Category Archives: News, etc.

‘Private property’ signs go up at formerly public beach on Lake Washington

"Private property" signs recently went up at a beach that for nearly 80 years was public.

“Private property” signs recently went up at a beach that for nearly 80 years was public.

“Private property” signs were recently staked into the ground of a piece of waterfront property that for nearly 80 years was used as public access to the water of Lake Washington. Marks on the ground show where a sign that was announcing improvements planned by the City of Seattle was dragged away.

Lake City Live has been following the controversy and the court’s ruling that gave ownership of the property at the end NE 130th Street to the adjacent property owners. You can see our coverage here and here.

Neighbors advocating to keep the land public have been organizing via a Facebook group. They are asking the City of Seattle to condemn the property so it can be returned to public use. And in a Wednesday report, KIRO/7 said that the effort seems to be gaining traction with City of Seattle leaders.

KIRO/7 visited the site on Wednesday and filed this report. In the video below they try to talk to one of the property owners without success.

Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle DOT, Seattle PD launch traffic safety initiative at Lake City Library

Mayor Ed Murray in front of the Lake City Library

Mayor Ed Murray in front of the Lake City Library

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Council members and officials from the Seattle Police Department and Department of Transportation announced “Vision Zero Seattle” during an event outside of the Lake City Library on Thursday afternoon.

Vision Zero Seattle is a program with the aim of ending traffic deaths and injuries in Seattle.

From the Mayor’s office:

While Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country, more than 10,000 traffic collisions occur each year. In 2014, 3,449 injury collisions were reported to the Seattle Police Department. Fifteen people died in traffic crashes, including five who were walking or riding a bike.

At the core of Vision Zero is the belief that death and injury on city streets is preventable. The Vision Zero approach emphasizes smarter street designs – forgiving streets that account for human error. When paired with targeted education and enforcement, the effort will save lives.

The effort will include:

Pedestrians run across State Route 522, aka Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

Pedestrians run across State Route 522, aka Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

  • Reduce the speed limit in the downtown core to 25 mph by the end of 2015.
  • Improve safety at 10 high-crash intersections downtown by eliminating turns on red lights, installing leading pedestrian intervals to give walkers a head start, eliminating dual turn lanes and other engineering improvements.
  • Install 20 mph zones on residential streets in up to ten areas near parks and schools with documented collision histories.
  • Enhance safety on arterials — like Rainier Avenue S, 35th Avenue SW, Fauntleroy Way SW and 5th Avenue NE where 90 percent of serious and fatal collisions occur — by installing speed reductions, radar speed signs and enhanced street designs.
  • Add twelve new school zone safety cameras in six school zones to improve safety for kids as they make their way to and from school.
  • Add seven miles of protected bike lanes, more than 40 crossing improvements and 14 blocks of new sidewalk to make travel safer across all modes.
  • Conduct targeted enforcement throughout the city for school, pedestrian and bike safety, along with enhanced DUI enforcement.
  • SDOT and SPD will work together to educate people in advance of these patrols, so everyone will expect enforcement and better understand the rules of the road.

The Seattle Bike Blog reports that this is the second time City of Seattle leaders have gathered press for an announcement to end traffic injuries and deaths. The previous plan announced, the Road Safety Action Plan, had a similar goal. From the Seattle Bike Blog:

Since that plan, the city has launched a brilliant and successful school zone speed camera program, which slows down traffic and helps to fund safety projects like Safe Routes to School. The city also crafted a new Bicycle Master Plan.

But more must be done. Will the new Vision Zero plan be bolder? Will there be serious funding? Stay tuned for details.

Hip Hop and healthy food Tuesday at Lake City Presbyterian Church

Hip Hop Green Dinner

Hip Hop Green Dinner

Want to see some “groundbreaking Hip Hop performances” and eat a healthy meal?

Lake City Presbyterian Church is hosting a Hip Hop Green Dinner on Tuesday, February 10th at 5 pm.

What Happens at the Hip Hop is Green Dinner?

The Green Dinners serve as a unique way to reach out to the community to deliver a vegan dining experience geared towards urban youth and young people who identify with Hip Hop culture. The dinners are designed to be a perfect combination of information and entertainment. By breaking bread and sharing information in a relaxed and entertaining environment, the Hip Hop Green Dinners help youth and their families make the connection between their diet, lifestyle and their health.

