Archive for February, 2015

Singing around the Square

February 25, 2015  |  News, Residential Council, Residents  |  No Comments

By Sarah Norton

At the January Residents’ Council meeting, the “Pioneer’s Carolers,” gave a report on their first season of caroling around the Square. The group, made of PS residents, had eight singers and the musical selections were compiled and arranged by Nile Norton of the Florentine.

Excerpts from the Report

“The Pioneer’s Carolers made three outings in the Pioneer Square, plus a private party in the Florentine. We hit the streets for our debut appearance on “First Thursday”, December 4. We made short stops at businesses along 1st and 2nd Avenues, Jackson, King, Occidental, Washington, Yesler, and Main Streets. We limited the length of stay at each establishment to around ten minutes, not wanting to interfere with “business as usual.” In every case, the response was very positive.Caroling14_inside

We carried a basket for donations. We received $150.15, which we donated to the Bread of Life mission. The “extra” 15 cents of the total has a story—

At our last stop one evening, we found ourselves at the Pergola, where three homeless men and a woman were gathered. We asked if they might enjoy hearing a carol. They agreed, and requested “Silent Night.” They listened attentively and then requested a livelier tune. We obliged with “Jingle Bells.” The woman in the group then volunteered her version of “O Holy Night” in her best, well-worn voice. We thanked her for her selection and began to leave, when one of the men stopped us and, reaching into his pocket, dropped 15 cents in our basket. “I want to help too. Merry Christmas!” he added.”

Plans for the future

The group will keep most of the songs for next year, but start a little earlier with weekly rehearsals to get the carols memorized. There was also some talk about entering the “Figgy Pudding” competition in addition to our primary goal of providing holiday music for Pioneer Square events!

We know there is still a pool of singers, secreted somewhere in the neighborhood, who would be welcome additions to the 2015 Caroling group. The more, the merrier!

Little Uncle Closes Pioneer Square Location

February 24, 2015  |  Announcement, Business, Food, PI  |  No Comments

Little Uncle serves its final lunch on Wednesday, 25 February. An early contributor to our neighborhood renaissance, the restaurant opened just two years ago in the renovated subterranean space on Yesler. With casual table and counter seating and dishes inspired by those made in the street side stalls and family run shop-house eateries of Thailand, it will be sorely missed.

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Reasons for the decision were announced by Chefs Wiley Frank and Poncharee Kounpungchart (aka PK) via press release, “We realized that bigger is not better. We have come to the conclusion that the Pioneer Square location ultimately does not fit into the goals of our professional life and personal life. Passing the Pioneer Square location on will give us the opportunity to refocus and find a better way to build Little Uncle”.

Wiley and PK will reopen their E Madison Street window location on Thursday and additionally focus on Peeks Pantry, a line of sauces they’ve developed and plan to expand.

E Smith Mercantile Guest Chef Series

February 19, 2015  |  Event, Food, PI  |  No Comments
Photograph Courtesy of White on Rice

Photograph Courtesy of White on Rice

by Courtney Crockett

With heritage as its inspiration and an interest in fostering creativity and community, it’s no surprise that E. Smith Mercantile is a great fit for Pioneer Square. Many of us in the neighborhood are already well acquainted with E. Smith Mercantile and I, myself have sat several times at their appropriately horseshoe-shaped bar drinking alcoholic potions and eating largely organic bites that charm.

For those not yet familiar, half of the storefront is pure mercantile featuring dry goods ranging from a specialty foods pantry to American made denim and leather products. The other half offers the back bar where friendly cocktail making takes place with the skill and inclination of an apothecary.

On occasion, E. Smith Merc also features chefs for special one night culinary experiences. The shop space is cleared and family style tables are set for multiple courses of culinary delight. As it happens, at 6 pm on Sunday 22 February, Seattle’s Monica Dimas is Guest Chef.

Dimas is a well-known chef in the Seattle food world. She previously cooked for Spinasse, Le Pichet, Monsoon, and more recently for Ethan Stowell’s Mkt. Currently Dimas is taking on the kitchen at Capitol Hill’s Nacho Borracho and making it her own Mexican street food operation.

