Equal Exchange Coffee is coming back

Thanks to a tip in the My Ballard Facebook Group, we reached out to Equal Exchange Coffee to see if they have any plans of reopening after closing their Ballard Market location last year.

And the answer is… yes. They’re planning to open a new cafe next year in the new office building under construction at 15th and Market, just a stone’s throw from Ballard Market.

After 10 years, Equal Exchange closed in January of last year to give Ballard Market room for “more prepared foods and in-market seating.”

Equal Exchange is a co-op that supports small farmers, and it operates other cafes in Boston, Cleveland and Bannockburn, IL. (Thanks, Silver for the tip!)

Lots of dumpsters still in dangerous spots around Ballard area

Update Tuesday AM: No new fires overnight.

Earlier: The dumpster arsonist(s) may be taking the day off after a string of 21 fires — no new fires so far since last night — but the danger is still very real for Ballard and surrounding neighborhoods.

This photo above of Sunday night’s fire behind the Hi Life in Ballard illustrates how big these fires can get (photo shared by @curtisdickie), putting nearby buildings at risk of catching fire. Saturday night’s blaze on 85th ignited the side of the building shared by Stacia’s Pizza and Taqueria Tequila, and a few other buildings have been scorched by the fires.

But even with the risk, it doesn’t take long driving around the neighborhood to see lots of dumpsters still pushed up against buildings and under overhangs and even apartment decks. Here are a couple examples from Ballard and Fremont:

Seattle Fire is urging neighbors to pull dumpsters at least 5 feet away from buildings and overhangs and lock them up. If your apartment manager hasn’t done it, then contact them. If that doesn’t work, you may want to consider re-positioning the dumpster yourself.

Because it’s only a matter of time before one of these small fires turns into a big fire, endangering the lives of those inside.

We’re continuing to monitor Seattle Fire dispatch for new fires, and we’re posting more frequent updates on Twitter. If you see a fire — or hear lots of sirens — please send us a tip at tips@myballard.com or ping @myballard on Twitter.

Here’s Seattle Fire’s full list of precautions:

  • Locate dumpsters and containers at least five feet away from walls and roof eave lines. Use only metal or metal-lined receptacles.
  • Place locks on commercial dumpsters or keep in secured area. Locks may be available through your contracted service provider.
  • Secure business and garage areas by locking doors and windows.
  • Clean up wastepaper, grasses, weeds, litter, or anything that can burn from around buildings. Clear carport areas of all combustibles.
  • Trim shrubbery from doors and windows to improve visibility.
  • Install motion-sensor exterior lights.
  • Test fire and life safety systems, including fire extinguishers, to ensure they are working and in compliance with codes.
  • Develop and practice a fire response plan.
  • Keep exit ways clear of items which could slow evacuation efforts.

If you see a fire or even suspicious circumstances, call 911. If you have any information related to one of the previous fires, call SPD investigators at 206-684-8980. You can also contact the Arson Alarm Foundation Hotline at 1-800-55-ARSON or arsonalarm.org. An award may be provided, and you can remain anonymous.

If he can get the permits, here’s Diagon Alley creator’s next project

With the Diagon Alley Project shutting down on January 20th, creator Jon Chambers needed some peace and quiet at home — and a new challenge.

For those Harry Potter fans out there, you’ll recognize the Burrow, the magical family home of the Weasley family (above). Along with the Edith Macefield-inspired “Up” house, the Burrow is one of the most iconic movie homes of all time.

“I can’t share a whole lot just yet,” Chambers told My Ballard. “I can say we are in the early planning phase for building a life-size replica of the Burrow in the Snoqualmie Valley on a non-profit farm that centers around agricultural conservation and education.”

And here’s the sketch he shared on Instagram over the weekend:

Whoa, that does look like a challenge.

You see, the Weasley home is held up by magic, but to build a real home, you’ll need… permits.

“That’s going to be a major hurdle,” he admits. “With all the planning and approvals we have to go through, construction won’t start until 2019, if approved.”

The Burrow Project, if it becomes a reality, would dwarf Chambers’ driveway-sized Diagon Alley Project. As he told us, “Stay tuned.”

Passionate about Ballard light rail? Sound Transit needs volunteers

There’s no better way to get involved in the huge Ballard light rail project than apply to join Sound Transit’s advisory group.

Sound Transit needs five volunteers to serve as community members of the Ballard and West Seattle Link Extensions Stakeholder Advisory Group. Their specific focus will be “to help refine project alternatives for further study in the environmental review phase of the project.”

That’s a big job, and Sound Transit has a selection process. Candidates need to be knowledgeable about public transit, reflect the diversity of the corridor and “be able to provide a balance of neighborhood and community interests.”

Oh, and applicants “must be able to work collaboratively with other group members who hold diverse opinions and perspectives.” Yes, this is going to be a complicated, controversial undertaking — the plan is to build a new movable bridge across Salmon Bay and drill new tunnels in South Lake and downtown — so Sound Transit wants to avoid people who like to pick fights with each other.

