News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


Entries from May 2010

Memorial Day: Neighborhood Service Centers closed

May 31st, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Don’t plan on using any of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ office and Neighborhood Service Centers today or tomorrow, as those will be closed, employees taking an unpaid furlough day on the 1st and off today for the Memorial Day holiday.

Also closed today: Special Events Scheduling (closed on Memorial Day) and the Amy Yee Tennis Center (closed on Memorial Day).

On Memorial Day, limited park maintenance staff will be on duty to empty trash cans and clean restrooms.

Closed tomorrow: Administrative offices (communications, correspondence, Park Board support, web management, public outreach, human resources, finance and administration); Planning and Development Division and the Magnuson Park office

To see all other closure dates throughout the year, refer to this closure calendar.

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Sunday morning: Fremont Criterium Bike Race

May 29th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Sunday morning, stay sharp if you’re a driver – hundreds of bicycle racers will compete in the Fremont Criterium Bike Race, which is back in Fremont after a decade.

Bike race

If you’re not familiar with criterium racing – I wasn’t – I found out it’s like a cross between Nascar and Preakness – high intensity, big crowd reaction and cornering skills coming out in each lap. Fast and furious! This is no Tour de France.

Cyclists will go counter clockwise starting on N. 35th St. headed toward Phinney, then around N. Canal St. in this three corner fast criterium race, which begins at 10:20 a.m. The last race begins at 3:40 p.m. Seven races will compete in-between that first and last one.

The Fremont Crit ranges from 15 minutes of laps (for kids) to 65 minutes (Pro 1/2 Men).

And if you’re racing, it’d probably be best to get a warm-up there by riding to the race, vs. racking up and using a car, considering how tight parking is in Fremont.

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Celebration of Tom McGrann’s life

May 28th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

On April 27, Tom McGrann woke up at 4 a.m. and made coffee for him and his live-in partner, Kim Murray. He did laundry and then, as he was about to leave their Fremont condo for the airport, he said goodbye to all of his girls (Murray, 2 dogs and 2 cats) and that he was going to miss his little family.

Murray told him, have fun, have a great time. He was about to spend a week in sunny southern California, pet-sitting for one of his longtime landscaping clients and friends.

That night, McGrann didn’t call.

He was struck and killed by a commuter train in Del Mar, Calif. He was 42.

A Celebration of Thomas “Tom” Patrick McGrann’s life will take place tomorrow, May 29, at Brouwer’s Café (400 N. 35th St.) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Those who knew McGrann and want to honor him by attending can e-mail to RSVP.

Tom McGrann

By many accounts, he lived a full life.

Besides Murray, 43, the love of McGrann’s life was obvious to those who knew him: animals. He was the guy who took long walks, first with his dog Lucy (who he rescued from an abusive owner and carried in a wagon when she couldn’t walk for about a year); then with Murray’s two dogs, Kylie (aka K-bear) and Josie (aka Monkey Petersen – McGrann had a penchant for nicknames). Utah native Murray even has a doctorate degree in wildlife biology. McGrann grew up with cats and included in his merged family with Murray were two cats, Mother and Ruby. The former vet tech often took in strays and animals that needed extra help.

He loved animals so much, he didn’t think twice of flying down to Del Mar to help out Judith Gilliland, who met him when he was a foreman working on her North Beach yard. (She and her husband live part time in California, part time in Seattle.) She parted ways with the company that employed McGrann, but kept him on.

Working side-by-side year after year on the yard, they became friends.

“He was a really interesting combination of tough ex-Marine and a soft and sensitive plants and animal lover,” she said. “He was a walking conundrum.”

Tough might be an understatement. His younger brother, Mark, who works for a bio-pharmaceutical company and lives in Redmond, said his brother was an avid scuba diver who jumped into the saltwater side of the Locks when the Seahawks lost to the Packers in the playoffs a few years ago, and swam several hundred yards in nothing but his boxers.

His big brother, he recalls, received his full skiing certification as a teenager, and a ski instructor at Crystal Mountain. The two brothers had often made roundtrips between their childhood home in Port Angeles and Stevens Pass to ski. In Arizona, where their parents moved years later, the two had a memorable moment. “There were not a lot of good skiers, so we were jumping off these little cliffs, underneath the lift chairs, and everyone on the chairs was laughing and applauding. It was weird after being in Washington, getting standing ovations.”

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Where should the Molly Moon’s truck go?

May 28th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Thank you to our sister site, My Wallingford, for this scrumptious summer story:

Molly MoonWallingford (and nearby Fremont!) residents are quite aware that Molly Moon’s Ice Cream is a magnet for fans of creamy frozen goodness from all over town and beyond Seattle’s borders.

