Seattle's Magnolia Neighborhood News Blog

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Entries from December 2008

Top Magnolia stories from 2008

December 31st, 2008 by Sara

We thought it would be interesting to look back at 2008 and the top stories from our neighborhood this past year.  We confess that this will really be more of a six month review since we started this site in July.  Still, there are enough big stories to remember…. 

July:  Over 350 people gathered in Discovery Park to hear the U.S. Army apologize to the families of 28 African American soldiers from Fort Lawton who were wrongly jailed in 1944.  Magnolia residents Jack and Leslie Hamann led the charge to have the convictions overturned. 

August:  Magnolia’s so called messiest man was evicted from his long time home on 34th Ave West.  Neighbors were relieved to have the man gone, saying the home was an eyesore. It was filled with debris and had no running water for over two years.  The new owners have been hard at work fixing up the house.

September:  Magnolia Voice broke the news that the Whole Foods Market construction on 15th Ave was stopped.  The store planned to open by Thanksgiving but the troubled economy hurt the chain.  The developer of the complex filed suit against Whole Foods for breaching the lease and it is now unclear if the store will ever open in that location.   

October: The moving homeless camp dubbed Nickelsville settled into Discovery Park.  The group stayed in the park for ten days amidst much legal wrangling and controversy before they were forced to leave by the city of Seattle.  They moved to a church parking lot in the University Distrcit.   

November:  A large crowd challenged the city’s BAT (business, access and transit) lanes on 15th Ave West at a public meeting.  City representatives struggled to explain the BAT lanes to residents who expressed anger and frustration. The city did back off on plans to ticket BAT lane violators following that meeting. 

December:  The big snow was the big story for this month and this year. For ten days we battled icy roads, school closures and cabin fever as Magnolia was buried with almost a foot of snow. 

Stories to watch in 2009:  The fight over the city’s plan to put a  mixed-income neighborhood at the Fort Lawton Army Reserve Center, including housing for the homeless is being challenged legally and will heat up next year.

We should find out if Interbay will be home to a new jail.  The site at 1600 Armory Way is listed as one of six potential sites for the regional misdemeaner jail

Do you agree with our top story list or do you think there are issues we missed?  And what do you think are the big issues facing Magnolia in 2009?     

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City wants to know about potholes

December 30th, 2008 by Sara

The city wants you to let them know if you encounter a pothole that needs to be fixed.  Mayor Greg Nickels today encouraged residents to call the city’s pothole hotline at 684-ROAD (684-7623) as the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) turns to clean-up operations after our recent winter blast. 

You may recall that when he was elected, Nickels pledged the city would fill any pothole within 48-hours. He says that commitment remains today, and four crews of so called Pothole Rangers are dedicated to pavement repair across the city.

“Ice and snow are not kind to city streets, but we’re providing relief to smooth out the ride,” said Nickels. “We’re asking the public to tell us where to go first, and we’ll add additional Pothole Rangers if needed to get the job done.”

Asphalt is best poured in dry conditions. With intermittent rain forecast for Seattle, SDOT is filling most potholes with “cold mix” – asphalt and gravel. SDOT will return in warmer weather to pour a more permanent solution.

SDOT rwill respond to residents’ calls first, and then will fix potholes spotted by city crews.

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Big winds and maybe more on the way

December 30th, 2008 by Sara

The windstorm that blew through our area yesterday was pretty intense.  One of the peak gusts recorded was 55mph right here in Magnolia. It certainly had the trees in our neighborhood swaying.

It is interesting that the storm was not widely predicted.  Meteorologist Cliff Mass calls it a poorly predicted weather event.  Here is what he had to say on his blog today:

My profession did not do an adequate job, when we had a significant, and poorly forecast, wind event. Both on the coast and here in the lowlands, wind gusts reached 50-60 mph near water and exposed locations, with the remainder of the area experiencing 30-40 mph gusts. The Evergreen Bridge had 40 mph sustained winds for two hours around noon. Lots of branches were downed and several thousand people lost power.

Not very often that you hear the weather folks admit they were off in their forecast.  So whats up next?  While many of the forecasters are calling for an even bigger windstorm later this week, Mass is not so sure, calling the Thursday/Friday storm pattern uncertain.

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Garbage pick up almost back to normal

December 29th, 2008 by Sara

After missing last week, Seattle garbage collectors will be making their regularly scheduled rounds in parts of Magnolia today (Monday).  They hope to be caught up with garbage service by this Saturday, Jan. 3.

Yard waste service — including Christmas tree pickup — will be resumed next week on a near-normal schedule for residential customers. Check your schedule for your next yard waste pickup date.

