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Gov. Inslee orders carbon regulation – Credit to youth lawsuit?

Lake Union blogger, Patrick Mazza, is a climate activist and as things continue to heat up around the world, we’re happy to share some of his writing, especially when it is good news:

Washington Governor Jay Inslee today ordered the state Department of Ecology to place a regulatory cap on carbon emissions.  While a successful youth lawsuit to spur such an action is not being given direct credit, it is hard not to see the connection.

“Carbon pollution and the climate change it causes pose a very real and existential threat to our state,” Inslee said. “Farmers in the Yakima Valley know this. Shellfish growers on the coast know this. Firefighters battling Eastern Washington blazes know this. And children suffering from asthma know this all too well and are right to question why Washington hasn’t acted to protect them.”

Inslee is claiming regulatory authority under the state Clean Air Act. The rulemaking is expected to take a year. The action will provide Inslee a potential opportunity go to the U.N. Paris climate summit in December with a climate initiative of global significance.

In August 2014 a group of eight youths petitioned the state Department of Ecology to start a rulemaking for carbon caps much as the governor ordered today. Ecology rejected the youth petition.  Represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, they took Ecology to court. On June 23 in a decision unprecedented in the United States, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered Ecology to reconsider the petition based on scientific testimony and their own statements.

Of critical importance, the youth petition affirmed that existing laws provide Ecology with all the authority it needs to regulate carbon emissions. The governor today took the same position.

But the governor’s press spokeperson, David Postman said, “As far as I know, this effort is not related to the lawsuit against Ecology.”

Nonetheless it hard to believe that these developments are not connected.  Ecology is under the gun from Hill’s court order.  Andrea Rodgers, lead attorney in their case, has a similar view. “The only ones who asked the governor to do this are those kids. They deserve the credit.”

The eight are Zoe and Stella Foster, Ajia and Adonis Piper, Wren Wagenbach, Lara Fain, Garbriel Mandell and Jenny Zhu.

The youth petition asked the for carbon emissions reductions of four percent a year beginning immediately. This is based on science developed by world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen, who this past week released a new study indicating sea level could rise 10 feet in 50 years if deep emissions reductions do not begin immediately.

What is not clear from the governor’s announcement is how far his order will go to implement science-based goals. The announcement says, “The regulatory cap on carbon emissions would force a significant reduction in air pollution and will be the centerpiece of Inslee’s strategy to make sure the state meets its statutory emission limits set by the Legislature in 2008.” State carbon emission limits are substantially higher than the level required by science.

“We’re going to make sure that whatever Ecology does is based on the best available science,” Rodgers said.  “When we meet with Ecology tomorrow we are going to ask that they heed Judge Hill’s order.”

In her order Hill quoted Ecology’s own December 2014 report to the governor.

“Climate change is not a far off risk.  It is happening now globally and the impacts are worse than previously predicted, and are forecast to worsen . . . If we delay action by even a few years, the rate of reduction needed to stabilize the global climate would be beyond anything achieved historically and would be more costly.”

Ecology itself admitted the 2008 goals fall short: “Washington State’s existing statutory limits should be adjusted to better reflect the current science. The limits need to be more aggressive in order for Washington to do its part to address climate risks and to align our limits with other jurisdictions that are taking responsibility to address these risks.”

Noted Hill, “Despite this urgent call to action, based on science it does not dispute, Ecology’s recommendation in (the December 2014) report is, ‘that no changes be made to the state’s statutory emission limits at this time.’”

Judge Hill wasn’t buying that.  She told Ecology to take its own report and scientific testimony into account and reconsider the youth petition. That is what the agency will have to do.

The regulatory cap will not in itself set a carbon price as would have the governor’s failed carbon bill.  But that could come by future legislative action or a ballot measure. A carbon tax is the center of Initiative 732 being forwarded by Carbon Washington for the November 2016 ballot.

“This is not the comprehensive approach we could have had with legislative action,” Inslee said. “But Senate Republicans and the oil industry have made it clear that they will not accede to any meaningful action on carbon pollution so I will use my authority under the state Clean Air Act to take these meaningful first steps.”

