News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Improvement at Maple Leaf Reservoir Park!

May 17th, 2014 by Mike

Improving on a good idea:

NEW – Thanks, Maple Leaf Dog Oasis!

Old – at the park’s north entrance.

Want to make one for elsewhere in the park or neighborhood? Directions are here.


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Power out on 97th – and now much of Maple Leaf, Wedgwood

November 2nd, 2013 by master

Just before sunset Friday night, and today.

Seattle City light now says it expects to have 75 percent of customers restored by 8 p.m.

Update 5 p.m.Seattle City light now says it expects to have 75 percent of customers restored by 8 p.m.

12:15 p.m. A downed tree has closed 15th Avenue Northeast at Northeast 100th Street.

11:30 a.m. 10:15 a.m. Seattle City Light now has around 18,000 36,000 customers without power in this morning’s windstorm, with about 3,000 3,800 of them in the Maple Leaf/Wedgwood area. See current map here.

The Seattle Times reports the north Seattle outages are expected to continue until 4 p.m.

More is on the way. From the National Weather Service Seattle office:

.NOW…WINDS WILL EXPERIENCE A SUDDEN SHIFT AND INCREASE QUICKLY OUT OF  THE WEST BETWEEN NOW AND 1130 AM…AS A STRONG SURGE OF WIND SPREADS DOWN THE STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA. LOOKS FOR WINDS TO SUDDENLY INCREASE IN SPEED TO NEAR 40 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 65 MPH.

STRONGEST WINDS WILL OCCUR IN LOCATIONS THAT HAVE AN OPEN EXPOSURE  TO THE STRAIT. WINDS THIS STRONG WILL BE CAPABLE OF CAUSING LOCAL POWER OUTAGES AND BLOWING DOWN A FEW TREES. A HIGH WIND WARNING IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM PDT THIS EVENING.

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South fence at the upper reservoir park.

A gusty morning has already led to at least one area of Maple Leaf that has lost power, on 97th between Roosevelt and 15th.

It’s not marked yet on Seattle City Light’s outage map, so please let us know who else is in the dark out there! See comments below.

(Winds to 34 mph so far this a.m. at Maple Leaf Life South.)

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Video from tour under Maple Leaf Reservoir

December 19th, 2011 by master

While Maple Leaf Life was busy helping with the tours underneath the Maple Leaf Reservoir last weekend, Mwiza Kalisa, the intern for all of Next Door Media, the umbrella news group that includes Maple Leaf Life, was busy shooting video.

To experience the tour firsthand, watch this first video that includes  all of the information participants learned during the tour from Project Manager Stephanie Murphy.

If you just want to spend your whole video experience underneath the reservoir, check out this shorter, second video. Be sure to turn your sound on, too, if you want to hear how extreme the echo is down there.

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Photos from the Maple Leaf Life tour inside the reservoir

December 12th, 2011 by Mike

All photos courtesy Dane Doerflinger Photography

The photographs from Saturday’s tour inside the Maple Leaf Reservoir are in, and they are stunning.

We’re posting some of them here, the rest are at Dane Doerflinger’s photo sharing site, here.

Our thanks to Dane, a neighbor, who also has supplied Halloween photos to Maple Leaf Life, and who shot the Maple Leaf Summer Social for us this year and in 2010.

On the right (in safety vest) is Stephanie Murphy, Seattle Public Utilities’ project manager for the site, addressing one group Saturday morning. It was raining lightly outside, with temps in the 30s, but down under it was 44 degrees and dry.

Here’s some information from the fact sheet Seattle Public Utilities was handing out Saturday:

  • In 1994 the state Department of Health required all water systems to submit plans and schedules for covering open reservoirs.
  • Post 9/11 concerns heightened scrutiny of the reservoirs, and in 2002 then-Mayor Greg Nickels advocated burying them as opposed to devising floating covers. The City Council approved that plan in 2004.

  • Burying the  Beacon Hill reservoir (50 million gallons) was started in May 2006 and finished in February 2009.
  • The Myrtle Reservoir project (5 million gallons) started in July 2006 and finished in July 2008.
  • In West Seattle, construction on that reservoir (30 million gallons) started in July 2008 and finished in July 2010.

