Broadview Tapped for Neighborhood Plan Update

The City has announced that the Broadview – Bitter Lake – Haller Lake neighborhood plan will be updated in 2010.  Below is the press release.

City of Seattle

Mike McGinn, Mayor
SUBJECT:   2010 Neighborhood Plan Updates
1/28/2010  5:00:00 PM
Aaron Pickus  684-4000

2010 Neighborhood Plan Updates

SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle City Council announced today that the Rainier Beach and the Broadview-Bitter Lake-Haller Lake neighborhoods will begin an update of their neighborhood plans in 2010.

The neighborhood plan update process is a unique opportunity for community members to address local priorities.

Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Sally J. Clark along with Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith will work with neighbors to address recent growth, infrastructure, housing affordability, and other neighborhood concerns. The Department of Neighborhoods and the Department of Planning and Development will facilitate the updates.

“The Neighborhood Plan Update process is an exciting opportunity for these two communities,” said O’Brien. “Recent and future transportation investments in both communities will be an important factor to consider in these updates. I look forward to working with these neighborhoods to fully utilize the new investments as a catalyst for improving housing, open space, jobs, and cultural amenities that make neighborhoods great places to live. ”

In Rainier Beach, there will be a review of potential growth around the light rail station, with a focus on improving the commercial core and enhancing involvement of traditionally underrepresented communities.  The Broadview-Bitter Lake-Haller Lake Neighborhood Plan Update will consider ways to take advantage of the anticipated bus rapid transit service arriving in 2013. The challenges resulting from recent growth in the Bitter Lake urban village will also be addressed.

“I’m excited for the Rainier Beach and Broadview-Bitter Lake-Haller Lake neighborhoods to re-open their neighborhood plans for tuning up,” said Clark. “Both are terrific communities with affordable housing, incredible parks and new challenges when it comes to smartly taking advantage of transit.”

“I’m looking forward to working with Councilmember O’Brien, Councilmember Clark and these great communities to see how best we can build our city together,” said Smith.

These two neighborhood plans were chosen to be updated based on a review of the criteria established in Ordinance 122799, the information collected through status reports and associated community outreach, and a review of the recommendations from the Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee.

Pedestrians to drivers: Back off!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Last updated 11:56 a.m. PT

Brandy Sebron-Kelley, right, holds up a sign which details how she was hit by a car at North 130th Street and Linden Avenue North while in a crosswalk and in her wheelchair. Sebron-Kelley was joined by Steve Rice, playing the accordion, and others during a protest by residents of nearby senior communities at North 130th Street and Aurora Avenue North on April 3, 2009. (Photo: Joshua Trujillo /

City to unveil master plan after call for more crosswalk safety


A couple of women used walkers to cross Aurora Avenue North at North 130th Street. Three others had motorized wheelchairs. Several protesters were in their 70s.

It wasn’t a typical demonstration, but the issue of pedestrian safety spans age brackets.

“I sure as hell wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I’ve gone through,” said Brandy Sebron-Kelley, 69, who was among the demonstrators last month. “I’m in more pain than I ever imagined I’d be in.”

Sebron-Kelley was one of 468 pedestrians hit by motor vehicles in Seattle last year — in her case, last November at 130th and Linden Avenue North. She said a car turning right didn’t see her and the accident has caused months of pain.

“People just need to be more aware of pedestrians,” she said. “We don’t have bumpers.”

Richard Dyksterhuis marches in the crosswalk with a sign during a protest by residents of nearby senior communities at North 130th Street and Aurora Avenue North on April 3, 2009. The residents were in the intersection trying to draw attention to the dangers that pedestrians, especially seniors, face while on the streets of Seattle. (Photo: Joshua Trujillo /

That was the point of the protest — to make city leaders take notice of people saying crosswalks aren’t safe enough.

This week, the city is expected to unveil its Pedestrian Master Plan, which was outlined in a City Council resolution in 2007 — the year Mayor Greg Nickels and the City Council said pedestrian safety was their top priority.

“The goal of the Pedestrian Master Plan is to establish a strategic road map for enhancing pedestrian activities throughout the city,” Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Sheridan said. “It will focus on a number of key elements such as promoting pedestrian safety and promoting healthy lifestyles. It has a number of different elements it works to improve on.”

Seattle police, echoing some of Sebron-Kelley’s concerns, say some drivers are ignorant of pedestrian safety concerns.

On April 24, police conducted a sting on Stone Way North and North 41st Street, watching for drivers with little regard for walkers.

Three patrol cars were in the area and six motorcycle officers were visible, department spokeswoman Renee Witt said. Three officers and a sergeant were in plain clothes trying to cross the street.

“Some people completely disregarded the speed limit and safety,” said Witt, who watched the operation for about an hour. “One lady was on her cell phone and speeding. It was pretty interesting to see how it all unfolded and see how clueless people can be.

A car continues to roll into the crosswalk, bumping a marcher as Brandy Sebron-Kelley, in yellow, and other members of nearby senior citizens’ residential buildings protest in the crosswalks at the intersection of Aurora Avenue North and North 130th Street. Sebron-Kelley was previously hit by a car at North 130th Street and Linden Avenue North. (Photo: Joshua Trujillo /

“The crosswalk was clearly marked. There were no alibis.”

