February 27th, 2015 by Cara
3631 Linden Ave N
Last Saturday’s “Wake for Fremont’s Affordable Rental Houses” invited community members to mourn and learn about the increasing number of rental and historic homes being demolished in Fremont. Despite the tempting sunshine, guests assembled at the Fremont Baptist Church filling approximately half of the pews. Guests were invited to dress in mourning attire and touches of black throughout the crowd including several black hats and a boa showed both a serious and playful approach.
Organizer Leo Griffin opened with the ground rules, “Be civil, be brief, and be respectful of grief.” Griffin’s open welcome and lack of microphone lent a casual atmosphere to the proceedings. He delivered a brief “sermon” explaining why organizers chose to host a wake rather than a more traditional civic gathering. Griffin noted the increasing number of single family homes being “scrapped for increased density” in a neighborhood that had provided affordable rents for more than fifty years. He observed there is little protection for current low and middle cost housing, concluding “the neighbors are upset.” The wake intended to mourn the historical homes already lost in the process and discuss an important community issue.
Concerns ranged from the affect on Fremont’s property values and taxes to losing an eclectic neighborhood that singles of all ages, families, and retirees can afford. As with other Seattle neighborhoods Fremont has already exceed growth targets set forth in the Urban Village Strategy. Those tracking the changes in Fremont estimate the area is currently losing two historical houses a month. Griffin feels Fremont is not fighting for the “right” kind of growth and acknowledges this is not an issue neighbors can solve themselves, that is where the Fremont Neighborhood Council comes in. He concludes that it is a “difficult and emotional issue” which will be reflected on throughout the wake.
Next, readers took turns reading profiles of the historic homes being mourned. Griffin kicked things off, “I am 3625 Linden Avenue N, I was built in 1890.”
3625 Linden Ave N
Each description included the address, estimated year built, and a summary of residents. Some houses had extensive records and stories about residents, others remained a mystery. The first six houses presented, referred to as the “Linden Ave Six” are currently impacted by a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Appeal filed by the Fremont Neighborhood Council.
The next speaker, Fremont Neighborhood Council member and resident since 1973 Toby Thaler is on the organization’s Land Use Committee. One of his tasks is to make heads or tails of the proposed land use action notices which are increasingly common signage in Fremont. While reviewing the notices for three proposed projects on Linden Ave, a block from the Fremont Troll and the Fremont Baptist Church, Thayer noticed all together the projects would replace a whole row of houses built between 1890 and 1950. Upon further investigation he became increasingly concerned about the impact these projects would have on Linden Ave and the neighborhood.
One project will demolish two homes, both built before 1902 with eight town house units and a surface parking spot for each unit. The project next door will demolish one house from 1950 and another built in 1900 with a 3-story structure containing 35 residential units. The last project will demolish two homes built in 1906 to build another 3-story structure with 35 residential units.
The last two projects caught Thayer’s eye as the plan to add 70 residential units, where there were previously 10 units, does not include any additional parking. The projects were also not subject to a design review. All three projects are currently delayed by the SEPA appeal although only one project is directly being appealed. Thayer continues to pursue the SEPA appeal for the Fremont Neighborhood Council, there is a hearing tentatively scheduled for March 2nd.
Clearly familiar with the appeal and a long-time member of the Land Use Committee, Thayer spoke confidently, informing the new and familiar audience members about the appeal. He expressed concern that the “cumulative effects will overwhelm the neighborhood.” Despite speaking frankly about the appeal process Thayer also touched on the emotional aspects of the issue. He passionately stated, “if we had real neighborhood planning we wouldn’t have to be at a wake for these houses.”
Following the SEPA update the readings resumed. Volunteers presented nine more historical houses for a total of 15 examples. Six houses have already been demolished. The last historical building introduced was not a house but the former Fremont Tile Company Building located on the corner of N 35th Street and Evanston. Currently the building is a two-story structure containing retail space and apartments. This will be another significant upcoming project proposed for Fremont. Currently under design review, the project proposes demolishing the 100 year old building and replacing it with a six-story structure containing 45 residential units and retail space on the ground floor.