Inslee also announced he would not implement a Clean Fuels Standard because it would have triggered a “poison pill” taking around $2 billion away from transportation alternatives including transit, bicycling and walking.

“In talking about the terrible choice the Senate imposed on the people of Washington – clean air or buses and safe sidewalks – I heard broad agreement that we need both clean transportation and clean air,” Inslee said. “I appreciate the commitment I heard from many to work with me to ensure our state meets its statutory carbon reduction limits.”

(I previously wrote that my gut told me Inslee would swallow the “poison pill.”  In this case I’m glad my gut was wrong.  Clean fuels should not be played against needed alternatives.)

Inslee’s announcement today signifies a tremendous climate victory. Whether or not they are given direct credit I believe can thank eight young people and the adults who backed them up.


Dragons on Lake Union all day Saturday, July 25

“Dragons traditionally believed to be the rulers of rivers, lakes and seas” are coming to Lake Union in the form of an all-day festival of Dragon Boat racing. The races benefit Team Survivor Northwest. There will be food trucks, entertainment, and activities for kids. Head down to South Lake Union for the festivities between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Free admission.

It will be a surprise at least for the moment

Artist Jennifer Dixon who’s been hired to create the public art for the Westlake Cycle Track doesn’t know yet what it will be, but if it’s like any of her other art work, it’s sure to be delightful.

The cycle track, which is in no way controversial, ahem, will be a two-way, 1.2 mile path that runs along the walkway near the lake. It will start just after the Fremont Bridge and end at Lake Union Park. It will displace about 10 to 20 percent of the parking along Westlake and will be started this November with completion scheduled for early next year. The artist’s job is to fit the public artwork in along with the construction.

Jen Dixon at MOHAI Meet the Artist Open House

Jen Dixon at MOHAI Meet the Artist Open House

There is public artwork all along Westlake now, Spur Line, by Maggie Smith. Parts of Spur Line will be relocated to make way for the bike path, said Dixon, at an artist reception and open house Tuesday night at MOHAI. That artwork reflects the history of the area and lake she noted, adding, there isn’t a whole of room for her to work with, so she may do something at either end of the path.

Dixon’s past work is whimsical and fun playing off flip books and amusement parks. Will she create something equally quirky to entertain on Westlake? Something that might be an engaging compliment to Spur Line?


Reflecting on everything the lake represents from native people to the modern day, “The lake is a jewel,” she said, “in the middle of Seattle.”


Ideas for High Capacity Transit between Roosevelt and South Lake Union

In case you missed it, the city of Seattle held two open houses this week to get public input on the concept of high capacity transit, either rapid street car or rapid-ride bus service, from Roosevelt to South Lake Union. It would run down Eastlake Ave. The city is also looking at where bicycle routes should go on the segment, as Eastlake may be getting pretty crowded.

The point is to get the HCT in place when Link light rail opens at Roosevelt Station in 2021. That may seem like a ways away, but in transit development time that’s like the blink of an eye.


There were no firm plans; the city was just gathering input and with that would develop several concepts and then narrow those down for further public input, likely in November.

Plenty of people were at the open house Tuesday in the U. District. I can only assume that a like number were at the open house in South Lake Union the night before.

The city staff members were taking suggestions, talking to people and encouraging them to write ideas down on post-it notes and place them on a map of the segment.

If you have an idea – bike route, station stops, etc., it’s not too late to let the city know. “There is no firm deadline for public comment at this point,” wrote Alison Townsend, Transit Strategic Advisor, in an email. “But, if you want your ideas considered as we begin developing alternatives, sooner rather than later would be better. We will probably dive into alternatives in about 2 weeks. So, if you could get your ideas in the next few weeks, that would be great.”

Send ideas to:


More information:


Some open house signage:






This shook us up

Eric, a writer for the Wallyhood blog gives a good explanation of the three types of earthquakes that could rock Seattle:

Like Nepal, and unlike California, we live in a tectonic plate crumple zone. At a broad level, California and Oregon are shoving us into Canada.

