News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


Entries from April 2010

Fremont Neighborhood Council: Big Annual Meeting

April 25th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

The Fremont Neighborhood Council, a chartered organization representing the residents of Fremont, holds its “Big Annual Meeting” tomorrow night – Monday, April 26 – from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with refreshments beginning at 6:30 at the Fremont Baptist Church, 717 N 36th St.

Council member Mike O’Brien is scheduled to make a presentation on neighborhoods and development; and what he’s doing as the chair of the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee.

All “Fremonsters” are invited to attend this big annual meeting, as well as volunteer for the membership-based organization. Annual dues range from $7 for seniors/low income residents, to $12 for individuals, $20 for an entire household and $50 for “Angel” status. All Fremont residents are eligible to join and all members are eligible to serve on the board, which meets every fourth Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The History House, 790 N. 34th St. This meeting tomorrow will serve as the April board meeting.

The FNC defines Fremont’s boundaries as the Canal on the south, 8th Ave. N.W. on the west, North 50th Street on the north, and Stone Way on the east.

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Trees planted along Ship Canal

April 23rd, 2010 by Thea Chard

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began planting 40 poplar trees along the Ship Canal today, Friday, April 23 as part of the Fremont Cut rehabilitation plan.

According to Corps Public Affairs Specialist Andrea Takash, the garden staff from the Ballard Locks will be planting 20 poplar tress next to the Burke-Gilman Trail in Fremont, and another 20 by the South Ship Canal Trail bordering Queen Anne and Magnolia. There will be no closures and minor impact to the Burke-Gilman trail during the planting.

“We are excited to enter into the planting portion of phase two of the
Fremont Cut rehabilitation plan,” said Dru Butterfield, Natural Resources
manager for the Lake Washington Ship Canal. “The poplar trees are 12-feet
tall and typically grow 2-3 feet per year.”

This is only the first part of planting the Corps will be doing along the Ship Canal this year. In the fall the team will return to plant an additional 400 understory plants and shrubs. The entire Fremont Cut rehabilitation plan has four phases, spread out through 2030. (Phase three isn’t set to begin until 2018). From a Corps press release published this week:

The Corps’ plan is to restore the aging poplar colonnade in a historically appropriate manner and to replant shrubs and ground covers that have been lost over time. The plan is a comprehensive, practical and environmentally sensitive plan to guide the Corps’ management activities.

Follow the progress at the Army Corps Ship Canal project page.

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Coupons for Compost: Help beautify traffic circles

April 22nd, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Don’t recycle your next mailing from Seattle Public Utilities – it might contain coupons good for 2 free bags of Cedar Grove Compost. If you’re not going to use the coupons, consider gathering them for those who want to improve some common areas in the neighborhoods: traffic circles.

Cedar Grove CompostIt’s another helpful tip from the folks at FAWN (who, yes, are being very good initial sources for this fledgling Fremont Universe blogger, but I am accepting tips! Send them to!)

From faithful FAWN member Sally Deneen, regarding those coupons:

“Please don’t toss them, if you don’t need them. We’d be grateful if we could use the coupons to add as much compost as possible to the traffic circle. Among other things, it’d encourage our strawberries — yes, there have been strawberry plants there since the beginning, but they’ve never born fruit due to poor conditions. Thanks for your consideration and for helping our traffic circle!”

Email and they’ll forward your message to Sally.

Are your neighbors taking similar initiative with the traffic circles in your neighborhood?

Where to go to redeem those aromatic bags of future promise: Monday – Friday, at the north end of Seattle Conservation Corps at Magnuson Park, 7400 Sandpoint Way, and follow the signs. Or the smell.

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FAWN walk with the Mayor

April 22nd, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

If you live in Fremont, and are not a subscriber to FAWN (Fremont Aurora Wallingford Neighbors), you’re missing out on weekly reports that will clue you in on break-ins, drug activity, prostitution and other illegal happenings.

When I moved to Seattle from Baltimore 5 years ago, I chose to live in Fremont – first in an apartment on 35th St., then to my current townhouse about 5 minutes away, one block east of Aurora. My landlord advised me to get on the FAWN listserv and every week for the past 10 or so years, they’ve done a neighborhood walk.

