Archive for September, 2013

The Future of Seattle Public Space Mayoral Forum

September 26, 2013  |  Event, PI, Politics  |  No Comments

From Seattle Parks Foundation:

Join us on Thursday, September 26th for a Seattle mayoral forum. The event will feature general elections candidates Senator Ed Murray and Mayor Mike McGinn and will be moderated by political analyst C.R. Douglas of Q13 FOX News.

Olympic Sculpture Park
2901 Western Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
Reception at 5:30PM, candidate forum begins 6:00PM

The next mayoral administration will lead a city in the midst of historic changes. As projected population expansion inspires innovative approaches to density planning, Seattleites are exploring new ways to prepare for growth and foster livability in the urban core. Parks and public spaces are at the center of this conversation, and will play an important role in building strong, healthy communities.

This event is an opportunity for the public to learn more about the mayoral candidates’ vision for parks and public spaces in the urban core, how these contribute to the overall health of communities, as well as their role in making our wonderful City even better for the next generation. We welcome you to join the conversation!

Sponsored by Alliance for Pioneer Square, Forterra, Friends of Waterfront Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Center Foundation, InterIm CDA, CIDBIA and Seattle Parks Foundation.

Neoillusion Teaism event tomorrow night

September 25, 2013  |  Art, Event, PI  |  No Comments


Join ArtXchange Gallery and Neodandi for a multi-sensory art experience
Neoillusion Teaism
Thursday, September 26, 2013

At this one-of-a-kind event, audience members will sip artisan, hand processed teas, as Tea Artist, Guitian Li performs a celebration of deliberate living through studied motion and conveyance of the Art of Tea. Set to contemporary music with the backdrop of paintings by Ullie De Osu and William Song, the half-hour performance will begin at 7:30, with a reception afterwards for mingling, tea and snacks.

Doors open at 7pm, Performance begins at 7:30
This event is free to attend and guests are welcome.
Please RSVP to and indicate how many guests in your party.

Large fire in the park this Friday

September 25, 2013  |  Announcement, Construction, PI  |  No Comments


In their weekly update, Puget Sound Energy would like to let residents and business owners know that there will be a large (controlled) flame in the neighborhood this Friday. See below for information. For weekly updates, you can check out their website.

1. Beginning as early as Wednesday, Sept. 25, final street paving will take place on Yesler Way between James Street and Western Avenue.

2. On Thursday, Sept. 26, the newly installed natural gas pipe will be filled with natural gas.

3. On Friday, Sept. 27, crews will be retiring the section of old pipe, which requires us to burn off excess natural gas in the pipeline before permanently isolating it from the larger system. Here’s a look at what you can expect:

  • You may see a large, controlled flame that is expected to burn for approximately six hours on Friday
  • Flaring will take place at the intersection of S Main Street and Occidental Avenue as well as on Western Avenue between Yesler Way and Columbia Street.
  • Because the natural gas is burned off as soon as it leaves the pipe, the flaring procedure is safe and controlled. Only minimal amounts of natural gas will escape into the atmosphere, and because natural gas is lighter than air, it will quickly dissipate.
  • The flame will be monitored nonstop by natural gas employees until the flaring procedure is completed.

Pioneer Square in the News

September 23, 2013  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

0 Pioneer Square
Tears, laughter for instructor killed in Pioneer Square (KiroTV)
In the rain of an early fall, friends and family came to Shoreline Community College to say goodbye to one of their own.

Woman who survived Pioneer Square stabbing is out of hospital (KOMO)
The woman who survived Friday night’s random stabbing attack in Pioneer Square has been released from the hospital and is back at home.

Double-Twist In The Great Pioneer Square Public Toilet Caper (Curbed)
…Urban Visions CEO Greg Smith said after the committee meeting that he’d be better off building a shorter, all-office building, and that’s what he plans to do. With that plan, he wouldn’t have to spend an estimated $250,000 to buy and install the loo.