That crumple action means you can expect one of 3 types of earthquakes here. The most frequent and least serious type is like the 2001 Nisqually quake — deep underground, with movement that will knock over brick chimneys, topple TV’s, and maybe collapse aging viaducts or a building in Pioneer Square.

The second type is a magnitude 9 mega quake that will happen when the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast moves, similar to what happened in Japan. If that goes you will feel very long lasting and powerful waves from side to side, with most of the danger being to older, taller structures, plus tsunami flood zones along the coast.

Finally, the most dangerous type of quake here in Seattle is a shallow quake nearby, most obviously along the Seattle Fault, with violent shaking leveling older buildings in large numbers.

The Seattle Fault most catastrophically ruptured in AD 900, causing West Seattle to rise up by 20 feet relative to Wallingford and triggering tsunamis in Puget Sound. Regardless of the type of quake, Wallingford is fairly lucky compared to other parts of Seattle. We are not in a slide zone and are not on top of an old lake bed that is likely to liquefy during the quake, so we won’t suffer from the worst amplified shaking.

See the whole post with images on Wallyhood. One person commenting says they’ll be using Green Lake in emergencies as a potable water source (using camping filters). Would Lake Union also work? Not likely according to another commenter, Anna, who experienced the Christchurch Earthquake and has this advice about being prepared:

1. All natural water bodies will be contaminated with raw sewage. If a big quake damages the sewer network, the least worst solution is to pump the overflows into the nearest natural water body (so it doesn’t back up through people’s toilets). IF water has to be trucked in, it will need to be boiled or treated before drinking, so you will be able to use your camping gear then. Just remember – you can’t filter whats not coming out of the tap. Have some bottled water in the house.

2. How will you get home? Multi-story parking garages will be off limits pending structural assements, so your car will be stuck for 2-3 months. Unless the city is training transit workers to be emergency responders, buses will probably stop (as it did in CHCH), trains will have to stop, pending line inspections. Christchurch (pop 400,000) is flat, with a regular grid of streets. Complete gridlock set in within 15 minutes. a half hour drive through the least affected parts of the city took 2-3 hours. Travel times into the worst areas were up to 12 times longer than usual.

3. Who will get the kids (or grandma)? All three million people in the area are going to be trying to check on thier families and friends. Don’t expect to get a dial tones. Texts will probably go through, but with long delays, and may arrive out of order. Have a plan you can implement without talking to your partner.

4. Keep some cash in the house. Even in a really big quake the city will not be uniformly flattened. some buildings will be fine and some will be destroyed. Those shopkeepers who can open, will, but they won’t be able to process plastic.

Finally, a ‘zombie apocalypse’ is funny joke, but it’s a poor model for disaster response. Humans are social animals. connecting with others is how we make sense of what we have experienced. Those who have come through in good shape will want to acknowledge their good fortune by lending a hand, but top-down emergency management organizations are ill-prepared to handle these impulses.

In case you missed it, Mossback’s piece on Crosscut provides a personal and historical look at Seattle’s past earthquakes. And for more unsettling insights, both Mossback and Eric recommend the book Full-Rip 9.0 .

Remembering the first Earth Day

Forty-five years ago today as a 17-year-old growing up in the Philly area I hitchhiked down to Fairmont Park to take part in the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.  I had been reading The Environmental Handbook, created for the event. For all the problems it depicted it also portrayed remarkably hopeful possibilities for building a sustainable world.  In the midst of the fractures of the Vietnam War era, there was a ray of sunlight in all this.

Sitting on a grass hill on a sunny day with the Philadelphia skyline in the background, I heard an inspiring line-up.  Where else could you see Allen Ginsberg and Edmund Muskie on the same stage?  The range embodied the essential significance of Earth Day, the unification of what had been many disparate movements – wilderness and wildlife preservation, anti-pollution, opposition to freeways, worker safety, etc. – into a unified “big tent” environmental movement that led to an environmental revolution.

Earth Day 1970

More than two dozen environmental acts were passed in the wake of Earth Day, laws to strengthen protections for clean air and clean water, the Endangered Species Act, the law that mandates environmental impact statements for large projects.  It was the foundation for the environmental protections we have today. Earth Day planted the seeds of my own work as a sustainability writer and advocate from the 1980s to today.

