Spring Fecal Fest is here

The annual Spring Fecal Fest is here! The popular Zoo Doo has been piling up and the “Prince of Poo” is ready to get rid of the “most exotic and highly prized compost in the Pacific Northwest,” as the zoo calls it.

Photo courtesy Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

To enter for a chance to buy some of this steamy Zoo Doo or Bedspread (similar to Zoo Doo, but with higher amounts of wood chips and sawdust), send in a postcard between February 28th through March 17th.

You are only allowed to send in one postcard for each drawing. For Zoo Doo, mark your postcard “Zoo Doo.” For Bedspread, mark your postcard “B.S.” Entry cards will be selected randomly for as many entrants possible. Dr. Doo will contact the lucky drawn entries only. Send a standard postcard to:
Dr. Doo
Woodland Park Zoo
601 N. 59th St.
Seattle, WA 98103.

Include the following information:

• Name
• Day and evening phone numbers
• Preference: Zoo Doo or Bedspread
• Amount of Zoo Doo or Bedspread you’d like to purchase (anything from a garbage bag to a full-size, pick-up truck load)
• Weekday or weekend preference for pick-up

The cost for Zoo Doo and Bedspread: Pick-up truck 8×4 bed: $60; 6×4 bed: $45; 6×3 bed: $35. Limit one full truck per person. Garbage cans: $8 to $10 depending on size; bags: $4 to $6 depending on size. Two-gallon and pint-sized buckets are available anytime at the ZooStores for $12.95 and $4.95, respectively.

Pick-up dates for Zoo Doo or Bedspread begin April 13 through April 29. The lucky winners load the compost, using shovels provided by the zoo.

More lane closures on Ballard Bridge

Updated 3:30 p.m.: The Seattle Department of Transportation now tells us that the contractor will be closing the outside northbound lane starting Tuesday, not Monday as we were originally told 8 p.m. Monday evening. The lane will open for the peak afternoon commute at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Earlier: The outside lane in the northbound direction of the Ballard Bridge will be closed for the next few weeks starting Monday. The only time the lane will be open on weekdays is during the afternoon commute period from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. All lanes and the sidewalk will be open on the weekends.

Once this work is done, the contractor will move to the west side of the bridge affecting the southbound lanes.

The closure is so the contractor for the Seattle Department of Transportation can continue to paint the bridge which is necessary to reduce corrosion and lengthen the life of the bridge.

Ima Norwegian

Funny guys Tim Hunter and Frank Shiers bring a little Scandihoovian humor to MyBallard in a weekly cartoon called Ima Norwegian.

Ima Norwegian is a life-time Ballard resident who lives in a modest home with her husband Lars. Both are Ballard High School graduates (Go Beavers) but you’ll have to really dig to figure out which year they graduated. Ima won’t willingly offer her age, but will admit that it rhymes with ‘nifty-something’. Ima said she would only appear in the cartoon if we featured her in her traditional Norwegian bunad. And remember, she only needs her glasses for reading. Her two kids are out on their own, in the area and close enough that they occasionally stop by. Ima believes it’s because they miss their mother and they just happened to also need to do their laundry.

Reminder: Cannon firing today

Updated: In a post closure ceremony, U.S. Army representatives transferred ownership of Fort Lawton, in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, to the City Of Seattle.

Video by reporter Steven Smalley of MagnoliaVoice.com.

Earlier: Just a reminder that the military will be firing blanks from the cannons at Fort Lawton in Discovery Park. If you were around Ballard yesterday, you probably didn’t miss the booms (and smoke coming from Magnolia.)

The firings are part of the official closing ceremonies of Fort Lawton and are expected until about 1 p.m. For more information on the event, click here.

Dog escapes yard, now missing

Updated: Hazel has been found! “I guess she must have had quite an adventure. Lots of wonderful people in the neighborhood helping us out too,” writes Jean.

Earlier: Hazel, the brown Border Collie, escaped from her yard around noon Friday at 70th & Earl Ave NW.

“She was last seen following other dogs around 76th and 30th,” Jean and Patty email.”She’s friendly but timid.”

