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Monday, May 23, 2011

Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel - Spring Flowering

A Green Project Ten Years in the Making Is 
Now in Full Flower

Killdeer hops through riparian zone

Sandra Egtvet
At Northgate's Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel at Northgate's Thornton Place,
Spring is up and running. Flowers are blooming and wildlife is in view. On a recent 10 minute walk we saw 5 bird species and butterflies enjoying the day and numerous blooming plants.
Plover-Killdeer at Thornton Place
ph credit - Sandra Egvet
Last week we saw a pair of Killdeer with a likely nest nearby.
Upper Wetland/creek Channel Area at
TCWQ Channel
ph credit - Janet Way
Many plants are coming into full flower now. Check the Washington Native Plant Society site for more information.

Peg Gaynor (R) and a friend 
2009 ph credit - Janet Way
Peggy Gaynor and  Peg Staheli SvR were primary designers that brought the design to life.
Last May we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the Thornton Creek Legal Defense Fund's legal victory on May 18th that  gave the momentum to get Thronton Creek Daylighted.

This year we celebrate the way the channel is growing truly green!

A "Green Wall" next to the path in bloom
with lovely "piggy back"

Youth-On-Age, Piggy-back Plant, Thousand Mothers

Red Currant Bush (Ribes sanguineum)

Lupinus latifolius - native lupine

in downstream channel
The Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel is at one of the "headwaters" of the Thornton Creek Watershed. The Creek Daylighting project was completed by SPU in 2009 with the cooperation and coordination with Lorig on the Thornton Place Development.
This was after a community process and controversy that took 5 years to resolve and finally an groundbreaking agreement with parties in 2004-5. The original proposal by Simon Properties back in 1998 was abandoned and a process that took ten years was finally celebrated in June 2009. 

Now, it is a joy to see the plantings growing into real assets and the creek flowing and cascading downstream towards Lake Washington. 
Amalanchier (Western Serviceberry) or Mock Orange next 3rd NE entrance looking
eastward towards the Alijoya Senior Housing
ph credit - Janet Way
You can visit the Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel anytime. Take in a movie at the Thornton Place Regal Cinemas and go for a walk. The entrances are located at 3rd NE or 5th Ave NE between NE 100th and 103rd.

It is an award winning, and effective water quality project and also, the surrounding developments are a miracle of cooperation from a visionary developer, Bruce Lorig. It is a crowning engineering and design
achievement for the Seattle area.

Also, the Alijoya Senior Housing development is open and filling up with happy seniors.


  1. I finally saw one of the beavers at the beaver pond! We got about six feet from him/her. More fun than being at a zoo when you can see wildlife in their a home- that they even made all by themselves! Also saw baby ducks with their mom and fish across the street in the creek. How fun!!! My 10 year old really enjoyed this. And all because I decided to walk to Northgate from my Mom's place, instead of driving.

  2. Thanks Julie!
    Glad you enjoyed it! Have you been to the Thornton Place section? Pretty cool movie theater. 3-D and IMAX! Fun for 10 year olds!

    And now 5 restaurants. Japanese, Thai, Subway, Jewel Cafe and Five Guys Burgers!