So About That Portland Loo Contingency Money … (Seattle Weekly)
Mayor Mike McGinn’s 2014 budget proposal will include money for a Portland Loo in Pioneer Square.

Ron and Don: We’ve lost Pioneer Square (MyNW)
When KIRO Radio’s Don O’Neill recounted his horrific visit to Pioneer Square a few weeks ago on The Ron and Don Show, little did he know that his worst fears would be realized so soon. A beloved Shoreline teacher and his girlfriend were randomly attacked Friday night after a Sounders game.

Suspected Pioneer Square Attacker Told Police He’s Schizophrenic (Seattle Weekly)
According to police reports provided to Seattle Weekly by the King County Prosecutor’s Office, the 44-year-old man arrested Friday night for the horrific, unprovoked fatal stabbing in Pioneer Square told detectives that he’s schizophrenic and that “the victim was a member of a group that was trying to kill him.”

After Attacks, Seattle Rethinks How To Treat Mentally Ill (NPR)
Unstable people have made downtown Seattle jittery lately — for good reason. In August, a man with a history of mental illness shot and wounded a bus driver, then died in a chaotic shootout with police. And just last Friday night, a self-identified schizophrenic attacked a couple with a knife, wounding the woman and killing her boyfriend.

A Bite of Seattle, Seahawks-style (Seahawks)
Several local eateries coordinated with Sportservice, providing recipes and ingredients to create a slate of new in-stadium food offerings. Restaurant staffs also worked with Kamimura’s team of chefs to help stadium cooks master the proper presentation for each item.

Guest: Make downtown Seattle safe after death of Troy Wolff (Seattle Times)
THE latest incident of violent behavior in downtown Seattle is both heartbreaking and disturbing. It is a tragic reminder of why local and state leaders must act now to provide new and sustained resources to improve public safety and increase services to the mentally ill.

Personal Safety Tips from SPD

September 18, 2013  |  PI, Violence  |  No Comments

In the wake of last week’s stabbing, the Seattle Police Department has posted a good list of safety tips:

  • When out and about, walk alertly, confidently and pay attention to your surroundings; avoid “automatic pilot” and electronic distractions.
  • Trust your instincts: pay attention to the uncomfortable feelings that often warn you of potential danger.
  • Use common sense; plan your route to avoid dark places and alleyways. Stick to well-lit areas.
  • Develop a plan before you see trouble. Crossing a street or entering a store may get you out of a potentially bad situation.
  • Carry your purse very close to you preferable with the strap over your shoulder and the purse to the front of your body. Don’t dangle it from your arm.
  • If you see anything suspicious or something that is potential or actual criminal activity, call 911 and be a good witness from a safe distance.
  • Don’t compromise your personal safety.

I don’t feel safe in Pioneer Square

September 16, 2013  |  Call to Action, Personal, PI, Violence  |  6 comments

Last April, after Nicole Westbrook was senselessly shot and killed in Pioneer Square, I was interviewed about whether or not I still felt safe in my neighborhood. My answer was that it didn’t really change my level of safety in Pioneer Square (and in downtown in general). I felt that there were inherent risks you took when living in a downtown city.


One of the benefits of living in Pioneer Square is the close proximity to the stadiums. It’s an easy commute to the game, but it also makes our apartment a post-game gathering place to re-watch highlights from the Sounders game, or mourn a Mariners loss together. Last Friday, after the game, we hosted such a gathering, which was interrupted after reports that two people had been stabbed one block from our apartment. We spent the next hour, watching for updates on twitter to see if we could get more details – had they been at the game, or was it a drug deal gone wrong; did anyone survive; was the suspect arrested, etc.

Intrigue in the incident quickly turned to sadness when we learned that they had indeed been at the Sounders game and were just making their way through the neighborhood. The male victim, a local college professor, died of the injuries sustained after trying to intervene when the suspect began stabbing his companion. Any stabbing or shooting is awful, but it feels much worse when there appears to be no motive, and when you can put yourself in the shoes of the victims. We had just been at the game. We had just walked down that street to get home. It could have been us.

