Category Archives: Local Organizations

Update on the Southeast Seattle Tool Library

What started as a discussion on the Columbia City Facebook page is becoming closer to a reality. The Rainier Valley Post is reporting on the neighborhood’s efforts to get a Southeast Seattle tool library up and running:

10299108_466601670137527_4267636844624728351_nNeed a ladder to clean out those gutters? A hammer to hang some pictures? A rake and shovel to clean up the yard so the neighbors will quit complaining?

As much as the local home improvement behemoth would love your hard-earned dough, how would you like to be able to borrow those tools — free of charge — from the local library? Not a book library, but a tool library.
“Tool libraries seek to make it nearly as easy as checking a book out of the library,” said Sally Bailey, founder and director of the new Southeast Seattle Tool Library. “The older tool libraries have been generous with their guidance, their practices and policies. Most have rental fees, on a sliding scale. But we want to take ours in a different direction. Once people become members, we hope that, with the help of grants and donations, we can loan tools, along with advice, at no cost. However, those who can will be encouraged to contribute to cover maintenance, repair and replacement.”

Click here to read the RVP’s full post. 

Latest Cheasty Bike Park Update

Yesterday, Publicola reported the following:

The council also put off (for one week) legislation that would allo8475634_origcate $100,000 in city money (out of an estimated cost of $750,000) to a new mountain bike park in Southeast Seattle’s Cheasty Greenspace, a long, narrow greenbelt that runs between Columbia City and Beacon Hill. Some neighborhood residents have argued that the greenbelt should be preserved as natural space and wildlife habitat. Proponents say it would provide recreation and education to residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, and provide a new connection between Columbia City and Beacon Hill.

Council member Sally Bagshaw said that even if the council does approve the legislation, “that isn’t a guarantee that it’s going in” to the city budget.

More on the Cheasty Bike Park

The debate over the Cheasty Bike Park has been dominating the Southend news coverage as of late. The Seattle Times‘ Lynn Thompson has the latest:

Joel DeJong is an enthusiastic advocate for mountain biking. He runs a commuter bike-building company in Fremont, takes his kids out on wooded trails outside of the city on2024180091 weekends and for the past seven years has marshaled hundreds of volunteers to help clean up and restore the overgrown woods near his home.

But his vision for a mountain-bike trail around the 27-acre Cheasty Greenspace on the east slope of Seattle’s Beacon Hill is dividing residents and drawing protests from nature lovers who don’t want one of the city’s few undeveloped parks turned over to active recreation.

The controversy is reminiscent of the fight two years ago when the Seattle Parks Department proposed allowing a private company to operate a zip line in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park, a plan that was shelved after a public outcry.

“Our concern is this will set a precedent, that Parks will take away a natural area of which there are very few left,” said Mark Ahlness, a retired teacher who led the fight against the zip line and is now one of the directors of the Seattle Nature Alliance, which advocates for preserving and protecting the city’s natural areas.

DeJong and other supporters say the mountain-bike trail, which would be the first in a Seattle park, would give youths who aren’t able to get out of the city an opportunity to experience the joy of riding their bikes in the woods. And in the process, they argue, the kids would gain an appreciation of nature and a sense of ownership for the green space.

Read the whole piece here.

Cheasty Bike Park Moving Forward

SeattleMet’s Erica C. Barnett is reporting that the Cheasty Bike Park (click for more details) received the go-ahead vote on Tuesday:

Opponents of a proposal to build a series of trails for mountain bikes in Beacon Hill and Columbia City’s Cheasty Greenspace lost the first round in their battle yesterday, when the city cou8475634_origncil’s neighborhoods committee voted to move forward a bunch of neighborhood matching fund proposals that included $100,000 in city dollars for the mountain-bike plan. (The vote was 1-0-1—ties move legislation forward—with Sally Bagshaw in favor, and Harrell abstaining.)

Some neighbors of the park, which spans 43 acres in Southeast Seattle, oppose the 10-acre trail project (of which about 2 acres would consist of actual trail space) because, they argue, it would result in loss of wildlife habitat and urban tree cover; it will compromise the safety of park users (including cyclists); it will increase parking pressure in the area; and because, in the words of the group Save Cheasty Greenspace, “Passive use park lands should not be converted to active use park lands.”

