Holiday Garbage Collection Schedule

With the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, trash collection in Victory Heights will be on Fridays for the next two weeks, December 27th and January 3rd.

And after the holidays, if you should notice a dead tree in your house (sorry, an old Jerry Seinfeld joke), the city says Seattle residents who subscribe to curbside food and yard waste collection can put their trees and greens out on their regular collection day at no extra charge from Dec. 26, 2013 through Jan. 12, 2014.

Multi-family buildings can put out one tree next to each food and yard waste cart per collection day at no extra charge during this time.

Trees should be cut into sections of six feet long or shorter, with branches trimmed to less than four feet to fit into the collection trucks. Sections should be bundled with string or non-plastic twine. Metal, plastic and ornaments in trees and wreaths must be removed.

Trees that are flocked and/or have tinsel or ornaments will be collected as extra garbage. Customers will need to cut the tree into three-foot pieces and each piece will be charged as extra garbage. Each unit of extra garbage costs $8.60. Plastic trees are not compostable.

Seattle residents can also drop off holiday trees and greens for free at Seattle Public Utilities’ North and South Recycling and Disposal stations from Dec. 26, 2013 through Jan. 12, 2013. The tree sections must be cut to eight feet or less in length and the trunk must be four inches or smaller in diameter. The limit is three trees per vehicle. Only trees and wreaths without flocking or decoration may be composted free of charge.

The North Recycling and Disposal Station is located at 1350 North 34th Street. The South Recycling and Disposal Station is located at 130 S. Kenyon St. The stations are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., other than selected holidays.

And speaking of the North Recycling and Disposal Station, it will be closed for two years after January 20, 2014 in order for a new station to be built in the same location. To learn more about the North Transfer Station Rebuild Project, visit the project website.

While closed, station users are encouraged to use the new South Transfer Station facility at 130 South Kenyon Street in South Park.

CleanScapes Awards $50,000 Waste Reduction Prize To Neighborhood

CleanScapes (our garbage haulers) has announced the winners of their annual Neighborhood Waste Reduction Reward program. The neighborhoods of Maple Leaf, Lake City, Victory Heights, Pinehurst, Wedgwood won the 2012/2013 competition.

They will receive a $50,000 community improvement project selected by community representatives and funded by CleanScapes. In this annual competition, CleanScapes challenges the neighborhoods it serves to reduce their solid waste footprint.

Proposed projects must be easily accessible for active use by the public and can cost up to $50,000. To be eligible for consideration, proposals must be for a capital improvement project located in the winning neighborhood collection area.

The Victory Heights Community Council (along with I’m sure, the councils in Lake City, Pinehurst and Maple Leaf) will have to come up with something that will fit CleanScapes’ criteria. To be honest, I was unaware there was any sort of competition with other parts of the city (but, yea us!), and who wants to sneeze at $50,000 in free money?

Please take a moment to “Like” the Victory Heights Facebook page.

The Short Snow

Thornton Creek covered in a thin layer of snow. December 20, 2013

Thornton Creek covered in a thin layer of snow. December 20, 2013

As predicted, it began to snow in Seattle early this morning with about an inch or two accumulation around Victory Heights by the time most people had gotten up. Schools were delayed two hours, but by 9 AM the snow had changed to rain. With rising temperatures in the forecast, it’s expected the snow will be gone by this afternoon. Most likely it will rain all weekend with temps in the 40s.

Carolers Serenade Victory Heights

Monica (in the center) leads the carolers at a neighbors house on 17th Avenue NE

Monica (in the center) leads the carolers at a neighbor’s house on 17th Avenue NE

On a chilly but dry December night with the threat of snow later in the evening, a band of 15 adults (plus some children and one dog) took to the streets to go caroling door-to-door Thursday evening.

Organized by Monica Harris, after a quick 15 minute rehearsal around her piano (and fortified with some apple cider and gingerbread cookies), the carolers ventured out together to knock on doors along 17th Avenue NE and surprise residents with several familiar tunes. Here is a sample of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”:

caroling2At one house, the carolers were rewarded with cookies (see left). At another, a neighbor was so impressed he grabbed his coat and hat and joined in as the carolers moved up the street. At every house the reaction was tremendous, it was hard to tell who was enjoying themselves more, the carolers or the folks being serenaded on their doorsteps.

