News for Seattle's Ballard neighborhood and beyond

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What’s on this weekend

November 21st, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin

Another weekend is here and brings with it plenty of exciting events. Enjoy it in Ballard!

Friday, November 21

  • Santa Portraits at Swansons Nursery (9701 15th Ave NW) from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Click here to learn more.
  • Market Street Dixieland Jazz Band at Egan’s Ballard Jamhouse (1707 NW Market St) from 9 p.m. The MSDJB performs the best in hot New Orleans style jazz, Dixieland, 1920s tunes and gutbucket French Quarter blues. Tickets cost $5.
  • Live music at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m.  Featuring Lonely Mountain Lovers, Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, Day Laborers & Petty Intellectuals. Click here to find more information.
  • Live Music at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Los Straitjackets, Deke Dickerson, Miss Mamie Lavona the Exotic Mulatta and Her White Boys. Tickets $20. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Saturday, November 22

  • Pancake Breakfast and Fair Trade Fair at Salmon Bay School (1810 NW 65th St) from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.  The Pancake Breakfast will run from 9 to 12 ($7 per person/$25 per family). The Fair Trade Fair will run from 9 to 2 (free).
  • Santa Portraits at Swansons Nursery (9701 15th Ave NW) from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Click here to learn more.
  • Yulefest at the Nordic Heritage Museum (3014 NW 67th St) from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Locals can get a head start on their holiday shopping while immersing themselves in some Nordic Christmas traditions. Click here to find out more.
  • Free SAT Diagnostics Test at Sylvan Learning (2232 Northwest Market Street #8) from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Find out how ready you are for the big test. Please RSVP first though at (206) 297-4595.
  • Family Yoga Workshop: Gratitude is Our Attitude at Kula Movement, Center for Yoga & Health (5340 Ballard Ave NW) from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. A family workshop for 2-10 year olds, and their adult companions, taught by Nicole Koleshis. $25 for families with 1 child, $5 for each additional child; bring as many adults as you’d like.
  • Run Prepared Class for Women facilitated by Fighting Chance Seattle at Green Lake Park (between NE 71st St and Sunnyside Ave N) from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. In response to a recent attack on a woman at Green Lake, Fighting Chance Seattle will offer a free one-hour version of our Self-Defense for Women workshop on Green Lake. Cost is free.
  • Live music at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Brite Lines, Xolie Morra & The Strange Kind and McDougall. Click here for more information.
  • Live Music at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 8:45 p.m. Featuring, The Dip, Graig Markel & The 88th St Band and Sundog. Tickets $8. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Sunday, November 23

  • Ballard Farmers Market along Ballard Ave from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Click here to see this week’s specials.
  • Yoga Sound Bath at Kula Movement, Center for Yoga & Health (5340 Ballard Ave NW) from 5:30 p.m. – 6: 30 p.m. Join them for an evening of restorative yoga, therapeutic sound, and energy healing. Cost is $30 in advance and $35 at the door.
  • Open Mic at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. For more information click here.
  • Seattle’s Tribute to the Last Waltz at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 8 p.m. Tickets $10. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

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Yulefest set for this weekend at Nordic Heritage Museum

November 21st, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin


The Nordic Heritage Museum (3014 NW 67th St) will host the 37th annual Yulefest this weekend from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Locals can get a head start on their holiday shopping while immersing themselves in some Nordic Christmas traditions over the weekend at Yulefest.

The festival will offer attendees the chance to experience Nordic food, music and craft holiday traditions. Specialty food will be on offer throughout the museum including open-face Scandinavian sandwiches at the Nordic Café; krumkake and lefse in the Kaffestuga; and, in the Bodega, glögg and a variety of Nordic beers.

In terms of entertainment, guests are sure to enjoy the Scandinavian fiddlers, singers, and folk dancers who will be performing on stages throughout the course of the festival. Festival-goers of all ages can take part in holiday-inspired crafts, activities and even get their photo taken with Santa.

Yulefest will also feature 40 merchants who will have Nordic-insipired wares on sale. Complete your holiday shopping early with the items on offer including both locally made and Scandanavian imported goods such as jewelry, high-quality woodworking, hand-woven rugs, woolen sweaters, and more.

This year’s Yulefest will also include the popular silent auction which will be held each day from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. The auction will feature both exclusive experiences and specialty Nordic items. The annual Yulefest Raffle will also be in full swing with the grand prize of two roundtrip tickets to Scandinavia aboard Icelandair. Raffle tickets can be purchased on the day or in advance from the Museum.

