Jewish deli coming to Leary Way


(Photo from @napkinfriends on Twitter)

You may have eaten at the Napkin Friends food truck, perhaps at Stoup Brewing (above) or other places throughout Seattle. The blue truck is best known for its yummy latke press sandwiches.

Now there’s news that the owner, Jonathan Silverberg, is planning to open at Jewish deli in Ballard. Silverberg signed a lease in a new building at 928 NW Leary Way, according to Eater. He plans to call it Schmaltzy’s Delicatessen.

Since the building (.pdf) is still under construction (and will host other companies, as well), the deli won’t open for another year or so. But Silverberg says he plans to hold pop-up events until then.

Port of Seattle buys Salmon Bay Marina

The Port of Seattle has purchased Salmon Bay Marina, a privately-owned operation on five acres just to the west of Fishermen’s Terminal. The price: $15.6 million.

The Port said it bought the marina to protect maritime industrial land and support the growth of Fishermen’s Terminal. The Port has set a goal to double the size of the “commercial fishing business cluster” at Fishermen’s Terminal (you can see the Port’s plans here).

With five docks that support 166 slips, Salmon Bay Marina has been privately owned by the Draper family for 72 years. With the change to public ownership, the Port plans to remove houseboats but continue to serve other boats moored at the facility. The Port is also exploring the potential for “light industrial facilities that could support maritime and manufacturing companies in the area.”

“Salmon Bay Marina is a valuable waterfront property perfectly suited for continued maritime use,” said Eugene Wasserman, President of the North Seattle Industrial Association, in the Port’s press release. “I thank the Port of Seattle for preserving this industrial property that will provide jobs and tax revenue throughout our region.”

A study found commercial fishing activity at Fishermen’s Terminal generates $450 million in business revenue and nearly $40 million in state and local taxes every year, according to the Port of Seattle. The Port says it plans to take over operations at Salmon Bay Marina when the deal closes in 45 to 180 days.

SWAT team arrests burglary suspect


(SWAT vehicles near Fred Meyer. Thank you Valerie for the photo)

Updated: A man ran from police in the 4200 block of 9th Ave. NW this morning, sparking an hour-long standoff that ended in his arrest.

Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson told My Ballard that officers initially thought the suspect might be Christopher Burrus, the man wanted in the burn assault in Ballard last month. Burrus is believed to be still in the Ballard area.

Officers called a SWAT team and negotiator to the scene near the Fred Meyer, and the suspect was taken into custody without incident, Jamieson said. Officers learned the man was not Burrus, but a suspect wanted for felony burglary and theft.

As we wrote earlier this week, there are have been 16 burglaries in the last few days in the greater Ballard area.

Police sweep campers in Ballard Commons

Tuesday PM update: The city of Seattle said its “navigation team” — specially-trained police officers and outreach workers — discovered two people and three structures in Ballard Commons Park on Monday morning. Both people declined the city’s offer for shelter.

Spokesperson Will Lemke tells My Ballard that the city visited the unsanctioned encampment earlier this fall and were able to convince two others to accept the team’s offer of safer shelter. He said the city posted notice of the impending sweep on Dec. 6.

“Even with the authority to remove the encampment immediately, the city chose to conduct outreach to campers in hopes of connecting people living unsheltered to services and shelter and provided notice a week in advance of yesterday’s activities,” Lemke said. “The navigation team, which was launched earlier this year, has been able to successfully move 38% of the people they’ve contacted indoors, which is higher than previous efforts which saw acceptance rates for shelter in the single digits.”

Tuesday AM update: Police officers are keeping an eye on the park this morning. Just a little trash is left behind from Monday’s sweep:

Earlier: After posting a warning several days ago, the city removed several tents in the north end of Ballard Commons Park this (Monday) morning.

Four or five people have called the tents home, but some neighbors have complained about the unauthorized encampment. Others have been supportive, including one neighbor who gave the campers $60, according to a post in the My Ballard forum.

Meanwhile, the Ballard Alliance says the park is “underutilized,” and the merchant group is asking for ideas to make a new children’s play space.

The park will be on the agenda at the next Ballard District Council meeting, December 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Merrill Gardens, 2418 NW 56th St.

