Dr. Jonathan Frodge To Discuss Thornton Creek E.coli Study June 27th

thorntoncreekalliancelogoThe Thornton Creek Alliance meeting on Thursday, June 27th will feature Dr. Jonathan Frodge, author of the recent well-publicized study showing dangerous levels of E.coli in Thornton Creek.

You’ll hear more about the recent Seattle Public Utilities two year study on bacteria levels in Thornton Creek. In some cases, the levels are fifty times higher than the criteria for a healthy stream. Come get the details, learn about the next steps, and bring your questions. Free and open to the public.

The meeting is 7:15 pm – 9:00 pm at the Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Avenue Northeast, Seattle, WA 98125.

Everyone is welcome!

Highlights of June’s VH Community Council Meeting

Last night 18 residents attended June’s Victory Heights Community Council meeting at the Pre-School building in the park on a lovely, sunny summer evening. Several new faces were lured in, having seen some of the new road signs used to advertise community events. Among the highlights were an update on emergency preparedness plans, the neighborhood night out, the homeless situation,and break-ins.

Read the full minutes from the June 18, 2013 meeting.

The Emergency Preparedness Committee showed off the neighborhood map where we are trying to assign a “zone Captain” for each block to distribute city-made fliers to residents about preparation, and be organized in the case of a disaster. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact us. It’s not a lot of work and we certainly hope we never need it, but better prepared than not. A meeting of Captains and a representative of the city’s SNAP program will be on July 15th.

The Victory Heights Neighborhood Night Out will be on Tuesday, August 6th with the entire neighborhood invited to a potluck to be held on NE 106th Street, adjacent to the west side of Victory Heights Park starting at 6 PM. The plan is to be able to provide free ice cream afterwards. Mark your calendars!

The Lake City Farmers market starts Thursday June 20th from 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM every Thursday through the summer at NE 125th Street and 28th Avenue NE.

The city has posted a notice on the homeless encampment underneath the 15th Avenue NE bridge giving them a few days to move out before the city comes in and cleans it out. It’s regrettable but the city needs to enforce its ordinances against illegal encampments on city property.

There seems to have been a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood lately.  Terrie Johnston with the Seattle Police Department replied in an email request about this, “With some exceptions, I do not believe the burglaries are related, too many incidents, too many different methods of entry, etc.” We were given the usual advice: don’t make your house an easy target, lock your doors and windows, always answer (but don’t open) the door if someone knocks (so they know it is occupied), call 911 if you see someone suspicious. More tips on the SPD website.

Next month’s meeting will be on July 16th at the Pre-School and we’ll hear from a representative from Feet First about improving walking routes around the neighborhood.

Fire Damages Home On 19th Avenue NE

fire13A house was damaged when a fire broke out at 10540 19th Avenue NE this morning across the street from Victory Heights Park. An elderly couple were inside the house at the time but were able to escape safely. The first 911 call was at 10:47 AM, with six engines plus other emergency responders eventually called to the scene. The fire burned the roof and the back of the house and was quickly extinguished. The couple were taken to the hospital as a precaution due to smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire was accidental.

Thornton Creek Study Confirms Human Fecal Contamination

A two-year investigation by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has confirmed human fecal bacteria are likely entering North Seattle’s Thornton Creek at multiple locations.

Funded by the Washington Department of Ecology and led by SPU stormwater scientist Jonathan Frodge, the study was based on samples collected at 45 sites throughout the watershed, under a variety of conditions

It has been known for years that fecal coliform bacteria concentrations in Thornton Creek exceed the state water quality standard and pose a potential threat to public health. The new study confirms human bacteria are present and contribute to the water quality problem. The study is also the first to identify sub-basins (general areas) where bacteria appear to be entering the stream.

The study is seen as an important step toward identifying and correcting bacterial sources in the creek.

Among the most urbanized streams in King County, Thornton Creek consistently ranks among the highest for fecal coliform bacteria.

SPU stormwater investigators are continuing their work to locate sources of bacteria in the creek, and will be working in the Thornton Creek watershed this summer.

“Human waste shouldn’t be in this creek,” said SPU Director Ray Hoffman.

