Monday, June 26, 2017

Eagle And Baby Eagle Sightings in the Neighborhood And Talaris

The Laurelhurst Blog has received inquiries about how the baby eagles are doing at Talaris, where a long time eagles nest is located, just off of 41st Avenue NE.

Over the last several years, neighbors have been keeping Laurelhurst Blog informed of the baby eagle activity.

Recently neighbors wrote to the Laurelhurst Blog:
Have you heard any update on the eagles at Talaris?  It looked like eagles were sitting on the nest earlier in the spring. We wonder what has happened with the babies now.
I saw five eagles last week! All were in the air, though. I assumed two were juveniles, as I couldn't see white markings, but I didn't have binoculars. The problem is, I have not seen activity at the nest specifically, so those could have been eagles from either nest. Or do they mingle? They were circling above the Talaris campus, however.

Neighbors have also recently reported about other eagles nest:

There is another eagles nest on 55th Avenue NE and we saw two extra heads in the nest.  Please let neighbors know not to shoot off fireworks on July 4th, out of consideration of the eagles and of the dogs in the neighborhood.  We are also very curious about the eagles at Talaris. 
We saw two adults, and a younger eaglet, or fledgling, were being harassed by crows last weekend on Surber Drive and NE 41st Street. We also saw 7 playing in the wind about a week ago south of the Laurelhurst Beach Club.

Last July a neighbor sent the above picture and update about the eagles nesting near Talaris:

The chicks seem to be doing fine.  They mostly stand around and wait for food.  They are starting to whistle for food now.  By the time they go the neighbors, at least some of us are not sad to see them go.   
If there is a breeze one will stand on the edge of the nest and practice flying jumping into the air in small hops.  They are making trips out of the nest onto nearby branches.  If they follow past years,  they will be fledging toward the end of next month or so.

Last March and in May 2014, eagle chicks were sighted by residents on Surber Drive. In April of last year, a neighbor sent a video of the activity.  And in early 2013 there were more baby eagle sightings.

In September of 2013, residents were concerned about the eagles when suddenly 
a black vinyl fence was put up around the nest. Neighbors were again concerned last May when many reported hearing dump trucks and seeing a digging machine too close to the eagles nest. 

Please send your sightings and pictures to the Laurelhurst Blog Staff at

Bird Drawing Beginner Class On Wednesay

The Seattle Audubon Society is having a class called "The Art of Birding: Enhancing The Birding Experience with sketching/drawing" on Wednesday from 7-9pm or also on Friday from 7-9pm at Magnuson Park. The class is $40 for members and $50 for non-members.

The class is taught by Isadora Wong, Master Birder, Mental Health Counselor, Wellness Coach.

The information says:
Add to your birding fun by learning to sketch/draw birds in this beginner course. Learn some basic skills as well as how to bring out your creative side.  The primary goal is to enhance your experience with birds and nature.  All levels of birding skills invited. You will find that there is no wrong way to draw/sketch. 
Bring a drawing/sketch pad of any size and a sketching pencil/pen. Colored pens/pencils are optional, but can be fun to add.

Go here for more information and register here.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Off Leash Dog Comments Following Recent Post

The Laurelhurst Blog recently posted about off leash dogs at Laurelhurst Park and a pit bull that reportedly killing another dog at the park.

Several months prior, the same pit bull bit another dog at the Park, which required veterinary attention.  It was also reported that a standard poodle was bitten very seriously by a German shepherd several weeks ago in the Park, and required veterinary care. 

The Laurelhurst Blog consistently receives comments from neighbors who frequent the Laurelhurst Park enjoying the park or taking a walk, as well as those with their dogs, who regularly encounter off-leash dogs, a violation of Seattle City Code which states:

City Code (SMC 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

The Laurelhurst Blog received these comments following the post: 
I am a dog lover, however, the park is not for off-leash use, yet there are constantly dogs off leash running around. We have young children and I am frequently aghast when owners let their dogs run through the playground! Some children are scared of dogs! Let alone even the most well-behaved dogs can be unpredictable when startled by a child. We have lived in Laurelhurst for over 5 years and this has constantly been a problem. Can the LCC board do something? Put up signs or regulate it in some way? Maybe early morning could be a time for "off-leash play" so that there is some compromise!  

