Caroling, Crime and Elections at Community Meeting

Last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council was a mixed bag of different topics, including a presentation by Alex Vallandry of Seattle Neighborhood Group.

Read the complete minutes of the December meeting.

Alex spoke about the recent spate of car prowls and thefts and what can be done to reduce them (don’t keep anything valuable–or frankly stealable–in your car, park in well-lit areas, don’t drive 1990s era Hondas). But the silver lining if your car is stolen is it’s usually opportunists looking for a quick trip somewhere, 86% of cars are recovered, most within 12 blocks from where they were stolen. Mail theft came up, definitely a hot topic at this time of year (in fact, I found stolen mail alongside the road today and returned it to the owners, the packages had all been torn open and the contents stolen. The mail had been removed from unlocked mailboxes). Possible deterrents include finding a neighbor who stays home and having packages delivered to them instead of sitting on your doorstep, getting them delivered at work, or going in with neighbors to buy a group locking mailbox.

Caroling will return to Victory Heights again this year, starting at 6:30 PM next Tuesday, December 23rd.  Meet up at the Harris house, 10512 17th Avenue NE (enter on the NE 106th side), where music sheets, cookies, and hot cider will be offered before everyone heads out into the streets. Read about last year’s caroling event.

Finally, elections are coming for the board members and officers of the Victory Heights Community Council. These two year positions include the search for a new President and Vice-President. You might think this sounds like a lot of work, but mostly the President delegates the work to someone else and just has to run the meetings once a month, which pretty much run themselves. Interested in running or being on the council’s executive board? Write to Ardith Lupton.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 at 7 PM in the usual location at the preschool building in Victory Heights Park. Happy holidays, everyone!

“Temporary” Fencing Going In At Knickerbocker Site

fenceSeattle Public Utilities (SPU) began erecting “temporary” fencing around the Knickerbocker Thornton Creek site today in order to keep out “people and dogs” to allow the young vegetation a chance to grow. When construction was completed in October for the floodplain project and the construction fencing was removed it was assumed the site would remain open with clear sight lines to the newly restored creek. Alas, worries about foot traffic (both human and canine) around the sensitive new tree plantings on either side of the creek has altered plans, and new fencing will be erected around the entire site except for a gap to allow access to the pedestrian bridge. The fencing will probably remain through the winter and possibly be replaced by trees or some other type of wood barrier eventually.

UPDATE Dec. 10th: John Crawford-Gallagher, SPU’s Community Outreach Specialist, responds:

  1. The fencing will be around portions of the site, rather than the whole thing. There will be fence along NE 100th and a small section of fence on the south side of the creek.
  2. When we remove the fence will depend on how quickly the plants become established. It may be at the end of winter, but it may be longer.
  3. We don’t plan to replace the temporary fencing with trees or another type of wood barrier.

December Events Calendar

Here are activities happening around the area that might be of interest to Victory Heights residents:

Wednesday, December 3rd: Tree Lighting Ceremony, Lake City Community Center, 7 PM. Caroling, cider, and Santa.

Saturday, December 6th: Tree Walk, Lake City Library, 10 AM – Noon. Walking tour of Lake City’s interesting evergreen trees. You can RSVP Here.

Sunday, December 7th: Free screening of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Northgate Library, 1 PM.

Sunday, December 14th: Nathan Hale Urban Farm First Design Meeting, Jane Addams Middle School & Nathan Hale High School, 9 AM – 2 PM. RSVP here.

Sunday, December 14th: “It’s a Wonderful, Improvised Life,” Lake City Community Center, 7PM. Taproot Theatre’s own version of the holiday classic. Tickets available here ($10 adults, kids under 12 are free).

Tuesday, December 16th: Victory Heights Community Council Meeting, Pre-School Building in Victory Heights Park, 7 PM.

Sunday, December 21st: Free screening of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Northgate Library, 1 PM.

Plus neighborhood caroling will happen again this year (read about last year’s event), stay tuned for details!

No Trash Pickup On Thanksgiving

Residents in Victory Heights who normally have their trash, yard waste and recycling picked up on Thursdays will instead have it picked up on Friday, November 28th due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday this week. Everything is pushed back a day, so those with normal Friday pickups will have it done Saturday.  Have your cans out by 7 AM on Friday.

With Christmas Day and New Years Day on Thursdays this year, the same situation will occur, pickups in Victory Heights will be December 26 and January 2nd respectively.

 

Burglary Rate Falls But Residents Worry About Crime

At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council, residents heard a presentation by Elizabeth Scott, the Crime Prevention Coordinator from the North Precinct of the Seattle Police Department (SPD), who said that compared with a similar period last year, burglaries are down in the Lincoln 2 sector that Victory Heights is part of.

Read the entire minutes of last night’s meeting.

However this did not assuage the concerns of some residents who, citing personal experience (and recent articles in The Seattle Times), felt SPD was not treating property crime seriously. Even though her job is helping residents with crime preventation, and not being a spokesman for the department, she said dispatchers have to prioritize cases and burglaries can be a lower priority at times depending on what other calls are coming in. “There are limitations to what we can do.”

Given the recent publicity in The Times, the new police chief, Kathleen O’Toole, said they would be reviewing police procedures. It is still important to report any robberies because it does provide data to the police department of what is happening where and how resources are allocated. On the prevention front, Elizabeth reminded us to lock your doors, make sure your house looks occupied even when it’s not, and store and lock up any ladders or tools that are outside that could be used to enter your house.

