Monthly Archives: December 2009

Crosscut: Cantwell threatens NOAA with hearings over Newport move

UPDATE: This story has been modified since it was first published. A link to coverage by the Bellingham Herald has been added.

Bob Simmons is reporting at on Sen. Maria Cantwell’s threat on Wednesday to call top NOAA officials before her subcommittee to explain their decision to move NOAA’s base away from Lake Union and located it in Newport, Oregon.

According to Crosscut:

It’s been two months since Cantwell asked NOAA for specific information about the Newport site and the basis for choosing it over Seattle, Port Angeles, and Bellingham. In a Wednesday news release, Cantwell warned that the agency is “withholding information from Congress” and said her subcommittee, which oversees NOAA’s operations, will compel its top officials to answer questions about the decision.

Read the rest of the story here.

Coverage from the Bellingham Herald is here.

Eastlake Merchants Association organizing, first meeting coming soon

UPDATE: Susan Forhan says the meeting date is going to be changed. Stay tuned for information on the new date.

If you own a business in the Eastlake neighborhood, you need to be at the first meeting of the Eastlake Merchants Association, 9-10 a.m., Jan. 13, at Cicchetti, 121 E. Boston St.

Anyone who owns, operates or works at an Eastlake business is invited to attend. Coffee and pastries will be provided by Susan Kaufman, owner of Serafina and Cicchetti.

Susan Forhan is the organizer of the group. She’s the co-owner of Eastlake Massage, is also on the Eastlake Community Council Board and is advertising coordinator for the ECC’s newsletter, Eastlake News. The group is asking people to bring ideas on how to make the neighborhood’s business district better.

To contact Forhan (send your ideas or ask questions) at

An article in the ECC’s newsletter notes that Kaufman helped write the 1998 Eastlake Neighborhood Plan, which included business ideas such as:

An annual event (such as an art or music walk), improve the lighting, put up signs welcoming people to the neighborhood, restore parking on Eastlake Avenue where now prohibited for commute lanes, and publish a map guide of Eastlake businesses.

Eastlake history: University Bridge in 1958

Looking south at the University Bridge in 1958 (Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr).

The historians at the Seattle Municipal Archives have a great collection of historical Seattle images posted on their Flickr photostream .

This image shows the University Bridge, northernmost boundary of Eastlake, as it was seen from Terry Hall in 1958. As one commenter on Flickr noted, without the title of the image it’s difficult to place where it is.

The bridge is still there. It’s what’s missing from the photo that makes this view interesting: no I-5 Ship Canal Bridge, no Space Needle, no skyscrapers of the modern Seattle skyline. The electric transmission towers in the photo are still there as are the three TV transmitters on Queen Anne.

If you go to Flickr and look at the larger version of the photo, you’ll be able to see the rail tracks running across the bottom of the image. That rail line is now the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Other than that, this is a view of a low-rise city on the verge of becoming more vertical.

Just a few years after this photo was taken, I-5 was built, cutting Eastlake off from Capitol Hill. And the 1962 World’s Fair erected the city’s best-known icon, the Space Needle.

Annual Toy Drive for Treehouse – now accepting donations at Louisa’s

The 3rd Annual Treehouse for Kids toy drive is underway! This year’s drive is generously sponsored by the ECC and Louisa’s – to donate please drop off new items to Louisa’s anytime between now through December 30th.

For helpful  tips and ideas on what to donate, please visit

For more information or questions on the drive, please email

Happy Holidays!

Houseboatique offers gifts with a touch of Eastlake’s houseboat community

If you’re looking for holiday gifts that are uniquely Eastlake (more specifically, uniquely Lake Union), check out the Floating Homes Association’s Houseboatique. They have everything from t-shirts to license plate frames, all of them featuring the Floating Homes Association’s iconic houseboat artwork.

The Houseboatique is located in the Floating Homes Association’s office at the south end of the Tenas Chuck moorage parking lot, 2329 Fairview Avenue E. Look for signs along Fairview to direct you to the cozy and, on a bitter Saturday afternoon, pleasantly warm office.

The Houseboatique will be open Sunday, Dec. 13, from noon to 4 p.m. It will also be open next weekend, Saturday, Dec. 19, and Sunday, Dec. 20, also noon to 4 p.m.

The office is sometimes open during the week. Call 206-325-1132 for more information.

New this year at the Houseboatique are license plate frames and party plates. Other items include baseball caps, coffee mugs, umbrellas, aprons, t-shirts, books (a cookbook with recipes and stories from houseboat owners as well as an illustrated history of Seattle houseboats), notecards, sweatshirts and more.

You can even pick up Houseboat Red and Houseboat White wine labels to let you customize your wine.

If you can’t get to the Houseboatique, you can see some of the items on the Floating Homes Association’s Web site.

And, even more items are available on Cafe Press.

Bing doesn’t know Eastlake from Cascade

Cory Bergman has a post at his Lost Remote blog about Bing’s new Local Lens site, currently in Beta. Says Cory, Local Lens is:

“Hundreds of blogs in a dozen or so cities are mapped by neighborhood, or if there’s address information, by a specific location.”

Which would be great but for two things: 1) They don’t seem to know about the Eastlake Ave. Blog (I’m a little miffed) AND, 2) most bizarre of all, they don’t seem to know about Eastlake.

