News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Entries from February 2011

How was Wallingford affected in 2001 quake?

February 28th, 2011 by master

Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the earth shook beneath us. KING 5 put up videos of Feb. 28, 2001, and the aftermath on their site. Here’s one that surveys the damage downtown:

Since the quake, Wallingford has become one of three Seattle neighborhoods that kicked off preparations for the next emergency, whether it’s natural or manmade. See more information on Office of Emergency Management’s site.

We’d love to hear from readers who were in Wallingford on the day of the quake and may recall any damage or other details. Some responses are on our Facebook page.

We checked in with Mary Heim, the former Wallingford Community Council who’s headed up Wallingford’s emergency preparedness for a few years, to get her story of the 2001 quake. She wrote:

I work at home but just so happened to be in a meeting in SeaTac that morning. My husband was working over in Redmond, and my daughter was in Kindergarten (Spanish immersion classroom when it hit) at John Stanford International School. Luckily, it was not the subduction earthquake event that is possible and we were all able to get home just fine.

I got in the car and was listening to the radio for info before driving back and did not try to make any phone calls for a couple of hours until stuff died down a bit, didn’t want to tie up emergency lines. Ironically, a huge percentage of the calls coming into 911 were “Hey, I think we just had an earthquake…”, DUH! Had trouble calling my husband in Redmond but got a call through to my Mom in KY to let her know that we were OK. That out of area contact thing really works, the local circuits were still busy but got the out of state call through instead.

Funny aside: Talking with my daughter that evening at dinner, we asked how it was for her and the other kids during the quake. She said they all did the “drop, cover, and hold” under the tables. Some kids were scared and crying a bit, but she didn’t. After it stopped, they all went outside to the playground for awhile then back inside. Out of curiosity, I asked if her teacher had given instructions in Spanish or English. Her response was an incredulous, “Mmmmoooommmmmmm, we were in the SPANISH classroom…you KNOW we only speak Spanish in there!” Senorita Maria never broke form.

Heim also brought us up to date on neighborhood emergency preparedness:

Current planning: There is a citywide leadership group that meets monthly, plans exercises and is working on how the emergency communication hubs in the neighborhoods would function during a major civil emergency.

There is a new website under construction where several groups (Green Lake, Wallingford, View Ridge, Phinney, Fremont, Ravenna Eckstein…) are going to be accessed from one site. There will be a landing page and then separate sections for the individual neighborhoods.

She also mentioned the Wallingford Community Senior Center plans to host a potluck in a few weeks that “will be a chance for people to connect, find out about the citywide stuff that has been going on and how to plug into the process locally. Debbie Goetz from the Office of Emergency Management will be there to pass on some great tips and answer questions.” We’ll pass along more information on that gathering when plans are firmed up.

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Time for some steaming Zoo Doo

February 28th, 2011 by master

The Woodland Park Zoo’s Spring Fecal Fest is almost here. Register for your chance to win some prized zoo animal poo to spread on your garden or yard.

Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.

Zoo Doo is the most exotic and highly prized compost in the Pacific Northwest, perfect for vegetables and annuals, composed of exotic species feces contributed by the zoo’s non-primate herbivores. Bedspread, the zoo’s premium composted mulch, is like Zoo Doo but with higher amounts of wood chips and sawdust. It’s the perfect mulch for perennial beds and woody landscapes such as native gardens, rose beds, shrubs, tree rings or pathways.

For a chance to purchase Zoo Doo or Bedspread, send in a postcard from March 1 through March 18 only. You can enter both the Zoo Doo and Bedspread drawings, but separate postcards are required. For Zoo Doo, mark your postcard “Zoo Doo.” For Bedspread, mark your postcard “B.S.” Entry cards will be selected randomly for as many entrants possible. Dr. Doo will contact the lucky drawn entries only.

Pick-up dates for Zoo Doo or Bedspread begin April 8 through April 24. The lucky winners load the compost, using shovels provided by the zoo.

To enter the random drawing, send one postcard per person (except if you want both Zoo Doo or Bedspread) to Dr. Doo, Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th St., Seattle, WA 98103.

Your postcard must include: your name, day and evening phone numbers, whether you want Zoo Doo or Bedspread, how much you want (anything from a garbage bag to a full-size, pickup-truck load), and whether you prefer weekday or weekend for pickup.

Zoo Doo and Bedspread prices are: pickup truck with 8×4 bed – $60; 6×4 bed – $45; 6×3 bed – $35. Limit one full truck per person. Garbage cans – $8 to $10 depending on size; bags – $4 to $6 depending on size. Two-gallon and pint-sized buckets are available anytime at the ZooStore for $14.95 and $4.95, respectively.

For more information, call the Poop Line at 206-625-POOP or visit the zoo’s website.

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Surprise snow on Saturday

February 26th, 2011 by master

Thanks to our sister site Maple Leaf Life for this weather report.

