Wallingford was crazy today with opening day and the pretty weather and free comics and the plant sale, and apparently the party’s just getting started. Brady offered us this hot tip:

I was driving by the Puffin Glass space today (321 NE 45th) and saw people in there working. I stopped in to ask them what was up. They are working on the tenant improvements and will be ready to open in 2 weeks. They aren’t associated with Puffin Glass, but will be opening a 502 shop (Recreational weed).

So in addition to a restaurant critic, I think Wallyhood is going to need a pot critic. Beyond that, the weather is too nice for hard hitting investigative journalism or grumpy opinion pieces, so for today here’s a couple pics from Saturday:

Comic Store

Free Comic Book Day! I would pay to see this group in the next Avengers film

chicks in th sun

Our chicks are now one month old and half downy and half feathery- Saturday was their first day outside!


Wallyhood requested safety data for Green Lake Way N and N 50th because the Move Levy targets those streets for a cycle track. We also requested safety data for 45th street because SD
OT is not investing in connecting Wallingford to the U-District. Here’s the safety data from Brian Dougherty at SDOT (thanks Brian!):

Safety Data

As you can see, Green Lake Way and N 50th pose very little danger to people on bikes or pedestrians. I know this first hand as I bike those roads daily. It’s hard to justify the expense of cycle tracks here plus the complications that will come from throttling the intersection at 50th and Green Lake Way in order to fit in cycle tracks.

Meanwhile, the stretch between 4th and Brooklyn is very dangerous for both people on bikes and for pedestrians, and that’s before light rail opens! And it’s not just dangerous in terms of our neighborhood, a few years back the spot in front of Dick’s was rated the most dangerous intersection for cyclists in all of Seattle. Clearly 45th is not a happy place to be on a bike, but that’s Wallingford’s designated path for biking to the U-District and Light Rail.

There’s a straight forward fix. We need a line item in the Move Levy budget for “Connecting Wallingford to Light Rail in the U-District”. Here are current investments in the Move Levy budget for light rail access:

  • $10 Million: Provide City funding contribution for a new Link light rail station at Graham Street in southeast Seattle $10M
  • $15 Million (+$10 Million Match): Provide additional City funding for a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-5 connecting to light rail in Northgate

The good news is there is hope we can be the next item on that list- there’s a walking tour with SDOT being scheduled for Sunday, May 17th, from 11 AM to 1 PM. More on that as plans take shape. It will be the one time SDOT comes to Wallingford to collect feedback on the Move Levy. We hope they see for themselves and make the necessary corrections!

Note: Backing data for 45th is posted here, Green Lake Way N is posted here, and N 50th is posted here. It’s all PDFs and pretty hard to digest, I have spreadsheets I built and can share on request.

Addendum: Norm Mah, SDOT spokesperson, reached out privately to Jordan and asked to post an editorial on Wallyhood in favor of the Move Levy. Much thanks to Jordan for stopping the end run and sending Norm to me. I replied to Norm saying that I would love to do a written interview that we would publish in full, without editing, so that we could ask pointed questions and SDOT could reply in full. Norm declined and has since stopped replying to emails. I think he was trying to get back on message, and is now trying to starve Wallyhood of information since our coverage of the Move Levy has been less than glowing. I’m not sure I should have to say it, but much thanks to Brian Dougherty and Hannah McIntosh for not blocking the data release that led to this article. Covering this Levy would be much harder if I had to go through freedom of information requests to figure out basic information like accident rates. Finally, if anyone at SDOT decides to talk to Wallyhood and do a full interview we would be super appreciative- just let us know!

The Meaningful Movies features PRIDE today at 7 PM. The movie features striking mineworkers and gay activists working together to fight the erstwhile scourge that was Margaret Thatcher.

The Tilth Edible Plant Sale is this weekend at the Good Shepherd Center from 9 AM to 3 PM each day, or you can pay to go early on Friday from 5 to 7 PM and have your pick of the plants, or you can be cheap and go at the end of the day on Sunday to get plants for half off (at least if prior years are a guide).

