News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


Entries from April 2010

Dine Out, Save a Life

April 28th, 2010 by master

Three Fremont establishments – Blue Moon Burgers, Caffe Vita and Costas Opa Restaurant – will give customers a chance Thursday (April 29) to donate back 30% of each diner’s bill back to Lifelong AIDS Alliance, which provides services to those living with HIV/AIDS, including cooking and delivering fresh meals and groceries, providing health insurance and ensuring they have a safe place to live.

Here is a complete list of participating restaurants – 142 in Seattle – for the 17th annual charity fundraiser, which has supporters in eateries hroughout King, Kitsap, and Snohomish Counties.

Last year, Lifelong was able to raise about $225,000 during the one day campaign.

Here’s an even sweeter deal, if just doing good isn’t incentive enough: make a donation of $25 or more on the night of Dining Out For Life and become a member of the 20% Off Tuesdays club, exclusive to Dining Out supporters. As a member of 20% Off Tuesdays, you will receive 20% off of your table’s food bill on Tuesday evenings throughout the year.

Participating 20% Off Tuesday restaurants are 94 Stewart, Abbondanza, Alexa’s Garden Cafe, Broadway Grill, Coffe Club Diner, Gandhi Indian Cuisine, Louisa’s Cafe, Mark Restaurant, Peaks Frozen Custard, Rachel’s, Romio’s in Greenwood, Sazerac, Skylark Cafe, Tango, Twisted, and Ventana.

Lifelong AIDS Alliance is committed to preventing the spread of HIV, and to providing practical support services and advocating for those whose lives are affected by HIV. Lifelong is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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Celebrate Spring: Fremont Village Festival

April 27th, 2010 by master

If spring ever decides to make a consistent appearance in Seattle, this weekend should be a perfect way to enjoy it, starting with the second annual Fremont Village Festival on Saturday, May 1, which begins with workshops at 10 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. after an evening benefit concert featuring performers such as Carrie Akre, Curtains For You and Grant Geertsma.

It’s one of several events happening in Fremont this weekend (more posts will follow, including one on the Fremont Arts Council May Pole celebration at Woodland Park).

In Fremont, known affectionately to residents as the “Center of the Universe” (which would also account for this blog’s moniker), there is a part of the neighborhood that’s come to be known as “Fremont Village” – “the peak of the universe” on Fremont Avenue from BF Day school to the Zoo, with a hub at Fremont Abbey Arts Center on 43rd, stretching over to Peak Park on the ridge.

“We see this area as a fun place to live and visit. Come and see it all: the arts center, restaurants, the community center,” said Nathan Marion, the director of Fremont Abbey Arts Center since it began 5 years ago.

The event is a celebration of early springtime and coincides with opening events and exhibits at the Zoo (Meerkats!) and also serves as a warm up for the Fremont Fair, June 19-20.

Fee-based workshops at Fremont Abbey kickstart the day at 10 a.m.: turning recycled sweaters into wristwarmers, yoga for two and Tuning the Air guitar.

Then free giveaways such as family passes to the Zoo and local music CD’s begin around 2. Family fun looks certain, with all-ages activities such as:

  • Face painting by Robin –
  • Singer/songwriter Andrew Vait
  • Advise on final artwork for the NEW 46th Street Mural
  • Modern dance demonstrations by Karin Stevens Dancers
  • Swing dance lessons by Kevin Buster & Amy Best
  • Culinary arts demos, samples & teaching with Dannika Underhill
  • Artwork on display from BF Day elementary students
  • Neighborhood safety information from FAWN
  • Self-defense demos by local martial arts instructor
  • Urban farms & local farm CSA information
  • Community painting outside
  • Sidewalk chalk art contest (with prizes!)

The concert begins at 7, with a suggested $7-10+ donation. Proceeds support Fremont Abbey’s ALL-ages arts programs. Along with these programs, “community driven and volunteer powered” Fremont Abbey also hosts performances, classes and a music school.

