Friday, March 16, 2012

Rockhounds to take over Community Center this weekend, you are invited

A photo from the 2009 show at the Lake City Community Center.

Admittance to the show is free.
The weekend, March 17th and 18th, the Lake City Community Center will be the site of the annual  North Seattle Lapidary and Mineral Club's rock show.

The annual event is a showcase of minerals and rocks gathered from around the world. The free event will feature rock and mineral displays, demonstrations, activities for youth, rock and mineral dealers, a silent auction, hourly door prizes and a scholarship fundraiser.

The show starts at 10:00 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. both days. 

For more information about the organization you can go to their website:

A rock saw that looks a lot like a prehistoric leprechaun.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nuisance behaviors in our neighborhood, visual proof

As Douglas Park Cooperative members do our twice-weekly walks we encounter many dangerous, disgusting and downright destructive things done by people in our community that either do not seem to have a stake in our community or do not have respect for our community —and often respect for themselves.

We have taken to documenting some of the things we encounter. These photos are a small sampling of some of the things we have seen in recent weeks. There are many, many more but we do not photo document everything. We also realize that taking pictures of chronic inebriates or drug users could lead to confrontation that we have deemed is wise to avoid.

Below is a sampling of what we regularly see. Keep in mind that we conduct two weekly litter patrols and folks at the UGM shelter also conduct one per week. Other neighborhood groups also conduct patrols and find similar things.

Likely one of the most disturbing was when we found at least four unsecured hypodermic needles in the parking lot of the Seattle Gymnastics Academy, a place that students are likely to run barefoot to their cars after class.

The focus of DPC from day one has been nuisance behaviors, not the often troubled people that are known to do them. That responsibility is more in line with what the Seattle Police Department contributes to our mission. That is why we are pursuing the Alcohol Impact Area as a small part of the complicated puzzle that will better our community.

We potentially have a great neighborhood and DPC wants to help everyone succeed in reaching their potential and overcome their struggles. However, these nuisance behaviors and their results bring down everyone.


Needles outside Cedar Park senior apartments

One of the dozens of hypodermic needles found in the neighborhood
A collection of empties on the street
Scene after a stabbing at the 99¢ Etc. store

Shoplifting suspects captured by camera at ACE Hardware

Elliott Bay Brewing Co. is welcomed to the neighborhood
Graffiti in front of Seattle Gymnastics Academy

Another needle in a neighbor's hedge

Shopping cart full of trash and beer cans

More vandalism at the dead end of 28th Ave NE near Seattle Gymnastics Academy

Four Loko cans in Elliot Bay Brewing doorway

Bag used for drugs

Truck vandalized with pink paint stolen from shed at Seattle Gymnastics Academy

Loitering, drinking with about 6 empties at the Chevron gas station

Warning: After this point the images become quite offensive and disgusting. Continue at your own discretion.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bring food donation to Thursday night meeting at Kaffeeklatsch

As part of our meeting on Thursday night with Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, Douglas Park Cooperative would like to use the opportunity to collect food for a donation to the North Helpline Foodbank in honor of Jeff Inman, the homeless vet that passed away on our streets last week.

We will have a donation box at Kaffeeklatsch during the meeting so please bring food for our community to share with others in need.

North Helpline has provided a box for the collection and said that their most-needed items are:

Canned tuna, chicken, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, 100% fruit juices, pasta, rice, macaroni, ketchup, mustard, light salad dressings, canned stews, chili, beef stew, chili, chicken noodle, Cheerios, Cornflakes, Grapenuts, Raisin Bran

DPC Meeting Reminder

Douglas Park Cooperative Meeting 
Thursday March 15th, 2012
Time: 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: KaffeeKlatcsh  (12513 Lake City Way )

