Northgate Way Improvement Project approaches final stage

SDOT contractors will reach the final stages of the N Northgate Way Improvement Project by the end of next week. The final major piece of work is set to be repaving the intersection of North Northgate Way and Meridian Avenue North.

Until construction is completed, traffic on Northgate Way between Meridian and Corliss will remain reduced to a single lane in each direction.  There will be no left turns permitted onto Northgate Way from southbound Meridian.  (This traffic will be directed to detour via N 107th St and Corliss Ave N.)

In addition, there will be no left turns onto Meridian from eastbound Northgate Way.  Northbound traffic on Meridian will be reduced to a single lane at Northgate Way, although through traffic, left and right turns, will be permitted from this lane.

Tonight from 6 p.m. – midnight SDOT crews will grind and remove the existing asphalt of the intersection, with the work being done in sections in order to keep it open to vehicular traffic. Uniformed police officers will be present to help keep traffic flowing.

From Tuesday, November 11, at 6 p.m. through Wednesday, November 12, at 3 a.m. the intersection will be repaved. This work will require the closure of the intersection to eastbound and westbound traffic, with a detour set to be in place to North 107th St. (See map below.)

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Northbound and southbound traffic will be reduced to a single lane in each direction. Weather permitting, the intersection will be paved and restored by Wednesday, November 12.

Over the coming week, in addition to the intersection repaving, crews will finish curb ramp installation, driveways, and roadway striping, all necessary before Northgate Way can be fully reopened.

Click here to find out more information about the scheduled work.

Free car washes for vets on Veterans Day

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Brown Bear Car Wash (1800 15th Ave NW) will be offering free car washes to all current or former members of the military tomorrow.

The free car washes will operate on an honor system; no verification or documentation will be required.

“The event is our way of demonstrating appreciation for those who currently serve our country and have made sacrifices on behalf of all of us,” says Brown Bear Car Wash President Vic Odermat.

All veterans will receive a free “bear essentials” car wash. Click here to see the list of other participating tunnel wash locations.

Scammers target local Seattle City Light customers

Over the past week, the My Ballard team has received a number of reports about scammers who are posing as Seattle City Light employees and demanding money over the phone. The scammers have reportedly been targeting both businesses and individuals in the neighborhood.

My Ballard reader Sayda emailed in to report that she was the victim of a scam call on Tuesday while at work as a manager at Stericycle Communication Solutions.

Sayda reports that “JP” called in asking to speak to a manager in regards to an electricity bill that had allegedly not been paid. When JP insisted that the building’s electricity was going to be shut off, the call was transferred to Sayda.

Upon speaking to JP, Sayda was informed that she needed to pay $2000 in cash to ensure that the electricity remained on. JP then said that the bill could be paid using a pre-paid card and that Sayda should call him back with the pre-paid authorization number once the card was purchased. JP also told Sayda that she could pay a minimum of $500 in the same pre-paid card manner, as credit card payments “take too long to process.”

“That seemed suspicious to me, so while still on the line, I asked one of my staff to call the number that JP was calling from to see if it went to Seattle City Light and it did not,” says Sayda.

“I also asked him our account number and other necessary information that I needed to pay the bill and he could not confirm the details,” Sayda continues.

At that point Sayda informed JP that she was onto his scam and that she was going to call the police. JP then hung up on her.

Sayda reports that JP then called a second and a third time asking for a manager, in the hope of reaching someone different. After he was denied during the third phone call he stopped calling.

Although, in the end, Sayda realized that it was a scam initially she reports that it was hard to tell. “As a manager I did not want the electricity turned off so my first instinct was to pay it. Everyone in the neighborhood should be careful,” says Sayda.

Ballard business the Kangaroo and Kiwi Pub was also targeted by the same scammers last week. Similarly, a man, who was supposedly working for Seattle City Light, called and demanded $500 to be paid to prevent the electricity from being shut off.

“The man told me that we were overdue on our bill and that the amount needed to be paid immediately. He said that he would send representatives to collect the funds in cash,” says Kangaroo and Kiwi manager Aran.

Aran continued speaking to the person on the phone and asked the man to verify the Kangaroo and Kiwi account number. When he could not verify the number Aran told the man that he was aware it was a scam and hung up the phone.

“Locals need to be aware of this scam and be careful,” says Aran.

If you are contacted by anyone who claims to work for Seattle City Light, hang up the phone and call Seattle City Light at (206) 684-3000 to confirm if your bill is in fact overdue. Also let your friends and family know about this scam to ensure they are not misled.

