Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Crane To Be Installed At Hospital Saturday For Upcoming Building Care Project

Children's Hospital would like to let the  neighborhood know that this Saturday and next, a crane will be installed to remove and install new trailers. 

The information provided says:

On Saturdays, March 3 and 10, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., work will take place at Seattle Children’s on the south side of the Forest loading dock to remove old modular trailers and install new ones.   
The trailers are being upgraded to provide an adequate amount office and collaboration space to support the onsite staff for the Building Care project starting June 2018.
A crane will be placed near the ambulance bays to complete this work.  The cranes will be setting the new construction trailer, on 3/3 it will set the 4 bottom units and on 3/10 it will set the 4 upper units for a total of 8 new trailers. 
Some street parking along 40th Avenue NE will be unavailable during work hours to enable safe removal and installation of trailers, and easy entry and exit for ambulances. 
The trailers that were currently  in the south lot (6 trailers and two storage containers ) have already been removed to make room for the new construction trailers All of the trailers that are currently in the south lot (6 trailers and two storage containers).
Normal noise levels are expected for the set up, running and taking down (removal) of the crane.

For questions or concerns, call the construction pager at 206-469-5860.


Comment Today On Montlake Area Traffic-calming During SR520 Next Construction Phase

Today is the deadline for submitting comments on the traffic-calming improvements in the Montlake area prior to and after construction starts on the last phase of the SR520. 

In December of last year, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) published the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan for the SR 520 Montlake Phase Update (NTMP).

Comments can be sent to SDOT will evaluate requests next month and if warranted, ask for a petition, supporting that a majority of residents in an area support the specific improvement. .

Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan for the SR 520 Montlake Phase Update (NTMP) states in part:
The Montlake Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan (NTMP) identifies scheduled and potential traffic management measures through SR 520 Program design, additional neighborhood traffic-calming, and future City projects and plans in the Montlake area. 
Starting as soon as late 2018, construction crews will begin four to five years of work on the SR 520 Montlake Phase. The Montlake Phase will include a new Montlake interchange, lid and land bridge, and the completion of the eastbound half of the SR 520 west approach bridge. This phase of the project will make further changes to how motorists connect between city streets and SR 520.  
During Montlake Phase construction, there will be disruptions for drivers, bicyclists, walkers and transit riders traveling through the neighborhood. 
Montlake Boulevard is a principal arterial that provides connectivity between Seattle neighborhoods, institutions, parks, and activity centers such as the University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Hospital, U-Link light rail station and the Washington Park Arboretum.  
Today’s land use, population and resulting traffic demands have led to congestion throughout the Montlake neighborhood. Both population and employment are anticipated to continue growing within the Seattle area in the coming years.  

For more information go here.  And here is specific information about SR520 construction.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

About The El Camion Food Truck Parked At Old Bicycle Center Location And History Of The Property

The Laurelhurst Blog has received many inquiries about the El Camion food truck that appeared about two months ago, in the parking lot of where the former Bicycle Center
(4529 Sand Point Way NE) was located until it closed in late 2015.  Before that it was the location of Zopf Pharmacy, whose family still owns the land. 

It was reported that El Camion was serving food about 3 weeks ago at the location, without a permit in place.

The Laurelhurst Blog checked with Seattle Department of Zoning and Inspections, regarding the permit status and one of the Inspectors, Scott, replied after checking on the permit status with the food truck owner : 
We have communicated with the property owner and representative of the food truck owner and they have been given notice to remove or get a permit.  
The representative for the food truck owner immediately came in the day after notification from us and started the process to get a temporary permit.  
We will monitor this insuring progress toward them getting a permit. As long as they are progressing toward getting into compliance they are allowed to be open from SDCI’s standpoint. 

The Laurelhurst Blog also contacted the representative for the property who said: 
El Camion has permission to use the property. They are responsible for their own permits and compliance.
Randy, the grandson of the original owner, George Zopf, said that his grandfather built the building that housed Zopf Pharmacy that also included a popular soda fountain, until the 1970's.  It was also where George, a pharmacist, met his wife. Their daughter, Phyllis, also was a pharmacist there for many years.  
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.
The building was demolished in November 2016 after it became more and more dilapidated and covered with graffiti

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 upstairs apartment, leaving it completely fire damaged. It was reported that there was no running water or heat in the fire damaged building, when the Bicycle Center was in operation.

A neighbor said that when the building was being demolished and the inside was visible, especially the upstairs, one could see graffiti, needles, and the severe decay.

The property manager told the Laurelhurst Blog staff in 2016:
We do not have a building design and use of the new building for the property  at this point.  We just want to remove the neighborhood nuisance. 

Zopf Pharmacy on left in 1949
(photo courtesy of neighbor)

Tomorrow NEST Talk On Downsizing

Is Downsizing in Your Future?

North East Seattle Together

Tomorrow from 2-3:30, NEST (Northeast Seattle Together) (7737 25th Avenue NE)  which supports Northeast Seattle elder neighbors through a network of volunteers and vendors, is having a free talk called " Is Downsizing in Your Future?"

