Duwamish Tribe opposes 520 expansion through ancestral homelands

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The March Montlake Flyer features a letter from Cecile A. Hansen, Chairperson of the Duwamish Tribal Council, and great, great grandniece of Chief Seattle.

As the indigenous people of this area, we, like the 520 Coalition group, are the minority. The Duwamish were banned from their indigenous lands and waters, essentially the City of Seattle, over 150 years ago and most (if not all) the city is built on top of our ancestral homelands and our longhouses which were burned. Today, we have recently learned (from an anonymous SDOT worker) that our artifacts are still being discarded and thrown away like trash. So today, we feel if there is any natural beauty left to this land then just let it be and stop invading the homes of your own ancestors in the name of progress. We feel enough is enough already!

The Duwamish Tribe appreciates the bounty of the (swatifted) world’s South Portage Bay area; it is rich with natural resources like plant, animal, and water fowl. It’s been a long time since it was so and so we wish to acknowledge and support the Montlake Community Club and The Coalition for a Sustainable SR-520 group in their efforts to protect the same such bounty. We declare that Seattle’s own South Portage Bay area can be counted as one of the cities few remaining gems.

We hereby declare in formal written statement that the Duwamish Tribal Council acknowledges and supports the Mountlake Community Club and The Coalition for a Sustainable SR-520 group for their efforts, on behalf of all of us, to protect this precious land.

Poll: What Should Dog Walkers Do With Their Bags of Dog Poop? *UPDATE*

Image: Montlaker

UPDATE February 27, 2013: A shitstorm of 30 emails arrived today through the Montlake Forum, after this seemingly innocent comment:

Imagine my surprise when I opened my garbage can and discovered a bag of  pooch poop. I was surprised because, I don’t have a dog! I have no idea about the rules regarding  disposal of such waste. The bag wasn’t even tied. Please take your pooch poop with you and disposal of it in your receptacle.
Worse than poop bags in your trash can? Bags of poop in your inbox. Polls are still open folks…
Original Post: May 4, 2012

A neighborhood survey was recently conducted to better understand and prioritize the many issues that affect us here in Montlakeshire. However, one burning issue was missing from the survey despite having set the Montlake Forum ablaze with controversy earlier this year: what should dog walkers do with their bags of poop?

Now that we’re all friends again, it’s time to settle the Great Forum Shitstorm of 2012 with a legally binding poll:

Sound Transit thanks neighbors for patience with ‘Cross Passage 17′

Image: Sound Transit Flickr steam

Image: Sound Transit Flickr steam

Sound Transit put a ‘Thank You, Montlake’ note in its latest U-Link newsletter, acknowledging the patience neighbors showed in dealing with the Cross Passage 17 dewatering mess. Last June, 20th Ave E adjacent to Montlake Elementary was hastily closed to make way for drilling equipment to “dewater” the soil around the twin light rail tunnels below. After six months of tanker trucks, generators, pumps and pipes — peace has returned to the shire. From Sound Transit:

Thanks to the Montlake community for its patience during the construction of Cross Passage 17, which has been underway 100 feet below the surface since July, 2012.

Montlake neighbors, families and the Montlake Elementary School staff have endured the presence of large equipment, traffic and parking revisions, well drilling and other surface work for longer than anticipated.

What is Cross Passage 17?
Cross Passage 17 is one of 21 horizontal tunnels, 18-24 feet long and about 10 feet in diameter, that connect the two University Link tunnels running between downtown Seattle and Husky Stadium. Cross passages provide emergency access as well as entry and exit between tunnels for routine maintenance.

Building Cross Passage 17 became very challenging when the contractor encountered more water than originally anticipated. To stabilize the area for mining, it was necessary to remove water from the ground surrounding the tunnel to give crews a safe working environment. For more than six months, generator-powered pumps removed water from soils around the tunnels. Today, Cross Passage 17 is nearly complete and work has turned to finishing the U-Link tunnels, including installing concrete duct banks, walkways, light rail tracks, power and signaling supply lines, tunnel lighting and communications systems.

On the surface, crews recently removed equipment and restored streets. Landscaping will be completed soon in order to return the location at 20th and McGraw to its original condition.

