4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter

2015 January

1 Meeting to Connect

North (Police) Precinct Advisory Council

Want to learn about public safety issues challenging Northeast Seattle and feel safer in your neighborhood?  Connect at this month’s meeting of the NORTH PRECINCT ADVISORY COUNCIL (NPAC).

  • WHEN: Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: North Seattle Community College: North 95th St at College Way North. In the College Center Building, Room CC1161, 1st floor (SW corner of campus and SW corner of that building).

NPAC, currently chaired by University Park leader Ruedi Risler, is “a community organization devoted to promoting partnership between residents, schools, businesses, and the Seattle Police Department to effectively address public safety issues.” It is comprised of over 30 neighborhood groups throughout the city’s largest geographic precinct: the North Precinct.

If you have an immediate safety concern, obviously call 9-1-1. If you have concerns or ideas about crime trends, first contact your community policing officer (see list below) or the NPAC rep who serves on your community council. For example, Ravenna-Bryant is ably represented by Inga Manskopf, pictured here with Tony Provine, who co-chairs our Northeast District Council (NEDC) with Gabrielle Gerhard. CLICK HERE for a list of community councils in NE Seattle or contact Tony Provine directly at tprovine@msn.com.  Although there is NOT an official public comment period at NPAC meetings, it’s a great opportunity to connect before & after with your neighbors volunteering their time to engage our police department for the benefit of our neighborhoods. Connecting could inspire you to join your community council and become its rep on NPAC to address many hot police issues:

_ What can we do to SUPPORT our men and women in uniform AND get more of them? Seattle is making progress on reforms to prevent inappropriate use of force, so now would be a good time to encourage and celebrate our officers.

_ How are officers preventing home and car burglaries in Laurelhurst, Roosevelt, etc and stopping open air drug dealing on The Ave? (The new Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole addressed burglaries at the Dec 2014 meeting of the Laurelhurst Community Club, but not everyone was satisfied — especially with long wait times on 9-1-1 and the non-emergency line 625-5011.)

_ Should NE Seattle have its own Precinct Station? (The North Precinct is the city’s largest. The current single station is west of I-5 and west of North Seattle College. A replacement station is being built even further west — on Highway 99.)

_ What is the status of the $500,000 “deployment” analysis the City Council funded for SPD (see p. 339 of 2014 Adopted Budget)? The analysis is likely to produce 4 conclusions:  (1) More officers can/should move from desk jobs or under-utilized special units to the core of the police department: patrol; (2) More officers can/should use data to prevent crime with focused deterrence in areas of concentrated, repeat crime as encouraged by City Council President Tim Burgess; (3) SPD can/should reduce costs by approving overtime only when needed to prevent crime; and (4) Even after we more effectively deploy existing officers, we still need to hire A LOT MORE to have a sufficient number, especially when compared to other cities (Boston). But at least we will have done the prudent thing: take stock of what we have AND improve what we have before we spend significant tax dollars to accelerate the hiring.

– Captain David.Emerick@seattle.gov (in charge of North Precinct)
– Community Policing Officers (solving community issues rather than reacting to 911):
    – Michael.Lanz@seattle.gov: serves U District, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Maple Leaf
    – Kipp.Strong@seattle.gov: serves Laurelhurst, View Ridge, Magnuson Park, Lake City.
– Crime Prevention Coordinator (helps set up a neighborhood block watch) Elizabeth.Scott@seattle.gov.
– City Attorney Liaison to SPD (nuisance properties): Brendan.Brophy@seattle.gov .

1 Issue to Engage

Radiation Cleanup at Magnuson Park

Many families whose children played sports in or near Buildings 2 and 27 have been alarmed by sporadic reports of the RADIATION CLEANUP AT MAGNUSON PARK — where the U.S. Navy has been removing remnants of radium used in paint at the former military base decades ago to make airplane dials glow in the dark. [Our children played soccer in both buildings before Building 2 closed.] These buildings are at the northern end of the Park.

Rather than the City’s Parks Department alerting the public when it learned of the situation as early as 2009, King 5 News broke the story in March 2013. News of the “low-level” radiation and the Navy’s plans for a clean-up were revealed at an awkward time for those advocating to nearly double the property tax levy we pay for parks, including Sally Bagshaw, who chaired the city’s Parks Committee when the story broke and Michael Maddux from Eastlake. During 2014, the Parks Committee chaired by Jean Godden (who lives relatively close to the Park), did not have public hearings on the controversy. In fact, since the story broke, the city negotiated leases for occupants of a newly renovated Building 11, just a few hundred yards northwest of the radium room, including a new private school. Taking a different stance, one of our elected State Reps for the area has repeatedly raised health concerns and demanded more frequent and transparent communication for the public, including a nearby affordable housing project.

Why the dramatic disconnect between concern and action? (1) There is disagreement over whether the level of radiation — and the removal of contaminated materials and soil — would cause health problems and (2) The perceived lack of communication from so many government agencies has fueled concerns. The website of the Parks Dept, which owns the park, just refers readers to the state Dept of Ecology and state Dept of Health, even though the Navy is the lead agency. CLICK HERE for the Navy’s website and here for the Navy’s latest report (Dec 14, 2014.

