Hundreds set for 6th annual Golden Gardens Polar Bear Plunge

Back in 2009, the New Year’s Day Golden Gardens Polar Bear Plunge kicked off with a few dozen people jumping into the ice cold waters of Puget Sound. Each year the crowd has grown in numbers, with an estimated 300 polar bears taking the plunge on January 1, 2014 (check out the chilly video below).

Tomorrow’s plunge is also expected to attract a record number of polar bears.

The event will kick of at 11 a.m. at Golden Gardens (8498 Seaview Pl NW) and all are welcome to take a dip in the water to officially welcome 2015!

The event was started by local resident Rick Sandvig after he saw the event become successful in Vancouver, Canada.

Polar bears are asked to look for the Lock and Keel banner to meet up with fellow plungers. Organizers remind participants to bring a towel and that costumes are also encouraged.

“We want you to be there! Your neighbors want you there,” says Sandvig.

Are you planning on taking the plunge? Email your photos and videos to

Ballard Greenways seeks community support

The Ballard Greenways team is encouraging locals to donate to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways before 2014 comes to a close. Check out their community statement below:


2014 has been a very exciting year for Ballard Greenways! We’ve enjoyed the NW 58th Ave Greenway for an entire year. We have seen an 805% increase in the number of people riding on 58th Ave NW compared to the year before it was built.

This past summer a group of Ballard Greenways members led Councilmember Mike O’Brien on a bike ride along the future 17th Ave NW which was critical for securing funding to plan and build the 17th Ave Greenway in 2015. Once built Ballard will be home to the first location in the city where two greenways intersect (17th and 58th), woot woot!

Our work has been a team effort between Ballard volunteers and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways staff. As you may know, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways works effortlessly to advocate for safe streets for people of all ages and abilities. They are a staff of two (Cathy Tuttle and Gordon Paddleford) who are working tirelessly to improve access to our elected officials and SDOT. Our successful work in Ballard would not be possible without them!

Please see the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways newsletter and consider giving to this amazing organization. With your donation we can continue to advocate for safe streets for everyone!

Happy Holidays!

Warm wishes,

Bob, Chris and Jennifer

To find out more about Seattle Greenways click here.

Intersection near Ballard QFC ices over

My Ballard reader Jennifer emailed in to let us know that the intersection at 24th Ave NW and NW 58th St (between QFC and Scooter’s Burgers) has iced over.


“It would be great if the City would fix the water runoff that freezes every time the temp dips. Especially since this is part of the Seattle Greenways “safe street” network, writes Jennifer.

As the temperature is set to remain chilly, take care when driving in the area.

The 2014 Ballard NYE Round Up

2015 is just hours away and there are plenty of events happening in Ballard where locals can ring in the New Year. Check out the list of events happening in our neighbourhood below:

  • Hogmanay at Macleod’s Scottish Pub (5200 Ballard Ave NW) from 7 p.m. Traditional Scottish music will be played all night and live bagpipes will be featured.
  • NYE Dinner at Bloom (5410 17th Ave NW) from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • New Year’s Bash at The Old Pequliar (1722 NW Market St) from 9 p.m. DJ MPB:BPM, madness & mayhem and no cover.
  • Artist Home Annual New Year’s Eve Party at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) from 9 p.m.
  • Epic New Year’s at King’s Hardware (5225 Ballard Ave NW) from 6 p.m. Bottles of bubbly for $20 and DJ Blazon Stone will be playing the tunes. No cover charge.
  • NYE at Ballard Loft (5105 Ballard Ave NW) from 6 p.m. Featuring DJ Pheloneous at 10 p.m., dancing, party favors and $9 martinis. No cover charge.
  • NYE Party at Kangaroo and Kiwi Pub (2026 NW Market St) from 8 p.m. DJ will be playing from 9 p.m. and there is no cover charge.

Do you know of an event happening in Ballard for NYE? Email us at and we will add it to the list.

Ballard Youth Basketball set to start next month


Ballard Youth Basketball’s winter season is set to start on January 11. The season will comprise of six Sundays with training and an informal league.

The training will be held at Ballard Boys and Girls Club and is open for boys from 4th through 8th grade.

Coach Brad Baker, former four year starter at Ballard High School, will be facilitating the program and has been praised for his ability to connect with youth.

Cost is $119 for new players and $99 for returning players. (Prices include a jersey for each player.)

To register and find out more click here.

Ballard High School Foundation seeks donations before start of 2015

The Ballard High School Foundation is inviting locals to contribute to the school by making a year end tax deductible donation before the start of 2015.

Check out more information in the Foundation’s statement below:

Many of you have received our year end appeal and some of you may not have. If you have not already donated, please consider using this opportunity to make a year end, 100% tax deductible donation.

