News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Mural planned for Maple Leaf Play Area

June 22nd, 2015 by Mike

This is the Maple Leaf Roosevelt Pump House, located somewhat confusingly in the Maple Leaf Reservoir Play Area, at Roosevelt Way Northeast and Northeast 82nd Street.

Seattle Public Utilities plans to have a mural painted on the long gray walls that face the play area:

SPU is working with local artist Jonathan Fischer and community member Scott K. Bishop to complete a “street-art” style mural that will wrap around the northeast corner of the building and be viewable from two sides. The mural will be created using spray paint with an anti-graffiti coating applied over the top.

The goal of the project is to brighten the building and provide park users with an artistic look and feel to the area. The design concept for the mural will include graffiti inspired and artist interpretations of butterflies, flowers, leaves, vines, trees and patterns, using bright, vibrant colors that complement the adjacent Butterfly Garden.

The utility says it’s looking for your ideas. “Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) values your input….The community is encouraged to provide SPU with feedback and ideas about the design and ask questions.”

We asked a question four days ago: “Is there an image of the design that folks can make comments about?”

We’ve heard nothing back.

We did, however, hear today from Joel, who is less than impressed. He says he’s told SPU:

It looks just fine to me as it is. Why is there any consideration being given to do this?

I also do not understand who I am speaking to or to who and all I am discussing this proposal. Just you?

This structure looks just right the way it is. It fits appropriately at its site and is subordinate to the successful landscape of that area….

To convert to painted walls will only appear as a contrived public arts project as it launches this structure into an inappropriate bold presence.

If it were a log cabin in a pleasant park environment we wouldn’t cover it with paint and pretend that we’ve improved the natural environment….

I believe a mistaken judgment is directing this decision and am urging you all to back away. This plan is a mistake. Please leave this building as it is.

The announcement says to contact Project Manager Cyndy Holtz at (206) 386-1990 or cyndy.holtz@seattle.gov.

The mural is to be painted in July.

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A mural for Maple Leaf's water tower?

April 25th, 2015 by Mike

Annie emails: “I saw an article in Maple Leaf Life back in August of 2010 associated with a media release to keep the water tower in Maple Leaf.

“I’m an artist taking a mural class at North Seattle College and live a few blocks from the water tower. One of my assignments is to propose a public mural, and I couldn’t help but think about a hypothetical proposal for the water tower to have a facelift!

“This is hypothetical as an assignment, but I’ll be designing and proposing with all considerations a mural to be hypothetically painted. I’m interested in information to do my project. Measurements are a must. This will potentially be a plan the city may want to use.

“Do you know where I could access the schematic plan for the 1948 build of the tower? Do you know who’s in charge of making a decision about the tower’s aesthetics? Any opinions about the message of the artwork?

“We could create a poll and ask on the blog what people want to see.”

We’ll put Annie in touch with Andy Ryan, media relations coordinator for Seattle Public Utilities.

The tower, as we’ve reported, has now been empty of water for years, and will not be returned to service. It doesn’t meet modern earthquake standards.

The city is leaving it up as a landmark (and platform for antennas). Other suggestions here have included turning it into an observation platform, a rotating restaurant or a  hawk aerie.

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A mural for Maple Leaf’s water tower?

April 25th, 2015 by Mike

Annie emails: “I saw an article in Maple Leaf Life back in August of 2010 associated with a media release to keep the water tower in Maple Leaf.

“I’m an artist taking a mural class at North Seattle College and live a few blocks from the water tower. One of my assignments is to propose a public mural, and I couldn’t help but think about a hypothetical proposal for the water tower to have a facelift!

“This is hypothetical as an assignment, but I’ll be designing and proposing with all considerations a mural to be hypothetically painted. I’m interested in information to do my project. Measurements are a must. This will potentially be a plan the city may want to use.

“Do you know where I could access the schematic plan for the 1948 build of the tower? Do you know who’s in charge of making a decision about the tower’s aesthetics? Any opinions about the message of the artwork?

“We could create a poll and ask on the blog what people want to see.”

We’ll put Annie in touch with Andy Ryan, media relations coordinator for Seattle Public Utilities.

The tower, as we’ve reported, has now been empty of water for years, and will not be returned to service. It doesn’t meet modern earthquake standards.

The city is leaving it up as a landmark (and platform for antennas). Other suggestions here have included turning it into an observation platform, a rotating restaurant or a  hawk aerie.