I started this blog over four years ago in an effort to dispel the negative perceptions that seem to constantly linger in this neighborhood. When people ask me about the struggles that we face in Pioneer Square, my reaction is always to try and let them know about the many amazing things in this neighborhood – the amazing architecture, the small neighborhood feel, the proximity to transit, the inexpensive rent. I try to look at these struggles as small bumps in the road to this neighborhood reaching its full potential.


Biking in the park while pregnant                        Participating in the March to the Match

But I have to be honest – this latest incident has really shaken me. I walk this neighborhood every day with my husband and 1 year old daughter. We visit friends, go to restaurants, walk in the park. But I don’t feel as comfortable out on the street anymore. I still feel that this neighborhood has tremendous potential. We have so much going for us – new restaurants, new residential buildings, new energy.

But something needs to change.

The City and police need to work together with the City Attorney to make the tough decisions that enable residents to feel safe in their own neighborhood. Areas like Occidental Square Park are now taken over by groups that camp out there all day and night. Kids that used to play around the firemen statues are too nervous to because of the loitering that takes place there. This park is no longer a park for everyone.

camping 5.14.13

camping Occ Aug 12 2013

trash 04.01.13

Let this be the wake-up call the City needs to make some real changes. The residents of downtown Seattle deserve to see that the City is willing to take a hard line on the issues that lead to public safety concerns. Local businesses need to be shown that the City is making a commitment to Downtown neighborhoods; that they will do whatever needs to be done to support them and the members of our community who choose to shop, work, and live in Pioneer Square.

Because right now, I don’t feel safe in the place that I am usually proud to call home.

Pioneer Square in the News

September 10, 2013  |  News, PI  |  2 comments

0 Pioneer Square

Big Pioneer Square development site sells for $18M (PSBJ)
Real estate company American Life last week bought a 1.5-acre parking lot just north of CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Sheriff’s wife doesn’t feel safe in downtown Seattle (Q13 news)
“I feel very safe,” says Laurie, who works downtown. “I walk through the parks, Occidental Square, Pioneer Square, early in the morning. There’s certainly people in need of human services or mental health services but they don’t bother me, they don’t scare me.” But the homeless and the mentally ill do scare others.

Seattle council, stakeholders discuss downtown crime (Seattle Times)
A Seattle City Council committee on Wednesday took testimony on downtown public safety and the effectiveness to date of the Center City Initiative.

KUOW’s Pioneer Square feature:
Live From Pioneer Square: The Washington Shoe Building (KUOW)
The Record on KUOW will broadcast live from the Washington Shoe Building on Occidental Square (410 Occidental Way South), Friday, from noon to 2 p.m. If you live or work in Pioneer Square, come by and tell us about your neighborhood. We’ll explore its demographics, history and how it’s changed in the past 20 years.

Keeping An Eye On The City: Union Gospel Mission’s Morning Watch (KUOW)
The Union Gospel Mission in Pioneer Square started more than 80 years ago, serving out soup during the Great Depression. It is only one of the locations that the mission has now, and it is only one of a few missions in Pioneer Square. One of the services provided by the Union Gospel mission, in addition to housing, food and addiction services, is a program called Morning Watch. Ross Reynolds talks with the lead intern running the Morning Watch program, Jason Bennett.

Pioneer Square Gets Down To Business (KUOW)
In 2009 people were asking, can Pioneer Square be saved? Businesses shut down and moved out of the neighborhood, the iconic Elliott Bay Book Company packed up and left for higher ground on Capitol Hill. But in the last few years the neighborhood has undergone a boom of sorts.

Voices From Pioneer Square: Mike Hall And Charles Royer (KUOW)
Listen to Mike Hall (Real Change Vendor) and Charley Royer (former Mayor of Seattle and current Pioneer Square resident), talk about their experiences in the neighborhood

Voices From Pioneer Square: Jen Kelly (KUOW)
Ross Reynolds talks with Pioneer Square resident and neighborhood blogger, (me!), about her experience living in Pioneer Square.