Seattle's Magnolia Neighborhood News Blog

Magnolia Voice header image 4

Entries from May 2010

Memorial Day at Ft. Lawton

May 31st, 2010 by Sara

The pounding rain did not stop the Memorial Day observation at Ft. Lawton in Discovery Park this morning.

A number of Veterans came to honor those who gave up their lives in service of their country.


There was an American flag placed at every grave and many came to pay their respects by placing flowers.


There are 902 military personnel, their families, and civilian employees of the Army in Fort Lawton Cemetery.  The first grave was dug in 1902.



Dog helps foil Magnolia burglary

May 30th, 2010 by Sara

A black lab named Ben helped stop a burglary early this morning at a home in the 3000 block of 38th Ave West.  Magnolia Voice was the first to tell you about the burglary attempt earlier today. 

KING 5 led their 5pm newscast with the story tonight, interviewing the Armantrout family.  They told KING their dog started barking at two teenage burglars who were trying to pry open the back door.  The homeowner chased the teens on foot.  Seattle Police later caught both of them.  Investigators believe the suspects were involved in a series of break-ins and alarm calls early today.   Most of the calls came from an area on Queen Anne near McClure Middle School.  Photo courtesy of KING 5.

→ 14 CommentsTags:

Memorial Day in Magnolia

May 30th, 2010 by Sara

A few events for you to celebrate Memorial Day (5/31) in Magnolia.

There will be a small ceremony at 10a.m. in front of the Post Office on West McGraw and another opportunity to honor veterans at  11am at the Fort Lawton Cemetery in Discovery Park. For any additional information please call 206-909-6853 or email

You can also help clean up the Vietnam Memorial in the front parking lot at Blaine School on Monday.  Volunteers will gather at 10a.m. to pull out the weeds and grass and beautify the memorial. You are asked to bring your own gardening tools. Contact coordinator Nancy Gilbert at 206-283-4638 or at with questions.


Overnight assaults in Magnolia

May 30th, 2010 by Sara

There were two assaults early Sunday (5/30) morning and police are still looking for suspects.

Seattle Police report that at around 1:42 AM, a man was riding his bicycle northbound on 34th Avenue West approaching West Barrett Street when he was passed by a black Infinity.  Once the car passed him, it stopped alongside the road and the victim rode past it.  The car then pulled up behind the victim and intentionally bumped into his bicycle knocking him to the ground.  Two males, described as one black and one white, got out of the car and began assaulting the bicyclist by punching and kicking him.  The suspects then took the victim’s backpack and got back into the car and left northbound on 34th Avenue West.  Officers conducted an area search but were unable to locate the suspect vehicle.

SPD says its possible that the same suspects may be responsible for another assault that took place just a few blocks north a little after 2am.  In that case, a male victim stepped outside his residence and was reportedly attacked by two unknown males.  The suspects struck the man with an unknown object in the head and then left in an unknown direction.  Seattle Fire responded to the scene and treated the victim for a cut above his left eye, which later required stitches.  No suspects were located in this incident.

If you have any information about either of these incidents, please contact SPD.


Information about break in needed

May 29th, 2010 by Sara

UPDATE 5/30:  Not able to confirm yet if this is related to the break ins earlier this weekend in that same area.  We got this note from Magnolia Voice reader Linda who said SPD searched her yard looking for the suspects.

The residents of the block between Barrett and Dravus and 36th and 37th West were awakened Sunday morning when a K-9 unit and officers on foot searched yards and the alley for one of the suspects in an early morning burglary. One suspect was apprehended in the back yard of a home in the block about 6:30 a.m. Some neighbors were told a burglary had occurred immediately west on 38th; others were told there had been several calls regarding break-ins. The apprehended suspects appeared to be young men and one officer made a reference to "kids."

We got this note seeking information about a break in in the 2600 block of 39th Ave West.

Sorry to tell you a bad news but there was a break in last night in the house next to us.  The guy(s) went in in their basement window which is between our and their house. Didn’t break the window but pushed in the frame, so we didn’t hear a thing. The ladies were home sleeping when this happened. They took many small items from the basement and the first floor (but didn’t go up to the second floor where they slept) and left with the car keys through the garden door, and in the end they took everything from their cars but left the cars here. The police came this morning but haven’t found a single usable print and sign.  So please be on a lookout and if you heard on saw anything last night please let them know.

If you saw or heard anything that could help to catch the burglar, call SPD.


Community mourns loss

May 29th, 2010 by Sara

We wanted to provide additional information about a story we reported earlier this week.  An active and well respected Queen Anne community member and Seattle businessman took his life on Tuesday evening in Discovery Park. A jogger in the park discovered the body of Shaun Murphy on a bench along the south bluff of the park. Police recovered a suicide note left behind at the scene.

Many of the people who knew Murphy have shared their condolences on this site and the comment section has become a tribute to his memory.  Murphy, a well known businessman, was the founder and principal of Working Spaces, and lived with his wife and children in Queen Anne.  Here are a few of the comments:

“He was my boss, my long time friend and was like another brother to me. He was a strong positive person who had a huge heart and softer side that many people in our industry did not get a chance to see.”

“He was a very wise soul, and I admired his business acumen and focus. He was my friend, I will miss him greatly, I am in total shock, Queen Anne and Seattle lost a good man.”

May God bless you Shaun, and hold you in the hollow of his hands now. May love and strength surround your beautiful wife and children during this time of loss and sadness. You were so strong, loving and wise. We love you Shaun, and are so sad that you were in so much pain.”

