Friday, February 10, 2023

February Neighborhood Crime Activity

Below is the neighborhood Seattle Police Department crime activity report for January:

1/2 10:32pm 5000 block of 50th Avenue NE

1/3 6:40am 4700 block of 41st Avenue NE

1/11 11:26pm 3900 block of 48th Place NE

1/11 11:36pm 3900 block of 48th Place NE

1/12 12:07am 4100 block of 55th Avenue NE

1/12 2:08am 4500 block of 55th Avenue NE

1/15 6:57am 4400 block of 51st Avenue NE

1/15 9:57am 4400 block of 51st theft

1/15 5:19pm 5100 block of NE 54th Street

1/17 12:09am 4100 block of 42nd Avenue NE

1/19 3:17pm 3800 block of NE 41st Street

1/19 9pm 3800 block of 42nd Avenue NE

1/24 noon 4700 block of 41st Avenue NE

1/24 4:09pm 4500 block of 46th Avenue NE

1/25 12:15pm 3100 block of West Laurelhurst Drive

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Neighbors Again Asking For Fireworks To Stop Going Off Late At Night In Park

fireworks found in the park

The Laurelhurst Blog continues to receive numerous emails about people letting off fireworks in the park almost every week-end and sometimes on weekdays. 

The last report received was very loud fireworks being set off middle of last week.  Fireworks usually happen between 9:3pm-11:30pm and last sometimes for several minutes and are extremely loud, according to neighbors. 

Neighbors are requesting that "if anyone knows who is doing it to please stop as it causing a great deal of stress for families and espeically for pets" one neighbor told the Laurelhurst Blog.

Here are some reports from neighbors:

Last month a large amoutn of fireworks was let off at the Park. These fireworks were special: they woke everyone up and added to terrified dogs already worst day of the year. The risk is fires, fireworks gone wrong, injury from a delayed explosion and not super great for the environment. Begs the question: is there anything we can do to prevent this at parks with multiple points of entry?

The nightly fireworks are extremely tressful for pets and sleeping families, including elderly and adults. It is extremely insensitive of whomever is doing this causing such anxiety on so many people and so late at night.

The fireworks are usually so loud and long that is actually seemed like cars were blowing up as the sound echoes and magnifies off the school and the hospital on the north side of the park. It is extremely scarey, jarring and traumatic for so many people.

Please put out a plea to the neighborhood to do all they can to discourage fireworks from being set off in the neighborhood. Besides being dangerous for people, there are nesting eagles and many other birds in the neighborhood as well as many, many dogs who do not do well the noise from fireworks.

Some neighbors may not know that there are at least 3 families of nesting eagles in our neighborhood. Please also consider the other birds and the many, many pets (especially dogs) in Laurelhurst.

The people that are doing this are not only committing a crime but are in violation of the City Ordinance as they over the allowed decibel level, especially when they are being set off so close to homes.

What about the sick children at the Hospital being awoken and terrified by the loud noise of the fireworks?

Fireworks are illegal in the City of Seattle. The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited. Fireworks offenses are gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Fireworks pose a fire hazard to property and present a safety risk to those who use them. SPD advises to use the 625-5011 line to report any fireworks violations.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Two Eagles Down

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

Eagles Down January 11, 2023

Eagles grabbing talons and cartwheeling through the air is not a common occurrence, but it does happen. This photo, from 2015, is the only time I have seen it happen near Union Bay. This pair of immature eagles ultimately let go of each other - thereby avoiding a splash-down in Montlake Cut.

My friend, Tom Cotner, pointed out that with adults cartwheeling is often part of their courtship behavior. Our three local adult pairs have been residents of Union Bay for many years. I have never seen any of them cartwheeling. I wonder if courtship is no longer required once a relationship passes a certain age.

Saturday, just before dark, I received a message from Tom. He had heard that two Bald Eagles had fallen to the ground and were still entangled near the Montlake Community Center. We assumed this was the result of them cartwheeling and then failing to disengage before hitting the ground. Tom was told that one of the two might be dead. He was wondering how and if we could help.

The only appropriate and legal way to help is to contact someone who is federally authorized and trained to handle Bald Eagles. However, I was hesitant to call for help without personally accessing the situation. Sometimes, stunned eagles can shake off a fall and simply get up and fly away. We both hurried to the site.

It was beginning to get dark, but there was still enough light to see both eagles were perfectly still. The open eye on the upper eagle did not even blink. I wondered if they were both dead. The upper eagle seemed a bit immature, given its tail and head were not quite completely covered with pure white feathers. I wondered if it initiated the cartwheel as practice for future courting. The other Bald Eagle looked mature. Although, in this case, there was some discoloration which appeared to be blood on the tail.

