Open house to learn about changes coming to Ballard Playfield

The Ballard Playfield (2644 NW 60th St) will be getting some much-needed improvements next year. Seattle Parks and Recreation will host another informational meeting about the changes this Thursday (August 23) at the Ballard Community Center from 7 to 8pm.

Seattle Parks has set aside $1.6 million for the project, and plans to install two synthetic turf baseball fields, replace the field lighting system, improve ADA access, and install other field enhancements. They say the new lights are high quality, energy-efficient and minimize glare off the field while still providing plenty of light for players on the field, which is used often by community youth leagues.

This is the second meeting Seattle Parks has hosted this summer about the changes – in June they invited the public to learn about the project and ask questions (see meeting notes here). Construction on the playfield should start in summer 2019.

> See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

New exhibit ‘Fintiaanit’ opens today at Nordic Museum

A new exhibit at the Nordic Museum opens today which documents descendents of Finnish immigrants and Native Americans in the American Midwest. Fintiaanit is the joint project of reporter Maria Seppälä, writer Katja Kettu, and photographer Meeri Koutaniemi, who spent three years exploring Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, learning about the lives of the descendents in North America.

From the Nordic:

Arriving at the turn of the 20th century, Finnish immigrants settled in this region to work in the mines and forests of the Upper Midwest, where they gradually forged bonds with members of the Ojibwe tribe. The two groups shared an intimacy with nature and a similar view of the world.

The exhibit, running now until October 8, is based on the project book In the Land of the FinndiansTo learn more about current and future Nordic exhibits, visit their website.


48-unit Ballard apartment building sells for $10.9m

The Ballard 57 apartments at 1731 NW 57th St have just sold for $10.9 million. The 48-unit building was developed by 1731 NW 57th LLC, a company which bought the land in 2014 for $910,000, according to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

The apartment building consists of “energy efficient” studios and one-bedroom apartments. According to Zillow, the studios start at $1,250, while the one-bed, one-bathroom apartments start at $1,450. The apartment building also has a rooftop deck and lounge.

According to King County Records, the buyer is WC Seattle V SPE LLC, associated with the Wilshire Capital Partners of greater Los Angeles.


Hot Sauce Fest is tomorrow at Ballard Commons

The wait is over – tomorrow (Saturday, August 18) is the first-ever Hot Sauce Fest, happening in Ballard Commons Park. In addition to a sampling of some of the best hot sauces in the country, there will be several food trucks, a beverage garden with local beer and cocktails, and a mainstage with performances all day.

The festival, put on by local nonprofit The World is Fun, kicks off at 11am with the cocktail and beer garden, lawn games and kids’ activities. The mainstage gets going at noon with a cocktail demo, followed by stand-up comedy from Monica Nevi at 1pm, and a hot sauce making demo at 2pm. After the demo, there will be a performance from Jeff Greer, interactive games, and stand-up from comedians Brett Hamil and Emmet Montgomery. The mainstage will end with a screening of Nacho Libre at 8:30pm.

Over a dozen hot sauce companies will be offering samples, including Ballyhoo, Secret Aardvark, Fire Flower and Samfuego. At least a dozen food trucks will be at the festival, including Bread Circuses, Hallava Falafel, Full Tilt, Secret Sausage, Galaxy Donuts, Nacho Mamas and more.

For a full line-up and more details about the festival, click here.



> See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

Three women escape house fire in Phinney Ridge

A fire in a house on Phinney Ridge last night is under investigation. Three women were able to exit the home at 6511 2nd Ave NW prior to Seattle Fire’s arrival; there were no reported injuries.

Seattle Fire tells us the cause is still under investigation; however, they do know that the fire started on the exterior and spread to the interior of the house. The estimated loss is $275,000.

We’ll update with any new information.

Photo courtesy Seattle Fire’s Twitter feed

Crossing improvements and park enhancements planned for Ballard

Three park and street improvements are coming to Ballard, thanks to a city program that allows residents to vote on projects to enhance the community. It’s called the Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks & Streets program, in which 51 projects around the city were chosen based on votes from residents. According to the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, 7,200 people voted in this year’s program.

The 51 projects came from a pool of more than 1,000 ideas submitted in February from residents around the city. Five-hundred city volunteers evaluated each submission, and city departments then worked to provide cost estimates for the proposals. The official vote started in June, allowing residents ages 11 and above to choose which projects should be funded.

The city’s budget for the 51 projects is $3 million, with a maximum of $285,000 allocated for each City Council District.

