Daily news blog for Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood

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City Councilmember O’Brien releases proposal to make it easier to build backyard cottages

May 19th, 2016 by sarawilly

From Doree at our sister site Phinneywood.com

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, NW Seattle) released a proposal today that would make it easier for homeowners to build backyard cottages.

Councilmember O’Brien’s bill makes a series of changes to the existing backyard cottage and mother-in-law unit building code, including:

  • Allowing both a backyard cottage and mother-in-law unit on the same lot, which provides additional housing options while maintaining the character and appearance of the property.
  • Increasing the height limit for backyard cottages by 1-2 feet, depending on lot width, which would allow enough livable space to make two-bedroom units more feasible. Setback requirements from property edges would not change.
  • Removing the requirement for owners to include an off-street parking space for backyard cottages or mother-in-law unit. Currently, this requirement often requires removal of green space on the property. Feedback found the parking requirement was prohibitive in creating new backyard cottages, as additional parking spaces were either unnecessary or unable to fit on the lot. For single-family lots outside urban villages or urban centers, the one required off-street parking space for a single-family house requirement will still apply.
  • If a backyard cottage is only one-story, its floor area may cover up to 60% of the rear yard (currently 40%), creating a large enough livable space for those unable to use stairs. Existing setback requirements from the lot edge would not change.
  • Requiring that the property owner live on-site for at least one year after a backyard cottage or mother-in-law unit is created, rather than the current requirement that the owner live on-site at least 6 months out of every year in perpetuity. The requirement prevents speculative developers from acquiring property and building backyard cottages that don’t fit the character of the neighborhood, while allowing the owner future flexibility for those who don’t want, or are unable to continue living on-site.
  • Allowing backyard cottages on lots 3,200 square feet or greater in area (currently 4,000 square feet), which would make approximately 7,300 additional parcels eligible to provide this additional housing option.
  • Increasing the maximum gross floor area of a backyard cottage to 1,000 square feet (currently 800 square feet), which would provide more livable area and increase the likelihood of two-bedroom backyard cottages to better serve families with children.
  • If a backyard cottage is built above a garage, the garage square footage will no longer count toward the maximum floor area, which often results in an unreasonably small living space.

The city’s Office of Planning & Community Development released its SEPA determination of non-significance today. The public can comment on the proposal through June 2 by emailing Nick Welch at nicolas.welch@seattle.gov, or by mail at City of Seattle, OPCD, Attn: Nick Welch, PO Box 34019, Seattle WA 98124-4019.

The proposal is scheduled for consideration in the Council’s Planning, Land Use & Zoning Committee in July.

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Testing shows our water is safe according to Seattle Public Utilities

April 25th, 2016 by sarawilly

SPU tested water in a small percentage of older Seattle homes with galvanized piping.  Results  showed lead levels well below allowable federal limits.

Seattle Public Utilities released the results yesterday. From KOMO:

“This sampling protocol was much more extensive than the standard federal test, and should give customers an added sense of confidence in their water,” said SPU Drinking Water Quality Manager Wylie Harper.

The alarm rang Wednesday when officials in Tacoma found that water in four homes were above the allowable lead limits.

Tacoma officials attribute the presence of lead in their water to sections of pipes known as “goosenecks.” On the city website, the pieces of lead pipe are described as having been used between 1900 and 1940 to connect the water main to customers’ service lines.

In the wake of that finding, Seattle Public Utilities asked all Seattle residents to run water for two minutes before drinking it, as a precaution.

The utility tested five older homes that have the potentially suspect galvanized pipes, and so-called gooseneck fittings between the water main and the home. After allowing the water to sit overnight, they tested samples.

The highest lead level was 1.95 parts per billion (ppb), well below the federal limit of 15 ppb, according to SPU.

“Seattle Public Utilities is in compliance with U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations,” said Derek Pell of the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) Office of Drinking Water.

The Seattle water supplier also posted an interactive map to allow homeowners to determine what kind of material – copper, plastic or galvanized steel – the service line that supplies their homes.

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Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes

April 6th, 2016 by sarawilly

The 34th Annual Nordstrom Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes race is coming up Sunday May 15th.  As in years past, the race will take place at Husky Stadium and will conclude with an on-the-field celebration, complete with an awards ceremony and a Diaper Derby for the little ones. Local food trucks are going to be a new addition to the event, serving up lots of delicious options for event participants and their families. Participants can register online at www.beatthebridge.org. Will you beat the bridge this year?

