Monthly Archives: May 2009

Is Parking an Issue in Eastlake?

I hate to make this my first submission to the news site, but here goes…

I work in this neighborhood, but due to Metro’s schedule and location of my workplace, I end up driving. I am a Seattleite and my employer provides some parking. However, the medium-sized employer I work for does not have nearly enough spaces for the approximately 100 people that work on-site.

Two employees are able to utilize the employer’s transit benefit, which isn’t as strong as many of the area employer’s offerings.

I had never received a parking ticket in my life and then I moved to Seattle. I have received four tickets over my years in this area and the parking only seems to be getting tighter. To clarify, only weekday parking seems to be tighter. I have dropped by work on the weekend and am amazed at how open this area is.

Does anyone work with the Fred Hutcheson/Bill Gates complexes on parking policy? What about, as the Eastlake Community Council said in their newsletter, lobbying the city to do away with “commuter parking restrictions” on either side of Eastlake?

If anyone is wondering, parking over 2-4 hours in the neighborhood is a $44 ticket. This is a frustrating hit to me, since I work under Seattle’s median wage by about $20,000/annually. It also seems like the parking enforcement staff like targeting around my employer and I’ve seen employees of other large companies in the area walking farther and farther to work.

Any solutions?

Two stabbed in Eastlake neighborhood is reporting that two people were stabbed in the Eastlake area early Wednesday morning. The stabber and the knife he used are still at large.

One stabbing was at an apartment in the 1800 block of Eastlake Ave. E. The other was in the 1800 block of Minor Ave.

More details in the P-I’s story here.

Here’s the Seattle Police Department’s report:

On 5/27/09 at approx. 2:38 a.m., a witness at a condo complex in the 1800 block of Eastlake Ave called 911 and reported that a “male was outside pounding on the exterior door, with blood coming out of his chest.”  Officers arrived within a few minutes and located the victim, with a stab wound to his upper chest.  The male was conscious and alert and informed the officers that an unknown male stabbed him.  He claimed that he was stabbed for no reason.   Officers located a fixed blade knife approximately 50 feet from the victim.  Officers located a blood trail that led from the victim’s location to Yale and Denny Way (approximately two blocks away).  The area was roped off and secured.
Seattle Fire responded and treated the vic on scene.  The victim was rushed to HMC by a SFD Medic unit.
At 3:24 a.m., officers located a second victim, also an adult male, with a stab wound to his chest in the 1800 block of Minor Ave.  It was determined that these victims were all part of the same original incident.  SFD responded and treated this vic on scene.  The victim was transported to HMC by SFD Medic unit.   This area was also secured.
An employee from nearby business flagged down the officers at the scene and advised that he observed a fight between four individuals at about 2:30 a.m.  The fight occurred near Yale Av and Stewart Street.   He stated that he could not identify any of the subjects involved.  A statement was taken from the witness.  
Both victims sustained life threatening injuries. The investigation continues.



Work on E. Newton improvements starts May 18

The Seattle Department of transportation will begin construction of pedestrian improvements on East Newton St. starting on Monday. Here’s the SDOT press release:

The Seattle Department of Transportation’s contractor plans to begin construction of pedestrian improvements on East Newton Street in the Eastlake Neighborhood on Monday, May 18. The project is located on Newton between Eastlake Avenue East and Franklin Avenue East and is designed to fill in missing pedestrian connections and improve safety in
the Eastlake neighborhood. 

The improvements were requested by the Eastlake Community Council as part of the Neighborhood Street Fund program that is administered by the Seattle Department of Transportation and funded by the “Bridging the Gap” transportation levy approved by Seattle voters in November 2006. 

Project elements include:
1.  Adding a half-block of missing sidewalk on the northern side of East Newton Street.
2.  Installing curbs on both sides of the street to delineate the roadway and allow for trees to be planted in the planting strip.
3.  Making the sidewalk on the southern side of the street more accessible by removing a laurel hedge.
4.  Building a stairway to connect the alley to East Newton Street.

During construction, East Newton Street will be open for local access only. The contractor expects to complete the work in four to five weeks assuming favorable weather.  

For construction updates, visit the Eastlake sidewalk project website here.

Crime Stuff

 In New York City in the mid-1960s, hundreds of residents listened but did not respond to a woman’s prolonged screams for help.  The woman was murdered, but a national re-understanding of the value of neighborhood-based security was born. 

Block Watch in Seattle was launched in 1974.    In Eastlake, we have an annual Night Out Block Watch party for the 2600 block of Franklin.  The Floating Homes maintains an e-mail system for reporting crimes.  The Eastlake Community Council occasionally has well-attended “Crime” public meetings.  And after a particularly horrendous local violent crime or aggressive wave of property crime, there are always calls for more Block Watches.

I want to try a new approach.  The original concept of Block Watch was a grassroots growth of neighborly interaction to suppress crime.   Eastlake Ave. blog seems the ideal location to assemble ideas from which to build a sustainable anti-crime framework. 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll try to write to one topic within the following themes: 

Which Crimes?  Which crimes do we remove – such as graffiti, litter?  Which do we report and archive – such as car prowls?   Do we encourage a separate organization for the neighborhood’s commercial interests who don’t care about car prowls on Fairview but do care about shoplifting?

