The Homeless Neighbor

Seattle’s homeless population stretches far beyond downtown. North Seattle residents and businesses are also struggling to deal with the issue. To see how the community is trying to find a balance, we take you to the streets of Ballard for a raw and compelling look at the problem.

The Homeless Neighbor is the third in a series of stories partnering Next Door Media sites with the nonprofit Common Language Project and students of University of Washington’s Entrepreneurial Journalism class. One of the authors of this story is Christian Caple, the editor of our newest neighborhood site U District Daily. We invite you to take a look.

Lower Queen Anne’s Peso’s Kitchen & Lounge is the biggest bar booze buyer in Washington State

According to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, Lower Queen Anne’s own Peso’s Kitchen & Lounge is the biggest restaurant/bar buyer of booze in the entire state!

Former Seattle PI columnist and Queen Anne bar owner Mike Lewis (who became one of the owners of the Streamline on Mercer St. last fall) broke the story on the Seattle Weekly’s Voracious blog today, Wednesday, April 28. From the story:

Peso’s spent more on liquor over the past 12 months than any other bar in the state, more than restaurants twice its size, more than hotels, more any other booze-slinging establishment except two large casinos, according to the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

A top ten list of purchasers release by the WSLCB revealed that Peso’s trailed behind only two establishments–the Snoqualmie Casino and Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Spokane. But just because it spent more, doesn’t meant it sold more alcohol–it all comes down to what you buy. Read Mike’s full story at the Seattle Weekly.

(Thanks to Mike for the tip!)

News from the neighbors: budget cuts threaten Discovery Park, no appeal for ‘Missing Link’ ruling

Though these stories don’t hale from Queen Anne, they could affect many in the neighborhood. To keep us all abreast of what’s going in in our neighboring communities, here are a couple stories from two of our sister sites, MyBallard and MagnoliaVoice.

Over in Magnolia, Discovery Park is facing the threat of looming budget cuts at Seattle Parks and Recreation, which if passed, could shut down and lay off the staff at the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center (aka the Visitor Center) as soon as July. MagnoliaVoice has the full story.

In Ballard there is an update on the long-developing Burke-Gilman Trail ‘Missing Link’ story. Recently a judge ruled that an environmental review would have to be conducted on a small section of the ‘missing link’ in Ballard before the project could continue, a process that is expected to take about six months. This morning the City of Seattle decided not to appeal this decision. Read the full story at MyBallard.

“Topped” trees along W Comstock St. raise concerns among neighbors and city arborist

Reader Susan P. first noticed a row of what she described as “brutally hacked” London Plane trees while walking past W Comstock St. along Queen Anne Ave N on Monday, April 26.

The four tall trees bordering the south side of the Greenwich Apartments at the top of the south face of Queen Anne hill are the victim of “topping,” a term that refers to the practice of “stubbing” or “dehorning” a tree in an attempt to prevent overgrowth.

According to, an organization dedicated to ending the “senseless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs,” topping trees is an ineffective and misguided practice that actually worsens the health of the tree or shrub.

Topping has become the urban forest’s major threat, dramatically shortening the lifespan of trees and creating hazardous trees in high-traffic areas.

Concerned about the legality of topping, Susan wonders if it was the work of a private party or business. “It couldn’t have been done legally because the City doesn’t allow topping trees,” she wrote.

“This work definitely wasn’t done by the city,” confirmed Seattle Department of Transportation City Arborist Nolan Rundquist. “When work is performed on street trees by a tree firm or a resident, they are required to obtain a permit from the Urban Forestry section of Seattle Transportation. This type of work is something that we never would have issued a permit for.”

According to Rundquist, the trees meet none of the city’s tree pruning specifications, and looks to be the handiwork of a “tree cutter,” who he said are often “more concerned about making a buck than performing work that was beneficial for the tree and community.”

“The work is very unprofessional (in my opinion, of course) – we’ve been trying to get the “topping is bad” message out for the last 30 years,” Rundquist said, referring readers to Plant Amnesty’s “5 Reasons to Stop Topping Trees” list.

We called the manager of the adjacent Greenwich apartment building, Berit McAlister, to see if she knew who was responsible or had heard anything from other tenants or neighbors. McAlister first said she did not know, and then requested we send a formal letter in writing inquiring for more information.

Regardless of who is responsible, however, Rundquist urges community members to actively discourage tree topping. “We’d certainly like to know the name of the company or person who performed the work, so we can contact them and hopefully keep them from destroying any more trees,” he said.

For more information on urban forestry, street tree regulations, pruning tips, or to file a street tree pruning/removal request or hire a permitted contractor, visit SDOT’s website.

(Thanks to Susan for the tip!)

Seattle Metropolitan names Queen Anne one of the best places to live in Seattle in 2010!

Seattle Metropolitan magazine has named Queen Anne one of the best Seattle neighborhoods to live in in 2010!

And I can’t say that I blame them! Seattle Met chatted with Queen Anne Farmers Market director Julie Whitehorn about what makes QA–or as I call it, the other hill– so great. Read the full piece here.

Queen Anne appreciation moment: Here are some of neighborhood’s highlights:

Have another reason why Queen Anne rocks? Share it in the comments below!

Ballard Bridge painting to affect pedestrian & bicycle traffic this summer

One of the great things about Queen Anne in the summer is that the location provides a number of captivating and enjoyable routes for walking and cycling to and around town! But if you’re looking forward to taking a stroll over the Ballard Bridge in the coming months, you might have to put your plans on hold. This summer, Seattle Department of Transportation crews will be painting one half of the Ballard Bridge, affecting pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Rick Sheridan with SDOT tells us that pedestrian access on either the east or west side of the bridge will be shut down entirely during the painting. The other side of the bridge will remain open. No word on when painting will start or which side of the bridge crews will work on first. The side that isn’t painted this year will be painted next year.