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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sustainable Works Project Kick-off TONITE!

Energy Efficiency and Conservation are the low hanging fruits for fighting climate change and reducing our carbon footprints.

Have you been thinking this is such a good idea, but not sure how to get started? Here's how you can get involved and get your own home retrofitted, affordably and easily.

TONITE is the Kick-off for the Shoreline Sustainable Works Shoreline
Community Energy Efficiency Project

Where: Shoreline City Hall, 17500 Midvale Ave N.
When: Wednesday, March 30th
Time: 6:30-8pm

Sustainable Works is a non-profit contractor. They have the tools and personnel to help you audit your home's efficiency and then help you retrofit it to make it more comfortable and fit for the energy needs of the 21st century. With stimulus funding from the federal government, they are making these retrofits and audits easily available to all people in the Shoreline Area.

This is a great investment for our community! Let's really get growing in a sustainable way Shoreline!

Join us and our project partners the City of Shoreline, Sustainable Shoreline, and Solar Shoreline to learn about how SustainableWorks can help you access stimulus funds to make energy efficiency home improvements like insulation, furnaces, air sealing and hot water heaters.
To RSVP or for more information, please call 206-575-2252 or email

Arthur Lee Jacobsen Speaking at Thornton Creek Alliance Annual Meeting Thursday

Thornton Creek Alliance is hosting tree expert Arthur Lee Jacobsen at its Annual Membership Meeting Thursday, March 31st.

Native Grovc in Hamlin Park
includes Western Hemlocks, Wester Red Cedars,
White Pine and Douglas Firs

When: March 31st, Thurs. - Annual Membership Meeting :

Arthur Lee Jacobson, Renowned Seattle Plant Expert,

will present:

Native Trees in our Watershed
Time: Social Time: 6:45pm Program: 7:00pm
Arthur Lee Jacobson is well known for his in-depth knowledge of a vast array of plants and for his books and essays. You can learn more about him at his web site ( We will have copies of his books available for sale. Don't miss this unique presentation!
Where: Lake City Presbyterian Church (Rm B2) - 3841 NE 123rd St . (Corner of 40th NE and NE 123rd. Park in back and enter through the basement door.)
Meeting is free and open to the public. TCA elections and business meeting will follow the presentation.
Bald Eagle Roosts in Douglas Fir
above Paramount Park

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Of Paramount Importance Is On Temporary Hiatus

Apologies to our faithful followers.

Thornton Creek at TC Park #2
Due to technical difficulties, OPI is taking a break waiting for a technology repair. We will resume our coverage of local environmental, political and preservation news soon.

Thank you for your patience and please check back with us in a few days.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sustainable Works Walkabout and Kick-off Events

Sustainable Works held a successful first "walkabout" last Saturday to distribute information about their "Energy Audits" program.

An enthusiastic group of walkers gathered last weekend at the Northwest Church in Ridgecrest. They set out and distibuted over 2000 doorhangars to announce the program to several neighborhoods.

This coming Saturday, 3/26 another Energy Walk will take place in Richmond Beach. Walkers will gather at the Richmond Beach Congregational Church at 15th NW and RB Road from 10-Noon. 

YOU are invited to participate and help your neighbors get started on Energy Retrofits to save money and energy.
Retrofit Work 

Also, Mark Your Calendar for the Sustainable Works Project Kick-off.
Where: Shoreline City Hall
   When: March 30th
   Time: 6:30 - 8:30

For more information on how to volunteer OR sign up for an Energy Audit
contact Richard Wells at(206) 930-6377 or email - Richard Wells

More Wildlife Near Thornton Creek

AND Thornton Creek Park #1. The creek is a thriving wildlife corridor if we can just let it prosper!

Kelly Dole discoverd this lovely sign of spring in
Thornton Creek Park One
A clutch Mallard Duck eggs was discovered today by Kelly Dole in
Thornton Creek Park #1, next to Jackson Park. This park is probably one of the wildest areas to be found in the watershed.

