proposed a resolution to evaluate the risk of displacement in residential zones in neighborhoods slated for area-wide rezones next year. 
The Displacement Risk Analysis for the University District Rezone proved insufficient to allow the Council to consider new and additional strategies to more fully mitigate displacement.  This newly adopted resolution seeks a more thorough evaluation of residential displacement from increases in development capacity.   
We want people of diverse incomes to be able to stay in our City while making room for others to move here.  Moving forward, I’m hopeful we can improve affordability and opportunity in neighborhoods for both.



Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle), Chair of the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee, issued this statement: 
Today’s passage of the University District Upzone represents a huge step in living our values as a welcoming, sustainable, and inclusive city.
These zoning changes are the first to enact our Mandatory Housing Affordability program, requiring all new multifamily and commercial buildings include affordable housing units or make a payment in lieu to support the City’s construction of affordable homes.   
By taking this action today, we support the growth in the neighborhood with a number of investments and programs that have been identified by the community as priorities to result in a more vibrant, equitable neighborhood for all who live and work in the area.   
The passage of this legislation culminates a 5-year process in which city staff engaged with people who live, study, and work in the U District; this legislation includes changes we made in direct response to the concerns and opportunities we heard, and for that type of responsiveness, I am especially proud. For example, we delayed zoning changes along a stretch of the Ave so a study on the potential impacts on small businesses could be completed. We provided additional incentives to designate and preserve landmark structures in residential areas of the U District. And we created incentives for more family-sized units to ensure families continue to have a place in the U District. 
I would like to thank all of the folks who have come out to testify, wrote emails, or called, and I would like to thank the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee members for all of their hard work on this bill.


The Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) said prior to yesterday's vote:
Housing advocates and resident organizations from the U District strongly urge the public to attend and speak against the City’s proposed plans.  Within “ground zero” of the area of the upzone there are over 1500 units of existing low income and affordable housing (go here  for inventory), historic buildings and dozens of small businesses which are in jeapordy (go here for letter from small businesses placed at risk and opposing these upzones) by proposed plans driven largely by large property owners and the UW.
The old Safeco Building, now owned by UW, is 340 feet high, and some development plans include copying those heights along the highest part of the UDistrict, of which some would be taller than any South Lake Union buildings.  The natural views of the beautiful Olympic Mountains will be blocked out forever by these concrete rectangles along the "new" skyline, not to mention the creation of a dense and darker streetlife in this old neighborhood. 
Numerous other issues are at stake with the proposal, such as displacing existing housing with "new and taller" which means "more expensive", and lots of folks cannot afford it, nor want to live in such tall buildings. It forces a lifestyle change in the entire district which has the diversity of many smaller, locally owned businesses.
The gradual upzone should be allowed, but permitting silos of concrete is not the right scale for the diverse fabric and livability of the U District The only infrastructure improvement offered is for impacts on transportation is the LIght Rail system with its 2 or 3 cars, in a corridor that only runs north and south. Not much else is guaranteed by any developer. And those who talked about living there with families are out of luck-no larger units offered, and there is no operating public school. and there is no green space planned in area that already has a parkland deficit.
Go here for more information. 



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

NEST Holding Politics And Leadership Talk Tomorrow At Center For Urban Horticulture




NEST (Northeast Seattle Together), which supports Northeast Seattle elder neighbors through a network of volunteers and vendors, is having a special event tomorrow at the Center for Urban Horticulture at 6:30pm called "All Forward: Politics, Leadership and American in 2017" with David Domke.

NEST is a non-profit grassroots operation serving NE Seattle seniors by creating a "virtual village" to helping them be able to stay in their own homes and neighborhoods they love. Volunteers provide companionship, care, as well as help seniors with a wide range of services, including gardening, computer help and more. to seniors aging in their homes. Ongoing classes (fitness, etc) are also offered, as well as access to events, transportation services, and various services (such as estate planners) whoprovide their services at a discount to members.

Here is more information:

All Forward with David Domke

Monday, February 20, 2017

Give Input Now On Proposed University District Upzone, Council Vote Tomorrow



The City Council is voting tomorrow at 2pm on the proposed University District upzone.  

The potential upzone includes taller building heights of up to 320 feet (32 stories), plus another 15' for mechanicals.

The affected area would be the main University District core (15th  Avenue NE to the freeway and 41st to NE 50th Street) and potentially 240 foot buildings in other areas of the core area.

A neighbor commented that Lisa Herbold has proposed amendments that will help create more affordable housing and support small businesses.

