Archive for February, 2012

Come see “Constellation Alley” at First Thursday

February 29, 2012  |  Alley, Event, First Thursday, PI  |  No Comments

A Light Installation in Nord Alley Brought to you by: The Alley Network Project

Constellation Alley is intended to evoke images of constellations and emulate the starry sky. Blue glowing orbs seemingly float above Nord Alley, while multiple strands of white globe and polka-dot LEDs create a curtain of sparkle. The idea is to highlight a key alley along the main ‘alley pedestrian spine’ in Pioneer Square, create delight for passersby, and promote sustainability. All the lights utilized are LED, which are extremely energy-efficient and long-lasting, and one type is solar-powered. It is the hope that the installation will enhance ambiance in the alley and elevate the sense of security and comfort.

Concept: Karen Davis Smith
Core Team: Nikki Somers Comstock, Brian Smith, Scott Chilberg, Liz Stenning, and Karen Davis Smith
Funded by: A Grant received from Historic South Downtown
Inspired by: Alliance for Pioneer Square’s offer to donate ‘Christmas lights’ to the alleys (Lisa Dixon)

JOIN US for Pioneer Square’s First Thursday
March 1st, 2012 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Enter through the alley to view the lighting constellation
installed by the Alley Network Project

behind 314 – 1st Avenue South, Seattle, WA  98104
(between Jackson & Main AND Occidental Ave & 1st Ave South)

First Hill Streetcar Open House Tonight

February 28, 2012  |  Call to Action, Event, PI  |  No Comments

SDOT is holding an open house tonight for the First Hill Streetcar project that begins construction in April (via STB):

Tuesday, February 28
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Union Station – Ruth Fisher Boardroom
401 South Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98104

Getting There:
The main entrance is on Jackson Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues. The location is transit accessible. On- and off-street parking is available nearby.

First Hill Streetcar - Planned Route through Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square in the News

February 27, 2012  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Cat People – Fictilis is your new favorite gallery (The Stranger)
Fictilis is sent from heaven. It’s an 8-month-old, artist-run gallery in Pioneer Square that currently has a bunch of cat faces on display.

SocEnt Weekend: Business Ideas That Can Make a Difference (Xconomy)
The event kicks off Friday evening at the Hub Seattle, a co-working space in Pioneer Square aimed at people tackling social issues. Mayor Mike McGinn is expected to speak, and there are all-star mentors, prizes for the winners, and some entrepreneurial lessons during the program.

Which Seattle neighborhood are you most like? (Big Blog)
Pioneer Square: I know, I know. When you were young, people were different. There were lumberjacks and prostitutes and a bunch of floods. We’ve heard this one before, Grandpa. [editor’s note: I don’t get it…]

Rising gas prices just another chance to milk the masses (Seattle Times)
Groundhog Day, Part Deux: Emboldened by the smattering of applause after his recent proclamation that the city will defy all known laws of physics by aiding and abetting the world’s first “self-funding” pro sports arena, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is expected to announce plans to revitalize Pioneer Square via the installation of self-cleaning toilets. Oh, wait; we already took a bath on that idea, too.
[editor’s note: I don’t know what this reporter is talking about… there is no one talking about self cleaning toilets in PSq. We are working on getting a staffed public toilet, but not a self cleaning one]

The Arena proposal: Oh, what a lovely donnybrook! (Crosscut)
In the basketball and hockey proposal, Seattle has the high-stakes, long-drawn-out conflict it loves to wallow in. Here’s a rundown on the major issues and how they will shake up Seattle politics.

Mushrooms Bloom From Discarded Coffee Grounds in Pioneer Square Storefront (Voracious)
Olson Kundig Architects’ “Mushroom Farm,” a Pioneer Square storefront that’s been deputized for an urban agriculture experiment, is supposed to foster grand questions about community, sustainability and design. But mushroom farmer Alex Winstead, who’s supervising the operation, says many project participants have voiced more prosaic concerns.

