News blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood

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‘Show Greenwood Some Love’ and other ways to help Greenwood businesses and neighbors

March 11th, 2016 by Mike

Brenda emails:

Reading about the explosion in Greenwood and how it has severally impacted those business made me think it would be great if the Maple Leaf neighborhood put together some kind of a fund raiser to support the Greenwood neighborhood. Maple Leaf Life is such a great communication tool. Perhaps we could put out the idea and see what kind of response we can get and if anyone wanted to head it up.

Certainly a good thought if folks want to make it happen.

There is a central locus for collection efforts. From our sister site PhinneyWood, which posted it Thursday:

The Phinney Neighborhood Association set up a special donation page. Donations are tax-deductible and 100% will go to help affected businesses. If you don’t want to donate online, checks can be made out to Phinney Neighborhood Association with “Greenwood disaster relief” in the memo and sent to: PNA – Greenwood Relief Fund, 6532 Phinney Ave. N. Seattle, WA 98103. (more…)

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Power lost in NE Maple Leaf during wind storm

March 10th, 2016 by Mike

Update 8:13 a.m.: Wind gust to 35 mph.

Update: City Lights estimates power returns around 8:30 a.m. For updates go to the utility’s outage map.

Power was lost at 5 a.m. to over 3,400 neighbors in the northeast part of Maple Leaf and up into Pinehurst.

Winds at the time were blowing up to 39 mph as measured here at Maple Leaf Life South. (Rain = 1.15″.)

Shortly before 6 a.m., Seattle City Light has 3,544 customers without power, most of them here.

In the broader area, Puget Sound Energy reports over 43,000 without power.

The Seattle Times is updating a regional story.

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Updates on bus service, Roosevelt Way work

March 9th, 2016 by Mike

Is your bus route changing?

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Over at Re-think Green, Julia has done a lot of work on the changes coming to our bus service as the University Light Rail station opens later this month.

This post is for my peeps who ride Metro (or may want to ride Metro) in the North part of Northeast Seattle. I’m talking ‘bout Lake City, Olympic Hills, Jackson Park, Pinehurst, Northgate, and Maple Leaf. My hood.

Her specific post is here: Metro Changes: A summary for Northgate & Lake City. (The short take, I think, is that many routes that now go downtown will go instead to the light rail station.)

Meanwhile, the Seattle Bike Blog has reported on the extensive work coming to Roosevelt Way this year from Northeast 65th Street to the University Bridge.

Major work to repave Roosevelt Way and rebuild it with transit, biking and walking improvements starts March 14, SDOT says.

That report is here: Work starts soon on major Roosevelt Way repaving & redesign, will last most of 2016.

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UPDATE: Stolen cars, including a Northgate carjacking

March 8th, 2016 by Mike

Update March 9: Kevin emails this morning to report two hit-and-run sideswipes.

Last night around 1:30 a.m., near the intersection of 20th Avenue Northeast @ Northeast 88th Street, a vehicle ( possibly a black Honda Civic) side swiped both my wife’s and my cars , leaving extensive damage. A police report has been filed.

My neighbor mentioned he heard the incident, but got to the window too late to see the car involved. He did mention however, that a woman walking her dog was in the middle of the street and may have witnessed the collisions.

Wondering if you could reach out to your readers to see if any one else on 20th Avenue was hit and/or if we can locate this woman and get her to come forward with any detail she may be able to provide.

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A neighbor emails today that a stolen car was abandoned in a carport in the 9800 block of Fifth Avenue Northeast.

A fellow tenant had left a note on the car’s windshield, asking the owner to move it. This Honda had no license plates and looked as if it had been hit on the driver’s side; the exterior rear-view mirror on that side was hanging down and the doors were unlocked.

Police determined the car had been stolen a month previously.

The map below shows stolen cars in the Maple Leaf area so far this year, according to police reports. There are several dozen of them.

In addition, more information is now available on a carjacker who was arrested last week after stealing a Lexus from Northgate Mall at the end of February. From police:

Detectives believe the 18-year-old suspect approached the woman around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 29th, as she was getting out of her car in the Northgate parking lot.

