News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Entries from March 2010

4th of July fireworks on Lake Union canceled

March 31st, 2010 by master

Updated: For more than two decades, Gasworks Park was the place to watch an incredible Independence Day fireworks show. Today, One Reel, the company who produces the event announced that there will be no Family 4th and Lake Union this year. Tomoko Moriguchi Matsuno, president of the One Reel Board of Directors, wrote this letter on

Dear Community,

Since 1988, One Reel, the Seattle not-for-profit arts organization of which I am Board President, has been proud to produce the cherished Independence Day celebration and fireworks show, the Family 4th at Lake Union. This day of free family entertainment and a dazzling fireworks display has been, for more than two decades, an important time for us to come together as a community and celebrate this great country.

As a non-profit organization, One Reel’s core mission is to produce arts and cultural events that engage and enrich our community, but we cannot do it alone. You may not realize this free civic celebration has been an annual gift to Seattle made possible only through the generosity of a corporate sponsor who underwrites the cost of the event. One Reel wishes to extend a very special thank you to the sponsors we’ve been fortunate to work with over the years, including Fratelli’s, Cellular One, AT&T, WaMu and Chase.

For the past 15 months, One Reel has worked tirelessly to secure a title sponsor for the 2010 Family 4th at Lake Union but, regrettably, we were not able to secure one in time to proceed with this year’s event. For that reason, it is with a heavy heart we announce there will be no fireworks or festivities at Gas Works Park this year.

We understand the disappointment you must feel; we feel it too. However, I can assure you that One Reel is already hard at work searching for a new title sponsor who shares our commitment to presenting this beloved community event in Seattle next year, and long into the future. As always, One Reel remains dedicated to providing you with premier events—from the Family 4th at Lake Union, to Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival, to Teatro ZinZanni—that showcase the talent, artistic diversity and integrity of our great city.

Thank you, Seattle, for your ongoing support. We’d like to thank everyone—from our generous past title sponsors, to the City of Seattle, to event suppliers and on-site vendors, to more than 5 million patriotic revelers over the last 20 years—all of whom have made this event such an iconic holiday tradition.

We look forward to seeing you next year at Gas Works Park for the Family 4th at Lake Union.

Tomoko Moriguchi Matsuno
President and CEO Uwajimaya Inc.
President, One Reel Board of Directors

Wallingford Community Council president Mary Heim told us, “I’m not that surprised with the economic conditions as they are. I think it’s a shame, but last year Ivar’s cancelled their show [on Elliott Bay] and put the money toward food security issues; how can you argue with that?”

She added that she’s concerned people will buy fireworks and shoot them off in backyards and parks if they have nowhere to see fireworks.

Wallingford Chamber of Commerce president Kara Ceriello was more emotional: “What the hell? I live in a city that had two major fireworks and now nothing, not even something small.” She put out the suggestion that Paul Allen’s company sponsor a fireworks show on South Lake Union and call it the Vulcan Family 4th.

Ceriello also was concerned about people buying illegal fireworks and creating their own show. “Do you know how busy the police will be chasing down everyone’s illegal fireworks?” she said. “This is lame and ridiculous.”

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Strike or not, put out the trash

March 31st, 2010 by master

Despite the possibility of a garbage strike by Thursday, the city wants you to go ahead and put out your trash, recycling and yard waste as usual.

In a release Tuesday afternoon, Seattle Public Utilities asked customers to observe their regular pickup days. If there’s no pickup, leave it out an extra day, e-mailed Andy Ryan, media relations coordinator for the utility department. If it’s still not collected that next day, put it out the following week on your regular day.

The dispute is between Teamsters Local 174 and Waste Management, the company that provides pickup service for about half of Seattle, including all of Wallingford. A map of Waste Management’s service area is here.

Over the weekend the drivers voted to authorize a strike if they don’t have a new contract by Thursday. The current contract expires at midnight Wednesday.

The city’s contract with Waste Management requires continuation of services, and the company has announced it is lining up replacement drivers.