Yulefest admission price is $5 for adults and is free for children under 12. Nordic Heritage Museum Members will be admitted free.

Click here to learn more about this year’s Yulefest

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Trapped seal safely moved from Locks chamber

November 21st, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin

Last Friday, during the annual maintenance closure of the Ballard Locks, a harbor seal was discovered to be trapped in the empty large lock chamber. Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked in collaboration with marine mammal experts at the National Marine Fisheries Service to safely remove the seal from the lock chamber.

Corps fish biologists use strobe lights to help move marine life out of the chamber before it is closed for pump out operations. The seal was in the area and seen by biologists during the strobe operations at 3:24 a.m. last Friday morning.

According to officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, plenty of flounder, perch and other small fish were available for the seal to eat until the seal could be safely removed. A large wooden structure was also placed in the empty chamber so that the seal could rest.

Check out some photos of the rescue, that took place on Monday morning, below:




Photos courtesy of Hiram Chittenden Locks Facebook Page.

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Throwback Thursday: Ballard postcards of yesteryear

November 20th, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin

It’s that time of the week where we take a look back at “old” Ballard. This week we thought we would focus on some fantastic postcards of Ballard back in the day.

The photo postcard below, postmarked May 26, 1909, features an image of Ballard beach. The postcard was addressed to a Miss Louise in Ballard from Iva.

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The postcard below, produced in 1917, features a man standing in the empty chamber of the large locks.

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The postcard below, produced in 1918, features a picture of boats moored in Salmon Bay.

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The postcard below, produced in 1920, features an image of the Ballard Locks.

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Photos and information courtesy of MOHAI.

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Development Update November 20: Subdivision decisions and a 90-unit residential building

November 20th, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin

Four subdivision approvals and notice for a design review meeting for a 6-story 90 unit residential building make up this week’s development update from the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) as posted in the Land Use Information Bulletin. No other applications, appeals, decisions, or notifications in Ballard were made this week


7719 15th Ave NW

A Land Use Application has been approved to subdivide one development site into two parcels of land and two unit lots. The construction of residential and live-work units are under Project #6353218. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lot. Appeals of the decision must be received by the Hearing Examiner no later than December 1, 2014.

1730 NW 60th St

A Land Use Application has been approved to subdivide one development site into four unit lots. The construction of residential units are under Project #6390160. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots. Appeals of the decision must be received by the Hearing Examiner no later than December 4, 2014.

2020 NW 60th St

A Land Use Application has been approved to subdivide one development site into two unit lots. The construction of residential units is under #6408913. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots. Appeals of the decision must be received by the Hearing Examiner no later than December 4, 2014.

11733 4th Ave NW

A Land Use Application has been approved to subdivide one parcel into two parcels of land in an environmentally critical area. Proposed parcel sizes are: C) 9,062 sq. ft. and D) 7,215 sq. ft. Existing structure to remain. Appeals of the decision must be received by the Hearing Examiner no later than December 4, 2014.

Notice of Design Review Meeting: 

1516 NW 51st St

A Land Use Application has been received to allow a 6-story, 90 unit residential building with a 500 sq. ft. live/work unit located at ground level. Parking for 35 vehicles will be located on the site. Existing structures to be demolished.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 8 at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW).

The Director will accept written comments to assist in the preparation of the early design guidance through December 8, 2014.  You are invited to offer comments regarding important site planning and design issues, which you believe, should be addressed in the design for this project.

Comments about the above decisions should be submitted to or mailed to the address below:

City of Seattle DPD PRC
700 5th Avenue Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA  98124-4019

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Truck blocks southbound on-ramp to Ballard Bridge

November 20th, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin

My Ballard reader Catherine emailed in a few minutes ago to report that a truck was blocking the entire southbound on-ramp to the Ballard Bridge.

“The truck took the corner too sharp and hit the support beam/concrete underneath. Not sure if they’ve moved it yet, but it was blocking the entire on-ramp to the bridge,” writes Catherine.

Catherine took the below photo as she was walking home from work at about 5 p.m.


Motorists in the area are advised to take a different route if travelling towards downtown.

Thanks to Catherine for emailing in the information and the photo.

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15th Ave W set for overnight closure this Saturday

November 20th, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin

Starting this Saturday, November 22 at 9 p.m., 15th Ave W will be closed to all traffic between W Dravus and W Emerson streets in order to complete work on the West Emerson Overpass Repair Project. All lanes are set to reopen by Sunday, November 23 at 7 a.m.