That’s one reason Witt said the department planned 10 operations this year.

“When you hit people’s pocketbooks, that’s then they start listening,” Sebron-Kelley said. “Drivers need to be treated fairly, but as a pedestrian who has been hit, I know what it feels like.”

Between 2005 and 2007, 23 pedestrians were killed by vehicles in Seattle, according to the city. About 1,500 more people were hit by vehicles, in several cases suffering debilitating injuries.

Once an archer who had a 50-pound pull on a bow, Sebron-Kelley said she can now barely lift her arms because of damage to her rotator cuffs. She said she has short-term memory problems and, because she didn’t take an initial settlement offer, insurance hasn’t paid for medical costs.

“I think a lot of things need to be corrected, and the way crosswalks are set up is ridiculous,” she said. “I want to campaign to have no right turn on red on every corner and a special light so (pedestrians) can be treated fairly.”

The city optimized traffic signals on busy corridors such as Aurora Avenue North in accordance with standards approved by the Federal Highway Administration in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and other associated guidelines, Sheridan said. City traffic codes also come into play.

Even with that work, city officials say there’s a major obstacle: They can’t engineer against reckless human behavior.

“Drivers need to think of the other person,” Sebron-Kelley said, a few hours after getting an injection of pain medication. “We feel like a damn target.”


If there are traffic signals that raise concerns for motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians, they can highlight those for SDOT by calling 684-ROAD.

Casey McNerthney can be reached at 206-448-8220 or

Gasoline Alley, the forgotten part of Aurora Avenue

By Gabriel Campanario
(reprinted from The Seattle Times)aurorarichard050209m.jpgMay 2, 11:13 a.m. [View larger] [Map]

Some people complain about the poor urban planning around Aurora Avenue and its current state, some believe it’s beyond repair and some actually do something about it. Meet 82-year-old Richard Dyksterhuis, a former school principal turned activist. He is the force behind a group of neighbors who meet every first Saturday of the month to clean up along Aurora and are committed to improve things. After seeing this sketch I posted last week, they invited me to join them and learn of their thankless mission.

May 2, 10:39 a.m. [View larger] [Map]

As he kept reaching for trash along the side of the road, Richard walked me around and pointed to multiple instances where sidewalks don’t meet the code or simply don’t exist. He is especially critical of the situation between 125th and 145th streets, a stretch of Aurora he calls “Gasoline Alley.” It has three used car lots, nine places to change oil and tires and five major auto dealers. Between 135th and 145th there’s not even one traffic light. When he started his activism about seven years ago he was told by the Seattle Department of Transportation that putting them in would “impede the flow of vehicular traffic,” which is exactly what needs to happen, he says. “This road gets county money, state money, federal money, but somehow that money goes somewhere else,” he said.

(Original link to article:

Seattle's Broadview neighborhood offers natural beauty, close-in convenience, and a wide variety of homes for sale and apartments to rent.

By Tim Harville
Special to The Seattle Times
Originally published January 4, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Thrill-seekers shrieked on “The Dipper,” the park’s famous roller coaster, while young couples stole first kisses in the Canals of Venice. Dance marathons brought thousands to The Ballroom, and a midget auto-racing track filled the air with a steady roar for the park’s neighbors.

Broadview and Bitter Lake were annexed by the city in 1954, and Playland shut down in 1961, upstaged by the impending Seattle World’s Fair. Today’s Broadview is a much quieter place — an almost completely residential neighborhood, tucked so snugly into Seattle’s northwest corner that many locals have never heard of it.

“Nobody knows us,” says Dale Johnson, president of the Broadview Community Council. “You say Broadview and people think Broadmoor” (the gated community just west of Madison Park).

Despite its low-key demeanor, the neighborhood is by no means small. Home to more than 13,000 residents, Broadview stretches north from Carkeek Park up to the city limits at Northwest 145th Street, and east from Puget Sound to Greenwood Avenue North.

Apart from a handful of restaurants and retail spots along Greenwood, Broadview has very few commercial offerings. While construction of condominiums and apartments is increasing (and concentrated along Greenwood), most homes are single-family.

According to Joanie Brennan, a longtime Windermere Real Estate agent who specializes in North Seattle homes, many buyers are drawn to the open floor plans of Broadview’s midcentury homes.

Brennan says the market in the neighborhood is somewhat split along Third Avenue Northwest.

To the west, near Carkeek Park and along the waterfront, are the more-expensive homes, many with large lots and Puget Sound views.

To the east, between Third and Greenwood, buyers can find smaller, more affordable options. Overall, the median price of a single-family house that sold in Broadview was $422,000 during the first 10 months of 2008, according to figures compiled by Windermere Real Estate. Of the 76 houses sold in Broadview, the prices ranged from $280,000 to $1.965 million. The typical house was 1,935 square feet with three bedrooms and 2.5 baths.

Many residents say they appreciate the quiet Broadview offers while still being close to downtown.

“Broadview is in the city of Seattle, but feels a bit suburban because of the large lots,” Brennan says.

Commuters can easily get downtown along Aurora Avenue, by bus or car, without taking any freeways.

