A few sparks of hope for HALA proposals as Miller Park residents focus on affordability and density

The Miller Park Neighbors community group’s rallying cry encouraging residents to organize to address proposed increased building heights under the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda drew about 100 people to a Wednesday meeting.

Jonathan Swift, a member of Miller Park Neighbors, said the goals of the group include preserving the neighborhood, keeping it diverse and making it affordable.

But it was hard to find many examples of clear support for the city’s HALA proposals and with elements like a presentation from Wallingford anti-density advocate Greg Hill, it was hard not to see the proceedings under a “not in my backyard” light.

Jack Thompson, a leader in one of the small groups attendees broke into for discussion at the meeting, has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years. The diversity the group aims to keep applies both to the people living in the neighborhood and the housing options, he said. “We have a little bit of everything here,” Thompson explained. Continue reading

Puny act of evil: Little Free Library burns outside Miller Community Center

Someone’s weekend shenanigans included a destructive act of puny evil on 20th Ave E. The Miller Community Center’s Little Free Library went up in flames — likely sometime Saturday night, one neighbor tells CHS.

"RIP" :( Thanks to Andrew Taylor for the picture

“RIP” :( Thanks to Andrew Taylor for the picture

CHS wrote here about the book donation box’s World Book Night 2013 debut. “I think it’s a great way to connect the community and promote literacy and a love of reading,” a community center rep told CHS at the time. In the years since, the Little Free Library movement has taken off and you now find book boxes on many blocks across Seattle — and the world.

There aren’t many details on the fire that destroyed the box just north of the community center. From Seattle Fire records, it doesn’t appear than anybody saw the fire in time to call the department in. We’ll check with SPD to see if there were any calls to police. We’ve also asked Seattle Parks if there are any plans yet for their center to rebuild the small but popular community resource and how people might be able to help.

UPDATE: We get the feeling this crime might not ever be solved. SPD tells CHS the fire was reported well after the incident Sunday morning around 10 AM. Police didn’t find much to go on besides a lighter found near the scene. It was checked for fingerprints but nothing useful turned up.

UPDATE 2/14/2017: The parks department is taking a hands-off approach, it sounds like. The library was “a community-led initiative,” a spokesperson tells CHS. “We didn’t take the lead on building the box and don’t have information on how the community can replace the box.” Your move, community.

Miller Park Neighbors make call to ‘protect’ neighborhood from affordability proposals

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-4-13-52-pmAs the city rolled out its Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda roadshow last month, CHS reported on a split on Capitol Hill — those living in already dense areas generally support the proposed upzones and changes, while those living in less dense areas generally, well, don’t. That fault line is especially apparent around the Miller Park neighborhood where the area around the Miller Community Center is slated for a boost to mostly 40-feet for townhouses, row houses, or apartments with 7 to 10% affordability. Near the southeast corner of the Miller Playfield a 50-foot zone and 11% affordability is proposed.

Other areas of Capitol Hill that sill have a strong presence of single family-style homes like North Capitol Hill are insulated from the HALA proposals. But many Miller Park residents, apparently, are feeling exposed. A longtime neighborhood group is being rejuvenated as the Miller Park Neighbors have organized a “critical meeting” on the HALA proposals next week:

Join Your Neighbors to Protect Miller Park Neighborhood!

CRITICAL MEETING Feb. 15, 2017 Continue reading

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill — and its living building — soak up chilly January sun

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

With highs in the 30s, Seattle’s La Nina January has started the year off with a chill. But the sharpest cold has also coincided with sunny, clear days. That’s good news for Capitol Hill living building the Bullitt Center where the solar arrays have been collecting about 43% of the office building’s energy needs from the sky.

The solar powered start to 2017 continues a trend. In 2016, the building generated more power than it used:

The Bullitt Center opened at 15th and Madison in 2013 and is still considered one of the greenest office buildings in the world. In October, CHS reported on efforts to kickstart the city’s Living Building incentive program to encourage more projects like the Bullitt. Capitol Hill is also home to 10th Ave E’s Bertschi School and its Living Science Building. Meanwhile, the next big green project on the horizon on Capitol Hill is slated to rise at 13th and Pike where plans are moving forward for Seattle’s first Passive House-certified mixed-use project.

John/Thomas intersections from Capitol Hill Station to Miller Park selected for major pedestrian improvements

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-11-05-59-amOften overshadowed by the more bustling sections of Capitol Hill, the “John and Thomas corridor” is nonetheless a crucial pedestrian and transit passageway through the neighborhood. Thanks to a community-initiated proposal, 11 intersections in the corridor between Broadway and 23rd Ave are on deck for a $1 million pedestrian safety upgrade paid for by the Seattle Neighborhood Street Fund.

