Caroling, Crime and Elections at Community Meeting

Last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council was a mixed bag of different topics, including a presentation by Alex Vallandry of Seattle Neighborhood Group.

Read the complete minutes of the December meeting.

Alex spoke about the recent spate of car prowls and thefts and what can be done to reduce them (don’t keep anything valuable–or frankly stealable–in your car, park in well-lit areas, don’t drive 1990s era Hondas). But the silver lining if your car is stolen is it’s usually opportunists looking for a quick trip somewhere, 86% of cars are recovered, most within 12 blocks from where they were stolen. Mail theft came up, definitely a hot topic at this time of year (in fact, I found stolen mail alongside the road today and returned it to the owners, the packages had all been torn open and the contents stolen. The mail had been removed from unlocked mailboxes). Possible deterrents include finding a neighbor who stays home and having packages delivered to them instead of sitting on your doorstep, getting them delivered at work, or going in with neighbors to buy a group locking mailbox.

Caroling will return to Victory Heights again this year, starting at 6:30 PM next Tuesday, December 23rd.  Meet up at the Harris house, 10512 17th Avenue NE (enter on the NE 106th side), where music sheets, cookies, and hot cider will be offered before everyone heads out into the streets. Read about last year’s caroling event.

Finally, elections are coming for the board members and officers of the Victory Heights Community Council. These two year positions include the search for a new President and Vice-President. You might think this sounds like a lot of work, but mostly the President delegates the work to someone else and just has to run the meetings once a month, which pretty much run themselves. Interested in running or being on the council’s executive board? Write to Ardith Lupton.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 at 7 PM in the usual location at the preschool building in Victory Heights Park. Happy holidays, everyone!

“Temporary” Fencing Going In At Knickerbocker Site

fenceSeattle Public Utilities (SPU) began erecting “temporary” fencing around the Knickerbocker Thornton Creek site today in order to keep out “people and dogs” to allow the young vegetation a chance to grow. When construction was completed in October for the floodplain project and the construction fencing was removed it was assumed the site would remain open with clear sight lines to the newly restored creek. Alas, worries about foot traffic (both human and canine) around the sensitive new tree plantings on either side of the creek has altered plans, and new fencing will be erected around the entire site except for a gap to allow access to the pedestrian bridge. The fencing will probably remain through the winter and possibly be replaced by trees or some other type of wood barrier eventually.

UPDATE Dec. 10th: John Crawford-Gallagher, SPU’s Community Outreach Specialist, responds:

  1. The fencing will be around portions of the site, rather than the whole thing. There will be fence along NE 100th and a small section of fence on the south side of the creek.
  2. When we remove the fence will depend on how quickly the plants become established. It may be at the end of winter, but it may be longer.
  3. We don’t plan to replace the temporary fencing with trees or another type of wood barrier.

No Trash Pickup On Thanksgiving

Residents in Victory Heights who normally have their trash, yard waste and recycling picked up on Thursdays will instead have it picked up on Friday, November 28th due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday this week. Everything is pushed back a day, so those with normal Friday pickups will have it done Saturday.  Have your cans out by 7 AM on Friday.

With Christmas Day and New Years Day on Thursdays this year, the same situation will occur, pickups in Victory Heights will be December 26 and January 2nd respectively.

 

Burglary Rate Falls But Residents Worry About Crime

At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council, residents heard a presentation by Elizabeth Scott, the Crime Prevention Coordinator from the North Precinct of the Seattle Police Department (SPD), who said that compared with a similar period last year, burglaries are down in the Lincoln 2 sector that Victory Heights is part of.

Read the entire minutes of last night’s meeting.

However this did not assuage the concerns of some residents who, citing personal experience (and recent articles in The Seattle Times), felt SPD was not treating property crime seriously. Even though her job is helping residents with crime preventation, and not being a spokesman for the department, she said dispatchers have to prioritize cases and burglaries can be a lower priority at times depending on what other calls are coming in. “There are limitations to what we can do.”