Check the attach screen capture from Bing’s Local Lens map. They’ve taken pieces of Eastlake, parts of Westlake, the Denny Regrade, South Lake Union and the Cascade neighborhoods and labeled them all “Cascade.” Ummm … excuse us?

And Bing Maps is a service of Microsoft, which we like to consider to be a local company. You think they’d know.

You can see the map here. Click the question mark in the lower right corner to send them feedback (and please recommend the Eastlake Ave. Blog).

Sitka & Spruce says: We’re outta here after Dec. 30, heading to Cap Hill

Thanks to Eastlake Ave. Blog reader ajussel for the tip: Sitka & Spruce has announced on their web site that they’ll be closing the doors of their Eastlake location on Dec. 30.

The new Sitka & Spruce will open in the spring, they hope, at 1531 Melrose Ave. on Capitol Hill.

Matt Dillon, the S&S owner, says on the restaurant’s Web site:

“A ‘thank you’ to all of the friends, now family, who have passed so graciously through the doors, and made this such a beautiful experience for me and all of the family who have worked so hard and selflessly to make Sitka & Spruce what it is.

“The new Sitka & Spruce will not be much larger in size, just a handful more seats, but the experiences over the last three and a half years have given me much needed insight into the blossoming maturity that is upon us.”

Sitka & Spruce will have an open house on Dec. 30, 6 p.m. to whenever, the site says. Cost is $15 plus drinks.

Jonathan Kauffman has more at the Weekly.

August & Sept. crime states: Burglary takes a jump

The citywide crime statistics have been released for August and September by the Seattle Police Department.

Burglaries were up in August from July and from a year ago, and they were up in September from the previous year. But, September’s burglary numbers were down 20 percent from August.

The SPD says major crimes and violent crimes are up from 2008:

“Through September, there has been a citywide increase in Major Crimes of 8%, up from 7% at midyear.  Violent Crimes are up 18% compared with the same period one year ago; and Property Crimes are up 7%. The year-to-date increase in Major Crimes had stabilized in July and August, but rose slightly in September.”

As I’ve explained before, it’s difficult to see Eastlake’s exact numbers in these statistics. We’re included in two larger police beats (Capitol Hill and the Cascade neighborhoods). To make it even more difficult, Eastlake is split between two police precints: North of E. Lynn, you live in the East Precinct; south of Lynn, you’re in the West Precinct (check the attached precinct map to make sense of this).

So, crimes that show up on this report may, or may not, have occurred in Eastlake. My unscientific observation is that our crime rate seems to be lower than Capitol Hill or downtown. has a map showing 9-1-1 events so far this year. It’s worth checking out to see what’s really happening in Eastlake (scroll up on the map to find Eastlake).

Good news if you own a car: Vehicle thefts were down 33 percent in August from July and down 60 percent from August 2008. Vehicle thefts were unchanged between August and September but September’s total was down 27 percent from September 2008.

Assaults, which had a modest gain between July and August, were down 38 percent in September and September was unchanged from September 2008.

See the chart for other crime data. The SPD’s web page on the August/September numbers is here.

Thanks to Scott at Central District News for help with these numbers.

ECC makes proposal on Seward geo zone; would impact Eastlake attendance

The Eastlake Community Council Board last week sent a letter to the Seattle School District formally proposing a geographic zone for TOPS@Seward School.

The zone would be part of the new school district attendance plan. It will be used as a “tiebreaker” in determining which neighborhood children will be allowed to attend Seward, which as an “option” school draws students from all over Seattle, not just from Eastlake.

The ECC Board voted unanimously for the proposed geographic zone tie-breaker at its Nov. 18 meeting. The zone would cover the area of Eastlake from I-5 west to the houseboats at Lake Union, and north from E. Galer in the south to the Ship Canal in the north (see attached map).

The ECC had worked for several months with the TOPS@Seward Site Council to make a joint proposal of this geographic zone. The Site Council, which consists of staff at the school and parents of students, voted in November on whether to endorse the ECC proposal or a variation that would have also included Roanoke Park. Staff at Seward weren’t able to vote on the proposal and, ultimately, it came down to a tie (previous post here).

In his letter (see attached PDF) to Tracy Libros, director of enrollment planning for the Seattle School District, ECC President Tim Ahlers said:

“Placement at TOPS  K-8 @ Seward continues to be an issue of utmost importance to our geographically-well-defined community. Our neighborhood retains its families and its historic central community gathering point via our children’s enrollment at TOPS K-8 @ Seward.”

The ECC had hoped to present the geographic zone proposal jointly with the Site Council, believing that would give the plan more weight with the school district.

“The neighborhood also pressed for a shared agreement,” Ahlers says in his letter, “because we would like to continue the improved community-school relations that have evolved during the 4-year history of the 20-percent kindergarten enrollment set-aside.”

Ahlers says that even though the Site Council isn’t signing the letter about the proposal, “the ECC is still appreciative of the tie vote, as it marks a positive step forward from the active and vocal opposition to neighborhood attendance that the same school community posited earlier in this decade.”

Ahlers’ letter for the ECC Board concludes:

“Schools, be they categorized as “assignment” or “option” by the District, are strengthened by community support. A community is strengthened by a tie to its school. Seattle Public Schools has the opportunity to enrich TOPS and Eastlake via acceptace of our Geographic Zone proposal.”

Previous Eastlake Ave. Blog coverage of the TOPS@Seward geographic zone can be found here