Wednesday, June 23, 2021

This Week Aegis Construction At Five Corners Site To Start


Construction on Aegis Living, a senior community to be located at the triangular site (3200 NE 45th Street) at Five Corners, is scheduled to start this week, according to Jennifer, a representative with Aegis. 

"In June we will be mobilizing, setting up temp power, dewatering and making a storm drain connection into the street. The contractor will be sending out a neighborhood notice when we get closer with additional detail" Jennifer told the Laurelhurst Blog last week.

Exxel Pacific  General Contractors sent the Laurelhurst Blog this information:

Utilities construction on the storm line in NE 45th St is to begin 6/22/21. Demolition of the existing asphalt/concrete on site is slated to begin 7/15/21. All work will be completed in strict accordance with the State of Washington social distancing and Phase 2 construction guidelines. Any changes to Phase and requirements will be met. Trucks will be accessing the site from 45th St. at existing curb.
The design proposal, submitted in July 2016, includes 135 units in a six story building (55-70 feet) with 53 parking stalls and 2500 square feet of retail on the first floor proposed to house a salon and cafe.  Amenities will include  elegant dining, salon, barber shop, pub, theater, trail view  lounge, chat cafe, courtyard, and 6th floor Sky Lounge. 
First residents are scheduled to move in around spring of 2023 according to the Aegis website
Demolition at the site  which included 5 long-term businesses was completed in October 2020.  In July 2020, the building in which China Village resided for over 30 years was demolished. The Wong family have owned the restaurant since 1987. In 2016 Amy, and her brother, Lee Wong bought out another family member and changed the name from "China Village" to Uncle Lee's and remodeled the restaurant. It is now located at Sandpoint Village (5408 Sand Point Way).

Amy told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff at the time: "We started off as “China Village” and now we will continue our family business and passion as 'Uncle Lee’s'!"

Also demolished was the building where Benton Jewelers used to be, which was most recently a brokerage firm.

Before demolition, the landmark Benton clock, which since 1986 stood in front of the old Benton Jewelers location, was removed and put into storage at a cost of $30,000. The new clock location, at the corner was unanimously approved by the Landmarks Preservation Board in January at a Certification of Approval meeting.  The clock enclosure was powder coated and the restoration of mechanisms is underway.  

Also demolished was the building, in which for over four decades, Baskin-Robbins was located.  In September 2015 it was forced to close, even though the building was not demolished until 4 years later. 

The manager of Baskin-Robbins who owned that franchise for 15 years, told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff at the time that "unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement regarding a lease on the site with the Broderick Group, a real-estate brokerage company, so Baskin-Robbins is forced to close." 

He added that the new landlord "wanted to raise the rent by more than 50% with all costs included." 

Other buildings demolished housed well-know long-time businesses at one time or another, including Select Hair Salon which had rented their building for over 20 years and was originally located in the north side of the current Varlamos Pizzeria (3617 NE 45th Street) before it expanded.  

After demolition, the site appeared to be unmaintained for a number of months and began to be covered with graffiti and weeds.

The Laurelhurst Blog contacted Aegis and asked if mesh covering could be put on the fence surrounding the property since construction would not start immediately at such a well-travelled intersection and entry point into many neighborhoods.The site also consistently has graffiti , which the City requires to be covered within 10 days. 

Aegis installed a blue mesh cover on the the entire fence surrounding the construction site.  They also are  continually maintaining the vegetation on site, as well as keeping the site clear of trash and graffiti and ensuring the fence remains standing. 

Aegis had a contractor paint the adjacent wall, which is not their property, to match the adjoining business and are trying to keep it painted throughout the project. A project manager does regular site visits to ensure the site security and maintenance. 

Recently the project manager painted over the tagging on the adjacent wall and also has been replacing some of the mesh paneling and a sign on the fence that were tagged. 

Offering 111 stylishly designed assisted living apartments for seniors and 24 memory care apartments for your family member needing specially trained dementia care. Aegis at Laurelhurst is designed to be the center of social activities. With a large plaza at the main entry, families can play, connect, and relax. Don’t miss the top floor sky lounge with views of the UW campus, Lake Washington and the Seattle skyline.
Another retirement home, Empress Senior Living (4020 NE 55th Street), is currently under construction, on the former Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital site, across from Metropolitan Market. The proposal, Permit #3025827, includes 3 stories of approximately 74 units with a restaurant at street level and parking for approximately 30 vehicles above and below grade.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Friday Center for Urban Horticulture Oil Painting Class

UW Botanic Gardens’ Center for Urban Horticulture (3501 NE 41st Street) is holding an on-line class on Friday called " Oil Painting: Daisies & Hygrangeas" from 1-3:30pm.

