Archive for May, 2010

Friday Feature: Seattle Fitness

May 28, 2010  |  Business, PI  |  No Comments

This week’s Friday Feature is of a gym that is one of Seattle’s oldest established health club facilities. Starting out in 1984 as the Sound Conditioning Club, it was purchased in 1995 by one of their personal trainers, Tija Petrovich and her partner Sandy. Back then, the club was located in the same historic building, but in a hard to find location on the 2nd floor.

A few years ago, they made the strategic decision to occupy a recently vacated ground floor retail spot, even though it would be almost half the size of their original location. It was a trade off that they felt was worth it, however. Many other businesses have come and gone in that spot (including a few restaurants), but it seems like Seattle Fitness is going to make it work. They took the opportunity to upgrade a lot of the equipment, make changes to their classes, and to establish a comortable feel to the gym.

Seattle Fitness mainly caters to businesses and the daytime crowd, but are open in the evenings and on weekends for any residents in the neighborhood. Although they don’t currently offer classes on Saturday or Sunday, Tija said she would be happy to add a class if there were at least 5 consistent people in attendance (Saturday morning bootcamp anyone?).

In addition to their fitness center and many class options, Seattle Fitness offers the following:

  • Massage
  • Personal Training
  • Individual pilates instruction

Because of fitness center regulations, they don’t offer discounted rates for any individual, and only a slight discount for corporate accounts. Their contracts are always month to month because they believe on proving every month why you want to keep coming back instead of signing you into a year long contract.

Their normal rates are $39/month with a $75 enrollment fee — but there’s a way around the fee. If you sign up for a one month pass ($59) or a 10 visit punch card, and then officially sign up before that month is over or the card is full, the fee is waived and you move into the $39/month rate.

They also offer Corporate Accounts, where businesses get billed directly (and can choose to payroll deduct their employees), and the fee is $35/month with a $25 enrollment fee.

For more info on their gym, you can check out their website here, or if you want to check them out yourself, they are located at the corner of 1st Avenue South and South King Street.

And if you do stop by, make sure to say hi to the energetic owner and check out her impressive bobblehead collection.

Trail to Treasure – draft Concept Plan

May 27, 2010  |  Announcement, Fun, PI  |  No Comments

In July 2008, the Pioneer Square Community Association (PSCA), with support from the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, initiated a project to produce a Conceptual Plan to set forth a community vision for a recreational and interpretative trail through Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood.

The purpose of the proposed trail would be to tell the story of Seattle’s early history, the diversity of people who have shaped the area, the impact of the Klondike Gold Rush, and how these stories are relevant today.  The ultimate goal of the project is to involve a broad range of stakeholder groups in producing the plan to achieve consensus and ‘ownership’ for a vision that is embraced by all stakeholders.

The Draft Conceptual Plan for the Trail to Treasure was released at a public meeting yesterday, where they accepted comments and feedback.

The meeting kicks off a month-long comment period for the Draft Plan, which will be posted from May 26th thru June 25th at The Final Conceptual Plan will be completed in August 2010.

Please visit this link to download the Draft Plan. Any comments on the plan can be emailed to

The following image is conceptual only and doesn’t reflect final choices for themes/people/trail routes.

What it is supposed to convey is:

  1. Multiple entry/exit points
  2. Multiple choices by theme
  3. “Web” trail system (not linear)

The following are highlights of the plan:

  1. The trail is not linear; rather it is a network of trails organized thematically around the Pioneer Square neighborhood with three entry points. The Trail to Treasure links other neighborhoods and communities to the area.
  2. The trail tells important ‘People’ Stories along the trail: personal stories about real people; includes diverse perspectives and lesser-known individuals from different ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds. The Trail would consist of a network of thematic trails to tell the people stories at specific locations marked along the Trail (15-20 stories).
  3. Interpret the historic shoreline to help both visitors and locals understand what the landscape once was and how Seattle was dramatically and aggressively reengineered. Trace the shoreline in the roads, sidewalks, or sides of buildings with a durable  material, such as stone or metal, not necessarily contiguous. Show both the horizontal and vertical changes.
  4. Recommend restoration of the Washington Street Boat Landing and adjacent shoreline in conjunction with removal and repair of the seawall. Aside from the Olympic Sculpture Park north of downtown, this is the only downtown portion of the Seattle shoreline where people will have the opportunity to be close to the water and experience the rising and falling of the tides, connecting residents and visitors to our rich maritime past.
  5. Develop three entry points or nodes that roughly triangulate Pioneer Square, symbolic of how people have arrived and departed from the area over time. WEST: Waterfront (near Washington Street Boat Landing), symbolic of maritime arrivals and departures. SOUTH: connection with Chinatown/ID, symbolic of arrivals and departures by train near King Street Station. EAST: near/around Yesler Way, potentially at the Smith Tower, symbolic of more modern times and the transport of natural resources.
  6. Develop ways to enhance the tourist experience by partnering with local businesses to develop display information in storefronts, train employees, and provide information in stores regarding the specific history of their building and surrounding area. Hospitality training would be provided to store employees to assure quality and consistency in the provision of visitor information to the Pioneer Square neighborhood and, in particular, how to experience the Trail.
  7. Incorporate both low and high tech methods for experiencing and interpreting the Trail. Examples: walking map, audio tour, geocaching, cell phone tour, historic characters, marked line designating historic shoreline, kiosks, etc.
  8. Emphasize the Trail to Treasure as a healthy recreational opportunity for all ages.
  9. Incorporate aspects for youth programming and involvement throughout the Trail by working with local schools and the Klondike Gold Rush NHP.
  10. The Trail to Treasure should be expandable over time, implemented in phases. Other entities and interested groups would be able to build upon and supplement the trail user’s experience.