So it was welcome news that Molly and her crew were going to hit the road with their Salted Caramel, Scout Mint, Theo Chocolate, and many other flavors to serve ice cream-deprived areas. The Molly Moon’s ice cream truck will make its maiden stop far from Puget Sound — at this weekend’s Sasquatch Music Festival at The Gorge.

But next week the truck rolls back into town, and Molly wants to know where it should make its first Seattle stops. Add your suggestion to the growing list on Facebook or send Molly a tweet. We suspect that Wallingford won’t make the short list, but we do get out of the neighborhood every once in a while.

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Patch Adams birthday party

May 28th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

If you don’t have an irrational fear of clowns – like me – then you should have fun at most circuses, and tonight, at Hunter “Patch” Adams‘ 65th birthday celebration at Fremont Studios (155 N. 35th St.) from 8 p.m. to midnight. Tickets can be bought online for $25. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Gesundheit Institute.

Patch Adams birthday

Adams, the clownish doctor cinematically channeled by Robin Williams in 1998, helped found Gesundheit, which began as a “free hospital” and expanded into an international organization with branches in Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington and clinics all over the world.

Closer to Fremont, Gesundheit Institute will be hosting a conference for Re-Designing Our Health Care System in Olympia.

The aim of this working conference is to seed designs of a variety of local projects that move the health care system away from the corporate-business context into models of compassion and service. Via speaker presentations and small working groups, Patch and his team of practitioners and teachers will show current innovations in health care system design, as well as teach concepts and designs that can be replicated back home.

“We believe that by ‘coming together’ for change, we can spark health care system change,” said Melanie Meltzer, development director for the Gesundheit! Institute.

Joining Adams at his birthday celebration: Country Joe McDonald (from Country Joe and the Fish) and Shana Morrison with Caledonia. You’re more than welcome to wear a clown nose to commemorate his birthday.

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Free ticket to SIFF via Starbucks

May 28th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

As a follow-up to last week’s “We Love You Fridays” Mariners ticket giveaway, Starbucks is giving customers who stop by their neighborhood Starbucks after 2 tomorrow (May 28) a free ticket to the 36th Seattle International Film Festival.

Our own neighborhood Starbucks in downtown Fremont is participating.

As you probably already know, SIFF is the mother of all U.S. film festivals, at least in terms of size and duration, with more than 400 films from over 60 countries, going on through June 13.

No purchase is necessary, but as expected, vouchers are limited, so get them while you can! It’s not a carte blanche deal, the vouchers are only valid for certain films.

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Solstice Parade Registration Online

May 27th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

If you are interested in participating in the 2010 Fremont Solstice Parade, the registration is online this year.

Parade organizers are asking ensembles to register this way. Ensembles are considered groups of 5 or more parade participants, or those wanting to include a float, large puppet (larger than 10 feet), or have music/sound. Only one form is needed per group.

At the Fremont Arts Council site, you’ll find links for: Solstice FAQ’s, Ensemble Logistics and Parade Registration.

You can also print out the registration here and mail to:

Fremont Solstice Parade — Registration
3940 Fremont Ave. N.
Seattle WA 98103

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2010 Seattle Ornament: Fremont Troll

May 26th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

For all you Christmas ornament collectors – I rarely have a tree, so that’s not me – here is one inspired by one of our neighborhood’s most famous landmarks: The Fremont Troll.

Seattle Ornament

The 2010 Seattle Ornament, with permission from the artists, will be available first at the Fremont Fair, June 19-20. The company is also donating 5 percent of all the 2010 ornaments sold to Solid Ground.

Like previous Seattle Ornaments, it also comes with a story. This one tells the history of the troll and a box. The ornaments are 24-karat gold-plated, limited edition and hand numbered and will sell for $32.80 (including tax).

Betty Woods Gimarelli has designed and produced the Seattle Ornament™ since 1994.

Other Emerald City landmarks that have been a Seattle Ornament in the past include: Pike Place Market, the Alki Lighthouse, Benaroya Hall, Safeco Field, Qwest Field, Denny Hall and last year, the Seattle Central Library.

I guess it’s possible to have a whole tree filled with Seattle icons. Again, not for me, but to each, his/her own.

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New traffic cameras on 36th Street

May 26th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Smile, you’re on camera.

Luckily, these aren’t red-light cameras, but new traffic cameras – 38 in all, all over the city.

This month the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has made “real time” views from 38 new traffic cameras around the city available online as a way of making it easier to pinpoint congestion and collisions, as well as monitoring traffic and road conditions.

Warning: it’s not the easiest map to work, but if you play around with it, it can be useful. It’s very sensitive to the zoom in zoom out of the Mac touchpad!

In Fremont, the new cameras that show up on the online map are on N. 36th Street – one at Evanston Ave. N., and one at Fremont Ave. N. These neighborhoods had at least 6 new cameras: Ballard, SODO/Georgetown, Capitol Hill/Central District and Downtown.