Will Murray, who has lived in the north end of Broadview for about 10 years, enjoys an easy commute without driving.

“I like being able to walk to the bus stop and be downtown in 15 minutes,” he says. “Also, I can bike downtown in 45 minutes.”

If nearby Playland’s thrills and entertainment made up Broadview’s identity in its adolescence, nature and conservation are integral themes in today’s more grown-up community.

Carkeek Park, the neighborhood’s largest park, offers more than 6 miles of trails. A pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks offers views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains before descending onto a secluded, sandy beach.

Another escape into nature, and one Broadview’s best-kept secrets, is Llandover Woods, a 9-acre “open space” at 145th and Third Northwest and acquired by the city of Seattle in 1995.

“Llandover Woods is a major success story in northwest Seattle, saved from a housing development by neighbors and being restored to native habitat,” Murray says, adding that “the woods are a great place to hike, bird watch, and forage for mushrooms.”

Another often-overlooked gem is Dunn Gardens. Commissioned by Arthur Dunn in 1915 and designed by the legendary Olmsted brothers, the original landscaping plan of the gardens has been preserved for more than 90 years.

“It’s lovely in winter, spring, summer, and fall. Any time you go, it’s beautiful,” says Gloria Butts, coordinator of the Broadview Historical Society and former president of the Broadview Community Council. “In February, cyclamens and snowdrops are in bloom, drifts upon drifts of them.”

Dunn Gardens is open to the public for guided tours only, Thursdays-Saturdays, by advance reservation.

Broadview’s “green” leanings are even reflected in the infrastructure. The neighborhood is home to Seattle’s pilot Street Edge Alternatives project, or SEA Streets. These slim, wavy streets, located just west of Greenwood between 110th and 120th, are designed to improve drainage by using natural landscaping and swales to slow and filter stormwater runoff.

Much of Broadview’s population is older, and turnover in the area is relatively low.

“I was a newcomer 10 years after I moved here, so many people had lived here so long,” says Butts, who has lived in Broadview for 45 years.

Perhaps because residents tend to stick around, a strong sense of community is another cornerstone of Broadview’s personality.

At a recent meeting of the Broadview Community Council, which convenes at the library, pedestrian safety was the topic of the evening. Members of the community were joined by representatives from Feet First and Seattle Great City Initiative to talk about the one thing Broadview seems to lack: sidewalks.

Many residents of old Broadview thought that being annexed by Seattle would bring in such perks of the “big city” label as sidewalks. But today — 55 years after becoming part of Seattle — the neighborhood has yet to see a complete, fully sidewalked street.

Attendees at the community meeting were mostly longtime residents of the neighborhood, and a few were actually around when Broadview became part of Seattle.

They’re used to working together to get City Hall’s attention, maintaining dialogue with their city and state representatives, and using civic vocabulary (for example, LID for “Local Improvement District,” a method of funding public projects) like seasoned professionals.

“In the past several years there has been a resurgence of activism, with several volunteer groups forming and doing community service projects such as Adopt-A-Street, Llandover Woods, Carkeek Park Trails, and Teen Groups at Bitter Lake” says Murray.

To Butts, it’s this community spirit that makes the neighborhood a great place to live.

“The people who live here really do care,” she says. “They take care of their space — you don’t see any litter — and there are enough people willing to work for solutions, enough volunteers in the Community Club and the Community Council doing things to make the area better.”

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company


Population: About 13,000
Distance to downtown Seattle: About 10 miles
Schools: Broadview is served by Seattle Public Schools.
Recreation: The 216-acre Carkeek Park contains orchards, creeks, picnic and play areas, hiking trails along steep wooded hillsides and views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

— Seattle Times news researcher David Turim

Two potential jail sites scrapped

But four new ones appear: In Seattle, Bellevue, Shoreline and Redmond

Last updated November 20, 2008 9:54 p.m. PT

Planners have eliminated two candidates out of four in Seattle that were potential locations for a new regional jail, and now Bellevue, Shoreline and an area near Redmond are under consideration.

“Nobody would like to have a jail in their city or their community, but this is something we have to do,” said Scott MacColl, manager of intergovernmental relations for Shoreline.

At a news briefing Thursday, city leaders identified a total of six possible locations for a new jail. They are:

  • The King County jail annex property at Fifth Avenue and Jefferson Street in Seattle. 
  • 1600 W. Armory Way in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood. 
  • Land at Highland Park Way Southwest and West Marginal Way Southwest in Seattle. 
  • A vacant school at 2545 N.E. 200th St. in Shoreline. 
  • Property at 555 116th Ave. N.E. in Bellevue. 
  • Property at 13225 N.E. 126th Place near Redmond. 

    No longer on the list are properties at 9501 Myers Way S. and 11762 Aurora Ave. N., both in Seattle.

    Catherine Cornwall, a senior policy adviser for Seattle, said those sites fell out of favor as the review progressed. For example, she said, the Myers Way property turned out to have a wetlands area that was more extensive than initially believed, reducing the amount of buildable space.

    The same is likely to happen with some of the six locations now being weighed. But no location is considered better than any other at the moment, Cornwall said.

    The prospect of a new jail is not one welcomed by any city official, and at community meetings held in Seattle last summer, residents made it clear they weren’t crazy about the idea, either.

