Petition started to save Ballard Community Centers

Updated: Mindy Terence and her family have been using the Loyal Heights Community Center (2101 NW 77th St.) for a few years. “We have never taken LHCC for granted,” she tells us. “Ever since we moved into the neighborhood of Loyal Heights, we have been using the facilities.” When Terence heard the news that one of Ballard’s two community centers could be closed because of financial reasons, she took action. Terence has put together a petition that she hopes will sway decision maker’s minds about cutting either the LHCC or the Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW). Her goal is to get 3,000 signatures before the May 4th budget hearing.

The petition states:

“We, the undersigned, seek to stop the possible closure of BOTH the Loyal Heights Community Center AND the Ballard Community Center.

Both of these centers should remain open, as they provide valuable and appreciated services and facilities to the surrounding neighborhoods of Ballard Proper, Loyal Heights, Sunset Hill, North Beach, East Ballard, Crown Hill, Broadview and Fremont; neighbors of every age partake in each center’s programs, classes and gym time—especially children.

We offer that the City and the Parks Department look elsewhere to reduce costs and close the budget deficit, specifically by reducing the department’s payroll and operating hours. We also propose considering a moderate increase in user and participant fees, if that would help keep these community centers open.

We understand that in this economy, local government is having to trim costs and cut back. However, we value these community centers just as much as our police and fire departments. They represent an irreplaceable and vital hub of community activity week after week.

Please help save the Loyal Heights and Ballard Community Centers from closure by adding your name to this petition.”

Terence will be hosting a meeting on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Loyal Heights Community Center to discuss strategy and gather signatures. Terence also plans on being at the Sunday Farmers Market with the petition in hand.

There is a car wash fundraiser at the Loyal Heights Community Center from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, but it is not related to this issue. “This is not a fundraiser to support the budget cuts. This was planned beforehand, and the money raised would go directly to upcoming teen trips,” Melissa Valenzuela with LHCC tells us.

The May 4th budget hearing will be held at the North Seattle Community College Cafeteria (9600 College Way North). Sign-in for the meeting starts at 5 p.m. with the public hearing at 5:30 p.m.

5:45 p.m. Update: The petition is now available online and a Facebook fan page has been created.

(Mindy Terence can be reached at

‘BURP’ on Saturday at Ballard Commons Park

Saturday is the first-ever day-long Ballard Urban Picnic (or BURP) at Ballard Commons Park sponsored by the Ballard Chamber of Commerce.

BURP starts at noon with food vendors, a beer garden and live music throughout the day. “We are pretty excited about how well things have come together, especially since we only started planning this in mid-February,” says Beth Williamson Miller, the Executive Director of the Ballard Chamber.

The event wraps up with a viewing of (appropriately) UP (remember this PR stunt by Disney at Edith Macefield’s house?) The movie will start at dusk, which is around 8:30 these days. The screen will be set about five feet off the ground and because of the placement, the best viewing will be from the concrete area so bring your chairs and get comfortable.

Skillet, Parfait Ice Cream, Anita’s Crepes, Veraci Pizza and Dante’s Inferno Dogs will all be serving grub until at least 6 p.m., some will be staying later to make sure the movie crowd gets fed.

Ballard’s own Maritime Pacific Brewing Company will provide beer for the beer garden, which proceeds go to the Ballard Food Bank.

Live music includes Lindsay Fuller, Horace Pickett, Snake Suspenderz, School of Rock – Seattle and Dromenon.

City rolls out RainWise incentive program

The City of Seattle is now offering financial incentives to Ballardites, who live in a specific area, to help reduce the amount of storm water that runs into the sewer system. We first wrote about the RainWise program back in January, which will help homeowners build rain gardens or install cisterns on their private property to allow water soak back into the ground.

An example of a residential rain garden.

Eligible homeowners must live roughly between 16th Ave NW and 33rd Ave NW and NW 65th St and NW 85th St (detailed map of boundaries below). “We will give them [homeowners] a per square foot dollar amount for every square foot of roof area that they disconnect from the combined sewer and put into either a rain garden or a cistern,” Bob Spencer with SPU tells us. As a minimum, a homeowner will have to control 400 square feet of roof area. Spencer says the rebate could be up to $4 per square foot.

