Parks and Gateways

October 27, 2015  |  Announcement, PI, PSq Revitalization, Residents  |  No Comments

by Courtney Crockett

Join in for snacks and refreshments at this interactive open house forum to share your thoughts on how we can improve our neighborhood parks and help determine which park to take to a full schematic design.

Parks and Gateways Open House

Thursday 29 October

 4 to 7 pm

Lobby at 505 First Ave S

Not available Thursday but want to participate? Fill out this very short survey on how you use your Pioneer Square parks.

parks and gateways

The Parks and Gateways project is funded through a $100,000 Neighborhood Matching Fund grant from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The Alliance for Pioneer Square is working with a stakeholder group and consultant Walker Macy to create a Concept Plan for all of our neighborhood parks and gateways as well as a Schematic Design for one park or gateway.

Save Our Square

September 28, 2015  |  Business, PI, PSq Revitalization, Residents  |  No Comments

by Courtney Crockett

The New Pioneer Square blog may be remiss in its responsibilities for not writing sooner about Save Our Square and the related dust up over a building proposal to replace the Old Seattle Parking Garage on the corner of S Jackson and Alaskan Way S. But it’s okay, this is an ongoing saga that becomes more interesting and important as it continues.

The backstory starts early in summer, when a group of concerned residents formed, Save Our Square in response to a proposed 120-foot-tall residential building at 316 Alaskan Way S. The scale of this development and its fit in our historic district are of key issue and SOS has support from several neighborhood businesses.

In July, following 18 months of debate over the proposed development, the Pioneer Square Preservation Board rejected the design with an unprecedented 7-1 vote against the project. Two weeks later, the city’s head of the Department of Neighborhoods, Kathy Nyland, unexpectedly overturned the board’s decision.

architectural rendering of proposed development at 316 alaskan way south

architectural rendering of proposed development at 316 alaskan way south

Last week, it was determined by the hearing examiner that the Department of Neighborhoods violated its own rules because it did not follow the law requiring a formal written opinion from the Pioneer Square Preservation Board. Rather, the department moved forward based on its own staffer’s written recommendation to ignore the board’s vote.

The Pioneer Square Preservation Board must now first approve then submit its written recommendation for 316 to Nyland, and is on the PSPB agenda for a meeting scheduled on 7 October.

Save Our Square adds to the increasingly important issues pertaining to historic preservation, new development, affordability and livability in Pioneer Square and Seattle overall. The question on my mind is, “Can Pioneer Square be funky and shiny at the same time?”

An article in Gawker How Amazon Swallowed Seattle, gives a personal account of how massive unrestrained development has essentially killed the middle class bastion that once was our wildly imperfect but likeable city.

And in Crosscut City May Dilute History in Pioneer Square, we are reminded of past battles to retain historic Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market which are fiercely relevant today. Knute Berger writes, “The rationale for saving Pioneer Square — promoted by (architect and activist Victor) Steinbrueck and others as early as the 1950s — was to revitalize our first urban neighborhood by protecting its historic character and making it work for art galleries, restaurants, clubs and the homeless. Its renovation has widely been hailed.” Indeed and yet, this success is the reason venture capital and large development projects are drawn to our neighborhood. Literally changing the landscape and figuratively, by pushing out independently owned businesses and resident artists most of whom weathered far more distasteful days than any recent inhabitant can fathom.

For example, the Seattle Times Real Estate Gold Rush Has Club Singing Blues, reveals that Highway 99 Blues Club, a great dive and outstanding blues venue in Pioneer Square since 2004, will not renew its lease this December when new owners will jack up their rent from $4600 to nearly $15,000 per month. Pioneer Square may not win by losing.

SOS and the proposal at 316 Alaskan Way S may be a test case for our neighborhood on how growth, character and community is managed in Pioneer Square. Stay tuned.

Pioneer Square Neighborhood BBQ


by RaNae Vodder

Pioneer Square friends and neighbors!  Save your spot at the 3rd annual Pioneer Square Neighborhood BBQ and RSVP today!   I had a great time at the event last year and will be looking forward to meeting you since I have volunteered to check people in at the registration table. This is a great opportunity to meet some new friends and neighbors and support our local community.

