Summer events create concern over cleanliness of Ballard Commons Park

Tomorrow (Thursday, August 9) is the first installment of the Ballard Commons Park summer movies series, and there’s been some concern among residents about the cleanliness of the park. A number of My Ballard readers have reported seeing discarded needles at the park on various occasions. A comment thread in the My Ballard Group had members writing with widely different takes on the issue; one person said they’ve been visiting the park for a decade without any needle sightings.

So, My Ballard checked in with Seattle Parks and Recreation to hear what they’ve found in the park.

Seattle Parks crews clean the park three times a day, and regularly do a sweep to look for needles. In the past three months, they’ve picked up and logged six needles total; three in May, none in June, and three in July. A spokesperson from Seattle Parks says many of the homeless who use the park pick up needles themselves. At each visit, Parks staff remove trash and recycling and pick up litter.

Anytime there is an event scheduled at one of Seattle’s parks, they send crews to do a thorough cleanup ahead of time. “Park’s staff receive a list of all park events in their region and try their best to clean the park in advance of any events,” Rachel Schulkin from Seattle Parks said. “The northwest crew is spread between Green Lake, Carkeek, Golden Gardens, and Ballard Commons all of which have quite a few summer events. But Colleen, the Crew Chief, assured me that they will make sure to put the summer movie series on their list.”

If you see discarded needles in public parks, Seattle Parks recommends you contact the Parks Maintenance Request Line at 206-684-7250. If you choose to address the problem yourself, follow these guidelines on safe handling and disposal.


Election results: August 2018 Primaries

Results are in for yesterday’s primary elections, which as anticipated, ushered forward a “blue wave” of candidates for the November 6 general election.

The Ballard ballot box at the library saw a steady stream of voters yesterday; Catherine Brewe shared the above photo yesterday in the My Ballard Group when she dropped off her ballot. This year’s voter turnout for King County was 24.65%.

Here are the results for the 36th Legislative District, with easy wins for our incumbents:

Sen. Reuven Carlyle was in West Seattle with 34th District State Senate candidate Shannon Braddock, who will advance to the November election with candidate Joe Nguyen. In a close race, Nguyen came out ahead with 6,769 votes (27.69%), and Braddock earning 6,570 votes (26.87%).

Incumbent Senator Maria Cantwell came out way ahead of her many opponents, gaining 206,488 votes (66.67%). Former state Republican Party chair Susan Hutchison came in second with 60,734 votes (19.61%).

In the 8th Congressional District, Republican Dino Rossi gained 43 percent of the vote and will advance to the November election. Democratic candidates Kim Schrier and Jason Rittereiser are in second and third place at 19 and 17.5 percent, with tens of thousands of ballots left to be counted.

The one ballot measure, King County Prop 1 replacement levy for automated fingerprint ID, is at 56% yes and 44% no.

Full election results are available here.

Scenes from Ballard’s Night Out block parties

If you drove through Ballard last night, you probably noticed that nearly every other residential street was closed for block parties. We wandered around Sunset Hill and central Ballard to get photos of some of the festivities.

Our local fire brigade was cruising around the neighborhood and stopped at a block party on 32nd Ave NW and NW 62nd St. The neighbors were getting a tour of the firetruck, with one lucky kid learning how to tie handcuffs on a fireman.

One reader sent the below photo: “Thought I’d share our neighbor’s ingenius block party feature for the kiddos last night — he fashioned a kiddie pool out of a rowboat! Brilliant!”

The block party at 22nd Ave NW and NW 65th St invited a Brazilian music ensemble to play. The stage was a front lawn, with a few wooden benches set up in the street for the audience.

There were hundreds of block parties happening all over the city last night as part of the annual Seattle Night Out event, aimed at getting neighbors to know one another and to promote neighborhood safety. (Learn more here)

Minor gas leak evacuates building, closes intersection on Sunset Hill

A minor gas leak has been resolved at a construction site near the shops on Sunset Hill at 32nd Ave NW and NW 65th St.

Seattle Fire Department responded with several units and Puget Sound Energy was called out to investigate the leak, which was resolved quickly and without incident.

Kristin Tinsley from Seattle Fire said they called off the additional fire units after PSE couldn’t find any readings of gas. The intersection has been reopened and the building deemed safe for re-entry.


Ballard businesses to join Pearl Jam’s campaign to fight homelessness

A number of Ballard’s bars and restaurants will be donating proceeds on Wednesday, August 8 to raise money to alleviate homelessness.

Seattle natives Pearl Jam started The Home Shows Initiative in response to the sharp increase of homelessness in the city over the past few decades. Ballard is one of the neighborhoods with the highest rates of homelessness, with the number of homeless having quadrupled in the last year alone.

