Archive for October, 2010

Want to get scared in Pioneer Square?

October 28, 2010  |  Event, Fun, PI  |  No Comments

And before anyone cracks any jokes, no the answer is not ‘by simply walking in the neighborhood.’

The answer is that it’s Halloween weekend, and there are two tours you can participate in to get in the Halloween spirit:

1. Spooked in Seattle’s Haunted Pioneer Square Tour

This is a two-hour walking tour that takes you through this historic part of Seattle. On the tour, you will hear stories of murder and suicide. Hear tales of the unknown, such as the ghosts of the historic Seattle Underground, the stone throwing spirit and much, much more. Are you brave enough?

Tours are every day at 6:00PM and 8:00PM*. Please make reservations at least 90-minutes before the scheduled start time. For reservations please contact Ye Olde Curiosity Shop by calling (206) 682-5844 or emailing them.

These tours are great for Children and groups! [editor’s note: I love this disclaimer…]

2. Bill Speidel’s Underworld Tour

No, this isn’t the “Underground Tour” that you’re used to hearing about. This is a special 21-and older (yeah… no kids allowed) “Halloween tour” that tells gritty stories of Seattle’s history. And there may be mention of ghosts and hauntings.

The tour is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm and costs $21. (note: you must have a valid ID!)

Top 10 Places to Get Lunch in Pioneer Square

October 27, 2010  |  Fun, PI  |  1 Comment

In the last couple of years, we have had restaurants and delis come and go. Some have come that just cater to the working crowd (aka… they close at 5pm). Others have gone against the grain and use their lunch crowd to make it so they can stay open in the evening for residents.

No matter what type of business they are, this list honors the must-try lunch spots in Pioneer Square:

1. Tat’s Deli
157 Yesler Way
(206) 264-TATS
Monday – Friday: 8 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 11 am – 7 pm
Seahawks Sundays
Sounders home games

2. Delicatus
103 1st Ave S
(206) 623-3780
Mon – Thurs: 11:30am – 8pm
Fri – Sat: 11:30am – 10pm

3. Elliott Bay Café
103 Main St
(206) 682-6664
Mon – Fri: 8am – 8pm
Sat 9am – 8pm

4. Grand Central Bakery & Café
214 1st Ave S
(206) 622-3644
Mon – Fri: 7am – 5pm
Sat: 8am – 4pm

5. Salumi
309 3rd Ave S
(206) 223-0817
Tues – Fri: 11am – 4pm

6. Collin’s Pub
526 2nd Ave S
(206) 623 1016
Every Day: 11:30 AM – Close

7. Bakeman’s Restaurant
122 Cherry St
(206) 622 3375
Mon – Fri: 10am – 3pm

8. Zeitgeist Coffee
171 S Jackson St
(206) 583 0497
Mon – Fri: 6am – 7pm
Sat – Sun: 8am – 7pm

9. Julie’s Garden
81 Yesler Way
(206) 223 3690
Mon – Fri: 10am – 9pm
Saturday: 11am – 7pm

10. The Berliner (new!)
223 1st Ave S
(206) 838-0339
Mon – Fri: 11am – 5pm

Honorable mention will go out to Mae Phim, who was sent in a few times as a favorite lunch spot, but it didn’t make the list because it’s just out of the Pioneer Square boundary.

I know I’ve got favorite’s at most of the places list, but what about you? Favorite sandwiches? Places I’ve missed?

Residential development moving forward

October 26, 2010  |  Business, PI  |  No Comments

The DJC recently reported on Goodman Real Estate’s plans to move forward with a new residential building adjacent to the viaduct that will take up a full city block. The block where the building is planned is currently a surface parking lot.

According to an “Early Design Guidance” presentation by the architects, their plan for 888 Western Avenue includes:

  1. 16 stories
  2. 208 units of affordable, price-point rental housing
  3. average unit size: 739 sf
  4. a handful of “micro-apartments”
  5. 142 parking stalls
  6. 11,859 sf of retail that will help to activate all pedestrian frontages
  7. Over 9,000 sf of green roof area
  8. 8,300 sf of recreation space, including a generous 3,150 sf public plaza
  9. The main entry to the building will be located in this plaza, affording activation and “eyes on the street”, in addition to creating a welcoming sense of arrival to the lobby entrance.

