Orchard Street Ravine update:
Last Updated on Saturday, 09 August 2008 08:58
On Feb 9th, the Parks Board made two recommendations.
Motion #1: Commissioner Collins recommended approval of the staff recommendation of a flat loop trail system at the lower south end of Orchard Street Ravine as well as extensive vegetation management torestore and preserve a native habitat. Commissioner Belbeck seconded. Commissioner Ranade made a friendly amendment, which was not accepted by Commissioner Collins [note: Commission Ranade made a second motion (below) that included language and intent from his friendly amendment.] Commissioner Collins stated that he was one of those who toured the site this week and went up and down the trails. He was persuaded that the current budgeted amount fund is too constrained to include a stairway. He does think it is a good idea for a later date. He believes the current funding should be used to clear out invasives, build a short trail into the park, and perform habitat restoration. The vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously.
Motion #2: Commission Ranade moved to recommend to the Superintendent that he seek negotiations with Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to control drainage on the 38th Ave street end and to seek funding for a safe through trail to be built there in the future. Commissioner Holme seconded. The vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously.
The full record of minutes can be found at: http://www.cityofseattle.net/parks/proparks/projects/orchardStRavine.htm
On March 10th, representatives from MoCA, FOSTR and ORCA met with Superintendent Bounds to explore what funding options or sources would be available to implement the intent of Motion #2. A brief summary is that:
The Parks Dept has a separate funding source that will be able to pay for a third party study for the through trail.
The Dept of Transportation may not have all the funds to make full pedestrian improvements in the areas outside the park boundry. MoCA suggested using the Cumulative Reserve Fund to address those needs, and will submit the appropriate paperwork. MoCA will also submit a Capital Improvement Project 2007 Budget Suggestion form, which would cover anything that might cost over $50,000.
For a through trail, several possible sources were discussed, including the Neighborhood Matching Fund, but we’ll need to wait and see how much we’re really talking about before specific sources and amounts can be targeted.
On April 5th, Superintendent Bounds sent MoCA the following letter, which summarizes his decisions.
April 5, 2006Cindy BarkerMorgan Community Association
Dear Ms. Barker:
On February 23, the Board of Park Commissioners voted unanimously to recommend "approval of the staff recommendation of a flat loop trail system at the lower south end of Orchard Street Ravine as well as extensive vegetation management to restore and preserve a native habitat" and also recommended that Park staff "seek negotiations with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to control drainage on the 38th Avenue street end and to seek funding for a safe through trail to be built there in the future."
Subsequent to their action, on March 10 I met with representatives from the Morgan Community Association (MoCA), Friends of Orchard Street Ravine (FOStR), and Orchard Ravine Community Association (ORCA) and made the following decisions about the Orchard Street Ravine project.
1) Vegetation Management Plan
We will create a Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) for the Ravine. Parks will need a community-based volunteer/"friends of" group to be part of the process. Urban forester Katie Moller will help meld the project with the Green Seattle Partnership, a citywide forest restoration program. Katie, project manager Karen Galt, and a restoration consultant with wildlife expertise will meet with interested community members to create the VMP, which will guide how all partners proceed with restoration. Karen will lead efforts to develop trail options and related street runoff improvements.
2) Site Trail Connection
We will contract with an outside consulting firm to determine how best---whether 36th or 38th Avenue SW---to make a connection from above through the Ravine to the lower area, while minimizing disruption to the slope and habitat, and doing so in a minimalist, "light on the land" way. The consultant will also evaluate Americans with Disability Act (ADA) accessibility guidelines and SDOT and SPU requirements relevant to this location. This will not be paid for with Pro Parks Levy funding, but with an alternative Parks funding source established for pre-engineering assessment of potential projects. Some participants in the process questioned the thoroughness of staff’s analysis of the trail options, so I will have Parks staff contract with an independent consultant to advise us.