Our most memorable stories on My Ballard’s 10th anniversary

A decade ago, we were new to the neighborhood and inspired by the West Seattle Blog and Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. So we decided to start a blog for Ballard, called ourselves the “Geeky Swedes” and published our first post on Dec. 11, 2007.

Little did we know that Ballard was in the early stages of tremendous change. Once a quiet Scandinavian fishing neighborhood — the brunt of good-natured jokes on Almost Live — Ballard was evolving into one of Seattle’s hottest hangouts, attracting many of the city’s best restaurants, bars and shops. Then the apartment and condo complexes began to appear, fueling higher property prices and displacing some of our neighborhood’s history.

Fight to save Denny’s

Our first big neighborhood story turned out to be the fight over the Denny’s restaurant at 15th and Market. Originally called Manning’s, it was a popular neighborhood cafe sporting a unique architectural style called “Googie.” When new owners began to pursue plans to build a condo complex on the property, neighbors rallied about efforts to designate the 44-year-old building as a historic landmark — and they won. Temporarily.

While the decaying Denny’s sat surrounded by chain link fence, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Board agreed to meet again. In a stunning reversal, the board voted that the building’s new landmark status would result in unreasonable financial hardship on the owner. And therefore, the newly-designated landmark could be torn down.

On June 24th, 2008, the Denny’s was demolished.

The end of Sunset Bowl

For outsiders who couldn’t understand why a neighborhood would rally around a Denny’s, they were equally perplexed by Ballard’s affinity with Sunset Bowl, an old, dank bowling alley. But similar to Denny’s, Sunset Bowl was an old neighborhood hangout, a collection of Ballard memories accumulated over the decades.

Advocates attempted to designate the colorful building as a landmark, but failed. They also failed to convince the new owners to build a new bowling alley inside the walls of their planned apartment complex.

On January 20th, 2008 — after a final farewell from a group of former employees — Sunset Bowl was devoured by the metal jaws of change.

Edith Macefield’s last stand

It’s hard to determine exactly when “Old Ballard” and “New Ballard” became part of the neighborhood lexicon; two cultures with opposing views of growth. But we can certainly agree on the face of Old Ballard, forever etched in our neighborhood’s history: Edith Macefield.

Over a year before we launched My Ballard, developers offered Edith $1 million for her small, plain house on NW 46th. St. She had lived in the same home for over half a century, and at 84 years old, she didn’t want to move. So she stood her ground.

Our first stories showed the Ballard Blocks complex slowly rising around her, dump trucks rattling up and down the road. Then on June 17, 2008, Edith Macefield passed away. Her battle was over, but her story was just beginning.

About a year later, Disney released the movie “Up”, which appeared to be inspired by Edith’s stand. The home, fully encapsulated by Ballard Blocks, drew national news coverage and visitors from around the world. Some people who called themselves “Edith Macefield’s Army” even got tattoos of her home. Edith became an inspiration for many.

Her home is still there, but as we’ll update in an upcoming story, the long-running fight to save it may be ending soon.

Black bear runs through Ballard

We’re used to raccoons and the occasional coyote, but when a bear decided to run through the neighborhood on the night of May 18, 2009, it got everyone’s attention.

With My Ballard’s Silver listening to the scanner, we set out to find the black bear, parking next to several police cars in Crown Hill. After a few minutes of walking around, I remember one of the cops telling me, “You should probably get back inside your car.”

But the bear was well ahead of us, heading north in a hurry. While we were unable to snap a photo, Silver’s scanner reports helped create a map that tracked the animal’s likely route from Discovery Park, traversing Ballard, Crown Hill and ultimately heading as far north as Everett.

Greenwood arson fires

An arsonist set 10 fires in Greenwood (map) over several months in 2009. If you lived near Greenwood, you may remember waking to overnight sirens, worrying about the possibility of another fire.

We were helping our sister blog, PhinneyWood, cover the story. We awoke to sirens in the early morning of October 23rd, and covered a massive 3-alarm blaze along 85th that destroyed several businesses. Then again on Nov. 5th, sirens called us to another fire on 85th. As I was snapping photos, I heard a new call broadcast on the firefighters’ radios around me. It was for a new fire on Greenwood Ave., just a few blocks away.

