Archive for October, 2011

Want to help shape the future of our waterfront?

October 26, 2011  |  Call to Action, Event, PI  |  No Comments

Join the City’s Waterfront Seattle project on October 27 for an opportunity to learn about the project and share your ideas. Starting at 5:00 pm, listen to live music and grab a bite to eat from your favorite local food trucks – Marination Mobile, Curry Now, and Molly Moon’s Ice Cream. At 6:30 pm, James Corner will present the latest design ideas followed by idea sharing stations.


Thursday, October 27
5:00 to 9:00 pm
Bell Harbor Conference Center, Pier 66 – Elliott Hall
2211 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98121

Are you planning to be on the waterfront for Trick-or-Treat at the Aquarium? Stop by Waterfront Park
and visit our photo booth. Costumes are optional, though highly encouraged!

Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Waterfront Park, near the Aquarium entrance

Both events are free and open to all. For more information, contact us at or
(206) 499-8040.!/WaterfrontSEA

Should we put a parking garage under Occidental Square Park?

October 25, 2011  |  Parking, PI, Politics, Viaduct  |  1 Comment

That’s what developer Urban Visions’s CEO, Greg Smith is proposing (on DJC – subscription only), as we are going to lose more and more parking spots due to viaduct construction and changes:

Urban Visions is studying the parking idea with the team that’s working on its development project, 200 Occidental. The concept so far is to build between 120 and 200 stalls of short-term parking under the tree-lined park at Occidental Avenue South and South Main Street.

Mature trees could be saved, Smith said, “and you could put the exact park back down.”

Smith states in the article, “I’m sure it will be controversial,” to which I have to reply: what?? a new idea in Pioneer Square controversial? That never happens around here…

Revelers in Pioneer Square

October 24, 2011  |  Fun, PI  |  No Comments

Did anyone see the brass instruments, umbrellas, and revelers in Pioneer Square last Friday night?

They started outside of Marcela’s Creole Restaurant, and headed up 2nd Avenue (going who knows where).

Just another reason why I love this neighborhood:

p.s. you can follow other Pioneer Square photos that I post on instagram, user name pioneersquare

Pioneer Square in the News

October 24, 2011  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Seattle gets $900,000 federal grant for streetcar planning (Seattle Times)
Officials are weighing whether the best route would take Fourth and Fifth avenues to favor commuters, or First Avenue to favor visitors and Pioneer Square merchants. (we want 1st Ave!)

Commuters’ viaduct questions still rolling in (Seattle Times)
Travelers continue to come up with new questions about the nine-day Alaskan Way Viaduct closure that began Friday night and the efforts being made to keep traffic moving. Here are some answers.

Isilon, EMC, McGinn tout 200 new tech jobs for Pioneer Square (PSBJ)
Isilon and parent company EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) made the announcement at Isilon’s new digs at 505 First Ave. S. in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, within site of CenturyLink Field.

EMC’s Tucci on Seattle jobs, IT spending and Steve Ballmer (Seattle Times)

GeekWire Radio: Steve Jobs bio, Microsoft Store, TechStars, and Pioneer Square’s tech future (GeekWire)
We also assess Microsoft’s new Seattle retail store, talk about a plea from TechStars to the “godfathers” of Seattle tech, and discuss the future of Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood as a technology hub.

Chris Coles’ HyperQuality hears and analyzes call-center conversations (PSBJ)
HyperQuality President and CEO Chris Coles in the company’s offices in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Despite the recession, HyperQuality has more than doubled gross revenues in the past five years, up to $11.5 million in 2010.

Easy Joe’s exits to make way for Skelly and the Bean on 10th Ave E (Capitol Hill Seattle Blog)
The 1-year-old Easy Joe’s announced it would be debuting its diner concept in the 10th Ave E location in late summer 2010 when Tidbit Bistro made its move to Broadway and Union. CHS commenters weren’t thrilled with the “nostalgic” diner thing — and apparently neither were customers. In spring, the business re-tooled as an adults-only, 21 and over venue. Eater now reports partners Derek Schaubroeck and Bart Smith plan to attract the stadium crowd when they re-open Easy Joe’s somewhere in Pioneer Square.

