Community meeting planned to discuss Webster School renovation

A group of Ballard residents are hosting a meeting to discuss concerns over Seattle School District’s plans to renovate and reopen Webster School (currently the Nordic Heritage Museum) starting in 2018. The meeting is Tuesday, August 29 from 6 to 7:30 pm at the Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 NW 67th St.

According to Seattle Public Schools (SPS), Webster School was originally constructed in 1908. It was closed in 1979, when it was then leased to the Pacific Nordic Council. Since 1980, the building has housed the Nordic Heritage Museum. However, because the museum will be moved to its new location in early 2018, SPS wants to reopen Webster School in the building.

SPS proposes to reopen the school with a capacity of up to 450 students. Plans include updating the building and retrofitting the interior, and constructing a building addition to house a new gymnasium.

According to SPS, the project will include:

  • Demolition
  • Seismic improvement to the original unreinforced masonry 1908 building;
  • An addition of 7,700 square feet on the west side of the property housing a new gymnasium and covered play area;
  • Structural, mechanical, electrical, data/telecom, modernization/upgrades; and
    Life safety and sustainability upgrades.
  • Portions of the building’s exterior and interior were designated as a Seattle Landmark by the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board in June 2015. Features to be preserved include the site, the exteriors of the 1908 building and 1930 addition, the 1930 meeting room/auditorium, the 1930 library reading rooms, and the halls and stairs of the second and third floors in the 1908 building.

Tuesday’s meeting will be hosted by local school activist Chris Jackins with Seattle Committee to Save Schools. His concerns, outlined in a letter to residents, include the following:

  • City zoning code would not be met: lot coverage, building height (17% taller), on-street bus loading.
  • Loss of 69% of significant trees, and endangering an exceptional tree: Chinese photinia at SE corner.
  • Loss of playground space and open space: at least 11% of the playground would be lost, and probably twice that amount.
  • Loss of on-site parking: the current 67 on-site spaces would be reduced to 5.
  • Historic and Cultural Preservation: the covered play area should not be demolished. The School Board has requested that the State exempt the Seattle School Disctrict from City Landmarks regulation, putting historic features at risk.

Jackins is also concerned about the plan to construct new buildings on the playground, and points out that there is an inadequate description of the project from the Seattle School District. (For the full document of the concerns, download this PDF of the letter from Jackins, sent to us by reader Amy Janas)

Public comments and concerns about the plans are due by 5pm on September 7 and should be sent to or to Pegi McEvoy, 206-252-0707.

Photo courtesy Nordic Heritage Museum 

Obec Brewing joins the Ballard brew scene

Beer lovers, rejoice: another brewery has opened in Ballard, in the heart of our ‘hood’s brew district. It’s called Obec Brewing, and is just next to Stoup and Reuben’s at 1144 NW 52nd St. They celebrated their grand opening on Friday, with Peasant Food Manifesto food truck on site and a guest appearance from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

Obec, pronounced “obets”, is a Czech word meaning “community”, and is owned by Wayne Jehlik, who has Czech heritage. Jehlik, with his wife and operations manager Stacey and business partner Brian Gill have a beer list with a nod to old-world Czech, German and British beers, alongside Northwest favorites such as IPAs and sours.

In addition to their 12 house-brewed tap lines, they’re currently serving guest beers from Stoup and Lucky Envelope – just until they can fill it out with their own brews. According to Seattle Mag, Obec has an English porter, English pale ale, a hopped-up red rye ale and a Czech-style bohemian pilsner, with a traditional American IPA and double IPA on the way. They also have wine available from Fall Line Winery and Solera Bravo Wines.

Obec’s hours are Wednesday and Thursday 4 – 10pm, Friday 4pm – 11pm, Saturday noon to 11pm, and Sunday noon to 9pm (closed on Monday and Tuesday). Dogs are welcome, but all patrons must be 21+.

For more info about Obec, visit their Facebook page.

Opening day photos courtesy Obec Brewing

What’s on this weekend

It should be another beautiful weekend in Ballard, with sun and temperatures in the mid- to high-70s. If you’re looking to get outside and listen to live music (and sip on some tasty local beer), check out Stoup Brewing’s family-friendly Yard Party on Saturday. If you have any events to add to this list, email us at

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 25

  • Old Ballard Crayfish Party at the Seattle Maritime Academy (4455 Shilshole Ave NW), 7-11pm. Hosted by the Old Ballard Liquor Co. and Tumble Swede pop-up restaurant. More info here.
  • Live Music:
    • Jazz at Egan’s Ballard Jam House (1707 NW Market St).  7pm: Susan Robinson (vocals), with Darin Clendenin (piano), Clipper Anderson (bass), Robert Rushing (drums) and Travis Ranney (sax) ($13 cover) . 9pm – Colson Jimenez Quartet – Colson Jimenez (bass), Ravi Sharma (guitar), Santosh Sharma (sax) and Dominic Lecouturier (drums) ($10 cover/$5 students)
    • Barna Howard and Jack Grelle at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9pm $8.
    • Warren G Hardings, Rain City Ramblers, and Tom Eddy Band at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 9pm. $12.