Guest Speaker: Darryl Smith - Deputy Mayor 
The topic of Thursday's meeting is the off premises sale of certain alcoholic beverages. Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith has been invited to speak on this topic, and has said that he will be announcing a proposed policy change from the Mayor’s office regarding this subject. 
There are many strong emotions in regards to this issue and other issues surrounding it in our neighborhood. Due to this, we will be taking written questions prior to the meeting to present to Darryl. No direct questions from the audience as we want to try our best to keep the meeting focused on the Alcohol Impact Area. Feel free to email questions to us in advance to present to Deputy Mayor Smith:
The meeting will be jointly led by Janet Arkill from Families for Lake City and Dave Morris from Douglas Park Cooperative. We will ask as many questions as possible. The remaining questions will be given to Darryl to take with him.
Our goal is to create a community where we can all develop our full potential and help others realize theirs. We want to increase our “social capital” and “self determination." The request to the city for an Alcohol Impact Area is in this context. It provides a restriction on a product that is an impediment to the successful recovery of people suffering from Chronic Public Intoxication. 
We will also be making an additional request to Darryl and other City representatives in the coming months to help us with bringing more civic space and programmed, positive communal activities to this area. These positive communal activities are needed to replace the empty, passive activities that lead to the destructive behaviors that break down the potential of the individual and the community. 
In addition to your questions, we will be accepting food donations to North Helpline in honor of Jeff Inman, the homeless vet that passed away on our streets last week. Please bring your food donations to the meeting. We will have a box there for collection. A list of the items need by the food bank can be found here:
Meeting Agenda:
7:00 - Call to order. Introductory remarks
7:05 - Darryl Smith
7:20 - Q&A
7:45 - Closing remarks / Meeting adjourned. Help clean up. 
8:00 - Closing time.

Your chance to help: Big pots of soup needed at UGM Shelter

Douglas Park Cooperative member Annie Stocker, owner of Two Dog Yoga, has been delivering and coordinating big pots of homemade soup that are delivered weekly to the Union Gospel Mission Shelter at the Old 39.

For this week's delivery on Thursday, she is making a big pot of yummy chicken noodle matzo ball soup. But Annie, who has been coordinating neighbors and students at her yoga studio for the soup deliveries, needs help.

If you are good in the kitchen here is your chance to help out in our community.

Volunteers that sign up can help by making "the biggest pot of soup you can make —with or without meat," she said. The pots are delivered either Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning before 8 a.m. You can pick up your pot Thursday after 5 p.m.

Annie said no one signed up for the March 22nd soup or the March 29th soup makings and deliveries.

Here is a list of possible recipes via Seattle-based website But don't feel limited. If your grandmother's split pea recipe is close to your heart, why not share it?

If you can help with this important need in our community please contact Annie at to sign up for one of the available dates.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vandals break into Seattle Gymnastics Academy storage, paint car pink

A Toyota pickup was splashed with pink paint Sunday night after vandals broke into the SGA storage shed.

Vandals broke into a storage shed at the Seattle Gymnastics Academy and Seattle Preschool Sunday night. Nothing was noted to be missing from the storage, aside from a few gallons of bright pink and blue paint.

The vandals threw the paint on a pickup truck parked at the dead end of 28th Avenue NE, near NE 130th Street. The paint was also thrown on the street in front of the facility.

By day the dead end on 28th Avenue NE is home to the preschool and the gymnastics school and light indusrial and auto shops.

However at night, it becomes a hangout for drug users and chronic inebriates. People live in cars there at night and are asked to be gone by the time the school starts in the morning.

During recent walks there Douglas Park Cooperative has found hypodermic needles in the parking lot of the school —an area where students are likely to run barefoot to their cars after class.
Graffiti on a fence in front of SGA

Human feces and toilet paper are regularly found there are as high volume alcohol containers, used condoms, trash and graffiti. A fence in front of the SGA property has long had graffiti on it.

The City of Seattle recently replaced the 'Road End' and 'No Parking' sign at the end of the street after is was reported by DPC to be graffiti-covered and falling over.

Neighborhood home burglarized while occupied early today, suspect arrested

View Larger Map

About 5:30 a.m. this morning a woman in our neighborhood discovered a man in her house. She confronted him and he responded “I’m in the wrong house!” and left.

The woman called police and officers found the man about a block and a half from the residence.

As the suspect was being detained, officers found some of the victims property in the man's possession. She was later able to positively identify him as the man she saw in her house.

The 48 year old man was arrested and booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Burglary.  North Precinct Burglary detectives responded to the scene and processed the scene as part of their investigation.

This is another in a string of recent burglaries of North Seattle homes that are occupied at the time of the burglary. Recently officers arrested a teenager with a long history of crime in connection with some of the occupied burglaries.