Fremont cam

Use it as a way to figure out which routes not to take – or which routes will get you from A to B fastest.

SDOT traffic engineers are using the information to identify locations where they can make changes to improve traffic flow.

There are also eight new electronic “Dynamic Message Signs” (“DMS”) now operating on major arterials, providing handy travel alerts to people already on the road.

It’s not the end of the camera craze. By the end of August, SDOT will add a few more cameras and six DMS signs. In addition, by the end of the year WSDOT will add six traffic cameras and six DMS signs that SDOT will own and operate, on State Route 99.

Travelers Map

The views from the SDOT traffic cameras, as well as WSDOT cameras located within the city of Seattle, are available on the Travelers Map on SDOT’s website. The Travelers site also indicates the level of congestion on major arterial streets and Seattle area state highways, and provides information on special events and construction likely to have significant impacts on traffic. (Today, for instance, looks like it’ll be a heavy traffic day downtown with the Sounders FC and Mariners games.)

A total of 19.7 million visits were made to the Travelers website in 2009.

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Another woman attacked with stun gun

May 25th, 2010 by Doug Alder

Fremont Universe has learned of yet another attack on a woman involving the use of a stun gun.  It happened in Greenwood, just three days after a woman was attacked and robbed here in Fremont.

The most recent case happened Thursday (5/20) in the 700 block of North 102nd Street.  A woman had just parked her car and was taking the groceries out of the trunk when a man and woman walked up and tried to zap her.  She felt the device on her neck and heard three or four clicks, but it didn’t stun her.  The female attacker then grabbed the victim’s purse and sped away with the man in a nearby car. 

The female suspect is described as black, 20’s, heavy set, with short hair.  The man is described as black, mid 20’s, and slender.  They left in a silver large size sedan which was later found abandoned in a parking lot.  That car had been reported stolen.  The same thing happened to a woman in Fremont three days earlier, and in Ballard on May 19.  Police tell us they believe all 3 attacks are related.

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Green World Cup Contest

May 25th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Green World CupIf it’s not enough to kick back at a local pub – like our own George & Dragon – to watch the upcoming World Cup tournament, King County invites county residents to participate in the “Green World Cup” contest.

Residents can share suggestions, stories and examples of creative and different ways of green living, which will be judged by a local panel of eco-experts.

Briefly describe how a community in another country or people from your own culture are living green through an innovative waste reduction method, green technology, alternative transportation, a unique recycling or reuse method, or a carbon emission-cutting measure.

Entrants can submit a video or picture along with a written description. The most innovative, unique and effective idea will win four tickets to see the Seattle Sounders FC play the Houston Dynamo on August 8 at Qwest Field. Entries will be featured on the King County web site and Facebook page.

The two runner-up prizes are Alchemy Goods recycled backpack and an Energizer solar charger.

Submissions may be made online or mailed to Tom Watson, King County EcoConsumer, 201 S. Jackson St. #701, Seattle, WA, 98104. All submissions must be received by June 25. Entries are welcome in any language.

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Stone Way lane reduction study: speeders & collisions down

May 25th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) today released its before and after study of the Stone Way N. rechannelization, which the department said demonstrates that Seattle’s streets can be made safer through lane reconfigurations.

The report documents that the lane changes on Stone Way N. from 34th St. to 50th St. have had the effect of reduced speeds for motorists and fewer motor and bicycle collisions – while still maintaining the road’s capacity.

Highlights from the study include:
• Motor vehicles now travel at speeds nearer the legal limit;
• Total collisions dropped 14 percent with injury collisions down 33 percent;
• Pedestrian collisions declined significantly;
• Bike trips increased 35 percent but collisions per bicycle trip have declined; and
• Volumes show the roadway still easily accommodates motor vehicle traffic.

Data collected by SDOT on the rechannelized street shows motorists drive at speeds closer to the posted 30 m.p.h. limit and a decline of more than 80 percent in those traveling over 40 m.p.h. The study also reveals a decrease in total collisions by 14 percent and pedestrian collisions by 80 percent.

The study compared the before period (April 2005-August 2007) to a period after the rechannelization (August 2007-December 2009.) SDOT converted the street to two general travel lanes with a center turn lane from N. 40th to N. 50th streets in August 2007 and from N. 34th to N. 40th streets in April 2008. Additional bike and pedestrian facilities were also installed at those times. Before the lane reduction, the street consisted of four general purpose travel lanes.

National studies show that lane reductions can result in lower motor vehicle speeds, improved pedestrian safety, increased bicycling trips and fewer collisions, while maintaining a corridor’s capacity. Starting in 1972 with California Ave. SW and N. 45th St, the city of Seattle has implemented 24 rechannelizations as of April 2010.