We invite those who wish to share stories or send thoughts to his family to continue to do so on the site. At the request of one of Murphy’s employees we will be keeping the comments posted on Magnolia Voice and our sister site QueenAnneView so that they can be compiled and given to his wife and three children.

There will be a memorial service for Murphy on Wednesday, June 2 at 11 a.m. at St. Anne’s Catholic Church, located at 1411 1st Ave West in Queen Anne. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Crisis Clinic and its suicide prevention services in Murphy’s memory. There will also be a donation fund for the Murphy family in coming days. Information on how to donate will be available early next week. 


Group forms to support Nickerson Street diet

May 28th, 2010 by Sara

Just a few days after the 15th Avenue W. Transportation Coalition was formed, another group was created to challenge one of the coalition’s stances.  Support the Nickerson Street Road Diet is now on Facebook and Google.  The man who formed it, Charles Redell, first read about the coalition in this Magnolia Voice article. 

The 15th Ave W. Coalition, made up of Magnolia Community Club, the Queen Anne Community Council, and the North Seattle Industrial Association, is worried that the 15th Ave. corridor is being squeezed by big projects.  But they’ve also come out against the so called Nickerson Street Diet, saying a plan to eliminate a car lane in each direction of Nickerson while adding a bike lane and bike sharrow is “unacceptable.”  Their stance against the road diet got Redell’s attention.



“The fact that Magnolia Community Council wrote a letter against the project in which it claimed to represent 24,000 Magnolia residents got under my skin because I fully support the road diet for Nickerson,” Redell said in an e-mail.

Redell pointed to a recent study the city did on the impact of the Stone Way traffic diet which showed motorists drove at speeds closer to the posted limit, collisions dropped 14%, bike trips increased 35% while collisions per bicycle trip have dropped, and the road still easily accomodates car traffic.

Diana Dearmin, president of the Magnolia Community Club, tells us the Nickerson Street diet is just one of many projects she’s worried about.  She says the city is openly promoting Nickerson as the main alternative to West Mercer Way to access the tunnel that will replace the viaduct, and worries about the added traffic being funneled onto a road that’s been put on a diet.

“Our goal is to find a balance.  We support people who can take alternative forms of transportation.  But for those who don’t ride bikes or the bus there has to be a balance,” said Dearmin.

Dearmin says the 15th Ave. Coalition’s main goal is to find a coordinated, comprehensive approach to protect the corridor from the many competing projects instead of piecemealing it together.  The coalition says it may reach out to community clubs and councils in other nearby neighborhoods including Ballard and Fremont.

→ 71 CommentsTags: , ,

Mieko’s Fitness closing

May 27th, 2010 by Sara

Another business is leaving Magnolia.  We have learned that Mieko’s Fitness will close its doors Thursday night at 10p.m.  Gym members were told today that the gym was closing.

Staffers there today told us that the gym lost its lease. People who use the gym had no warning that it would be closing.

We are told that memberships are being transferred to the LA Fitness in Ballard.  Members are being told that they will be able to use LA Fitness at their Mieko’s rate for the remainder of their gym contract.

Mieko’s has not posted any information on their website for gym members but they did put a sign in the window letting people know that they were closing.  Update:  As of Friday morning, the Magnolia location has been removed from the website but there is still no information for gym members.

A staffer told us that the landlord had raised the rent and Mieko’s could not afford the increase.

Thanks to our many readers who sent us tips about this closure.  Here is an email we got from Kate: I spoke with the owner, who seemed genuinely sad and sorry, and she told me that they were unable to negotiate a lease with the landlord.  This same landlord apparently owns several other empty storefronts in that same block, making us wonder if he’s planning something.  We are all apparently going to get memberships to LA fitness in Ballard for the remainder of our contract at the same price we were paying at Mieko’s.

This is the second large business to close in Magnolia, Hollywood Video recently went out of business.  That leaves two large empty retail space on 32nd Ave West.


Suicide in Discovery Park

May 26th, 2010 by Sara

UPDATE 5/28:  The Memorial Service for Shaun Murphy will be held on Wednesday, June 2 at St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Queen Anne.  The church is located at 1411 1st Ave West.  There are more details here

You can also view photographs that honor Mr. Murphy’s memory and find information about donations to the Crisis Clinic here.

Some of you sent us emails concerned about police activity in Discovery Park last night.  One jogger told us he saw a dead man on a bench on the park’s south bluff.  Police confirm to Magnolia Voice that a man shot himself in the head and died at the scene.  Authorities tell us he left behind a suicide note.

→ 97 CommentsTags:

Briarcliff update

May 26th, 2010 by Sara

We have been following the progress of the controversial construction of 39 new homes at the former site of Briarcliff School and wanted to share this note we just received from the developer of the site.


John C. Cochenour, Lexington Fine Homes writes: “We have started construction of our first home!  The adjacent home should also be started within the near future.  It will probably take most of this year to complete them.   Hopefully we will start several other homes before the end of the year.  While the market has improved, we will  start additional homes as the market dictates.  We have not completed the marketing artwork for these homes yet, but will add them to our website once we have established prices.  It’s good to finally be at this point.  We’re hopeful that the homes being built will be a pleasant addition to the context of the community.  Thanks for your continued interest.” 


We reported recently that the roads at site at 39th and Dravus near the water tower had been completed.  This project has been a long time in coming. The Briarcliff School was closed for a number of years before it was sold by the Seattle School District to Lexington in 2003.  As we have been reporting,  construction was delayed as neighborhood groups opposed the project saying it amounts to sticking a dense subdivision in the middle of an older neighborhood of single-family homes.  Critics worry that with so many houses on such small lots there will be traffic problems and congestion.