    Most cities pay the county to hold their misdemeanor offenders — those arrested for offenses such as drunken driving, theft or domestic violence.

    But county jail space is running low, and Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention officials have said they must focus on jailing felons and accused felons. By 2012, the county expects to run out of room for city inmates altogether.

    “We’re losing just about all of our jail space,” Cornwall said.

    In response, several cities in South King County began working on plans to build a new, 680- bed jail. About 20 cities in north and east King County joined with Seattle in a separate effort to build a 640-bed jail, estimated to cost $174 million.

    Two of the Seattle sites have been previously suggested. They include a triangular plot of land in Interbay and a 10-acre parcel on West Marginal Way Southwest.

    Four new sites have joined the mix.

    The location in Shoreline is the farthest north and is the site of a vacant school. The land already has been deemed surplus by the Shoreline School District, MacColl said.

    The property in Bellevue is next to Interstate 405. Most of it is property the city bought earlier for the extension of Northeast Sixth Avenue.

    One site, in unincorporated King County, is near Kirkland and Redmond and is owned by Waste Management, primarily for office space.

    The fourth new site is county-owned property on Fifth Avenue where a jail annex could one day be built. Now, it is being suggested as a possible location for a building that would give the county more room for its inmates, as well as for the cities.

    Seattle officials already have held public forums on the sites in their city, with the exception of the downtown site. A public forum to discuss that location will be held Dec. 3 at City Hall.

    Other meetings will be held in Woodinville, Shoreline and Bellevue to discuss the remaining locations in those communities.

    In January, six meetings will be held to gather public input on the environmental impacts of the sites. A draft report on those issues should be complete by next summer. A final decision on where the jail will be built should be reached by 2010.

    P-I reporter Hector Castro can be reached at 206-448-8334 or

    Mayor's 'walk more' plan stumbles over sidewalks

    Meryl Schenker / P-I
    On the north side of Virginia Street, betweeen First and Second avenues in downtown Seattle, the sidewalk is severely buckled. The city of Seattle is encouraging people to get out of their cars this summer and use alternative travel methods. But some people complain that walking – a great car alternative – isn’t safe here.

    Some are lacking, some are crumbling


    Watch where you’re walking if you stroll to where South Horton Street meets 27th Avenue South in southeast Seattle.

    There’s a hole — a chasm big enough to swallow a young child. The hole, where a sidewalk would be under normal circumstances, is littered with a broken wooden beam, a knocked-over barricade and a couple of orange cones just inches from plunging into the unknown.

    “It’s been there for at least three to four years,” said Don Rosabout, 25, who lives in the house next to the hole. He pointed to the broken beam. His father, an immigrant from Laos, bought the beam and put it there out of concern for children who play in the small residential neighborhood.

    Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has asked people to “give your car the summer off” by using alternative means of travel, with walking being a top alternative. But across Seattle, many say that with current neighborhood conditions the mayor’s “walk more” plan is not a feasible — or safe — option.

    Sidewalk advocates and city officials say the problem is a backlog of work needed to be done on sidewalks and street safety and not enough money.

    Walking gets tough in a city where, according to a fact sheet put out by City Councilman Nick Licata, 40 percent of streets lack sidewalks on both sides and 30 percent of streets have no sidewalks at all.

    Licata said the city should set new priorities on public funding for capital projects so that infrastructure used daily, such as sidewalks, gets money before large capital projects that would benefit a few people.

    “Sidewalks are the threads that physically weave our neighborhoods together; without them we lose touch with the greater community around us,” Licata said.

    As for the “sandbox” on South Horton Street,a hole usually made for construction purposes, Cornell Amaya, a spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities, said he did not have a record but crews were being sent to investigate.

    Rosabout’s story is the kind of thing that Pat Murakami says makes her blood pressure rise. Although it’s not her neighborhood, the president of the Mount Baker Community Club reported the hole about a year ago.

    “I’ve almost gotten to the point where I’m ready to sacrifice myself and break my leg so that I can get money from the city and give it to people to fix these things,” she said.

    According to Licata’s fact sheet, the costs to fill in all sidewalks would range anywhere from $270 million to $4.5 billion. That figure does not account for drainage requirements.

    According to Seattle Transportation, the city has about $3.43 million set aside for this year for sidewalks in its neighborhood street and sidewalk development funds. That figure will decrease to $2.4 million next year because the sidewalk development fund will decrease, spokeswoman Megan Hoyt said.

    When Kate Martin, a landscape planner and designer from Greenwood and pedestrian activist, takes $2.4 million and divides it by the city’s 13 districts, she ends up with roughly $185,000 per year, per district.

    “At that rate, it’s a 400-year plan to fill in all the sidewalks in the city,” she said.

    But even when residents are willing to pull out their own checkbooks, the process of getting a sidewalk built is difficult because there are no clear guidelines or incentives, Martin said.

    That’s why, with the help of other pedestrian activists, Martin applied for a grant to write a “how-to” guide for those who have the funding.

    “It’s a sidewalk-for-dummies guide — in a good way because we’re all dummies when it comes to getting a sidewalk.”

