Archive for January, 2012

Pioneer Square in the News

January 31, 2012  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Owner neglected landmark Smith Tower, says receiver (Seattle Times)
Goodman’s report reveals, among other things, that the 98-year-old Smith Tower is even emptier than previously thought. It’s just 19 percent occupied, the receiver writes — and that’s only if you count the Chinese Room, rented out for weddings and parties, and the one-of-a-kind apartment on top of the tower. What’s more, Goodman adds, Pioneer Square offices are filling up fast, and little of what remains offers the tower’s views, charm or iconic status. “Smith Tower is being reintroduced to the leasing market at a prime time,” it says.

Why do Utilikilts appeal to many in the Northwest? (KPLU)
Whatever your feelings about them, they are part of the Northwest. The idea was born here. They’re manufactured here. They even have their own store in Seattle’s Pioneer Square Neighborhood. Why, then, are they so polarizing in their own hometown?

Homeless evicted from under Seattle viaduct (Seattle PI)
A two-block area near Pioneer Square was the latest to be swept Monday morning, but no one had to be physically removed. The homeless apparently heeded “no trespassing” signs posted Friday, said state transportation department spokeswoman KaDeena Yerkan.

State to homeless people: No more sleeping under the viaduct (Seattle PI)
But beginning Monday, the downtown dwellers of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will be gone. The state will begin sweeping away homeless people, as it expands its tunnel replacement construction a few blocks north to Yesler Way. The evictions are expected to grow through February, as construction moves to Spring Street in Seattle’s downtown core.

Hail to the chief: Sally Clark takes on new role as Seattle Council president (Seattle Times)
Clark largely got high marks for a similar rezone in Pioneer Square last year where McConachie, who serves on the Pioneer Square Preservation Board, said she found “edges and lots” that might be redeveloped without eroding the district’s historic character.

This year’s One Night Count of homeless up slightly

January 27, 2012  |  Homeless, PI  |  No Comments

The 32nd annual One Night Count of homeless people in King County took place in the early hours of Friday, January 27. 800 volunteers fanned out across the county to count the number of men, women and children who are homeless and without shelter tonight. They counted people trying to survive in cars, tents, all night buses, select hospitals, or curled up in blankets under bridges or in doorways.

Findings

  • 2,594 men, women and children had no shelter in King County last night, a small increase over those found without shelter last year.
  • 800 volunteers counted people in 13 cities across King County.

Why does the Count take place? The primary purpose of the One Night Count is to document how many people still lack basic shelter. The results are impossible to misinterpret: several thousand men, women, and children lack safety and stability. Alison Eisinger, organizer of the Count and the Executive Director of the Coalition, says, “There’s another reason for the Count. When hundreds of people see their neighbors sleeping on cardboard or riding buses to keep warm, they are shocked and saddened. We want them to be inspired to urge their local and state officials to address these needs with resources.”

This morning’s count focuses on people surviving outside without shelter; it does not include those who are staying in shelters and transitional housing. A full report that also includes the number of people in shelters and transitional housing will be released in the spring. Last year, volunteers found 2,442 people surviving outside, without shelter, and another 6,382 in shelters and transitional housing programs.

Organizers recognize that this morning’s count is an undercount of people without shelter on this night. Counters can reach only a portion of the geographic area of the county, and many homeless people sleep in hard-to-reach places.

Bill Block, Director of the Committee to End Homeless, which implements the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness in King County, said, “The street count is only a snapshot, which can be influenced by a number of factors. We know without our prevention and housing programs, thousands more people would be on the streets. Even in the face of the recession, we know that our investments can reduce the number of people who are homeless — that happened last year and the year before.”

Our community continues to be committed to finding solutions to homelessness. This effort, supported by governments, faith communities, non-profits, businesses, homeless and formerly homeless people, has helped to develop over 4,000 housing units, with an additional 800 in the pipeline. The outpouring of volunteers participating reflects a strong and growing community resolve to end homelessness.

