News for Seattle's Ballard neighborhood and beyond

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Reuben’s Brews named best mid-sized Washington brewery

June 22nd, 2015 by Meghan Walker

reubenReuben’s Brews has been named the best Mid-sized Brewery of the Year at the Washington Beer Awards. The Ballard-born brewery also took home gold medals for several of their signature brews, including the Foreign Export Stout, Robust Porter, and Black Imperial IPA, and silver medals for their Cream Ale and the Marzen, which is the first lager they’ve produced. The competition including over 700 entries from roughly 100 breweries across the state.

“We are honored to be recognized amongst the great breweries of Washington State,” said Adam Robbings, Co-founder and Head Brewer of Reuben’s Brews in a statement. “It’s particularly exciting is that we won medals for a wide variety of different beer styles – hoppy, malty, light and dark beers!” Robbings says their 15-barrel brewery will allow them to continue developing new styles, with more lagers on the way and their first sour beers in the works.

Other Ballard breweries also took home awards; Populuxe won a gold medal for their Old Oddvars British Strong Ale, a bronze medal for their Citra Red, an American Amber. Ballard’s Stoup Brewing won silver for their Stoup Citra IPA in the American-style Strong Pale Ale category. For a full list of the winners, click here.



West Emerson Street overpass to close for repairs next weekend

June 22nd, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 9.42.40 AMNext weekend,West Emerson Street overpass at the south end of the Ballard Bridge in Interbay will be closed while crews work on repairing the road surface. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) says the overpass will be closed from June 27-29 to grind the roadway surface and install permanent striping.

West Emerson overpass has had a beating in recent years, with over-height trucks hitting it from below on the 15th Ave West truck route. The overpass was built in 1959, and has had several maintenance projects over the years. SDOT replaced the damaged girder at the end of last year, and the goal was to leave a rough surface to improve traction. The resulting surface was rougher than expected, so they’ll be smoothing it out, SDOT says.

Crews will close the overpass at 4 a.m. on Saturday, June 27, and reopen it by 5 a.m. on Monday, June 29. Drivers will be rerouted as indicated the map, with the eastbound detour using the West Dravus Street overpass.

To learn more about the project, visit SDOT’s website about the ongoing West Emerson overpass work.


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What’s on this weekend

June 19th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

This weekend, the bulk of the action will be next door in Fremont, with the Solstice Fair kicking off the weekend with a music festival tonight. And, it’s Father’s Day on Sunday, so head over to the Ballard Locks for the Classic Car Show to celebrate.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 19

  • Fremont Solstice Fair Music Festival: Deltron 3030, Ra Scion, and Ayo Dot & the Uppercuts at the Redhook Main Stage. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the gate; two-day passes are $45. Kids 10 and under are free and must be accompanied by adult. Learn more about the bands here.
  • Market Street Dixieland Jazz Band at Egan’s Ballard Jam House : 9 p.m. $10 cover. The Market Street Dixieland Jazz Band performs the best in hot New Orleans style jazz, Dixieland and 1920’s tunes.

Saturday, June 20

  • Fremont Solstice Parade at 3 p.m. The parade starts at 3rd Ave NW and Leary and ends at Gas Works Park.
  • Fremont Solstice Fair Music Festival: The Presidents of the United States of America, Ayron Jones and the Way, and Fox and the Law at the Redhook Main Stage. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the gate; two-day passes are $45. Kids 10 and under are free and must be accompanied by adult. Learn more about the bands here.
  • 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, volunteer opportunities and more.
  • Benefit Concert for George Marcellus School in Guerot, Haiti: Phinney Neighborhood Center (7500 Greenwood Ave N) 7 p.m. The Phinney Neighborhood Community Chorus will be raising money to support education in Haiti. Learn more or donate here.
  • Summer Concerts at the Ballard Locks Botanical Gardens: Musica Molida, 2 p.m.
  • Historic Tour through Old Ballard: Bars, Boats, & Brothels – oh my! Join a free fun walk and discover intriguing tidbits of Ballard’s history, hosted by the Ballard Historical Society. Meet at 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Bergen Place Park. Text or Call Susan, 206-504-0916, to reserve your spot. (limited to 15 people) Donations are graciously accepted for Ballard Historical Society &/or Friends of Bergen Place.