Don’t forget to bring flats to put your plants in! It’s the plant sale equivalent of reusable grocery bags. Here’s the schedule of educational talks:


  • 10:00 a.m. Choosing Hop Varieties for Home Brewing
  • 11:00 a.m. Kid Picks: Tasty Plant Favorites from the Children’s Garden
  • Noon Growing Tomatoes 101
  • 1 p.m. The Art of Spring Rolls
  • 2 p.m. Bloom On: Flowers to Enhance Your Edible Garden


  • 10:00 a.m. Grow a Living Wall
  • 11:00 a.m. Bartender’s Garden: Great Plants for Mixing Cocktails
  • Noon Attracting Garden Assassins: Pest management through diversity

Also, as mentioned in the comments, after you get your plants you can pop into the WCSC for pancakes!

One of 3 brother tigers now at the zoo

One of 3 brother tigers now at the zoo

The Zoo may no longer have elephants but starting tomorrow it has a new Tiger exhibit with 3 new tigers, a new sloth bear exhibit, and summer hours, staying open until 6 PM every night.

Alice in Wonderland at Stone Soup Theater wraps up its run this weekend.

Laura Kastner, clinical professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington, will be speaking on Wednesday night at Meridian School about how to manage your tweenagers. Hint: Randomly yell at them when they get on your nerves, it keeps them off balance and stops them from getting too uppity.

The Wallingford Community Council is scrubbing their Wednesday meeting next week as they have scheduled their annual meeting for 5/27, coincidentally the same night that the Wallingford Farmer’s Market starts back up.

The Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center will feature performances this Saturday and next week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Next Friday’s performance on May 8th may be interesting if you want to chat with the performers, as John Teske says:

A lot of the Wayward shows are experimental but the Composers’ Salon in particular focuses on dialogue between composers, performers, and audience. For both new and seasoned composers, it offers not only the chance to try something new but to discuss/workshop/validate ideas with their peers as well as the fresh ears in the audience.

Enjoy your weekend!

Pesticides at the Parks

Last week, after reading this piece about Wallingford’s sewage ending up in Lake Union and the new incentive program for building rain gardens, I contacted the RainWise program through the City of Seattle. My children attend school in the Lincoln High building, which I learned is eligible for the rain garden program due to its proximity to Stone Way N. So, imagine my surprise when I walked past this a few days later:


This sign was posted in the shrubbery that is just below the west side of the basketball court at Hamilton Middle School (one block from the Lincoln High building). What a winning place to spray RoundUp and surflan – next to a park with a playfield, adjacent to school property and IN A FREAKING CITY-DESIGNATED HIGH RUNOFF ZONE. Seriously.

I am fully aware that despite studies that indicate that the supposedly “inert” ingredients in RoundUp actually aren’t so inert (they are quite likely carcinogenic), there are people out there who trust the industry-funded studies that claim that glyphosphate (the active ingredient in RoundUp) is perfectly safe for humans. What isn’t disputable is that RoundUp is decidedly unsafe for aquatic creatures. You know, the kind that might live in the lake at the bottom of Stone Way where all of our runoff ends up. Multiple studies such as this one have demonstrated the lethal effects of RoundUp on amphibians and other aquatic creatures. Even more tellingly, RoundUp’s own product information guide states, “toxic to aquatic organisms.”

I contacted Seattle Parks Department’s Barbara DeCaro, IPM Manager – Sustainable Landscapes Program, for more information. Admittedly, Parks has a big job on its hands in trying to maintain its many acres and follow Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices at the same time. Ms. DeCaro stated that,

“No herbicides are used on athletic fields or lawns, but limited use of low impact, low toxicity herbicides occur for persistent weed management situations in shrub beds and around trees, and in natural areas undergoing reforestation where invasive weeds are problematic.

In Wallingford Playfield, the herbicides used are Tier 2 products, which are limited to spot applications to noxious and invasive weeds, when manual methods have failed or are difficult to use in specific areas. These products are approved for this type of use, because they are considered to have very low toxicity and low risk of contact when applied correctly, and are well-known to break down easily in the environment.”

She then went on to say, “Glyphosate is also non-toxic to bees, fish, and other aquatic organisms (emphasis mine).” 