The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH), www.homelessinfo.org, works collaboratively to ensure safety and survival for people who are homeless, and to end the crisis of homelessness in our region. For more information about the One Night Count please contact Alison Eisinger at 206.357.3148 or alison@homelessinfo.org.

For more information about the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, please contact Bill Block at 206-263-9001 or bill.block@kingcounty.gov.

Be Mobile Photowalk/Shootout in Pioneer Square this Weekend

January 26, 2012  |  Event, Fun, PI  |  No Comments


Event: Be Mobile Photowalk
Date: Saturday, January 28, 2012
Time: 3:00 PM
Where: Starting at Zeitgeist Coffee in Pioneer Square (2nd and Jackson)

Mark your calendars for the Be Mobile photowalk – open to ALL mobile photographers (iPhone, Android, etc). The walk will end with an open mic forum held at Zeitgeist Coffee to close the current Darkroom Series exhibit. There will also be challenges and prizes suitable for both iPhone and Android users.

Spread the word and hope to see you there!

Brought to you by Juxt, Trover, and Instagramers Seattle (@Igers_Seattle)

p.s. you can also RSVP/comment/ask questions on their Facebook Page

Waterfront Seattle: Upcoming Events

January 25, 2012  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

Waterfront Seattle Informal Discussion: Climate and Context
Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. FREE.
How can we make the waterfront an attractive place for all seasons? The City of Seattle and our community partners invite you to join us for informal discussions on some of the key topics shaping the future of the waterfront. Now is the time to get involved!

The first in a series of five forums – for other topics see February 8, February 15, February 27 and March 5. Events are free. Space is limited.
RSVP: rsvp@waterfrontseattle.org.

Waterfront Seattle Informal Discussion: Mobility and Access
Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. FREE.
The waterfront is a crossroads. How do we balance the many transportation needs? The City of Seattle and our community partners invite you to join us for informal discussions on some of the key topics shaping the future of the waterfront. Now is the time to get involved!

The second in a series of five forums – for other topics see January 31, February 15, February 27 and March 5. Events are free. Space is limited.
RSVP: rsvp@waterfrontseattle.org.

Waterfront Seattle Informal Discussion: Uniquely Seattle
Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. FREE.
Seattle’s waterfront has a rich context and history. How can we design it to reflect the uniqueness of the place and speak to our past, present and future? The City of Seattle and our community partners invite you to join us for informal discussions on some of the key topics shaping the future of the waterfront. Now is the time to get involved!

The third in a series of five forums – for other topics see January 31, February 8, February 27 and March 5. Events are free. Space is limited.
RSVP: rsvp@waterfrontseattle.org.

Waterfront Seattle Informal Discussion: Environment and Ecology
Monday, February 27, 2012, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. FREE.
How can the waterfront help to restore the natural ecology of Elliott Bay and showcase sustainable design? The City of Seattle and our community partners invite you to join us for informal discussions on some of the key topics shaping the future of the waterfront. Now is the time to get involved!

The fourth in a series of five forums – for other topics see January 31, February 8, February 15 and March 5. Events are free. Space is limited.
RSVP: rsvp@waterfrontseattle.org.

Waterfront Seattle Informal Discussion: Setting the Stage
Monday, March 5, 2012, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. FREE.
How do we create vibrant spaces for arts, culture and entertainment? The City of Seattle and our community partners invite you to join us for informal discussions on some of the key topics shaping the future of the waterfront. Now is the time to get involved!

The final in a series of five forums – for other topics see January 31, February 8, February 15 and February 27. Events are free. Space is limited.
RSVP: rsvp@waterfrontseattle.org.

Mayor’s neighborhood update this afternoon

January 25, 2012  |  Announcement, Call to Action, PI, Politics  |  No Comments

I apologize for not posting this earlier:
  
The Mayor, city council representatives and Alliance staff and board will meet with Pioneer Square stakeholders early in 2012 to provide an update on progress in relationship to the 2015 plan. Join us at ING at 83 South King Street, Wednesday, January 25, 4:00pm – 5:30pm.

