Archive for the ‘civics’ Category

Greening the Emerald City

The Sustainable Sites initiative (SITES™) has selected four Seattle projects for the SITES two-year Pilot Project to promote sustainable land development and management practices. Projects include over 150 sites with and without buildings, in 34 US States, and Canada, Iceland, and Spain.

The four Seattle sites are:

9th Ave NW Park
Project Type: Open space – Park
Project Team: Site Workshop; WR Consulting; Advanced Electrical Services
Description: This project will transform a greyfield site in a residential neighborhood once home to a church, into a small local park which will include a community garden, a gathering plaza for community events, a skate-spot woven into seatwalls, and spaces for quiet introspection and children’s play. Community support for sustainability, articulated in several neighborhood workshops, will be implemented through material reuse and reclamation of road paving for rain gardens along the site’s street edge.

Bradner Gardens Park Development
Project Type: Open space – Park
Project Team: City of Seattle Parks and Recreation and Department of Neighborhoods; Barker Landscape Architects; Friends of Bradner Gardens Park; King County Master Gardeners; Seattle Tilth
Description: This park was designed and developed in collaboration with community volunteers. The result is a multi-functional, sustainable, accessible neighborhood park that includes community food gardens, organic gardening and ornamental, water-wise demonstration gardens, compost demonstration, a children’s A to Z garden, a seasonal wildlife pond and vegetated swale for on-site drainage, tractor play area, basketball court, native plant areas and a community gathering pavilion.

Project Type: Commercial
Project Team: KCTS 9; Mithün; Chris Webb Associates, Inc; WSP Flack + Kurtz; Swenson Say Fagét; Roen Associates
Description: This greyfield project envisions sustainable site design in conjunction with the redevelopment of the PBS station’s existing 60,000-square foot building to Platinum level LEED–EB performance. Focus will be given to the building’s 32,000-square foot roof, half of which will be transformed into a food garden to exhibit urban horticulture. On-site energy generation and water collection will occur on the roof’s other half, all of which will be visible from the nearby Space Needle.

Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens
Project Type: Open space – Park
Project Team: Seattle Center, City of Seattle, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Weinstein AU, Magnusson Klemencic Associates,Pivotal/AEI
Description: Theater Commons, a 1.6-acre site within a major urban park and cultural center, revitalizes an existing campus vehicle entry into a pedestrian-friendly, multi-functional, tree-lined street overlooking new gardens, terraces and seating areas between two professional theaters. The site integrates sustainable design and highlights ecological features, such as Cascadia native plants and innovative stormwater infiltration, as a prototype for future campus projects.

There are seven additional projects in Washington state, including sites in Tacoma, Olympia, Fort Lewis, and Bremerton, among others.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative is an joint effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.


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Help Design the 12th Ave Park

Seattle Parks Department is busy planning the newest park in our excellent public park system. The new park will be located at 12supth/sup Ave and E. James Court and the Parks department is seeking public input on the community’s priorities for this space.

Join the Parks Department at SU’s Admissions and Alumni building at 824 – 12thAve on Tuesday, May 18 at 5:30 pm.
For more information check out the project’s web page.

Three finalists selected for Seattle Police Chief

The search for Seattle’s next Police Chief progresses; yesterday the search committee made their final recommendation of three candidates for the office. Mayor Mike McGinn will select one of them to be the new police chief.

The candidates are:

John Diaz, currently acting police chief; Rick Braziel of Sacramento and Ronald Davis of Palo Alto.

The candidates are currently scheduled to appear at the City Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee at 9:30 a.m. on June 2. Mayor McGinn expects to make his decision in early June.

And then there were nine…

On April 26, the 26-member Seattle Police Chief Search Committee presented 11 candidates for the office of Seattle Police Chief, replacing former Chief Gil Kerlikowske who was tapped by President Obama to become the nation’s Drug Control Policy Director. Former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels named a search committee to find candidates for replacement but it never met. Chief John Diaz has been filling in during the interim.