Tom eventually moved slightly closer to the eagles while trying to determine if they were alive. I imagine he was looking for signs of breathing. Both eagles shifted their heads to keep an eye on him. I immediately called the Seattle Animal Shelter, explained the situation, and requested help. An officer was dispatched to recover the eagles.

A few other concerned souls gathered nearby to quietly wait for the rescue. Behind us in the middle of the Montlake track, a group of people and their off-leash dogs were running around unaware of the eagles on the ground. While we waited, I explained to them that an Animal Control Officer was on the way to help with the eagles. They leashed their dogs, which was much safer for the eagles, before leaving.

Even without dogs around, if the eagles were stuck on the ground at night they would not be safe. We have coyotes, otters and raccoons in the city and I imagine any one of them might be interested in a bald eagle that is unable to fly.

Suddenly, both eagles seemed to come to life and started calling and struggling with each other. The one on top began flapping its wings and pulling to get free. They finally separated and for a moment they stood side by side. Then the younger bird spread its wings and flew away to the north. Disappearing into the dusk. 

The older bird walked slowly into the surrounding foliage, something about its left wing did not look right. As darkness fell the reflection of its white head was the only clue to its location. Eventually, the Animal Control Officers arrived and captured the injured eagle. As they left the officers confirmed it was bleeding from the left wing.

Eventually, I heard that on Sunday the injured eagle was transferred to PAWs, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society in Lynnwood. The fact that the eagle lived through the night is encouraging. We will hopefully learn more about its prognosis in a few days after it is examined by a qualified specialist.

For the last five years, the area around the Montlake Community Center, just south of Portage Bay, has been part of the territory that belongs to Monty and Marsha, the Bald Eagles who nest near the southeast corner of Montlake Cut. This January 2018 photo shows Monty and Marsha at their first (partially constructed) nest. 

The scenario that seemed most likely was that one of these two local adults had been defending their territory when the encounter with the younger eagle occurred. While I wondered if the injured eagle was Monty or Marsha several other questions came to mind. How long will it take to recover? Would a healthy mate, who suddenly found itself flying solo, just before nesting season, decide to take a new mate in the meantime? If the injured eagle recovered and was then released, Would it return to the territory and begin fighting with its replacement? 

These were interesting questions, but I actually had no proof that the older eagle was Monty or Marsha. I decided to try to determine if both of them were still present in their usual locations.

On Sunday, I could not find either of the Montlake Cut eagles at any of their normal roosting spots. 

On Monday, I found what appeared to be one of the two in their favorite cottonwood tree just north of the Waterfront Activity Center. At the time I wasn't sure whether it was Monty or Marsha, but after comparing it to other photos I believe this is a photo of Marsha.

On Tuesday, my luck improved. I saw one adult Bald Eagle chasing after a second one that had just caught food. Later, I would learn that someone closer to the situation saw the eagle eating a bird with black feathers. I suspect it was one of the wintering American Coots.

After a bit, the eagles moved again, and I lost sight of them. I could still hear them calling. I headed towards the Waterfront Activity Center. I was planning to check their favorite cottonwood tree when I ran into my friend Sarah. She had also been watching the eagles but from a greater distance and a different angle. She had seen them head back toward the nest tree.

When we circled back we noticed Marsha in the nest and Monty sitting in one of his usual protective spots just above the nest. At the same time, a third Bald Eagle was sitting a few trees to the east of the nest. Apparently, all of the noise was Monty and Marsha telling the intruder to move along.

I hurried back across the bridge and around to the south side of the nest in hopes of catching some photos with a bit better lighting. Monty had left but after a few minutes, he returned. I suspect he escorted the intruder away. In any case, if you look closely you can see that both Monty and Marsha are calling out greetings to each other.

Their faces do appear to be changing as they mature. Monty is getting more of a heavy eyebrow similar to Marsha's. However, Marsha still has a tinge of discoloration on her face immediately behind her eye. In the same area, Monty seems to be developing a small furrow running away from the "back corner" of his eye. Granted, these details can be enhanced or invisible depending on the lighting.

I am happy to know these two are still together and likely to produce young again this year. However, I am still concerned for the unknown eagle that was injured and picked up near the Montlake Community Center. I will let you know when I hear more about its prognosis.

