Monthly Archives: February 2010

ECC sponsors Winter Awakening at Kristos on Feb. 25

UPDATE: This post has been changed since it was first published. The name of the event organizer has been corrected.

The Eastlake Community Council continues its sponsorship of fun community events with “Our Winter Awakening” next week.

The evening of Greek food, wine and neighbors will be on Thursday, Feb. 25, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Kristos Eastlake, 3218 Eastlake Ave. E. The poster for the event invites Eastlake residents to “weave a story with friends, neighbors and strangers.”

You’ll pay $10 at the door, which will get you a glass of wine and light appetizers. After that, you’re free to order from Kristos’ happy hour menu as well as their dinner and dessert menus (but you’ll pay full price for those items).

Mary Hansen has designed the poster for this event as she did for last summer’s movie night and the Fall Gathering in October. Susan Forhan is doing the organizing duties for the Awakening.

The Fall Gathering at Louisa’s proved to be a great evening with lots of Eastlake residents dropping by to chat and meet their neighbors. The event offered a chance to meet people and catch up with old friends and try out a neighborhood restaurant. The ECC deserves out thanks for sponsoring these events. Thanks, everyone, and I’ll see you there!

Have the day off Monday? Help clean up Good Turn Park

Eastlake has a number of street end parks. One of the more interesting (and least known) is Good Turn Park on Fairview Avenue E. at E. Martin.

On Monday, Feb. 15, Presidents Day, volunteers will be pruning, weeding and cleaning trash out of the park from noon to 2 p.m. Volunteers are advised to bring work gloves and sturdy shoes.

The park’s landscape architect, Tom Zachary, will also be on hand. Chris Leman reports that they’ll be looking at a design for kiosks to go here and in other neighborhood parks that would hold volunteer and historical information.

The park, which sits on the Lake Union shore in the shadow of the I-5 Ship Canal bridge, is open to the public but not owned by the city. A history of the neighborhood on the Eastlake Community Council’s Web site has the story:

Built in 1993, the park was funded entirely by abutting property owners Homer Bergren and the late Jim Nordstrom. Its name honors the Boy Scout pledge to do a good turn for someone every day. The beach is sandy and shallow; ample parking is available nearby. The Olmsted-Fairview Park Commission and Eastlake Community Council are now applying for City Neighborhood Matching Funds to expand the park toward Fairview Avenue, based on a design by Tom Zachary in cooperation with Richard Haag Associates.

The Seattle Times, in a story on the dedication of the park in 2000, said it had cost the city only about $15,000. Bergren and Nordstrom spent about $50,000 on the park and neither lived to see the project completed.

Actress/activist/Eastlake resident Marjorie Nelson dies

UPDATE: This post has been changed since it was first published to include the day Mrs. Steinbrueck passed away. A link to Misha Berson’s obituary on the Seattle Times has been added at the end of this post. Minor editing changes have also been made.

A longtime Eastlake resident and well-known Seattle actress and theater director, Marjorie Nelson, 86, has died.

She passed away Friday at her home on Franklin Avenue E. after a brief illness, according to her family.

In a blog post, her daughters, Judith and Rachel, said:

Marjorie was an amazing, courageous, inspiring human being who brought her creativity and humanity to everything she did including her work in theater, the arts and activism.

Ms. Nelson, a Seattle native, was the widow of Victor Steinbrueck, a prominent Seattle architect credited with saving the Pike Place Market when it was threatened with demolition. Her step-son is former city councilor Peter Steinbrueck.

She was one of the founding company members at the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 1963. She acted in all kinds of theater, from Chekhov and Beckett to plays for children, and performed at many theaters around town. She was also active as a theater director.

Ms. Nelson also made several movies, including one of Sidney Poitier’s first, “The Slender Thread,” which was shot in Seattle in 1965, and she appeared in the TV series, “Twin Peaks.”

She received the Greg Falls Sustained Achievement Award from Theatre Puget Sound in 1998. 

A neighbor, Jules James, wrote in an e-mail how the community had a street party in 1993 to celebrate the 100th birthday of her house on Franklin Ave. Her “Victorian lady” is one of the oldest homes in the city and a registered historic landmark.

James said Ms. Nelson was also active politically and was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and was an early supporter of Pete Holmes in his campaign for city attorney. 

“Her fundraisers for (her stepson) Peter’s city council races were legendary in bringing a cast of characters all together,” James said. “Her front yard was regularly planted with a yard sign for one campaign or another, usually the opponent of the sign in my yard.”