I finally went on my first walk with them – my neighbors – on April 8. (This entry, though, is my first as a Fremont Universe blogger.) About 20 people showed up at the corner of Whitman and 40th – the usual place the group begins its dusk-time walk. But usually, there aren’t this many people. The draw: Mayor Mike McGinn, who biked to the spot from his Greenwood abode. With him – 2 of his aides from the Mayor’s Office and 2 state police officers. The Fremont Neighborhood Council and the co-owners of Marketime Foods on Fremont Ave. were also there.

We didn’t take a long walk in these brisk but dry conditions. We walked north on Aurora, noted empty lots, some lights out and some suspicious loitering going on across Aurora before going into the warmth of a meeting room at an apartment building off Aurora and 43rd.

“I view this as a significant corridor,” McGinn said, once we’d settled in. “It shares common characteristics: a zoning mix of non-residential and residential communities, offices and motels. But these corridors really present challenges. I want to hear from you.”

And he did.

The Mayor, himself a victim of robbery at gunpoint and a frequent rider of the Aurora Express bus route 358, listened to neighbors who told him about their first-hand experiences of trespassing, physical assault (dragged by car), drug use in stairwells, shoplifting, drug dealing in parking lots and trying to explain these things to their children.

“I have a great view of these things morning, noon and night,” said Danny Sullivan, who lives next to the The Fremont Inn (formerly The Thunderbird motel), one of several motels owned by Dean and Jill Inman, and where, neighbors say, the problems fester. He has a hard time explaining gunshots, bags of white powder and knives being pulled out to his 10-year-old daughter. “I knew what I was getting into, I knew this was not the most Bambi in the Woods neighborhood. The problem is, businesses are not being run responsibly.”

Others at the meeting reaffirmed Sullivan’s experiences, particularly in areas near the motels owned by the Inmans – the Wallingford Inn, Fremont Inn, Seattle Motor Inn and Italia and Isabella motels- which were the subject of 180 criminal charges for various tax violations. (The Seattle Motor Inn closed in December.)

One apartment owner told the Mayor about one of her tenants breaking her lease. Reading from the letter, she described how the tenant witnessed knife fights and slashed tires, thugs surrounding cars. The apartment owner talked about having SWAT teams and other SPD sealing off the building and the block at times, and having to mirror some of her tenants’ windows so they won’t have to see what’s going on in the motel next door.

Representatives from Marketime Foods complained of a steady flow of people coming from Aurora on a daily basis, people who engaged in shoplifting, drug dealing in the parking lot and panhandling in front of the business, which they said has the effect of driving customers away.

But, neighbors emphasize, this is not about singling out certain people.

“This is not about people being poor,” said one of my former colleagues at the Seattle P-I, environmental reporter Robert McClure (now with InvestigateWest). “This is about people being criminal.”

“This is a great neighborhood. We have a problem that is a specific blight,” said Linda Clifton, one of FAWN’s regular walkers, who got involved with the group after one of many stolen, abandoned cars rolled down a hill and totaled her car 8 years ago. “We appreciate what the city and the police have done so far. We’re just looking at the next step.”

To contact FAWN:

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New neighborhood blog breaks new ground

April 22nd, 2010 by Doug Alder

We’re happy to announce there’s a new member in our network of North Seattle community news sites.  U District Daily will bring you all the news and events in Seattle’s University District.  This is an exciting venture for all of us here at Next Door Media.  It’s part of a groundbreaking partnership with the University of Washington’s student-run newspaper The Daily, spanning both daily news coverage and advertising — the first of its kind in the country.  The site is authored by Christian Caple, an editor for The Daily, and neighborhood ads will be sold by the newspaper’s own advertising staff.  The new site will focus on both the UW campus and the entire U-District neighborhood.  We invite you to check it out!

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Big Changes for Fremont Restaurants

April 21st, 2010 by Doug Alder

Restaurants in Fremont and all across Seattle will have to make a big change starting July 1.  That’s when an ordinance will require all single-use packaging and food ware to be compostable or recyclable.  Restaurants and food service businesses will also have to put up new bins for customers to sort their trash.