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No trash pickup Christmas Day – PLUS the Garbage Police cometh

December 24th, 2014 by Mike

Welcome to Christmas Eve! And a gray one, at that. (1.22 inches of rain in last 24 hours.)

Two things:

From Seattle Public Utilities: “No garbage, yard waste or recycling collections are scheduled in Seattle on Thursday, Dec. 25.

“Thursday and Friday collections will be collected one day later that week due to the Christmas Day holiday. Please be sure to have your containers available by 7 a.m., to ensure collection.”

Also, beginning a week from Thursday the city gets tough on trash.

From our news partner The Seattle Times:

Starting Jan. 1, food scraps, pizza boxes and paper napkins won’t be allowed in garbage cans. For the first six months, violators will get notices from the city; after that period, violators will be fined $1.

It gets more complicated, but, yes: “Drivers will be watching for the materials and will inform the city about violators”

The Times’ story is here. Many, many comments on it are here.

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Plan to pick up garbage every other week is canned

February 22nd, 2014 by Mike

A controversial proposal to pick up Seattle garbage only every other week – like recycling – has been nixed by new Mayor Ed Murray.

Our news partner The Seattle Times has the story here.

Murray said the switch would create a hardship for some families and the estimated savings of 8 percent on bills wasn’t enough to justify cutting services by half. He said the city will look for other strategies to reduce the amount of recyclables and food waste going into landfills, one goal of the biweekly collection plan.

Our original post on this drew some 44 comments – from both sides.

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Should Seattle pick up neighborhood garbage only every other week?

December 7th, 2013 by Mike

The Seattle City Council this week discussed a plan to pick up our garbage only every other week – similar to the way recycling is picked up.

That means possibly smelly trash cans sitting outside your house for a fortnight, instead of disappearing every (at Maple Leaf Life South) Thursday. Seattle Public Utilities ran a pilot program last year in several neighborhoods, including Wedgwood.

There’s a good piece at Crosscut.com from earlier this week:

Over 60 percent of the pilot’s participants were satisfied with their service, but lower-income and minority customers and households with diapers were more inclined to say that the less frequent pick ups stink. Increases in bad odors and rodent sightings were among the reasons customers said they were dissatisfied.

The service cuts would save SPU about $5 to $6 million annually and, according to SPU officials, reduce garbage truck traffic and incentivize recycling and composting. Garbage collection bills should go down for most customers if the council approves the new collection regimen, but households that need to upsize their trashcans to hold two weeks of waste would pay more.

Reaction has been mixed. The Crosscut piece picked up perhaps a dozen-and-a-half comments.

But when the West Seattle Blog ran a piece at the end of November, they got 72 comments, some with praise but others along this line: “RATS our city will be filthy and infested with RATS if this goes through!”

A full City Council vote will likely take place in February, with any change in service set for 2015.

What do you think? Should the city change to every other week garbage pickup, and possibly save us money?

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Update on The Exploding Toilets of Maple Leaf

August 20th, 2013 by Mike

Update Aug. 21: KOMO-TV did a story today on this disquieting issue.

——————————————

We’ve an answer back from Andy Ryan of Seattle Public Utilities (he was out of the office late last week) about “exploding toilets” here Thursday as maintenance was being done by the utility.

Thanks to the folks who provided 15 illuminating comments on the original story.

For those wanting more background on Annie’s and David’s comments on a Seattle woman who died in a flooded basement, our news partner The Seattle Times has more here and here. (If this is the correct incident, the victim was a 41-year-old women in Madison Valley in 2006.)

Here’s the reply from the utility:

We have been in contact with two customers who were affected by maintenance operations last week in the Maple Leaf neighborhood.

As you may know, we clean sewer mainlines with high-pressure jet nozzles, and on rare occasions this causes high pressure air or water spray to enter side sewers. If a customer’s vent stack is plugged, the air or water pressure can burble up in the toilet. This is a good reason for keeping your toilet lid down, which will prevent the “toilet burp” from spraying into the bathroom. We think this is probably what occurred in the Maple Leaf neighborhood last week.

Following up, we put one of the customers in contact with our claims inspector because dirty water sprayed on her bathroom floor. In the case of the other customer, it was clean water on the bathroom floor—which she mopped up with a T-shirt.

In the unlikely event that something like this happens to one of your readers, they should call SPU operations, at 206-386-1800.

