Eastlake

Pete’s comes back better than ever

Eastlake’s beloved Pete’s Supermarket and Wine Shop (58 E. Lynn Street, Seattle 98102) reopens tomorrow Friday, March 27, at 6 a.m.  Just six weeks have passed since closing for the remodel.

It’s a soft opening. 

“Not everything will be complete,” said owner, John Bennett. Still the shelves were looking well stocked. Previous staff members are returning.

“Hopefully everything people loved about Pete’s is still here,” said building owner and developer, Matt Herron. “We’re just taking it to the next level.”

The goal is to enable the average person to do regular shopping at Pete’s and go to a larger grocery on occasion rather than the other way around.

“It’s sort of a a mini-Met (Metropolitan) Market,” added Herron, noting that organic produce and specialty items make up 40 percent of the store now. Wine is still a mainstay, with 2,000 bottles in the central aisle, and featured sale wines near the front.

That center wine aisle also leads directly to the new deli at the back of the store. It’s operated by Josh Cooper of Duo Deli and will offer fresh prepared food items for meals and parties.  

Though it wasn’t up yet, the original cartoon signage will be returning.

Hours will be 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., seven days a week. Here’s a quick tour just the day before opening. Finishing touches were still taking place, so pardon the dust:

New owner, John Bennett, oversees the final hours of prep before Pete’s reopening. Cases of bottles of wine that will be discounted are ready at the front of the store.
The new check out features three self check-out registers and one staffed register.
There will be counter seating up front along with space for wine tastings. The counter is custom Douglas Fir, the new flooring, polished concrete.
More produce!
The bread aisle awaits fresh delivery from Essential Baking Company.
It’s all on either side of one aisle, but it’s an even larger selection of wine — 2,000 bottles.
The black chalkboard wall in the new deli is ready for the menu.
There’s a 40-foot selection of beer.
Along with wine and beer specials up front, model sail boats greet you. They belonged to the owner’s father, who lived across the street from Pete’s for over 25 years.

Correction 3/28/2020: The custom counter is made of Douglas Fir not Oak. The photo caption has been corrected.

What’s open food-wise in Eastlake?

Update 3/20/20: Son of a Butcher is now offering take out with a 10% discount to boot Monday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Pomodoro is also now offering take out with a 20% discount Wednesday – Saturday 5 to 8:30 p.m.

Most restaurants in Eastlake are now take out only (or moving in that direction). A few have closed temporarily. It’s a fluid situation, so check the website or call the restaurant to confirm. (And let us know of any updates: editors@lakeunionwatershed.com).

Here is a quick tour starting from the south at the Hydro House:

Great Northwest Soup Company says, “Thank you for being patient as we try to move forward with a take out only system…”

Siam Thai Cuisine take out. Website does not appear to be working right now.

Eastlake Specialty Market is open (take out).

Grand Central Baking Company take out.

20 oz Tea take out.

POKE Square take out.

Le Messe take out.

Serafina temporarily closed

Cicchetti temporarily closed.

Armistice take out.

Eastlake Coffee Cafe take out.

Son of a Butcher No sign yet of what the plans are for Son of a Butcher.

Subway open (take out).

Eastlake Market open (take out).

The Eastlake Zoo temporarily closed.

Terry’s 14 Carrot take out.

Pazzos take out orders from 5 to 9.

Otter take out. The owner was just in the process of updating their sign for a St. Patrick’s day special, cornbeef and cabbage. Today only!

Mammoth closed indefinitely

Pecado Bueno 10% off take out.

Starbucks open (take out).

Pomodoro’s Their website says they are studying the possibility of having take out. Check back in a day or so.

Hamlin Market and Deli open (take out).

Little Water Cantina some take out.

Seattle Caviar open (take out).

Ta Nu Ra Sushi Kappo 10% off all take out.

Le Fournil open (take out).

Sebi’s take out.

Johnny Mo’s take out.

Feature photo: A-board in front of Grand Central Baking Company

The borders of Eastlake: East

Before I-5 came into existence, the eastern border of Eastlake was a bit of blur. It could have gone as far as 10th Avenue as Ma Bell extended her EA phone prefix for Eastlake about that far and sometimes farther. But once I-5 was built, the 12-lane freeway effectively cut off Eastlake from Capitol Hill.

