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Monday, August 29, 2011

The Interurban Trees! A Remarkable Result of People Power

Westminster Triangle is a neighborhood that cares a great deal about its trees. 
High Tension lines and lower capacity lines
below on City Light right of way.
City Light claims the trees may cause
electrical outages or accidents,
but neighbors point out discrepencies in
City Light policies and the differences
between the High and Lower capacity lines.
The neighbors point to the values the trees provide
including screening, water retention, air quality and
carbon capture.

But Seattle City Light didn't realize they needed to work with the immediate neighbors and how much they care, before they proposed a plan to cut at least 40 significant trees (originally proposed 100) along the Interurban Trail. 

Last week a remarkable thing happened at a public meeting Seattle City Light had hosted at the behest of the City of Shoreline. The meeting was held at the Westminster Assembly church with at least 60 neighbors and concerned citizens attending.

The public simply refused to accept the answers and assertions of City Light, that cutting the 40 trees was just going to happen!
Community Activist Lance Young, and neighbor
on the trail confronts City Light staff and
paid mediator Cathy Allen.
A community activist was born when neighbor, Lance Young realized that his new property would be drastically impacted by City Light's plans. He and others formed a new group called "Interurban Trail Tree Preservation Society", and did amazing outreach, research and advocacy. they came to the meeting well prepared with facts and passion. They've collected over 500 signatures in a petition. They measured the right-of-way, and GPS points for all of the trees that are targetted. They lobbied city staff, city council and Seattle officials. They contacted certified arborists and other experts. They did their homework and were prepared.

At the meeting, paid mediator (normally a political consultant) Cathy Allen, tried to control the meeting and limit discussion to 2 minutes each. But, Lance Young was able to confront her and other City Light presenters with a barrage of facts and City Light's own policies, and show that they were completely unprepared. For instance, City Light did not even have any real replacement tree plan available and their own arborist was not present. City Light's staff were at once stating the were "tree lovers" and next stating that the trees had to be cut down. And they were sometimes combative towards the members of the public. The citizens were to a person, extremely articulate and passionate and were not willing to accept the time limits to questions or discussion.

One point raised repeatedly by neighbors was why couldn't City Light continue to prune or trim the trees as has been done for decades and which preserved the "screening" the coniferous canopy provides.
City Light did not have an adequate response.

Rep Cindy Ryu, who is also a property owner next to the trail stated that one of the problems with this plan is that we in Shoreline pay 6% higher rates than Seattle ratepayers and yet we have no democratic representation on the decision-making process. Shoreline/LFP PATCH did extensive coverage of this meeting last week and can be read here.
Rep Cindy Ryu (32nd dist)
speaks to the attendees while
Cathy Allen looks on.
ph cred- PATCH

The outcome of this meeting was amazing when a City Light manager, took over the meeting and announced that they were now going to come up with a new plan to "work with the community".
Lance Young lives with his wife right next to
the Interurban Trail and has an amazing
specimen of a Big Leaf Maple in front of his home.

Lance Young is a trail and white water rafting tour guide and cares deeply about the trees.

Meanwhile  he has formed a group called -
Interurban Trail Tree Preservation Society
They can be reached at -
Lance Young;

They will be outreaching to neighbors, City Light and City of Shoreline to work for solutions to save as many trees as possible and to work towards a comprehensive tree ordinance and Urban Forest Canopy goal for Shoreline.

But, there have already been breakdowns in communication, despite the supposed agreement to work cooperatively. Last Friday a City Light crew from their Real Estate division came out, after the meeting and began hacking away at lower limbs of some of the trees for some kind of survey. There has since then been contacts that "mistakes were made" and more promises to work with the neighbors on a better plan.

There is also apparently a meeting planned with city staff and City Light at which possibly some councilmembers may attend. This meeting is to discuss communication issues on this and other matters.
It is unclear whether this is a public meeting.

It is obvious that much more work needs to be done before trust is fully restored between all parties.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

City Trees Always Under Threat!

Shoreline's Tree Canopy seems to be in the news consistently. Now another row of mature street trees is threatened by City policies.
One of at least FIFTEEN street trees
slated for removal on N 155th in Shoreline.
At least 15 Sweet Gum trees that are likely 4 decades old and just now reaching significant size and canopy breadth, are targetted with special signs announcing their demise and inviting citizens to call a special number.