The information says:
Participants will be painting a bright and colorful floral and garden scene painting using oil paints. For reference photos, photos featured from the UW Botanic Gardens plant collections at the Center for Urban Horticulture and Washington Park Arboretum will be used.   
Using these examples and other photos, participants will learn how to:
  • simplify shapes
  • apply color theory concepts
  • create paintings that look fresh and joyful
  • create with bold-loose brushstrokes
  • underpaint and layer
  • use composition basics
  • mix a strong color palette
  • create a powerful color palette and impact in their work
  • combine colors and add strong light and shadow in nature
  • simplify shapes and create dynamic compositions
  • determine value and temperature in paintings

Register online or by phone at 206-685-8033.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Hospital Construction Activity This Week


Building Care, also called Forest B, of Phase 2 of Children's Hospital expansion is underway and the new building is planned to open in Spring of 2022.
The 310,000 square-foot addition will add an eight-story building and will includes diagnostic and treatment facilities, primarily out-patient cancer and others) labs, new state-of-the-art operating rooms, 20 inpatient beds, and a lobby. There will be two floors of underground parking and sterile processing. This will bring SCH bed total to 409, up from 200 before its expansion 2012 plan.
The helicopter landing pad moved temporarily to the roof of Forest A (176’), now known as Friends of Costco Building, Phase 1 of the expansion. The landing pad will be active until Building Care is completed. Noise is expected to be louder than the former ground-based helipad. When Forest B is complete, the helistop will moves to its permanent location on top of the Friends of Costco Building (same height).
The Hospital posted this information on their Construction Blog about specific construction activity this week:
    • Build out interior spaces
    • Install doors at vestibule
    • Paint
    • Waterproofing
    • Install and trim mechanical and electrical wiring and plumbing equipment
    • Install ceilings
    • Install flooring
    • Excavation
    • Pour concrete walkways, curbs, ramps and stairs
    • Grading
    • Restore rain garden
    • Place soil and mulch
    • Place boulders using mobile crane
    • Install decking
    • Install light poles
    • Building connection work:
      • Demolish walls, ceilings, and flooring; install utility wiring and drywall on level 3 of River C
      • Paint, install signage, and trim utility wiring on level 7 of River C
      • Paint and install signage and siding on level 1 of Forest A

All work will take place 8-6pm weekdays and 9-6pm on Saturdays.  
Call 206-987-8000 or email with questions.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Laurelhurst Blog Staff on Vacation

The Laurelhurst Blog staff is on vacation and will return to posting on June 21st.

In the meantime, please keep sending in your informative news tips and emails and we look forward to responding.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Monday LCC Annual Meeting And Neighbor Recognition awards


Monday at 6:30pm the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) is holding its Annual Neighbors Meeting via Zoom.  

Here is the agenda:

6:30  Welcome and LCC Business
  • Introductions
  • Highlights of LCC past year  
  • Treasurer's Report                                                                                                          
  • Election of Trustees 
6:55   Guest Speaker- Captain Brian Stampfl, Seattle Police Department North Precinct  to discuss NE Seattle issues followed by Questions and Answers

7:40 Good Neighbor Recognition awards                                                            

8:00   Adjourn

Candidates for the Board of Trustees 
to be up for elections for a 2 year term  include:
  • Stan Sorscher
  • Katherine Burk
  • Colleen McAleer
  • Jim Rupp
  • Pat Chaney
  • Janice Sutter
  • Connie Sidles

For more information about LCC, go here.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Ducklings At Union Bay

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

Ducklings are Delightful

Ducklings are delightful! Their downy little feathers look more like the soft fur of a rabbit than the multi-functional avian feathers of an adult duck. 

Plus, their currently useless but incredibly quaint little nubbins of wings are adorable.

In addition to being cute ducklings have incredible potential! Unlike you or I, ducklings will one day fly if they survive. 

Mother hens are the key to duckling survival. They protect their young from the sun (there are three or four young ducklings in the shadow under this hen), from the cold, and from a wide variety of hungry creatures.

In addition, their mothers teach them where to find food. (It is also amazing how easily camouflaged they become in sun-dappled Pennywort.) The young will follow their mother anywhere, they come when she calls, and they learn from everything she does. 

Earlier this week, some friends and I watched this Mallard hen dip her head underwater...

