Archive for February, 2011

Cupid is taking aim at the lovelorn + hopeless romantics this weekend

February 11, 2011  |  Fun, PI  |  No Comments

Who said the top of the Empire State Building was the most romantic place for two lonely hearts to find each other on Valentine’s Day? This year, Cupid is queuing up his arrows and taking aim at the lovelorn and hopeless romantics in an animated splash of color on the corner of 3rd and Cherry, scheduled to run Friday afternoon through Valentine’s Day.

The façade of the Hornall Anderson Experience Lab (HAX) has been transformed into a 20-foot projection surface that introduces passersby to a down-on-his-luck Harry, who has found himself alone in the big city, longing for the Cupid’s arrow. In his darkest moment when all is seemingly lost, he finds redemption is the most surprising of places.

Cupid In Seattle encourages visitor participation through an interactive touch screen that invites individuals to send their own heartfelt…or heart-burned messages. The website  offers an alternative way to participate, follow the live Twitter hash tag (#cupidinseattle), or join in the fun by Tweeting your own messages. A mobile site is also accessible through a QR code found on the touch screen or URL for remote access from buses, across the street, or wherever your heart takes you.

Come down and check it out…but beware of flying arrows!

Sounders announce their 2011 season. Let the games begin!

February 11, 2011  |  Announcement, PI, Sports  |  No Comments

A lot of people have been holding their breath, but the Sounders schedule has finally been announced, with the season kick off game set for March 15 (although the Cascadia Summit will be 3/4, 3/6 and 3/9 in Tukwila).

Sounders FC will play three of its first five games at home, beginning with the MLS 2011 First Kick on March 15 against the L.A. Galaxy at 6:30 p.m.

The team will later announce an additional friendly to be included in the season ticket package. Season tickets can be purchased by visiting or phoning 1-877-MLS-GOAL.

I know I am, I’m sure I am, I’m Sounders till I die!

Are you a resident of Pioneer Square?

February 10, 2011  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

If so, then we want YOU!

(imagine a poster of Uncle Sam pointing at you. Or maybe Doc Maynard would be more appropriate. Although I doubt people know what he looks like, so revert back to imagining Uncle Sam).

A new Pioneer Square Residential Council has been formed to give the residents a voice. Although all most of us love this neighborhood no matter what, the reason for forming the group is to give a united voice to some of the issues that we’re currently facing (parking rates, downtown zoning, SR99 tunnel, lack of sun, etc.).

The founding members of the group include: Lynn Claudon, Anne Fennessey, Ann Rowe, Jan Drago, Tija Petrovich, Shelby Brammer, York Wong, and Jen Kelly (me).

We hope to meet around once every month or two in an informal setting (read: party) to gossip about all of Pioneer Square’s secrets. I’ve seriously learned more about the crazy things that happen in this neighborhood in the past month than my whole 1 1/2 years of writing the blog. And then, as necessary, we will reach out to the group to find out the majority opinion on current issues that we want to take a stand on.

If you’re interested in getting involved, meeting other residents in the neighborhood, and sharing your opinion about the issues that affect the residents, please send an email to:

What makes a great waterfront?

February 9, 2011  |  Event, PI, Politics  |  No Comments

The City of Seattle and the Central Waterfront Committee is hosting an upcoming opening event for the Seattle waterfront design process on February 17th at the Seattle Aquarium. The lead design firm, james corner field operations, will kick-off the design process with an analysis of the waterfront and an overview of its potential.

“Replacing the Elliot Bay seawall and removing the Alaskan Way Viaduct gives us a rare opportunity to redesign our central waterfront and leave a wonderful legacy for generations to come. We welcome your participation in this exciting initiative.

Although we are just beginning the public process for transforming Seattle’s waterfront, we are very pleased about the diversity and number of community, civic and business organizations that have partnered with us to show their enthusiasm for the project.”

Pioneer Square in the News

February 8, 2011  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

(Sorry for the late post — was out of town on a spontaneous California vacation. Man, I miss the sun.)


by Larry Myhre


Seattle Pinball Museum staying for good (Seattle PI)
Charlie and Cindy Martin opened the pinball museum as part of the Storefront Seattle Program, a fledgling effort to revitalize vacant spaces in troubled neighborhoods. Most of the storefronts participating in the program feature art installations or serve as rehearsal space for performing-arts groups.

A tribute in totem: Carvings rich with symbolism (Seattle Times)
A memorial totem pole, perhaps even a matched pair, are in the planning stages by the family of slain First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams. The project already has some friends in high places, including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who says he likes the idea.

Police gave ‘direct’ complaint line to family of slain woodcarver (Seattle PI)
In the weeks after the fatal police shooting of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams, Seattle police Chief John Diaz gave a “direct line” to members of Williams’ family to call if they felt they needed to “raise concerns about negative interactions with police.”

Downtown Seattle Gains Housing, Loses Jobs And Retail (KUOW)
Jobs and retail sales are struggling in downtown Seattle, according to the latest report from the Downtown Seattle Association. But leaders point to new apartment construction, as well as growth in gaming and life sciences jobs, as reasons for hope.

