Umpqua Bank opening in Ballard

Umpqua Bank is planning to open a Ballard branch in the space formerly occupied by Radio Shack on Market Street.

The new branch on Queen Anne.

Eve Callahan, Senior Vice President of Umpqua Bank tells us that this is one of five new locations still to open this year. Other branches are in Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, Roosevelt Square and West Seattle. This is in addition to the Queen Anne branch that opened last week.

Callahan says their banks are different than a traditional bank. “We design them as engaging community hubs, comfortable spaces where neighbors can learn about what’s happening, share news and information, and gather for events ranging from small business or non-profit meetings to kid movie nights and valentine crafts,” she says. “In addition, we take our commitment to our communities very seriously, and provide every associate with up to 40 hours of paid time off each year to volunteer in their community.”

The Ballard branch is expected to open sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.

#Twinutesilence to remember Norway victims

For one minute on Friday, people around the world are being asked to step away from Twitter and Facebook for a virtual moment of silence. Take the minute to “pay respects to those who lost their lives and to the families and friends left behind in Norway,” the Twinute Silence website states.

The Twinutesilence clock is counting down here

The #Twinutesilence will be held at 6 p.m. Oslo time, which is 9 a.m. here in Ballard. Four friends in Dublin came up with the idea on Monday, by Tuesday the plan was put into action.

A streetcar for Ballard? It’s a possibility

The city’s new Transit Master Plan, which is a blueprint for the city’s transit planning for the next 20 years, was presented earlier this week to the City Council’s Transportation committee.

A look at the corridor from Ballard to downtown.
In the report, Ballard to downtown is highlighted as one of the main corridors to explore new transit options – including rail. “A streetcar line from Loyal Heights to downtown, via Ballard and Fremont, would best serve a high demand for transit in that corridor, according to the report,” the states.

According to the

The 7-mile Ballard corridor conceivably would have eight stops, serving Loyal Heights, Ballard, Fremont, South Lake Union and the King Street Station downtown, according to the plan. It’s estimated to draw 26,000 daily riders in 2030, which would be the highest ridership of all the proposals.

The cost to build the streetcar line would be about $327 million, which assumes the streetcar line would be in the public right-of-way, not on property that the city would have to buy. One of the alignment alternatives includes building a transit, bike/ped bridge over the ship canal at 3rd Ave NW, which the says would be about $70 million, as opposed to the $10 to $12 million for retrofitting the Fremont Bridge.

To read the Seattle Transit Master Plan, click here (.pdf.) To read the entire article, click here.

Summer Field Day in Ballard this Sunday

Get ready for some good ol’ fashion summer fun! This Sunday, GroundswellNW is hosting a Summer Field Day at Ballard Commons Park (5701 22nd Ave. NW.)

From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. there will be activities and games for all ages. Play badminton, hula hoop, draw with sidewalk chalk or take part in some of the games – like a water balloon toss, 3-legged race and the egg and spoon race.

From GroundswellNW:

Bring your blanket and chairs to spread out on the lawn, enjoy a picnic meal provided by QFC, and partake in some old-fashioned outdoor games for all ages! This event is open to the public, so bring your family, friends and neighbors along to enjoy this gem of a neighborhood park and learn more about creating and caring for other green spaces in Ballard. Many thanks to the Ballard On the Park apartments for their planning and financial support.

61st annual Greenwood Seafair Parade tonight

Tonight is the 61st annual Greenwood Seafair Parade, which means traffic and transit will be affected.

A scene from the 2010 Greenwood Seafair Parade.

About 10,000 people usually line the parade route, which runs along Greenwood Avenue North from North 95th Street south to North 85th Street, then west along 85th Street to 6th Avenue NW. The parade begins at 6 p.m. and should end around 9 p.m.

More than 103 parade entries include floats, drill teams, marching bands, cute kids, local businesses and community groups. PhinneyWood will be marching, too. We’ll be asking parade watchers to sign the back of PhinneyWood’s banner, answering the question, “What does community mean to you?” We’ll post some of the answers, along with lots of pictures, later that night. And, yes, we’ll also be passing out candy (because the PhinneyWood Kid insisted on it).

Most of downtown Greenwood will be closed to traffic from 5-10 p.m. Greenwood Avenue will be closed from North 105th to North 84th streets, and 85th Street will be closed from Dayton Avenue North to 8th Avenue NW.

Metro bus route 5, which normally travels on Greenwood Avenue, will be rerouted. Here’s the info from Metro:

Event Reroute – Route 5 Express

On Wednesday, July 27 from 5:15 PM until 8:30 PM, Route 5 Express will be rerouted off of Greenwood Av N between N 80th St and N 90th St, due to the Greenwood Seafair Parade.

During this event, Route 5 Express heading toward Greenwood will travel instead westbound on N 79th St, 1st Av NW, N 80th St, Linden Av N, N 85th St to its regular Base route serving all posted bus stops and temp stops along the reroute.

Heading toward downtown Seattle Route 5 Express is not affected.