Alex Pedersen, a Northeast Seattle neighborhood advocate, who published a monthly newsletter said:
Unfortunately, our Northeast Councilmember Rob Johnson is plunging ahead at the urging of lobbyists to cement this ill-conceived, poorly planned overhaul of our neighborhoods that must be fixed. Without sufficient notice, Johnson played a last-minute game of "Monopoly" and "Risk" with our neighborhoods by engulfing several blocks into the upzone scheme -- jeopardizing nearly 200 units of existing affordable housing. This U District upzone is poised to create the mold for future changes in Northeast Seattle neighborhoods from Wallingford to Wedgwood and throughout our City. The Council needs to hear from you now!


The Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) said:
Housing advocates and resident organizations from the U District strongly urge the public to attend and speak against the City’s proposed plans.  Within “ground zero” of the area of the upzone there are over 1500 units of existing low income and affordable housing (go here  for inventory), historic buildings and dozens of small businesses which are in jeapordy (go here for letter from small businesses placed at risk and opposing these upzones) by proposed plans driven largely by large property owners and the UW.
The old Safeco Building, now owned by UW, is 340 feet high, and some development plans include copying those heights along the highest part of the UDistrict, of which some would be taller than any South Lake Union buildings.  The natural views of the beautiful Olympic Mountains will be blocked out forever by these concrete rectangles along the "new" skyline, not to mention the creation of a dense and darker streetlife in this old neighborhood. 
Share you comments about:
-preserving the eclectic, small businesses community that relies on inexpensive, small scale rents
-reducing the heights to a more human scale-under 120 feet.
-retaining the housing units that are truly affordable-1500 are slated to be destroyed
-requiring infrastructure-better transit connections, better flow in roads, and adequate freight/loading access to all new buildings
-requiring public open space to be embedded in any plans
-requiring tree protection, and planting new, larger trees
-retain and add to parking in all types of new buildings-not pretending that cars do not exist
-retain existing historic buildings
-require existing viewlines be maintained, especially mountain and water views
-require developers to pay impact fees to build schools resulting from greater residential population 


The U of WA wants the City's approval on 320 foot towers so they can match that height with THEIR 320 foot towers. All of this would sit on a tall hill already, which would change the skyline to concrete rectangles instead of the natural beauty of the Olympic skyline. Take pictures of your neighborhood's views and send them in asap.

Numerous other issues are at stake with the proposal, such as displacing existing housing with "new and taller" which means "more expensive", and lots of folks cannot afford it, nor want to live in such tall buildings. It forces a lifestyle change in the entire district which has the diversity of many smaller, locally owned businesses.

The gradual upzone should be allowed, but permitting silos of concrete is not the right scale for the diverse fabric and livability of the U District The only infrastructure improvement offered is for impacts on transportation is the LIght Rail system with its 2 or 3 cars, in a corridor that only runs north and south. Not much else is guaranteed by any developer. And those who talked about living there with families are out of luck-no larger units offered, and there is no operating public school. and there is no green space planned in area that already has a parkland deficit.

Do not complain, write emails and help make the upzoning more livable! Voice your concern over the poorly planned, profit driven upzones. This is taller than the buildings in South Lake Union (SLU) and will essentially make an SLU in the U District.

          

One neighbor said about what the upzoning will do, both at the UW campus and in the U District:
  • Remove most of the currently affordable housing in the U District and replace it with expensive highrises.
  • It will also get rid of most of the small businesses in the U District due to increases in rents, taxes, etc.
  • The UW wants to create an innovation, high-tech zone which will bring in high-end companies, further raising land values and other costs.
  • Change the whole nature of the U District, not just from taller buildings, but with encroachment/expansion of the UW onto what has always been separate from the UW.       

Go here for more detailed information posted by the Laurelhurst Blog.         


Friday, February 17, 2017

Off Leash Dogs Not Allowed In City Parks And Neighbor Comments

The Laurelhurst Blog consistently receives comments regarding residents who regularly visit the Laurelhurst park and encounter off-leash dogs


The City Code (SMC 18.12.080) states: 

18.12.080 - Animals running at large prohibited

Except as expressly allowed in subsection B hereof, it is unlawful for any person to allow or permit any dog or other pet to run at large in any park, or to permit any dog or other pet with or without a leash, except Seeing Eye or Hearing Ear dogs or dogs used by public law enforcement agencies and under control of a law enforcement officer, to enter any public beach, swimming or wading area, pond, fountain, stream, organized athletics area or designated children's play area.
Any person with a dog or other pet in his or her possession or under his or her control in any park shall be responsible and liable for the conduct of the animal, shall carry equipment for removing feces, and shall place feces deposited by such animal in an appropriate receptacle.