    For those who can’t afford to dish out money, Martin said the city should consider offering zero-interest loans. She also thinks that the areas that don’t have the money should get more from programs such as the Neighborhood street fund that residents apply for.

    That’s not the case right now.

    The fund is generally distributed in equal proportions across districts, said Sandra Woods, Seattle Transportation staffer.

    Because of their later annexation into the city, however, North, West and South Seattle have the greatest sidewalk needs, said Renee Staton, who works with Safe Walks, a citywide coalition for pedestrian safety.

    The process of getting a sidewalk can be convoluted, Woods said.

    The application starts with residents and goes to the community council, which selects a limited amount of projects and passes them off to Seattle Transportation, Woods said.

    That department sets priorities for the projects according to its newly established criteria and then sends them back to the community council, which selects its top projects, she said.

    Then the project goes back to Seattle Transportation, which contacts Seattle utilities and other departments to get a cost estimate and a final feasibility check, Woods said. The cost of the project can increase in the meantime, she said.

    Murakami thinks the process is too complicated.

    “If you’re working one or two full-time jobs and trying to make ends meet, you’re not going to have time to do that,” Murakami said, adding that low-income areas end up being at a disadvantage in this equation.

    “The majority of people are not even aware that such a process exists and wouldn’t know how to go about it,” she said.

    But for Martin, the key issue is the small amount of funding.

    Staton agrees that there is not sufficient funding. But while the process of applying for money from the fund may be long, she believes that it brings out valuable conversations.

    “It’s democracy in action,” she said.

    And as with any democracy, there are those who will disagree.

    Vlad Oustimovich, an architect and planner from West Seattle, said not everybody wants sidewalks.

    When the city wanted to install sidewalks along a residential area by Alki Point a few years ago, residents protested, he said. And certain neighborhoods in Arbor Heights fear that having sidewalks would take away from their parking space, he said.

    But the benefits of sidewalks come out in the Highpoint Residential Community, which was redesigned by the Seattle Housing Authority with money from a federal program.

    “It was an area that was considered one of the worst neighborhoods in Seattle,” he said, referring to the crime statistics. Now, the newly built houses and wide walkways make it “a really good pedestrian environment.”

    Because of the limited funding, Staton thinks it’s important for all the districts to come together and look at the overall problem.

    While she thinks that South Seattle is at a greater disadvantage, Murakami agrees.

    “We can’t be selfish about this; we need to look at where the need is the greatest or pedestrian safety is at risk,” she said.


  • 650 miles of Seattle streets (40% of all city streets) lack sidewalks on both sides of the street. 
  • 30% of city streets — or 480 miles — have no sidewalks at all. 
  • — Source: City Councilman Nick Licata

    Are there problem sidewalks in your neighborhood? Let us know where they are. Send an e-mail to

    P-I reporter Evi Sztajno can be reached at

    A new jail in North Seattle? Residents say no

    Last updated July 12, 2008 4:46 p.m. PT


    The message from North Seattle residents Saturday about a jail on Aurora Avenue North was loud and clear: No inmates here, please.

    About 175 people gathered at North Seattle Community College to tell city leaders that a proposed 7-acre facility to hold misdemeanor inmates is better suited elsewhere.

    Among residents’ worries: Homes and schools are nearby, released inmates might stay in the area and the site is far from the city’s downtown municipal court.

    “I think an ideal spot would be an industrial area, like Sodo,” resident Will Murray, 46, said, referring to the South Seattle warehouse area.

    City leaders are under pressure to act because the King County Jail will run out of nearly all of its misdemeanor inmate space by the end of 2012, city senior policy analyst Catherine Cornwall said, though county officials have said recently that new projections suggest there is some wiggle room in that figure.

    And although the County Council recently directed County Executive Ron Sims to renegotiate the contract with Seattle and the other cities to house misdemeanor offenders in the county lockup, the current contract expires at the end of 2012.

    “We’re losing 100 percent of our jail beds. That’s what’s driving this,” Cornwall said. ” … Somebody has to build a jail.”

    Misdemeanor inmates include those arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, domestic violence, committing property crimes under $500 and criminal trespassing, she said.

    While the number of misdemeanor inmates in Seattle has dropped by 38 percent since 1996, the city still needs space. The law requires that certain people, such as domestic violence offenders and repeat drunk drivers, be locked up after arrested, Cornwall said.

    In North Seattle, the city has identified Puetz Golf, a driving range at 11762 Aurora Ave. N., as one possible site for the jail. The other locations are in Interbay and Southwest Seattle.

    None of the sites are on residential land, officials said.

    Seattle might work with Eastside cities and others in northern King County to build a jail.

    If Seattle works with other cities, the jail would have about 640 beds. Alone, the city needs a 445-bed facility to meet its needs through 2026.

    Shoreline and larger Eastside cities, such as Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland, are likely to come up with proposals about a jail site within their boundaries, Cornwall said.

    And city councils must approve plans before anything is built. Cornwall will give a briefing on the latest plans Tuesday to the council’s committee on Public Safety at City Hall.

    Other challenges include finding money to pay for the construction and making sure a jail can be ready by late 2012.

    Because it takes about two and a half years to build one, construction should ideally start in the summer of 2010, Cornwall said.

    Seattle city leaders would like to identify a jail site by the second quarter of 2009.