A young man was there that day.  I’m sure he was on stage but I can’t say I recall him.  It was Denis Hayes, the first organizer of Earth Day.  He was travelling by train up the East Coast with Muskie, Ginsberg and the crew visiting different rallies. I later made my way to Seattle and came to know Denis as president of the Bullitt Foundation. Denis has wryly shared with me his ironic feelings about being primarily known for something he did in his 20s. But those in the know understand he’s done a lot more since.

As Jimmy Carter’s solar energy head, Denis shaped what is now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  When Ronald Reagan came in to rip the solar panels Carter had installed off the White House roof and tear down the renewable energy programs Carter had started, Denis successfully preserved the core of the most important research efforts. We owe a great deal of today’s clean energy revolution to the seeds he planted, and saved.

As president of Bullitt Foundation, Denis was a seminal funder of climate work in the Northwest, how I got to know him.  Safe to say without important start-up and continuing funding from Bullitt the regional climate movement would not be the powerful presence it is today.

Over recent years Denis led construction of the world’s greenest office building, the Bullitt Center, which generates its own energy from a solar roof and its own water from a rain-gathering system.  It is a true zero-energy building.  He also has a new book out, Cowed: The Hidden Impact of 93 Million Cows on America’s Health, Economy, Politics, Culture, and Environment.

Though most people might know Denis from Earth Day, clearly he’s never stopped being a sustainability pioneer.  So it was a pleasure to see him give a short talk at the Earth Day Climate Action Festival at Seattle Central College on this 45th Earth Day.  Under a sunny sky, and appropriately for the heavily youthful crowd, Denis called on a new generation to seize the day.

2015 Earth Day at Seattle Central College

2015 Earth Day at Seattle Central College

“Today we’re talking about passing the torch to a new generation,” he started.  “That has probably never happened in history.”

Instead, the new generation is going to have to wrestle the torch out of the grasping fingers of those who hold it now.  Much as his and my generation had to seize its own day, “The new generation is going to have to struggle.”

Denis overviewed the environmental crisis that was emerging in the years before the first Earth Day, pollution, pesticides, freeways ripping through cities, and compared it to China today.  These were national struggles that yielded national victories.

“What you have facing you today is very different that what was facing us,” he noted.  “You’re addressing global issues,” such as climate, ocean acidification, overfishing, migratory species. To address these, “We have to come together not as a nation, but as a people.”

Denis called to a moral obligation to stand up for the poorest. “Those who have done the least to change the planet will suffer the most.”

“The important stuff is always done by young people,” Denis said to the young crowd.  “This is not just a rally.  This is the beginning of a revolution.”

Truly we need as profound a global sustainability revolution as the environmental revolution spurred by the first Earth Day.  And many young people are coming to the fore to make it happen.  Denis is still in the fight, and so I am and many of our generation.  But it is the young who are our hope and inspiration.  You will seize the torch, and our aging bodies will keep up with you as long as we can.  Now as then – For the Earth.

–Patrick Mazza


Reprinted with permission from Cascadia Planet.

Next East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza meeting is March 19

Everyone is cordially invited to learn more about this new public space in Eastlake on Thursday, March 19, beginning at 6:30 p.m, at the TOPS-Seward School Library, 2500 Franklin Avenue East.  Please come and see the design for this new public space and meet your neighbors!

The public visioning portion of the East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza Project kicked off on December 11, with a spirited, two-hour Open House meeting of 45 active and engaged members of the Eastlake community, followed by a second Open House on February 5, during which 55 community participants further refined ideas presented and discussed in December.

Facilitated by Debi Frausto and HBB Landscape Architecture, with assistance from members of the project’s Steering Committee, a broad cross-section of Eastlake residents spent time in small groups, brainstorming ideas for the new plaza and sharing their preferences, before coming together as a larger group to vigorously discuss possibilities for this iconic community space.

The finished project will complete the link between Capitol Hill and Lake Union’s Cheshiahud Loop Trail, via the popular East Howe Steps and a thorough revamping of the E. Howe Street Right-of-Way between Eastlake and Fairview Avenues, which passes between two forthcoming developments and will culminate in a new East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza.