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Community Senior Center seeks board candidates

March 31st, 2010 by master

Wallingford Community Senior Center president Jim Stillman asked us to put out that word that the recently saved organization is looking for board members. Stillman said that they currently have 7 board members and need 15 to 20 members to have sufficient board capacity. Here’s more info:

Wallingford Community Senior Center is beginning an exciting transformation – from a small organization serving seniors to an inclusive Community Center, reaching out to the broader community with exciting intergenerational programs.

We are seeking Board members to lead in this challenging transformation – expanding & strengthening service to communities in Northeast Seattle.

Key work will involve:

  • Program development and expansion of service
  • Community outreach and building partnerships
  • Discover and meet the needs of our community
  • Development of sustainable financial support to ensure success of this transformation

A broad range of skills and experience is needed to build a strong board team. If you think you would be interested in building our community, please contact WCSC board President Jim Stillman for more information; 206-406-0635.

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Rancho Bravo's bigger digs are back

March 30th, 2010 by master

The new Rancho Bravo trailer that was damaged in a fire earlier this month is back in action as of last night.

In February Rancho Bravo got a larger trailer, only to see it catch fire and go out of commission just a week later. The original, smaller trailer was still on-site, so owner Freddy Rivas had that reinstalled while the new trailer was fixed.

The fire started, Rivas told us, because there was plywood between the interior layer of stainless steel and the exterior layer of aluminum on the panel behind the commercial burners. That’s a recipe for a conflagration. He said he was unaware that the plywood was still in there, and has made sure that the whole rear section now has no wood in the walls.

As for the future of the Winchell’s space that Rivas has leased, he said, “We’re still undecided as to what we’re going to put in there.  We’ve been tossing around a lot of ideas and have been getting feedback from our customers, so I’m hoping we will have a decision soon.” The decision has been difficult, he said, because “I want to make it something that I love, that I think the neighborhood will love and love for a long time. I would like it to be there 50 years from now. I don’t want to put in just anything.”

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Celebrate with Fuel Coffee and Izilla Toys today

March 30th, 2010 by master

Two local businesses are marking milestones today — and their customers can get caffeinated, sugared up, and then some.

First, it’s Fuel Coffee’s 5th anniversary. They’ll have drink specials all day long at all three Fuel locations (including the one N. 45th St. off Wallingford Avenue) and 50% off all drinks and all Fuel merchandise.

Jude Larene and Jen Schneeweis, owners of Izilla Toys, both were born on March 30. To celebrate, everything in stock (except bikes) is 20% off all day at their Wallingford Center and Capitol Hill shops. Every kid that goes to the store today will get a little party favor and
they’ll be serving cupcakes at 4:00.

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'Green Kitchen Kit' coupons coming this week

March 29th, 2010 by master

Check your mailbox this week for a coupon for a free “Green Kitchen Kit” which should arrive in your CurbWaste and Conserve newsletter. The kits, which feature an EcoSafe Kitchen Collector (shown at right) and compostable bags for storing food scraps, a food scraper, a CFL light bulb and a reusable shopping bag can be picked up starting April 15th at several Neighborhood Service Centers including the University NSC (4534 University Way NE) and the Ballard NSC (5604 22nd Ave NW).

“Green Kit giveaways are part of Compost Days, April 15 – May 30, when Seattle Public Utilities, Cedar Grove and Seattle City Light and our community partners are making these special offers to Seattle residents to say ‘thank you’ for helping make our city even better through your recycling and composting efforts,” the Seattle Public Utilitie’s website states.

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Wallingford's farmers market, this year and beyond

March 29th, 2010 by master

With spring here, many Wallingfordians are wondering what’s going on with the farmers market. The short answer: The market will begin its fifth year on Wednesday, May 19, in the south section of the Wallingford Center parking lot (see map, below). Beyond that, things get a little complicated.

What’s Changing at Wallingford Center?

We talked to Wallingford Center building manager Amy Singer, who said that Wallingford Center has attracted more and more tenants over the past few years, and it can’t offer as much of its parking lot as it has before. The new area stretches the entire southern length of the parking lot, but is still a smaller square footage than in earlier years. She told us that Lorig Associates, which owns the historic site, supports the farmers market and donates the parking lot and plaza spaces on the center’s west side for its use, but that building merchants also need to have parking space available to their customers.