Saturday, August 26

  • Stoup Brewing Yard Party 2 – 10pm. Live music from Brawns, Silver Treason, Planet Fly, and Golden Idols. Seattle Children’s Museum with family and kids activities, and the following food trucks: Wicked Good Grinders, Nutty Squirrel Gelato, Raney Bro’s BBQ and Beez Neez Sausages.
  • Safe Routes to School & Bike Rodeo at Greenwood Park (602 NW 87th St) 1 pm – 5 pm. “Join us for a Bike Rodeo, Music, Food and Scavenger Hunt at Greenwood Park, just down the way from the new Robert Eagle Staff Middle School! We’ll kickoff the school year and help families learn bike safety and skills and find the safest routes to school.”
  • Live Music
    • Jazz at Egan’s Ballard Jam House (1707 NW Market St). 7pm – “Songs of the City” – Victor Janusz and Friends – purchase tickets online – any remaining seats will be sold at the door. 9pm – Hanz Araki (flutes, whistles, vocals) and Colleen Raney (vocals, bodran, guitar).
    • Jon Hatchett, Zach Bryson & The Meatrack, and Heather Littlefield at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9pm $8.

Sunday, August 27

  • Ballard Farmer’s Market along Ballard Ave from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Click here to see this week’s specials.
  • Free zumba and fitness class at Ballard Commons Park, 11am. Led by Ballard Health Club.
  • Live Music
    • Open mic at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) sign ups at 7:30 pm.

Another rabid bat found – this time in Ballard

On August 22, a rabid bat was found at the  intersection of NW 73rd and 8th Ave NW in Ballard. This is the second rabid bat found in the area this week; another was found in Green Lake on August 17.

King County’s Public Health Insider recommends that if you had any contact with a bat at this intersection on Tuesday or Wednesday, contact Public Health (206-296-4774) immediately for information on preventative treatment.

From King County Public Health:

A rabid bat was found on the sidewalk intersection of NW 73rd and 8th Ave NW in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard. The bat was noticed by a pedestrian on Tuesday afternoon, August 22. The pedestrian immediately notified Animal Control. The bat appeared sick and subsequently died prior to the arrival of Animal Control. The bat tested positive for rabies at the Washington State Public Health Laboratory on August 24.

If you find a bat:

  • If you find a bat inside your house, call Public Health at 206-296-4774 to discuss the situation and to determine whether the bat needs to be tested for rabies. Public Health tests bats for rabies free of charge under certain circumstances.
  • If the bat is alive, do not let it go! Knock it to the floor with a broom or other object, and cover it with a wastebasket or other container
  • Scoop it into a box or plastic storage container with a secure lid without touching it or wear heavy leather gloves to pick it up and put it in the box.
  • Use a shovel or gloves to put a dead bat in a box for testing. Do not throw it away!

Rabies can be life-threatening, but is preventable if treated before symptoms appear. Read for more details, read this media release and a Public Health Insider Q&A on bats and health.

Photo from Public Health Insider

Fishermen’s Fall Festival coming in September

The 29th annual Fishermen’s Fall Festival is just around the corner, an event that celebrates the return of the North Pacific fishing fleet to the terminal. On Saturday, September 23, the festival will take place at Fishermen’s Terminal (1900 W. Nickerson St., Seattle, WA, at the south end of
the Ballard Bridge) from 11am to 6pm. Admission is free.

“The Festival celebrates the return of the North Pacific fishing fleet to the terminal, works to increase the public’s knowledge of the importance of the fishing industry as well as Fishermen’s Terminal to Seattle while raising money for the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial Foundation,” the organizers tell My Ballard.

The festival is a family-friendly event, with hands-on art projects with fishing themes, a wooden boat building and “Fishing for Fun” fish pond, live music and fishing information and demonstrations.  Proceeds from the activities within the festival will be donated to the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial Foundation to assist families of fishers lost at sea.

To learn more, click here.

Throwback Thursday: 110 years since Seattle annexed Ballard

Ballard was its own city from 1890 until May 29, 1907. The City of Ballard’s short-lived independence ceased to exist when it was annexed to Seattle, adding the new neighborhood to the northwest as well as 17,000 people to Seattle’s population.

The vote to annex had passed by 996 to 874 votes on November 6, 1906, following Ballard’s increasing difficulties in keeping its services abreast of a growing population. Particularly problematic was the clean water supply.

On the day the City ceased to exist, the Ballard City Hall was draped in black crepe, and the flag on the city flag pole hung at half mast.

