A few brave Ballardites take the plunge

It wasn’t like years past. There were no big crowds, just small groups of people braving the cold.

But the annual polar bear plunge did take place at Golden Gardens on New Year’s morning.

(Click the image to play video:)

Small groups of people materialized, shed some clothes and jumped into the Sound. Later in the day — which is also a neighborhood tradition — some families burned their Christmas trees.

Some fires were bigger than others…

Some readers have asked why there weren’t any advance details about the plunge, which contributed to the low turnout. But unlike previous years, it appears there was no official organizer.

There is, however, a polar plunge scheduled at Golden Gardens for February 3rd to raise money for Special Olympics. There’s a $10 registration fee.

Perhaps next year someone will volunteer to organize the traditional New Years event — or we’ll just pick a time and publicize it on My Ballard and see what happens. Happy New Year everyone!

Christmas Ship to light up Shilshole Saturday

The Argosy Cruise Christmas Ship will parade in the waters off Ballard on Saturday as part of its annual festivities.

The first sailing runs from 2:30 to 5 p.m., and the on-board choir will perform at the Ballard Locks at 3:40 p.m. and Golden Gardens at 4:20 p.m. Here’s the route map.

The second sailing will run from 7 to 9:15 p.m. — this is the most popular event with holiday lights in full display — with choir performances at Carkeek Park at 7:30 p.m. and Shilshole Bay at 8:40 p.m. Here’s the route map.

The lead boat is sold out for both sailings, but as of this writing, there’s still room on the follow boat for the first sailing. Ray’s Boathouse is also taking reservations for dinner.

Argosy Cruises donates part of the Christmas Ship proceeds to The Seattle Times Fund for the Needy, an annual program that raises money for several local charitable organizations.

The Christmas Ship event has been a Northwest tradition since 1949.

Man hospitalized after late-night shooting at Golden Gardens

A man was sent to the hospital after a shooting at Golden Gardens late last night.

According to the Seattle Police Department, multiple witnesses called 911 just before midnight on Tuesday. When officers arrived, they were approached by a man who had been shot in the back. Seattle Fire Department medics attended to the “graze wound” on his back before taking him to Harborview Medical Center for further treatment.

Police say they found 21 rifle rounds and six .380 rounds at the scene; witnesses reported a fight just before an unidentified man pulled out a rifle and began shooting. A second unidentified man pulled out a handgun and returned fire.

Seattle Police gang units are investigating; anyone with information about the shooting should call (206)233-5000.

Help restore Ballard’s parks at upcoming work parties

There are two forest restoration work parties coming up this weekend at Carkeek Park and Golden Gardens.

On Friday, July 7, Weekday Workers (WEWO) will be at Carkeek Park from 9am to noon doing invasive removal, litter removal, planting, species identification, and tending a plant nursery. To join, meet at the parking lot at the park’s entrance. The organizers ask that volunteers bring water and a snack; gloves and tools will be provided. Contact Loren McElvain at l.j.mcelvain@gmail.com with questions; RSVP here.

On Saturday, July 8, from 9am to noon is the monthly Golden Gardens forest restoration work party. “Give something back to the community by enhancing the forest and making better wildlife habitat,” the organizers write. They’ll provide tools, gloves, and training, and ask that volunteers meet at restroom near parking lot at the dog park. For more information email Doug at doug@greshamenvironmental.com or call at (206) 794-4520.

Photo of Pipers Creek in Carkeek Park, by BlueCanoe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Pyramid Brewing celebrates Earth Day in Ballard

Pyramid Brewing Co. made a positive contribution to the environment this past Earth Day by volunteering with Surfrider Foundation at Golden Gardens Beach Park.

25 brewery employees helped remove over 700 pieces of trash and other debris from the beach, including 83 cans and bottles, 39 plastic bags and 398 cigarette butts, just to name a few.

As a triple bottom line company that prioritizes community and environmental stewardship as part of its overall approach to business, this effort is part of Pyramid’s volunteer time-off program where employees are encouraged to volunteer one to two days per year.

“We’re always looking to measure and reduce the environmental impacts we have on our community,” said Robert Rentsch, general manager for Portland Brewing Co.

Thanks Pyramid!

Sex offender accused of attacking woman in Golden Gardens restroom

Update March 8:

According to a second report by The Seattle Times, SPD police say that Steiner hid in one of the women’s restroom stalls at Golden Gardens Park with the intention of raping a woman.

According to statements from the detective who interviewed Steiner, he confirmed that two other women had come into the restroom but he didn’t attack them. When a third woman (the 36-year-old alleged victim) turned on the hand-dryer, he approached her from behind.

Steiner has been charged with attempted second-degree rape and second-degree assault with sexual motivation. He remains jailed in lieu of $750,000 bail.

He is to be arraigned on March 22.

Original Report:

According to a report by our news partners, The Seattle Times, a 40-year-old homeless sex offender is accused of attacking a woman in the women’s restroom at Golden Gardens Park on Sunday, March 5.

