Category Archives: Local Organizations

Columbia City Gateway Official Opening: Wednesday 9/16

Although the neighborhood has been enjoying it for a few weeks now, the good people behind the Columbia City Gateway project are hosting an official grand opening on Wednesday 9/16 at 4pm. As you head down to hit up the farmer’s market, be sure to swing by. Here’s the official info:

gatewayPlease join us on Wednesday, September 16th, to celebrate the opening of The Gateway located on the site of the historic Columbia School, now home to the Interagency Academy.

It’s time to celebrate the transformation of this corner from a locked and littered field of broken asphalt into a beautiful open space with trees, sitting areas, landscaping, sidewalk benches and lighting for community enjoyment.

The Gateway Opening festivities start at 4pm and will feature:

  • Live music and parade with Jazz Night School
  • Ribbon cutting and crisp speeches
  • Free Gateway balloons for kids (first 100)
  • Performance by Interagency Academy vocalist
  • Free Gateway frisbees (limit 200)
  • Group commemorative sing-a-long
  • Cupcakes compliments of PCC
  • Free Market Bucks with your “I helped open the Gateway” handstamp at the Farmers’ Market after the event (limit 250)
  • Garden Tours

We are grateful to all the Columbia City businesses and residents who donated time, money and effort to create our Gateway, as well as the following organizations:

Our Partners: Seattle School District, The Interagency Academy Students and Staff, City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods & Office of Economic Development, Columbia City Business Association and BIA

Our Major Donors: The Wolff Company, Rainier Pacific, Security Properties, PCC Natural Markets, Shirley Marvin Hotel, LR Isabella, Scott Amick, READ WRITE LEARN, Columbia City Pilates, Bank of America

With recognition to: Seattle Parks Foundation, Johnson+Southerland, GMD Custom, Jordan T. Adams, Maher Landscaping and Iris Antman                                                                           .

Please come celebrate with us Wed. Sept 16th at 4pm!


Your Friends of the Gateway

Beatwalk: 21st Anniversary

Beatwalk is officially of drinking age this year. To mark the anniversary, the good folks behind it have put together this reminder about what it’s all about:

SE Seattle Tool Library: Tool Drive on Sunday

ToolOver the past year or so, the good folks behind the Southeast Seattle Tool Library have been hard at work securing a space, organizing, and bringing their plans to open a tool lending library to the area. This Sunday (2/15), they are hosting a tool drive:

Need an excuse to jump start your Spring Cleaning? Why not donate your underused tools to the Southeast Seattle Tool Library? We are hosting a tool drive in our new home at 4425 Martin Luther King Way S (around back at the garage) on Sunday, February 15th, from 3:00 to 6:00pm. Drop off your gently used tools, become a member, meet the tool library crew and find out more ways you can support this awesome new community resource. All donations and membership fees are tax deductible.

If you are unable to attend this weekend’s event, please contact us at to coordinate donation pick up or drop off and look for future tool drive dates to be announced soon. You can find out more about the tool library at


Hitt’s Hill Work Party Tomorrow: Sat 2/14

Need something to do on Valentine’s Day? Why not participate in tomorrow’s work party at Hitt’s Hill Park? Here are all of the details:
Saturday, February 14th from 10:00am – 1:00pm
Hitt’s Hill Park

5234 37th Ave S, Seattle, Washington 98118
[Saturday 2/14 is] The first work party of 2015 in the park! Join neighbors to get the park ready for spring. Tools are provided and the weather is looking dry for Saturday. The park survived the winter nicely but there are always plants to trim as they reach onto the path and general clean-up
… This is the 3 acre park space just south of Columbia City and west of Hillman City. Even if you can’t help out this Saturday, try to enjoy the path and say hello. Work parties are the 2nd Saturday of every month except December and January.

Original plans for Hitt’s Hill

More on Neighborhood Celebrity Chef, Tarik Abdullah

Last week, Tarik Abdullah brought his pop-restaurant, Morningstar Cafe, to La Isla Mojito for a special guest-chef brunch at the Columbia/Hillman city Latin restaurant. Soon, the participant on ABC’s reality cooking show, The Taste, will begin cooking classes at Hillman City’s Collaboratory.


