KOMO is reporting that there was a police shooting death at Gas Works Park last night, at approximately 2:45 am:

[Officers] were approached by a security guard who said a transient had attacked him in the park.

The guard told officers that the man had lit a small campfire in the park and attacked the guard when he told the man to extinguish the fire and leave the park.

A crisis intervention team was called to the scene in an attempt to de-escalate the confrontation, but the man suddenly broke a glass bottle and brandished it at officers, said Patrick Michaud of the Seattle police.

Officers stunned the man with a Taser – twice – but it did not stop him.

The suspect, still armed with the broken bottle, then advanced on a group of officers. Two officers opened fire, striking the suspect multiple times, Michaud said.

The suspect was taken to Harborview, where he died several hours later. The officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, per standard protocol in shootings. Gas Works Park is closed for the investigation.

Note Writers: Take Note

10515225_10203326443614719_4877380060974268842_oOur friend and neighbor Beth had an Amazon package stolen off her front porch the other day. To add insult to injury, she discovered the theft when a helpful neighbor left this note, along with the empty box, on her doorstep:

This cardboard was inappropriately discarded in the small Bus Stop container which is provided as a courtesy and maintained by a neighbor. It is intended for litter control and fitted with swinging cover to deter crows.

Since your address remained with the fully recyclable material, I am returning it to you for PROPER disposal in YOUR recycling Bin.

Thank you.

Needless to say, the note was unsigned (but they did say “Thank you”!). Beth, of course, was gobsmacked and wounded, posting to her Facebook account:

Amazon is replacing it at no charge but I’m actually more upset that this person thinks we would actually stuff our recyclable garbage in the bus stop bin. Seriously?! Who does that besides criminals? My reputation is besmirched.

The entire episode is a perfectly carved effigy of Seattle culture, the note a prim poem flawlessly rendering right here, right now. The Amazon delivery, the front porch theft, the volunteer maintained “litter control container” with swinging crow deterrent, the anonymous, passive aggressive note, written in impeccable block lettering on paper torn from a pocket spiral notebook, the indignant finger wag of the militant recycler. What’s missing?

To anyone assembling a time capsule and seeking artifacts that capture the essence of one slice, at least, of Wallingford, Seattle c. 2014 for future historians, I submit this note.

Really, though, we’re not all like that. There are those amongst us who would have given the benefit of the doubt to their neighbor, and simply plucked the cardboard from the bin and recycled it, right? Or maybe would have knocked on the door instead of leaving a note?

Please folks, think twice before dashing off an angry note for someone’s doorstep or their windshield. Maybe you don’t know all the facts. Say your piece, but say it nicely. You don’t want to be the asshat who wrote that note.

PS If the note writer wants to post an apology, anonymous or otherwise, I’ll give him/her a big virtual hug.

Screwed Again

303577446_f8c4933a38_zJon Berkedal wrote in the Wallyhood Forums:

Several cars in our neighborhood (43rd and Latona) have had screws in their tires. One tire had the shaft of the screw driver in it. Some time ago, Wallingford in general had a rash of similar events. Additionally, one family has had their Honda stolen three times in the last year. Not sure what is going on here or why, or what can be done short of installation of security cameras. Just thought you should know.

Jon’s correct that this particular form of vandalism is sadly not new to Wallingford. Back in 2012, we ran another “Screwed” story, where a series of readers chimed in with similar stories:

In the last month, 3 out of us 4 roommates have gotten flat tires. Ironically, the same rear tire and usually a week a part from the previous flat. We have found this to be very suspicious and just too much of a coincidence to believe it’s unintentional. After the 3rd car was found with a flat, we took handling the situation more seriously in filing police reports. This flat tire was also confirmed to have been intentional by the size of the screw and the nature of its placement. 

I’m just dumbfounded what the nutjob’s motivation could be. I can’t figure out how they could benefit, and it doesn’t have the visceral kick of arson. Someone who just hates tires?

In other car news, Forum readers report a smashed window / car prowl in the same area (1st Ave near 45th) and car thefts near 42nd and Meridian.

Here’s an almost totally unrelated tip: we love hanging out on our front porch, but the new LED street lights they installed a few years back were blindingly bright. Turns out if you send in a request to the city, they’ll adjust the focus so they don’t shine on your house! E-mail the 7 digit number on the telephone pole and your address to [email protected]

It makes hanging out on your front porch in the evening much more pleasant. Which, in turn, might help you spot the screwball.