The proposal from David Seater, a volunteer with Central Seattle Greenways, calls for installing curb bulbs along all the corridor’s un-signaled intersections. It was recently approved by the Neighborhood District Council, setting up a final vote at City Council.

“I walk along John/Thomas frequently and have been frustrated with how unsafe and difficult it can be to cross at any of the intersections without signals,” Seater said. Continue reading

State says good news after Capitol Hill gypsy moth spray

Washington State Department of Agriculture officials aren’t declaring victory but the latest trap counts indicate its spring eradication strategy in the war against the invasive gypsy moth was a deadly one for the pest.

“While it is too early to declare the spring treatments a success, this year’s trapping results are very encouraging,” said Jim Marra, WSDA’s Pest Program Manager who oversaw the spraying program. “Two to three years of trapping after treatment are necessary before WSDA determines whether a treatment has been successful,” the announcement on the latest counts reads. Continue reading

Plan would boost Seattle community centers: free programs in the CD, possible LGBTQ hub on Capitol Hill

A plan to address social equity by boosting Seattle’s community centers with “free or low-cost community-centric programs” will be part of Mayor Ed Murray’s 2017 budget proposal. If the money is approved, the Central District’s Garfield Community Center will have more free use and community programs while Capitol Hill’s Miller Community Center could be tabbed as an LGBTQ community hub.

“Seattle’s community centers are a vital piece of our parks and recreation system and we must ensure these spaces meet the needs of all residents across the city,” said Mayor Murray. “In my proposed 2017 budget, I will call for the expansion of community center hours, staffing and programming, and eliminate drop-in fees and make scholarships easier to attain. We must ensure that as we grow, we do so equitably, and our recreational spaces must be safe and accessible places for everyone.”

Part of the strategic plan announced this week calls for the creation of a “hub-centric” pilot program: Continue reading

What it’s like to run a community center on Capitol Hill

Williams outside the Miller Park facility (Image: CHS)

Williams outside the Miller Park facility (Image: CHS)

Johnnie Williams grew up in the Yesler Terrace neighborhood going to parks and participating in track and field. But it was something else altogether that put him in charge of a Capitol Hill community center. Leukemia.

It was when Williams was diagnosed that he decided to work for the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. He has worked at three different centers since then, but currently he’s at Miller Community Center serving as the interim coordinator.

“I think growing up in parks has made me realize the need for community centers in our neighborhoods,” Williams said. “I think they’re very … beneficial because it keeps a lot of the younger youth out of trouble.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill middle school on schedule for fall 2017 completion


UPDATE: A SPS spokesperson has clarified Gonzales’ presentation and tells CHS that Madrona Elementary was mistakenly left off the feeder list. Madrona students will, indeed, be part of the Meany system.

Progress is being made on the renovations to Meany Middle School, which is still on schedule to open for Capitol Hill students in the fall of 2017.

A small group of community members gathered in Meany’s cafeteria on Tuesday to hear about the next phase of the renovation from project manager Vince Gonzales and members of the architecture and construction teams. The $17.6 million renovation is expected to be at 95% completion by next June.

Chanda Oatis of Van Asselt Elementary has been selected to be the principal of the new Meany Middle School. At the last community meeting, determining the school’s curriculum was a large area of interest for parents — Gonzales said Oatis will begin those discussions once she finishes up her time at Van Asselt. Continue reading

Start of Capitol Hill gypsy moth eradication effort a go for Wednesday

IMG_6601 (1)UPDATE 4/20/2016 6:25 AM: That was a punctual pilot.

UPDATE 4/20/2016 11:50 AM: A spokesperson tells CHS no spraying is planned for Thursday, 4/21. “We have to allow a few days to pass between treatments and plan on conducting three at each site,” the spokesperson tells CHS. The next morning of flyovers has not yet been scheduled yet.

UPDATE 4/21/2016: The state says no more spraying until Monday at the earliest — but rain might mean a longer wait for round two:

The next gypsy moth treatments are not expected to occur until Monday at the earliest, but that is subject to the weather as we cannot apply the pesticide in the rain or if rain is in the immediate forecast.

This is why we encourage the public to visit www.agr.wa.gov/gypsymoth and sign up for email, text or robo-call notifications if they wish to be alerted in advance of any of these treatments or changes in schedule.