CityArts’s Jonathan Zwickel recently posted this interview with Abdullah:

People cried when Tarik Abdullah was cut from ABC cooking show The Taste. Not Abdullah himself, who’d made it to the sixth-episode semi-finals of the competition as part of Anthony Bourdain’s team; he handled the disappointment with his usual big-hearted dignity and grace. But his competitors were crushed: “Not a lot of times there’s that much class…” said one of the remaining cooks, choking up. “And he’s so supportive.” The Taste aired its Season 3 finale last week.

Abdullah, the DJ and cook I wrote about in October, before The Taste began airing, has been back in Seattle hosting twice-monthly pop-up brunches at La Isla del Mojito in Columbia City. A week after the episode aired, I met up with him at the Collaboratory, the Columbia City complex not far from his home where he’ll begin his first series of cooking classes for kids on Feb. 8. He walked me upstairs to the second-floor retail space and workshop he uses for producing leather bicycle accessories and upcycled bags. As always, he was dressed in casual-formal hepcat style and wore an enormous smile…

To read the whole interview, click here.


Cheasty Greenspace Meeting 1/29

On Thursday, there’s an informational meeting regarding the various projects planned and underway at the Cheasty Greenspace:
Everyone is welcome to attend this week’s 4th Project Advisory Team meeting on Jan. 29 from 6-9pm at Jefferson Community Center just off of Beacon Ave.
This is a public opportunity to learn more about this project, and its goals for creating equitable access to nature and recreation in Seattle’s south end, and restoring the Rainier Valley’s largest contiguous forest.
Public comment will be taken  during the last hour of the meeting.  Please come! Your presence and voice is critical to communicating to city officials the support of responsible recreational access and community connection in this particular public wooded parkland.”cheasty

Giving Opportunity: Columbia City Gateway Project

Perspective_Version1.psdAs many are already aware, there’s a community effort to transform the area surrounding 37th and Edmunds into a more welcoming, usable, and inviting part of the neighborhood. The folks behind the Columbia City Gateway project sent out the following reminder that Giving Tuesday (a nice follow-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday) is a great opportunity to get involved with the project:

Many meaningful causes are probably reaching out to you for Giving Tuesday. If you are looking for a very local one with lasting impact, please consider the Columbia City Gateway.

This project will turn the neglected and unsightly corner of 37thand South Edmunds into a welcoming streetscape with a plaza and benches for community gathering. All contributions are tax deductible and will be matched dollar for dollar, thanks to a $ 100,000 grant from the Department of Neighborhoods.   For the gift that keeps on giving (for decades), any $ 500 or higher tax deductible donation will received a 4-inch bronze medallion embedded in the project.

You can give directly right now at the Seattle Parks Foundation, or you can pick up a pledge form at the Columbia City Bakery or the Shirley Marvin Hotel.

We hope you will consider giving locally and become a Gateway Builder.  For more information, visit Friends of Columbia City Gateway on Facebook



Bikeworks Highlighted in ParentMap

Columbia City’s beloved bikeshop and non-profit, Bikeworks, has made the news once again. This time, it’s in ParentMap, with Hillary Benson highlighting the after-school programs Bikeworks runs and the relationships that exist between mentors and participants.

After-School Special: Beyond School and Home, Kinds Need Mentors to Thrive:

Photo: Parentmap

Photo: Parentmap

A look at why building relationships matters in after-school programs

In a classroom of boys, groups of three gather around their bike stands. Some students experiment with wrenches to figure out which kind will loosen frozen bolts on wheels. Others cooperate to remove rusty chains, an important step to get these not so gently used bikes back into working condition.

Instructor Ricardo Rodriguez, aka “Ricky,” walks around the room, slipping easily between Spanish and English as he offers tips. “Who’s ever heard of ‘lefty loosey, righty tighty’?” Today’s class is “All Boys Earn a Bike”; yesterday’s class was for girls only, and there are also coed options. The boys range from 9 years old to high school age; 70 percent are youths of color.