...and then toss the water over her back. I am not sure if she was bathing to keep clean, cool, or both.

In the water surrounding her, many of her young ducklings repeated the exact same maneuver.

Afterward, she hauled out on a log to preen.

Her ducklings all did the same.

For a moment they almost lined up in perfect order, but soon they were twisting and turning in a variety of ways. To the mother hen, I suspect each duckling is unique. I wonder if their individual personalities play part in what enables some to survive when others do not.

I read on the Sea and Sage Audubon website that usually only two in twelve make it. Will the two who stayed closest to their mother be more likely to survive?

Earlier this week, I noticed this mother Wood Duck with her three young. They were also feeding in the Marsh Pennywort where the mix of shadows and vegetation made them less obvious.

Overhead this Bald Eagle, most likely from the Broadmoor pair, surveyed the world from the top of a Cottonwood tree. Ducklings might seem a bit small for an eagle's appetite but this time of year they are probably hundreds of ducklings along the shores of Union Bay. The odds seem to favor the predators.

The day before, I watched this adult raccoon coming down from its nest, in the broken top of another nearby Cottonwood tree.

One of the raccoon's young is peering out from the left side of the central branch. The adult's tail is hanging down into the top of the photo. Plus, I believe there is a second young raccoon's head partially visible, upside-down, on top of the first one. In any case, I have no doubt raccoons will also eat ducklings.

I once saw a Mallard leave her brood of ducklings so she could get closer to a raccoon and call out loudly. It seemed obvious to me that she was teaching her young that raccoons are dangerous.

As I watched, the female Wood Duck titled her head to keep a careful eye on the Bald Eagle. 

I have also heard a story of a Coyote, in virtually this exact spot, who grabbed a duck and threw it back to shore for its young to dispatch and eat.

I have seen an American Crow swoop down at a brood of ducklings and watched the mother hen take to the air. She flew directly at the crow in the successful defense of her young.

When this American Coot approached her family the female Wood Duck clearly objected.

Sadly, for the female Wood Duck, the Coot was not intimidated. The mother Hen turned and herded her young deeper into the Pennywort. The Coot hung around the edges but did not follow.

Next, a female Mallard came after the Wood Duck. The hen gave ground to the much larger Mallard but stopped in front of her young and flapped her wings. Successfully, using the strong motions to discourage the Mallard from coming closer. 

The turquoise, purple and white-edged speculum on her wings is not easily seen under normal circumstances.

A few moments, later the mother Wood Duck circled around the Mallard and the Coot and led her young to a less populated part of the bay.

Yesterday, at the same spot there was once again a Wood Duck hen with three young - presumably the same family.

Lurking onshore, directly behind them, was one of the local raccoons.

The mother Wood Duck did not panic and frantically herd her young ducklings away. Instead, she stayed calm, kept them close, and let them get a good look. Maybe most important was her modeling of an alert and careful response. Getting a good real-world education is just as important to ducklings as it is to humans. 

While writing this, my mind wandered. I wondered if in the distant past ducks and ducklings inspired humans to organize students by age and form classes for their education. Economically, one teacher for a large number of students certainly seems logical.

However, large broods work for ducks because the volume of their reproduction is high in both quantity and frequency. This enables ducks, particularly Mallards, to thrive in spite of the attrition. All other things being equal if only a few survive there are still plenty of ducks to maintain the population.

Humans have far fewer offspring and our young take much longer to mature. The survival, or even the thriving, of only a subset, is not acceptable. The No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 demonstrates this widely held belief.

One summer when I was young, I was lucky enough to have an Uncle who allowed me to spend the days with him at work, and in the evenings we went hunting and fishing. The lessons I learned had far more impact than anything I ever learned in a classroom. I remember my Aunt saying, "More is caught than taught". This experience makes me question whether organizing our children in indoor classrooms, by age, is really the optimal method of education. 

I have no doubt that the last year has been incredibly challenging for parents with children. On the other hand, I wonder if their children may one day realize that having this time with their parents was the peak of their childhood education.


This week's post is dedicated in memory of my Uncle, 

Ronald Gilbert.


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


ps: By the way, if you have preschool children you may want to take a closer look at the Fiddleheads program at the Arboretum.

