News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


Entries from July 2010

Tour de Fat Saturday at Gas Works Park

July 30th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Only one lucky Seattleite (or someone who lives in the area) will receive “a New Belgium, fully-loaded, hand-crafted, Fort Collins-built commuter bike” on stage in the closing ceremony of the Seattle stop of the 13-city Tour de Fat in return for taking the leap of donating his/her gas-guzzling vehicle to benefit a nonprofit; but more than 4,000 people and their families are expected to descend on Gas Works Park for the full day of events, including a bike parade.

The ride is free, but a $5 donation goes toward bicycle and environmental charities – and you receive a beer in return for your token that’s good for next year’s tour too.

Image courtesy of New Belgium

So, the last thing you want to do is drive your car in the surrounding streets. Bike! But if you do, try to print out this form and drop it off at the registration tent so you don’t have to wait in line.

Here’s the schedule, starting at 9 a.m.:

9: Bike Parade Registration
10: Bike Parade
11: Performances Begin
1:30: Funeral procession for the car belonging to the Car-for-Bike Trade volunteer
3:30: Car-for-Bike Trade Celebration
4: Curtain Closes

On the web site, New Belgium lays out “The Ten Commandments of the Tour de Fat.” We think No.4 is especially apropos for a neighborhood that hosts the Solstice Parade:

Thou shall come as a participant not a spectator: It’s a costumed celebration of human-powered transportation. Muscles not motors, coasters, v-brakes and rotors. Come in your favorite alter ego, because when everybody’s weird, no one is.

Maybe next year, you too can see if you can take the plunge and apply for the trade and extol the virtues of why you think you could go car-free on video.

The chosen few become shining examples pro-bike commuting culture:

By agreeing to trade your polluting car for a new bike and committing to sparkle motion, human-powered transport, on stage at Tour de Fat, you become an inspiration to the congregation and beyond. Your vehicular cleansing is filmed, as are your car-free trials and triumphs over the following year, causing thousands to idolize your efforts and begin commuting by bike (we hope).

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New 46th Street mural vandalized

July 30th, 2010 by Marina Gordon

The 46th Street Mural, which hasn’t even seen its final details, was vandalized Wednesday night, a tipster told us. The words “Not Art” were painted in big black letters over parts of the mural. The picture below was taken Thursday morning and sent to us.

By the time we arrived yesterday afternoon, there was no sign of damage.

The issue of vandals striking the mural came up in the comments of our story that ran when a winner for the design was chosen. Leah Eister-Hargrave, 46th Street Mural Committee member, explained how repairs will happen:

Urban Artworks is responsible for maintenance of the mural for one year August 2010-August 2011, after this initial year, maintenance will be addressed by the 46th Street Mural Project committee with negotiations with Urban Artworks to handle any needed touch-ups. A contingency fund will be set up to address any costs associated with the maintenance. A notification system regarding any tagging or defacement will be set up through local community groups, such as FAWN, that have weekly walks through the neighborhood for just such purposes. A detailed record of all paints used and where within the mural they are used will be kept while the mural is being painted. Through continued coordination of our core members of the steering committee and these aspects of care and handling, we feel we can keep the mural beautiful for the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, painting continues apace. This was the first we’d seen of the painted columns:

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Buckaroo closing? Moving?

July 29th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

We – I – haven’t seen the signs, but readers are e-mailing us with reports of seeing signs/flyers on Fremont Avenue North announcing the imminent closure and moving of Buckaroo Tavern from its longtime home at 4201 Fremont Ave. N.

Buckaroo Tavern
Photo credit: Kurt Schlosser

Those getting off the No.5 bus at 41st Street and Fremont Avenue North have seen signs that state that the landlord refused to renew their lease and they will be closing on September 17.

Another reader sent us a link to a blog that has a lot of information we have not verified yet; but if what he writes is accurate, then the Buckaroo will continue to live, but down at the bottom of the hill.

According to its history:

The Fabulous Buckaroo Tavern was established in 1938, on the ground floor of a two-story building that was built in 1908. Between 1908 and 1938 a butcher shop and a grain store amongst other businesses operated in this location. The current owners (Keith & Donna Morey) bought The Fabulous Buckaroo Tavern in 1984, and are only the third owners of this tavern since 1938.

What are you hearing, readers?

We’ll try to find out more for you, too.

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Aurora Southbound closures today

July 27th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Fresh from SDOT:

Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation will be mowing overgrowth along southbound Aurora Avenue North this morning, from W. Raye Street to W. Galer Street, from about 9 a.m. to no later than noon. There will be a rolling closure of the curb lane to allow crews to work safely. Bus stops will be left open.