Fortunately there are some off-leash dogs at the Laurelhurst Park who are mostly friendly, playful, and supervised by their owners. However some dogs are not, even though owners are well aware of the leash policy and the off-leash dog park at Magnuson.
There should be absolutely no compromise on the well known Seattle Municipal Code about requiring dogs on leashes in the park and the penalties of not.  e are a mile and a half from one of the largest off leash areas in the city, 8.6 acres at Magnuson. We, the taxpayers have spent quite a bit of cash on building and maintaining these off leash areas. If a dog owner is not willing to take advantage of these, why should everyone else suffer for it?

Some children are scared of dogs and so are some adults.  Please do not assume that we all love your cute adorable furry family members. Please keep them on leashes, and I will let you know if I want to pet your pet and/or invite it to jump on me.  
Just because your dog isn't aggressive and is behaved, doesn't mean you shouldn't keep it on a leash. In both of those instances of the German Shepard and pit bull can you say for certain that the dogs weren't actually on a leash and it was the dogs that got bit that were running free? I know more than one situation where a non aggressive dog was unleashed and ran up on an aggressive leashed dog and got hurt. Everyone should keep their dogs leashed. 

I have seen many egregious incidents at the Laurelhurst Park play ground.  Many times I saw dogs running loose around the playground installations. I told the owners that their 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.
I believe our neighborhood should come up with a solution that allows for some compromise on this issue.  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. 

Tomorrow Family-Friendly Birding Lecture And Outing At Center For Urban Horticulture

The Seattle Audubon Society is holding a "Family-Friendly Birding" lecture and outing tomorrow from 8-11am at the Center for Urban Horticulture (3501 NE 41st Street). 

The cost is $40 member, $55 for non-member and children attend for free (appropriate for ages 7 and up).

The information says:
A fun, engaging class taught by Woody Wheeler - Master Birder, certified interpretive guide, and the owner of Conservation Catalyst, a birding and natural history firm.  
Wheeler will inspire families to take up birding and to care about bird conservation.  Learn how, where and why to go birding. The class will cover how to identify some of the most common birds, the use and choice of binoculars, field guides, applications and internet resources.  
We will start indoors for an introductory presentation.  Then we will then take our new-found skills outdoors and go birding in Union Bay Natural Area. Please bring binoculars if you have them; we will have binoculars for you to borrow if needed. 
Woody is a guide for Naturalist Journeys, an international natural history tour company.  He previously worked for Seattle Parks Foundation, Audubon and The Nature Conservancy.  He is the author of Look Up! Birds and Other Natural Wonders Just Outside Your Window.
Register here.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tonight Learn About University Village 7-Story Garage And Expansion Plans

The Ravenna Bryant Community Association is holding a public meeting tonight at 6:30pm to provide information on the proposed 7 story garage on 25th Avenue NE at the University Village, where currently there is surface parking. 

The plan is to add a 65 foot high West Parking Garage in the parking lot directly near the Anthropologie store. 

In addition, four buildings would be constructed in the northwest part of the shopping center, which would include approximately 100,000 sq. ft. of commercial space and 915 parking spaces provide within one of the structures. A portion of an existing building would be demolished.

The final design has been submitted to the City for approval, under Project 3025629

Susie Plummer, University Village Vice President and General Manager, who has been with the UVillage for 17 ½ years, provided an overview of the University Village expansion plans at the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) December 2016 Board meeting.  

LCC provided this summary of that meeting: 
The primary entrance of the new parking garage would be off 25th Avenue NE, but also another will be off NE 49th Street. Almost all surface parking in the Village would be removed in this phase, except a few rows on the east side of the center.  And 100,000 sq feet of new retail/restaurant space would be added.   
Currently, the UVillage operates 480,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space, and are considering a "Lifestyle" Shopping Center, without large retail chains as anchors, and this new project would be 21% increase. 
LCC expressed concerns about the already gridlocked traffic that the area experiences from the back ups (especially eastbound) on the NE 45th Street Viaduct, and all the way from the Montlake Interchange.   
Plummer said Transpo, a professional transportation consultant, was hired to do a traffic study.  LCC requested a copy to analyze and collaborate to mitigate adverse traffic impacts.  
Plummer also suggested that more roadway signage could help in directing mall visitors to the parking lots. She is trying to work with neighboring businesses, the University of Washington and SDOT.
Plummer said that the commercial perimeter around the University Village is expected to add "about" 1200 residential units in the next 5 years, on Union Bay Place NE, with more to potentially come along 25th Avenue NE.   
Speed ramps (similar to the airport) and a couple of electric charging stations, although not legally required, are being considered.
Plummer provided history on the mall - Stuart Sloan has been the owner since 1994.  Some long-term shops: Mrs. Cooks (owned by a Laurelhurst neighbor) for 40 years and the Confectionary since 1959.  There are 36 locally owned businesses and 48 regional owners.  The Village is currently at 480,000 square feet.  There are 128 stores and restaurants

