News for Seattle's Ballard neighborhood and beyond

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Seattle puts Design Review on the map

July 21st, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

We’ve got big news for those looking for an easier way to participate in development project reviews in their neighborhood.

Today, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) unveiled an online map application, Shaping Seattle: Buildings. By simply clicking on any blue dot on the map, a user can see aspects of a project that requires or has gone through a Design Review, including an illustration and the design proposal itself, a timeline of community meetings and decisions, and how to comment on the project.

Screenshot 2015-07-21 15.57.04

“Our new map is an interactive opportunity to learn more about what is being built in Seattle, and in your neighborhood,” says Mayor Ed Murray. “It is a great step forward in keeping communities more informed and involved in shaping the growth of our city.”

Whether it’s in Ballard other neighborhoods, this mobile-friendly map makes it easier for users to add their comments to proposed projects. DPD believes this tool can foster a more transparent Design Review process that values public outreach.

The new DPD map improves features originally seen in a similar development map called Seattle In Progress. The private technologist Ethan Phelps-Goodman who released his creation, Seattle In Progress, eight months ago says he is continuing to refine his tool and add to it. For additional information on that project, read the November report by GeekWire here.

While Goodman’s map allows users to see development projects in their area, DPD’s new map gives additional access to the Design Review process, offering a foundation for other enhanced features to be revealed in the near future.

Similar to their hope for user-involvement on development proposals, DPD invites users to give feedback on the map itself. Visit the Shaping Seattle: Buildings map at


Parks and Recreation improves Bergen Place landscaping

July 21st, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

This Thursday, Seattle Parks and Recreation will begin landscape improvements at Bergen Place Park on the triangular site between Leary Avenue, 22nd Avenue NW, and Market Street.

The goal of the planting maintenance and renovation work is to increase visibility from Leary Avenue, replace plants that are at the end of their life cycle, and discourage rodents from using the park planting beds.

Though this type of maintenance work is routine, Seattle Parks and Recreation wants to give people in Ballard as much of a heads up as possible as the park is in such a prominent location, according to Seattle Parks Landscape Architect R. Frank Robinson

This renovation work will begin with the removal of the hedge next to Leary Avenue. Seattle Parks and Recreation coordinated the hedge removal with pest control efforts and shared the plans with “The Friends of Bergen Place.” New greenery will be introduced this coming fall.

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Chinese students need hosts in Ballard for 3 weeks

July 21st, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

A non-profit home-stay program is looking for host families for Chinese students for three weeks starting this Friday, July 24. The international students (10-13 yrs old) will be based in Ballard until August 12.

Host Family Coordinator Ambra Curetti says the EF Educational Homestay Program (EHP) is focused on breaking down the barriers of geography, language and culture. Curetti says: “Bringing a student from China into your home is a great way to increase cultural awareness, make a new friend from another country, build a stronger community, and have a fantastic summer volunteer experience.”

An application form is available here, along with a video of an EHP summer experience. For more information view EHP’s Seattle Facebook group here.

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Whittier Elementary program hiring now; new Greenwood preschool to open this fall

July 20th, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

Whittier Kids, a Phinney Neighborhood Associations childcare program at Whittier Elementary School (1320 NW 75th St), is hiring a teacher for a new after-school classroom which will begin this next year. The added program will serve roughly 30 new families from the community.

The teaching position is 20 hours a week, from 2–6 p.m. Monday through Friday, with occasional opportunities for additional hours for special events, early release days and school breaks. Salary is $15 an hour; benefits include 401(k) plan with employer match, self-paid Aflac products, self-paid ORCA pass, three weeks personal time off the first year, increasing annually, and paid holidays.

Follow this link here for more information on teaching/staff responsibilities and qualification requirements. To apply, email a cover letter and resume to


In other news for Phinney/Greenwood education, a new preschool will be opening for enrollment in fall.

Little Birds Preschool (117 NW 78th St.) is a Montessori-inspired early learning program, with a curriculum that emphasizes language development and early-literacy skills.

The preschool just past Phinney Ridge will be staffed by a certified Speech-Language Pathologist and classroom teacher. For more information or tour, go to

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Stone Gardens’ outdoor climbing wall ready to go

July 20th, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

The outdoor wall of Ballard’s rock climbing gym Stone Gardens is open for climbing after over six months of construction.Photo by Stone Gardens

The wall has been in progress since late December and was just opened to the public as of Friday 10 p.m. The 40 ft. wall features both top rope and lead climb routes for gym users.

Construction of the roped outdoor wall was concurrent with an expansion project of the back bouldering room. The renovated bouldering room–for ropeless climbs on shorter walls and padded floors– has been open to the public since June 22.