Pioneer Square in the News

January 23, 2012  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Seattle’s old buildings: Opportunities, not obstacles (Seattle Times)
Seattle’s old buildings should be maintained and upgraded as the city evolves, says writer Lawrence Kreisman, program director of Historic Seattle. Reusing these old buildings, he says, is one of the best ways to improve the environment. It’s much greener than building green from scratch. And it can make good business sense.

Man hospitalized after stabbing at PSq homeless shelter (PubliCola)
One man was hospitalized following a stabbing at a Pioneer Square homeless shelter Tuesday morning.

So cold, even the trees need socks (Seattle Times)
The multi-colored tree-socks couldn’t be more fitting during these cold days we are having. At Occidental Park, they also add a welcoming sense of cheer and whimsy to the neighborhood. I was pulled into the park as soon as I saw the trees from a distance.

Design Perspectives: The new North Lot: erasing a civic embarrassment (DJC – subscription only)
For more than three decades, Pioneer Square has looked south across almost four blocks of surface parking. The North Lot, first by the Kingdome and now next to its replacement, CenturyLink Field, was a civic embarrassment and a developer’s dream: a sea of paving in the historic heart of Seattle, large enough to hold a new middle class neighborhood.

City bites hand that feeds homeless (Seattle Times)
Curbside al fresco is so hip that Seattle officials have put up a website to promote the street-food craze. But not if you’re homeless, says Beverly Graham, whose Operation: Sack Lunch serves meals, mostly outdoors, to the low- and no-income.

Today in Pictures: Jan. 18, 2012 (ABC News)
A Metro bus drives under a canopy of snow-covered trees in Pioneer Square, Jan. 18, 2012, in Seattle. The city is expecting three to six inches.

Dinner spots open tonight – support local business

January 18, 2012  |  Call to Action, Food, PI  |  No Comments

If you didn’t take the chance to run to the grocery store before the storm hit, here are a few places around the neighborhood that are going to be open this evening:

1. Il Terrazzo Carmine
2. Fuel 3pm – 10pm
3. J&M Cafe – probably not til 2am, but open late
4. Maharaja – open til 9pm
5. McCoys Firehouse — should stay open normal hours

As an FYI:
Delicatus is closing at 3pm
Planet Java Diner (closing at 12pm — too quiet)

And I called others [at the worst time – lunch time] — no one answered the phones at:
Al Boccalino
Cafe Hue
Cafe Paloma
Collins Pub
Elysian Fields
FX McRory’s
Marcela’s Creole Cookery
Tats

If you have any info on more places that are staying open, please let me know! If you are a resident (like most who read this blog), it would be great to support our local businesses that are staying open as it will most likely be very slow for them.

Snowman in Occidental Square asks for your spare change

January 18, 2012  |  Fun, PI  |  No Comments

A resident just emailed me a snowman that someone built in Pioneer Square this morning:

I’m not sure if it’s asking for real change or if the snow equivalent counts.

Pioneer Square in the News

January 17, 2012  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Paul Dorpat is his own pioneer: then & now (Seattle Times)
THEN: The tarnished image of Sara and Henry Yesler’s home in Pioneer Square is the oldest surviving photographic evidence of any part of Seattle. It is conventionally dated 1859, or seven years after the first settlers on the eastern shores of Elliott Bay moved there from Alki Point.

Restaurateur Carmine Smeraldo dies at 69 (Seattle Times)
Carmine Smeraldo would greet customers at his Pioneer Square restaurant with warmth, offering a handshake, or oftentimes, a hug. He knew loyal crowds turned up for perfectly smoked salmon dishes and handmade ravioli stuffed with bursts of wild mushroom.