Burke-Gilman Trail to reopen today with celebration

Tuesday the popular Burke-Gilman trail will reopen after being closed since the summer of 2011. A celebration is planned in nearby Lake Forest Park from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., featuring a ribbon cutting, prizes and fun. The gathering will be at the intersection of NE 165th St and the
Burke-Gilman Trail.

The redevelopment project improved the safety of the trail by widening it to a 12-foot trail with soft surface shoulders, enhanced traffic controls and intersection and crossing treatments. The trail also features lighting, a new stormwater system, retaining walls, slope stabilization, replacement of the Lyon Creek Bridge, and installation of native vegetation.

More info can be found here:

In other two-wheeled news, Columbia City's popular Bike Works program may be coming to Lake City.

Note: You may have noticed many bicycle-related posts here on this blog recently. It is not by design, just happens that there is much going on in the neighborhood related to two wheels the last couple of days. Send us your story ideas at:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bike Works programming may be coming to Lake City soon, needs help

Bike Works began in this house that had been boarded up and has since evolved into one of Seattle's unique nonprofits empowering youth, engaging adult volunteers and running a social enterprise full-service bike shop that helps fund its programming. Bike Works has been taking its programming to off-site locations and may be coming to to Lake City.

On February 11th Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was talking at a Town Hall-style meeting in South Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood. By design, the meeting was focused on issues in the Columbia City neighborhood and the south end. But during that meeting the discussion momentarily strayed from a south end-centric discussion.

To that South Seattle crowd gathered there, Mayor McGinn started to talk about issues and problems in Lake City and the north end. (20:16) in video

The Mayor mentioned that Seattle Police are seeing an increase in gang activity in Lake City. He talked about how the maps that show where youth violence is high, overlay perfectly with the same areas that show low income and school achievement gaps.

The Mayor mentioned Lake City's troubled schools and concentration of low-income families. He mentioned the increase in youth crime.

Also at that meeting was Deb Salls. She is a woman that six months ago took over as executive director of one of Seattle's most successful programs for low-income youth empowerment.

During his talk the Mayor said "public safety is not just about police officers and arrests, it really is about the holistic approach."

That got wheels spinning in Salls' head. She wondered what her program could do in the far Northeast corner of Seattle. "Could Bike Works make a difference?" she wondered.

A successful program that 'creates ripples'

'Bicycle leaders' work on a bike after school.
On a recent afternoon in Columbia City about 15 school-aged youngsters were turning wrenches and spinning wheels. They were diverse, enthusiastic and ranged from elementary aged kids to high-schoolers.

The telltale click, click, click of ball bearings in spinning bicycle wheels and discussions about seat posts and bar ends contributed to the buzz in the room. The smell of rubber tires, tubes and bicycle lubricants filled the air as the students worked and learned. Everyone in the room had grease under their fingernails and a smile on their face.

Other students worked in an office writing speeches for an upcoming fundraiser. They looked intense as they perfectly crafted their words about an organization that has made a difference in their lives. 

Welcome to Bike Works, a unique and innovative non-profit in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood.

"We are a program that creates ripples," said Davey Oil, Bike Works adult programs and volunteer coordinator.

The program started in 1996 as a bike share program in Columbia City. The organization, then known as the Free Ride Zone, teamed up with John Muir Elementary School to offer bikes to low-income students.

The popularity of the program in the low-income neighborhood surged. Soon they moved into a neighborhood house and set up shop. The house had attatched retail space that used to be a shoe shop in the '40s but had fallen into disrepair and was boarded up. They went from one staff member to more than 15 that now run the bike shop and programs.

Since those beginnings, the program has helped thousands of youth and adults learn to maintain a bicycle and in most cases, they have walked out the door with their own bike, helmet, and an understanding of the mechanics of the machines after completing one of the various programs offered.

Bike Works mission statement is to build sustainable communities by educating youth and promoting bicycling. They also work with adults. They primarily operate in under-served neighborhoods that lack easily accessible community programs and safe public spaces.

Their time-intensive after-school mentoring programs reach out to youth who are not attracted to traditional enrichment activities. Participants build confidence, critical thinking skills, self esteem, and life skills. They also learn what it means to give back to their community as they log community service hours toward earning their own bicycle.