Festival goers can also enjoy free hot chocolate for kids at Caffe Vita, $5 pizzas at Tribunal from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and help out at the Neighborhood Council Adopt-A-Street Clean-up from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (starting at FAC’s Powerhouse).

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From SPD: Personal Safety Training

April 27th, 2010 by master

Living in cities requires a certain amount of awareness. Take it from me, having lived in small-town Mississippi and suburban Florida, living in urban environs takes a little adjustment. I think I can say I’ve picked up some things having spent years as a resident of DC, Baltimore, New York (Manhattan) and now Seattle.

For instance, I vary my routine quite a bit, use timers for my living room and porch lights, alert my neighbors when I’ll be out of town, and rarely walk in my neighborhood by myself after dark. I also try not to linger getting in and out of my car and make sure it’s pretty clear before I get out.

But I think everyone can learn more – and should be open to good advice from reputable sources.

Thursday, April 29 from 7 pm to 8:30 pm, FAWN (Fremont Aurora Wallingford Neighbors) invites you to hear Diane HorswillCrime Prevention Coordinator at the North Precinct, a civilian position, who will speak about personal safety training. Meet in the library of BF Day Elementary, 3921 Linden Avenue North, at the south end of the main floor. The talk replaces the April 29 FAWN walk.

To request being on the FAWN listserv, e-mail

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Vote on 46th Street Mural Project

April 26th, 2010 by master

The 46th Street Mural Project invites residents of Wallingford and Fremont and users of the N. 46th Street underpass to help select the final design for the 300-foot mural beneath Aurora Avenue North. Click on the link to guide you through slide  shows with full details for each of final 3 designs and to vote.

Todd Lown and Kristin Ramirez are 2 of the finalists. Here is the selection from the third finalist, Susan Brown:

On May 5, the project’s Steering Committee will make the final selection, subject to the City of Seattle’s design review approval. Construction is scheduled for summer 2010, with a public dedication in August.

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Beware of thieves stalking outgoing mail

April 26th, 2010 by master

For the past few months, neighbors in Fremont have been reporting thefts of outgoing mail left for their postal carriers on their porches/home boxes. It might be prudent to drop mail – especially bill payments & Netflix DVDs – in USPS mailboxes from now on, or directly at the local post office.

This was reported to FAWN in March:

“Our mail was stolen today, Sat. 3/13. We live on the 3800 block of Linden Ave, near the firestation. We have had mail stolen before from our house, but had thought the thieves had moved from the neighborhood. (Drug addicts living a few houses away were kicked out of their rental.)

“It was almost time for the mail carrier to arrive and my husband took a chance and put the mail out on the postbox on our porch. It was taken within minutes, around 11:15-11:45am. My husband heard someone on the porch and assumed it was the carrier. The carrier arrived a few minutes later and confirmed that he had not picked up our mail.

“Any information about strange people, not dressed as mail carriers, taking things from home post boxes would be appreciated. Take care when putting mail out for pick up and don’t put anything with a check or ID info out on your home postbox. We have reported the theft to the police and Postal Inspector.”

And then more recently:

Outgoing mail thefts have been occurring right on Fremont Ave between 41st and 42nd. Several tenants in one apartment bldg had their mail stolen from the outgoing mailbox and their checks washed and presented to local branches of banks for cashing. Two dates this occurred were March 30th and April 15th. There were probably more that haven’t been tracked down yet.”

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Update on Aurora Bridge suicide fence

April 26th, 2010 by master

We’ve gotten word that construction of the suicide prevention fence across the Aurora Bridge won’t happen tonight or tomorrow night. An equipment problem has caused a delay in the project. WSDOT tells us there’s a chance work could start later this week.

WSDOT conducted a test last week to gauge the noise level of the drilling equipment (pictured above). Greg Phipps from WSDOT tells us those tests provided some good news – things may not be quite as noisy as first thought.