Let's protect these treasures by keeping the exact locations quiet.

Cormorants at Thornton Creek Park Six

Cormorants Taking up a Post at Thornton Creek Park Six this week.

Cormorant visits Beaver Pond at Park Six
photo credit - Ruth Williams
Just a few blocks away from Northgate is an amazing wildlife habitat. It is Thornton Creek Park #6, located at the intersection of 8th NE and NE 105th.
Beavers have converted this site into an incredibly effective wetland/drainage retention pond. And it has also become a remarkable wildlife refuge. Many species besides beavers utilize the site including, racoons, fish and dozens of birds large and small. Heron, wooducks, merganzers and many others are often sighted. Beyond the wildlife habitat , the beaver ponds provide valuable other
benefits for downstream flood prevention and water quality.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What's At The Crest?

Three Oscar winners again and two nominees! The Hits keep on comin'!

Crest Cinema Center
Best Second-Run Cinema (2000 Critic's Choice) - SEATTLE WEEKLY
A great local resource!
All Shows $3
Fifth Ave NE and NE 165th
206) 781-5755

No Strings Attached

7:30 9:40

Dolby Stereo

127 Hours


Dolby Stereo

The Fighter


Dolby Stereo


6:45 9:00

Dolby Stereo

Inside Job


Dolby Stereo

The Social Network


Dolby Stereo

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sandpoint Naval Air Station Now a Historic District

Some good news for Preservation in Seattle

The Sandpoint Naval Air Station has been designated a "historic district" by the Seattle Landmarks Commission. Here's hoping this action will be an inspiration to other Landmarks Commissions to take similar action and stick with their decision to actually protect something!

Congratulations to the "Magnuson Park" community and preservation advocates who followed through on this project.
Sand Point Naval Air Station Historic District Boundaries /
Map from Landmark District Nomination, City of Seattle

MAin2 Blog has the story -
On Wednesday, March 16, 2011, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted (7-1) to designate the former Naval Air Station Seattle (at Sand Point) as a landmark district. This is the first historic district to be designated in Seattle in over 20 years. The district nomination was submitted by Friends of Naval Air Station Seattle Historic District. The formal designation marked the culmination of years of effort on the part of the “Friends” to seek protection and preservation of the cultural resources and landscape features of the historic site. The significance of the site was obvious to the Board members who also visited the site earlier this month. There was discussion at the Board meeting about whether to include six historic features located on the east end of the site. These former magazine storage structures are closely related to the use of the site but they are not physically contiguous with the western portion of the district which contains the great majority of the resources. Some board members had questions about whether it makes sense to have a discontiguous district separated by a lot of open space. They were split in their discussion but ultimately when it came time to voting for the designation, the Board members included the eastern resources and thus, the City’s first discontiguous landmark district was formed. The one dissenting vote supported the district designation but not with the eastern resources.

The new landmark district met the following designation standards of the Landmarks Ordinance:

A) It is the location of, or is associated in a significant way with, a historic event with a significant effect upon the community, City, state, or nation;

C) It is associated in a significant way with a significant aspect of the cultural, political, or economic heritage of the community, City, state or nation;

D) It embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, or period, or a method of construction;

F) Because of its prominence of spatial location, contrasts of siting, age, or scale, it is an easily identifiable visual feature of its neighborhood or the city and contributes to the distinctive quality or identity of such neighborhood or the City.

Let’s hope this landmark district designation sparks other community and City efforts to nominate and designate more districts in Seattle! So, what’s next?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eric Nelson Ahead in KCD Race by Wide Margin

Duval dairy farmer Eric Nelson appears to have a wide lead (56% of vote) in the King Conservation District Board of Supervisor's race.

King Conservation District site has the results today.

KCD states the following results:
Eric Nelson - 1292, Douglas "Bruce" Elliott - 820, Teri Herrera -129, Preston Prudent - 54

Eric Nelson received many endorsements including the King County Conservation Voters and KC Exec Dow Constantine.