North 155th is one of many major corridors lined with beautiful street trees in Shoreline, which give it great character.
View of N 155th looking East towards the freeway. The trees
offer a wonderful framing and respite for
pedestrians and drivers.
The policy being carried out by public works staff, is an area by area "sidewalk" enhancement program, designed to eliminate "bumps" that are caused by tree roots pushing up sidewalks. These raised sidewalks cause hazards for pedestrians. These problems are caused, because of inadequate space for the trees to grow. On Aurora, the city and state are spending many millions of dollars with "Silva Cell" tree pits that are an excellent way to prevent this problem. But meanwhile, unimaginative policies are now threatening trees, block-by-block, and year after year.

Shoreline has had many tree controversies over the years. Currently, there are at least two other battles going on over trees, including the Bear Reserve in Innis Arden, and the Interurban Trail/Westminster Triangle, City Light tree cutting proposal. Neither of these is resolved currently.
Shoreline does NOT have a real tree ordinance. Its tree policies are sprinkled throughout the code. In the last several years many citizens have sought to create a true tree ordinance, however the current council has in the last few months declined to work for an improved tree ordinance that would actually protect its trees and to have a goal for increasing the tree canopy. The State passed the Evergreen Communities Act which sought to give cities and counties the tools to create workable tree ordinances that increased tree canopy. Rep Ruth Kagi was the prime sponsor. Lake Forest Park, Edmonds and Seattle all have somewhat more effective tree ordinances.

The benefits of trees are widely known and there are easy online methods of calculating individual trees' values. One is called "I-Tree", a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from USDA. You can analyze your own neighborhood trees' benefits using this software HERE.

In 2010, these policies resulted in the loss of about 15-20 major street trees on 15th NE.
Two large London Plan Trees were saved at
the Ridgecrest/Briarcrest Gateway.
This tree conceals an ugly cell tower.

Now apparently the city is targetting a different location. Citizens should be very wary of these signs and possible loss of trees in your neighborhood.

A reasonable question could be asked as to whether any other alternatives could be carried out, and what is the criteria for cutting these particular trees?

Back in 2010, citizens made a major effort to save a couple of significant trees that serve as a "gateway" to the Southeast Subarea at 15th NE. Two large London Plane Trees were saved and survive to this day because staff looked for a suitable alternative to cutting those trees. The sidewalk was repaired AROUND the roots. 

Most people whom you ask why they moved to Shoreline, will say "schools and trees" and maybe they moved in order to find an affordable house (with trees!)
A reasonable person could ask, how many of these tree massacres do we have to endure?
How many trees can we cut without really jeopardizing our true character?

Hey Shoreline! What is pictured in your logo? Remember?

You can contact the City of Shoreline with your comments at -
Mark Relph, Director -801-2401

or City Council -

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Lotta Night Music - Jazz Walk

Jazz Walk Was Bigger Than Ever and Music and Dancing Filled the Air!
Rain City Rotary Setting Up Beer Garden at Franks Lumber
Stage - Brad and Kim Lancaster and Friend

Variety, Walkin' and Dancin' in the Streets Reigned in North City.  
Fine weather made it a very pleasant evening for strolling the venues.

Greta Metassa and the Critical Mass Big Band headlined the evening at the St Marks Church & School Gym.  She is a nationally known talent and started off with a rendition of "Georgia On My Mind".
Greta Mettasa with organizer and band leader Keith McClelland
after a great set.

Ten Bands, Ten Venues. Good feed and drink and fun! 
Each venue was sponsored by either a company or owner.  The North City Business Association, 4Culture, City of Shoreline, Shoreline/LFP Arts Council, Journal Media Group, Keith McClelland law Firm, Home Expressions, Auxilliary Communications, Community 1st Credit and American Solutions for Business, sponsored Jazz Walk.
Mike's Dogs next to North City Cleaners
He's out and about around town now at
various locations

The bands were as follows:
Tumbao brings Hot Latin Jazz to the Night

Expert professionals demo salsa technique
and then give lessons 

Hot Salsa Dancing Lessons in the street with Tumbao

More Latin Jazz from Sonando 

Pearl Django at Laughing Ladies
Great Atmosphere!

  • Greta Metassa and Critical Mass at St Marks
  • Tumbao Salsa Hot Latin Dance (On 15th!) 
  • Pearl Django at Laughing Ladies CafĂ©
  • Sondando Latin Jazz at Yoga Meditation Building
  • Jazz Camp Students and Faculty at Industrial Air
  • Jimmy Holden at North Seattle Eagles
  • The Doug Reid Group at North City Lounge
  • The Young Lizards at Frank Lumber’s Store
  • Janette West Quartet at North City Bistro
  • Dennis Nyback at Do North Theatre House
Little Aiden is only one a half, but
she's a jazz fan

Everyone was enjoying the night out including local politicians.