Many attractions in Seattle (Toronto Sun)
Stroll along the cobblestone streets to Pioneer Square, ( Seattle’s oldest and most famous neighbourhood, which is a U.S. National Historic District and home to galleries and posh boutiques.

Life’s struggles shown in art at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission (Seattle Times)
Thursday evening, for the first time, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission will open a gallery during Pioneer Square’s “First Thursday” art walk, featuring more than 100 pieces created by mission guests.

Meatheads in Seattle now subject to fines (My Northwest)
People caught making unreasonable noise, threatening another person, or fighting with another person, between midnight and 5 a.m., could now face fines up to $125. The ordinance covers Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill, the University District, Belltown and other commercialized zones around the city.

Saving the 619 Western Building (Komo News)
The 100-year-old 619 Western building could be one of the casualties of the teardown of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The Washington State Department of Transportation has decided that the building will need to be evacuated by spring of next year when construction begins on the tunnel, which will be directly underneath the building. Right now, the question is whether the building will be demolished or if proper retrofitting can save it.

Seattle’s latest parking rates too high, too confusing (Seattle Times)
Seattle’s latest, latest parking rates, which begin rolling out Thursday, need more work because they are too high in some areas and too confusing overall.

Bring on the Little Red Dress, just in time for Valentine’s Day (NW Source)
Some Like It (Red) Hot
Diva Dollz boutique in Pioneer Square specializes in glamorous retro styles that transport you to the heyday of Hollywood romance. The shop also creates its own vintage-inspired designs, like the Ginger, a sweetheart of a dress made of soft red jersey with tiny black Swiss dots, cute little sleeves and a sash at the waist. Apparently, all the lovely ladies who work at Diva Dollz own the Ginger, which easily dresses up and down, depending on the occasion. At $58, it’s all you need for Valentine’s Day and beyond.


?? Nothing?

With 46 vacant lots in South Downtown, we need more development

February 3, 2011  |  PI, Politics  |  No Comments

DSA has decided to “join the conversation” with City Council and DPD regarding the South Downtown Plan – supposed to be voted on Council in the next few months.

DSA are calling the plan a “once in a generation opportunity to increase residential density and encourage development of many of the surface parking lots in South Downtown into market-rate and workforce housing.”

Although we all acknowledge the years of effort that have gone into this plan, the hope is that City Council will push it just a little bit further so that we get it right this time around, instead of increasing the heights, and not getting any development out of it.

Numbers from DSA show that South Downtown hasn’t received the positive development that other neighborhoods have in the past. We currently only have 3 permitted projects south of Yesler, while there are almost 20 permitted projects north of Yesler. 

So how many vacant lots do we have right now in South Downtown? According to this interactive map (complete with photos), a total of 46 lots are sitting empty.

If we were zoned for increased heights, instead of this drab, empty parking lot:

We could get some version of this development (originally planned for 200 Occidental):

The DJC recently came out with an article that states that the rezoning planned for South Downtown “could bring new life.” Developers don’t seem to agree, however, as the changes don’t provide the heights they need to make building market rate housing worth it:

There are still a number of issues to be decided. The biggest is building heights in Pioneer Square. Currently, DPD proposes heights of 120, 130 and 150 feet in the area, so a residential structure could range between 12 and 15 stories.

But developer William Justen wants to be able to build to 180 feet, or 18 stories, to make market-rate housing feasible.

An overriding theme for most revitalization efforts in the square is that we need more residents. And developers and [most] residents are in agreement that to do that, we need better incentives for developers to build to the heights they need for market rate housing.

And although it will go a long way, we can’t just keep banking on the North Lot to fix all of our housing problems — all of the other vacant lots need to have development potential that contributes to a balanced residential population in Pioneer Square.

Waterfront buses to be unwrapped; do we care?

February 2, 2011  |  Announcement, Call to Action, Complaining, PI, Politics  |  No Comments

A few weeks ago, Metro announced route changes, including changes to the waterfront bus (route 99), which will now run on a loop that goes south on the Waterfront, and north on 1st Avenue.

They also noted the following:

Buses will no longer be “wrapped” to look like the old waterfront streetcars.

The positive: The route changes will serve the downtown even better, moving tourists from the Waterfront, through Pioneer Square, the ID, and into downtown by way of 1st Avenue.

The negative: We are potentially losing the last sliver of hope that the trolley will come back. Metro wrapped the buses to offset our loss, just until we could get the trolley back, and now they want to unwrap them as not to confuse tourists on 1st Ave.

To give some history – the streetcar was implemented in 1982 as a tourist amenity. Riders could hop on and off as they chose, making it a great way to experience the waterfront and Pioneer Square/CID. In 2000, the streetcar carried approximately 450,000 passengers.

It was shut down in 2005 when Metro was unable to find a new location for the streetcar maintenance facility (removed for the Waterfront Sculpture Park  project). Although Metro claimed that it would come back, the development by Urban Visions/Greg Smith never materialized, and our neighborhoods are left with nothing but empty promises.