Click here to RSVP  (You must be a Pioneer Square resident, business owner, or Pioneer Square resident-invited guest to attend).

There is sure to be great food because Shawn O’Donnell and his family are catering the BBQ!  There is a $5 suggested donation per person (you can’t go wrong with a meal for only $5!!).  All proceeds support the Pioneer Square Residents’ Council and the great work they do for our neighborhood!

Many Pioneer Square businesses are donating generous raffle items.  You can purchase raffle tickets in advance when you RSVP or they are available on-site. Don’t leave early because you must be present to win.


Public Safety Open House

August 10, 2015  |  Announcement, Business, Call to Action, Residents  |  No Comments


Tuesday 11 August 2015

8 am – 6 pm

307 Occidental Ave S


The Pioneer Square Residents Council, the Alliance for Pioneer Square and the Pioneer Square BIA ask you to share your thoughts and ideas about public safety in Pioneer Square. Input from our neighborhood residents, workers and businesses is important and will aid in the development of a multifaceted set of strategies regarding street civility and public safety.

Strategies include-

  • Advocacy with the Mayor, Police Chief, City Departments and the City Council
  • Implementation of tools and strategies for residents and businesses
  • Communication

The format is an all-day open house, please drop by as your schedules permit.

Loggers and Lagers Cut Loose

August 4, 2015  |  Event, Fun, Residents  |  No Comments

By Beth Berube

QualityAthleticsOn July 25th, Loggers and Lagers Pub Crawl partygoers paraded plaid panache in Pioneer Square. And what could be more fitting for the first annual pub crawl, than a theme linking a lumber mill from the past to the timber men that built Seattle. It started right here in our very own district.

Lumber Jacks and Lumber Jills gathered at Quality Athletics in the late afternoon and after twilight, revelers raised glasses for a final toast to “a karaoke culmination” at Fuel.


In between, the sixty or so merrymakers wet their whistles at Pharmacy, J & M, Casco Antiguo and Shawn O’Donnell’s. All establishments offered discounted libations and raffle prizes to Crawlers. My personal favorite mix-sensation, was a zippy Sangria served at Pharmacy. Not too sweet. Just the way I like it.

J & M hosted a best beard contest, pic3which was won by Pioneer Square resident and neighbor, Nile Norton.

The Pioneer Square Residents Council organized the event as a great way to show off all our new bars and to visit old ones as well. A fun night was had by all. If you missed it, there is always next year.

Why Buy? Try Renting from a Neighbor!

August 3, 2015  |  Announcement, Personal, Residents  |  No Comments

By Beth Berube

When I first heard about a new app that allows people to lend unused stuff from their closets and storage places to their neighbors, I was a little skeptical. But, I figured, what the heck…I should at least take a peek before passing judgment. I downloaded the app from MyNeighbor and signed up. The app is free and easy to navigate. I clicked Browse Offers and dozens of pictures popped up. It was like strolling down several aisles of of a store, but in a virtual way. Borrowing is also more economical and saves one from having to find more closet space to cram things used once or twice a year.

thW8JF7Y5OItems such as tents, coolers, weedwackers and crockpots rolled up my IPhone screen. Several fans popped up. Since temperatures in Seattle have broken 90 degrees over the past couple of weeks, a little extra ventilation spells relief. The travel pillow seemed a little too “ew” to lend out. And the hair dryer? If my hair dryer drew its last breath, I would have a new one under my sink before my wet locks had a chance to dry!

I loved the concept, but I did not think I would be a borrower. Until a couple of days ago. I needed a megaphone to use for an event I was helping host. I thought, “Why not?” and selected the Request button. In the message box I typed “I wish to borrow a megaphone.” Voila…four hours later, I received a reply, made arrangements to pick it up and now I have everyone’s attention. Easy, breezy. And I didn’t have to sign a rental agreement.


Just the facts: The MyNeighbor app can be downloaded (but not accessed) from your computer, and the app is currently available for iPhones and Android phones only. You can earn money by renting out items you have or offering services you can provide – and save money by not having to buy an item, or finding a service that’s convenient and nearby. And, if you profit from posting items or services on MyNeighbor, you can pledge that money to local nonprofit organizations, to spread the goodness.