Ms. Nelson was also very active in the Eastlake community. She served on the Seward School Design Departure Task Force in 1996-97, James said. She was also a past vice president of the Eastlake Community Council and had been involved in other neighborhood activities, according to the ECC’s Web site.

She also was active as a steward of her late husband’s vision for the Pike Place Market and the park there that was named for him. In 2008, she talked to the Seattle P-I about her concerns about plans to modify Victor Steinbrueck Park. The P-I talked with her as she walked through the park:

The widow of Victor Steinbrueck is strolling through the park on the north edge of Pike Place Market that bears his name, talking about his vision and the significance of the grassy hills, meandering walkways and wooden benches.

Suddenly she stops to stare at a vendor selling buttered corn on the cob from a booth that looks like it belongs at a carnival. An actress and activist accustomed to speaking her mind, Steinbrueck asks the vendor who gave him permission to set up there. He tells her it was the parks department. She shakes her head.

“It looks messy. It doesn’t fit in the park. You can’t just crap it up,” she says.

Ms. Nelson is survived by her daughters, Rachel and Judith, and her husband’s four children from a previous marriage. Details on plans for a Life Celebration planned for the end of March will be posted at

Please feel free to post remembrances of Marjorie Nelson or condolences for her family in the comments on this post. I’d welcome a photo or additional details about her remarkable life. Please e-mail me at curtmilton (at)

RELATED STORY: Misha Berson’s obituary of Marjorie Nelson is available online at the Seattle Times. The Times story has details of Nelson’s early career, including her marriage to actor Howard da Silva and their blacklisting during the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s. Thanks to the Seattle Times for use of the photo.

Seattle mayor, city council trying to woo NOAA back, but not to Lake Union

UPDATE: This post has been changed since first published. A copy of the letter to Gary Locke has been attached and detail has been added.

The City Council and the Mayor’s Office have released the letter to Gary Locke (see attached PDF). In it, the council and mayor say that locating at either NOAA’s Sand Point base (the Western Regional Center) or the Federal Center South could be done “at a very small fraction of the cost of moving to Newport.”

The letter notes that ships could be berthed at both Sand Point and the Federal Center South, and that “industrial work” that can’t be done at Sand Point could be done at the FCS where maritime support services are close by.

The letter concludes:

Our proposal represents tens of millions of dollars in savings for the Department of Commerce, NOAA and, most importantly, federal taxpayers, compared to the alternative of moving from Seattle and building new facilities on leased property. These savings include approximately $7 million in one-time moving costs, more than $20 million in construction costs, and more than $1 million in increased annual operating costs (e.g., transportation costs, provisioning, ship repair, etc.) incurred by locating in a rural area far removed from a necessary maritime support system.

The letter is signed by all nine Seattle City Council members and Mayor McGinn.

An accompanying press release notes that “retaining the marine center in Seattle would preserve approximately 1,200 well paid direct and indirect jobs and $180 million in economic activity in the area.”


Joe Copeland at Crosscut has a post up this morning about an effort by the Seattle City Council and Mayor Mike McGinn to keep NOAA in Seattle.

But, the options the council is offering don’t include Lake Union, NOAA’s base for over three decades. According to Copeland, the options — NOAA’s research facility at Sand Point or the Duwamish — would be less expensive than Lake Union.

NOAA announced last summer that it was leaving Lake Union for a new base in Newport, Oregon. That decision has drawn fire from Bellingham, one of the other ports bidding for the NOAA base, and is currently being appealed and reviewed by NOAA.

A letter that is expected to be signed by the entire council and the mayor is being sent to Gary Locke, the former Washington governor who is now Commerce secretary, Copeland writes. NOAA falls under his jurisdiction.

Copeland quotes Council Member Jean Godden as saying the two alternate sites have community support:

Godden said community support has already been voiced for the sites. That could have been a particular issue for Sand Point, where nearby neighborhood groups are often active defending their areas and Magnuson Park. Godden said the idea got a positive reception when it was laid out to the Friends of Magnuson Park the other night.

The city’s letter won’t be released until Locke receives it. Read more of the Crosscut piece here.

For past Eastlake Ave. Blog coverage of the NOAA move, click here.

Graffiti in Eastlake: Where are the problem spots?

I’m working on a project with other neighborhood bloggers that will focus on the graffiti problem around Seattle.