Along the way they discover they have valuable skills to offer others in need. But probably most importantly, participants "realize their own self-worth in a community that will support, encourage, and strengthen them."

After the February Town Hall with Mayor Mike McGinn, interest in bringing the hugely-popular and successful program across town to Lake City was sparked.

Why Lake City?

Lake City has long been known as car city. The main drag is lined with car lots selling everything from Mini Coopers to giant box vans. In fact one of the only bike shops that pop up in a Google search of "bike shops" or "bicycles" in our corner of town is for Cooper Bikes, a bicycle designed by a division of the Mini Cooper car company and sold in their car showroom.

But the irony is that in Lake City most homes have a bike or two in the garage. A look at the exteriors of some of the condo and apartment complexes in the Lake City neighborhood show lots of bikes stored on the balconies. The mostly residential 25th Avenue NE sees dozens of bike commuters headed south in the mornings.

And if you can find the route, the Burke Gilman Trail (reopening today, March 13) is an easy pedal from our commercial and civic core.

Our neighborhood also has its share of social and economic issues.

Groups of teens regularly wander neighborhood streets, seemingly with nowhere to go. Our community center is minimal. There are few basketball courts and no skatepark. Graffiti seems to be everywhere; recreation nowhere.

A serial burglar that unnerved much of North Seattle in recent weeks may turn out to be a teenager from our part of town. A suspect was arrested just days ago.

We are a lower-income neighborhood with a neighborhood elementary school where 70% of the students are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.

No one can argue that the need isn't there.

Bike Works in Lake City

"The easiest way for us to start up there is with a partnership," Bike Works Executive Director Deb Salls said during a recent tour as she explained the group's interest in coming north.

She said the program is working with off-site programs in areas such as White Center and South Lake Union and would hope to partner with a school to initially bring the program to Lake City.

They would also need a place in Lake City to store a bunch bikes, stands and tools. "We would need a storage area to store bikes and tools for the duration of the partnership," she said.

The group could offer a suite of programs that are flexible, she said. But there are two programs they would most likely offer now in Lake City.

The first is the "UGottaGetABike" program which is designed for low-income youth who do not have a bike. This program teaches the youth some basic bike repair skills, road safety skills and each youth leaves the program with a bike and a helmet.

The second program is the "ABC: Adult Basic Class." This class teaches adults basic mechanic skills over six weeks of instruction and hands on training.

Once a location for the classes is figured out, Bike Works staff hopes to pay a visit to Lake City. 

Note: If you know of youth that would benefit from this program, if you like turning wrenches or have skills that can help Bike Works come to Lake City, contact us at

City asks Kaffeklatsch to remove bike rack

The bike rack in front of Kaffeeklatsch on Lake City Way.

When Kaffeklatch owner Annette Heide-Jessen asked the City of Seattle for a bike rack to be installed near her bakery and coffee shop, the City's response was that the funding for the racks was unavailable at that time.

So she got creative.

Heide-Jessen asked the folks at Coyote Central, an art program that teaches creative arts to kids ages 10 to 14, to come up with something with personality for the sidewalk on Lake City Way in the business core.

She said the requirement the city gave her was that the rack they created not be a permanent structure and be able to be rolled into the building at night.

$400 dollars later the creation above was wheeled onto the stretch of sidewalk not previously known as a place where creativity is on display.

But during a recent visit by a city inspector she was told the structure was not to code and would have to be removed.

An overhead view of the rack.
According to the inspector, the structure must be 5 feet from the nearby fire hydrant. With a bike slipped into the rack, that 5 foot rule was being broken, he said.

He also told her that the rack needed to be 5 feet from the building and 3 feet from the curb. The rack appears to leave plenty of room for pedestrians on the sidewalk, however it only gives about one foot of clearance on the curb side.

Fortunately the structure is not permanently fixed to the ground and can be moved farther from the hydrant. But the width may not be so easy to deal with.

The City of Seattle has recently restored funding for bike racks and may be able to install a replacement near the business. However, the City's replacement would likely not have as much character as the the funky rack created by the artists at Coyote Central.

"We are going to try and make it work," Heide-Jessen said.