Seattle's Magnolia Neighborhood News Blog

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Entries from March 2009

Nickerson plan officially on hold

March 31st, 2009 by Sara

The Seattle Department of Transportation confirms our report from last week that plans to change Nickerson Street are being reevaluated.  Here is the official word in a message from project manager Eric M. Widstrand:

“Thank you for your interest in the Nickerson Street rechannelization project.  This project is currently on hold as we evaluate how Nickerson Street would interact with the roadway network, via a systems approach, taking into account the north portal of the bored tunnel.  We are coordinating with the Alaskan Way Viaduct project team to make sure that the overall mobility of the north end is taken into consideration before making a decision about Nickerson Street.  

 Our comment period is open until April 10th to give people time to comment about the project.  Once we have received all comments we will send out a response to questions received.  For more updates or to see a copy of the plans, please visit our website at:

 The city backed off after numerous concerns were voiced by residents.  The city originally proposed changing Nickerson from two lanes to one lane in each direction and adding bike lines. 

Here is what Nickerson looks like now:

And here are the changes the city proposed:

We will continue to monitor and let you know if and when any decisions are made.

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PJ’s celebrates 49 dog years

March 30th, 2009 by Sara

In our current economy, its nice to be able to recognize successful local businesses.  PJ’s Paws and Claws in the Magnolia Village is celebrating seven years in business in April. PJ’s retail store opened in Magnolia Village in 2002.  The store is a boutique and grooming salon for dog and cat lovers.

The month-long celebration features the return of PJ’s prize wheel. With any $30 retail purchase, customers can spin the wheel and win prizes, including dog and cat toys, gourmet chocolate and other fun gifts. They can also spin the wheel if they donate $5 or more to the Seattle Animal Shelter’s Help the Animals Fund. Last year the wheel promotion raised almost $400 for the fund designated to cover medical expenses for shelter pets.

Owner Patti Howell says “These seven years just flew by, while we were having fun with our furry friends and their families. It felt like only one dog year.”

Another great reason to visit the store is Jelly the cat, seen here peeking down from the ceiling. PJ’s Paws and Claws donates 5% of its profits to animal rescue and adoption agencies in King County.

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New garbage and recycling services start Monday

March 29th, 2009 by Sara

Magnolia residents will see changes to home garbage and recycling services, including a new pick up day and increased charges, starting Monday (3/30).  Information was mailed last week and the city called most homes to let them know about their new pick up day.  If you need more information click here or call (206) 684-3000.

Households will see an increase in monthly costs for garbage pick up.  for example, a house with a 32-gallon can will now pay $22.30 per month for garbage service compared to $17.65 last year

The new recycling changes include:  
• Weekly food and yard waste collection for all single-family households.
• All food scraps can go in your food and yard waste cart, including meat, fish and dairy.
• More food and yard waste cart sizes.
• More paper, plastic and metal items can be recycled, including cups, deli trays, aluminum foil, and plastic plant pots.
• Glass bottles and jars go in your recycling cart – no more separating.
• Electronics, used motor oil, and bulky items can be collected through special services.

The goal is to divert 60 percent of all generated waste in the city to recycling or composting by 2012.

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New traffic website for drivers

March 29th, 2009 by Sara

The Seattle Department of Transportation has created a new website to give drivers current traffic conditions on main roads – like 15th Ave. The site,, features color-coded roadways so you can decide which route to take. You can also check the city’s traffic cameras and see where trouble spots, like construction projects, might be. The traffic information is gathered from measuring devices embedded in the roadway, according to the press release sent out by the city.


Almost 3 billion served

March 29th, 2009 by Sara

King County Metro Transit is counting down the days – and the passengers – until next Tuesday (3/31). That is the day Metro expects to welcome rider number 3 billion.

With an average of about 400,000 boardings each weekday, it would actually be impossible for Metro to pinpoint exactly which bus rider pushes the numbers over 3 billion.  So they are inviting all Metro customers to participate in the celebration.

“We really want to thank our passengers,” said Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond. “Without them and their support over the years, Metro would not currently be one of the ten largest bus agencies in the United States and among the leaders nationally in ridership growth.”

To celebrate, Metro customers are invited to snap a photograph of themselves riding their favorite bus route to be included in a public photo gallery.  People can also visit the Metro website to add their personalized electronic “footprint” illustrating how riding the bus can reduce carbon footprints.  On 3/31 Metro staff will be greeting morning bus riders at select locations handing out “3 billion served” buttons.

Metro is estimating the timing of the 3 billionth boarding by counting all passenger trips since Jan. 1, 1973, when Metro Transit started. It includes data from buses, streetcars, electric trolleys, and special event service.

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Lawton, the first 100 years

March 28th, 2009 by Sara

The Lawton community celebrated with a big event for teachers, students and parents who have been part of the school during its 100 years of serving the Magnolia community.

Lenora (Gaerisch) Rohde (on the left) attended Lawton through the 7th grade.  She graduated in 1943 and her neice, Doreen (Gaerisch) Delano graduated from the sixth grade at Lawton in 1953.  Both women were part of a large group of past students who attended the festivities.