Councilmember Chris Eggen and wife Donna

Council Candidate Jesse Salomon and partner Sarah
enjoying a night out
Great atmosphere all over North City -

Doug Reid Group at North City Lounge

Former Mayor and now State Rep Cindy Ryu, Christine and Cody Ryu
enjoying the Greta Metassa show

And the evening wound down and the historic North City Tavern
remains one of the anchors of North City character

Monday, August 15, 2011

King County Council FINALLY Saves Metro

In a long day of back and forth negotiations, in which Kathy Lambert and Jane Hague were on-again/off-again about the $20 Congestion Reduction Fee, the King County Council voted 7-2 in FAVOR of the proposal.

ph credit - Janet Way
King County Council
Clmbr Joe McDermott, Bob Ferguson, Jane Hague, Council Pres Larry Gosset,
Larry Phillips, Julie Paterson, Kathy Lambert, and Pete VonReichbauer
We were there in KC Council Chambers at the King County Courthouse promptly starting at 1:30 the council started out with business as usual. They welcomed the Korean Consul General to celebrate Korean Independence Day.
Korean Consul General
welcomed to celebrate 
Korean Independence Day

But then things got interesting and then well....rather tedious. Councilmember Reagan Dunn asked for a 10 minute recess. That ended up taking several hours.

People in the gallery were very patient. There were dozens of transit supporters, staff and others who filled the room. But many had to leave finally and resume their lives. As did we.
Patient members of the public waited for hours
to find out what would happen to Metro Service
After much back and forth (literally, with councilmembers dashing between each others camps) and many ups and downs apparently, which had the deal off and then on again by the end, the Council came to a super majority decision to pass the plan and prevent it from being placed on the ballot.

First District Councilmember Bob Ferguson was quoted as saying he's never seen anything like this day at the Council since he's been there.

While the $20 fee will be a hardship for some, the passage of this deal will be a great relief to those who depend upon Metro for vital transportation services.

Publicola stayed with the process to the end. Here is their account of what transpired.

In 7-2 Bipartisan Vote, County Council Passes Metro Fee


7:34: It’s over. Lambert and Hague, after opposing, then supporting, then (reportedly) opposing, then finally supporting the two-year $20 Metro fee, voted in favor of saving Metro service, giving the fee a seven-vote supermajority. Metro, for two years at least, is saved.
7:20: County Council Democrat Bob Ferguson says the barrage of public testimony influenced the council’s vote in favor of the two-year, $20 Metro fee today. “I think it’s fair to say that this was as overwhelming public support as I’ve ever seen on county council.”
7:12: County Council Republican Reagan Dunn, who opposes the two-year, $20 fee to preserve Metro service (“I don’t like or support the process of forcing a tax on families on fixed incomes, on seniors on fixed incomes, especially in a down economy”), just claimed that “folks across the county have said they want to vote on car tabs.” Nope.
7:04: Kathy Lambert says, “Where was I” when Metro was threatened? “I stood up to make the hard decision.”
6:59: Despite all the back-room deliberations—during which both she and her fellow Republican colleague Jane Hague reportedly said they would vote with their two other Republican council members, Pete Von Reichbauer and Reagan Dunn, against the $20 Metro fee–King County Council member Kathy Lambert  is voting with her Republican colleague Jane Hague in favor of the fee. That’s seven votes in favor. Lambert: “It’d be much easier for me to take a ‘no’ vote.” Hague: “This is all about statesmanship. It’s about working across the aisle for meaningful results.”
6:57: Hague—reportedly a “hard no” 20 minutes ago—is now voting for the Metro fee. That’s a six-member King County Council majority in favor of the fee.
6:55: Republican Jane Hague hasn’t spoken yet to indicate whether she’s back on board with the two-year, $20 fee she first opposed, then supported, then reportedly opposed again, and now may again stupport. Larry Phillips has been talking for ten minutes, though.
6:45 pm: If Jane Hague comes back on board, the Metro deal will have the needed six votes—even if her fellow Republican Kathy Lambert doesn’t vote for the two-year, $20 fee.
6:43: Democrat Julia Patterson is complimenting (wavering) Republican Jane Hague for her “moral,” “humane,” “brilliant,” and “intelligent” support for bus vouchers in exchange for vehicle license fee. Upshot: The deal may not be dead yet.
6:40: “The most bizarre day at the county council in at least a decade,” a source with a long history of working with the council says.
6:37: And they’re back. Julia Patterson is explaining the ordinance, which would impose a two-year, $20 fee on drivers in King County to preserve Metro service. Without it, the county would lose 9 million rides per year; put another way, that’s 600,000 hours or 17 percent of Metro service.
Update, at 6:24 pm: County council is back in council chambers.
Sources tell us the deal announced last week—in which King County Council Republicans Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert agreed to vote for a two-year, $20 fee to preserve Metro transit—is dead. Now the debate is reportedly over whether to put the fee on the ballot or simply to let it die. Additionally, the council is debating whether to force the fee to a vote (and thus force Lambert and Hague to defend their double flip-flop) or whether to drop it.
“It looks like this deal is dead, with Hague and Lambert flipping,” one source says. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Lambert and Hague reportedly agreed to change their votes over the weekend, after intense pressure to flip from Republicans on the county council and from GOP constituents.
Council members remain sequestered behind closed doors at the county courthouse, some four hours after agreeing to hold a “ten-minute recess.”