    “We’re just starting this process,” she said.

    Cities in southern King County are expected to come up with a plan to build their own municipal jail.

    At Saturday’s meeting, residents sat at tables, brainstormed and presented ideas during an open discussion period.

    Some said a high-rise jail closer to downtown would be a better option than a low-rise “sprawling” one. City officials believe a high-rise facility would be more expensive.

    One man argued the jail should be built on existing city property — so money will not be spent to buy private land. The crowd applauded.

    One woman criticized King County leaders for “shirking” their responsibility, saying that expanding county jails in downtown Seattle and Kent could be a solution.

    Seattle resident Amy Hall, 35, held her 11-month-old son in her arms.

    Pinned to the back of his shirt was a sign that said: “No Jail.”

    “We’re concerned given that we’re a young family,” she said. “Our main concern is the release of inmates, that they might stay behind.”

    Murray questioned whether a new jail so far north in the city would consume the time of patrol officers, who transport those arrested.

    He also acknowledged that building a jail would involve many back-and-forth meetings, especially if suburban cities participate in the process.

    “I don’t like process,” he said. “But I want to be part of it.”


    Community meetings about a Seattle municipal jail will be held on:

  • Saturday, July 26 at 9 a.m. at the Brockey Conference Center, South Seattle Community College, 6000 16th Ave. S.W.Focus: West Marginal Way and Myers Way sites.
  • Wednesday, July 30 at 6 p.m. at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, 225 Mercer St.Focus: Interbay site.JAIL SITES UNDER CONSIDERATION:
  • 11762 Aurora Ave. N.
  • 1600 W. Armory Way.
  • Highland Park Way Southwest and West Marginal Way.
  • 9501 Myers Way S.INFORMATION ONLINE:Visit
  • P-I reporter Brad Wong can be reached at 206-448-8137 or

    Haller Lake residents want to lock out jail

    Reasons given to build elsewhere: Schools, driving range, distance


    Residents of Haller Lake understand that Seattle neighborhoods aren’t exactly clamoring for a new jail.

    But out of four city-proposed sites, Haller Lake “is the worst,” residents of the North Seattle community said at a meeting Thursday night.

    Concerns go well beyond the usual NIMBY responses, said Wilson Stevenson, who is spearheading a group called CAJINS — Citizens Against the Jail in North Seattle.

    The proposed seven-acre site, he told the gathering, is too close to schools and homes. A jail, he said, could also draw the wrong crowd, boosting the local crime rate and threatening the area’s status as an urban village.

    Stevenson questioned the logic of displacing a thriving business — the Puetz Golf Driving Range on 11762 Aurora Ave. N. — particularly if the city had to resort to eminent domain proceedings.

    He also criticized the site as being the smallest and farthest from the King County Courthouse, requiring more fuel-draining trips for attorneys and police.

    “It just doesn’t make any sense to put it in Haller Lake,” Stevenson said. “I think we have some good legs to stand on.”

    Other residents agreed.

    “Even without a jail, we have enough problems with drugs and crime here; we don’t want any more,” said Riza Ryser, the mother of four kids. “There are seven schools plus child cares close by. The area is too populated with residents — I’m surprised the city would even consider it.”

    Unlike the other sites, the Haller Lake location would be a blow to the “hub urban village” envisioned in the Broadview-Bitter Lake-Haller Lake neighborhood plan, said Dale Johnson, president of the Broadview Community Council.

    “We’ve been trying to create a place like Ballard or Green Lake that accepts more density, but that is an attractive place to live, work, walk, shop and recreate,” he said. “If a jail comes here, instead of going forward, we’ll go backward.”

    The meeting, which drew about 250 people, was held at the Haller Lake Community Club, eight blocks north and a few streets east of the proposed jail site. A new 450-bed facility, mandated by the county, aims to house offenders whose crimes are misdemeanors.

    Golfers, many of whom have come to the Puetz range since they were young, weren’t supportive of the jail plan.

    “I know they have to find a jail site, but it would be a shame to see this driving range go,” said Ed Thenell, who used to golf at Puetz with his dad, and still comes year-round.

    “This place is busy all the time; they do a nice job here — it’s a nice atmosphere.”

    Nicholas Ericson and Pete Treperinas grew up playing golf at Puetz, competed in high school, and wound up working at the range’s golf shop. They said the family-owned driving range, celebrating its 63rd anniversary this year, “is like family.”

    “Why would you want to put a jail here?” Treperinas asked.

    “I like my job,” Ericson said. “I don’t want to lose it so they can put a jail here.”

    The other sites being considered are 7.7 acres at Interbay (1600 W. Armory Way), 10 acres at Highland Park Way Southwest and West Marginal Way Southwest (near the First Avenue South Bridge), and a city-owned 12-acre site at 9501 Myers Way S. adjacent to the Seattle Fire Training facility.

    Cindy Potter, of the neighborhood group GAIN (Greenwood Aurora Involved Neighbors), wrote in the recent Haller Lake Community Club newsletter that the Haller Lake site has the greatest number of public and private K-12 schools within a mile.

    She named Ingraham High School, Broadview-Thomson K-8, Northgate Elementary, Christ the King Elementary, Haller Lake Children’s Center, Living Wisdom School and Northgate Christian Academy.

