Friday, April 6, 2012

Preliminary Seattle Schools proposal to build middle school on Olympic Hills Elementary campus

Update: A PDF of the actual plan is embedded below. 

Under a preliminary plan in the Building Excellence BEX IV levy, Seattle Public Schools has revealed at recent community meetings a proposal to building a middle school on the campus of Olympic Hills Elementary School. The changes could be dramatic for the small neighborhood school.

One proposal being considered is to build a middle school on the campus and create a K-8. The proposal would add an estimated 1,000 students to the relatively small school. But the project being considered would depend of funding approved by voters. The school levy will go up for voter approval in February of 2013.

According to charts in the embedded PDF below, Eckstein Middle School is projected to experience growth that cannot be sustained. Also, comments during a community meeting suggested that officials are eyeing the Olympic Hills Elementary site for a new middle school because of the large campus.

From Families for Lake City:

Of three proposed options, two call for adding a building adjacent to the elementary school by 2018 or 2019. This would change Olympic Hills from a K-5 to a K-8 and add much needed capacity for 1,000 6th-8th grade students.

Here is coverage of a recent meeting about the proposed levy that notes some of the discussion about Olympic Hills.

Thanks to Families for Lake City for alerting us to this story.

Drugs and more beer cans found on April 5th walk

A bag found in front of the Lake City Library with trace amounts of drugs still in the bag.

We found 18 empties last night and three drug bags. One of them was found in front of the library with trace amounts of cocaine still in the bag. We called it in to 911 and an officer responded.  During the course of the conversation with the officer, he talked about "the house."

The officer mentioned that they arrest people there and they are back out the next day. He also said that "the house" is known to be the primary supplier of crack in the area and that the majority of the car prowls in the neighborhood are from people living at or going to the house. He also mentioned there is a similar house in the University District that the community has had enough with and are in the process of suing the city to get it shut down.

The police are reluctant to make arrests when the courts turn them loose the next day. They are also reluctant to be proactive on issues like this as they do not want to act out of accord with the neighborhoods wishes. Working to form a closer partnership with officers may be helpful.

Meeting on Monday, April 9th at KaffeeKlatsch

We will hold our monthly Douglas Park Cooperative meeting on Monday, April 9th from 7pm to 8pm. It will be at KaffeeKlatsch. The guest speaker will be Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. She is the Chair of the Parks and Neighborhood Committee. We have invited her to speak with us about Parks space and activities.

The meeting format will be similar to previous. Sally will speak on the subject, followed by written questions submitted to the moderators.

Below is a statement of our goal, our strategies, and a list of questions for Sally.

Our Goal:
To increase the quantity and quality of indoor and outdoor recreational space & recreational activities for all members of the community in Lake City.
Transfer the Old Fire Station 39 property to Department of Parks and Rec for Civic / Recreational activities - Senior / Teen Activities Center, indoor / outdoor structure for Farmers Market / outdoor theater.
Develop 10,000 sf Skate Park at Virgil Flaim Park.
Advocate for funding for new Community Center with assets similar to Northgate, Bitter Lake, and Meadowbrook Community Centers - ( indoor sports courts, lounges, day care facilities, gym, meeting rooms. ) 
Create a Lake City Community Center Advisory Council, hold well publicized public meetings, and develop partnerships with ARC, Meadowbrook CC, BikeWorks, Boys and Girls Club, local educational programs ( e.g. - North Seattle Community College, Photography Center NW,  Center for Wooden Boats, Pratt Fine Arts ),  and others.
Actively pursue positive, active programming with partners, get activities on DPR programs catalog, and make full use of all DPR space in Lake City. 
Questions for Sally Bagshaw
Is the Lake City Community Center a Community Center the same way that others are?
There appears to be no DPR paid staff at this location. The programming there is not made public through Seattle Parks and Recreation NorthEast schedule for classes and programs. The space is not available for drop in recreational usage like BL, NG, and MB. 
Is there an Advisory Council for the Lake City Community Center? If not, how do we go about setting one up?
How does the ARC / DPR relationship work? 
Is there another levy in the works for 2014 after the current one expires?
How do we go about getting a new community center on the levy?
What can we use the Opportunity Fund for? What is the process?
What can we use the Neighborhood Matching Fund for? Process? 
How do we set up partnerships with private land owners ( Pierres )?  Any precedents?
How does the property transfer process work? 
We are particularly interested in the Old 39 property and how the process of transferring it to DPR  would work. Another property would be the parcels at the NE corner of Olympic Hills Elementary to DPR for a P Patch.
How was the DPR property at 12510 33rd Ave acquired in 2010? What are DPRs plans for it? What organization initiated it? 
Development / Improvements
If the old 39 is transferred to DPR, can the $950,000 that was going to be used to make needed improvements to the building still be used for that purpose? 
What improvements are going to be made to the Cedar Park playfield with the $500k that was earmarked in the Parks and Greenspace Levy?
What can we do as a community to help with ongoing maintenance of Parks assets?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Effort to save unique Kaffeeklatsch bike rack, story featured on local talk show, TV

Update: KOMO Television also picked up the story about the Kaffeeklatsch bike rack on Wednesday evening. They set up a live truck in front of Kaffeeklatsch and broadcast the story on 5 p.m. news. Their story is below.