Websites have popped up in the last few years, trying to speak out for the return of the streetcar, including Save the Waterfront Streetcar, Facebook page – Save the Waterfront Streetcar (again), as well as recent discussions on the Seattle Transit Blog. I didn’t live in Seattle while it was running, but this video helps me visualize how great it was, and how perfectly it tied into our historic neighborhood.

I talked to Sarah Driggs at Metro, who says that they tried to get public feedback by sending out postcards [seen here] to over 10,000 residents and businesses, as well as attending a few meetings. All in all, she says, they only received 6 – 7 comments. But is it because we don’t care? Or is it because not enough people know about it?

An estimated 5 buses currently run on route 99, and Metro isn’t sure what percentages are made up of tourists and residents. It seems to me that tourists would be more willing to get on a quaint, different looking bus than any of the regular metro buses that run through downtown. Being wrapped also makes it clear that it’s the bus that runs on the Waterfront.

As the changes are proposed to take place this Saturday, it’s not clear whether or not it’s futile, but if you have feedback, and want to keep those buses wrapped, please comment here, or contact Sarah Driggs at 206-263-5277 or

And while you think about speaking out for the wrapped buses, take a look at these photos of the trolley taken by Rebecca Nelson, former resident, current writer/editor of the Ravenna Blog, and remember how awesome they were. And how awesome snow is.

Art by Homeless men and women to be part of First Thursday Art Walk

February 2, 2011  |  Art, Event, PI  |  No Comments

Who: For the first time Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission will participate in the Pioneer Square First Thursday Art Walk and will have on display paintings and drawings done by homeless men and women.

What: The art was created by participants in Art from the Streets a program funded by the City of Seattle that provides an opportunity for artistic expression to homeless to explore the arts as a catalyst for healing and therapy.

The Mission’s Men’s Shelter has created an environment where homeless men and women can safely create, access, and explore their narrative understanding of God, self, and others.

When: Thursday, Feb 3, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Mission’s Men’s Shelter
318 2nd Ave Ext. South, Seattle in the Old Spanish Chapel
(corner of Third & Washington)

Four Featured Artists:

Nick Cooper
Hi my name is Nicholas Eli Cooper and I am an artist. I like free hand drawing people , nature, river’s, and lakes. I find drawing and art fun and exciting. Since I was a child my father has encouraged me to do art. When my brother and mother left the house I stopped doing art. I just have gotten back into it since being at the Mission and have been doing work every week. It makes me feel great to be in the showcase! I like thinking out of the box with my art, I hope you enjoy it!

Patricia R. Cook
Hi, my name is Patricia R. Cook. I started doing art when I was a little girl. I like to draw and use my own creative inspiration. Art also helps me express my feelings. I hope that one day I’ll be able to go to school to be an artist. I have hope for a new start in my new life because of my relationship with my Lord. I also like to read. Thank you!

Joey Pollitt
Born in Camden, New Jersey in December 24th, 1961.  Came to Seattle on a Greyhound in 1990 after hearing about the landscape and work opportunities.  Had an apartment for 10 years and a job in recycling for 7 years.  I had plenty of money/things/food and was very happy with life.  I cooked my own food and had friends come over to hang out.  I like watching movies, listening to music, and eating KFC.  I lost my job when my company downsized and then lost my apartment.  I have not been able to find consistent work since 2005.  Started living at the Mission doing day labor and recently began selling Real Change papers.  Doing art here at the mission has allowed me to take my mind off my worries, keeps you busy, and helps time go by quicker.  I am constantly looking for ways to better myself.  I also like to sing and act.

John Portman
My name is John Portman and I’m from Puyallup, Washington.  I am a graduate of the New Creations Program here at UGM and am currently enrolled in the CADRE program.  I started doing art in Jr. High and would create whenever I had the resources.  When I became homeless I would go into alleyway’s in Tacoma and find old house paint that I could use on anything I found.  I painted on wood, glass, drop cloth, whatever I could find.  I produced tons of works throughout this time in my life but lost it all as my addiction intensified.  The art classes at UGM have given me the resources to begin creating again and experience the passion that I love.  I would love to study art and have a career as a visual artists if I could some day.

(p.s. Chief Seattle Club also opens its doors on First Thursday to show off art + jewelry)

Jazz returns to Jackson St

February 1, 2011  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

Jump into jazz on February 3rd (First Thursday) from 6 to 8 p.m. at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park as jazz vocalist Grace Holden (daughter of jazz legend Oscar Hoplden) helps celebrate the opening of the Park’s temporary exhibit, “Jazz Returns to Jackson Street.”

Grace and friends will perform classic hits from Seattle’s famous Jackson Street era. Born in 1930 to Oscar and Leala Holden, Grace grew up in Seattle’s central area. Over the years, Oscar Holden Sr. has become known as “the patriarch of Seattle jazz,” and his likeness graces the cover of Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle (by Paul de Barros).

Grace was influenced by the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Lena Horne, and Dinah Washington, and performed with Seattle’s jazz legends, including Quincy Jones and Charles Taylor.

Admission to the park and all events is free and open to the public. The park is located in the former Cadillac Hotel at 319 2nd Ave. S. in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square district. For more information about the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, visit