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Nickerson Street Diet: Day 1

July 26th, 2010 by Doug Alder

This was supposed to be the first day of work on the controversial Nickerson Street diet. But as of 11am, there was no sign of any work being done at all.

SDOT update at 2:30pm: The contractor plans to mobilize today and set up the no parking signs. Either this afternoon or tomorrow they will begin preliminary layout of the new channelization.  Once they have completed the preliminary layout, SDOT will review and approve the layout prior to the permanent pavement markings.  Grinding or removal of the existing pavement markings and installation of the permanent pavement markings are scheduled to begin on Monday, August 2.

The first phase of work also involves putting in new concrete panels at Etruria Street and new curb ramps in various locations. Then, crews will resurface the asphalt pavement on Nickerson between Etruria Street and 4th Avenue North. Once the paving project is finished, Nickerson will get a facelift that has divided the community.

The scene today.

Between Warren Avenue N and 13th Avenue W, the new roadway will have only one driving lane in each direction and a center two-way turn lane. There will be an uphill bicycle lane, and a downhill sharrow. Pedestrian crossing improvements, including new marked crosswalks, will be installed at 12th Avenue W, Cremona Street, and Dravus Street.


Normal working hours will be between 7am and 4pm. Grinding off the top layer of asphalt and repaving of the roadway is expected to occur at night and is scheduled to take a total of 3 days during the first and second weeks in August. Here is the work schedule:

  • July 26 until first week of August – New concrete panels at Etruria Street and new curb ramps in various locations
  • Two days during the first week of August – Asphalt grinding (pavement removal)
  • First and second weeks of August — Roadway base repairs and utility adjustments
  • One day later in the week of August 9 – 13: Asphalt pavement overlay
  • First three to four weeks of August – Remove and replace channelization/pavement striping
  • Last part of August – Finalize work and clean up

You can follow the project on SDOT’s webpage.

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Fremont Neighborhood Council Meeting tonight

July 26th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

The Fremont Neighborhood Council meets tonight at 7 p.m., at the History House, 790 N. 34th St. Come to hear the latest on the trolley bus system evaluation from Chris O’Claire. Changes affect routes that pass through Fremont.

There will also be a follow-up on the Fremont Fair.

All Fremont residents are eligible to join, and all members are eligible to serve on the board. Residents are defined by these boundaries: 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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Saturday: Community Painting Day for 46th St. Mural

July 23rd, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Would-be Michelangelos: come out Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to the 46th Street Mural Project and help make the wall under Aurora beautiful in this first “Community Painting Day.”


Sign up on the Google docs spreadsheet.

Painting began in a few weeks ago.

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Rain City Video Fremont location closing…eventually

July 21st, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Workers at the Fremont branch (464 N. 36th St.) of Rain City Video don’t know when the end is coming, so don’t ask. But in the store and online, they’re telling you that their vast library of 20,000 DVDs is for sale, so buy, buy, buy before the store goes bye, bye, bye.

Rain City Video

Deals are sweet at the store, where I couldn’t resist scooping up the entire second season of “Alias” for $12. (Movies are $9.95 or $12.95 for Blu-Ray.) I bought “The Best of Kids in the Hall” and “Resident Evil” too. Total cost: $28. It’s not like I need more movies, but maybe it was the guilt of being such an avid Netflix customer, which has to account for some of the demise of the neighborhood video/DVD store (I’m sure Redbox and others of that ilk don’t help either). The other two Rain City locations on Market Street and Sunset Hill aren’t closing.

Rain City sign

It’s been forever since I’ve been in a video store. I miss the selections, the way the staff filters for the customers. I love sections like “Martial Arts/Psychotronique Internacional” or “Directors Showcase” or “Arts & Artists, Beats & Lits” with the regrettable “Henry & June,” but at least I know it’s there.

So, go now and support Fremont’s Rain City while you can. Hidden treasures await.

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Now you can file your police report online

July 21st, 2010 by Doree

Seattle Police Department has just launched a new public online reporting option.

The Community Online Reporting Program (CORP) allows the public to file police reports for certain incident types (Property Destruction, Car Prowls, Auto Accessories, Theft of Property (under $500), and Identity Theft) over the internet.

This service will allow the public to file a report at a time that is best for them without having to wait for an officer to respond or call them back. The public will be able to print a temporary copy of the report as soon as they submit it. The report will be reviewed by police personnel, and, once approved, the filing person will receive an email with a copy of the final report attached. The report will transfer directly into the Seattle Police Department records management system and receive the same investigation and statistical analysis as if the report had been filed by an officer.