Caroling and Traffic Circle Coming To Victory Heights

Here are the highlights from last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council, where attendees got to munch on delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies:

Read the full minutes of the meeting here.

For the second year running, Monica is organizing a caroling party, which will get started at 6:30 PM Thursday (tomorrow) at her house, 10512 17th Avenue NE (use the gate on the north side). After 15 minutes or so of practicing, the carolers will fan out around the neighborhood for about an hour. If you are interested in participating, come on over and join in! The temperatures will be in the 30s but it will be dry, the forecast says. Leave your porch lights on and you might get some musical callers tomorrow night!

We’re getting our traffic circle! It’s official, on December 4th, the city notified Eileen Canola that the funding had been approved and that sometime next year the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will construct a traffic circle at the intersection of 23rd Avenue NE and NE 105th Street. Read the ongoing saga of this here and here.

The city is holding a Neighbor Appreciation Day on Saturday February 8th, 2014. There’s little time to get a grant application in before the January 8th deadline, but perhaps something on a small scale could be organized. Ideas?

Other topics included the missing vacuum cleaner at the preschool, bike trail proposals in Thornton Creek, and paying for the new Little Free Libraries that have been built.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 21st at 7 PM.

Please take a moment to “Like” the Victory Heights Blog Facebook page.

Preschool Missing Vacuum Cleaner

Shelby from the Victory Heights Co-Operative Preschool reports:

Our upright vacuum cleaner and  a bag of replacement bags has gone missing from Victory Heights Cooperative Preschool.

We think it may have been inadvertently left outside near the trash cans in front of our preschool in Victory Heights Park.  Perhaps someone thought it was being thrown out and decided to take it for themselves.  This vacuum was donated to our preschool and will be quite expensive to replace, as it was a high-quality vacuum.  As you can imagine, we need a good vacuum cleaner to clean up after our 80 preschoolers!  Before this really nice one was donated, we actually replaced our vacuum cleaners often, as the cheaper ones just can’t stand up to the dirt out kids make! 🙂

Could you please ask the Victory Heights community, via your blog, if anyone has our vacuum cleaner and would be willing to return it, no questions asked?

E-mail the blog if you have any information on the vacuum’s whereabouts.

Open Letter: Oppose Mountain Bike Trails In Thornton Creek

An open letter from Ruth Williams, President of the Thornton Creek Alliance:

Dear Victory Heights Community Council:

We would like to be sure you are aware that Seattle Parks and Recreation is drafting trail standards for mountain biking in some of Seattle’s natural areas.  This is in response to the request of some of the forest stewards at Cheasty/Mountain View Greenspace on Beacon Hill.  They view it as a way to reduce crime in the natural area and to pick up the pace of restoration, since there is a great deal of support from the mountain biking community.  Their conceptual trail plan is here.  Additionally, now that the news is out in the community, BMX cyclists have also expressed an interest in asking for courses.

This change would require amending existing city policy with regard to allowed uses of our natural areas.  In Seattle Parks’ Best Management Practices guidelines here it now states in Paragraph 5.1, “Natural areas are characterized as being largely undeveloped landscapes, thickly vegetated with native plant communities, and used primarily for passive recreation. Natural areas are considered to have limited or minimal human disturbance and provide habitat for plants, mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, amphibians and sometimes fish in an urban setting.

In Paragraph 5.5, Goals, the document further states, “Our goal is to develop a sustainable resource that protects, optimizes, enhances, and increases our natural environments. These environments will provide opportunities for observing and enjoying urban wildlife, engaging in environmental education, and participating in restoration and stewardship activities.”  As you see, the goals also would have to be changed, and one wonders, to what?

We would like to ask for your support in asking the Seattle City Council not to allow this change in use of our natural areas.

As you noted in the paragraph above, currently bicycles are not allowed in natural areas.  However, at the Seattle Parks Board meeting on Thursday evening, November 14th, 2013, Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams stated that as community interests evolve, so too must regulations and allowed park uses. When one of the commissioners cited the code and pointed out that mountain bike trials would be in conflict, Acting Supt. Williams said Parks will seek to amend the policy for Seattle’s natural areas in order to allow active uses such as mountain biking.  Generally, this would open the door to a much more anthropocentric treatment of our natural areas going forward.