The teen demanded the woman’s keys and told her he had a gun. He then climbed into the woman’s car, joined by a second male suspect, and sped off.

Two days later, on March 1st, police received a report of a hit-and-run at Aurora Avenue North and North 50th Street,  after the same silver Lexus smashed into two other cars and drove off.

A witness followed the Lexus to North 63rd Street and West Greenlake Way North, where the 18-year-old driver and his female passenger bailed out of the car and took off running.

Officers found the suspect and his passenger–his 17-year-old girlfriend–at North 61st Street and Linden Avenue North.

Police found the Lexus’s key in the 18-year-old’s pocket and booked him into the King County Jail for robbery, auto theft and a felony warrant. Officers also booked his girlfriend into the Youth Service Center for auto theft.

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A splendid sunset, followed by a wet week

March 7th, 2016 by Mike

The National Weather Service in Seattle this afternoon issued a special weather statement:

Wet and wetter.

By Wednesday night:

STRONG WINDS ARE POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF WESTERN WASHINGTON WEDNESDAY NIGHT. A STRONG FRONT AND LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS LIKELY TO AFFECT THE REGION. HEAVY RAIN IS POSSIBLE FOR THE OLYMPIC MOUNTAINS AND A MIX OF SNOW AND RAIN WILL FALL IN THE CASCADE PASSES. THE MOST LIKELY AREA FOR STRONG WINDS IS THE COAST AND THE NORTH INTERIOR AND STRONG WINDS COULD CONTINUE INTO THURSDAY MORNING.

Other than that: Rain, rain, rain and rain.

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UPDATE: Seattle Council can’t count. Pronto bike program still muddles on – will the new City Council districts make a difference?

March 2nd, 2016 by Mike

Update March 10: Since folks are still commenting on this:

The Seattle Times’ Brier Dudley has a piece much discussed on talk radio: Pronto alternative: bike ownership.

And Publicola’s Josh Feit has a rebuttal: A Bike Policy for Adults.

Off-topic, but about biking, the Seattle Bike Blog has a post slamming sharrows, but also sort-of explaining them. (“The sharrow is the city’s most prolific graffiti tag.”)

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Update Thursday afternoon: Two days after the fact, The Seattle Times has a new story saying the city claims Tuesday’s vote on Pronto was not in fact split 3-3 but actually favored bailing out Pronto 4-2 because:

1) Councilwoman Debora Juarez, who represents Maple Leaf and north Seattle, actually voted “aye.”

2) Committee chair Mike O’Brien, a Pronto backer, counted wrong.

The story is here: Seattle council panel’s Pronto vote wasn’t an even split, after all.

Though Juarez didn’t contest O’Brien’s take at the time, she actually voted “Aye,” which means the real result was 4-2 in favor of buying the struggling bike-sharing program for $1.4 million. That’s what the council’s official record now shows.

With a 3-3 tie, the plan to rescue Pronto would have gone to the full council March 14 with no recommendation from the committee. The 4-2 result means there will be a recommendation that the full council vote to prop up the program.

SeattleBikeBlog has posted here.

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Pronto – Seattle’s bike renting program which will go broke at month’s end (and would already be insolvent if the city hadn’t spent nearly a third of a million dollars bailing it out at the turn of the year) – is still adrift.

On Tuesday the city’s transportation committee – now called the “Sustainability & Transportation Committee” – split  3-3 on whether Pronto should be saved for another $1.4 million.

(Editorial snark: The old public safety committee is now named the “Gender Equity, Safe Communities & New Americans Committee. We originally thought public safety might have become the new “Human Services & Public Health Committee,” but perhaps that’s the one saddled with The Jungle, another place to watch how the new council functions.)

Our interest in Pronto is not so much in whether it’s useful to Maple Leaf and the north end – it’s not, unless you take a bus or, soon, light rail, downtown – but in its politics.

How will Seattle City Council members, newly elected by district to represent specific neighborhoods, vote?

In this case, Debora Juarez, who represents the north end’s Council District 5, including most of Maple Leaf, voted on Tuesday against the buyout.

