4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter

 

1 Store to Adore

14 Carrot Cafe in Eastlake

Hungry for an informal and delicious brunch, but you’ve already enjoyed most breakfast places between Wallingford and Wedgwood? Jaunt across the University Bridge to explore the Eastlake breakfast joint 14 Carrot Cafe.

14 CARROT CAFE, this season’s Store to Adore, bucks the trend of social media and relies instead on word-of-mouth and neighborhood newsletters like Eastlake News and this here 4 to Explore.org. When we asked why they have no website, they said, “We are super old school, so we have little online presence. We just serve anything you can possibly imagine for breakfast.” Well said, When you have anything you can possibly imagine, who need’s an online menu?!

Written on their actual menu is some of their story: “The 14 Carrot Cafe nests in the historical Hines Public Market building on the Eastside of Lake Union.”  With so much being demolished in Seattle by new real estate developments, our need to appreciate and preserve the city’s history is becoming more urgent. 14 Carrot Cafe says, “Enjoy an organic breakfast and lunch with a side of Seattle history.” 

14 Carrot Café opened 41 years ago in 1977 when the new Seattle Mariners first played in the new Kingdome, George Lucas blew our minds with the first Star Wars film (yes, I know it’s Episode IV) and the top songs included Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night” and Debbie Boone’s “You Light Up My Life.”

As the brighter spring weather encourages more exploration, head down to Eastlake for a family brunch at 14 Carrot Café:

  • LOCATION: 2305 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102
  • HOURS: Mon-Fri 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Sat/Sun 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • MENU WITH ANYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE FOR BREAKFAST? Yes.
  • UNIQUE SESEME SEED (TAHINI) FRENCH TOAST? Duh.

But don’t take our word for it, CLICK HERE to check out their reviews on YELP!

Northeast Seattle breakfast places featured by 4toExplore.org over the past 5 years:

If you eat donuts for breakfast, you could also include Top Pot in Wedgwood. Or, if you count spicy “breakfast pizza” as breakfast, there’s Mioposto in Bryant.

But we want to hear from you, so please let us know your favorite breakfast place in Northeast Seattle. Contact our family at alex@4toExplore.org

NEIGHBORHOOD: The 14 Carrot Cafe is located next to the Eastlake Zoo Tavern. Other Eastlake stores featured by 4toExplore include Pazzo’s Pizza 2307 Eastlake Ave E.

Sadly, the beloved Louisa’s Cafe/Bakery/Bar, which operated for 20 years, closed. Echoing the burdens small businesses face in neighborhoods throughout Seattle — including higher taxes and disruption from street projects — the owner of Louisa’s told the Seattle Times, “The business just couldn’t support the costs to continue”. The final entry on Yelp said, “Louisa’s will be missed. And its closure was a shock to the immediate neighborhood.” The new eatery in that space is The Otter Bar & Burger.

To explore more of the Eastlake neighborhood, checkout the Eastlake Community Council website or Facebook page.

Because Eastlake is sandwiched between lovely Lake Union and I-5, the quality of life for existing residents and businesses is often put at risk by short-sighted city “planning” that allows over-development without adequate transit and parking.

1 Meeting to Connect

Ravenna-Bryant Annual Meeting and other Community Councils

No matter which neighborhood you call home in Northeast Seattle, there is a Community Council of active volunteers who track important local issues, lead frequent meetings to inform the public, and raise concerns to government officials.

The community council covering one of the largest geographic areas in Northeast Seattle is the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA).

To learn about RBCA’s key accomplishments for the neighborhoods in 2017, CLICK HERE. Most recently, the RBCA has been advocating for traffic-calming, pedestrian safety measures on Northeast 65th Street.

This season’s “Meeting to Connect” is the annual gathering of the RAVENNA-BRYANT COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION.

  • WHAT: general membership annual meeting of the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (you don’t need to be a member to attend)
  • WHEN: Monday, April 2, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center at 6535 Ravenna Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115
  • WHO: you, your neighbors, and city officials — including the Assistant Chief of the Seattle Police Department (SPD)
  • WHY: because you love where you live

Board members of RBCA (and most community councils) meet monthly and bring a diversity of views on how to be good stewards for the neighborhoods. The current chair is Inga Manskopf, with previous chairs including Sarah Swanberg and former candidate for City Council Tony Provine. Add your voice to the mix.

The Special Guest will be Assistant Chief of Seattle Police Department Steve Wilske. As we know, Northeast Seattle has suffered its share of significant crime incidents, including the recent home invasion and shooting in Bryant, scary school lock-downs, frequent bank robberies (such as Key Bank in Wedgwood), and the horrific multiple shooting at Cafe Racer.

The Assistant Chief can answer your questions and will likely advise us to call 9-1-1 for nearly every public safety concern, even if it’s not an emergency because it enables SPD to use those statistics to deploy resources, such as police patrols.