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Seattle Night Out Planning

2011-08-02 20.24.12Quick reminder that Seattle Night Out is coming up not this Tuesday, but the following Tuesday, August 5th. As in past years, streets across the neighborhood and the city will be blocked off, card tables and lawn chairs will be hauled out front and folks who have recognized each other as only “that guy with the stubby legged dog” and “that lady that looks like she’s into cosplay” will get tipsy, eat sausages, learn each others names, and share recipes for massaged kale salad.

You don’t need to do anything special to “register” your event, but the mayor’s office did send me this somewhat befuddling request:

We are currently trying to sign up events around the city to be Night Out Events, for the big Seattle Night Out on August 5th.

You guys have your Trivia night event, which would be great to get signed up!  Basically what signing up does is put your event on a map with all the other events around the city, for members of the community to meet that night.

Attached is the link to sign up a Night Out Event, which puts your event (the trivia night) on a map with all other events in the city.

I say befuddling because Wallyhood has encouraged Night Out events, but not actually organized them, and definitely not trivia night. But maybe someone else out there in Wallingford has?

Register your trivia night, your pie eating contest, your live band, your Tangletown-to-Gas Works 18 hold disc golf tournament!

Or just use your office copies to run off an announcement, drop it in your neighbor’s mailslots and plan to get neighborly.

Another View: Parks Funding No

(Yesterday, we ran a post from a supporter of Prop 1, the ballot measure that would replace the expiring Parks Levy to create funding for maintaining Seattle parks. Toni Long replied with this counterpoint, arguing against the measure. Ballots are due August 5th.)

7524424592_0cdf706719_zProp. 1 permanently establishes a Metropolitan Park District for Seattle.  I worked for Seattle Parks in the 1980s and polled some of my former maintenance and planning colleagues (all retired within the past couple years).  All recommend voting no, as does the League of Women Voters. There are many good organizations and individuals in favor of Prop. 1, which honestly I do not understand.  Although I am usually a “good Democrat” and vote yes for these property tax measures, I will be voting NO.
We all agree that Seattle Parks requires more money for the parks to be properly maintained, the issue is whether the MPD is the correct long-term solution.  My major concerns are:
  1. This new District could only be dissolved or its actions reversed by its governing body (Seattle City Council) or a change in State law…not by local initiative.  Thus, if it does not meet the public’s expectations in 4 years or 10 years, it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to reverse.
  2.  Currently, the public has an opportunity to approve how Seattle Parks plans to spend levy funds when it votes for them.  If approved, Prop. 1 would shift that public voice to the City Council.  Yes, we would have the opportunity when it comes time to re-elect City Council Members, but few of us are single-issue voters, so this is unlikely to happen.
  3.  Current State law allows MPD’s to sell, commercialize and privatize park assets.  Thus it could shift Parks’ assets for other uses.
  4.  Prop. 2 includes an “interlocal agreement” that guarantees that the City would maintain its current general fund support for the Seattle Parks system for 6 years. After that, however, general fund support can be cut or eliminated without public input. I anticipate this will occur due to the constant pressure on general funds to be used for other purposes.
  5.  Property taxes can be increased up to 75 cents per $1,000 of valuation without a public vote. The Voters’ Pamphlet  states that to be “$.0.33 per thousand dollars of assessed value or $145 per year for an average home with a value of $440,000.  As a separate taxing authority from the City of Seattle, the District could levy additional property tax above the current “lid” restrictions that state law imposes on Seattle.”  I anticipate general funds directed at Seattle Parks to decrease over time and MPD taxes to increase.  It’s just my prediction.
 We all agree that Parks maintenance funds need to be increased.  I would like more work to be done to develop a solution that includes more accountability for decisions about how funds will be spent beyond the first 6 years and how funds will be increased in the future — a solution that keeps the public empowered to participate in these decisions.
Clearly, we won’t all agree, but I thought I would share my thoughts.  Read your Voters’ Pamphlet carefully.
(Photo by Michael Martin)

Do You Go To The Park?

(Wallyhood reader Antoinette Angulo offers this explanation and endorsement of Prop 1. Ballots due by August 5th.)

What is Prop 1?
Proposition 1 will create a stable revenue source that will direct dedicated funds to support the maintenance, upkeep and operations of our more than 6,000 acres of City parklands spread over more than 450 separate parks, our 26 community centers, 185 athletic fields and more than 120 playgrounds. Prop 1 would create a park district, which would levy $.33 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is equal to an increase of $4 per month from the expiring parks levy.  The park district would be overseen by the City Councilmembers, soon to be elected by district themselves.  Prop 1 is quite simple; it creates a new revenue source and all current rules that apply to the operations and maintenance of Seattle parks would still apply.  The Mayor will continue to propose park budgets, the Council will approve them and the Parks Department will administer our system of parks that is consistent with City policy and administrative code.

