News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Two news pieces – Councilwoman Debora Juarez and Thornton Creek (plus coyote)

January 13th, 2016 by Mike

Now that the new district-by-district Seattle City Council is sworn in, Crosscut has a piece today on Debora Juarez, the councilwoman representing north Seattle including Maple Leaf.

Headlined “Street-level politics come to Seattle, led by Debora Juarez,” it begins:

“Rule number one: Don’t call District 5 “Seattle’s Canada,” at least not to new Councilmember Debora Juarez’s face.

Read the full story here.

It notes Juarez’s top priorities locally – “Three major capital projects for District 5: the North Precinct Police Station, the Northgate bike and pedestrian bridge and securing funding for a second light rail stop on Northeast 130th Street.”

Meanwhile, our news partner The Seattle Times this week published a look at our own primary stream: “Thornton Creek gets a makeover from the ground up.”

It’s a bit of a slog (which is why it took two days to read – the “so-called hyporheic zone” is in the third sentence) but interesting. The gist is that Seattle Public Utilities is testing treating Thornton Creek like the Cedar River.

Our drinking water comes in part from the Cedar drainage, whereas Thornton for decades has resembled more of a storm water/sewer drain.

One of the test areas is in Maple Leaf, the renamed Kingfisher Natural Area.

And besides, it gives us the opportunity to highlight this video the Thornton Creek Alliance posted to our Facebook page last week. It’s of a coyote yipping in the Kingfisher Natural Area.

→ 4 CommentsTags: , , ,

Another missing cat, Wiscotee

July 26th, 2015 by Mike

Tanya emails this morning:

“We would like to post about our lost cat.

“Her name is Wiscotee. She is a black and white medium-to-long hair tuxedo cat with white paws. She is usually very friendly and curious.

“She will explore your car or maybe even your house if you leave the door open. We last saw her the evening of Monday July 16th at the east end of 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 102nd Steet.

“We live near the Thornton Creek ravine. Please call if you see her or find her. (206) 387-3410. Or email

→ No CommentsTags: , ,

The coyote of Maple Leaf?

January 20th, 2015 by Mike

Greg emails under the subject line: “Coyote spotted in Maple Leaf”:

Not sure if someone else sent this tip in, but we saw this guy last Thursday on the corner of Eighth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 94th street at 8:20am. He looked pretty happy and comfortable…not sure if he is a regular.

Given that Thornton Creek cuts though Maple Leaf, this seems possible.

(Maybe he’s on his way to class at Olympic View Elementary.)

Any other sitings?

→ 21 CommentsTags: , , ,

Two spill reports from Thornton Creek

October 23rd, 2014 by Mike

Monday’s tanker accident on Interstate 5 near Northgate has brought two reports of contamination in Thornton Creek.

Dana writes:

As a result of the accident there was a fuel spill into Thornton Creek. I took the attached photos around 8:30 a.m., showing a hazmat team responding at the corner of 5th & 103rd. My husband ran past the same corner around 6:15 am and said there was a very strong fuel odor coming from the creek at that time.

This is especially unfortunate considering that major restoration work had just been completed along this section of the creek, which I think you’d reported on previously.

And on Wednesday Chris wrote:

“I was down on Thornton Creek at the end of Ninth Avenue Northeast this afternoon, downstream of the beaver pond (and thus downstream of the absorbent materials placed in the creek). There is still a pervasive smell of diesel from Monday’s accident/spill, despite heavy rain and high water. Poor, poor creek.”

Additionally, the Thornton Creek Alliance is holding a meeting at 7:15 p.m. today and will have a briefing on the  spill. The meeting is at Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Ave. N.E.

→ 2 CommentsTags: ,

Fence springs up between N.E. 105th and Thornton Creek

July 22nd, 2014 by Mike

Update 4:40 p.m. Seattle Parks project manager Garrett Farrell emails:

Yes, the Thornton Creek restoration project is about to get underway, Contractor WS Construction is setting up fencing and getting ready to mobilize on site.