Market organizer Jon Hegeman (who also started the farmers markets in Fremont, Ballard and Madrona) stressed to us that changes in market configurations and locations are normal. “Wallingford Center management has never been anything but wonderful to the farmers market,” he said.

The south section of the Wallingford Center parking lot will accommodate approximately 24 spaces, an adequate number when the market opens in May. But later in the season, more vendors will want to join, Chamber of Commerce president Kara Ceriello told us (the Chamber organizes and sponsors the farmers market). What to do then? The solution, she said, is to let the market grow onto the parking lane on Wallingford Avenue between N. 44th and N. 45th streets, which would allow for more vendors and bring the market up to N. 45th Street, where it can be seen easily.

In this scenario, car traffic would still use Wallingford Avenue and bicycle fences would be set up behind the vendors. Vendors would load in sequentially, like stacking blocks, Hegeman said. He pointed out that the availability of Wallingford Center’s plaza right next to Wallingford Avenue helps create a “natural nexus.”

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is considering this proposal, and the health of the farmer’s market at Wallingford Center hangs on that decision. “We want SDOT to help this community grow its farmer’s market. This has to happen,” Ceriello told us.

The Wallingford Farmers Market: Red = where the market has been located in the past; Green=where the market will open this year; Yellow=the plaza area, available for performances and community gathering; Orange=the proposed Wallingford Avenue parking lane annex; Blue=next year and beyond? See interactive map.

The Interlake Option
SDOT continues to examine the Wallingford Avenue parking lane option. In the meantime, Ceriello, Hegeman and others in the Wallingford and farmers market organizations tried to find alternate spaces for the market. They said the best option was an L-shape configuration from Interlake Ave./N. 45th St. to Stone Way/N. 46th St. Hegeman said, “It’s ideal the for city and ourselves. It offers the opportunity for expansion and growth and would give us the town square atmosphere.”

If the market did move to the Interlake location, the transition wouldn’t happen until late June because the market wouldn’t yet need the extra space. Ceriello noted that some businesses and residents in this proposed location oppose such a move because it would limit customers’ access and could create too much noise. Plus, neither she nor Hegeman liked the idea of having to reeducate the public about the market’s location. Ceriello said, “The farmer’s market is going to happen, but if it can’t expand on Wallingford Avenue, it’s going to move in the middle of it, which is kind of like starting over in some ways.”

The Interlake option runs from N. 45th/Interlake to N. 46th/Stone Way.

What About Next Year?
All these machinations just apply to the market this year. What might the future have in store? Ceriello said the Interlake location is a possibility for next year’s market, which could stay on Wednesday or move to Saturday. Hegeman told us about his ideal scenario for  2011 and beyond: A Saturday farmers market on Wallingford Avenue between N. 44th and N. 45th streets, with a street closure, and the Wallingford Center plaza as a performance/open space. He plans to poll vendors this season about switching from Wednesdays to Saturdays to create more of a destination market.

For market-goers, Hegeman explained, “Wednesdays are hard because of schedule conflicts, it just becomes an impossible addition to people’s routine.” He’s aware that many people go to the University Farmers Market on Saturdays and said, “What could happen is that the residential base in Wallingford will come to their home market on Saturday. We have about 22,000 people in 1.5-mile radius from center of Wallingford. I think if people had a strollable market in the center of town they’d make that part of their Saturday routine.”

The combination of a Wallingford Avenue market plus the Wallingford Center plaza for music, kids, and community activity is perfect, Hegeman said, then added, “To have a community nucleus is the holy grail of markets.”

Ceriello also favors the idea of a destination Saturday market for the local businesses and the community. She told us that some businesses on Ballard Avenue who originally opposed the Sunday market there have come to appreciate it. She also said that anyone who wants to know more about the market or has comments is welcome to email her at the Chamber of Commerce. Or, of course, you can leave your comments below.