The committee narrowed their candidates down to ten, but former Miami assistant chief of police Adam Burden took himself out of the running while he recovers from recent surgery. Des Moines, Iowa Chief of Police Judy Bradshaw stepped down from the search process last week.

The nine remaining candidates, who include John Diaz in their number, as well as Chief or Assistant Chiefs from Sacramento, East Palo Alto, New Castle County (DE), Spokane, Lawrence (MA), Elgin (IL) and Clark Kimerer, Deputy Chief of Police for Seattle, will be interviewed by the search committee on Saturday, May 8, in sessions not open to the public. The committee is expected to name three finalists for Mayor Mike McGinn’s consideration on Tuesday, May 11.

Partners in Preservation Weekend Open Houses

Last week, I talked about Partners in Preservation and their mission to provide funds to Seattle area preservation landmarks, using a public vote to help guide their decisions.

This coming weekend on May 1 and May 2, the nominees for PiP funds are offering members of the public a chance to come down and check out their sites as part of an Open House weekend. Most sites are open May 1, some with a small fee for admission; all sites are open and free to the public on May 2. All are offering up special activities for their guests and give visitors the chance to see the great work their doing and how preservation funds could assist them in saving Seattle’s history. See the full listing online for details.

Partners in Preservation helps save Seattle-area history

Back in 2006, American Express partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to create program called Partners in Preservation, aimed at providing much needed funds for historic places throughout the US. After distributing funds in Boston, New Orleans, Chicago and San Francisco, the program has come to Seattle to issue grants to historical sites in funds for preservation and protection.

Twenty-five nominees – including Chapel Car 5 in Snoqualmie, Spanish Steps in Tacoma, King Street Station here in Seattle, and the Point No Point Lighthouse in Hansville – have been selected as candidates for grants issued based on votes from the public. All 25 nominees were selected on the basis of their historical and cultural significance to the area; from the Ferry House at Ebey’s Landing in Coupeville, built back in 1859 and one of the oldest residential buildings in Washington state still standing, to the Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks, installed in 1982, all of the locations are important local landmarks and all of them are worth preserving.

Settled places change over time. That change is natural, inevitable, and valuable, of course, but if we don’t hold on to our history, we lose is and there’s no amount of money that can make up for that loss. Besides serving as enduring symbols of our area’s fascinating history, the nominees (some of which are a century or more old) continue to provide service to our communities. For example, the Bowman Bay Kitchen Shelter in Deception Pass State Park on Fidalgo Island, was built back in the 1930s as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps projects around the Sound and remains today a popular and valued community gathering place. The Kirkland Arts Center is housed in a building built by Peter Kirk–the man who gave the town its name–back in 1892 and for nearly fifty years has been giving locals a chance to experience and take part in the arts.

Other nominees are the Port Townsend US Customs House and Post Office, the Schooner Adventuress, University Heights Community Center, Theodor Jacobsen Observatory, Tugboat Arthur Foss, Naval Reserve Armory-MOHAI, Horiuchi’s Seattle Mural, the 5th Avenue Theatre, Town Hall Seattle, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Japanese Cultural & Community Center, Keewaydin Clubhouse, Skansie Brothers Net Shed, Titlow Park Lodge, Anderson Island Historical Society/Johnson Farm, and Orting Soldiers Home.

The Partners in Preservation will be giving away a total of $1 million for local preservation efforts. You can participate in this process by going to their site and casting a vote for the site(s) you care about the most. You can get an overview of all 25 nominees (and get linked to further information) on their grant nominees page. You can vote for one nominee per day through May 12. At the end of the voting process, the top vote getter is guaranteed a portion of the million bucks in funds. Your votes will also help the partnership and a locally-based advisory group decide how to distribute the rest of the funding.

Voting is easy and free and you get to learn about a lot of neat places around the area. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to check them out in person, too; and, if you can, please consider providing some direct support to any of these great organizations.

