Sockeye salmon counts continue at Ballard Locks

By Joe Veyera

The yearly tallying of Sockeye salmon is underway at the Ballard Locks, with the counts currently coming in much lower than previous years.

Through June 29, 4,024 Sockeye have made their way through to Lake Washington, considerably lower than last year’s 89,246 through the same number of days, or even the lowest number through that date since 2000 of 11,296, posted in 2009.

The pre-season forecast for the 2014 sockeye return was 167,000, an estimate primarily based on fry production from the spawners in 2009, 2010, and 2011. That would not come anywhere close to the figure of 350,000 necessary to open fishing seasons. The last time Lake Washington was open for sport sockeye fishing was 2006. However, it would still mark the second highest return of sockeye since 2006 if met.

Since 1972, Lake Washington sockeye salmon have been counted as they enter freshwater at the Locks, with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Muckleshoot Indian Tribe currently conducting the counts cooperatively.

The period from June 12 through the end of July is the standard interval used to determine if there are sufficient sockeye to open fishing seasons.

For more information on the salmon counts, click here.

Crown Hill Grocery Outlet kicks off annual food drive


By Joe Veyera

Throughout the month of July, the Crown Hill Grocery Outlet is encouraging customers to donate food and cash to support Fallen Brothers Seattle, as part of their fourth annual Independence from Hunger Food Drive, a company-wide campaign.

Focused on veteran community outreach, Fallen Brothers Seattle’s mission is to honor and support our nation’s veterans and to help supply food to feeding programs for those less fortunate. Now, Grocery Outlet shoppers can support the organization in two ways during the month.

Throughout the store, customers can purchase specially-marked food items or a non-food toiletries bag, and deposit them in the blue collection bin at the front of the store. Shoppers can also make a cash donation at the register, will all money raised going directly to Fallen Brothers of Seattle

Summer is often a time where food banks see a decrease in the number of donations they receive. The specially-marked items and toiletries are those particularly in need.

According to a press release, over the past three years, over $700,000 has been raised in cash, gift cards, non-food and food donations company-wide through this effort.

Photo courtesy of the Crown Hill Grocery Outlet

Sustainable Ballard to host men’s clothing drive July 10-17


By Joe Veyera

Between July 10 and 17, Sustainable Ballard will be collecting men’s clothing, along with accessories and toiletry items to support The Bridge Care Center at Ballard Commons, a drop-in center that provides a variety of services for men and women experiencing homelessness and displacement in Ballard.

After reopening in their new space at 5710 22nd Ave NW earlier this month, the Center is currently very low on men’s clothing items.

As the warmer months of the summer arrive, there are an increasing number of requests for t-shirts and shorts. Popular items such as jeans, socks, toiletries, backpacks, and sleeping bags are also needed.

Along with their men’s and women’s clothing rooms, which can be used three times a month, the Center offers case management appointments for those needing assistance with medical and housing appointments, computer use for individuals to check emails, search for housing, conduct job searches, and update resumes, and a phone to make local calls. The Center is open on Tuesdays from noon to 4 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the first and third Saturdays of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you have items to donate to the drive, contact Orna at to arrange for pickup, or drop your items off at the Sustainable Ballard booth at the Ballard SeafoodFest on July 12 and 13.

For more information on the clothing drive, click here.

(Photo courtesy of The Bridge Care Center via Facebook)

Parking rate changes coming to Ballard this fall

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By Joe Veyera

Earlier this month, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced its planned rate adjustments for the fall, based on the 2013 Annual Paid Parking Study, with all three areas of paid parking in Ballard set to change later this year.

In the Ballard Core, which consists of Northwest Market Street between 20th and 24th Avenues Northwest, and 22nd Avenue Northwest between Ballard Avenue Northwest and Northwest 56th Street, parking is currently $2 per hour between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. While the rate will not change, paid parking hours will be extended to 8 p.m.

In the Ballard Periphery (all non-Core paid parking blockfaces in Ballard), where parking is currently $1.50 per hour, the rate will be lowered to $1 per hour, and will also see paid parking hours extended to 8 p.m.

According to SDOT, paid parking hours are being extended in these areas, along with Fremont, Green Lake, and 12th Avenue near Seattle University, because these areas experience overly full parking, and require the evening period to managed with payment, similar to other areas with nightlife activity.

