News for Seattle's Ballard neighborhood and beyond

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Ballard criterium bike race just around the corner

May 19th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

The annual Ballard criterium bike race is coming up soon, posed to take over downtown Ballard on Saturday, June 6. The race, now called the Verity Credit Union Classic, is in its 22nd year, and is a fast and furious event that always brings hundreds of spectators to Old Ballard.


This year, men’s cycling team APEX Racing and Verity Credit Union are sponsoring the event. To register, either go online at USA Cycling (USAC) or sign up on the day of the race.  The organizers say that some categories sell out, so reserve your place ahead of time if you know you’ll be racing. Entry costs $30.

The registration will open at 1:30 p.m. on the day of the criterium, and close 15 minutes before each category’s start time. A USAC license is required to race; one-day licenses are available for Category 5 men’s race only, and the cost is $10. All other categories must have the annual license ($70) and must be purchased from USAC ahead of time.

The race course is in downtown Ballard and takes over Ballard Ave NW, NW Vernon Pl, Shilshole Ave NW, and NW Dock Place, with the start/finish approximately at 20th Ave NW and Ballard Ave NW. The races start at 2 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.

To learn more and to register, click here.

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Mobile WiFi hotspots now available for checkout at the library

May 18th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

photo (66)Seattle Public Libraries now provides mobile WiFi hotspots available for check-out for all library patrons. The city has dispersed 150 hotspots to libraries as part of an effort to provide all Seattle residents access to the Internet. The city also plans to offer 75 laptops bundled with hotspots by July.

According to a statement from the library, a $225,000 grant from Google is funding the program, which also covers outreach work in which the Library plans to introduce hotspots and laptops to populations with the greatest need, particularly immigrants and refugees.

“Loaning mobile hotspots to people living without broadband access is another way The Seattle Public Library is taking our mission beyond the walls of our libraries and directly to our patrons where they are,” City Librarian Marcellus Turner said in a statement. “You simply check them out as you would any book, CD or DVD.”

The devices are powered by Verizon and should last up to 20 hours on one charge and for up to three weeks at a time. The hotspots are programmed to deactivate 24 hours after their due date, and there’s a $200 fee for replacing a damaged device.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said the program is vital for progress in the city. “Whether applying for a job, completing a homework assignment or paying a bill, you need access to the Internet.”

To learn more about the program or to check out a hotspot, visit the library’s website.

Photo courtesy Seattle Public Library

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Teacher strike tomorrow: Ballard community centers will be open for students

May 18th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 19), Seattle teachers are staging a one-day strike, so local community centers will be open to help cover day-care needs. The walkout is part of a state-wide protest to pressure state lawmakers to lower class sizes and higher teachers’ wages.

Seattle Parks and Recreation announced it will provide drop-in activities at 21 different community centers for Seattle Public School K-8 students. The free program will operate from 7 a.m to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19 and will include supervised activities with supervision of 20 children to 1 adult, according to a press release from the city.

The centers will accept eligible students on a first-come, first-serve bases, and all students must have a completed registration form, which can be obtained at community centers or printed off their website. Parents can hold a spot for their children at the center by registering here.

According to the city, Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Associated Recreation Council will staff the centers, and parents are asked to drop off children by 9 a.m. (Note that spaces for parents who have pre-registered will not be held past 9 a.m.) Parents are also asked to send a sack lunch with children if possible. There will be snacks and lunch provided to students who cannot bring their own.

The closest centers in our area are the Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW) and Loyal Heights (2101 NW 77th St.)


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Coyote sighting in Ballard

May 18th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

UPDATE: After posting this article, we received two emails from residents with sightings. One was spotted just this morning (Monday) at NW 85th St. and 30th Ave NW. Another reader said she spotted two a couple weeks ago, “at 5 a.m. walking casually down 17th Ave between 75th and 73rd.”

Original post: Coyotes have been spotted twice in Ballard recently. We received a note this morning from a My Ballard reader that there was a sighting on 75th and Earl in Ballard. It’s not uncommon for coyotes to be attracted to areas like ours, where there’s plenty of food around and relatively little threat.

According to the Humane Society, it’s important to prevent coyotes from feeling “at home” in the neighborhood. The organization recommends hazing, which can help maintain their healthy fear of humans to avoid them showing up at your next barbecue.

If you happen to see a coyote in your neighborhood, the Humane Society stresses that you should never run away; instead, yell and shout at it until it completely leaves the area. They also advise keeping pet food and pets inside at night.