UPDATE 4/24/2016: Sate says Monday will be the second day of spraying on Capitol Hill — *if* it isn’t raining. UPDATE x2: Canceled: “The Washington State Department of Agriculture’s gypsy moth treatments scheduled for Monday, April 25th for Seattle and Gig Harbor have been CANCELLED due to the weather. The Vancouver treatment is proceeding as scheduled.”

Monday, April 25, will be a gypsy moth treatment morning, weather dependent. Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and the Gig Harbor site are the locations we plan to treat tomorrow. It will be the second treatment for both communities. Vancouver is also scheduled for its second treatment Monday morning, but that work is being done by the Oregon Department of Agriculture in a partnership with the Washington State Department of Agriculture. The first treatment of the 130-acre site in Seattle was completed in about 15 minutes on Wednesday, April 20. The Gig Harbor site, about 600 acres, was treated on Monday, April 18, in about 45 minutes. The Vancouver site is 807 acres and was last treated on Sunday, April 17. All gypsy moth treatments are very weather dependent as we cannot apply the pesticide in the rain or if rain is in the immediate forecast. That means tomorrow’s treatments may be delayed or even postponed to another day in the event of rain or other weather problems.

UPDATE 4/25/2016: After Monday morning’s rain, round 2 is slated for Tuesday:

Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and the Gig Harbor, Lacey, and Nisqually sites are the locations we plan to treat tomorrow. It will be the second treatment for all communities.

UPDATE 4/28/2016: May Day on Capitol Hill will, weather permitting, begin with one last morning treatment:

The final stage of gypsy moth treatments is scheduled to begin this weekend. Our next scheduled treatment will be Saturday, April 30, when we plan to treat the Port of Tacoma area, also referred to as the lower Tacoma site. On Sunday, May 1, we plan to treat Capitol Hill, Gig Harbor, Lacey and Nisqually if the weather allows. Vancouver will also be treated on Sunday. These will all be the third and, most likely, final time these sites will be treated this season.

UPDATE 5/1/2016: Weather looks awesome for Monday — so this might finally be the last round for this spring:

Today, we completed the third and final treatments for Kent, Nisqually. The Oregon Department of Agriculture completed the third and final treatment of Vancouver. On Monday, May 2, we are planning to treat Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and Gig Harbor.

Original report: The Washington State Department of Agriculture says the war against Capitol Hill gypsy moths is about to begin. An airplane is scheduled to fly above an area near the Miller Park neighborhood early Wednesday morning to deploy an organic pesticide. The state says Btk is not toxic to humans but recommends minimizing exposure.

The process will require multiple days of treatments. CHS wrote about the treatment plan here and how to stay abreast of the schedule.

The state has been treating for gypsy moths since 1979. As of last year, they had conducted 93 eradication efforts across the state, including one here in 2006. Last year, the department deployed about 16,000 traps to attempt to detect gypsy moths across the state.

The WSDA announcement on the plans for Wednesday morning is below.

Today’s gypsy moth treatment in Tacoma went smoothly and much faster than anticipated. All but about 100 acres in Tacoma were treated before we stopped operations for the day at 8 a.m.

Seattle’s treatment will be moved to Wed., April 20.

This is as a result of us being able treat more of the Tacoma site than anticipated. A 130-acre site in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood will be treated beginning at about 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. Once Capitol Hill is complete, the last 100 acres of the Tacoma site will be wrapped up.

Like all of our treatments, these dates are subject to change due to the weather or other factors.  We advise the public to visit www.agr.wa.gov/gypsymoth and sign up for email, text or robo-call notifications if they wish to be alerted in advance of any of these treatments or changes in schedule.

To date, WSDA has conducted gypsy moth treatments in areas of:

  • Vancouver
  • Lacey
  • Nisqually
  • Gig Harbor
  • Lower Tacoma site
  • Most of the Upper Tacoma site
  • Kent

All sites must be treated three times for the best chances of eradicating the gypsy moth. We are treating all these sites with Btk, a non-chemical bacterial insecticide approved for organic agriculture. It targets caterpillars and is not harmful to people, pets or bees. An airplane is being used to treat most sites, but the Vancouver site is being treated by helicopter in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which is eradicating its own detection of gypsy moth in the Portland area.

Here’s information on getting alerts about the spraying:

Reminder: All treatment times are highly dependent on the weather. Should we have warmer or colder weather than anticipated, treatment times could start earlier or later. To receive notifications when treatments actually occur, sign up for our alerts via e-mail, text, or robo call.