Check out the specific details below:

  • Both north- and southbound traffic on 15th Ave W will have a signed detour route between W Dravus and W Emerson streets that uses W Dravus, 20th Ave W, Gilman Ave W and W Emerson.
  • On-street parking will be restricted on 14th Ave W between W Dravus and W Emerson streets between 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday.
  • Local access to businesses on 15th Ave W between W Dravus and W Ruffner streets will be maintained .
  • Police officers will be stationed at the intersections of 15th Ave W with W Dravus St and W Emerson Street to help direct the flow of traffic during the closure.

The overnight closure is needed to safely remove exterior falsework that is supporting temporary work platforms on the bridge.

Originally this was planned to be done in sections with several partial closures of 15th Ave W, however a weekend closure has been determined to be a better approach. A single overnight closure will best ensure the safety of the public and workers while minimizing risks to the schedule.

For more information on the overnight closure, including maps of signed detour routes, click here. Email updates on the project can be requested at

For information about bus service, look for Rider Alert notices at bus stops, see Metro Online, or call (206) 553-3000.

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BHS teacher honored by Q13 teacher appreciation crew

November 20th, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin


Congratulations to Ballard High School AP Language and Arts teacher Brian Reardon who was surprised by the Q13 FOX teacher appreciation crew yesterday afternoon.

Reardon believed that the Q13 FOX crew were stopping by to interview him about AP classes and was shocked to find out that he was the recipient of a teacher appreciation award.

Locals had the change to nominate fantastic local teachers who give back to their schools and the local community on the Q13 website.

Kaci Aitchison from Q13 stopped by to honor Mr Reardon and read out the below nomination that was written by one of his students:

I nominate Brian Reardon from Ballard High. He is amazing with his students and understand their struggles. He is a totally awesome and outgoing guy. He teaches Language Arts and runs the school LGBQT group. He has a great sense of humor and is super fun. The students and teachers love him and he is an all around great guy who does great community work.

Click here to check out the fantastic video.

Congratulations to Brian Reardon from the My Ballard team!

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Woodland Park Zoo to close on-site elephant program

November 19th, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin


At a press conference earlier today, representatives from Woodland Park Zoo announced that the zoo’s on-site elephant program will be closed and that the two aging elephants will be moved to another accredited Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) facility.

“We remain committed to putting the welfare of our elephants first. After several months of working to implement the recommendations of the Elephant Task Force, we have found that adding to the herd of our two aging elephants is not realistic in the foreseeable future. It is in the best interest of Asian elephants Bamboo and Chai to live in a social, multi-animal herd in a healthy environment,” said Woodland Park Zoo’s President and CEO Dr. Deborah Jensen.

Jensen confirmed that 47-year-old Bamboo and 35-year-old Chai will be relocated to another AZA facility that “is held to exemplary standards of care.”

“Having only one or two elephants at the zoo for the long term would work against the broader social welfare of Chai and Bamboo and we are committed to following the recommendations of elephant health and welfare experts,” Dr. Jensen continues.

The Elephant Task Force, comprised of local community representatives and internationally-distinguished scientists and animal care professionals, conducted a external review of the zoo’s elephant program last year. It was based on these findings that the zoo decided to close the on-site elephant program.

Woodland Park Zoo is now on the lookout for a new forever home for the elephants and they are expected to make the move in 2015. “They will be a part of our family for the rest of their lives and we will continue to follow their welfare at their new home,” added Jensen.

“It is a difficult decision to move these animals who have long played an important role as ambassadors for their species in the wild, but we could not have made it without the thoughtful and exhaustive work of the Elephant Task Force, the zoo’s Board of Directors and our staff. We will continue working with our elephant conservation partners in Borneo and Tanzania and the 96 Elephants campaign to help end the ivory trade,” said Jensen.

“Every year, the zoo reviews its animal programs, which include physical and behavioral health and care, and makes decisions to continue, phase out or introduce new animals based on an extensive set of criteria,” explains Woodland Park Zoo’s Chief Operations Officer Bruce Bohmke.

In 2012, based on advice received through similar review taskforce teams, the zoo phased out its African wild dog and Malayan sun bear exhibits.

Click here to find out more about Woodland Park Zoo’s elephant program as it prepares to close.

Photo courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo. Photo credit – Ryan Hawk.

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FBI on the hunt for “The Man in the Rubber Mask”

November 19th, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin


The FBI and Seattle Safe Streets Task Force are on the hunt for a bank robber now known as the “The Man in the Rubber Mask” who, within the last month, is believed to have robbed at least four banks in Seattle including the Crown Hill Branch of HomeStreet Bank.


