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Posts Tagged ‘King County’

Trueblood House 8-17 1

Disney Pixar’s Up House

August 15th, 2017: It happened! One year from when Kirkland’s historic Trueblood House last moved, it finally landed in its permanent home. Thank you to the amazing new owners who made room for it and took on the expense.

Today’s journey began here on the southeast corner of 1st Street and 7th Avenue where the house has been moored in a church parking lot atop a trailer.

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Looking south about 12:40 P.M., you can see the preparations being made for the house’s move around the corner.

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Later on… thar she blows!

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It certainly isn’t every day that you see a house in the middle of the street, especially a late 19th century structure complete with a stained glass window.

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Note the balloons. They are a color-appropriate homage to the Up house! What a cheery and festive touch.

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Here Nickel Brothers moving begins to navigate the turn east onto 6th Avenue.

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They couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather.

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See the house. The house is relatively level. Onlookers are making predictions as to how long the house will stay in the street.

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Then– GAAHHH!!! The house suddenly began tilting to the left as a gathering crowd collectively gasped. Was the house falling off the trailer?!

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Oh, it looks like it’s tipping, doesn’t it? Evidently the trailer has hydraulics and they shifted the house to navigate past the massive maple on the south side. As you can see from the branches lying on the sidewalk on the left side, that tree got an impromptu haircut to facilitate safe passage as well. Also note the downspout on the right that caught on the tree. It didn’t fall off.

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Now it’s about 3:40 P.M. and the house is being backed into its new lot. This shot shows just some of the many trucks involved in the move. Communications lines had to be taken down and put back up, there were pilot cars– many different companies helped make this possible.

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It really does look like it’s going to float away.

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These workers kept cutting boards and placing boards and making sure everything was perfect as the house was slooowly backed into position. Note that the house is suspended over a huge hole in the ground. More on that soon.

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Just beyond that center bush is a refrigerator that was said to have come out of the old house. Not only was it handy stadium seating for this event, but a cohort remarked that it was also the ultimate cooler.

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Then the move became even more interesting as this big boy was backed in to assist.

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This was a great moment I almost didn’t catch. One of the movers brought balloons over to this mini-onlooker who was rocking his own PPE. Because this was taken on private property, children’s faces are omitted, but it still captures the joy.

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The behemoth newcomer was chained to the trailer to assist as the first truck backed up.

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So much work went into this move. Some people stayed for hours watching the carefully choreographed moving mambo.

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Here you finally have a sense of the yawing abyss. There were men down in there keeping an eye on things as the house sometimes creaked and shuddered into place.

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There it is. This is a cause of rejoicing for the local community, especially the local history buffs.

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The cavalcade of bucket trucks put wires back up with amazing speed. This is one of the last lines to be restrung.

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They had to get it just right before leaving for the night.

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As I texted to friends, “It’s sitting on giant Jenga blocks, then plywood, then the trailer.” The cribbing is holding an estimated 60 tons. Although the primary truck will stay hooked up to the trailer overnight, it is due on a ferry by tomorrow afternoon. So work will begin again in the morning.

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Overall, this was a fantastic experience. Thank you to the new owners for their hospitality and for saving a landmark. Kirkland’s first doctors lived in this home and some of those in attendance had lived in it for years to decades as well. This is a well loved house and I’m grateful that– albeit in an enhanced version (you’ll see)– it will live on.

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Russell: [reading from his scout handbook in monotone] Good afternoon. My name is Russell, and I am a Wilderness Explorer in Tribe 54, Sweatlodge 12. Are you in need of any assistance today, sir?

Carl Fredricksen: No.

Russell: I could help you cross the street.

Carl Fredricksen: No.

Russell: I could help you cross your yard.

Carl Fredricksen: No.

Russell: I could help you cross your… porch?

Carl Fredricksen: No.

Russell: Well, I gotta help you cross *something*!

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©2017 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trueblood House 8-16-16 1

Tomorrow, August 17th, 2016, at 11 A.M., the 1889 Trueblood House in Kirkland, Washington is going to move a block or so. The power lines in front will come down and it will be carefully rolled forward to 7th Avenue between two poles, one of which already has a pronounced lean.

The owner offered to give the house to anyone who can move it. He plans to build a larger home on the site. There seem to be a few potential buyers talking to the moving company, but for now, the house is being moved around the corner to a temporary location very close to where it was built.