The climber’s gym, with over 16,000 sq. ft. of climbing terrain, averages 250–350 climbers on summer days, with regular members, day-pass climbers and kids’ camps.

Photo courtesy of Stone Gardens

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Library Books on Bikes today at Golden Gardens

July 20th, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

Books from The Seattle Public Library will be at Golden Gardens today from noon– 2 p.m. The event Books on Bikes pedals down a partial library to Seattle public parks using customized book-carrying bicycle trailers.

The program began back in May 2013 and offers park attendees around the city some afternoon reading and limited library options including signing up for a Library card, available in six designs.

The Books on Bikes fleet is made up of 16 team members and three trailers. One of the original trailers was developed and constructed by Colin Stevens of “Haulin’ Colin” in Seattle. This trailer is designed to handle a good amount of weight and has built-in shelves for book display. Seattle-ready, an umbrella holder is attached to keep books dry in case of weather.

Two more trailers are designed by Seattle artist Eroyn Franklin: one is a compact flat-top trailer with an urban cityscape and another a covered “reading wagon” trailer featuring a kid-friendly design.

Can’t make it to the beach today? Catch the program at Westlake Park this Friday and Sunday, August 2nd.

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The Ballard Farmer’s Market in color

July 20th, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

Seatleites got some sun this past weekend with highs of 93 degrees on Sunday! Meanwhile, the Ballard Farmer’s Market that day boasted fresh, juicy produce and sweet street music. Visitors took to social media to share their pictures and we’d like to share our three favorite shots:

Ballard Market Blues/ Photo Sung Park

Ballard Market Blues/ Photo by Sung Park

Fresh fruits/ Melissa

Fresh fruits/ Photo by Melissa Chevalier

Bouquets with love/

Bouquets with love/ Photo by Kalie Morell


What’s on this weekend

July 17th, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

This weekend, Ballard rests a bit after the last few weeks of Solstice and Pride activities, 4th of July and then Seafood Fest.

Most of the action this weekend will be at the Seattle Center for the annual Bite of Seattle event happening Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.–8 p.m. SDOT traffic advisory warns that the three-day food festival expects 50,000 attendees each day. Whether joining or avoiding the masses, plan ahead as you travel in or around the city.

Friday, July 17

  • Live Music
    • Rock and Roll/ Alt Country at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring The Ramblin Years w/ Foghorns and Sam Russell. Tickets $8.
    • Heavy metal at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring The Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth w/ Heiress and He Whose OxIsGored. Tickets $10.
    • Rock/Pop at Sunset Tavern (5433 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Space Cretins, Strong Suit, Lavacado. Tickets $8.
    • Jazz at Egan’s Ballard Jam House (1707 Nw Market St). Featuring Maqueattack at 7 p.m. and The Chaz Lipp Group at 9 p.m. Tickets $6.
  • Theater
    • Young Shakespeare Workshop presents “Romeo and Juliet” at Odd Fellows at 7 p.m. Free admission.

Saturday, July 18

  • Summer Concerts at the Ballard Locks Botanical Gardens: 2 p.m. Greenwood Concert Band marches; music written or arranged for the band
  • 8th Annual “Phinney Ditch” Block party: 3 p.m. (6226 6th Ave NW)
  • Live Music
    • Rock at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Po Brothers, The Bend, and Radar. Tickets $8.
    • Pop at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Aqueduct (release) w/ Bardot & The Echolarks. Tickets $10.
    • Blues/Country/Folk at  Sunset Tavern (5433 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys and The Far West
    • Jazz at Egan’s Ballard Jam House (1707 Nw Market St). Featuring Elizabeth Carpenter and Victor Janusz at 7 p.m. and Bad News Botanists at 9 p.m. Tickets $5.
  • Theater
    • Young Shakespeare Workshop presents “Romeo and Juliet” at Odd Fellows at 7 p.m. Free admission.

Sunday, July 19

  • Summer Concerts at the Ballard Locks Botanical Gardens: 2 p.m. West Seattle Big Band
  • Ballard Farmer’s Market along Ballard Ave from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Click here to see this week’s specials.
  • Live Music
    • Open mic at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 7:30 p.m.
    • Singer/songwriter at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Alyse Black w/ My Cartoon Heart & Intisaar. Tickets $8.

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Ballard Development update: 6-story apartments for 56th and northern subdivisions

July 17th, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

Two subdivision applications have been made for properties on 85th and 97th while another application has been granted for a subdivision on 63rd. Meanwhile, a design review will take place next month for the proposal of a 6-story, 150 unit apartment building on 56th and 17th.

This week’s development update is provided by the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) as posted in the Land Use Information Bulletin.


