Yoga, movies and a dog show planned for Ballard Commons Park

Ballard Commons has become a popular hangout for the homeless over the years. It’s also one of Ballard’s best parks — especially during the summer months — thanks to its central location, ample green space and kid-friendly spray fountains.

This summer the Ballard Alliance is “cranking up the activities” in the park thanks to grant funding from the city. The newest addition is “Summer Fitness in the Park,” a free event every Saturday at 10 a.m. This Saturday will feature a yoga class from We Yoga Co., then circuit training on June 30th from Fit36, Zumba from Ballard Health Club on July 7th and yoga again on July 21st.

Then “Movies in the Park” will kick into gear in August, running every Thursday from 8:15 to 10 p.m. It starts with The Goonies on August 9th followed by ET on August 16th, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on August 23rd and Raiders of the Lost Ark on August 30th. Sweet Mickey’s will be open from 7 to 10 p.m., and a food truck will be on site, as well.

Ballard Commons will also host the always-popular summer event, Dogs of Ballard Dog Show, on Tuesday, August 21st from 6 to 8 p.m.

And of course, SeafoodFest is right around the corner, July 13-15th, which will feature events in Ballard Commons on both that Saturday and Sunday.

(File photo of a Sweet Mickey’s movie night in the park several years ago.)

Fatal traffic collision at 15th and Market

Update: Seattle Police says the driver of the pickup truck drove through a red light while traveling eastbound on Market St., colliding with two other vehicles before ramming into a pole and utility control box. Another vehicle was struck by one of the other cars.

The pickup driver died in the crash, and the passenger was injured. Two others were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

Earlier: A pickup collided with a pole and a utility box at Ballard’s busiest intersection just after midnight on Friday morning, killing one of the two occupants, Seattle Fire said.

Other vehicles were also damaged in the crash.

A very large response of firefighters closed down both 15th Ave. NW and NW Market St. as they worked on extricating the two trapped patients by sawing off the top of the cab.

A man was pronounced dead, and a woman was taken to Harborview in stable condition.

Investigators will be working at the scene for several hours. No word on how long the intersection will be closed, but it should reopen in time for the morning commute.

(Our thanks to Silver for the photos.)

Public meeting set for controversial project slated for Fremont Ave.

We’ve covered LOTS of new developments over the years, and a high-density apartment proposal (.pdf) along Fremont Ave. is one of the most controversial we’ve seen. The city has received enough petition signatures to schedule a public hearing for later this month — a rather rare occurrence.

We first reported on the 3-story, 32-unit apartment proposal for 3959 Fremont Ave. N — across from BF Day School — back in February. Neighbors deluged the city in letters and petition signatures, created a blog and landed a opinion piece in the Seattle Times.

Since then, the developer has made some revisions — such as keeping and improving the pedestrian stairway from Fremont Ave. — but neighbors say their primary concern has yet to be met. Since the property is elevated above Fremont Ave., the entrance is positioned in the residential alleyway behind the apartment. Neighbors are concerned about the increase in traffic in the alley, especially in such close proximity to the school.

Here’s a view of the alley from Google street view a few years ago:

The city has set a hearing for June 26th from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Room 202.

“Let’s plan to converge on this meeting in force to give the city an earful,” explains the Friends of Upper Fremont blog. “Now the city is going to have to listen to what we have to say.”

New restaurant from Lark chef opening soon

In March we discovered Lark chef Mitch Mayers was planning to open a new restaurant in the Kickin’ Boot spot in Old Ballard.

Now we know the name, Sawyer, and a few more details, thanks to Mayers’ interview with Eater.

His approach will be high-quality, creative fine dining that’s “a bit more approachable,” Mayers explained. Like Oxtail nachos with soft-scrambled eggs, cotija cheese, and tomato ragu — or sweetbreads with a pork blood General Tso sauce and crispy fried rice, Eater explains. He’s also a big fan of rotisserie chicken with eight spits in the kitchen.

The restaurant, bar and patio is a big space, seating up to 120 people.

Sawyer’s projected open date is July 25th.

(Photo of the ongoing construction work from Sawyer on Instagram)

Ballard’s fear of crime ranks higher than most Seattle neighborhoods

In the third annual Public Safety Survey released today by Seattle University, Ballard appeared near the top of the list of neighborhoods in the “fear of crime” category, especially at night.

The 2017 survey (.pdf) gathered 6,454 responses citywide and split their answers into regions and neighborhoods. Survey categories include such things as police legitimacy, social cohesion and residents’ perception of their fear of crime.

Citywide 37.6% of residents said they’re afraid of crime during the day, 42.7% at night.

For “Ballard North”, 44.6% of residents say they’re afraid of daytime crime, 53.5% at night.

For “Ballard South” (Central Ballard), the numbers are very similar: 44.7% for day, 53.5% at night.

These Ballard numbers are higher than most neighborhoods, including Belltown, Capitol Hill and several South Seattle neighborhoods. Pioneer Square, Highland Park and the University District are among those that scored higher than Ballard.

For Fremont, the numbers are 35% during the day, 43.9% at night.

