4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter

1 Meeting to Connect

1 Meeting to Connect

Follow on Facebook and Twitter for Spring Meetings

For the Spring Season this year, the best way to learn of “Meetings to Connect” is to follow 4 to Explore on Facebook or Twitter. Follow the 3 easy steps below and enjoy exploring.


  1. Go to www.facebook.com
  2. Search for AlexPedersenSeattle
  3. Click Like/Follow Page.


  1. Go to www.twitter.com.
  2. Type our “handle” into Search box: @alexpedersensea .
  3. Then click “Follow.”

Some of the best meetings occurred already such as the “Save the Ave” fundraiser March 31, 2017 for small, neighborhood businesses under duress from City Hall’s pro-developer policies. To “Save the Ave,” CLICK HERE.

Also, shaking up the race for mayor of Seattle, Nikkita Oliver launched her bid on April 2, 2017.  Could Nikkita Oliver become the first woman mayor in 100 years? Washington Hall was packed with people from across the city, including from Northeast Seattle. Nikkita Oliver is nicknamed “K.O.” like “Knock-Out”.  She earned her law degree from the University of Washington. She had clearly done her homework on the issues. In her speech, Nikkita Oliver said a lot for neighborhoods to cheer:

  • “We must stop giving developers a free ride…We have to counteract displacement…including our seniors — we have to take care of our seniors…Input must be included in a meaningful way…”  
  • Ms. Oliver also advocated strongly for permanent and humane solutions to homelessness like the best practice Housing First, rather than encampments.

For all of the candidates running for Mayor, CLICK HERE. Nikkita Oliver seems to be the only challenger of Ed Murray with real potential, thus far. Meanwhile, Mayor Murray has raised a considerable war chest. Hopefully there will be a mayoral debate in Northeast Seattle so that we can engage in a meaningful discussion about the future of our neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, many Meetings to Connect on the horizon this Spring in Northeast Seattle are sponsored by City Hall and designed to spoon-feed City Hall propaganda, such as the HALA “Open Houses“.

There is at least one upcoming AND meaningful Meeting to Connect: the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition meeting on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. at “The Central” at 500 30th Avenue South. While the SNC meeting is not held in Northeast Seattle, Bill Bradburd is conducting training for neighborhood groups across the city on how to stay informed and engaged as City Hall attempts to implement its profit-fueled HALA upzones. All are welcome. For a map to the event, CLICK HERE.

When meaningful community-driven Meetings to Connect emerge in Northeast Seattle during the Spring months, we’ll post them on Facebook and Twitter for you. That’s why you should connect with us on Facebook and Twitter today.

For our “Meetings to Connect” over the past 3 years, CLICK HERE.

Enjoy Exploring!

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1 Meeting to Connect

Concerns Raised with Upzones on Steroids

When communities realize City Hall is not listening, they turn up the volume. When City Hall refuses to compromise, communities have little choice but to oppose an entire policy, even when it has some positive attributes.

This is becoming true with the Mayor’s backroom bargain for developers (H.A.L.A.) and the related upzones of the U District and surrounding Northeast Seattle neighborhoods.

Trust is lacking for good reason. First, Mayor Ed Murray dumped the all-volunteer Neighborhood District Councils that questioned his aggressive land use changes. Then City Hall tried to dupe neighborhoods into developing more accessory dwelling units. While some elements made sense (e.g. more affordable housing and softening the parking space requirement), City Hall refused to budge on its most controversial proposal: not requiring the owner to live there. Here was another backdoor, backroom giveaway to developers and land speculators that City Hall tried to steamroll over neighborhoods. Thankfully, the City’s Hearing Examiner exposed the damaging giveaway as detailed by the Seattle Times editorial entitled, “Ruling Calls Bluff on City’s Misguided Housing Policy on Backyard Cottages” (CLICK HERE).  If a community had not risen up to voice concerns and challenge officials, City Hall’s misleading proposal to benefit developers would, according to the City Hearing Examiner, “accelerate gentrification, driving up home values and reducing the number of entry-level single-family residences available to immigrant populations, thereby diminishing the City’s diversity.”

