Thornton Creek Alliance Meeting Highlights

Thursday night, the Thornton Creek Alliance met at the Meadowbrook Community Center for their general meeting and election. Highlights included a presentation by Rianne BeCraft from the National Wildlife Federation who talked about Certified Natural Habitats. This program is about changing the areas around our properties (everything from backyards to small parking strips) to be more plant and animal friendly with water sources, ground cover, food sources and sustainable gardening practices. Not only can residents get certified but entire communities can get together and be recognized.

This was followed by a short speech by Shoreline City Councilman Will Hall who announced that just that day Sound Transit had voted unanimously on the alignment for the Link Light Rail from Northgate to Lynnwood. Work would begin in 2017 and be completed in 2023, with the line running up the east side of Interstate 5 with two stops in between.  The planned stop at NE 145th Street was of particular interest to the TCA as Thornton Creek crosses directly under the freeway at that point at Jackson Park Golf Course. There is a movement to persuade Sound Transit to move the stop to NE 155th Street, and members were encouraged to contact the agency and express their opinion. For his part, Hall’s mantra was, “Change is scary.”

An e-mail from Greg Stevens, Seattle Public Utilities Senior Civil Engineer, was read. The Meadowbrook Pond Dredging and Improvement project is supposed to start this summer as well as the Thornton Creek Confluence. However he added they were “struggling with some permitting challenges that are putting our project schedule at risk” which might move one or both of them to summer 2013.

Closer to home in Victory Heights, Lynnette Spear reported the segment of Thornton Creek that passes through our area between Lake City Way and Northgate Way (officially designated the Kingfisher Natural Area) will have work parties on Sunday mornings beginning May 6th. We’ll post exact details as they are announced.

Elections were then held for various offices with 1 and 2 year terms, although no candidates were opposed and were voted in unanimously by the members present. Ruth Williams is taking over as President, Dass Adams as 1st Vice President, Frank Backus as Memebership Vice President and Tom Cunningham as Secretary.

Find out more about the Thornton Creek Alliance on their Facebook page, as they are still sorting out their website and obtaining a permanent URL for it.

Place of Towering Firs Blog Archives Added

Prior to the Victory Heights Blog’s existence, you might have visited Lynnette Spear’s Place of Towering Firs blog. Lynnette is involved with the Thornton Creek Alliance and has helped organize the Victory Heights Garden Walkabouts for the past three years. She updated her blog frequently up until January of this year but recently has not had the time to work on it. After a joint meeting yesterday with Harriet Sanderson, one of the main promoters of Place of Towering Firs, it was decided to add their content to the Victory Heights Blog so residents can find all the information and articles in one central place. Thanks, Lynnette and Harriet, for being so generous and helping our blog grow and be a part of the Victory Heights community.

Visit our archives to view past articles, just click on the date on the right side of the site.

Visit the Victory Heights Blog Facebook Page

As we are tweaking the blog to its new home here on (coming soon: the e-mail notification button so you can receive alerts for new posts like on the old site), please visit our new Facebook page and click “Like.” If you are on Facebook this is the easy way to see when new content has been added to the blog and add your own comments. The folks over at the Pinehurst blog tell me they get five times the amount of feedback on Facebook than ever post comments directly on their blog. Which is understandable, nearly everyone checks Facebook every day, but can’t always remember to visit a blog.

Don’t forget we have a Twitter feed too:

If you have suggestions or ideas for the site, send me to me:

98th Street Retaining Wall Gets Temporary Repairs

The retaining wall above Thornton Creek on the north side of NE 98th Street had temporary repairs done to it on Thursday by employees of Seattle Public Utilities. A source said the wall had “somewhat failed” and the repairs were being done to reinforce it until city engineers could come up with a more permanent solution.

City To Clean Up Park Graffiti Within 10 Days

Left: the back of the backstop. Right: the front of the backstop and the tagged building

After vandals spray painted graffiti in Victory Heights Park last week, the city promised that Seattle Public Utilities would have it cleaned within 10 business days. Tagged were both sides of the basketball backstop as well as the side of the community building which currently is used as a daycare center.

Metal Grate Replaces Wooden Storm Drain

A Seattle Public Utility employee installing a new metal grate

On Monday the wooden beams that have covered a storm drain “sand box” (the City’s technical term) at the corner of 20th Ave NE and NE 103rd Street were replaced with a custom-made metal grate by Seattle Public Utilities. The wood beams, which have been used since the original development of Victory Heights to cover the junction of two storm drains, kept needing to be replaced due to damage from heavily-laden garbage trucks. A bicyclist also had an accident when their wheels got stuck between the wooden slats, which prompted the change to a more permanent metal grate.

Eight SPU employees are responsible for all the drains in Seattle covering an area north of Denny Way to the city limits at NE 145th Street.  If you see a dangerous or worn sewer covering or water leaks, call the city at (206) 386-1800.

Next Bill Pierre Development Meeting May 19th

Shammara Estrada, Victory Heights’ Community Council Representative, reports,

Not sure if you are aware of this – but Bill Pierre has begun plans for redevelopment of his vast property along Lake City Way. The family has contracted with the UW Urban Design and Planning Department to facilitate planning efforts and engage the community in the conversation for the future of this property. They are primarily looking at issues such as connectivity, uses, etc and not specifically what will be built there. There will be a blog up soon with updates and more information.  If you are interested in being a part of the process, they will be having some visioning sessions.

When: Saturday, May 19, 9am-4
Where: Nathan Hale High School
What: Broken into two segments, the morning half will focus on the general framework for the property and the second half will be more small group break out sessions. For those of you that want to be included but cannot commit to a full or half day, there will be an area set aside for those just wanting to leave their ideas and comments.
Though technically in Lake City (though the city seems to think Victory Heights extends to NE 125th), the Bill Pierre properties represent a large amount of land ripe for change. What would want/not want to see there: Big box stores? Supermarkets? More “adult entertainment” venues? Parks? Here’s your chance to have your say.

Thornton Creek Knickerbocker Site Construction Begins May 2013

The long-proposed and studied plan to increase floodplain storage and habitat quality to the Thornton Creek greenbelt at the “Knickerbocker” site (NE 100th Street, at the base of 20th Ave NE) looks to finally begin construction in May 2013.

Seattle Public Utilities and the Park Department acquired the land between 2001 and 2006, permanently removing several houses that had been located on the south side of 100th.

Residents in the project area, members of the Thornton Creek Watershed Oversight Council, and advocates for Thornton Creek began to work with SPU and Parks on ways to get a floodplain reconnection project designed and built in 2009, as this type of project was identified in the Thornton Creek Watershed Action Plan. Project design was initiated in 2010 using a $100,000 King Conservation District grant to design the floodplain project. SPU led the design work using a consultant and has held about five community meetings to discuss the project and get input.

Sample drilling was performed last month at the site, and funding secured from King Conservation District, an EPA Ecology Grant, and Seattle Public Utilities to finally implement the work starting next year. The plan includes relocating several hundred feet of Thornton Creek, create up to an acre of vegetated floodplain (currently a picnic and dog-walking area), and build a new pedestrian bridge over the widened creek.

It’s also hoped that the wider, slower creek will enable fish to reach and spawn further upstream eventually.

See also: Thornton Creek Alliance Meeting April 26th