Your direct contributions along with successful events sponsored by the Foundation this year, such as the Performing Arts Gala, the Annual Golf Tournament and Dinner of Champions, have allowed us to provide over $159,000 in direct support of the school this past year; specifically, Visual & Performing Arts, Video Production, Academic Excellence, the Library as well as Athletics. The vast majority of Ballard students are directly impacted by this funding – a priority of the Foundation’s mission.

We are also encouraged by the investment we are making in the GAINS (Graduation Assistance Impacting the Needs of Students) Program which continues to work with students who have been identified as ‘at risk’ for delayed graduation or dropping out of school due to grades, absenteeism or disciplinary issues. Keeping students enrolled and increasing the overall graduation rate is a key goal at Ballard.

We continue to strive to make BHS a school where every student is served regardless of need. We encourage you to consider a generous gift to the Ballard High School Foundation as we bid goodbye to 2014.

All the best to you and yours from all of us.

Ballard High School Foundation

Click here to learn more about the foundation or to make a donation.

Ballard Crime Update December 29: Ballard break ins

Check out the latest crime reports for the neighborhood as documented in the SPD online reports database.

House sitter reports break in on 29th Ave NW

Just before 8 a.m. on December 6, SPD officers responded to a burglary at a home in the 8300 block of 29th Ave NW.

A house sitter who was minding the home called 911 when he discovered the glass insert on the rear side doors had been smashed when he came to check on the house.

SPD officers cleared the scene and found no suspects. Items were found strewn around the home and, as the owner was out of town, it was not possible to determine which items (if any) had been taken. As the door deadbolts remained locked, SPD officers determined that the suspect/s entered and exited through the smashed glass panel in the door.

Officers conducted a print search, however, none were found.

Attempted break in on NW 88th St

At approximately 8:20 a.m. on December 18, SPD officers responded to the scene of a burglary that had just occurred in the 650th block of NW 88th St.

The owner of the house reported that he woke from sleep after hearing something at the back door. He got up and saw a male suspect standing at the back door with his hand through a smashed glass panel, attempting to open the door.

The home owner began yelling at the suspect and the suspect subsequently ran through the yard to the front of the house. The owner reported that an unknown black BMW was parked out the front of his house and that the suspect may have escaped in the vehicle.

SPD officers conducted a finger print search with no results.

Ballard ranks in Redfin’s most competitive neighborhoods study

Our neighborhood has been ranked 26th in Redfin’s national most competitive neighborhoods study for 2014. The study examined the top 30 neighborhoods in the US where home buyers face the most competitive markets.

According to the study, Ballard saw 48.7% of homes sell above asking price this year and over 40% of the homes sold received multiple offers.

Check out Ballard’s official stats according to Redfin below:

  • Median Sale Price: $505,000
  • 2014 Price Growth: 12.5%
  • Homes sold: 620
  • Days on Market: 7
  • Multiple Offers: 43.9%
  • Average Number of Offers: 2.5
  • Sold Above Asking: 48.7%
  • All Cash Offers: 21.3%

Five other Seattle neighborhoods featured in the top 30 including Ravenna (#9), Wallingford (#15), Seward Park (#19), Education Hill in Redmond (#21) and Phinney Ridge (#28).

Click here to check out the entire study findings.

Holiday DUI patrols out in force until new year

Extra law enforcement patrols will be out in force in King County until January 1, 2015 in their efforts to reach the goal of zero traffic deaths.

Sadly, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), an average of 49 people died in traffic crashes in Washington between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day from 2008-2012.

“A good reminder to remember this holiday season is that Impaired Driving is still the leading cause of death on our roadways,” says Belinda Young from WTSC.

The WTSC offers some important safety tips to remember:

  • Call 911 if you see a suspected DUI driver on the roads.
  • If you drink, use marijuana, or take other drugs, don’t drive. Make plans before-hand for how you’ll get around.
  • If you are hosting a party, make sure your guests get home safely! Plan to have sober designated drivers available. Buy a few extra air mattresses so guests can stay the night. If it’s an office party, limit alcohol, provide shuttle service or book hotel rooms. Remember, as a party host, you are liable for the actions of the people who leave your party intoxicated.
  • Talk with your children about alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. Help them understand the ways alcohol and marijuana use can harm their bodies, their brains, and their future. Let them know that they can call you instead of ever getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking, using marijuana or taking drugs.
  • Give the best gift of all at the Holiday Season with the Designated Driver Gift Card found online here.
  • Addiction is a complex issue. If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol, marijuana or drug abuse, call the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1 (866) 789-1511 or click here.

The King County Target Zero Task Force is working with law enforcement agencies from other counties to work towards zero traffic deaths this holiday season. They are also participating in this year’s Holiday Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.