Councilman Rob Johnson, who represents Maple Leaf’s southern toe and points south in District 4, is an enthusiastic “yes,” and has posted such on the City’s web site: Why investing in bike-share matters.

For more about districts citywide, go here.

The Seattle Times has coverage of Tuesday’s meeting here: City Council can’t make up its mind over saving bike-share program.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who chairs the committee, voted for purchase, as did Rob Johnson and Kshama Sawant. Councilmembers Lisa Herbold, Tim Burgess and Debora Juarez voted against the plan.

O’Brien represents Northwest Seattle, Sawant represents the Central District.

Herbold represents West Seattle/South Park, Burgess’ district covers the entire city. (more…)

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UPDATE: Wind, rain knock out power momentarily

March 1st, 2016 by Mike

March 2nd: Tuesday’s night’s downed tree is being removed from Eighth Avenue Northeast just north of Northeast 92nd Street.

Update:

Lightning strike on 8th by Olympic View Elementary felled a big tree in a back yard. 3 cop cars.

James Ratzliff ‏@jermainiac 56m56 minutes ago

@MapleLeafLife Power out at QFC Northgate. Also traffic lights on NG Way at Roosevelt and 15th Ave NE.

Update 4:15 p.m.

Much of the area around Maple Leaf has lost power.

Seattle City Light says there are currently just over 6,000 customers without power in the city.

In all of western Washington that number is closer to 50,000 75,000.

Wind gusts here hit 33 mph at 2:21 p.m.

Incidentally, Cliff Mass says that as of 1 p.m., Seattle officially has its wettest winter ever.

Here at Maple Leaf Life South, a quarter-inch of rain has fallen since this morning, on top of .41 inches overnight and Leap Day.

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The lights flickered at 2:09 p.m., then again, then darkness. Back, now.

Winds to 26 mph at 2:06 p.m.

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Why didn’t police respond to 911 calls?

February 28th, 2016 by Mike

KING 5 TV tweeted this weekend that Seattle Police will investigate why police entirely failed to investigate multiple 911 calls about a crash at Lake City Way Northeast and Northeast 20th Street.

A car crash during an evening rush hour last month left two drivers angry and frustrated after Seattle Police failed to respond to their repeated calls to 911. Both drivers told dispatchers they thought the man who caused the accident was drunk and they feared he could hurt or even kill someone if he left the scene.

It’s certainly not the first time here.

The King 5 story is here. The incident occurred Jan. 14th.

Frustrated by the lack of response from the 911 center, Aspelund tracked down a phone number of the Seattle Police Department North Precinct, located about 2.5 miles from the crash site. She said the officer who answered was no help at all, telling her that unless there was a horrible accident police were unlikely to respond and recommending she take up her complaint with city leaders.

The reaction so far has not been supportive:

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Police identify suspect, weapon in officer-involved shooting

February 22nd, 2016 by Mike

Update Feb. 25th: “Black lives matter” protesters downtown demand criminal charges, resignation of police chief.

Update Feb. 23rd. Seattle NAACP calls shooting cold-blooded murder. The Seattle Times has the story here.


Police this afternoon released the identity of the suspect shot and killed by police on Sunday afternoon.

Around 3:30 p.m.police were conducting surveillance in the 2200 block of Northeast 85th Street as part of an ongoing investigation. Officers observed a man with a holstered handgun, and identified him as Che Taylor, 46, a convicted violent felon, legally prohibited from possessing a handgun. Taylor’s criminal history includes convictions for assault, robbery and rape.

At approximately 4:15 p.m., officers called for additional units to assist in taking the suspect into custody. As Taylor stood at the passenger door of a white Ford Taurus, a marked patrol vehicle with emergency lights on pulled up facing the Taurus.

An SPD arrest team then approached the vehicle to take Taylor into custody. Officers ordered Taylor to show his hands and get on the ground. He did not follow officers’ commands, and instead leaned into the Taurus.

According to officers, as well as a civilian witness interviewed by investigators, Taylor reached for his handgun, leading officers to fire.

