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October 4, 2013 at 6:38 PM
The days of the downtown Greyhound Bus Terminal are numbered. The entire city block where one of Seattle’s oldest transportation hubs has stood since 1927 is slated for redevelopment next year. Will we miss it?
The significance of the building may be lost at first sight. The majority of the original brick work was covered with beige ceramic tiles in the 1960s. (What were they thinking?) Mismatched additions like a roof overhang covering the passenger-loading area also mask the integrity of the station.
But consider the history. Decades before buses and light rail shared the downtown bus tunnel, streetcars and buses ran alongside the same wall where I recently sketched passengers boarding the 2:10 p.m. Greyhound to Vancouver, B.C.; part of the rails can still be seen through the pavement.
The Central Stage Terminal, as it was called then, was the southern base of the Seattle-Everett Interurban rail line and home to a number of coach companies that later displaced the streetcars and preceded Greyhound. Call it the first hybrid bus-rail station in the city.
While Greyhound plans to build a new terminal near the Stadium light-rail station early next year, the redevelopment of this site into a massive hotel/residential complex will erase an important part of Seattle’s transportation past. The city didn’t deem the terminal worthy of landmark status, so don’t expect the bulldozers to leave any part of it standing.
The waiting room inside the terminal was abuzz with activity on a recent weekday. Mary Patton had traveled here from Sequim on the Dungeness Line shuttle bus. She said she was a Seattle Times subscriber, so I didn’t have to do much explaining about my work. I hurried to make this sketch before she boarded the 1:10 p.m. bus to Portland, where she was planning to attend a wedding.
Gary Saben, who’s worked for Greyhound for 39 years, stopped to peek at my sketch of the building, and I came by to draw him when his bus was ready to leave. He said he’s looking forward to the new terminal in Sodo. “Change is always good.”
When I asked station manager Joseph Hapac what was special about the terminal, he knew exactly where to take me. We walked outside towards Ninth Avenue and he pointed to the rails still visible on the pavement. Then he pointed up to the part of the building where you can still see the original brickwork, right above the roof overhang.
June 28, 2013 at 6:57 PM
Sketched June 26, 2013
Some are painted a solid color: Yellow, orange or green. Others come in two hues, like blue and yellow.
You’d think as an artist I would like such a colorful fleet of city taxis. But I actually find the system very confusing.
Abdi Dahir, a supervisor with Yellow Cab who I met outside King Street Station, understood my point. The two-toned cabs, he said, are not even taxis. They are “for hire” vehicles that charge flat rates and aren’t supposed to pick up people who flag them down. When they do, “they are breaking the rules,” he said.
The current debate pitting traditional cab service against new app-based ridesharing companies is also adding to my confusion. If companies like Lyft and Uber provide the same service, should they follow the city regulations that apply to taxis?
In Barcelona, where I grew up, all taxis have a distinctive yellow and black design that has become a symbol of the city — much like the FC Barcelona colors — and a guarantee of safe and reliable service. They all play by the same rules. Would a similar system work here? It may seem far-fetched, but a uniform identity for taxis would make getting rides in Seattle less of a daunting task.
I thought I’d find cabs from different companies at King Street Station, but Dahir said only the Yellow Cab company is allowed to pick up people here, at the aiport, Pier 91 and Pier 69. He said the other two main taxi companies in Seattle, Orange Cab and Farwest, can only do drop-off.
I found a green Farwest taxi to add to my series of sketches at the taxi stand by the ferry terminal. The driver had no problem with me sketching the Prius, but declined to be included in the picture.
Last, I stopped by the Westin Hotel, a taxi stand where I met Wessen Darge (above, left) and Asfaw Dargazee (below). The Orange Cab drivers said the city has strict regulations for cab drivers. They have to wear a uniform consisting of white shirt and dark pants, they also have to pass background checks, install cameras on their vehicles and pay hundreds of dollars in fees every year.
April 16, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Sketched March 26, 2013
With less than 10 minutes to spare before the next light rail train would arrive, I set out to sketch one of the striking underground murals that brightens the scene at Westlake Station.
The whimsical porcelain enamel mural is so big (10 by 35 feet) that it’s actually best seen from the northbound bay across from where I stood. From my vantage point and given the time constraint, all I could sketch was a little fragment on the bottom-left corner that shows a woman holding a broadsheet. Before I realized it, commuters on their way to the airport were surrounding me and it was time to board the train and close my sketchbook.
This was my first encounter with the work of local artist Fay Jones. A thorough essay about her can be read on History Link.
March 15, 2013 at 7:01 PM
Sketched Feb. 27 and March 5, 2013
I’ve yet to talk to a person in Seattle who didn’t love the George Benson waterfront streetcars.
Since 2005, they’ve been stored at a facility in Sodo where Metro kindly let this newspaper artist roam around.
As I was sizing up the cavernous room, I stumbled upon a “RIDER ALERT” sign still glued to a streetcar door. Talk about a blast from the past: “Beginning Saturday, Nov. 19, the Waterfront Streetcar will be temporarily replaced by Route 99 bus service, pending construction of a new streetcar maintenance facility.”
Why that new facility was never built seems beyond the point now that eight years have passed. My question is: Will I ever ride one of these?
Streetcar advocate Tom Gibbs, a retired transit executive, is optimistic. about the future of the 1.6 mile line that first opened in 1982 along Alaskan Way.He said the 1.6 mile line that first opened in 1982 could be linked to the First Hill line, which is scheduled to open early next year. And a barn for the new streetcar line planned at 8th Avenue South and South Dearborn Street could also be expanded to accommodate the beloved trolleys.
Since Metro considered selling them last year, 966 people have signed an online petition at saveourstreetcar.org to restore the legacy of the late City Council member George Benson. Gibbs assured me there is a lot of support out there.
