News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


Entries from October 2010

Countdown to closure of Fremont neighborhood service center

October 29th, 2010 by Doug Alder

Unless the City Council decides to change the mayor’s proposed budget, the Fremont neighborhood service center will close its doors at the end of the year. If you’ve never been inside the location at 908 N. 34th Street, it’s basically a little city hall where you can find government resources and get help with city related business.

Tim Durkan, the Neighborhood District Coordinator for the Fremont office, will also lose his job under the budget cuts.

“Neighborhoods around the lake are bummed out. It’s one less person on the inside who can help,” Durkan told us.

Durkan spends the majority of his time outside the office working with local businesses, residents and community groups who may be having trouble with city government. But the scope of Durkan’s job has changed over the past couple of years. Once the economy tanked, he saw a dramatic increase in the number of people coming to the center looking for job help and government assistance. He set up a social services database and has helped residents update their resumes.

“My motto is just say yes,” Durkan said.

If the Fremont service center shuts down, the closest locations would be Ballard and the U-District. The Lake Union District Council will discuss the impact of the proposed closure this coming Monday (11/1) at 6pm at the History House located at 790 N. 34th.

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Trick or Treat map for Fremont and North Seattle

October 29th, 2010 by Doug Alder

Wondering which of your neighbors will be giving out candy this Halloween?  Ballard resident John Tynes created a trick or treat map to show which homes in the neighborhood will open their doors to trick or treaters Sunday night.  Since it was such a great idea, the map has been expanded to include Fremont, Queen Anne and North Seattle.  Before Sunday rolls around, you should see a lot more blue dots outside the Ballard area.  Just click here to see the current map and follow the directions on the left column to add your house (Google account required to edit map).

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“Movember” pub crawl tonight in Fremont

October 28th, 2010 by Marina Gordon

Starting next Monday, November 1, you may notice that formerly facial-hair-free gents about town will be sporting mustaches. They may be making more than a fashion statement — they could be using their follicles to raise money for prostate cancer as part of a month-long international mustache movement called Movember.

Local barbershop owner Spyridon Nicon (everyone knows him as the Spin in Spin’s Barbershop at 4501 Interlake Ave. N.) and his newest barber, Todd Bridges, are assembling a team to start the month and end it with a neatly trimmed or big ‘n’ bushy “mo” (this event started in 2003 in Australia, where “mo” is a nickname for “mustache”). Along the way, they’ll raise money and awareness of men’s health issues throughout Movember. The funds raised through Movember’s US campaign benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Movember raised $42 million last year worldwide.

Spyridon “Spin” Nicon and Todd Bridges, before they start growing their Movember mustaches. We’ll check in with them next month for a progress report.

Spin just heard about Movember a couple of weeks ago from Bridges, and he and his staff and clients are gung-ho to grow mos. He has seven guys on the team now and is looking for fresh recruits. Spin and the gang will be in Fremont tonight to sign up participants at the Movember Pub Crawl, which starts at Norm’s (460 N. 36th St.) at 6 pm, then works its way through Ballroom (456 N. 56th St.), 9 Million in Unmarked Bills (3507 Fremont Pl.) and Red Door (3401 Evanston).

Joining the team is not an easy sell. “I’m hearing from lots of clients that they just can’t quite commit to the quest — job, wife, presentations, events, etc.,” said Spin. “I understand where they’re coming from, but I also believe that’s all the more reason to do it. The moustache makes the statement and starts the conversation, and hopefully that conversation leads to greater awareness of men’s health issues, and a donation to the cause.”

Spin said that the barbershop is a perfect rallying point for Movember: “Men’s issues, men’s grooming, lots of conversations.” Bridges added that he’ll give “a great deal” on haircuts to anyone who donates or joins the team.

To join Spin’s Movember team or make a donation, visit his Movember page.

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New LED streetlights come to Fremont

October 28th, 2010 by Marina Gordon

We’ve heard from some readers that City Light has installed those new LED (light-emitting diode) streetlights in parts of Fremont.  They cast an immediately noticeable brighter, whiter glow.

It’s all part of a citywide upgrade to LEDs that began this summer. A July 2010 press release about the new streetlights explained their expected benefits:

“We are entering a new era in street lighting,” Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “LEDs use 40 percent less energy and last three times longer than the high-pressure sodium lights that have been the standard for the past 30 years. That means better reliability, less maintenance, a longer life cycle, and lower operating costs for our customers.”

City Light will install 5,000 LED streetlights in residential neighborhoods this year and a total of 40,000 during the next five years. The 2010 installations will take place from the Ship Canal to 65th Street. The utility also started pilot projects to test LED streetlights on arterial roads.

