Category Archives: Syndicated

Kaffeeklatsch celebrates second anniversary, helps change neighborhood

Some of the staff at Kaffeeklatsch celebrate the bakery/coffee shop's second anniversary with a party
On January 15th, Kaffeeklatsch celebrated their second anniversary as a fixture in our community. In the two years since the little neighborhood business has been serving steaming lattes and baking their tasty bread, they have helped to significantly change our community.

A message written during an anniversary party for Kaffeeklatsch.
Now we realize that is a pretty big statement to make about one small business in a neighborhood with an active business core. But Kaffeeklatsch has really become the "third place" that so many neighborhood businesses strive to become.

The community planning principle of the "third place" says that people have their home —their "first place"— their place of work —the "second place"— and the "third place" —a social gathering place separate from those other two environments.

Kaffeeklatsch has become for many in our community a third place, a hub where neighbors gather, interact, exchange ideas and talk about their community.

Discussions and ideas about the future and the direction of Lake City are exchanged much more easily with the help of the neighborhood gathering spot. For example, before the business opened, people with spare time would have to reserve a room at a public community space and schedule a meeting to plan and discuss our community. These meeting had a much more formal feel and had to be often planned far in advance.

Now customers are regularly heard discussing the neighborhood. Meetings, debates, ideas and discussion are now more spontaneous and inclusive. Groups can gather and talk there without having to find and reserve a more formal space (although it is polite to let them know if a big group is coming.)

Lake City Greenways is unveiled at Kaffeeklatsch.
In fact many of our neighborhood's most significant ideas and plans in the past two years have been born and sculpted at the coffee shop and bakery.

There are many things happening in Lake City, much behind the scenes, that will likely lead to a much more livable, walkable, safe neighborhood in the future. There are many active people in our community we will have to thank for their hard work in years to come. But for now, we thank the small business that gives them a place to gather and create their ideas of a better community.

Fiber Optic Network

Back on December 13th of last year, the Mayor's office announced a public / private partnership with Gigabit Squared and the UW to connect businesses and residences to the city's fiber optic network It is called the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program.

The connection speeds are expected to be up to 1,000 times faster than currently available high speed internet. The map below shows the 12 neighborhoods that will have the fiber connections pulled directly to buildings. Current plans for Lake City are to have wireless towers at 145th / LCW and 125th/ LCW to provide wireless connections to the fiber.

This project is still at the front end and we may still have an opportunity to be selected as a neighborhood. Members of Lake City Neighborhood Alliance have requested information on how Lake City can be included. Stay tuned for more information.

Sidewalk Funding for 127th

A frame from the slideshow presentation
Representatives from Douglas Park Cooperative were at the North District Council meeting last week Wednesday to make a presentation of our request for sidewalks on NE 127th street between 25th and 27th. All NDC member organizations voted and our project was one of the three selected. If everything goes well, SDOT will start designs in November of this year.

More information about the Bridging the Gap Neighborhood Street Fund can be found here.  Below is a timeline from their site:

NSF Project Selection Timeline:
January – Each of Seattle’s 13 neighborhood District Councils will select three projects for further evaluation (up to 39 projects in all).
February - May – SDOT conducts a high level scope & cost estimate of the projects selected by the neighborhood District Councils.
June – Each neighborhood District Council prioritizes its own list of projects.
July – Bridging the Gap Oversight Committee evaluates all proposed projects for funding.
August – Oversight committee makes funding recommendations to the Mayor & City Council.
September – 2014 Budget adopted.
October/November – SDOT begins planning and design work.

This sidewalk is in addition to the sidewalk going in on 130th between 25th and 28th. That sidewalk is being funded by the State of Washington's Safe Routes to School Program, and is currently in design. It will be constructed this year.

Valor Apartments Meeting

Tomorrow ( Wednesday, January 9th ) from 6pm to 9pm at the Lake City Community Center, DPD will be holding an open house meeting  for public comment / review of the Valor Apartments permit application. Below is an open letter that was sent to Council Member Richard Conlin ( the chair of the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee. ) The Mayor's office and all Council Members were copied. 

