Taste of Iceland Festival coming to Ballard in October

The Taste of Iceland Festival is coming back to Seattle, this year celebrating 100 years of sovereignty and independence from Denmark. The four-day festival is happening from Oct. 11 to 14, with events happening in Ballard at the Nordic Museum.

The festival is a little bit of everything: food, music, art, design, science, and literature. The free events at the Nordic will include two discussions: one about Icelandic architecture, and another about sustainability and energy innovation in Iceland and Washington state on Thursday, Oct. 11 starting at 3pm. The Nordic will also host the Icelandic film festival known as Shortfish on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 2 to 4pm.

Also on the agenda for the festival is a culinary take-over of Tom Douglas’ Italian eatery Cuoco; Reykjavik Calling – a free 21+ concert at KEXP; an internationally-celebrated Icelandic author reading at Elliott Bay Book Company; and a day-long celebration marking Iceland’s 100 years of independence at the KEXP gathering space at Seattle Center.

Find the full line-up of events and more details at the Taste of Iceland website.

Ballard light rail route and station options: share your input

Sound Transit is in a massive information gathering phase as they roll out the options for the West Seattle and Ballard light rail extensions. They’ve been holding informational meetings, the next of which is coming up on Monday, Sept. 17 from 5:30 to 8pm at the Ballard Eagleson VFW (2812 N.W. Market St).

Route options for the Ship Canal crossing explore a few possibilities: a tunnel, a high-level fixed bridge, or a moveable bridge. Ballard station options are plentiful: an elevated station at 15th and Market, an elevated station on the east side of 17th and Market, a tunnel station on the west side of 15th and Market, an elevated station at 14th and Market, or a tunnel station at 14th and Market.

In a recent overview of the options, the Seattle Transit Blog suggested that another bridge over the canal could pose issues for Fishermen’s Terminal. Their recommendations for route/station alignment was for 15th Ave NW — they say 14th is too far from Ballard’s core, and 17th would be too disruptive and far from major bus routes along 15th.

Here’s a synopsis of each route option for the Ballard extension, as listed on Sound Transit’s website (click on the title to view the maps and pros and cons of each):

ST3 Representative Project Elevated guideway in the middle of 15th Avenue W. Includes an elevated station near Elliott Avenue W and W Prospect Street, an elevated station at 15th Avenue W and W Dravus Street, a movable bridge crossing Salmon Bay just west of the Ballard Bridge, and an elevated station on the east side of 15th Avenue NW just south of NW Market Street.

20th/Fixed Bridge/17th Elevated guideway west of Elliott Avenue W. Includes an elevated station on the west side of Elliott Avenue W, then heads west of the BNSF property along 20th Avenue W. Includes an elevated station at 20th Avenue W and W Dravus Street, a high-level fixed bridge crossing Salmon Bay farther west of the Ballard Bridge, and an elevated station straddling the east side of 17th Avenue NW and NW Market Street.

20th/Tunnel/15th Elevated guideway west of Elliott Avenue W. Includes an elevated station on the west side of Elliott Avenue W, then heads west of the BNSF property along 20th Avenue W. Includes a retained cut station at 20th Avenue W and W Dravus Street, a tunnel crossing under Salmon Bay, and a tunnel station on the west side of 15th Avenue W just south of NW Market Street.

15th/Fixed Bridge/15th Elevated guideway west of 15th Avenue W. Includes an elevated station near Elliott Avenue W and W Prospect Street, an elevated station near 16th Avenue W and W Dravus Street, a high-level fixed bridge crossing Salmon Bay just west of the Ballard Bridge, and an elevated station just southwest of 15th Avenue NW and NW Market Street.

Central Interbay/Fixed Bridge/14th At-grade guideway west of Elliott Avenue W. Includes an at-grade station on the west side of Elliott Avenue W just north of the W Galer Street bridge, then continues at-grade just east of the BNSF property. It moves to an elevated guideway and includes an elevated station near 17th Avenue W and W Dravus Street, a high-level fixed bridge crossing Salmon Bay east of the Ballard Bridge, and an elevated station straddling 14th Avenue NW and NW Market Street.

