Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel faces $12,000 fine

Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel has been fined $12,000 by the Department of Ecology for clean water violations in the Ship Canal.

The Department of Ecology says violations by Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel include “ongoing spills of aggregate — a sand and gravel mixture — from shore-side bunkers” at their facility at 5231 Shilshole Avenue NW into the Lake Washington Ship Canal. State law outlaws the discharge of foreign material to state waters. Other violations cited by the department include lack of a spill-response plan at the facility and not having records of required twice-yearly stormwater inspections.

The Department of Ecology says the company did not respond to repeated attempts made last year to discuss the water-quality problem. After a “Notice of Violation” was issued this last February, the company had 30 days to respond. “This case escalated into a penalty because Salmon Bay did not respond,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, the Department of Ecology’s regional water quality supervisor. “Most of the violations themselves require fairly straightforward corrections.” Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel has the option to seek an Ecology review of the penalty or file an appeal within 30 days with the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Man may have fallen out of truck, not hit and run

Old Norveegen emailed us this photo on Friday evening after an accident around 9 p.m. at the intersection of 14th & Leary. He believed that a pedestrian was hit by what appeared to have been a hit-and-run driver.

We spoke with police this morning and it turns out it wasn’t a hit-and-run at all. Police Spokesman Detective Mark Jamieson says that this incident is categorized as a “suspicious circumstance.”

Just before 9 p.m., he says one officer, along with fire and medics, were dispatched to the intersection for a “man down.” Witnesses told the officer that five minutes prior they saw an older style brown pickup truck heading northbound on 14th and turning left onto Leary. A witness told the officer that when the truck was turning, it sounded like a body had fallen out of the truck. The 46 year-old victim was intoxicated and transported to Harborview for medical treatment. Officers did a search but couldn’t locate the truck. Jamieson says that officers have yet to speak with the victim.

Sushi restaurant evicted, says notice on door

Himitsu Sushi & Grill opened four months ago at the corner of NW 65th St. and 15th Ave NW. Today the place is empty.

There is a notice on the door from the King County Sheriff’s department that was posted last week. “Be advised,” the sign reads, “that the occupants of these premises have been evicted by detectives of the King County Sheriff, and said premises have been restored to owner by order of the Superior Court.” (Thanks Mathew for the tip!)

Gas station robbed at gunpoint

Early this morning, a gas station on the 9000 block of Holman Road was robbed. Police say that a white male in his 20s entered the station before 1 a.m. with a handgun. The suspect did not fire any shots. An hour and a half later, police say another robbery occurred at a gas station at 75th and Roosevelt with the same suspect description. The suspect is 5’11” to 6’2″ with a medium build and short blonde hair. He was wearing black sunglasses, black sweatshirt, black sneakers and khaki pants. K9 was called in, but couldn’t locate the suspect. (Thanks Silver & Louie for posting in the forum.)

New markings to help cyclists cross tracks

Along the “missing link,” the railroad tracks near the Ballard Bridge have been an issue. Two weeks ago xxjpxx commented on an earlier post, ” just came from the ER with 3 stitches on my chin b/c my front bike slid on the railroad tracks.”

Gurple emailed us to let us know about new markings to help bicyclists cross safely. “There were lines marking the “lane” eastbound before, but these are thicker and more official-looking,” he writes. Julian, another cyclist emailed us the above photo and says, “I think that as paint, it’s better than before, in encouraging cyclists to take the lane and cross the tracks at a proper angle. But it’s still just paint, and as such cyclists still need the confidence to take the lane for safety, and motorists need to share it willingly.”

Restored ‘Nordic Spirit’ sails again

On the 100th anniversary of the 1909 Norway Day celebration in Seattle, the Viking ship replica Nordic Spirit hit the open water Sunday for the first time since it was painstakingly restored.

The boat was donated to the Nordic Heritage Museum 30 years ago, and after months of restoration work by boatwright Cornelius Sprenger and Pacific Fishermen’s Shipyard, it was ready to sail again — a short voyage from Ballard to the Fishermen’s Terminal for the Norway Day festivities. The journey mirrors a voyage 100 years ago, when another Viking replica sailed across Lake Washington for Norway Day at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition.

