Meadowbrook Community Council
2014 Year End Summary
Greetings fellow Meadowbrook neighbors: First I must apologize for the confusion around the scheduling of our November meeting. I failed to double check to see if the Center would be open and they filed to tell me that the 11th wouldn’t work because the Center would be closed for Veteran’s Day. Not the end of the world, so onwards!
Because the rest of the days in November were rapidly filling up I decided to “start over” on January 13th with our regular meeting schedule and, instead of a November meeting, send out a brief summary on the status of the various projects that have been ongoing over the past year. I have obtained updates from city employees, our local police status person, Aundie Collison, and production and status of the community garden & orchard. Below, in no particular order, are brief reports on the various projects and issues affecting Meadowbrook.
Confluence Project (Emily Reardon, SPU):
The current schedule is still showing end of November to have 35th Ave NE open, but that could shift just slightly to early December due to weather and rain delays. It’s been a very wet October (record setting actually). But that said, getting 35th open as soon as possible is everyone’s goal. We’ll be letting everyone know once we have a solid date/week for the re-opening.
NE 110th Sidewalks (Brian Dougherty, SDOT):
SDOT performed soil testing in October to determine what type of retaining walls will be required on NE 110th St. Analysis of the soil samples is in progress now and the geotechnical report is expected to be completed in early December. Our overall project schedule has been delayed slightly due to the challenges of designing steep driveways and retaining walls. We’re still aiming for 2015 construction (to begin on 39th/40th segment) but it will likely be late 2015 at the earliest. (DanK -Brian will present 60% designs at our January meeting).
Police Report (Aundie Collison):
July of this year auto theft work was up 50% over the previous year. Other crime is down at least 30% from the previous year. On the good side, I understood them (SPD) to say 80% of all stolen cars were found within one week. So, part of this hysteria on the part of the press… is the usual….leaving part of the facts out. Parking enforcement seems to do the best job of finding cars, averaging 20 a week in this precinct.
I do know the press is not telling the public ‘that almost all of the cases fall apart if and when they go to court because they will not convict someone of car theft if no one observed the crime’. When my car was taken and found back 20 years ago, some kids, who happened to be black said “their aunt (supposedly me) loaned them the car”. Bottom line, my word had no bearing on whether it was stolen or not. Since no one saw actually saw them take car, the judge said there was “no evidence” to convict them. The fact they cut their heroin on the passenger side door rest, didn’t seem to impress the judge they should be hauled in. In King County stealing a car is called “take and ride”. In Snohomish County where our son was working at the time in the courts, it was called “auto theft”.
So, many of our problems with stealing cars are tied to the courts throwing out the cases brought before them. Judges chose to pass over this type of crime because there is so much more serious crime. Unfortunately, auto theft falls to the bottom of the list. Criminals know this and the problem continues. (DanK- Hopefully, the recent D. Westneat experience which resulted in an internal review ordered by new police chief, Kathleen O’Toole, will result necessary and desirable changes).
Thornton Creek E. coli problem, (John Lombard, Thornton Ck. Alliance; summary of a recent conversation with Jonathan Frodge, SPU):
The City has continued to study the issue, but without some community
pressure, there doesn’t seem to be any urge to reach some conclusions and
take action. John has drafted a letter for TCA to follow up on this.
* E. coli counts continue to be high, and tests continue to be consistently
positive for at least a portion coming from human sources.
* There don’t seem to be any significant sources from the Seattle or King
County public sewer systems. The SPU study identified a handful of illicit connections and John believes that those have been corrected.
* The North Fork is generally in better shape than the South Fork.
Littlebrook Creek (trib to No. Fork) has consistently had some high counts. Across the whole
system, counts are much higher during storm events than at base flows.
* Meadowbrook Pond has had some high positive counts, and some areas
to the east of Lake City Way tend to have significantly higher counts than
the rest of the basin (Interesting).
* Mock Creek, a small trib that enters Thornton Ck from the
south and a little downstream of Meadowbrook Pond (with headwaters around 35th
Ave NE and NE 96th St) has had high counts, and is in an area where Jonathan
thinks early action should be targeted.
* Jonathan believes leaky side sewers are the major source, along with occasional spikes from homeless encampments in parks and natural areas.
Some action in the near-term is probably justified, but more study is
probably still needed before a full-scale set of actions can be taken.
The bottom line for Meadowbrook: our neighborhood is an area where the
problem seems especially acute, and it is also probably one of the major
sources. Repairs may require significant expenses by homeowners, hopefully
with some public cost-sharing. The TCA letter may help prompt some action,
but a separate letter from your community would definitely be helpful (so
the issue does not get treated as just the complaints of some “creek
freaks,” as a political aide I used to work with once called people like
those in TCA). (DanK- this fact makes the resolution of the E. coli a problem for those homeowners that might have leaky side sewers should the city decide to take action. I am a water pollution biologist and have spent my career working to resolve water pollution problems and I’m strongly inclined to prepare a letter to support TCA in their urging that the SPU take action to resolve the problem. But, on the other hand, I am concerned about the cost impact this could have on homeowners in our area. I, therefore, would like to defer any letter until we can have a discussion about this issue. I’d be willing to hold a special meeting after our Jan 13th meeting should there be sufficient interest.)
Community Garden & Orchard (Sue McGann and Dan Keefe volunteers):
In July and August, 195 pounds of fresh organic vegetables was taken to the North Helpline food bank, while in September and October, nearly twice that much (due to heavier squashes, etc.) was delivered….Additionally, about 25 pounds in September were given to the community kitchen and the same for the October Shelter meal. Finally, 20 pounds each of garlic were given to the community kitchen and shelter for future meals. The garden volunteers all had plenty of veges; I often had more than I could use. Plans to expand the garden a bit more and for a tool storage shed are in the works for 2015.
The orchard did very well this year, but we had some theft of the fruits off the trees. It was difficult to keep pace with both the garden and orchard. Bright spot: the newly planted fig orchard is doing very well and should yield a nice harvest in 2015.
Greenways (Dan Keefe):
We have had two meetings to explore the desire/feasibility of establishing some greenways treatments to our local streets. The treatments are essentially aimed at traffic calming and safer crosswalks, with the addition of bioswales where feasible. After our first meeting with Janine Blaelock of Lake City’s Greenways and Gordon Padelford of Seattle Greenways with about six Meadowbrook residents. At that meeting it was decided that Meadowbrook would, at least initially, be a “subunit” of Lake City Greenways. At our second meeting, held on Nov 10th, three “Meadowbrookers” and a rep from the Cascade Bicycle Club attended. Our goal was to locate a few key areas for treatment and present them at the next Lake City Greenways meeting on Nov.20th. Anyone with interest is welcome to join and attend. We hope to also link Lake City with Mathews Beach and the NE area which is well linked to Greenways in the University district.
Well enough said. I’m open to any concerns or feedback regarding the above summary of activities and issues. Happy Holidays to all!
Dan Keefe, President
Meadowbrook Community Council