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Greenwood explosion- how can we help?

March 14th, 2016 by sarawilly

From Doree at our sister site Phinneywood.com
The Phinney Neighborhood Association has compiled a very long list of businesses inside and outside our neighborhood that are helping to raise funds for businesses, employees and residents affected by last Wednesday’s explosion in downtown Greenwood. That list is being continually updated, so please check it often. Here are a few fundraisers happening this week:

Peddler Brewing Company, 1514 NW Leary Way, is hosting an all-ages fundraiser for G&O Family Cyclery, which is adjacent to the three demolished businesses and sustained heavy damage. Fifty percent of all beer sales from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday and funds from a raffle will benefit the bike shop. Raffle drawings will take place at 6:30 p.m. and 8 pm. Cycle Dogs (pedal-powered vegan hot dog cart) will be on site from 6-10 p.m. and will donate 100 percent of its revenue.

Magic Magpie Studio henna artist and Greenwood resident Antoinette is hosting “Henna For Greenwood” from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday at Makeda & Mingus, 153 N. 78th St. All proceeds will go to the Greenwood Relief Fund, with Makeda & Mingus matching every penny.

Gainsbourg, 8550 Greenwood Ave. N., is donating 20 percent of all sales Wednesday. The restaurant is open from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Phinney Books, 7405 Greenwood Ave. N., is having a week-long silent auction of neighborhood storefront paintings by Mark O’Malley, whose art has been for sale at the bookstore this past year. His painting of Mr. Gyros and Neptune Coffee sold last year, but he’s offered to create another one. There will be plenty of other paintings of iconic neighborhood stores to bid on. The silent auction closes Friday night. Everything over $50 for each painting will be donated to the relief fund. And Phinney Books is donating all proceeds from Friday’s sales (beyond what it cost to buy the books).

Art-sold-at-PhinneyBooks-GyrosNeptune-sentbyTanya-resized

Tanya, the Phinney resident who purchased the Mr. Gyros and Neptune painting last year and is now living temporarily in Japan, emailed us a photo of the painting, which hangs proudly on her wall.

Greenwood Fred Meyer is donating all the proceeds from their coin boxes at cash registers.

Verity Credit Union and Taproot Theatre are holding a raffle for two gift baskets, with tickets to Taproot and gift cards to Naked City Brewery & Taphouse. Stop by the Verity branch at 8533 Greenwood Ave. N. to purchase raffle tickets.

Hooyman Family Chiropractic, 143 NW 85th St., is donating 20 percent of all proceeds in March and April to the relief fund.

Umpqua Bank, 7120 Greenwood Ave. N., is collecting donations and will match the first $500.

The PNA was selling its whimsical holiday monkeys as a fundraiser for the fund and has already sold out, raising $11,000 for the Greenwood Relief fund.

Greenwood Elementary School families selling the “Show Greenwood Some Love” shirts raised $4,100 in just a few hours during Friday night’s Artwalk. Another batch of T-shirts will be available this week.

There is a GoFundMe just for G & O Family Cyclery. So far it’s raised more than $33,000.

Another GoFundMe account was started hours after the explosion by a community member with all proceeds going to employees of affected businesses (the PNA became the fiscal sponsor):  So far it’s raised more than $45,000.

Tax-deductible donations can be made through the PNA’s Greenwood Relief Fund.

A few days ago the Green Lake Community Council donated $500 to the PNA’s Greenwood Relief Fund.

The Bureau of Fearless Ideas (formerly 826 Seattle), Greenwood’s tutoring and writing center, is about to publish “Encyclopedia Greenwoodia,” with stories by BFI students and professional writers. (The very first piece in the book, written by a BFI student, is about Mr. Gyros.) They’ve decided to increase the publication run and have pledged 100 percent of the profits to the Greenwood Relief Fund. The book will be available in mid-April.

Numerous neighborhood businesses are collection sites for the Greenwood Relief Fund. Check the PNA’s special webpage for a complete list.

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Come see “We Make Seattle” at UW Startup Hall

March 11th, 2016 by sarawilly

Seattle’s an amazing city, right? We all know that. But surprisingly, not all of the outside world does. A group of filmmakers, including Director of Photography & Fremont denizen Dan McComb, have set out to change that with “We Make Seattle,” a community funded short film highlighting why Seattle is the ideal home for creative workers and entrepreneurs. Watch a teaser here.