Sunday, June 21

  • Fremont Solstice Dog Parade: 2:30 p.m. Registration takes place on Sunday on 35th Avenue & Phinney, behind the big purple slide from 11am-1:30pm. A $10 registration fee benefits, COLA, Citizens for Off Leash Areas, and is required per dog family. Dress up your dog and join in on the furry fun!
  • Nordic Midsommer Celebration at the Farmer’s Market: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Museum will bring children’s activities, museum objects and materials to the Ballard Farmer’s Market in Bergen Place.  Midsommer, also known as the summer solstice, is celebrated throughout the world, but is particularly important in Nordic countries.
  • Classic Car Show at the Ballard Locks: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Summer Concerts at the Ballard Locks Botanical Gardens: Elliott Bay Pipe Band, 2 p.m.
  • Mask Workshop with Artist Jon Paden at Robert Madsen Gallery (5448 Shilshole Ave) 1 – 3 p.m. Free to the public. The workshop will use paper mask templates to teach form and offer a base to build your own mask. Email Jon ( with any questions.

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Drought could mean record-low lake levels and delays at Ballard Locks

June 19th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

The sunshine has been a treat for most of the early spring and summer, but it also has an adverse effect: with such little rainfall, Lake Washington’s water level could drop below 20 feet this summer, and boaters will experience delays at the Ballard Locks. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials, current forecasts say the lake could have record-low levels by August, and could continue to drop until September or October. The last time the lake levels were that low was October 1987.

The Corps says they typically maintain the water level between 20 and 22 feet, officially measured at the Chittenden Locks. Officials keep winter levels at 20 feet, and begin the annual summer refill in February, targeting a 22-foot refill by late May to early June. They say the higher level helps meet summer water use, providing water necessary for fish passage, navigation and salinity control.

The Corps anticipated the low levels, and took precautionary steps to speed up the annual refill. They say the lake reached a 21.95 foot elevation in early May this year, but low inflows means the lake level is still dropping faster than normal, already nearing what is normal for mid-summer levels at just above 21 feet.

Boat traffic through the locks will begin to experience longer delays, as the Corps will start maximizing lockage efficiency by increasing the number of recreational vessels in each locking and adding more recreational vessels with commercial vessels. “By increasing the number of vessels for each locking, recreational vessels could experience up to one hour delays waiting for additional vessels to arrive,” the Corps says.

The Corps has taken a number of conservation steps, including limiting the amount of water used to operate the juvenile salmon flumes used to provide smolt safe passage into the Puget Sound. Normally the Corps uses four flumes, but they’ve reduced it to one in order to save water. The Corps is also asking floating-home owners to prepare for low water levels of 18.5 to 19 feet.

“Water management is about balance,” said Seattle District Senior Water Manager Ken Brettmann, who oversees reservoir regulation at the Corps’ Western Washington projects. “This year will be extremely challenging and we’re balancing water conservation across lines to minimize impact to commerce, fish and the public.”


Locals upset over new nightclub on their block

June 19th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Substation Press photo #3Update: Substation owners Ken Wallace, Dave West and Jeremy Rudo reached out to My Ballard with the following response:

 “Substation’s owners were saddened to learn of the noise complaint from a local resident.

Because we want to be good neighbors, we’ve taken great steps to ensure that our noise levels fall within regulations based on the industrial zoning for our neighborhood. These steps include an extensive investment in soundproofing construction above and beyond typical measures for any venue. We have worked cooperatively with the Seattle police department. They have checked our facility inside and out during events and have always given us their approval. We have never received a citation or warning regarding our noise levels since we opened for operation. 

We would also like to point out that we are located directly across the street from a large electrical substation that generates constant mechanical noise 24 hours a day.”

Original post: A group of Ballard neighbors are complaining about a new nightclub they say has been keeping them awake at night. According to a recent report from KIRO TV, the Ballard Substation at 645 NW 45th St. is causing some issues in the neighborhood, and people who live nearby have been issuing noise complaints.

The Substation is a 150-capacity club that had its grand opening earlier this month, promising to be a “mecca for all things underground.”

“As the city continues to lose small, independently owned and operated live music venues, a sense of community is what Substation’s owners, employees and talent buyer want to bring to the club,” graphic artist and promoter TBASA said in a recent statement.

However, that “sense of community” isn’t a shared feeling by Substation’s neighbors: “I don’t know how to describe how painful the sound is, but it won’t go away,” resident Jennie Carucci told KIRO. She said she’s called the police to complain about the noise, but so far, it hasn’t made a difference.

