How The Police Deal With Homeless Issues In Seattle

This month’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council featured returning speaker, Seattle Police Department Officer Bryan Kennedy, speaking about “How the police interact with homeless individuals.”

Read the entire minutes of the May meeting.

Officer Kennedy said, “Our goal is not to arrest our way out of this issue.” The city council calls the shots, and that policy includes at the moment non-enforcement of laws about sleeping on sidewalks, in parks, etc. Typically officers try to do an assessment of any homeless persons and try to hook them up with services, but often they are dealing with people with mental health and addiction issues. There is a Navigation Team to deal with large encampments. If you see someone sleeping on public property, use the “Find It, Fix It” app (or website) to report it. On private property where trespassing is an issue, or if there is a crisis moment occurring, you should call 911. Ultimately he said of homelessness, “This kind of issue isn’t resolved quickly.”

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, June 16th: Neighborhood-wide Yard Sale.  We will be closing NE 106th Street just west of the park if you want to set up as a group, or you can sell things directly from your yard or garage.

Tuesday, June 19th: Victory Heights Community Council Meeting, probably in the park (we can’t use the preschool during the summer). Guest speaker: Tracy Cramer, sharps disposal educator.

Tuesday, July 17th (note new date!): Our annual Victory Heights Potluck and Ice Cream Social. 6 PM on NE 106th Street on the west side of the park.

Tuesday, July 24th: Block Leader Meeting, which will feature our local crime prevention coordinator.

More events coming including a “Stop The Bleed” first-aid course, soliciting for paint designs for the traffic circles, a “Tallest Tree in Victory Heights” contest, and an Urban Survival Skills demonstration in the park this autumn after the path is finish.

Don’t forget the Lake City Farmer’s Market starts Thursday, June 7th, every Thursday through September. They have 14 new vendors this year.

Idriss Mosque Battles Religious Extremist

At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council (read the complete minutes here), we heard from Hisham Farajallah about an unfortunately problem they’ve been having at the local Idriss Mosque on Northgate Way. A religious extremist has taken it upon himself to show up outside during Friday afternoon prayers with very offensive signs, a video camera, and the hopes of sparking a confrontation that he can “document” and go viral with. The feeling at the mosque is the best way to deal with this protester is to ignore him, apparently he hates that. They are hoping volunteers can show up on Fridays to help attendees avoid interactions. They don’t want a counter-protest. They don’t want to engage him. Just have everyone ignore him.

On the plus side, the mosque will be hosting an open house pre-Ramadan event on Saturday, May 5th starting at 5:30 PM that will include tours and a potluck. It’s worth checking out.

In other news, our emergency communications HUB in the park has been installed (or at least the storage box we got from the city using the grant we won). And we’ll be testing it at our “NO POWER, NO BARS” drill on Saturday, April 28th between 9 AM and noon. This is a city-wide event to simulate what would happen if the electricity failed for a long period of time. We need HUB volunteers (no experience necessary, and you get to wear a neat hat), as well as actors who will be given scripted scenarios to help the volunteers practice (again, no experience necessary). You might end up doing both. Bring the kids, last year’s drill included a very helpful Scout troupe. Our GoFundMe campaign is still going on, we hope to raise some funds to buy walkie-talkies, tables, and other things that the HUB didn’t come with.

The Victory Heights Neighborhood Yard Sale will be Saturday, June 16th from 9 AM – 2 PM. We have received permission to close NE 106th Street along the west side of the park, if people want to bring their stuff to be sold in one central location. Or let us know where your yard sale will be and we’ll have maps.

The next meeting is Tuesday, May 15th when Officer Kennedy from SPD will be speaking about dealing with homelessness, particularly the person who is camped out on 19th Avenue NE and Northgate Way.

