Monthly Archives: August 2009

Calling all writers to help with ECC’s newsletter

The Eastlake Community Council does lots of great stuff for the neighborhood, everything from dealing with the city to monitoring development in the neighborhood to putting on the movie night this coming Saturday.

One of their most visible projects is producing a newsletter every other month.

Each edition of the newsletter has numerous articles on people, places and issues in the neighborhood. It’s always interesting and informative and worth checking out.

It takes a lot of work to put out a publication like this. The ECC needs writers, editors and photographers to help with the production of the newsletter. If you’d like to help out, contact them at or


Lake Union 10k

Caught up with the start of the Lake Union 10k at South Lake Union this morning.  Despite a bit of morning chill and a gray start to the day, folks seemed ready to race.  Didn’t stay for the finish, but I did catch up with the leaders on Fairview on my way back home.  Results can be found here /

Full-screen version of the shots can be found here. Maybe next year my partner and I will actually race and get some exercise!

Meet Mary Hansen, Eastlake Movie Night poster designer

This year’s Eastlake Movie Night is just a little over a week away. “Groundhog Day” will be screened at Rogers Playfield starting at dusk on Saturday, Aug. 29.

You may have seen the posters for the event in the neighborhood. The artist was longtime Eastlake resident Mary Hansen.

Hansen created the poster by hand in color pencil. The whole thing is hand drawn with no digital assist.

“I’m not much of a computer person,” Hansen says, adding that she feels she should do more work like the Movie Night poster (yes, we agree!).

Hansen has lived in Eastlake since 1985 when she was a student at Cornish. She studied painting there. One of her instructors was the legendary Northwest painter Bill Cumming.

She does interior design work at Mary Hansen Design, some commercial but mostly residential work, including houseboats. She also loves to garden. And, she’s a member of the Eastlake Community Council Board.

“I just love our neighborhood!” she says.

Thanks for the great poster, Mary! See you all at the Movie Night.

Deadline today to answer neighborhood questionnaire

Today is the final day to fill out the Seattle Planning Commission’s questionnaire on the City’s neighborhood plans.

The number of Eastlake residents who have filled out the survey has gone up from 15 to 28. Good work!

These plans help guide the city in matters of growth, planning and providing services. The Planning Commission is asking people to provide their input on changes that have occured in the neighborhood since the plans were adopted in 1998 and ’99. 

Go to the SPC’s web site, watch a short video, review the draft report, and then answer the questionnaire.


Eastlake Community Council Board talks land use, NOAA move

UPDATE, 8/21: reports on why Bellingham lost the NOAA bid: They didn’t put enough money on the table to lure the base and Newport did. Read the story here.


The lights were back after the power outage on Wednesday evening by the time the Eastlake Community Council Board gathered at Seward School for its monthly meeting.

Topics discussed included planning for the Eastlake Movie Night, coming on Saturday, Aug. 29, at Rogers Playfield; NOAA’s planned move to Newport, Oregon; and various land use issues in the neighborhood.

On the NOAA move, ECC vice president Chris Leman noted that an article in that day’s Seattle Times showed that the state’s Congressional delegations were “revving up” on the issue and preparing to challenge NOAA’s decision to move.

NOAA’s criteria for the move, Leman said, rated Seattle low on “quality of life” issues, such as schools, the availability of doctors and dentists, the quality of the nearby business district and more. He also questioned why no environmental study had been done for the Newport site.

“Our neighborhood plan values NOAA,” Leman added, “and traditionally the ECC has supported that.”

Leman was interested in having the ECC authorize legal action to oppose the move, but ECC President Tim Ahlers suggested holding off on action until it’s necessary and then holding a special meeting to decide what to do.

Discussion turned to the update to Eastlake’s Neighborhood Plan. The Neighborhood Advisory Planning Committee (NPAC) has been working with the city on the update, but there are concerns that NPAC is being cut out of the process. Leman had a printout of Eastlake’s plan and recommended further study of what’s in the document and what, if any, changes are being proposed.