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Want a cool old house? Make an offer.

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Bothell Fire KING 5

Bothell Fire, July 22nd, 2016 from KING 5 News

Yesterday, in the early morning hours of July 22nd, several explosions were heard in the area of 102nd and Main Street. Neighbors looked out their windows to find the historic Mercantile Building, which was being expanded into multistory apartments, engulfed in flames.

Morning traffic reports warned drivers that State Route 522 was shut down near Kaysner Way. Nearly 100 firefighters from Bothell and neighboring agencies including Kirkland, Northshore, Woodinville, and Redmond converged on a three-alarm fire that was being spread by wind.

If you know Bothell, Washington, you probably think of its quaint downtown core before you think of the bigger name stores further north and east. Rows of older buildings line Main Street for blocks with, for the most part, no separation between them. Banks, pubs, a clothing store, a furniture store, art galleries, antique shops, and various eateries create a small town feel despite massive new construction nearby.

Midday a trip down 522 showed warning signs that something was wrong.

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Power and internet were knocked out in parts of downtown by the fire. Crews worked hard to restore service.

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The fire continued to smolder. The stench of burning building blanketed the air. Note the crane at the left. More on that soon.

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Today crowds gathered downtown to make sense of what had just happened. Bothell Public Works had an eductor truck on Main Street. These vehicles are like giant vacuums and are often used to clean out storm drains. There was a great deal of foam and debris to clean up and the Sammamish Slough is just down the hill.

I’d heard Alexa’s Cafe was damaged but am not sure. So far I haven’t heard the same about the Three Lions Pub immediately to the right. It was open and looked intact.

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Looking east down the north side of Main Street.

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Seeing this sale sign made me realize how hard some of these businesses are going to be fighting to stay alive. Some might be done for.

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Approaching ground zero on the southwest corner of 102nd and Main. This is what’s left of the Kozy Corner Cafe and the poor trees around it.

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This is (was) the Mercantile Building, recently rechristened The Mercantile as its interior was gutted and rebuilt to support the residential units on top of it. Most locals agree this is where the fire started and many suspect that it was arson although there have been no official reports to that effect yet. The bridge and senior center nearby are okay.

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Fires are strange. Some things burn, others don’t. This particular tree actually looked less singed than others despite the intense heat right next to it.

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The crane being used on The Mercantile project melted.

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Bothell Fire still had a truck on scene.

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Note the melted Honey Buckets.

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Someone I was talking to said, “look at the bushes behind us.” Despite being across the street, the bushes were crispy, including the rhodie to the left.

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Looking up Main to the east towards Sundance Energy, which I originally heard was destroyed, then heard was saved.

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The driveway to the back of the Logsdon Building was closed. Lynn Logsdon, the dear woman who owns the building, was kind enough to fill me in on the conditions of some of the buildings around hers. Hers, despite being right across the street, was unscathed. I know that prayers often go out for the safety of this place.

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From the west side, the First Lutheran Church with its beautiful cross appeared to be undamaged.

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Walking around the block, I found a crowd gathered at Sundance Energy, which is temporarily operating out of a different location. Across the street is the Frontier building which sounds like is a loss. I was surprised to see the two propane tanks on the front of that trailer intact given some other damage farther north on the property.

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From Sundance, which is uphill from 102nd, you could see the roof of the Mercantile Building.

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The landscaping along Main was decimated and the Wells Fargo signs melted.

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Note the damage to the trailer. I’m not sure what the charred pieces are in the background.

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The Mercantile across the street.

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The roof is just a mess. It’s obvious how hot the fire was.

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The front of Sundance’s property looks like an ebony moonscape.

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Nobody’s going to be using that picnic table or… barbeque (?) again.

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Sundance will need community support to get back up and running. They are housed in older buildings that I’m amazed weren’t lost.

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There appeared to be pry marks on the door, likely from the firefighters’ entry.

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Sundance wisely had some literature about their services on a table. Note how the table is warped and pitted from the heat and embers.

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The roof on this back building was damaged more than the others.

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Wow. This recycling bin was a significant distance from Main Street. It could have been moved, but it seemed to be in its logical place next to the dumpster.

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Zulu’s was one of the businesses damaged by the fire. Two other area businesses are donating their proceeds on July 25th and 27th to help them and the Kozy Corner. Some of us lookie loos decided to go in for a beverage and one woman bought jalapeno poppers for the group. Strangers might not normally talk to each other in this area, but today, we were family.

