What’s Going on in West Green Lake/Aurora?

September 18, 2014 6:12am

Reader Lynne, noticed that there were lots of changes on the West side of the lake along Aurora and wanted to know what was going on.

Here’s what we found out:

Aurora Suzuki Inc. 

After being in business for 50 years, the owners of Aurora Suzuki on Winona Avenue and Aurora Avenue are planning to retire and close their store on September 30th. No word on what will take over the location.

The Purple Store and the surrounding buildings: 

In June, a land use appeal was filed on that property at Aurora and N 77th St. If the project proceeds the new structure would require the demolition of the building currently housing the Purple Store, NW Audio Services and Kung Fu Club of Seattle, making way for a 4-story structure that would contain 34 residents and retail space. According to City permits, this is still in discussion.

Butch’s Guns 

It appears that Green Lake’s gun shop has shuttered… maybe. The signs have been removed and the website has been taken offline. The thing that has us stumped is that work is still being done on updating HVAC and electrical in the gun shop and living space above, according to the city permits.

Side note: Three years ago Butch’s was for sale.

New business on Keen Way and Aurora Ave?  

On the corner of Keen Way and Aurora (near the Shell station) it appears that the old fruit stand is getting a face lift. A for lease sign has been taken down and crews have been cleaning up the blackberry bushes and working on the interior of the small structure that has been vacant for more than a year. No word on the next tenant. Developers had been eyeing that location for a potential apartment complex but no additional permits have been issued and there is no proposed land use action for that plot of land.

Stay tuned.


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Surprise Funding Helps Green Lake Elementary Schools

September 16, 2014 6:05am
Googlers, class & Ed Murray

Photo courtesy of Donorschoose.org

Mayor Ed Murray announced on Monday that Google has fully funded the classroom requests of every teacher in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties on the education crowdfunding site DonorsChoose.org. As a result of Google’s $338,000 donation, 295 teachers will receive materials for over 36,000 students – ranging from paper, pencils, and books to laptops, musical instruments, and microscopes.

In Green Lake, that includes Green Lake Elementary and Daniel Bagley Elementary which will be receiving about $1,600 in school supplies.

“There’s no better way to start off the school year than with this surprise funding for our local teachers. This generous donation to our classrooms is greatly appreciated,” said Mayor Murray in a press release issued by DonorsChoose.org.

On Monday morning, 388 projects were funded in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties. Google posted a message on every funded project, letting teachers know they were part of the surprise.


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Help ID a Hit-and-Run Driver Who Killed a Dog in Green Lake Sunday

September 15, 2014 8:29pm

Sad news Greenlakers. A dog was killed after a hit and run yesterday and the owner is looking to bring the driver to justice.

According to Seattle Dogspot: The incident happened on Sunday at 1 p.m. while the owner was trying to use the crosswalk with her two dogs at the intersection of E Green Lake Dr. N and Wallingford Ave. N. A dark (possibly black) sedan (potentially Acura or Lexus?) hit the group and seriously injured a three-year old boxer, Hendrix who later died from his injuries. The other dog and owner appear to be okay.

If you or anyone you know has heard of this incident and has information to share please call the Seattle Police Department 206-684-0850 and reference incident #2014-307769.


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Green Lake’s Newest EV Charging Station at Bethany Lutheran Church

September 15, 2014 6:57am

Photo via Bethany Lutheran Church

There’s a week in honor of just about everything, and this week is no exception. It’s National Drive Electric week (Sept 15-21). And Bethany Lutheran at Green Lake just installed a new EV charger available for free to anyone who needs to charge their electric vehicle. While donations are gladly accepted to cover the electricity costs, this charging “station” is one of the few in Green Lake. The only other public charging area is at Green Lake Village.

For more info on the new charger, which is in the church’s parking lot behind the church right off of Woodlawn Ave, contact the good pastor at Bethany Lutheran at Green Lake directly at: pastor@bethanyluth.org

(As you can see from her photo above, she loves electric vehicles, including her own Nissan Leaf.)



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To Feed or Not to Feed Green Lake’s Birds

September 13, 2014 6:05am


Walk the lake and you’ll see them. People with out stretched arms cupping food to feed the birds. You’ll also see the signs “do not feed the water fowl.”

So what gives?

We asked our friend and naturalist Martin Muller, to weigh in, here’s what he said:

Do Green Lake birds need more food? 

“Green Lake is chock full of natural food for waterfowl. No need to provide extra, except during those brief periods when the lake freezes over.
Stale (or worse: moldy) bread is not good for the birds’ health. Also, it adds nutrients to the lake that help fuel plant/algae growth.”
What’s up with the people on the west side of the lake who feed birds out of their hands? 
“A totally different aspect, strictly speaking not covered by the prohibition on feeding waterfowl, are the trained Red-winged Blackbirds along Aurora Avenue (the cattails are their natural habitat). Some people come by and whistle and hold out a hand full of millet or other seed. The birds will land on their hands to eat. As long as people don’t throw the food on the ground (where it artificially increases the rat population and rats are also predators of eggs and young birds), I personally don’t have a huge problem with it. But opinions vary and one can get into a very heated discussion about this in a hurry.”

What do you think? Do you feed the birds and if so why?



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Green Lake Closed to Swimming or Water Contact

September 12, 2014 10:22pm

While this weekend will bring summer temperatures, swimming in Green Lake is definitely out.

The toxic algae that the Seattle Parks Department warned of several weeks ago that were in certain parts of the lake is now throughout and considered toxic to humans and pets.

