Archive for the ‘news’ 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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Doors close, doors open


Tonight I was turning on my phone after watching A Little Help at the Harvard Exit to tell a friend that it’s totally worth watching when I learned the sad news. As he said, he and I have been around for the whole time and what a time it’s been. I have truly enjoyed writing for this blog and all the great people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had because of it. Thank you to everyone who has participated in some way, whether you’ve been an author, a regular reader or even an occasional lurker. It really has been fun.

One of those things I’ve been meaning to do for a while is to get serious about keeping up my own blog, created when I realized that while nobody really cared all that much about my artistic portfolio (the trials of being mediocre in a city filled with the gifted), people do sometimes want to read the things I write. The loss of Metblogs is a gain for my output there. All of the things that I would normally post about here – film, theater, visual arts, civic events, restaurants, bars, concerts, sports, my ongoing issues with zombies, our wonderful city parks, I will now be posting to my own blog, Art by Zee.

I would love to have you all join me there. I will be continuing SIFF 2010 coverage there, including feature pieces on A Little Help‘s Jenna Fischer and Linas Phillips, the Seattle-native filmmaker whose BassAckwards is likely to be a SIFF-hit this year. There’s additional content beyond Seattle-related events, and, who knows, I may finally start posting about Seattle Back in the Day, an idea I’ve terrorized my fellow Seattle Metblogs authors with for years now.

Thanks to the Metblogs network for hosting this party for this long, and, thanks again to you, our readers.

so long, farewell, the end is extremely neigh

photo by rachel-b [flickr] via our group pool [#].

It looks like the Metblogs World HQ aspirations of acquisition just missed the boat for cityblog network buyouts, leaving the network running on (or, rather, out of) fumes. After years of riding tides, bailing out leaky ships, and whatever other nautical metaphors float your collective boats, Metblogs is calling it quits at the end of the month.

This means that nearly six years after saying hello to Seattle, it’s time for this branch of Metblogs to say goodbye. Although Zee and I were here at the beginning, she’s the only one to have truly endured the marathon. Along the way, though, the site could not have existed without the generous contributions from dozens of wonderful writers, thousands of thrir posts, even more of your comments (almost always nice), and the tens of thousands of stunning donations made to our photo pool.

Sometime before HQ turns out the lights for keeps, we’ll update you with our forwarding addresses so that we can keep up once this extended summer camp has ended. Thanks for reading, see you soon, have a great summer, and stay cool.

Shades of Grey or Twilight in Washington’s most popular names?

The Social Security Administration just recently released its annual list of the most popular baby names for the proceeding year.

In Washington state in 2009, more little boys were named Alexander and more little girls were named Isabella than given in any other name. The show not being what it once was, it’s hardly likely that Grey’s Anatomy‘s Alex and Izzy are immediate influences but could the effect be a lingering one?

Okay, probably not. Isabella is not only Washington’s most popular girl baby name, it’s the country’s, and it’s very much because of that series of vampire stories set in Forks. Jacob, another name from the series, is the most popular boy’s name in the US and the second-most popular in Washington. (Then again, Jacob’s long been a popular name for boys, so it’s not much of a leap for it to hit the top five.)

The top five baby names in Washington for 2009:



Pearl Jam: tree huggers

Photo by Dan via Creative Commons

Pearl Jam has spent an awful lot of their long career on the road, which means whether it was by van or truck or bus or airplane, they burned up an awful lot of fuel, sending an awful lot of carbon into the air. In fact, Michael Totten, chief adviser, climate and water for Conservation International, estimates Pearl Jam’s actual carbon emissions from its 32-date 2009 tour to be 5,474 metric tons of CO2. That’s a lot.

However, since 2003 the band has been actively working to make a difference by actively tracking their carbon output and making donations to worthy organizations fighting the good fight to help preserve and protect the environment. This year’s group is Cascade Land Conservancy (CLC), a local organization whose mission is to conserve and steward Washington state land and to build community within the state. Their primary goals are to protect 1 million acres of working forests and farms and 265,000 acres of shorelines, natural areas, and parks, as well as maintain rural economies and enhance the livability of cities and towns.

Pearl Jam’s donation to CLC’s urban forestry program will allow them to plant approximately 33 acres of native trees and plants in communities around the Puget Sound.

“Trees are incredible at absorbing carbon,” said Gene Duvernoy, CLC president. “Pearl Jam’s contribution will enable us to plant urban forests throughout the Puget Sound and restore native trees and understory to ecosystems that have faced intense human pressures. This sort of approach has an enormous impact on improving forest health, connecting people to nature, and activating communities to engage in the restoration and stewardship of natural open spaces,” said Duvernoy.