I hope he is right.
The five streetcars date from the 1920s and were used in Melbourne, Australia, before they were shipped to Seattle.
This is one of the waterfront stops that is still standing.
December 21, 2012 at 4:42 PM
The Mayans had supposedly predicted the world would end today. But, hey, it didn’t happen! I went to Westlake Center and saw lots of people doing their holiday shopping and having fun.
To remind us of our good fortune, Edmonds graphic designer Andy Herman was selling $20 t-shirts stamped with his own catchphrase and design: “I survived THE END OF THE WORLD – Dec. 21, 2012.”
The friendly street vendor said all the buzz about the alleged end of the world had inspired him to create the t-shirts. “My target audience is big,” he joked. “I’ve got a good thing here.”
May 11, 2012 at 8:11 PM
Sketched May 7, 2012
I rarely make trees the focus of my drawings, but the centenarian Japanese maple in front of Seattle City Hall is not your average specimen. Think of it as a fine piece of public art.
The unusual tree, bigger and older than any other red-lace leaf maple you’d see around here, was brought to Seattle in the late 1990s by local landscape contractor David Ohashi. He found it in Portland and used a semitrailer escorted by pilot cars to get the oversized load up Interstate 5.
The tree drew oohs and aahs at a garden show and eventually caught the eye of then-mayor Paul Schell, who bought it for $35,000 and later raised private contributions to pay back the city.
Since it was installed at the new City Hall in 2003, Schell’s maple puts on a colorful show throughout the seasons, attracting downtown workers — and even this sketcher who doesn’t really like to draw trees.
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!
October 12, 2011 at 10:55 AM
Sketched Oct. , 2:51 p.m.
After I rode the bookmobile last week, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to draw the Central Library. Every time I go by it, I’m astonished by those glass walls that seem to defy gravity. Seattleites couldn’t have asked for a better public building to indulge in their love of reading.
December 23, 2010 at 12:03 PM
Sketched Dec. 15, 4:44 p.m.
You’ve seen this penguin, haven’t you? Did you know you could buy it? It sells for “about $45,000,” said Twist‘s assistant manager Eileen Neff.
Like other pieces at the Pacific Place jewelry store, the penguin is a creation of Philadelphia-based sculptor Leo Sewell, who has a way of transforming scraps of metal and discarded junk into artfully welded elephants, cats, bulldogs, eagles and human torsos. I’m surprised a wealthy art collector or corporation hasn’t purchased this striking piece yet — it has been here since the store opened in 1999. Neff said that if somebody purchases it, they would bring a new one, so don’t feel guilty about taking away the signature sculpture if you are still doing some last minute shopping.
But if you don’t come to Pacific Place for shopping, or to sketch, like I did, there’s something else that makes a stop worthwhile this holiday season. For about twelve minutes, you can watch “magic snow” fill the atrium every day at 6 p.m. through the end of the year. It’s like stepping into a snow globe, but, unfortunately for me, not something easy to draw.
September 17, 2010 at 5:32 PM
Sketched Sept. 15, 1:47 p.m. [Click sketches to view larger]
I followed Tuesday’s curb cuisine experience at Marination Mobile with a visit to Maximus/Minimus on Wednesday. The pig-on-wheels at Second Avenue and Pike Street has also been getting a lot of votes in the Food Network nationwide poll to select America’s Favorite Food Truck. The winner of the contest will be announced during Sunday’s finale of “The Great Food Truck Race,” (9 p.m.)
This mobile kitchen wins the creativity prize in my book. It was created by local industrial designer Colin Reedy, who took inspiration from 1950s science fiction rockets and streamliner vehicles to turn “a square truck into a round pig.”
Reedy also researched pig noses and ears in Google Images to produce a number of sketches for Sugar Mountain, the company that launched the truck in June of 2009.
From design to finish, it took about three months to build the solid-looking giant iron pig, which is made of fiberglass. Its rusty appearance is so realistic that people were asking when it was going to be painted when it first took on the road, said Reedy.
Sketched Sept. 15, 12:38 p.m.
I don’t feel as comfortable judging the truck’s culinary offerings as I do about qualifying its design. Like Reedy, I can also sketch a pig truck, but I’m no expert when it comes to food criticism. That being said, my pulled-pork sandwich –I chose the sweet sauce– was delicious. And the lively scene around the rolling kitchen just added to a great lunchtime experience. I felt like being in a small village as I mingled with the lunch crowd gathering around outdoor tables.
Next to me were Tracey and Greg Moore. Greg, a local carpenter who is originally from Texas, complimented both the barbecue and the truck design. “This is scenery on wheels … very nice.” He had been wanting to see it since spotting it on the freeway one day. To find out what it was, he googled “big steel pig truck,” and Maximus showed up right away.
An all-girl party of office co-workers from a nearby agency joined the table later. They also raved about the sandwiches and the fun atmosphere. It was their first time coming here on their lunch break.
Unlike other Seattle food trucks, Maximus only operates in the summer months. General manager Lance Marlow said they will be open through the end of September and come back in April.
April 13, 2010 at 4:41 PM
2:17 p.m. [Click sketch to view larger]
I got plenty of sketching ideas from walking around Pioneer Square with University of Washington professor Jeffrey Karl Ochsner last week. (See Friday post.)
The intersection of Second Avenue and Cherry Street alone is surrounded with architectural history, no matter where you look. On the northeast corner is the 1924 Dexter Horton building, the one you can see on my sketch. Also here are the Alaska building (1904), the Hoge building (1911) and the Bailey building (1892) — which I hope to sketch some other day.
Ochsner said this was the center of the city in the 1910s, when about 42,000 people lived in Seattle.
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