Friday, May 25, 2007

My Mid Beacon Hill Issues

I'm kind of excited that in the last week, a new commenter has asked me to talk about local issues, and a friend of mine has asked me to post an update. I'm also feeling like I should decide whether I want to try to make this a real, topical blog, or continue it as basically a vanity bullshit blog. I think for now I'll let it continue to be a bullshit blog full of shots of wine bars, nurseries, and chain-link fences, but I'll throw in the occasional ill-researched post about Seattle history and neighborhood issues as well. And very occasionally, I will include a photo of someone's kid or pet, but only if they're ridiculously cute and/or slurping down a bottle of beer. OK.

Jennifer, thank you for your comments on my last post! Where on Beacon Hill do you live? I consider the bounds of my little neighborhood to be oh, say, Brandon Street to the north (or maybe the Chief Sealth Trail, under the power lines), 20th Avenue to the west, Beacon Avenue to the east, and Graham Street to the south. Are you anywhere near there? I sort of think of the larger Mid Beacon Hill neighborhood as being south of Columbian Way and north of, say, Graham or maybe the street that the police station's on or maybe Cloverdale. And west of MLK and east of I-5.

(Also, I think it's great that you're helping out with the trash pickup! That's more than I'm doing -- all I do is complain.)

And this far south, I feel closer to Georgetown than north Beacon Hill. But I don't feel like there are any activists down here. This week I've chatted with Kathy down in Georgetown, and with Mira and Willie and Kat from North Beacon Hill, but I don't know any rabble rousers from around here. But, anyway, here are a couple of the issues that I feel are most important right now.

1. No dump in Georgetown. Instead of working to meet the recycling goals they set for themselves, Seattle Public Utilities wants to build a huge new transfer station in the heart of Georgetown, right by people's houses and businesses. Basically all the trash in Seattle (and possibly suburbs as well) would go rumbling through Georgetown every day. Over the years, the city has gotten used to thinking of the South End as the dumping ground (in this particular case, literally) for all their shit. And this just happens to be the latest insult. (And don't think that Beacon Hill is going to remain above all this mess--those garbage trucks will be rolling down Beacon Avenue and Graham Street all the time.)

Here are the two things that you need to do:

* Write all the city councilmembers, saying that you oppose SPU's building this dump here.

* Attend the City Council public hearings at City Hall at 5:30 on Thursday, June 7, and Wednesday, June 20, 5:30 pm in Georgetown. It's better if you speak (I didn't want to at first, either), but it's also totally OK if you don't. Everyone will know that the people in the room are not there in favor of the dump. Turnout is very important.

Read more about this issue here: (the bottom of the post is a fact sheet I got from Kathy Nyland, who is helping to lead the opposition)

and here:

and here:

2. No cell phone towers at Jefferson Park. This one is kind of heartbreaking. There's an Olmstead park right in the middle of Beacon Hill, and no one really knows about it. Those reservoirs next to the golf course are supposed to become one of the crown jewels of the Seattle park system. (Read about it here: But the process is ever so slow, and hurdles keep getting thrown in our way.

The plan is to put lids on those reservoirs and create an open space where people can enjoy a view of the Cascade foothills, Mt. Baker, downtown, Elliott Bay, and the Olympics. This must be one of the best views in all of Seattle.


Last year, we fought to save the best section of the park from huge, bright, view-killing soccer field lights. We won that battle, but now we're fighting T-Mobile, which wants to erect a cell phone tower in the corner of the park, right in middle of that view. (And surely more cell phone companies would soon follow.)

T-Mobile's public-relations agency held a public meeting about this last fall, but I don't think they understood what they were getting into. I arrived at the meeting and was asked, "Are you one of the neighbors?" I was actually confused by the question at first. Then I realized that they're used to fighting NIMBYists who don't want a cell phone tower by their houses. But our crowd didn't want a cell phone tower in that beautiful park. After that meeting, they requested an extension on their permit to explore other options for siting. Then they requested another extension (which is currently what's going on). And they get one more extension after that.

I just e-mailed the DPD coordinator and the representative from T-Mobile's PR agency about this -- I will let you know what the status is when I find out. The city's DPD page for this project doesn't say:

Those are the two things that I am most concerned about right now. It looks like we're going to be OK on the strip club district. It seems that the City Council is going to do the right thing and let them be dispersed throughout the city instead of forcing them to be concentrated in the South End.

So Jennifer, I hope to see you at the Georgetown dump meeting on the 7th. Come say hi -- look for the tall lady with the cool backpack.


Anonymous said...

"Neighbors" is a bad word with Seattle City government, at least with the Parks Department and the DPD. They'll ask you with a fake smile when you come into a meeting, or ask you to raise your hand if you live nearby. Then they'll proceed to ignore everything you say from that point on.

We should all only go to each other's public meetings so they can't say "it's only the neighbors."

I have been fighting the City on Loyal Heights and Crown Hill issues in Ballard the last two years and both the Parks Depart departments are very entrenched in a bunker mentality and are quick to call NIMBY.

I thought the cell phone tower issue had been resolved for the Jefferson Park lid. I'm sad to hear they are still trying to ruin it. -- Pat

Chris@Whidwood said...

Who says you can't write about wine bars AND neighborhood politics. The thing that makes a blog interesting is its writer/point of view. A blog all about the topical politics of a particular neighborhood might be fascinating or it might be a bullshit vanity blog, depending on the perspective of the writer.

You're curious about the world, and that curiosity makes your blog interesting.

Jennifer said...

First of all, don't change your blog's theme on my account in any way -- I LOVE the garden porn! :)

Seriously, our yard is a bit of an (ugly, brown) blank slate right now, and your posts have given me inspiration -- and ideas -- about what to do with our yard. My boys and I, as a matter of fact, visited Rosso's (my neighbor RAVES about them) on Friday and got our 'anchor' plants.

You asked where I live: I'm on 11th Ave. S. near S. Oregon St. - I'm just a few blocks from McPhersons (*love*). It's interesting that you say that you consider MBH to be south of Columbian Way; I've always considered our little neighborhood (15th Ave. S to the east, Snoqualmie to the south, the I-5 drop to the west [which is 10th Ave. S.], and the Columbian Way exit [Court St.] to the north) to be part of MBH. I always thought that North BH started with Spokane Street. I've always identified myself with MBH rather than NBH. Interesting, huh?

Thanks so much for the info. Can I give you my email so that maybe I could contact you about more info? Also, don't knock yourself for being a 'complainer'--you're giving a voice to this community, and that ROCKS.

My email is jendavehome at hotmail dot com.

Hopefully we'll meet June 7.

Jennifer said...

I forgot one more thing!

I live caddy-corner from Eileen O'Leary, who has her own landscaping business here in south Seattle. She's on the corner of 12th Ave. S. and S. Oregon St. You should swing by her place sometime and check out her yard. I think it's absolutely heavenly. My husband thinks that it's too much, but I think she's done an awesome job. In fact, out neighborhood is home to many proud gardeners. Some of the yards are a bit too manicured for my taste, but there is a lot of pride growing around here.