Archive for August, 2011

YOU’RE INVITED: Nord Alley Party

August 30, 2011  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

Pioneer Square First Thursday
September 1st, 2011
5:30 to 8:30pm
In the alley behind 314 1st Ave South
(between Jackson & Main AND Occidental & First Ave S)

Music by Parzival
Food & Beverage by the Alley Network Project

Sponsors include: International Sustainability Institute | Waste Management | Feet First
Metropolitan Improvement District | Historic South Downtown

More Info?
Contact Nikki Somers or 206-381-1631

Pioneer Square in the News

August 29, 2011  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Photo by Jordan Lewis (courtesty of ISI)

Alley, Alley, in Come Free (Sightline)
Once a stinking strip of menace that was friendlier to rats and crime than to hummus and dancing, Seattle’s Nord Alley is an urban place transformed. Cleared of dumpsters and filth, it now hosts art exhibits, blooming flowers, and a mobbed monthly party (pictured above). Nord is the leading edge of a trend just catching on in Cascadia: the reclamation of downtown alleys as lively, even lovely, public realms.

Seeking sports fans, Jones Soda moves to Pioneer Square (Seattle PI Big Blog)
The Seattle-based company, formerly headquarter in the South Lake Union neighborhood, said Monday that one of its chief reasons for moving to Pioneer Square is easy access to sports fans on their way to Safeco and Century Link stadiums.

Jones Soda CFO Michael O’Brien resigns (PSBJ)
Seattle-based Jones Soda Co. has announced that chief financial officer Michael O’Brien has resigned and will join a private coffee business. The company is looking for a replacement.

Parking spat may stall project at CenturyLink Field (Seattle Times)
An ambitious, long-awaited redevelopment project on CenturyLink Field’s sprawling north parking lot — scheduled to break ground next month — has hit a last-minute snag that could delay it.

McGinn: Seattle to take ‘high road’ to economic development (Seattle PI)
Kevin Daniels, owner of a Pioneer Square real estate company, said City investments in his neighborhood – like bringing in broadband and doing density rezones – had helped revitalize it, leading to new companies like online-diamond retailer Blue Nile moving in.

Parading around in Seattle, 1926 (Seattle Times)
BOOMING SEATTLE, looking for an open staging place north of Pioneer Square in the business district’s new retail neighborhood, found it here at this — depending on how you stretch it — five- or seven-star corner at Fifth Avenue and Stewart Street.

Yelp helps way more than it hurts, restaurant owners say (PSBJ)
Al Calozzi, owner of Calozzi’s Sandwich Shop in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, is a popular purveyor of Philadelphia-style cheesesteak sandwiches, among other East Coast favorites. He has taken a few online shots from reviewers who don’t understand the role of Cheez Whiz in his sandwiches, but mostly his young shop is an online star. Its nearly 150 customer reviews on Yelp average four-and-a-half stars out of five.

Seattlest Shares: How We’re Preparing for an Earthquake (Seattlest)
“Mostly, though, I dealt with the impending Big One by moving out of Pioneer Square.”

Real Change Vendor Saves the Day! (Real Change News)
If Real Change Vendor, Robert Surles, had not been there to save the day there’s a good chance that the pergola would not be standing today and a lot of lives could have been lost.

Pioneer Square is more than just a Parking Lot for the Stadiums

August 26, 2011  |  PI, Politics  |  No Comments

The Seattle Times has an article out this morning talking about a dispute over parking that may stall the North Lot project:

The problem: Developer Daniels Real Estate and the owner of the stadium, known until recently as Qwest Field, haven’t reached agreement on replacing 491 premium parking stalls the development would displace.

King County owns the property, nearly 4 acres covering the northern half of the parking lot. The sale to Daniels is to close Sept. 12. Work on the first phase — 444 apartments in 10- and 25-story towers, plus retail — is expected to start days later.

But one of Daniels’ prospective construction lenders put a hold on the loan last week, citing the dispute over replacement parking.