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The Frontier building. Note the van from the disaster recovery company and the damage along the right roof line. We discussed how many under 30 might not know what that blue and white box is for other than recognizing it as something Dr. Who rides around in.

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Everything is closed. Don’t even try. Police and security are maintaining an active presence on this stretch.

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More charred remains from the front of Sundance Energy.

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Bothell Public Works had multiple vehicles on scene and by all accounts did a knockout job during and after this event. It’s not just Public Safety who handles emergencies. Public Works is always close behind.

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Looking out at Zulu’s deck with its awning still curiously intact.

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Water damage inside Zulu’s.

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Zulu’s had the best view of the Mercantile’s roof. There are hot spots to the right and left.

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Upon closer examination, Zulu’s tent was pitted with holes from the fire.

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The Mercantile’s roof looks like it was hit by a bomb.

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Fried foliage, cooked crane.

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The view to the west over the fence at Zulu’s.

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A lot of businesses have had to air out their buildings.

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One little pot of fake flowers was still standing behind Sundance as if in defiance of the fire.

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People of all ages gathered to talk this through and see the smoke. We all probably went home smelling like it too.

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Wells Fargo was damaged as well.

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The first evidence that something was amiss at First Lutheran.

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A closer view. But they’re coming back tomorrow.

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Being a Public Safety-Public Works hybrid, I remain amazed at how quickly my cohorts can mobilize and organize at times like these.

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Still working hard 38 hours after the place exploded. We literally have some of the best first responders on Planet Earth here.

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Good job. Often passed by without a second thought, we are reminded of how important our fire hydrants are at times like these. Some have stood as sentinels for decades.

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It’s just not something you see every day. Soon after, a couple of Bothell firefighters came walking up the street and we all gave them a hearty round of applause. I wish we could have done the same for the Public Works crews inside their sweepers and Vactors.

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It’s therapeutic to meet people and compare notes. You can tell who the engineers are.

Per my education I instinctively listen for those who seem to know too much about the particulars. We don’t know that this was arson, but some arsonists like to return to the scene to gloat over their work or brag about their knowledge. There are different motivations for arson and various types of arsonists, but a small subset experience a high similar to sex from setting fires. I considered those deviants, the thrill seeker type, the revenge seekers, the wannabe heroes, and the profiteering types after being here.

I realized later I was in behavioral profiling mode, noting who was where and how they were feeling. All seemed like concerned locals or business owners. No one stood out.

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Singed beauty.

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One man pointed out that besides the obvious damage to Wells Fargo, the ATM had bubbled.

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The remaining highest point of the Kozy Corner. Two women told me how they’d just moved their bridal store business out of the upstairs and some friends moved into that space.

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It was surreal to see only the O in the open sign left and hanging down in front of a dangling TV.

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More survivors.

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Returning to the antiques store, which did have to be aired out, there was no trace of smoke inside. It was strangely normal compared to the carnage just outside.

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The first booth I walked into had this Fire! Fire! book front and center. There’s some irony. The proprietor confirmed that the book was coincidentally in that spot before the fire started.

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Now this is appropriate. How firefighters protect people and property.

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These “open for business” banners were everywhere. Some businesses stayed open late because of the people roaming downtown to see the fire. I strongly suspect that Larry and Susie Ormbrek of Sign Up, Sign Co. are behind the speedy production and distribution of these banners.

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Bothell is a well-loved place with a lot of supporters. Mills Music, by the way, survived. The clothing store space, Banner Bank, and another building adjacent to the Kozy Corner are said to have water damage even though they look okay from the outside. A wall of the Kozy Corner is tilted towards the clothing store as well.

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It is truly amazing how much of Main Street was saved. Two or three blocks could have been lost had it not been for some epic teamwork. The damage is stunning as well, but it could have been exponentially worse. The fact that it was contained as well as it was is a testament to the training and caliber of our local fire departments.

Please patronize local businesses and keep an eye on the Bothell Chamber of Commerce website for fundraisers and ways to support the community. They have this posted already:

Day of Support for Bothell’s Kozy Corner Cafe and Zulu’s Board Game Café
Beardslee Public House and Wildwood Spirits Co. would like to announce
a Kozy Corner Café and Zulu’s Board Game Café Day of Support July 25 & 27. 