1. A beautiful dining presentation
2. To taste some of the best vegan food available in their area
3. To witness some groundbreaking Hip Hop performances and meet the artists involved
4. To meet and learn about healthy eating and living from leading health professionals
5. To network with agencies, organizations, businesses and individuals in their area who can help them transition to a healthier lifestyle

Click here to register and learn more.  The Green Dinner will be held at the Lake City Presbyterian Church (3841 NE 123rd Street).  There is only room for 150 people, and seats are limited.

Here is a video explaining previous Hip Hop Green Dinners.

Flyer below

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35th Avenue Northeast reopens after months long closure

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After a seven-month closure, 35th Avenue NE has reopened to traffic. The road will still have periodic lane closures as finishing touches are put on the Thornton Creek Confluence Project. The reopening of the road will allow for the return to normal of Metro routes 64 and 65.

We drove the route soon after it was announced that it was reopened. The road surface still needs some obvious work as uneven surfaces make for a rough ride in spots. But the project significantly transformed and improved the route for Thornton Creek. The new culvert and flood plain will be put to the test on Saturday evening after the National Weather Service issued a flood watch for King County

The project included:

  • Landscaping.
  • Completion of a new two-acre floodplain and meandering channel for the creek.
  • A new bridge where 35th Avenue NE crosses Thornton Creek.
  • Improved fish and wildlife habitat.

After 82 years, public beach ruled to be private property; neighborhood groups advocating for public access

 

This Lake Washington access point was ruled to be private property at the end of NE 130th Street.

This Lake Washington access point was ruled to be private property at the end of NE 130th Street.

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New stairs were constructed to the beach before the lawsuit.

The only public access to Lake Washington in Lake City and Cedar Park was ruled to be privately-owned property, and the State Supreme Court recently upheld the ruling. This after 82 years of paddling, swimming, wading and enjoyment for land-locked folks in the community. After a unanimous vote by the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance, a network of organizations are now advocating to keep the beach access public.

The lawsuit came just as funding was secured and improvements were made to the park via a recent Parks and Green Spaces Levy. Lake City Live first reported about the legal dispute in April 2013. Click here to read story.

From the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance:

This small, local, Cedar Park community beach, established 82 years ago, is the only water access in the Lake City neighborhoods. It is the only public access to Lake Washington in the 5-mile stretch from Matthews Beach to Log Boom Park in Kenmore.

Since 1932 this beach has been open to public use. Nobody questioned the public nature of this property until it was purchased in October of 2010 and then 2 years later, the new owners and an adjacent neighbor sued King County and Seattle for ownership. By exploiting a technical procedural error made 82 years ago, they were able to take this property away from the public. There is no question that this beach was intended to remain public in perpetuity. Only a legal loophole allowed the adjacent landowners to succeed in their court case.

Resident David Pope has been working for years to bring awareness of the loss of the beach to the community. He regularly contributes to the Facebook Group “Friends of NE 130th Beach.” He will make a presentation to the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance in February.

You can read the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance letter to City of Seattle leaders below.

Download (PDF, 286KB)

You can see a Google Street view of the area below:


View Larger Map

Your help needed to advocate for new community center, Monday deadline

This message comes from the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance and is an important one. The deadline to write the City Council to advocate for a new community center is Monday, November 10:

The current Lake City Community Center

The current Lake City Community Center

IF YOU HAVE JUST FIVE OR TEN MINUTES TO DO SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT FOR YOUR COMMUNITY—DO THIS. We need you to write to the Seattle City Council in support of a full-service Lake City Community Center. Please do this by Monday, latest!

Background

Over the past several weeks, the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance has been steadily advocating for a full-service community center in Lake City, to serve children, youth, seniors, and all of us. Lake City offers pitifully few services for our children, youth, and older adults. Those of us with means and mobility can go to other neighborhoods, but our many neighbors who don’t are left behind. We need and deserve the recreational, cultural, and educational opportunities that come with a full-service facility here in Lake City.

Right now

Three of our City Council members, Sally Clark, Tim Burgess, and Mike O’Brien, are sponsoring a “Statement of Legislative Intent” that calls upon the Parks Department to report back to the Council by August 2015 with alternatives, including funding plans, for rehabilitating or rebuilding Lake City Community Center. Council Member Nick Licata has been the driving force behind this, but because he is the council budget chair and needs to be a neutral negotiator, he did not sign on—although he can still vote to support.