This election was the first "online" vote in the US, conducted by KCD. The district was seeking to involve more voters than in the past. It's not clear whether this goal was achieved.

Election Results
Eric K. Nelson won the King CD election and will be seated on the Board of Supervisors at the June Board of Supervisors meeting. (Please note: These results will not become official until certified by the Washington State Conservation Commission in May, 2011.)
The final candidate totals are:
Douglas "Bruce" Elliott82036
Teri Herrera1296
Eric K. Nelson129256
Preston Prudente542

Election Trust LLC of Bellevue was the designated third party Election Supervisor. Secure online voting was administered by Election Trust on the Pnyx™ eVoting Platform (Secured by Scytl).

Eric Nelson, Dairy Farmer at Cherry 
Valley Dairy, Duval 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Would Rachel Carson Say?

Rachel Carson 1907-64 was a famous author 
and her name has become synonymous with environmental advocacy. 
Rachel Carson 1940
US F + W Serv
March is known as Women's History Month and it seems like an excellent time to consider the
contribution of environmental champion, Rachel Carson during this nuclear crisis.

As we watch helplessly as a terrible drama plays out in Japan, with Nuclear Reactors seemingly disintegrating before our eyes and deadly radiation escaping, I am drawn to the words of this incredible
author who inspired the environmental movement in the 1960's. It was her book which led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the first Earth Day.

She was a biologist by training who had worked for the US Fish & Wildlife Service and was the author a famous book published in 1962 called Silent Spring. She had also written several other award winning books on Sea Life.

Silent Spring posed the question of what had humans done to undermine the very basic natural functions.
Scientists had determined that DDT was a serious threat to bird life. And Ms Carson's book Silent Spring had an enormous impact on the public understanding about what was happening to our environment from the impacts of chemicals and elements such as radiation from all the nuclear testing that the Cold War had brought about.

She posed the question "And what if no birds sing?"  And the world listened....

From Silent Spring  (Houghton-Mifflin, 1962):
"No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done it themselves....... 
The rapidity of change and the speed with which new situations are created follow the impetuous and heedless pace of man rather than the deliberate pace of nature. Radiation is no longer merely the background radiation of rocks, the bombardment of cosmic rays, the ultraviolet of the sun that have existed before there was any life on earth; radiation is now the unnatural creation of man's tampering with the atom. The chemicals to which life is asked to make its adjustment are no longer merely the calcium and silica and copper and all the rest of the minerals washed out of the rocks and carried in rivers to the sea; they are the synthetic creations of man's inventive mind, brewed in his laboratories, and having no counterparts in nature."

A website called Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson by Linda Lear says:

Disturbed by the profligate use of synthetic chemical pesticides after World War II, Carson reluctantly changed her focus in order to warn the public about the long term effects of misusing pesticides. In Silent Spring (1962) she challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government, and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world.
Carson was attacked by the chemical industry and some in government as an alarmist, but courageously spoke out to remind us that we are a vulnerable part of the natural world subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem. Testifying before Congress in 1963, Carson called for new policies to protect human health and the environment. Rachel Carson died in 1964 after a long battle against breast cancer. Her witness for the beauty and integrity of life continues to inspire new generations to protect the living world and all its creatures.

Now, the world is watching breathlessly at the drama in Japan, a place that has known the horrors of radiation like no other.  Today the news has not gotten any better, and more radiation, more fires and more nightmares continue in Fukushima.  The latest news is that the "situation is deteriorating" according to NPR tonite.

We hope that the world will once again look to Rachel Carson's words and heed them once again.

Sustainable Works Project Is Here

Have you thought about making your home more efficient, but not sure where to start? 

This Saturday will bring to Shoreline a new way to implement Sustainability. Join the fun walk this Saturday! See below.

A non-profit organization, originally based in the Spokane Area, called Sustainable Works is ready to help communities with low cost "Energy Audits" and also retrofits to actually help them save money and save energy.
SustainableWorks is a community-based non-profit created solely to help home and small commercial building owners, like you, with home retrofits to reduce energy use while also creating quality jobs.