Additionally, opponents argue that the council is moving forward with funding for the plan (which has a total price tag of $750,000) before proponents have raised their own half-million-dollar contribution and presented a formal plan to the council. “And by that point it is unlikely that there is any turning back,” an email from the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition put it earlier this month.“I’ve seen some videos of these mountain bikes—these kids are doing these twists and all this stuff. I asked the question on this project … [what about] safety concerns and insurance concerns?”—Council Member Bruce Harrell

(Parks director Christopher Williams said today, “We recognize that some of the input and concerns that the community has need to be reflected in the design and the proposal going forward. It’s our hope that we can still get there.”)

Proponents, meanwhile, argue that a series of bike and pedestrian paths will provide “enjoyment, recreation, and education” to residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, and will create a new pedestrian connection between Beacon Hill and Columbia City.

Click here for the whole article.

Columbia City Gateway Project Fundraising

The Columbia City Gateway
Take a neglected corner and transform it into something inviting, with planter beds and seating areas beneath the trees. That’s the goal of a group of Columbia City neighbors who want to create a mini-park and plaza that welcomes light-rail commuters and anchors a growing neighborhood. This part of the neighborhood is already a destination for the many people who frequent the Columbia City farmer’s market. A PCC Natural Market and new residences will soon open across the street.
The project at the corner at 37th Avenue South and South Edmunds will add to the vibrancy and livability of Columbia City. With enough donations, the project can reach its goal of completion in 2015

Columbia City Chow Down Tuesday, 7/22

Columbia City Restaurants are joining with the Rainier Valley Food Bank for the 2014 Columbia City Chow Down on Tuesday. Get all the details and buy your “passport” here:

Support a great cause while dining out at some of Columbia City’s fabulous restaurants!

How many restaurants can you pack into an evening?  Your Chow Down passport is the key to one amazing evening of sampling tasty bites from Columbia City’s best restaurants.  It’s like a progressive dinner with incredible food AND you support a great cause while dining out at some of Columbia City’s fabulous restaurants and enjoy the diversity the area has to offer! Bring your family and friends and help the Rainier Valley Food Bank! Your support helps the Rainier Valley Food Bank provide healthy food and vital assistance to over 16,000 low-income Columbia City residents every month.


Columbia City Chow Down is on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 from 6:00 to 10:00 PM.

We look forward to seeing you!

Here are some of the GREAT restaurants that are participating:

Empire Espresso, Full Tilt, Grecian Delight, Corazon Taqueria, Hummingbird Saloon, Rookies, The Spice Room, Wabi Sabi, Tuta Bella, Lotties, Island Soul, Bananas Grill, Jus Bar

 How to Receive Your Chow Down passports:

All passports will be available for pick-up on the day of the event. A table will be set-up outside Andaluz (4908 Rainier Ave S) starting at 5:00 PM on the day of the event. Andaluz is very close to most of the participating restaurants. To claim your purchased passports, please bring a print out of your payment confirmation.

Email with questions or concerns.

Tutta Bella’s Alzheimer’s Cafe

Komo has a piece up on Tutta Bella’s participation in a great program. Click here for the video:

imgres-3SEATTLE — There are some new restaurants in town for families living with dementia — known as Alzheimer’s cafes.

One who takes part is David Jones, whose suffers from Alzheimer’s and whose memory deteriorates with his disease. The minister and musician has forgotten a lot of lyrics and chords but his wife Daphne guides him through lapses.

It’s a very forgiving audience at this Alzheimer’s café.

Dementia can socially isolate families. Jeanne Ballard would probably have stayed home in pajamas had her husband Bob not convinced her and dressed her to go out.

“Comb her hair, put her earrings on her,” he said.

The Alzheimer’s café concept began in Europe and is now taking off in western Washington. It’s a place for families to feel normal again with others, to laugh, sing, and eat.

“And enjoy life the way they always used to be able to enjoy life,” said Nora Gibson.

