4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter

2014 July

Get Results

Removing Graffiti

Whether or not you agree with the “broken windows theory” of criminology, you probably do not enjoy seeing graffiti, trash, or damaged signage in your neighborhood. Take action to fix things on your block by calling the city government’s Customer Service Bureau at 206-684-2489. When calling the Customer Service Bureau or when they transfer you to another department, ask for a tracking number and follow-up. You can also try the city’s new mobile phone app “Find It, Fix It” which enables you to pinpoint the location of the problem and upload photos. While calling is often quicker, we were able to have the city government remove the graffiti from these signs using Find It, Fix It. (To report graffiti on PUBLIC property, like these street signs, you can also call the city’s Graffiti line directly at 684-7587, press 2.)

Due, in part, to the frustration of not having a point person to Get Results for simple neighborhood problems, voters recently approved a new neighborhood-based method for electing 7 of our 9 City Councilmembers.  Northeast Seattle includes districts #4 and parts of #5. Find your district on the City Clerk’s website. We will select these neighborhood Councilmembers in 2015. The Ravenna Blog will track the contests closely.

For creative ideas on how to engage citizens to reinvent government, check out the 2013 book Citizenville or explore our website: www.4toExplore.org.

1 Meeting to Connect

Northeast District Council

Let’s say you followed the advice of “4 to Explore” and visited your Community Council last month. You connected with neighbors to discuss issues that impact your immediate neighborhood — Hurray!  Now you want something bigger — a meeting that connects several adjacent Northeast neighborhoods. But do leaders of different neighborhoods actually sit down at the same table and discuss public safety, transportation, parks, and zoning? Of course! Attend the NORTHEAST DISTRICT COUNCIL (NEDC) on Thursday, July 3 at 7:00 p.m. at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, 8008 35th Ave NE. NEDC comprises Ravenna, Bryant, Hawthorne HillsLaurelhurstRoosevelt, U-District, View Ridge, and Wedgwood. And if our dedicated and thoughtful NEDC volunteers inspire you to connect with neighborhood activists across the city, you’re in luck:  all 13 of these volunteer District Councils meet monthly at City Hall as the City Neighborhood Council.

Looking ahead to August? Tuesday, August 5 is “National Night Out” when you prevent crime by meeting your neighbors and grilling food in the middle of your street.

1 Fun to Enjoy

Wedgwood Art Festival

Summertime. The WEDGWOOD ART FESTIVAL has become a highlight of summertime in Northeast Seattle. Enjoy an extravaganza of art, music, food, and activites just for kids. The art fair is the largest to date and emphasizes both cherished and new local artists. Come out to enjoy a full musical line-up with returning favorites Cherie Blues, Cocoloco, Yaamba, and five more local musical acts.  Kids will discover their inner artist at activity stations or their exterior artist with face painting. Thistle Theater will perform a different show each day. Get your photo taken with firefighters from Seattle Engine Company #40. Enjoy a tasty lunch or snack from array of food choices including Athena’s, Veraci Pizza, Patty Pan Grill, Half Pint Homemade Ice Cream and more. Click here for a map.

When: Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Firefighter photos 10:30 – 12:30).
Where: New location this year:  35th Ave NE and NE 89th Street at Our Lady of the Lake Parish and School.

1 Issue to Engage

Create More Affordable Housing

After hiring a world-class Police Chief and crafting a high-quality Seattle Preschool Program for the November ballot, here is the next big challenge for city leaders: CREATE MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING. Although most news outlets have focused on minimum wages, our city’s affordability struggles are driven, in large part, by rising housing costs. The number of homeless families seems to grow even as City Council provides more funding. Recent UW graduates struggle to pay rent. Many moderate income families headed by nurses, teachers, and firefighters cannot afford to buy a home here where they grew up. Solutions so far? Many of the efforts to “up-zone” neighborhoods, build micro-housing (“apodments”), and cram large homes onto small lots have been poorly planned and / or have upset neighbors. And yet housing costs seem to increase. The City Council and Mayor are separately researching other affordability solutions and are likely to address the entire range: from extremely low-income (0% to 30% of the area median income) up to 100% of AMI (to encourage homeownership).

Will our city leaders employ best practices from innovative cities and strategically invest resources without upsetting neighborhoods or will they be swayed by for-profit developers and interest groups who have the time and resources to lobby? Last year, our City Council adopted Resolution 31444 (sponsored by Tim Burgess) which launched “a thorough review and update of Seattle’s incentive zoning and other affordable housing programs…”  On Feb 13, national experts hired by the Council led their first dynamic discussions. On June 25, Council received a report on some best practices. Next steps: Council Committee meetings on July 14 and 16 — Click Here for details.  Engage the issue of affordable housing now so that you can jump in with your views when city leaders put forward proposals this summer. 

1 Store to Adore

Elemental Pizza

Smooshing pizza dough is a fun way for kids to play at the table while they anticipate their yummy meal at ELEMENTAL PIZZA. The whole family can marvel at the pizza chefs tossing and stretching the dough high above their heads.

Located in the heart of the U Village shopping center, Elemental Pizza is this month’s Store To Adore.  As reported in Seattle Met, the owners are local Seattleites Steve Rosen and James Allard, who also founded Blue C Sushi and Boom Noodle. The menu at Elemental Pizza offers not only their individual thin-crust, wood-fired pizzas, but also salads, sandwiches, and glasses of fine beers & wines. Although we are embarrassed to admit it, U Village is the kind of place where you can spend the entire afternoon with your family. While the incredible Barnes & Noble two-story bookstore is gone (cue to shed tears), there are plenty of fun stores for parents and kids (confession: yes, we have brought our kids to The Land of Nod just to play with the store’s toys).

Elemental Pizza is another of our homegrown, cherished neighborhood business that will be impacted by the city government’s dramatic new law to increase the minimum wage to $15. The phase-in crafted by the Mayor fortunately gives more time for businesses with fewer than 500 employees. But with any dramatic shift in policy, the government should monitor closely the impacts on small businesses, nonprofits, and even the City’s General Fund budget.

Seattle is a city of neighborhoods and locally owned stores like Elemental Pizza define much of the neighborhood character that we adore. Elemental Pizza is located at 2630 NE University Village St and is open 7 days a week 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.  After enjoying lunch or dinner, explore more of U Village.

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