The price tag was $599,950, but this Sunset Hill home sold for…

This very average home in Sunset Hill — listed as a “1950’s charmer that needs some cosmetic updates” — sold for a little bit more than the asking price of $599,950.

It sold for $1.15 million. That’s 91.7% more than asking.

But forget the house, let’s look at the property. Located at 8370 Loyal Way, it spans 6,000 square feet. A quick check of the zoning map (.pdf) shows the property is just inside the “Lowrise 2” or L2 zone. “A mix of small scale to multifamily housing such as townhouses, rowhouses and apartments are encouraged,” explains the city of Seattle in its definition of LR2.

The home is right next door to an existing 3-story apartment building, which is next door to the Caffe Fiore and Cocina Esperanza building. Both businesses plan to re-open soon.

Location, location, location.

(Thanks to Andrew Kim for helping us track this down. He was not involved in the sale.)

Story about a Norwegian flag in Greenwood is heard around the world

A few days ago, the Seattle Times got a hot tip. A Greenwood resident said she saw “a Confederate flag flying in front of a house” at N 92nd St. and Palatine Ave. N.

Times reporter Erik Lacitis checked it out, and…

“That’s a Norwegian flag,” said the Norwegian-American man who lives there. “It’s been up there since the start of the Olympics.”

Oops. Unlike the file photo we’re showing in this story, the flag was hanging down on the pole, untouched by the wind.

To her credit, the woman who sent the Times the tip admitted her error and revealed her name, best-selling author Rebecca Morris. But now she’s the subject of stories around the world.

The Times story blew up on social media, and it’s been picked up by the Daily Mail (which believe it or not, is the world’s most popular “news” site) as well as TIME, Sports Illustrated, Breitbart, Russia Today and even the Norwegian channel TV 2.

Not everyone thought it was funny — including some who pointed out it’s not illegal to fly a Confederate flag — so the Seattle Times had to close its comments on the story due to the volume of messages that violated its terms of service. A quick look at Morris’ Facebook page shows a few angry comments, as well.

But one Norwegian resident took it all in stride in a message posted on Facebook.

“The flags are very alike,” he said. “Everyone can do this mistake.”

The story still sits on the top of Seattle Times’ list of most read stories.

Police arrest burglary suspect in Ballard

Police arrested a burglary suspect in Whittier Heights early this morning thanks to some old-fashioned police work and a homeowner armed with a surveillance camera.

It all started when the homeowner, watching a surveillance camera several blocks away, saw a man enter a detached garage near a home under construction in the 800 block of NW 67th Street.

Police responded and saw the suspect running away. “The suspect managed to elude officers by running in between houses, over a fence and into a pond,” explains SPD Detective Mark Jamieson.

That’s when officers discovered a suspicious vehicle with a possible accomplice inside, Jamieson said. “Officers contacted the occupant in the driver’s seat and identified him after he denied any involvement. Officers left, but kept an eye on the vehicle,” he said.

Sure enough, Jamieson said the suspect returned to the vehicle a short time later, and they drove off. Police pulled them over near 11th Avenue NW and NW 70th Street (below), and officer discovered the burglary suspect in the back, covered with blankets, he said.

“Officers were able to compare the physical description of the suspect with the video images provided by the homeowner,” Jamieson said. “The 32-year-old suspect was arrested for the burglary and was later booked into the King County Jail. The driver of the vehicle was identified and released.”

(Thanks to Zach for the photos and tip. We blurred the identity of a man in the photo, as it’s unclear if he’s the suspect or the driver who was not arrested by officers.)

Repair work to disrupt traffic on 8th Ave.

Here’s a traffic advisory for folks who take 8th Ave. NW to and from Holman Rd. in Crown Hill — and for people who live in the neighborhood.

The intersection of 8th Ave. NW and NW 95 St. will become the site of an emergency sewer repair beginning this Monday and lasting five weeks or more, according to Seattle Public Utilities.

Traffic will be restricted to one lane on 8th Ave. NW — with a flagger maintaining order — and the intersection will close from time to time.

NW 95th St. will be closed between Dibble Avenue NW and 7th Ave. NW, and there will be no access to 8th Ave. NW from NW 95th St. Traffic will be detoured around the site, but local access will be maintained, SPU said.

Help the city decide how to spend $3 million

The city of Seattle has received over 1,000 ideas for small-scale improvements to parks and streets, and now it needs help sifting through them all. At stake is $3 million allocated in this year’s budget for the best ideas.

Here’s how it works: The city is holding several meetings in each council district. During these meetings, each district narrows down the list to 8 to 10 ideas. Then those ideas will be put up for a community vote, and a city steering committee will choose how much of the $3 million is allocated to each of the districts.

Got it? Ok, here’s the list of meetings in our district below. In each meeting, neighbors will evaluate ideas that are in close proximity to the meeting’s location (so pick your closest spot.).