I still remember the looks on the firefighters’ faces and the unsettling feeling that an arsonist was at work right down the street. I also remember locking my keys inside my car — with the engine running — after I pulled up in front of Rosewood Guitar, flames shooting from the roof.

A man was arrested several days later, and he was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Meanwhile, PhinneyWood went on to win a national Society of Professional Journalists award for deadline reporting of the story.

Ballard helps a woman in need

This is our favorite story. It began with a post in the My Ballard forum from a woman selling some of her belongings to raise money for rent. “It really is tough being unemployed,” she wrote under the forum handle Luckerbee.

That was on Thursday night. On Friday evening, a few dozen Ballardites gathered in an impromptu meetup at Golden Gardens organized on the forum. They passed around a donation bucket for Lurkerbee which read, “Ballardites helping Ballardites.” Then on Saturday morning, they held a yard sale, ultimately raising $900.

“I will never forget it. Never in a million years did I anticipate this,” Luckerbee wrote.

The My Ballard forum thrived over the years, helping My Ballard win a national Online Journalism Award for community collaboration in 2009.

And many more

Out of the 10,454 blog posts we’ve published over the last decade, there are many more memorable stories from the neighborhood: the Syttende Mai parade, the closure of Olsen’s Scandinavian Seafood, SeafoodFest’s salmon feed and lutefisk eating contest… and many more.

While the neighborhood has changed more than we ever anticipated, the Ballard spirit lives on. We’d like to thank all of our readers and advertisers over the years for your support.

What are your most memorable neighborhood news stories?

16 home burglaries in greater Ballard in a week

Updated: It’s that time of year when thieves are on the prowl for holiday gifts, cash and other loot — either inside or outside your home.

Scanning the Seattle Police crime maps, we counted 16 residential burglaries in Ballard, Phinney and parts of Greenwood and Fremont in a little less than a week, from Dec. 2-8. (This counts police reports that were filed, not 911 calls.)

We also counted 26 car prowls and 15 theft cases in the same area. While package theft isn’t categorized in the Seattle Police maps, it’s a safe bet it makes up many of those theft cases.


(A screenshot of a Seattle PD map showing all burglaries, thefts and car prowls)

We can’t compare these statistics with other times of the year on a week-to-week basis, but Seattle PD does provide aggregate monthly data here (which runs about a month behind). Historically, Ballard averages about 47 burglaries a month, and the numbers spike in December and January.

This certainly serves as a good reminder to be careful this holiday season. Seattle Police has compiled tips to prevent burglaries, car prowls and package thefts right here.

You can also see the latest police calls (and links to those maps and Seattle Fire calls) on our Ballard crime page.

(Thanks James for your help!)

With old building closed, new Nordic Museum enters ‘home stretch’

The old Nordic Heritage Museum closed on Nov. 20th, and workers are making good progress on the new facility on Market St., scheduled to open in May.

Here’s a look at the front of the New Nordic Museum. Landscape irrigation is going in, as well as concrete for the curb and sidewalk, explains CEO Eric Nelson in an email updating their progress.

This is the view down Fjord Hall. “The building has received permanent power; water service will be obtained shortly,” Nelson writes. “Concrete floors throughout the building are presently being polished. Installation of the bridges across the length of Fjord Hall has been initiated, and the beautiful hemlock walls and ceiling in the auditorium are nearly complete!”

At the back of the museum, workers have started work on the parking lot.

“For the past several weeks, we’ve been hard at work collaborating with our exhibition designers to develop the new core exhibition’s media features, preparing for the move, and planning for the new Museum’s Grand Opening,” Nelson writes. He says as the museum project enters its home stretch, they’re still looking for contributions.

Even without a current home, the museum’s programming continues at other venues. You can see an updated schedule on the museum’s website.

What’s on this weekend in Ballard and beyond


(Photo: Ray’s will be holding a Gingerbread House Decorating Party on Sunday)

If you’re bored this weekend, it’s not our fault. In fact, this may be the biggest weekend calendar we’ve ever assembled at My Ballard. Have fun out there!

Friday, Dec. 8

Saturday, Dec. 9

Sunday, Dec. 10

You can see events all week long in our Ballard events calendar. Have an event to add? Submit it to our calendar, and we could feature it in our weekly roundup.