City Hall ideologues, with Councilmember Rob Johnson as the new front man, are using the same cynical steamrolling strategy with its upzones: pretend it has heard feedback but give for-profit developers (who donate to their political campaigns) what they want. While some attributes of the upzone are laudable, the downsides need to be addressed first.  Hello! Our city government’s mission should be preventing economic displacement, not rushing to fuel profits for developers and landowners.

In a piece they co-wrote for the Seattle Times, former City Councilmember Jean Godden and Taso Lago astutely urged City Hall, “Don’t Let the U District Become the Next South Lake Union.”  (CLICK HERE.)

If you want to turn up the volume, attend this season’s “Meeting to Connect”: VOICE YOUR CONCERN OVER POORLY PLANNED, PROFIT-DRIVEN UPZONES. 

  • WHAT: Upzone meeting. City Counci’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning (P.L.U.Z.) Committee. For a link, CLICK HERE. Sign up to speak when you arrive.
  • WHEN: Fri, Jan 6 at 9:15 a.m. and Thurs, Jan 19 at 1:45 p.m. (Update: City Council inexplicably cancelled the Jan 6 meeting, but the Jan 19 meeting is still on.)
  • WHERE: City Hall at 600 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
  • WHO: You, neighbors, lobbyists for developers, and City Councilmembers.
  • WHY: Because you care about your neighborhood and city.
  • OTHER: If you cannot attend, write your City Councilmembers. You can send an e-mail to all 9 at this e-mail address:  council@seattle.gov. For other contact info, CLICK HERE.

Yard Signs Available: If you want to voice your concerns with a yard sign, send an e-mail to yard-sign@wallingfordcc.org or order one through their website by CLICKING HERE.

Here are some good ideas that City Hall has ignored:

  1. RETHINK BOUNDARIES: The upzones for Wallingford across I-5 make no sense; City Hall should just admit that and reduce that upzone until the Wallingford neighborhood receives sufficient transit services and public school capacity to handle the increased growth. For more info on Wallingford upzone, published by the Wallyhood blog, CLICK HERE and HERE.
  2. PREVENT DEMOLITIONS and DISPLACEMENT: Prevent economic gentrification by requiring One-For-One Replacement of affordable housing units demolished. (Helping to prevent displacement is the Seattle Displacement Coalition. For their coverage of Mayor Murray’s visit to the U District CLICK HERE and for their report estimating displacement, CLICK HERE. For City Hall’s “Displacement Report,” CLICK HERE. For a recent Seattle Times article on both “sides,” CLICK HERE. )
  3. KEEP IT FUNKY: Save the eclectic Stores to Adore (think Scarecrow Video, Gargoyles, and hardware stores). Funky stores that keep the neighborhood fun and vibrant cannot afford high rent. The U District upzone will encourage landlords to sell out to developers eager to demolish and build more expensive buildings whose rent only chain stores and banks can afford. Learn the lessons from Jane Jacobs in her seminal work, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” (CLICK HERE).
  4. WIDEN SIDEWALKS: Increase the width of sidewalks (by increasing the “setbacks” of new buildings), so that families can stroll both ways without spilling into traffic.
  5. IMPACT FEES: Make developers pay their fair share of the cost of growth. By charging Impact Fees (as wise leaders do in jurisdictions throughout Washington and the nation), for-profit developers in Seattle would finally contribute to the building of new schools or fire stations. If the City had started charging Impact Fees 10 years ago, it would have generated enough money to build at least 5 new elementary schools.
  6. AFFORDABLE HOUSING: BUILD IT IN U DISTRICT: Require the affordable housing units to be built in the same neighborhoods as the upzones. The irony of labeling neighborhood activists (who actually welcome affordable housing) as racist NIMBY’s is absurd when it’s the for-profit developers who explicitly refuse to put the affordable housing in their own developments.
  7. AFFORDABLE HOUSING: REQUIRE MORE: Increase the amount of affordable housing that must be built. The current percentages (under 10%) are too low. And downtown and South Lake Union are getting away with even lower numbers — shameful.  While supporters of HALA say, increasing the amount of affordable housing will make it harder to build any housing, City Hall refuses to make public the numbers on how much profit it is generating and giving away to developers.