Since that eagle was not Monty or Marsha it makes me rethink what caused the entanglement that led to its injury. I wonder if it was the one who attempted a courtship ritual. Perhaps its efforts were not well received. The wonderful thing about the mysteries of nature is there are always more questions to ask and we will never know all the answers


Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Boilers At Hospital Switching to Diesel

Children's Hospital posted this information:

Boilers At Hospital Switching to Diesel

Last week, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) notified Seattle Children’s (along with other large institutions in the area) to reduce natural gas usage until further notice while emergency repairs are made to the regional gas system. 
Boilers at the hospital campus will switch to diesel fuel until Children’s is advised to switch back to natural gas. The boilers are critical for heating the hospital and powering steam production for sterile supplies. 
Nearby neighbors and workforce members may temporarily see and smell diesel fumes coming from the hospital during this time. 
For any questions or concern email

Monday, February 6, 2023

Evening Burglary On Webster Point

The Laurelhurst Blog received this information:

Two homes in the 3000 block of Webster Point Road NE were burglarized on Saturday February 4 between 5:00 pm and 7:30 pm while both homeowners were gone. 
Entry had been gained by climbing up and smashing through sliding glass doors on the second and third floors of the homes. 
Cars in both of their driveways were not vandalized but both homes were thoroughly searched, trashed and many items were stolen. 
Videos show three men wearing dark clothes and masks. 
Copies of security footage were sent to police and reports were filed.  

Friday, February 3, 2023

Some Interesting History of Laurelhurst Past Businesses

 LCC published this Laurelhurst history in a recent newsletter:

History of Laurelhurst - Glimpses of the 1950s written by Jim Rupp, LCC trustee 

When I was a young boy in the 1950s, Emmett Ziebarth had an easy walk to work from his house in Laurelhurst. He lived in a lovely home on Union Bay at 3615 42nd Avenue NE (replaced by a larger modern home several years ago) and it was a short trip to his business, Ziebarth’s Hardware. It was located in the buildings on NE 45th Street that now house the businesses that extend from Jaks restaurant to the Marlai Thai restaurant. 

The buildings were constructed in 1948, and I think Ziebarth probably built them. He owned the whole block. Back then neighborhoods didn’t have the large grocery stores or shopping centers that we’re now accustomed to, only small neighborhood stores. Ziebarth started out across the street, where Valarmos Pizzeria is now located, with a hardware and grocery store. When he moved into the new building, Ziebarth’s retail enterprise was limited to hardware. He leased space to other businesses that served the neighborhood well. The Ziebarth block had much to offer. 

You could walk into the butcher shop and Carl Pollard could provide a wide range of meat for the table. And next to that was Walt Landis’s grocery store. The store owners knew most of their customers by name and personal service was key. Some allowed you to run a tab and pay at the end of the month. When my father visited Ziebarth’s he might say, “Emmett, I need a 4 inch, 3/8th inch bolt,” and Mr. Ziebarth would find it for him. 

When my mother visited Pollard’s, he’d have the hamburger she’d ordered over the phone or requested on the spot. Where Marlai Thai now serves meals, Graham Condie’s pharmacy filled prescriptions and provided various sundry products. Pill prescriptions came in small glass bottles with plastic tops that easily popped off. 

My parents always went to Condie’s. Many others went to Zoff’s, across Sand Point Way between where the Laurelhurst Condos and El Camion are now located, in what ultimately became a bicycle shop. The only time I remember being in Zoff’s was when I was in sixth grade. Tom Hatch and I went in to look at Playboy magazine. 

Mr. Zoff quickly shooed us away with a stern look of disapproval. Over the years new and varied enterprises have come and gone in the Ziebarth block and larger stores have replaced most small local purveyors in Seattle. In our area, I believe Tradewell and Thriftway were the first of the larger “super” markets where you could buy everything. 

One opened in the building where City People’s now resides, and the other was located in the southwest corner of the University Village. When Emmett Ziebarth died in 1985 he still owned the block. It’s now owned by a Ziebarth family trust.

The Laurelhurst Blog has posted about the history of Zopf pharmacy and a conversation the staff had with the owner's grandson, here.  

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Neighbors Would Like To Remind Dog Owners To Not Dump Bags In Other's Trash

The Laurelhurst Blog often receives emails and posts about residents frustrated over dog owners not picking up after their dogs or putting their dog's waste in some else's garbage.