Today, Seattle Public Utilities invited Fremont Universe to Safeco Field for a look at how the Seattle Mariners are already implementing the program.  All food vendors at the stadium have switched to compostable products and bins have been set up on all levels so fans can sort the trash after they’ve finished eating.  Safeco hopes to have a recycling rate of over 70 percent.

“Our beer cup looks like plastic but it’s made of corn.  Our knives, forks and spoons look like plastic but they’re also made of corn.  They are heat senstitive, so if you have a spoon in a hot food item, it will bend.  That’s something fans will have to get used to,” said Scott Jenkins with the Mariners.

Restaurants will face added costs from the new ordinance, and some have pushed back against Seattle Public Utilities.  The Washington Restaurant Association says most restaurants in Seattle are interested in using more sustainable practices, but they have questions about cost and customer safety.  SPU says many businesses, like Taco Del Mar which made the switch the eco-friendly ware back in 2008, are more than willing to make the change.

“The restaurants are responding really well,” said Dick Lilly from SPU.  “It’s a big change so it’s going to take some working out.  The products are getting better and less expensive.”

The city’s new composting requirements follow a ban on styrofoam last year.  You can read more about the program here.

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Aurora Bridge Suicide Fence Work Delayed

April 21st, 2010 by Thea Chard

Fremont residents who live near the Aurora Bridge will have a few nights of relief from the month of expected nighttime noise surrounding the construction of a nine-foot safety fence over the bridge. WSDOT announced today that construction on the fence, which was scheduled to begin on Monday night, April 19, has been postponed due to an equipment problem. A new estimated start date for the work has not yet been announced.


When construction on the safety fence does begin, crews will work Sunday through Thursday nights and will work on one side of the bridge at a time. Construction will close two lanes and the adjacent sidewalk across the bridge from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly. WSDOT expects to finish installing the fence by the end of the year.

When construction does start up again, WSDOT says it will be extremely noisy. If you still haven’t received your free industrial strength earplugs, call 206-267-6019. Follow the fence project progress here. 

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Garbage haulers on strike

April 21st, 2010 by Geeky Swedes

After weeks of working without a contract, garbage haulers are officially on strike against Waste Management. Teamsters Local 174 spokesperson Michael Gonzales tells our news partners, the Seattle Times, that the strike started at 10:30 Wednesday morning. Workers were told to return their trucks to their base and set up picket lines. According to the Times, about 400 union members who drive garbage trucks and work at county landfills and transfer stations are on strike. The 300 members of Local 117, who collect yard waste and recycling, are expected to honor the picket lines, the Times reports.

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Ross Playground renovation meeting Tuesday

April 19th, 2010 by Geeky Swedes

It’s out with the old and in with the new at the Ross Playground (4320 4th Ave NW). In about a year, the park will have new play equipment, site improvements and access imrpovements.

Seattle Parks and Recreation along with designers from Worthy and Associates will introduce the $450,000 renovation project and get ideas from the community at the first of three meetings on Tuesday evening. The design process will last through this summer with construction over next winter. The renovated park should be open in summer of 2011.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 20th from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Ross Shelter House (4320 4th Ave NW.) This renovation project is funded by the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy. More information can be found here.

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Construction on Aurora Bridge fence begins today

April 19th, 2010 by Heidi

Just a reminder that starting tonight construction begins on the nine-foot-tall safety fence along the outer railing of the Aurora Bridge.  Two lanes of traffic will be closed Sunday through Thursday nights from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.  The sidewalk on the side of the bridge where work is taking place will also be closed during that time.  The barrier is designed to help deter people from jumping or falling from the bridge.   


Night work is expected to last through May and neighbors have been warned that it will get noisy.  The Department of Transportation is offering free industrial-strength earplugs to residents in the area who request it.  To receive earplugs, call 206-267-6019 or email with your name, address and number of earplugs needed.  You can also keep track of construction updates through the WSDOT’s project page

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Environmental study required for ‘Missing Link’

April 16th, 2010 by Geeky Swedes

Our sister site, is reporting that the completion of the Burke Gilman trail has been stalled. Friday morning, King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers ruled that the city must perform an environmental study before a decision can be made to complete the missing link of the Burke Gilman Trail.