HEIGHTS: Our concern is not with the proposed building heights or more density in the U District. Our concern is with the downsides that have not been mitigated and the existing residents who have been ignored. Dramatically and suddenly increasing heights — when owners can already build higher per EXISTING zoning — provides a monetary windfall (increased value) for landowners that, in turn, fuels land speculation / demolitions — AND yet our elected officials are driving this upzone at the behest of for-profit developers and the UW, rather than listening to residents or prioritizing the prevention of economic displacement.

A sad example is the PUBLIC PLAZA idea. While we were not huge fans of the proposed public plaza over the new light rail station at Brooklyn Ave, clearly neighbors wanted it. Yet, as usual, the City, Sound Transit, and UW ignored them. Once a building is constructed on that space, we forgo the option of the plaza. So why not do what the people want and try out the plaza first? The monied interests control the agenda, not the residents.

For a map showing how new zoning changes impact your neighborhood, CLICK HERE.

Progressives in Seattle need to wake up and stop being duped by the developer-politician coalition posing as environmentalists, journalists, or affordable housing advocates. Follow the money. If someone pushes a policy, ask, “Are they paid or employed to be here? Who funded their campaign? Who is paying their salary?” The fact that regular families need to spend hundreds of hours just trying to get their elected officials to listen and do their jobs is maddening. Communities have little choice but to demand that City Hall turn off the bulldozers, fold up the cranes, and start over before they harm neighborhoods just to benefit for-profit developers.

1 Meeting to Connect

City Budget P.R.I.D.E. (Also, “Bonus Meeting” to express Upzone concerns)

NEW BONUS MEETING: Also concerned about the proposed “Upzone on Steroids” proposed for our U District and surrounding neighborhoods? Attend public hearing Wed, Nov 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Hotel Deca, 4507 Brooklyn Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105.


MEETING to CONNECT:  Remember when Northeast Seattle’s Rob Johnson and other Councilmembers were criticized for bailing out the failed Pronto bike scheme with millions of your tax dollars? Now our City Council is going to decide how to spend BILLIONS of your tax dollars. So this season’s Meeting to Connect is the CITY BUDGET CALENDAR. (see below)

All meetings are inconveniently located downtown at City Hall when most of us are busy at work. While this means mostly lobbyists and interest groups “paid to be in the room” can attend, we hope you can attend at least one meeting to have your voice heard.  For directions on schlepping yourself down to City Hall, CLICK HERE.

To have the most influence, get into your time machine back to March when the city’s executive departments were putting together their initial budgets. To have the most influence today (when earnest City Council staffers are running around like their hair is on fire only to change less than 5% of the budget), attend these meetings at City Hall:

  • Mon, Oct 17: 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Tues, Oct 18 & Wed, Oct 19: 9:30 a.m.
  • Mon, Oct 24: 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Mon, Oct 31: Revenue “update” (a.k.a. Mayor reveals more money from under the city couch cushions so that City Council can sprinkle it onto the squeaky wheels or additional pet projects).
  • Wed, Nov 2, Wed Nov 9, and Thurs, Nov 10: 9:30 a.m.

For the entire budget calendar, CLICK HERE. For the Seattle Time article covering the Mayor’s initial budget presentation from Sept 26, CLICK HERE.

When attending these meetings or scheduling individual meetings with Councilmembers, join the call for these 5 budget reforms:

1. Performance Measures
2. Real Equity
3. Impact Fees
4. Details
5. Expert Analysis

Let’s ask City Hall to have some P.R.I.D.E. in the democratic document that should reflect our values as a city.