All profits from Beardslee Public House on Monday, July 25 and all profits from
Wildwood Spirits Co. on Wednesday, July 27 will be given to the owners of the
Kozy Corner Café and Zulu’s Board Game Café to help them rebuild. 

Twitter has continual updates and some jarring video.

There is a GoFundMe page for the Kozy Corner, whose staff is now unemployed.

Bothell has a long road back to normal but they’ll stay afloat. They always do, as a community and city, as this mural suggests. Whether all of the 20 or so businesses impacted by this fire do remains to be seen.

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Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. -Scott Adams

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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St. Edward 1

Just across a shining sea from the Emerald City, up a meandering path through an enchanted forest, sits a castle.

Ages ago, an order of religious men built this castle to train their priests. It had a divine purpose. There they lived and worked.

Decades passed, and almost half a century later, its original purpose waning, a large governing council purchased the fortress and its surrounding land to give to the people for their enjoyment.

But as is the case with many kingdoms whose rulers write more checks than their subjects can cash, funds to maintain the grand old building were sparse.

The castle fell into disrepair. The people flocked to its large lawn and acres of woods and the local wild animals were grateful for the safe haven as much of the rest of their world was being torn apart by development. But inside the great walls, the elements were seeping in to slowly break the building down.

Rescue attempts were formulated and discussed. Councilors and merchants tried their hand at daring plans to salvage the most iconic piece of architecture in the area. But the people could not agree on whether their money should be spent trying to save this landmark or if they should allow the merchants into the enchanted forest to ply their trade.

Here we are. And there she stands, unsteady but proud, water damaged but determined to survive, waiting patiently for a savior.

Ten years ago, I finally gained access to the building during an emergency exercise. As a medical team leader in an earthquake drill similar to the one occurring right now, Cascadia Rising, I was triaging “patients” as all the faults of the building started jumping out me. “Get those people away from the window,” I remember saying, because in a strong earthquake the vintage glass would rain down on the victims.

But there was more. The obvious water issues. The bits and pieces coming loose. The suspicious old pipes beside and above. Strange spots on the ceiling. Peeling paint and creepy radiators. A general state of disrepair despite the resident park rangers doing everything they could with what they had. Most of the building was and still is off limits. They don’t give tours. They say it’s for safety reasons. I like to believe they have a dragon living in the basement.

The castle of which I speak is the St. Edward Seminary in Kenmore, Washington. High on a hill above Lake Washington in the middle of a  300 plus-acre state park, it is one of the most historically significant buildings in the area. Kenmore doesn’t have a lot of notable historic buildings and in an era where quaint old homes with spacious yards are being razed to accommodate soulless oversized boxes, the park is a much-needed refuge.

Throughout the park are trails of varying degrees of difficulty. There are ball fields. There’s an amazing playground and a grotto where weddings are held. It has medieval-looking stone benches and a sort of combination pizza oven/sacred altar. When my cousin’s boyfriend proposed to her there, she started screaming in glee, and two men came running through the woods to rescue her.

Weddings are held there and in the seminary. The city holds summer concerts on the expansive lawn. Cultural and community groups gather for celebrations. Generations of families have played in the park. At night bats and birds, eagles and deer, raccoons and squirrels go to sleep amongst the trees after the humans have left.

Washington State Parks, the state agency the land and building belong to, has been up front that there are no public funds to save the seminary. In a series of public meetings, they’ve solicited community input as to whether private investors should be involved or the building mothballed or torn down. They’ve cited the millions of dollars it would take to restore and retrofit the building. A wall could be left up as a monument, they’ve said, but to remove this iconic piece of architecture would be to rip out the heart and soul of the park.

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Citizens have many passionate opinions on whether to save the St. Edward Seminary. A few show up at public meetings with their torches and pitchforks to disrupt, to criticize the government, to be heard, to pontificate. The ever-vigilant Kenmore police chief Cliff Sether has had to intervene at least once at community meetings. But most local residents respectfully voice their legitimate concerns about how a building of this size and age can be best handled in one of the last best wooded pieces of the sprawling Seattle suburbs.

It’s crystal clear that the building cannot be saved without private intervention. McMenamins tried. There was some sort of tech company that got involved. St. Edward’s next door neighbor Bastyr University had an interest for a time. Citizens have brainstormed ideas on how to raise enough money to save the building but keep it in the public’s hands. So far the only idea that sounds halfway logical belongs to Kevin Daniels.

