Seafood producer Keyport leaving Ballard over ‘challenging business climate’

One of Ballard’s largest fishing-related businesses, Keyport is pulling its seafood business out of Ballard and moving its corporate office to Edmonds.

“Seattle has been our home for 20 years, and its increasingly challenging business climate makes it a good time to move,” said Mark Pedersen, Keyport’s President & CEO, in a statement. “Edmonds is a business friendly, maritime community that will allow us to expand our business and offers our staff less traffic and a safe environment.”

A story in the Everett Herald cited more specific reasons for Keyport’s move: “increased traffic, a homeless camp that opened for a time next to his business and anti-business rhetoric from City Hall, as well as the $15 minimum wage enacted by the city.”

Located on Shilshole Ave. against Salmon Bay, Keyport’s corporate office employees about 40 people, depending on the season. All of them will be making the move to Edmonds, Perdersen told My Ballard. Keyport leased its space along Salmon Bay, and the company’s new facilities in Edmonds include additional office space and a test kitchen.

Keyport is one of the largest distributors of King, Snow and Dungeness crab around the world. It’s also expanding into frozen seafood entrees — like seafood mac & cheese — and the company said it needed more space to grow.

The company has a sales office in Chapel Hill, NC and processing operations elsewhere in Washington State as well as Norway.

Trailbend Taproom to open in the middle of Ballard brewery country

The sign has gone up over the Trailbend Taproom, a new restaurant and bar from the owners of The Dray and The Yard.

Located deep in Ballard’s brewery district at 1118 N.W. 50th St., Trailbend is slated to open in March. With 42 taps and a wood-fired oven, the new restaurant and bar aims to capitalize on the growing brewery crowd in the area.

The taproom is the brainchild of Jamie Butler, Travis Eaton and Andy Walls, the founders of The Dray in Ballard and The Yard in Greenwood. The West Woodland location will be the most ambitious of the three.

“We’ve been trying to find a location there for a while,” said Butler, who says his Ballard home is “triangulated” between the three locations. “The food trucks are great, but some people prefer a sit-down restaurant, and the neighborhood is lacking that.”

The taproom takes up the first floor of The Klotski, a new three-story office development. With tall ceilings, concrete floors and custom woodwork and metal, Trailbend looks like a larger Colorado version of The Dray. Pending city approval, they also plan to open an outside patio.

The heart of Trailbend is the 42 taps, stretching 20 feet down the bar. On the wall, a giant sign with movable wooden letters details what’s available at a given moment, “inspired in part by an old train station sign,” Butler says.

The taps will feature “a good representation” of beer from the breweries next door. In fact, Butler says he’s working with Stoup Brewing to create “Stoup Trailbend IPA,” a co-branded beer for the opening. We also spotted Reuben’s, Populuxe and Fremont on the sign. Also on tap: cider, ginger beer, wine, Stumptown cold brew and a cocktail or two. “There will be a little bit of everything for everyone on tap,” he said.

As far as food, Trailbend is designed around its Wood Stone Oven — a popular oven created by a Bellingham company — that will create wood-fired pizza. They’ll also serve entrees, sandwiches and salads to attract folks in the neighborhood, too.

“There are a lot of homes around there,” he said while we talked at The Dray, a few blocks away. “We wanted to create a place that’s good for neighborhood.”

We’ll keep you updated as Trailbend gets closer to launch.

(Bottom two photos courtesy of @trailbendtaproom on Instagram)

Skillet in Ballard closes down

A little off the beaten path — and still recovering from a flood last year — Skillet has closed its Ballard restaurant for good.

“After 5 years, we sadly announce the closing of our Skillet Ballard location,” the restaurant posted on Facebook yesterday. “Thank you to all our family, friends, customers and employees for all your support over the years. And a big hug for Ballard – thanks for the opportunity to be part of the fabric of the neighborhood.”

In August of last year, Skillet and next door neighbor Parfait were forced to close after a flood in the Greenfire building on 56th St. Skillet was shut down for over a month before it reopened.

“Despite our best efforts, our business did not recover from the flood and we have decided it is in our best interest to close this location,” said Ann Downs, president of the Skillet Group, in a statement. Meanwhile, Skillet still has restaurants in Capitol Hill, Denny Regrade and the Seattle Center — as well as its food trucks.