Event Reroute – Route 5 Local

On Wednesday, July 27 from 4:00 PM until 8:30 PM, Route 5 Local will be rerouted off of Greenwood Av N between N 80th St and N 90th St, due to the Greenwood Seafair Parade.

During this event, Route 5 Local heading toward Northgate Transit Center or Shoreline Community College will travel instead via northbound on Greenwood Av N, N 80th St, NW 80th St, 8th Av NW, NW 87th St, 3rd Av NW, EB Holman Rd NW – To Northgate – continue eastbound on N 105th St – To Shoreline Community College – left northbound on Greenwood Av N to its regular route serving all posted bus stops and temporary stops along the reroute.

Heading toward downtown Seattle Route 5 Local will travel instead via Greenwood Av N, Holman Rd NW, 3rd Av NW, NW 87th St, 8th Av NW, NW 80th St, N 80th St and Greenwood Av N to its regular route serving all posted bus stops and temporary stops along the reroute.

Hundreds gather in Ballard for Norway victims

The Nordic Heritage Museum hosted an emotional memorial on Tuesday evening for the victims of Friday’s bombing and shooting in Norway.

With the Norwegian flag at half staff and Norwegian flags in the hands of many in the audience, the Honorary Consul of Norway, Kim Nesselquist, spoke to the crowd. “To mourn and pray and pay respect to the many dead and missing and their families, to give support to the survivors, to the more 70 injured and the people of Norway,” he said. “We are also together to defy terrorism and deny cowardly acts from sick individuals to get to the best of us.”

“My father is from Norway,” says David Kvamme, who visited Ballard from Columbia City for the ceremony. “I’ve been there. They’re good people, proud people, and I’m sure this thing that took place really wounded them, as these things do to countries. It’s a sign in many ways of how we’re missing the point of really caring for each other.”

Attendees were encouraged to write down their memories of Norway and thoughts and prayers for the victims, their families and the country. The pages will be compiled into a book and presented to the government of Norway.

With candles in their hands, the solemn crowd sang Amazing Grace near the end of the service. “I wanted to show my support for my relatives, to the country as a whole and especially to families that were experiencing the loss of their children,” Kvamme said, tears in his eyes.

With the museum packed to capacity, dozens paid their respects outside, listening to the memorial over a speaker and leaving roses against a wall.

Reverend Nancy Connor and Reverend Dennis Sepper from Pacific Lutheran University led the group in prayer. “The country of Norway bears fresh wounds of suffering and grief,” Connor prayed. “Surround those who have been shaken by tragedy with a sense of your present love.” Added Dr. Loren Anderson, president of Pacific Lutheran University, “Tonight, we are all Norwegians.”

(Thanks Tim Hunter for your help with photos!)

Details on vigil at Nordic Heritage Museum

The Nordic Heritage Museum (3014 NW 67th St) is holding a vigil this evening at 6 p.m. to honor the victims of Friday’s attacks in Norway.

The museum does not have a sense of how many people will be in attendance, but do have a plan for a large turn-out. The event will be held in the auditorium with overflow out into the parking lot and along the side of the building. Hilda Cullen with the museum tells us that they are working on an audio feed of the service for the overflow.

The Honorary Consul of Norway, Kim Nesselquist will be speaking as well as a moment of silence and an offering of prayers for the victims of the Oslo and Utøya attacks. “This is the time for all of us to come together, there is strength in community,” the museum website states. Cullen tells us that there will be tables set up for people to write down their thoughts.

The museum normally closes at 4 p.m. but will remain open until the 6 p.m. event if people want to arrive early.

Ballard invited to Zoo’s Neighborhood Appreciation event

Woodland Park Zoo is inviting residents of Fremont, Wallingford, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Greenwood and Ballard to its Neighborhood Appreciation Event from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4.

This will be an opportunity for you to meet fellow zoo neighbors, enjoy light refreshments and have special experiences in some of our special exhibits. Children are welcome to attend.

The event will start at the zoo’s West Entrance, located at North 55th Street and Phinney Avenue North. Parking will be free in the surrounding zoo lots for this gathering. Casual attire is encouraged.

Please RSVP by e-mailing For more information, contact Roxanne Murphy, Community Relations and Outreach Liaison at (206) 548-2462.

School of Rock looking for another new location

After four months of working with the Department of Planning and Development, it turns out that School of Rock cannot move into the Crown Hill space they leased back in April.

“Lots of people have been asking when we’re moving to Crown Hill so thought we’d share some of the challenges with the move,” Kristoffer Kierulff, general manager emailed us.

We signed the lease for the space on 85th and 11th around April. For the past 4 months we have been working the DPD to obtain the appropriate permits to do our construction on the space. It’s been a tedious process to say the least, but ultimately we have discovered that the zoning of the building (Residential/Commercial) does not allow for a “School/Institution” to be in that particular building without a much longer review and permitting process. A process which we have found to be too costly and risky. We are committed to finding a new home in the Greenwood/Phinney/Ballard neighborhoods, and will continue to search for an ideal locale. If any of your readers know of any good homes for us, we’re all ears!

Stay tuned and we’ll let you know about future developments. Thanks for your support.