Rainwise “really aims to get at the private property and try to make improvements there, and we think that with enough involvement we’ll be able to see a significant reduction in the volumes that are being channeled into those sewer systems,” Susan Stoltzfus with SPU says. Under this incentive program, about 3,000 homeowners are eligible. According to Spencer, SPU is predicting that this incentive program will keep an average of 151,000 gallons of water from running into Salmon Bay each year.

To be eligible, a homeowner must use a licensed contractor to build a rain garden. The city will not reimburse for a DIY (do it yourself) project.

SPU chose this specific area of Ballard because it is in a fully combined sewer system, Spencer says, meaning that storm water and sewage flow in the same pipes and when we have heavy rains, the system will overflow into Salmon Bay. The area also has a high number of single-family homes and relatively clean and sandy soil.

Resources for homeowners:

  • Residential RainWise information
  • Do research on controlling storm water, find out your home’s storm water impact, see what neighbors are doing
  • Map of eligibility area (.pdf)
  • Find out if you qualify for incentives & how to apply
  • Contractors listed by Seattle Public Utilities
  • Memorial for Deadliest Catch captain

    Update: Magnolia Voice has the story of Captain Phil Harris’ memorial.

    Earlier: One day before the second annual “CatchCon,” fans of the popular Discovery Channel show ‘Deadliest Catch’ have a chance to pay tribute to the late Captain Phil Harris. Harris, 53, died in February after suffering a stroke.

    The memorial will be held Friday evening at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91 (2001 W Garfield St) in Magnolia at 6:30 p.m. Because of space limitations, only 2,000 people are being allowed in. “Remarks will be made from Phil’s sons, Jake and Josh Harris, several close friends and fellow fisherman, and Discovery Channel executives,” the press release states.

    Parking for the memorial opens at 4 p.m. with each car costing $8. (Driving directions here.) If you can’t attend in person, will be streaming the service live. This is the first public memorial in remembrance of Harris.

    Caffe Fiore hosts ‘Big Community Party’ in Ballard

    Caffe Fiore is throwing a “Big Community Party” on Friday night at the Ballard location (5405 Leary Ave NW). They’ll be serving up beer and wine from 7 to 10 p.m., Dante’s Inferno Dogs and Parfait Ice Cream will also be there. “Essentially we are celebrating our recent award from Seattle Magazine for ‘Seattle’s best independent coffee shop’, as well as our three year anniversary at the Ballard location and the fact that we will be staying open until 10pm at the Ballard location Monday-Saturday from now on!” Katrine Callahan, the Caffe Fiore general manager emailed us.

    Mr. Gyros expanding to Ballard

    Mr. Gyros, the casual Mediterranean eatery in Greenwood (8411 Greenwood Ave N) is expanding to Ballard.

    After being in Greenwood for seven years, owners and brothers Sammy and Joni Arsheed are busy working on their second location at the corner of 20th Ave NW and NW 56th St, next door to Golden City Chinese. The space will be similar to the first location, with an open kitchen, casual dining and a hard-to-miss yellow awning. “It’ll be the same as Greenwood,” Sammy says, “Bar stools and baskets. Get people in and out.” They plan on staying open late, like 2 a.m., on Fridays and Saturdays for those late-nighters who want something other than hot dogs, Sammy tells us. According to their project manager, Mike Hainsworth, the new shop should be open around the middle of June. (Thanks Silver for the tip!)

    The Scandinavian tastes of Ballard

    In just a few weeks Ballard’s Scandinavian heritage will come out in full force for the annual Syttende Mai—or Norwegian Constitution Day—celebration. It’s hard to miss the annual parade that travels along 24th Avenue and then Market Street every 17th of May, but the celebration also includes other events throughout the day. In fact, it’s the largest Syttende Mai celebration outside of Norway, according to the parade committee, and one of the largest ethnic parades in the United States.