As Goodman Real Estate has posted a land use sign at the site, the public commenting period can now begin. To check out more details from their Early Design Guidance proposal, click here.

Pioneer Square in the News

October 25, 2010  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

(Image Credit: Smohundro)


Making a Home in a Pyramid, 462 Feet Above Seattle (Seattle Times)
A must read on the family who lives at the top of the Smith Tower (including pictures!)

25 years later, Seattle still can’t get enough of ‘Thriller’ (KOMO News)
More than 200 people packed Seattle’s Pioneer Square on Saturday for a “thrilling” record attempt.

Searching Seattle for ghostly activity (My Northwest)
Rumors of haunted locations in Pioneer Square…

New! Pioneer Square Haunted Tour (Spooked in Seattle)
Speaking of haunted locations in PSq, check out this new two-hour tour offered by Spooked in Seattle (once on the page, click “Pioneer Square”)

Police investigate assault at Pioneer Square club (Seattle PI)
An assault? Outside of a Pioneer Square club? That just never happens around here…

Woman partially pinned after Seattle collision (My Northwest)
Another awesome incident in Pioneer Square — sure, the woman’s foot was pinned under another vehicle’s tire… but it was because she was ejected from the vehicle after her husband ran a red light in anger at her talking to another man.


Word of Mouth Still Complements All Things Online (Spring Creek Group)
Why they chose to try Pioneer Square’s new Berliner — not just because of a menu that was handed to them, but because of the good reviews online.

Paid Pioneer Square parking only on game Sundays? (PI – Strange Bedfellows)
Might Seattle impose paid parking on certain downtown city streets on Sundays when the Seahawks, Sounders and Mariners play? That’s one consideration as City Councilmembers weigh parking rate increase proposals from Mayor Mike McGinn and the concerns of businesses

AWESOME Sets Pioneer Square on Fire (Storefronts Seattle)
If you walked by 2nd Ave in Pioneer Square at lunchtime yesterday, you probably noticed some unusual happenings. Self-described ‘band/whatever’ AWESOME used the 610 2nd Ave storefront as the stage for a noon performance.

How the City’s proposed budget is going to affect Pioneer Square

October 22, 2010  |  Call to Action, PI, Politics  |  No Comments

Seattle City Council has already hosted two separate public hearings to get feedback from the public, and the third (and last) meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, October 26th.

According to PubliCola, here are City Council’s priorities:

  • Protect human services and public safety;
  • maintain the city’s commitment to neighborhood policing, even assuming the city doesn’t hire 21 additional officers needed to complete the plan next year;
  • reduce costs without hurting direct services; and
  • raise revenues where appropriate.

We really need people from the neighborhood who are willing to speak up about the needs of the Pioneer Square residents and businesses.

How the proposed budget will affect Pioneer Square:

Reducing Support for Center City Parks
This supports projects like ArtSparks, the Seattle Square, Comedy in the Park, Dancing Til Dusk (aka all of the park activation programs). Losing the maintenance and trash hauling will have a huge effect on the parks in Pioneer Square, including the draw of tourists. We need our parks to feel safe, clean, and be activated. Losing this support would have a huge negative effect on Pioneer Square, in particular, where we already have a dubious reputation.

Public Safety
SPD will not add the 21 officers a year for the next two years (as originally promised). Instead, we will lose on-the-ground Crime Prevention Coordinators, which will deteriorate critical relationships between neighborhood businesses + residents and the police department

Increased street parking rates + no more free Sunday parking
McGinn has suggested increasing street parking by over 2.5%, but we should be concerned about the research that went into how these changes will impact neighborhood businesses and residents. Local businesses in downtown Seattle (including Belltown, PSq, and the Int’l District) rely on after-work patrons to their restaurants and bars. Adding Sunday fees on parking in some metered neighborhoods, but not others may simply shift parking patterns.