Here’s more information from the Park’s press release issued earlier this evening:

Green Lake closed to swimming, water contact due to toxic algae

The level of toxins in the algae at Green Lake has increased and has prompted parks and Public Health officials to close the lake to swimming and water contact for people and dogs.

People and pets should not swim, wade or play in the lake. Dog owners should be especially cautious not to allow animals to go in or drink from the lake. If there is water contact for a pet, it is important to rinse well to remove all algae.

Symptoms of illness from contacting the toxins in water are eye, nose, and mouth irritation and skin rash. If accidental contact occurs, use clean water to promptly rinse skin. Swallowing the toxins may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea vomiting and in severe cases liver damage.  If symptoms occur after swallowing lake water, park users should consult a health care professional or veterinarian immediately. Pets are at highest risk.

Tests have revealed that high levels of toxins are currently found in the algae and are higher in areas where algae collect.  King County Department of Natural Resources has been conducting weekly testing of water at various locations around Green Lake as well as scum samples submitted through the State Toxic Algae Program. After each test, the information is reviewed by Public Health – Seattle & King County.

The lake remains open to fishing (though fish should be thoroughly cleaned) and boating in stable boats. Avoid areas of scum when boating.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s lifeguarded beaches closed for the season on Sept. 1.

A warm, dry summer has promoted the algae bloom, and continued warm weather continues to promote it. Blooms have been known to last into November in particularly warm autumns, and typically disappear as the weather gets colder.

Toxic algae blooms appeared at Green Lake in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2012 and in 2013, resulting in warnings to the public about exposure to the algae. Intense blooms of blue-green algae have occurred in Green Lake since 1916. Phosphorus released from the bottom sediments stimulates algae growth. Treating the lake with alum inactivates the phosphorus that is released from the bottom sediments and prevents stimulation of the algae growth. Green Lake was successfully treated with alum in 1991 and 2004. The water quality improved for several years following treatment on both occasions, and has been mostly good since 2004.

Green Lake is home to cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae that are regularly present in small numbers. When nutrients are plentiful and the weather is warm, the conditions are right for an algae bloom to take place. Winds can concentrate the buoyant cyanobacteria into accumulations or scums along the shoreline, which may increase the amount of toxin that could be ingested by pets or people using the lake recreationally.

For more information on cyanobacteria, please visit Washington Department of Health toxic algae website.



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The Green Lake Community Council

September 12, 2014 12:03pm

Jeff Tretheway, developer of the 414 Ravenna building, presenting their plans at the Council meeting.

Wednesday night we attended the Green Lake Community Council (GLCC) meeting, held at the Hearthstone Chapel. We were invited by Council Chair Paul Kostek to introduce the site to the community.

The Community Council is a neighborhood group who’s mission is in part, “To foster a greater sense of community among all who live, work and play here.” It’s a great resource for locals to understand what is planned around the neighborhood in new developments and for discussion of civic issues. The GLCC meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of odd numbered months in The Hearthstone Chapel, main floor, 6720 E. Green Lake Way N Seattle.

Items on the agenda for the September 10th meeting included:

  • An update on the proposed plans for a new apartment development at 414 Ravenna
  • Bethany Community Church’s plans for a replacement building on their lot, as well as parking strategies they have implemented for their church attendees
  • An update on the parking situation in North East Green Lake, and the proposed Residential Parking Zone (permits) presented by Ruth Harper of SDOT
  • And Sarah and I introducing the site.

Thanks for the questions and welcome from attendees!

View the minutes of previous meetings, and the September 10th meeting.



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A Call for Crafty Greenlakers

September 11, 2014 9:40pm

The Ravenna Holiday Art & Craft Sale has issued a call for artists. Intrigued? Here’s what you need to know.

Who should apply
All makers of high-quality, locally produced handmade items are encouraged to apply.

When is the event 
Ravenna Holiday Art & Craft Sale
Saturday, December 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, 6535 Ravenna Ave. NE, Seattle 98115

Application deadline is Monday, September 15, 2014.
For information and an application, please contact ravennacraftsale@yahoo.com


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Green Lake Shoreline Restoration

September 10, 2014 5:51am


If you’ve walked Green Lake recently you’ve likely noticed the temporary chain link fencing around the north end near the wading pool. Don’t worry, it’s not because of the toxic algae. It’s actually to help restore the eroding shoreline by adding vegetation. The Seattle Parks Department tells us that this is mostly the result of people wading and bringing their dogs to the lake (ahem… a little PSA here: it’s illegal to bring your pup in the lake!). The project also includes the installation of a wooden fence.

The project should be completed in October.


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Meridian Center for Health Breaks Ground North of Green Lake

September 9, 2014 10:49am

The recent groundbreaking of the Meridian Center For Health with Sen. David Frockt (46th District) on left and Mark Secord, Executive Director, Neighborcare Health on the right.

While it’s a year away from opening, a new health care facility could expand care access to affordable care for Seattle’s low income north end residents a few miles north of Green Lake. The new center will be located at 10501 Meridian Avenue North and is slated to open in Fall 2015.

Last week the project, in partnership with Neighborcare Health, Public Health and Valley Cities mental health treatment, did a ground breaking and tree planting ceremony to kick off the new site that is slated to be 44,000 square feet.

The new Meridian Center for Health will preserve care for 7,000 patients and double access to allow future patients an option for affordable care (according to the company’s press release).

The Center will offer a number of services for low-income families including primary medical, dental health and mental health services.

The project is partially funded, but is looking to raise $3 million in additional funds. For more information about this project, go to: http://www.neighborcare.org/MeridianCampaign.



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