After a few last-minute repairs and safety instructions, the Nordic Spirit pushed off from the dock. It nearly disappeared into a mystical layer of fog that covered the Ship Canal. “It was just an incredible sensation to see it, for me, to sail through the mist as if it were a brand new boat. It was fantastic,” said Eric Nelson, executive director of the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Another boat was on hand to provide a tow, just in case, but the men and woman at the oars provided more than enough power.

In fact, the Nordic Spirit made such good time, they pulled up to a dock under the Ballard Bridge and walked over to Mike’s Chili for lunch.

Then right on schedule, the Spirit rowed into Fishermen’s Terminal for the 100th anniversary celebration of Norway Day. A good crowd watched, cameras at the ready, as the Viking ship approached.

When it arrived, the boat’s crew raised the oars. “The last time it was in the water was back in the Delaware River, and they had a guy with a pail scooping out the water,” said Olaf Kvamme, a local historian and longtime member of the Nordic Heritage Museum. “I’m glad the museum took the initiative, it’s great.”

Kvamme and Norway Honorary Consul Kim Nesselquist did the honor of christening the boat. “Do you know the price of alcohol in Norway?” Nesselquist (left) joked before swinging the bottle against the stern. A few swings and laughs later, the bottle broke and the Nordic Spirit was officially dedicated. “It was really important for the museum to preserve it, and no better way do to that than get it restored and back in the water,” Nelson said. “To see it actually in the water, floating under its own power, it was remarkable.”

Watch video (above) of the inaugural voyage and the dedication.

The weekend events calendar

  • Today, Home Street Bank’s Ballard branch (8050 15th Avenue NW) is holding its seventh annual alternative health fair from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The Tractor Tavern is celebrating their 15th anniversary this weekend with the Maldives. Tickets are sold out tonight, but are still available for tomorrow night. Get them here.
  • Sustainable Ballard, Dutch Bike Company and Sierra Nevada Brewing is hosting a community mixer from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Dutch Bike Company (4421 Shilshole Ave NW).
  • Learn to draw at the farmers market. For the next five Sundays, artist and art teacher Susan Schneider will holding drawing classes for $10 each. She says to meet at 9 a.m. at the bell tower. Bring a drawing pad and pens, pencils &/or watercolors.

  • Sunday is the Norway Day Centennial Celebration. See the restored replica of a viking ship, the Nordic Spirit, set sail at 1 p.m. from the future home of the Nordic Heritage Museum (just east of the Locks). Then great the boat at 2 p.m. at Fishermen’s Terminal for a dedication ceremony and celebration. Seattle’s Norwegian Male Chorus and Norwegian Ladies Chorus will be performing.
  • For more live music, check out the calendars for the Sunset Tavern, The Bit Saloon, High Dive, Conor Byrne, Egan’s Ballard Jam House and Nectar. As always, check out our events calendar. And if you have an event to add, just email us at

    Flipped float plane pulled from Sound

    It was quite the spectacle at the Shilshole Marina boat ramp for much of the day as an enormous crane worked delicately to extract the float plane that flipped over off Golden Gardens this morning. (See our earlier story.)

    The plane was upside down, most of it several feet underwater.

    The crowd watched as the crane extended its arm to pick up the plane.

    A diver worked to get the plane ready for transport, and he attached large air balloons at strategic points to lift the aircraft partially out of the water.

    The pilot, Roger Collins (left) watched from the dock. When the plane flipped, he hit his forehead, leaving a bump and a few small scratches.

    The process took several hours. Soon, the plane was mostly out of the water. A small amount of fuel was visible on the top of the water, and large, flat sponges were deployed to soak it up.

    The crane, perched at the end of the boat dock, worked very slowly.

    Finally, the plane was back on its feet, ready to be dismantled for transport.

    Here’s a video clip showing the recovery operation.