18.12.085 - Violation—Civil penalties.
Violation of Section 18.12.080 shall be a civil infraction as contemplated by RCW 7.80.120 subject to the following penalties: 
           
  • Initial Infraction. Imposition of a monetary penalty of Fifty Dollars ($50);
  • Second Infraction. Imposition of a monetary penalty of One Hundred Dollars ($100);
  • Third Infraction. Imposition of a monetary penalty of One Hundred Twenty-five Dollars ($125);
  • Subsequent Infractions. Imposition of a monetary penalty of One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150) for each infraction

Here are some comments received:

I have seen many egregious incidents at the Laurelhurst Park play ground, where I used to take my grandchildren. Many times I saw dogs running loose around the playground installations.  I told the owners that dogs should be leashed and not in the play area. One owner leashed his dog and called to his son, "C'mon son, this lady says we have to go home." That's not what I said, and shame on him for lying to his son.



I walk my dog at Laurelhurst Park but always keep him on a leash. I avoided the park for awhile after he was attacked by another dog and needed professional care. Now I only occasionally since the number of off leash dogs has dramatically increased. The law is the law is the law. The arrogant self entitlement that the owners show who continually let their dogs off leash is appalling and very un-neighborly. There's a big dog park at Magnuson to take off leash dogs to or your own backyard?  Maybe you don't want your dog to poop in your own yard.  Follow the law for the sake of everyone in Laurelhurst. 



I believe our neighborhood should come up with a solution that allows for some compromise on this issue, such as in San Diego where off-leash dogs are allowed only at certain hours. There is no good reason that off-leash or unruly dogs should be anywhere near the playground or even the athletic fields when there are young folks at play. Also, it is critical that dog owners who aren't able to successfully  control their dogs should ever have their dogs off leash.


Many people who walk their dogs at the park know that at certain hours, usually very early in the morning, the only people at the Park are dog owners.  I don't take issue when I see other folks enjoying each other's company there and playing with some dogs off leash at this time.  I do agree it is the responsibility of owners to throw away their dog's waste properly, and also help clean up after those who didn't.


We were having a birthday gathering in the park and on TWO separate occasions, off leash dogs ran into the party and started towards the food. Both times the dog owners laughed about it. 

City Launches Medicine Return Program And Drop Boxes


Bring medicines in their original container, or if you have loose pills, bring them in a zip-lock bag.



King County has recently launched a medicine return program funded by the drug companies that sell medicines into King County.


The public can, at no charge, safely dispose of medicines no longer needed by taking them to drop-boxes located throughout King County, including the QFC Pharmacy at the University Village. Participating pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, and law enforcement offices will accept most prescription and over-the-counter medicines for disposal. Mail-back envelopes are also available for residents who are homebound or have limited mobility.

The program aims to decrease the risk of drug abuse, overdose, and preventable poisonings.

The information says:
Unused, expired, and leftover drugs that accumulate in homes increase the risk of drug abuse, overdose, and preventable poisonings while unwanted medicines flushed down toilets and sinks or thrown in the trash can end up in the environment. Ninety nine drop-boxes are available and over four hundred drug producers are participating.


For more information go here.




Thursday, February 16, 2017

Zopf Pharmacy Picture And History





A Laurelhurst resident sent in this 1949 photo from the City archives, of Sand Point way and NE 45th Street.

On the left is the former Zopf Pharmacy, of which the Laurelhurst Blog published its history. 

In November the building which housed the Pharmacy at 4529 Sand Point Way NE and then the Bicycle Center for several decades was demolished.

A neighbor who watched the demolition said "This is a bittersweet day. I went there a child with wonderful memories and it's been there as long as I can remember."

Randy, the grandson of the original owner of the building also watched the demolition along with a long-time Laurelhurst resident. Randy said that watching the building come down was "an occasion to see the family history, and to see how the building went together" as it was built by his grandfather, George Zopf, a pharmacist and was where George met his wife in the mid 1940's.

Randy's grandfather was the pharmacist, and Randy's his mother Phyllis  worked at the Pharmacy, and was also a licensed pharmacist for over 50 years, many of them in the family drugstore, then for other independent druggists.