The LEDs being installed generate a white light that is comparable to moonlight. This enhances peripheral vision and depth of field, making it easier to see small objects in the road and reducing the color distortion caused by the amber glow of existing high-pressure sodium lights. Finally, the LEDs provide better control over where the light is directed, reducing spillover into home windows and the night sky.

Here’s a demonstration of the difference between the old high-pressure sodium lights and LED ones:

If your street has gotten its new LED lights, what do you think of them?

(Photo courtesy Seattle City Light)

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Naked Pumpkin Run set for Sunday in Fremont

October 27th, 2010 by Doug Alder

Fremont is famous for the naked bike riders during the annual Solstice Parade. But another nude tradition is moving into its 4th year.  The Naked Pumpkin Run is scheduled for Halloween day at noon.  Clothing is optional, although you do have to wear a pumpkin on your head.  You have to attend a pumpkin carving party earlier in the day to find out the secret locations of the day run through Fremont followed by a night run around Green Lake. 

In past years, the Fremont runners generally choose to ignore any planned route and simply streak in different directions.  They usually make a stop in front of Lenin’s statue, as seen in the photo above from the 2008 run.  The pumpkin carving party starts at 10am at 3940 Fremont Ave N.  Here’s a copy of the flyer will all the details.

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Gun, tools, microwave stolen in home burglary

October 27th, 2010 by Doug Alder

A person doing work on a home in the 4300 block of 5th Ave NW reported a burglary last weekend.  Police aren’t sure how the thief or thieves got in.  Several items inside the home were stolen including a handgun and a microwave.  Tools were also stolen from the detached garage.

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What’s going on at the Canal Building?

October 25th, 2010 by Doug Alder

A few readers sent us emails wondering about all the work going on at the Canal Building along North 34th.  We stopped by today and noticed crews doing interior renovations to 710 N 34th, the space formerly occupied by Pontevecchio.  We don’t have any exciting news about a possible new tenant, but we did get the scoop on the reason for all the work.

A representative for Real Retail, which provides tenant services for the building, tells us the Canal Building is undergoing some upgrades to make it more attractive for future occupants.  Right now, the work inside 710 N 34th involves installing an elevator to the upper levels of the building.  The second floor offices are also being renovated to give them more character.  While there are no new permanent tenants to announce yet, Halloween Express has opened in the building temporarily.

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5 car prowls in the past 5 days

October 25th, 2010 by Doug Alder

We’ve noticed the Seattle Police crime map for Fremont has been pretty quiet the past couple of weeks.  But car prowlers have suddenly stepped up their game.  In the past five days, there have been five car prowls in the neighborhood in the following blocks:

3400 Evanston Ave N

3400 Phinney Ave

4300 Leary Way

4200 Greenwood Ave

800 N 43rd Street

Just a reminder that you can track crime in the neighborhood with the SPD crime map.

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October 25th, 2010 by Doug Alder

Hunger (Mediterranean)
4256 Fremont Ave. N. (map)
(206) 402-4854

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (36 votes, average: 3.81 out of 5)

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Tower work wraps up for the year

October 21st, 2010 by Doug Alder

City Light tells us they’ve finished the major repair work on those two big steel towers that hold high voltage cables spanning the Ship Canal.  One is on the Fremont side (Phinney Ave.) and the other is on the Queen Anne side (Warren Ave). That work caused part of the Burke Gilman trail to close for a short time earlier this month.

Crews will return in the spring to pull new cables.  The goal is to bring reliable backup power from the Ballard Substation to Queen Anne and Magnolia.

Installation of south tower, photo from City Light

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Fremont Troll turns 20, and his knoll could get a financial boost

October 20th, 2010 by Doug Alder

The Fremont Troll turns 20 years old this Halloween and there’s encouraging news for the neighborhood landmark.  The Troll’s Knoll, the green space and land around the statue, is in line to receive a big financial boost from the city.  A plan to enhance the area is one of 15 projects recommended for funding from the Seattle Parks 2010 Opportunity Fund

The plan calls for $685,000 in improvements to establish a public park and open space. The improvements would include landscaping, trees, trails, retaining walls, and public art.  The plan would also fund green infrastructure systems such as wind turbines, pedestrian lighting, and a community garden.

A previous grant allowed Friends of the Troll’s Knoll to remove blackberry bushes this summer and plant grass seed. 