The main body of work will be closer to Fifth Avenue Northeast/Northeast 103rd Street where the main creek restoration work will take place.

Trail work will extend up to Northeast 105th Street and neighbors can expect limited access across this stretch ( 103rd to 105th east of 5th) for the next few months.

Neighbors can expect activity on 103rd, the 104th cul de sac and 105th as the contractor uses these streets to access the work.

Daniel emails:

Six-foot-tall temporary fencing has gone up along the Thornton Creek watershed bordering Northeast 105th Street  behind the Pacific Medical Center.

Does anyone have any clue as to the reason or purpose for the fence? I know the homeless set up an encampment in that area during the night, but the fence wouldn’t be a deterrent to keeping them out so there’s got to be another reason for it.

There is also fencing on the other sides of the Thornton Creek watershed where it borders a public road or public access point.

I’ll try and send a photo of the fencing.

→ 2 CommentsTags: , , ,

Neighbor reports misbehaving in Thornton Creek

March 31st, 2014 by Mike

We get reports from time to time of activities in Thornton Creek where it passes through Maple Leaf.

Most often they are about people cutting trees, or loitering.

Now we have one about fire starting.

Stephanie emails this morning:

I live on Eighth Avenue Northeast & Northeast 104th Street and there is a creek behind my house. I like to walk my dog through the trails on a regular basis. Last Wednesday I started walking him down when I saw a kid (potentially teenager) attempting to start a fire. As soon as he saw me he stomped on it and ran off. Just wanted to let people know who live around there to keep an eye out for kids & teens in the creek area that might be up to no good.

→ 2 CommentsTags: , ,

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

→ 3 CommentsTags: , , , , ,

Northeast 105th is now truly a one-way street

January 22nd, 2013 by master

One-way streets abound throughout Maple Leaf in an effort to keep non-locals from jetting through our neighborhoods to and from Northgate Mall and our various arterials. But one of those one-way streets, Northeast 105th,  has been unique in that it allowed cars to travel both directions despite being large enough for only one car at a time.

Looks like those days are over. This weekend, we noticed that there’s now a “Do Not Enter” sign at the corner of 105th and Eighth Avenue Northeast for cars traveling west.

In the minute or so that we were in the area, we also saw two cars drive right past the Do Not Enter Sign and up the road in the wrong direction. Perhaps they didn’t see the sign, or perhaps they just didn’t know where else to turn if they’ve been traveling up that road for years.

What are your thoughts on the new truly one-way version of 105th? Did you even notice it?

→ 19 CommentsTags: ,

Bentley the sheltie is home for the holidays!

December 26th, 2012 by Mike

Bentley, who ran away from his Maple Leaf home on Dec. 8th and apparently lived in Thornton Creek for 13 days, was back home for Christmas, David emails overnight.

One Maple Leaf Life reader spotted him on Dec. 10th, near the Les Schwab tire store on Lake City Way, someone else saw him on Dec. 15th near Thornton Creek, and David saw Bentley on Dec. 19th. (Bentley belongs to his mother, Dorie, pictured above.)

“He’s running from everyone he sees, so we’ve put a safe, humane trap close to where he’s been staying,” David wrote then. “Hopefully, we’ll get him back tonight or tomorrow.”

It worked two days later.

We were finally able to locate his hideout, under the 15th Avenue Northeast bridge. Since he would run at the first sight of people, we placed a safe trap cage close to where he was sighted.

Though we had placed food inside, Bentley only approached the trap once we surrounded it with my mother’s clothes. Once he picked up her scent, he wouldn’t leave the vicinity! He has always been very devoted to her.

Sometime after midnight, early Friday morning, Bentley entered the cage and stepped on the trap. The door closed behind him, and several hours later, after 13 days on the run, he was reunited with my mom, his mom.

We are overjoyed to have our little guy home, and we are so thankful to everyone in the neighborhood who took the time to help us, especially Jeff and Brad who first saw him by the creek.

→ 6 CommentsTags: , , ,

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 →]

→ No CommentsTags: , , , ,