Support Our GoFundMe For Victory Heights Emergency HUB

Support our GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help the Victory Heights emergency communications HUB.  On April 28th we will be holding a disaster drill in Victory Heights Park to simulate an extended power outage in our area.  Our new HUB lock box will be ready, along with the tables, chairs, magnetic boards, hats and other equipment so we can receive and distribute information to residents.  But we need more, hence this fundraising effort to get us more than the “bare-bones”: walkie-talkies, message boards, waterproof maps, rain ponchos, and canopies for starters.  Help our neighborhood be prepared in case of an emergency.  And come participate in our drill on the 28th (9 AM in the park–you can be a HUB volunteer or play out various scenarios that we will provide). The board of the Victory Heights Community Council thanks you!

Upcoming Events This Spring & Summer in Victory Heights

At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Center (see full minutes of the meeting) the following events were announced:

Saturday, April 28th: Emergency Communication HUB Drill. We will setting up and testing our new HUB and participating in a city-wide drill to simulate a widespread power grid outage. Come volunteer, no experience necessary.  9 AM in Victory Heights Park.

Saturday, June 9th: Spring Clean. Still in the planning stage, but a chance to walk around and clean up the neighborhood.

Saturday, June 16th: Victory Heights Neighborhood-wide Yard Sale. We’ll be advertising and putting out signs.  Set up at your house or at a central location near the park.

Tuesday, July 17th: (new date) Victory Heights Potluck and Ice Cream Social.  Our annual party to get together and meet neighbors, eat, have free ice cream and maybe even tour a fire engine. 6 PM on the west side of Victory Heights Park.

Don’t forget upcoming meetings of the Community Council (everyone welcome): Tuesday, April 17, and Tuesday May 15th. 7 PM in the Victory Heights co-op preschool in the park.

Please take a moment to “Like” our Facebook page.

Playground Re-Opened February 10th

At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council, we heard about the “soft opening” of the new playground equipment in Victory Heights Park.

Read the entire minutes of the February meeting.

On Saturday, February 10th, a large crowd was on hand for the re-opening, as well as one of the local TV stations, and the park has been very busy with kids trying out the new equipment.  Work is still continuing on the basketball court and later on, the new walking path around the field.

In other council news, we heard from the Ryther Center for Children & Youth. What’s the Ryther Center? It’s that campus on the north side NE 95th Street just east of Lake City Way. Named after Mother Olive Ryther who in 1885 (!) opened the first home for children in Seattle, at the Ryther Center they “help children and youth overcome trauma, mental health and substance use challenges,” according to their website, http://ryther.org/ . Considering how many angry kids are in the news these days, places like this give them a place to get treatment and help when nothing else will work.  They are always  looking for volunteers, from “Best Buddies” to just working in their thrift store in Ballard.

Watch for a poll soon about possibly holding a neighborhood-wide yard sale in the spring, our emergency communication HUB drill on April 28th, and meetings you can attend around the city as part of the “Your Voice, Your Choice” program that might get some much-needed work done on NE 104th Way down to Lake City Way.

Our next meeting is Tuesday, March 20th when Sound Transit will let us know the state of our current mass transit system, including the Link Light Rail. Mark your calendar.

 

Playground At Victory Heights Park Re-opens In February

At the January meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council it was announced the new playground at Victory Heights Park will have a “soft opening” (i.e. unofficial) on Saturday, February 10th from 10-11 AM.

Read the entire minutes of the January meeting.

Under construction since May 2017, the new playground includes equipment for younger as well older kids, and will eventually include a basketball court and a path around the field (coming later in 2018).

Other upcoming events in our area include a Seed Swap on Sunday, February 4th from 3-4 PM (yes, during the Superbowl) at the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park.

District 5 city council representative Debora Juarez will be hosting a “D5 Community Network” on Tuesday, February 13th from 7-9 PM at the Seattle Mennonite Church, 1320 NE 125th Street in Lake City. There will be an opportunity for Q&As.

The main speaker at the January meeting was Brian Mickelson from Seattle Public Utilities who talked about the new Thornton Natural Drainage Systems that will be installed on select streets in coming years.  Open houses around the neighborhood last August and October introduced the concept, which includes drains for rain run off that will filter the water before sending it to Thornton Creek.