Crime Prevention Coordinator: If you would like to talk to someone at SPD about crime prevention techniques, ongoing crime problems in your neighborhood, getting involved in Block Watch, and setting up a meeting to train you and your neighbors on crime prevention tips, contact Mary.Amberg@seattle.gov or call her at 206-684-7711.

One of the best ways to get involved in your neighborhood is to attend the community council in your neighborhood and subscribe to their newsletters. Click on the links below to see their next monthly meeting:

To subscribe to RBCA’s e-newsletter, CLICK HERE. The Ravenna Blog seems to be most active on Twitter, which you can access by CLICKING HERE.

MORE “MEETINGS TO CONNECT” (from the sample of Northeast Seattle community groups listed above):

  • WHAT: University Park Community Club (UPCC) shares information about “Mobility” around the incoming Sound Transit light rail station at Brooklyn Ave NE in the heart of the U District.
  • WHEN: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: University Lutheran Church at 16th Ave NE and NE 50th St Seattle, WA 98108
  • WHO: you and your neighbors and local transportation experts
  • WHY: because you want to learn more about the light rail station that opens in 2021. Will there be a way to drive there and drop off your family members?

Community Councils of connected neighborhoods used to join together to collaborate and share information at a district level, forming 13 District Councils across Seattle. Disappointingly, Former Ed Murray abandoned the all-volunteer District Councils. Some believe he did this because many of those groups were opposing the centerpiece of his H.A.L.A. recommendations: the top-down, back-room deal to grant citywide upzones to real estate developers in exchange for funding some affordable housing in the future. The irony is that the volunteers still meet in neighborhoods throughout the City, while the former Mayor was abandoned.

Neighborhoods endure. But it takes neighbors like you to keep them going. Connect!

1 Fun to Enjoy

Fiddler on the Roof in Roosevelt

Couldn’t score tickets to Hamilton? The next best thing is performed by Roosevelt! That’s Roosevelt High School here in Northeast Seattle. Bring the entire family to a show.  Avoid downtown traffic for a low pressure outing that supports the budding thespians in your neighborhood. During Roosevelt High School’s open house, we heard the teachers and students proudly announce the upcoming performances including their epic Spring musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”

While you may already know about Roosevelt High’s Jazz Band and their annual performance of the Jazz Nutcracker, our neighborhood high school also boasts a top-rate drama program.

This season’s “Fun to Enjoy” is “FIDDLER ON THE ROOF” at ROOSEVELT HIGH.

  • WHAT: “Fiddler on the Roof,” a live musical and dramatic performance
  • WHEN: May 24, 25, 31st and June 1 and 2, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. (also Sunday, June 3 at 2:30 p.m.)
  • WHERE: Roosevelt High School’s Theater at 1410 NE 66th Street, Seattle, WA 98115. For a map, CLICK HERE.
  • PARKING? Yes.
  • For tickets, CLICK HERE. (on sale starting May 1, 2018.)

For other shows put on by the Roosevelt High School drama department, including The Variety Show in April, CLICK HERE.

As you may know, Fiddler on the Roof is about the Jewish family of Tevye, the local dairyman (“I have 5 daughters!”) of a vulnerable village within Imperial Russia during the early 1900’s. The family and their neighbors struggle with changes as the evil czar tries to force them out of the neighborhood to make room for others.  Famous songs include “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker“, “To Life,” and “Sunrise, Sunset.” I am hoping that the wedding scene features the nail-biting, balancing bottle dance. According to Wikipedia, “Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years until Grease...It won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned five Broadway revivals and a highly successful 1971 film adaptation.

FUN FACTS ABOUT ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL:

  • Number of Students: 1,700 (approx)
  • Origin of Name: President Theodore Roosevelt
  • Mascot: The Rough Riders
  • Year Established: 1922
  • Famous Alumni: Noble Prize winner Linda B. Buck; Cartoonist Linda Barry; musician Sir Mix-a-Lot; Joe Rantz, the powerful rower of “Boys in the Boat;” and Dan Evans, former Governor and U.S. Senator.