Off-Leash Dog Park for Pioneer Square?

July 29, 2015  |  PI, PSq Revitalization, Residents  |  2 comments

by Courtney Crockett

As anyone who moves to Pioneer Square quickly discovers, the only grassy knoll available for dogs to romp and survey the world resides at Century Link Field. In moving here nearly 10 years ago, it immediately became my destination for walking my dogs as well as forging community. And for a time, we local dog owners shared what felt like a hidden secret that allowed for us and our dogs to engage in unplanned but regular play dates. It was the entirely unofficial place to be for integrating your dog with other neighborhood dogs and generating new friendships with neighbors.

Yet, the rapidly growing population of residents and dog-friendly businesses has wrought changes since and each day brings a new or different dog and person to meet. The small green swath of land is less social stomping ground and more vital and essential territory for any Pioneer Square dog owner. The demands of our community suggest a more open and larger green area would better serve the neighborhood.

The timing is impeccable then that Seattle Parks and Recreation is currently collecting data to help meet the increasing needs of Seattle dogs and their owners. The department is asking for your input in order to develop a long term plan for dog parks and services. Complete the survey and we could have our very own off-leash dog park in Pioneer Square. Read more about Seattle Parks and Recreation Off- Leash Project and opt-in for updates as the project moves forward.

The off-leash survey is also found at Citizens for Off-Leash Areas (COLA). Additionally, COLA offers advocacy and information on Seattle area dog parks and events. Follow them @seattlecola.


Prepare in the Square – Classes near you!

June 24, 2015  |  Food, Fun, Prepare in the Square, Residents  |  2 comments

By Beth Berube

“The longer the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” Ralph W. Sockman.

Being an avid DIY kind of person, I was delighted to discover a few establishments in our neighborhood that offer classes. I thought the only type of course I would stumble upon would be culinary, but that proved to be false. Here is what I uncovered in a brief stroll through the square, and I am sure there are more:

Smith Mercantile, located at 208 1st. Ave. S., offers a class called The Art of Pickles and Preserving. Put on an Iron Chef apron and fire up your Betty Crocker alter ego. You will learn how to preserve lemon, make fruit shrubs and prepare pickles. They also offer a Cocktail Class Series. Learn about tools and ingredients and impress your friends by whipping up magical cocktail concoctions. You have the option of taking a single class or a series of three demonstrations. Schedules change, so you can check out their website is

Speaking of cocktails, The Bar Shoppe, at 117 Yesler Way, offers hands on sessions. They will show you how to prepare classic and signature cocktails and demonstrate the use of bar tools. I was impressed with the extensive selection of bitters. My favorite was licorice. They also serve an assortment of small bites. Information can be found on their website,

A perfect dinner party starts with a stylish table. DryGoods Design at 301 Occidental Ave. S, will ensure oohs and ahhs from your guests. If you want to sew a tablecloth with matching napkins, this is your go to place. If you haven’t touched a sewing machine since high school home economics, you can enroll in a class called “This is a Sewing Machine” to get acquainted with their machines. There are general sewing classes for apparel as well as private classes and studio time by the hour. They also sell fabric and notions. Their website is

Nothing sets the tone for a special dinner gathering like flowers. The London Plane will teach you how to create imaginative flower arrangements which you can take home with you. It is located at 300 & 322 Occidental Ave. S.  You can find out about the classes on their website. The class schedules can be found under Online Store.

Of course, I DID find a number of cooking classes, from a variety of cuisines.

Holy Cannoli! Chef Luigi teaches his students the rhythm of an Italian meal: Appetizer, first course, second course and dessert, with hands on demonstrations at his restaurant Al Boccalino, located at 1 Yesler Way. For more information, go to   Hint: Sometimes you can find half price coupons on Groupon.