The information says:

Mary Anderson from Windermere Real Estate will discuss: What are your options on where to move? Mary will share benchmarks to note to help you determine if it's time to make a move.  
Mary will share tips on sorting, packing and reducing the stuff, and provide information about different types of retirement communities. She wil also give a short market update about our current real estate market and talk about predatory Buyer practices. 

Call the NEST office to RSVP at 206.525.6378.

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) who provide their services at a discount to members.

For more information go here.

Monday, February 26, 2018

All About The Various Ducks At Union Bay

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

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

Baby Ducks (Not)

The males ducks of this species are not easily confused with male Mallards. They do both have green on their heads, but otherwise they are fairly different in color, patterns and size. (As a comparison, the background bird in the next photo is a male Mallard.)

Still, Mallards are so common that they are the gold standard for ducks. Without even trying, we tend to compare other species with Mallards. When small ducks resemble Mallards they are occasionally assumed to be young Mallards. The 'baby duck' on the right is actually a fully-mature female. 

This species also behaves similar to Mallards. For example, this small duck climbed up onto a log to do a little preening and cleaning 

Ignoring their size differences, how can we distinguish between a female Mallard, like this one, and...

...a female of our 'baby duck' species. In regard to colors and patterns, the females have more similarities than differences. It is easy to understand how a casual observer might mix them up if the size difference was not readily apparent. 

In the winter, we often find this petite species sitting on logs next to Mallards. The smaller birds do not seem particularly intimidated by the larger ducks. No doubt this contributes to their being perceived as younger members of the same species. 

During the colder months, we should remember that by the end of autumn young birds have generally grown to the size of their parents. I suspect that attaining an adult size helps young birds to survive the challenges of winter. 

A fairly obvious difference between the females of these two species, beyond size, is the color of their speculums. When the smaller birds lift their primary wing feathers they expose patches of brilliant green.

Mallards have purplish-blue speculums with white borders.  Female Mallards also have a bit more orange on their bills and completely orange feet.

It seems very appropriate that the birds of our miniature species are called Green-winged Teals. 

I find it fascinating in this photo how water can momentarily form a helmut over the head of bathing birds, just as they are breaking the surfacing. 

The speculums of the males of both species have the same colors as their respective females. 

Another similarity between Mallards and Green-wing Teals is both species are dabbling ducks. They primarily search for food by sticking their heads under water, while waving their bums in the air. This is opposed to diving ducks, who do their shopping while completely submerged.

This small, similarly-sized mature female belongs to a species of diving ducks. Sometimes they are also assumed to be baby ducks. In this photo, the female is preparing to dive. She will push down on the water with her tail in order to thrust herself below the surface.

A split second later, as she disappears, we can still see the imprint of her tail on the water.

The males of this species are so strikingly unique that they are less likely to be mistaken for baby ducks.

This photo, taken from the new 520 Bridge Trail, shows one of the males from a top-down perspective. Here again you can see how the tail will be utilized as a 'diving platform'. You might also note the refractive properties that have dramatically changed the color of the dark head feathers. 

The members of this species are called, Buffleheads. Which may be a reference to the fact that their heads can appear rather large for their bodies - similar to the way a Buffalo has a disproportionally large head.

Our third and final miniature water bird is neither a baby or a duck. The name for this species is, Pied-billed Grebe. Their name refers to the fact that their bills have two different colors. Like Buffleheads, this species searches for food underwater.

Unlike the Buffleheads, Pied-billed Grebes tend to come to the surface to consume their catch. Grebes eat primarily fish. Buffleheads tend to swallow smaller creatures, like dragon fly larva, while fully submersed. I suspect a Grebe's bill is much stronger and better able to catch and hold a fish.

The pint-sized, Pied-billed Grebes reproduce right here on Union Bay. You can see more spring photos of baby Pied-billed Grebes in The Mother Ship story from last Spring.

Urban Forestry Commission Seeking 5 New Members

The City of Seattle Boards and Commissions published this information:

Seattle’s Urban Forest Needs You

The Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) is seeking an Arborist, Landscape architect, Environmental Justice Representative, Public Health Representative, and Community/Neighborhood Representative.  
Do you want to help Seattle protect its trees and continue to be the Emerald City? Then you should join the Urban Forestry Commission.   
Volunteering for this Commission is an opportunity to support city government in developing policies that support urban trees. 
The UFC was established to advise the Mayor and City Council on policies and regulations to support the protection, management, and conservation of trees and vegetation in Seattle.  
Applications are due February 28, 2018.

For more information go to the UFC website.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Neighbor Reports Mail Opened And Scattered

The Laurelhurst Blog received this information:
I am writing to report mail theft in the neighborhood between 9pm last night and 6:30 this morning. We live on the 3100 block of West Laurelhurst Drive.  
We discovered our mail scattered all over the road this morning while walking our dog. Each envelope was cut open and the contents spread over the road.