This morning we were having a partly sunny day, but now – it’s snowing. And expected to continue to do so.

The National Weather Service within the hour has issued a winter weather advisory for the Interstate 5 corridor. It calls for up to 2 inches of snow through Sunday morning.





We had earlier mentioned the chance of snow Saturday evening, but it vanished from the forecast today. You might also want to check recent posts here and here about whether last week’s snow forecasts were all wrong.

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Help grow produce for food banks

February 25th, 2011 by master

Though temperatures are low, you can still smell that spring is coming right up. Now’s the time that many Wallingfordians start planning their edible gardens. Here’s a way you can use your green thumb to help feed fresh produce to others.

Sustainable Wallingford’s Greenhouse Project is seeking volunteers to help grow fresh organic produce for local food banks in a South Wallingford greenhouse. Volunteers grow thousands of vegetable starts, which then will be distributed by Lettuce Link to P-Patches around the city.  All vegetables will then be donated to food banks.

The Greenhouse Project wants volunteers who can commit to spending approximately an hour at the greenhouse one day per week during the growing season (March-June).

If you’re interested in volunteering for the local greenhouse project there is an orientation and workshop tomorrow, February 26, 10:00am-12:00pm at Solid Ground (1501 N. 45th Street). Meet in the first-floor conference room at Solid Ground; enter through the back of the building, near the parking lot.

Please RSVP to Abby Klingbeil at

Read more about the program in this 2009 Seattle Times article.

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Parks Dept. seeks sponsors for wading pools

February 25th, 2011 by master

Last year the Wallingford Playfield wading pool was one of many citywide where operations were reduced to three days a week. At the time, community members wondered if they could pay to keep the pool open additional days; the answer was yes, with a big caveat:

The City would welcome community support and would add days to the program through the season if communities across Seattle are able to come up with funding to supplement the program equally across the city – for example, to add one day per week throughout the season at every open wading pool. It is important that any supplemental funding be allocated equally in all neighborhoods.

Now the Parks Dept. has revised that policy and is actively seeking partners to help fund wading pool operations. According to a press release sent yesterday:

Parks hopes to expand the schedule to increase family recreational opportunities in a way that is economically and geographically equitable. Some communities may be more organized or have different access to funding sources, so Parks would pair wading pools as a way to ensure balanced and equal recreational opportunities across our city. Under this partnership, Parks would keep the wading pool open one additional day each week in the neighborhood from which the funds came, and Parks would select a second site that the contribution would fund as well.

Opportunities include:

  • Sponsoring two wading pools one day per week through the summer at a cost of $8,800
  • Sponsoring two wading pools for three days per week during the last two weeks of summer at a cost of $6,600
  • Sponsoring a one day wading pool operation for a special event at a cost of $650
  • Receiving recognition on the Seattle Parks and Recreation website
  • Sponsoring an unfunded wading pool three days per week through the summer

For more information, or for organizations interested in a partnership with Parks and Recreation to provide more access to wading pools this summer, please contact Bill Dougherty, 206-684-7185, or Kathy Whitman, 206-684-7099,, no later than May 1, 2011.

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Not a Number staying put on N. 45th

February 24th, 2011 by master

An ecstatic Kara Ceriello shared the news tonight that her shop, Not a Number, will be staying in Wallingford in the smaller part of its current location on N. 45th St, after an 11th-hour offer from her landlord.

Ceriello and partner Jon DeLeeuw will close down the store as of this Sunday, February 27, for a week to get the space right next to The Sock Monster ready. Until then, Ceriello said, “Please come take advantage of our ‘moving next door sale’ — everything’s 30 percent off.” They also have bookshelves and display units for sale.

Ceriello said she and DeLeeuw have been touched by the support they’ve gotten since announcing at a Chamber of Commerce meeting last week that they’d likely need to close the shop. She wanted to thank the whole community for its kind words and help while she scrambled to figure out if Not a Number could remain in Wallingford.

As of last night, Ceriello said, they were going to move the store to South Lake Union, where Not a Number would have shared space in a friend’s shop called Goods for the Planet.

To her surprise, their landlord today said he’d decided to offer the small space back to them.

Ceriello hopes that Not a Number will reopen Saturday, March 6. Look for a grand reopening party the following weekend.

The smaller Not a Number will carry mainly greeting cards and political stuff, Ceriello said. “We want to be the place in the Seattle area to find silly/wacky/goofy cards,” she said. “People have also requested that we keep the political stuff to put on themselves or their cars.”

Ceriello said she’s signed on month to month for now, and will see how business goes through the summer. “We’re absolutely delighted to stay here, and have felt so supported,” said Ceriello, but the fact is they need shoppers: “We need the support of our community, and we’re here to support our fellow small businesses.”