EMC Isilon’s official welcoming to Pioneer Square

October 21, 2011  |  Business, PI  |  No Comments

Isilon, a “big data company,” recently opened their headquarters in Pioneer Square.

In a press conference on Wednesday, co-founder Sujal Patel said “he’s excited to be in Pioneer Square because the neighborhood has the energy the company looks for in new staffers. People want to be in a neighborhood where there’s life, Patel said, calling it an ‘ideal place.'” (source: GeekWire)

McGinn said the Isilon expansion was emblematic of a makeover of the Pioneer Square area, and the city government’s drive to provide a strong base for high-quality, innovative companies to locate and expand in the city.

Isilon has committed to this neighborhood for the long-term, even with plans to add 200 jobs to their current total of 430 local staff.

Now if only we had more market-rate housing to offer all of these new employees.

Reminder: Viaduct closing this evening – to reopen Oct 31

October 21, 2011  |  PI, Viaduct  |  No Comments

Alaskan Way Viaduct Closure: The Washington State Department of Transportation will close the majority of the Alaskan Way Viaduct from 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 21 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 31. Travelers should expect congestion on alternative north-south routes as more than 80,000 vehicle trips per day on the viaduct seek other ways through the city.

  • Northbound SR 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and South Royal Brougham Way will be closed around-the-clock beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31.
  • Northbound SR 99 between the South Royal Brougham Way on-ramp and the Battery Street Tunnel will open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and for special events at CenturyLink Field.
  • Southbound SR 99 between the Battery Street Tunnel and West Seattle Bridge will be closed around the clock beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31.

Many people are billing this as “viadoom” and comparing it to similar closures in LA, which didn’t end up affecting the city at all as people changed their driving habits. Hopefully the same will happen in Seattle, but it will be interesting to see if car traffic increases through Pioneer Square, or if people will avoid the city entirely and head for I-5.

Public demolition event – Commemorative walk on the viaduct

October 20, 2011  |  PI, Viaduct  |  No Comments

For a few hours on Oct. 22, the public can walk onto the top deck of the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s south end, and watch as crews continue demolishing large sections of the viaduct in SODO. They are also sponsoring a public contest to win exclusive access to the viaduct’s downtown section.

Saturday, Oct. 22
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Public allowed to walk to the top deck of the viaduct.
1 p.m. to 2 p.m. – Celebration event with state and local elected officials.

In the construction area between Alaskan Way South and First Avenue South just north of the 1051 First Ave. S. building. Access the event via Alaskan Way South at South King Street.

Parking will be available at the event site, on adjacent city streets and in nearby pay lots. We encourage attendees to take light rail or the bus. The closest light rail stop is Stadium Station. For bus route information, visit Metro’s Trip Planner or call 206-553-3000.

Walk details
No RSVPs are required for the walk on the viaduct, but some restrictions apply. No pets or bicycles are allowed on the viaduct. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The event will be ADA accessible. Be prepared for wind chill on the viaduct’s top deck, and wear sturdy shoes.

[note: rumor has it people who attend may be able to take home a piece of concrete from the viaduct — not quite the Berlin Wall, but some may still be excited by it.]

Pioneer Square has a good “vibe”

October 20, 2011  |  Fun, PI  |  No Comments

MapQuest has started a new site called m(q)vibe, which gives a “Vibe Score” for neighborhoods. The score is “a composite of Walkability, Popularity, Going Out, Edginess, Burbiness, and Residential scores,” which include what it would take to achieve a vibrant lifestyle in that community, compared with other neighborhoods in Washington.

Pioneer Square has an overall Vibe Score of 10.

Here is the breakdown of rankings for our neighborhood (or at least my best guesses based on the graph):

Popularity: 10

Going Out: 10

Residential: 1.5

Burby: 1

Edgy: 2.5

Walkability: 10

[I had to laugh at our “edgy” score as the definition for edgy is “how likely you are to meet the more questionable or colorful aspects of urban society in that neighborhood, compared with other neighborhoods in the same state.”]