This week in Seattle history: World’s Fair permanently alters landscape

Photo by Photo Coyote from our Flickr photo pool

The World’s Fair was a transitory event but it left a lasting mark on the city of Seattle, its host back in 1962. Back in April of 1961 – the 17th, to be precise–ground was broken for the building of the Space Needle. Construction crews worked around the clock to get it done and the very last elevator car was installed just one day before the fair opened on April 21, 1962. The Space Needle was such a popular attraction that nearly 200,000 people got in the elevators and rode to the top and the Needle remains today an immensely popular attraction for both tourists and locals. The Space Needle is a major landmark, recognized around the world as a symbol of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. In recognition of this, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Board designated the Space Needle a historic landmark on April 19, 1999.

Also built for the World’s Fair was the Seattle Center Monorail. Did you know that at 45 mph, our monorail lays claim to being the fastest full-sized monorail in the country? The monorail is also popular with both tourists and locals, transporting a milllion and a half riders a year, and was designated a historical landmark on April 16, 2003.

Seattle Parks seeks a few good sanctuary sites


Of all the things I love about this city, one of the things I love the most are our Seattle Parks. Big or small or in-between, concrete jungle or wild wonderland, we’ve got an excellent variety of public park space available to us and I think that by and large the Parks Department does an excellent job of maintaining all of it.

Back in 2009, the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners approved the Wildlife Sanctuary Policy, a plan focused on the Parks Department’s commitment to sustaining habitats for wildlife including local populations of endangered and threatened species and locally important species with declining populations.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to identify and protect critical urban habitats for these vulnerable creatures.

Help them help these species by nominating a park site that you think should become a sanctuary. Nominations are open between April 15 and June 15. Assessments of all nominations will be completed by June 30, with the Parks Superintendent having the final say on all nominated sanctuaries.

Nomination forms, instructions and references are available online at the Wildlife Sanctuary website.

Talk Live with the Mayor Thursday

“Ask the Mayor” gives Seattle residents a chance to speak directly to our mayor, Mike McGinn, live on Seattle Channel 21. Host CR Douglas and Mayor McGinn respond to your phone calls and e-mails on Thursday, March 25 at 7 pm.

If you’re one of those people who can think of a zillion brilliant questions in advance but go totally blank when you’re finally up to the mike, you can e-mail your question in advance via a form on the Ask the Mayor website.

Maybe you can ask his opinion about the new $100 Million Rate Stabilization account the City Council just approved. Per the council, “The account provides protection for Seattle City Light customers from the volatility of the wholesale power market. In addition to providing an insurance program against the fluctuations of the wholesale power market, the fund also shores up the bond rating of City Light, allowing the utility to borrow at lower rates and ultimately deliver lower cost power to its electricity customers.”

The Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee (ETC for short) also established a new City Light Review Panel and approved a resolution that sets City Light’s debt service at 1.8 times coverage and directs City Light to fund 40 percent of its six year capital improvement program with cash from operations.

He might have some answers for you on the South Spokane Street Viaduct Project, the permanent closure of the First Avenue S onramp to the westbound lanes of the viaduct to widen the Spokane Street Viaduct, tentatively scheduled to begin May 17.

You might want to talk about the Viaduct in general.

Or the pilot effort to increase police presence downtown.

Or the Seattle Youth Council.

Or anything, really, so long as its related to the City of Seattle.

If you don’t have any questions of your own, tune in anyway. You never know exactly what’s going to happen when you bring together the people and the government.

Washington Bus seeks summer fellows

The Washington Bus is an organization that exists to give young people a chance to get involved with the political process by offering a political training bootcamp, internships, and opportunities for organized activism.

Their training bootcamp, the Washington Bus Summer Fellowship, is a ten-week program for Washington residents aged 18 – 24 who have a passion for civic involvement, strong organizational skills, and a desire to make a real difference. Fellows learn campaign management, grassroots organizing, public policy formation and leadership skills.

If you’re qualified and interested, go to the Washington Bus website to complete a Summer Fellow application.

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