The projects chosen for Ballard include the following:

  • Crossing Improvements at 15th Ave NW and NW Market St (Cost: $35,000, Total Votes: 377)

SDOT will install two new poles and eight accessible pedestrian signal (APS) push buttons for the intersection with audio for the visually impaired. According to the project submission, it’s currently unsafe for visually impaired to cross the intersection to get to nearby bus stops.

  • Improvements on 8th and Leary (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 379)

The project includes the installation of a green box and green bike lane across the intersection of 8th and Leary. According to the submission, the project was suggested because, “the southbound bike lane gets cut off by the Metro bus and other large vehicles taking wide turns.” The improvement will also help bikers headed south on 8th Ave NW to safely cross Leary to get to the Burke Gilman Trail.

  • Improvements at Salmon Bay Park (Cost: $12,550, Total Votes: 307)

The city will replace existing benches and tables and install more along flat grass at West entrance to playground.

For a full map of the submitted projects and ideas, click here.

Photo courtesy


Dogs of Ballard Dog Show is next week

Only a few days left to perfect your pup’s tricks and costumes: next week is the Dogs of Ballard Dog Show in Ballard Commons Park.

On the evening of Tuesday, August 21, the four-legged residents of Ballard will be competing in three different categories: Best in Show, Best Costume, and Best Trick. There will be three awards given for each judged category. The free event is from 6 to 8pm., and will also include giveaways and  The Seattle Barkery food truck will have both human- and dog-friendly bites.

To sign up your dog for one of the categories, click here. They’ll also accept day-of registrations, but contestants have to arrive 30 minutes prior to the show to fill out paperwork.

Dell EMC takes over Cathedral event space for commercial filming

If you walked past Cathedral on Ballard Ave this week, you might have noticed a new sign on the front window: it reads “Dell EMC Cloud Marketplace”. However, it’s a fake storefront, set up for filming a Dell commercial.

Cathedral (5449 Ballard Ave NW), once the home of BalMar and Jones Brothers, now serves as an event space that donates 100 percent of proceeds to charity. According to GeekWire, Dell wanted a “Main Street USA” look, which made Ballard Ave an ideal filming location.

The commercial is timed for the upcoming VMWorld event in Las Vegas, when Dell plans to unveil their Cloud Marketplace internet storefront. The shoot is expected to be short and sweet: they’ll likely get it all done in one day. They’ve made a film set inside, and covered up a nearby utility pole in black fabric. 

“We’re about to start filming the most exciting part,” Ron Gross, creative director at Seattle production company The Distillery told My Ballard this afternoon. “A woman and her dog will be filmed walking out the door onto a green runway, which will have the special effect of walking on air,” Gross said.

“Ballard is a treasure of this city,” Gross said when asked why they chose Ballard for filming. He’s a longtime Ballard resident himself, and said the combination of facades and independent businesses make it perfect for filming.

The production company said they also loved that Cathedral donates all proceeds to charity; they’ve chosen World Relief to receive the proceeds from the two-day rental.

Photo courtesy of GeekWire / Kurt Schlosser

Motorcyclist in stable condition following collision near Shilshole Marina

A man is in serious but stable condition after sustaining serious injuries from colliding with a vehicle near Shilshole Marina yesterday morning.

According to Seattle Police, the collision happened at 9:57am on Tuesday morning in the 7100 block of Seaview Ave. NW. A BMW station wagon was travelling north while a motorcycle was travelling south. The BMW driver turned left in front of the motorcycle and the vehicles collided; the 52-year-old man driving the motorcycle was ejected from the impact. SPD says he suffered significant injuries and was transported to Harborview Medical Center.

The 81-year-old motorist was uninjured* in the collision. SPD says detectives from the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad (TCIS) responded and processed the scene; the incident remains an active and ongoing investigation.

*Typo correction from an earlier version of this story.

Ballard light rail extension open house and forum next month

In September, Sound Transit will be hosting a neighborhood forum and open house to provide the latest information about the route and station locations proposed for the Ballard light rail extension. The meeting will be held on Monday, September 17 from 5:30pm to 8pm at the Ballard Eagleson VFW (2812 NW Market St).

Sound Transit has been gathering public opinion about the potential route and stations; click on the map above to see comments.

The meeting will start with an open house and will provide an opportunity for participants to talk with project staff and learn about the updated project details and concepts for the Smith Cove, Interbay and Ballard stations. Sound Transit will then provide a brief presentation about the planned light rail route development. After the open house, there will be optional small-group discussions to share insights with neighbors and project staff.

Sound Transit is still in the planning phase for the project; they estimate that light rail service to Ballard will begin in 2035. To learn more about the project in its entirety, click here.