My first impression was that the drills (there is one for concrete and one for steel) were much smaller than I expected. My second impression is that the drilling was much quieter than I expected. The drilling will be noisy, but not extremely noisy as the stories on this blog have suggested. At about 60-75 feet away the drilling was not audible. The true test, of course, will be at night when there is less traffic noise, and when the work is over water where the sound carries more. The grain of salt is that this was my impression and not a scientific judgment, and I expect there will be some skepticism as this is coming from a WSDOT communications guy, so I encourage you to see and hear for yourself when construction starts.

Of course, nearby residents in Fremont, Wallingford, and Queen Anne will be the ultimate judges. The 24-hour noise hotline is 206-390-5697. Track the project here.

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Fremont Neighborhood Council: Big Annual Meeting

April 25th, 2010 by master

The Fremont Neighborhood Council, a chartered organization representing the residents of Fremont, holds its “Big Annual Meeting” tomorrow night – Monday, April 26 – from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with refreshments beginning at 6:30 at the Fremont Baptist Church, 717 N 36th St.

Council member Mike O’Brien is scheduled to make a presentation on neighborhoods and development; and what he’s doing as the chair of the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee.

All “Fremonsters” are invited to attend this big annual meeting, as well as volunteer for the membership-based organization. Annual dues range from $7 for seniors/low income residents, to $12 for individuals, $20 for an entire household and $50 for “Angel” status. All Fremont residents are eligible to join and all members are eligible to serve on the board, which meets every fourth Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The History House, 790 N. 34th St. This meeting tomorrow will serve as the April board meeting.

The FNC defines Fremont’s boundaries as the Canal on the south, 8th Ave. N.W. on the west, North 50th Street on the north, and Stone Way on the east.

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Trees planted along Ship Canal

April 23rd, 2010 by master

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began planting 40 poplar trees along the Ship Canal today, Friday, April 23 as part of the Fremont Cut rehabilitation plan.

According to Corps Public Affairs Specialist Andrea Takash, the garden staff from the Ballard Locks will be planting 20 poplar tress next to the Burke-Gilman Trail in Fremont, and another 20 by the South Ship Canal Trail bordering Queen Anne and Magnolia. There will be no closures and minor impact to the Burke-Gilman trail during the planting.

“We are excited to enter into the planting portion of phase two of the
Fremont Cut rehabilitation plan,” said Dru Butterfield, Natural Resources
manager for the Lake Washington Ship Canal. “The poplar trees are 12-feet
tall and typically grow 2-3 feet per year.”

This is only the first part of planting the Corps will be doing along the Ship Canal this year. In the fall the team will return to plant an additional 400 understory plants and shrubs. The entire Fremont Cut rehabilitation plan has four phases, spread out through 2030. (Phase three isn’t set to begin until 2018). From a Corps press release published this week:

The Corps’ plan is to restore the aging poplar colonnade in a historically appropriate manner and to replant shrubs and ground covers that have been lost over time. The plan is a comprehensive, practical and environmentally sensitive plan to guide the Corps’ management activities.

Follow the progress at the Army Corps Ship Canal project page.

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Coupons for Compost: Help beautify traffic circles

April 22nd, 2010 by master

Don’t recycle your next mailing from Seattle Public Utilities – it might contain coupons good for 2 free bags of Cedar Grove Compost. If you’re not going to use the coupons, consider gathering them for those who want to improve some common areas in the neighborhoods: traffic circles.

Cedar Grove CompostIt’s another helpful tip from the folks at FAWN (who, yes, are being very good initial sources for this fledgling Fremont Universe blogger, but I am accepting tips! Send them to!)

From faithful FAWN member Sally Deneen, regarding those coupons:

“Please don’t toss them, if you don’t need them. We’d be grateful if we could use the coupons to add as much compost as possible to the traffic circle. Among other things, it’d encourage our strawberries — yes, there have been strawberry plants there since the beginning, but they’ve never born fruit due to poor conditions. Thanks for your consideration and for helping our traffic circle!”

Email and they’ll forward your message to Sally.