Mushroom project teaches warm, sticky lesson in climate change (KOMO News)
What happens when a rag tag group of interdisciplinary professionals gets their hands on a grant aimed at conservation and sustainability? Fungus happens. Well, mushrooms to be exact.

Seattle Mardi Gras celebration is now dead and gone (Examiner)
I officially declare Seattle Mardi Gras as dead, dead, dead. The politics of the city wanted it dead and it took years for it to happen, but politics won. This was a giant revenue source for badly hurting retail operations throughout Seattle, not just Pioneer Square. If Seattle’s elected officials were smart they could have turned this day into something a little more retail minded.

John T Williams Memorial Totem Pole to be raised this Sunday

February 24, 2012  |  Call to Action, Event, PI  |  No Comments

Sunday, February 26, at least 1,000 participants will carry the John T Williams Memorial Totem Pole from Pier 57 to the Seattle Center grounds where it will be raised.

This will be the first totem pole to be erected in Seattle in nearly 100 years. At 10 a.m., the march will leave Pier 57 at Alaskan Way and University Street, move east on University Street to Western Avenue; north on Western to Broad Street; east on Broad to Fifth Avenue N, and then onto the Seattle Center grounds.  The Seattle Police Department will escort the march.

For more info on this project in general, you can see the Facebook page here.

North Lot (Stadium Place) Construction

February 23, 2012  |  Business, PI  |  No Comments

While we are all thrilled that the North Lot Development is finally underway, some residents and office workers have complaints about the noise from the pile driver.

An actual twitter feed:

And although I’m tired of the meme’s (which seem to be popping up everywhere), the comments on the construction led to the creation of this:

The North Lot (official name will be “Stadium Place”) has a website where you can get more information, including a construction schedule:

Schedule Update for Week of February 6, 2012

  • Feb 13- Feb 17: Form, Pour & Strip East Tower Crane Footing
  • Feb 20: Pre-Excavation in Zone 6
  • Feb 20, 21: Drive Pile in Zone 6
  • Feb 22, 23: Pre-Excavation in Zone 7
  • Feb 23, 24: Drive Pile in Zone 7
  • Feb 27, 28: Pre-Excavation in Zone 8
  • Feb 28, 29: Drive Pile in Zone 8
  • Feb 29, March 1: Pre-Excavation in Zone 9
  • March 1, 2: Drive Pile in Zone 9
  • Feb 20-24, Feb 27-March 2: Cutoff Concrete Piles (starting along Occidental)
  • Feb 20, 21: Form East Tower Crane Footing
  • Feb 22: Pour East Tower Crane Footing (approx. 20 concrete trucks)

They also have a noise and vibration fact sheet and other info relating to the noise complaints. As of today, they have completed 80 out of 450 piles.

If you would like to contact their team with any comments, you can email or you can stop by the project office at First & King once it gets set up.

Unfortunately, it will remain loud for a few more weeks, but I know that it will be worth it in the long run!

(Except for those of you with pets who choose to bark at the pile driver all day. It may not be worth it for you.)

First Thursday Party in Nord Alley

February 22, 2012  |  Alley, Event, First Thursday, PI  |  No Comments

Join us in welcoming Bicycle Alliance of Washington and Back Alley Bike Repair to the neighborhood and the NORD ALLEY

Pioneer Square First Thursday
March 1st, 2012 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Taking place in NORD ALLEY behind 314 – 1st Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104
(between Jackson & Main AND Occidental Ave & 1st Ave South)

More info? Contact Nikki Somers –

Pioneer Square Residents Council meeting this Thursday at 5:30pm

February 22, 2012  |  Residential Council  |  No Comments

We have set the next meeting date for the Pioneer Square Residents Council. Here are the details:

Where: Fictilis Art Gallery, 210 S Washington St
When: Thursday February 23rd, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Tentative Agenda: Public Safety — we will be having our neighborhood police liaison Office Chad McLaughlin come to listen to our concerns and provide background on what the police is doing in our neighborhood. We would like this to be a constructive conversation with action items as opposed to a “complaining session,” which is not productive. We may also talk about waterfront changes, and provide an update on SDOT’s plans to route more buses through the neighborhood.