3) Implement VMP
We will begin implementing the VMP as soon as practical. Although we want to carry out the restoration as soon as possible, we will do that regardless of the levy implementation timeline. We hope to use the first few VMP community implementation projects as a way to create broader participation and build a broader volunteer group.
We have concluded the planning phase of this project. Our next step will be a public workshop series to develop the VMP, at which Parks staff will also provide updates on the trail option study and on the status of lower loop trail construction. We will begin the VMP workshop process by early May and plan to complete it by midsummer. The consultant evaluation of trail options is expected to be complete by the end of June. Initial lower loop trail construction and restoration work will begin after that, taking place during late summer and autumn.
Thank you for involvement with this project. I’m confident that we can all work together to make Orchard Street Ravine the environmental asset and community treasure it has the potential to be.
If you have questions about the project, please contact project manager Karen Galt at
or 684-7104. Sincerely,Kenneth R. BoundsSuperintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation
In Summary, Park staff are proceeding with:
1) Creation of a Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) through a workshop process, to guide near- and long-term restoration efforts.
2) Construction of the lower loop access trail and infrastructure.
3) Contracting with an outside consulting firm to determine how best - whether 36th or 38th Ave SW – to make a connection from up above through the ravine, while minimizing disruption to the slope and habitat. This will not be paid for with Pro Parks funds.
4) Implement the VMP as soon as possible, working with all interested citizens to develop ongoing stewardship of this wonderful resource!
Spring Clean and Community Cleanup
Each year, MoCA gets the notification about the Seattle Spring Clean Up. With the assistance of Stan Lock, our Neighborhood Coordinator, MoCA may be able to pull of it’s first community clean up in our neighborhood. We are confirming details and will post them soon. Meanwhile, you might have a more local application and want to take advantage of this opportunity to organize something for your own block, especially if you live near a gone-wild traffic circle.
"Spring Clean is a great way to beautify your business district or neighborhood. Spring Clean, Seattle's cleanup of public spaces, is held by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) throughout April and early May. This program provides groups with plastic bags, free disposal and assistance. SPU will also be glad to help with neighborhood stewardship projects any time of the year -- not just in the spring.
How to get involved:
- Organize a team. Team up with other businesses, neighbors, a nearby school, community groups, family and friends.
- Choose your project. Project ideas include: picking up litter, planting flowers, painting out graffiti, creating a mural or any other project which will beautify the public spaces in your neighborhood. The Rainier Chamber of Commerce, Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, Lake City Chamber of Commerce and the University District all run model Spring Clean programs.
- Register. Send for a registration packet, which contains information on how to get free plastic bags and passes to a Recycling and Disposal Station. In addition, the City can work to get other individuals in your area matched to your team.
For more information, call 206-233-7187 or request an information packet by sending your name, group name, address, day and evening phone to:
Community Cleanup/Spring Clean
Seattle Public Utilities
700 5th Ave Ste 4900
Seattle, WA 98104-5004
You can also visit: http://www.cityofseattle.net/util/ept/springclean and access a volunteer form online at: http://www.cityofseattle.net/util/ept/springclean/docs/regform2003.pdf.
Fire Station 37 Relocation Update
In late 2004, the Seattle Fire Department held a public meeting regarding the need to relocate Fire Station 37, currently located 7300 35th Ave. During 2005, SFD conducted a site selection process to find a larger site for a new facility approved by the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy Program. Their recommendation is to locate the new fire station at the southeast corner of 35th Ave SW and SW Holden Street. To do this, they will purchase one single family house and the Gatewood Substation.
The SPD press release says ""During our search for a new site, we considered the suggestions offered at the community meeting in late 2004, or vial letters, emails and phone calls subsequent to that meeting. The new location is the best available site for firefighters to maintain their quick response time to emergency calls in your neighborhood. The City Council is expected to act on legislation authorizing the purchase sometime in early to mid-April. Planning and design for Fire Station 37 will not begin until 2007. This will give City Light time to de-energize the substation. During the design phase, we will provide opportunities for neighborhood input."
