In stark contrast to other neighborhoods, Roosevelt neighborhood residents and transit-oriented progressives are lobbying the city to step up and increase density zoning around the future Roosevelt light rail station.
In a letter sent to Mayor Mike McGinn and City Council today, stakeholders argue that the Department of Planning Development's current plan "constrains development in the station area, a 5-10 minute walk, to primarily single family housing," and "will only result in an increase in housing capacity of only 350 units."
Here's an excerpt from the letter (.pdf):
The Planning Commission’s recent Transit Communities Report identified several communities, including Roosevelt, as areas in which more housing and infrastructure should occur to take advantage of the investment in transit. Futurewise’s Blueprint report made similar recommendations related to the Roosevelt neighborhood.
...DPD must undertake a full station area planning effort complete with an Urban Design Framework Plan, similar to the planning efforts in South Seattle, South Lake Union, West Seattle, and other transit-oriented locations. Such a planning effort must include much higher heights and densities than currently exist in the DPD plan, which will ensure the appropriate level of development in close proximity to the public’s $300 million investment in the Roosevelt Light Rail station.
What a fucking joy it was to read that letter (cue the anti-density NIMBY squawking in three, two, one...). The DPD has not yet returned a call for comment.
This afternoon, in a parking lot clouded with rain (and Molly Moon's ice cream), Mayor Mike McGinn, city council members, and community stakeholders announced that the city and Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) have reached an agreement to develop the Seattle Police Department parking lot near the corner of 12th Avenue and Pine Street into a low-income housing complex with street-level retail, two theaters, arts space, and secure underground parking for SPD.
City council member Nick Licata was on hand to generically praise the project, saying it "can help the neighborhood be something better," while council member Sally Clark said that the new development symbolized the "vitality and health of the neighborhood." Michael Wells, executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, declared Capitol Hill an "urban wonderland" in a moment of poetic fancy.
The underutilized SPD lot covers 29,000 square feet of prime real estate on Capitol Hill's bustling 12th Avenue corridor. Neighborhood activists have long lobbied the city for a change, but until recently, the city was reluctant to develop the site due to the police department's need for secure parking for police cruisers. Funding has also been the primary sticking points in the development process. The city wouldn't sell the lot without providing replacement parking for the police, which necessitates excavation (an extremely expensive process). Thus, the lot has remained undeveloped for years as Capitol Hill grew up around it.
But funding for the project isn't yet secured.
The building, at Broadway and Thomas Street (a half-block north of the future Capitol Hill light-rail station), is being torn down to build this:
Virginia Felton, a spokeswoman for the SHA, says a final development plan won't be approved until the organization has a chance to digest the project's environmental impact study (EIS), which is slated for release this Thursday. The SHA still hasn't committed to one-to-one on-site replacement of its extremely low income units, as some critics have demanded. Felton says that between 70 and 83* of those units could be relocated two blocks east of the current Yesler Terrace site, closer to the International District. "But we're proposing adding almost 1,000 workforce housing units to the site for people who aren’t super affluent or very low income, which is a big deal," Felton adds.
Some affordable housing advocates are still critical of the plan. "It’s hard for me to understand the emphasis on workforce housing when studies show that the biggest gap in affordable housing availability is on the lowest end of the scale—30 percent and below median income level," says Tim Harris, director of Real Change newspaper. "That said, I think that any addition of affordable housing is a step in the right direction."
Specifically, the housing breakdown looks like this: 561 extremely low-income replacement units (for example, a two-person household would have to make less than $20,600 to qualify); 290 very low-income units (two people making less than $34,250); and 950 workforce units (two people making less than $51,550). The remaining units—3,199—would be higher end market-rate units for families who earn Seattle's median income of $85,600 or above.
*This post has been updated to reflect a new range of extremely low-income units proposed for off site development.
Near 17th and Fir...
If you have unanswered questions about the Fukushima nuclear diaster, the Earthquake or Disaster preparedness, head over to QuestionLand and ask away. Starting a little bit after 1pm (Pacific time) today, I'll do my best to answer them in an honest and unbiased way, linking to the sources of information that I've been using to struggle my way through this situation.
Sorry to alarm folks, but the BBC is reporting a third explosion at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, this time at the previously intact, but failing Number 2 reactor.
The explosion is feared to have damaged the reactor's pressure-suppression system, Kyodo says. It adds that "radiation tops legal limit" after the explosion.