As a project for the Eastlake News, the Eastlake Community Council newsletter, Matt Maberry is photographing the borders of Eastlake. Photos from the winter newsletter, which covers the eastern border, as well as additional photos and Matt’s essay are featured above and below: 

The eastern border of Eastlake is clearly defined by the Interstate 5 corridor, which runs the entire length of the neighborhood. Prior to the start of I-5 construction in 1962, the edge of Eastlake was less distinct, as it mingled with Capitol Hill. Installation of the highway was a controversial issue as soon as it was proposed in April of 1957, and the subject remains a sore spot with Seattleites and others alike.

Bitterness on the part of Eastlake residents may be attributed to a number of factors from increased noise and pollution, to major traffic influx. However, the principal complaint is likely the physical split of the community and the destruction of historic properties to pave the way for the interstate route.

Today the effect is clear when noting the proximity of many remaining homes to the colonnade and the severing of once-continuous roads. One such example of a property is the L’Amourita apartment building at 2915 Franklin Avenue East, whose unique Spanish-Colonial architecture has graced the hillside since 1909. Although the residents have had to tolerate the presence of the Ship Canal Bridge, a mere stone’s throw away, the building was spared destruction. Many buildings were not so fortunate.

Eastlake residents were some of the first in Seattle to feel the effect of the project when work on the Ship Canal Bridge commenced in August of 1958, which was the first portion. Plans for a highway through Seattle date back to as early as 1946 but were eventually integrated with the Washington State plans for I-5 in general. Final approval and land management began in 1958, setting off the use of $75,000,000 in bonds approved by the state legislature to be paid to homeowners in the right-of-way. Acquisition began in Eastlake and moved southward along the route ahead of construction. After appraisal, residents were given an offer by the Highway Department. Approximately 10 percent of the homeowners refused the offers outright, which required condemning the property. Once the homes were in the state’s possession they were auctioned, with most houses either being moved or stripped. Moving of homes from the area became so common that the height of the utility lines on 5th Avenue NE was increased for clearance.

Although the presence of the highway remains a nuisance to many, the community has made efforts to mitigate the burden by utilizing the structure in other ways. Plans to make the freeway a covered trench never fully materialized; however, today it acts as a roof for the I-5 Colonnade Park. This public park is roughly 7.5 acres between East Howe Street and East Garfield Street, and contains an off-leash dog area, and several mountain bike trails. Construction of the trails was performed by volunteers and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance starting in 2005, with many of the funds originating from neighborhood donors.

The ability of the community to adapt to the evolving face of the neighborhood is assuring in the face of contemporary zoning changes and construction projects.

 – Matt Maberry

Councilmember Pedersen draws a crowd for January 30 Eastlake Town Hall

Nearly 200 people turned out on a damp January night for a town hall meeting with District 4 Councilmember Alex Petersen. Transportation issues were the big draw at the Eastlake Community Council-sponsored meeting, but other topics ranging from homelessness to a progressive tax system also came up during the 90-minute meeting in the TOPS Seward school cafeteria.

The meeting format, set by Pedersen’s staff, had participants fill out index cards with a question. Detra Segar, ECC president, read questions and Pedersen answered.

One of the first questions was from Paul Proios, owner of the 14 Carrot Café on Eastlake Avenue East. And it perhaps set the tone for the meeting. Proios, a business owner who fears the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Rapid Ride project that eliminates parking on Eastlake Avenue East will put him out of business, asked if it was possible to find a compromise between bicycle lanes and parking.

Pedersen said the Rapid Ride Roosevelt J Line has been in the works for some time. He urged all attending the meeting to comment on the project to the Federal Transit Authority by the Feb. 14 deadline. “I am a proponent of more bus service,” Pedersen said, but added that he wanted to hear all viewpoints. He emphasized that he did not see Eastlake as a “corridor.”

There was a sizeable group from Seattle’s bicycle community also at the meeting. Several of the questions reflected their concerns about safety, connected bicycle routes and climate change. One flyer passed out said “We bike, walk, bus and wheel to Eastlake businesses.” 

Pedersen again said that whether attendees supported bike lanes or are a concerned business, comments should be sent to the FTA. In response to a later question, he said evaluation of bike lanes was crucial, adding that he would look at perhaps protected lanes in one area and “greenways” in another.

Another transportation question regarded parking on side streets, also a challenge in Eastlake because most side streets are hilly.

Pedersen said Eastlake is zoned 100 percent multifamily and, with previous new building changes that no longer required parking, parking is an issue. He said parking is heavily saturated and acknowledged that businesses also have concerns on loading zones. Segar, the ECC president, said that Restricted Parking Zone 8 in Eastlake is under review and may be expanded.

Lorelei Williams, SDOT Deputy Director Capital Project Delivery, said that the department has more to do. “We want to address the impacts,” she said. “We have heard the comments and are paying attention.”