Sustainable Works has a local steering committee and has received funding to get the audits and retrofits into the community with a Federal ARRA grant.

The project is being co-sponsored by the City of Shoreline, Shoreline Solar and other groups.

Sustainable Works volunteers will be canvassing several Shoreline neighborhoods this Saturday, 3/19, 10-1:30.

You are invited to join them. Teams of enthusiastic volunteers, will be heading out Saturday morning to distribute literature. If you have a youth group who'd like to join in, they are very welcome, but will need to accompanied by an adult.

If you and your family would like to help out, please join them at:
Northwest Church 15555 15th Ave NE Shoreline WA 98155 see map

For more information contact -  Richard Wells at 206 930- 6377 or email 
  1. Pre-Audit:  Our volunteers will describe how our process works and request information from you to determine if your home is a good candidate for an energy saving retrofit.  CFL 100 pxls
  2. Energy Audit: Our skilled trade workers will inspect your home to determine where you can save energy and money.  Thanks to federal stimulus funds and utility support, your audit will cost only $95 (fully refundable if we don't recommend any improvements) and includes installation of CFL light bulbs, shower heads and faucet aerators to start saving immediately. 
  3. Energy Consultation: An energy consultant will review the findings with you and suggest the most cost-effective steps to reduce your energy use.  You will only select the extent of energy saving activities and costs that you are comfortable with.  
  4. Energy Saving Retrofit:  We coordinate everything - contractors, financing, project management and final inspection - to make the process as easy as possible for you.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another Fire in Fukushima Reactor Complex!

The Nuclear catastrophe continues to increase the apocalyptic nightmare situation of the poor people of Japan. 

As if a 9pt Earthquake with endless after shocks weren't enough, a Tsunami that wiped out 200 miles of coastline communities and three huge explosions at the Nuclear Complex weren't enough, now horrific fires have broken out in the spent fuel rod storage "ponds". 

NPR has the story on the latest episode.

A satellite image showing the Fukushima Dai-Ni nuclear power plant after the earthquake. Radiation near the nuclear plant reached levels harmful to health, officials said on March 15, advising thousands of people to stay indoors after two explosions and a fire at the facility.

The credibility of officials in Japan and elsewhere is becoming stretched to the breaking point. The Tokyo Electric Power Plant officials are admitting that there IS a danger of radiation exposure for people within the near range of the damaged plant. A No-Fly Zone has been declared over the site to prevent aircraft from bringing radiation contamination back to their destinations.

Fifty brave workers are staying on site while 800 others have left the site.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has been a clarion voice of reason in the midst on seemingly endless denial of all government officials. They have been speaking out in the last few days and
warning that this incident is a huge wake-up call, on the recent rush towards a "nuclear renaissance" that has been pushed in the last few years.

40 Years of Doubts About Mark I Containment

The New York Times ran a story today citing memos from September 1972 by officials in the Atomic Energy Commission, the forerunner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), showing longstanding concerns about the ability of reactors like those at Fukushima Dai-Ichi to contain a nuclear accident.
These documents and others that raise questions about the Mark I and similar pressure-suppression containment systems for reactors are likely to spur a discussion of its safety in the U.S. and elsewhere.
In the U.S., there are currently 35 operating boiling-water reactors, all of which use pressure-suppression containment. Of these, 23 reactors use the Mark I. In addition, there are 9 pressurized-water reactors operating in the U.S. that use ice-condenser containment, which has the same shortcomings.
The 1972 documents linked to by the NYT story were originally obtained by UCS through a FOIA request. UCS released them publicly with a press release in October 1972 - the month following the exchange of memos.

Union of Concerned Scientists graphic on
how the reactors are constructed

NPR is reporting that the temperatures in the "pools" with the spent fuel rods have now reached 
183 degrees (F). This is twice the safe level.