Armory Way/Tunnel/14th At-grade guideway east of Elliott Avenue W with an at-grade station near Elliott Avenue W and W Prospect Street. Becomes elevated to cross 15th Avenue W and travels along W Armory Way, then continues at-grade just east of the BNSF property. Includes retained cut station near 17th Avenue W and W Dravus Street, a tunnel crossing under Salmon Bay, and a tunnel station straddling 14th Avenue NW and NW Market Street.

Central Interbay/Moveable Bridge/14th At-grade guideway west of Elliott Avenue W. Includes an at-grade station on the west side of Elliott Avenue W just north of the W Galer Street bridge, then continues at-grade just east of the BNSF property. It moves to an elevated guideway and includes an elevated station near 17th Avenue W and W Dravus Street, a movable bridge crossing Salmon Bay east of the Ballard Bridge, and an elevated station straddling 14th Avenue NW and NW Market Street.

Central Interbay/Tunnel/15th At-grade guideway west of Elliott Avenue W. Includes an at-grade station on the west side of Elliott Avenue W just north of the W Galer Street bridge, then continues at-grade just east of the BNSF property. Includes a retained cut station near 17th Avenue W and W Dravus Street, a tunnel crossing under Salmon Bay, and a tunnel station straddling the east side of 15th Avenue NW and NW Market Street.

Sound Transit is asking for input on preferred options — click here to provide feedback.

 

Electronic recycling event coming up at Our Redeemer’s

Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church is hosting yet another e-recycling event, where they’ll accept old electronics, clothing, and styrofoam — for free. The event is on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10am to 2pm at Our Redeemer’s (corner of NW 85th St and 25th Ave NW).

The church has partnered with Living Green Technology for the event. Acceptable electronics include laptop and desktop computers, mobile phones, tablets, servers, cables, software, modems and routers, iPods, and game consoles. (Here’s a full list of the electronics they will accept.) They say they can’t accept metals or large appliances.

EarthCare will also be on hand to collect dry, clean styrofoam, with all tape and labels removed. They say they can’t accept hot tub covers, insulating foam or anything that is dirty, wet or has been left outside.

Any clothing donated will go to The Bridge Care Center.

The church will also be accepting donations for the event; proceeds will go to the Our Redeemer’s Youth Group, who plan to use the money to attend a future Youth Mission Trip.

Fremont fire damages three-unit townhouse under construction

A fire early this morning damaged a townhouse being built on the 4200 block of Winslow Ave N in  Fremont. Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at 5:30am, and had the fire mostly extinguished by 6:40am. According to Seattle Fire, the middle townhome in the three-unit structure was the most damaged; firefighters were able to keep most of the damage contained in the center unit, due to the structures firewalls.

Seattle Fire tweeted that there were no reported injuries in the fire.

Ballard Locks awarded $10.5m to replace 100-year-old large lock gates

The Ballard Locks are about to get a major upgrade. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have awarded $10.5 million to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to replace the original large lock chamber’s 100-year-old gates.

The massive project will replace the original valves — known as the Stoney Gate Valves — which were the latest technology when the Panama Canal was constructed, in 1910. The same system made its way to the construction of the Ballard Locks. The Panama Canal gate valves, however, were replaced several years ago.

The work will happen in stages, which will mean 45-day closures of the large locks. The first closure is scheduled for late 2019, from October 12 to November 30. The subsequent closures will happen in February – April and October – November of 2020, and again in February of 2021. The closures will  impact commercial vessels, but the work must be done, says operations manager Jon Hofstra.

“The valves have been well maintained over the last 100 years,” Hofstra said in a statement. “Although, it’s time. They’re past the life expectancy of this type of equipment and the salt-water environment has taken its toll as well.”

This year’s regular annual lock maintenance closure is scheduled for October 29 – November 21. The maintenance will include the replacement of the large lock center gate bushings and gudgeon pin — used to support the weight of the gates, allowing them to rotate open and closed.

Photo from Hiram M. Chittenden Locks – Ballard Locks Facebook page

Jax Joon closing, Sweet Mickey’s to take its place

The longstanding clothing and home decor store Jax Joon is closing up shop this Sunday, and Sweet Mickey’s Candy Shoppe will soon be taking its place at 5338 Ballard Ave.