What we need from you

As an individual or a representative of a group, write an email to all of our City Council members, expressing in your own words why we need a full-service community center in Lake City. We need these communications to go out as soon as possible. You can do it over the weekend, but do it by Monday!

Here are some factors:

  • A growing population of children and youth
  • Many older adults with few senior services
  • Very little park space
  • No consistent programming such as that found at other neighborhoods’ community centers

What would you like to see—sport courts? A pool? A senior center? A community kitchen? Meeting rooms? All of the above? Tell the Council!
We have an historic opportunity, here. We must show a groundswell of support for the current council action, as it is a critical first step on our way to getting a full-service community center in Lake City. We want all of the Council members to vote in favor of this project!

You can send just one email to all the council members at once. Cut and paste these addresses into your recipient line and write your unique request:

sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov

sally.clark@seattle.gov

bruce.harrell@seattle.gov

nick.licata@seattle.gov

mike.obrien@seattle.gov

kshama.sawant@seattle.gov

jean.godden@seattle.gov

tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov

tim.burgess@seattle.gov

Thank you, friends! Let’s make this happen together.

 

$75,000 Camaro stolen, crashed through showroom windows at Lake City auto dealership

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A rather dramatic theft took place at a Lake City auto dealer early Tuesday morning in the 11300 block of Lake City Way. A thief made off with a Chevrolet Camaro Z28 after crashing the car through the locked showroom doors.

From the Seattle Police Department:

At the scene, police found tire tracks on the dealership’s tile floor, and evidence that a burglar had smashed their way into the business, grabbed a set of car keys, and then crashed the $75,000 Camaro through the locked front doors of the building. Both the brand new Camaro and the dealership were badly damaged during the suspect’s hasty retreat.

The suspect ditched the car just half a mile from the dealership in the driveway of a home. After recovering the car, officers called for evidence specialists to search the vehicle for any evidence that might lead police to this lead-footed larcenist.

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KIRO/7: Post office box holders say they were never notified by USPS about break-ins

Coming just on the heels of the breakup of a major mail theft ring in north Seattle, it has been revealed that mailboxes at the Lake City Post Office have been targets of thieves. The problem has become significant enough that the U.S. Postal Service has changed the hours the lobby and mailboxes are available to the public, inconveniencing some that pay for boxes there.

From the KIRO report:

“It makes me consider whether or not I want to continue to have my mail delivered to the post office,” said Chris Rich, who rents a post office box at that location.

She and other neighbors say they rented the boxes because of an increase in mailbox thefts in the area over the past few years.

“We pay for post office boxes so there ought to be some level of service to folks to have their mail delivered there,” said Rich.

kiroThe U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office told KIRO/7 that breaking into post office boxes is both a state and federal offense that could carry a 15 year prison sentence.

Seattle Police: Major Crimes Unit Unravels Prolific North Seattle Crime Ring

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Items recovered by Seattle police are shown. (SPD photo)

After a bit of controversy over an internal memo saying that Seattle Police may not fully investigate all home burglaries because of a lack of detectives to work cases, the Seattle Police Department released the following story on their Blotter Wednesday afternoon.

Although the story doesn’t specifically mention Lake City, it does give a glimpse of how a major crime operation can work and may help people here be more alert and aware. And often theft rings like this are not necessarily limited geographically to a specific neighborhood, so chances are this ring has operated a bit farther north in Lake City. You can read the SPD post below.

A stolen car, a wanted woman, and her diary detailing “what I stole today” has led SPD’s Major Crimes Task Force to unravel a prolific crime ring, which detectives believe is responsible for hundreds of break-ins, car prowls, thefts and identity fraud in North Seattle.

In all, police arrested four suspects and seized hundreds of pieces of stolen mail, IDs, and boxes of packages, stolen right off of victims’ porches, with one of the suspects telling police that unwrapping stolen packages was “like opening Christmas presents.”