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Fremont restaurants take part in Restaurant Week

April 16th, 2010 by Geeky Swedes

Three Fremont restaurants are participating in the inaugural Seattle Restaurant Week, which kicks off this Sunday, April 18.

Brad’s Swingside Café (shown above), Ponti Seafood Grill and Via Tribunali, along with 103 other Seattle-area restaurants will offer 3-course dinners for $25 Sunday through Thursday until April 29. Some participating restaurants will also offer $15 3-course lunch specials. Organizers are describing this foodie event as “the biggest celebration of dining out that our region has ever experienced.” For a complete list of restaurants and more information on Seattle Restaurant Week, click here.

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Street lights to be replaced with LED lights

April 14th, 2010 by Geeky Swedes

Fremont’s traditional high-pressure sodium streetlights will be replaced with light emitting diode (LED) lights later this year. Seattle City Light says the LED lights will last longer and use about half the energy as those currently in use.

At an event last evening, crews showed off the difference between the current lights and the LED. Although the LED lights come in a range of colors, Seattle has chosen a white light similar to moonlight. You can see the difference in light lighting in the video on the West Seattle Blog.

Initially, 5,000 LED lights will be installed on residential streets in Ballard, Fremont, South Greenlake, Eastlake, and the University District, followed by a city-wide transition over the next five years. Seattle City Light conducted pilot projects on Capitol Hill and in South Park, “The approval rate in Capitol Hill was 85 percent. Many positive comments have been received from South Park while survey results are being calculated. The U.S. Department of Energy has received similar responses in its satisfaction surveys about LED streetlights across the country,” a fact sheet handed out at the event states.

The first phase of the project is being funded by $1 million in federal stimulus package money and $1.5 million from City Light.

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evo building gets ‘hairy’ facelift

April 12th, 2010 by Heidi

Robby Delaware sent us this photo of a new mural that was in progress on Saturday on the west wall of evo (122 NW 36th St). 


Molly at evo tells us the design is from one of their vendors, Imperial Motion, and was inspired by the Mustacheo tee in their clothing line.

It will be up for the next couple months and is the first installation of our Living Art Wall that we hope to rotate out every quarter, featuring local artists, partners, and collaborators in hopes of livening up this end of the Fremont strip with a little bit of art for the passerbyers!! 

The mural was completed yesterday and people are encouraged to mug with their own mustaches in front of the mural and post pictures on evo’s Facebook page.  (Thanks to Robby for the tip and photo!)

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Nocturnal Exhibit may not be closed forever

April 12th, 2010 by Geeky Swedes

This story is part of an innovative partnership announced today between the Common Language Project, University of Washington and Next Door Media. Read about the partnership here.

As zoo officials announced the closure of the popular Nocturnal Exhibit, thousands of people turned to Facebook to organize an effort to save it.

Photo courtesy Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.

Thanks to Internet activism, the exhibit may not be closed forever, but a critical fundraising deadline looms. Click here to read “Lights out, Computer on.

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Restauranteur charged with assault, hit & run, DUI

April 10th, 2010 by Thea Chard

Seattle restaurateur Michael McConnell, who owns two local chains–Caffe Vita and Via Tribunali (both of which have locations in Queen Anne and Fremont) and has a hand in a number of other Seattle enterprises–has been charged with assault, hit and run, and DUI by city prosecutors this week after he allegedly crashed into another motorist and proceeded to attack him on the evening of Wednesday, March 31.

QueenAnneView obtained the police report and charging documents detailing the strange series of events that night, first reported by SeattleCrime.  According to the SPD report, a car driven by McConnell rear-ended another vehicle at the intersection of Broadway and James Street near Seattle University, while the victim was waiting at a red light at around 6 p.m. on the 31st. According to the report, McConnell refused to exchange information with the victim, who reported smelling alcohol on his breath. 

Read more about the incident on our sister site QueenAnneView.

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