Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lake City Greenways having second meeting on October 10th

The Lake City Greenways effort will have their second meeting on Wednesday, October 10th, 7 p.m. at Kaffeeklatsch. There is progress to discuss with the program and much to plan.

A preliminary agenda:

(1) New potential routes-- need feedback and discussion.

(2) Need suggestions and scouting in the southwest part of our area.

(3)Traffic counts: We have some tools and ideas--let's schedule some rush-hour traffic counts and speed-watching.

(4) Committees: Let's form some interest groups to pursue Greenways-related projects: Murals

Thursday, October 4, 2012

SPD Safe Communities Meeting next Wednesday

When:  Wednesday, October 10 from 7pm to 9 pm

Where: North Seattle Community College (  9600 College Way North )
( we will update later with the exact building / room )

Here are the questions SPD is looking for answers to:

  • What is your top concern about crime and public safety in your community?

  • What can be done together to create a safer community?

  • What is going well with the relationship between your community and SPD?

  • What needs to improve?

  • What steps can we take to keep you engaged in building and creating a safer community?

An excerpt from the Safe Communities website: 

Safe Communities
Public safety is a high priority for the people of Seattle. The Seattle Police Department is addressing the recent wave of violence with emphasis patrols and other actions specific to each precinct. But it will take more than law enforcement alone to build communities that are safe. It’s time to look at the roots of violence and address longstanding neighborhood concerns. That’s why the Mayor’s Office and the Seattle Police Department are working together on the Safe Communities Outreach Mission. Part of the SPD 20/20 Plan, Safe Communities seeks to ensure the City is meeting our goal of reducing crime and creating the safest possible neighborhoods. We will do that by bringing residents and officers together in living rooms, cafes, barber shops and community centers across Seattle to develop a list of priorities to address community concerns. Those priorities will then guide the actions the City, SPD, and the neighborhoods will take together to protect public safety. We are committed to building safe communities. We’re looking forward to hearing your ideas and developing an action plan with you.
More information can be found at the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance website and in the document below.

Announcement: No Winter Shelter at Fire Station 39

Last night at North District Council, Thomas Whittemore from the Department of Neighborhoods announced that there would not be a Winter Shelter at the Fire Station 39 this winter. This was confirmed by phone with Richard Gholaghong from FAS as well as Jerry DeGrieck at the Mayor's Office.

The public disorder in that area is still a problem though. The current thinking on the best use of the old fire station space is to provide a "Storefront" for Seattle Police, also known as a cop shop. It provides them with a place to complete their paperwork during work hours as well as a rest stop for eating and stretching. A strong police presence at that intersection will go a long way toward addressing the near constant public disorder that negatively impacts our perception of Lake City.

The future of this property is still up in the air, and your presence at the two upcoming meetings matter. More information about those here and here.

Below is a timeline of the Fire Station permitting and occupancy over the last two years.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Low Income housing in Lake City - maps and Data

Below are some maps that were put together by a DPC member with information provided by City of Seattle's Office of Housing. The information was requested to get to the bottom of exactly how much low income housing there is in Lake City. There has been much disagreement about how much Low Income housing we have already and whether we need more or not, especially in regards to the Fire Station 39 property that the City has decided will be developed as Extremely Low Income housing for homeless.

Extremely Low Income is only one of six different low income subsidized housing categories. It is for those earning 30% (or less ) of median income. This category is primarily for homeless transitional housing.

The information provided is 2009 data, so the numbers have increased since then. One very important thing to keep in mind while looking at these is that best practice in Urban Design is to not concentrate low income housing beyond the county average. King county average is around 12%. The reason for this is that it risks the creation of a "ghetto", creating an economic downward spiral that locks people in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness. The Hope IV projects ( New Holly, Rainier Vista, High Point ) were all planned around these standard Urban Design practices by finding balance points for housing that was "market rate" with low income housing. They also planned for other aspects of a healthy community like social gathering spots for the community with city supported programming as well as efforts to encourage economic development. The same concept is being applied to the Yesler Terrace redo. This standard is not being applied to the greater Lake City area or the Lake City Hub Urban Village.

The City of Seattle's Office of Housing has arbitrarily set this balance point at 20% and has made public statements that they reserve the right to go above that if they deem it appropriate.

To see the maps in detail, click to expand and zoom in.

This first map is by District. We are the fifth highest of 13 districts for concentration of  Extremely Low Income Housing, just behind Duwamish, Delridge, First Hill, and Downtown. We are just slightly above the city average of 3.9%

Open publication - Free publishing - More eli
(If you cannot see the map click 'Open publication' in the line above)

The second map is by the next smallest geographic area: by neighborhood. The Cedar Park / Meadowbrook neighborhood making up the east side of Lake City has 484 Extremely Low Income housing units. This puts East Lake City at the 7th highest out of 54 neighborhoods in concentration of ELI housing -  behind New Holly, First Hill, Belltown,  High Point, Downtown, and Pioneer Square. East Lake City is twice the city average for ELI.