In the Ballard Locks parking area, which covers the parking lots south of Northwest 54th Street adjacent to the Locks, where parking is currently $1.50 per hour, rates will be adjusted by season. Between May and September, parking will be raised to $2 per hour, with the rate dropping to $1 per hour between October and April.

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The changes currently set to be made are dependent on staff review of the 2014 Annual Paid Parking Study. The new data set will be reviewed in July to see whether any of the current adjustments will need further revision.

For more information on the parking rate changes, and to see how rates will fluctuate across the city, click here.

Seattle Parks & Recreation seeks donations for Learn to Swim Scholarship Fund


By Joe Veyera

Between 2008 and 2012, 122 drowning deaths were reported in King County, with nine of these deaths of children 17 years of age or younger.

Seattle Parks & Recreation is currently accepting monetary donations of any size for its Learn to Swim Scholarship Fund, which makes swimming lessons affordable to all families, as they try to reduce that figure to zero.

The City of Seattle offers half-price swimming lessons to low-income families, but for some this is still not enough. The fund helps reduce the cost of lessons to the same level offered for other programs such as child care scholarships. Every family does still pays a portion of the fee.

People can make a 100 percent tax-deductible donation to the fund by visiting a local pool (the closest option for Ballard residents being the Ballard Pool 1471 NW 67th St) to use cash, check, or VISA/MasterCard/American Express, or by donating online at the Associated Recreation Council’s website by selecting “donate now” and then “Learn to Swim” from the drop-down menu.

Donors can set up recurring donations online, and can also designate donations on behalf of or in honor of someone.

For more information on the fund, and how to make a donation, click here.

Ballard sees largest rent increase, higher vacancy rate in new study

By Joe Veyera

According to our news partner The Seattle Times, a new study from Seattle-based Apartment Insights Washington shows that Ballard posted the biggest increase in apartment rents for new leases, along with the highest vacancy rate in the Seattle area in the second quarter of this year.

As reported by The Seattle Times’ Sanjay Bhatt:

Apartments in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood saw the biggest increase in rents. The average asking rent was 12.3 percent higher over the quarter, rising to $1,628.

But Ballard also had a vacancy rate of 8.6 percent, the highest in Seattle. And when new apartments that just opened are included, the vacancy rate shoots up to 18 percent.

The apartment boom in Ballard has led to a doubling of the inventory over the past six years, said Tom Cain, head of Apartment Insights Washington. When the units now being built are complete, Ballard’s inventory will have quadrupled.

New units rent for a premium, and they’re part of what’s driving up market rents, Cain said.

The figures are for rents for new leases (not accounting for utilities or other fees) from a May survey of 50+ unit apartment properties.

In comparison, Seattle area (King and Snohomish County) rents climbed 4.1 percent to an average of $1,284 per month, with rents in the Seattle city limits averaging $1,441. The vacancy rate in both Seattle, and in King and Snohomish counties is at 4.2 percent.

To read the entire story from the Times, click here.

Two attacked in pair of robberies in Ballard on Saturday

By Joe Veyera

According to a report from KOMO-TV’s Michael Harthorne, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is investigating after a pair of robberies in Ballard late Saturday night.

According to police reports obtained by KOMO, in the first incident, a woman was walking in the 200 block of North 46th Street when she was approached by the suspect, punched in the face, and had her cellphone stolen. The victim was unable to provide police with a description, but a neighbor reported hearing the victim screaming, and said they saw a man wearing a baseball cap and backpack fleeing the scene shortly thereafter. The neighbor stayed with the victim until help arrived, with the victim being transported to Harborview Medical Center with a possible broken nose.

In the second incident, a man was walking in the 400 block of Northwest Market Street, approximately a half a mile from the first robbery, around 11:45 p.m., and was listening to music on his cellphone when he saw a shadow come at him from behind. The victim told police the next thing he remembered was being on the ground, dazed and confused, and said he may have been briefly unconscious. The victim’s wallet and cellphone were missing, and there was no one around when he came to.

SPD officers conducted a search of the area, but were unable to locate the suspect.