    Others at the meeting added an eighth school — Lakeside — which is considered part of the Haller Lake area. Its track team, noted one resident, trains by running around Haller Lake.

    Some in the audience said the Haller Lake site would be a bad fit for the people locked up, too.

    They said the area lacked social services, yet has drugs, prostitution and other crime that could derail offenders as soon as they’re released.

    P-I reporter Debera Carlton Harrell can be reached at 206-448-8326 or

    Change may be coming to Aurora Avenue North

    Photo Meryl Schenker / P-I
    Cindy Potter and son Elliott, 7, pass a vacant lot on Aurora Avenue North near North 89th Street, next to the Green Lake Motel, which was closed in May because of health code violations. An assault on Aurora led Potter and others living nearby to form a group that aims to clean up trouble spots on the strip.

    Future looks brighter for downtrodden strip

    Monday, June 9, 2008

    Change comes slowly to Aurora Avenue North.

    As the surrounding area turned rich, clean and a little bland over the past 20 years, the 70-block-long stretch of highway between Green Lake and Shoreline has remained more or less the same.

    The used-car lots and building material supply stores still line the city’s old main drag. Seattle’s dead find their last rest at Evergreen-Washelli Funeral Home and Cemetery; the city’s down and out land at low-rent motels lining the strip.

    The prostitutes, the pushers — they remain. But change, wanted or not, is coming to Aurora.

    Earlier this year, a citizens group organized by the city drafted a 40-point improvement plan. City engineers have inked a proposal for a dramatic revamp of the highway’s northern end. Express buses are on their way, as are the condos-over-retail-space buildings ubiquitous in Seattle’s remade neighborhoods.

    Crime rates in the once-dicey neighborhood are down, thanks in part to the initiative of residents. A recent spate of motel closures by the state Health Department has some wondering if city officials are quietly trying to push out the poorest.

    “It’s almost like there was a kind of campaign against them. And it’s too bad, because now we’ve got a bunch of people out on the street,” said Faye Garneau, director of the Aurora Avenue Merchants Association. “The city has no places for these people to go.”

    Garneau and her husband have owned property along Aurora Avenue for more than 30 years. She said she’s seen the corridor better and worse in that time and acknowledged that prostitution and drug dealing remain problematic on the street.

    It’s also home to more than 500 businesses, including a smattering of Seattle institutions such as Puetz Golf, Garneau said. Most draw customers from the 40,000 or so drivers who use the street daily.

    Some members of Garneau’s organization saw their livelihoods threatened by a city plan to remake Aurora. The merchants association successfully fought the city when it moved to put the proposals on track for expedited review.

    If adopted, the proposals would bring wider sidewalks and an end to the center turn lane to a 35-block-long stretch of Aurora Avenue from North 110th Street to the Shoreline border, said Rick Sheridan, a spokesman for the Seattle Department of Transportation. Three lanes would carry traffic in each direction, including one lane reserved for bus and business traffic.

    The aim, Sheridan said, is to make the road safer for drivers as well as pedestrians, who are forced to walk in traffic at several spots lacking sidewalks along the road. A planted center median would also moderate the area’s industrial feel.

    “It’s really not meeting the needs of anyone in that community,” Sheridan said, referring to Aurora. “We can really create a more vibrant neighborhood.”

    A bus rapid transit line would be included in the redesign. The proposed line would shuttle people into the city’s core with minimal stops and buses coming at 10-minute intervals.

    Sheridan said the designs are preliminary and that construction wouldn’t start until 2011 at the earliest.

    Garneau believes the plan as proposed would cut off access to several businesses and push more traffic onto surrounding streets. Business owners are also concerned about a loss of parking.

    Community activist Cindy Potter’s organization, Greenwood Aurora Involved Neighbors, didn’t weigh in on the city proposal because it stopped just short of GAIN’s membership area. But she said some of the improvements suggested would be a welcome change anywhere on Aurora.

    Having lived a half-block away from Aurora for nine years, Potter said she believes the neighborhood’s good qualities are often overlooked.

    “Having grown up in Seattle, I never would have even thought to look at a house a half-block from Aurora,” Potter said. “People think of Aurora as such a trashy place, but you just step a few feet away and it’s a nice residential area.”

    Potter isn’t a Pollyanna. She knows her neighborhood can be a violent place.

    An act of violence actually prompted Potter and 11 others to start GAIN three years ago. A block watch captain attempting to shoo away three teenage drug dealers was beaten into unconsciousness. He lay on the street for hours before anyone came to his aid.

    Since then GAIN members have been walking the streets around Aurora and cleaning up trouble spots.

    Potter subscribes to the “broken window theory” of crime prevention, essentially that badly maintained areas tend to invite trouble. One broken window invites another, one streetwalker or drug dealer shows others they’re welcome to join in.

    Potter said they’ve had an impact; police are getting fewer calls, and dump sites usually stay clean after the litter removal crew’s work is done.

    Developers also have arrived. Rows of townhouses line the blocks tucked off Aurora. Now two mixed-use buildings — the kind with condos over retail space — are being planned on Aurora itself.