Council Member Conlin-

I apologize for the late notice on this meeting. I also apologize for the length of this email, but there is an important point to be made regarding inaccuracies from the Office of Housing that may affect HUD funding as well as SEPA review. 
( This email will be posted also as an open letter on the DPC website. )

On Wednesday, January 9th at the Lake City Community Center from 6 to 9 pm  DPD will be hosting a meeting to get public input on the Valor Apartment project. The permit has not yet been issued and the meeting was scheduled in response to a petition signed by over 100 residents in Lake City. 

I am attaching a photograph of the notice board that went up last year. Most people took this at face value, only to learn much later in the review process what was really intended. 

The community has very serious concerns about the siting of this project:

1. The language on the Notice board is deceptive.

The Notice board at the site reads “To construct a 4 story residential structure with 21 units above a 1,500 sf community center at ground level. Existing structures to be demolished.”

The 21 “residential” units are intended to house individuals / veterans with a dual diagnosis of mental illness and drug addiction. They will require staff supervision.

The “community center” on the first floor is intended to be a Psychiatric Clinic for residents and a Homeless Drop In Center - a continuation of the Mennonite's God's lil Acre which appears to be an unregistered non profit operating as a pseudo clinic on a harm reduction model with no governmental oversight. 

2. The proposed project may not comply with City Council’s ELI threshold

The limit for Extremely Low Income housing is 20% of all the housing in the area ( the Census Block Group ).

The adjacent block group  is currently at 30% ELI housing ( per OH data ). 33rd from 125th to 130th is at 43.5% ELI,  and the north half of the HUV is at 21% ELI . ( see maps )

This project continues a trend toward poor siting decisions for ELI housing that is increasing the concentration of poverty in our Hub Urban Village - against the Department of Housing and Urban Development's  guiding principle of reducing poverty by by creating mixed income neighborhoods. 

3. There is a 75 unit building for homeless individuals and veterans on the same block.

Some of the residents at McDermott place have addiction issues. Residency there does not require they be clean and sober. 

4. There is a children’s playground, immigrant family housing,  and a new park space directly across the street.

For your reference, I am also attaching two maps. The first is a map that shows Census Block Group 1.3 in the project area at 30% ELI. This map is from the Office of Housing. This number has been revised increasingly upward since I first started investigating it on June 20th of 2012. It started at 9.9% and I am concerned that land use and HUD funding decisions are being made with incorrect data. I want to make sure that yourself and your fellow council members have the most recently corrected map and data and are aware of these changes in relationship to the HUD funding earmarked for this project. 
The last attachment is a map I composed of the Hub Urban Village. The numbers are from the King County Tax Assessor site as well as data from OH. Please note that if you isolate the north half of the Lake City Hub Urban Village, we are at 21% ELI. Although the consolidated plan's siting policy uses Census Block Groups as the bounds for determining the 20% threshold, we believe that the HUV bounds are more pertinent. Also note that the ELI concentration jumps to 43.5% when looking at just 33rd Ave from 125th to 130th - the street the project is proposed for.   

If you made it this far, then thank you for your time. I appreciate it and hope to see you tomorrow. 

KOMO News: Rotating winter shelter for homeless coming to Lake City, Shoreline

On Sunday KOMO News published a story about a temporary, rotating winter homeless shelter run by Union Gospel Mission coming to churches in Lake City and Shoreline.

And according to the KOMO story the coming shelter is a surprise to some in the Lake City community —even after previous shelter plans that surprised the community prompted vows of more transparency with future shelter plans. People contacted for the story learned of the plan from the KOMO reporter.

The plan, according to the KOMO report, is part of a request by the Lake City Task Force on Homelessness to bring the rotating shelter to three area churches, beginning on Monday, January 7th.