The trigger: a resolution that the board of the state Public Stadium Authority (PSA), CenturyLink Field’s quasi-public owner, adopted Aug. 11, threatening to pursue ownership of the 4 acres itself if the parking flap isn’t settled.

At a time when small businesses are struggling to keep the doors open and the state unemployment is higher than the national average, we don’t need the Public Stadium Authority (PSA) putting at risk a project that has significant long-term pubic benefit and tax revenues.   For over twenty-years, the Pioneer Square community has been lobbying for the urban renewal and development of the North Lot.   Construction alone will place a total of $671 million into the state economy at a time when such activity is critical to our economic recovery – and the PSA will still get the same tax revenues and replacement parking.

Given the positive impact that the project represents, now is the time for the PSA to truly serve the public interest, and recognize the benefits this project brings to our neighborhood.

Night Market Returns to Chinatown-ID This Saturday!

August 24, 2011  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

Come one, come all to the 2011 Night Market this Saturday, August 27th! From 6-11PM, local vendors will take over South King Street and Hing Hay Park to showcase a unique mix of cultural arts and crafts and international cuisine. In addition to food and shopping, this year’s Night Market will host live cultural and arts performances including Chinese lion and dragon dances, as well as a free outdoor showing of the new Karate Kid movie at 8:45 pm! Neighborhood restaurants Jade Garden, Sub Sand and Oasis Tea Zone will be serving up palate pleasing treats from China, Taiwan and Vietnam. The Seattle Pinball Museum will also have vintage pinball machines out in the park for all to play!

Saturday, August 27th
6 PM – 11 PM, Movie at 8:45 PM
Hing Hay Park, South King Street
Outdoor food, arts and crafts, live entertainment, outdoor movie: Karate Kid 2010

TRAIL TO TREASURE : Pioneer Square Historic Walking Tour

August 23, 2011  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

Trail to Treasure brings to life a collection of stories about historic Pioneer Square. Hear stories of the unique people, places and events that helped shape the history and development of Pioneer Square.

Free of charge, limited to 15 people

RSVP to or call 206.667.0687
meet @ kiosk in Occidental Park (Occidental Ave + Main St)

Learn more:
facebook: trail2treasure
twitter: trail2treasure

Pioneer Square in the News

August 22, 2011  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Jones Soda makes move to Pioneer Square, leaves S. Lake Union (PSBJ)
In a statement, Jones said it will employ 28 people at the new 9,500-square-foot Pioneer Square building and will continue its practice of giving away free products on Fridays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

American Comebacks: Elliott Bay Book Co. (Success Magazine)
The store’s roughly 500 author readings per year are a key part of its business and its attraction, and attendance has improved since the move. Even the tiniest, most intimate author readings, which might once have seen five or six attendees, now draw 15 to 20. Large ones pack the hall to standing-room only.

Eat tacos, fund the arts: a new hyper-local approach in Seattle (Crosscut)
If you would like to influence the direction of Seattle’s arts but can’t afford to buy a video installation for your home or gallery, there is a new option: attend Sprout. Founded collaboratively by Sarah Steininger and Kristen Hoskins in 2010 as a Master of Fine Arts project at Seattle University, Sprout hosts an occasional dinner event to raise money for arts projects.

How to show visitors Seattle’s weird side (Big Blog)
Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour combines a mix of history and humor along a 90-minute underground experience in Seattle’s Pioneer Square — the city’s oldest neighborhood.

10 Great Coffee Shops Around Seattle (Seattle PI – visitors blog)
Zeitgeist Coffee Exhibitions of art decorate Zeitgeist in Pioneer Square.

Seattle Tunnel Replacing Viaduct Will Go Under 158 Buildings (Kiro TV)
At-risk buildings that are near but not directly above the tunnel will get micro pile walls. These buildings include 1 Yesler Way, which houses Al Bocalino Restaurant in Pioneer Square, and three buildings at the north end of the tunnel.