    The city Planning and Development Department plans to launch a study of area, Deputy Director Alan Justad said. Planners will try to determine how much room for growth is there.

    Justad said some planners have been interviewing property owners. But he said the effort won’t begin in earnest until late this year at the earliest.

    “The value of land is going to continue to go up there,” Justad said. “So there’s going to be growth there whether we prepare for it or not.”

    The Aurora motels, nearly all of which cater to the city’s poorest residents, remain a sticking point in that revitalization effort.

    For some, the low-rent motels lining Aurora Avenue remain a refuge of last resort. They also have tended to attract drug dealers and prostitutes, and some have fallen into disrepair.

    Since March, state health officials have closed four Aurora Avenue motels. Two have reopened.

    Last week, authorities closed down the Seals Motel after receiving two complaints from Seattle police and another complaint from a customer. The emergency closure followed a similar action in mid-May against the Green Lake Motel.

    Shannon Walker, director of the Health Department’s Facilities Licensing Division, said it’s unusual for her office to receive complaints from police departments. But she dismissed the assertion that her inspectors were assisting the city in an attempt to push out the hotels.

    “Right now, we have two surveyors in Washington state,” Walker said. “We only have the resources to look at complaints that come in.”

    Garneau, whose organization includes several motel owners, remains unconvinced.

    “This year, it just seems to me that there’s a little overzealousness on the part of the inspectors,” Garneau said. “It’s a conception that a lot of people have, that these motels cause the drugs and prostitution. They don’t.”

    Motel owners have an interest in keeping their places in compliance, and most won’t rent to clients they believe will destroy their rooms, Garneau said. But she said many renters aren’t able to care for themselves and can create a filthy environment almost immediately.

    Since moving to the area in 1999, Potter said she’s seen motels on Aurora languish in disrepair. She supports the enforcement action and believes some motel owners are essentially profiting from the misfortune of their clients.

    While cheaper than other options, the motels are hardly a bargain, Potter said. Most residents pay upward of $1,100 a month in rent.

    Some motel dwellers just can’t get a deposit together for an apartment, others have problems with their credit or criminal history. Potter said some just don’t realize there are better options out there for them.

    “Nobody needs a strip like this in their city,” she said. “And there’s no reason why it has festered for so long.”

    P-I reporter Levi Pulkkinen can be reached at 206-448-8348 or

    Seattle names 4 sites that could house jail

    Seattle officials Tuesday announced four possible sites for a new jail that would hold misdemeanor offenders when the King County Jail runs out of space.

    The potential locations are all on industrial or commercial land outside of downtown:

    • 11762 Aurora Ave. N. — currently a golf driving range and pro shop.

    • 1600 W. Armory Way — a group of small warehouses south of Seattle’s Interbay Golf Course.

    • 7200 West Marginal Way S.W. — a patch of mostly vacant land near the First Avenue South Bridge.

    • 9501 Myers Way S. — part of a former gravel pit adjacent to the city’s new firefighter-training facility.

    City officials recognize that putting a new jail in any neighborhood is likely to be controversial.

    “I’m already starting to hear from some of my neighbors,” said City Councilmember Tim Burgess, who lives in Queen Anne, which is close to the Interbay site.

    “There are going to be a lot of complaints, and many of them will be fear-driven,” said Burgess, who chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee. “But when we look at the facts, I think we can all understand the need for a jail, and we can understand that they can be safely run in our communities.”

    City officials said they intend to seek plenty of public input before making a final decision. Burgess expects the process to take about nine months.

    “We’re really committed to being a good neighbor on this,” said Catherine Cornwall, a senior policy adviser in the city’s Office of Policy and Management, who is leading the jail project for the city.

    Seattle estimates it will need 445 beds in the new jail. A consultant two years ago estimated the cost at $110 million.

    At least seven acres are needed to build the preferred low-rise complex. The city reviewed 35 sites and narrowed those down to 11 before settling on the four properties announced Tuesday.

    But Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis stressed that the city isn’t locked into those four sites and will listen to suggestions about other possibilities.

    “We’re still open to additional sites,” he said.

    Seattle needs new jail space because the King County Jail won’t accept any more misdemeanor prisoners — people serving sentences of less than a year for crimes such as drunken driving or petty theft — after the city’s current contract with the jail ends Dec. 31, 2012.

    Cornwall said Seattle already has done a lot of work finding alternatives to jail by diverting offenders into treatment programs and using electronic home monitoring. The number of people in jail on Seattle misdemeanor charges has dropped by 38 percent over the past 10 years, according to the city.

    But beds still are required for crimes, such as repeated drunken driving, that carry mandatory sentences.

    Other nearby cities face the same problem and are weighing whether to build additional municipal jails in the coming years.

    Seattle ultimately could combine its new jail effort with Eastside and North King County cities — which need about 200 jail beds.

    Ceis said if Seattle merges its efforts with those cities, the suburbs also would have to put some potential jail sites up for consideration.

    South King County cities, meanwhile, are looking at building their own separate jail. They have hired a real-estate broker and are looking for possible properties for a new 800-bed jail, said Renton Police Chief Kevin Milosevich.

    Those cities include Renton, Auburn, Tukwila, Kent, Des Moines and Federal Way.

    Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or

    Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company