Knickerbocker Floodplain Work Begins July 1st

The Knickerbocker Natural Area as seen in May 2014. In three months time, it will look much different.

The Knickerbocker Natural Area as seen in May 2014. In three months time, it will look much different.

Construction work on the long-planned Knickerbocker Floodplain Restoration Project will begin in July on Thornton Creek. Last night at the Knickerbocker Natural Area (NE 100th Street and 20th Avenue NE), staff at Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and the Parks Department met with neighbors to update them on the work. The project will relocate about 600 feet of Thornton Creek, create a 1.5 acre vegetated floodplain, and upgrade the pedestrian bridge over the creek. The new floodplain will store more water, wood, and sediment during storms and provide benefits to properties further down the creek (e.g. less flooding). It will also improve the habitat for fish and wildlife in the creek.

Related: Knickerbocker Restoration Would Be First In the NationKnickerbockerPlans

Some construction work will begin in June, while work in the creek will take place during July 1st and August 31st in an effort to protect fish populations. During that time, the creek will be diverted into two 12″ pipes, and the pedestrian path across the area will be closed for those two months. Once the new 80 foot bridge is installed, access will be reopened in time for the school year to begin.

The two and half million dollar project is a joint effort between the two Seattle departments (SPU & Parks) that have purchased parcels over the past several years. Some of the wetlands creation is being paid by Sound Transit as mitigation for construction at Northgate of the Link Light Rail station. After the contractors finish their work this summer, both departments will be responsible for maintaining the floodplain.

Just a mile east of Knickerbocker, another section of Thornton Creek is being updated when 35th Avenue NE is closed at Meadowbrook beginning Monday to install a larger bridge over the creek. The Seattle Times describes the project.

Visit the SPU website about the Knickerbocker project.


Spring Clean Work Party May 24th

At last night’s Victory Heights Community Council meeting (full minutes here), the annual neighborhood Spring Clean was announced. We welcome everyone from Victory Heights to come together to beautify our neighborhood this Saturday, May 24th starting at 10 AM. Meet up at the park in front of the preschool to get your supplies (vests, gloves, paint and brushes, bags and pickups will be provided). Last year’s graffiti removal was quite successful. If you know of any spots that need graffiti covered over or trash picked up, please e-mail Ardith Lupton before Saturday.

In other news, no word yet from CleanScapes about who will be receiving awards that were submitted last month. The Neighborhood Night Out for August 5th is moving full-steam ahead. It will be held the same place as last year on NE 106th Street right next to the park, with pot luck, ice cream, games, and flyer tables.

On May 29th, residents near Thornton Creek can meet up with Seattle Public Utility members to learn more about the Knickerbocker Floodplain project construction that begins this summer.

On June 3rd, the Seattle Department of Transportation will be holding an Open House about the proposed pedestrian/bike bridge across interstate 5 at Northgate. That meeting starts at 6 PM at Olympic View Elementary School, 504 NE 95th Street.

Watch out for construction on 35th Avenue NE near Meadowbrook as the road is closed for several months while the bridge is replaced, and Lake City Way will see a lot of changes this year including intersection rebuilds and signage.

The next meeting of the Community Council will be held at 10408 23rd Avenue NE at 7 PM on June 17th.


Emergency Drill Prepares HUB Volunteers

Interior view of the emergency HUB storage container in Lake City.

Interior view of the emergency HUB storage container in Lake City.

Under grey threatening skies that later changed to sunshine, Emergency communication HUBS around Seattle participated in a simulated disaster drill Saturday morning, including the one in Lake City located in the Fred Meyer parking lot. For two hours, volunteers at the HUB, using neighborhood “actors,” practiced dealing with different emergency scenarios, and matching them up with provided resources.

The radio room in the communications HUB.

The radio room in the communications HUB.

By 9 AM, the Emergency Preparedness volunteers had set up pop-up tents, chairs, tables, dry-erase boards, and the radio room for relaying messages to a post downtown. Regular citizens were asked to come by and pull a slip of paper from a bowl that would describe the “emergency” they had, which then had to be dealt with by the staff.

A slip I picked said “I need a tow truck, my car just died. I pushed it to the side of the road, but it’s blocking a lane of traffic.” A volunteer then collected my information and posted it on the “Needs” section of the board.  Later, Victory Heights Community Council President Ardith Lupton pulled a resource slip that said she had a truck with a tow rope that could be used to pull a vehicle. Mission accomplished!

Keith Dekker pretends to be a blind resident who needs shelter. On the left, Susan Causin posts the information.

Keith Dekker pretends to be a blind resident who needs shelter. On the left, Susan Causin posts the information.

The pretense of the drill on Saturday was an eruption of Mt. Rainier with resulting ash and lahar flows. During the last such event, lahars racing at speeds up to 60 mph reached as far north as Seattle! A vulcanologist I know told me, “And, while Mt. Rainer can produce a lahars if the eruption period last for a while, Rainer’s biggest threat to Seattle is ash and poisonous sulfur dioxide gas.” Swell. An article in yesterday’s Seattle Times about earthquakes also had this cheery tidbit,

The last megaquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which runs 700 miles from Vancouver Island to Northern California, struck in the year 1700 and measured about magnitude 9. The odds of a repeat within the next 50 years are estimated at between 15 and 30 percent.

That’s pretty high odds. So be prepared. Have several days worth of water and food on hand and don’t expect immediate help from authorities in case of a disaster. More advice from the Seattle Office of Emergency Management is here.

Victory Heights Community Council Meeting May 20th

The May meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council will be this Tuesday, May 20th, starting at 7 PM at the Preschool Building in Victory Heights Park. As usual, all residents are welcome to attend, remember though the chairs are all scaled for children.

Discussion topics will include planning for the Neighborhood Night Out in August, emergency preparedness (including a report of the May 17th drill), and promoting the Lake City Farmers Market.

We hope to see you there!