1. Performance Measures: When you spend someone else’s money, you show respect and care by measuring results. But the $5 billion city budget fails. Here’s what the budget should include on each program. If not, City Council should freeze spending on the program until the city department provides it:

  • Quantify Needs: Based on reliable data, what are the specific needs to be addressed? Not a sob story or sales pitch, but actual data. (Example: # of Seattle residents who are un-sheltered and # of homeless traveling to Seattle from outside the State).
  • Quantify Goals (Outcomes):  What are the positive outcomes we seek to accomplish to meet those needs? Not inputs (# of intake forms filled out) or outputs (# of shelter beds filled), but outcomes (# of formerly un-sheltered King County residents now in permanent homes).
  • Track Progress: How will you measure progress toward those goals? By spending $50 million each year, we anticipate achieving __% of the outcome each year.
  • Use Only Evidence-Based Strategies:  What’s the plan and what’s the evidence it should succeed? Don’t talk in circles about un-tested schemes that sound sweet when you can implement what other cities have proven to be effective. (Example: “Housing First” strategy. For more, CLICK HERE.)

2. Real Equity: “Equity” is a word spouted constantly by city officials these days. “Equity” means fairness. Equity is different from “equality” because we do not all start from the same “starting line” in terms of income, education, and opportunity. Collecting, allocating, and spending our tax dollars should be done equitably. This is why it is maddening that the State government does not tax even the highest incomes while the city government fails to measure results (see above) or charge developer Impact Fees (see below). Then there is how City Hall chooses to spend our money.

The proposed $151 million to build a line of streetcars downtown is a glaring example of in-equity. The so-called “Center City Connector” streetcar is on track to be next “Police Bunker” budget boondoggle because it is:

  • Unfair: it benefits only downtown.
  • Costly: $150 million, including $50 million of your city tax dollars.
  • Redundant: buses, light rail, and taxis already saturate downtown.

City Council should cancel this “Streetcar Named Quagmire” and invest the funds in real priorities that advance equity, such as reducing homelessness. Why spend $150 million on a streetcar when people are sleeping in the streets?

For a recent article that interviews a national transit expert on the pitfalls of streetcars, CLICK HERE. For an article on another major way City Hall could advance real equity — by reforming its rich pension benefits —  CLICK HERE.

3. Impact Fees. Speaking of inequity…while much of our city budget is spent to make our city better, the developers and land speculators who profit from our great city do not pay their fair share as they do in cities across the state and nation.

Impact Fees are one-time fees that developers / investors of new building projects pay to a city to help offset increased infrastructure costs caused by the new developments and their new occupants. Impact fees are used to pay for public schools and fire stations (two things needed as more people move into the City). Instead, City leaders have consistently goaded current homeowners and renters to pay for larger tax levies rather than charging the developers a dime. (See Sound Transit tax vote.)

If the City had started charging Impact Fees 10 years ago, it would have generated enough money to build at least 5 new elementary schools. Having the courage and common sense to implement Impact Fees would have helped to prevent the overcrowded classrooms that kids, parents, and teachers suffer through every day in Seattle.

For a local poll showing overwhelming support for Impact Fees, CLICK HERE. For the Municipal Research Services Center website on Impact Fees in Washington State, CLICK HERE. For the website on Impact Fees throughout the U.S., CLICK HERE.

4. Details. The city budget has lots of words and lots of pages, but it is missing what matters: details.  The money is divided into huge buckets (“Budget Control Levels” or BCLs) that the Mayor and his Departments can drive a truck through. (See page 10 of budget, by CLICKING HERE).

Once each vague “BCL” is approved, the Departments can do whatever the heck they want within that huge bucket. When exercising its check-and-balance powers to review the budget, the City Council spends half of its time trying to figure out which program is in which bucket (BCL). Can you imagine your family budget having a huge, vague line item called “Stuff.” Here is just one example:

Business Services Program“: $15 million proposed for 2017-18. The budget document is obnoxiously vague: “to provide direct services to businesses and to support a healthy business environment that empowers businesses to develop, grow, and succeed.” Well, that’s just swell. (page 266 of the budget).  The efforts might be highly effective, but what are the individual programs? Where are the performance measures? What if City Council instead wants to invest these funds to prevent more small neighborhood businesses from being displaced by high-priced real estate development? The budget needs details to enable decisions.

