Citywide rep González part of Capitol Hill EcoDistrict delegation on ‘sustainable, urban strategies’ European field trip

(Image: @cmlgonzalez)

To break the the mayor’s veto of the Seattle City Council’s Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue plan, citywide council member Lorena González had to make an international phone call in the middle of the night to cast her decisive vote Monday afternoon Seattle time.

Turns out, González is abroad this week studying “sustainable, urban strategies” thanks to the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict.

The council member is part of a huge delegation, according to Capitol Hill Housing which started the EcoDistrict effort in 2013 with funding from The Bullitt Foundation to increase sustainability efforts in the neighborhood.  Continue reading

City Council overcomes mayor’s veto on Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue plan

The Seattle City Council doubled down on its plans for how best to spend $6 million in Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue Monday, voting to ignore Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of the legislation.

Only interim Council member Abel Pacheco, downtown rep Sally Bagshaw, and North Seattle rep Debora Juarez sided with the mayor Monday.

CHS reported on the fight over funding scraps for health and food programs as the mayor attempted to focus the tax revenue on a smaller set of existing resources vs. creating new, often progressive programs.

The tax on sugary beverages was originally earmarked for creating new programs related to “healthy food and beverage access, birth-to-three services and kindergarten readiness, a public awareness campaign about sugary drinks, support for people actively living with obesity and diabetes, community-based programs to support good nutrition and physical activity and evaluation support for those programs.” With Monday’s veto-killing vote, the council’s plan for new programs can again try to move forward.

Meanwhile, Monday’s full City Council action also included approval of Seattle’s Green New Deal resolution. Durkan’s response to the approval was much friendlier than the sugary beverage tax situation. In a statement, the mayor applauded the vote and said she was “committed to expediting climate action” by issuing an Executive Order directing City departments to “evaluate how they can accelerate their action items under the City’s Climate Action Plan, and how Seattle can best meet the goals of the Green New Deal.” The final resolution can be found here.

City Council to vote on Seattle’s Green New Deal resolution

Monday afternoon’s last full City Council before the body’s summer break will include a vote on a resolution setting the terms of Seattle’s “Green New Deal.”

The Seattle resolution (PDF), part of a nationwide movement to address climate change and the continued reliance on fossil fuel, encourages a catch-all roster of Green initiatives including: “Building efficiency, Transportation , Housing affordability, Renewable energy, Climate, preparedness and emergency management,” and “Job training.”

The resolution will only set the stage for future legislation but it is being embraced by City Council members including Kshama Sawant. “Avoiding climate catastrophe will take a rapid shift away from fossil fuels,” a Sawant campaign statement on the Green New Deal reads. “We will need to bring the big U.S. energy corporations into democratic public ownership and retool them for clean energy.”

“The full draft of the Seattle resolution is below. Continue reading

Sustainability group plans for Volunteer Park include rainwater system for conservatory, recycled water for wading pool

Volunteer Park wading pool, circa 1970s (Image: Seattle Municipal Archives)

A small group has big plans for an environmentally responsible overhaul of Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park including a project to put rainwater to use in the landmark conservatory and a plan that could eventually make the park’s popular wading pool more sustainable.

The Volunteer Park Sustainability Coalition will has been revamping projects geared towards making use of summer weather, rain or shine. The coalition plans to make its Free Effective Rainwater Now (FERN) project an educational experience for the public along with furthering plans to improve the park’s wading pool pump system.

“The rainwater harvesting concept has existed for probably five years at this point, but using it as an educational tool is a much newer aspect that we’re trying to work into the project,” said Sejal Soni, a volunteer with the VPSC. Continue reading

Plans for a solar microgrid at Capitol Hill community center will power building, through rain, shine… or disaster

Miller Community Center (Image: CHS)

Seattle’s community centers provide a lot of simple but important things to their neighborhoods including recreation and meeting space. But they could also help the city develop strength and resilience in a future of extreme weather and in emergencies like a giant earthquake.

Seattle City Light is partnering with Seattle Parks and Recreation to implement a first of its kind solar microgrid at Capitol Hill’s Miller Community Center.

The microgrid involves more than solar panels as a battery energy storage system and microgrid controls will also be installed.

The planned system will provide backup power storage necessary to keep the community center functioning during windstorms, power outages, and other emergency events.