Marcela’s Creole Cookery offers classes Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoon. The pricing is for two students, so make it a date! The location is 106 James Street and information can be found at

Diane’s Market Kitchen located at 1101 Post Avenue teaches students through demonstration as well as hand on classes. I have taken classes from Diane. The classes are small and her guests relax on chairs around an island while she prepares the meal. It felt similar to dining in a friend’s very large kitchen. I liked it much better than sitting at a cluster of tables lined up in rows. She shops Pike Place market for regional and sustainable ingredients. She also sells delicious oils. You’ll find her website at

If you know of other classes in Pioneer Square, please pass along your suggestions.

Singing on the Square

May 8, 2015  |  Alley, Art, Fun, Residents  |  No Comments

By Sarah NortonCherryBlossoms

It’s spring and there’s music in the air — your neighbors are singing this coming Monday, May 11th, at Café Paloma, just across from the Pergola. The program will begin at 7:00 pm with two young pianists, and then moves to a menu of jazz, swing, and latin favorites, sung by Pioneer Square residents and one friend who admits to living in Everett. Two ensemble numbers will round out the program.


The director and vocal coach is Nile Norton, a retired singer and choral conductor who hasn’t figured out what “retired” means. He was the force behind the Pioneer Square Caroling group last winter — and is recruiting more singers for this coming fall.

If you haven’t visited it yet, the Mediterranean menu at Café Paloma is outstanding — you must try Sedat’s Falafel, which is the best in town! The restaurant is usually closed for dinner on Mondays, but Sadat loves to use his stage and venue to entertain, so drinks and food will be available — there’s no cover charge.

Come and join in on the fun!

Soccer is Back!

March 6, 2015  |  Event, Families, Fun, Personal, Residents  |  2 comments

by RaNae Vodder 

image4I live just a few hundred feet from Century Link field and am ignorant about the sport of soccer.  I decided to interview some local, die hard soccer  fans to find out what I need to know about soccer and what to do in Pioneer Square before and after the game.

I learned that soccer is a very popular sport in countries around the world.  The American fan base was jump started by the World Cup in 1994.  Before that, fans were only able to watch international games on TV. Major League Soccer (MLS) might not have happened this year due to negotiations between the players union and the league. They came to agreement just this week!

What you need to know about soccer and what to do in Pioneer Square according to:

Matt Goss: • Played D1 soccer in college and current recreational player • Coach (under 9 years old) • 2014 World Cup attendee

Susan Behroozi • Played D3 soccer in College • Sounders Season Ticket Holder • Aspiring Soccer Mom


Why do you love soccer?

Matt:  I grew up playing soccer and love to see the athleticism of the players in the game, especially the things I can’t do.  Plus- there are only commercials at half time so the game really is only 90 minutes long!

Susan:  I have created life-long friendships from playing soccer and my seats are close to the field so I can actually see the game. Now that I have Miles, it has truly become a family activity.

Who is your favorite team? (both qualified this is their favorite MLS team)

Matt:  Seattle Sounders- their ownership model is unique and it’s great to be in the home town!

Susan: Seattle Sounders – I would be a Sounders fan whether I lived in Seattle or not!

What do I need to know about soccer to understand the game?


  • The Portland Timbers hate us more than we hate them
  • Learn the Boom, Boom, Clap
  • Get a team scarf to hold up at the right times during the game


  • You can’t use your hands when you play
  • It is ok to end the game with a tie score
  • There are two 45 minute halves

What must I do in Pioneer Square before or after the game?

Matt:  Attend the March to the Match, starve yourself before and after the game to take advantage of the 2 for $5 hot dogs.

Susan:  Have a beer before the game at Elysian and enjoy being with great friends.

If you wrote Soccer for Dummies, what would you include?

Matt: A clear and simple explanation of what it means to be off-sides.

Susan’s depiction of being    off-sides

Do you have any insider tips?

Matt:  If you need a ticket, go to FX McRory’s for a tall boy and they might have one there.

Susan:  Pick a spot to meet up with friends for Tecate half time.  It’s a great way to drink, catch up and talk about the game.

Now that I am armed with this great advice, all I need to do is visit to the team store for a proper Sounders jersey!

Pioneer Square Blog readers:  What do you think I need to know about soccer or things to do in Pioneer Square?