A new fire broke out Wednesday in an already fire-damaged reactor at a crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Hajimi Motujuku says the blaze erupted early Wednesday in the outer housing of the reactor's containment vessel. Fire fighters are trying to put out the flames. Japan's nuclear safety agency also confirmed the fire, whose cause was not immediately known.

It is the second fire to break out at the plant's reactor No. 4 in as many days. The first occurred Tuesday morning near a pool where spent fuel rods are left to cool. That fire and an apparent explosion damaged the reactor's roof, and there are concerns that the spent fuel rods are overheating.
Desperate plant operators are considering dramatic plans to stave off a meltdown in the reactor, including dumping water on it by helicopter. But plant operators are worried that the water wouldn't reach the fuel rods.
According to NHK television, officials at Tokyo Electric Power Co. decided a hole in the roof of the reactor was "dozens of meters" from the swimming-pool-like chamber where the spent fuel rods are overheating. So a helicopter dump, similar to putting out a forest fire, probably wouldn't reach the pool.
Moreover, officials say helicopters can't carry enough water to do the job. And Japanese defense ministry officials are worried about the safety of military personnel on the helicopters, according to Kyodo News.

Storming The Sound Program This Friday

The public is invited to a major conference this coming Friday, March 25th at SAM. 

A few conference highlights:
Participate with keynote speaker, Kathy Fletcher - on the eve of her retirement from People For Puget Sound - in a discussion and exploration of your role in protecting and restoring Puget Sound.
Cherry Point on Puget Sound

Storming the Central Sound Conference

Theme: Making connections for Puget Sound: Building on the past, looking toward the future
Date: Friday, March 25, 2011
Time: 9:00 to 4:00 PM
Location: Seattle Art Museum, Downtown, 1300 First Avenue

Storming the Sound is a one-day conference for environmental and sustainability educators in the Central Puget Sound region. This is a great opportunity for teachers, non-formal educators, environmental organizations with education programs, and students with an interest in a career in environmental education to learn and network together.
·         Learn about other Puget Sound environmental education programs.
·         Bring home practical strategies and tactics you can use.
·         Gain skills and insights with experts and capable peers.
·         Share insights and network with other educators.
·         Engage and grow in sessions where everyone is a participant.
·         Exchange ideas and experiences to help you develop new perspectives and approaches.

Registration fee is $30, which includes lunch, coffee/tea and snacks. (Note: If this fee is an obstacle to attend, please inquire about scholarships, see contact below.)

For questions please contact:
Justine Asohmbom at Dept of Ecology, or (425) 649-7108, or
Ann Butler at People For Puget Sound,, or (360) 754-9177

Organization Seeks to Clone the World's Giant Trees

A group based in Michigan is seeking to clone the largest and strongest ancient trees in order to grow more. It's called the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive The theory is that these trees are the strongest genetically, and could be the best way to preserve their species and also spread their inherent benefits.
AP – In this September 2010 photo provided by the
Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, group member Meryl Marsh …

Yahoo News has the story, reprinted from AP (Associated Press).

Shoreline has many big trees and Shoreline's Community Backyard Wildlife Project identified many of them in a "Champion Tree Contest" over the last two years. There are many others that haven't been identified or highlighted yet. Most of these are "second growth" trees. But, there are a few old growth trees around our area still.  We even have some giant sequoias. There is a big one at the Kruckeberg Garden.

This is a hopeful trend for the future, to honor these ancient trees and spread their strong genes into places that need more more tree cover and oxygen giving life they provide.