City Council should require the executive branch to scrap the vague “BCL” method of budgeting which is unique to Seattle, and budget by individual programs and line items with performance measures.

5. Expert Analysis of Expensive Projects and Pensions.
When interest groups lobby the Mayor and City Council for large projects, there is no standard analysis of costs or benefits. There is no required verification of “Sources & Uses” to determine when (or if) city funds are needed. Remember the infamous North Precinct Police Station whose costs ballooned to the most expensive such project in the nation. The sticker shock literally had people in the streets demanding city leaders to “block the bunker” and re-focus their spending priorities on the homeless.

With so little time to review the $5 billion budget and with no financial experts on hand to help, City Council practically ignores four massive cost areas:

  1. the Capital Budget (a.k.a. Capital Improvement Program) which builds stuff like the Police Precinct;
  2. City Light (your electric bills);
  3. Seattle Public Utilities (your bills for water and trash/recycling); and
  4. Retirement Benefits for city government employees.

The City Council should expand its budget review muscle by temporariliy engaging financial experts to develop standard and detailed analyses of capital projects with a goal of finding savings rather than being at the mercy of the executive departments or interest groups that have been thinking all year about how to spend more of your tax dollars for themselves.

1 Meeting to Connect

Endorsement Meeting: 43rd Legislative District

Our state govt reps have a lot of work to do — from funding our public schools to reforming our tax system to providing more for affordable housing.

That’s why the August 2 election is so important. I have endorsed Nicole Macri (pictured here) for our 43rd Legislative District, because Nicole has real experience creating affordable housing (results rather than rhetoric). Nicole also knows how to empower the homeless into homes (using proven best practices, rather than making up stuff).

There is another attribute that sets Nicole apart: She “speaks Truth to Power” — a refreshing and meaningful approach because “Seattle nice” and conflict-averse incumbents often let problems linger. To get a sense of Nicole, imagine Bernie Sanders’ passion for justice seasoned by Hillary Clinton’s experience fueled by the tenacity of the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch.That’s what our state government in Olympia needs!

There are other good choices for State Rep including Scott Forbes. For an official list of all of the candidates, CLICK HERE.

Find out who you would support by attending this season’s “Meeting to Connect“:

the ENDORSEMENT MEETING for (1) your representative in State government (Olympia) and (2) your Member of the U.S. Congress (the other Washington).

Northeast Seattle is represented by two State legislative districts: 43rd and 46th.

The 43rd includes Eastlake, Wallingford, U District, and Ravenna. The 43rd is currently represented by Rep Frank Chopp as well as State Senator Jamie Pedersen.

The 46th includes Bryant, Hawthorne Hills, Laurelhurst, and Wedgwood. The 46th is currently represented by State Reps Farrell and Pollet as well as Senator Frockt.

All of Northeast Seattle is included in the 7th Congressional District. With the retirement of Congressman Jim McDermott, there is a rare open seat for the U.S. of House of Representatives. The reason for the election August 2 in the 43rd Legislative District? The other state rep is leaving his post to run for that congressional seat. Musical chairs? Yes.  At this season’s Meeting to Connect, however, you can knock off “two birds with one stone” by learning about both contests: the 43rd State legislative district and the 7th Congressional.

You do NOT need to be a member to attend (you need to be a dues paying member just to “vote” for the endorsements). You also do NOT need to be a registered Democrat to attend. If you have not witnessed a Legislative District endorsement meeting, it is an intense spectacle to behold. Be warned that the meeting will appear hectic and the room will be crowded. Fortunately, it will not be as crowded as the infamous caucuses.

To confirm your State legislative district AND U.S. Congressional district, CLICK HERE.

REMINDER: We encourage you to Vote YES for the Seattle Housing Levy by August 2.
For more information on the benefits of the Seattle Housing Levy (which has NOTHING to do with City Hall’s controversial “H.A.L.A.” policies), CLICK HERE.