Detective Patrick Michaud from Seattle Police says they’ve received a couple complaints from the area in the last month, but that it’s unlikely they’ll take action unless numerous complaints are made. Even then, enforcing noise ordinances isn’t a clear-cut process. Detective Michaud says oftentimes police will try to resolve noise complaints on the spot. Technically, sound shouldn’t travel into other buildings past 10 p.m. in residential areas, he said.

My Ballard reached out to the owners of the Substation for comment, but haven’t yet received a reply.

Photo courtesy the Ballard Substation


Mimzy needs help getting home

June 19th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

mimzyOne of our readers sent us a missing pet tip on behalf of a very “sad and worried” guy who was hanging this poster around Ballard. “He’s having problems emailing you, so I said I would,” Walli tells us.

If you have any tips for the man who lost Mimzy, please call the numbers listed on the poster: 206-554-1564, or 206-819-4078.

We’ve had a high number of missing pet reports lately; summer is the peak season for losing pets. If your furry friend has gone missing, there are some helpful resources such as the Missing Pet Partnership, which has tips for making posters and other advice for worried pet owners.

The Seattle Animal Shelter has a helpful list of prevention methods:

  • Secure your home: keep doors closed, install screens on windows, and keep your yard fenced.
  • License your pet: A pet license is the first thing our officers check when finding a lost pet, according to the shelter; “If your pet is wearing his license, our officers can give your pet a ride home.” If you have lost your pet license tag, click here to find out how to replace it.
  • Personalized tag: Tags should have all of your contact information including multiple phone numbers and address.
  • Microchip: A microchip is a permanent form of identification that is implanted under the skin of your pet. Shelters and veterinary offices are able to read the microchip and get information about your pet. Most veterinarians implant microchips using a simple shot. Once your pet has a microchip, it is imperative that you register the microchip and ensure that your contact information is up-to-date with the microchip company.
  • Spay or Neuter your pet: Pets that are spayed or neutered are less likely to roam because their instinct to mate will be lessened.

We at My Ballard understand the stress and heartache from missing a pet, so we will continue to do our best to act as a resource for our community to bring our pets home. Email us at with lost or found animal reports. Other helpful resources for locating your lost pet are Craigslist’s Lost and Found forum, or the Seattle Animal Shelter.

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Throwback Thursday: Shilshole and Ship Canal of yesteryear

June 18th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

This week’s Throwback Thursday takes a look at the old industrial area of Ballard along the Ship Canal and Shilshole.


Black and white photo of Shilshole and Vernon Street in 1904. According to the Ballard Historical Society, the Stimson Mill office is on the left, but it may have also been Stimson Paymaster Office and/or Salmon Bay Feed Company. The current address is 2116 NW Vernon Place.


Photo from 1913, of Shilshole Bay at the end of the Ship Canal.


Photo from 1913 of the canal construction on the Ballard Locks from Shilshole Bay end.


Ballard Boat Works in 1905, located just west of where Government Locks are today. It was started in 1905 and moved in 1917 to its present location at Shilshole Avenue and NW 51st Street.


Photo from 1895 of the “mill district,” from approximately 15th to 17th and Shilshole Ave. Mills are pictured in the background, and a triangle block with houses and fenced yard in foreground.

All photos courtesy of the Ballard Historical Society


Ballard Development Update: live-work units, townhomes, and apartments

June 18th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

A revised application for live-work units and townhomes, a streamlined design review for a 20-unit residential building, plus an upcoming design review meeting for a 25-unit apartment 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.


7530 15TH AVE NW


A revised Land Use Application has been submitted to allow 20 live-work units and 33 townhomes for a total of 53 units. Parking for 71 vehicles to be provided. Existing structures to be demolished. Environmental Review includes future full unit lot subdivision.

Notice of Streamlined Design Review:




There has been a Streamlined Design Review proposal to allow a 4-story building containing 20 residential units.  Existing structure to be removed.

The Director will accept written comments to assist in the preparation of the early design guidance through July 1, 2015. The public is invited to offer comments regarding important site planning and design issues, which you believe, should be addressed in the design for this project. This is the only opportunity to comment on this proposal.

Notice of Design Review Early Design Guidance Meeting:

2417 NW 57TH ST


The proposal is for a 4-story structure containing 25 residential units.  Parking for one vehicle to be provided within the structure.  Existing single family residence to be removed.

The design review meeting will be held Monday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m. at  Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave) in the Sunset/Captain Ballard Room.