The Maple Leaf Reservoir was originally built in 1910. The current project to bury it began in September 2009 and is to end in April 2012.

It is the largest of the four reservoirs to be buried, at 60 million gallons in two separate “cells,” divided by a concrete wall down the center of the tank. We’ve been reporting on the project since the winter of 2010.

Total cost for the Maple Leaf project is $49 million; for all four reservoirs it hits $140 million.

According to Seattle Public Utilities, the Maple Leaf Reservoir:

  • Is 494 feet wide by 666 feet long.
  • Has 768 underground columns, 20 feet apart.
  • Each column is 2 feet in diameter and 25-35 feet tall.
  • The walls are 22 inches thick.
  • Will have 11 inches of drain rock and 10 inches of topsoil on top of the lid, along with grass.
  • Will add 16 new acres to the Maple Leaf Reservoir Park.



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Update on tour inside the Maple Leaf Reservoir

December 11th, 2011 by Mike

Our news partners The Seattle Times have posted 13 photographs from Saturday’s tour here.

We’ll have more photos and videos probably later today. (You won’t have to sit through an ARCO ad to see ours.) For earlier photos underground at the Maple Leaf Reservoir, click here.

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Peek beneath the Maple Leaf covered reservoir

December 8th, 2011 by Mike

One of the more interesting structures found beneath the lid of the rebuilt Maple Leaf Reservoir is a clearly marked column.

It’s a readout, not of how many millions of gallons of water are in the reservoir, but of how far above sea level the water surface is.

Thus it’s possible to see that although you’re some 30 feet underground in possibly the city’s biggest current construction project, you’re still higher than most of Seattle. (As Maple Leaf Life is fond of pointing out, we’re the third highest hill in town, rising 466 feet outside the Blue Saucer on Roosevelt Way Northeast.)

In preparation for Saturday’s fully booked tour inside the reservoir, we took a trial run on Wednesday, accompanied by photographer Marcus Donner. (The photos with this post are copyright by Marcus R. Donner.)

On Saturday those taking the tour willl walk halfway across the white reservoir lid to concrete stairs at the south end of the reservoir. That walk takes less than four minutes. There are 48 steps leading down into the reservoir.

Underground, it doesn’t feel claustrophobic, and it’s not especially dark, either. The space is cavernous, broken up by dozens of pillars. The ceiling is 25-33 feet high. The acoustics are grand! It’s completely dry now – next month it will be flooded with 60 million gallons of drinking water.

A piece that won’t be on the tour is the circular mechanical vault, shown below, where the drinking water leaves the reservoir and heads for our kitchen taps.

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Tour of Maple Leaf Reservoir will not be expanded

December 1st, 2011 by master

We’ve just gotten word that the Dec. 10 tour of the Maple Leaf Reservoir will not be expanded beyond the original 100 participants as previously was expected (or perhaps it was just hoped!). The city found that liability and security issues associated with greatly expanding the tour made it unfeasible.

Because we received hundreds of emails from hopeful reservoir tourists, we’ve only notified the first 100 people who emailed us. Which means, if you didn’t get an email from us, we regret to inform you that you didn’t make the cut.

We also regret to inform all of you who tried to RSVP via Facebook that you also did not make the cut. The blog post specifically said that people were to RSVP via email, however, one reader pointed out that the Facebook post was a bit misleading. It stated:

On Dec. 10 we’ll be able to take the first 100 folks who respond underneath the new covered reservoir before it’s flooded.

Unfortunately, it appears that many of our Facebook readers took the “underneath” phrasing to mean that they should “respond underneath,” rather than that the tour would take them “underneath the new covered reservoir,” and we sincerely apologize for that confusion.

For those of you who can’t physically make the tour, we hope to be your eyes and ears underneath the reservoir. Check back Dec. 10 for as up-close-and-personal of a view underneath the reservoir as possible via a blog site, and thanks for all of your support!

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Reservoir tour update: We've started notifying the first tour group

November 28th, 2011 by Mike

Happy Monday after Thanksgiving to all. (Who’s shopping online today?)