Whatever you do this summer, VOTE. Let the halls of power hear the voice of Northeast Seattle.

1 Meeting to Connect

Forum on City Hall’s Proposed Upzone of Our U District

Does your City Hall listen? Does it seem like politicians craft plans behind closed doors, announce their position, and only then ask for your “input”? Have you attended a “community meeting” only to find it dominated by officials cheerleading their plans? When elected officials really want to know how the public feels, do they conduct a political poll instead?

The most recent example may be when Rob Johnson, City Councilmember for much of Northeast Seattle, announced the $50 billion proposal for Sound Transit 3 (which would cost an “average” household nearly $400 per year). Johnson immediately tweeted his support for this new transportation tax and only then asked his constituents for input.

But community meetings can still be meaningful, especially when organized by neighborhood groups. Many Northeast Seattle neighbors are concerned that City Hall’s proposal for a massive upzone of the U District would tear down existing storefronts and reduce affordability for everyone, including renters. This season’s “Meeting to Connect” is for neighbors who want their voices heard:

The city government is funded by and established to serve the public — not campaign contributors, giant institutions, or interest groups. Yet here is some reasonable neighborhood input from the U District that City Hall has apparently ignored:

  • Before any new upzone is approved, require a more thorough analysis of the proposed upzone AND specify solutions to mitigate negative impacts on existing residents and stores. For example, complete a separate Displacement Risk Analysis (e.g. analyzing whether less affordability and/or more construction disruptions could force existing residents and neighborhood businesses to move). (See State law RCW 43.21C.420.)
  • Add a park, high quality preschools, meaningful quantities of new affordable housing, and other public benefits in exchange for giving away the extra heights.
  • Collect Impact Fees to build an elementary school.
  • Make sure buildings are setback to avoid shrinking sidewalks.
  • Adopt measures to ensure no net loss of affordable housing, including a requirement that developers replace any affordable housing that they demolish.
  • Help locally owned businesses stay open during construction.
  • When the mitigants and benefits above are secured, increase only some of the existing heights — and do it on a human scale to cultivate community — not to create concrete canyons. Existing zoning ALREADY allows for taller buildings. Increasing it too much fuels profiteering by real estate speculators. For areas that truly need more density for public safety “eyes on the street“, increase it to a reasonable scale, but 30 stories in a neighborhood is overkill.

While the city government and University of Washington sponsored “Community Conversations“, no neighbors attending were clamoring for 30-story buildings.  In fact, there was diverse and vocal outright opposition to dramatic changes. Yet the city is going ahead with the massive upzone anyway. Who is driving this train? The University of Washington, landowners, and real estate speculators? Why is there a disturbing air of inevitability when we now have Councilmembers elected to represent their neighborhoods? Are they listening?

Many Northeast Seattle neighbors are concerned that the campaign contributions from real estate speculators will encourage elected officials to ignore real community input. But a growing number of underdog groups have been challenging the special interests who lobbied for the upzones. The underdog groups are challenging the city’s Environmental Impact Statement and the Hearing Examiner’s decision.  The underdogs want to hear more from you at this meeting.

NEIGHBORHOOD: To learn more about U District, see the “1 Fun to Enjoy” section in this edition of 4 to Explore.

BONUS “MEETING TO CONNECT”: Sound Transit is holding a meeting in Ballard on Tues, April 19 to discuss their $50 billion ST3 proposal. If Microsoft is not chipping in to pay for the proposed light rail extension to their headquarters in Redmond, maybe Microsoft will at least pay for the snacks at these meetings? For the other ST3 meetings, CLICK HERE.

1 Meeting to Connect

Debuts & Discoveries at Magnuson Park (with University Sunrise Rotary)

Finally a “Meeting to Connect” that involves the sampling of local beers. “4 to Explore” typically encourages you to attend community councils and land use meetings, so here’s a gathering this season that offers more zest: DEBUTS & DISCOVERIES AT MAGNUSON PARK. The catch is that the “meeting” is hosted by one of Northeast Seattle’s Rotary Clubs, so you might be tempted by community service in addition to the food and drink.