Brittney Geleynse and her husband bought Jax Joon in 2015 from Jake and Jenny Monroe, who opened in the store 2008. Geleynse then bought Clover Toys (5333 Ballard Ave NW) last year, and have been managing both, which became too much. Their last day is on Sunday, September 16; all merchandise is 60 percent off from now until they close the doors.

“It’s a bittersweet thing,” Geleynse says. “We have been balancing both and it just came to a head. So, we decided to focus on Clover.”

Sweet Mickey’s owner Randy Brinker says he’s looking forward to opening a second location on Ballard Ave. The candy store at Ballard Commons Park has been open since 2012, but his lease ends next year, and he felt he had to jump on the opportunity to move to Ballard Ave.

The new location will be a little different: he says he’ll drop the ice cream (because he says there’s enough delicious ice cream on Ballard Ave already), and plans to add a gourmet nut roaster. He also wants to feature hard-to-find international candies, and extend his fudge offerings.

Brinker wants to transform the space by adding a birthday/events room, a place where people can meet for book clubs or senior events — anything to include the community, he says. With all the contractors lined up and his vision in place, he’s now just waiting for some permitting before he starts the buildout.

“I’m super excited,” Brinker tells My Ballard. “I’ve been wanting to be part of the Ballard Ave community for a long time.”

Once the new store opens, Brinker’s candy shop next to the park will still be open, but with limited hours until the lease ends in August. Right now, he’s aiming for a Dec. 1 opening on Ballard Ave.

Photo from Jax Joon’s Facebook page

 

 

Tall ships Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington to pass through Locks Thursday

If you missed the tall ships last week, you now have a second chance to watch the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain pass through the Ballard Locks on Thursday, Sept. 13. The historic ships have been in Lake Washington since the 7th, offering tours and sails to the public. On Thursday they’ll be leaving Seattle, bound for Olympia.

While they can’t give us an exact time that they’ll be passing through the Locks, Zachary Stocks from Historical Seaport tells My Ballard it should be before lunchtime.

Another way to track the boats, if you’re so inclined, is to look for them on shipfinder.co, which is a real-time map of registered vessels. (Zoom in on Seattle and you may be able to spot them.)

Photo by Rick Horn/Historical Seaport

 

LimeBike e-scooter spotted in Ballard

While other bike share companies such as Spin and Ofo have bailed on Seattle, the appearance of a green e-scooter in Ballard would suggest LimeBike is still going strong — and is likely expanding. Known as Lime-S, one of the scooters was spotted yesterday in downtown Ballard, documented by Lauri Miller on the My Ballard Group.

Before you get too excited (or annoyed), LimeBike hasn’t officially launched in Seattle. A spokesperson from the company tells My Ballard that the scooter was out for a “private demo” in Ballard, but that the city hasn’t given the green light for bike share companies to roll out the e-scooters.

The company Bird, which have been launching their free-floating scooters in several cities around the country this year, gained attention when they started listing job postings in Seattle this summer. The company told GeekWire that they’re putting their infrastructure in place set to launch once the city allows for it.

Thanks Lauri for the photos!

Dogs of Ballard Dog Show canceled for weather

Update (Sept. 11): The Ballard Dog Show hasn’t had the best luck this summer: tonight’s show has been canceled “due to the high possibility of thunderstorms in the area”.

“The weather was certainly not on our side this year but we look forward to producing this event next summer,” Anndrea Dohring from Ballard Alliance tells My Ballard.

Update (Sept. 6): Now that the smoke has cleared, the Dogs of Ballard Dog Show has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 11 from 6 to 8pm.

“Cheer and woof our contestants on – there will be giveaways for all, treats, a selfie photo station, and more!” the organizers tell us.

Update (August 21): The dog show has been postponed due to poor air quality. From Ballard Alliance:

“In the best interest of our participants, community partners and pets, we are postponing the Dogs of Ballard Dog Show scheduled for this evening, Tuesday, August 21.”
They add that all dogs that were registered as contestants for the August 21 event will be guaranteed participation on the rescheduled date, which is yet to be determined.

Original: Only a few days left to perfect your pup’s tricks and costumes: next week is the Dogs of Ballard Dog Show in Ballard Commons Park.