Bryan Zug and Scott Berkun were inspired by questions raised at a Startup Roundtable hosted by Mayor McGinn in 2012. “I overheard many entrepreneurs asking the Mayor to help promote the vibrancy of the city to the world and I thought: wait a second! Why are we asking the government to do this? We’re entrepreneurs! We’re makers! Shouldn’t we do this ourselves?” That night he asked his friend Bryan, who runs Bootstrapper Studios, to help, and “We Make Seattle” was born.

The pair teamed up with Dan and set out to make a video profile of Seattle that highlighted the energy and quality of life in the city, which has been rated the #1 tech city in America by The Atlantic yet still is not considered by outsiders to be a destination for creative enterprises.

They raised funds through Kickstarter and with the support of over 250 backers and several local companies, including Tableau Software, Zillow, Filter, and more. The project was truly a grassroots effort–Scott and Bryan love Seattle and saw a way they could help attract new businesses with their combined skills.

It’s also a community film because they are making all the footage available for reuse, and are encouraging institutions, businesses, and residents to share and embed the video wherever they like. The pair are also developing a website with additional regional job finding, business building, and relocation resources.

All are invited to premiere “We Make Seattle” beginning at 6:30pm on March 24 at UW Startup Hall.

1100 NE Campus Parkway
University of Washington

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Join Mayor Murray to discuss homelessness 3/2

February 25th, 2016 by sarawilly

Seattle Channel, Seattle CityClub and Crosscut are hosting a Civic Cocktail March 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tom Douglas Palace Ballroom. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will join us to discuss equity and growth, working with a new city council and the city’s homelessness crisis. Then, a panel including Seattle city council member Mike O’Brien and Daniel Malone, Executive Director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center, will further discuss homelessness in Seattle.

Date/Time: March 2, 2016 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Location: Tom Douglas Palace Ballroom (2100 5th Ave).

Click here for more information.

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Name the new baby gorilla

February 25th, 2016 by sarawilly

Photo from Woodland Park ZooPhoto from Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo needs help naming its new baby gorilla. The winner will receive a variety of great gifts from the zoo, including a chance to visit the gorilla up-close!

To enter, participants must choose a female name from the African languages of Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo, and submit an entry form via mail, online here, or by dropping it off at any ballot box located on zoo grounds between now and Monday, February 29.

One winner will be selected by a judging panel of zoo staff to take home the Grand Prize:

  • One 1-year annual Woodland Park Zoo membership for one family
  • One ZooParent gorilla adoption
  • One opportunity to join a gorilla staff member for a private meet and greet for up to five people at the public viewpoint of the gorilla exhibit once the baby is on view (arranged at a mutually agreeable time)
  • One framed photograph of the newly-named gorilla infant

For official rules and terms of participation or to submit an entry online, click here.  More about the little cutie from Woodland Park:

The baby gorilla was born on November 20, 2015 to mom Nadiri and dad Vip. “Nadiri is a first-time, inexperienced mom,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Knowing that, we planned for different outcomes while she was pregnant, including the need for human intervention.”

Nadiri gave birth naturally but did not show strong maternal skills initially; as a result, staff immediately stepped in for the safety and welfare of the baby and to allow the new mom to rest. Since her birth, the zoo’s gorilla and veterinary staff have been providing 24/7 care for the unnamed baby gorilla behind the scenes in the gorillas’ sleeping quarters in a den next to Nadiri.

Multiple times a day, the mom and baby gorilla spend time together in the same den. “During recent sessions, the two have lain just inches apart, played and eaten together. The close proximity is a good sign they’re comfortable together and getting to know each other,” said Ramirez.

The baby gorilla remains off view where she is growing and thriving. “She’s developing normally; introductions are progressing slowly but steady,” said Ramirez. Currently, there is no time frame for when the baby will be on exhibit.

In the meantime, zoo staff is excited to officially give the baby gorilla a name. “As an ambassador for her species, an authentic regional name helps share the story of her counterparts in the wild,” said Ramirez.

The baby gorilla’s father is 37-year-old Vip, who has sired six other offspring with three different females at the zoo. He currently lives at the zoo in another group with two females.

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Ballard teen missing: Have you seen Stone Fennell?

February 15th, 2016 by sarawilly

From our friends at Phinneywood.com

Stone Fennell, a 16-year-old Ballard resident, is missing. He was last seen in Crown Hill late on Friday night, wearing dark blue jeans and a black or dark grey jacket with a black baseball cap. He is 5’10” and 215 lbs.