The pharmacy, which operated until the 1970's, was popular with children for its soda fountain, which Randy said was along the wall that was parallel to the south side parking lot and there were all flavors of coke.


Randy said his mom taught him how to use the varieties of coke, saying "All you need is coke and chocolate."  Randy said that when someone bought a soda, you had to pay two extra cents for the deposit then you returned the glass and got the money back.  Shakes were made by hand, as well as sodas and floats. Arden, a local brand of ice-cream was used. 

Randy described the interior of the pharmacy saying there was a cigar case that was in the front left corner.  There was a prescription room, also home remedies section and a few toys. There was also a nut case in a steel case where nuts were heated on a rotating tray.

Most customers were from Windermere and Laurelhurst. Randy said his mom dropped off the prescriptions or one of the sons did to customers, even in snowy weather.

"Customers counted on it. It's just what you did, it was part of the neighborhood you were in," Randy said.

In 2005 the upstairs portion of the building sustained about $75,000 in damage in an arson fire allegedly started by an employee who wasn't paid. No repairs were ever done following the fire to the deck, siding or the two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, leaving it completely fire damaged.   The Laurelhurst Blog Staff learned that there was no running water or heat in the fire damaged building, when the Bicycle Center was in operation.

Randy said that the fire was actually set by a worker, who was doing odd jobs in the building, and he set the fire in a stairwell and was later found to be a pyromaniac.  He said that following the fire, the bike shop owner jerry-rigged the building for electricity and ran his business on a shoe string budget. 

Later the building turned into eyesore and public nuisance.  When the sides of the building were demolished, graffiti, needles, and the severe decay of the interior were visible.
One neighbor told the Blog staff of Zopf Pharmacy:
Really old Laurelhurstians remember that place as Zopf's Pharmacy in the mid-60's complete with a great soda fountain! And Green River Sodas for 35 cents.  They had a great comic book selection too(which my mom wouldn’t let me buy). I’d sit at Zopf’s and read the latest Flash until chased away by Mrs. Zopf.

Another resident wrote:
We and many other long-time neighbors fondly remember the popular Zopf's Laurelhurst Pharmacy, which served the nearby neighborhoods for many years.

Senior Book Group Meeting Tomorrow At NE Branch Library

Book Group for Seniors


The Northeast Branch (6801 35th Avenue NE) of the Seattle Public Library, is having its monthly Senior book group  meeting tomorrow from 10-11am.

The information says:

This month’s title is "Tender at the Bone" by Ruth Reichl.  At an early age, Ruth Reichl discovered that "food could be a way of making sense of the world. If you watched people as they ate, you could find out who they were."  
Her deliciously crafted memoir, Tender at the bone, is the story of a life determined, enhanced, and defined in equal measure by a passion for food, unforgettable people, and the love of tales well told. Beginning with Reichl's mother, the notorious food-poisoner known as the Queen of Mold, Reichl introduces us to the fascinating characters who shaped her world and her tastes, from the gourmand Monsieur du Croix, who served Reichl her first souffle, to those at her politically correct table in Berkeley who championed the organic food revolution in the 1970s.  
Spiced with Reichl's infectious humor and sprinkled with her favorite recipes, Tender at the bone is a witty and compelling chronicle of a culinary sensualist's coming-of-age.


For more information go here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Andrei, Homeless Man, Follow Up Comments




The Laurelhurst Blog recently posted about Andrei, a homeless man, who frequents the neighborhood and northeast Seattle.  Several comments were received following the post.

One stated that Andrei sometimes sleeps at St. Stephens Church (4805 NE 45th Street). Neighbors at times hear him talking to himself.  The Police are not able to ask him to leave unless there is a posted No Trespassing sign.

Andrei reportedly also often walks through the Villa Academy property ((5001 NE 50th Street). Parents have reported that they have been sent information on the individual and interacting safely with him.

Andrei frequents the streets around Laurelhurst Elementary School - 46th, 47th and 49th Avenues NE usually going to and from Laurelhurst Park.

One neighbor reported:
We live on the 4500 block of 52nd Avenue  NE and believe, but are not certain, that Andrei was the man who took our motion sensor light on December 21st about 7:30 pm (see pictures above).  
His clothing matches what we have seen him and what has been reported that he usually wears.  
Perhaps he was carrying a knife or pliers to remove the light from our tree. Our camera didn't pick him up leaving our street after approaching our property.  
Some of the neighbors have seen him on the street in the daylight and wondered if he was living in the Villa forest.