Seattle dims the lights for Earth Hour Saturday

photo by Juan Carlos Del Olmo / WWF-Spain

photo by Juan Carlos Del Olmo / WWF-Spain

Earth Hour began three years ago as a way for people around the world to come together to make a statement about climate change in a simple way by turning off their lights for one hour.

Global participants include Sydney’s Opera House, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London, the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens, Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, and the Elysee Palace and Eiffel Tower in Paris, to name a few. In the US, the Empire State Building, the Vegas Strip, Mount Rushmore, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, SeaWorld in Orlando, the Golden Gate Bridge, Santa Monica Pier, and the National Cathedral in Washington, DC are among those taking part.

Locally, Earth Hour happens Saturday, March 27, at 8:30 pm. Mayor McGinn has announced that the City of Seattle will do its part by shutting off all non-essential lighting at the Seattle Municipal Tower, City Hall, and the Justice Center, Parks and Recreation Community Centers. In city facilities, all building lights will be turned off except for emergency lights, lighting for around-the-clock operations at Civic Campus buildings and all outdoor lighting where not required by code to remain on.

Also taking part: the Key Arena, Pacific Science Center, and the Space Needle. ART Restaurant at the Four Seasons has cooked up a special meal for the event – guests will dine by candlelight and have the opportunity to purchase the Glassybaby votives on their tables with 10 percent of the proceeds going to Conservation International.

Participation in Earth Hour is simple – turn off your lights from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. For more information on the event, visit their website.

Sea Tac taxis, Vern Fonk

I’m reading the daily update I get from the Puget Sound Business Journal because I’m interested in why SeaTac taxi drivers are suing the Port of Seattle of Seattle (STITA claims that the Port’s awarding of a new airport contract to Yellow Cab violates state law) when I notice that the next story is entitled Vern Fonk insurance agency sold to N.Y. firm.

If you’ve ever watched TV or listened to the radio in the Seattle metro area, you’ve seen/heard the “Honk for Vern Fonk” ads. Some people think they’re horrible. Some people think they’re adorable. Some people think they’re both, but it’s rare that you’ll meet anyone who has no opinion of them at all. Vern Fonk wasn’t the first company to use advertising that attracts and repels in almost equal measures, but those Vern Fonk ads have been part of the local landscape for a long, long time and it would be weird to imagine a world without them. Per the PSBJ piece, the head of marketing who created the ad campaign will remain the head of marketing, so they’re probably safe for now. The new owner, Confie Seguros of New York focuses on insuring Hispanic customers and hopes to expand this base in Washington through the purchase of Vern Fonk and perhaps other agencies to come.

Hmm. How do you say “honk” in Spanish?

Seattle Union Gospel Mission Needs Help

The Seattle Union Gospel Mission, a faith-based non-profit organization is facing a major budget shortfall. They provide free meals, beds, and rehabilitation programs. Currently, their budget is $300,000 underfunded, but they don’t just need money, they could use volunteers as well.

For more details, see King5.

Tbirds 12 hour sale raises $7K for Police Guild, hopes for more

This morning at 9am, the Seattle Thunderbirds began their 12-hour sale for tickets to the game Friday, December 11, against divisional rival Tri City Americans. During this sale, 100 percent of the ticket revenue for all tickets sold for this game through the Thunderbirds’ website will be donated to the Lakewood Police Independent Guild, to the aid of the children of the four recently murdered Lakewood Police officers.

Friday’s game should be a good one; the struggling Tbirds are working hard to drag themselves out of basement ratings and the Ams are working hard to stay ahead of the Portland Winterhawks and the Spokane Chiefs, a mere one and two points behind them in the standings. The sale continues tonight through 9pm for anyone who wants to get in on it–so far the sale has raised $7,000 and the team is hoping to raise much more.

Burn ban expands to four counties

Baby, it’s cold outside, and you want to keep nice and warm inside, possibly by lighting a nice, toasty fire. If your wood burning fireplace is your only source of heat, you can use it, provided it creates no visible smoke. Everyone else? At least through Saturday and possibly longer, the Puget Sound Clear Air Agency has issued a Stage 2 burning ban for King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties which means:

-No burning is allowed in ANY wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves or fireplace inserts (certified or uncertified) or pellet stoves, unless this is your only adequate source of heat. Residents should rely instead on their home’s other, cleaner source of heat (such as their furnace or electric baseboard heaters) for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is cancelled
-Even if your fireplace, pellet stove, or wood stove is your only adequate source of heat, no visible smoke is allowed.
-No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimineas.
-Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.

You can still use your natural gas and propane inserts during this ban.

To check on the status of the ban, visit the PSCAA’s website.

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