Who’s Kevin Daniels? If you’ve heard of Starbucks Center, Merrill Place, Union Station, or the Frye Art Museum, you know Kevin Daniels. Kevin is a soft-spoken real estate guru who has a genuine passion for preserving historic buildings. A couple of his projects have been so ambitious that given the requirements and regulations involved you might look at him and say, “dude, you’re crazy.” But Daniels and his team have plans for St. Edward, and while it’s not the absolutely ideal use of the building, right now it’s the only practical way to save it.

Someone asked Daniels recently why he’d want to buy a shuttered Depression-era concrete building with quirks like internal gutters and he offered several solid answers. Most notably, he was married on the grounds. The seminary is exactly the kind of the project that he dives into and wrestles through until every detail is resolved to his (and the government’s) satisfaction. He has faced rampant rumors and open disrespect but remains willing to attend community meetings to address concerns from all sides.

Specifically, Daniels wants to turn the seminary building into a lodge-style hotel and restaurant. The restaurant would be accessible to the general public, and for us public utilities aficionados, yes, he plans to voluntarily install an appropriate grease interceptor to help protect the grounds. This would make the seminary the gathering place it was intended to be when Washington State Parks purchased it all in 1976. The hotel would have its own parking and there would be a cooperative effort to ensure that parks visitors stay in their allotted parking and vice versa.

Citizens have expressed concerns about the increase in visitors to the park and the possibility of drunk people stumbling around where their children play. There are traffic concerns. There will be environmental impacts. There are questions as to how many dump trucks full of debris will be headed down Juanita Drive through Kirkland since Kenmore’s bridges across the Sammamish Slough in the other direction need millions of dollars of help themselves. Kudos to Mayor Dave Baker for his work on the bridge upgrades, by the way. Trump can make a deal? Ha. Baker can.

Daniels assures people that all of this is being studied and they will have numbers to present to the public. The public has also been assured that events can still be held on the grand lawn, like concerts and the Skandia Midsommarfest. While it’s possible there could be a few drunk rowdy people, that’s what law enforcement is for, whether that winds up being the park rangers on the premises or the local police. Leasing out the seminary as a hotel is a leap of faith as far as a business venture, but it is going to allow the building to become a public gathering spot, and you bet park goers will stop for a drink or a bite. Daniels also plans to acquire the 10 acres at the northwest corner of the park that everyone trespasses on now. It will become park land, saving it from becoming more soulless boxes with no yards.

My family has Finn Hill roots– Finn Hill being the name of the 400-foot high half-Kirkland, half-Kenmore mini-mountain St. Edward sits on– and if someone randomly asked me what I thought about making the seminary building a hotel, I’d scoff. As a conservative highly protective of plants and animals, my knee jerk reaction might be, “that’s crazy.” Even after learning of Daniels’ plan, I had my reservations. A hotel in the middle of a state park? Would that just invite trash and bad behavior and elitist out of towners who freak out when they see the woodland creatures many of us are used to?

Then I learned Chris Moore approved of the Daniels Real Estate plan. He and his team have been handing out orange “Save Our Seminary” t-shirts, a great way to raise awareness. That was the tipping point for me. Moore, Executive Director of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, is the guy you must know if you care at all about historic buildings in our state.

Moore is the expert I email any time I hear of an issue with an old building because he inevitably is willing to talk to the owner or knows somebody who can facilitate a discussion about how to circle the wagons to save it. Somebody wants to tear down a theater in Everett? Somebody’s renovating the Kirkland Cannery? What’s going on with that historic house the developer might tear down? He has his finger on the pulse of the historic preservation in our region and really knows his business. So for him to have combed through the details of Daniels’ seminary plans and come out with a very public “yes” was exactly what I needed to know.

The government doesn’t have enough of our money to make this happen and has many other matters to attend to right now, namely making our crumbling public infrastructure a priority. My gut tells me the Daniels plan to turn Kenmore’s castle into a hotel and restaurant is its last chance. Is there any other money on the table? Is there another developer out there with this kind of vision? Is there someone else as tolerant and patient as Daniels willing to be put through the wringer for crimes he never committed?

A discussion of the seminary is not complete without addressing some of the feelings community members have about the Catholic church’s victimization of children. It has been discovered that a group of priests who came out of that seminary were responsible for child molestation. They were– and perhaps still are– shameless predators who need to be held fully accountable for the violation of innocents. A few people see the seminary as a monument to pedophilia and believe it should be torn down. Some believe a high degree of penance is in order.