Here is what Pedersen had to say on other issues:

Development:  Eastlake has grown rapidly in recent years but “we need to make sure we don’t knock down affordable housing.”  The city may not have been listening to Eastlake in the past but “we are listening.”  He said he was critical of the Mandatory Housing Affordability ordinance, since “it seemed to be a good deal for some developers but we are not getting the public benefit.”

Head tax:  He is “not a fan” because in part there was not a good plan for how money would be spent. The new regional authority on homelessness will have better credibility to ask for more funds.

Taxes:  Pedersen said he favored a “progressive’ tax system that was based on income. He said he would look at utility rates, which can be like regressive taxes, affecting lower income people more. He was also concerned about rising property taxes, especially their impact on older homeowners on a fixed income.

Metro Route 70:  Pedersen said “the 70 needs to be part of the conversation,” adding that “personally” he would keep both the 70 and the Rapid Ride buses. That brought a round of applause.

Crime:  Pedersen said the police force has not kept pace with the growth of the city. “There is no one solution,” he added.

RapidRide will transform Eastlake – for better or worse that is the question

Seattle’s proposed RapidRide bus line and bike lanes will transform Eastlake Ave., the main street though Eastlake, by removing all parking and reducing the flexible four lane street to two lanes only. Pushing out cars, the proposed plan creates more capacity for moving people into and out of Eastlake and connecting them to major transit routes.

About two weeks ago, we submitted a series of questions that just didn’t seem to be getting addressed in public meetings to the city’s RapidRide project manager; he in turn had them fielded by subject matter experts.

At the same time the Seattle Bike Blog has been running a series of posts shedding more light on the importance of the Eastlake bike route to bicycling throughout the region.

The Seattle Bike Blog posts and the city’s response to our questions, highlight the positive impact RapidRide and bike lanes could have on the Eastlake community (not to mention global warming). The city can’t promise that the changes will bring more prosperity to Eastlake businesses, but if more people filling the streets helps local businesses, then that is a likely outcome.

Before answering our questions the RRJ Team provided a summary of the project for those unfamiliar with it:

The RapidRide Roosevelt (J Line) Project will upgrade Route 70 to provide high-quality service connecting Downtown Seattle with the neighborhoods of Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, University District, and Roosevelt. Proposed project improvements including transit priority lanes and signals, new RapidRide bus stations, new protected bicycle lanes, upgraded ADA curb ramps, and new pavement on Eastlake Ave E that will enhance speed, reliability, and safety for all. 

The city’s proposed plan is not a done deal by any means. It is currently in the federal Environmental Assessment process, which means the public can continue to weigh in on it pro or con. See the end of the question and answer section for more details.

And here are our questions and the city’s responses:

LUW: A lot of people think this plan—RapidRide and bike lanes that take away parking on Eastlake Ave. – will destroy Eastlake businesses. How do you respond to that? Are there other communities in Seattle or other cities with this type of infrastructure, bike lanes with RapidRide? How are their business districts faring?

RRJT: We’ve heard these questions frequently from Eastlake community members, and we certainly understand where that feeling is coming from. As the city grows, there are more demands on our transportation system, which means that moving throughout the city isn’t nearly as convenient or as easy as it was just ten years ago. While our overall priority is to ensure people have safe access to homes, goods and services, we also want to provide transportation options to the widest variety of people.

RapidRide J Line is being designed to prioritize safe, frequent and reliable transit travel. Separating bicycles from vehicle traffic addresses safety concerns and minimizes friction between modes. In addition, prioritizing transit and bicycle access over single-occupant vehicle traffic helps the city address our climate change goals.

That said, these new options may benefit Eastlake businesses. RapidRide is King County Metro’s highest level of investment in service, amenities, speed and reliability, and innovation. Like Link light rail or the Seattle Streetcar, RapidRide is planned as permanent, high-quality transit infrastructure in local communities that transit riders can rely on. And due to transit investments planned throughout the corridor, our modeling shows that transit ridership is expected to double in 2024, providing more opportunities for riders to easily and efficiently access Eastlake businesses.

We’ve reviewed studies in neighborhood commercial areas that are similar to Eastlake assessing business impacts from the removal of on-street parking and the addition of bicycle facilities. These studies have found that there can be benefits for businesses as a result of new bicycle lanes even with the removal of on-street parking, and the change may not negatively affect businesses.

One example is the Toronto Center for Active Transportation’s report Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business: A Study of Queen Street West in Toronto’s Parkdale Neighborhood that reviewed case studies across Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand and found that “those arriving by bicycle or walking visit more often and spend more money overall” than people who drive. For more information about these studies see the Environmental Assessment.

Within the past several years, protected bicycle lanes have been installed along Westlake Ave N and 2nd Ave in downtown Seattle, NE 65th St in Roosevelt, and on Roosevelt Way NE in Roosevelt and the U-District. While there are variety of changes along all those corridors that can be partially explained by the changing dynamics of a rapidly growing city, there remain a wide variety of successful businesses and restaurants along each of those corridors.

LUW:  There is huge concern that RR will make Eastlake even more of a thoroughfare to downtown – a transit corridor – rather than a neighborhood with a thriving business district?  Businesses don’t really see most of their customers coming by bus – typically they’re driving or walking. Can you comment on what the vision is for connecting neighborhoods?

RRJT: RapidRide J Line is designed to connect neighborhoods to Eastlake and counteract the “corridor effect.” In many cases, people who just want to pass through Eastlake will choose to ride Link light rail. While a primary design consideration of RapidRide J Line system is to connect to other major transit modes like Link light rail and the Seattle Streetcar, RapidRide J Line is also designed to help complete the city’s transportation network for transit, bicycle and pedestrian modes.

The combination of the changes to lane configurations, addition of protected bicycle lane, and the transit system improvements of RapidRide will help calm traffic through the Eastlake community and enhance the community feel. For example, buses on Eastlake Ave E will no longer pull over to let passengers board or exit; they’ll instead remain in-lane so all vehicle traffic will be behind the bus as passengers get on and off. This creates a natural ‘platoon’ of vehicles behind the bus travelling no faster than the bus. As the bus stops at a station, a gap ahead of the bus will allow vehicles turning to clear out ahead of the bus so the bus will be less impacted by traffic at intersections ahead of it. Access improvements like all-door boarding will also help speed up the boarding process to offset delays to other drivers.

While some may use RapidRide J Line to connect to light rail at the U-District or Westlake stations, others may travel to those stations to access Eastlake itself. Providing connections to other modes allows more people to safely and easily travel to the Eastlake community than before with seamless transit connections even to the airport. The project will also bring pedestrian improvements to connect to the new bus stations which will improve the overall pedestrian environment including upgrading ramps to meet ADA requirements and providing pedestrian-level lighting at the stations.

LUW: Talk about the parking mitigation that is being considered for Eastlake – how that would work? And loading zone mitigation?

RRJT: We’re reviewing a variety of options for parking mitigation for the Eastlake community. These mitigation strategies are included in the project’s Environmental Assessment, and should the project receive a Finding of No Significant Impact from the Federal Transit Administration, they will be an official commitment made by the project and will be tracked going forward.

  • Following direct briefings with Eastlake businesses conducted in July 2019, we are currently reviewing load zone opportunities throughout the Eastlake corridor. While other neighborhoods have similar constraints to Eastlake that they can work around, we recognize no two neighborhoods are the same and want to be sensitive to and reflective of Eastlake’s individual business needs.
  • Facilitating discussions to work with private businesses that may be interested, or able to, allow parking lots to be shared parking for other uses. Apps like Spot Hero, Curb Flip, BestParking, and ParkMe are increasingly making shared parking convenient and safe.
  • Considering adjustments to the Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) 8 to better ease parking congestion in the residential area and to address the needs of all curb space users in the area. This could include updating the time limit regulations and blocks that are covered by the RPZ. SDOT’s RPZ program includes extensive data collection and community engagement when making adjustments to RPZs. 

In addition, we will continue to work with businesses and residents to communicate on-street parking regulations and available commute options. There are a wide variety of commuting programs that SDOT and other area partners have developed that we can work with Eastside businesses and residents to adapt for the Eastlake community.

LUW:  RapidRide won’t go as directly into the U. District as the 70 now does – it will be a longer walk.  Why was that decision made?

RRJT: The project is planned to serve the U District Link light rail station, which will be a regional connection to the University District and the University of Washington. The line does not deviate to the east to serve the core of the UW campus because it is designed to travel in a more linear north-south pattern to provide fast connections to the U District Link station from the north and south. The University of Washington was involved in selecting the Link light rail station locations, so SDOT and King County Metro are mirroring those priorities. In addition, our initial ridership forecasting showed transit ridership would be higher with the planned route and stop locations compared to a route that deviates to the east as Route 70 currently does today. The J Line will also serve the western portion of the UW campus that extends to the west along NE Campus Parkway and NE 41st St.

King County Metro is currently leading the North Link Connections Mobility Project, which is an effort to identify future bus route changes after North Link light rail is open. This effort includes a review of east/west transit connections from the U District Link light rail station through the University of Washington. Depending on transit riders’ destinations on the campus, they may transfer to another route, walk or bike to their destination.

Finally, the University of Washington Master Plan shows planned campus expansion, which includes significant development on the west side of campus near RapidRide stations.

LUW:  The bike lanes will take away 350 parking spaces along Eastlake Avenue. Currently about 1,700 bicyclists cross the University Bridge daily – that’s expected to increase by how much when the protected bike lane is in place? Will electric scooters also be able to use the bike lane?

RRJT: The protected bicycle lane for Eastlake Ave E is designed to improve reliability and safety for people currently accessing Eastlake Ave E whether they’re in a car, on a bike, walking, or riding the bus. We certainly expect an increase in bicyclists as the all ages and abilities network continues to expand with key projects identified in the Bicycle Master Plan being completed. However, as the purpose and need of this project do not directly include increasing bicycle ridership, we have not performed a study of anticipated ridership increase. Our focus for this project has been on addressing safety of all transportation users including bicyclists.

SDOT is separately working on a scooter share pilot. This link has information about this new effort. One question we’re still examining internally is scooter access to protected bicycle lanes.

LUW:  For anyone concerned about climate change, this project seems to be a pivotal one that will have a positive impact on the environment. Can you elaborate more on that?

RRJT: Transportation is the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Seattle, and reducing those emissions is a key goal as we work to address global climate change. Passenger vehicles and commercial trucks account for 62% of Seattle’s emissions. Growing transit ridership and reducing driving alone are critical to meeting Seattle’s climate change goals. Implementing all ages and abilities bicycle facilities also provides an alternative to driving alone and this project will provide a key segment of the bicycle network. Between 2010 and 2018, the city’s drive-alone rate in the center city dropped from 35% to 25%, while bicycle and pedestrian volumes have grown approximately 60% during the same period.

There is no room in Seattle for new infrastructure for single occupant vehicles, so our transportation investments must provide benefit for options that move the most people with the least environmental impacts.

RapidRide J Line would improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the number of vehicle trips in the corridor compared to not building the project and using primarily electric trolley buses that do not produce tailpipe emissions.

Comment Period for the Environmental Assessment

The project is currently in a comment period for the Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) Analysis. Comments can be left via the online comment form or mailed to Seattle Department of Transportation, 700 Fifth Ave, Suite 3800 (SMT-38-00), PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA 98124 attn: Darrell Bulmer. Comments must be postmarked or submitted by 5 PM on Friday, February 14, 2020.

New Large Development at 3101 Eastlake Ave. E.

Did the psychic reader see this coming?  Her house, the place next to her, and places south and in back (basically all small structures on the block south of Lake Union Café) will be demolished to make way for a seven story building with over 120 units (98 efficiency units and 28 small apartments, mostly studios, including two one-bedrooms). The preliminary design includes a retail street-level front of black glass along Eastlake Avenue.

The complex will have 21 underground parking spaces including some resident bike parking.

Deadline for public comment is January 2, 2019.

Project number is 3034445-LU  

The developer’s plan for the site is in this link under Attachments. It takes a moment for the attachments to load when you click on them. Then look for “Plan Set – Land Use.pdf.” (The pdf is 51 MB and too large to post here.)

These are the buildings along Eastlake Ave. E. that will be demolished along with a few houses behind them:

The Lake Union Cafe is not part of the project:

Lake Union Cafe stays.

There is a comment form for this project under Notice of Application.pdf.

Applicant contact: Lauren Garkel    206-782-8208

SDCI Planner  Wayne Farrens   206-727-8602

Written comments are encouraged and should be submitted to 

PRC@seattle.gov

Department of Construction & Inspections

ATTN Public Resource Center

P.O. Box 34019

Seattle WA 98124-4019

People who comment and provide an email address or return US mail address will be sent notice of any public meetings or hearings and notice of the SDCI decision with information on the right to appeal. All correspondence will be posted to the city’s electronic library.

Ride the Ducks are out – an expanded park is in

It happened ever so quietly after years of acrimonious debate and neighborhood lawsuits. Rather than build a private boat ramp next to Terry Pettus street-end park in Eastlake, Ride the Ducks sold its property to neighboring U.S. Seafood this year, who in turn is selling a portion, as planned, to the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. The sale to the city will nearly double the Terry Pettus street-end park’s size and will double the shoreline access. Expanding the park has been a neighborhood and Parks Department goal for over a decade.

According to Chip Nevins of the Department of Parks and Recreation, who presented the acquisition legislation to the Civic Development, Public Assets, Native Communities Committee meeting Wednesday, Dec. 4, the Parks Department tried to buy the adjacent property in 2006 and 2008. NOAH, a tenant, vacated the space in 2010, and Ride the Ducks bought the property in 2012. But there was little support for a Ride the Ducks operation in Eastlake.

The neighboring Floating Homes Association, Eastlake Community Council and the Log Foundation took Ride the Ducks to court in 2015, gaining only minor concessions on reduced noise through the area.

But other forces were also at work, as the legislative action noted, “Due to recent liabilities related to the crash on the Aurora Bridge, Ride the Ducks decided to sell the property.”

U.S. Seafood and the city worked together to acquire the property.

“It’s really a great win-win for both the business community and the neighborhood,” said Nevins, who has also been working on preliminary design concepts with neighborhood groups for redeveloping the current park and now adding to it.  With more public meetings to come, the design will be finalized so that cost estimates can be included in the city’s next six-year budget cycle.  Construction of the park is expected to begin in 2021.

“Increased park space in urban village areas and public access to bodies of water are a priority in our public space acquisition strategy,” said Christopher William, Deputy Superintendent.  Alex Pedersen, District 4, City Council Representative joined the committee for this action and noted, “The unity around this project is amazing. I heard a lot about it over the last year or two. People are very excited.”

The Civic Development, Public Assets, Native Communities Committee will be recommending approval of this acquisition legislation to the full City Council on Monday; it’s expected to sail through.

The Committee meeting can be viewed on the Seattle Channel with the Terry Pettus action at about the 50-minute mark.

Featured sketch of Terry Pettus street-end park by Karen Berry.

The Borders of Eastlake Photography Project

As a project for the Eastlake News, local photographer, Matt Maberry, is doing a series on the borders of Eastlake. The Eastlake News is the newsletter for the Eastlake Community Council; both came into being at the same time and will turn 50 in less than two years (2021). Because one of the first things discussed in the first newsletter were Eastlake’s borders, that seemed like a good photography subject as the ECC approaches its golden anniversary. The feature photo for this blog post is also the cover of the Eastlake News (Winter 2019-20) and is of the old City Light building, the southern border of Eastlake. (The southern border was chosen because of all the construction happening there, which is also emblematic of what is currently happening in Eastlake.) Photos of other angles of the southern border are below:

The front of the former City Light building viewed from Eastlake Avenue.
The little Hydro House adjacent to it is now a popular lunch spot.
Northern view.
Southern view.

Matt shot the photos on Cinestill 50D film using a Mamiya RB67 camera.

His article about the site is also published in the newsletter and below. (The next border subject is still to be determined.)

The neighborhood of Eastlake, nestled between the eastern shore of Lake Union and the I-5 corridor, also has distinctive northern and southern borders. These demarcations are adorned by the landmarks of the University Bridge, and the Lake Union Steam Plant, respectively. The latter is situated in the crook of Fairview Avenue East and Eastlake Avenue East, both of which are current sites of construction.

The story of the site on the southern end of Eastlake actually begins with the Cedar River Falls hydroelectric facility, which provided electrical power to Seattle’s homes starting in 1905. As power demand increased, additions to the Cedar River facility were planned, eventually culminating in a design to dam the river. The steam plant on Lake Union was first proposed as an ancillary source, creating electricity by means of coal-fed steam-driven generators. Due to construction lag time however, the adjacent hydro facility, which fed off the Volunteer Park reservoir, was constructed and began operation in 1912. The steam plant itself was finished in 1917. Additions were made in subsequent years until the current arrangement was realized in 1921. The iconic smokestacks carried away the byproduct of the coal firing.

The plant was decommissioned as a power supplier in 1984. Since 1990 it was home to ZymoGenetics until Fred Hutchinson leased the space in June 2018.

The building complex is currently flanked by roadwork on either side. Neither project is associated with preparations for the new lessor, however. When the steam plant was finished, Fairview Avenue did not yet exist. It was constructed later atop pilings. These pilings are now being removed and replaced, among other efforts to upgrade the roadway and meet current safety regulations. The road was closed on September 23, 2019. The project is slated to last for 18 months. A detour currently reroutes traffic along Eastlake Avenue East; however, the detour itself is stymied by various projects in that stretch, principally development of a building at 1165 Eastlake Ave. E.

The hydro plant and the steam plant received landmark status in 1987. The presence of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will usher in a new chapter of rich history for the site, as will the upgrades to Fairview Ave. and removal of the last major timber-supported bridge-roadway in the city.

Green Building meets Boys in the Boat

The first senior living center in Eastlake will also be the world’s greenest, according to its developer, giving Lake Union another notch on sustainable innovation around its shores. As the building looks toward the future, it also commemorates the past. Taking a page from the best seller Boys in the Boat, the building will pay tribute to the UW’s 1936 Olympic rowing team with a modern shell house design.  (The address was also changed to reflect that — 1936 Eastlake Ave.) The building, part of the Aegis Living portfolio of senior assisted living centers, broke ground this week at the corner of Eastlake Avenue and Newton Street.

Green building is a challenge for senior living centers, says Aegis representatives, because of the facilities’ continuous energy use due to being occupied 95 percent of the time. However, the company has found ways to meet that challenge.

According to Aegis’ press release:

The building is on track to be the first assisted living community to meet the most rigorous global green/sustainability building standards with a Living Building Challenge certification and is participating in the City of Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program. In addition to a novel emission-free design approach, the organization developed new energy and water consumption benchmarks for the senior living category….

Built to be emission-free, Aegis Living Lake Union will use standard electricity to support the entire 70,000 square-foot building, including large appliances and kitchen equipment, significantly reducing overall environmental impact. The community will offset more than the building’s total energy demand through various energy reduction measures, an onsite solar array and an offsite solar energy farm. Key features include improved insulation such as triple pane windows and thermal insulation for exterior walls, heat recovery through forced-air ventilation, a recirculating heat pump system, LED lighting and sensors to monitor use, installation of all high efficiency appliances and more. The community will save approximately 320,000 kilowatt-hours annually – equivalent to planting more than 12,000 trees each year. Another 1.7 million kilowatt hours will be generated between the solar array and offsite energy farm.

All non-drinking water will be supplied through captured rainwater and treated greywater; the community will reserve potable water for consumption only. These measures will save more than 140,000 gallons of water annually for the life of the building.

Like most of the new construction on Eastlake Ave., the building will take advantage of the new height limits, standing six stories above ground and one story below.  The structure will have 79 units consisting of studios and one bedrooms; some will be memory care units. “Amenities include a spa/wellness center with a salon, massage parlor and fitness center,” according to the press release. “Signature for Aegis Living communities, residents will enjoy a variety of gathering spaces to spend time with family, friends and neighbors, including an onsite cinema and sky lounge and a terrace with views of Lake Union.”

Below ground will feature 18 parking spaces, 16 bicycle parking spaces, two loading docks and additional storage areas.

The street level will have an Aegis restaurant known as Queen Bee Café and open to the public. Aegis donates 100 percent of the profits from the café to local charities.

Although it won’t open until spring 2021, Aegis Living Lake Union is a taking resident applications now.

Trash Talkin’: a tour of Recology, is eye boggling and mind opening

“I love talking about trash,” says Jennifer Power. And she’s got the perfect job for that. She’s our tour guide for Seattle’s Recology, a recycling facility or MRF (Materials Recovery Facility).

We were meeting in a large conference room at Recology before the tour to talk about safety and what we would be seeing because once inside the facility it would be too loud for Jennifer to be heard.

 “Has everyone heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?” she asked passing around a jar of colorful plastic pieces floating in water. It’s the largest accumulation of plastics in the ocean (there are about five of them) and is about the size of the United States, she said. Plastic just keeps breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, but it never breaks down completely. Sea turtles eat the plastic pieces thinking they’re jelly fish. Microplastics are now everywhere, even in the air we breathe.

“They’re accumulating in our bodies and we don’t know what is happening with that,” she added.

So, what could we do? Avoid single use plastic for one and recycle the plastic we do use for another although that’s getting harder, we learned, as more and more plastic is mixed with other materials making it nearly impossible to separate out and recycle.

And did people hear about China not taking our recycling anymore, she asked. While that’s true Recology has found other markets for its recycling in India, Thailand, and the Philippines. And Recology, an employee-owned business, vets these markets carefully to ensure they are recycling, creating materials for new products, and not just dumping our recycling in a foreign landfill.

Cascading and flowing recycling

We put on our yellow vests and hard hats and entered the warehouse. It was loud as Jennifer warned and a surreal landscape of mountains of trash recycling that were being moved around and tumbling down like waterfalls onto conveyer belts that moved all around like rivers. Along the banks, workers stood in protective clothing continuously fishing out anything that didn’t belong. They rotated through jobs at the facility, said Jennifer, never spending more than a couple of hours at one task.