2012 guide to staying fit (Daily Helmsman)
Personal trainer Kirstin Piquette helps Paula Sampel during her morning workout at Seattle Fitness Club in Pioneer Square.

Gottesman does it again, wins Startup Weekend with home security product Iron Blanket (GeekWire)
Seattle Startup Weekend, a 54-hour coding marathon, hosted the most recent event at the Hub in Pioneer Square. Fifty four pitches were heard on Friday night, with 15 teams formed for the weekend competition.
p.s. Street Code — an app that lets you scan QR codes on homeless people (and donate) — is apparently already being used in Pioneer Square… has anyone heard about this???

The Climate Corp. picks Seattle for branch office, looks to cultivate talent to crunch weather data (GeekWire)
The Climate Corp. — a six-year-old San Francisco company that specializes in providing weather insurance to U.S. farmers — has chosen to establish a new engineering center in Seattle’s tech-heavy Pioneer Square neighborhood.

Landlord-Tenant Complaints Spiked in 2011 (PubliCola)
DPD spokesman Bryan Stevens attributes much of the increase to better record-keeping by DPD (counting email and in-person contacts, for example, in addition to phone complaints) and the fact that the Downtowner Apartments in Pioneer Square were renovated last year, resulting in the relocation of hundreds of tenants.

Pioneer Square’s Open-Air Drug Market at Fortson Square

January 13, 2012  |  Call to Action, Complaining, Drugs, PI, Violence  |  3 comments

What needs to happen for Fortson Square to finally become a safe, welcoming place to be?

On New Year’s Day, two Pioneer Square residents were brutally attacked after confronting drug dealers blocking the entrance to their apartment building adjacent to Fortson Square (2nd Ave + Yesler). Multiple calls to police regarding the drug activity were unanswered, which, unfortunately, is understandable, given that it was New Year’s Eve and — what’s new? There’s always drug deals happening in Fortson Square.

Regardless, what happened in the square that morning, and what basically what happens every single day, is not acceptable. I live next door to where the attack happened, in an apartment building above the Chief Seattle Club (CSC) and the Lazarus Day Center. Although we have never had problems with the CSC, we routinely have problems with the men who utilize the services of the Lazarus Day Center, and the drug dealers who prey on them.

There is a Seattle PI article from three years ago that talked about the very problems caused by the Lazarus Day Center and the men who loiter on the corner of 2nd & Yesler. The sad part is that everything in that article is still true today:

He thought the brand new studio apartment a couple of floors up was a bargain for $900 a month, but it’s no longer worth dodging the drug sellers and buyers outside the front door each time he goes to walk his dog.

“It’s the same people on the same corner every day,” he said, standing inside the building’s glass entry watching drug deals made and crack pipes passed around right outside the window.

And don’t forget about the article in 2006 where Harbor Loft residents put up a banner facing Fortson Square, welcoming people to the local open-air drug market:

A group of residents is meeting with the mayor’s office this week to talk about the issues faced in Fortson Square in particular. They have also set up an internal website to share information and resources with one another and are determined to make a difference. In a letter to the Mayor by one of the residents who was attacked, he stated:

This is not how anyone should have to live and I am sick of being told it is our fault for living in a bad neighborhood! Pioneer Square could be a great neighborhood with vision, leadership and support. There are lots of great people working really hard down here to make this place a wonderful place to live and work, but I don’t think we are getting the support we need from the city. I fear for Pioneer Square as rising unemployment brings more people of need at higher risk into the missions, in a neighborhood already ripe with increasing storefront closures. We could see a larger pool of poor and underemployed people becoming victimized by the drug dealers whom act with impunity on our streets.

We know that the police get it — they’re constantly watching that corner, and even made 27 significant arrests of the most problematic drug dealers. But what more can they do? You take one off the street, and two more pop up in their place.

And now, after years and years of drug dealers on this corner, two residents were actually attacked. Is this what it takes for change to happen? What will it take for other residents to get involved? Or for the Mayor’s office to finally listen?