This isn’t the first time they’ve been seen prowling the ‘hood; twice last fall we had reports of coyotes in Ballard. In September, one was seen in the Loyal Heights Community Center parking lot, and in November a reader shared his story of seeing two coyotes attack a cat near Golden Gardens.

For helpful resources about coyote behavior and what to do in case of an encounter, read this from the Humane Society about coyote hazing, and this informational page from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

If you have any Ballard coyote experiences or sightings you’d like to share, email us at




Nordic pride fills Ballard streets for Syttende Mai

May 17th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

The sun came out just in time for one of Ballard’s biggest events of the year, Syttende Mai.

Here are a few shots of the festivities on Sunday:

Syttende Mai_0971a 2000

Photo by Wayne Buck

 walking family




Photo by My Ballard reader, Carrie Clogston


Send us your favorite photos at !


Uff da! Syttende Mai parade to take over Ballard on Sunday

May 15th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

It’s that time of year again when the streets of Ballard get painted red, white and blue for the annual Syttende Mai (May 17), Norway’s Constitution Day festival and parade.

girls parade

Saturday, May 16:

The festivities will kick off on Saturday night with a dance at the Ballard Elks Lodge on Shilshole Bay (6411 Seaview Ave NW). Duane Wright and his Jazz Unlimited Band will be playing all types of music beginning at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Sunday, May 17:

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Bergen Place entertainment from Lori Ann Reinhall with featured speakers and guests.

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Barneleker – Children’s Events at the Nordic Heritage Museum: Free museum admission all day with fjord horses and rides on the electric train. Shuttle available between museum and Central Ballard from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Noon to 2 p.m. Luncheon at Leif Erikson Lodge (2245 NW 57th St). Join for a traditional Norwegian lunch with the Grand and Honorary Marshals of the event.

Noon to 2 p.m. Keffestua at Leif Erikson Lodge. Cake and coffee served by beautiful Viking maidens.

4 p.m. to 6 p.m. 17th of May Parade. The parade starts at NW 62nd St. and 24th Ave. NW, travels southbound on 24th, turning eastbound on NW Market St. then south on Ballard Ave NW ending at Dock Place. Streets will reopen after the parade at 7 p.m.

17th May 2015 updated ad creative

For more information about this weekend’s event, click here.


What’s on this weekend

May 15th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Enjoy your weekend filled with all things Scandinavian!

Friday, May 15

  • Whitman Middle School presents Alice Through the Looking Glass, (9201 15th Ave NW), 7:30 p.m. Tickets available at the door (cash/check only) $7 adults, $5 students. Whitman Middle School 6-8 graders perform a hilarious and bizarre re-imagining of Alice Through the Looking Glass, mixing in elements of Alice in Wonderland, the poem Jabberwocky and Musical Theater.
  • Live Music at Salmon Bay Eagles Club (5216 20th Ave NW). Teen Nite (rock music) – click here for more.

Saturday, May 16

  • Whitman Middle School presents Alice Through the Looking Glass, (9201 15th Ave NW), 7:30 p.m. Tickets available at the door (cash/check only) $7 adults, $5 students. Whitman Middle School 6-8 graders perform a hilarious and bizarre re-imagining of Alice Through the Looking Glass, mixing in elements of Alice in Wonderland, the poem Jabberwocky and Musical Theater.
  • Ballard High School Plant Sale at BHS Greenhouse. 11 – 2:30 p.m. Get your veggie starts!
  • Pura Vita Yoga Trance Dance at Kula Movement,(5340 Ballard Ave NW)  8-10 p.m. Cost: $20 advance / $25 at the door. Register: Online at or by phone at (206) 972-2999. “Our ceremony invokes the elements, our primordial ancestors. Rhythms awaken body, mind, and soul. Perceptions start to play. Then Space, Self, and Other blend into Joy. The goal of trance dancing is to let your creative energy move through you, to let Spirit guide you to that place where breath and creativity meet.”—Shiva Rea
  • Dance at Ballard Elks Lodge, 6411 Seaview Ave. 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Tickets $10 – help kick off Syttende Mai weekend.
  • Anchor End Pretzel Shoppe Fundraiser, Kiss Cafe (2817 NW Market St). Help Amanda and Jessica Lewis launch Ballard’s first pretzel truck with an all-day fundraiser at Kiss Cafe! There will be indoor and outdoor activities, beer on tap from Hale’s Ales, with all funds going to the Lewis ladies. Learn more about the event here, or click here for their Kickstarter page.
  • Greyhound Meet and Greet at All the Best Pet Care (1909 NW Market St.) 11am-1pm. Come learn about this wonderful breed and meet volunteers and dogs, including Octane, a young, adorable female who is available for adoption. Click here ( for information about adoption, volunteering opportunities and more.