I recently wrote about graffiti on the new I-5 noise walls along Harvard Avenue E. The Washington State Department of Transportation says that graffiti on the freeway side of the wall is their responsibility. They quickly painted over the Harvard Avenue tags.

If the graffiti faces the street, call the Seattle Department of Transportation. You can report graffiti to the SDOT on its Web site. The WSDOT also has a site for reporting graffiti.

How bad a problem is graffiti in Eastlake? Where else do you see graffiti in the neighborhood? Do you ever clean it up or paint it over? Does your business have a graffiti problem? What should the city do about graffiti painters? Whose responsibility should it be to clean up graffiti?

Put your responses in the comments here or e-mail me at curtmilton (at) Thanks for your help!

Partial closures for repairs coming on two Eastlake bridges

Two of the bridges that feed traffic to Eastlake — the University and Fairview Avenue bridges — will undergo repairs starting next week, the Seattle Department of Transportation reports. The repairs will restrict traffic on the bridges during parts of the day.

  • The Fairview Avenue Bridge (1300 block of Fairview, on the lake side of ZymoGenetics) will be painted begining Feb. 16. The work is expected to take three weeks. The bike lane next to the bridge railing will be narrowed during the work, so SDOT urges bike riders to be careful. Also, the contractor may reduce traffic to one lane in each direction during work hours. The full width of the bridge will be open for vehicle traffic between 6 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
  • On the University Bridge, the northbound, right-hand lane on the north approach will be closed for repairs under the bridge from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 17 and 18.

Accident closes University Bridge

UPDATE: The five-car accident on the University Bridge has been cleared. Traffic and buses are moving again although Metro advises that slow downs are still occurring.

Original post:

An accident has closed all lanes on the University Bridge. Metro is rerouting bus routes through Montlake.

Make professional improvement your goal for 2010

PowerToasters Club provides tools to boost your career right here in Eastlake

It’s the new year and you’ve made your annual list of resolutions. Perhaps you’re trying to eat healthier. Or spend less time in front of the TV. Or maybe you’d like to boost your career. Toastmasters International, a thriving organization with 250,000 members in 106 countries, can help you develop the communication and leadership skills needed to reach this goal.

 To get promoted, you may need to become a better presenter and more confident team leader. You may need the ability to talk and answer questions off the cuff. If you want to land a good position, you’ll need job interviewing skills.  All these skills can be learned in the supportive setting of a local Toastmasters meeting.

 When Oregon resident Gary Schmidt joined Toastmasters, he was an unemployed college graduate who, in his own words, performed poorly in job interviews. He had difficulty expressing himself effectively. Toastmasters training helped him so much that after only six weeks, he was offered a job on the staff of then-United States Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon. He worked for Senator Hatfield and then for U.S. Senator Gordon Smith, also of Oregon – all while advancing his communication and leadership skills as a Toastmaster. Today, Schmidt is the organization’s International President.

 “I credit Toastmasters for my continued personal growth and development, which has led to job promotions and increased responsibilities at work,” Schmidt says.

 Many more people have enjoyed career boosts with the help of Toastmasters:


  • When Ann Maxfield applied for the job of e-Learning Coordinator at Hormel Foods Corporation in Minnesota, one of the requirements was being able to speak in front of large groups. Her experience as a Toastmaster was pivotal to her getting the job. “I hit a home run in the job world, and Toastmasters played a huge role in that success,” says Maxfield.


  • When Jim Bresler changed jobs at Microsoft, from being software engineer to program manager, he had to interact more with customers and assume a managerial role with colleagues. “I think talking confidently to co-workers is very important, and Toastmasters helped me a lot with that,” says Bresler.


  • The impromptu-speaking skills that Kealah Parkinson learned in Toastmasters helped her ace an on-the-spot job interview, earning her an opportunity to teach a class for job hunters at a regional adult education center.

 If your goal in 2010 is to grow professionally, PowerToasters Toastmasters club, located here in the Eastlake neighborhood, can help you achieve it.  The club meets at ZymoGenetics, Inc. in Room 105 of 1144 Eastlake Ave. E. on the second and fourth Thursdays at noon -1 pm.  Our next regular meeting will be Thursday, February 25, 2010.  For more information, contact Michelle Lewis at  Membership in Toastmasters is an investment that can pay off in career advancement.

About Toastmasters

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. The organization currently has 250,000 members in 12,000 clubs in 106 countries. Since its founding 85 years ago in October 1924, the organization has helped more than four million men and women give presentations with poise and confidence. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit