Update to the Neighborhood April 2015
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood and tonight is First Thursday Art Walk! Get outside and cruise by a new gallery, a new restaurant or one of your long time favorites. We have an awesome lineup this month with enough arts and culture to inspire your aura for the season.
Pioneer Square is continuously springing up in the newsfeeds of Seattle, boasting to be the best neighborhood in the city. Take some time away from your devices to see all the amazing things blossoming in your community.
Have a lovely month. See you in the neighborhood!
National Poetry Month
But What Do They Do?
One of the first things I learned when coming to work in Pioneer Square was how extensive the list is of people/groups/organizations/departments that influence the state of the neighborhood. It’s easy to lose track of all the outside forces that leave their mark on Pioneer Square. This can be either good or bad, (sometimes good and bad), depending on your point of view, your connection to the neighborhood, and the vision you see for the future.
A large part of our work at the Alliance is to partner, assist, communicate, support, negotiate, and sometimes mitigate these outside forces to work towards our shared goal: Making Pioneer Square a better place by helping preserve what makes Pioneer Square the most authentic, engaging and dynamic neighborhood in Seattle.
We want to share what we learn with you. Whether it’s a resource you could use every day or just information that’s interesting to know, we’ll be bringing you a series of articles that look in more depth at what shapes Pioneer Square. If there’s a topic of particular interest to you, let us know. We’ll consider all suggestions.
Seattle Police Department: Part 1
Sometimes random learning opportunities come knocking on our door. At least, that’s how I view the Seattle Police Department Community Police Academy #39. Offered twice a year, the program is
“designed to educate the public in the operations of the Seattle Police Department, while also giving the Department a chance to obtain valuable feedback from the community. The purpose of the Community Police Academy is to increase understanding between the Seattle Police Department and the community members of Seattle through education and interaction.”
And that is what I’m doing. For 11-weeks, I’m taking a course on the inner workings of the SPD. My goals are fairly simple: 1) clarify any misconceptions regarding the SPD, laws and ordinances in our city and 2) identify and share useful resources with our Pioneer Square stakeholders.
First, this is a free course and you, too, have the opportunity to enroll. They offer a one-day academy as well. Everything learned is first hand. More information is available here. Preparation is pretty minimal for the course, (though I recommend watching Police Academy 4 to get you in the right frame of mind,) and all materials are provided.
Pioneer Square has its fair share of issues, though not nearly as many as those internet-commenter-trolls would have you believe. What I’m loving about the Community Police Academy is that it covers almost all topics, including the ones you don’t see in the headlines every day. Following are some of the info/tips/resources I’ve picked up during the first few classes that may be of interest to you:
- Wonder who’s living in your community? You can look here or here to find out the location of Level 2 or Level 3 sex offenders. And some quick data: there are 21,202 offenders within the State of Washington, 1,174 of which are registered in Seattle. The West Precinct has 176.
- Tired of seeing the same criminal activity but weary of utilizing 9-1-1? SPD has a handy-dandy online reporting program where you can report narcotic activity, property destruction, identity theft, car prowls, graffiti and more!
- Wonder what happens in situations where de-escalation is necessary to keep everyone safe? Seattle has a Crisis Intervention Team of certified officers to respond to persons in mental health crises. The program started in 1997 and was one of the first departments in the country to adopt this model.
- See something you don’t like? The Office of Professional Accountability is led by an independent civilian Director. They investigate public complaints, among other things. If you have a complaint, there are multiple ways to file here. If you’re not sure – just ask them. They are trained and qualified to triage, document, and sometimes investigate allegations.
There’s more to come. Keep an eye out for the next article in the series.
The late-and-breaking news about what’s happening in the neighborhood.…
- If you haven’t visited The Faerie Queene at 90 Yesler Way for lunch or happy hour yet – and to meet owner, Una Kim – you should remedy that soon. Oysters, clams, cioppino, and more.
- The NINETY, the new culture hub and gathering place for soccer fans, will celebrate its opening at 406 Occidental Ave S with a ribbon cutting and open house on Thursday, April 9, 4:30-7:00. Come on down. This is going to be a blast.
- Arundel Books moved upstairs and is now settled in their new space in the Grand Central Building at 209 Occidental Ave S, opening onto Occidental Park. (Did you see the wonderful CityArts article?) Visit their new digs and lose yourself in the stacks. Think ink.
- Finally – a theater returns to Pioneer Square! A dinner theater, no less. Café Nordo’s debut production opens this month in Nordo’s Culinarium at 109 S Main. Tickets are on sale now.
- The much-anticipated opening of Girin at 2nd Ave S & S King is finally upon us. They plan to open their doors to the public on Saturday, April 4.
- Though we were sad to see Little Uncle go, the anticipation around the opening of Kraken Congee is wild. It’s fun to see more things jumping on that block of Yesler.
- The success of Intrigue Chocolate’s campaign through Community Sourced Capital wasn’t a surprise to anyone, but it was exciting all the same. The windows of their new retail space in the Washington Shoe Building on Jackson are covered with paper and the work has begun.
- Convoy Coffee also completed their campaign with Community Sourced Capital and will begin building their first permanent coffee stand in the lobby of Impact Hub Seattle later this spring. They’ll be open to the public and will offer breakfast/lunch items from a variety of farmers market vendors and artisanal food producers.
- I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Nirmal shortly after his arrival in Seattle last month. He is now in the midst of creating the menu for Nirmal’s in the Interurban Building on Occidental Ave S. We all look forward to seeing this long-vacant space spring to life with fabulous food and activity.