“While we don’t yet know the exact sources of the bacteria, this study will help us zoom in on the likely problem areas. Our next step is to find the sources — and control or eliminate them,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said SPU will be posting signs throughout the watershed, advising people to stay out of Thornton Creek. Public Health — Seattle & King County suggests that people avoid coming into contact with water in any urban stream, including Thornton Creek. If water gets on the skin, wash with soap and warm water.

Public Health noted that Seattle’s Matthews Beach Park, on Lake Washington to the north of the mouth of Thornton Creek, is regularly tested for bacteria, and there is nothing in the report that raises concerns for safety park users’ safety.

“We have the right starting point — knowing what kind of source to look for,” said Joan Nolan, Ecology’s water-quality improvement planner for the Lake Washington basin. “Further investigation should pinpoint specific sources to control and thus correct Thornton Creek’s bacteria problems.”

Previous efforts to locate bacteria in Thornton Creek have focused on finding illicit sewage inputs —cross connections — to the city’s stormwater drainage system, which empties into the stream at a number of locations. (In 2010, two cross connections were found by SPU’s Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) team and corrected.)

Guided by the new study, the IDDE team will now look for sources that enter Thornton Creek directly, in addition to sources that first enter SPU’s stormwater drainage system before entering the creek. The investigation could extend into the wet season, as the rising and falling water table may affect investigative techniques used in finding the sources.

Community Council Meeting June 18th

Join your neighbors at 7PM on Tuesday, June 18th for the next meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council. We’re back at our usual digs, the Pre-School Building in Victory Heights Park (thanks to Teacher Monica at the Co-Op). With it being so close to the summer solstice, we’ll still have an hour of daylight afterwards (we’ve come a long way since those long, dark nights during the winter).

We’ll be updating the progress on the Neighborhood Night Out (scheduled for August 6th), emergency preparedness, the homeless situation under the 15th Avenue bridge, recent break-ins, and the ever-exciting quest to move the council’s bank account to BECU to save on user fees.

If you have a question, concern or comment about Victory Heights, this is the perfect place to make it known to the community at large.

We hope to see you there!

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Barred Owls Seen Near Thornton Creek

Take a look at this photo. Can you find three owls?
owls1If you didn’t spot them, scroll down to the second photo below with hints.

These Barred Owls were seen Tuesday in Thornton Creek Park #2, southeast of the 15th Avenue NE bridge. The photographer speculates, “they appeared to be a family, but I am not a wildlife expert.”

According to a wikipedia article,

Barred Owls may be partly responsible for the recent decline of the Northern Spotted Owl, native to Washington, Oregon, and California. Since the 1960s, Barred Owls have been expanding their range westward from the eastern US, perhaps because man-made changes have created new suitable habitat in the west. When Spotted Owls and Barred Owls share the same environment, the latter are generally more aggressive and out-compete the former, leading to decreased populations of the native owls.

Due to this, in 2007 the George W. Bush White House announced a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to shoot Barred Owls to reduce the threat they pose to the Spotted Owl. It was never put into action.










UPDATED: Community Council Meeting Places This Summer

Updated: June 6th: The Victory Heights Community Council will NOT be moving its meetings this summer. Thanks to negotiations with the Parks Department and representatives of the Co-Op Preschool, we can continue to use the Preschool Building in Victory Heights Park for our June and July meetings (August is still being skipped in lieu of the Neighborhood Night Out event on August 6th). We hope to see you at our usual location in the Park on June 18th.

Previous: The board of the Victory Heights Community Council announced new venues for general meetings this summer due to unavailability of the Co-op Preschool building in Victory Heights Park. It was decided it was better to hold meetings in homes within Victory Heights rather than try and get public rooms in Lake City, Northgate or Meadowbrook.

The June 18th meeting will be at Ardith Lupton’s, 10408 23rd Avenue NE, on her deck (it’s covered in case of rain) starting at 7 PM.

The July 16th meeting will be at Heidi Smeller’s, 1717 NE 105th Street, starting at 7 PM.

In August, in lieu of a general meeting, we will be organizing a Neighborhood Night Out near the park on August 6th. More details on that as we get closer.

The public is always welcome at our general meetings, a good place to talk with other neighbors, see what issues are affecting Victory Heights, and hear presentations. Please come, we hope to see you there!