But Washington State Parks is not responsible for that. The City of Kenmore is not responsible for that. Daniels Real Estate is not responsible for that. The St. Edward Seminary is being given a fresh start. It has an opportunity to be reborn. It is being reinvented and repurposed. This is a victory over whatever darkness came out of it before. This is also a prime opportunity for the Archdiocese of Seattle to specifically address what happened and detail what’s being done to bless the survivors. Windows long closed will open. Doors propped shut decades ago can be torn down. It’s time for walls, both literal and metaphorical, to be demolished so that the light can get back in.

Ultimately, this hasn’t been a seminary for a long time and any negative history should not stop revitalization attempts. It should instead encourage them. I understand why people feel so strongly about this, but if what was once used as a curse can be forged into a blessing, let’s seize that opportunity. With proper law enforcement and community cooperation, this building can become a happy place. Besides its recreational use, we never know, in an age of power grid hacking, possible EMPs, and lurking war, what purpose that building might serve in an emergency. I suspect it has a greater importance. In time we will know.

It’s taken 40 years for the right leadership and money to come along to morph this brick beauty into the people-friendly place State Parks intended it to be. While I don’t know if the local clergy would bless a place where alcohol is served, why not invite priests and pastors from local churches to bless the reborn building? This could be done during a grand opening celebration to which the whole community is invited. A grand opening celebration could also be an opportunity to raise funds for survivors or to collect goods or donations for local charities.

If this plan goes sideways, I would likely be among its first critics. I am fiercely protective of local wildlife and yes, staunch conservatives can also be tree huggers. As a coworker of mine pointed out, knowing how I feel about the local environment and how we’re driving the wild animals out, it says something that I can live with this plan. Increasingly locals are complaining about how many small furry mammals there are outside or how inconvenient trees are (they cause yard work). I wonder why they don’t go live in a flat lifeless desert if the Pacific Northwest’s natural environment causes them so much angst. The trees and animals were here first. Some of us Puget Sounders like it that way.

Again, I wish State Parks could make that building into an amazing conference center or something more public, but they can’t, so Daniels seems to have the next best solution. To save Kenmore’s castle, there has to be some give and take. No one’s going to get everything they want. Kevin Daniels has been very open and very fair, plus he’s already chalked up some major successes with similar projects. If you have questions, ask him. If you feel that city council members need to provide facts or figures, email them. If you know of a way to help, speak up. This process and all information must be transparent. With a project this controversial, there is no room for secrets. There can be no surprises.

Once upon a time, a derelict castle on a hill was given new life. The demons of the past were purged. The yellowed tapestries were replaced with new works of art. Its walls were braced, its roof reinforced, its deep places dried out. Leaders dreamed of tomorrow over their meals. Locals and guests strolled in and out, finding a new unity in a central gathering place. Conversations and ideas were born. Coalitions formed to ensure proper protection of the non-human residents on the grounds and that extended into cooperative efforts deeper in the community.

Can you see it?

With a little cooperation, diplomacy, and transparency, the castle can be given a new song.

The heart of the park can beat again.

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I call architecture frozen music. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Daniels Real Estate’s plans for the seminary can be found here.

Thank you to Daniels Real Estate, the Kenmore City Council, Washington State Parks, Friends of St. Edward’s, The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and various community groups for their work to find a mutually beneficial solution.

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Tonight the unmistakable crunch of backhoe on wood and metal led to taking these last intact photos of the house on the northeast corner of 10th and Market in Kirkland.

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This dated home, 4 10th Avenue, was built in 1955 according to King County records. Next door to some swanky newer buildings, it’s sat empty for a while and seemed to be an unkempt rental house before that. I’d often thought about how cute it would be with a little care. Every year blackberries explode near the curb and hang over the sidewalk.

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Once upon a time, a World War II veteran and his industrious wife raised three children here or so I would like to believe. You could imagine the laughter within the walls and the stories the previous occupants could tell. Now it looks like three days after an EMP attack when neighbor begins to turn on neighbor in a quest to survive.

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The backhoe stopped for a moment to allow a direct glimpse into the carnage. While the condition of the property has long been out of character in what’s become an expensive, attractive neighborhood, it’s still depressing to see it go. Most of the older homes around here are being torn down and even some historic homes nearby are in danger of being lost forever.