Presumably Seattle’s mountain bike trails would be similar to Portland, Oregon’s standards, which are here, on page 31.  This would mean ripping out plantings, removing natural vegetation, regrading the soil, and providing drainage to prevent erosion, in order to create a minimum 40’ line of sight and trail widths of six to twelve feet when you factor in the one foot margin on either side.

Wildlife that was absent for decades is starting to return to many of our natural areas as the impacts of logging and invasive plants are mitigated.  We are aware that there is research supporting the idea that mountain biking does not harm wildlife, but that research was all carried out in mature forests in multi-square-mile national or state parks, not in the smaller, fragile and developing ecosystems of our urban forests.

In Seattle’s quest for urban density, forested land is at a premium and valued for increasing habitat and the tree canopy.  Natural areas should not be degraded with additional compressed and dead soils.  Forest restoration should be the priority.  Mountain biking does not require a forest, and adding this new use to the natural areas does not make them available to a new group of users (since bicyclists are able-bodied) as the newly required ADA standard trails will do.  As yet there has been NO discussion about how to have these two user groups work together.

Last month Dr Steven Handel, director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology at Rutgers University, spoke here in Seattle.  He was asked about this conflict.  He said one of the main issues is the increase in compressed, dead soils that results when you add and widen trails.  He also said that the only way to keep everybody on the trails and out of the plantings is to use fencing.

We at Thornton Creek Alliance have asked that the code remain unchanged.  If that cannot be done, we requested that at a minimum clear and specific parameters should be set, so that mountain biking will be allowed only at a couple of the largest natural areas with considerable space, limited habitat potential, and not considered Environmentally Critical Areas.  Additionally, since the vast majority of the area in the Thornton Creek natural areas is listed as Environmentally Critical, we requested that these natural areas be exempt in their entirety from active uses.

The Seattle Parks Board will be issuing their recommendation at the January 7th, 2014 meeting.

A couple of other resources are here:

Opinion piece by Denise Dahn in the Seattle Times (November 23, 2013),

http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2022315520_denisedahnopedparks23xml.html

Article by Lee Springgate (former Bellevue Parks director) for the Project for Public Places,  http://www.pps.org/reference/springgate/

Communications should go to:

City Council Parks Committee – sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov;  tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov;  jean.godden@seattle.gov;  Richard.Conlin@seattle.gov

Parks Board – Rachel.Acosta@seattle.gov

Urban Forestry Commission – Sandra.Pinto_de_Bader@Seattle.gov

Parks Trails Planner – David.Graves@seattle.gov

We would appreciate your support in this matter  If we can be of any assistance as you look into it please let us know.

Sincerely,

Ruth Williams, President

Thornton Creek Alliance

 

[Ruth Williams is the former editor of “A Place of the Towering Firs,” the precursor to the Victory Heights Blog.]

Community Council Meeting December 17th

The next meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council will be on Tuesday, December 17th at 7 PM at the Preschool building in the park. With the holidays so close, the theme is to be more festive this month than usual, perhaps treats will be available to munch on. There are also plans for caroling to return again this year around Victory Heights later in the week. Everyone is welcome to the meetings as always, we hope to see you there.

Proposed Bus Cuts Eliminate Direct Service Downtown

Direct bus service from Victory Heights to downtown would be eliminated unless the Washington State legislature restores funding, King County Metro Transit says. If proposed service cuts go through, Route 72 would be eliminated completely and Route 73 would be moved west to Roosevelt Way NE. To get downtown, Victory Heights residents would either have to walk over to Roosevelt, or catch a 372 on Lake City Way and then transfer to another bus in the University District. During rush hour, express service downtown would be available by walking to either NE 110th Street or NE 95th Street and Lake City Way.

You can learn more about why service must be cut and how you may be affected at a public meeting at North Seattle Community College this week. Metro Transit also is inviting you to help them understand the affects these cuts will have on you.

Public meeting in North Seattle
Thursday, Dec. 5
North Seattle Community College
9600 College Way N, Seattle – C1161 and North Star rooms (map)
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. – open house
7:00 – 7:30 p.m. – optional presentation and small group discussion