Restaurants like Tutta Bella in Columbia City, make space, simplify their menu and provide customers comfort.

Patrons receive name tags.

“She can’t remember names very well,” Bob says of his wife Jeaenne. “Faces, she’ll recognize but names she can’t get the names.”

No one judges occasional outbursts or forgotten boundaries.

“Another person that has been coming to our cafes occasionally, reaches over and takes a bite off of somebody else’s plate,” Gibson said.

A welcoming atmosphere breaks down perceived barriers for couples like Chuck and Dewey Woodland, who’ve been married 56 years.

“(I’m) not as sharp as I used to be,” Chuck Woodland said. “I think it’s harder on Dewey than it is on me.”

Daphne Jones has become her husband’s caregiver. She said he’d struggle ordering in a restaurant without her, but when this pizzeria converts into an Alzheimer’s cafe, he shines, and he sings.

And there’s one thing his wife won’t let him forget.

“That he’s completely loved by God and by me and his family and friends,” she said. “I want him to always remember that he’s loved.”

Several local restaurants are holding Alzheimer’s cafe’s at no cost other than the meal, including Luther’s Table in Renton and Pagliacci Pizza in Edmonds.

National Trails Day on Saturday: Volunteer at Cheasty Greenspace

National Trails Day this Saturday and the Friends of Cheasty Greenspace have an event planned for those looking for volunteers. From their Facebook page:

Friends, come out to the woods THIS Saturday, June 7, which is National Trails Day! Cheasty Greenspace is a host site for this day of celebrating how trails provide equitable access to nature and recreation. Meet at 2809 S. Alaska Place 98108 at 9:45am for registration; work party is from 10am-12pm. Gloves and tools provided!

Project Orca Playground (POP)

Project Orca Playground (POP) has just launched its new website to keep the neighborhood informed about the ongoing efforts to rethink the playground at the school:1477794_227479330758431_1600899763_n

Project Orca Playground (POP) is spearheading the redevelopment of Orca K-8’s school playground and playfield to include more opportunities for play, physical activity, outdoor learning, and community building for the school community and the surrounding neighborhoods.

The POP committee– in partnership with the Orca staff, faculty, and PTSA; the City of Seattle, and Seattle Public Schools– has been working since fall 2012 to realize this vision. The POP Committee has thus far successfully applied for and won two Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple grants totaling $50,000.  The first grant funded a robust community engagement process facilitated by a professional landscaping firm who worked with the school and surrounding public community to create a design that addresses the needs of all shareholders. The second grant is being used to prepare construction and bid documents for Phase 1 of the project.

It’s a great website, full of designs, info, and ways to get involved. Click here to check it out and find out more. schematic

Columbia 26 Townhomes (Finally!) See Some Progress

This falls into the not-really-news category, but given that so many neighbors know nothing about this project (including many of us who can see this development from our own homes), I thought it would make for a worthwhile post.image The townhomes on Renton Ave. that have been the story of on-again-off-again work for the past 4ish years are finally starting to see some action. Over the past few months, construction has begun again on the 26 townhomes (hence the name) that were sold last year to Homestead Community Land Trust that had previously sat abandoned in mid-construction for the past few years.

Homestead is a non-profit, which:

…assists middle-income folks (80% of AMI and below) to purchase quality homes in the Seattle area, affordably, and keeps these homes affordable for future buyers, as well. We provide Seattle area residents, who keep our community vital, including mail carriers, police officers, grocery clerks, social workers and teachers, the opportunity to gain stability for their families, gain equity safely and put down roots in their community.

Through partnering with low- and moderate-income households we create and preserve affordable homeownership opportunities for today and feat-propertiestomorrow.

Homestead provides our homeowners with post-purchase support like financial counseling, classes on home repair and income tax preparation. Homestead’s dedication to our homeowners is evidenced by our zero percent foreclosure rate.

The Columbia 26 project is now being fully marketed with a slick websiteFacebook page, and Twitter account. Progress is still a bit slow, but over the past few weeks, crews have been repairing siding and replacing the windows that have sat unfinished and boarded up for far too many years.