833 NW 97TH ST

A Land Use Application has been proposed to subdivide one development site into four unit lots. The construction of residential units is under Project #6426910.

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.

1402 NW 85TH ST

A Land Use Application has been proposed to subdivide one parcel into three parcels of land. Proposed parcel sizes are: A) 914 sq. ft., B) 892 sq. ft.; and C) 3,486 sq. ft. Project also includes a unit lot subdivision of Parcel C into four unit lots.

The construction of residential and live-work units has been approved under Project #6430039. 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.


A Land Use Application to subdivide one parcel into two parcels of land at 1707 NW 63RD ST has been granted. Proposed parcel sizes are: A) 2,550 sq. ft. and B) 2,499 sq. ft. Existing structures to be removed.

Notice of Design Review Early Design Guidance Meeting:

1718 NW 56TH ST

The proposal is to allow a 6-story, 150 unit apartment building with retail and 17 live-work units at street level. Parking for 125 vehicles will be located below grade. Existing structures to be demolished.

The design review meeting will be held Monday, August 3rd at 6:30 p.m. at the Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave) in the Sunset/Captain Ballard Room.

The Director will accept written comments to assist in the preparation of the early design guidance through August 3rd, 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.

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


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City removes tree on Market Street encampment site

July 17th, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

A Korean Mountain Ash tree located on Mayor Murray’s preferred transitional encampment site (2826 NW Market St.) was removed by the city yesterday.

It was previously reported by KIRO 7 that the preferred city-owned property was in need of remediation, and it appears the first steps to do that have been taken.

Additionally, it will also be necessary to remove the property of chemicals like lead and asbestos before residents may move onto it. The property owner Seattle City Light has told KIRO 7 news it will costs more than $145,000 for this process.

Meanwhile, a petition asking for public hearings has just surpassed 900 signatures as of July 17. Many of the signatures represent frustrated Ballard residents who feel they have been left out of the decision-making process.

“As a resident who lives directly behind/next to this site, I want to know what the city is doing without engaging the community,” says Jacqueline Thiebe.

Speaking for the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, Mike Stewart comments on the tree removal: “This is opposite of transparent, responsive and representative government.”

Photo courtesy of Marty McOmber

Photo courtesy of Marty McOmber


Free Shakespeare youth performances tonight and tomorrow

July 17th, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

Young Shakespeare Workshop (YSW) invites the public to two free shows of “Romeo and Juliet” at Ballard Odd Fellows Hall (1706 NW Market). Performances are scheduled both tonight, July 17 and tomorrow, Saturday, July 18 at 7 p.m.

The arts organization builds community based on participants’ mutual love of words. Because there is no tuition, YSW is uniquely positioned to draw together students from all walks of life. The performance you would see at Odd Fellows will be performed by returning YSW students.

Photo courtesy of YSW

Photo courtesy of YSW

You can also mark your calendar for YSW’s next performance in Ballard scheduled for Friday, August 7.

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We’ve got rhythm! A piano in Ballard Commons Park

July 16th, 2015 by Halynn Blanchard

Today, a large rhythm instrument with elaborate pencil-sketches anchors on the edge of Ballard Commons Park. This is the second year that Pianos in the Parks has granted the park a piano for their month-long program.20150716_151101


Piano “Sketchbook,” designed by artist George Jennings was delivered to the park at 3:00 p.m. Thursday July 16th.

Other piano designs include Viking Ship “Marina Park Piano” to be located at Green Lake, according to Martinson Piano Moving. View a full map here.

The delivery followed the 2015 Pianos in the Park launch party at Lake Union Park from noon to 1:30 p.m where the decorated pianos were unveiled by their artists.

Soon after, a performance of Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano” was played on all the 22 designated park pianos. The tune was performed by Seattle area youth pianists and conducted by Ben Klinger of partner Classic Pianos.

“[Last year] we saw how a single, beautifully decorated piano can bring the community together and encourage the discovery and enjoyment of parks and public spaces,” said Robert Moser, president & CEO of Laird Norton Wealth Management.  “Our local parks are vital to creating a strong and healthy community… We’re excited this year to grow the program with more pianos in more parks.”

Laird Norton Wealth Management underwrites and manages the program with community support from a numerous amount of founding partners.

As the pianos welcome park-goers in their respective locations through Aug. 16,  people of all skill levels and musical persuasions are urged to enter the Pianos in the Parks video contest for a chance to perform as part of the Seattle Center’s Concerts at the Mural presented by KEXP 90.3 FM on Friday, Aug. 21. Entrants need to upload a video of their performance using one of the participating pianos to the Pianos in the Parks website.

Where do the pianos go after the parks? You can bid on them in the Piano in the Parks auction here.


News from the Seattle Times

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