Going Native:

Each of us, who breathe the air and drink the local water, needs to watch and protect our local environment. Native plants and trees encourage the largest diversity of lifeforms because of their long intertwined history with our local environment and native creatures. I have been told that even the microbes in the soil are native to each local landscape. I hope we can inspire ourselves, our neighbors, and local businesses to respect native flora and to support native wildlife at every opportunity. I have learned that our most logical approach to native trees and plants (in order of priority) should be to:

1) Learn and leave established native flora undisturbed.
2) Remove invasive species and then wait to see if native plants begin to grow without assistance. (If natives plants start on their own, then these plants or trees are likely the most appropriate flora for the habitat.)
3) Scatter seeds from nearby native plants in a similar habitat.
4) If you feel you must add a new plant then select a native plant while considering how the plant fits with the specific habitat and understanding the plant's logical place in the normal succession of native plants.

My intention in my weekly post is to include at least one photo each week and visually challenge us to know the difference between native and non-native lifeforms. 

(By the way, my friend Tom Brown pointed out that the application named 'Wildflower Search' is extremely helpful. Click on the highlighted link to see for yourself.

Also, Jane Lundin has created a small package, with a lot of critical information that looks quite handy, and light, for backpacking in the mountains in Springtime. It is titled, Mountain Wildflowers of Washington.)

What species of duckling is in this photo? Is it native to Union Bay?

For the advanced students, the following three photos include Gadwall, Mallard, and Wood Duck ducklings. They are all native to Union Bay plus they are the three most common ducklings you are likely to see, in my opinion. Can you tell which is which?




The answer is:

A) = Wood Duck
B) = Mallard and
C) = Gadwall

Key differences include Mallard ducklings have more yellow around the face. The eyestripe on the Wood Duck duckling stops behind the eye.

Also, Mallard ducklings are the most common and most commonly seen in May and June. Wood Ducks are less common but primarily seen during the same time. Gadwalls are the least common and more likely to be seen in July. 

The preceding photo of the duckling in front of the Mallard hen was selected to test your skills of observation. The duckling is actually a Wood Duck duckling who wants nothing to do with the Mallard.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Keeping Sidewalks Clear Of Plantings Per City Code


Photo from Neil Wright

hedge in neighborhood

The Laurelhurst Blog has received emails from neighbors requesting that those that own overgrown hedges or other plantings partially covering sidewalks maintain them to keep sidewalks completely clear. 

Some comments received said:

Thanks for asking neighbors to be good neighbors and to take care of their sidewalks. 
Plants infringing on sidewalks is a City ordinance violation. Neighbors can upload pictures and addresses to the City's "Find It Fix it" smartphone app. The City will then contact the advise property owner to clear the debris off the sidewalk or face a fine.  I have the City Code which is very clear that horizontal or vertical intrusions of sidewalks must be abated by the property owner. There must ben an 8 feet clearance above the sidewalk and 14 feet above the street. Sidewalks must be clear all the way across. 
I have concerns about the number of overgrown shrubs, which are City code violations.   It makes it difficult to stay on the sidewalk, in some cases, and poses a danger when walking with children and pets and having to walk into the street.
Unfortunately, I was scratched across the face by a tree limb hanging over a sidewalk on an evening walk.  Neighbors can report overgrowth over a sidewalk on the Find it Fix It site as maintaining sidewalk space is the responsibility of the home owner as well as the parking strip.

It would be greatly appreciated if neighbors could trim back their plants that encroach on the sidewalks in front of their homes.  It's very hard in some areas of the neighborhood to walk side-by-side in too many places in the neighborhood. 

One neighbor received this information after reporting overgrowth from Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI):

SDCI enforces the Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 10.52 Weeds and Vegetation Code. It applies to vegetation that originates on private property or adjacent planting strips and encroaches onto the public right of way (that is, the sidewalk, street or alley).

Property owners are required to trim or remove vegetation growing on their private property that overhangs and obstructs streets, alleys or sidewalks or creates a fire hazard. A clearance of 8 feet over sidewalks and 14 feet over traveled roadways is required. In most cases, abutting property owners must also trim vegetation that interferes with the view of an intersection at a distance of 30 feet. SDCI will inspect only those complaints of vegetation overgrowth that indicates a hazardous situation such as blocked traffic visibility or overgrowth that forces pedestrians off the sidewalk into the street. Other violations of the Weeds and Vegetation Code will be recorded and information about code requirements sent to the property owner or occupant responsible for the site. Information on regulation of vegetation overgrowth is available here. To report vegetation overgrowth from private property go here or call (206) 684-CITY (2489).

To protect the health and safety of the public, it is important to keep streets, alleys and sidewalks free of obstructions, litter, and other material.
Property owners must trim or remove overhanging trees, plants, shrubs, vegetation or debris which obstruct streets, alleys or sidewalks, or which are a fire hazard.