April Fools? Not This Time

One might question if it is a joke when they discover that the city is currently spending over $19,000 worth of urban reforestation grant money to manually clear the Hughes Property of blackberry bushes and ivy, only to learn that the current intent is to sell and clear the property to site a new hotel! 

Contained within the April 22, 2014 CSS/RCM Packet are two Agenda Bills which if passed will have an impact on the current condition of two properties adjacent to Angle Lake.  Page one of the Council Packet displays the Council Study Session Agenda and contains summary information for Agenda Bill #3591 relating to the undeveloped parcel along Angle Lake referred to as the ‘Hughes Property’ and Agenda Bill #3603 describing a purchase agreement for an easement with additional improvements.

The request for council action and supporting language for Agenda Bill #3591 are contain in pages 6 and 7 with the proposed Resolution displayed on pages 8 and 9. City staff are recommending to council to pass this resolution to execute a purchase sale agreement with TMI Hospitality, Inc for the purpose of constructing and operating a Marriott Extended Stay “Beacon” style designed hotel. The purchase will acquire 75% of the 4 acre area, whereas the city will retain the remaining one acre of undeveloped land fronting the shoreline of Angle Lake.  The city plan is to allow access from International Boulevard to the waterfront via an easement agreement with the hotel property. 

Example of a Marriott Hotel Beacon Style Design
Additional access to this remaining publically owned portion of the Hughes Property is being proposed via Agenda Bill #3603 which describes an agreement with Wisenet Branin Brothers LLC for the purchase of an easement through their property as the final link traversing several privately held parcels to complete a contiguous walkway between Angle Lake Park and the Hughes Property. The agreement also includes compensation for improvements and removal of several trees.  The worksheet for AB3603 begins on page 34 with the Ordinance starting on page 36 of the Council Packet. City staff are recommending passage of this oridance as well.

Both of these Agenda Bills will be discussed in greater detail during the Council Study Session scheduled for Tuesday, April 22nd and could result in a council consensus vote as early as Tuesday, May 6th.  Time for public comments is expected to be made available at the beginning of the study session and if moved to consensus vote, opportunities for public comment should again be available at the beginning of the Regular Council Meeting and prior to council consensus vote.   
So back to the question of why the city is investing nearly $20,000 toward removing blackberry and ivy bushes one can only hope that the effort is focused primarily on the remaining one acre that is expected to remain in the public domain and not concentrating energy on the three acres that will be bulldozed if Agenda Bill #3591 passes! 

Excuse Me, Were You Sleeping?

Where were you at 3 AM on Thursday, April 10th?  Sleeping, maybe? That is unless you were one of the chosen to receive a call from the City of SeaTac informing you of a regional outage of the 911 services!

Back in January of 2011, we published a posting in the Angle Lake Shore Club Blog informing our residents of an auto-dialer notification service that City of SeaTac Emergency Communications subscribed to called CodeRED.  As the article explained this service provides emergency officials the ability to broadcast a single message out to a very large number of affected residents within the City simultaneously. While the post encouraged our Angle Lake area residents to sign up for the service, I’m not sure how many actually were provoked in doing so at that time.

But for those who did sign up they experienced a real life example of the service in action on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 when calls were targeted to residents and businesses in the Angle Lake area warning of a police canine assisted pursuit of a criminal on the loose in the area with a request that area residents remain within their homes until further notice. This too was posted in the blog and I can only assume that more people were motivated to sign up when they learned that they did not receive that same call!

Fast forward to Thursday, April 10th, 2014 and again the system was activated to outdial all SeaTac Residents who were signed up for CodeRED notification to receive a message alerting them that a region-wide outage of the Emergency 911 service was occurring and informed listeners of alternative methods to seek emergency assistance. Based on the number of comments received in our ALSC email inbox about this service it appears that we may have achieved some limited success encouraging people to sign up for the CodeRED service however, it was also apparent that several persons were not so thrilled to have received a call in the middle of the night (3 am actually)! 

It has also become apparent that the ALSC Blog was not the only one who received feedback from the community about this particular call as City Manager Todd Cutts wrote us with the following information to share:

Please see below for the article we posted in the City Manager’s Weekly Update.  Along with the Fire Chief, I was involved in making the call to put out the Code Red.  Given the 3am timing, it certainly wasn’t a decision we took lightly.  

Did you get our call? 
Early on a recent Thursday morning our regional 9-1-1 system experienced an interruption of service that impacted residents in both Washington and Oregon State. Because of the significant threat to public safety created by the interruption of this vital emergency communications link, a decision was made to notify our community of the outage immediately and provide them with another phone number for emergency services.

Some residents have expressed dissatisfaction with that decision.  While it was not an easy one to make (nobody likes to wake their neighbors from a sound sleep at 3AM), we believe it was the only responsible one. Heart attacks and house fires don’t always happen during the daytime hours. The obvious concern for City leaders was in considering the potential outcome had no information been shared and one of our residents experienced a life threatening medical or other emergency.

As a community we’ve become accustomed to ready access of Police and Fire resources in our moment of need. One can only imagine the panic experienced by a homeowner when unsuccessfully trying to reach police as another person was attempting to force entry into their home. Therefore, a failure to provide another phone number to our community when one was readily available seemed unconscionable.