This after-school program at Bike Works, in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood, teaches real-life skills, from rebuilding bicycles to building friendships, from the ground up. “We say the bicycle is a tool of freedom,” explains program director Tina Bechler, “but it leads to conversations about opportunities, how the world is changing, bigger issues.” The kids will get to keep a refurbished bike at the end of the eight-week program. And with actively involved alumni — who, until they reach the age of 18, are invited to weekly class drop-ins — relationships are formed. It is a bond that, for many kids, is stronger than those they have at school and maybe even at home…

Click here to read the whole piece.

Columbia City Gateway Project Kick-Off Sunday 10/19

The Columbia City Gateway Project has announced a kick-off party this Sunday (10/19) from 3:30-5pm at the Shirley Marvin Hotel on Edmunds (3815). Be sure to check out the video and the links below to find out more.

The Friends of the Columbia City Gateway are having Kick-Off Party on Sunday, October 19th 3:30pm – 5:00pm at the Shirley Marvin Hotel Lobby and you are invited.   The Gateway project will transform the shabby, neglected, and littered corner of the Columbia School (S. Edmunds and 37th) into a handsome, welcoming streetscape.

We have a $100,000 matching fund grant and over $57,000 in donor pledges. Our goal is to raise $100,000 by end of the year!

We welcome anyone who is interested in improving the walkway to and from Light Rail and creating more public gathering space for our neighborhood.

Please join us for a Gateway Kickoff Party
Sunday, October 19, 2014
3:30pm – 5:00pm
• Shirley Marvin Hotel Lobby (3815 S. Edmunds Street)
• Provided: Appetizers, beer, wine and the famous Gateway Cocktail (guaranteed to make connections, just like the our project)

If you can’t come to the party, but want to participant and tell your friends, neighbors and/or customers about the Gateway, here’s some helpful information:

Narrated slide show with before and after images
Seattle Parks Foundation – This organization is our fiscal sponsor and the quickest and easiest way to contribute. Click here to donate:
The Friends of Columbia City Gateway Facebook page

Bikeworks Robbed

It’s been a tough week for Bikeworks. The story was a few days late in breaking, but last Friday, the beloved Columbia City nonprofit was robbed with the thieves stealing over 20 bikes that were designated for underprivileged families. Komo’s Lindsey Cohen has the story.

Yellow-testThieves broke into a South Seattle nonprofit Friday night that fixes donated bicycles for underpriveleged kids — but they didn’t stop there.

The staff at Bike Works, located at 3709 South Ferdinand Street, arrived at the shop Saturday morning to find someone had cut through large metal bars on the barbed wire fence. The thieves then sliced through cable locks and stole BMX bikes that had been donated by the community, fixed up by kids, and were meant for underpriveleged families in the community.

“It’s just wrong. We’ve spent so much time working on those bikes and someone just comes and cuts the fence and just steals them,” said Marcus Cline-Hill, a 13-year old who worked on some of the stolen bikes. “That’s messed up.”

“We’re a non-profit and with all of the good will we’re trying to spread in the community — this was really disheartening,” added Tina Bechler, Bike Works director. “It was pretty demoralizing, particularly when the youth started hearing about it, and knowing that all that hard work had gone to somebody taking the bikes.”

Adults who work at the Columbia City organization reported the theft to police and fixed the fence Saturday.

Staffers returned Sunday morning to find the thieves had broken in overnight — again.

“The repeat was a shocker for us. We definitely tried to seal everything back down,” added Bechler. “To be so brazen to return to the scene of the crime — we weren’t expecting that.”

“It’s really surprising that anybody would take away from this community something that’s trying to make the community better,” added Julian Hietter, a 12-year old who has participated in Bike Works for three years. “We’re not selling these bikes to make a ton of money. We’re just trying to give back.”

Workers have upgraded security at the South Seattle location, including installing motion-detected security lights. The nonprofit is also trying to figure out how it is going to replace the nearly 20 stolen BMX bicycles.

“Maybe we just need to put bigger signs in the yard that are like, ‘we give these bikes away,'” added Bechler. “Please don’t steal from us.”

To watch the Komo news clip, click here.

Update: Komo has also posted a follow-up regarding the donations that have been pouring in since the theft.