President Ahlers brought up the delay in revising the city’s multifamily code (see this previous post). The City Council has delayed finalizing the code so that legislation bringing the Administrative Design Review into the code can be completed.

The ECC board decided not to take a position on this just yet but to possibly have a representative from the Congress on Residential Architecture’s (CORA) Northwest Chapter come and discuss the issue with the group and explore how it might affect development in Eastlake.

The ECC’s annual community meeting will be Oct. 13 and will be a candidates’ forum. A community meeting to discuss land use issues like the Neighborhood Plan and the multifamily code was set for Nov. 11.

Power outage in Eastlake … with updates

Coverage from last night of City Light’s efforts to get the last of it’s Capitol Hill customers back online is

UPDATE at 9:30 P.M.:
City Light reports that they have now restored power to all but 950 homes. They still hope to have all power restored by 3 a.m. City Light says the boundaries of the outage are now East Galer on the north, East Mercer on the south, Boylston Ave. E. on the east and I-5 on the west.

UPDATE at 8:30 P.M.:
City Light reports that 2,750 customers are still without electricity, with final repairs not expected until 3 a.m. A tree fell and took down a main distribution line that brings electricity to our part of town. City Light crews are attempting to route power around the damaged section of wires.

Power appears to have been restored to most if not all of Eastlake. Power was being restored by about 6 p.m. starting at Allison. The outage appeared to be spotty with power on on one side of Eastlake Avenue, but off on another. Louisa’s Cafe Bakery, Hiroshi’s and Eastlake Cleaners were without power but Pomodoro and Starbucks across the street had juice. 

Ravish, the new restaurant featured in a blog post earlier today, was having a soft opening tonight. Lights had just come back on there about shortly before 6.

Traffic lights were out at Eastlake and Hamlin, but operating at Eastlake and Louisa.

No word yet from City Light on the cause.

Let us know what you experienced and if your power is on by writing in the comments.

Our original post is below (filed valiantly from my iPhone shortly after 5 p.m.):

Power went out about 5 pm. City Light says 3,200 customers are affected. No word on the cause or when it will be restored. Northern boundary is East Allison. South is Mercer. East is 13th Avenue E. West is Minor Avenue.

Ravish joins the burgeoning Eastlake eatery scene

Lisbet Mielke, the mind behind Eastlake’s Ravishing Radish Catering stayed in the neighborhood to open her newest venture, Ravish.  Billed as the “Naughty Little Sister of Ravishing Radish Catering”, this new local restaurant serves up shareable plates in a quaint but open space located across the street from Eastlake Bar & Grill in the new Ruby Condos on Eastlake’s north end.  And with west facing floor to ceiling windows, natural light floods the seating area with the warm summer sun.

With an eye towards seasonal and local, the trim but well thought out menu gives you plenty of tasty options without getting complicated.  The private opening night fare included Miniature Dungeness Crab Cakes, Pigs in a Blanket and Coconut Chicken Skewers with sweet chili sauce, as well as delicious looking salads and larger plates and sandwiches that ranged from petite baguettes to mini pork sliders. You can find the menu here.

If the full meal deal isn’t what you’re after, belly up to one of the half dozen stools at the fully stocked bar and sample Ravish’s lengthy wine selection or try “The Ruby,” a shaken drink with Raspberry Stoli, Grand Marnier and cranberry juice, or any other “Inspired Cocktail.”

With something for everyone’s palate, Ravish is another great addition to an already great neighborhood.

Lisbet opens the doors to her new digs on Thursday, Aug. 20.  More information, including contact info, can be found at Ravish’s website,

Reminder: Eastlake Community Council meets Wednesday

The Eastlake Community Council’s monthly board meeting is Wednesday, Aug. 19, starting at 7 p.m. Location is Seward School, 2500 Franklin Ave. E.

President Tim Ahlers says he expects the NOAA move and the Eastlake Outdoor Movie Night will be discussed, as well as the usual ECC business.