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Avila is Seattle Magazine's 'boldest newcomer'

March 27th, 2010 by master

In the “Best Restaurants” issue (April) of Seattle Magazine, Wallingford’s Avila took the “boldest newcomer” title. Here’s how the mag described the restaurant, which opened in November 2009:

Spring Hill alum Alex Pitts leads a heavily inked crew of cavalier cooks in Wallingford that thinks nothing of tossing braised cockscombs (yes, that’s right, we’re talking about the floppy red fan-shaped bits that crown chickens and turkeys) atop herby risotto, making bone marrow beignets, or wrapping a leg of lamb in a swath of hay and lighting it aflame (quite a show for diners with a view of the open kitchen). The seasonal/ local/sustainable cooking is gloriously bold if, at times, overly enthusiastic (many dishes would benefit from Coco Chanel’s “take one thing off before you leave the house” mantra). But to taste cooking this ambitious, with such vision, without hopping a plane to NYC or LA? We’ll take that deal.

Other Wallingford highlights: a paean to Joule’s mackerel; Kisaku is dubbed “For the Sushi Lover Who Craves a Low-key Vibe”; and Molly Moon’s  and Trophy take Readers’ Choice for best ice cream and cupcakes.

Find other Wallingford mentions and see the citywide lists at the Seattle Magazine web site.

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More bus bulbs likely on N. 45th Street

March 26th, 2010 by master

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has proposed installing three bus bulbs along N. 45th Street in Wallingford to help move the 44 bus more quickly from Ballard through the University District. Bus bulbs are intended to make cars stop behind the bus so it doesn’t have to re-enter the flow of traffic to pick up and drop off passengers. The bulbs also clear the sidewalk for pedestrians and create more space for a bus shelter or other amenities.

Current bus bulb at N. 45th St. and Corliss (Photo courtesy of SDOT)

Jeffrey Bender from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) sent us detailed information about the proposed bus bulbs, the construction of which he said would be funded by Bridging the Gap, federal grants, and/or state grants. Because of the funding uncertainty, the bus bulbs could be constructed as soon as 2011 or as late as 2013.

These are the proposed bus bulb locations in Wallingford:

  1. Woodlawn/45th (eastbound direction, near Solid Ground, Seattle Public Library),
  2. Corliss/45th (westbound direction), and
  3. Thackeray/45th (eastbound direction)

Until recently, Bender noted, SDOT proposed installing bus bulbs at Latona/45th (westbound direction) and Wallingford/45th (eastbound direction), but they determined that the transit benefits did not warrant these changes.

Bender said that the bus bulbs will have “a modest calming effect on car traffic in the Wallingford section of the corridor, mainly because cars will wait for buses at bus stops instead buses waiting for cars to stop or clear out.” He also pointed out that pedestrian traffic should move much more freely at bus bulb locations because people waiting for buses will not need to wait in doorways or the middle of the sidewalk.

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Will Not a Number run? Find out at screening

March 25th, 2010 by master

Jon DeLeeuw and Kara Ceriello at Not a Number Cards and Gifts will host a screening of Michael Moore’s documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story” this Sunday evening at their shop, during which they plan to announce whether Not a Number (the corporation) will run for office. The pair have been exploring the idea of Not a Number running “to show how ridiculous the whole concept is,” DeLeeuw told us.

Moore wrote in the “The Huffington Post” today that there will be more than a thousand screenings nationwide, organized by He wrote, “ is launching a huge new campaign to take back democracy from the corporations and lobbyists. And I’m thrilled that they’ve decided to kick it off by bringing people together to watch my film.”

Here’s the information De Leeuw and Ceriello sent to us:

Cards & Gifts will be a local participant in this weekend’s national screening:  Michael Moore’s documentary about the financial crisis, “Capitalism: A Love Story”.  It’s this Sun. March 28, 6 pm at Not A Number, 1905 N 45th between the Guild 45th and Wallingford Center.  Well-behaved dogs welcome!

The movie is more relevant than ever after the Supreme Court repealed all limits on political spending by giant corporations. Corporations can spend any amount of money this November to defeat candidates they don’t like.  The movie parties give us a chance to discuss the plan to stop the corporate takeover of democracy, and you’ll meet progressives in your area and make some great new friends too.

The RSVP link says the event is full, but call Not a Number at 784-0965 to see if they’ll have extra space.

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