There is more citizen oversight and opportunities for public comment built into this than any other funding proposal in the past. In addition to the Seattle Parks Board oversight responsibilities (also created by the City Charter), a Community Oversight Committee shall be formed to provide advice to the Mayor, City Council, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation and to provide oversight of the projects, programs and services undertaken jointly by the City and the Seattle Parks District. Implementation of the Seattle Park District will also mandate annual performance audits of the Parks Department.


How does Prop 1 differ from the levies?
Levies have served Seattle reasonably well, but they have shortcomings and there have been significant changes in the last decade. First, I-747 (Tim Eyman’s effort to limit taxes to 1% increase per year) means that our city budget is growing slower than the rate of inflation, resulting in a decline in real dollars each year. With the Great Recession, our parks suffered a 33% reduction in budget over the last six years, resulting in $267 million in deferred maintenance. Finally, levies are constrained and Seattle is approaching the limit of what we can levy.  A park district allows us to fund parks in a stable way, without competing with human services, education, transportation and other worthy causes that rely on levies.  Prop 1 addresses these challenges using a state authorized funding mechanism. Just as fees and general funds flow into the budget process, so too would funds from the park district.

What will Prop 1 do?
If passed by the voters, Prop 1 will dedicate nearly 2/3 of the funding to “fix it first” – investing in our existing parks and community centers to make sure they meet our needs for the long run.  (Remember the $267 million backlog in deferred maintenance?)  As any homeowner knows, there is always a list of repairs. The same is true for our parks, even more so. We will see and feel some of these improvements in Wallingford.  There is funding in Prop 1 for repairs and maintenance on the Burke Gilman Trail, Meridian Playground, Gas Works Park, and nearby at Green Lake and in Woodland Park.

Other dollars are invested in programs for kids and seniors, to ensure everyone can afford to participate in public sports leagues and community centers activities. Funding parks for all is very much in line with the Department of Parks and Recreation’s values:  Access, Opportunity, and Sustainability.

Consider this: kids need activities – especially when school is out in the hot summer. If kids can’t afford to participate in programs at public community centers, they will find other things to do – sometimes to our collective detriment. Research and common sense shows that well-maintained, affordable parks and community centers are also a public safety strategy.

In addition to repairing parks and community centers across the city, Prop 1 will also invest in new parks. Opponents – and there is an organized opposition – claim to be “standing up for the status quo.” In some neighborhoods that may be fine, but in others that means closed community centers, major repairs, deferred expensive public sports leagues and unaffordable programs.  Seattle is better than this.  The City’s Race and Social Justice Framework will also be applied to the Seattle Park District.  Prop 1 will ensure that kids in South Park have as much access to park and recreation programs as kids in Laurelhurst.

If Prop 1 passes, it will represent the most progressive investment in parks in Seattle since we hired the Olmsted brothers more than 100 years ago.  After nearly a year of public process, that’s why it is endorsed by the Municipal League, The Stranger, Mayors Murray, McGinn, Nickels, Schell, Royer and Rice, the 43rdDistrict Democrats, and over 70 non-profit organizations in our City including the Sierra Club, El Centro de la Raza, Forterra, King County Labor Council, Sierra Club, Seattle Human Services Coalition, Washington Conservation Voters, and Senior Services. Can you think of another issue where this is true?

Seattle is currently the fastest growing large city in the U.S.  It is totally unacceptable that we don’t have the financial ability due to past taxing constraints on our city budget to provide our citizens with a park system they want and deserve.  Proposition 1 is our opportunity to ensure we have safe, inviting and healthy parks for everyone in our City to enjoy.  Seattle loves its parks.

I urge you to vote Yes on Prop 1, to take care of our neighborhood parks and community centers.  This is our single best chance to invest in parks for the long term.  As a homeowner in Wallingford, I will happily pay it forward for future generations to come.  Join me.


Antoinette Angulo
Your Wallingford neighbor

PS If you want to get involved in making history and preserve our park system, please share on Social Media:

  • Take a photo of your ballot – after voting YES ON PROP 1 – and post to FB.
  • Follow the Seattle Parks For All campaign page and share posts.
  • Take a selfie in a park and post it to FB
  • Post “I just voted YES ON PROP 1 to renew our commitment to Seattle’s neighborhood parks – Please join me! #VoteYESforParks” on Twitter

(Photo by Ramanathan Kathiresan)

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