The most prominent themes of the Ballard survey results are a lack of police capacity, crime (both public safety and property crime) and homelessness. Among specific public safety concerns, residents cited car prowls, residential burglaries and car/RV camping.

How does this stack up over the three-year history of the survey? These “fear of crime” numbers are not substantially different for North Seattle, and it doesn’t break out Ballard specifically.

Also keep in mind, this study was conducted last year, before several high-profile crimes occurred in the Ballard area. And finally, this is a survey of perceptions, not of actual crimes, which are captured in another online report.

Giant cow goes through the Locks

You don’t see this every day. It pains us to post this because it’s a publicity stunt, but it was a particularly effective one, to say the least.

Bessie the giant inflatable Holstein cow cruised through the Locks and the Ship Canal, generating lots of “earned media” for the Dairy Farmers of Washington. After all, why buy advertising when you can get blog posts like this for free?

But it was a sight. Lucas even made this video:

And Bessie even cruised Elliott Bay, pushed by a tug:

Don’t you want to drink more milk?

Scenes from the Fremont Solstice Parade

Thousands of sun-starved people packed the streets for the 30th running of the Fremont Solstice Parade, and the weather couldn’t have been any better.

As they do every year, the naked cyclists kicked off the action, turning heads on Market St. in Ballard before heading back to Fremont to lead off the parade.

“This was the biggest raft of naked cyclists I’ve seen since I moved to Seattle in 1991. Easily over a thousand,” wrote parade spectator Josh on Twitter.

The carrot bikers (above) were a big hit.

It’s also the first year with Lime and Ofo rental bikes at their disposal, and quite a few of the naked cyclists rode the rentals, raising some eyebrows and sparking lots of jokes about sanitary wipes.

“OH MY GOD NUDE CYCLISTS ON LIME BIKES NOOO,” tweeted Rhonda during the parade.

The bikers are always the big attraction, but the parade itself didn’t disappoint. Here’s a collection of photos — our thanks to Liz Gallagher, Susanne Donaldson and Debbie Paulsen in the My Ballard Facebook Group — and you can see a lot more on Instagram here.

By the way, the fun in Fremont runs all weekend with the Fremont Fair. More details and the music schedule is available here.

Sunny Fremont hosts Solstice Parade and Fremont Fair this weekend

It’s Fremont’s biggest weekend of the year, and the forecast is sunny and warm. The occasionally-naked and always-colorful Solstice Parade kicks things off tomorrow (Saturday) and the Fremont Fair runs all weekend.

Streets start closing at noon, and that’s about the time the naked cyclists typically make a swing through Ballard to get the blood flowing, often bewildering drivers. Then they head out in advance of the parade, starting at Leary Way and 39th at 12:45 p.m. The parade officially begins at 1 p.m.

We asked the Fremont Arts Council what’s new this year, and they gave us a sneak preview:

Super Moi! is bringing 7’6″ tall rollerblading muppet races. Paradisiax Parasol Project has built a 12″ tricycle-powered parasol tripod. The Seattle Steam Rats have recruited volunteers to build a huge steampunk moving creature with meticulously hand cut gears. The Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project has transformed a stage performance “Tides of Change” into a probably one of the largest and longest parade ensembles we’ve ever had, incorporating sculpture, music, costuming and dance.

That’s as Fremont as it gets, folks.

This is the 30th anniversary of the parade, and it’s always a packed event. With all the population growth, you might want to head out a little earlier than usual to carve out a spot along the route. (Parking? LOL.) The parade heads right down the middle of Fremont on Leary/36th to Fremont Ave. and then over on 34th to end at Gas Works Park (route map .pdf).

The theme for the Gas Works event this year is “Varieté.” It will feature audience participation events, “fire art”, live music, dancing, a beer garden (with Fremont Brewing, Hale’s Ales and Schilling Cider) and food trucks, to boot. The celebration will run all afternoon and evening.

Once the parade is over, the weekend shifts into the Fremont Fair, which supports the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. As many as 100,000 people are expected to attend over Saturday and Sunday for the hundreds of artists, craft vendors and food booths — not to mention the music lineup and LOTS of beer (especially Corona, which is a big sponsor.)

The forecast is perfect: at last check, it’s slated to reach 78 degrees on Saturday and hit 83 on Sunday. The fair’s hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Have fun out there!

(PS. For more events going on this weekend, check out our calendar).

New restaurant coming to Sunset Hill

The eagle-eyed members of the My Ballard Facebook Group saw that the “for lease” sign has disappeared from the empty space at the corner of 32nd Ave. NW and NW 65th St.

A little investigation later, they found a new restaurant planned for the Sunset Hill spot. It’s called Samara, “a wood-fueled neighborhood bistro,” according to a calendar post on Addo Ballard.

That’s because Addo Ballard — Eric Rivera’s restaurant incubator that’s running (and expanding) at the Royal Drummer — is hosting Samara chef Eric Anderson on June 21st to try out some of the upcoming menu items.

“Get your first taste now, before this future Ballard restaurant gets it’s home just down the street,” explains the Addo listing, which says Samara will open in “early November.” The cost for the Addo event is $50 per person.

So there you go. By the way, the My Ballard Group has been growing like wildfire lately, now approaching 5,000 members.

(Archive photo from last year.)