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bright Lights and Traffic for Meridian Park Fields? How Will This Affect the Neighborhood?

Questions in Response to an Article by Craig Degginger of Shoreline School District in PATCH Today
Great Blue Heron fishing at Ronald Bog
This bird is considered a "priority species".

Mr Degginger has only given us a partial picture here of what is about to happen to Meridian Park neighborhood.

The neighbors to this project would likely want to know more about how the proposed field lighting and runoff will affect their neighborhood:
• What times of night will these fields be lighted until?
• What will be the "lightshed" for this field lighting?
• How many days per week will they be used and lighted?
• How will this impact the hundreds of residents surrounding the school?
• And how will this late night lighting affect the wildlife at Ronald Bog and Meridian Park wetland and the "flyway" for migrating birds? There are thousands of birds that utilized those "fish and wildlife conservation areas" (Critical Areas) including some rare species such as the Osprey.
Two Ducks at Ronald Bog -
Hundreds of Waterfowl Frequent the Bog

• Neighbors would also like to know more about impacts from traffic when these fields will be utilized for HS sports?

We are glad to hear about the synthetic turf which reduces the use of fertilizers, etc. But studies on longterm impacts in the ways that runoff from synthetic turf holds up show, that it deteriorates and breaks down over the years.
• How will this impact the runoff in the future?

• And was there a "cost/benefit analysis" for the community and the schools with this proposal?

We all want to support our schools, but we also want to be told the actual impacts from these projects funded by taxpayer dollars.

What is the city's responsibility in regulating this proposed project? Inquiring minds want to know.

Thank you.
Janet Way
Osprey perching at Ronald Bog last August '10

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bear Reserve - Innis Arden Board Taking Aim at 46 Trees in Critical Area

Hearing is scheduled for Thurs, Aug 25th with Shoreline Hearing Examiner. 

The Friends of Bear Reserve are advocating to save the trees that are threatened.
Bear Reserve has many huge trees
that are 50-75 years old

What does the future hold for Innis Arden’s Bear Reserve
The Innis Arden Club has requested to removal of 46 mature trees in the Bear Reserve for the benefit of five home owners.  The City of Shoreline had “mitigated” the removal, limiting it to sixteen trees due the steep slope in the reserve.  The Innis Arden Club has appealed the mitigation to the Hearing Examiner. 

The Hearing to determine the fate of Bear Reserve is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, August 25th and 26th at Shoreline City Hall.  If the Innis Arden Club prevails then not only will Bear Reserve lose 46 mature trees, but home owners below the Reserve will also lose trees based on the Innis Arden covenant. 

It is estimated that in addition to the 46 trees the Club has proposed removing there are another 39 “significant” sized privately owned trees in Innis Arden, plus 5 in Grouse Reserve that will likely be removed. 

The City of Shoreline defines a tree as “significant” when a conifer is 8 inches in diameter at breast height (dbh) or 4’2.”  Deciduous and broad leaf evergreens like our native madronas are considered significant when they reach 12” dbh. 

No matter what the Hearing Examiner decides, any part of Bear Reserve that in not protected as “critical area” due to steep slope an/or stream conditions is at risk of losing 6 more significant trees every 36 months on each of the two parcels making up the reserve until the Innis Arden Club is satisfied.