According to our news partners at The Seattle Times, during each of the robberies the suspect has worn a different rubber mask as well as gloves, a baseball cap, a hooded sweatshirt or jacket, and jeans. The robber also carried a hand gun.


The FBI reports that the man is in his late 50s and is roughly five foot five.

“The Man in the Rubber Mask” is thought to be responsible for the following bank robberies:

Oct. 16 — Chase Bank on 35th Ave NE.
Oct. 30 — Key Bank on 35th Ave NE.
Nov. 4 — HomeStreet Bank on 15th Ave NW.
Nov. 14 — Key Bank on NE Ravenna Blvd.

Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Callers may remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Photos, from surveillance footage at different robberies, courtesy of the FBI.

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Large crowd gathers to discuss local crime at WHIN meeting

November 19th, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin


Over 150 people packed into an upstairs room of Loyal Heights Community Center yesterday afternoon to share their concerns about the increase of local crime with other community members, officers from the SPD and the Seattle City Council.

The room was jam packed (leaving standing room only) with concerned local residents and business owners keen to get their questions answered in relation to a plethora of concerns ranging from extended police wait times, property theft, SPD staffing cutbacks and more.

The meeting was organized by the newly formed local group Whittier Heights Involved Neighbors (WHIN) and was facilitated by Whittier Heights resident, block captain and WHIN member Gina Frank.

WHIN recently formed in response to the increase of property crime and the decrease in police presence/increased 911 response times in the Whittier Heights area. Last week, Frank stated that the group “hoped to make significant progress during the meeting and aim to work with the SPD and the local community to make Whittier Heights a safer place.”

The room was filled with passionate and concerned locals from all facets of the community looking to find answers about how to make Whittier Heights, and the entire Ballard neighborhood, a safer place.

Members of the SPD including Crime Prevention Coordinator Elizabeth Scott,  Community Police Team members Mike Cruzan and Sgt. Dianne Newsom, 911 Communications Section Operations officer Lt. George Bray and Sgt. James Arata were in attendance. City Attorney Liaison Brendan Brophy was also on hand to answer questions.

Mike Stewart, Executive Director of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce and member of the Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth, spoke on behalf of local business owners who have experienced or are concerned about crime.

“The growth of Ballard has happened so quickly that we do not have the public service resources to keep up with it. There is a lack of police presence and the concerns are very real,” says Stewart.

A number of community members in attendance expressed their concerns about the numbers of criminals who actually get caught, what happens to property that has been stolen and what locals can do to assist the SPD in catching criminals. When asked these questions the members of the panel were quick to answer.

Mike Cruzan explained the process of what happens to stolen goods once they are recovered. “We have a warehouse in South Seattle where all the valuables are stored. We attempt to get them back to their owners or also use them as evidence during trials,” says Cruzan.

The panel also emphasized the importance of making our neighborhood “less desirable” by getting to know neighbors, walking the neighborhood together and being aware of and reporting suspicious persons.

Cruzan confirmed that support from the community is helpful however locals sometimes overestimate technology and its usefulness. “Footage or photographs of a crime in progress need to show a clear image of the person’s face in order to identify them,” says Cruzan.

Many locals in attendance also expressed concern about SPD’s lengthy response time to 911 calls. 911 Communications Section Operations officer Lt. George Bray did a comprehensive job of explaining the call triage system to the attendees confirming that SPD officers must first respond to “crimes in progress”.

Bray explained that SPD officers are dispatched using the priority system below:

  • Priority 1 – Crimes in progress e.g. shootings, stabbings, domestic violence.
  • Priority 2 – Property crimes that have just occurred where the apprehension of the suspect is a possibility.
  • Priority 3 – Investigative calls where a crime has previously occurred and SPD officers are dispatched to make a report.
  • Priority 4 (rarely used) – Noise complaints with no disturbance to property.

Bray also confirmed that calls are also triaged based on their geographical location within the North Precinct. Bray explained that each of the five precincts within Seattle are also divided into sectors, with the North Precinct being the largest both geographically and by population. The North Precinct is divided into five sectors (Ballard is the “Boy” sector) and each sector has a squad that is assigned to it.

“We keep the squads in each sector intact unless there is a high priority call from another sector. However, Priority 3 calls must be handled by the squad within the specific sector where the crime occurred which is why wait times can be so long,” says Bray.

