May 3, 2013 at 6:36 PM
Sketched May 1, 2013
The giant pieces of steel were lifted and lowered so fast by the barge crane, I doubt many in South Park saw what happened here Wednesday.
Two years after construction of a new drawbridge over the Duwamish River started, workers are beginning to install the guts of the bridge — the actual steel mechanisms that will make the spans go up and down.
“Today is a milestone,” said project engineer Tim Lane, who joined me by the river bank and borrowed one of my sketchbooks to diagram how the “teeter-totter” will come together.
“You have to have the fat kid on one side,” he said, referring to the counterweight that will be held in place by these three3-story steel towers shown in my sketch.
Lane said the bridge is about two-thirds done and on schedule to open next spring. He expects the first draw span to be bolted to these pieces sometime in July.
The excitement of the engineering team was shared by Via Vadi cafe owner Maria Porco, one of the nearby business owners I met in 2010 when the old bridge closed permanently for safety reasons. “You know things are going to get better,” she said. “It’s starting to look like a bridge.”
— ooo —
Lane downplayed his sketching skills, but he quickly scribbled some great diagrams. The two “trunnion towers” installed Wednesday will be connected with more prefabricated steel beams and the whole structure will hold the south span of the bridge. The little circle in the side view is the trunnion, the pivoting point for the bridge’s span. Next to it you can see the counterweight, a big rectangle marked with an “x.”
After the towers were installed, I put on a hard hat and reflective vest and stepped down a 20-foot wooden ladder to access the space inside the pier, which is about the size of a basketball court. Lane and fellow engineer Jill Marilley gave me a crash course on the history of Seattle drawbridges, pointing out that most of them were built in the late 1910s and early 1920s following the construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The original South Park bridge was built in 1931.
As we chatted, a worker drove the Genie cherry picker out of the way and the barge crane dropped a big container loaded with tools. Marilley commented what a special project this is for Seattle and for South Park. “Moveable bridges don’t get built very often,” she said.
April 19, 2013 at 5:56 PM
Sketched March 26, 2013
I may be crafty with pen and paper, but my handyman skills are pretty limited. That’s probably why I hadn’t heard of Second Use, a Seattle mecca for do-it-yourselfers who prefer to buy used materials for their home- improvement projects.
Jay Cook, who was browsing window frames when I met him, said it’s good to get something back in shape with a little elbow grease. Old cabinets from the original Amazon offices in Beacon Hill are now part of his garage remodeling project, and he also owns a 1925 urinal discarded after a Seattle school renovation.
Since 1994, Second Use has become one of the largest businesses of its kind in the area. It was founded in 1994 by the late Roy Hunter, a contractor who grew tired of seeing so many building materials being thrown away. His first inventory was discarded wood beams he retrieved from a construction site, said co-owner Michael Armstrong, a longtime employee. Today, more than 4,600 items are available at their new retail space in Sodo and can be seen on their website.
“We’ve always been looking for basic stuff anybody can use,” said Armstrong. “If you were building a cabin, you could get enough of the stuff here.”
Second Use’s new facility in Sodo feels like a Home Depot of used stuff. The building used to house the headquarters for Alaskan Brass and Copper, which is now based in Kent.
August 9, 2011 at 6:38 PM
You don’t need to look past the red construction wall surrounding the future Capitol Hill light rail station to be entertained. Thanks to The Capitol Hill Wall Project, art is on display on the wall 24/7 to make you forget about the construction noise and six-year-long disruption of life in this part of the city. A mural I sketched last October is probably one of my favorite temporary art installations along the wall.
Sketched 4:14 p.m.
This afternoon, however, I didn’t stop to draw any of the art on the wall. Instead, I took a sneak peek of the construction activity through one of the many windows located throughout the wall. I was just as captivated. I tuned off the protective grid that covers the window to do the sketch shown above as the crane picked up materials and workers moved like ants on the bottom of the 60-foot-deep site.