The schedule for the shelter is below:
  • Jan 7 – Jan 27, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 14514 20th Avenue Northeast, Shoreline
  • Jan 28 – Feb 17, Seattle Mennonite Church, 3120 NE 125th St., Seattle
  • Feb 17 – Mar 15, Lake City Baptist Church, 2441 Northeast 125th Street, Seattle
From the KOMO story:

According to [Paul] LaRose [of Union Gospel Mission], shelter organizers took concerns made by neighbors and business owners last year and came up with a different way to run the temporary shelter this time around.
"We are only offering an overnight shelter, from 7:00p.m. to 7:00a.m., primarily for people of Lake City. Last year that's what we tried to do but people were being referred by hospitals, like Harborview, and clinics when they were released. Someone would send them to Lake City, or the eastside Bellevue shelter, this year we don't expect it to be like that," said LaRose.
Mike Duke, owner of the Grocery Outlet in Lake City, says he understands people need help, and initially he allowed those staying at the shelter last year to use his store’s restroom. But he says his business ended up losing so much inventory they were forced to put locks on the bathroom doors. 
"We had a terrible problem with panhandlers in the parking lot being really aggressive. Shoplifting was our biggest problem. We lost $28,000 in inventory during the quarter the shelter was open which was way over our normal amount and as soon as it shut down our loses went back to normal levels," said Duke.

You can read the entire KOMO report here.

Voting on Neighborhood Projects

Lake City residents are vying for funding for six different street improvement projects at this Wednesday’s North District Council meeting. Only three projects will be chosen to move forward.   Did you know you can request sidewalks? This Neighborhood Street Fund provides funding for projects ranging from $100,000 – $750,000.  The current proposals include projects in Maple Leaf, Pinehurst, Meadowbrook, Olympic Hills and Cedar Park – each initiated by residents. All six projects propose adding sidewalk segments, and several have other components as well: pedestrian crosswalks, drainage lids and curbing.   A map of the six proposed projects is available here. A map of the missing sidewalk segments throughout Seattle is available here  

Can I still apply for this?

The application process for this cycle is over. However, there will be future cycles. Attend Wednesday’s meeting and watch the proposal presentations. This will give you a leg-up on how to get your own project in place for the next cycle.  

What is the North District Council (NDC)?

The North District Council provides residents a direct link to city processes. It can be a great place to learn what’s going on in your neighborhood. It is also the official channel when applying for city funding for local community-based projects. The Victory Heights blog ran a thorough informational series about the North District Council:

When/where does North District Council (NDC) meet?

Meetings are monthly on the first Wednesday of the month. (With minor changes due to holiday schedules.) The next meeting is this: Wed., January 9th @ 7 p.m. Lake City Library Conference Room 12501 28th Ave NE  

Crime & Safety Meeting to Engage Disabled Community

As part of the Seattle Police Department’s plan for community engagement, the public is invited to participate in a facilitated discussion focused on the following five questions:  
  1. What is your top concern about crime and public safety in the disability community?
  2. What can be done together to create a safer community?
  3. What is going well with the relationship between the disability community and SPD?
  4. What needs to improve?
  5. What steps can we take to keep you engaged in building and creating a safer community?
  This is a great opportunity to engage with our North Precinct officers regarding the impact of crime and public safety for some of our most vulnerable populations. Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 6-7:30 p.m. Northgate Library 10548 Fifth Ave. N.E. On Bus Routes: 16, 41, 66, 67, 68, 75, 242, 347, 348 ASL Provided. Please refrain from use of heavy fragrances. To RSVP or to request an accommodation, email or call 206-684-4537.

Sidewalk Funding

The Neighborhood Street Fund applications for 2013 are in and were just made public today. Douglas Park Cooperative has an application in requesting a segment of sidewalk from 25th to 26th on 127th. There are 5 other applications in for the North District for a total of six.

North District Council will meet next Wednesday, January 9th from 7pm to 9pm at the Lake City Library meeting room. The six applicants will present to the North District Council members and a vote will be had to determine which three will be recommended for funding. Douglas Park is a NDC member and will be voting as well as presenting.

Below is a map from a few years ago showing all the block faces in Seattle that are lacking sidewalks. That red bowl of spaghetti on top is us. 85th is that clearly defined line, which coincidentally is the same line dividing the older Seattle from the 1950's land grab and empty promises.