Stone-Fennell-missing-2-12-16-resized

Seattle Police are searching for a 16-year-old boy who was reported missing.

Stone Fennell disappeared from his home on Crown Hill. He was last seen at about 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Police say family is concerned. They say the disappearance is out of character.

Fennell is 5-foot-10, 215 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

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“Silicon Refugees” drive up market – 2015 Wallingford real estate in review

February 5th, 2016 by sarawilly

A sponsored post from our friends Kris and Daniela

For the last few years when writing our annual review of the neighborhood real estate market we have been talking about rising prices, bidding wars and the shortage of inventory. Well, 2015 was no different, if anything there are even less homes for sale and the competition among buyers has intensified even further. Below, find the 2015 numbers and charts based on hyper-local data capturing only Wallingford and Tangletown as outlined in the map below. The numbers are split out into single family homes including townhomes, and due to popular demand, we are also providing the condominium stats this time around.

Statistics in the table below are based on home sales in the area outlined on the map above and are derived from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service data.

Year over Year Comparison 2014 to 2015

Single Family Homes

8 fewer homes (or 3.3% less) than in 2014 were sold in 2015 showing a illustrating the continuing decrease in inventory.  The median sales price rose 6.9% over the previous year with the average sales price landing 6.9% over the list price in 2015 which is up 3.7% from 2014. We have seen escalations at more than 20% over the list price for certain properties with as many as 30-40 offers for one listing! Seattle values were up 5.4% in 2015 so we are 1.5% ahead of the game compared to the city as a whole. Average days on market were down 42% from 19 to 11 days, another indicator of our fiercely competitive market.

Year-end 2014 to 2015 Home Sales Comparison 2014 2015 Difference %
Number of Closed Sales 246 238 -8 -3.3%
Average Days on Market 19 11 -8 -42%
Median  List Price $629,950 $649,950 $20,000 +3.2%
Median  Sales Price $650,000 $695,000 $45,000 +6.9%
List to Sales Price Ratio 103.2% 106.9% +3.7%

Condos

In the condo market, the number of units sold decreased less than 1% in 2015 from 69 to 68 units.  Average days on market decreased 45% from 33 to 18 days. The price appreciation for condos from 2014 to 2015 was 11% and on average condos sold for 2.2% more than asking in 2015.  This shows that the condo market has now more than caught up with single family homes and is experiencing the same inventory shortage, and multiple offer phenomenon.

Year-end 2014 to 2015 Condo Sales Comparison 2014 2015 Difference %
Number of Closed Sales 69 68 -1 <1%
Average Days on Market 33 18 -15 -45%
Median List Price $319,950 $346,000 $26,050 +8.1%
Median Sales Price $319,500 $353,500 $34,000 +11%
List to Sales Price Ratio 100% 102.2% +2.2%

What the Trends are Telling Us

The following charts capture Wallingford (area as defined by NWMLS data) real estate trends for 2014 and 2015. This bar graph tells us how many homes were available for sale (light green), how many went under contract (red line) and how many sales closed each month (dark green).  We can see with the light green bars there were clearly less homes for sale this past year, yet buying activity was strong throughout the year (see red and dark green lines.  Even more intense bidding wars and price increases are how these statistics played out in the marketplace.

In the chart below, the yellow bars represent the average number of days a home is on the market.  There is a clear trend that days on market were lower in 2015 than 2014.  This number would be even lower, except that real estate brokers hold a home on the market for about a week before entertaining offers from potential buyers.  The line at the top of the chart represents the relationship between average sales and list price.  In 2015 you can see that sales prices for all months were well over 100% of list price.


Finally, this chart illustrates months of inventory.  It is derived based on a calculation dividing the number of active  homes for sale by the number of homes that closed in a given month and attempts to project how many months it will take for the entire available inventory to sell.  Anything under 2 months of inventory represents a sellers’ market. In 2015 every single month except February was well under 1 month of inventory which translates into a “crazy sellers’ market”.

And there we thought the market could not possibly get more competitive! However, the continuous stream of “Silicon Refugees” attracted by 50% lower home prices, overall lower cost of living, a healthy and growing tech industry as well as foreign investment and empty nesters seeking out the cultural offerings of our Emerald City continue to drive up housing demand like never before and new arrivals continue to flock to the shores of our lake(s).