Lots of current students were there too, to view the decade by decade exhibits prepared for the event.
                                                                   These former teachers and PTA board members enjoyed the event that was sponsored by Office Max, Catering by Phyllis, Terra Bella Flowers and the Lawton staff and PTA. 

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Lights out at 8:30pm

March 28th, 2009 by Sara

The World Wildlife Fund is asking people to turn off their lights tonight for Earth Hour, a world-wide event to raise awareness about global warming. Cities around the globe will flip the switch from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  Seattle will join in with the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Municipal Tower and the “City Light” sign at Fourth Avenue and Spokane Street going dark.

Organized by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour began in Syndey, Australia, in 2007.

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Heron Helpers need help

March 27th, 2009 by Sara

Heron Habitat Helpers in Magnolia is a volunteer group restoring the habitat of the largest heron rookery in the city of Seattle.

They are looking for a volunteer to help with their newsletter:

We need a volunteer copy editor for the quarterly newsletter. News articles will be supplied by the board for the copy editor to edit and set up in newsletter and web based software. We are looking for someone who can make our newsletter snappy for the 21st century!

You can contact Kathy via email at if you are willing to help. 

The group also has a big Earth Day event and work party scheduled for April 18th.  Check out the details in our events section.

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40 car prowls in 26 days in Magnolia

March 27th, 2009 by Sara

UPDATE:  We just got more information from Seattle Police on our car prowl situation.  There were 11 more reports in Magnolia yesterday which brings the March total of reported vehicles prowled to 40 as of today (3/27).

At our request, SPD reviewed the car prowls in Magnolia for the first 25 days of March compared to the same time frame last year.  In 2009 there were 29 car prowls and in 2008 there were 11 reported. 

Terrie Johnston from crime prevention explains:

Obviously the car crimes are up compared to last March, however, your numbers are still much lower than most other neighborhoods in the city.  Please be aware that in the car prowls from yesterday (Thursday), the thieves rifled through many of the vehicles and took nothing, or only took quarters  ($3.00 in one, and $5.00 in another).  If  teens are responsible, as some residents have suspected, they may be looking for I-pods and cash.  What a shame that over $200 damage is done to a car, to get 12 quarters. 

Please report anyone looking into parked cars, or trying door handles to 9-1-1.  Stay on the line and watch where the suspicious people go.  If you have any additional questions, please call me at 684-4741. 

Johnston also tells us today that SPD patrol officers, burglary and theft detectives, community police team officers and the commanders of the West Precinct are all aware of this spike in property crime in Magnolia and will assign staffing levels accordingly.  The majority of these crimes appear to be occurring between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. 

3/26 We have had a number of reports from Magnolia residents this week regarding a rash of car prowls.  We checked with Terrie Johnston who works in crime prevention for the city to get a handle on the numbers.

Johnston reports that between March 1 and March 25 there were 29 car prowls in Magnolia.  That means 29 cars were broken into over a 25 day period this month alone.  Johnston cautions that these numbers are unofficial because not all crimes are reported.  Car prowls are often under-reported because many people find the damage on the way to work and dont have time to call police.  Many victims who don’t want to report the vandalism to their insurance company don’t report to the police either.  The bottom line is that the number of car prowls in our area could actually be much higher.

Car prowls generally occur overnight and they take just seconds to commit.  SPD says that thieves are targeting vehicles of all makes/models looking for GPS devices, cellular phones, purses, cash, laptops, I-Pods, cameras, luggage and garage remotes. Most stolen property is traded or sold on the street very quickly, lowering the chance of recovery.  Thieves commonly break windows for entry, but many are also successful at defeating door and trunk locks.

Car prowls are expensive, inconvenient and aggravating for the victims.  Here is what Seattle Police want you to do to protect your car:

Be consistent!  Remove all valuables from your vehicle every time you park.  Disable internal trunk releases per your owner’s manual.  Audible alarms or other theft deterrent devices can be effective.  Be observant!  Report all crimes and suspicious activity to 911 immediately, even if you are not going to report the crime to your insurance company. 

Johnston and patrol officers attended a large Block Watch meeting in Magnolia this week and they stress that neighbors sharing information can be a good tool to fight car prowls. You can call Terrie Johnston at 684-4741 if you want to schedule a Block Watch meeting for your neighborhood. 

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Nickerson changes on hold

March 26th, 2009 by Sara

It appears that the city is backing off on plans to make changes to Nickerson Street.  At a viaduct town hall earlier this week, representatives from the Seattle Department of Transportation said that changes to Nickerson are on hold until they can figure out how the whole north corridor system will work when the tunnel replaces the viaduct. 

We first reported last month that the city was planning to reduce Nickerson to one lane of traffic each way and add bicycle and center turn lanes. At an open house earlier this month, many people expressed concerns over the plan and the comment period was extended to April 10.

Now the city is putting a halt to any changes, at least for now. SDOT confirmed that there will be no further action on Nickerson until they address tunnel access issues.  

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