Given the recent publicity in The Times, the new police chief, Kathleen O’Toole, said they would be reviewing police procedures. It is still important to report any robberies because it does provide data to the police department of what is happening where and how resources are allocated. On the prevention front, Elizabeth reminded us to lock your doors, make sure your house looks occupied even when it’s not, and store and lock up any ladders or tools that are outside that could be used to enter your house.

Meanwhile, if you need to report a non-emergency such as a homeless encampment or abandoned car, you can call 684-CITY, or use the new Find It Fix It app for your Android or iPhone. For added safety, you can register your mobile phone at Smart911.com with your personal information which would then be displayed if you ever call 911 to let them know who you are and your home address, which might be invaluable during an emergency.

And while burglaries are down, car thefts are up, particularly if you drive a 1990s Honda, Toyota or Subaru. Very often these cars are used by joy riders who leave them on the side of the road afterwards. Lock your cars, use a Club, and never leave valuables inside.

The next meeting of the community council is Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at the Co-Op Preschool building in Victory Heights Park starting at 7 PM.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Countdown to Neighborhood Night Out Begins

This year’s Neighborhood Night Out will be Tuesday, August 5th. Last night’s Victory Height’s Community Council meeting updated us for planning on what we hope is another successful event.

Read the complete minutes of last night’s meeting.

Heidi Smeller is in charge this year of the event which will start at 6 PM on the 5th on NE 106th Street, just west of the park. Like last year, it will feature potluck food and beverages (please bring something), and free make-your-own ice cream sundaes.  No toys this year unfortunately, we couldn’t get another grant from the city. If you would like to help volunteer to bring tables, set up, or distribute flyers throughout the neighborhood next week, please write to Heidi: VictoryHeightsNNO2014@gmail.com.

Last night’s meeting also featured a presentation by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. They are currently working on making 27th Avenue NE in Olympic Hills a safe route for pedestrians, bicyclists and cars. This independent coalition is looking for community organizations to join and help “identity, advocate and activate safe and healthy streets for all.”

The only meeting in August is the Neighborhood Night Out, we hope to see you and your family there. The Community Council will be back in September on the 16th at our familiar digs in the preschool building.

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

 

Knickerbocker Project Brings More Truck Traffic

The Knickerbocker Floodplains Project off NE 100th Street will be bringing more truck traffic to the neighborhood in the next few weeks. Construction began last week on the project which so far has cleared the land in preparation for the relocation of Thornton Creek (see photo comparing the site over the past four weeks):
Knickerbocker02

In an e-mail to residents Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) said,

We’ve heard concerns about truck traffic in the neighborhood. Because of the nature of the neighborhood streets, our contractor carefully considered pedestrian and traffic safety when they chose a route for trucks to enter and exit the site. All delivery trucks larger than a pickup will follow the directions below.

-Exit I-5 Northgate Way and travel East on NE Northgate Way
-Turn right going South on 23rd Ave NE.
-Turn right going West on NE 102nd St.
-Turn left going South on 21st Ave NE
-Turn left [sic] going East on NE 100th St.
-Back down into site.

We have implemented the following safety procedures for all truck deliveries:
• All deliveries are required to call Project Superintendent 10-15 minutes before entering the neighborhood.
• The contractor will provide flaggers throughout the route for all semi-tractor trailer trucks.
• The contractor will place “No Parking” signs 24 hours in advance for semi-tractor trailer truck deliveries.
• Flaggers and drivers will not allow truck staging or idling on 21st Ave NE.

Why they don’t just go down Lake City Way and then straight up NE 100th Street from Summa is a mystery. It would be a much shorter and direct route rather than through the entire neighborhood. I guess that’s “carefully considered” for you (or a cheap-ass Google Maps route search).

As for the project itself:

Anticipated work during the week ahead
The contractor will:
• Prepare equipment that will divert the creek through flexible pipes while they construct the new creek bed and floodplain.
• Remove the steel frame of the current pedestrian bridge.
• Begin work in the creek July 1 and continue through the fish window.

If you would like to receive e-mail updates about the project from SPU, subscribe to this listserve.