Ballard Avenue from City Hall, Ballard, ca. 1900 postcard


Sources: Patrick McRoberts,, ( Essay 1421, 1999); Walt Crowley, National Trust Guide Seattle (New York: Preservation Press, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1998); Myra Phelps, Public Works in Seattle: A Narrative History The Engineering Department 1875-1975 (Seattle: Seattle Engineering Department, 1978), 222; Passport to Ballard: The Centennial Story ed. by Kay Reinartz (Seattle: Ballard News Tribune, 1988), 64; Jeannie Yandel


Ballard gets community tool library with city’s matching funds award program

Mayor Ed Murray announced a near $1.3 million in matching funds awards to support 27 community-initiated projects across the city, including Ballard’s own community tool library. The awards come from the Neighborhood Matching Fund’s Community Partnership Fund which offers matching funds of up to $100,000 to community organizations committed to fostering and building our community.

Individual district projects were approved in Districts 1,2,3,6, and 7. Ballard’s biggest takeaway will be $12,000 to Sustainable Ballard to launch a tool library in Ballard that will promote community learning and help build skills of self-sufficiency and empowerment around crafting, repair, and general tool operation and safety procedures. The goal is to open by the end of 2017. (Community match: $42,446)

Additionally, four citywide projects will be funded this summer cycle: Fiestas Patrias, a free 2-day Latin American cultural festival; the 30th Annual Italian Festival ‘Festa Italiana’ running this year from September 22 – 24; Seattle Latino Film Festival to host free events including a panel on Latin-American Women in Film, and a screening of seven documentaries produced by universities in Mexico; a weekly youth education program by Skate Like A Girl and Youth Employment Skateboarding for youth ages 12-18 to learn topics as financial literacy, creating safer spaces, career paths, etc.

The Neighborhood Matching Fund’s Community Partnership Fund awards range from $12,000 to $100,000 with the 27 organizations pledging a total of $1,282,518 in community match resources of volunteer hours, locally raised money, donated materials, and in-kind professional services.

Over its 29-year history, more than 5,000 projects have been funded in partnership with the NMF Program. The next Community Partnership Fund application deadline is September 25. For more information about NMF and this cycle’s awarded projects, click here.

Discarded smoking materials cause $250k total of damages in Greenwood condo fire

An accidental condo fire– caused by discarded smoking materials– broke out in the heart of Greenwood yesterday afternoon, August 23rd. The fire displaced residents in the multi-residential structure near the intersection of N 87th Street and Greenwood Ave. in the north end of the neighborhood’s commercial district, none of whom were reported injured.

According to 911 records, the first call came in at 1:21 p.m. Around 1:45 p.m., Seattle fire PIO Kristin Tinsley reported that the fire was out.

The Seattle Department of Transportation warned locals to watch for road closures near the incident, of which continued to effect the area another hour after the fire was put out. Metro Transit rerouted Route 5 in both directions between N 85th Street and N 105th Street, because of the fire trucks blocking the street.

The Seattle Fire Department has since reported the estimated loss was $150,000 in structure damages and $100,000 in contents.

Bat found at Green Lake tests positive for rabies

A rabid bat, appearing sick and unable to fly, was found at Green Lake Park in Seattle on Thursday evening, August 17th. Public Health – Seattle & King County tells us the bat was captured by a park visitor as it was being moved by four persons who appeared to be teenagers on the pathway near the Green Lake boathouse on the east side of the park. The bat later tested positive for rabies at the Washington State Public Health Laboratory on Saturday, August 19th.

Officials advise parents in the area to check if their teens were at the park on Thursday evening, and if so, to ask them if they had any contact with a bat. Anyone who touched or had contact with the bat or its saliva could be at risk of getting rabies, which is almost always fatal once symptoms begin. But rabies can be prevented if treatment is given before symptoms appear.

“If you or your child had any contact with a bat at Green Lake Park on August 16th or 17th, please contact Public Health immediately to get information about preventative treatment,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, who explains that contact includes touching a bat, being bitten, scratched, or any other bare skin contact with a bat or its saliva.

Public Health – Seattle & King County tells MyBallard there are currently no additional updates or known related cases to the Green Lake rabid bat. Contact Public Health – Seattle & King County to report human bat exposures at 206-296-4774 or read more about rabies, pets, and bats here.

Street crossing improvements made near Ballard High and 85th

City Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang has been helping to implement street improvements near schools and other dodgy pedestrian throughways. Recently, noticeable new paint jobs and additions were given to roads outside of Ballard High School and along 85th St.

The first project included street crossing improvements with flashers, paint, and posts on 65th and 14th on the edge of Ballard High School.

“Engineering improvements at key locations like this provide options for easier transit, walking, and biking, especially near schools,” writes Chang.

More school crossing enhancements were made with flashers and a median island on 8th and NW 75th. (third pictured)

Furthest north, new speed humps, cushions, and an improved layout were facilitated with the intent that it would help bicyclists to safely cross 85th St. along the school access route on 1st Ave NW.


photos provided by Dongho Chang