Sunday, May 17

  • Sno King Mammal Response (SKMMR) volunteer training session at Discovery Park Visitor Center, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Learn to educate the public, collect data, monitor, and respond to marine mammals on local beaches. RSVP at
  • Syttende Mai Celebrations and Parade. Events at the Nordic Heritage Museum and Bergen Place all day, parade to begin at 4 p.m.

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Ballard real estate recap: it’s a seller’s paradise

May 15th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Long time Ballard resident and local Real Estate Broker Sharon Giampietro shares a regular post on My Ballard to keep readers informed about the local real estate market. 

For homebuyers who want to live in the Greater Ballard area, it’s a challenging time. March and April saw a jump in the number of homes on the market with 463 new listings – that’s compared to 261 new listings in January and February. Buyers had more choices and these “new listings” were snapped up. When homes sell quickly, the inventory stays low and at the end of April we had just over a month’s supply of homes, with King County’s shortest average for days on the market at 22 days.

Obviously, it’s still a seller’s market. In a balanced market that does not disproportionately favor the buyer or seller, there would be about a 4-6 month supply of inventory. What would that look like? Waiting a week or more to look at a home, waiting to make an offer in hopes that the price would come down, offering a price substantially below asking – you know, a somewhat relaxed approach. Today’s buyers hoping to move into the greater Ballard area aren’t relaxed!

Bidding wars have been common due to multiple buyers with interest in the same home. In 2014 it was par for the course to see homes fetch $10,000-$30,000 over the asking price. The last couple of months have seen some homes bid up $60,000, $100,000 and in one case almost $200,000 over asking. Some examples: Olympic Manor- asking $685,000 sold for $820,000; Ballard –asking $669,000 sold for $775,000; Whittier – asking $559,000 sold for $717,000. Buyers are starting to look in a price range substantially below their budget to leave room for a bidding war and/or to look in areas, perhaps out of the city, where they can get more for their money.

The pent-up and ongoing demand for housing continues to drive up prices. At the end of December 2013, the average home sale price was $510,000. By the end of 2014 it was $557,000, and now at the end of April 2015 we are at an average sale price of $606,000. At the end of 2014, the average condo price was $290,000. At the end of April it was $298,000, and for new construction the average sale price has risen from $672,000 to $699,000. Our area continues its steady housing transformation with the continued addition of new construction homes which for the most part are “modernos,” which are modern new homes and townhomes. In Ballard they made up half the homes sold in the first four months of 2015.

It does not seem that long ago that it was very hard for sellers to find buyers and our home prices were down about 25%. Homeowners who wanted to move were stuck and foreclosures and short sales were not uncommon. Sellers are seeing the pendulum swing in their favor with the increase in prices. People moving into our area, a good economy, great neighborhoods; all of these factors contribute to the tremendous housing demand, a reality which at this time shows no sign of slowing down.

Greater Balllard is Greenwood, Green Lake, Wallingford and other close by neighborhoods identified as “705” in the Northwest Multiple listing Service. All residential and condo numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand and unless noted do not include new construction. Statistics not compiled or published by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.


Friday is National Bike to Work Day

May 15th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Take extra care if you’re driving to work today – it’s National Bike to Work Day, which means thousands of commuters will ditch their cars and take to the streets on two wheels.


The Ballard ride will start with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien at the Ballard Fred Meyer at 7:45 a.m. Or, join them on the Burke-Gilman trail at 8:10 a.m. at the Fremont Bridge to finish the ride at 8:45 a.m. at Union Station.

There will be dozens of Commute Stations along the way to provide bikers with “encouragement, snacks and swag,” according to the Cascade Bicycle Club. The Ballard commute station will be at NW Market St. and 20th Ave NW, hosted by Our/Seattle from 6:30am to 10 a.m. with pastries, coffee, juice and water for bikers.

Cascade will start the day at 7:45 a.m. with the ride and rally at Union Station downtown with local leaders; Seattle City Council candidates Halei Watkins and Rob Johnson and Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Sally Bagshaw and Bruce Harrell will join in the event. There will be an after-party in downtown Seattle at Velo Bike Shop (2151 6th Ave) with bites and beverages from Tom Douglas Restaurants and music from KEXP.