Read more about the loss of free Sunday parking on game days. And click here to read about requesting resident zoned parking.

Cuts to historic preservation staff
McGinn’s budget cuts include reducing preservation meetings from twice a month to once a month. In addition, staff will no longer be able to meet with businesses. As the neighborhood works to fill empty storefronts and get businesses to move in, having direct coordination with preservation staff is really important. Losing the accessibility of the preservation staff and reducing their meetings will slow down projects, affecting the viaduct, seawall, and North Lot Development.

In addition to all of these, there are also recommendations to cut general services for the human services department (which includes programs that work to prevent domestic violence & sexual assault). Although it is obvious that cuts must be made, many of these programs are vital to the revitalization efforts that Pioneer Square is currently going through.

If you have an opinion on this and other budget items, please make time to stop by the meeting and make sure that they hear what you have to say!

For more information, visit or call 206-684-8888 to request interpretation or translation assistance.

Tuesday, October 26
5 p.m. Sign-in
5:30 p.m. Public Hearing
Council Chambers, 2nd floor
Seattle City Hall
600 Fourth Avenue, 98104

Rumors about Smith Tower residents put to rest

October 21, 2010  |  Fun, News, PI  |  No Comments

I’ve heard that the current owners of the Smith Tower are hoping to convert the building to apartments, so they’re raising rents to get rid of their office tenants.

I’ve also heard that it’s not possible to turn them into apartments, and the Smith Tower is just unusually vacant.

But even more rumors seem to swirl around the very top of the Smith Tower and who might live there. Is it still inhabited by a member of the Smith family? Is it an old woman with dozens of cats? Are there really kids up there?

An article by New York Times writer Michael Tortorello intends to finally set the record straight:

WHEN Ms. Franklin first visited the Smith Tower in 1997, the apartment had been empty for more than 10 years — and for good reason. “There was a huge water tower that was being taken out,” she said. “And there were big piles of concrete. There weren’t stairs, there were ladders to get from floor to floor. And you’d be living among amazing dust. When it rained, the rain all came in. It was like standing inside of a river.”

What the Smith Tower really needed, Ms. Franklin decided, was a newly expanded two-story dwelling. Two bedrooms and two baths could be squeezed onto the 37th floor, and an open living room/kitchen/dining room would fill the 38th. Naturally, this fantastic 1,750-square-foot apartment would need an occupant: herself.

But she’s not the only occupant, as the article points out. The Pyramid is also occupied by her husband, David Lahaie, and her two kids, ages 3 and 6.

(image credit)

And although rumors of the Smith Tower Pyramid inhabitants can now be laid to rest, it seems that two mysteries will still remain: who used to live there, and how long this family of four will be allowed to stay.

Occidental Park to be “Thrilled” this Saturday

October 20, 2010  |  Event, PI  |  4 comments

This is a reminder that Thrill the World is coming back to Occidental Square Park this Saturday at 4pm.

Over 600 dancers will meet up in the park to participate in Michael Jackson’s thriller dance.  This is definitely a site to see so don’t miss it.

For more information, or to RSVP for the event, go to

A few images from last year:

WSDOT neighborhood meeting Thursday to talk viaduct + parking

October 20, 2010  |  Event, PI, Politics  |  No Comments

On the third Thursday of each month, WSDOT and SDOT, in cooperation with the Alliance for Pioneer Square, host a public meeting to discuss plans to replace the seismically vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct and seawall. The meetings provide project information, and give neighbors an opportunity to comment and ask questions about how the viaduct replacement will affect the Pioneer Square neighborhood.

This month’s meeting is at noon on Thursday, Oct. 21 at the Klondike Gold Rush Museum (319 Second Ave. S).