More business news and resources:
As you know, the new Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance is now in effect. The Seattle Office for Civil Rights website lists myriad resources to answer many questions about the law. They are also hosting a Business Breakfast Meeting with Employers on Seattle’s Minimum Wage Law on Tuesday, April 14 at 7:30. Registration is required, so sign up today!
The Seattle Office of Economic Development is an important partner in the revitalization of Pioneer Square and an extraordinary source of information for business owners. Their website, growseattle, demystifies much of what it takes to “Start, Grow, or Green” in Seattle.
One shining example is their work with restaurants. Restaurant advocate, Jennifer Tam, is one of the first people I call when restaurant owners need help getting their doors open. She’s also offering office hours – by appointment – nearby at the SCIDPDA office in the Chinatown International District on the third Wednesday of every month from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. You can email her directly or I’d be happy to make an introduction.
Other things are brewing, of course, but this will do for now. Get out there and enjoy our fabulous neighborhood. Aren’t you glad you’re here?
Let your Voice be Heard
In March 2015, Mayor Ed Murray introduced a proposal for a nine-year, $900 million levy to replace the existing Bridging the Gap levy that expires at the end of 2015.
The transportation levy to Move Seattle proposal focuses on taking care of the basics, maintaining our streets, bridges, and sidewalks, while also investing in the future with improvements that give us more transportation choices to move more people and goods in and around our growing city.
Prior to finalizing the proposal, the City is encouraging the public to provide input and be a part of shaping Seattle’s transportation future. Take the survey to share your transportation priorities!
In January, the Alliance reported on the new Jackson Street sidewalk repair, a community-led effort to repair one of the most traveled entries into Pioneer Square. This effort was a result of the International Sustainability Institute’s Active Streets Report. The report listed over 40 inaccessible spots in the neighborhood, one of which was the Jackson Street sidewalk. While we are chipping away at improvements, many more repairs are necessary to link transit and destinations for everyone.
Since that time, we learned of a Seattleite working diligently to make Pioneer Square accessible. Frustrated by watching the struggles of others as they traveled around the neighborhood, as well as taking a few falls herself, Kiana Parker, alternative media coordinator at Seattle University Disability Services, took action. She mobilized a tour of the Square with Councilmember Tom Rasmussen in December to give him a first-hand account of what it’s like to get around Pioneer Square using a wheelchair. Real Change covered that story here.
Next, Kiana partnered with the Alliance for a follow-up tour with Seattle’s new Director of Transportation, Scott Kubly. On March 6, a group of 20 people from Seattle University and the Pioneer Square neighborhood met Director Kubly to help him experience the challenges of navigating Pioneer Square.
Traveling by wheelchair the entire trip, Director Kubly managed to stay upright on slanted sidewalks, navigated steep curb ramps, and pushed through cobblestones ramps. At one point, Kubly ended up in the middle of a crosswalk when the traffic signal changed because he was so focused on the challenges of the sidewalk and using the wheelchair. In the end, he thanked our team for the eye-opening tour.
In 2014, SDOT received federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funding to repair curb ramps in Pioneer Square and the Chinatown International District. Due to the high cost of repairing ramps in historic districts, funding will cover only design engineering. The Alliance will continue to seek funding sources and partner with neighbors, disability advocates and the City of Seattle for construction funding to complete this project and make Pioneer Square accessible for everyone.
First Thursday Speaker Series
Bertha and Progress on the SR 99 Tunnel
Thursday, April 2
Milepost 31, 211 First Ave. S., Seattle
Admission is free.
It’s been a big week for Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine. On Monday, Seattle Tunnel Partners successfully lifted the 2,000-ton front end of the machine out of the access pit and onto the repair platform for further dis-assembly and repairs.
Join us this Thursday evening at Milepost 31 to learn more about the complex work that went into this milestone.
Speaker: David Sowers, Deputy Program Administrator (Operations) for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program
After the talk, be sure to leave enough time to explore the rest of the First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square. Milepost 31 is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and stays open until 8 p.m. on First Thursdays.
Free parking is available for First Thursday art walk patrons in Pioneer Square. Please visitwww.FirstThursdaySeattle.com for more information about participating garages.
To suggest future topics and speaker, email firstname.lastname@example.org, your feedback is appreciated.
Way to talk it up! Because of your efforts, nearly 5000 people have experienced free parking since the First Thursday Free Parking Promotion began in late 2012! And within the last year we have seen a big uptick in the number of people saying they heard about it from you! So keep chattin’ it up, because it’s bringing more people to Pioneer Square on one of the best nights of the month.
By the way, anybody can promote and participate the First Thursday parking promotion! You don’t have to be an art gallery or dedicated participant of First Thursday to take part in the program. Is your business open during First Thursday? Do your customers like free parking? Then you are a prime candidate to distribute Free Parking vouchers. Learn more about the program here: http://www.pioneersquare.org/first-thursday-art-walk and contact email@example.com to become an active participant.
It’s that time of year again! The annual Pioneer Square Spring Clean is scheduled for May 16th from 8:30AM to 12:30PM! Make sure to sign up here We will tackle a number of projects, from weeding, to garbage pick-up, to graffiti paint out. Coffee, breakfast snacks, and lunch are all provided. Plus, you’ll get some awesome swag to keep yourself looking and feeling cool! Can’t wait to see you there!