Art Blakely Tribute this Sunday

May 26, 2010  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

New Orleans Creole Restaurant has an upcoming event this Sunday that will present the music of Art Blakey and his famed band The Jazz Messengers. Beginning at 8:00 pm, the ensemble will play music from the Jazz Messengers’ 50-year history.

“Drummer Art Blakey was at the forefront of the bebop movement of the 1940’s and ‘50’s in New York. The Jazz Messengers, first formed by Blakey in 1947, quickly became a proving ground for most of the major names in jazz in the last 50 years. Keith Jarrett, Wynton & Branford Marsalis, Horace Silver, Kevin Eubanks (of the Tonight Show), Kenny Garrett, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and scores of other influential musicians were members of The Jazz Messengers at one time or another and gained from Blakey’s tutelage. Blakey, also known as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina after his conversion to Islam in the late 1940’s, recorded over 130 albums as a leader in his lengthy career as a bandleader and drummer.” (source)

When: Sunday, May 30th
Music begins at 8:00pm with a second seating at 9:30pm

Where: New Orleans Creole Restaurant, 114 First Avenue South

Price: Admission is $10.00 and reservations are strongly recommended as seating is limited. For reservations, call (206) 622-2563.

The changing face of the Metropole Building

May 25, 2010  |  Business, Complaining, PI  |  No Comments

Back in March I had the opportunity to walk with the Mayor on his Pioneer Square walking tour. It just so happened that I was scheduled to walk with him on the stretch of street where I live and pointed out a few concerns that residents and businesses had. One of the problems that he paid specific attention to was the boarded up Metropole building. If you’re interested in reading a history of the building, check out this article.

Here’s what the building originally looked like:

Here’s what the building looked like before the fire:

Here’s what it looked like when we moved in to the neighborhood:

Here’s what it looked like when they tried to add some donated art:

Mayor McGinn in front of the Metropole building:

And here’s what it looks like this week:

I talked to the managers of the building who said that working with the ad agency to add the posters was a decision that they made not only to recoup some costs from the building sitting empty for the past 3 years, but more because they wanted to support their local sports team. The Sounders FC posters were planned to remain up for two weeks as part of a marketing campaign the Sounders are running, after which the owners were thinking about replacing them with SAM posters throughout the rest of the summer.

According to the Sounders Marketing Team, they weren’t aware of the rules in Pioneer Square regarding an approval process for signage through the historic preservation board and are now working with the owners and the ad agency to remove the posters until they can go through the proper channels.

After the Sounders posters come down, however, I discussed with the property manager the potential of painting the wood so that it looks like the businesses you want to open there once it’s renovated. This was done successfully in Columbia City as part of their revitalization and has the potential to do the same in Pioneer Square. The building, which has been undergoing insurance litigation for a little over three years now, may not find any resolution until around December of this year.

The owners of the building want to stress, however, that they want the Metropole building to be a successful part of the neighborhood and are happy to work with artists or groups who are willing to get involved in activating their “storefront.”

So – if you had a choice, which one would you prefer?

[polldaddy poll=3254883]

World Cup Soccer coming to an alley near you!

May 24, 2010  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

The International Sustainability Institute has been recognized by many groups and news organizations over the past year for their work to green up and activate Seattle’s alleys (see here, here, here, here, and here). They’ve collaborated with Feet First to have multiple “Nord Alley” parties (I think they’re on #VII?) and have hosted a variety of art displays.