Here are some comments received:
Throwing the plastic bag full of dog poop into a neighbor’s flower bed is gross, unacceptable, rude, disgusting and against the law. If your dog poops in your neighbor’s yard, it is your responsibility to clean it up and take it with you. It’s so awful, especially with kids. Do not put it in your neighbor’s garbage can or yard waste or flower bed. Be a decent person, and take it with you and dispose of it properly. 
We have noticed that someone is putting their dog feces in our garbage can on Mondays when we put our can out for pick up. The doggie bag is not double bagged.  We no longer have dogs and certainly do not want the dog feces in our containers.  Dog walkers and neighbors need to carry the bag back to the dog's home and dispose of it there. 
Please remember to only use the waste cans that are either yours or ones furnished by the City. The waste cans at the bus stops are not to be used for the disposal of  dog waste.  Notices have been placed on the Metro waste cans to not use them for pet waste.  
Please don’t put your bagged dog poop in garbage cans that have been emptied on garbage day - or even worse, in an empty recycling container that is still on the curb. 
Please dog owners, use your own garbage can to dispose of your pet's poo. I don't appreciate your calling card in my can.
Several ago we saw someone put their dog feces bag into our "clean green" container.  When I caught up with her the person said she thought the bag could go into the clean green container since the bag would decompose.  According to my search, the feces need to be double bagged and go into the regular garbage  containers.  This regulation is for the safety of the trash collectors. I would encourage the neighbors who have dog walkers make certain that their walkers also know where the bags should go. 
Please remember to only use the waste cans that are either yours or ones furnished by the City. The waste cans at the bus stops are not to be used for the disposal of  dog waste.  Notices have been placed on the Metro waste cans to not use them for pet waste. 
Recently when I went out to roll my trash container to the curb, I found a little black bag of dog poo in my container which was the only item in my container. What gives dog owners the right to throw their dog’s waste into their neighbors trash can. This problem has been a problem for a long time and continues to be a problem that I know annoys many folks.  
Could you please not place poop in other people’s cans. Even in plastic, it smells horrible. The bin you choose may not belong to a pet owner!
I am a long time Laurelhurst resident. And I am so tired of picking up other people's dog's poop. I have a dog, I pick up his poop. It's not rocket science. Please, neighbors, be responsible. 

Here is a related list of City Municipal Codes and corresponding violations with fine amounts imposed by the City of Seattle:

Offenses Related to Safety and Sanitation
$109 Allowing accumulation of feces SMC 9.25.082 (A)
$54 Not removing feces from another’s property SMC 9.25.082 (B)
$54 Not having equipment to remove feces  SMC 9.25.082 (C)

Seattle Public Utilities reports on their website: 
Pet waste amounts to about 50,000 lbs of pet waste every day.
Left on streets, curb strips and in yards and parks, pet waste can be carried by rainwater to storm drains and into our creeks, lakes and Puget Sound without treatment. It is one of the leading causes of bacterial contamination in our streams and causes other water quality problems just like livestock manure and fertilizer. 
There are bacteria and micro-organisms in pet waste such as Roundworms, E. coli, and Giardia that can make people sick if they’re ingested. Some can last in your yard for as long as four years if not cleaned up.  
Children who play outside and adults who garden are at greatest risk of infection. If pet waste is washed into the storm drain it ends up in lakes, streams or marine water, and people can accidentally swallow bacteria and other disease-causing organisms while swimming or playing in the water. These bacteria also end up in shellfish, and can make the people who eat them very sick. 
Put pet waste in a plastic bag, seal it, and throw it in the garbage- not in the yard waste! There are also Mutt Mitt (pdf) dispensers located around the City. The next time you're out walking your pet, take advantage of this free resource to help keep our waterways clean. 
There are laws in Seattle to protect our health and our environment which require pet waste to be picked up and disposed of properly.

Go here for more information. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Winter Bird Activity At Union Bay Natural Area

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

The Wonders of Winter

The red waxy tips, on their inner wing feathers, inspired the last name of the Cedar Waxwings.

A female American Robin is a surprisingly beautiful bird. Her head and back are similar in color to a Waxwing, the white and dark streaks on her throat and the broken white eye-rings create wonderful contrasting highlights. Best of all her breast is a subtle shade of russet-orange that may be the most beautiful hue on a color wheel

The glowing display of the last lingering leaves is another wonderful aspect of winter beauty.

By the way, in my previous post, there is a new update regarding Varied Thrush. My friend Etta kindly reminded me that Varied Thrush do not breed in urban areas. This is also documented in BirdWeb our local, free, online birding application from Seattle Audubon.

Last week, this tiny Hermit Thrush attracted my attention, as it searched for food on this moss-covered support for the Wilcox walking bridge, in the Arboretum. 

When it flew, it landed nearby in this leafless tree. The Hermit Thrush was clearly focusing its attention on the little pink spheres.

Its feeding strategy, i.e. fluttering up, and seizing the food while hovering in mid-air, seemed somewhat extravagant. I wondered, What was attracting this exceptional attention? 