Find out more at:
By Boni Biery 
Bear Reserve Tree - a valuable
natural resource

Metro Service Saved!

Big News on Metro Service

KC Exec Dow Constantine announced a deal in which King County Council to approve the $20 Car Tab increase to save bus service in the County.

Constantine announced that Metro would eliminate the "ride-free" area in Downtown Seattle and this move brings KC Councilmembers Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert along to support a "councilmanic" vote for the rate increase.

While this may be an inconvenience to riders in downtown, it will certainly be a relief to the thousands of riders who depend on their Metro Bus service in Shoreline and all over the county, to get to work and for other needs.

Shoreline/LFP PATCH has the story: 
Metro Bus Stop
PATCH ph cred

King County Council Ready to OK Car Tab Fee
The measure now has the support of Republicans Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's National Farmers Market Week!! Shop Fresh!

Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets are a fun and exciting way to shop! 
Schuh Farms is at Lake City, Phinney and U-Dist
Amazing Berries!

"Lemon Kaesekuchen"
A fabulous way to enjoy berries is with a "Quark" Cheesecake or Kaesekuchen.
Celebrate National Farmers Market Week with Quark and Berries!

Celebrate National Farmers Market Week – August 7-13

August 4th, 2011

On July 20, 2011, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack proclaimed August 7th to the 13th, 2011 as National Farmers Market Week.  This marks the twelfth year that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proclaimed a National Farmers Market Week.
Farmers markets are a critical piece of any local food system.  They provide important market opportunities for farmers to sell their agricultural products, helping to sustain the livelihoods of family farms and rural communities.  They also provide consumers with the opportunity to purchase some of the freshest, healthiest and highest quality fruits, vegetables, and value-added products like freshly baked breads, fruit preserves, cheeses, milk and other dairy products.  Yes, we’re getting hungry, too!

Heirloom Tomatoes at
Seattle Farmers Markets
What's Fresh this week? A bounty of great produce, flowers, cheeses, eggs, baked goods and so much more!   Check the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance website any time:
This organization supports seven neighborhood markets including Lake City, Colombia City, and U-District, Phinney, West Seattle, Magnolia and Broadway.  And there are of course many more in Seattle and the area. The closest to Shoreline are: Lake Forest Park (Sundays), Lake City (Thursdays) and Edmonds (Saturdays).

Shop Fresh!! Support local agriculture and enjoy the fun and great taste!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Bouquet - A Distraction

When It's a Bummer Investment Day, Turn to Nature. 
Nature always pays dividends.

Shasta Daisies, Rose Campion and Pearly Everlasting

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Special Visitor at Tonite's Hiroshima to Hope Festival and Hundreds of Participants

Hiroshima to Hope

Hiroshima to Hope Lanterns getting ready for a lovely
trip on Greenlake

Ohio Congressman and former presidential candidate
Dennis Kucinich holding peace lantern
Many beautiful sights to see at tonite's Hiroshima to Hope commemoration at Greenlake. Hundreds of particpants of all ages and ethnicities joined in the 26th annual festival to honor the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings and to celebrate hope for peace. The celebration is sponsored by Fellowship of Reconciliation and other groups.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio visited the event, but kept a low profile. He was a very gracious guest.

The festival began with ministers, taiko drumming, and speeches by local activists. 
Taiko DRumming Troupe sets the tone
Participants and visitors were invited to "make a lantern", which actually meant making a small donation and brush artists wrote a message of one's choice on the lantern.
Brush Calligrapher writes my message -
"justice" for my lantern
My lantern reads "justice"
Lanterns are lit by volunteers
The loveliest part of this evening is clearly the amazing ceremony to place hundreds of lanterns on the lake in a symbolic commemoration of the lives lost in war and also in the Japanese tradition of "Obon" to celebrate the lives of ancestors to "light their way" home. 

Hundreds of celebrants walk quietly down the dock to waiting
volunteers in boats to gently place the lanterns in the

A lovely sight unfolds as the lanterns gradually drift out into the lake with the help of boaters.
Special lantern adorned with peace cranes
sets sail

Lanterns are placed in the lake and begin their voyages
As the sun sets and the moon rises the peaceful scene unfolds as everyone gathers to witness the beautiful sights. 
Duck Island just to the south of the
lantern dock
As darkness settles the lanterns create a beautiful and peaceful scene unmatched.

And still the participants kept coming to add their little wishes for peace.
Beautiful little girl brings her lantern to the shore.