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Thursday Wallingford snow update

February 24th, 2011 by master

6:30 a.m.: Seattle was spared the brunt of yesterday’s snowstorm (we got a heavy dusting in upper Wallingford), but the cold blast has affected local schools:

  • Meridian School opens at 10:00 a.m.
  • Seattle Public Schools’ Mid-Winter Break enrichment classes cancelled today

The University of Washington will open as usual (though its Bothell and Tacoma campuses are  delayed until later in the morning).

Metro buses are not on snow routes in our area.

The temperature is under freezing, so streets and sidewalks are icy.

The National Weather Service has a winter weather advisory for our region in effect throughout today.

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Not a Number struggles to stay in Wallingford

February 23rd, 2011 by master

Not a Number, Wallingford’s one-stop shop for cards, goofy gifts, books and all things lefty, will likely leave the neighborhood if the proprietors can’t find another location immediately.

After expanding the shop a few years ago, owners Kara Ceriello and Jon DeLeeuw scaled back last year (and The Sock Monster moved in). Now they can’t afford to stay in their current spot at 1905 N. 45th St., on the block they’ve proclaimed (without dispute that we’ve heard) the “coolest block in Wallingford.”

Ceriello told us that when she announced Not a Number’s move last week at the monthly Wallingford Chamber of Commerce meeting, other business owners “audibly gasped.” “We got a standing ovation and a bunch of hugs!” she told us. “It was definitely close to Kleenex time.” Ceriello had been president of the Chamber for the past five years and recently opted not to run again.

Ceriello had been looking at the former Alterations and Reweaving space on 1601 N. 45th for a few months, but that fell through. Local community members in the past week have come to Not a Number’s aid, and tried to find affordable space for the struggling business.

Though Ceriello and partner DeLeeuw live in Crown Hill, they consider Wallingford their neighborhood (DeLeeuw is vice president of the Wallingford Community Council) and want to keep their business here. “We just love the people of Wallingford so much, we really want to continue being involved,” Ceriello said. “Wallingford is more cohesive and caring of its own and such a great, active and protective community.”

“Right now it’s 50-50 we’ll be able to stay in Wallingford,” Ceriello said. She’s looking into spaces in Fremont, Ballard and South Lake Union, and considering offers to partner with other businesses.

If you know of a space that would work for a downsized Not a Number, contact Ceriello at

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Major snow on Wednesday?

February 22nd, 2011 by master

Tuesday afternoon/evening gave us a primer in frozen precipitation: we saw some big snowflakes, some little snowflakes, some graupel, and maybe a hint of hail. What might Wednesday have in store?

Mayor Mike McGinn’s office issued a snow statement:

(The) pattern is very similar to the snowstorm that hit Seattle during Thanksgiving week last year.

Because Wednesday afternoon’s commute is expected to be difficult, it may be a good day to work an alternate shift, telecommute or make other travel arrangements if possible.

Metro has warned bus riders to be ready for just about anything tomorrow, and to check Metro’s snow page before setting out.

Wednesday’s forecast could create challenges for all vehicles, especially if the snow begins to fall during the afternoon commute. Other areas, particularly in the Snohomish-King County convergence zone area, could see snow in the morning. Bus operations could change rapidly depending on traffic and travel conditions.

Even though weather in the morning may not be bad in your area, you should leave from a bus stop or park-and-ride that also has service when buses are on snow routes in case travel conditions deteriorate by the afternoon commute.

Also, give yourself extra time to reach your evening destination. Buses are often very crowded in the early part of the afternoon commute when everyone tries to get home before snowfall is the heaviest.

Be sure to read University of Washington atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass’s weather blog to stay up to date on the coming storm.

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Wallingford actor stars in Seattle Musical Theatre's "Drowsy Chaperone"

February 22nd, 2011 by master

Ivana Cheong, My Wallingford intern and musical theatre fan, wrote this story.

Inside Magnuson Park, the 1920s are alive and kicking as Seattle Musical Theatre opens a new season with a production of The Drowsy Chaperone, a story of a musical theatre fan who one night listens to an old LP of his favorite show, a fictional 1928 musical comedy of the same name. The characters then start to appear in his living room and this show-within-a-show tells the tale of a Broadway starlet wanting to abandon her career for love and all the people who want to prevent that from happening.

Two of the lead actors are Wallingford residents: Jon Lutyens, who plays Man in Chair, and Caitlin Frances, who plays Kitty. Lutyens said he has lived in Wallingford for six years and “would never dream of leaving.” As a fellow musical theatre fan, I was excited to be able to have a chat with Lutyens and the show’s director, Brandon Ivie.

How did you get involved with this production?

BI: I directed a show here three years ago called Annie Get Your Gun and that was one of my first shows out of college. I haven’t had a chance to direct here since and when I found out that they’re (SMT) doing The Drowsy Chaperone—it’s one of my favorite shows, a show that I think the theater could do very well. So I gave them a call shortly after they announced their season and said, “Hey, I’d love to direct The Drowsy Chaperone for you and they said, “Sure” and then I dragged Jon into it with me.