All said, we currently rank 4th in Seattle, but the system is still new and needs to have a lot more user input before it’s accurate.

Vibe Scores can go up and down by people “liking” the neighborhood on Facebook, and voting for businesses in the neighborhood. Go check it out and see what you think.

El Gaucho to Serve its 2,500th meal to Homeless in Pioneer Square

October 19, 2011  |  Homeless, PI  |  No Comments

Today, El Gaucho will serve its 2,500th meal at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission’s Men’s Shelter to homeless individuals. Over the past year, El Gaucho’s chefs and staff have donated, prepared and served healthy and delicious lunches every third Wednesday to anyone who walks through our doors. Executive Chef Matt Brandsey will prepare a meat pasta.

“It’s truly our pleasure to help out and be a small part of the big things the Mission does,” said Cooper Mills, general manager of El Gaucho.

Last year, the Mission served 64,000 more meals, totaling over 500,000 meals. Why? The Mission believes that a single meal can lead to changed lives. Day after day people come through our doors for a meal and then leave a year later changed men and women because they entered our long-term programs.

“El Gaucho is really serving second chances to thousands of people who are without hope and desire a change life,” said Jeff Lilley, president of The Mission. “We are so appreciative of their dedication to serving the needs of this community.”

El Gaucho and Aqua, members of the Mackay Restaurant Group, both serve lunch once a month at the Men’s Shelter.

Pioneer Square in the News

October 17, 2011  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Tea Party Launches Occupy Skid Row Movement (Huffington Post)
Fed up with what they see as a preponderance of unpleasant poor people controlling the national agenda, the Tea Party has countered the burgeoning Occupy Wall Street movement with its own series of radical protest groups called “Occupy Skid Row.” Already, hundreds of largely peaceful Tea Party Patriots have gathered in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, Seattle’s Pioneer Square [editor’s note: I haven’t heard about this…anyone else?] and impoverished areas of New York City and Los Angeles to bring their simple message to the American people: that the desperately poor, the homeless and those lacking even basic nutrition or medical attention simply do not care about what happens to the rest of the people in this country.

Lib Tech’s Downtown Throwdown In Seattle (Snowboarding)
Lib Tech’s Downtown Throwdown made it’s way back to Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square this past weekend and you couldn’t have asked for a better event. The weather was amazing, the crowd was large, people were stoked and the riding was off the chain.

Isilon plans jobs announcement (TechFlash)
After getting a new corporate parent and moving into Seattle’s emerging tech hub — Pioneer Square — Isilon is ready to announce a major jobs initiative.

A viaduct you can dream upon (Seattle Times)
The Washington State Department of Transportation announced a contest to let 25 people have 30 minutes on the traffic-free Alaskan Way Viaduct. The Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program has received 400 entries so far, said spokesman Matt Preedy.

CleanScapes, the Anti-Trash Trash Company, Launches Merger With Big Ambitions (Seattle Weekly)
Martin, who got into this business by complaining about the dumpsters behind his Pioneer Square home, has taken his obsession with trash a long way.

Should Seattle spend millions to plan more streetcars? (Seattle Times
A downtown link would make it easy for visitors at cancer-care clinics at South Lake Union, or workers at Amazon to reach Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum and Pioneer Square, said James Kelly, co-founder of the Streetcar Alliance. People downtown could continue to medical centers on First Hill. “Being able to accommodate elderly people, those who want to go to hospitals, it’s a wonderful connection,” he said.

Super-cool Seattle: Music and magic in the American city that gave the world ‘grunge’ (Daily Mail)
My trip to Seattle came about after I received an invitation to visit Taking Punk To The Masses: From Nowhere To Nevermind, an exhibition in the city celebrating the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s seminal album, Nevermind. Seattle is like no other American city I’ve visited. It has a distinct laid-back, liberal feel, a tight community and jaw-dropping panoramic views of epic mountain ranges. Though Seattle is a compact city, each area has a distinct feel – Belltown has lively nightlife, historic Pioneer Square has a great choice of classy restaurants, and there is also a busy central business and shopping area called Downtown.