MORE FUN THIS SEASON:

  • Flights of Fancy: Art Show at The Gargoyle Statuary on The Ave in the U District, Opening Night: Fri, March 16, 2018 from 6-9 p.m. (runs thru April 17).
  • Debuts & Discoveries: Food, wine, and fun at Hangar 30 in Magnuson Park, Sat, March 17, 2018 from 5-9 p.m. hosted by the University Sunrise Rotary Club. For tix, CLICK HERE.
  • Best of the Northwest Arts & Fine Crafts show – 30th Anniversary – Sat, March 24 and Sun, March 25, also at Hangar 30 in Magnuson Park.
  • Caspar Babypants Music:  For fun for the tiny music lovers in your family, CLICK HERE for a concert at the Neptune Theatre in the U District on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Learn more about the Roosevelt neighborhood, named after former President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. Check out the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association (RNA) and read their publication “The Roosie.” While the RNA typically hosts an annual “Bull Moose” Festival, they are not able to in 2018 due to lack of time / volunteer power :(.  So, neighbors, that’s a call to action:  for several ways to get involved and boost the RNA, CLICK HERE. The RNA continues to have monthly meetings about key events and issues in the neighborhood, including the proposed mixed-used, 245-unit affordable housing project that will sit on top of the light rail station opening in 2021.

The Roosevelt neighborhood is going through a lot of changes with the light rail station and upzones (the big red crane has been a recent fixture). One of our first Stores to Adore already closed Peaks Frozen Custard and many other may be pushed out by demolitions and rising rents on cherished neighborhood businesses such as Teddy’s Tavern. We at 4toExplore.org have featured a few more including Rain City Burgers, Bengal Tiger, and India Bistro.

1 Issue to Engage

A Sustainable City

As the spring weather brings forth sunshine and blossoms, it would be wonderful if City Hall could re-craft some of its more controversial policies to reduce the dramatic discussions dividing our communities. So many discussions are dominated by the “D” word: “Density.” Communities and interest groups battle each other every week over former Mayor Ed Murray’s backroom deal for real estate developer upzones. Our own Councilmember in Northeast Seattle carries the torch for that divisive policy.

If you’re a fan of legendary urban thinker/activist Jane Jacobs, you know that she viewed density (“concentration”) as just one of four necessary elements for vibrant communities (“exuberant diversity”). In her view, the other 3 elements were equally necessary: mixed uses, small blocks, and older buildings.

We also want vibrant communities to endure. Therefore, another overarching goal that transcends density is SUSTAINABILITY.

According to Wikipedia, “There remains no completely agreed upon definition for what a sustainable city should be…Generally, developmental experts agree that a sustainable city should meet the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Think of a balanced diet that sustains us. To endure, you need a balance. Build, baby, build — construction cranes are the carbs. But too many carbohydrates can make you sick. And you can’t live on carbs alone. You need water and protein as the balancing foundation. Water would be core city services like streets, safety, and…water. Protein would be the people. And you don’t displace protein to make room for new protein; you slowly build upon the muscle that you’ve got. This analogy is making me hungry, so I’ll move on.

Seattle’s present course is not sustainable. Presently, there are many needs not being met by city leaders, even with a $5 billion city budget: we need more schools, better bus service, more affordable housing now (not waiting to build the affordable housing several years from now or waiting decades for expensive tiny units to age in place).

To add fuel to the fire, the upzones on steroids that incentivize rapid growth are not coupled concurrently with other services and amenities to sustain our Emerald City’s livability for our children and grandchildren. In other words, City Hall’s jolting land use policies are sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Here are some ideas to re-focus Seattle leaders on Sustainability:

  1. A sustainable city strives to sustain the people who live here already and does not push them out with higher taxes or real estate development upheavals.
  2. A sustainable city builds schools, parks, and transit as it grows. (BTW, public schools should not be considered a mere “amenity”; they are a constitutional necessity for an informed representative democracy.)
  3. A sustainable city gets developers to pay their fair share of the growth through Impact Fees, like those used by cities across the state and nation.
  4. A sustainable city gets developers to build affordable housing on site, instead of allowing them to exclude low-income families by writing a check to City Hall.
  5. A sustainable city focuses on ecology, not ideology.
  6. A sustainable city — one that really cares about the environment — preserves its trees and plants more; it does not turn a blind eye to profiteers ripping them out one-by-one across the city.
  7. A sustainable city protects and provides access to its waterways (For example, focus on preventing raw sewage from being dumped in Puget Sound or Lake Washington instead of grandstanding about issues outside of King County.)
  8. A sustainable city supports its existing assets (from the Port of Seattle and its middle class jobs to the charming houseboats that made the city famous on film).
  9. A sustainable city supports its small, neighborhood businesses (Many upzones hurt small businesses that rent their space because the triple net leases allow landlords to pass all increased real estate taxes to the families that own those funky, adorable businesses. Therefore, City Council should not sneak back the harmful upzone of The Ave in the U District! Save The Ave!)
  10. A sustainable city lives within its means. (Thank you, Mayor Jenny Durkan for recognizing that!)
  11. A sustainable city takes care of the basics first. (Yes, it matters that City officials building more buildings don’t know the capacity and vulnerability of our aging sewer lines.)
  12. A sustainable city prioritizes projects after asking residents to pony up a billion dollars to catch up on transportation infrastructure (Mayor Jenny Durkan should pause SDOT’s ill-conceived 35th Ave NE re-paving project by installing just the crosswalks for now because the entire $8 million re-paving lacks urgency, removes bus stops, and ignores the need to build sidewalks throughout the city where families, seniors, & school kids desperately need them now.)
  13. A sustainable city takes care of its vulnerable (including seniors and children with special needs).
  14. A sustainable city is affordable — by keeping steady the regressive utility bills that burden seniors and families with children — instead of allowing them to skyrocket by forcing ratepayers to subsidize other government ventures.
  15. A sustainable city ensures that profits earned in the city are reinvested in the city (instead of hidden offshore or paid to developers from Texas).
  16. A sustainable city employs common sense by replicating best practices from other cities instead of inventing hair-brained schemes on the fly.
  17. A sustainable city analyzes data on recent projects to inform new projects. (Where is the data on the expensive road re-do of Roosevelt Way NE before spending so much to re-pave / re-configure 35th Ave NE?)
  18. A sustainable city does not have leaders who allow their interest groups and campaign donors to demonize neighbors who take time from their busy lives to voice their for concerns.
  19. A sustainable city is where elected officials listen to their constituents — and “listening” does not mean public hearings and blog posts to state concerns — Listening means materially changing / re-crafting government policies and budgets to address the concerns of residents.
  20. Share your ideas at Alex@4toExplore.org