Concepts discussed during the first Open House included the notions of a “front porch” for the Eastlake neighborhood—a flexible site that can readily support quiet relaxation, vigorous exercise, and public gathering—and of an “iconic space” that will be both memorable and engaging for the entire Eastlake Community and visitors to the neighborhood.

02 05 15The Front Porch Concept jpg

Steering Committee members and project lead, Brian Ramey, were “stunned by the immediate and overwhelmingly favorable consensus” of the first Open House. The entire committee was also very pleased by the large turnout.

The numerous ideas presented were carefully documented throughout the event and further discussed during subsequent Steering Committee meetings that led into the rousing second Open House on February 5, at which three design concepts were presented and discussed.

The 55 attendees were encouraged to frankly assess three distinct HBB conceptual designs, then freely “mix and match” from those alternatives by recombining the elements each most wanted to see in the new public space. The eventual results provided HBB with a vivid framework for a final design that will incorporate the most desirable elements of all three alternatives into a community preferred concept that best utilizes the available space, while still meshing well within the context of the adjacent developments and Fairview Avenue East.

The design concepts examined during the February 5 Open House included “The Porch,” a curvy design that flows from an elevated “porch” overlooking the water, through terraced steps and into a traditional plaza; “Playfully Active,” which places a “catwalk/perch” above a variety of witty and playful elements at various elevations, allowing lots of flexible and fun uses for all ages; and “Avenue of Lights,” which includes a dazzling use of lighting, color, and various reflective surfaces above, along, and directly underfoot within the pathway, to create a series of “rooms” and a strong connection through the space.

Each design also included varied seating options which could accommodate “exercise stations,” along with extensive landscaping that promises to minimize the amount of paved “hardscape” in an area that is currently little besides pavement and concrete.

Another goal is to create a safe, vibrant, and well-integrated crossing between the plaza and the well-known Cheshiahud Loop Trail, directly south across Fairview Avenue East.

Ultimately, “The Porch” proved a runaway favorite as the overall design concept, while both flexible, inventive lighting and the catwalk/perch idea found broad support and will be integrated into HBB’s final design in some form. The importance of the Fairview Avenue crossing was an additional component that emerged repeatedly during group discussion and will also be addressed in the final conceptual plan.

The upcoming third East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza Open House is intended to present the final result of the community visioning: A conceptual design that fits the space and that will be acceptable to all of the stakeholders, including the East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza Steering Committee, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, the Seattle Parks Foundation (the plaza project’s fiscal agent), and the adjacent private property owners, culminating in a new treasure for the greater Eastlake Community.

Please join us at TOPS-Seward School on Thursday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m., and bring your neighbors. The atmosphere will be friendly and fun. Don’t miss out!

You can reach the members of the East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza Project Steering Committee via:

E-mail: easthowesteps@gmail.com

Mail: 117 East Louisa Street #187, Seattle WA 98102

Phone: 206-271-4744

There’s also a website: easthowestepsplaza.com

East Howe Steps, Seattle Parks Foundation donation page

East Howe Steps, Facebook Page


By Tom Kipp on behalf of the Project Steering Committee


Apartments and retail next to perch at old Red Robin site?

The Daily Journal of Commerce reported Thursday that developers Michael Heijer and Robert Hardy are eyeing the old Red Robin site at 3272 Furhman Ave. E. for a 63 unit apartment complex with 1,800 square feet of retail on the first floor and 15 underground parking spaces.

Original Red Robin restaurant at 3272 Furhman Ave. E. Photo by cdmilton

Original Red Robin restaurant at 3272 Furhman Ave. E. Photo by cdmilton

The Eastlake Community Council is holding a public meeting about this site as well as another at 2203/2209 Eastlake Ave. E. on Monday, Feb 2, at TOPS Seward School, 2500 Franklin Ave. E. from 7 to 9 p.m.

If you miss that meeting, according to DJC, another design review for the Red Robin site will be held at Seattle University in the Case Commons Building, room 500E, on Feb. 25 at 8 p.m.