SAF tour looks at gay Pioneer Square (DJC)
A Seattle Architecture Foundation tour at 10 a.m. Sept. 3 delves into Pioneer Square’s past as a “hotbed” of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life in Seattle.

SR 99 – S. Holgate Street to S. King Street viaduct replacement update

August 17, 2011  |  PI, Viaduct  |  No Comments

Did you feel that?
If you live or work near the sports stadiums, you may notice the ground shaking during daytime hours next week. No need to jump under your desk, it’s not an earthquake. Crews are using a vibratory device attached to a crane to wiggle metal sheets out of the ground. The sheets were originally installed in June to prevent soil from filling trenches as crews worked to relocate and install new utilities. Learn more about construction noise and vibration<>.

First Avenue South and SODO ramps closed next Thursday night
First Avenue S. through SODO will look a bit different next week. On Thursday, Aug. 18, crews will install new directional signs over First Avenue S. and the Royal Brougham Way S. on- and off-ramps. To safely install the signs, crews will close all lanes of First Avenue S. between South Royal Brougham Way and South King Street and the State Route 99 on- and off-ramps at Royal Brougham Way S. from 7 p.m., Thursday to 5 a.m., the following morning.  First Avenue S. traffic will be detoured to Occidental Avenue S.

Nine-day-long viaduct closure on the radar for October
In mid-to-late October we will close all lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct for nine days to demolish up to 300 yards of the viaduct and open a section of the new State Route 99<>. We plan to announce the specific closure details later this month. You can learn more about what to expect here<>.

Quick links:
*         Seattle Traffic – Real-time conditions on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Seattle area freeways, and many connecting streets:  WSDOT Seattle Area Traffic Map<> and the city of Seattle’s Traveler’s Information Map<>

*         Construction – Weekly updates about construction closures in the downtown Seattle and SODO<> areas

*         Commute Trip Reduction – WSDOT-funded trip reduction programs<> remove trips from SR 99 and key alternate routes during construction

*         Transit – Additional bus service<> to and from southwest Seattle and an expanded system to track Metro travel times<> along bus routes affected by construction

*         Bike/Walk – Maintaining a safe and reliable path for bicyclists and pedestrians<> who rely on Alaskan Way S. and other routes

New Pioneer Square Blog – 2 years, 500 posts

August 16, 2011  |  Fun, PI  |  No Comments

An early post about traffic signs installed upside down

It seems like just yesterday that we moved into the square — I remember having the same misconceptions that most people (still) have. I planned on wearing tennis shoes every day — you know, just in case I had to run away from an attack. I made sure to never be alone when out in the neighborhood, even during the day. I purchased mace to keep on my keychain, and I got to know the 9-1-1 operators from how often I used to call in drug deals in front of our apartment.

The amazing loft and low rent that drew us to the neighborhood in the first place, are not what keeps us here now. It’s the small neighborhood feel, right in the middle of a big city. It’s the feeling you get when you walk into the local businesses and know the owners, or run into other residents out walking their dogs. It’s the events that pop up in Occidental Square Park, like the Seattle Square Market, the Chess Tournament, Dancing til’ Dusk, artSPARKS, and more. It’s the amazing architecture from the historic buildings — my very favorite building is the Grand Central Building with an entire wall of ivy facing the park. As huge sports fans, it’s the good feeling I get when we leave a game, and walk three blocks to our apartment, passing all of the cars stuck in traffic.

But most of all, it’s the relationships with residents, business owners, and other individuals down in Pioneer Square who are trying to make a difference. This neighborhood has its fair share of struggles, but it also has incredible people that work tirelessly to make it better, one day, one week, one month at a time.

I recently had a reporter comment that my blog had changed from being kind of random, and about events, to being more about politics and issues. Although that’s definitely true, I’ve enjoyed taking a look at some of the posts from when I first started:

For example, the highly intelligently-named post: “Drugs + P2 = no good

The husband and I were walking around Pioneer Square last night when we passed a man standing in a store entryway on the corner of 3rd and James. With just a casual glance, we saw that he had a thin line of “white powder” and was getting ready to use it.