Officers detained the other two people in the car and called for medics. Police performed CPR on Taylor at the scene until medics arrived. He later died at Harborview Medical Center.

Detectives are still serving warrants as part of the investigation, but have recovered Taylor’s firearm, When Taylor arrived at Harborview Medical Center, he was carrying approximately 6 ounces of suspected crack cocaine and black tar heroin. Officers booked one of the other people in the vehicle into the King County Jail for possession of a significant quantity of suspected heroin.

SPD Force Investigators and the department Chaplain met with the Taylor family Sunday night. Chief Kathleen O’Toole has also been in contact with numerous community leaders to brief them on the incident.

You can see the video here.

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Man shot at NE 85th, 20th Ave. NE UPDATE Officers involved

February 21st, 2016 by Mike

Update: The suspect has died.

Seattle Police have issued a news release:

Officer Involved Shooting After Confrontation In Wedgwood Neighborhood

Written by Public Affairs on February 21, 2016 5:13 pm

Seattle Police Force Investigation detectives are investigating an officer involved shooting that occurred in the Wedgwood neighborhood late this afternoon.

Officers from the North Precinct were investigating a suspicious car in the 2100 block of NE 85th St. around 3:45 p.m. when officers spotted a known felon who was clearly armed. Officers contacted the man who refused commands. Two officers fired at the suspect during the confrontation.

Seattle Fire medics provided emergency care to the suspect and transported him to Harborview Medical Center. The suspect’s injuries appear to be life-threatening.

As per SPD policy, designed in collaboration with the Department of Justice, detectives from the Force Investigation Team and Crime Scene Investigators are on-scene with representatives from the Office of Professional Accountability to collect evidence and review the incident.

Per department policy, the officer involved in the shooting will be placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

This is a developing incident and we will update this post with additional information as it becomes available

Update 1:

Harborview Medical Center staff have confirmed that the suspect has died of his injuries.

This is still a very active investigation. As additional information becomes available, we will continue to share it publicly.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Force Investigation Team directly at 206 684-9292.

Our news partner The Seattle Times is updating here.

(more…)

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Cafe Piccolo closes, more mail theft reports

February 21st, 2016 by Mike

Cafe Piccolo is closing this month after a decade serving Maple Leaf dinners.

The last day for the restaurant, at 9400 Roosevelt Way N.E., is Feb. 29th.

On its Facebook page, Cafe Piccolo says, in part:

Thank you Maple Leaf and Café Piccolo fans for 10 years of devoted business! Café Piccolo will close its doors on February 29th under the Carlino ownership. This was not an easy decision to make, as we have grown fond of all of you and attached to the community that has supported us through the good times and the challenges of a not so great economy.

Our great staff that you have come to know will be staying on to help with the transition to the new owner. We are confident that we are leaving the restaurant in very good hands, someone who will be able to take this location to the next level and grow with the neighborhood.

Since the restaurant is not open Sundays or Mondays, that effectively means the last day to eat there is Saturday, Feb. 27th.

Thanks, Chris, for the heads-up on Piccolo. Thanks, also, to Terry for the news last month that Hang Fire Design gallery and True Color Hair Design, both on Roosevelt, have shut their doors.

Also, earlier this weekend Jesse wrote to say:

On Friday night, February 19th, at 10:45 p.m. I stepped outside (corner of 8th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 103rd  Street) and saw a blue truck with a covered bed, man driving and woman in the passenger seat, stop at our mailbox bank. She saw me and he sped off towards Roosevelt. I have never seen this truck in the past and it was obvious that they were there to steal mail.

Last week a similar mail theft was reported at 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 102nd Street.

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Two more things about Pronto bike rental…UPDATE

February 18th, 2016 by Mike

Weekend update: Pronto muddles on.

The Seattle Bike Blog has a long Pronto update here, including a look at its financials.

In other words, the proposed $1.4 million is a buyout, since the city is purchasing assets (and getting a good deal as you will see below). But the $305,000 is a bailout, a cash injection to keep the system afloat.

In addition, Crosscut has a piece today.