Friends of The Troll’s Knoll photo

Friends of the Troll’s Knoll will be on hand for a public hearing on the 15 projects recommended to receive funding under the Opportunity Fund.  Fremont residents and troll lovers are encouraged to attend and show support for the project.  The meeting takes place Monday, October 25 at 7pm (sign up starts at 6pm) at the Miller Community Center, 330 19th Ave E on the north end of Capitol Hill.  You can read more about Friends of the Troll’s Knoll on their Facebook page.

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Crime prevention coordinators face layoffs

October 19th, 2010 by Doug Alder

Unless the budget changes, three of the seven crime prevention coordinators in Seattle will lose their jobs. As for the remaining four coordinators, including the one serving Fremont, no one is sure if they’ll be forced to cut back on their hours or cover larger areas to fill the holes.

Crime prevention coordinators, civilian employees in the Seattle Police Department, work directly with residents doing everything from setting up block watches to going door to door to warn about recent crimes. They’d been part of the police budget up until last October, when the positions then became paid for with federal grant money that runs out in the spring.

With the help of the nonprofit Common Language Project and communications students at the University of Washington, we take a closer look at what the loss of these coordinators could mean to our neighborhoods.

Continue reading “Crime Prevention Coordinators Face the Budget Axe”.

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More design options for new transfer station

October 18th, 2010 by Doug Alder

Five more design options for the new North Transfer Station have been unveiled. Those five, along with four previous designs that have been tweaked, will be looked over later this week during a stakeholder meeting of community residents, businesses and station users.

Current transfer station

The new station will be constructed on the current site at 1350 N. 34th Street after the old facility is demolished, probably sometime in 2012. Today, a crew from Seattle Public Utilities took us on a tour of the location to talk about challenges they face at the current facility and what they hope to accomplish with the new one.

“I think what the residents want is a station that’s going to be a good neighbor,” said Bill Benzer, SPU project manager for the new station.

The current transfer station was built in the 1960’s with the single goal of collecting garbage. Today, the station now has to deal with recyclables and yard waste. Long lines can sometime form on 34th Street as customers wait for their loads to be weighed. Neighbors are also forced to deal with noise, and even worse, the odor. One nearby resident told us the smell gets worse every year.

“You never get used it,” she said.

Now that food scraps are mixed in with yard waste, another problem has surfaced– crows.

“They’re grabbing all the oranges and pumpkins and all that stuff out of there and dropping it in neighbors’ yards,” one crew member told us.

The pit

To stop the crows and to help contain the noise and odor, the new station will be enclosed with a ventilation system and quick opening doors to let customers in and out. The weigh station could be moved further into the site to avoid lines. And while Seattle Public Utilities wants to make sure the new facility looks nice, they also need it to be functional.

“Over time our waste handling needs may change. There may be more items that we want to try and recover and the way to do that is to put it all on a flat floor so you can pick things out, move things to different piles, and they can be sent to different facilities,” said Benzer.

Some of the newly unveiled designs, including the one below, show a separate building for recyclables. The Wallingford Community Council has said it would only support a design that doesn’t call for the east side of the property to be used as a recycling operation.  One stakeholder representing the Fremont Chamber of Commerce wants to make sure the front of the property is pedestrian friendly.  In the end, SPU tells us the design will be shaped by community input.

“We are certainly looking for a building that fits in with the neighborhood,” said Benzer. “Part of this design program is to get the layout…but to also get into some aesthetics. We’re envisioning some nice grounds with perimeter landscaping.”

To see all of the design concepts under consideration, click here. The next transfer station stakeholder meeting is set for this Thursday, October 21 from 5pm to 8pm at the Institute for Systems Biology (837 N. 34th Street).

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Photo from flash mob at the Fremont Troll

October 18th, 2010 by Doug Alder

Here’s a picture from last week’s flash mob gathering at the Fremont Troll planned by Gesamtkunstwerk! Theatre. As you can see, they used flashlights to spell out Gesamtkunstwerk, the German word for total art work.

Photo courtesy of Julia Bruk

The group will be doing more flashlight mobs in the future around Seattle and other multimedia fun art community building events.

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November’s First Friday Art Walk

October 18th, 2010 by Doug Alder

The lineup is set for November’s First Friday Art Walk in Fremont.  On November 5 from 6pm to 9pm, you can enjoy paintings, sculptures, live music, beer, wine and coffee at more than a dozen venues around the neighborhood.  Click here for a full list of venues.

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Flash mob at the Fremont Troll tonight

October 14th, 2010 by Doug Alder

If you see a lot of activity around the Fremont Troll tonight, here’s why. We’ve gotten word that a flash mob will gather there to form a light sculpture. People are asked to bring a flashlight and anything that glows. The flash mob will gather between 9:30pm and 11pm. You’ll find more information here.

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