March Events Calendar

Here are upcoming events in and around Victory Heights this month:

Sunday, March 13th: Pi Day At The Library. The Seattle Public Library will celebrate “pi” which is expressed in numerals as 3.14159…Enjoy hands-on demonstrations and art projects using circles and the mathematics of circles. Fun activities will be available for children ages 3 to 12, with special activities for ages 0-2. 1:30 PM, Lake City Branch.

Tuesday, March 15th: Victory Heights Community Council Meeting. Everyone is invited to this public meeting to discuss issues important to our neighborhood. 7 PM at the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park.

Sunday, March 20th: “Inside Out” Fundraiser Screening. $5 suggested donation to support ERASE, a youth arts drop in program. 3:30 PM, Aljoya Thornton Place, 450 NE 100th St.

Thursday, March 24th: Thornton Creek Alliance meeting. Find out about “Hazard Trees” from Sue Nicol. 7 PM, Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Avenue NE.

Saturday, March 26th: Democratic Caucuses. Hillary or Bernie? Now is your chance to be heard. For those of you in Precinct SEA 46-2309, you will caucus at Wedgwood Elementary School, 2729 NE 85th St., at 10 AM.  Visit Washington Democrats to learn more.

See Kingfisher’s Wildlife In Action

The Kingfisher Natural Area (aka Thornton Creek as it runs through Victory Heights) is a place teaming with wildlife. Owls are frequently spotted (no pun intended) and last year we had a family of coyotes. Here are some videos recently uploaded by the Thornton Creek Alliance of various indigenous creatures:

You can see all their YouTube videos here.

Live Near Thornton Creek? Get Free Improvement Grants

The Adopt A Stream Foundation is in the second year of a three-year grant to do improvements around Thornton Creek. If you are a homeowner who has any part of their property within 35 feet of the creek you are eligible for a free assessment of your property and if you want, they will help pay for improvements such as erosion abatement, evasive species control, lawn replacement with native species, or even a rain garden (one is already going in at the end of Elshin Place under the 15th Avenue NE bridge).

Read the complete minutes of this month’s Victory Heights Community Council meeting.

Working from funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology, Adopt A Stream is joining with the Thornton Creek Alliance to identify eligible properties and contact homeowners about this terrific program. To learn more, contact Les Meade, an ecologist at Adopt A Stream: lesm@streamkeeper.org.

In other business from last night’s meeting of the Community Council, there are plans to make the annual neighborhood block party a separate event from August’s Neighborhood Night Out, and concern about pedestrian safety crossing 15th Avenue NE just north of the bridge.

Next month’s meeting on February 16th will feature a return of the Parks Department with designs for new park improvements coming in 2016. Don’t miss it!

Victory Heights Events Calendar

Here’s an updated calendar of September/October events in and around Victory Heights:

NEW ITEM: Tuesday, Oct 6th: Metro Transit Public Hearing. The county will be changing a number of bus routes around Victory Heights next year in conjunction with the opening of the Husky Stadium Link Light Rail station. Here is your chance to let King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski know what you think of the proposed changes. 6:30 PM, The Mountaineers Club at Magnuson Park, 7700 Sand Point Way NE.

Thursday, Oct 15th: Open House for Northgate Pedestrian Bridge. The Department of Transportation will update the public on the proposed pedestrian bridge across I-5 at Northgate. 5 PM, North Seattle College, College Center Building, Multipurpose Room.

Tuesday, Oct 20th: Victory Heights Community Council meeting. Residents are encouraged to get involved with issues affecting our neighborhood. 7 PM, Co-op Preschool Building in Victory Heights Park.

Saturday, Oct 24th: Emergency Preparedness Workshop. Learn how to be prepared for a large earthquake or other emergency here in Seattle, and the new AlertSeattle system. 10:30 AM, Lake City Branch of the Seattle Public Library. Register for a class by emailing your name and the presentation you plan to attend to snap@seattle.gov.

 

Thornton Creek Alliance Meeting May 28th

thorntoncreekalliancelogoThe monthly meeting of the Thornton Creek Alliance is this Thursday, May 28th, starting at 7PM at the Meadowbrook Community Center. Speakers this month will be Jonathan Frodge and Miles Mayhew from Seattle Public Utilities talking about water quality and SPU’s proposed side sewer pilot study; Katie Sheehy from the city’s Design Department on the Lake City urban design plan specific to Thornton Creek; and Nick Welch on environmentally critical area regulations update. Meetings are free and open to the public, get there to socialize and enjoy shared munchies.

“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.

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.

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.