The Seattle Times reports that the suspect, Gary Steiner, refused to attend his first court appearance on Monday, March 6. Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, says that a King County District Court judge found probable cause to hold him on investigation of second-degree assault and attempted second-degree rape. A bond hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

According to the report, officers responded to the Golden Gardens just before 1 p.m. on Sunday after receiving a report that a woman had been attacked in the restroom.

The woman’s statement to police states that a man punched her twice in the face, took her to the floor and wrestled with her while attempting to flip her on her stomach as he pulled on her pants. The woman then reportedly scratched the suspect’s face and he punched her three more times in the head before she escaped. The woman suffered a cut to the face as well as bruising on her face and wrists.

According to The Seattle Times, the woman then ran to get help and passers-by locked her attacker in the restroom until police arrived. SPD officers arrived to find Steiner in the middle stall with the stall door broken and stuck closed.

Police say his clothing matched the victim’s description and he had scratches on his face.

When Steiner walked out of the restroom, the woman then positively identified him as the man who had attacked her. He was subsequently booked into jail, and jail records confirm that he has been charged with failing to register as a sex offender in Clark County.

According to the sex-offender registry maintained by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Steiner is listed as a transient Level 3 sex offender. He was convicted in Maricopa, Arizona, of sexually assaulting several women in 1999 and of indecent exposure in 2008.

Golden Gardens Beach Clean Up set for Saturday


Windermere Ballard is hosting their 2nd annual Beach Clean Up Event at Golden Gardens this Saturday, September 17th, on National Beach Clean Up Day.

Windermere is gathering friends, family, clients and community members to participate in the event.

“We will be picking up garbage and doing any other small projects as needed. We really want to make this a great event and help keep Golden Gardens the local beach we all know and love,” says Breanna Albert from Windermere.

Winderemere has teamed up with the Seattle Parks Department and the Puget Soundkeepers to make this event a huge success.

All are welcome to participate from 10 a.m. – noon. Attendees should look for the Windermere Flags at Golden Gardens to locate the clean up group.

Click here to find out more about the event.

Golden Gardens stairway to close for improvements

The stairway from lower Golden Gardens Park to the off-leash dog area is scheduled to close today (Thursday, August 25) for approximately three months for a park improvement project.

During this time, the stairway and upper landing area will be closed.

This project will provide drainage improvements and replace damaged portions of the existing concrete stairway. The project will also replace multiple sections of failing stairs with a new 6 ft. wide concrete stairway. New ADA-compliant hand railings and landings will also be installed as part of the renovation.

Drainage improvements will include replacement of deteriorated storm drain infrastructure and enhancement of the open concrete channel adjacent to the stairway. The improved drainage system will capture and redirect localized surface and subsurface flows to reduce subgrade settling and re-occurrence of current erosion problems.

All work will be done in accordance with applicable environmental and regulatory requirements.

Funding for the project is provided by the 2008 voter-approved Parks and Green Spaces Levy.

Construction is anticipated to be complete by December 2016. Click here to learn more about the improvement project.

Seattle Parks seeks proposals for long-term food vendor at Golden Gardens

Seattle Parks and Recreation is looking for proposals from qualified operators to manage and operate the Golden Gardens Park Food Concessions under a long-term agreement.

Seattle Parks is seeking and will select the concessionaire who best demonstrates the ability to provide innovative, affordable, healthy, safe and reliable food service to park patrons while paying reasonable concession fees to SPR.

Request for Proposal packets can be downloaded online, picked up in person at the address below, or mailed to you.

Theresa “Terri” Burns, Parks Concessions Coordinator
Seattle Parks and Recreation
Contracts Administration and Support Office
800 Maynard Ave. S, 3rd Floor
Seattle, WA 98134

All proposals are due Friday, October 14, at 2 p.m.

Email Terri to find out more information at terri.burns@Seattle.gov.

Pianos in the Parks event on at Golden Gardens today


The popular summertime Pianos in the Parks program is making a return engagement for 10 days this month.

The program started last Friday and will bring artistically enhanced pianos for public play to 10 parks and public spaces across King County.

This year a piano will be placed on the beach at Golden Gardens Park from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today (Monday, July 11). The featured piano (pictured) is titled Talking at the Same Time by artist Joseph Brooks.

A free musical performance is also set for noon featuring popular pianist Kelsey Keogh.

Before being placed in the parks the previously owned pianos are repaired, tuned, transported and maintained by Bellevue-based Classic Pianos and then painted at Seattle’s Urban ArtWorks by student, alumni and faculty artists of Gage Academy of Art.

“We’ve seen how the placement of pianos in parks encourages the discovery and enjoyment of our amazing outdoor spaces,” says Robert Moser, president & CEO of Laird Norton Wealth Management.

Head down to Golden Gardens and play a few tunes today! Email your photos to tips@myballard.com