I’m not sure how Parks has reached the conclusion that glyphosphate is not toxic to aquatic organisms when RoundUp’s own products information plainly states otherwise. I find it extremely troubling that while one branch of our city government is promoting the RainWise program to help mitigate the problems caused by urban runoff, the Parks Department is off spraying RoundUp in a runoff zone. Even worse, Parks posts (required) neighborhood notices listing the products that it is using, which essentially gives homeowners permission to spray RoundUp at home (even if home is located in said runoff zone). If the city is spraying RoundUp at a park abutting a school, then it must be safe to use, right? I can apply it to my own yard with no harmful consequences, right? Never mind all the work that salmon protection organizations are doing to improve water quality in our watersheds so that salmon and the many creatures that depend on them can survive. Apparently it takes legal action to get people and their governments to connect the dots between pesticide use and die-offs in “non-target species.”

While many of us Seattleites hate the use of herbicides and pesticides, and use old-fashioned elbow grease to rid our properties of weeds, our public institutions unfortunately are still spraying. Seattle Public Schools uses herbicides and pesticides, and with the exception of Meridian Playfield and a handful of other “pesticide-free parks,” Seattle Parks Department uses them as well. However, Vancouver, B.C. has eliminated pesticide and herbicide use at all “neighbourhood parks, sport fields and playgrounds.” If we can’t do that, can’t we at least quit spraying poison in runoff zones? It only makes sense for Parks, Seattle Public Schools and all of us living here to stop using harmful products that are going to end up in Lake Union.

Any neighbors who feel similarly that pesticides should not be used as parks, playgrounds or sports fields, especially when those are located in a high runoff zone, should contact Barbara DeCaro at the Parks Department. But be prepared to receive a lengthy explanation of why glyphosphate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, should not concern you. Sigh.



People keep asking about Kitaro, so I poked my head into Falcone’s dentistry office and then Molly Moons ice cream emporium, but neither had any insights. I think they have gotten used to the presence, like some wreckage from the great cavity war that they’d rather not dwell on.

If I was a better reporter I’d go back to DPD and do some hard core investigative reporting, but I’m not so I’m hoping someone has some info that they’ll pass on in the comments. If you want reporting, the excellent story that was offered 2 years ago on this here blog is still your best source.

My uninformed prediction is that some day 45th will be 4 story condos except for Kitaro, which will stubbornly sit there like the Edith Macefield house. In the mean time, here are some not so pretty pictures that Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren took for us:


kitaro-4kitaro-1 kitaro-3


Wallingford, Seattle and Earthquakes

Like Nepal, and unlike California, we live in a tectonic plate crumple zone. Here are 3 maps that zoom into our neighborhood, showing the risks. At a broad level, California and Oregon are shoving us into Canada:

West Coast

Unlike California, we are in a confusing crumple zone with faults all over the place

That crumple action means you can expect one of 3 types of earthquakes here. The most frequent and least serious type are like the 2001 Nisqually quake- deep underground with movement that will knock over brick chimneys, topple TV’s, and maybe collapse aging viaducts or a building in Pioneer Square. The second type is a magnitude 9 mega quake that will happen when the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast moves, similar to what happened in Japan. If that goes you will feel very long lasting and powerful waves from side to side, with most of the danger being to older, taller structures, plus tsunami flood zones along the coast. Finally, the most dangerous type of quake here in Seattle is a shallow quake nearby, most obviously along the Seattle Fault, with violent shaking leveling older buildings in large numbers:

Washington State

Fortunately subduction quakes are far enough away from us that they won’t decimate us like they will the Washington Coast

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

Seattle Earthquakes

There’s a 10% chance that in the next 50 years Wallingford will have an earthquake that shakes us with more than 1/2 the force of gravity

In theory our earthquake communication hubs are Lower Woodland Park, the Good Shepherd Center, and History House down in Fremont. I expect my communications hub will be my back yard plus a transistor radio, or if things get really ugly then the satellite radio in my car, and my camping gear will help with the rest.

The building boom in Seattle has its blessings, because prior to 1980 there were no earthquake building codes in Seattle at all, and it wasn’t until 1992 that the Seattle Fault was discovered. As we watch 45th and Stone Way get plowed under, it’s worth being thankful that those old single story brick buildings are being torn down before being subjected to a major earthquake.

