Emergency Communications HUB Drill Connects Victory Heights With City

On Saturday July 29th, the new Victory Heights emergency communications HUB did its first drill in conjunction with a city-wide event. Tables were set up and volunteers (including a local scout troupe) held different positions or played out various scenarios using scripts. Organized by Victory Heights Community Council President Ann Forrest, various staff were given color-coded caps so they could easily be identified: greeters, person reunions, information, medical, and information posting.  The only resource a HUB has is information but in an emergency situation that can mean a lot when it comes to finding out who has what resources or where the greatest need is.

Local ham radio operators were also set up to allow our HUB to communicate with others nearby in Lake City, Meadowbrook and Maple Leaf.  They could also receive messages from the city’s “central command” downtown that would broadcast general information messages every 30 minutes to update HUBs around the city.

Over two dozens people participated in the drill, a great turn-out for our neighborhood (by contrast, the central part of the city including the Central District and Beacon Hill doesn’t even have any HUBs). Drills will continue to be held in the coming months. They are fun to participate in and extremely useful training should that day come when we need an emergency communication HUB in case of a natural disaster.

Parks Department Repairs Fence

fence2After many months of cajoling, last weekend the Seattle Parks Department finally repaired the fence alongside Victory Heights Park that was damaged last year.

Previous: Parks Dept Says They’ll Need SDOT Help To Fix Fence

The news was announced at last night’s outdoor meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council that was held by the picnic tables not too far from the newly repaired fence.

Read the complete minutes from last night’s meeting.

The guest speaker this month was Debbie Goetz from the city’s Office of Emergency Management who spoke about SNAP and the neighborhood HUBs that have been organized in case of an emergency. Attendees received a number of informative flyers as well as two cool gadgets: a keychain whistle, and a miniature wind-up light.

Next month’s meeting (on July 21st, also in the park) will be the planning session for the Neighborhood Night Out on August 4th. We need as many people as possible to attend so we can hand out packets of flyers that will be distributed to every house in the neighborhood in late July. Please come and participate and help make this family event great for a third straight year.

Victory Heights Community Council Meeting October 15

The October meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council will be held at our usual stomping grounds of the Co-Op Preschool building in Victory Heights Park at 7 PM on Tuesday, October 15th.  Everyone in the community is invited to come and participate as issues relevant to our neighborhood are discussed. [UPDATE:] The scheduled speaker from the City’s Office of Emergency Management won’t be able to attend after all, but Susan Causin, head of the Emergency Planning Committee, will instead do an update to our preparation plans for Victory Heights. (You might recall we have organized Victory Heights into blocks with captains to work with their neighbors to be ready in case of a catastrophic emergency.)

Don’t forget all the chairs at the school are meant for children, so if you want a grown-up sized chair to sit in, bring your own. See you there!

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Highlights of June’s VH Community Council Meeting

Last night 18 residents attended June’s Victory Heights Community Council meeting at the Pre-School building in the park on a lovely, sunny summer evening. Several new faces were lured in, having seen some of the new road signs used to advertise community events. Among the highlights were an update on emergency preparedness plans, the neighborhood night out, the homeless situation,and break-ins.

Read the full minutes from the June 18, 2013 meeting.

The Emergency Preparedness Committee showed off the neighborhood map where we are trying to assign a “zone Captain” for each block to distribute city-made fliers to residents about preparation, and be organized in the case of a disaster. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact us. It’s not a lot of work and we certainly hope we never need it, but better prepared than not. A meeting of Captains and a representative of the city’s SNAP program will be on July 15th.

The Victory Heights Neighborhood Night Out will be on Tuesday, August 6th with the entire neighborhood invited to a potluck to be held on NE 106th Street, adjacent to the west side of Victory Heights Park starting at 6 PM. The plan is to be able to provide free ice cream afterwards. Mark your calendars!

The Lake City Farmers market starts Thursday June 20th from 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM every Thursday through the summer at NE 125th Street and 28th Avenue NE.

The city has posted a notice on the homeless encampment underneath the 15th Avenue NE bridge giving them a few days to move out before the city comes in and cleans it out. It’s regrettable but the city needs to enforce its ordinances against illegal encampments on city property.

There seems to have been a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood lately.  Terrie Johnston with the Seattle Police Department replied in an email request about this, “With some exceptions, I do not believe the burglaries are related, too many incidents, too many different methods of entry, etc.” We were given the usual advice: don’t make your house an easy target, lock your doors and windows, always answer (but don’t open) the door if someone knocks (so they know it is occupied), call 911 if you see someone suspicious. More tips on the SPD website.

Next month’s meeting will be on July 16th at the Pre-School and we’ll hear from a representative from Feet First about improving walking routes around the neighborhood.

Community Council Hears From Sound Transit and Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness

Last night’s monthly meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council featured presentations from Sound Transit and about SNAP (Seattle Neighborhood Actively Prepared).

Read the complete minutes of the March meeting.

First up, Roger Iwata from Sound Transit told residents about the expansion of the Link Light Rail from Northgate up to Lynnwood that is expected to be finished around 2023 (two years after the Northgate station opens in 2021). The preferred corridor is along the I-5 right-of-way with various stops (to be determined) in North Seattle, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and then the Lynnwood Transit Center. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be issued in June and formal comments can be submitted.

Secondly, Sandy Motzer, Director of the Lake City Emergency Communication Hub, explained about the city’s SNAP program and how, as part of disaster preparedness, volunteer sites are being set up all around the city to relay emergency information via ham radio to and from city officials in case regular communications fail. Sandy is organizing one for northeast Seattle that will be based in the parking lot of the Fred Meyer in Lake City (the next closest ones to Victory Heights are the top of Maple Leaf or Hunter’s Tree Farm in Wedgwood). Plans are underway to organize here in Victory Heights so we will be aware of what resources are on hand should we need them (who has generators, who are doctors or nurses, ham radio operators, etc). Want to volunteer to help the HUB? Sandy would love to hear from you, e-mail her at sandymotzer@aol.com. There is a city-wide simulated emergency drill that will be conducted on May 11th.

In other news, Victory Heights might be getting a new traffic circle if the vote goes our way at next month’s North District Council meeting. Eileen Canola has been campaigning for one to be installed on 23rd Ave NE and NE 105th Street for several years and after much organizational work (and paperwork), the end is nearly in sight as the NDC prepares to distribute this year’s Street Funds from the city.

Plans are underfoot for the community council to host a party for the entire neighborhood in the park sometime this summer. Stay tuned as details are sorted out.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 16th at 7 PM in the pre-school in Victory Heights Park.

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