They’re taking it to a whole new level, however, with their decision to host free showings of the 2010 soccer world cup matches in their alley. Occidental Square Park has become the place to celebrate soccer due to the Sounders’ March to the Match, which happens up to 2 hours before game time and fills the park with  obnoxious green horns and the chants of thousands of fans.

According to their flyer, “this month-long series of screenings aims to bring together our own Sounders fans and devotees of the world’s favorite sport. Communities from across the globe will bring food carts and culture to Occidental Park.”

Because the games will be broadcast live, ISI has decided to show 1 game daily at 11:30am (as the other two are at 4:30am and 7:30am). If there is a game that you want to see in the 4:30am or 7:30am slot, however, they are open to either doing a showing at 7:30am (if you can organize a group large enough to make it worth it), or if there is enough demand, they will record a 4:30am/7″30am game that may be considered a “more important” game and will show it at the 11:30am slot.

Although these are FREE and open to the public, ISI is also inviting groups from the Greater Seattle Area to set up a specific game that they may want to come to. They are willing to help groups arrange:

  1. Special appearances by the Sounders
  2. Permits for an on-site vendor
  3. Permits for any on-site fundraising activites
  4. Booths hosted by your local business or community group

For more information on the showings or to sign your group up for a specific game showing, contact Nikki Somers at 381-1630 or email or Mary Turla at To see a flyer of the event, click here.


Friday, June 11, 2010
Uruguay v France

Saturday, June 12, 2010
England v USA

Sunday, June 13, 2010
Serbia v Ghana

Monday, June 14, 2010
Italy v Paraguay

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Brazil v North Korea

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
South Africa v Uruguay

Thursday, June 17, 2010
Argentina v South Korea

Friday, June 18, 2010
England v Algeria

Saturday, June 19, 2010
Cameroon v Denmark

Sunday, June 20, 2010
Brazil v Ivory Coast

Monday, June 21, 2010
Spain v Honduras

*On days when matches are played concurrently, demand will determine match selected for viewing

*Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Nigeria v South Korea
Greece v Argentina

*Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Ghana v Germany
Australia v Serbia

*Thursday, June 24, 2010
Denmark v Japan
Cameroon v Netherlands

*Friday, June 25, 2010
Switzerland v Honduras
Chile v Spain


Friday, July 2
Saturday, July 3


Tuesday, July 6
Wednesday, July 7


Saturday, July 10
Sunday, July 11

Pioneer Square in the News

May 24, 2010  |  Event, News, PI  |  No Comments

Bottomfeeder: Archers of Loaves (Seattle Weekly)
There’s one thing the neighborhood still does better than just about any in town: meatloaf sandwiches.

Art Blakey Tribute at the New Orleans – Sunday, May 30 (All About Jazz)
The New Orleans Creole Restaurant will play host to a living retrospective of the music of Art Blakey and his famed band The Jazz Messengers. Beginning at 8:00 pm, the ensemble will play music from the Jazz Messengers’ 50-year history.

Brasa has closed (Seattle Times)
Tamara Murphy, the owner of Elliott Bay Cafe, is closing her Brasa restaurant and is going to focus on her new cafe in the Capitol Hill Elliott Bay Bookstore and “an event space in Pioneer Square adjacent to my cafe (aka the former Reading Room of the Elliott Bay Book Company)”


Pioneer Square Cold (Cut) War Now Full-Blown Arms Race (Voracious)
Pioneer Square is about to have on its hands a full-blown gourmet sandwich arms race, which, as with the meatloaf, can only mean great things for the future of Pioneer Square.

Tat’s Deli Gets a New Address (Voracious)
On May 31, the guys are throwing a friends-and-family party to celebrate the new location, and then, on June 1, Tat’s will be up and running and open to the public in a new, larger location right around the corner at 157 Yesler Way. And a new address is not the only change.

Engagement Session shot in Pioneer Square and Sodo (Erin Wajanto Photography)

Seattle’s Best (Night Sleep and the Stars)
Gorgeous photos of Seattle, and two of Pioneer Square, including this one:


Monday 5/24: Neighborhood Forum for Downtown Residents
5:30 – 7:30pm at Hard Rock Cafe (free appetizers!)

Wednesday 5/26: Trail to Treasure Public Stakeholders Meeting
12 – 1pm at Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park

Wednesday 5/26: Book signing of IDEA + OLOGY
7 – 8pm at Tether Design Gallery

Thursday 5/27: OED Business Casual
5 – 7pm at The Polar Bar in the Arctic Club Hotel

Sunday 5/30: Art Blakey Tribute
Starts @ 8pm at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant

For a full list of upcoming events, you can check out the calendar on the New Pioneer Square blog.

