June 21, 2013 at 6:28 PM
The Mount Baker Ridge Viewpoint is built over a sloping terrain that used to be off-limits and covered with blackberries and trees, said David Berger, a longtime neighbor
who rallied the community to preserve the view for future generations.
Sketched June 12, 2013
I’ve yet to visit a Seattle location that says so much about our longing for sun as the Mount Baker Ridge Viewpoint.
The pocket park perched on a slope directly above the I-90 tunnel is a contemporary “Stonehenge” where you can track the star moving through the seasons.
Seven basalt stones that could be mistaken as places to sit align with the horizon points where the sun sets at different times of the year, including the solstices and the equinox.
I visited hoping to see the last rays of daylight shine through the notch on the summer solstice stone, but you can guess what prevented me from sketching that: a big cloud!
David Berger, who led the community effort to create the park, said the fascination with the sun isn’t just a Seattle thing. It’s common to many cultures, and it may have something to do with “finding our place in the universe.”
The viewpoint, which opened in 2009, is located at 1403 31st Avenue South in a small neighborhood commercial district. As I sketched, people walked in and out of a nearby restaurant and stopped to catch a glimpse of the fleeting sunset. Berger said it has become a destination for bikers and walkers who come to “watch the world go by.”
Astronomical diagrams and historical photos of the neighborhood are displayed at the park’s entrance, making the visit a unique learning experience.
May 31, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Sketched May 28, 2013
Several weeks ago, there was a double-shooting in front of this colorful convenience store at Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and South Jackson Street.
But there are more things happening in the Central Area than the crime that often makes the headlines. Today, you can try hopscotching for a change.
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., everyone in Seattle is invited to hop, skip and jump along a 1.8-mile path that starts across the street from Quick Pack (home of “the best fried chicken in town,” reads the sign) and ends at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street.
Along an eventful course, you may shop at yard sales, dance to live music, grab a lemonade or get your nails painted.
Says organizer Knox Gardner about the initiative: “If we can get together and play together, it’s easy to get on as neighbors.”
For more information visit jacksoncommons.com
January 4, 2013 at 8:44 PM
Sketched Dec. 19 and 27, 2012
The shelves are filled with circular saws, power drills and more types of hammers than I ever knew existed. But this is no hardware store. I’m in North Ravenna at the city’s newest tool library, where members will be able to check out tools for free after it opens Jan. 19.
The grass-roots project led by Susan Gregory makes a lot of sense. Everyone may own a hammer, she said, but most of us don’t need to own expensive tools that we seldom use, such as a shop vacuum or a chain saw.
Modeled after a similar initiative in West Seattle, the Northeast Seattle Tool Library has already collected more than 600 donated tools. “It’s a good start,” said Gregory, who hopes to keep adding more tools as word spreads. On her wish list: a pressure washer, a sewing machine and a spinning wheel to make yarn from wool.
For details on membership and to check out the inventory, visit neseattletoollibrary.org.
Members will be able to check out tools one week at a time, and Gregory also plans to organize workshops where folks can teach each other how to use the tools. “It’s not just the tools but the expertise people bring,” said Gregory, a professional landscape designer and the daughter of a Boeing engineer.
Tool library member Morgan Redfield has donated some of the most expensive equipment, including this drill press and a table saw that patrons will be able to use on site. The equipment belonged to his dad, John Redfield, who passed away a year ago. Morgan, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering at the University of Washington, has many fond memories of using the equipment with his mechanical-engineer father and still keeps a treasure chest they built together. When a friend told him about the library, he knew it would be the perfect place for the tools. Morgan, 25, said his dad “would be really happy if he knew his tools are being used by other people.”
This sophisticated set of hammers, which also belonged to Morgan Redfield’s father, rest on a wooden counter reclaimed from the original REI store.
When you are ready to check out some tools, you’ll find the Northeast Seattle Tool library in this humble building at 2415 NE 80th Street. The building, provided by the North Seattle Friends Church, will also house another cool volunteer-run local nonprofit, the Bike Shack, starting Jan. 19. Next time, I’ll sketch them too!
November 23, 2012 at 5:49 PM
Sketched Nov. 14 and 15, 2012
The home of Josh and Cameron Larios in the Lake City neighborhood has unique curb appeal. A recycled newspaper box that they customized and placed by the sidewalk invites passers-by to “Take a book. Return a book.”
The “Little Free Library” is one of nearly 50 that have popped up around Seattle, after a movement that started in 2009 in Wisconsin.
Some of the little libraries are as charming as can be. In the Mount Baker neighborhood, Margaret Opalka’s library is topped by an old sled and a bright yellow croquet ball. In Mountlake Terrace, Vernon and Jen Winters painted their library with beautiful Native American motifs.
Josh and Cameron Larios joined the movement thinking it’d be a good way to get rid of old books, but their little library has come to mean much more. It has brought out a do-it-yourself mentality and spirit of sharing, said Josh Larios. “I feel like I’m more connected to the community.”
August 31, 2012 at 8:11 PM
Sketched Aug. 21, 2012 [Click on sketches to see larger versions]
The Mercer Garage rooftop P-Patch, which opened in early June, is starting to yield some crops.
I tasted a tomatillo from Stephanie Krimmel and Craig Moore’s plot and it was pretty sweet. Who knew you could garden in a few feet of soil laid over concrete?
To help build the P-Patch, the Krimmel-Moore family put in 150 hours of labor — the most of all volunteers vying for a plot. That gave them first choice of the 98, 100-square-foot plots available. They picked one with great views of the garden’s terraces, not to mention the city skyline and the soaring Space Needle.
Being up here, you forget where you are, said Krimmel. “You barely see the cars. You barely hear the street. You are in your own little oasis.”
UpGarden, as the P-Patch is known, occupies about a third of the Mercer Garage rooftop parking space. The sloping ramp where cars used to park is practically unrecognizable. Instead, you see a swath of green surrounding an old Airstream trailer where the urban gardeners keep their tools. A lawn in front of the trailer is the main gathering space, and that’s where I sketched Stephanie Krimmel and Craig Moore as they enjoyed a picnic while their daugther, Bailley, napped.
Scott Mills, a 58-year-old retired truck driver, put in nearly as many hours as the Krimmel-Moore family to qualify for his plot, where he has been growing squash, broccoli and herbs such as basil. He also has built a cool birdhouse that makes his patch stand out. Mills said he doesn’t really eat much of the food he grows; he takes it to food banks instead.
Abbi Engel was eating a carrot when Mills led me to her plot. The 31-year-old biologist said her love for gardening comes from her farming family in Nevada and Idaho. The smell of the tomato plants at Engel’s plot reminded me of my dad’s garden in Extremadura, Spain.
An old purple Ford Galaxy has been converted into a planting bed. Moore, 43, said it is a “good reminder of what was here before.”
Next time you are in lower Queen Anne or park at the Mercer Garage, you may take some time to visit UpGarden. I’d like to know what you think.
What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!
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