As reported by the Puget Sound Business Journal, according to Aaron Terrazas, the senior economist at Seattle online real estate company Zillow (Nasdaq: Z, ZG), Seattle home values will continue to increase this year – as will rents – as people look for the region’s growing number of jobs and opportunities.

Kris Murphy and Daniela Dombrowski are My Wallingford sponsors and real estate brokers who live and specialize in the Wallingford and Green Lake neighborhoods.  They practice out of the Keller Williams Greater Seattle office located on the corner of Stone Way and N 45th St.

Kris Murphy & Daniela Dombrowski
kris@key2seattleRE.com / Daniela@key2seattleRE.com
www.Key2SeattleRealEstate.com

Keller Williams Greater Seattle
1307 N 45th St, Suite 300
Seattle, WA  98103

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Dinosaurs at the Burke Museum

February 2nd, 2016 by sarawilly

Dino Day and Free Dinosaur Lecture
This March, dig into dinos with the Burke Museum! Discover the ancient lost continent of Laramidia and the remarkable dinosaurs that lived there at a free public lecture with paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson—better known as “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist,” host of the hit PBS KIDS series, Dinosaur Train. Also see newly collected Triceratops and duck-billed dinosaur fossils on display for the first time, along with dozens of other prehistoric plants and animals at the Burke’s most popular annual event, Dino Day!
Dino Talk: Dinosaurs of the Lost Continent
with Dr. Scott Sampson
Friday, March 11, 2016, 7 pm
Kane Hall 130, UW Campus
FREE FOR ALL
Seating is limited, pre-registration recommended at
burkemuseum.org/events
For more than a century, paleontologists have collected spectacular dinosaur fossils from the Western Interior of North America. Only recently have we learned that most of these dinosaurs existed on a lost continent called “Laramidia.” About 96 million years ago, exceptionally high sea levels flooded central North America, resulting in a north-south oriented seaway extending from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. This shallow sea isolated life-forms on the eastern and western landmasses for most the next 26 million years. Although a small continent only one-fourth the size of today’s North America, the Western landmass Laramidia was home to a variety of dinosaurs including horned, duck-billed, dome-headed, and armored plant-eaters, as well as giant tyrannosaur meat-eaters and smaller raptor-like predators.

Find out more about this lost continent and its dinosaurs with Dr. Scott Sampson—better known as “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist,” host of the hit PBS KIDS series Dinosaur Train. A book signing will follow.

Lecture sponsored by Nathan Myhrvold and Rosemarie Havranek.

DINO DAY
Saturday, March 12,

10 am – 4 pm
Burke Museum

Included with museum admission; FREE for Burke members and UW Staff, Students, and Faculty with UW ID

See hundreds dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures from the Burke’s collection that once lived on the lost continent of Laramidia, from giant Triceratops to tiny two-legged crocodiles! Also meet paleontologists and talk to them about their research around the world.

Additional activities:

  • Uncover a fossil in the Dino Dig Pit
  • Watch scientists prepare a large Triceratops skull
  • Crack open fossils with the Stonerose Interpretive Center
  • Dress up in dino-gear and give your best roar
  • Draw your own dinosaur or have a professional illustrator draw one for you

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Ballard High School “Soap for Hope” drive

January 26th, 2016 by sarawilly

Do you have an extra bar of soap at home, or maybe a spare toothbrush? The Soap For Hope drive at Ballard High School is collecting various hygiene items which will be distributed to people facing hardships in Ballard, Queen Anne and Magnolia communities. They need:
-bars of soap
-bottles of shampoo and conditioner
-razors
-toothbrushes
-toothpaste
-lotion
-lip balm
-rolls of toilet paper
*all items must be unopened
Wednesday Jan. 20th – Friday Jan. 29th
Drop items off at BHS Main Office and Library (1418 NW 65th St)
Questions? Email addison.baker@nullhotmail.com

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UW’s Forefront backs effort to engage gun dealers and pharmacies on suicide prevention

January 26th, 2016 by sarawilly

Story from Deborah Bach, UW News and Information

Patty Yamashita was a vivacious, sweet, high-energy woman who balanced a career as an IT manager with a steadfast dedication to her family. She worked long hours but was always home to put dinner on the table and read a bedtime story for her children.

“My mother was my hero,” said her son, David. “Usually a boy or man would say that their father showed them the way in terms of growing up and how to live and how to conduct yourself in the world, but my mom really showed that to me.”