To learn about the menu for this event and ticket orders, please visit E. Smith Mercantile location and hours of operation are also available on their website.

New Settlement of Alaskan Way Viaduct

February 19, 2015  |  PI, Viaduct  |  No Comments
Alaskan Way Viaduct at Railroad South

Alaskan Way Viaduct at Railroad South

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) released new information regarding settlement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Survey crews report that over the last month, the viaduct sunk 1/4 inch at South Main Street and Railroad Way South. This is in addition to the December 2014 report that the viaduct settled more than 1 inch during the tunnel project.

The new measurements cover this specific segment of the viaduct only and do not include additional sections of the viaduct, area buildings or ground surface. Monitors are installed both in the ground and on the viaduct to continue checking settlement and to keep watch on its condition as the tunnel project continues.

WSDOT insists that the viaduct is safe for everyday travel yet still vulnerable to earthquakes. It did not address any additional risk to the neighborhood due to the combination of current settlement and an earthquake occurrence or settlement increase overall.

Further settlement is expected to continue until the viaduct is removed.

Business Moving to 111 S Jackson

February 10, 2015  |  Business, PSq Revitalization  |  No Comments

by Courtney Crockett

The building at 111 S Jackson will have new occupants. The building was built in 1904 and began as a lumber warehouse. It was later converted into office space during the 1980’s and housed previous tenants Microsoft and the architectural firm NBBJ. Many in the neighborhood may have noticed the space empty in recent years since the salvaged wood objets d’art and furniture storefront relocated.

JLL, the commercial real estate firm reports that the company, Galvanize agrees to a long term lease for the entire building and is scheduled to move in to the more than 70,000 square foot space in April. Building features include ceilings approximately 15’ high with exposed brick and beam interiors as well as a rooftop deck with views of Elliott Bay.

The Denver-based Galvanize is a venture capital adviser and start up workspace provider.


Pioneer Square Projects Submitted to HUD Competition

February 6, 2015  |  Announcement, PI, PSq Revitalization  |  No Comments

by Courtney Crockett

Two neighborhood organizations, Active Streets Strategy and Alley Network Project have been submitted to HUD’s Innovation of the Day competition.


Pioneer Square is central to our regional transit system and has several roadway construction projects scheduled in the coming years. Active Streets Strategy works to encourage active public spaces with an integrated transit system for the benefit of the community. Its emphasis is on developing a connected network of streets, parks and alleys to increase sustainability and pedestrian use. In recognition of the need, Active Streets has advanced redevelopment of Pioneer Square’s sidewalks, curb cuts and crosswalks for wheelchair accessibility that includes the new streetcar station.

Since its first Nord Alley party in 2008, Alley Network Project has brought together local residents, businesses and community groups to celebrate and transform Pioneer Square by creating events and utilizing the great public spaces available in our neighborhood.. Alley Network supports healthy community activity on the streets, contributes to our vibrant neighborhood arts culture and introduces people to local businesses. Nearly 3000 people gathered together to watch the 2010 World Cup and Tour de France.


At this time both projects rank in the top 26 of 280 submissions. As residents, we can help our community projects gain higher rankings by casting a vote. The top 3 projects will be recognized by HUD.

Follow the link below and find our Pioneer Square projects among the first 2 in an alphabetical listing. To cast your vote click on the project file then hit VOTE for each of or for your preferred project.

To learn more about Active Street Strategy visit and for Alley Network Project including upcoming events visit

Save the Pioneer Square Post Office

February 2, 2015  |  Announcement, Call to Action  |  No Comments

It has come to our attention that the neighborhood Post Office located at 91 South Jackson is scheduled to be closed soon. Businesses and residents will likely be redirected to already over burdened postal services in the International District and Downtown.

This is a call to action for support in keeping postal services available in Pioneer Square. The lease for the historic space cannot be renewed but with local support and assistance from the Alliance for Pioneer Square a new location is possible.

There is only a short window of time to try to reverse this decision with a looming deadline on Thursday 5 February. For anyone who would like to support the cause, please follow the link below to sign the petition and keep postal services within the Square. The petition will be sent to USPS for consideration. Thank You.