Meanwhile, if you need to report a non-emergency such as a homeless encampment or abandoned car, you can call 684-CITY, or use the new Find It Fix It app for your Android or iPhone. For added safety, you can register your mobile phone at Smart911.com with your personal information which would then be displayed if you ever call 911 to let them know who you are and your home address, which might be invaluable during an emergency.

And while burglaries are down, car thefts are up, particularly if you drive a 1990s Honda, Toyota or Subaru. Very often these cars are used by joy riders who leave them on the side of the road afterwards. Lock your cars, use a Club, and never leave valuables inside.

The next meeting of the community council is Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at the Co-Op Preschool building in Victory Heights Park starting at 7 PM.

 

SPD Neighborhood Safety Rep To Speak Tuesday

The November meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council will include an appearance by Elizabeth Scott, the Neighborhood Safety Representative from the North Precinct of the Seattle Police Department. Come and hear what she has to say about the current policing situation in our neighborhood.

It meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 18th starting at 7 PM at UPDATED the usual location, the pre-school building in Victory Heights Park.  Remember to bring a chair if you want an adult-sized one.

We hope to see you there.

Fire Department Burning House on 15th Avenue NE

Pa280727The Seattle Fire Department has been performing training exercises for new recruits all week on a house at 10720 15th Avenue NE with controlled fires and then putting them out. Neighbors and passers by  have noticed the presence of many fire trucks on 15th Avenue NE which have been part of the drills. The house was scheduled for demolition anyway, which made it perfect for the fire department to use.  After a series of smaller fires this week, the entire structure will be burned to the ground sometime on Friday, probably by noon. There are obstructed views available from the street if you want to watch.

Pa280728Earlier the carport (right) was torched and then put out, as part of the ongoing exercises which are done each year for as part of firefighting training for a new class of recruits.

Fences Gone At Kingfisher Site

Pa230724After months of work, construction of the Kingfisher Natural Area on Thornton Creek (NE 100th Street and 20th Avenue NE) has been completed and the fences removed. Thornton Creek is now wider and more shallow in order to slow it down during periods of heavy rain such as we have experienced this week (see below):

Water level on a typical dry day (Oct. 24, 2014)

Water level on a typical dry day (Oct. 24, 2014)

Water level during heavy rain (October 21, 2014)

Water level during heavy rain (October 21, 2014)

 

Three different stages of progress at Kingfisher: May 29, 2014, June 26, 2014, and October 24, 2014.

Three different stages of progress at Kingfisher: May 29, 2014, June 26, 2014, and October 24, 2014.

The walkway is now open at all times to allow access between Victory Heights at Maple Leaf at 98th Avenue NE.

Thornton Creek Contaminated By Fuel Spill Accident

Yesterday’s semi-truck accidents on I-5 near Northgate Way that backed up traffic for miles on the southbound commute also released 40 gallons of spilled diesel fuel oil into the storm drain and the south fork of Thornton Creek. Though nobody was injured in the accidents, Thornton Creek, however, has been injured, and in the next few weeks and months we should get some idea of the extent of the damage.

Sound Transit contractors, JCM ULink, noticed the diesel smell at 5:45am and had the necessary emergency gear and training to put down booms and take other steps to control the spill at the culvert outflow on the east side of the freeway (1st Ave. NE and NE 100th).  Because of their actions authorities were able to send the Hazmat team to Beaver Pond Natural Area first.

Workers "vacuum and sweep" Thornton Creek to remove contaminates

Workers “vacuum and sweep” Thornton Creek to remove contaminates

Booms and ‘diapers’, or ‘sweeps’, are strewn across the creek at ten sites.  These materials both slow the flow and soak up contaminants.  Additionally a vacuum truck hosed up the brown slick in the separator basins and the creek.  The crew seemed to be doing the best job possible under the circumstances.

Sweeps and booms have been placed as far downstream as Kingfisher Natural Area at the site of the complex and expensive Knickerbocker Project where diesel fumes were detected (approximately 19th NE-21st NE and NE 98th –NE 100th).

Closer to the spill Beaver Pond Natural Area reeks of oil in some places, and there is a sheen all the way up to the beaver dam at NE 106th.  To some degree this is what will happen every time there is a punctured fuel tank on I-5 just north of Northgate because the separator basins can’t cope with more than the daily load.

The hazmat company, NRC, will continue to monitor the creek for 1-2 weeks.

There are two culverts serving each side of the freeway, and they combine both creek water and run-off.  They each have their own pair of separators in between the freeway and 1st Ave.  NE.  The culverts run parallel underground until they merge and flow into the Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel and then resurface at Beaver Pond NA.

Silver lining:  The weir that controls the water that runs from the I-5 drain to the Water Quality Channel was incorrectly turned off when the contractor completed the clean out this summer.  Turning on the waterfall – which happened after a vigilant Thornton Creek Alliance member contacted them – was only water runoff from Northgate, not I-5.  That water was drained into a pipe and diverted under 5th Ave. NE to the Beaver Pond NA project.

The Seattle Public Utilities’ Spill Response Team and the Washington Dept. of Ecology assisted with the containment and monitoring of the situation.  SPU environmentalist Nathan Hart was on the scene at Beaver Pond NA in the very early hours of the morning where Seattle Parks just last week completed a $500K restoration project.  He estimated that of the 40 gallons of fuel that spilled, perhaps 10 gallons ended up in the creek.

As a result of this event this Thursday’s Thornton Creek Alliance meeting will include a SPU representative who will give us an update and answer questions.

October 23, 2014; 7:15pm

Meadowbrook Community Center

10517 35th Ave NE
Seattle, WA

Ruth Williams and other members from the Thornton Creek Alliance contributed to this article.