Sustainability is within our ability. And our city’s politicians can achieve true sustainability by living our most important constitutional value of representative democracy — listening to the people who elected you.

Get Results

Find It, Fix It App


For the past year, “4 to Explore” has been reporting graffiti, trash, damaged signs, and other nuisances in an effort to improve our quality of life in Northeast Seattle. Other neighbors have been joining the cause by calling the city’s Customer Service Bureau at 206-684-2489 (which is poorly staffed) or trying the city’s new mobile phone app “Find It, Fix It” (which suffered a slow start last year).

In a positive sign that our city government might finally be getting back to the basics of, well, city government, the new Mayor Ed Murray (1) expanded the phone app to include fixing street lights and illegal dumping and (2) led some of his Department heads in South Seattle on Community Walks using the “Find it, Fix It” app to fix problems and improve safety. Kudos to the thoughtful staff person who originated this idea.  We encourage and welcome these Community Walks in Northeast Seattle, too, but we can also take the initiative with this new tool and clean up our neighborhoods ourselves.

In addition to ad hoc community walks, many cities already have fully staffed 24-hour Call Centers (using the easy to remember 3-1-1). A 3-1-1 Call Center reduces the burden on the 9-1-1 system, provides residents with a single phone number, and enables mayors to track the performance of city staff to keep neighborhoods, parks, and roads clean and safe. (If you’ve ever tried to report graffiti and been bounced around, you would love a 3-1-1 system.) As a city of innovation, Seattle should have a robust 3-1-1 Call Center, too.

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.

Engage More

Read “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs

As bloggers posing as journalists in Seattle reduce people’s heartfelt views and concerns into tweetable labels like “NIMBY” and “Density Demagogues”, it’s important to take a deep breath and seek to understand all sides.

Jane Jacobs is a lighthouse for me. In her seminal work “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” Jacobs wrote, “To generate exuberant diversity in a city’s streets and districts, four conditions are indispensable”

1. “The Need for Mixed Primary Uses” “These must insure the presence of people who go outdoors on different schedules and are in the place for diffferent purposes.”

2. “The Need for Small Blocks” “That is, streets and opportunities to turn corners must be frequent.”

3. “The Need for Aged Buildings.” “The district must mingle buildings that vary in age and condition, including a good proportion of old ones so that they vary in the economic yield they must produce.” “…Hundreds of ordinary enterprises, necessary to the safety and public life of streets and neighborhoods, and appreciated for their convenience and personal quality, can make out succesfully in old buildings, but are inexorably slain by the high overhead of new construction.”

4. “The Need for Concentration” “This includes dense concentration in the case of people who are there because of residence.” “However, it will not do to jump to the conclusion that all areas of high dwelling density in cities do well. They do not, and to assume that this is ‘the’ answer would be to oversimplify outrageously.” “The reason dwelling densities can begin repressing diversity if they get too high is this: At some point, to accommodate so many dwellings on the land, standardization of the buildings must set in. This is fatal, because great diversity in age and types of buildings has a direct, explicit connection with diversity of population, diversity of enterprises and diversity of scenes.”

“The necessity for these four conditions is the most important point this book has to make…The purpose of explaining them one at a time is purely for convenience of exposition, not because any one — or even any three — of these necessary conditions is valid alone. ALL four in combination are necessary to generate city diversity.”

For a summary of the book from Wikipedia, CLICK HERE.

To order the book from a Northeast Seattle bookstore Third Place Books, CLICK HERE.

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