Red Robin flew the coop in 2010 when owners of the chain closed the original restaurant location despite its popularity and historical significance. The building remained empty with talk over the years of a new restaurant or even perhaps a market. Likely the building’s maintenance problems that the chain’s owners said were too costly to upgrade also hindered any new occupant. A 2007 sink hole in the parking lot probably didn’t help sell the site either.

Red Robin site after demolition this summer. Photo by Rick Miner

Red Robin site after demolition this summer. Photo by Rick Miner

The restaurant had an illustrious history becoming one of Seattle’s early business successes in the 1970’s and 80’s. And it had a sort of Seattle grittiness before morphing into something more family friendly and becoming a household name. The original Red Robin was a tavern and its mascot a joint-smoking cartoon red robin.

Smokin' Red Robin mural. Photo by cdmilton

Smokin’ Red Robin mural. Photo by cdmilton

The Eastlake Ave Blog reported on the Red Robin closure and wondered if the outdoor sign or any other piece of the building would go to MOHAI. Still waiting to hear.


East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza Project: Connecting Capitol Hill, Eastlake and Lake Union

Everyone is cordially invited to learn more about this new public space in Eastlake that will unite the historic East Howe steps on Capitol Hill with a new path across Eastlake Avenue and down to Fairview Ave. and the Cheshiahud trail on Lake Union. Share visions of what might be, during a public open house on Thursday, December 11, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the TOPS Seward Alternative Public School library (located at 2500 Franklin Ave. E.). Two more open houses with different objectives are scheduled, so please put all three on your calendars. They are February 5 and March 19 also at TOPS, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Come ready to show your creative side, as we work together to create this vibrant new public plaza!

A group of dedicated Eastlake residents formed the Lake Union Neighborhood Council over 10 years ago for the sole purpose of working toward the creation of the East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza. Recently, with the support of the Eastlake Community Council, the Lake Union Neighborhood Council applied for and received a $25,000 grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

The East Howe Steps selection committee, after a very crowded application process (9 applications), selected the Landscape Architect firm, HBB, who will eventually lead the neighborhood to the design of The East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza.

This innovative community project will—among many other things—complete the pedestrian connection between the Cheshiahud Loop Trail along Lake Union and 10th Avenue East on Capitol Hill, via the well-known East Howe Steps, which begin underneath Interstate 5, at the west edge of Colonnade Park. These well-used steps continue upward across Lakeview Boulevard and Broadway Avenue East to North Capitol Hill, near Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Volunteer Park, and the Seattle Preparatory Academy.

In this satellite view of E. Howe St. you can see where the public right of way would extend, between the dotted parallel lines, linking Fairview  Ave. and Eastlake Ave. A public plarea would be at the Fairview Ave. end.

In this satellite view of E. Howe St. you can see where the public right of way would extend, between the dotted parallel lines, linking Fairview Ave. and Eastlake Ave. A public plarea would be at the Fairview Ave. end.

The project will be built in the East Howe Street Right-of-Way, between Eastlake Avenue East and Fairview Avenue East, through what is currently the parking lot of the former Don Eduardo’s Mexican restaurant

HBB concepts

HBB concepts

The project will be built in the landing area where the East Howe Street Right-of-Way (ROW) meets the Fairview Avenue East ROW now public parking. The Lake Union Neighborhood Council has been working over the last 10 years with the City and the adjacent private property owners to develop the eastern 100 yards of the East Howe Steps as a pedestrian way between Fairview Avenue East and Eastlake Avenue East. Most of the costs of construction for this segment is being paid for by the adjacent private property owners. The East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza project will establish a broad public landing space south of 1910 Fairview Avenue East and will complete the link for Capitol Hill with the Cheshiahud loop trail.

Longtime Eastlake resident Brian Ramey has been working with his neighbors to complete the connection between Lake Union and Capitol Hill since the early-1980s, when he and other Eastlake residents convinced the City and the State Department of Transportation not to construct a proposed 1500-unit mini-warehouse building beneath the Interstate 5 freeway overpass, where Colonnade Park is now located.