According to the project page on Sound Transit’s website, the work should be completed sometime in 2015. In the meantime, enjoy the views, of the public art, and of the construction. You can also stop by Peet’s Coffee for a construction update on Aug. 18. Sound Transit staff will be available to answer questions and tell you how Brenda, the tunnel-boring machine, is doing so far. Here’s the info about the Coffee Hour.
About the sketch: For this sketch, I experimented with a technique I recently picked up from my sketcher friend, Buenos Aires-based architect Norberto Dorantes, at the 2nd International Lisbon Urban Sketching Symposium. I used a Rotring Art Pen and added watercolor later. The Art Pen ink is not waterproof and smears when watercolor is applied, creating an interesting effect when used as masterfully as only Norberto knows how. Paper: Canson 90 lb. Montval All-Media Fieldbook.
April 20, 2011 at 1:01 PM
Sketched April 19, 2:51 p.m.
More than 1,500 oversized photo-booth snapshots grace the yellow and purple construction wall by Husky Stadium. They show people sticking their tongues out, laughing, kissing and making every funny expression you could imagine. Some look a bit serious too, but those are the exception.
The Great Wall of Us represents folks like you and me who will come here by light rail when the University Link station opens in 2016. Construction started in 2009 and, judging by the activity at the giant pit behind the wall, it looks to me that they’ve made a lot of progress.
I look forward to sketching the real faces behind these photos when light rail arrives to the University of Washington. (See past sketches of rail commuters here.)
October 13, 2010 at 5:18 PM
Sketched Oct. 12, 3:26 p.m. [Click sketch to view larger]
I’m used to drawing on pocket Moleskine sketchbooks or spiral-bound sketchpads no larger than 9 by 12 inches. A small size canvas is enough to intimidate me, so you can imagine my reaction when I first came across this 135-foot long by 24-foot high mural on Capitol Hill a few weeks ago. Wow!
I came back Tuesday afternoon to sketch the giant temporary artwork in a nod to its creators. It was designed by local artist Baso Fibonacci and painted by Zack Rockstad and Japhy Witte.
The mural, painted on the construction wall around the light rail station site, is one of many art pieces curated by local artist DK Pan for Sound Transit’s STart Capitol Hill Wall Project. You may remember D.K. Pan from this art installation I sketched last year.
Flynn Glover, the construction worker coordinating the traffic at the intersection, said the artwork is really cool. “It makes our job site more pleasant.”
See every inch of the 9 by 12-inch sketchbook page where I drew this sketch here.
Listen to artist Baso Fibonacci talk about the mural on this KOMO4 video.
October 6, 2010 at 6:24 PM
Sketched Oct. 6, 11:12 a.m. [Click sketches to view larger]
Picture a boulevard going from West Seattle to Beacon Hill with a lush canopy of trees on both sides of the road. City landscape architect Shane DeWald CQ said we’re a step closer to achieving that plan envisioned by Seattle pioneers.
On Sunday, the city is inviting volunteers to help plant 100 trees along the South Columbian Way corridor between Beacon Ave S. and 15th Avenue S. Crews have been working since May building new sidewalks and have dug 2-foot-deep holes to accommodate the trees.
The street is like a blank canvas waiting to be painted green, said DeWald, who was inspired by the diverse character of the neighborhood to select nine different varieties of trees. They include Eddie’s White Wonder dogwood, Triumph and Chenmoui elm, Japanese and American hornbeam, and Akebono and Cornelian cherry. “People will appreciate the variety of flowers and fall colors.”
Sunday’s event, detailed at sdotblog.seattle.gov, is one of thousands of work parties in Seattle and around the world celebrating 10/10/10, a global day of environmental action.
For Brett Fashaw, the Bobcat operator I sketched, the planting of the trees is a sign of progress. He grew up in this area but moved further south to Kent in the 70s.
Fashaw is the first company president I meet behind the steering wheel of an excavator. The motto of his business, Garrison Creek Landscaping, is “No job is Too Small.”