‘Pond Watchers’ will monitor amphibians at Carkeek Park

More than 50 volunteers with Woodland Park Zoo’s “pond watch” program will fan out at Carkeek Park this Saturday morning to survey amphibian egg masses in ponds and wetlands.

Oregon Spotted Frog. Photo by Dana Payne, Woodland Park Zoo.

The volunteers have already completed special training. They will be armed with hip waders, digital cameras, GPS units, and other monitoring tools.

Eight amphibian species will be monitored under the new regional program: western toad, Northwestern salamander, northern red-legged frog, Pacific tree frog, Oregon spotted frog, rough-skinned newt, long-toed salamander and American bullfrog. This project will provide critical population data, which over the long term can help determine if amphibian declines or fluctuations are occurring.

The ancient class of amphibians includes salamanders, newts, an obscure group of legless creatures known as caecilians and, of course, the icons, frogs and toads. Because their skin is so permeable, amphibians are known as sentinels of the planet, signaling an early warning when something is not right in the environment.

Late-night construction keeping residents up

We’ve received several emails from Ballardites questioning the late-night/early-morning construction at the project at 15th & Market.

Construction photo sent to us by neighbor Kristin

Some emails have focused on the noise of the heavy equipment, others on the bright lights. “It seems they’re taking a break around 5 [p.m.] and starting up again around 7 [p.m.],” writes Kristin in an email this morning. “It’s 3:40am and they just wrapped up and are no longer working.”

“This seemed to start last week- they worked around the clock, and it was mostly digging and depositing the dirt into a succession of trucks, so it hasn’t been TOO loud… though the trucks themselves are,” she writes. “This week, it’s been more of a case of them seeming to start BACK up around 7, and working until 3am or so.”

Here is the response from Bryan Stevens at the Department of Planning and Development:

While the land use decision on the project at 5501 15th Ave NW placed limits on the hours of construction, it also gave the applicant the ability to work beyond those hours with approval of a construction noise mitigation plan. Construction can take place at night as long as the noise ordinance objective standard is not exceeded by the work. That plan has been reviewed by our noise abatement coordinator to allow excavation work to commence in the evening, so trucks could utilize Market Street when less traffic is present and also keeps trucks away from the residential street to the north.

DPD calculated the noise from the site to the adjacent residential uses and found the noise is within the standard of 60 dBA. If neighbors feel the noise exceeds the limits of the ordinance, please contact our noise abatement coordinator at 684-7843 so he can respond.

Relay For Life open house this weekend

The Northwest Seattle Relay For Life is coming up on May 19th and 20th at the Ballard High School track.

Relay For Life is a 24-hour relay that raises money for the American Cancer Society. Members of each team take turns walking around the track during the event, while others camp out around the track. No you don’t have to stay the entire time, but at least one member of each team needs to be on the track for the duration.

Relay For Life is a life-changing event that helps communities across the globe celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.

Learn more about the event at an open house on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Umpqua Bank (2032 NW Market St.) or you can sign your team up here.

Haz-mat response south of Ballard Bridge

Updated: Cleanup is underway after a morning diesel spill in Interbay today. BNSF Railway has hired an environmental cleanup contractor to remove the the fuel that is contained within the drainage facilities at the Interbay rail yard. Ecology, the Coast Guard and Seattle Public Utilities are overseeing the cleanup.

Although none of the oil has reached surface water, cleanup and containment materials are in place in Smith Cove. Some of the water has entered the public sewer system, which flows to the King County West Point Treatment Plant. “Plant operators are diverting oil from incoming flows for temporary storage and disposal. They also are taking precautions to ensure uninterrupted treatment of normal waste water,” states a press release.

Earlier: More than a dozen Seattle Fire units responded to the scene of a haz-mat spill just south of the Ballard Bridge this morning. The call came in just after 8 a.m.

Kyle Moore with Seattle Fire says that a locomotive with no cars attached derailed and spilled 2000 gallons of diesel. The locomotive is currently upright and the fuel is contained to the drainage ditch. Seattle Fire has contacted the EPA.

Thanks to MagnoliaVoice reporter Steve Smalley for photos.