A City of Seattle inspector again paid a visit to Kaffeeklatsch on Lake City Way and informed the owners that their unique bike rack is not up to city code. This even after the portable rack was rotated 90-degrees to try to meet the city's distance clearance code for bike racks. The rack is about one foot too wide for the spot, according to Kaffeeklatsch co-owner Brian Hensley.

The unique rack was commisioned by the business after owners Brian Hensley and Anette Heide-Jessen asked the City of Seattle to install a rack in front of their business. They were told then that the City did not have funds for racks so they built their own. At the time they were told that the rack needed to be moved into the business when they were closed so they commissioned the young artists at Coyote Central to make a portable bike rack.

Douglas Park Cooperative originally reported on the story on March 12th.

When contacted on Monday by the Seattle P-I, a spokesperson for the Seattle Department of Transportation said the City now has funding for bike racks and plans to install one in front of the business. He also said the City plans to enforce the rule that will not allow the custom-built rack to remain in front of the business.

The P-I story also reported that the City has plans to install 300 bike racks city-wide at a total cost of $186,000. Each of the simple racks will cost taxpayers $618. The elaborate Kaffeeklatsch rack cost $400.

Kaffeeklatsch has set up a Facebook page to save their bike rack and on Wednesday local KIRO radio talkshow host Dori Monson threw his support behind the Kaffeeklatsch bike rack on his radio show.

Monson has more on the topic here.

A City of Seattle inspector checks the bike rack's distance from the curb on Monday as Kaffeeklatsch co-owner Brian Hensley talks to the inspector.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Monday Weekly Walk

Our Monday night route usually takes us about 45 minutes to an hour. During the walk we catch up on what we are working on in the community. The conversations are almost the equivalent of a community meeting. The advantage is that we are picking up litter while we talk.

One of the projects we are working on is the documentation of empty alcohol containers. We started in February. Our tally is up to 475 cans and bottles now. On a typical walk, we collect up around 30 cans. Some nights more. We found 44 empties last night.

Monday, April 2, 2012

VIDEO: Suspected shoplifter restrained by Bartell employees, hit by bystander

A video was posted on YouTube on March 29th that is said to show a suspected shoplifter being restrained by Bartell's loss prevention officers. When the man accused of stealing resisted, a bystander intervened and repeatedly punched the man. And as is now common, the episode was captured on a cell phone video.

KIRO 7 reported on the video Monday. The shaky clip shows the suspected shoplifter being restrained by Bartell employees. A bystander attempted to assist the employees and then repeatedly punched the suspect in the ribs when the suspect resisted the Bartell employees.

“I was scared for the guy, the guy who was getting beat up. He was calling out for help,” said Musa Uke, the man who shot the cell phone video.

Uke posted the video to YouTube and wrote on the post: “A suspected thief getting beat down by Bartell Drugs employs and there undercover security guards all cause the kid stole some toothbrush, was this the right amount of force to be used you decide.....”

But as KIRO later found out, the man doing the hitting was not a Bartell employee but a bystander that intervened.

The man was suspected of putting a $150 toothbrush down his pants. When he was approached by Bartell's employees he ran outside.

“They pursued him out the store, as they’re trained to do, and they went to restrain him,” said Theron Andrews, the marketing vice president for Bartell Drugs.

“Our loss prevention team actually asked him to step away and not get involved because they had (the suspect) well in hand,” Andrews told KIRO 7. “We obviously don’t condone that, and we didn’t ask for or need his particular help at that point.”

Businesses in the Lake City area have been struggling against shoplifters recently. Tweedy & Popp Ace Hardware recently posted a wall of shame that shows suspected shoplifters captured by their security cameras.

Grocery Outlet has struggled with shoplifting with one representative saying at a community meeting that they are losing tens of thousands of dollars a quarter to shoplifting. 

Earlier in the week another citizen intervened in a pursuit of a suspect by a Seattle Police officer in Lake City. The man was commended by the department for his action.

The video of the incident at Bartell Drugs can be seen below:

Lake City Skate Park - Concept #2

Sunday, April 1, 2012

PHOTOS: Union Gospel Mission emergency shelter invites community to BBQ, prepares to close

On Saturday the community came together at the Union Gospel Mission Emergency Winter Shelter for a good 'ol community Barbecue.

Korean-style ribs, beans and salad were among some of the foods enjoyed by residents, staff, volunteers and community members during the event.

The shelter has been part of our community since it opened in November. The shelter is scheduled to close on April 1st.

Members of Douglas Park Cooperative have taken large bowls of home-made soup to shelter residents, participated in the advisory council and helped lead a weekly litter patrol with shelter residents. Many of the residents have participated in the litter patrols and have helped clean up our community.

The future of the building and the site is still being decided and groups such as Douglas Park Cooperative and Families for Lake City are working to have the site used for civic and community programs for youth, something that many say is lacking in our increasingly dense community.

There are many more photos from the event below. Click 'Read more' to see them.

Crime Plot - March 16th - 31st

North District Council Meeting

The North District Council is meeting this Wednesday evening at the Lake City Library from 7 to 9 pm. The North District Council meets once a month to discuss issues relevant to the Lake City area and to review budget requests and grant applications to the city for projects in the area.

It is made up of representatives from local neighborhood councils and organizations, but the general public is welcome. The NDC is a great way to find out about projects in our neighborhood and figure out how local government works.

This month they are voting for the new executive committee and are accepting new organizations.