During the public meeting where the relocation was discussed, there were many questions about what will be done with the existing fire station after it is vacated. SFD said that the building is on the Historic Preservation list, and the façade and character must preserved. With those constraints, they will probably sell the building for other uses which must be consistent with the History Preservation designation and existing zoning.
More info: Ellen Hanse at 386-1366 or
and at http://www.seattle.gov/fleetsfacilities/firelevy/default.htm
Orchard Street Ravine Project
On Thurs, Feb. 22, the Seattle Park Board of Commissioners made their formal recommendation regarding the Orchard Street Ravine. They made two recommendations as a board and there was one recommendation from an individual Commissioner. While the formal minutes have not yet been release, here is what we think we heard:
Recommendation 1 – The board recommends accepting the Park Staff proposal as submitted (focus on habitat restoration and internal trail system).
Recommendation 2 – that Parks staff work with the Dept of Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities to go find budget to resolve the drainage issues to accomplish a through trail from lower Orchard St to 38th Ave SW, to eventually build in the link in the Green Crescent.
Individual Recommendation by Mr Holme – that some of the money be directed to enhance the property owned by Dept of Transportation at the top of Orchard St to take advantage of the view potential.
The first two recommendations were moved, seconded and passed unanimously to be forwarded to Superintendent Ken Bounds for his final decision.
After the meeting we learned that it generally will take Supt. Bounds one to two weeks to announce his decision, but on occasion has made decisions earlier. I don’t know how his announcement is sent to the community, but we’ll find out and let folks know when it happens.
Update on the South Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project
The City of Seattle is moving closer to improving the South Spokane Street Viaduct. The project, which will cost an estimated $128 million, could conceivably begin construction at the end of this year, but at this time lacks the funding needed. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is working on securing the funding and is taking the preliminary steps to move the project forward when the money is available.
The project will improve the existing S Spokane St viaduct and ground level roadway between 6th Ave S and East Marginal Way including widening of the viaduct, the addition of new on- and off-ramps at 1st Ave S, and a new westbound loop ramp to 4th Ave S. The roadway would be repaved and a paved center median would be added to some areas under the viaduct.
SDOT has determined that the project will not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment and therefore an environmental impact statement is not required under the law. SDOT issued a Determination of Nonsignificance (DNS) on February 15, 2006.
Comments are due by February 28, 2006.
Written comments must be submitted to:
Stuart Goldsmith, Project Manager
Seattle Department of Transportation
700 5th Avenue, Suite 3900
P.O. Box 34996
Seattle, WA 98124-4996
SEPA DNS-related documents and project details are available at:http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/transportation/spokanestreet.htm
If you have any questions or comments about this project, contact Peg Nielsen at
or call 206-684-8114.
Other Voices: Who needs the viaduct if we have MicroBucks?
The timing is perfect. It is 2013, and the new light rail link to West Seattle is opening on my last day of work before retirement. It has been eight years since they killed the monorail, and it took that long to bring rapid transit to West Seattle. It was the loss of the Alaskan Way Viaduct that really got things moving. You know the story. How the great quake of '08 brought it down, and how the only thing left standing on the waterfront was the Frankfurter hut on Pier 54. Something had to be done fast, and corporate sponsorship came to the rescue. Today I'm going to see what they've built.
Since trains couldn't climb the grade to the Junction, the big bore took place. Where the Luna Park Cafe once stood is now the entrance portal to Westside Tunnel. Some said a dark tunnel would discourage ridership. But after Metro got away with painting over bus windows with advertising and saw no such decline, the tunnel was a go. The line goes only as far as MicroBucks Station under Jefferson Square. But there are rumors a deal is in the works with Wal-Mart to sponsor a station at Morgan Junction (in return for giving them Lincoln Park as a site for a megastore).
The rest of the article can be found at:
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