The community council deals with many issues — crime, land use, community events, interaction with the city — that are of importance to everyone in the neighborhood. Want to know what’s going on or have a question? Have an idea about a way to make the neighborhood better?

Better yet, want to get involved? Come to the meeting and join the community council!

The community council’s web site is here.


There’s an Eastlake group on Flickr

Eastlake houseboats in 1962.
(Photo courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives)

How did I miss this one? There’s an Eastlake group on Flickr . Lots of cool photos there from all over our neighborhood.

There are many contemporary images and also some from the Seattle Municipal Archives , including the image of houseboats at Fairview and Newton from 1962 that I’ve placed here.

I just joined and will be posting some neighborhood photos there.

What do you like taking pictures of in Eastlake? Do you post them on Flickr or somewhere else? Share you online images with us!


What’s on the menu at Louisa’s in Eastlake (more dinners, for one)

If Eastlake can be said to have a “living room,” it would have to be Louisa’s Café Bakery at Eastlake Avenue and E. Louisa Street. Everyone seems to go there and if you’re looking for someone in the neighborhood, Louisa’s is usually a good place to start.

A bakery has been operated in the location for almost 20 years. It was previously owned by Luise and Mike Mooney, but gained a new owner last September when Alcena Plum purchased it.

Plum is an Eastlake resident who also owns the Crepe Café on 65th in Ravenna.

She came to the restaurant business after working a corporate job for 10 years. One day, she says, “I realized I didn’t want to run someone else’s business anymore.” She started looking for a business to buy and found the Crepe Café in 2005.

The café was a good fit, but a lot of work.

“I always did big dinners at home,” Plum says. “And I worked in restaurants in high school and after.”

Work at the Crepe Café meant 16 hour days and she jokes that she sometimes took naps in the back because there wasn’t time to go home.

The Crepe Café has only nine tables and Plum began to look around for places to expand. She was browsing web sites that list businesses for sale and found a café for sale in the Eastlake Zip Code. She says it didn’t take long to figure out which business it was … and she knew that she wanted to own it.

Plum took over at Louisa’s in September, 2008. She realized that, now that she has a daughter, those 16-hour days she used to work at the Crepe Café weren’t going to be practical. She says she hired a great crew at Louisa’s and she divides her time between the two cafes.

Plum has made some changes to the venerable café. She tore up the original linoleum floor and replaced the tables and most of the mismatched chairs. The walls were painted in earthy yellows and browns. A new counter went in across the front so patrons can sit and watch the world go by. And new cabinets were installed behind the cash register.

Outside, a new sign went up with a new logo and, on the Internet, a new web site.

The lunch menu was restructured to allow for more a la carte items and lower prices. Louisa’s also now sells vegan cookies.

The biggest change came in May: Louisa’s is now open for dinner on Wednesday through Saturday evenings. Wine and beer have been added and, occasionally, live music (The Shanks played there the other night). Menu items tend toward comfort foods like mac n’ cheese, a Bourbon Cider Pork Chop and an Heirloom Steak.

Louisa’s undergoes a bit of a transformation for dinner: Wine glasses and silverware are laid on the tables. Candles are lit. The atmosphere becomes more relaxed.

Plum says interest in the evening meals has been building slowly during the summer. Her goal is to have dinner six nights a week by the end of the fall. And she has plans for the two long tables that hold center position in the café: community meals.

“Eastlake is so community oriented,” she says, adding that it just seems like a natural idea.

She’s also hoping to have some special wine-oriented dinners through the fall.

Louisa’s is getting more of its ingredients from local sources, Plum says, including more local produce. Her bakery supplier even found flour that is produced in the Northwest by a group of farmers dedicated to sustainable agriculture, Shepherd’s Grain. All of Louisa’s pastries will be made with it, she says.

While some things have changed at Louisa’s, many have not. The café is still Eastlake’s gathering place. Work from local artists is still displayed on the walls. And not all of the chairs match.

Plum surveys those mismatched chairs, which are gathered around the two center “community” tables, and smiles.

“I like the diversity of those chairs,” she says. “They’re like the diversity of Eastlake.”