Over the weekend, in between celebration and cleanup, we started on the schedule for tours of the Maple Leaf Reservoir. Mai Ling already started emailing the first 100 folks we know we can take down inside on Saturday, Dec. 10. I plan to continue sending those emails today.

We still expect some way to take more than the first 100, but probably won’t hear back from Seattle Public Utilities on that until Tuesday at the earliest.

Once we hear, we’ll let you know.

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Reservoir tour update: We’ve started notifying the first tour group

November 28th, 2011 by Mike

Happy Monday after Thanksgiving to all. (Who’s shopping online today?)

Over the weekend, in between celebration and cleanup, we started on the schedule for tours of the Maple Leaf Reservoir. Mai Ling already started emailing the first 100 folks we know we can take down inside on Saturday, Dec. 10. I plan to continue sending those emails today.

We still expect some way to take more than the first 100, but probably won’t hear back from Seattle Public Utilities on that until Tuesday at the earliest.

Once we hear, we’ll let you know.

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Updated: Join us for an underground tour inside the new Maple Leaf Reservoir

November 23rd, 2011 by Mike

Update 3 p.m.: Wow! We’ve had time to do a rough count – we had more than 100 requests before 8 a.m. By 2 p.m. we were north of 400 people who wanted to take the tour. And requests are still coming in. (Please stop now. We are for sure full.)

Here’s the good news: We’ve been talking all day with Seattle Public Utilities about whether we can expand this tour, either on Dec. 10 or at a later date. The answer appears to be yes – but it’s a guarded yes, as it’s tough to figure it out with Thanksgiving weekend looming.

So here’s our plan. We’re going to put all the requests we have in hand onto a spreadsheet. As we promised at 6:45 this morning, we’ll prioritize the first 100 folks who emailed us. We’ll let those people know that they are on the list by return email.

We’ll enter all the remaining responses, too – in order of when we got them. (We’ll try to sort out those of you who put your request in the comments below.) If we can expand, we’ll notify you, but it will probably be the middle of next week before we have details. We might have to recruit a few of you to help with the logistics.

Again, thanks for your support, for the neighborhood and Maple Leaf Life.

Update 9 a.m.: What a response! Requests for reservations are coming in faster than we can count them. Over 60 emails in the last two hours. I suspect we’re starting a waiting list. We’ll get back to folks, but it might take a bit. -Mike

Construction of the Maple Leaf Reservoir is almost complete. Courtesy Seattle Public Utilities.

It’s been well over a year since reader Greg Howard emailed us this question about construction at the Maple Leaf Reservoir:

“Has there been any discussion with the city to allow tours of the underground reservoir once it is completed? I personally find the project quite fascinating and it seems like it would be a once- in-a- lifetime opportunity to see it before it is put in use.”

We now have an answer. Yes.

Seattle Public Utilities and Maple Leaf Life are organizing a tour, for our readers and neighbors, inside the reservoir – perhaps Seattle’s biggest construction project – before it’s flooded.

The date is Saturday, Dec. 10. The time: 10 a.m. to noon.

The tour is limited to the first 100 people who respond by email to this invitation. There is no charge.

That Saturday we’ll take groups of 25 people at a time down inside the reservoir. Each tour will take about a half-hour. Inside, the project manager will describe the project and answer questions.

Bring rain gear and flashlights. (It’s not wet underground, but it might well be raining while waiting. There are lights underground, but we don’t want to risk a power outage. It is possible that really rotten weather might force us to postpone.)

There are long stairs with 48 steps going down beneath the covered lid. Wear sturdy walking shoes. It’s not possible to fit strollers or wheelchairs inside.

To register for the tour, send an email to “tips@mapleleaflife.com.” Tell us how many people you’d like to bring, and what time you’d like to come. The tour options are 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 11:30 a.m.

We’ll get back to you with details. First come, first served. And thanks for supporting your neighborhood, and Maple Leaf Life.

Underground at the Beacon Hill Reservoir, after it was covered, before it was flooded. Courtesy Seattle Public Utilities.

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