This week, garbage and recycling will be collected from all Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday customers on their regular day. Customers missed this Monday through Wednesday should leave their waste out through Thursday, January 1. Contractors will also send out additional crews on Thursday, New Year’s Day, to collect any missed locations.

Collections regularly scheduled for Thursday and Friday (Jan. 1 and 2) of this week will be delayed by one day due to the New Year’s holiday.

Garbage and recycling that has not been collected by Saturday, Jan. 3, should be reported to Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), at 206-684-3000.


Ideas needed for Clean and Green event

December 29th, 2008 by Sara

A Magnolia group is looking for ideas for our area for the upcoming Mayor’s Clean and Green event.  They are hoping that readers will send feedback so the group can make a plan for the event scheduled for February 7.  

Clean and Green is basically a work party the city sponsors to beautify neighborhoods through litter pick ups, tree plantings or whatever the community feels it needs.  The group would like to have imput from readers regarding the areas of Magnolia that could benefit from a work party.  They also need to recruit volunteers for the event.  

Send ideas to Margaret Flaherty at

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UPS driver looking for owner of lost phone

December 29th, 2008 by Sara

We saw this on Craig’s List this morning and thought we would try to help this UPS driver locate the Magnolia owner of the phone he found:

I found a blue and silver Samsung flip phone in Magnolia on Christmas Eve while I was on my UPS route delivering packages. I spoke with the owners sister, which was the first name in the phone book. So if Becca and her sister are out there, reply to this add and I will get the phone back to you. I would call, but I turned off the phone and a PIN is required access the phone after turning it back on.

Email the driver at if you can help reunite the phone and its owner.


So long Christmas tree

December 27th, 2008 by Sara

You know the holidays are over when thoughts turn to getting rid of the Christmas tree.  Thought we would remind you that yard-waste subscribers in Seattle can recycle their trees curbside between now and January 11.  Hopefully both garbage and recycle service will be back to normal next week.

You need to cut the tree into 6-foot-long or shorter sections, with branches trimmed to less than 4 feet. You should bind the tree with sisal string or twine.

You can also recycle up to three trees at city recycling and disposal stations

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Latest on garbage pick up

December 27th, 2008 by Sara

Relief may be in site for the garbage overflow we are feeling in Magnolia.  The city of Seattle says that as long as conditions are permitting, garbage customers who normally have service on Thursday and Friday will have their garbage picked up this weekend.  Friday customer’s garbage will be picked up today and Thursday customers will have service on Sunday. 

Monday through Wednesday customers should just put out their garbage next week on the regular day.  The city will not charge for extra garbage according to the press release.   Thursday and Friday customers should leave their garbage at the curb through tomorrow.  Collection contractors will inspect neighborhood routes through the weekend to make sure trucks can get through. 

You can call Seattle Public Utilities at 206-684-3000 or visit their website.  You can also sign up for CurbWaste E-News service alerts.   

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Time 4 Pho best of cheap eats

December 27th, 2008 by Sara

Seattle PI food critic Leslie Kelly has released her list of the Top Ten Restaurants for Cheap Eats in Seattle and a Magnolia restaurant that opened this year has made the cut. 

Time 4 Pho on Thorndyke is listed as number nine and Kelly calls is one of the best places in the city for noodle soup.  Here is what she said:

Forget coffee shops. Seattle is awash in Vietnamese noodle soup, and one of the best spots to slurp also is one of the newest. This Magnolia cafe stands out in its efforts to let diners help themselves to the herbs and veggies that customize each steamy bowl of the deeply flavorful, slow-simmered stock. The condiment bar is stocked with bean sprouts, basil, slices of hot pepper, cilantro and wedges of lime. Take a little or a lot. This is the kind of buffet I can get behind.

Magnolia Voice readers seem to agree with Kelly’s review, Time 4 Pho is rated as one of the most popular restaurants by our readers. Remember that you can be your own restaurant critic anytime by visiting our restaurant section.

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Flooding new concern

December 26th, 2008 by Sara

The National Weather Service this morning issued a flood watch for much of Western Washington, including the central Puget Sound area, as a strong, warm and wet Pacific storm approaches, creating the potential for urban and small-stream flooding.  Forecasters are predicting light rain today.

Everyone is urged to check their downspouts and the city is asking residents to check storm drains on neighborhood streets to make sure they are clear.

Looks like it will warm up today and the snow will continue to melt.  The latest weather system is expected to bring high temperatures close to 40 degrees in the our area.  This will melt much of the our snow and slush and bring the potential for flooded streets, homes and businesses.