News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

Neighbors finish turtle street mural

August 29th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Neighbors who live in and around the intersection of 41st Street and Interlake Avenue North woke up early — some prodded by their excited children — to finish a project that has connected them: a sprawling sea turtle street mural that will not only be a beautiful addition to their neighborhood but also, they hope, a deterrent to speeders.

As the neighborhood is on the flight path to Seatac airport, passengers will get a bright surprise if they happen to look down at the right time. They’ll see this:

Finished turtle

“I’m relieved, but grateful to all the people in the community,” said retired Boeing engineer Bill Lindberg, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost 25 years and who spearheaded the project. “It proved to me how people come together in a community. It takes some coordination and effort. But everybody wants to contribute.”

Lindberg met many new neighbors in the petitioning process set up by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), which required the approval of neighbors who live along streets adjacent to the intersection.

Dozens of volunteers painted until about 7 p.m. last night and started again this morning around 9 a.m. Painting finished with the black outlines at about 4:30 p.m. Neighbors enjoyed a barbecue afterward, while kids jumped off their energy in a giant Blues Clues bouncy ball set-up provided by Brian Eaton, a firefighter who worked a 24-hour shift yesterday and spent all day today painting alongside his wife Kathy and their two young sons, Cooper and Mason, who all painted yesterday.

Turtle overall

Painting process
Cooper Eaton waits for more paint from Michael Sauer, pouring into a container held by Bill Lindberg

Kate Gengo (shown below) moved to Seattle from her native New York city and has lived in the neighborhood for four years. As a single woman, she hasn’t had too many opportunities to get to know her neighbors, who tend to be busy families. But getting involved with the project has changed that.

Kate Gengo

“This is the only way I’m able to meet my neighbors on a personal level,” said Gengo, who is studying to be an elementary school teacher. She is an avid gardener who has chatted with folks on their way to Wallingford Park as she’s worked outside.

Working side by side with her neighbors and their kids on the mural has been a memorable experience for her.

“I love to see kids problem solving, how they think creatively,” she said.

Adults tagged female progeny with special praise.

“The little girls work from dawn to dusk,” said Rachel Marcotte, the artist who came up with the design and who oversaw the chalking and painting. “They’re focused. Workaholics!”

Halle Sauer, 8, who was the first to think of making the design a turtle and who helped paint the turtle’s head and shell, as well as a leaf, has already given the new neighborhood pet a nickname: “Bubbles.”

Marcotte said its real name is “Arthur William,” in deference to Lindberg’s name.
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Street intersection transforms into a colorful turtle mural

August 28th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Our sister site, My Wallingford, gave us the heads-up about the turtle street painting today and tomorrow at the intersection at Interlake and 41st Street, in an area that overlaps Wallingford and Fremont, just a block east of Stone Way.

The streets are officially closed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and tomorrow.

Turtle sketch

Today, the process of turning a street into a mural began in earnest, with dozens of neighbors organized by retired Boeing engineer Bill Lindberg joining Maple Leaf artist Rachel Marcotte (pictured below directing Lindberg, upper right corner) at 6 a.m. this morning to sweep years of leaves and dirt away from the intersection. Marcotte’s son-in-law, Kevin Byers, operated a pressure washer to clean the surface afterward. By 10 a.m., Marcotte and other artists, including her jewelry-making daughter Rebecca Aldrich, were outlining the design with chalk. Later, they will chalk in the colors that can be filled in by volunteers, paint-by-numbers style. The painting will take place this afternoon and tomorrow.

Rachel and Bill

The Neighborhood Traffic section of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has provided oversight and coordination to help bring this street mural to life, including approving the quick-drying, water-based and non-toxic highway paint that will be used for the mural. Grit will be mixed into the paint to make it more durable. The mural is funded in part by the city’s Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund and will be repainted annually — though it won’t be as labor intensive as this initial work.

Rachel Marcotte

Neighbor Michael Sauer rose early with his wife Wendy and their two daughters, 8-year-old Ella and 6-year-old Halle, to help on the project, which has brought the neighbors together.

They came onto the project a few months ago after taking a walk past the ladybug street mural at 49th Street and Burke. They commented on it to Lindberg, saying it’d be a good thing for their own neighborhood and Ella said, “What about a turtle?”

From her initial suggestion, Lindberg moved forward.

“We were all kind of gung ho. Bill listened and his response was, ‘Let’s do that!’” Sauer said.

“Bill knows how to break a huge thing into smaller tasks,” Marcotte said.

“The purpose of this is to acquaint neighbors to each other better and make children feel pride in something they’ve helped create for the community,” said Lindberg, who’s lived in the neighborhood since 1986.

While it’s a coincidence that the design chosen was a turtle, neighbors do think it is a fitting image for the intersection and hope it encourages drivers to ease up on the gas pedal.

“We noticed people slowed down at the ladybug,” Sauer said. “At times during the day people just fly through here. I’m surprised there are not more accidents. In our minds, we feel it’ll make a difference.”

Rebecca Aldrich
Rebecca Aldrich (right)

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Deadline for free trees = Monday

August 13th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Back in July, we alerted you to the free tree giveaway through the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Tree Fund. Now the deadline for those applications is approaching: 5 p.m. Monday.

Groups of neighbors from at least five households living on a street or block can request from 10 to 40 trees per project. In addition, every participating household can have a fruit tree for their own yard. Find more information on how to organize your neighborhood, the selections of trees, as well as the application form.

For questions or additional information, contact Judy Brown, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, at 206.684.0714.

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Free trees available through Department of Neighborhoods

July 9th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

This just in from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods: community members can get free trees for their neighborhood through the Tree Fund, a program of the department.

In a city where green things grow well, this is a great opportunity for neighborhoods, as well as for city residents who want to beautify their own yards — and who are responsible enough to take care of them.

Groups of neighbors from at least five households living on a street or block can request from 10 to 40 trees per project. In addition, every participating household can have a fruit tree for their own yard. Information on how to organize your neighborhood, the selections of trees, as well as the application form, can be found here. Deadline for applications is August 16.

Amongst the trees that you can choose from: Ginkgo (pictured), Galaxy Magnolia, Autumn Blaze Maple and Frontier Elm. There are 4 varieties of smaller trees to choose from, and two kinds of fruit trees (four-in-one apples and lapin cherries).

Ginkgo

This is the 15th year that Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is providing free trees through the Neighborhood Matching Fund’s Tree Fund program, which has seen 20,000 trees planted by Seattle residents.

It’s an effort that comes from a significant decrease in Seattle’s tree cover, which was 40 percent in 1972 and is now 22 percent of its land area. Less trees means less ways to naturally manage storm water, reduce erosion, absorb climate-disrupting gases, improve public health and clean the air. The goal of the Tree Fund program is to increase the tree cover back to 30 percent, as well as build community and promote a clean and green environment for Seattle’s streets.

For questions or additional information, contact Judy Brown, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, at 206.684.0714.

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