Also, you have until February 2nd to nominate projects for the city’s annual “Your Voice, Your Choice” program that will give out $3,000,000 in $90,000 chunks to worthy improvements to streets and parks.  We think improved pedestrian access to NE 104th Way down to Lake City Way would be a good project.  Nominate here.

The next meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council will be Tuesday, February 20th. I we hope to see you there!

Northeast Tool Library Moves to Former Dairy Location

The Northeast Seattle Tool Library, a fantastic resource that until now was located on NE 80th where you could borrow tools for free, is moving to the former LaVilla Dairy location, 10228 Fischer Place, just across Lake City Way on the eastern border of Victory Heights.

It will be fully up and operational by March but meanwhile a major challenge is the monthly rent. The current cash flow is not sufficient to cover it, although long term growth should take care of it. You can help by renewing your membership, starting a membership if not a member, and/or making a one time donation.

For a sneak preview inside, visit during the open house, Saturday January 27th from 2 – 4pm.

Press release!:

Dear NESTL Members Past and Present,

We are incredibly happy to announce that we have a new home!  We have agreed in principle to lease the bottom half of the LaVilla dairy building at 10228 Fischer Pl NE, just east of Lake City Way, north of  NE 98th. This space has many great features, including room for a dedicated shop space, extra space for tool storage, and plenty of parking. The upstairs office space will be leased by CB Construction, with whom we look forward to collaborating.

There will be a few changes as we move north sometime this spring  We’ve enjoyed partnering with the Bike Shack for the last five years, and in our new space we’ll have a bike repair area as well.  This will be managed by volunteers Chad Jacobsen and Sachi Wilson, and will be a Tool Library run venture.  We’ll be looking for volunteers to help staff the bike area, so if you have an interest in this, let us know!  Our branch of the King County Seed Library will come along with us to the new space, with more breathing room to peruse seeds for this year’s growing season.

As we make plans to move, we want to extend a heartfelt thanks to the North Seattle Friends Church.  The generosity of the Friends congregation allowed us to get started and to grow as quickly as we have. Thanks also to Cleanscapes for funding our initial efforts, and to the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods for funding our first paid staff, Dave Gifford.  We thank Dave and Sara Kautz, our second coordinator, for all the work they did to improve the operations of the library and to recruit and train new volunteers.  Chris Lemmen and Mike Murphy, our current coordinators, are busy planning the move and salivating over the new opportunities this space will provide. Thanks to them as well!

We wouldn’t be where we are now without our paid staff and incredible volunteers.  It’s really the volunteer staffers, tool fixers, bookkeepers, inventory managers, website tinkerers and library steering committee members that have made this project happen. Many thanks to all of you!

There will be lots of chances to help as we get ready to move, but here’s the one thing we ask now- continue to be a supporting member of the library. As we now will have a hefty rent bill each month, we will raise our suggested yearly donation to $50.00.   If your membership has lapsed, take a few minutes today to renew it.  The best way to make sure this amazing community asset stays strong is to support it.   Here’s a link to our paypal  page- you can renew your membership with a donation and a quick e-mail or phone call to the library.

https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=wOgffUFDEcCGOL08pR4jzHCeeR72_L-DVVYUTaTrj2pmb0CZ-CiUYZn3e-U9vckckNbteG&country.x=US&locale.x=US

Next time you are heading up Lake City, take a detour on Fischer Pl and check out the cool old dairy building. It’s a local gem, and we are grateful that we get to make it our next home!

All the best for 2018!

NE Seattle Tool Library

Trash Collection on Fridays For Two Weeks

If you are in Victory Heights, the trash pickup for the next two weeks will be Fridays instead of the usual Thursday.  Per a SPU press release:

Due to back-to-back Monday holidays, all garbage, food and yard waste and recycling in Seattle will be delayed by one day for a duration of two weeks, starting Monday, Dec. 25, 2017.