Fremont Neighborhood Council President Stephanie Pure reading 3635 Phinney Ave N (to be demolished)
Following the presentation comments were welcomed from the audience. Current and past community members stood up and expressed outrage, despair, and anger over recent changes in Fremont. Others offered encouragement, appreciation for the organizers, and suggestions of additional resources. The crowd appeared largely sympathetic but concerns varied from affordable rents, the character of the community, and the fate of Fremont’s historical houses.
The upcoming municipal elections were mentioned, development and increasing rent are expected be a campaign issue, and several City Council candidates were present. Current Speaker of the Washington House of Representatives, Frank Chopp attended and spoke briefly at the end of the wake. In addition to currently representing the area, Chopp is a resident of Wallingford and the former executive director of Fremont Public Association (formerly Solid Ground). A representative for Nickel Bros, house relocation specialists or a self-described “house adoption agency”, attended to assess the plausibility of saving the “Linden Ave Six” by relocating the homes in lieu of demolition.
The Fremont Neighborhood Council is eager to hear about any cases of tenant relocation or possible demolition (especially before a house is demolished while records are still available). The group intends to keep tracking the changes and following proposed projects. Members of both the Fremont Neighborhood Council and Fremont Historical Society expressed a desire to see Fremont’s history and diverse community be carried on as Fremont continues to grow.
Tags: #fremonthousewake, 3625, development, fremont historical society, fremont neighborhood council, housing, Linden Ave Six, meeting
February 20th, 2015 by Cara
This Saturday February 21st the Fremont Neighborhood Council and the Fremont Historical Society invite members of the community and any interested parties to an unconventional wake. Organizers hope the mournful event, to be held at the Fremont Baptist Church, will draw attention to the decline of rental houses in the neighborhood. The event can be followed on Twitter under #FremontHouseWake.
A Wake for Fremont’s Affordable Rental Houses
The Fremont neighborhood will be hosting a wake for Fremont’s Affordable Rental Houses on Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. at Fremont Baptist Church, 717 North 36th Street, Seattle. Over the last two years the Fremont neighborhood has lost a great number of the neighborhood’s rental houses, many of which were older homes built before the 1930s. This event will spotlight more than a dozen of these homes that have been demolished or are planned for demolition. This event is sponsored by the Fremont Neighborhood Council and the Fremont Historical Society.
Join with neighbors to mourn this loss of historical heritage, housing diversity, green space and affordability. Learn the details of the housing inventory that has been demolished and the stories of the families that lived there. Find out how you can contribute to upcoming efforts that stop this loss of affordability.
“Neighbors are concerned about the changing face of Fremont,” said Fremont Neighborhood Council President Stephanie Pure. “This is an opportunity to draw attention to this issue. The Fremont Neighborhood Council has taken the unusual step of filing a SEPA (State Environmental Protection Act) appeal on one of the projects. We encourage residents to come hear about that appeal.”
“The Fremont Historical Society (FHS) is dedicated to building awareness and appreciation of the history of a unique and early Seattle neighborhood”, said Judie Clarridge, volunteer, Fremont Historical Society. “We think it is important to tell the stories of these houses and the people who lived in them. Fremont has been fortunate that many historic buildings have been preserved and are in use today, but residents are concerned that the current pace of new construction may mean the loss of older houses and commercial buildings that give Fremont its character and economic diversity. We think this event will be a good opportunity for discussion on this important issue.
Tags: #fremonthousewake, affordability, fremont historical society, fremont neighborhood council, rental houses
October 29th, 2014 by Cara
The Fremont Chamber, Fremont Neighborhood Council and Fremont Arts Council invite everyone to join the annual Fremont Clean Up this Saturday November 1st at 10am. After a summer full of fun, our Sunny September, and Halloween festivities volunteers will help Fremont prepare for winter by pitching in and cleaning up the neighborhood. It’s a terrific opportunity to give back and celebrate our community!
