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.

Lake City Urban Design Presentation Tuesday

The October meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council will feature a presentation by Katie Sheehy from Seattle’s Department of Planning who is guiding an effort with Lake City area residents and businesses to develop the Lake City Urban Design Framework.  This will be a great opportunity to view the draft document and provide feedback. Everyone is encouraged to attend. The meeting will start at 7 PM in the Victory Heights Co-Op Preschool in Victory Heights Park on Tuesday, October 21st.

As part of the regular monthly meeting we’ll get updates on issues that are relevant to residents of Victory Heights. Note the chairs at the school are sized for small children, so bring your own if you want.

The Victory Heights Community Council versus The World Crime League

It may not be a conspiracy, but the level of crime in Victory Heights lately has been unsettling to attendees of last night’s Victory Heights Community Council.

Read the full minutes of last night’s meeting.

Back at its regular meeting place in the Co-Op Pre-School building in Victory Heights Park, last night the council heard about recent criminal activity including a car stolen just hours earlier from 23rd Avenue NE that had also been stolen just a month earlier from the same location! A number of mail thefts have occurred as well, not only from unlocked mail boxes but the attempted jimmying of locked boxes on 20th Avenue NE. A number of car prowls and burglaries have been reported in recent weeks too.

No doubt the warm summer weather encouraged the criminal element to be out and seize on opportunities, but it’s also very important for residents to always call the police when you see something amiss or suspicious. The police need to know what is going on in our community so they can respond appropriately.

In November, the North Precinct of the Seattle Police Department will be sending their community liaison officer to attend our community council meeting, and they will be able to discuss block watches as well as other methods that can be used to deter crime. That will be on November 18th.

In other business, a motion passed to name the new traffic circle on 23rd Avenue NE after the late Susan Causin. And a dog poop bag dispenser is about to be installed in the park in case any dog owners forget to bring their own bags. It will be restocked by volunteers.

The next meeting will be at the pre-school at 7PM on Tuesday, October 21st.

Northgate Library Hosts Robin Williams Film Festival

The Northgate library branch is having a Robin Williams Film Festival starting Sunday with “Aladdin,” his 1992 Disney hit where he played the Genie.

The Robin Williams Tribute film series will include:

New Traffic Circle on 23rd Avenue NE

traffic circle 3After many years of effort by the community, the new traffic circle on 23rd Avenue NE and NE 105th Street was put in by the city finally.  The circle was installed right after the Labor Day weekend, although funding was originally approved last December. Unfortunately, long time community activist Susan Causin, who was instrumental in getting the circle funded through the North District Council (NDC), passed away over the summer before she could see it installed. Susan helped revive the Victory Heights Community Council in 2012 to help make the case to the NDC, which annually makes recommendations to the city about appropriating money for the Parks and Street Fund projects such as the traffic circle. Susan originally organized the Victory Lane Block Watch for the street she lived on for many years, which included an e-mail distribution list and annual block party. In October 2012 she organized the first meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council to be held in nearly 10 years. Although she made it clear she did not want to be in charge, she did become a board member, and held numerous meetings at her house for emergency preparedness. Her involvement in community activities continued right up through participating in the earthquake simulation drill at the Lake City Hub on May 17, 2014. She was 72 when she passed away from cancer in July, and her friends and neighbors in Victory Heights will miss her spirit and activism.

Upcoming Events Calendar

Here are activities in and around Victory Heights that might interest you:

Saturday, September 6, Northaven Neighborhood Picnic. 11:30 AM – 2: 30 PM. Music and food, $8 for adults, $4 for children 3-12.

Wednesday, September 10, Northgate Bridge Briefing, Northgate Community Center, 6 – 7 PM. SDOT will talk about the proposal to put a pedestrian/bike bridge over I-5 to connect North Seattle Community College to the new Link Light Rail transit center. E-mail Art Brochet to RSVP.

Sunday, September 14th, Thornton Creek Alliance 20th Anniversary Celebration. Cromwell Park, 18030 Meridian Ave N., Shoreline, 1-4 PM. Concert in the park and free ice cream and cake.

Tuesday, September 16, Victory Heights Community Council Meeting, Co-Op Preschool Building in the Park, 7 – 8 PM. Join your neighbors to meet and discuss issues relevant to Victory Heights.

New Bridge Over Creek Open; Students A No Show

P9020659The new pedestrian bridge over Thornton Creek at the Knickerbocker Natural Area (20th Avenue NE) was open for business this morning but no students heading towards Sacajawea Elementary School turned up. As construction crews paused for an hour for the scheduled 8 AM – 9 AM opening, with a flagger standing by, the first people to use the new 85 foot bridge instead were three dog walkers.

The bridge will reopen this afternoon between 2:45 and 3:30 PM when school lets out. Even if you aren’t a student, this is an excellent chance to get a close-up view of the work that continues to be done to the creek.

Last night’s huge rainstorm left standing water around the construction area which was still cleaning up after Monday’s storm. But things were expected to get back on schedule within a day.

The bridge will continue to be open weekday mornings between 8 – 9 AM and again in the afternoons 2:45 – 3:30 PM until the project is completed sometime in October.

Pedestrian Bridge Building Over Thornton Creek

P8260653The Knickerbocker Floodplain Project at Thornton Creek continues with the building of a new pedestrian bridge this week to link 20th Avenue NE with Maple Leaf. The old bridge was demolished in July as part of moving and widening the creek and creating a floodplain.

Previous: Kickerbocker Floodplain Work Begins July 1st

Work has been delayed at the site by the large rainstorms, adding several weeks to the project. Originally it was to be completed by the end of August in time for the fish runs, as well as school beginning (many students cross here to reach Sacajawea Elementary school). The plan now is the have the bridge open by September 3rd although construction around the area will continue into October. Safety measures will be added which include:
-Fenced walkways on both ends of the bridge to keep students separate from construction work.
-A flagger at each end of the bridge to alert crews when students are present and guide students safely through the pedestrian path.
-Large equipment will pause when students are present.

The bridge will be open only during school commute times:
-Morning: 8:00-9:00 a.m.
-Afternoon: 2:45-3:30 p.m.

The bridge is scheduled to reopen to all pedestrians when construction is complete at the end of October.