Skillet said its doing its best to relocate its Ballard employees to its other locations.

Park at the Ballard Locks will close due to government shutdown

Tuesday update: This morning the Army Corps said the park is open.

Update: Trump has signed a bill to reopen the government, so the shutdown is over.

Earlier: While the Ballard Locks continue to operate, the Army Corps of Engineers says the park grounds will be closed beginning tomorrow — until funding is restored.

That means cyclists and walkers won’t have the ability or access or go through the park.

Vessels are still able to traverse through the Locks, but the Army Corps says “staffing limitations may cause longer locking times.”

This afternoon the U.S. Senate passed a bill to end the shutdown, and the House is expected to vote later today — so it’s likely the shutdown will end tomorrow.

Briefs: Locks, Salmon, Sushi, Elks, Lagunitas

We have a few news tidbits to share, beginning with the Ballard Locks. (Tilt-shift photo above is from the US Army Corps of Engineers on Facebook).

BALLARD LOCKS: The Seattle Times has put together a good in-depth look at why the Locks needs $30 million to $60 million in major repairs and upgrades. (Here’s our earlier story).

FEED THE SALMON: Seattle Parks is looking for volunteers who can help feed the salmon (baby salmon!) at Carkeek Park on a weekly basis.

BALLARD SUSHI: The chef of Shiku Sushi in Ballard, JP Kim, is bringing sushi to Magnolia. He bought Oliver’s Twist to turn it into a sushi restaurant, opening in February, according to Seattle Mag. Don’t worry Shiku fans, Kim will remain in Ballard.

ELKS SCHOLARSHIPS: The Ballard Elks Lodge is offering vocational scholarships for the first time: two students graduating high school (or getting their GED) this year will be awarded $1,000 or more. Interested? Here are the details.

LAGUNITAS GRANTS: Lagunitas Brewing Company plans to award grants up to $5,000 for qualifying nonprofit organizations. Want to apply? Learn more right here.

As always, if you have news, please email us at tips@myballard.com. If you have an upcoming event, submit it to our Ballard events calendar.

Caffe Fiore, Cocina Esperanza working on returning to Sunset Hill after fire

Monday update: Caffe Fiore owner Deming Maclise emailed us this morning and confirmed Fiore — as well as Cocina Esperanza — are coming back.

“After many months of permitting and insurance adjusters we have finally started construction,” he said. “The building will be getting new bricks and windows as well as new electrical and mechanical. Marcos is working in his space to get Cocina Esperanza open and I am designing and starting construction of my Caffe Fiore space. I am very excited to get Caffe Fiore open again – I plan on having many of the staff members back and I’m making some improvements to the space. We are hoping to open sometime in April – at least that is my hope. Looking very forward to being part of the neighborhood again!”

Updated: Six months ago an arsonist lit Caffe Fiore and Cocina Esperanza on fire. Cocina Esperanza owner Marcos Delacadena was inside at the time, but fortunately he was able to escape unharmed and quickly call 911. The fire resulted in an estimated $130,000 in damage.

Seattle Fire later ruled the blaze was intentionally set, determining the cause was “ignition of combustible materials on wooden chairs located on the outside of the building.” There have been no reports of any arrests.

A couple weeks after the fire in late June, Caffe Fiore posted on Facebook that “we plan on reopening in about 4 months… or so.” But as the months go by, we’ve received quite a few requests from Sunset Hill neighbors asking if and when Caffe Fiore and Cocina Esperanza — both very popular in the area — will return after fire.

After a few attempts to contact Caffe Fiore, they responded to us on Facebook today and said they’re hoping to re-open this April.

The building’s owner has yet to respond to us, and we’ve been unsuccessful contacting Marcos Delacadena about the fate of his restaurant.

When we last visited the building at NW 85th St. and 31st Ave. a couple weeks ago, there a lot of work left to do. The inside of Fiore (above) has been cleaned, but it doesn’t appear to be ready to reopen anytime soon. But in recent days, scaffolding and plastic have gone up around the building, which is a positive sign that Fiore — and perhaps Cocina Esperanza — will be coming back.

If you have any information, please email us at tips@myballard.com.