Volunteers should meet at the Troll (if possible please also register online to help the FCC get a headcount) and cleaning will go until Noon.
Here is more information from the Fremont Chamber of Commerce’s website:
The City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods will be providing tools and trash bags to help and will also be picking up the trash bags!
We will have Starbucks Coffee and Pie’s minis for volunteers before and during the clean and fun swag and prizes for the people who bring in the most bags!!
The Fremont Universe crew will be there! We hope you can make it too!
Tags: department of neighborhoods, fremont arts council, fremont chamber of commerce, Fremont Clean Up, fremont neighborhood council, volunteer
August 10th, 2011 by Sean Keeley
It’s been a tough go for the Bridge Way Mural. Originally painted by Patrick Gabriel in 1997, the mural has seen its share of tagging and other vandalism in recent years. There is even some graffiti present right now as well.
Members of the Fremont Neighborhood Council who attended a recent Fremont Arts Council meeting decided to come up with a plan to clean up the mural. They’ll be holding the first of many painting parties this Saturday, August 13.
Volunteers are needed for a painting party scheduled for THIS SATURDAY, August 13th, from 10a – 2p, to remove graffiti from the beleaguered Bridge Way Mural. At 10a, volunteers can meet at the Powerhouse (3940 Fremont Avenue North) to help carry paint and supplies up to the mural. At the mural, volunteers will be needed all day to wield a paintbrush, cleaning supplies, and doing some landscaping at the mural along Bridge Way under Aurora Avenue.
The next painting party will be held August 27th
To get involved with the painting party, contact FAC Board President, Michael Clark, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: fremont neighborhood council, mural
April 6th, 2011 by Sean Keeley
If you’ve walked on Fremont Ave. between 41st and Motor Place recently, you’ve noticed things have gotten a little more orange. That would be the flags stuck on poles in various spots along the street. Thanks to the Fremont Neighborhood Council, those flags have been installed to help pedestrians cross Fremont Ave. a little safer.
Every block or so, there’s a container on telephone poles on each side of the street. Within each container is a couple of flags. You grab one of the flags so drivers can see you, especially at night, and you go to whichever restaurant was across the street that you needed to get to so badly. Then you just leave said flag in the container across the street from where you started so someone else can cross with it.
You get to go where you wanted to, drivers don’t accidentally run anyone over and the flags get a good workout. Everybody wins.
And while we’re on the topic of Fremont Ave. driving, if you haven’t noticed already, you REALLY better take heed of those flashing beacons by B.F. Day when they’re lit up in the morning and afternoon. More often than not, I’ll see multiple cops at the bottom of the hill just waiting for someone to barrel down at 40 mph. And they’ve got a whole bunch of tickets burning holes in their pockets. Safe driving, ya’ll.
Tags: fremont avenue, fremont neighborhood council
February 8th, 2011 by Sean Keeley
If you’ve ever walked past that steeply-sloping patch of grass next to the Fremont Library and thought to yourself, “Man, I’ve got some really great ideas for what to do with that,” you’re in luck.
That patch of grass is actually Ernst Park, named for Ambrose Ernst, a Fremont resident known as the “Father of City Playfields.” Pour out a little Powerade for Ambrose next time you’re playing some adult dodgeball.
The City of Seattle recently purchased the property west of the park, currently a vacant lot, and will use that space to expand Ernst.
As for what they’re going to do, well, that’s where you come in. The City wants to hear your ideas for developing this space. Think it should be an elaborate child’s playground? How bout an elaborate adult’s playground? Maybe we should just have a guy stand there stacking Jenga pieces as high as he can until they fall, at which point he starts over and continues to do so 24 hours a day. We can literally suggest ANYTHING!
The easiest ways to get your ideas across are to email the Fremont Neighborhood Council at fremont.neighborhood.council at gmail dot com or attend their Feb. 28 meeting.
Tags: ernst park, fremont neighborhood council
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.
Tags: fremont fair, fremont neighborhood council, trolley bus
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.
Tags: City council, fnc, fremont neighborhood council, meeting