And how long have you been working on this production?

BI: We’ve had four weeks of rehearsal and two weeks of tech, so six weeks total, when all is said and done. I’ve been working on designs and concepts for the last six months or so.

What is your favorite part about working on “The Drowsy Chaperone”?

JL: Lately there have been a lot of musicals written about musical theatre. Some of them have a little more edginess to it, but this one is really a valentine to musical theatre, and what it does for us as people, and why we keep going back to shows… why we keep rewatching Sound of Music and Wizard of Oz or Chicago. My character, Man in Chair, actually mentions that the power of musical theatre is to take you into another world and give you a little bit of something to take back home.

BI: I probably have two. The first one is the people that I’m working with are top-notch and smart and funny and capable and made my job easy, so that’s always a plus. The other part would be… So many shows nowadays are based on movies or books and this is a full-out original musical, which is really exciting for me.

And what is your least favorite part?

BI: I guess you always want more time, whether you’re doing a show on Broadway or in your basement. Luckily all the people we have are really fast and smart, so actually, we get a lot of work done really fast.

JL: And my least favorite part about this—

BI: All your lines? (Laughs)

JL: Right. Well, I open the show with a two-page monologue, which has presented its own difficulty. And while it’s not necessarily a bad part, it’s certainly a challenge.

So is this one of your more challenging roles that you’ve had?

JL: It is. The role Man in Chair is alone. Even though there’s a cast of 18 on stage with me, dramatically speaking, story-wise, he’s alone in his apartment. So it presents a unique challenge because I’m not having scenes with other people. My scene partner is the audience.

BI: It’s sort of like a one-man show with an ensemble.

JL: It’s a one-man play with a musical inside of it. There’s a differentiation.

What factors motivate you to continue working in your field?

BI: I’m really drawn to new work and things that are original, so being able to work on a show that’s A) original material that’s B) written so well makes me want to work on more things like it.

JL: As an actor, I’m really drawn to telling stories of people or groups of people, whether it’s working on a Shakespeare play, a musical, a drama, a comedy, whatever. I’m really drawn to creating those stories for the audience and taking them on a journey.

So what are some of your favorite titles?

BI: My favorite musical of all time is a musical that not that many people know, but if you do musicals, you know it. It’s called Once on This Island. But I also love Sweeney Todd, Parade, West Side Story, and then I love lots of quirky, weird musicals that you really need to be someone like the Man in Chair to know what the titles are.

JL: Brandon and I are actually very similar, which is a reason it’s cool to work with him on this project. We do share a passion for musical theatre that’s not necessarily for one specific time period. Brandon just mentioned Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, and Once on This Island, which were written in entirely different decades. And I think Brandon would agree that we have shows pop up in history that you sort of cling to. Like one of my favorites is Gypsy. And I’m also a big Stephen Sondheim fan, as we all are. (Laughs) His shows always have a place in my heart, because he tells really good stories.

BI: About really complicated people.

Have you guys always wanted to be a director and an actor?

BI: I started out wanting to be an actor and then at the end of high school and the beginning of college, I realized that I wanted to have my hand in too many pots to just be an actor. So now I get to be a little bit everywhere; I get to talk to the designers, to the stage managers, to the actors, music directors, producers.  I get a little bit of everything.

JL: I started out wanting to be a dentist in second grade… you don’t have to write that down. (Laughs)

BI: I hope you do. Please mention it.

JL: But I’ve found my passion in theatre since high school and have a degree in it and have been pursuing it since college. So the short answer is yes, I have almost always wanted to be an actor.

Do you have any dream roles that you want to do or dream shows to direct?

BI: I really want to direct Parade. Pretty much the reason that I have a lot of the favorite shows that I do is because I want to direct them.

JL: One of my favorite parts of being an actor, as opposed to being a director, is that I can get cast in a show that I don’t know. And it’s exciting to discover that story for the first time. Of course, there are roles that I would like to play or would like to have played before I get too old. (Laughs) This is one of them that I’m actually doing earlier than I thought. I’ve actually gotten to play several of my dream roles though. As for the roles I will never play… Mark from RENT. (Laughs) I will never play Mark and I’m okay with that.

What are your biggest aspirations?

BI: To direct a Broadway show is a big one. I’m actually moving to New York on Sunday to do that… or to try to do that.  I don’t know if I can go straight to Broadway from here. (Laughs) But I’m working on a show and then I’m coming back to do another show out here.


The Drowsy Chaperone runs until March 5, 2011 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with one Thursday show. The theater is located in the Magnuson Park Community Center Building on Sand Point Way and 74th Ave NE. For more information and show times, please visit

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