Bray gave the community the following tips for reducing wait times when reporting a crime:

When asked about the staffing levels within the Boy sector at any given time, Sgt.  James Arata was unable to give a specific number due to the variances between each shift, however, he confirmed that there are “between three to six or seven officers on patrol in Boy sector at any given time”.

After Sgt. Arata spoke, there was an audible reaction from meeting attendees who were obviously concerned by the number of officers who were on patrol in our area.

“I am disturbed by the amount of crime in our neighborhood. I grew up in NYC and left to get away from this,” said one attendee who received a round of applause for his comment.

In relation to the under-staffing issue, and to questions about opening a SPD sub-station in Ballard, the panel was unanimous in their response.

“I encourage you to pressure your politicians to support law enforcement and provide us with the resources that we need to serve the community. However, I don’t want people to walk away with the understaffing issue as an excuse. Use us, call 911, you pay for it,” says Sgt. Arata.

Sgt. Dianne Newsom also expressed her frustration about the under staffing issue within the SPD. “There isn’t a policeman in this precinct that isn’t frustrated. We want to make it safe for our neighbors,” says Newsom.

Many attendees were interested in what to do next about these issues moving forward, and how we as community members can assist the SPD in preventing crime in the neighborhood. Members of local neighborhood groups Fremont Aurora Wallingford Neighbors (FAWN) and Greenwood Aurora Involved Neighbors (G.A.I.N) were on hand to give their perspective on the importance of neighborhood groups.

“You need to be active and take some steps and remember that is doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a deeply concerted effort, walking the neighborhood, having a newsletter, getting to know your neighbors. When we walked Aurora we didn’t take action, we took notes and gave them to the SPD who helped us,” says a member of FAWN.

Overall, the meeting appeared to ease the concerns of some residents and provided confirmation that WHIN will continue its work to try to reduce crime in the area.

“I am greatly encouraged by the turnout and we definitely have some constructive things to take home,” says Whittier Heights resident Chris Maddock.

Whittier Heights resident, and property crime victim, Karen Noar agreed with Maddock was also encouraged by the meeting. “It is so fantastic to have members of GAIN and FAWN present at the meeting providing their advice and support. I am convinced that we can make it happen here,” says Noar.

WHIN member and meeting organizer Gina Frank was also pleased with the progress made at the meeting. “I think that the meeting went really well. The panel answered with transparency and it is clear that we need to be more political in demanding for more SPD resources,” says Frank.

The lengthy discussion provided many tips for locals to help keep the neighborhood safe and lower crime rates. Check out some tips below:

  • If you see something suspicious report it by calling 911.
  • Purchase a secure metal, lockable mailbox to prevent mail theft.
  • When ordering packages, send them to a location where people will be present to receive them (e.g. your workplace) or use the Amazon Locker service that has several locations in Ballard.
  • Do not leave valuables in view when leaving your car.
  • Do not walk around at night with your phone out and visible.
  • Get to know your neighbors so that it is easier to identify suspicious persons who you do not recognize.

If you are interested in finding out more about the work of WHIN and receive their newsletter email Locals can also join the block watch program and join WHIN if they reside in Whittier Heights.

The My Ballard team will continue to follow the progress of WHIN and inform readers about ways that they can help to reduce crime in our neighborhood.

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PSCAA issues air quality burn ban for King County

November 19th, 2014 by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) has issued a burn ban for the entirety King County set to start at noon today and continue until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning.

The burn ban is currently at “stage two” level which bans burning in any wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves, fireplace inserts (certified or uncertified) or pellet stoves.

For Seattle Parks and Recreation, this means that beach fires at Golden Gardens Park (8498 Seaview Ave NW) are also prohibited until the ban is lifted.

The PSCAA issues air quality burn bans when air pollution rises, or is forecasted to reach, unhealthy levels. “Fine particle pollution levels continue to be high in areas throughout the Puget Sound region, especially in neighborhoods where wood-burning is common,” writes the PSCAA.

The front expected this evening is showing rain and winds that will clear the air. However, daytime winds will not be sufficient to significantly reduce pollution levels in King and Pierce counties, especially in areas where wood burning is common.

Residents are advised to rely on their home’s other source of heat such as a furnace or electric baseboard heaters until air quality improves and the ban is lifted. The only exception to this ban is if the homeowner has a previously approved ‘No Other Adequate Source of Heat’ designation from the Clean Air Agency

Locals who violate the ban could face a $1,000 fine from the PSCAA.

To learn more about the burn ban click here.

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