Comments about the above notices 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



Watch out for dive-bombing crows

June 18th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

file_crowSome Seattle residents are experiencing a rather Alfred Hitchcock-esque experience these days: it’s crow dive-bombing season and it’s making some families afraid of their own backyards. However, according to crow experts, it’s normal.

Ballard resident Gini from Loyal Heights has been dealing with a family of aggressive dive-bombing crows, and says it’s keeping her from allowing her children to go outside to play. “We have to take a rake with us to take out the garbage or water plants,” Gini wrote on the Nextdoor Ballard North forum. “I’m growing quite fearful and I feel like the movie The Birds is not fiction.”

According to a recent KUOW 94.9 FM story, there are ways to protect yourself until the season passes. Professor John Marzluff teaches in the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and told KUOW it’s the time of year when young crows are starting to leave the nest, and parents are watching closely over them. “The young aren’t very good at flying and hiding yet, so they come in close contact with people,” he said.

Several other residents chimed in on the forum to lend Gini advice or share their own stories:

“I started walking up and down 77th with a tennis racket to knock these rats with wings out of the sky,” neighbor Jim wrote.

“We were divebombed in our backyard one year (years ago) when a baby crow fell into our yard and couldn’t get out,” Kristen says. “Once the baby crow managed to escape our yard, the dive-bombing stopped.” She added that they used umbrellas when they went to pick veggies.

According to KUOW, Marzluff suggests three remedies for the dive-bombers: ignore them, walk the other way, or wear a mask with eyes on the back of your head, because crows will always attack from behind and won’t attack faces.

Another Ballard resident, Carola, has another approach: make friends with the crows. “I used to be terrified of crows, but have now gotten to adore those who use my yard as part of their home,” she shared. “They even leave me tiny gifts of shiny glass or colorful plastic.”

Marzluff says crows have incredible memories, so making friends might not be such a bad idea. For more information about crows in our region, Marzluff has a website dedicated to our feathered friends.


Summer sunset paints the Ballard sky pink and blue

June 18th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Wednesday’s sunset in Ballard was spectacular, with an explosion of pinks, purples and blues over the Olympics.


The days are the longest of the year with the summer solstice approaching. The solstice is on June 21, with almost 16 hours of sunlight on Sunday.

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Comment period extended for Loyal Heights Elementary School expansion project

June 17th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

The city has extended the public comment period for the Loyal Heights Elementary expansion project. The original deadline for comments related to the environmental checklist was slated for June 15, but after an appeal from locals, has been extended to June 25.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 4.25.52 PM

Plans for the expanded Loyal Heights Elementary School (view PDF here)

Ballard resident Mark Early attended an informational meeting about the proposal on June 10, and wrote a formal letter to city leaders asking for an extension for locals to review the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist. “Myself and other neighborhood residents feel at least ten more days of open comment until June 25th would be reasonable and appropriate given the scope of this complex multi-year SPS project, its impacts both positive and adverse on the surrounding neighborhood and our community,” Early wrote to Pegi McEnvoy, Seattle School District’s SEPA Official.

Seattle Public Schools wants to double the size of Loyal Heights Elementary School to accommodate expected enrollment increase from 450 to 660 students in the coming years. The plans include a three-story addition onto the original building and modernizing the current structure. The new school building would be approximately 91,000 square-feet over the three floors, according to Seattle Public Schools. Construction for the project is scheduled to begin in August 2016 with demolition and school closure. The construction period is expected to be completed in June 2018, and classes would begin at the school in the fall of 2018.

To review the SEPA checklist provided by the city, click here. To make a comment on the application, email


Mowgli the cat is missing in Ballard

June 17th, 2015 by Meghan Walker

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.29.44 PMUpdate: Mowgli has been found – here’s a message from Jeni: “We set a trap (borrowed from the Humane Society) last night and at 4:00 a.m. this morning we got him!  He’s smelly but home safe and sound.”

Original: Mowgli the double-nosed cat has gone missing in Ballard, and his owners are getting worried. The young grey-haired tabby went missing on June 13 from his home near NW 70th St. and 10th Ave NW, according to his owner, Jeni.

“He is very scared and could be hiding in your garage or shed,” Jeni writes. Mowgli has long hair, has a double nose, and is very skittish. Jeni says he’s chipped but is not wearing a collar.

If you have seen Mowgli, email us at and we’ll pass along the information to Jeni.



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