I would add “or takes us too long” to that. He was digging holes so fast that I could barely keep up with my sketching! “He’s going to town,” said foreman Will Wright.
Celon Glymph also grew up near South Columbian Way but moved to Federal Way years ago. He recalled when there were no skyscrapers in downtown Seattle. “In 30 years they’ve built so many hi-rises but no streets,” he said. “They should have planted (the trees) here a long time ago.”
See uncropped versions of the sketches here, here and here.
See the sketch location on my Seattle Sketcher Google Map.
October 7, 2009 at 3:49 PM
11:45 a.m. [Click image to view larger]
It’s true, the new Paramount sign looks just like the old one, only newer. After all my previous posts on the subject (first, second and third), I didn’t want to miss seeing the new one go up this morning.
As I started sketching, Ken Naasz approached me to ask if I was the Times’ sketcher and went on to compliment my work. That was really nice to hear. I had to draw him too. Naasz is the design director for the company that has built the replica of the sign, Kirkland-based The Sign Factory. The Yakima native said he is especially proud of the result because they usually build signs from scratch as opposed to replicating an existing one, let alone one designated as a historic landmark.
I think they’ve done a good job with the replica. Taoufik Attalah, who’s lived in the neighborhood for nine years, didn’t even notice the old sign was gone when he walked by this morning on his way to work. He thought they were just fixing the old one.
October 6, 2009 at 3:25 PM
11:15 a.m. [Click on image to view larger]
The Paramount Theatre is staging an unusual play over the next few days: the replacement of its 79-year-old sign. (See earlier post.)
Directing the play is the theater’s director of operations David Allen, who blamed the pigeons, among other things, for causing irreparable damage to the 62-foot long neon sign.
The change is not quite a replacement but a replication, since the new one is supposed to look exactly the same. “In theory, you’re not going to be able to tell the difference,” said Steve Rubin, a theater volunteer I talked to this morning. He was helping direct people to the box office, which can only be accessed from inside the building since the cranes are blocking the street.
By the time I was finishing the sketch the workers had successfully detached the “AM” from the side of the sign facing south. As I type this post all of it has come down, but you can get a non-sketchy view of what happened today at the theater’s flickr photostream and blog.
May 7, 2009 at 10:42 AM
May 1, 1.44 p.m. [View larger] [Map]
Steve Winston, owner of The Spanish Table store on Western Avenue, showed me around the construction in Pike Place Market a few days ago. The aging market is just starting a series of renovations (see pdf) that have some business owners concerned.
The most visible one is the upgrade of the Hillclimb area, where a new elevator will provide better access to all the levels of the market. And in August a 150-foot crane is expected to go up off Western Avenue. (A “name that crane” contest is being promoted at the market’s website.)
While Steve looks forward to improved access to all levels of the market, he is concerned about the impact of a lengthy and messy construction. “They need better signage,” he says. “A better way for people to get back and forth between the street.”
The whole market –which I love by the way– could use better signage. I don’t recall seeing a diagram of where stores are. If there’s one, I missed it. I went back to the market on Monday and somewhat miraculously I ended up “Down Under”, where I had never dared to go before. There I found BLMF books, but I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.
May 6, 2009 at 10:37 AM
May 5, 3:45 p.m. [View larger] [Map]
It’s time for my “countdown to light rail” post of the week (see previous one here.) There are only 72 days left until we can catch a train from downtown to Tukwila. And about seven years until the Capitol Hill station opens. Demolition on that location is underway. When I stopped by yesterday the only building standing was the boarded-up Jack in the Box at Broadway and Denny. Had never eaten there. Too bad. I like Jack in the Box.
My fellow Seattle Times blogger Melissa Allison, from Coffee City, gave me a heads up about the demolition. She recently posted a photo of the Vivace building, which is gone by now.
If you want to suggest interesting places I should document with my drawings please send me an e-mail. You can also put a red flag on my Google map so I keep them in mind as I roam the city.
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