Crane goes up at 15th and Market

This morning before first light, construction crews began deploying a large crane at 15th and Market. Corrina posted this photo in the My Ballard Facebook Group.

The crane will be used to build the 5-story office building planned for the corner. WeWork and Equal Exchange Coffee are two of the confirmed tenants so far.

Here’s a look at the crane being assembled over the site, courtesy of @ChrisBajuk:

(Thanks Corrina and Chris!)

Power outage in Ballard and Magnolia

Monday update: We asked City Light if they identified a cause, and it’s not nearly as interesting as that raccoon back in 2016.

“It was caused by a cable fault, which tripped a lockout to the neighborhood feeder,” said City Light’s Tony White. “This isn’t unusual, as there are a number of things which can damage cables. It’s most likely that the sudden failure happened along a splice point.”

Update 7 a.m. All power has been restored overnight.

“The substation that serves the area is our Canal Substation, but the original cause is still under investigation,” City Light told us. “So, the problem may not be in the substation itself.”

That substation is located at 8th Ave. and 46th St. — the same one that was short-circuited by a raccoon in spring of 2016.

City Light also says the total number of customers that lost power in this outage was 12,900.

Update 11:30 p.m. Most of Ballard has been restored, but there are still patches of outages, especially along Seaview and into Sunset Hill. City Light says 559 customers remain without power, and there are another 1,872 customers on the Magnolia side of the Ship Canal.

Update 10:40 p.m.: City Light reports crews have restored power to about 1,200 customers, about a third of the total. Conor Byrne in Old Ballard reports the power is back on there. The estimate for complete restoration is still 12:44 a.m.

Earlier: Seattle City Light reports widespread outages along both sides of the Ship Canal. Much of Old Ballard and Market St. west of 15th Ave. are without power, as well as parts of Sunset Hill.

City Light says 3,658 customers are impacted, and it estimates the power will be restored at 12:44 a.m. Here’s the outage map as of 9:50 p.m.:

The outage extends into Magnolia along the Ship Canal and parts of Interbay, as well as Seattle Pacific University’s campus.

Power is also out at Ballard’s busiest intersection, at 15th and Market St. “(I) just tried to get through the intersection of 15th and Market with no traffic lights and dodging a zillion lanes of impatient drivers and buses in all directions,” says Jillian on My Ballard’s Facebook page.

Shilshole Marina and the Ballard Locks are also dark, according to the My Ballard Facebook Group. Power is also out at the Matador on Market St., as well as several other bars and restaurants in Old Ballard on a busy Friday night.

No, it’s not related to the government shutdown.

(Photo of a dark Market St. courtesy of @mgrass on Twitter.)

North Seattle schools to gain from new budget

The state legislature has passed a new capital budget, and about $20 million of it is headed to Seattle schools — mostly to schools here in North Seattle.

The money is earmarked to “relieve some of the most critical capacity and safety needs created by a decade of extraordinary enrollment growth,” the district said in a press release. “North Seattle schools are experiencing some of the worst overcrowding.”

Of the funding, $6.7 million will go toward adding 10 classrooms to West Woodlands Elementary School. The next biggest chunk, $6.6 million will complement the $30.4 million in local funding to reopen Magnolia Elementary, a historic landmark that has been closed since 2007. Another $1.9 million will complement $39.2 million in local funding for the ongoing expansion of Loyal Heights Elementary (pictured above from the construction webcam).

“I’m particularly pleased by the historic level of funding devoted to invaluable school construction projects, such as the reopening of Magnolia Elementary in 2019, that will build a better Washington for our children and continue to make the 36th Legislative District a great place to live and work,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle, who represents the Northwest Seattle area.

Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the budget measure.

Water main break turned tap water brown

Several members of the My Ballard Facebook Group reported seeing brown water from their faucets today. Another resident said The Lockspot Cafe lost water altogether.

We called Seattle Public Utilities, and they said a contractor hit an 8-inch cast iron water main this morning, at 28th Ave. NW and NW 54th St., while moving a street drain inlet. That maps to the Nordic Museum’s construction site.

The pipe has now been repaired, and water color should return to normal quickly, said Andy Ryan, SPU’s spokesperson. He said running your water for a minute or two may help, and he added that the brown water is harmless.