For more information about the two large developments on Union Bay Place NE, near Safeway, one already under construction, go here.
For more information regarding this application or the Design Review process, contact Michael Dorcy at 206-615-1393 or    

"Drawings From Our Edible Gardens" Art Exhibit At Center For Urban Horticulture


Drawings from our Edible Gardens art exhibit by Susan Lally-Chis in currently on display at the Center for Urban Horticulture's Miller Library (3501 NE 41st Street). 
information says:
Susan Lally-Chiu's art work celebrates the diversity of locally grown vegetables and fruits through elegant large scale drawings, colorful watercolor sketches with pen, delicate linocuts and a series of sketchbooks.
Artwork is for sale with a portion of the sales donated to the library.
The exhibit runs through July 28th.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Today Lemonade Stand At SUN Park To Support Maintenance Of The Pocket Park

SUN Park

The Friends of SUN Park, a volunteer group which oversee the upkeep of the small corner pocket park located at the corner of NE 47th Street and 47th Avenue NE, invites the community to a Lemonade Sale today at 3:30pm to benefit its Maintenance Fund.

Enjoy "great nature nearby" one of the volunteers told the Laurelhurst Blog.

Originally a large 1920's Bungalow style house was located on the site.  A developer purchased the property, demolished the home, then divided the original lot into three parcels.  Two houses were built on the subdivided lots.

In 2007, the Sun Park group, along with many in the community, attended a meeting along with City representatives, to save the third parcel, on the corner, from being developed.

The plot of land was purchased by a group of Laurelhurst neighbors and friends, through donations to the Cascade Land Conservancy (now Forterra, a nonprofit 501.c.3 organization whose mission is to conserve great lands and create great communities) in order to preserve the small open space from development and create a community park and native plant garden.  

In 2009, SUN Park,named for Saving Urban Nature, was finished, completely funded by private donations.

The Friends of SUN Park maintain the plantings which include a variety of trees, shrubs, ferns, perennials, and groundcovers native to Western Washington. Identification markers provide information on the plants and "the ways in which their use represented the
first ‘grocery store’ and ‘pharmacy’ for local Native American cultures," a volunteer told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff.

One of the Friends Of SUN Park gardening volunteers added:

SUN Park serves as a demonstration site for those interested in growing native
plants and learning more about the plants indigenous to the region. Gardening
with these plants creates a more nature landscape, promotes wildlife habitats,
and requires less maintenance.
 SUN’s Weed and Sweep Brigade work parties are held the second Saturday of each month at 10am. "Stop by with your favorite garden tool to keep the park in shape," a volunteer told the Laurelhurst Blog.

To support SUN Park, contact Dixie Porter at or 206-383-0147  or Janice Camp at 206-849-5778.

Go here for more information.

Eva And Albert Taking Good Care Of Their Eaglets Above SR520

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

Eaglets At Play
By the middle of June in 2016, Eva and Albert's young eaglets were nearly as large as the parents and occasionally catching some wind above the nest. As the year progressed, I wondered if the construction of the new 520 bridge would have an impact on the adult's reproduction in 2017.

In early February, there wasn't much going in the eagles' nest. From a human perspective it was hard to imagine that it was time to prepare for Spring. However...

...a week later I saw fresh nesting material being delivered. 

Soon after, the eagles began mating.

The duet which followed their parental preparations sounded like music to my ears. Sadly, I was unable to decipher their vocalizations. I must say that to me they sounded rather proud. If my calculations are correct, about one week later Eva began laying eggs in the nest.

It was mid-March before I was able to catch a photo which confirmed the situation. That small white spec in the middle of the nest is the top of Eva's head. The rest of her body is sitting low in the nest covering eggs and maintaining the optimal temperature.

It was early in May before I actually saw the two young eaglets standing in the nest. After studying my photos and other online accounts I suspect that at this point the eaglets were approximately four or five weeks old.

The next day, a closer photo showed the tiny remains of white fuzz on the head of one of the eaglets.

Eva was alert and vocal while defending her young from the slightest perceived threat.

Once again I had the impression that they were proud of their efforts.

By mid-May, Albert was doing most of the hunting and Eva was tending the home fires.

 Eva's efforts included tearing off bite sized pieces of food and...