Cascade estimates that between 15,000 and 17,000 people rode to work on Bike to Work Day in 2014. Cascade Bicycle Club is hosting the event with sponsors F5. Learn more about the event here.


Kajumulo FC tryouts start tomorrow

May 14th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 2.46.13 PMTomorrow (Friday, May 15) and Saturday (May 16) there will be soccer tryouts for Kajumulo FC at Woodlands playfield. There will also be a follow-up meeting for parents on May 17 at the Green Lake Library.

The tryouts will be Friday, May 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and on Saturday, May 16 from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m at Lower Woodlands Playfield 7.

The club asks that participants bring a ball, cleats and shin guards for each child so that they can participate in an actual Kajumulo FC practice with coaches and existing club members of various age groups and teams. They tell us that both boys and girls squads will be participating in each session.

The parents follow-up meeting is May 17 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Green Lake Library Big Room.

Parents should come with questions and be ready to meet coaches, board members, and other parents of kids already playing for Kajumulo FC. “Hear firsthand how a club built on the principles of individual skills training within a small club setting can help your child learn to play and love the game as well discovering within themselves the personal attributes of responsibility, dedication and hard work,” the organizers tell us.

From Kajumulo FC:

All of our coaches are ex-professionals who have dedicated their careers to soccer and teaching young players how to play the game, become leaders and respect each other at practice and during matches. Let them share their philosophies with you.

Speak with parents who have no problem getting their players to club activities after witnessing the positive effects of the club on their child, both on and off the field.

Come and experience all the facets of what ultimately makes Kajumulo FC such a thriving, dynamic and multi-cultural entity all in one enlightening, low pressure weekend – Hope to see you there.

“Learn to play soccer with common sense” – Alex Kajumulo

Learn more about the club here.


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Three-legged cat ‘Shmu’ is missing in Ballard

May 14th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Shmu to use PosterShmu, a three-legged Ballard cat, is missing. Her owner, Sarah, tells us she’s been missing from her home at 73rd and Earl Ave NW since May 10.

“My cat always stayed close to home and the fact that she has three legs means she needs help,” Sarah tells us. Shmu usually hangs out between Earl Ave NW and 28th or between 73rd and 75th, but Sarah said she could be hiding or trapped in a nearby garage or shed. ”

“She is old and has never been gone this long. Please contact if you have seen her, even before the missing date. I know she needs help!”

If you see Shmu, contact us at and we will put you in touch with Sarah.


Throwback Thursday: a look at Ballard’s Norwegian roots

May 14th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Ballard will be painted all things Norwegian this weekend with the Syttende Mai parade on Sunday, and it’s only appropriate that we look back and remember our neighborhood’s fierce Norwegian pride through the years.


The above photo isn’t from the Syttende Mai parade; it’s actually from the Ballard Scandinavian Christmas Festival parade on December 4, 1948. Riding the Viking boat is Asa Gudjohnsen, Seattle’s Lucia Bride. The float won first prize in the parade, entered by the Norwegian Commercial Club and Ray’s Boat House. The photographer was Clarence J Rote from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. (Photo courtesy MOHAI)

norway costumes

A group of young Norwegians in costume, posing on the steps of Meany Hall at the Univesrity of Washington campus for the Norway Day Parade of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909. (Photo courtesy the Ballard Historical Society)


Syttende Mai parade, 1905, with the columns of the Ballard City Hall and Sunset Building in the background. The former trolley tracks can be seen underfoot. (Photo courtesy Ballard Historical Society)

norway hall

Norway Hall, photographed in 1944. The Norway Hall was built for Norwegian immigrant groups in Seattle, and the design incorporated traditional Norwegian architectural elements such as the elaborately carved dragon heads on the gable ends, according to MOHAI. The Norway Hall at 2015 Boren Avenue was designed by Engelhart Sonnichsen and constructed in 1915. It later became a dance hall, and the Sons of Norway moved to a new headquarters in Ballard. (Photo courtesy MOHAI)


Syttende Mai parade passing by the old Norway Center at 3rd and Thomas in Lower Queen Anne in 1970. Photographer was Bob Miller from the Seattle P-I. (Photo courtesy MOHAI)

Do you have photos from Syttende Mai celebrations back in the day? Email them to and we will post them!


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