When I looked more closely, my confusion increased. I wondered, What is this? Is it a fruit,  flower, or seed? Are the outer pink parts edible? How much of this do the birds eat? 

After repeated trips, I documented one of the larger and calmer Varied Thrush as it sat and pulled out the inner reddish-orange part. Plus, as I looked closer, I realized that the empty pink "husks" were being left hanging on the tree.

Online, I found websites like this one, that solved the mystery. The pink unit as a whole is the fruit of the Spindle tree. The pink parts open up to reveal its orange seeds. On a cautionary note, this tree and its fruit are poisonous to humans, but it does not seem to bother our local Thrush.

The other mystery about this tree is how it got its name. It is called a Spindle tree because historically its durable wood was carved into spindles for spinning wool into yarn. 

Mallards are another common bird whose beauty can be easily overlooked. In early Winter, the males are adorned in a fresh set of feathers. Its beautiful new breeding plumage will hopefully attract a mate. The blue speculum, at some angles, looks purple, and it is often hidden by the bird's outer wing feathers.

We also tend to overlook female Hooded Mergansers, partly, because of the way their subtle coloring blends with the world around them.

But also, because the more extravagant males, with their contrasting colors and flashy mating behaviors, easily attract our attention.

The male Wood Duck has a beauty we see year-round, however with such a variety of colors, we tend to overlook the blue highlights on its back. I believe these are from the secondary feathers in its folded wings.

Another beautiful duck, that we usually see only during the colder months, is the Northern Pintail.

Year-round we can find Red-winged Blackbirds. Early in their lives, the males wear basic brown like the females. However, there is a window of time in their first year when the tips of their mature black feathers still retain beautiful youthful highlights of beige and brown. 

This time of year, male Northern Shovelers tend to have dark green heads while still having a few dark crescents from their non-breeding plumage on their chests. Their rich chestnut sides do an excellent job of offsetting the bright green of their speculums.

Monty and Marsha, our local Montlake Cut Bald Eagles, have bright yellow bills that blend perfectly with the Fall leaves in their favorite cottonwood tree.

Just to the north, mated pairs of the elegant Trumpeter Swans, calmly dip and feed on the aquatic vegetation below Union Bay. We are lucky to live near a bay that is shallow enough to have vegetation and yet deep enough, and south enough, to not freeze in Winter.

However, for me, one of the most heart-warming sights this week was repeatedly seeing this Wilson's Snipe and watching it bobbing its body up and down, while totally confident in its awesome camouflage.

Have a great day on Union Bay...where nature lives in the city and Black Birders are welcome!

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

City Changes Standing Advisory Committee Name


The Department of Neighborhoods recently sent out this information:

Earlier last year, the City Council passed Ordinance 126685, which made several technical corrections and clarifications to the City’s land use regulations (Titles 23 and 25 of the Seattle Municipal Code).  The legislation recently went into effect and includes some minor adjustments to the City’s Major Institution Advisory Committee process.  Namely, “Citizens’ Advisory Committees (CAC)” will now be known as “Development Advisory Committees” and “Standing Advisory Committees (SAC)” will now be known as “Implementation Advisory Committees.”  

These changes were made to clarify and better reflect the functions of these committees.  The committees’ role, authority and scope of work remains unchanged.   

To review a copy of Ordinance 126685, see SDCI 2021 Omnibus ( 

If you have questions about the changes, please reach out to  ( or Dipti Garg (


A SAC (Standing Advisory Committee)  meets several times a year to advise the City on the Master Plan development for Children's Hospital. The last meeting was March 2022 and was the 29th meeting held since the committee was formed by the City.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Neighborhood Mixed Use Building Sells For Over $10M

A mixed-use building at 3501 NE 45th Street.  The building has several businesses, including a physical therapy business, a barber and a cell phone repair shop. In the back part of the building are about 6 apartments, several appear to still be under construction after almost a decade.

Daily Journal of Commerce published this information

Laurelhurst property sells for over $10M

A mixed-use complex at 3501-3515 N.E. 45th St. recently sold for a little over $10.6 million, according to King County records. The seller was a local family that had owned the land for decades, and developed the two buildings.

The buyer was Caspian Holdings LLC, which is associated with Lake Forest Park investor Mansour Samadpour, the chief executive of the international food-safety and testing firm IEH Laboratories.

Kim Dale with Windermere Real Estate told the Laurelhurst Blog:

I had the opportunity to speak to one of the tenants in the building block that has been sold. The new owners are investors but as of this time they do not have plans to take down the current structures and are in the process of renewing the current tenants' leases.