If you have further questions or to get updated information, you can:
email us:
like our new facebook page: Pioneer Square Residents Council

Pioneer Square in the News

February 22, 2012  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Now Growing | Pioneer Square’s Mushroom Farm (NYTimes)
Last year, the architects decided to rent the ground-floor storefront space in their Pioneer Square office building and turn it over to an ever-changing roster of pro-bono design projects, residencies, community collaborations and other initiatives. The latest is Mushroom Farm, an installation that opens today and runs through March 8.

Seattle poster of bare, fatted actress sparked ire (Seattle Big Blog)
Would this poster for Pioneer Square’s Fat Tuesday festival work in 2012, in the age of undie runs and pantsless rides? When it was introduced in 1978, the Seattle poster caused protests from women’s groups, HistoryLink wrote Thursday.

Seattle: If this is a bust, what will a boom look like? (Crosscut)
During the economic downturn, the city and region have been setting the stage for the next boom.

Mayor, Investor Propose “Self-Funded” Half-Billion-Dollar Arena (PubliCola)
Although not quite located in Pioneer Square, the talk is for just south of the other two stadiums adjacent to our neighborhood. It’s not talked about in the article, but debated slightly down in the comments.

PS Vita: In a world of mobile phones, do handheld gaming devices have a future? (Geekwire)
Fun Bits, a 12-person startup in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, is making a big bet on the PS Vita. Escape Plan, a distinctive black-and-white puzzle adventure game, is a Vita launch title that sells for $14.99 through the PlayStation Network.

Bathroom art: Stuff people do in Seattle’s restrooms (Seattle Big Blog)
The women’s bathroom at the New Orlean’s restaurant makes the cut for interesting art. So does the men’s restroom at the Central Saloon. And the women’s.

Results from the Trover photography competition in Pioneer Square

February 17, 2012  |  Art, PI  |  No Comments

Trover is a new website/app  that allows you to “instantly discover and share cool things around you with your iPhone?”  They have a growing collection of things to do/see in different neighborhoods, and they recently featured Pioneer Square in a “be mobile” photography competition.

You can go here to see all of the images from the competition, and below are the shots from the winners of the competition:

Jana Uyeda for this discovery at Central Saloon:
Jorge Ribera for this discovery at Occidental Park:
James Grindle for troving shots of all 10 shootout landmarks:
Geoff Parker for this discovery:
David Nguyen for this discovery:
You should download their app, but you can also see photos on their Facebook page, or you can click here to see all the photos that have been “discovered” in Pioneer Square.

Unpublished Bill Speidel Stories to be Released

February 16, 2012  |  Event, PI  |  No Comments

On February 11, 2012, the day that would be Bill Speidel’s 100th birthday, a fittingly unique tribute commemorated Speidel, famed historian, preservationist and founder of the Underground Tour, who died in 1988.

Bill Speidel Enterprises Inc. will release a series of audio recordings from the Speidel family archives.

In the recordings, Bill Speidel recounts tales of life as he saw it in Seattle, circa 1920 to 1970, told in his inimitable style, with humor and affection, and a predilection for ruffling the feathers of the powers-that-be.

Included in the series is a rare interview with Joshua Greene, Seattle pioneer, banker and one of a handful of businessmen who operated the “Mosquito Fleet,” steamers that transported people throughout Puget Sound before the establishment of the Washington State Ferries.

This is the first time any of these recordings have been made public. They are available through the Underground Tour’s YouTube channel and on the company’s Facebook page.

Bill Speidel was known to many as author of the popular Seattle history book, “Sons of the Profits.” He was also a leader in the 1960s movement to preserve Pioneer Square, which became one of the nation’s earliest designated historic districts.

A byproduct of his activism is the now-famous Underground Tour, exploring the original sidewalks and storefronts of Seattle that were covered over when the city rebuilt itself after the “Great Seattle Fire” of 1889. Forty-seven years after Speidel started the tour in 1965, it remains one of the city’s most popular attractions.