There will be no solid waste collections on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 and Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Collections will be delayed by one day from normal schedules (e.g. collections for Monday will occur on Tuesday, Tuesday collections will occur on Wednesday, and so on). Customers should set containers out by 7 a.m. to ensure collection.

Customers can report missed garbage, food and yard waste, or recycling collections after 5 p.m. on their rescheduled collection day by calling (206) 684-3000, or filling out a report at www.seattle.gov/util/MissedCollection.

Post Office Offers Daily Mail Notifications

At the November meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council, we heard from Seattle Police Department representatives Mary Amberg and Officer Bryan Kennedy about a great new program offered by the postal service that will notify you daily of the contents of your mail delivery so you can be sure it arrives safely.

Read the complete minutes of the November meeting.

Called “Informed Delivery,” once you sign up it will, “Digitally preview your mail and manage your packages scheduled to arrive soon.” Officer Kennedy reminded us that, “Seattle has a huge problem with property crime,” especially this time of year when everyone is getting packages. With Informed Delivery, you know exactly what to expect in your mailbox (or door) every day in case something should go missing.

We were also reminded not to leave your items in the car when shopping at the mall this season.

In other news at the community council meeting, we heard from Katie Bang from Seattle Parks about the playground renovation project.  Originally scheduled for completion last September, due to a concrete strike, a water runoff redesign, and the weather, the playground portion of the project is now expected to be finished in mid-December (ribbon-cutting in January?).  In the spring the contractors will begin work on the walking path around the field and finish the basketball court.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, December 19th at the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park.

Disaster Preparedness Suggestions

At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council (read the full minutes here) we heard all about disaster preparedness and tips that could really make a difference. Think about recent events in Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Mexico City. Is it so incredible to think about a massive earthquake hitting the Puget Sound area?  Even if there were no substantial damage in our neighborhood, it’s estimated it could be two weeks before we would see outside assistance (other higher priority areas, debris, damaged bridges). Here are some suggestions that would make survival a whole lot better:

  • Sturdy shoes and socks under each bed
  • Flashlight under bed
  • Remove or secure pictures / shelves around bed
  • Secure refrigerator to wall
  • Plug-in-the-wall flashlights that come on automatically when the power is cut
  • Know where the water cut-off is inside your house.
  • Learn how to turn off your gas at the meter if you smell/hear gas leaking
  • Designate an out-of-town contact person
  • WATER! (assume 1 gallon per person per day x 14 days, don’t forget your pets)
  • Strap down water heater
  • Food – do you have enough to last two weeks in your house?
  • Make/buy an emergency toilet (5 gallon buckets work)
  • Find emergency communication HUB closet to your house, work, schools (in Victory Heights there will be one set up in the park)
  • Assemble a “Get Home Bag” for your car or work
  • Scan important documents and upload to the cloud
  • Have cash in small bills stashed away, assume ATMs will not work

Here is a list of further resources:

Resources:

Securing household items http://www.earthquakecountry.org/step1/index.html

Securing refrigerator to the kitchen wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaMqz9Q_vgc

Turning off the WATER to your house: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvE6n7rTGnM

Turning off GAS to your house: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keNdbAs-sBk

Twin-Bucket Emergency Toilet http://www.portlandoregon.gov/pbem/article/394125

 Map of HUB locations in Seattle http://seattleemergencyhubs.org/seattle-emergency-neighborlink-map

 Seattle Hazards Map http://seattlecitygis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=0489a95dad4e42148dbef571076f9b5b

Alert Seattle http://alert.seattle.gov

Smart 911 https://www.smart911.com

Add Emergency Contact Number to your phone’s lock screen http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2489237,00.asp

GPS Apps for Offline Navigation https://www.wired.com/2015/04/offline-gps-apps/

http://mashable.com/2015/09/16/offline-maps/#gT52NaBjG8qn

Seattle Resilience Survey http://www.seattle.gov/resilience/get-involved

The next meeting of the community council will be Tuesday, October 17th at 7 PM in the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park.