Meeting topics include:

  • Central waterfront viaduct replacement – SDEIS overview: Next week the Federal Highway Administration, WSDOT and City of Seattle will release a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement that analyzes the bored tunnel alternative. Learn about the purpose of the document and how you can comment on the project.
  • Viaduct construction update: Construction to replace the southern mile of the viaduct is underway. Find out how current and upcoming work will affect you, and what state and local agencies are doing to keep the neighborhood vital during construction.
  • Parking in Pioneer Square: The Center City Parking Program is the City of Seattle’s work plan to address Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall replacement project changes to on-street parking with new marketing, way-finding and technology measures, coupled with potential changes to on-street parking. SDOT staff will give an overview of the Center City Parking Program’s strategies to help visitors easily find short-term parking during construction. The discussion will include information about the City’s recently launched e-Park guidance system, which is expected to expand to Pioneer Square by 2012, and updates of two Pioneer Square parking studies that are currently being conducted.

Union Gospel Mission Believes Seattle is on the brink of a Humanitarian Crisis

October 19, 2010  |  Call to Action, Homeless, PI  |  No Comments

Check out the press release I received from the Union Gospel Mission (my neighbor):

Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission expects to serve 167,000 meals from now until December 31st – a 20 percent increase! That is why the 1Meal … 1Hope campaign is so important.

The headlines hurt. Family homelessness increasing. Unemployment at a nine-month high. Economy stalling again. Government cutting back on social services. Where and when will it end? The Mission has already seen an increase in the number of meals served and overnight stays since last year. Now, there will be more people, more meals, and less hope.

That’s where the Mission’s campaign comes in. We will provide meals and hope. 1M1H is the initiative that will help bring comfort and hope to thousands upon thousands – hungry kids, desperate women, homeless men.  The Mission is out on the street with them.

“We believe that we are facing a deepening humanitarian crisis. We know the economic facts. And it is precisely because of them that we are as determined as ever to deliver even more than what we have done for 78 years – to do whatever it takes,” said Jeff Lilley, president of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. “We know the power of a meal, we know what it is to lose, and regain hope, that is what 1Meal …1Hope is all about.”

1Meal . . . 1Hope Campaign is the initiative that will help the Mission and the community to meet Seattle’s greatest needs. 1 MEAL is about meeting the most basic needs among Seattle’s homeless and hungry. 1 HOPE honors the promise and possibility in someone’s heart, under layers of pain, that we’re able to tend to once basic needs are met.

If you’re interested in helping/finding out more, click the image below:

Pioneer Square in the News

October 18, 2010  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

(image credit: hweeeeeee)


I-1107: Soda tax has its sour note for a low-sugar maker (Crosscut)
DRY Soda, which has offices in Pioneer Square, grew out of a quest for a non-alcoholic drink that would be worthy of pairing with fine food. But the low-sugar result got caught in a state revenue fix.

Thanks, everyone. We met our membership goals. (Crosscut)
We plan to work with others in filling up the space with events, “intelligent entertainment,” and co-presentations. Pioneer Square needs such a draw, now that the beloved bookstore has decamped to Capitol Hill, and to help with the revitalization of the historic neighborhood. (Yes!)

Late notice: Jet Set hosts Jake One and Supreme La Rock 10/18/10 UPDATED (Seattle Times)
Seattle rap, and hiphop in general, is undergoing a generational wrap-around right now, with pioneers still active, and some of them like Jake and Supreme taking on music professor roles. They do their jobs producing for 50 Cent and DJing clubs in Pioneer Square, but also educate.

GREEN: Chivas USA teetering on insignificance (Daily News)
They march to Qwest Field through the streets in and around historic Pioneer Square banging drums and horns and chanting songs.


For Your Stomach’s Consideration: Lunch at the Berliner in Pioneer Square (SLOG)
Local guy Victor Twu became such a fan of the doner kebab served on the street in Berlin that he opened the Berliner a few weeks ago in a space that used to be a Quizno’s. It’s order-at-the-counter, with tables to sit at, high ceilings, and some nice old Pioneer Square exposed brick. Lines at lunch are long but move fast.

Charge: DUI suspect accuses cop of being drunk (PI – 911)
A Fort Lewis man is facing felony drunken driving charges on allegations that he was caught — twice — passed out behind the wheel in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.

When do art walks start hurting a city? (Big Blog)
Seattle plays host to at least 13 art walks. Is that too many?

Kuno Family Portraits (Jamie Neilsen Photography)