Sorting technology is ever changing with machines that can register what is recyclable and whisk it away. One plastics sorting machine uses lasers to identify the plastic it wants and shoots a gust of air at it to direct it to the proper conveyer belt. Other machines use magnets to pick out the metals.

After the tour, when we got back to the meeting room, there were more questions. One woman from a Capitol Hill artists’ co-op had brought a lunch sack full of items wanting to know what could be recycled. “Careful,” she warned as Jennifer opened the sack.

“I handle trash all day,” scoffed Jennifer, making everyone laugh.

The sack included the plastic pump from a bottle, non-recyclable, and a variety of wrappers made of different sorts of composite material, like mylar, that’s nearly impossible to recycle. The same was true of cosmetic tubes and cases — non-recyclable. A plastic prescription bottle could maybe be recycled at a pharmacy, but no one knew of any that did that. Disappointingly nothing the woman brought was recyclable. “Except,” said Jennifer, “this!” holding up the brown paper bag carrying the trash.

Someone asked how she stayed so upbeat in the face of a topic that seemed as overwhelming and intractable as, well, a landfill.

“If enough people care we can get to a better place to make decisions,” she said. And she sees a lot of hope with the younger generation. Studies have shown that when kids learn something, they can change their parent’s behavior, she noted, better than any campaign. Kids have a shaming effect on their parents – why aren’t we doing this Mom and Dad?

The kids say to her, “We don’t want the turtles eating plastic…”

Our tour was organized by Eastlake resident Olga Lazareva who wrote an article about recycling for the summer edition of the Eastlake News, a community newsletter. More than 12 people signed up for the July 18 tour; the goal was ten. “It was exciting to see that we were not alone in our quest for knowledge, but part of a full room of people who care about our environment and the planet,” said Olga later in an email.

Public tours are offered quarterly at Recology, check out their website.

What you can do:

Compost – this one is huge because food waste in a landfill doesn’t get the air and light necessary to biodegrade. In fact, about the opposite happens. Trashed food adds to climate change by creating methane gas. According to the EPA, “When food goes to the landfill, it’s similar to tying food in a plastic bag. The nutrients in the food never return to the soil. The wasted food rots and produces methane gas.”

And methane gas fuels global warming.

It’s counterproductive to put food waste in the garbage, put it in the compost where it can help rebuild the earth’s soil.

Keep your recycling clean and dry – Paper needs to be clean and dry, as do bottles, cans, and plastics. Please make sure not to leave your paper boxes out in the elements, otherwise, it can’t be recycled. This will make life easier for your recyclers and have the added benefit of keeping your recycling bins clean too!

Know that plastic recycling is complicated (but not impossible!) — not all plastics can be recycled even though they suggest that. But things like vitamin, ketchup, soda, water, milk, and detergent bottles can be recycled (hard plastics) as can plastic flower/plant pots. 

That ubiquitous soft plastic used to wrap water/soda bottles, bathroom tissue, produce, etc. can now be recycled at some supermarket drop off locations. To learn more, check out Plastic Film Recycling at plasticfilmrecycling.org

Buy bath items in bulk – items such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, bath salts, and lotion can be purchased in bulk at Central Market in Ballard or Aurora and at all PCC markets. Just bring your own container and fill up. Not only are you reducing plastic waste, these brands are also natural and eco-friendly.

Check out Ridwell, at ridwell.com, a new company that provides a recycling service similar to an old fashion milkman. They provide a box and bags for doorstep recycling. And every week pick up used batteries, lightbulbs, threads (old clothing, linen, shoes), and plastic film. They let you know of a rotating fifth category so you can plan ahead such as eyeglasses or wine bottle corks.

Review the guidelines from the city of Seattle “Where does it go?”  The city website has a lot of good information for diverting waste and saving money on your garbage bill. You can find out just about where every item needs to go to be disposed of on this site: seattle.gov/utilities/wheredoesitgo.  

Request a special item pick up Styrofoam blocks and used cooking and motor oil can be picked up for free by the same garbage truck that takes your garbage. Request a special item collection online on http://www.seattle.gov/utilities/services/garbage/garbage-at-home/special-collection, or call 206 684 3000. You’ll put those items on a curbside on the same day your garbage gets collected. 

Donate your clothes – Goodwill, Salvation Army and other places access old clothing and fabric. Let your clothes have a second chance!

Consume less

Aim for zero waste!

Photos by Olga Lazareva and Judy Smith. Sketches by Karen Berry. A longer version of this article first appeared in the Eastlake News fall 2019 edition. Olga Lazareva also contributed to this report.