 ...offering them to the eaglets one piece at a time.

This photo shows the young eaglet's flight feathers just starting to develop.

A week later, one of the eaglets let me get a few quick shots in the early morning light.

It is obvious that the parents had begun the process of distancing themselves from their young. For the adult who is doing the baby-sitting, usually Eva, it must be a relief to move out of the nest. The adults are no longer needed to provide warmth or shade but they still provide protection from predators.

The beaks and talons of the inexperienced young birds are no doubt sharp enough to cause damage and may also motivate the adults to maintain some distance, whenever possible.

Earlier this week it was good to see that this year's eaglets are now also nearly as large as their parents. At this point, both adults may leave the nest for extended periods. I suspect they continue to watch the nest from a distance, however I do not think they are particularly concerned with the smaller creatures, e.g. crows, harassing their young. 

The young no longer require any assistance with eating. As a matter of fact, when Albert landed it looked like one of the eaglets grabbed the food from his talons and pulled it quickly into the middle of the nest.

This was done in one swift motion and ended with the young bird's wings spread across the nest from one parent to the other. The second sibling was left with a view of the first eaglet's backside and most likely not even a whiff of the food before it was gone. The development of predatory eagle behavior appears to be well on its way.

Apparently, the 520 construction had little or no impact on the adult's ability to reproduce. I suspect they may have done a little more land-based hunting than in previous years. Still, it is reassuring to watch them pass along their genes, in spite of our presence and activities.

My best estimate is that the eagles are about nine to ten weeks old and may fledge sometime between now and early July. If you happen to be driving east on the old 520 bridge, please watch the road very carefully, however you may catch a glimpse of one or more bald eagles on the light poles. You might check quickly to see if the head(s) are white. If not, you may be one of the first to see the eaglets after they leave the nest.

Learning to fly is very dangerous for young eagles and hunting from light poles above speeding vehicles is most likely the last thing they should be doing. However, since that is one of their parent's favorite hunting spots, it is a likely location for them to begin their airborne endeavors. Maybe in July we should ask for flashing signs on the 520 bridge - 'Slow - Eaglets At Play'.

Have a great day on Union Bay...where eaglets grow up in the city!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Newly Appointed SR520 Ombudsman To Serve As Liaison With Public And WSDOT

WSDOT recently appointed David Goldberg as ombudsman of the SR520 bridge project with the purpose of being a liaison between WSDOT and affected entities.

The Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) and also a concerned  northeast Seattle group of neighbors have been working on and monitoring SR520 lighting and noise issues.

In March, the group provided an update to the Laurelhurst Blog, as well as a presentation
of the lighting impacts, key issues and concerns, and WSDOT activity regarding the issues.

Recently the group met with the WSDOT 520 Project Team to hear an update on the lighting for the Regional Shared Use Path (RSUP) as well as other issues and provided an update.

LCC provided this information from the recent meeting with Goldberg and other nearby neighborhood Councils:

In the multi-phased project, the Eastside HOV highway, the Floating Bridge and the Western Lands are now considered mostly complete. The West Approach Bridge North (WABN) is the portion in Union Bay, and is expected to be completed in early fall 2108.  
The next phase is  "Rest of the West" which will be the new Montlake Interchange, then the section  to I-5 on the Portage Bay Bridge, and lastly, a second bascule bridge is planned to be sited adjacent to  the existing historic one on Montlake Build.
David has been diving into SR520  issues for the past 30 days, especially the elements that will affect those new construction segments.  
Our meeting  recapped the pending issues that the coalition of community councils identified for both the City of Seattle, and for WSDOT. The goal for taxpayers  is  to address before the next  Request for Proposal (RFP) is completed by the State and send out for bidding by interested contractors. 
Fortunately, David has a background for understanding how the RFP system works, so he can help  to navigate the process with the State and its citizens. He does not have jurisdiction in the City of Seattle,  (he is an employee of WSDOT) but will be able to advocate for their issues to WSDOT as they arise. 
Some key discussed included the preservation of the Montlake gas station and the market, using hauling techniques to minimize use of trucks on roads, demolition of the old structures without contamination the water of Union and Portage Bays, pre-testing of the  lighting and expansion joint system to prevent the problems from the Floating Bridge, and consider the Design/Bid/Build process instead of Design/Build which delineates the  specific design and construction features, preventing some of the prior problems with the contractor. 
In addition, Goldberg will work with WSDOT and the communities  to help develop more targeted noise variance application by WSDOT since the blanket, seven year night noise variance was denied by the City of Seattle, largely due to strong and vocal opposition by citizens and community organizations, including LCC. 
Community organizations and WSDOT will be able to contact the new ombudsman on all future issues that may need vetting for SR520.