It was the Number 2 reactor whose fuel rods were twice exposed today, raising fears of a potential meltdown. A Tokyo Electric spokesperson says that the company has started to evacuate staff from the plant, but that 50 workers were staying on. More details as they come.
UPDATE: Initial reports seem bad. The BBC is reporting that "Radioactive materials are feared to be leaking at Fukushima," while Japan's Kyodo News agency says that Tokyo Electric detected "radiation of 8,217 micro sievert per hour, 8 times annual limit."
There are unconfirmed reports that the evacuation zone is about to be expanded to 75 kilometers.
UPDATE KYODO: "URGENT: Meltdown possible at Fukushima reactors: Tokyo Electric"
A critical situation called ''meltdown'' in which fuel rods melt and are destroyed is possible at the troubled nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday.
The cores of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's three reactors are believed to have partially melted following Friday's magnitude 9.0 earthquake that hit northeastern and eastern Japan.
I can't be sure, but this sounds like they're distinguishing between the "partial meltdown" believed to have happened and the total meltdown they now say is "possible."
Pace Goldy, Watching the footage of the tsunami in Japan, thousands of miles inland, where only the New Madrid fault could fuck us up, this Chicagoan had one thought about Seattle: hope to God I'm not visiting to see a Mariners game when the impending Big One hits.
And it's just a matter of time.
And don't forget the Last Big One here, one that is estimated to happen every 300-600 years and happened 311 years ago. Enjoy the beaches that are the legacy of its tsunami. . . one that went and hit Japan with enough severity that their records of it (along with First Nations' oral histories) helped scientists figure out exactly when the earthquake hit the Cascadia region, and how strong it was. The Japanese called it the "Orphan Tsunami" since it hit them without an earthquake there as its obvious source.
There's a song just for this occasion! And it is the most wonderful thing ever!
If you don't want your head to explode, absolutely don't watch this video of Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) defending federal tax subsidies for Exxon-Mobil, by arguing that without them "they'll go out of business."
Exxon-Mobil. The largest publicly traded company in the world. Raked in over $30 billion in profits last year. Will. Go. Out. Of. Business. Unless, US taxpayers lavish it with billions in tax credits and subsidies. $45 billion worth, over the next decade. Really.
Also a potential risk factor for spontaneous cranial detonation? Rep. Barton's insistence that federal tax subsidies should be maintained "so long as you believe in the free market capitalist system." Because nothing exemplifies free market capitalism better than federal tax subsidies.
It turns out that alleged Spokane MLK Jr. Day parade backpack bomber Kevin Harpham is not only a racist, a neo-Nazi and a crappy bomb maker, he also fancies himself a bit of a music critic:
I just found out Rob Halford is gay, this is terrible news. I don't know if I will be able to listen to Judas Priest the way I used to. :(
Quick, Grant... sign him up for Line Out!
Natural selection in action, Alabama style:
(BAY MINETTE, Ala.) The Baldwin County Sheriff's Office said a small child accidentally shot his mother, after finding the gun near his injured father's side.
And how was the father injured? He tripped and fell, accidentally shooting himself in the leg with the loaded Glock he was carrying.
I know it pisses off the 2nd Amendment fundies every time I point this out, but study after study shows that the number one risk factor for death or injury due to firearms is availability. I'm just sayin'.
Slog tipper Paige took this footage around 9:40 this morning. "First Hill smelled like hell," she wrote. "You can see an explosion partway through."
coming in a moment here.
Horne is a graphic designer, and he makes each end-of-the-world visually appealing in its own way. (This blog post has tons of photos of the interiors, if you're curious.) Each threat comes with a grading system of when you should start to panic (Later, Too Late, Soon, or Now), a brief description of the peril, and bits of related information. This isn't an in-depth encyclopedia or anything; it's a book to be flipped through, a mix of an art book, a humor book, and a collection of trivia.
Some commenters have argued that I'm too hard on humor books, that I'm grading frivolity on the same scale as "real" literature. This book is a perfect example of how you can do a humorous book in an interesting, worthy way. Horne clearly put the time into making A Is for Armageddon a real visual pleasure; it's not just a rehash of a blog churned into book form. It's an attractive object that entertains.
When city leaders wanted to tear down warehouses in South Lake Union for the Seattle Commons, people lost their motherfucking minds—partly because it would promote big, tall condos on the park's edge. So they organized against, and ultimately killed, Paul Allen's initiative to redevelop the area. A decade later, a people again lost their shit when Nickels, Vulcan, and Amazon wanted to construct slightly taller office buildings on the same stretch of land.