This option is for low level property crimes only. It does not replace 911 or the non-emergency number. If the caller feels that they are in danger, or the crime just happened, or the suspect may still be there, 911 is still the best option. The Community Online Reporting Program is an option for people that want to report a low level theft, but do not necessarily need an officer to respond in person.

The web-based crime reporting service can be accessed by going to the Seattle Police Department’s homepage ( and clicking the “File a Report” Quick Link.

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Tri-Chamber BBQ & Wine Tasting tonight

July 20th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

May not always feel like it in the morning, but by the afternoon, Seattle summer shines down on all of us, so why not bask in some of that sunshine and eat some free barbecue, beer and wine, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the Fremont, Wallingford and University Chambers of Commerce for their fifth annual BBQ & Wine Tasting at University House (4400 Stone Way N.), sponsored by University House (the food) and Schulze’s Sausages (beer and wine).


Support small business, buy local and register here, or just go and mingle! Don’t forget your business cards, because this is a great networking event with our adjoining neighborhoods.

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Take a streetcar history tour

July 19th, 2010 by Marina Gordon

It’s hard to tell today, but much of Fremont, Wallingford and nearby neighborhoods were developed because of streetcars. Historylink says:

In 1891, Seattle annexed most of the area north of Lake Union and its outlet to Salmon Bay, an area that included Green Lake. Shortly thereafter, an electric trolley running from Lake Union at Fremont to Green Lake spurred the development of the “interlaken” area, most of which developed into the area known as Wallingford.

Over the next two decades tracks were laid for streetcars to travel routes across the North End, as well as to downtown. This map of streetcar routes is from 1933, less than a decade before the streetcars were discontinued:
streetcar map

The full Seattle streetcar map is on Flickr and the Seattle Times has a concise timeline of Seattle’s streetcars.

Want to know more? In Fremont Thursday you can learn about the area’s streetcar history on a walking tour presented by the Fremont Historical Society that will end in western Wallingford.

Fremont Streetcar History Tour
Thursday July 22
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
In front of the old Car Barn
34th & Phinney Ave N

It is a guided walking tour along N. 34th and north on Woodland Park Ave N. to N. 40th. Along the way we will tell you about the history of the streetcars in Fremont, why Fremont held a place of importance in Seattle’s history as a streetcar suburb, and about early residences and shops along the streetcar route.

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Nickerson Street road diet schedule released

July 17th, 2010 by Doug Alder

Work on the changes to Nickerson Street will start on July 26 and last about a month. A contractor hired by the Seattle Department of Transportation will start the “diet” work between 13th Ave. West and Etruria to reduce the number of traffic lanes to one in each direction. A bike lane will be added on the uphill direction, bike sharrows will be added to the downhill direction, and a new two-way left turn lane will also be added.



Normal working hours will be between 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Grinding off the top layer of asphalt and repaving of the roadway is expected to occur at night and is scheduled to take a total of 3 days during the first and second weeks in August. Here is the tentative pan for the work:

  • Last week of July thru the first week of August – New concrete panels at Etruria Street and new curb ramps in various locations
  • Two days during the first week of August – Asphalt grinding (pavement removal)
  • First and second weeks of August — Roadway base repairs and utility adjustments
  • One day later in the week of August 9 thru 13 – Asphalt pavement overlay
  • First three to four weeks of August – Remove and replace channelization/pavement striping
  • Last part of August – Finalize work and clean up

The project has been the subject of spirited debate for the past few months. Our recent reader poll found the community almost evenly split on whether they support or oppose the diet.

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Review of fatal Fremont fire clears firefighters

July 17th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

A Seattle Times story reported on Fire Chief Gregory Dean’s explanation to City Council Friday of the circumstances that led to the deaths of five people – including four children – in an apartment fire in Fremont on June 12. While there was a malfunction that caused a delay of water on the scene, Dean’s review concluded firefighters were not at fault and that possibly the only thing that might have made a difference would have been a sprinkler system, which was not required in the building because it was built before those were required in these buildings.

Dean said this detailed review will not result in changes to the department’s firefighting protocols.

Fire Engine

His explanation to them matched the account he told community members at a meeting July 1.

Dean told council members that mechanical problems with an engine that delayed putting water on the fire have been addressed and that mistakes made by its operator are being dealt with through training.

Both the chief and an independent analyst concluded that, while operator error contributed to the incident, the firefighters responsible acted according to their training and can’t be blamed.

Moreover, the chief reiterated that the fire that roared through the two-story town house was so intense that it is unlikely anyone could have been saved even if the engine had functioned properly.

