Monthly Archives: March 2010

One Reel: No Lake Union fireworks this year

One Reel, producer of the annual Fourth of July fireworks show on Lake Union, announced today that there will be no fireworks show this year.

The reason? One Reel has been unable to find a corporate sponsor for the show.

From One Reel’s announcement on its web site:

For the past 15 months, One Reel has worked tirelessly to secure a title sponsor for the 2010 Family 4th at Lake Union but, regrettably, we were not able to secure one in time to proceed with this year’s event. For that reason, it is with a heavy heart we announce there will be no fireworks or festivities at Gas Works Park this year.

We understand the disappointment you must feel; we feel it too. However, I can assure you that One Reel is already hard at work searching for a new title sponsor who shares our commitment to presenting this beloved community event in Seattle next year, and long into the future. 

Ivar’s, which had sponsored the Elliott Bay fireworks display for 44 years, dropped its support for the show last year, which left the Lake Union display as the only Fourth of July fireworks in the city. The Seattle Times says an Ivar’s spokesperson says the company has no plans to begin sposoring fireworks again.

This year, there will be NO large fireworks displays inside Seattle’s city limits. The Seattle Times says it’s the first time in 46 years that Seattle hasn’t had a July 4 fireworks display. The Times also quotes One Reel as saying it cost about $500,000 to produce the show.

After Ivar’s dropped its sponsorship of the Elliot Bay show last year, neighborhoods around Lake Union, including Eastlake, braced for an expected onslaught of fireworks fans. But, negative publicity about the expected crush of crowds seemed to work to keep the numbers down and the Fourth didn’t seem any more crazed than usual.

At, Monica Guzman is quoting One Reel spokesperson Mikhael Mei Williams as saying that there still could be fireworks if a sponsor turns up in the next week or so.

Washington Mutual had sponsored the Lake Union show for the previous eight years. After WaMu was closed and sold, J.P. Morgan/Chase, the bank’s new owners, continued the sponsorship for 2009. But they announced after July 4 that they wouldn’t sponsor again in 2010.

What do you think? Glad we won’t have fireworks, and the annual invasion of fireworks fans? Or disappointed? Post your thoughts in the comments to this post.

Shots of the 2009 fireworks show can be seen on our video:

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance seeks volunteers

The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is recruiting volunteers interested in providing practical and social support to SCCA patients and their family members. If you have weekday, daytime availability and are interested in working in the SCCA Clinic, Volunteer Services will hold orientation and training sessions Tuesdays, April 6 and 13, 3:30-6:30 p.m. in the SCCA Clinic. Prospective volunteers must register in advance and attend both sessions.

Even if you aren’t available to volunteer, please forward this information to friends, family and neighbors. Know any licensed massage practitioners? There is an urgent need for massage therapy volunteers so please pass this message along. All volunteers must be at least 18 years old (21 for some roles) and able to make a commitment of at least three to six months.

Volunteers are needed for:

  • Gift-shop clerks (urgent need)
  • Massage therapy (urgent need, must be licensed and insured)
  • Drivers for airport transportation (must be at least 21 years old)
  • Guest services
  • Labyrinth host

The SCCA Clinic is located at 825 Eastlake Avenue E., corner of Eastlake and Aloha.  New volunteer orientations are offered quartery – the dates for July will soon be available.

For more information on the service descriptions and to obtain a copy of the volunteer application, visit or contact Susan Greenwood, Volunteer Services coordinator at or (206) 288-1072.  The deadline to apply has been extended to Monday, April 5th.

Come to Eastlake Ave. blog’s 2nd ever meetup, Saturday at 3 p.m.

We did one of these last fall and it was lots of fun. TIme for another!

Anyone who lives in Eastlake is welcome to the Eastlake Ave. blog’s second-ever meetup. We’ll gather this coming Saturday, April 3, at 3 p.m. at Voxx Coffee, 2245 Eastlake Ave. E. I’ll be the guy with the latte and the MacBook Pro.

There’s no set agenda for this. Just show up and let’s talk! See you Saturday!

Garbage strike looms, but Eastlake will be spared

Our local news partner, the Seattle Times, is reporting that unionized garbage haulers in King County may go on strike as soon as Thursday, but Eastlake won’t be affected.

Union members from Teamsters Local 174 have given their lead negotiators the authorization to call the strike if they can’t reach a deal by Thursday. Those drivers work for Waste Management and cover about half of the homes in Seattle.