Open publication - Free publishing - More eli
(If you cannot see the map click 'Open publication' in the line above)

The third map is ELI distribution by Census Tract, the next smallest geographic area. The overall focus area is reduced to north of the ship canal. Of the 54 census tracts, Lake City has 4 that are above the average of 2.4%. They rank 2nd, 3rd, 7th, and 16th at 11.8%, 9.2%, 5.6%, and 3.1% respectively. The first rank goes to the housing at Magnusen Park, which is a little deceptive as the quantity of ELI housing and overall housing units is much lower. The proportional bubbles show the relationship of QUANTITY.

Another important thing to note is how many census tracts have zero or close to zero ELI housing. This is no accident, and it is disturbing to hear people from neighborhoods south of us tell us that we are being NIMBYs when quite the opposite is true.

Open publication - Free publishing - More eli
(If you cannot see the map click 'Open publication' in the line above)

The fourth map shows all Low Income Housing categories ( 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 65%, and 80% ) in the same focus area. Note the imbalance between the areas north and south of 85th. This is a critical distinction to make, as 85th marks a sharp division in an important public amenity - sidewalks. over 90% of the block faces ( one side of a street ) north of 85th have no sidewalks. It is almost the opposite south of 85th where over 90% HAVE sidewalks.

Open publication - Free publishing - More eli
(If you cannot see the map click 'Open publication' in the line above)

The fifth map shows the distribution of ELI housing by Census Block Group, the next smallest area. Census Block Groups  1.3, 1.4, 8.1 and 10.1 come in at 9.9%, 17.3%, 41.4%, and 10.2% ELI as a percentage of the total housing stock. This is just for the ELI homeless transitional housing category of Low Income subsidized, only one of 6 categories.

Open publication - Free publishing - More eli
(If you cannot see the map click 'Open publication' in the line above)

The sixth map focuses on the Lake City Hub Urban Village. The next smallest demographic area is the Census Block. Those are shown outlined in green. Census Tract boundaries are in heavy green. The green numbers are CensusTract:BlockGroup:Block. The red star on the left is the Fire Station 39 site where the City is proposing the development of 50 more ELI homeless transitional units. The red star on the right is the 21 unit ELI housing for homeless vets with dual diagnosis. The Mennonites also have stated that they are exploring developing the property their church sits on as additional ELI homeless housing.

Keep in mind also that these numbers do not include Section 8 subsidies or privately funded subsidized housing like Oxford House.

Here are the stats for the housing stock inside of the HUV ( info from King County ):

1,958 apartments
277 townhomes
236 condos
34 single family homes
2505 total housing units.

Percentage of housing units that are rentals: 78%
City average of rentals to housing stock: 50%

Number of low income subsidized rentals ( all six categories ): 505 

Number of those that are Extremely Low Income units: 251 
Percent of rental stock that is low income subsidized: 26%
Percent of rental stock that is ELI subsidized: 13%

So the Office of Housing and Seattle Housing Authority have exceeded their balance point in the HUV by 6%  and have exceeded the county average by 1% with just the homeless transitional housing stock. We have been accused as a community of being NIMBYs for requesting a moratorium on any further subsidized low income housing in our area, which is absurd when faced with these facts.

One more further division to make. The Office of Housing is trying to justify the inclusion of more ELI housing at the Fire Station 39 location by saying that Census Tract 2 can absorb more. The stats below are for the area of the HUV that includes Census Tracts 1 & 2 ( the area north of 125th ).

Number of apartments: 1183

Number of low income subsidized rentals ( all six categories ): 495 
Number of those that are Extremely Low Income units: 251 
Number of ELI with FS39 and Valor Apartments: 322
Percent of rental stock that is low income subsidized: 42%
Percent of rental stock that is ELI subsidized: 21%
Percent it will be with valor and FS39: 27%

That really should give pause to anyone. That is 27% of the rental stock ( which is nearly 80% of all the housing stock ) will be for homeless transitional housing in our Hub Urban Village.

Open publication - Free publishing - More lake city huv
(If you cannot see the map click 'Open publication' in the line above)

PHOTOS: Lake City Oktoberfest celebration

Last weekend Lake City hosted its first annual Oktoberfest celebration in the parking lot of Elliott Bay Brewing Company, DanceSport International and Kaffeeklatsch. The inaugural, two-day event was reported as success with participants saying the event brought another fun community event to the Lake City civic and business core.

In case you missed all the Fräuleins, lederhosen, Lebkuchen and beer steins here are some photos of the fun.

Smile for Oktoberfest!
Making Lebkuchen gingerbread necklaces.
The Kaffeeklatsch crew
The Biergarten
More photos below:

Fire Station 39 Meeting this Saturday

A reminder that this Saturday is the first of two public input meetings on the future of the Fire Station 39. It will be held from 11:30 to 2:30pm at Nathan Hale High School. This is your opportunity to tell our city officials how you want this property to be used and developed.

Below are talking points that were put together by a newly formed umbrella organization called Lake City Neighborhood Alliance. The organization was started as a means of speaking with one clear voice as a community. In the past, the opinions of community stakeholders have been drowned out by the efforts of outside advocacy groups.