    A look at the 2009 Syttende Mai Parade

    With its strong Scandinavian heritage, Ballard seems an appropriate location for the celebration. Over the next couple of weeks leading up to the festivities, My Ballard will be taking a look at the neighborhood’s Scandinavian heritage, starting today with food. Scandinavian cuisine lacks the gastronomical reputation of French, Italian, and the like (think about it, how many Norwegian, Swedish, Finish, Danish, or Icelandic restaurants do you know of?). But in Ballard it doesn’t take long to find its culinary treasures.

    Seattle’s go-to spot for Scandinavian baked goods has long been Larsen’s Danish Bakery at the corner of 80th and 24th. A Ballard institution since 1974, one look at the lines around Christmas are enough to tell you that this place is the place to be if you’re looking for kringle—a pretzel-shaped pastry filled with almond paste and raisins—mazzarine tarts, a variety of breads including the cardamom-scented julekaka with candied fruit, and seemingly countless other types of Danishes, pastries, and cookies. Larsen’s also makes wedding cakes and kransekage, a typical celebration cake often seen at Scandinavian weddings. Its cookie-like rings, made from almond paste, are assembled to make a tower, which is then decorated with royal icing and flags from the country of the customer’s choice.

    If you’re ambitious enough to try making your own kransekage, you’ll find the supplies—and much, much more—at Scandinavian Specialties at 6719 15th Ave NW. At the café you can get an open-faced sandwich topped with egg salad and smoked salmon, and then a pastry for dessert. Explore the shelves and fridge and freezers for lingonberry or cloudberry preserves, cheeses and meats, breads, and even lutefisk, if you’re so inclined. Don’t miss the books hidden in a little room behind the register; browsing through the cookbooks is a great way to get a taste of the often-under-recognized Scandinavian cuisine. The store also sells flags, Scandinavian sweaters, and a variety of gifts.

    Finally, on the surface less traditional, the Copper Gate restaurant and lounge at 6301 24th Ave NW boasts a menu with such Scandinavian fare as gravlax, Swedish meatballs, fish cakes, and a selection of aquavit. Declaring itself as “Seattle’s only surviving Scandinavian restaurant and lounge,” the Copper Gate has been around since the 1940s, though new ownership in recent years has helped shed the old dive’s musty reputation.

    Daytona Strong is a freelance writer for She has years of journalism under her belt producing/writing for television and writing for print. She and her husband live in the neighborhood.

    ‘The Homeless Neighbor’

    Seattle’s homeless population stretches far beyond downtown. North Seattle residents and businesses are also struggling to deal with the issue. To see how the community is trying to find a balance, we take you to the streets of Ballard for a raw and compelling look at the problem.

    The Homeless Neighbor is the third in a series of stories partnering Next Door Media sites with the nonprofit Common Language Project and students of University of Washington’s Entrepreneurial Journalism class. One of the authors of this story is Christian Caple, the editor of our newest neighborhood site U District Daily.

    Continue reading “The Homeless Neighbor.”

    Burglary suspect spotted in Ballard

    Seattle Police have released surveillance photos of a man suspected of breaking into a woman’s home in Magnolia while she slept on April 7. About two hours later, the suspect used the victim’s credit cards at a grocery store here in Ballard. If you recognize the man in the pictures below, you’re asked to call SPD Detective Gaedcke at (206) 684-5730.

    Adams Elem. rain garden to be featured on King5

    Adams Elementary is about to unveil their new rain garden, but before the dedication ceremony on Friday they’ll be talking about the project on King-TV’s new show “New Day Northwest.”

    Construction of the rain garden, fall 2009

    “This project demonstrates how successful neighborhood schools can be,” Alison Krupnick tells us in an email. “This project, and those that preceded it (playground, reader board), were the result of a group of parents having ‘dreams’ for their kids’ school and the perseverance to make those dreams come true.” Krupnick helped coordinate the project, while Guy Michaelsen and David Minnery were the landscape architects who designed the rain garden. All three will be guests on the show Thursday morning and the school will be well-represented in the studio audience. Rachel Hart tells us that nearly two dozen kids, ages 6 to 11 will be on hand. “Several of the now third-graders helped David Minnery with the initial rain garden design when they were in first grade,” Hart says.

    New Day Northwest airs on King5 from 11 a.m. to noon. If you’d like to be part of the audience, email The tickets are free. Audience members need to arrive about 9:15 and will be finished at 11:30.