At this annual event, you and your friends will enjoy samples of the newest local wines, beers, ciders and food trucks while meeting with neighbors in Northeast Seattle.

According to their website, “University Sunrise Rotary presents a tasting smorgasbord of the latest local beverage creations. Complementing these new flavors in the historic Sandpoint Naval Air Station Hangar in Magnuson Park will be the varied bites of the hottest new food trucks. Purchase bottles of the beverages that you liked best as you leave!

This event’s primary proceeds go to the Outdoors for All Foundation, which enriches the lives of thousands of children and adults with disabilities through adaptive recreation activities like skiing, cycling, hiking, river rafting, kayaking, camping, and rock-climbing.”

The University Sunrise Rotary Club meets every Thursday at 7:15 a.m. at Ivars Salmon House in Wallingford.

Before sipping the fine local wines at the Debuts & Discoveries event on Feb 27, arm yourself with the hot issues flowing through every issue of “4 to Explore.”  For the Issues page of our “4 to Explore” website, CLICK HERE. Dazzle the other guests with your knowledge of troubling upzones, leveraging developer impact fees, promising strategies for homelessness, and the king of crowd-pleasers: reforming City Hall pensions!

BONUS MEETING:  To learn more about Magnuson Park, visit the Magnuson Park Advisory Committee on the 2nd Wednesday of each month (Jan 9, Feb 10, March 9, etc) at 6:00 p.m. in the Building 30 conference room.  There is so much important activity at this huge former naval air station, including soccer leagues, the new Waldorf High School, the Tennis Center, the arts at S.P.A.C.E., theatrical performances, the Friends of the Sand Point Magnuson Park Historic District, and the new large apartment project from Mercy Housing on Sand Point Way.

RADIATION UPDATE: In January 2015, “4 to Explore” reported on the slower than anticipated clean up of the radiation at the north end of Magnuson Park — and the frustrating lack of info from our City’s Parks Department. Here is an update:

  • Washington State Department of Health (DOH) website retrieved Jan 2, 2016:  “Cleanup of low-level radiation in and around Building 2 and 27…finished at the end of May 2015. The U.S. Navy and Seattle Parks will continue to research, assess, and test other areas of the park to make sure these areas were the only ones with radiation contamination.
  • Washington State Department of Ecology website retrieved Jan 2, 2016: “Seattle Parks and Recreation has contracted with Thomas Gray and Associates, Inc., a health physics consulting firm to do an independent radiation survey and sampling project in five areas of the park. The areas include: the “Solid Ground” housing area, the off-lease dog park, the children’s play area, the amphitheater and ‘The Pea Patch’ community vegetable gardens. Contact Seattle Parks and Recreation for more information “
  • U.S. Navy:  The Navy’s final reports were not available on the Navy website when we first checked, perhaps due to a technical oversight or glitch. After we inquired recently, the Navy made sure they were posted. For the most recent report on the U.S. Navy website, CLICK HERE.The status indicates “Completed site cleanup…” The report further states, “This is the last Weekly Report on the U.S. Navy funded Time Critical Removal Action at the former Sand Point Naval Air Station. The TCRA has been completed. The next phase is the completion of the final report which is anticipated to be published on this public website in Winter 2015.”
  • City of Seattle Parks Department: Even though the City owns Magnuson Park and the Dept of Ecology refers readers to the Parks Dept, there is still NO info on the City Parks website about the radiation clean-up — except for referring readers back to the state government. When we inquired with the Parks Dept, they responded, “The Dept of Ecology has the latest information on Buildings 2 and 27 on their web page. That is the best source of information for that project – this is why we have links posted for their pages. As for the sampling of five areas of the park, we are reviewing the reports provided to us by Thomas Gray and Associates, Inc. and will be sending out information to the community about the results. This will also be posted on the web site.”

To see where Buildings 2 and 27 are located, as well as the other areas referenced, here, CLICK HERE for a map.

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