Strengths and Weaknesses.  We have the advantages of numbers and home turf.  The criminals have the advantages timing and desperation.  How can we exploit their weaknesses?  How can we protect our weaknesses?

Sustainability.   How do we create a perpetually sustainable information dissemination structure?  How do we prevent ourselves from expanding into encroachment? 

How Political?  Do we work to ban high-octane beer from our convenience stores?  Do we organize courtroom observers to monitor local cases to their most appropriate conclusion?  Do we train teams to supervise court-ordered clean-up crews under the freeway?  Do we endorse a City Council candidate who promises to restore funding for our police liaison?

Patrols and Incident Response.  What are the pros and cons about bike patrols?  Litter Patrols?  Graffiti patrols?  Sidewalk patrols?   Broken windshield glass at 3:00 AM inspected with a flashlight, orange vest and cell phone isn’t my wife’s ideal Saturday night. 

Electronics.  Phone trees to voice mail, e-mail blasts, Twitter, Face book, surveillance cameras, cell phones.  Phones were at the end of the hallway when Kitty Genovese was murdered in 1964.  So how do we use our new electonic tools effectively and efficiently?

Public Presence.  We likely need a public name.  But we don’t need neighbors asking us to go clean up syringes on the playground.  And we don’t want graffiti punks to target our leadership.    What should be our public presence, both as projected and as a receptive community institution?

The Police.  The East Precinct sacrificed their Block Watch liaison to budget cuts.  The West Precinct is busy organizing Belltown to defend itself against regular gunfire and drug dealing.  Eastlake was split at Lynn Street last year between the East and West Precincts.  The Floating Homes are split between Harbor Patrol, East, West and North Precincts.  How much help can we expect – and do we want — from the Seattle Police Department? 

Others hopefully will contribute ideas, directions and topics as they see fit.

Neighbors talk about surviving hard times

Craig MacGowan talks with neighbors during the “hard times” community meeting.

A small but enthusiastic group of Eastlake neighbors gathered at Seward school on May 5. The topic: Surviving the hard economic times and what we can do to help each other.

Craig MacGowan of the Eastlake Community Council (ECC) lead the discussion. The focus was on three areas: What the ECC can do to help; what resources and groups are out there that can help with more modest living; and ideas on how people can get by with less.

Craig had assembled some resources already, including pamphlets on how to use transit and where to find listings of free community events. Two representatives from Seattle Tilth provided information on everything from how to make a worm bin to smart watering, composting, container gardens and how to get rid of weeds in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Among the ideas the group came up with were:

  • The downtown library has resources for people searching for jobs, including help crafting a resume.
  • The ECC could use its newsletter to notify people of free events or job listings.
  • Set up a barter system in the neighborhood.
  • Sponsor a block party and/or outdoor movie night.
  • Connect mentors with people who need help in job searches.
  • Set up a database of community resources.
  • Sponsor a neighborhood bulletin board/kiosk where people could exchange information.
  • Families looking for an inexpensive day out might consider free days and nights at the various museums and the aquarium. The Seattle Art Museum’s free schedule is here. The Frye Art Museum is always free. The Burke Museum (close to Eastlake) is free on First Thursday of each month. The Henry Art Gallery (also nearby at the UW) is free every Thursday. The Seattle Aquarium is free for kids 3 and under.

Feel free to add your ideas about how Eastlake neighbors can help each other during these hard to the comments on this post. 



Construction work on Eastlake Ave. on Saturday

Eastlake Avenue E. will be closed between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, between E. Allison and E. Hamlin, the Seattle Department of Transportation reports. The SDOT press release says:

“Traffic lanes will be shifted, with one lane in each direction. Sidewalks will remain open. There will be some on-street parking restrictions. The crews will repair pavement that was previously excavated for work on underground utilities.”

Help finish plantings near NOAA

Chris Leman is looking for volunteers to help finish, clean up and water the new, native plant garden on the Lake Union shoreline between NOAA and the Lake Union Drydock (1500 and 1600 blocks of Fairview Avenue E.), from 9 a.m. to noon. Bring gloves and sturdy shoes (there are a few gloves to borrow if you forget).

It’s part of the annual Lake Union clean up, which means there’s a free cookout and party at South Lake Union after.

Chris says the group working on the garden urgently needs donations of hoses, nozzles, soaker hoses and sprinklers, which you can leave by the tool hutch at 1609 Fairview (near the trash can), or phone and we’ll pick up from your home. Call (206) 322-5463 or e-mail

Next up: Watering the new plantings in the coming months. “Once the plants get established,” Chris writes, “they won’t need watering, but they do need it for the first two summers.”

Contact Chris to arrange to water for a couple of hours on a future weekday or weekend. Thanks to Lake Union Drydock and Peterson Yacht Services for giving us water, Chris writes.

Furlough Friday

The City saw fit to turn me loose without pay on Friday, part of this year’s budget-cutting exercise.  Since it was so nice out, I didn’t mind at all.  Here’s how I spent the afternoon in Eastlake. Hope you enjoy.