"We haven't gotten a lot of feedback at all," says Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) spokeswoman Virgina Felton. "Almost nobody attended our public hearing. We had more staff members than the public present."
This is striking because next Monday, December 13 is the last day people can log an opinion on the SHA's options for redeveloping the 28-acre site—options that range from doing nothing to the 561 low-income units housed there to tearing everything down, rerouting streets, and building up to 5,000 units of mixed-income housing, along with space for new businesses, hotels, offices, and acres of open public land. In other words, practically building a new neighborhood in the belly of the city. The public's not paying attention now (perhaps because poor people inhabit YT) but in the future this project will be unavoidable.
And despite the public's silence, the move is controversial—YT's current tenants will be displaced during any redevelopment and the SHA won't announce until March just how many new low-income units it plans to generate.
Read about the four choices to redevelop YT after the jump.
At least two are dead and 175 rounds were exchanged, but the shelling seems more like a stupid accident ("the North blamed the South for starting the exchange; the South acknowledged firing test shots in the area but denied that any had fallen in the North’s territory") than the beginning of an invasion.
Sent by slog tipper N., who is on vacation in Andalusia:
Nice guys, way to get me in the holiday spirit.
Bonus photo below the jump entitled "What the Fuck Is That in the Women's Restroom?"
This is the first sign that Seattle's apartment market is on the upswing after two years of stagnation. A few new apartment projects came online during 2009-2010 (projects that secured their financing and began construction before the market bottomed out), but a lack of financing for new development during those years means that virtually no new apartment projects are slated to open in 2011. And despite the depressed economy, the city's population is growing (and job growth has been relatively healthy), spurring the demand for more housing.
"Murray Franklyn has one of the best sites in the city and they want to make good with that right now while apartment vacancies are low and while rents are starting to go up," says the source. "This project will basically kick off the race to build apartments in Seattle. The market's heating back up."
This is awesome:
MyBallard has the back story. Tip from Sarah.
Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.
The mayor said if homeowners don't pay, they're out of luck.
"I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong," said Gene Cranick.
Because of that, not much is left of Cranick's house.
This makes me feel even better about the obnoxious anti-income tax ads playing throughout the terrible Seahawks game today.
Remember kids, nothing government does is worthwhile. Taxes are always bad for the common man. You'd always be best off if you're left to fend for yourself, you strong, burly, independent American.
(Via the A-list)
Tomorrow is the first day of autumn. This evening, there is a super harvest moon—the full moon is rising right when the sun sets, which'll make it all gigantor-orange-glowy-amazing.
All you have to do is locate yourself in a spot with a clear view of both the east and the west (or just the east if you're sick of the sunset already) at right around 7 p.m. (Sunset/moonrise is at 7:09 p.m. here in Seattle—find your time over here, courtesy of Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory.) Then look with your eyeballs. Probably you should bring a wooly sweater and a flask or a Thermos of martinis or a water-bottle of wine. And a person you like. And maybe some bread and cheese. SUPER! HARVEST! MOON!
The Yesler Terrace housing projects on First Hill are deteriorating and they're slated to be replaced with taller buildings that include new low-income housing. But John Fox, director of the Seattle Displacement Coalition, says that these buildings on 28 acres are historic landmarks and they should be left intact. Cienna Madrid in this week's paper:
Due to Fox's plea, the landmarks board will vote October 6 on the status of two of Yesler Terrace's 77 buildings—the community center and the steam plant. From there, Fox and the Displacement Coalition will try to convince state and federal officials that the remainder of the buildings are worth preserving.
- Kelly O
- Yesler Terrace: Room for improvement
"We will fight them tooth and nail," Fox says. "We will raise every possible issue."
Read the entire strange story HERE.
CEO of Nology Media Leegh Fatzinger started working on the shirts just 20 minutes after the "big boom" tweets started coming in. The tweets were accompanied by hashtags "#WAboom" and "#Obooma."
"Once we realized it was kind of a cute anomaly, we said, ‘We need to do something to remember this,’” Fatzinger said. "We want to have some fun with this.”
You can also get an Obooma hat or onesie.
I think that's hilarious.
Thanks to Slog reader Eric for the tip.
*A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by the supersonic flight of an aircraft.
*A sonic boom is usually heard as a deep double 'boom' as the aircraft is usually some distance away.