“The project will empower a community to recover quickly from unplanned emergency events and gain technical knowledge on the installation and operation of a microgrid system,” Seattle City Light says about the project. “Analytics from the microgrid resiliency project will allow the City of Seattle to research and develop similar technologies.” Continue reading

Seattle’s promising, extremely early look at congestion pricing: Traffic down, CO2 down, money for mass transit up

London does it (Image: SDOT)

London does it. Singapore does it. Stockholm does it. New York is starting it. And now Seattle is considering becoming one of the cool kids who charge people to drive downtown.

A Seattle Congestion Pricing Study (PDF) report will be on the agenda Tuesday afternoon as Seattle Department of Transportation representatives will begin the discussion with the City Council about how Seattle might implement some sort of congestion pricing program. The study doesn’t really get into details or suggestions of how Seattle might implement a program. It gives an overview of how such programs work in other cities, and suggests how Seattle might take the next steps toward developing a program of its own.

Some of the study’s findings will make you want to implement a plan immediately:

In every case, congestion pricing has reduced vehicle trips (by 10% to 44%), reduced CO2 emissions (by 2.5% to 22%), and lowered travel times (by 10% to 33%).

Congestion pricing can take a number of different forms. The one common denominator in all of them is an area is designated for pricing. Basically, draw a circle (more or less) on a map, and attach conditions to people who want to go inside the circle. Continue reading

‘Zero waste’ Scoop Marketplace makes Earth Day debut at The Works on 12th Ave

(Image: The Scoop Marketplace)

(Image: The Scoop Marketplace)

12th Ave DIY community, class, and retail provider The Works has sprouted a new friend to help with your zero waste ambitions this Earth Day. The growing 12th Ave class and retail space is now home to Scoop Marketplace, a grocery dedicated to efficient and package-free shopping.

The new market debuts Monday with a sale, giveaways, along with The Works hosting an Earth Day plant swap.

“Scoop Marketplace was founded out of a need for a grocery store that facilitates low impact living,” Scoop founder Stephanie Lentz says. “Our family was always naturally inclined toward environmentalism, but we didn’t realize just how much thoughtless consumerism we were taking part in. Once we embraced the zero waste lifestyle, we were eager to change our family routines, and eliminate waste. The changes definitely haven’t happened overnight, but the slow process has helped us better understand our relationship with food, possessions, and the things we throw away.” Continue reading

Plan would expand King County’s only landfill one last* time — UPDATE

King County needs more time to sort out a new era solution for getting rid of its copious mountains of trash — burning the garbage in a waste-to-energy like they do in densely populated areas of Europe, Japan, and.. checks notes… Spokane seems like a probable future.

But in the meantime, there is a plan to create a new addition to the county’s Cedar Hills Regional Landfill that officials say will give the giant garbage collecting facility — and the county’s only landfill –another 21 years of life. The King County Council will vote on the plan Monday.

UPDATE: The council announced Monday morning that the vote has been pushed back so officials have more time to consider newly proposed amendments to the legislation.

Continue reading

With solution to ‘aspirational recycling,’ Ridwell growing to pick up what Amazon leaves behind

Ridwell’s Justin Gough (Image: Ridwell)

It’s one of those perfect spring afternoons. The sun rays glitter on the water of Lake Washington. Ryan Metzger swiftly opens up his car door, walks up to the porch of a grand Leschi house and immediately reaches for the trash.

To clarify: it’s very clean trash meant for recycling; and the people who stuffed it all in cloth bags in the white bin on the porch knew Metzger, CEO of the local recycling startup Ridwell, would be there to pick it up. They pay for Ridwell’s subscription service (which starts at $10 a month) for pick-ups of used light bulbs, batteries, clothes, plastics and other materials that shouldn’t go in the garbage or are better off recycled and reused.

Metzger fishes one small bag out of the bin filled with a couple of batteries. Another is stuffed with old clothes, and a third one brims with what fits in the ‘plastic film’ category of scrunchable plastics, including ziplock bags and dry cleaner bags.

“It’s a lot of Amazon packaging,” Metzger says, while he opens the bag to check its contents. “Bubble-wrap-envelopes and stuff, which doesn’t fit in regular recycling.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Seattle Youth Climate Strike — ‘We don’t have any more time to waste’

(Images: Margo Vansynghel for CHS)

Under an early spring sun, hundreds of students and some parents and supporters rallied on Capitol Hill Friday on the turf of the Bobby Morris Playfield for the Seattle Youth Climate Strike.

The students came to Cal Anderson from schools across King County, including Garfield High School, Thornton Creek Elementary School, Nathan Hale and Sammamish High School. They skipped school to demand legislative action on both local and state levels in Washington, adaptation of the Green New Deal to shift to 100% renewable and clean energy, and the declaration of the climate crisis as a national emergency. Continue reading