4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter

2014 December

1 Issue to Engage


In other cities across the nation, the number of HOMELESS  continues to decrease. Yes, decreaseThe federal government conveyed the good news recently:  the number of un-sheltered people is down 25% since 2010.

New York City, New Orleans, and Phoenix reduced homelessness among veterans by more than 60% since 2011. Memphis reduced its overall homelessness by more than 20% since 2012. The City of Seattle, however, is seeing the opposite trend even though it spends more to help the homeless each year. The One-Night Count of unshelted homeless reported an increase from 1,989 individuals in 2013 to 2,303 in 2014, a jump of 16%.

How are other cities achieving improvements for their most vulnerable people? Their leaders (1) rigorously implement only best practices (programs proven to reduce homelessness) and (2) boldly require those programs to measure results. That’s why it was not ideal when City Council recently sprinkled more tax dollars onto a patchwork of unproven programs before allowing Mayor Murray’s Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness and his Human Services Director to issue their strategic recommendations (due in just a couple of weeks). [The Seattle Times reached a similar conclusion in its editorial on Nov 30, 2014.]

Here are some ideas we hope are considered:

  • The Mayor should hire (from one of the successful cities) a “Homeless Point Person” with the authority to direct city agencies (Human Services, Police, Parks, etc.) to row together toward the same goal: reducing Seattle homelessness by specific and ambitious percentages each year.
  • Look beyond our borders for proven solutions. Swallowing our parochial pride and understanding how other cities do it right has already rewarded us with effective evidence-based programs like Nurse Family Partnership and the new Seattle Preschool Program. Leaders from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the National Alliance to End Homelessness have said they will help Seattle.
  • Fund only programs that measure results and reduce homelessness, such as Rapid Re-HousingHousing FirstPermanent Supportive Housing, Landlord-Liaison Project, and other best practices.
  • Make it clear we will prioritize housing and taxpayer-funded services for Seattle and King County residents. Some adult shelters and encampments report a significant number travel here from other states because Seattle is branded across the country as “a Mecca” for services. But they arrive disappointed and unsheltered. If practical, we should connect them with better support systems near their original homes.
  • Coordinate with, but do not wait for, the King County Committee to End Homelessness and the City’s overall housing strategy due in May 2015.

On October 19th, the leaders of Tent City 3 in Roosevelt near I-5 asked me to spend the night there and I did. Spending time with the men and women there, listening to their stories of being in even worse environments, and melding that with my experience working at HUD makes it all clear: rather than temporarily treating symptoms, City leaders should fund only what is proven to reduce homelessness.

1 Store to Adore


What do Ravenna-Bryant and Laurelhurst neighbors, Seattle Police Officers directing Husky game traffic, and fans of a no-frills breakfast all have in common? They adore BURGERMASTER.

Tired of Starbucks? Secretly tempted by McDonald’s, but want something better and local? Burgermaster is a deliciously good fit.

But don’t take our word for it; here are the (positive) reviews of Burgermaster from Yelp.

Grass-fed beef? Yes. Even the kid’s burgers? Yes. Shakes? Creamilicious. The Hot Fudge Shake is a must. When sharing one of those shakes with my son Luke, he finally confessed, “Yeah, mom has taken me here a bunch of times and I’ve tried every flavor.” What?!

This is no place to count calories, but Burgermaster has fearlessly published their nutrition information. You might want to hold the Mayo on their “Turkey Master” burger, though.

While Burgermaster now boasts 5 locations, we get to enjoy the original one in our “backyard” at the corner of NE 45th Street and Union Bay Place NE.  (Luke’s grandma takes him to the Burgermaster on Aurora and 98th because, at that location, the servers stroll up to your car window.)

Burgermaster was founded in 1952 by Phil Jensen with help from brothers Dan and Bud Mowat, who owned the land. According to their website, “Phil Jensen passed away in 2009, but his guiding principle of ‘give the customer a better deal‘ still guides the running of the restaurants. Phil’s hands-on attention to detail and his focus on quality made Burgermaster a landmark in the greater Seattle area. The Jensen children now run Burgermaster, and work to ensure that their father’s vision endures…Since that first location, Burgermaster has expanded to five locations, from Seattle to Everett and employs over 100…”

Burgermaster is open 7 days a week: 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday thru Saturday and 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sundays.

To explore more of Ravenna and Bryant, subscribe to the Ravenna Blog and attend the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RCBA).

To explore more of Laurelhurst, subscribe to the Laurelhurst Blog and attend the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC).

Both the RBCA and LCC are among the many community councils that serve on our Northeast District Council (NEDC).

1 Fun to Enjoy

Jazz Nutcracker at Roosevelt

With the Christmas season approaching as fast as Santa’s sleigh, the acclaimed band of Roosevelt High School performs a JAZZ NUTCRACKER, as arranged creatively by Duke Ellington and Billy Stayhorn.  There are just two performances, so reserve your tickets now for:

  • Saturday, December 6 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 7 at 2:00 p.m.

No need to struggle against snarled traffic and scarce parking downtown when you can relax and enjoy this live music right here in Northeast Seattle. If you have never been inside the high school, but have marveled at its bold and beautiful facade, this is your chance to explore! The school (and the performances) are located at 1410 NE 66th Street.

To explore more in Roosevelt, check out “The Roosie” publication and the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association.

BONUS FUN TO ENJOY:  Visit Candy Cane Lane by foot or by car any time after Saturday, December 6.  The brilliant displays of holiday cheer are located off NE Ravenna Blvd at 21st Ave NE.  We featured CCL in the “4 to Explore” of December 2013.

Families can find other fun events this month on the calendar websites of Parent MapRed Tricycle, and Seattle’s Child.

1 Meeting to Connect

Your Community Council and Northeast District Council (NEDC)

Interested in city government projects and hot issues coming soon to RavennaBryantHawthorne HillsLaurelhurstRooseveltU-DistrictView RidgeWallingfordWedgwood, and other northeast Seattle neighborhoods? To get updates, attend the December meeting of YOUR COMMUNITY COUNCIL. This month, we feature the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA) (see photo of robust debate. From left to right: Jorgen Bader, President Tony Provine, Inga Manskopf, and former President Sarah Swanberg).

The RCBA Board meets Tues, Dec 2 at 7 p.m. at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center and guests are welcome.

Let’s say you also want to attend a meeting that connects all of those Northeast neighborhoods and more. 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, Dec 4 at 7:00 p.m. at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, 8008 35th Ave NE.

There is an unfortunate misperception among some at City Hall that Northeast Seattle does not have “real” problems. But for victims of burglaries, children crammed into crowded schools, families stumbling to stores with no sidewalks, renters & homeowners struggling to pay rising rents/taxes, and commuters stuffed into fewer buses or stuck in more traffic, our Community Councils can become a stronger voice for our concerns and ideas when we get involved. Connect!

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