On the evening of Tuesday, August 21, the four-legged residents of Ballard will be competing in three different categories: Best in Show, Best Costume, and Best Trick. There will be three awards given for each judged category. The free event is from 6 to 8pm., and will also include giveaways and  The Seattle Barkery food truck will have both human- and dog-friendly bites.

To sign up your dog for one of the categories, click here. They’ll also accept day-of registrations, but contestants have to arrive 30 minutes prior to the show to fill out paperwork.

Former ‘Mayor of Ballard’ Rob Mattson has passed away

We’re sorry to share the news that Rob Mattson, former longtime coordinator for the Ballard District Council and unofficial “Mayor of Ballard” has passed away at the age of 69. He retired from the council in 2013 and moved to Oak Harbor, where he’s lived for the past five years.

Mattson worked for the city for over 40 years, and spent most of that time as the city’s representative to Ballard and other nearby neighborhoods. When the Ballard District Council formed in 1988, he was at the forefront, always present at the monthly meetings. His service to the council and Ballard cannot be understated, and his views on Ballard were of the old-school, if you will.

In an interview with The Ballard News-Tribune when he retired, Mattson scoffed at a then-recent USA Today article that named Ballard as one of the best destinations tourists hadn’t heard of yet.

“You read that kind of stuff as an old timer and you think: Some carpetbagger is writing a new script for this neighborhood. Young, hip, cool. Part of me wants to sort of reject that and say ‘No. No, that’s not Ballard. A few cool bars does not define Ballard.”

Rather, Mattson told The Ballard News-Tribune that he saw Ballard as a “complex neighborhood”, full of tradition and history.

“There’s no place my father holds more dearly than Ballard,” his son Jason Mattson says. He shared the following obituary with My Ballard:

Robert W. Mattson, 69, passed away Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at his home in Oak Harbor, WA.

Born March 8, 1949 in Mankato, MN, he was the son of Dr. Bruce Douglas and Mary Lou Neely Mattson.

He is survived by his parents; wife Mary Moore Mattson; son Robert Mattson Jr., son and daughter in law Jason and Tabitha Mattson, son and daughter in law Samuel and Myranda Mattson; daughter and son-in-law Sarah Mattson and George Calderon; grandchildren Benjamin, Maya, Quinton, and Fox Mattson; brothers Bruce Douglas Mattson Jr. and Daniel Mattson; five nieces and nephews; longtime friend Kathy Spencer, and his trusted guide dog Tyrone (“Ty”).

Rob’s legacy is defined by his extraordinary service to the community, dedication to his family and refusal to let blindness stop him from doing anything.

In his professional life, Rob was the first Neighborhood District Coordinator for the Ballard neighborhood when the “Little City Hall” program started – 46 years ago.  He mentored many of the Coordinators and set the bar high for accountability from City employees.  Ballard neighbors and businesses depended on him and always knew they could call Rob and get a thorough, researched, balanced answer.  He loved the work and it showed.  He helped the city effort to accommodate the needs of the homeless and then turned to coordinate the visits of Gustav of Sweden and Olaf of Norway. When he retired in 2013, members of the business community and residents roasted and toasted their “Mayor of Ballard”.

Rob was well read, cerebral, and a strong leader, but he also enjoyed getting dirty and taking chances.  One fall morning his brother came to pick up Rob and his boat to go fishing in Shilshole Bay.  He told Rob it was so foggy that you couldn’t see anything, to which Rob responded: “So what?! Let’s go!”.  A professional tinkerer, he owned numerous cars and boats over the years.  His last was a 26-foot Columbia sailboat that he kept moored at the Oak Harbor Marina.  As a lifelong fisherman, Rob was adept at rigging for salmon trolling.  He loved getting together with his brothers for repairs and projects of all kinds, always coming prepared with tools, electronic equipment and plenty of enthusiasm.

Rob had an adventurous spirit, a tenacious desire to try new things, and an infectious laugh.  He taught his children a strong work ethic, the importance of spending time with family, and to focus on love and compassion in the face of adversity.  He will be missed dearly.

Photo courtesy of the Ballard News-Tribune, Westside Seattle. Photo by Pulitzer Prize winner Jerry Gay