Patty and David Yamashita Photo courtesy of David Yamashita

But in July 2014, Patty, who had struggled with mental illness for several years, ended her life by overdosing on prescription medication.

“Never in a million years would we have guessed that she would make the decision she did,” said David, 29.

Patti Yamashita was one of 1,111 Washington residents who died by suicide that year. Nearly 70 percent of suicides in the state involve guns, poisonings and drug overdoses, and suicide prevention experts say many of those deaths happen in homes where guns and medications are not safely stored.

Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, based at the University of Washington School of Social Work, is working closely with Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines) on new legislation aimed at reducing these tragedies. The bill, which has support from gun owners, would engage firearms dealers and pharmacists to raise awareness about suicide and the need to restrict access to guns and prescription drugs for those at risk of attempting to kill themselves.

House Bill 2793 would:

  • Create a Safe Homes Task Force led by the UW School of Social Work that would develop suicide prevention messages and trainings for gun dealers and owners, pharmacy schools and firearm safety educators
  • Incorporate suicide prevention messaging into firearm safety brochures and safety training
  • Require the state Department of Health to develop a “safe homes partner” certification for firearms dealers and offer tax credits for those who become certified
  • Direct the Department of Fish & Wildlife to update safety brochures to include information about suicide awareness and prevention
  • Test the effectiveness of combining suicide prevention training and distribution of secure storage devices and medication disposal kits in two Washington communities, one rural and one urban, with high suicide rates

Jennifer Stuber, Forefront’s co-founder and faculty director, said the legislation has support from numerous stakeholders, including the Seattle and King County public health department and the Washington State Pharmacy Association, and was developed in close consultation with the National Rifle Association and the Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation. The buy-in from gun owners, she said, makes this legislation unique.

“Gun owners are excited about the bill, and they want to help with suicide prevention,” said Stuber, an associate professor at the UW School of Social Work. “The suicide prevention movement has needed this so desperately. This is a message that’s coming from the very people it needs to come from.”

Nearly 80 percent of firearm deaths in Washington state are suicides. In 2014, 49 percent of suicides in Washington involved firearms, while poisonings from prescription medications and other substances accounted for 19 percent.

“The consequences of suicide are devastating to families and the figures are alarming,” Orwall said in a release, noting that Washington’s suicide rate is 14 percent higher than the national average.

“But it is the nation’s most preventable form of death, and we all have a role in averting it by forming partnerships and working together to raise awareness and limit access to lethal means.”

Forefront co-founder Jennifer Stuber Enrique Garcia photo

Stuber, who lost her husband to firearm suicide in 2011, said the legislation is intended to target people at risk of suicide as well as other gun shop and pharmacy customers.

Customers would see educational messages displayed, and employees would be trained to talk with them about suicide risk and the importance of securely storing guns and prescription drugs.

“People think that the big risk of storing firearms safely is about someone breaking into your house and using them to commit crimes,” she said.

“But the very real risk is within your own home. If you’ve got kids in your home, if you’ve got someone who’s depressed in your home, if you’ve got someone who’s depressed visiting your home — those are the kinds of risks that people aren’t aware of.”

The bill, whose companion bill is sponsored by Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, is scheduled to go before the House Judiciary Committee on Jan. 26. Forefront has helped support the passage of five other suicide prevention bills in the past four years that require training for mental health workers, doctors and nurses, and require middle and high schools to implement screening, training and suicide response plans.

Forefront volunteers will be speaking about the legislation at its third annual suicide prevention education day in Olympia on Jan. 25. More than 50 supporters, most of whom have been directly impacted by suicide, are expected to attend. The group will hold a ceremony on the front lawn of the state legislative building at 10:30 a.m. that will feature a temporary memorial with 1,111 mini tombstones representing the Washington residents who died by suicide in 2014.

Patty Yamashita, who loved animals and was a skilled cook and baker, grew up in Seattle’s Rainier Valley. Despite attending community college for just a few semesters, she built a successful career in the tech industry, working for companies including Nintendo and T-Mobile. She juggled work and family with seeming ease, but was an alcoholic who managed to hide her drinking from her family.

In 2009, Patty underwent treatment for alcoholism, and shortly afterward was laid off. Over the next three years, as she applied for job after job, her mental health began to unravel, David said. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression and became increasingly unstable. She was having trouble managing her medications — forgetting them one day, taking a double dosage the next — so David and his father kept them locked up, carefully dispensing her daily dosages.