*Duration of sonic boom is brief; less than a second, 100 milliseconds (0.1 second) for most fighter-sized aircraft and 500 milliseconds for the space shuttle or Concorde jetliner.
*Ground width of the boom exposure area is approximately one statute mile for each 1,000 feet of altitude (5 m/m); that is, an aircraft flying supersonic at 30,000 feet will create a lateral boom spread of about 30 miles, or at 10,000 meters a spread of 50 kilometers.
And my personal favorite sonic boom fact:
*The cracking sound a bullwhip makes when properly wielded is, in fact, a small sonic boom. The end of the whip, known as the "cracker", moves faster than the speed of sound, thus creating a sonic boom.
This is what it looks like (no sound, but you already know what it sounds like—BOOM!):
The more you know.
What was it? A few theories are floating about:
KIRO says, "Unconfirmed reports say the large explosion may have been from a plane crash in Napa Vine."
Meanwhile, joshtrujillo says, "Source here at Boeing Field says sound barrier might have just been broken by military planes high overhead."
And most conclusive! KING 5 News says, "FAA confirms sonic booms from military aircraft in the area."
As you were, everyone. Nothing to see here.
"As early as next spring, we'll put them on the market," confirms Michael Nanney, VP of Forest City Enterprises. "In the meantime, as the navy families are moving up to homes in Lake Stevens, we're primarily renting to coast guard families and civilians."
The sales are part of a larger restructuring of the Fort Lawton houses surrounded by Discovery Park (the homes aren't on park property, per se, but surrounded by it, much like private islands unto themselves). In total, 26 houses located in two clusters will be put on the market next year. The clusters are informally known as the Montana Circle Housing area and Officer's Row. The city has designated the houses as part of a historic district, which means that new property owners will have to abide by strict preservation covenants if they choose to alter them.
Nanney says Forest City Enterprises is currently working on establishing price points for the homes. Here's my wild guess: they won't be cheap.
Another cluster of housing known as Capehart Housing, 1960's era military housing located on 22 acres of land, is in the process of being demolished. For the past several months, the housing has been used as training facilities for Seattle firefighters and police. Once the demolition is complete, the acreage will be incorporated into Discovery Park.
"We haven't taken possession of the property yet," says Dewey Potter, spokeswoman for Seattle Parks and Recreation. "But we're planning on putting in another meadow. Discovery Park could use another meadow, don't you think?"
God yes, Dewey Potter. God. Yes.
Lamburger/hamburger on the grill, lots of beer and wine and other treats.
The lambs were raised near a certain small town in Eastern Washington by Bethany's Uncle Dave, who says of his flock: "They only have one bad day." (Her people are the ranching kind.) The lambs were cooked and consumed in the same valley where they lived and died. I realize some of you will find that perverse and monstrous. I think it's kind of sweet.
One package ground lamb, one package ground beef. (Twenty percent fat content!) Knead them together with (all proportions eyeballed):
* an egg
* olive oil
* lots of salt
* a little cumin
* lots of pepper
* a little cayenne
* a little dried thyme
* some chopped garlic
* some chopped onion
* some chopped tomato
* a chopped Serrano pepper
* a little dried Italian spice melange
* whatever else is around and sounds good
Grill and serve with sliced tomato and avocado and toasted buns. Some enjoy ketchup and mustard and mayo, but the properly seasoned and properly fatty lamburger should be flavorful and moist enough to stand without condiments.
Also serve with corn, grilled in the following manner: steamed in the husk for a few minutes, then yanked from the grill and shucked while hot (with much cursing) and thrown back on the grill for charring. I'm usually a slather-the-corn-with-butter kind of guy, but this weekend's corn was perfectly sweet. Didn't need a thing.
Finish with some whiskey, a cigar, and a few rounds at your empty beer cans with the air rifle. When it gets too dark to shoot, switch to bottle rockets. If you have the very small, non-finger-compromising kind, launch them by hand instead of from a bottle. They're more fun when you get to aim.
Clay Shirky is at Town Hall today. Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age is a book about how there's too much thinkin' goin' on around here.
The reading of the night, I think, is Michael Largo. God's Lunatics: Lost Souls, False Prophets, Martyred Saints, Murderous Cults, Demonic Nuns, and Other Victims of Man's Eternal Search for the Divine is a reading about how people do some crazy-ass shit in the name of God. The best part is that Largo is reading at University Temple Methodist Church.
The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.