The following local establishments will be donating 10 percent of sales on Wednesday:

Ballard Pizza Company (5107 Ballard Ave NW), Barnacle Bar (4743 Ballard Ave NW), Bastille (5307 Ballard Ave NW), Bramling Cross (5205 Ballard Ave NW), King’s Hardware (5225 Ballard Ave NW), Marine Hardware (4741 Ballard Ave NW), Staple & Fancy (4739 Ballard Ave NW), Stoneburner (5214 Ballard Ave NW), The Hi-Life (5425 Russell Ave NW), Tin Hat (512 NW 65th St.), Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW), and Walrus & Carpenter (4743 Ballard Ave NW).

From Pearl Jam:

Most of us grew up here. Over the past 28 years, the City of Seattle’s population has grown by 40%. The region’s homelessness population is now the third largest in the country, with over 12,000 people living without shelter on any one night. This is not a number to be proud of.

There are 140 participating bars and restaurants – here’s the full list. The initiative is the brainchild of co-owner and CEO of Ethan Stowell Restaurants Angela Stowell, who also serves as a board member of United Way of King County, and recently-named CEO of FareStart.

Block parties galore to fill Ballard’s streets tonight

Tonight is the annual Seattle Night Out, which means neighborhood streets all over the city will be closed off for block parties. Ballard is one of the busiest neighborhoods for block parties – we counted over 30 happening in our area.

There will likely be more parties than are listed on this map, so take care when you’re driving around the neighborhood tonight. Most parties will get started around 6pm, and will wrap up when it gets dark.

To learn more about each block party, click on the map above.

If you get some good photos from your block party tonight, send them to 

Himalayan Treasure closing up shop

Himalayan Treasure, a Nepali handicraft store on NW Market St, is closing down soon.

Owner Sushil Mulepati says he’s taking a break and going back to Nepal for at least a year. The store has been open since 2015.

In the meantime, the Mulepati is having a closing-down sale; everything in the store is 50 percent off. He says he’ll be open until he sells most of it – likely three to four months.

No word yet on what will take its place – we’ll update with any new information.

Thanks Alex Choi for the tip!

15th Ave NW pedestrian crossing installation delayed

If you’ve driven on 15th Ave NW lately, you’ve likely noticed the new lights being installed on NW 53rd St. Crews have been developing a new crosswalk, complete with a center island, pedestrian signal and curb ramps. However, work has been slightly delayed as they wait for additional equipment to arrive. The Seattle Department of Transportation estimates that the pedestrian signal will be installed by the end of August or early September.

SDOT says that the half mile between Market St and Leary carries an estimated 50,000 vehicles and 15,000 bus passengers every day; a designated crosswalk will hopefully prevent pedestrians from having to dangerously dash across the road.

There will also be some changes to traffic flow, as the pedestrian island will replace the center turn lane on 15th at 53rd. There will also be a new bus lane from 53rd to 51st, where the center lane then disappears leading to the bridge. This means that cars will also no longer be able to use the center lane for turns at 52nd.

For more information on the project, plus other “spot improvement” SDOT is working on around the city, click here.

Photo: SDOT rendering of new crosswalk at NW 53rd St


Ballard Commons summer movies series kicks off this week

For the next four weeks, the summer outdoor movies series will take over Ballard Commons Park with some old favorites, starting on Thursday, August 9 with the Goonies.

The free movies, put on by the Ballard Alliance, will be every Thursday at 8:15pm this month, with food trucks on site starting at 7pm. This week’s screening will be accompanied by The Fork and Fin, with Sweet Mickey’s Candy Shoppe handing out treats for every screening.

The schedule for the movie series is the following:

All movies are open to the public; the organizers ask that people bring their own blankets and chairs to watch the movie.

Seattle Police searching for Ballard Subway armed robber

Seattle Police are investigating two armed robberies at Ballard Subway restaurants, and are asking the public for help.

The first robbery happened on July 16 at 9am at the Subway on 15th Ave NW. According to the police report, the suspect presented a handgun and demanded that the clerk hand over all the money in the register. The suspect then said, “Nothing personal, bro,” and the clerk gave the man $270. The suspect then ran out the door heading north on 15th Ave NW past Mud Bay towards Safeway.

The second robbery was on July 26 at the Subway on Holman Rd. The man was back with his handgun, and again made away with around $200 in cash.

The suspect is described as being 20-35 years old, clean shaven with a small soul patch and of a light brown complexion. When he robbed the first Subway he was wearing a gray baseball cap with a flat bill, and a black hoodie. He also has scarring or a birthmark around his chin/lower lip area, according to the witness.

If you have any information about the suspect, contact Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or use the P3 Tips App on your phone to submit information. Crime Stoppers will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the suspect is correctly identified.

Surveillance camera photo supplied by Seattle Police