Pedestrian Fatality on Lake City Way

In a sad turn to this busy holiday season, a pedestrian trying to cross Lake City Way on December 26th, was struck by a vehicle and died. From the Seattle Police Blotter:
“A Saturn Ion was travelling north in the 11000 Block of Lake City Way NE.  At the same time, an adult male attempted to cross Lake City Way in front of the car, when he was struck.  Seattle Fire and Seattle Police both responded to the scene.  The 55-year-old pedestrian was transported to Harborview Medical Center via Medics, but unfortunately he died of his injuries a short while after arriving at the hospital. The 23-year-old male driver, the only occupant of the car, was evaluated at the scene by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officer, which is standard procedure.  There were no signs of impairment exhibited by the driver.”     Another pedestrian was struck in a hit and run on December 20th along 30th Ave NE at 135th.  Pedestrian and traffic safety are ongoing concerns for many area residents. The Lake City Neighborhood Alliance (a coalition of community groups in the greater Lake City area) has been working to raise awareness of these and other neighborhood issues. Several city officials recently attended walking tours of the Lake City neighborhood, where pedestrian safety was one of many topics discussed.   On December 27th, the city announced a new Lake City Way Traffic Safety Corridor Project. This project is described by Seattle Dept. of Transportation (SDOT) as “a multi-year effort to improve traffic safety for all on Lake City Way/State Route 522.”  The project aims to reduce collisions along Lake City Way by 25%, through a combination of public education, increased enforcement efforts and community-identified street improvements.  A meeting to launch this safety effort is scheduled for Wednesday, January 16th from 2:30-4:00pm at the Lake City Community Center (located at 12531 28th Ave NE). If you’d like to learn more, or participate in this effort, please contact us at  

Meeting tomorrow regarding new Olympic Hills school

For those who have not been following the Building Excellence IV plans, the proposal for Olympic Hills Elementary is for the current building to be demolished and replaced with a new building. There are significant changes proposed for other schools in the area as well. This will be a very large capital investment in our area and there will be opportunities ( like tomorrow night ) for us to provide Seattle Public Schools with the community feedback necessary for a successful redevelopment. 
Below is a repost from the Pinehurst Blog

SPS Capacity Management Meeting for NE Seattle
Northeast Community Meeting
Monday, December 17th 6:30-8pm
Olympic Hills Elementary School
13018 – 20th Avenue NE, Seattle WA 98125
Seattle Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Pegi McEvoy and School Board Director Sharon Peaslee will be attending an informal meeting to provide information and answer questions for the Northeast Region of school communities about capacity management, and the BEX IV plans for new schools in the region. School and neighborhood community members are invited.
Background Information:  SPS is currently working on short-term capacity management, and the New Assignment Plan Transition Plan for the 2013-14  school year.  The Transition Plan is scheduled to be finalized in late January, in time for 2013-14 open enrollment.  SPS will not begin interim planning until the Spring of 2013, with completion in time for open enrollment for the 2014-15 school year.  Interim capacity management is needed to bridge capacity shortages from the 2014-15 school year until BEXIV projects come online, and will involve interim housing for some school communities.
Planned Northeast-area projects, to funded by the upcoming BEXIV levy (if it passes), and the proposed timeline:
·        2016: New NE elementary school (650 seats) built adjacent to the existing Thornton Creek Elementary school (or equivalent capacity added at another location).
·        2017 (or 2016): New 680-720-seat K-8 building at Pinehurst site (tear-down/rebuild), to house the Environmental Sciences K-8 program currently housed in the Jane Addams building.  No plan has been announced for the current Pinehurst (AS-1) program.  The K-8 program is to remain in the building until their new building is ready, unless an alternative interim housing plan is announced.
·        2017: Jane Addams building repurposed as a comprehensive middle school (960-seats).  Interim housing of students within the Jane Addams Middle School feeder pattern could begin anytime between 2013 and 2017.  The location and implementation plan for the interim Jane Addams Middle School has not yet been announced.
·        2017: New building opens for Olympic Hills Elementary (500-650 –seat capacity).  The interim housing site for Olympic Hills has not been announced.