Mr. Ramey subsequently conceived the idea of a public stairway and plaza that would reclaim and transform over 9000 square feet of city property in the specified section of the East Howe Street Right-of-Way (an area which is 30 feet wide and approximately 100 yards long, fanning out dramatically as it approaches Fairview Avenue East and the Cheshiahud Loop Trail), and has been working with private developers in pursuit of that goal.

More recently, he successfully sought the initial grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and recruited a wide-ranging, volunteer Steering Committee of neighborhood residents to shepherd the project toward successful completion.

Seattle Parks Foundation is the fiscal agent for the East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza grant through the Lake Union Neighborhood Council, and has a web page devoted to helping the Lake Union Neighborhood Council raise the necessary funds to design and build the plaza.

The initial planning stage includes a six-month “visioning process,” coordinated and led by HBB Landscape Architecture, a Seattle firm selected from among nine applicants to design an approach to what will become a unique public space in the Eastlake neighborhood. HBB’s project manager is Juliet Vong, who will be assisted by HBB designer Arielle Farina Clark and Debi Frausto, a well-regarded public facilitator.

By next spring the visioning process based on input from residents of the Eastlake community, local businesses, and property owners will determine what design elements to include in the East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza Project.

Input will be gathered during three public events beginning with the Thursday, December 11“kick-off” open house from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, in the library of TOPS at Seward School located at 2500 Franklin Avenue East.

The Steering Committee is determined that the final result will be a fusion of great design and everyday functionality—a comfortable place for private contemplation as well as spirited public events; a strikingly beautiful addition to the Eastlake neighborhood that fits seamlessly with its rich history; and a memorable public space that can be enjoyed by all the residents of Eastlake on a year-round basis, at all times of day or night!

The Steering Committee envisions numerous forms of ongoing public outreach—a series of public events to solicit ideas and opinions from a broad segment of local residents; printed informational posters and flyers; notices and information on local blogs and websites; and features in both neighborhood and citywide press.

In addition, members of the Steering Committee will be available to answer questions at all three planned public forums, as will members of the HBB team and other interested parties, including representatives of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

Brian Ramey is the primary contact for The East Howe Steps Gateway Plaza Project. He can be reached at easthowesteps@gmail.com, via mail at 117 East Louisa Street #187, Seattle WA 98102 or phone: 206-271-4744

There’s also a website: easthowestepsplaza.com and Facebook page: East Howe Steps.

By Tom Kipp, on behalf of the Project Steering Committee

A version of this article was first published in the Eastlake News, the Eastlake Community Council’s newsletter.



Cheshiahud Loop named “Best Urban Running Loop” by Seattle Weekly

Despite criticism early on for making poor connections, the Cheshiahud Loop was named “Best Urban Running Loop” by Seattle Weekly in their August 6 issue. Take that Green Lake! Noting the close-in trail is:

 …an almost exact 10K (or 6.2 miles) that takes you across the University and Fremont Bridges, with water always on your left. (Remember you must run counter clockwise, as on a track.)… Along the way are Gas Works Park, the new Lake Union Park, and numerous street-end parks – so you can stop and rest on a bench if so inclined. (p. 22)


Other notable area “Best of’s” were:

Amazon – Best Building Plans  While “evil and really shitty to book publishers,” they gets points for “moving the ugly ‘giant shiny box’ aesthetic that’s plagued Seattle’s  new development toward the way cooler ‘Ecotopia’ aesthetic the city should capitalize on.” (p.27)

 Sushi Kappo Tamura – Best Japanese “Ippins” “…small plates both hot and cold” to eat before ordering sushi. (p. 33)

Shanik – Best Happy-Hour Menu “The restaurant offers 20% off the bar menu, with miniature versions of the restaurants best dishes…” (p. 35)

Westward – Best Place for a First Date “Toast oysters and watch the sunset behind the city skyline.” (p. 36)

 Little Water Cantina – Best Outdoor Drinking “In the heat of a Seattle summer, what you really want is a well-made margarita, some chips, and something to stare at. Little Water Cantina delivers on all three counts.” (p.46)

Congrats to all the winners!