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:

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.

12th Annual Jokumfest Jazz Festival Saturday

Jokumfest 2012

Jokumfest 2012

Victory Heights’ own jazz festival, Jokumfest, is having its 12th annual event, Saturday, August 16th starting in the afternoon through the evening. It is held, as always, in the backyard of Gary Schudie’s house, 2021 NE Northgate Way. It’s free, and in addition to hours of live music, features food and beer, including a special Jokumfest brew. “Bring something to share [i.e. food],” the organizers suggest.

UPDATE: Here is the complete schedule of acts:

3:00 – 3:50 – Eric Nelson & Brandon Beligni
4:10 – 5:00 – Papa Bear Band
w/ Shawn Stecker, Billy Reed, Jack Cook, Don Buss & Matt Fogdall
5:20 – 6:10 – Brian Butler
6:30 – 7:30 – Hughs Blues
Rhythm & Blues extravaganza w/G W Levell, Jack Cook, Don Forsyth, Steve Branca & Bert DeCoy
7:50 – 8:40 – John Deely & the Victory Heights All Stars
9:00 – 9:50 – Hughs Blues & guests
Rhythm & Blues extravaganza w/G W Levell, Al Farlow, Don Forsyth, Steve Branca & Bert DeCoy

Enjoy this compilation video from previous years:

Idriss Mosque Annual BBQ Sunday

The Idriss Mosque, at the corner of 15th Avenue NE and Northgate Way, will be having a BBQ Open House on Sunday, August 10th between 2 PM – 5 PM. They say, “Our annual BBQ is sponsored by the Islamic Center of Washington in efforts to strengthen our communities, help us to work together for peace, compassion, reconciliation and justice, as well as promote harmony, tolerance and interfaith relationships, through sharing and learning from each other.”  The invitation is extended to ” you, your family, friends and all religious and civic members and leaders in the community.”

Neighborhood Night Out Includes Visits From Firemen, Live Musicians

NNO2014 002Last night’s Neighborhood Night Out (NNO) in Victory Heights not only attracted an estimated 140 residents, but visits from the local fire and police department, and a live acoustic band that set up in the park. It was another gorgeous, shady evening on NE 106th Street as the street was blocked off and tables were set up just before 6 PM. Food began to arrive quickly, as well as information booths for “Ask the Gardener,” emergency preparedness, Thornton Creek Alliance (with a very nice new map), and the Victory Heights Community Council.

NNO2014 001Within a few minutes, at either end of the set-up, a police car rolled up and a fire engine from Station 39 (even though it was Engine 40–a long story). Both had been at nearby calls and wanted to stop by our NNO and say hi. The two patrolmen (both working our precinct, Lincoln 2) couldn’t stay for long, but answered questions and mingled for a few minutes. The fire truck parked for an hour and was a huge hit with the kids. The firemen were able to eat some of our fine food as well.

NNO2014 003About an hour in, some musicians wandered over and asked if it was okay for them to set up and play acoustic music. We said, “Yes, of course,” and they organized themselves on the grassy area in the park nearby.

Organizer Heidi Smeller and her team said that in addition to all the great food that was brought, that over $100 in donations had been collected and, “All in all, a great Neighborhood Night Out.  I’m excited to keep building on our experiences and make 2015 even better!” Thanks to everyone who came and participated.

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

Neighborhood Night Out Tuesday

If you are in Victory Heights you’ve received a flyer, seen the signs, hopefully marked your calendars, now it’s time to go to the Neighborhood Night Out, Tuesday, August 5th from 6 PM to 8 PM. We’re blocking off NE 106th Street, just west of Victory Heights Park. There will be a potluck dinner (remember serving spoons) and free ice cream.  Tables will be set up representing the Victory Heights Community Council, Emergency preparedness (see if your block has a captain yet), Thornton Creek Alliance, and a native plant expert.

The NNO was a big success last year and we are hoping for an even better turn out this year. Meet your neighbors and discuss issues that are important to Victory Heights. The weather looks great, bring the kids, maybe some chairs to sit on, and we’ll see you on Tuesday!

UPDATE: There are also two night out parties north of Northgate Way, one on 19th near 113th, and one on 17th near 113th.

Salmonfest in Lake City August 1-3

dancing-fishwebcolorssmallSeafair weekend is coming. Hydros! Blue Angels! Sunshine! (we hope). And up in Lake City, the event formerly known as Lake City Pioneer Days is now Salmonfest. They’ll still have a parade and activities, but it now includes a three day Salmon Bake at the Lake City Community Center beginning at noon Friday.

The Street Festival runs Saturday and Sunday plus there’s a Kid’s Parade at 6PM and Grand Parade at 7PM Saturday night. They’ll have great bands and a beer garden, vendors, and a pet area…it’s bound to be a great time right here in North Seattle! Most of the action will take place on 28th Avenue NE and NE 125th St.

Don’t forget the vintage car show on Saturday from 10 AM – 4 PM.

This Lake City tradition has celebrated peace, culture and community for 73 years! Come be part of it this year.