My understanding is that our public schools are up to code except for Lincoln, which is slated for a rebuild in 2019, but many private schools are not up to code as there’s no system forcing upgrades like there are in public schools. We went on a tour of a fancy private school and were surprised that nobody even knew if their charming 100 year old brick building had been retrofit. Even the real estate agents I speak with say that earthquake readiness doesn’t register with buyers, much less renters.

In general, retrofits are a lot less effective than new construction. Retrofits bolt houses to foundations and roofs to houses, but they typically don’t insert shear walls and other stuff that happens in new construction. So if you live in a charming old bungalow you may wish to befriend the Amazon employee in the modern McMansion next door so that they will let you in after the big one hits and it’s 40 degrees and raining outside.

Here’s standard preparedness things to be aware of:

  • Make sure everyone who stays in the house alone knows how to turn off mains for gas, electricity, and water
  • Attach stuff to walls so it doesn’t topple
  • Have first aid supplies and a fire extinguisher at the ready
  • Retrofit your home if it hasn’t been done already
  • Be ready for a week of being unsupported by society- no groceries, no fresh water, no medical care, no electricity or communications

Nearly one million people have been killed by earthquakes since 2000. Here is the list of quakes that have killed at least 20,000 people in the last 15 years:

Date Location Deaths Magnitude
3/11/2011 Japan 20,896 9
1/12/2010 Haiti region 316,000 7
5/12/2008 Eastern Sichuan, China 87,587 7.9
10/8/2005 Pakistan 86,000 7.6
12/26/2004 Sumatra 227,898 9.1
12/26/2003 Southeastern Iran 31,000 6.6
1/26/2001 Gujarat, India 20,085 7.6


Finally, I want to pimp a book that’s probably the best read I’ve had in the last 5 years. It’s a detailed account by the Seattle Times science reporter on how northwest geologists figured out our earthquake risks here. Here it is:



Updating Play Equipment at John Stanford School

Lucie Campbell and Greg Lewis wrote the following in the hope you can help them with a new playground at JSIS as part of the neighborhood matching fund process:

The south Wallyhood playground at JSIS serves 460 children every day and also is a popular playground for the surrounding neighborhood.

Community members and parents are kicking off a project to replace the nearly 20-year-old play equipment. Just for fun we wanted to share a few “old” photos from the playground – maybe you remember these days in Wallingford:

jsis long ago

Photo from 20+ years ago

jsis 1997

Photo from 1997 when the current equipment was installed

The equipment needing to be replaced was installed in 1997 and has supplied hours of fun to thousands of local children. But, it also has been re-welded several times over the years. Five years ago, a net climbing tower was added to the southwest area of the playground and has been a great addition…BUT the main equipment is ready to be replaced for the next generation of play. In the last 6 years the number of kids playing at JSIS playground has grown over 40% and this small playground needs more play space.

We are in final stages of applying for a grant from Seattle’s Neighborhood Matching Fund / Large Projects Fund and hope to gather support to move the project forward. (Note: The Seattle School Budget has zero funding for playground updates at our local schools – these projects are 100% volunteer run and funded by grants and donations.)

Here’s an inspirational “glimpse” at what could be chosen to replace the old equipment:

jsis possibility

Disclaimer: this is not the final choice, just one of the great ideas being considering if funds allow


As part of the playground planning, volunteers are working on ideas that include:

  • Replacing the old play equipment to allow greater capacity and more diverse play activities.
  • Making space safer and improving the flow of play by removing concrete walls & railings
  • Adding landscaping & art elements to liven up this space that sits right next to I-5.

One thing that really strengthens the team’s grant application to the Dept of Neighborhoods is to show many names that support the project. In particular we want to include names of people who might have skills to lend to the project (landscape architects, construction experts, manual labor to landscape and install new equipment). We need professional help with the artistic elements and the concrete removal and work.

If you have skills to lend, time to volunteer, or ideas, contact Wallingford resident Greg Lewis or post here. Or, even easier, just add your name to this growing list of community members who want to help in various ways:  www.SignUpGenius.com/go/60B0B45ABAC2CA02-jsis1

Stay tuned for further updates.  The grant application is due next week!

Looking for a mobile event app for your conference?