Fortunately, garbage in Eastlake and Capitol Hill is collected by CleanScapes (see map). So it looks like we’ll be spared a strike if it happens.

Read more of the Seattle Times’ story here.

First houseboats may appear this year on Wards Cove dock

The redevelopment of the Wards Cove Packing Company property on Fairview Avenue E. anticipates marking a milestone this year when the first two houseboats tie up at its new Lake Union dock.

Two slips — numbers eight and 11 — of the 12 on the dock have been sold (see map). 

The float and shell for number 11 are being built off site and will be towed in. Only the float for number 8 (a “green” building) is being built off site; the remainder of construction will be done at the dock.

Joel Blair, director of real estate for Wards Cove, says there’s no set timetable for when the houseboats will arrive but he anticipates “seeing something out there in October.”

The last space in the 12,500 square foot waterfront office building at the site leased earlier this month. Some tenants are already located in the building. Others are expected to move in during April.

All but one of the 100-foot marina slips have been rented.

Although 10 houseboat sites remain to be sold, Blair is optimistic that they’ll begin to move now that the economy is rebounding. One point in their favor: Due to tightened shoreline regulations, these may be the last houseboat slips to ever become available on Lake Union.

Across the street, another development is planned: The Enclave. It will consist of 21 three-story town homes that are projected to start at $1.3 million. Wards Cove originally owned that property as well.

Nick Glant, who is presenting the Enclave to prospective buyers, says the developers are awaiting their final short-plat subdivision permits. Once that happens, they’ll start converting presales into actual sales. Ground-breaking (and removal of several houses on the site) will follow that. No timetable on when exactly that will happen.

These are all big changes for the Wards Cove property, which had been the Seattle headquarters for the company for many decades. Blair’s grandfather founded the company on Wards Cove in Ketchikan, Alaska, in 1928 as a fishing and processing firm. The property on Fairview housed offices and storage for the company and its workers. The company used to tie up fishing boats on a since-removed pier where the houseboat dock now floats. 

It was a busy place in the winter, Blair says, but pretty much vacant in the summer when the fleet returned to Alaska.

In 2002, the company decided to leave the Alaskan salmon business and now focuses on “commercial fishing for, and processing of, pollock, cod and crab in the Bering Sea, and operates several general retail stores in Alaska,” according to its Web site.

Redevelopment of the Fairview property began in 2004. The green cinderblock building that stood where the new parking lot is was removed as was a rusting pier. The project went on the market in the summer of 2008, just as the economy was tanking.

The company consulted with the Eastlake Community Council about what the neighborhood wanted to see for the area, Blair says, adding that that was a process that benefitted both parties. Things the community asked for turned out to be good ideas, he says. 

Wards Cove was able to open up a view corridor with the project. The “green street” landscaping along Fairview was required by the city. The new beach that is part of the project is on the Wards Cove property but will always remain open to the public, Blair says.

The office building was previously part of the salmon operation. It was completely gutted and rebuilt. Some of the materials came from the old building. In addition to offices, it now houses a conference room and kitchen, a guest suite for use by the houseboat and marina tenants, a fitness studio and a large deck.

In the downstairs hallway of the building, Wards Cove has included a display of photographs and other material that tell the history of the company. This area of the building will be open to the public during regular business hours (probably 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Blair says) once all the tenants are moved in sometime later this spring. You’ll be able to gain access to the area through the gate at the northern end of the Wards Cove company’s green office building on Fairview.


  • For more information on the Wards Cove Packing Company, see their Web site
  • Information on the Wards Cove development, including maps of the site, is also available online.
  • The Enclave’s Web site is here.

ECC public meeting to focus on emergency preparedness, public safety

The Eastlake Community Council’s public safety committee will be sponsoring a public meeting on April 7 at Seward School.

The meeting, which is free, open to the public and runs from 7 to 9 p.m., will focus on emergency preparedness, public safety, fighting graffiti and more. Eastlake residents are invited to meet their neighbors and city officials and find out the latest about public safety and preparedness.

There will be two speakers, one from the Seattle Police Department (offices of Crime Prevention and Emergency Management) and one from the Seattle Public Utilities. 

There will be information on how to organize a block or dock watch to help prevent crime. Also, there will be info on what to do in case of an earthquake or other disaster.

If you have questions or need more information, e-mail

Four trees on Roanoke named to city’s Heritage program

They’ve stood at the foot of Roanoke Street, on the banks of Lake Union, for a long, long time.