We walked around the corner and called 911 while we kept walking, although I was a little freaked out to be telling the 911 operator out loud about the guy using drugs just around the corner with a bunch of other P2 familiars still milling around. I thought for sure someone was going to yell “snitch” and beat us up or something. I also watch lots of movies.

Or the post, inspired from all of the good lines I hear from the guys that hang out at the Lazarus Day Center every day, titled “What single guys could learn from the homeless:”

I was taking a picture of the bricks at Fulston Square for my post the other day, and as I turned around to head back to the apartment, one of the Lazarus guys walked up to me and said “are you taking pictures?” I told him that I was, to which he responded “Will you take my picture? Will you? Take my picture so that you’ll always remember me…. [wait for it].… ‘Cause I’m always going to remember you.”

 I started this blog without caring that much about who read it, or what they thought about what I wrote — but instead, used it more as a medium to catalog what I experienced here, from the many homeless individuals I passed every day, to the new businesses that popped up, hoping to thrive in this historic neighborhood. Being new to the blogging world, however, and writing a post or two that resulted in a myriad of negative comments, I changed what I wrote about, and the carelessness with which I wrote about it.

Early post titled "Why I hate Carl"

Maybe now that I’ve reached 2 years of blogging (and 500 posts!), I can claim to be a blogging veteran and can remind myself to share some of the personal, whimsical stories (like about the seagull named Carl, who refuses to leave our deck), along with the more serious, political ones.

I can just see a whole new series of posts, titled ” ______ + P2 = ________”

The possibilities are endless.

Elliott Bay Cafe debuting “Dinner and a Movie” on August 19th

August 12, 2011  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

Elliott Bay Cafe has recently renovated their interiors to add a new “reading room,” where they will be featuring “Dinner and a Movie” and “Live Music and open mike” nights.

Their first dinner/movie night will be on August 19th which is a Friday night.  The doors open at 5:30 pm with the dinner starting at 6:30.

DINNER AND A MOVIE – 8/19th, 6:30pm – 9pm
Cost: 30.00 USD
Fresh, local, seasonal, and fantastic three course dinner at Elliott Bay Cafe in Pioneer Square and the classic movie, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell! We’ll have a signature cocktail for the evening, wine, non-alcholic beverages and snacks available at our bar for purchase as well!

Tickets will be sold on Brown Paper Tickets online or at the Cafe in person.  A three course dinner of local, seasonal and fresh ingredients will be included in the $30 per person price as well as the showing of the classic “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell.

LIVE MUSIC NIGHT – 8/30th, 6pm
Cost: free!
Live Music night will be August 30th starting at 6pm.

Ride Free Area to end in October 2012

August 12, 2011  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

As reported by the Seattle Transit Blog:

The biggest change is the elimination of the Seattle’s Ride-Free Area, slated for October 2012. As we’ve written before, this change may be good for the system but there must be mitigation to ensure that buses can still move through downtown. The Ride-Free Area is supported by most social justice advocates, but the RFA has non-trivial costs: the pay-as-you-leave system on some routes but not others can confuse riders and Metro loses some revenue by not charging fares. The County estimates that it costs $2.8 million in lost fares to provide free service through downtown but that it only receives $400,000 from the city, or just 18% of the cost.

According to Metro studies, about half of all riders traveling in the RFA carry a pre-paid bus pass. Another 18 percent have paid for their trip and are making transfers in the RFA, and about one-third are making trips as unpaid riders.

This will have an effect on Pioneer Square as we know of many human service organizations who have chosen to move to our neighborhood because the rents are the lowest in the ride free area, and the ride free zone enables the individuals who use their services to get there easily. The city is trying to mitigate these changes by providing “discount ticket programs to low income & homeless groups.”

Our neighborhood will also potentially be affected by slow-downs due to riders having to “pay as you enter” in the downtown core.

For more info on these changes, check out Metro’s fact sheet.