The City of SeaTac intentionally chooses to use our emergency notification system sparingly. It’s our belief that in doing so, community members will recognize the importance of a message when sent out. While we acknowledge that any wakeup call at 3 AM is disturbing, we consider it our responsibility to take the necessary steps to protect you and your neighbors. We encourage all our residents to continue to sign up for CodeRED notifications and not define any barriers that may interfere in our getting that important message to you.
Todd Cutts
City Manager

Bunny Dock Hop Sunday, April 20th

On Easter Sunday, between 9:00 and 11:00 AM, the Easter Bunny will be circling the lake by way of the Celebrate America pontoon boat. Hopping from dock to dock with his basket full of eggs ready to hand out treats to any eagerly awaiting children and their families.

If you have small children at home and/or will have visiting grandchildren on Easter Sunday and would like to ensure a visit from the Easter Bunny, please contact the Rosalyn Rambauer via email no later than Friday, April 18th to request a stop. Send email to ros.rombauer@gmail.com providing your name, address and an indication of how many children are expected to be present.

Also Note:  If you have a gift basket that you wish to have personally presented to your child by the Easter Bunny, please have these baskets delivered to Ros before the deadline of Friday, April 18th as well.

Thank you to Rosalyn and her team for continuing to grow this memorable annual community offering at Angle Lake.

Happy Easter!

Help Design the Sound Transit Pictograms

No, the pictures above aren't Houses from Game of Thrones.

Rather, they are the fun, sometimes confusing pictograms that Sound Transit chose to represent the neighborhoods it serves. That dragon? The International District. The anvil? The industrious SoDo area. The one for SeaTac is strangely a magic carpet. As Sound Transit's astrologically inclined “Stellar guide to the the pictograms explains: "Nothing evokes the magic, mystery and delight of flight quite like a magic carpet. SeaTac is the “Hospitality City” and has rolled out the carpet in welcome.”

Sound Transit uses "pictograms" to identify transit stations for people who don't read languages that use the Roman alphabet. They're also easier to recall even if you do read printed station names, according to the agency. Oh, and state law requires them.

Sound Transit plans to start service in 2016 to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, in Seattle, and Angle Lake Station, in Sea-Tac; and in 2021 to the U District, Roosevelt and Northgate. So now, apparently, is the time to start figuring out pictograms for these stations, and the agency wants your help.

From now until April 14, people can fill out an online questionnaire, listing up to three adjectives to describe each station area, up to three landmarks that represent the areas and, cutting to the chase, describing what image would make a good pictogram for the stations and why.

"Public input and comments will be collected and will be used to help guide the development and creation of the new pictograms," the agency said. "Once developed, pictograms will be available for public viewing and comment."

For some additional background regarding the history behind the existing pictograms in operation today, refer to the Stellar Connections Flyer for complete details.

Next Generation P Patch

Not your grandparent's P-Patch but is still a collective cooperative approach to local farming.

A P-Patch is a parcel of property used for gardening allotments. The term is specific to Seattle, where the Picardo family ran a truck farm in the earlier part of the 1900s in the Wedgwood neighborhood. The farm was acquired by the City of Seattle and became part of the original P-Patch program initiated in 1973. The 'P' was taken to commemorate the Picardo family. Through the decades folk etymology attributes it to be "pea patch" and soon the ‘P’ is expected to stand for “pot” within the city of SeaTac!

State law regarding medical cannabis (RCW: 69.51A) already contain provisions for P-Patch-type gardens for up to 15 marijuana plants per patient, where sick people may grow affordable, high-quality cannabis, free from black market and legal hazards (RCW: 69.51A.085). With the passage of I-502 in November 2012 and the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington State, SeaTac residents Bud Green and Mary Jayne have taken the position that the provisions of RCW 69.51A.085 now apply to all citizen’s age 21 and older. Both Green and Jayne have been lobbying the SeaTac City Council for an approval to begin operating a ‘P-Patch’ garden at the vacant Hughes Property located on the southwestern shores of Angle Lake. Backers of this initiative insist that this underutilized public property is a perfect choice for the garden due to abundant availability to water that can be drawn from the lake and naturally heightened security due to visibility from the heavy volume of traffic that travels International Boulevard (State Route 99).

After a year long debate, the City Council had finally reached a determination that supporting this ‘grass’ roots initiative is the right thing to do and have since authorized that a portion of the Hughes Property be allocated for such use.  A plan to prepare the land through a partnership program agreement between the WA State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the City of SeaTac was made through a Press Release announcement on March 21st. The $19,000 project will fund work to rid the property of the invasive English ivy and Himalayan blackberry bushes that occupy much of the space.  A crew for the Puget SoundCorps will work from 7:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Thursday.  The work will start Monday, April 7th and will finish by Thursday, May 1st in time for local and state officials to gather for formal presentation of the ‘keys’ of the garden to Herb Cheeba, President of Peacebloom, the registered organization representing the collective gardener association.

“What a perfect world it will be when our citizens can simply cultivate this fertile land and ask Mother Nature to bestow her favor upon them in the bold sunlight of a more progressive era!” envisions Mary Jayne. 

In anticipation of this ceremonious event, a request by the Peacebloom organization to the Washington State Department of Transportation has been submitted asking that the 5 block span of International Blvd between South 200th Street and the entrance of Angle Lake Park at So 195th Street be recognized and relabeled as “Highway 420” in commemorative recognition of the nation’s first marijuana co-operative ‘P-Patch’.

The deadline for public comment is Sunday, April 20th and may be submitted here.