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The older homes like this that are being lost are often replaced with much larger multistory boxlike structures that don’t have the character of the originals. This demolition is also a reminder of the loss of affordable housing in the region.

To many leaders, affordable housing is packing human beings like sardines into apartment buildings with little noise protection or privacy. Not terribly long ago, affordable housing was actually being able to buy a quaint little house with a yard for your kids and large dog to play in. Now the middle class struggles to even achieve that as they are tapped to subsidize others’ housing.

Average rent in Seattle for a one bedroom unit is over $1600 now. The median home price is over $550,000. That’s more than half a million. It’ll burst at some point, and then we’ll be asking why we built monstrosities with 2000 more square feet than we actually needed. On treeless lots, unnecessarily destroying wildlife habitat, while we claim to be so environmentally sensitive.

And quirky little ’50s homes with trees and bushes and a little garden in the back will start looking mighty appealing again. If there are any left.

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There is something permanent, and something extremely profound, in owning a home. -Kenny Guinn

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

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Kenmore Mural 5-12-16 1

Today I chanced upon a mural going up on the west side of the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Kenmore, Washington. According to the Arts of Kenmore site:

The Kenmore Mural Project at St. Vincent de Paul is a community collaboration involving artists A Gaul Culley, Staci Adman, the City of Kenmore, St. Vincent de Paul, The Kenmore Heritage Society, as well as many local community partners.

The St. Vincent de Paul wall is 188 feet long by 12 feet tall and located near the intersection of 73rd Ave NE and Bothell Way.  This heavily traveled arterial gives the mural clear visibility from both vehicles and pedestrians.

The City of Kenmore and St. Vincent de Paul launched this project idea in the spring of 2015 and began working with the artists in the summer of the same year.

The Kenmore Mural project at St. Vincent de Paul celebrates and tells the story of the cultural history of Kenmore.  Our hope is that the mural will deepen the community’s sense of place.  We also hope it will contribute to Kenmore’s 20-year vision of “a community that is inclusive and family friendly, with a small town feeling that fosters a sense of belonging and pride and supports local arts, culture and history.”

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For those who don’t know, Kenmore has a seaplane port, Kenmore Air, borders one of the coolest state parks ever, St. Edward, and a history tied to local hydroplane racing.

Hopefully this wall will somehow be graffiti-proofed. As a longtime public employee I can attest to how often various assets are vandalized. They can be expensive to clean. The funny part is, no one cares about a self-important tag; its meaning is lost on the general public.

But the meaning of this mural is not. It seems to be part of a larger movement to fully develop Kenmore’s identity. What a fantastic idea!

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Midday today I ran by the Totem Lake Mall in Kirkland, Washington to see what had been torn down. See my post below for more information on why this 1973, long-neglected piece of property is experiencing such radical change.

When I pulled in, a large number of cars were parked in the southwest corner of the lot. I couldn’t figure out why when big machines were actively pulling down parts of the building. I looked inside– and 24 Hour Fitness was still open! It was surreal to see people running on treadmills and lifting weights as part of the building they were in was being actively demolished. It was well-planned and perfectly safe, but somewhat apocalyptic.

Peeking in the main entrance of the lower mall hoping for a last glimpse of its innards, I was shocked to see the upper mall. The middle back section of the lower mall had already been removed. Get used to this view, folks, because the new mall is going to feature a central gathering place like this in the middle of the lower mall. Can’t wait for our first flash mob.

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Here’s the view around the back.

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As I was standing here I could see the original wood structure and the pungent smell of that wood hung in the air.

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Soon this corridor will be gone too, replaced by a large mixed residential-commercial complex. This is the upper mall. Trader Joe’s will get a brand new space, but unfortunately, Janell’s Gluten-Free Market will be moving to Woodinville.

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Also, check out this cool Facebook page local historian Matt McCauley shared, You know you are from Kirkland if…. This provides a clever way for those associated with the area to share their thoughts on the big changes in the community right now.

The changes at the Totem Lake Mall, even though they’re positive, have awoken a lot of nostalgic feelings. So I’m throwing in Twenty One Pilots’ Stressed Out as an ode to our childhoods. For the record, I know the best is yet to come even if sometimes we pine for the days of He-Man, Apollo Creed, and big personalized plastic combs in our back pockets.

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com

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