In early July 2014, David took his mother to a pharmacy to refill her prescriptions, then dropped her off and went golfing. He forgot to lock up her medications, not fully realizing the desperate state his mother was in. By the next morning, Patty lay in a hospital bed, unconscious. She died a day later with her family by her side.

David has been working with Forefront for a year and believes the proposed legislation could save lives by increasing awareness and facilitating conversation about mental illness and suicide.

“I think the stigma around suicide obscures the fact that recovery from mental illness does happen,” he said. “I wish my mom would have lived to know that.”

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Neighbor Appreciation Day Saturday, February 13

January 19th, 2016 by sarawilly

Celebrate Seattle’s annual Neighbor Appreciation Day, a special day set aside to reach out to neighbors, create new friends, and express thanks to those who help make your neighborhood a great place to live. Residents, community groups, and businesses across Seattle will join together on Saturday, February 13 (and the week of) to celebrate.

A few ways to celebrate Neighbor Appreciation Day:

  • Plan an activity for your neighborhood such as a block party, potluck, or work party. Our website provides ideas, tools, resources, and templates to help you organize an activity. If the event is open to the public, you can post it to our events calendar.
  • Attend one of the many community activities listed on the events calendar. Many Seattle Fire stations along with pools, community centers, and neighborhoods are hosting celebrations and work parties.
  • Take your neighbor to a FREE Seattle University Redhawks basketball game. Visit this link and use Promo Code “NEIGHBORDAY” to receive tickets. For questions call 206-398-4678.
  • Share a “great neighbor” story or tell us how you are celebrating using #neighborday. Post it to our Facebook page.

Join Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and thousands of community members in celebration of what makes Seattle great – our neighbors! Click here for more information or contact Wendy Watson at wendy.watson@seattle.gov.

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Encouraging Backyard Cottages – Community Meeting with CM MikeO’Brien

January 13th, 2016 by sarawilly

The public is invited to a meeting on Backyard Cottages with Councilmember Mike O’Brien:

February 3, 6:00 – 7:30 PM

Wallingford Community Senior Center

4649 Sunnyside Ave N

The purpose of the meeting is to get public input on potential land use code changes that would encourage greater production of backyard cottages (also called detached accessory dwelling units or DADUs). CM Mike O’Brien and staff from the Office of Planning & Community Development will be available to discuss ideas and questions on a range of potential code changes they are exploring in anticipation of legislation to be drafted in late February and early March.

For more information, please visit the  project website.

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Extended lane closures start in two weeks along SR 99/Aurora Avenue North

January 4th, 2016 by sarawilly

A one-mile stretch of road will narrow to two lanes during peak commutes.

Drivers and commuters should plan ahead for construction work that will reduce both directions of State Route 99/Aurora Avenue North by one lane between the Aurora Bridge and just north of Mercer Street. The median lanes in each direction will close for four to five weeks starting Monday evening, Jan. 18.

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation need access to the median lanes to build four large sign foundations for the future SR 99 tunnel. This work was originally scheduled for spring 2015 but changed to January 2016 to lessen the traffic disruption. Winter months typically see lower traffic volumes.

“These signs require sturdy, concrete-encased pedestals along with communication lines, power lines and traffic sensors, which is why the construction work in the median will take at least four weeks,” said David Sowers, deputy administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. “We understand this will inconvenience drivers and commuters, and we are working closely with King County Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation to minimize traffic impacts as much as possible.”

During the first phase of this two-phase project, when the median lanes are closed, the southbound bus-only lane will open to all traffic. Drivers should use caution since buses will travel – and stop – in the lane with other vehicle traffic.

Closure details:

Jan. 18 through mid-February
• Median lanes close in both directions between the Aurora Bridge and Highland Drive, north of Mercer Street
• An additional lane will close at night and during several weekends including Jan. 23-24

Mid-February through early March
• Median lanes reopen. Northbound traffic returns to normal pattern
• The southbound curb lane near Comstock Street will close for approximately three weeks
• An additional southbound lane may close at night

WSDOT encourages drivers and bus riders to plan ahead as additional congestion is expected on Aurora Avenue North. Consider alternative travel modes such as ride-sharing or carpooling, or traveling in off-peak times. Keep informed by using King County Metro’s rider alerts or trip planning tools as well as WSDOT’s travel tools and SDOT’s travelers information page.

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