Have you been targeted by scammers? Email your story to tips@myballard.com and together we can help to keep the neighborhood informed.

The October Real Estate Recap

Long time Ballard resident and local Real Estate Broker Sharon Giampietro shares a post on My Ballard every month to keep readers informed about the local real estate market.

Giampietro comes from a long line of realtors and has lived in Ballard for 30 years. She is currently a Broker at Windermere Real Estate in Greenwood.

Check out Giampietro’s recap of how Greater Ballard fared in October below:

October saw 194 new residential listings added in our area, similar to August’s 196 but far below the 267 added in September. Most Real Estate Brokers would attribute this to the holiday season slowdown.

As we shift further into the fall, sellers continue to list their homes, but the numbers are shrinking. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a home- keep it up! There will be transactions going on almost every day through December 31, some with those motivated sellers who want a sale by the end of the year.

October saw another drop in the average home price for area 705. September’s average sale price of $579,000 dropped to $553,000 in October, representing a 4.5 % dip. Nonetheless, home prices, so far, for all of 2014 have risen about 12% and in all of 2013 they rose about 10%.

The average sale price for October 2014 is 5% over the average price in October 2013, underscoring an overall upward price trend despite month by month fluctuations. Part of the reason for this is the still relatively low number of listings compared to the number of buyers who want to live in our area. For example, in the month of October, 196 homes came on the market and 217 sold. This means that in one month a big chunk of what is available to sell, sold. Just over a month’s supply of inventory does not give buyers a huge selection.

Recently, the Washington State Employment Security Dept. reported that the state’s unemployment rate for September 2014 is was 5.7 percent and August’s was 5.6 percent. Low unemployment helps to fuel the housing industry.

Condos continue to be an important option for buyers. In October, 36 condos were added to the inventory, not a big change from September’s 43. Prices for condos were also down at an average of sale price of $286,000, down from $302,000 last month. As the new construction condo units are finishing and sales on them are closed, we can expect to see a rise in condo prices.

Residential new construction homes added to the inventory was down to 29 from September’s 40 and only 1 new construction condo listing was added. Many buyers like new construction and are welcoming these modern homes to the pool of alternatives.

Greater Ballard is Greenwood, Green Lake, Wallingford and other close by neighborhoods identified as “705” in the NWMLS.  All residential and condo numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand and unless noted do not include new construction. Statistics not compiled or published by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

What’s on this weekend

Another weekend is here and brings with it plenty of exciting events. Enjoy it in Ballard!

Friday, November 7

  • Live music at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Gram Parsons Tribute Night featuring Country Dave & the New Fallen Angels. Tickets $10. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.
  • Live Music at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Tim Reynolds and TR3 Vaudeville Etiquette. Tickets $20. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Saturday, November 8

  • Li’l Beavs Cheer Camp at Ballard High School (1418 NW 65th St) from 9:30 a.m. – noon. Calling all kids, K-5! Spend the morning with the Ballard High School Cheer Squad, learning cheers, chants, and dances! Cost is $30. Click here to register.
  • Free SAT Diagnostics Test at Sylvan Learning (2232 Northwest Market Street #8) from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Find out how ready you are for the big test. Please RSVP first though at (206) 297-4595.
  • Join Heron Habitat Helpers at Commodore Park (near Ballard Locks) for Seattle Green Day from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The team will be planting and weeding and restoring native vegetation so that Great Blue Herons and other native wildlife will thrive here.
  • FriendShop Pop Up at the Ballard Library (5614 22nd Ave NW) from 11 a.m. Pop in to purchase pre-owned paperbacks and children’s books for $1, tote bags, mugs, jewelry and gifts for readers.
  • Simple Home Remedies: How to Make Your Own Herbal Medicine at Dandelion Botanical Co (5424 Ballard Ave) from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Join the final class of a 5 week course designed to teach you how to make your own herbal, medicinal products.  Learn how to make your own how to make your own tinctures, glycerites (non alcoholic tinctures), and essential oils spirits. Cost is $40.
  • Raffle for the Ridge at Hilliard’s Beer (1550 NW 49th St) from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Support the raffle and fundraiser to open Hurricane Ridge four days a week instead of three. Click here to find out more.
  • Cheers to 3 Years at Tannya Bernadette Consignment Boutique (5410 22nd Ave NW) from 5 p.m. Tannya Bernadette Consignment Boutique is celebrating its 3rd anniversary with a Glamorous Vintage Carnival themed party. All are welcome.
  • POP-UP Arts Night at Pacific Crest School (600 NW Bright St) from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Enjoy an exclusive art exhibition with culinary amusements and musical cheer. A benefit to Pacific Crest School.
  • Live music at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Julia Massey and the Five Finger Discount – Vinyl release! Featuring Roaming Herds of Buffalo, & Honey Noble. Tickets $8. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.
  • Live Music at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 8:45 p.m. Featuring JD McPherson – Oaklahoma Rock n Roll with Special Guests Cactus Blossomss. Tickets $20. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Sunday, October 9