Are your neighbors taking similar initiative with the traffic circles in your neighborhood?

Where to go to redeem those aromatic bags of future promise: Monday – Friday, at the north end of Seattle Conservation Corps at Magnuson Park, 7400 Sandpoint Way, and follow the signs. Or the smell.

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FAWN walk with the Mayor

April 22nd, 2010 by master

If you live in Fremont, and are not a subscriber to FAWN (Fremont Aurora Wallingford Neighbors), you’re missing out on weekly reports that will clue you in on break-ins, drug activity, prostitution and other illegal happenings.

When I moved to Seattle from Baltimore 5 years ago, I chose to live in Fremont – first in an apartment on 35th St., then to my current townhouse about 5 minutes away, one block east of Aurora. My landlord advised me to get on the FAWN listserv and every week for the past 10 or so years, they’ve done a neighborhood walk.

I finally went on my first walk with them – my neighbors – on April 8. (This entry, though, is my first as a Fremont Universe blogger.) About 20 people showed up at the corner of Whitman and 40th – the usual place the group begins its dusk-time walk. But usually, there aren’t this many people. The draw: Mayor Mike McGinn, who biked to the spot from his Greenwood abode. With him – 2 of his aides from the Mayor’s Office and 2 state police officers. The Fremont Neighborhood Council and the co-owners of Marketime Foods on Fremont Ave. were also there.

We didn’t take a long walk in these brisk but dry conditions. We walked north on Aurora, noted empty lots, some lights out and some suspicious loitering going on across Aurora before going into the warmth of a meeting room at an apartment building off Aurora and 43rd.

“I view this as a significant corridor,” McGinn said, once we’d settled in. “It shares common characteristics: a zoning mix of non-residential and residential communities, offices and motels. But these corridors really present challenges. I want to hear from you.”

And he did.

The Mayor, himself a victim of robbery at gunpoint and a frequent rider of the Aurora Express bus route 358, listened to neighbors who told him about their first-hand experiences of trespassing, physical assault (dragged by car), drug use in stairwells, shoplifting, drug dealing in parking lots and trying to explain these things to their children.

“I have a great view of these things morning, noon and night,” said Danny Sullivan, who lives next to the The Fremont Inn (formerly The Thunderbird motel), one of several motels owned by Dean and Jill Inman, and where, neighbors say, the problems fester. He has a hard time explaining gunshots, bags of white powder and knives being pulled out to his 10-year-old daughter. “I knew what I was getting into, I knew this was not the most Bambi in the Woods neighborhood. The problem is, businesses are not being run responsibly.”

Others at the meeting reaffirmed Sullivan’s experiences, particularly in areas near the motels owned by the Inmans – the Wallingford Inn, Fremont Inn, Seattle Motor Inn and Italia and Isabella motels- which were the subject of 180 criminal charges for various tax violations. (The Seattle Motor Inn closed in December.)

One apartment owner told the Mayor about one of her tenants breaking her lease. Reading from the letter, she described how the tenant witnessed knife fights and slashed tires, thugs surrounding cars. The apartment owner talked about having SWAT teams and other SPD sealing off the building and the block at times, and having to mirror some of her tenants’ windows so they won’t have to see what’s going on in the motel next door.

Representatives from Marketime Foods complained of a steady flow of people coming from Aurora on a daily basis, people who engaged in shoplifting, drug dealing in the parking lot and panhandling in front of the business, which they said has the effect of driving customers away.

But, neighbors emphasize, this is not about singling out certain people.

“This is not about people being poor,” said one of my former colleagues at the Seattle P-I, environmental reporter Robert McClure (now with InvestigateWest). “This is about people being criminal.”

“This is a great neighborhood. We have a problem that is a specific blight,” said Linda Clifton, one of FAWN’s regular walkers, who got involved with the group after one of many stolen, abandoned cars rolled down a hill and totaled her car 8 years ago. “We appreciate what the city and the police have done so far. We’re just looking at the next step.”

To contact FAWN:

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