Pioneer Square Spring Clean

May 21, 2010  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

On Saturday, April 24, 210 over 175 volunteers got together in the early morning to spruce up Pioneer Square.  Projects included:
  • Weeding, planting & mulching the 1st Ave Medians
  • Graffiti Paint Out
  • Litter Pick Up
  • Fortson Square beautification
  • Storm Drain Stenciling
  • Protective coating added to mural on 2nd & Washington
A special thank you should go to the City of Seattle Clean & Green Team, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (who showed up to help), Mahlum, and Seattle Paint Out.  Without them this event would not have been possible.
Here are a few photos from one section of the spring clean taken by a participant:
One of the participants in the spring clean decided to informally poll the other participants to identify problem areas and to share their dream ideas for the neighborhood.
Here is what he got:

  1. Better posting of neighborhood shop hours
  2. Consistency in business hours, more shops open in the “tween” times from 5-9
  3. “Better” / cheaper parking on Saturdays ?Free Saturdays?
  4. Better lighting in all parking areas
  5. Better sight lines, lighting and safety on Occidental st between Yesler & Washington people feel nervous next the Saveway “grocery store”
  6. More evening businesses
  7. Neighborhood evening live concert venues
  8. Better branding and neighborhood identity

Neighborhood Forum for Downtown Residents

May 19, 2010  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

With all of the interesting events that have been happening throughout downtown the last couple of months, this forum promises to be interesting (not to mention you also get to check out the new Hard Rock Cafe):

If you can’t see the text on the flyer, here’s the info:

When: Monday, May 24th
5:30 – 7:30 PM (Program 6:00 – 7:00)

Where: Hard Rock Cafe, 116 Pike Street

More Info:

Please RSVP to Robyn Magda at 206-613-3905 or

The purpose of the event is to mingle with other residents, hear from public safety officials, and discuss opportunities to create a safe and healthy neighborhood. And if that bit of info didn’t convince you to attend, note that they will be providing free appetizers.

Trail 2 Treasure Meeting

May 19, 2010  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

Join PSCA for a brown bag on Wednesday, May 26th as they release the Draft Concept Plan for the Trail to Treasure.  This meeting will kick-off a month-long comment period for the plan.  The plan will be posted from May 26th thru June 25th at

Trail to Treasure Public Meeting
Release of Draft Plan
Wednesday May 26, 2010
@ the Klondike Gold Rush Museum
319 2nd Ave S. (2nd & Jackson)

In July 2008, the Pioneer Square Community Association (PSCA), with support from the Klondike National Historical Park, initiated a project to produce a Development Concept Plan to set forth a community vision for a recreational and interpretative trail through Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood.

The purpose of the proposed trail would be to tell the story of Seattle’s early history, the diversity of people who have shaped the area, the impact of the Klondike Gold Rush, and how these stories are relevant today.

The ultimate goal of the project is to involve a broad range of stakeholder groups in producing the plan to achieve consensus and ‘ownership’ for a vision that is embraced by all stakeholders.

New Streetcar Line coming into Pioneer Square

May 18, 2010  |  Announcement, PI  |  No Comments

Residents, business owners, and other stakeholders in the Pioneer Square neighborhood have been lobbying for the past few months to bring the streetcar line a few extra blocks from the International District down into our neighborhood.

Two weeks ago, the “Pioneer Square loop” was approved by the Seattle City Council. According to a DJC article last week, two stations will likely be located at 2nd Ave S and S Main Street (near the Cadillac Hotel). The streetcar will enter and exit the neighborhood on S Jackson St. I’ve created two quick maps to show the route:

Ethan Melone, SDOT’s streetcar project manager, will brief the Pioneer Square Preservation Board on the route at 9am this Wednesday (5/19). It is possible that the new streetcar will follow the same tracks as the old waterfront streetcar on Main Street.

Although they have already planned out the two stops in Pioneer Square, SDOT will make specific station platform decisions after more design work and public input. And unlike the SLUS (South Lake Union Streetcar), each station will “reflect the identity of each neighborhood.”

The streetcar line will cost ~ $133 million, and is expected to be under construction from next year until 2013.

I’m hoping that once we get the first loop into our neighborhood, it’s just another step closer to seeing the dream of the waterfront streetcar revived and of a streetcar connection to the SLUS. Until that happens, however, we can use the visualization done by Gehl Architects and the International Sustainability Institute of a streetcar on 1st Ave in Pioneer Square:

For more general streetcar information, check out the Seattle Streetcar: First Hill Line website.