Anyone with information regarding the incidents is asked to call the SPD Tip Line at 206-233-5000. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

What’s on this weekend

By Joe Veyera

It’s another busy weekend in the neighborhood. Take a look at what’s happening around Ballard this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

Friday, June 27

  • Fantastic Friday Family Fest at Sunset Hill Community Center (3003 NW 66th St) from 6:30 — 9 p.m. This family-friendly kick-off to summer will feature arts & crafts, games, snacks, local artists, and live music. For more information, click here.
  • Turbo Turkey and Pork Filled Players at the Ballard Underground (2220 NW Market St) at 7 p.m. These two groups perform as part of Seattle Sketch Comedy Month. Tickets from $10. Click here for more details.
  • Ubiquitous They and Drop the Root Beer and Run at the Ballard Underground (2220 NW Market St) at 8:30 p.m. These two groups perform as part of Seattle Sketch Comedy Month. Tickets from $10. Click here for more details.
  • Comedy Sportz Seattle Show at Atlas Theatre (3509 Fremont Ave N) at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Click here for more details and to buy tickets.
  • Live Music at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Country Dave Harmonson, The Ganges River Band, and Evening Bell. For more information, click here.

Saturday, June 28

  • Fall Vegetable Garden Seminar at Swanson’s Nursery (9710 15th Ave NW) from 10 — 11 a.m. Experienced garden mentor Rolf Hokansson will discuss what you should plant to have a successful, beautiful fall garden. Click here for more information.
  • Edible Garden Tour at the Ballard P-Patch (NW 85th St and 25th Ave NW) from 10 a.m. — 3 p.m. Neighborhood gardens in Northwest Ballard will be the focus. Tickets are $10, with proceeds supporting Sustainable Ballard projects. For more information, click here.
  • Summer Concerts at the Ballard Locks featuring the 85th Street Big Band, performing swing favorites from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. The show starts at 2 p.m. on the Ballard Locks lawn. Click here to see the full summer schedule.
  • Buddy UP! Improv at the Ballard Underground (2220 NW Market St) at 7 p.m. Featuring Bop-It & Liz and Joel. Tickets from $10. Click here for more details.
  • Comedy Sportz Seattle Show at Atlas Theatre (3509 Fremont Ave N) at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Click here for more details and to buy tickets.
  • Pork Filled Players and Day Job at the Ballard Underground (2220 NW Market St) at 7 p.m. These two groups perform as part of Seattle Sketch Comedy Month. Tickets from $10. Click here for more details.
  • Live Music at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Bandolier, who will be releasing their EP, along with Elephant Runner, The Riffbrokers, and Battersea. For more information, click here.
  • Love in the Time of Zombies at the Ballard Underground (2220 NW Market St) at 10 p.m. A couple in an unhappy marriage try to make things work during a zombie apocalypse. Tickets from $10. Click here for more details.

Sunday, June 29

  • Ballard Farmers Market along Ballard Ave from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Click here to see this week’s specials.
  • Flower and Garden Photography at Swanson’s Nursery (9710 15th Ave NW) from 11 a.m. — 1 p.m. Award winning flower and garden photographer Charles Needle will share tips on how to take the best snapshots in your yard. Class fee is $40, and participants are asked to bring their own camera (smartphones are okay). Click here for more information.
  • Summer Concerts at the Ballard Locks featuring Professor Gadget’s Sax Quintet. The show starts at 2 p.m. on the Ballard Locks lawn. Click here to see the full summer schedule.
  • MashUp All-Stars Improv at the Ballard Underground (2220 NW Market St) at 6:30 p.m. Established Seattle Sketch Comedy performers band together to create an entire sketch show from scratch. Followed by a performance from Ubiquitous They. Tickets from $10. Click here for more details.
  • 7 Minutes in Heaven Improv at the Ballard Underground (2220 NW Market St) at 8 p.m. An improvised speed-dating show, with audience members allowed to wander throughout the show to choose their own adventure. Tickets from $10. Click here for more details.
  • Sunday Movies at King’s Hardware Presents: Ernest Goes to Camp beginning at sundown at King’s patio (5225 Ballard Ave NW). This month, the series features some of the best comeback movies of all time.

Do you know of an event happening this weekend or in future in our neighborhood?

You can submit it to our events calendar here on, or email the information to to ensure we include it in our weekly weekend roundup.