With small slide below Interlaken, soggy March brings landslide concerns

An unbelievably soggy March has neighbors in the sloping areas on the north of Capitol Hill worried about landslides.

A small slide closed 14th Ave E between Boyer and Lynn to through traffic Saturday morning. With continuing rains, you can expect to see more mud.

March has already reached its average rainfall totals following weeks of even wetter than usual weather around Seattle.

CHS has reported on small slides over the years and concerns about the slopes of northern Capitol Hill and around Interlaken Park. Our nature writer documented the landslide risk of the area in 2014 including the Hill’s geologic past of glacial till and water-pooling clay:

Then we come in. The grade is altered, creating new faults. Hills are denuded of trees, which hold slopes and mitigate flooding. Barriers to natural water flow diverts it toward unforeseen consequences. People understandably want views and build on cliffs, changing the loads on hills. Generally things more even more unstable. West Capitol Hill, Interlaken, North Capitol Hill. Slides every decade going back in our modern record. I won’t tally the slides in Hill history — that would take too long.

For the most part, recent slides have been mostly limited in damage. In 2011, cracks from the sliding hillside forced an indefinite closure of Interlaken Drive. It reopened after repairs five months later.

Sunday, give 2016 Seattle Marathoners a boost as they pass through Interlaken Park

Around 10 AM Sunday, thousands of runners — and more than a few walkers — will be passing through Interlaken Park on their way to completing the 2016 Seattle Marathon.

The northern fringes of Capitol Hill will once again mark mile 22.5 of the race so it’s an important area for providing one final boost of cheering and enthusiasm.

The course nearly encircles Central Seattle with lots of street closures and detours. So, basically, the day for runners is also a good day for walking.

More information on the 2016 race is at seattlemarathon.org.

 

Identification of second body found in Interlaken Park still a mystery

An investigator at the scene in Interlaken on August 30th

An investigator at the scene in Interlaken on August 30th

The human remains found by a father searching for the site in Interlaken Park where the body of his homeless son had been found five days earlier have yet to be identified.

An investigator with the King County Medical Examiner tells CHS there are currently no leads in sorting out an identification in the case. Police believe the incident to be a natural death that took place in the leafy greenbelt below northern Capitol Hill.

The body was discovered Labor Day weekend, Sunday, September 4th as Jonathan LeBaron searched the ravine for the site where his son had died in the park. Jon LeBaron, 29, had struggled with drug addiction and homelessness for nearly eight years before he went missing earlier this year, his father told CHS. Police told LeBaron his son had likely been dead for two months when he was found on August 30th by two people who said they were hiking through the woods when they noticed the 29-year-old’s shoe. Continue reading

Homelessness, addiction, two deaths, a father’s search: how the human remains in Interlaken Park were found

The large cedar tree where LeBaron's son's body was found (Image: Jonathan LeBaron with permission to CHS)

The large cedar tree where LeBaron’s son’s body was found (Image: Jonathan LeBaron with permission to CHS)

Jon LeBaron with his sister. (Image courtesy of Jonathan LeBaron)

Jon LeBaron with his sister. (Image courtesy of Jonathan LeBaron)

A search through Capitol Hill’s Interlaken Park to the spot where his son’s body was discovered in the greenbelt’s wooded ravines led Jonathan LeBaron to another lost life. LeBaron found the human remains CHS reported on over the Labor Day holiday weekend while walking to a tall cedar tree inside the park, the site where the body of his son Jon LeBaron had been found by two people a few days earlier. Authorities are investigating not one set of human remains found in Interlaken in the weeks around Labor Day, but two.

“I think that place should be combed,” LeBaron tells CHS. “It was a needle in a haystack where I found that body.”

The discoveries underscore the epidemic of addiction and homelessness that continues to grow on Capitol Hill and the region despite the city’s renewed attempts to address it. They also illustrate a dilemma with Interlaken Park, loved for its wild terrain filled with tall trees and steep ravines — the same terrain that makes it an ideal place to camp undetected and nearly impossible for those overdosing or in need of help to be found. Continue reading

SPD, Medical Examiner investigation in Interlaken Park

(Image with permission to CHS)

(Image with permission to CHS)

Seattle Police and the Medical Examiner were in Capitol Hill’s Interlaken Park Sunday in an area taped off and closed during an investigation inside the leafy greenbelt.