Here is the WSDOT Press Release:
West Approach Bridge North Project construction update

David Goldberg
My name is David Goldberg, and I am thrilled to be your new ombudsman, or community liaison, for the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program.
What is an ombudsman? The US Ombudsman Association defines a public sector ombudsman as a public official, often appointed by the legislature, who receives citizen complaints about administrative acts of government and conducts an “impartial and independent investigation” of them.
As your ombudsman, my role is to look into issues that you or other members of the community raise, and to try to work out a resolution where possible. Members of the community could include nearby residents, users of the transportation system, community-based organizations, elected representatives or
other affected stakeholders. In this video I shed a bit more
light on how I view my responsibilities to you and your
neighbors. You can also
check out my WSDOT webpage.
 Why an SR 520 ombudsman?
Megaprojects like the SR 520 Program in Seattle can
deliver numerous benefits for many people. In this case
we can look forward to: safer bridges that can withstand
earthquakes; neighborhoods reconnected via lids over
the highway and a land bridge; better and safer bicycle
and pedestrian connections; more reliable transit trips
and more pleasant places to wait for buses; a world-class,
regional bike-walk trail network; and smoother
driving connections between the east and west sides
of Lake Washington, from I-5 to I-405.
But building such megaprojects also comes with
impacts, challenges and trade-offs for members of
the community. Throughout the next several
years of construction, WSDOT and Washington’s
governor and Legislature want to ensure that citizens
have somewhere to go with concerns about
those issues, where they can be confident of a fair
hearing at the highest levels of the agency and state
That’s now my job.
On the part of WSDOT, the creation of an ombudsman
role represents a serious commitment to being the best
possible neighbor, as well as a responsible steward of taxpayer
dollars, as it goes about the admittedly disruptive process of
building for the future.  I take that commitment seriously myself,
and hope that I can work with you to help the state fulfill it.
Over the next few years, surrounding communities will
endure noise, dust, work lights at night and disruption to
traffic patterns, walking and biking routes. There will be kinks
to work out in how all the modes – driving, transit, walking and
biking – are integrated, and esthetic concerns over how the
finished product looks. There will be snags few of us can foresee.
Together we will work through them.
Who I am
As I help you address your concerns, I will draw on a long
and varied background. I have worked as an investigative
reporter looking into the operations of a state DOT and other
government agencies. I’ve been a neighborhood activist, fighting
for my little corner of the world. I’ve also been a national advocate
for safe and complete streets, better transit systems and
smarter urban planning. I’ve often been a translator, rendering
wonk speak and technical language for people who aren’t
steeped in insider jargon. In Seattle I have been a member of
the city’s Pedestrian Advisory Board and continue to be involved
in civic activities. I care deeply about the quality of life in this
city we are forever making, and I have been drawn to the
work I do because I care about people, their aspirations and their
health and safety.
I won’t claim to be able to work miracles or solve every issue.
But I do pledge to do all I can to facilitate clear communication,
make sure questions are answered, and to elevate legitimate
issues to the highest appropriate level. For the next weeks
and months I will have my ears and eyes wide open as I learn
about this very complicated set of projects, their ramifications
for neighborhoods and the city, and the concerns of community
members throughout construction.
I look forward to hearing from you and working together.

Auditions For Upcoming St. Stephens Church's "Godspell" On Friday And Saturday

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (4805 NE 45th Street) will be having a summer theater camp for 13-17 years olds, regardless of church affiliation July 31-August 18 from 10am-1pm with the performances on August 19 and August 20.

Michael Monnikendam, Director of Music Ministries, who will direct the musical production, provided this information:

The church will be performing "Godspell," is a musical based on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, and originally opened off Broadway in 1971.  
Auditions for solo parts will be held on Friday, June 23, from 10 -2pm and on Saturday, June 24, from 11-2pm.  
We invite your teens to experience an ecumenical musical theater camp this summer.

Michael Monnikendam has been the Director of Music Ministries at St. Stephen’s Church for the past 5 years. He performed with opera and musical theater companies from the east to the west coast and has also performed in music festivals in Europe.  He has a Master’s of Music Degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.
Go here to signup and for more information and to pay on-line go here.  The cost is $200

For additional information and questions contact Michael at (206) 522-7144 Ext. 304.