Now, the four trees — three willows and a poplar — are getting their moment in the spotlight. They’ve been named the newest additions to the City of Seattle’s Heritage Tree Program.

A dedication ceremony to mark the occasion will take place on Saturday, April 10, at noon, in the park where they are located at Roanoke and Fairview. PlantAmnesty, which works with the city on the Heritage Tree program, says there will be a ceremony with short speeches, the presentation of an official certificate and the unveiling of a plaque. That will be followed by a toast with Martinelli’s sparking cider and cookies. Everyone is invited.

The trees are squeezed in to the street end park with not much room to spare (see photos and map with this post). They tower over the park and street. The willows drop their weeping limbs down and almost touch the water.

PlantAmnesty, is a non-profit group dedicated to “stopping the senseless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs due to mal-pruning,” according to a press release. The group initiated the Tree Heritage Program with the Seattle Department of Transportation in 1996.

Nominated trees can be on either city or private property. Owners have to approve and the trees have to meet criteria for health in addition to one of the following:

Specimen: A tree of exceptional size, form, or rarity.

Historic: A tree recognized by virtue of its age, its association with or contribution to a historic structure or district, or its association with a noted person or historic event.

 Landmark: Trees that are landmarks of a community.

 Collection: Trees in a notable grove, avenue, or other planting.

For more about the program, including a list of where all the trees are located, go to the SDOT’s Web site.

New Eastlake P-Patch work party videos

Eastlake P-Patch Expansion project volunteer Peter Streit has posted three videos showing a crack detail of elite P-Patch volunteers hard at work. They take a brief repite from their arduous tasks to answer some of Pete’s questions regarding the intricacies of such an involved project.

Mike Naylor and Claudia Dreiling discuss the delicate art of concrete cap-building with their assistant Nancy…

Tom Naylor shows us the new handicap accessible raised beds he is building…

… and expansion project designer Lisa Hummel demonstrates some precision installation of the new granite garden plots.

Earlier this month, the Eastlake Ave. Blog posted a link to a tour of the entire site, which outlines the ongoing project as a whole.

Work on the P-Patch continues through the spring, every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm at 2900 Fairview Ave E , so grab your work gloves and come work toward obtaining your very own garden plot. You can also sign up for the P-Patch Expansion mailing list by contacting expansion co-manager Rebecca Partington at

NOAA reviews decision to move, says it’s still headed to Newport

NOAA says it has completed its review of its decision to move from Lake Union to Newport, Oregon, and — big surprise — finds again that Newport is the best place to base its ships.

The review had been ordered after Bellingham, one of the ports that lost the NOAA deal, had protested it. Bellingham said that the Newport site is in a flood plain, which is contrary to federal requirements. 

The review, released by the office of Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said that the Bellingham and Port Angeles sites (Port Angeles was the other bidder for the base) were also on flood plains.

The Associated Press quotes a NOAA statement:

“Based on its analysis, NOAA has determined that there appears to be no practicable alternative to the Port of Newport offer.”

NOAA will review public comments on the decision for the next 30 days before issuing it’s final decision. Don’t hold your breath.

Read the more in the AP report on the decision at the Seattle Times.

Red Robin is gone, but what about the sign? It may be headed to MOHAI

UPDATE: This post has been updated since it was first published. Information from MOHAI and Red Robin has been added.

The Eastlake Red Robin, the chain’s first restaurant, closed Sunday night, the victim of a space that no longer fit the company’s needs.

But, what about the sign on top of the building, the sign that announced that this was “The Original Red Robin: Founded 1943?” It’s gone from the building, removed shortly after the closing. What next for the sign?

Anne Marie Kriedler, who owns the building and the sign, called tonight to say that she is offering to donate the sign to the Museum of History and Industry. And she says she has the blessing of Gerry Kingen, the man who launched Red Robin in its way to the big time, and Red Robin‘s corporate headquarters.

“This sign is part of Seattle history,” Kriedler says. “I’ll donate it to MOHAI if they want it. I think it’s appropriate for it to go to MOHAI.”

It seems likely MOHAI will want the sign. Their collection already includes other iconic Seattle signs, including the Rainier Beer neon “R,” the Kidd Valley burger babe and the Seattle P-I’s first neon sign.

A MOHAI spokesperson said the museum is talking to Kriedler and Red Robin about any items that might be suitable for its collection.

Jamie Winter, Red Robin spokesperson, said in an e-mail: “No decisions have yet been made on what we are going to do with signage, or other items at the restaurant, that are property of Red Robin.”