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On what’s already an exceedingly odd day (see police chief, also Pope, Trump), here are two new things about Seattle’s failing Pronto bike rental service:

1) In an editorial, The Seattle Times suggests we wish Pronto off on the Eastside.

It probably won’t work there, either, the Times seems to say, but maybe they’ll give us money for it.

2) Over at Publicola, Josh Feit reveals Seattle, which is considering spending $1.4 million to rescue Pronto, just (quietly) spent nearly a third of a million dollars on it.

The city has already spent $305,000 to keep Pronto afloat through February. SDOT went ahead and gave $65,000 to Pronto last December and $240,000 this year so Pronto could pay its vendor contract.

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Delayed 911 response “completely unacceptable:” police chief

February 18th, 2016 by Mike

In an odd half-day conversation with participants in the social media forum Nextdoor, Seattle’s new police chief said:

*  “It’s no surprise that your concerns again reflect what I’ve heard consistently from residents throughout the city. Property crime, 911 response, and homelessness are top of your lists.”

*  “This week we established a Property Crimes Task Force to focus exclusively on these crimes. This team will use strategies similar to those that have proven effective in addressing chronic crime and drug dealing downtown and in other neighborhoods in the city. I will share the early results soon.”
* “Our delayed 911 response times are completely unacceptable. Mayor Murray has directed me to take a hard look at our 911 response and modernize our system.”
Chief Kathleen O’Toole also addressed homeless issues in the conversation. For more, go to The C i s for Crank.
The “Nextdoor Town Hall” was announced at 10:22 a.m. Wednesday with this posting to the Nextdoor site:

Today I’d like to take this opportunity to hear directly from you. Let me know what we’re doing right, where we can improve and what questions you have. Simply reply to this post with your questions by 3:00 PM today and I’ll try to answer as many as possible with a post by 6:00 PM this evening.

She got 311 replies. Here’s her entire response:

(more…)

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Funny … we thought we were old Subaru

February 17th, 2016 by Mike

The ever-entertaining Gene Balk, in his ongoing effort to bring enlightenment to the masses, has more head-scratching news:

Much of Maple Leaf is No. 2! in owning politically correct Toyota Priuses. Or whatever the plural is of Prius. (Priusi?)
Balk, the Seattle Time’s FYI guy, has crunched numbers from the state’s Department of Licensing and the census bureau.

As the top-selling hybrid — Urban Dictionary defines it as “the most liberal car ever” — the Prius conforms nicely with Seattle’s environmentalist ethos. The distinctively styled sedan has become a kind of green status symbol, according to a recent study on Prius owners, an example of “conspicuous conservation.”

Grrrr.

If the outdoorsy Subaru represents Seattle’s free-spirited inner child, then the Earth-friendly Prius plays the role of responsible parent.

That’s OK. Know who owns more?

Tukwila. (Why? Uber.)

Plus, hats off to Gene:

So is the Prius the quintessential Seattle car? Popular as they are here, they still don’t threaten Subaru.

DOL records show there are about 13,000 Priuses registered as passenger vehicles in King County. Subaru’s most popular model here, the Forester, numbers nearly twice that.

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Community crime meeting, Debora Juarez walking tour

February 17th, 2016 by Mike

A community meeting on crime in north Seattle has been called by a church just off North Northgate Way.

“Averi Norgaard of Epic Life Church  is inviting the church’s neighbors to join their congregation to start the conversation on how to reclaim their sense of safety. They also want to work with the city to bring the crime rate down.”

The full story from KOMO is here.

The church is at 10510 Stone Ave. N. The meeting is Sunday, Feb. 21, from 6-8 p.m.

On Friday, new Seattle City Councilwoman Debora is planning a walking tour of part of her Fifth District.

The tour is planned for Feb. 19th from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

It begins from 10-11:30 a.m. at Northaven senior living, 11045 Eighth Avenue N.E.

From 1:30  2:30 p.m. it moves to North Helpline, 12736 33rd Ave. N.E.

Continuing from 3-4 p.m. at Mary’s Place, 1155 N. 130th St.

And ending from 4:30-6:30 p.m. with a reception at The Shanty Tavern (?), 9002 Lake City Way N.E.

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