A SPD representative said he did not yet have information to release publicly about the investigation near the eastern edge of the woody park that connects northern Capitol Hill with the Montlake neighborhood.

UPDATE 9/5/2016: A representative for SPD tells CHS that a person walking through Interlaken found “skeletonized remains” Sunday in an area of the park’s ravine below 20th Ave E. Police were called to the area and along with the Medical Examiner completed collection of evidence at the scene. While the bones are clearly human, police tell CHS there is nothing indicating a suspicious death or foul play at this time. The Medical Examiner is currently investigating the death and attempting to determine an identity and cause.

A person who lives in the area told CHS Sunday night that police were telling neighbors that possible skeletal remains had been found in the park. The remains appeared to have been in the area for a long period of time.

Reminder: Seattle Marathon runners mean Sunday is a good day to walk around Capitol Hill

IMG_2620It’s a little embarrassing that we reduce 26.2 miles of physical challenge into a traffic alert but, well, the Seattle Marathon will close a lot of streets as it loops around and through Capitol Hill Sunday. Every year, some people are surprised by it. Don’t be some people.

More information on the route and timing (basically, all day) here. We like to watch from Interlaken, by the way.

Police search Interlaken Park after woman choked in attack — UPDATE

Seattle Police searched the Interlaken greenbelt Thursday afternoon after a woman reported being choked unconscious by an attacker as she walked near 21st Ave E and Interlaken Pl E.

The assault reported just before 3:30 PM drew a large SPD response to the area as medics were called to evaluate the victim reported to be a woman in her 50s. UPDATE: The victim in the incident is a 44-year-old area resident, CHS is told.

The woman told police she was walking in the area when she was approached by two black males. One of the suspects “choked the woman out” rendering her unconscious, according to East Precinct radio dispatches. We do not yet know if the attack involved a robbery. UPDATE 10/10/2014 9 AM: CHS has talked with a person with knowledge of the incident and confirmed that our account of the attack described here is correct and that one of the males may have been acting as a lookout. UPDATE 10/10/2014 11 AM: CHS has received a copy of the SPD report on the incident. A portion of the report has been added to the bottom of this post. Continue reading

Walkers and bikers wanted for northern route testing of 23rd Ave greenway

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The greenway route, in blue, needs a northern route. (Image: SDOT)

When city planners selected the “hybrid” route for the Central Area Greenway in March, the project officially became the largest and most ambitious greenway the city has ever attempted. What wasn’t settled was how the northern section of the greenway would weave through Capitol Hill’s steep terrain north of Galer St, while avoiding 24th Ave, to connect pedestrians and cyclists to the Montlake Bridge.

In order to “crowdsource research” on the best route to Montlake, greenway supporters are inviting the public to meet at Montlake Elementary School this Saturday at 2 PM for Silly Hilly: a thigh-buring walk/ride through four of the potential route options.

“If you look at it, there isn’t a good way to go unless you go way out of your way,” said Silly Hilly organizer Merlin Rainwater. “What we would really love is to have greenways on both sides (of 23rd Ave).”

If the hilly part of the event doesn’t sound like your ideal Saturday afternoon, then show up for the silly:

Groups will set off on scavenger hunts to document and photograph ridiculously steep hills, sidewalks without curb cuts, scary intersections — as well as more moderately steep hills, good sidewalks, calmer streets, and other wonky things while donning festive hats, blowing kazoos, and exhibiting other silly behavior.

Through a mix of signage, pavement markings, speed bumps, roundabouts and other traffic-calming features, greenways attempt to encourage more people to walk and bike to their destinations. The Central Area Greenway, initiated by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, will eventually connect the I-90 Trail to Interlaken Park. Work on the southern section of the greenway is scheduled to start this year. Continue reading