There was one interesting increase, buried at the end of the study:

The number of rear‐end collisions increased, especially between N. 39th St. and N. 41st St. This type of collision increased 65% during the study period (from 17 to 28) in spite of the overall reduction in the number of collisions. Since most of the increase was attributable to the
section of roadway where there was a transition from 4 lanes to 3 lanes during the interim
period between August 2007 and April 2008, one possible explanation is that drivers had
difficulty making left turns in this transition area.  While these types of collisions tend to be
minor in nature, SDOT will again examine the rate of rear‐end collisions within the next two
years to determine if the rate in fact declined after the roadway was rechannelized south of
40th Street.

For more information: check out SDOT’s website.

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B.F. Day students on stage at Seattle Public Library

May 25th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

On Wednesday, May 26, Kate Bass and Kaia Stoetz, students at B.F. Day Elementary, join more than 40 young writers on stage at the Seattle Public Library (Microsoft Auditorium, Central Library) at 6 p.m. The two girls will read poetry and prose crafted under the guidance of Writer-in-residence Kevin Emerson. Thanks to Seattle Art and Lectures’ Writers in Schools (WITS) program, Emerson conducted creative writing workshops with students at B.F. Day during a year-long residency.

Chosen for their outstanding creative writing, Kate and Kaia will read their work before an expected crowd of over 300 people during the WITS end-of-year reading and celebration. This free event is open to the public and celebrates the best student writing over two evenings. Elementary and middle school students read at 6 p.m. May 26, and high school students on May 27 at 6 p.m. at Seattle Public Library.

Emerson’s bio, from the WITS site:

Kevin is the author of six novels for middle grade readers: Carlos is Gonna Get It, and the Oliver Nocturne Series 1-5. A former elementary school science teacher, Kevin also fronts Seattle band Central Services and their acclaimed kids’ band The Board of Education.

Kevin Emerson

The WITS program matches a local, creative writer – like Emerson (pictured right) – with a school district “to design lesson plans that follow the curriculum, goals, and standards of the classroom, engage students in writing and build self-confidence.”

Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program, founded in 1994, believes that through working collaboratively with classroom teachers and professional, published creative writers, students are empowered to become authors of their own lives. WITS writers-in-residence provide a meaningful role model for every student. Since 1994, the program has served 67,500 K-12 public school students and 1,200 teachers in the Puget Sound region.

Parents and teachers interested in bringing WITS to local schools should contact Rebecca Hoogs, Seattle Arts & Lectures Director of Education Programs, at or at 206-621-2230 x18.

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Possible taser attack in Fremont

May 24th, 2010 by Doug Alder

A woman may have been the victim of a taser attack and robbery last Monday (5/17).  Fremont Universe has obtained a copy of the police report detailing what happened in the 4200 block of Phinney Ave.  Around 1:45pm that day, a woman was unloading her car in the parking garage of an apartment building.  She suddenly felt an electric shock on her neck and was pushed down into the trunk of the car.  A man then grabbed her purse and walked to a nearby getaway car.  The man is described as black, late teens, medium build, 5’5″.  He got into a gray or dark silver sedan with an Asian woman.  It turns out someone got a license plate number, but the plate had been stolen off another car.

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Photos from Grammatrain’s Gas Works video shoot

May 24th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Thank you to our sister site, My Wallingford, for this story:

Last Thursday, Gas Works Park was shut down so the band Grammatrain could shoot a video for its Sounders FC anthem “The Last Sound.” The band and video producers asked for fans to join crowd shots that night, and the faithful heeded the call. sounderfan posted a collection of photos from the shoot, set to “The Last Sound,” on YouTube:

In other news from the shoot, KIRO reported that neighbors called 911 when they heard the band’s pyrotechnic explosions.

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Aurora bridge anti-suicide fence work resumes tonight

May 24th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

KOMO news reports that as of tonight, May 24:

State transportation crews will resume work on the suicide prevention fence. It measures more than 8 feet tall, and will cost some $4 million.

As we’ve reported in the past, the project, which was supposed to start April 19, has been delayed by construction equipment problems.

The KOMO article noted that, “More than 230 people have jumped to their deaths on the Aurora Bridge since it was first built – making it the second-highest suicide rate for any bridge in the country, according to some figures.”

For those who commute or use Aurora/99 regularly, expect some delays. More specifically from WSDOT: Crews will close two northbound lanes and the northbound sidewalk across the bridge from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Thursday nights (May 24 and May 27).

If the noise gets too much for you, WSDOT is offering free earplugs, which are available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays at the Fremont Neighborhood Service Center located at 908 N. 34th Street. Or, call (206.440.4099) or e-mail with the subject “SR 99 Aurora Bridge Fence earplug request” and WSDOT will send free earplugs to your mailbox. Please include your name, address and the number of earplug sets you need.

Track the project here.

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