Interested? Go represent Ballard and apply right here.

Briefs: Market St. assault, Bitter Lake real estate, KBFG, Ballard Locks and more

A few quick stories and links from around the neighborhood…

STABBING ON MARKET: Police and medics rushed to 2220 Market St. just after 3 p.m. Sunday for an assault with weapon call. “Two men had a skirmish, and one stabbed the other. The injured man was treated and the stabber was arrested,” explains My Ballard reader Andrea who was there.

BITTER LAKE HOMES: Redfin compiled a list of the top 25 most competitive real estate neighborhoods in the US, and while Ballard wasn’t on the list, Lower Queen Anne was #13, Wallingford was #22 and Bitter Lake was listed at #18. Bitter Lake homes are selling for an average of 105% of list in 7 days time.

KBFG IN THE NYT: Did you see community radio station KBFG and Ballard High School in the New York Times over the weekend?!

BALLARD LOCKS: Tomorrow (Tuesday) a city council committee will hear a presentation on the “Economic Impact of the Ballard Locks.” As we’ve reported, the Locks are in need of federal funds. The presentation is scheduled for 10:25-55 a.m. in the Council Chambers City Hall, 600 4th Avenue. (Thanks West Seattle Blog for the tip!)

VETERANS SERVICES: The Ballard Library helped 70 veterans who needed housing and other resources last year, and its next drop-in event for veterans in need is this Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon. Another drop-in is scheduled for the same time on Jan. 23rd.

36TH DISTRICT: We did not attend Saturday’s 36th District town hall on Queen Anne, but the Queen Anne News was there and posted this report.

New dumpster fires this weekend are related, says Seattle Fire

Update Monday morning: Looks like there were no new fires overnight. Seattle Fire has updated the map. There are 21 dumpster fires in total so far:

Update Sunday night: Big response to 1537 NW 56th St. for a report of a fire in a 7-story apartment building. A few minutes later, all units but engine 18 were cleared, which means this was a small fire. Since no investigator was dispatched, it’s not related to the arson cases. But it’s a good reminder that those dumpster fires have the potential to spark big fires.

Update Sunday evening: Firefighters were just called out to 5425 Russell AV NW near the old Ballard firehouse (the Hi Life) for yet another dumpster fire with no exposure. My Ballard’s Silver was there to take photos:

There are so many of these, the fire investigator called for this fire said he was running behind.

About a half hour earlier, there was another dumpster fire in Magnolia — the second in that neighborhood. It was a block away from the Starbucks at 2425 33rd Av W. Smoke poured into the parking garage, tripping alarms.

These make fires #20 and #21.

Update Sunday afternoon: Yet another fire, this time up on Phinney Ridge at Red Mill Burgers.

Firefighters had just extinguished the fire at when we arrived at 67th and Phinney. The dumpster is in the busy Red Mill parking lot up against a fence. Police were questioning possible witnesses.

This is a very visible spot, so it’s odd this would happen in broad daylight.

This is fire #19 — the sixth fire this weekend alone.

In looking around the Ballard area, we’re seeing lots of dumpster still pushed up against buildings — and some under decks at apartment complexes. These need to be moved, folks.

Update Sunday noon: Firefighters responded just before noon to a dumpster fire at 4704 17th Ave. NW. It was up against a building — appears to be an industrial area — and was quickly extinguished. This is fire #18.

Updated Sunday AM: In just a 12-hour span on Saturday, 4 new dumpster fires were set in the Ballard area, bringing the total to 17. One of those fires ignited the side of a restaurant on 8th Ave., but fortunately firefighters were able to extinguish it before there was any significant damage.

Seattle Fire spokeswoman Kristin Tinsley tells My Ballard that the new fires “match the pattern” of previous fires, including being intentionally set. But it’s unclear if the new fires are the product of the same arsonist — the criminal investigation is the domain of Seattle Police’s Arson and Bomb Squad.

Two of the new fires were dispatched just 7 minutes apart from each other. The first was called out at 11:18 p.m. on Saturday to the Magnolia side at 4441 26th Ave. W, a couple blocks from Salmon Bay. Then just a few minutes later — at 11:25 p.m. — firefighters were dispatched for a dumpster fire at 5802 24th Ave. NW, near the QFC. An investigator was dispatched for both.

Those two locations are 2.7 miles apart by car. Here’s the 24th Ave. scene:

Earlier on Saturday evening, firefighters raced to 301 85th St. NW in Greenwood for a dumpster fire behind the building shared by Taqueria Tequila and Stacia’s Gourmet Pizza & Pasta. Tinsley said the fire extended up the exterior wall and onto an overhanging awning, but fortunately firefighters were able to knock it down before it did any real damage.