  • Ballard Farmers Market along Ballard Ave from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Click here to see this week’s specials.
  • Open Mic at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. For more information click here.
  • Live Music at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 8 p.m. Featuring Greyhounds and Tape Stacks. Tickets $10. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Throwback Thursday: The Whittier School of yesteryear

Schools have always played a central role in the Ballard community. This week we wanted to focus on Whittier School and its developments over the years.

The black and white photo below, taken in 1908, features the first building of Whittier School in Crown Hill when it was almost completed. This new brick building replace several smaller wooden schools. A second building was constructed in 1928 to hold more than 700 students.

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The black and white photo below, taken in 1940, features Whittier students at a flag raising ceremony.

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The black and white photo below, taken in 1946, features students learning to knit at Whittier School. This photo was probably taken in the second building, constructed in 1928, that featured specialized classrooms for music, industrial arts, and physical education.

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The black and white photo below, taken in 1946, features the second building that was constructed in 1928.

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Photos and information courtesy of MOHAI.

HomeStreet Bank robbed at gunpoint

The Crown Hill branch of HomeStreet Bank (8050 15th Avenue NW) was robbed at gunpoint at approximately 11:05 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

A SPD public relations officer confirmed that one suspect, who displayed a black handgun, robbed the bank and escaped on foot with an unknown sum of money.

SPD are unable to release the full description of the suspect as the FBI is assisting with the investigation, however, it has been confirmed that the suspect was wearing a mask.

SPD officers arrived on the scene shortly after the suspect fled the scene and safely cleared the bank area. The canine unit was also on hand to support officers. The dogs reportedly followed a scent that suddenly disappeared, which may indicate that the suspect escaped in a vehicle.

The suspect is still at large and the SPD and FBI are investigating the incident.

If you have any information regarding the robbery contact the SPD North Precinct at (206) 684-0850.

Development Update November 6: Subdivisions, a 14-unit block and a design review meeting

A variety of applications, decisions and a design review notice make up this week’s development update from the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) as posted in the Land Use Information Bulletin. No other applications, appeals, decisions, or notifications were made this week in Ballard.

Applications:

802 NW 57th St

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A Land Use Application has been submitted to subdivide one parcel into two parcels of land. Proposed parcel sizes are: A) 3,755.5 sq. ft. and B) 3,755.5 sq. ft. Existing structure to be demolished.

1765 NW 56th St

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A Land Use Application has been submitted to allow interior alterations and to change the use from a 4-unit apartment building to a 14-unit apartment building. Parking for five vehicles to remain.

Decisions:

12033 12th Ave NW

A Land Use Application has been approved to allow 8,500 sq. ft. of vegetation restoration in an environmentally critical area. Environmental Review conducted under project #3017222.

6312 17th Ave NW

A Land Use Application has been approved to subdivide one parcel into three parcels of land. Proposed parcel sizes are: A) 2,600 sq. ft., B) 2,600 sq. ft.; and C) 2,599 sq. ft. Existing structures on the properties will be demolished.

12017 12th Ave NW

A Land Use Application has been approved to allow 2,450 sq. ft. of vegetation restoration in an environmentally critical area. Review includes 8,500 sq. ft. of vegetation restoration on adjacent site (12033 12th Ave NW) under project #3017219 for a total of 10,950 sq. ft. Project includes vegetation restoration plan.

Notice of Design Review Meeting:

1448 NW Market St

A Land Use Application has been received to propose the construction of a  5-story, 204,000 sq. ft. office building. Parking for 210 vehicles to be provided below grade. Existing structures to be demolished.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 24, at 8 p.m. and will be held at Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW)

The Director will accept written comments to assist in the preparation of the early design guidance through November 24, 2014. You are invited to offer comments regarding important site planning and design issues, which you believe, should be addressed in the design for this project.

Comments about the above applications should be submitted to PRC@seattle.gov or mailed to the address below:

City of Seattle DPD PRC
700 5th Avenue Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA  98124-4019