“These meetings are simply conversations with neighbors about submitted project ideas in your community,” explains the city. “Participants will discuss the projects in small groups and then individually score ideas based on physical need and community benefit.”

February 23, 6:15 – 8:15pm
Crown Hill Community Center – 9250 14th Ave NW

March 1, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Ballard Branch Library – 5614 22nd Ave NW

March 6, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Fremont Branch Library – 731 N 35th St

March 28, 6 – 8pm
Greenwood Senior Center – 525 N 85th St

For more information, you can visit the Your Voice, Your Choice website here.

Artist painting mural on New Seasons building

Updated: The back of the New Seasons grocery store — along 11th Ave. NW at NW Ballard Way — now features a mural that’s being painted by Seattle artist Jonathan Wakuda Fischer.

Among the Ballard imagery is the Leif Erikson statue, the Ballard Bridge and Bergen Place Park.

New Seasons tells My Ballard they commissioned Wakuda to incorporate local elements from the community, and they’re excited by his unique, Japanese-inspired art. You can see photos and video of Wakuda at work on the mural on his Instagram account.

You may have seen Wakuda’s work around the Seattle area. For example, he painted the mural on the old KEXP building as well as inside the radio station’s new facility at Seattle Center.

Meanwhile, New Seasons appears to be getting closer to opening. We peeked inside and the store is equipped with shelves and register counters. New Seasons says they still expect to open this spring, and the mural should be complete by the end of the month.

Small fuel spill in the Ship Canal

Update: Larry Altose from the Department of Ecology says the spill is dissipating and too thin to recover. It was “likely left by a passing vessel,” he said.

Earlier: The Department of Ecology responded to a small fuel spill in the Ship Canal near the Fremont Bridge this morning.

“You could smell it on the bridge and the Ship Canal trail along Nickerson,” said Amelia Apfel, communications manager for Puget Soundkeeper, who saw the spill. “It was traveling down the Ship Canal towards Salmon Bay. When I called it in Ecology said they already had the report and were responding.”

The Department of Ecology tells us they estimate the spill to be about 4 gallons of what looks to be diesel fuel. “Probably a spill of contaminated bilge water from a departing vessel,” which is a rather common occurrence in this part of the Ship Canal, the department said.

Neverless, Ecology asks that if you spot a spill like this, to please notify them.

(Photo from Amelia Apfel)

Groups push for light rail tunnel into Ballard and new Interbay route

The first wave of light rail feedback from Ballard neighbors has focused on Sound Transit’s plans to build a movable bridge over Salmon Bay.

Many residents suggested a tunnel into Ballard would be less disruptive: light rail would not be interrupted by boat traffic, and businesses and drivers would not be disrupted by the above-ground construction and inevitable lane closures along 15th Ave. W.


Sound Transit video showing a Google Map flyover of the current route

Now that idea is gaining some traction. Two neighborhood groups are formally supporting a tunnel alternative: the North Seattle Industrial Association (NSIA) and the Coalition of Magnolia, Queen Anne and Interbay Neighborhoods.

“It would destroy many of our businesses,” explains the NSIA of Sound Transit’s current plan to run an elevated track down Elliott/15th Ave. in Interbay and across a movable bridge into Ballard. The NSIA pointed to a 2016 letter (.pdf) — signed by most major neighborhood groups in Ballard, Queen Anne, Magnolia and Interbay — that urged Sound Transit to avoid the 15th Ave. route in Interbay and build a tunnel under Salmon Bay to an underground station in Ballard.

The Coalition of Magnolia, Queen Anne and Interbay Neighborhoods agrees. It has created an online petition and organized a letter-writing campaign asking Sound Transit to shift its route to the west of 15th Ave. and consider a tunnel under the bay into Ballard.

Both groups point to a map in that 2016 letter that proposes the alternate route:

The map doesn’t specify a specific route in Interbay, but the Coalition is recommending using 20th Ave. W, just to the west of the railroad tracks and a quarter mile from 15th Ave. The groups suggest running the elevated track up to Dravus, and then tunneling underground into Ballard. The Coalition argues an underground Ballard station would allow more flexibility in future expansion to the north and east of Ballard.

Of course, the tunnel option would cost more money — and potentially lengthen the time horizon on the project as well.

Have an opinion? You only have a few more days to send in your feedback. The public comment period ends March 5th.

Spectacular drone video over Ballard

Photographer and musician Rudy Willingham has been posting some amazing drone photos and videos of Ballard on his Instagram account, and we thought we’d share this one over Salmon Bay. Willingham also wrote the music that accompanies the clip:

He says he’s shooting the video on behalf of Visit Seattle. By the way, his website has one of the coolest home pages we’ve seen in a long time — shot by a drone, of course.