The outcome might have been different, Dean said, had the 40-year old structure been equipped with a sprinkler system. Sprinklers have been required in new multifamily construction since 1988.

The article goes into more detail about the malfunction that prevented water from coming out of the first engine on the scene.

An investigator concluded that the problem was likely traced to a touch-activated selector that engages the pump. That unit has been replaced on all 10 similar trucks in the department, Dean said.

Dean said the driver three times tried to start the pumps, but failed each time. Each time he had to turn off the engine of the firetruck and turn off the battery, and then turn both back on.

But what he didn’t know is that he was supposed to leave everything turned off for 10 seconds to make it work.

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Violence continues at Aurora motels

July 16th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai reported the serious injury of a man beaten over an argument about drugs at the Wallingford Inn, 44th and Aurora, on Wednesday night just before 9 p.m.

Officers found a man on the ground with a “golf-ball sized bump” on his head and a “significant amount of blood coming from his mouth,” laying next to a silver-multi tool and a pair of shoes, a police report says.

“I heard the sound of him gargling his own blood,” Officer Adam Beatty wrote in his report. “I feared he might suffocate and gently rolled him onto his side.”

A woman at the scene told police the victim had been in a fight with another man, who had run across Aurora, jumped over the median, and fled southbound.

Police later found and arrested the suspect.

Wallingford Inn is one of the motels owned by Dean and Jill Inman. It’s one of four motels on Aurora that are to be sold by the end of August  or leased to non-profit groups for use as low-income housing or emergency shelter in accordance with a plea agreement in April.

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Theo Chocolate: first Fair for Life certification in U.S.

July 15th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Showing that sweet things come to those with good intentions, Theo Chocolate (3400 Phinney Ave. N.) is now Fair for Life certified by IMO! Fair for Life is a new Fair Trade certification that not only certifies the farmer groups Theo works with, but the entire supply chain, including the Seattle factory and overall business practices — from “bean-to-bar.”

Theo has submitted to third party verification to ensure customers that all of its farmer relationships, business and trading practices are “equitable, responsible and truly Fair Trade.”

Juanita Baltidano, AAPTA President, in the new AAPTA cacao nursery (Theo’s Costa Rican supplier)

Previously, Theo has been certified for its Fair Trade practices by Transfair-USA, a member of the international organization Fairtrade Label Organization (FLO). With the change to IMO (Institute for Marketecology) – an independent, non-profit Swiss-based certifying body, with a reputation for high quality, stringent standard development and inspection in 90 countries – Theo moves into an elite class of fair trade certification that ensures, among other criteria, the absence of child labor, non discrimination and good working conditions.

Switching to the new certification also takes money that would have been spent on licensing fees and uses it to directly develop farmer production quality, education, and social programs.

“A core difference between Transfair and IMO Fair for Life is that IMO’s certification cost to Theo is an annual ‘fee for service’ rather than a licensing fee. This will allow Theo to redirect money previously paid to TransFair for the use of their logo on our packaging, directly to technical assistance for cocoa farmers – enabling Theo to have a much greater impact on the lives of cocoa farmers,” said Joe Whinney, Theo’s founder and CEO.

Nearly everything you might want to know about Theo Chocolate and its new Fair for Life certification can be found in this FAQ.

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Burn ban begins today

July 15th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Now that Seattle’s summer has finally made its appearance – and looks to stay dry for awhile – King County has instituted a Phase 1 burn ban that will last until September 30.

King County is doing this in concert with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and Pierce, Kitsap, Mason and Snohomish Counties. This burn ban applies throughout King County in both the incorporated and unincorporated areas, but does not apply to federal forests or national parks, although these jurisdictions may have similar restrictions in effect, so be sure to check if you’re in those areas and planning on an evening fire.

Fire pit

The ban forbids forest and yard debris burning but still allows recreational campfires in approved fire pits. However, campfires and fire pits are allowed only if they are located on private land with the landowner’s permission OR at public parks (such as Golden Gardens) that fit the specifications below. These fires must:

  • Be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, such as those typically found in designated campgrounds;
  • Grow no larger than three feet across;
  • Be located in a clear spot free from any vegetation for at least 10 feet in a horizontal direction, including a 20-foot vertical clearance from overhanging branches; and
  • Be attended at all times by an alert individual with immediate access to a shovel and either five gallons of water or a connected and charged water hose.

“With local temperatures rising, we have called this burn ban to protect public health and safety during the summer months,” said King County Fire Marshal Jim Chan.

For more information on local fire restrictions, call the King County Fire Marshal Division at 206-296-6763 or 1-800-323-BURN. To monitor the status of this burn ban, log onto the DDES Web site.

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