And just before noon on Saturday, fire crews responded to 22nd and Market St for a dumpster fire. A TV crew was shooting some video when Michael (@mgrass) shot this photo (above).

That brings the tally to 17 across a growing area that now includes Greenwood and Magnolia. Seattle Fire has a list of preventative measures that all businesses (and homes) should be following, especially ensuring your dumpsters are pulled away from nearby buildings.

Earlier: Seattle Fire warns Ballard about an outbreak of dumpster fires

School boundaries boil down to 2 options

Updated: The task force charged with drawing new high school boundaries in North Seattle has narrowed the maps down to two options, according to a report from KING 5 on Friday night. Then the school district followed up on Saturday evening by publishing the two new maps, and it said additional modifications may be made before the final selection.

Here’s scenario F version 4.2:

And scenario F version 6:

Both options draw the northern line at 85th St., not 80th St., including all of Loyal Heights, Whittier Heights and Sunset Hill (minus the Golden Gardens area north of 85th) inside the Ballard High School boundary.

Both maps also include most of West Woodland, drawing the line at 48th St. (we initially reported 50th St.), cutting off the southern portion of the neighborhood. Everyone to the north would go to BHS, everyone to the south would go to Lincoln High.

The eastern line is set at 3rd Ave. The only difference between the two options in our area affects a chunk of Greenwood between 3rd and Greenwood Ave.

Both options also retain Magnolia inside the BHS boundary.

What’s next? On January 10th, the school board is holding a work session with the task force and will determine which of the two scenarios to introduce before the board on January 17th. Then on January 31st, the board expects to make the final vote. Compared to earlier timelines, this extends the process by a couple weeks.

We’ll keep you updated.

Man points gun at driver at 15th and Market

A woman and her daughter were driving through the intersection at 15th and Market on Tuesday night when a man in a ski mask pointed a gun at them, according to a police report.

Police responded just after 9 p.m., but were unable to find the suspect. No one was injured.

The man was on foot walking eastbound in the crosswalk against the light when he “raised his right hand which was holding a pistol and deliberately pointed it” at the victims, the report said.

The woman told police she feared for her life. Her daughter gave police the same account. They told officers the man had a thin build, wore a black ski mask, “did not appear to be a homeless person” and was not carrying any bags or backpacks.

What’s on this weekend in Ballard and beyond

Compared with all the holiday craziness, this weekend’s calendar is slooooow. But it’s a good bet that Saturday’s town hall will be hopping with lots of questions.

Saturday, January 6th

  • TOWN HALL: State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, State Rep. Gael Tarleton and State Rep. Noel Frame — who all represent the 36th District, which includes Ballard — will be holding a town hall meeting beginning at 2 p.m. at Coe Elementary School, 2424 7th Ave W.
  • DIAGON ALLEY CATS: Diagon Alley is closing on the 20th, so there are only two weekends left to visit. On Saturday, the Humane Society will be bringing cats to adopt from 3-6 p.m. Address: 7514 13th Ave NW
  • CONCERT AT YULETIDE END: The Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association is holding a fundraiser and gala extravaganza featuring “a fantastic array of musicians”, 3 p.m., Ballard Lutheran Church (2006 NW 65th Street), $10-$60
  • Live music:

Sunday, January 7th

  • BALLARD FARMER’S MARKET: Same place in Old Ballard, same time at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • LIMERIDE: The folks from LimeBike are holding a LimeRide, starting at Peddler Brewing at noon, making a stop at Populuxe Brewing and ending the ride at Bad Jimmy’s.
  • DRUM CIRCLE: That’s right, join a hippie-ish, all-ages drum circle and use whatever percussion you have. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Golden Gardens.
  • Live music:

Have a Ballard event? Post it for free in the My Ballard event calendar.

Market St. property that’s home to Twice Sold Tales is sold

Update: King County records show the buyer is SF-based Carmel Partners.

Earlier: A big parcel on Market St. to the west of 24th Ave. has sold to a “multifamily developer” for $11.75 million, reports the Daily Journal of Commerce.

The property is the home of Twice Sold Tales, which moved there just over a year ago. Ballard Transfer Company, Healthy Nails salon and Lundgren Enterprises are also located there.

The real estate listing notes the property’s prime and “truly exceptional” location on the south side of Market St., just up from Salmon Bay. The parcel spans 28,334 square feet — over a half acre. In this aerial view, the property is between Market and 54th St. behind it:

The listing also points out that the tenants have “demolition clauses in the leases.”

“As long as they don’t tear down the building, I’m here for the length of my lease, which is for 4 years,” said Twice Sold Tales owner John Watkins when we called him. “I sure hope that they maintain the building and continue with what they’ve got.”

He said he’s delighted with the space, which is larger and more accessible than his previous spot next to Bauhaus Coffee at the corner of Market and 20th Ave. He added, “Moving the bookstore is a difficult and painful experience.”

There’s no word on the plans or timeline of the new owners.