COPEMISH, Mich. – Redwoods and sequoias towering majestically over California's northern coast. Oaks up to 1,000 years old nestled in a secluded corner of Ireland. The legendary cedars of Lebanon.
They are among the most iconic trees on Earth, remnants of once-vast populations decimated by logging, development, pollution and disease. A nonprofit organization called Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is rushing to collect their genetic material and replant clones in an audacious plan to restore the world's ancient forests and put them to work cleansing the environment and absorbing carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas largely responsible for global warming.
"In our infinite wisdom, we've destroyed 98 percent of the old growth forests that kept nature in balance for thousands of years," said David Milarch, the group's co-founder. "That's what we intend to put back."
Milarch, a tree nursery operator from the northern Michigan village of Copemish, and sons Jared and Jake have been producing genetic copies of ancient trees since the 1990s. They've now joined with Elk Rapids businesswoman Leslie Lee and a team of researchers to establish Archangel Archive, which has a staff of 17 and an indoor tree research and production complex.
Its mission: Clone the oldest and largest individuals within the world's most ecologically valuable tree species, and persuade people to buy and plant millions of copies — on factory grounds and college campuses; along riverbanks and city streets; in forests, farms, parks and back yards.
"The number of these ancient survivors that go in the ground will be the ultimate measure of our success," said Lee, who donated several million dollars to get the project off the ground and serves as board chairwoman. The group hopes donations and tree sales will raise enough money to keep it going.
Scientific opinion varies on whether trees that survive for centuries have superior genes, like champion race horses, or simply have been in the right places at the right times to avoid fires, diseases and other misfortunes. But Archangel Archive is a true believer in the super-tree idea. The group has tracked down and cloned some of the biggest and oldest of more than 60 species and is developing inventories.
The plan is eventually to produce copies of 200 varieties that are considered crucial. The trees preserve ecosystem diversity, soak up toxins from the ground and atmosphere, store carbon while emitting precious oxygen, and provide ingredients for medicines. Rebuilding forests with champion clones could "buy time for humanity" by mitigating centuries of environmental abuse, said Diana Beresford-Kroeger, an Ontario scientist who studies the roles of trees in protecting the environment.
California's coastal redwoods and giant sequoias, the world's largest trees, are best suited for sequestering carbon because of their size, rapid growth and durability, said Bill Libby, a retired University of California at Berkeley tree geneticist and consultant to Archangel Archive. The longer a tree lives, the longer its carbon remains bottled up instead of reaching the atmosphere.
"They grow like crazy," Libby said. "I have a clone of what used to be the world's tallest redwood tree in my back yard. It's still a baby, only 30 years old. It's already taller than anything around it, probably 80 to 100 feet."

Shout Out to Little Swamp Creek Blog

Discovered another beautiful local blog called "Little Swamp Creek" in Kenmore.


Beautiful images of wildlife and streamside scenes. 
Check them out!
Nice job L'il Swamp!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shoreline Snags a Tree

A tree was leaning over severely, in the Paramount Park Natural Area next to the street. It had been impacted by some water district repairs last year. (They'd left the tree standing by request, but the recent winds were too much for it.) It wasn't really threatening anything or anyone.

But, it wasn't necessary to cut the tree down entirely.  A citizen request to "snag" the tree was honored by the Shoreline Parks Department. There is a "wildlife snag" section already in the city code. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife also recommend this whenever possible if a tree must be cut.
Roots exposed of Bitter Cherry Tree
So the Parks Department came out and expertly cut the top off the tree (about 15-20'). It is adjacent to the natural area with lots of underbrush, where bird habitat is already abundant. Littles Creek is nearby and also the wetland restoration area of Paramount Park. 

And this is a good week to talk about Wildlife Snags, because this week is actually 
National Wildlife Week!
National Wildlife Week

March 14-20, 2011

Wildlife That Move Us – Celebrating the Wildlife All Around Us

Here's how Shoreline Parks did it: 
Leaning Tree
Parks "Cherry Picker" Truck
Multi-Trunked Tree Cut off one by one
Expert work by Shoreline staff
Thanks Shoreline Parks for the quick response and expert work, for the wildlife and our neighborhood! 

WDFW photo credit -Raccoon family in tree den. A note about raccoons – raccoons can become habituated to people;
they are aggressive and sometimes dangerous and carry the roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis that can infect humans and pets.
Do NOT leave pet food and garbage out andnever feed raccoons.