News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


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

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Volunteers needed Sunday at Kingfisher Natural Area

November 16th, 2012 by master

What better way to enjoy this weekend’s rainy weather than by getting your hands a little dirty?

You’re invited to help out from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at Kingfisher Natural Area (formerly known as Park No. 6) on Thornton Creek just southeast of Beaver Pond Natural Area.

Map of Kingfisher Natural Area on Thornton Creek

Frank Backus with the Thornton Creek Alliance tells us:

As you may know, early winter is the best time for planting. Kingfisher and Licorice Fern Natural Areas have 100’s of beautiful native plants that need to get into the ground ASAP. Your help is needed. This is a lot of plants, but we, and the local native creatures, will greatly enjoy the outcome of this work. Don’t forget your raingear. Please bundle up in layers and head out to help out!

To join in the Kingfisher event, meet at 17th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 104th Street. Backus advises that you approach 17th from Northeast 98th Street because of the dead end streets in the neighborhood.  A map can be seen on the preregistration website. Preregistration is not required, but it saves time at the event, Backus says. [Read more →]

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Crime reports from around the neighborhood – including an overnight shooting

September 1st, 2012 by Mike

Here’s a roundup of recent crime reports from police and neighbors.

  • Police report multiple shots were fired and a man killed overnight in the 7500 block of 15th Avenue Northeast.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the suspect pulled up next to the victim in his car and for reasons yet to be determined, fired multiple rounds at the victim, striking him several times. The suspect then fled the scene in his car and remains at large.

The shooting occurred shortly before 7:30 p.m. Neighbor Jesse writes: “Saw the many police cars this evening and wondered what was up.”

Police say the suspect’s vehicle is described as a smaller silver or gray BMW. The suspect himself is described as a white male in his late 20′s to 30′s with dark hair. Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Seattle Police Homicide Tip Line at (206) 233-5000. Anonymous tips are welcome.

  • Police also report an armed robbery occurred on Aug. 28th, shortly before midnight, in the the 7500 block of Roosevelt Way Northeast. According to a police report, the robber entered a store there, pointed a .45-caliber handgun at the clerk and told her to open the register.

Something digital beeped behind her counter, possibly her clock. (Witness) stated that when the suspect heard the beep he said” that’s not cool” and then fled the store.

Nothing was taken, but officers did not find the robber.

  • Megan writes that earlier in August her house on Northeast 88th Street was burglarized while she and her husband were home with the kids.

Opened a back door between 2 and 3 a.m. and took a purse, wallet, iPad, Kindles and sunglasses. Then went for a spending spree in Renton at McDonald’s, a casino, and Ross Dress for Less.

The burglary occurred on Sunday, Aug. 19th. She notes that it happened between the 7-Eleven robbery and the COA burglary.

  • Penny writes to say packages were stolen off a porch at Roosevelt Way Northeast and Northeast 102nd Street, on Aug. 14th.
  • John emails on Aug. 31st that problems continue at the footbridge over Thornton Creek in the Beaver Pond Natural Area. The bridge is at Northeast 104th Street between Fifth and Eighth avenues northeast. [Read more →]

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Learn more about Beaver Pond Natural Area renovation tonight

March 14th, 2012 by master

Safety was on the minds of many at a January meeting about renovations to Beaver Pond Natural Area, just weeks after nearly 50 trees were illegally pruned allegedly to increase sightlines in the Maple Leaf park. Tonight, the 50-plus people who attended that meeting plus other members of the community are invited to return to the Northgate Community Center to comment on the final restoration plan.

The main goals of the $500,000 project, which has been funded by the city’s Parks and Green Spaces Levy, are to refine and complete channel work by relocating two portions of Thornton Creek, remove invasive plants and restore native habitat. 

Additionally, the proposal presented at the January meeting included plans to make the natural area more accessible while also protecting it. Although improved trails, signs and access might lead to more people visiting the park, such renovations also are likely to prevent people from venturing into the protected areas.

Learn more about how your comments have changed the restoration plans when The Watershed Co. presents its final proposal for the restoration, from 7-9 p.m. at the Northgate Community Center, 10510 Fifth Ave. N.E.

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Air your Beaver Pond Natural Area concerns tonight

January 26th, 2012 by master

The Thornton Creek Alliance is inviting the community to its meeting tonight that will focus on the restoration at Maple Leaf’s Beaver Pond Natural Area, volunteering, crime/safety and any other topics you would like to discuss.

Last month, the branches of nearly 50 trees were illegally pruned in Beaver Pond Natural Area, raising both ire and support from the community.

A variety of city leaders will be in attendance, including:

  • Seattle City Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw, chair of the Parks Committee
  • Terrie Johnston, Seattle Police Department community liaison
  • Joanna Nelson de Flores, Green Seattle Partnership project manager
  • Chris Saleeba, with Seattle Greenways

 The open disucssion is from 7-9 p.m. at Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Ave. N.E.

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Restoring Beaver Pond Natural Area a balancing act

January 12th, 2012 by master

More than 50 people gathered at Northgate Community Center on Wednesday night to discuss the future of Beaver Pond Natural Area, and how best to spend $500,000 on a restoration project to protect the green belt while still meeting the needs of the community.

Safety was on the minds of many of the attendees after nearly 50 trees were illegally pruned in the southwest side of the park last month, with opinions running strongly on both sides of the issue. A neighbor who lives adjacent to the park on Northeast 104th Street says although he realizes that the tree trimming was illegal, he and his neighbors like it that people can see better into the park.

“Before it was completely sheltered from any sort of observation,” he said. “I think that really encouraged the activity that was going on there. I like nature, but there’s a balance.”

In contrast, multiple attendees seemed more supportive of the natural area remaining natural. A few urged those who believe criminal activity is taking place in the park to be proactive about putting a stop to it by forming watch groups that coordinate with the police and Parks.

Janet Way, who has been involved with the creek’s restoration since the Thornton Creek Alliance was formed in 1994, says she has dealt with many of the same issues in her section of the watershed in Shoreline.

All it took was a few months of regular patrols that reported their findings to police, and the illicit activity quickly disappeared, she said. “If you see a problem, call 911,” she added, a theme that was repeated throughout the night.

The safety theme also remained a constant, with Parks arborist Mark Mead explaining that this is the community’s opportunity to shape the natural area into a space that makes them comfortable. He noted, however, that it’s doubtful the trees are the cause of any crime that could be linked to the neighborhood.

“The reality is that the topography is what is causing the problem, not the trees,” Mead said. “I haven’t heard of a tree yet causing a crime.” [Read more →]

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