Detectives got their first major break in the case on September 11th when Seattle police and Department of Corrections officers went to a University District townhouse near NE 50th Street and 11th Avenue NE to arrest a 26-year-old woman wanted on a felony warrant. After officers took the woman into custody, they discovered a stolen car parked outside the two-bedroom townhome. Officers called detectives in SPD’s Major Crimes Task Force—who had been working a complex auto theft case around the city—to come to the townhouse and interview the woman. Detectives found a trove of around 100 stolen packages when they arrived, containing everything from ceiling fans to strollers, all in their original packaging. “When we left her house,” says MCTF Det. Todd Jakobsen “we had four SUVs and two cars stuffed full of packages she’d stolen off people’s porches.”

Detectives found duffel bags filled with stolen mail, more than 70 IDs, credit cards and passports, $37,000 in fraudulent checks, and mail stolen from at least 180 victims. They also found books and ledgers tracking thefts and tallying sales on online sites, as well as pages and pages of victims’ birthdates, social security numbers and credit card numbers. Detectives say the woman had created “profiles,” compiling personal information from pieces of stolen mail. With that info in hand, she and other thieves had everything they needed to open credit accounts in their victims’ names.

Police later learned the townhome, much like the mail and stolen items inside it, did not belong to the woman either. “She never even rented this place,” says Major Crimes Task Force detective Todd Jakobsen. “The people that lived there moved out and she just moved in. She never paid rent.”

Detectives say the 26-year-old woman and her 34-year-old boyfriend been burglarizing and stealing from victims all over the University District and Greenlake. She said they had been working with a 31-year-old-woman she’d met in prison and another man, who she described as the ringleader of the group of thieves, although she claimed to only know by his nickname. The group, the woman said, had made crime a full-time job, stealing mail or breaking into homes seven days a week over the last two or three months.

After arresting the 34-year-old boyfriend for auto and mail theft, detectives began searching for the other two accomplices.

Four days later, police found the third member of the crew of thieves—the 31-year-old woman—in a tent at an encampment along Interstate 5 near NE 50th St., about half a mile from the University District townhome.

In the encampment, police found more stolen mail and about 200 pounds of copper wire, which police believe was stolen from the Museum of History and Industry’s Montlake building after the museum relocated in 2013.

After searching through the encampment and arresting the 31-year-old woman, detectives had tracked down three of the four members of the theft ring, but were still searching for their alleged ringleader.

Police finally got their man on September 22nd after West Precinct patrol officers pulled over a 25-year-old man in a stolen car near 6th Ave and Weller St. in the International District. Once again, patrol officers called MCTF detectives to come check out the stolen car and talk to the driver, who just so happened to have a name closely matching the nickname of the alleged theft and fraud ringleader.

The man in the stolen car was elusive during an interview with detectives—“things just weren’t adding up with what he was saying” Det. Jakobsen says—and police quickly discovered he was wanted for more than a dozen cases of auto theft and fraud in Pierce County. When police searched the suspect’s stolen car, they found documents and evidence connected to several cases of bank fraud in Seattle.

With the evidence found in the 25-year-old man’s car and information they’d received from other suspects about their ringleader, detectives were now certain they had found the man leading the North Seattle crime ring. “Once I started interviewing him everything started falling into place,” Det. Jakobsen says.

Detectives arrested the man and turned him over to authorities in Pierce County, and the MCTF is now working with Pierce and King County officials to bring charges against the man. Police are also investigating him in connection with a number of recent burglaries along the University of Washington’s Greek Row.

“These arrests should drastically reduce property crimes” in the North Precinct, says Coordinated Criminal Investigations Captain Eric Sano.

Detectives are still combing through all of the stolen items recovered during their investigation, and will also look at where the suspects were selling their stolen items, and whether they were trading pieces of stolen mail with other criminals.

Olympic Hills Greenway lined with new stop signs

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Chances are if you have driven in the Olympic Hills neighborhood in recent weeks you have noticed lots of changes on some roads.

A neighborhood greenway on 27th Avenue NE from NE 145th Street to NE 130th Street is taking shape. The route will give cyclists and pedestrians the same priority on the roadway as automobiles.

Crews from Seattle Department of Transportation were out on Monday preparing dozens of intersections for new stop signs. Pavement markings were applied and temporary stop signs placed at dozens of intersections along the route.

So as you drive through the neighborhood, be aware that some intersections that used to have roundabouts or no signage may now require a stop.

The route is expected to be done in coming weeks and is the first part of a proposed network in Lake City.
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