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Two reports of exploding toilet bowls in the neighborhood – what's that about?

August 16th, 2013 by Mike

Just now we received the second report of what, for lack of a better headline term, we’ll call exploding toilets.

We live just off Roosevelt Way Northeast on Northeast 94th Street and noticed when we returned from going out to dinner last night that both toilets (one upstairs and one downstairs) had, for lack of a better term, blasted the toilet bowl water out and onto the floor. We’ve no idea what could have caused this apart from a serious back pressure source somewhere in the city system. Anyone else reported such an event?

Yes. On Thursday we received this report:

Please let the other Maple Leaf neighbors know what happened to us when the Seattle Public Utilities vacuum truck was on our street this morning (Northeast 92nd Street).

They blasted air into the sewers with such force that water shot up from the toilets and shower drains, on every floor from the basement to the second floor.

Fortunately, all our toilet lids were in the closed position. We still had puddles around the toilets, but it would have been much worse if the lids had been up. So, if you see water on your toilet seat or lid, or around the toilet, you may want to get out a disinfectant because it’s likely that it’s sewer water courtesy of a blast from the same truck.

We have an email into Seattle Public Utilities, but probably won’t hear back until Monday. Both incidents occurred on Thursday, Aug. 16.

Does this sound familiar to other neighbors?

We are vaguely aware that “snorkel trucks” are used to clear leaves and other debris from storm drains. We can also remember an incident a couple decades ago when the toilets in the downtown King County Courthouse suddenly behaved in exactly this fashion. (Further, we think it was somehow construction related.)

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Two reports of exploding toilet bowls in the neighborhood – what’s that about?

August 16th, 2013 by Mike

Just now we received the second report of what, for lack of a better headline term, we’ll call exploding toilets.

We live just off Roosevelt Way Northeast on Northeast 94th Street and noticed when we returned from going out to dinner last night that both toilets (one upstairs and one downstairs) had, for lack of a better term, blasted the toilet bowl water out and onto the floor. We’ve no idea what could have caused this apart from a serious back pressure source somewhere in the city system. Anyone else reported such an event?

Yes. On Thursday we received this report:

Please let the other Maple Leaf neighbors know what happened to us when the Seattle Public Utilities vacuum truck was on our street this morning (Northeast 92nd Street).

They blasted air into the sewers with such force that water shot up from the toilets and shower drains, on every floor from the basement to the second floor.

Fortunately, all our toilet lids were in the closed position. We still had puddles around the toilets, but it would have been much worse if the lids had been up. So, if you see water on your toilet seat or lid, or around the toilet, you may want to get out a disinfectant because it’s likely that it’s sewer water courtesy of a blast from the same truck.

We have an email into Seattle Public Utilities, but probably won’t hear back until Monday. Both incidents occurred on Thursday, Aug. 16.

Does this sound familiar to other neighbors?

We are vaguely aware that “snorkel trucks” are used to clear leaves and other debris from storm drains. We can also remember an incident a couple decades ago when the toilets in the downtown King County Courthouse suddenly behaved in exactly this fashion. (Further, we think it was somehow construction related.)

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City warns of contamination in Thornton Creek

June 14th, 2013 by Mike

Great Blue Heron  (the official City of Seattle bird) fishing this week at Thornton Creek’s Beaver Pond Natural Area.

Thornton Creek, which flows through north Maple Leaf on its way to Lake Washington and includes the home of our very own beavers, has dangerous levels of human fecal bacteria, Seattle Public Utilities has announced.

A two-year investigation by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has confirmed human fecal bacteria are likely entering North Seattle’s Thornton Creek at multiple locations.

Funded by the Washington Department of Ecology and led by SPU stormwater scientist Jonathan Frodge, the study was based on samples collected at 45 sites throughout the watershed, under a variety of conditions

It has been known for years that fecal coliform bacteria concentrations in Thornton Creek exceed the state water quality standard and pose a potential threat to public health. The new study confirms human bacteria are present and contribute to the water quality problem. The study is also the first to identify sub-basins (general areas) where bacteria appear to be entering the stream.

Our news partner The Seattle Times has a lengthy story here, including a plea for help determining where sewage is entering the creek.

Frodge says the public is being asked to help out with the smell test.

“If you’re out there walking, your nose is as trained as anyone’s,” he says.

Sewer smell is sewer smell.

Frodge says people can email him at jonathan.frodge@seattle.gov.


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