The Magnuson Park Advisory Committee [as well as the Northeast District Council (NEDC), co-chaired by neighborhood leaders Tony Provine and Gabrielle Gerhard] have worked hard to sort through the competing bits of info. Here is the full e-mail from the City Parks Department dated Oct 22, 2014:

“Dear tenants, partners and friends;  we at Parks have gotten a number of questions about the Navy’s hazardous materials clean up of Buildings 2 and 27.  Below is some general information about the issue and what has been done to date. Warren G. Magnuson Park is safe. The U.S. Navy found small amounts of radium in and around two former instrument repair shops that were used from roughly 1943-53 to repaint markings on aircraft gauges. Both buildings (2, 27) are located in the northern portion of the park. The U.S. Navy has been actively cleaning up these locations since 2013. The State Department of Ecology and the State Department of Health review and approve clean-up activities, which are proceeding as planned. The standards used to verify cleaned areas also ensure the health and safety of those who visit, work or go to school in the park. These are in compliance with the local, state and federal clean-up standards. In fact, before Seattle Waldorf High School began renovation of Building 11 (northwestern corner of park), two independent studies confirmed no presence of radiological materials in or around the building. No historical evidence has been found indicating that radiological materials were used in areas outside the northwest corner of the park (location of both instrument shops). Seattle Parks and Recreation is in near-constant contact with the U.S. Navy, the State Department of Ecology and the Department of Health. We are satisfied that the clean-up is going as planned.”

Originally, government officials estimated they would complete the clean up by Dec 2013. But the Navy sign on the fence as recently as Dec 30, 2014 (date photo taken) and the state agency websites say cleanup will be completed Dec 2014  which has also come and gone. The sign outside Building 27 (see photo) cites the contact person as Cindy O’Hare, an Environmental Coordinator of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).  On Dec 30, 2014, Ms. O’Hare told me that the south shed (the radium room) of Bldg 27 will “come down” January 2015, followed up more sampling of the soil and air. But there is another problem:  contaminants were found in a storm drain originating from Bldg 2. So in the Spring of 2015, the government will sample water and sediment from the Lake Washington shoreline.

To stay engaged, contact cindy.ohare@navy.mil at 360-396-0014 or Public Affairs: leslie.yuenger@navy.mil . “4 to Explore” will post any updates it receives on our Facebook page

1 Fun to Enjoy

Raffi Concert at Neptune Theatre

For children ages 2 to 10, this “Fun to Enjoy” is the equivalent of being a teenager when the Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan show. Yes, RAFFI is coming to Seattle for just one concert. Raffi has chosen for his only Seattle venue NOT Century Link or Key Arena, but the NEPTUNE THEATRE right here in Northeast Seattle. Where else can you sing along without shame about Hair Made of Spaghetti and brushing your teeth in wee hours of the night?

Reserve your tickets now for Raffi on:

  • WHEN:  January 31, 2015 at 1:00 p.m.
  • WHERE:  at the Neptune Theatre at 1303 NE 45th Street (at Brooklyn Ave).

Raffi’s signature song “The More We Get Together” uplifts children and adults with its simple message of community; a message that is timely and true.

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.

When I first found this event on the parent website Red Tricycle, I expressed doubts as to whether Raffi would qualify for this “4 to Explore” monthly newsletter. Then my star-struck 9-year old son nearly jumped out of his chair to write the entry himself. Whether planned or not, a lot of parents end up with a CD of Raffi songs and whether planned or not, they end up singing along. Good clean fun with the kids to get your mind off your bills and iPhone and your kids’ minds off sweets and screentime.

The mission of STG, according to the STG website is, “Making performances and arts education in the Pacific Northwest enriching, while keeping Seattle’s historic Paramount, Moore and Neptune Theatres healthy and vibrant.”

Parents and children can enjoy the theatre among the disuptive but necessary construction for the new light rail.  “In its 90th year of operation, the historic Neptune Theatre (circa 1921) has been transformed [by the Seattle Theatre Group] from a single screen cinema, to Seattle’s newest live performance multi-use arts venue.” With the demise of so many single screen movie theatres as a warning and the coming of the light rail station as a harbinger of hope, let us support this performance venue and marvel at its majestic interior from the Roaring Twenties. Click Here for all of the upcoming events at The Neptune.

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

1 Store to Adore

Artist & Craftsman Supply

We might not be artists or sniff out every art festival, but we cannot help adoring the ARTIST & CRAFTSMAN SUPPLY in the U District. Good clean fun for kids and adults. If you ever find yourselves at Petco on NE 45th St and 8th Ave NE just East of I-5, take a minute to sneak behind and under to Artist & Craftsman. A politically correct Seattleite could champion Artist & Craftsman as an “employee-owned store” and remind us that art saves lives, but this is simply about you walking into a store and experiencing the magic. (Pssssst. It’s actually a national chain. But we’ll let this charmer slide.) Oh, and if you are an artist or want to be, they have EVERYTHING. Other artist supply stores in NE Seattle have closed or moved, so this cavernous hideaway is one of the last survivors. If you’re not gonna buy a block of clay (for some reason we had one in our basement for a year), then buy a toy to support the store.

Artist & Craftsman hosts a “Kids’ After School Art Session” on Fridays from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. For details on that and other art classes, check out the “A&C” Classroom Calendar on their website or CLICK HERE.

LOCATION: 4350 8th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98105 (U District).

HOURS: Artist & Craftsman is open 7 days a week: Monday thru Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sundays 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

MORE: To explore more of our U District neighborhood subscribe to the U District Daily blog and/or attend U District Community Council (no website), the University Park Community Club, the U District Partnership (formerly the Chamber of Commerce with UW and some neighborhood groups), and/or the Roosevelt [Avenue] Neighbors’ Alliance (not to be confused with the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association in Roosevelt).  Two big issues in the U District (besides the plague of open air drug dealing due to lack of enforcement/prosecution) is an expanded Business Improvement Association (BIA) (a good idea if managed well to make the U District clean and safe) and a proposed up-zone (a bad idea if driven by for-profit developers rather than by neighbors).

The U District Community Council, the University Park Community Club, and the Roosevelt Neighbors’ Alliance are among the many community councils that serve on our Northeast District Council (NEDC), co-chaired by Northeast neighborhood leader Tony Provine and Gabrielle Gerhard.

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