In hindsight, neighbors — and school staff and students — were patient because they are generally supportive, excited even, about light rail coming to the ‘hood. Yet, the street closure further complicated the zoned parking restrictions around the school, causing more than a few grumbles about a bad situation made even worse. Relief may be on the way for teacher parking soon enough… and Montlakers will be able to walk to light rail come 2016.

Now that cross passage work is complete, Sound Transit contractors will start work on the track bed, including installation of those train-noise-shushing high compliance fasteners.

Previous “dewatering” posts:

 

Union Bay Watch: Elvis and The Red-Headed Relative

This week Elvis has been seen three times working in the park near the mouth of Arboretum Creek. Usually he is working away towards the top of one of the standing alders.ImageHowever on Monday he spent enough time working on this fallen log to allow a short video.

Near by a smaller relative with similar markings has been working as well.ImageThis bird is either a Downy or a Hairy Woodpecker. Do you know how to tell the difference?

Learn the difference and see the Elvis video on Union Bay Watch.

Montlake Bicycle Shop: Dems’ proposed bike tax based on false premise, hurts local businesses

By Neil Wechsler, owner of Montlake Bicycle Shop

A part of a 9.8 billion dollar transportation plan put forth by Democratic Washington State legislators is to create a new $25 tax on bicycles priced $500 and over.  As the owner of the Montlake Bicycle Shop, I am very concerned.

My main points of objection are:

1.      That it is based on the false premise that the roads, highways and bridges are paid for primarily by gas and motor vehicle taxes.  My research has found that the majority of the cost is borne by the general fund that all taxpayers contribute to.  Bicyclists are already paying for the roads, even the few people that never buy a gallon of gasoline.  If we drove cars instead of riding bikes it would cost taxpayers more, not less.

2.      This sounds preposterous but I spoke to a legislative aide who confirmed that it is true: If this passes the tax would be due only on sales from local bicycle stores.  People buying bicycles from out of state who are already not paying our 9.5% sales tax would not have to pay this tax either.  On a $500 bike this would amount to a total of about 14.5% in taxes that we would have to charge.

3.      When you raise the price of a product sales are certain to go down. Some people will find an untaxed out of state source, some will buy a lower quality bicycle, and a few may not buy a bike at all.  That will end up meaning less employment in bike shops in our state.  In the last campaign it seemed like every candidate was running on a pro-jobs platform, yet some of them are now suggesting we create a new burden on local small employers is being proposed for invalid “symbolic reasons.”

4.      That the tax, which is projected to bring in only $100,000 in revenue per year may well cost the state more than that amount.  Creating, collecting, and enforcing another tax is expensive.  If you include that some sales would be driven out of state the lost sales tax revenue would pretty much assure that the fee would end up costing the state money.

Please consider resisting this proposal by writing or calling our legislators, Frank Chopp and Jamie Pedersen.

Further reading:

Arboretum creating digital map of plant collection

Image: UWBG

The folks at UW Botanic Gardens are at work on a digital map of the Arboretum’s plant collection that will allow visitors to look up species info on smartphones as they wander through the park. The project includes digitizing heaps of paper records and linking the data to a GIS map of the grounds. UW News reports:

“People will be able to find an area in the arboretum, then zoom down and see which plants are there,” says Tracy Mehlin, project manager and information technology librarian at the UW’s Center for Urban Horticulture. “It will be really fascinating and educational to have all of that history linked to the plant records, and accessible online to everyone.”

One of the first tasks of the project was to begin surveying and verifying the geospatial coordinates of the 230-acre park, which decades ago was divided into 595 grid squares, each 100 feet by 100 feet. When those grid markers and coordinates are confirmed, they will be used to create a map that supports the geo-referenced database. Two- and three-person teams of students and staff have already been out surveying for the past couple months. …

Others involved are helping with various projects, including digitizing the existing maps, as well as handwritten notes and histories attached to each of the park’s 10,000 “accessions,” plants that are part of the formal collection.  The UW Botanic Gardens owns and manages the collection in the arboretum which is a City of Seattle park.

When completed, the searchable database will be a boon for environmental research, park management and visitors, Reichard said.

“The idea is that eventually you’d be able to get the coordinates of a particular collection, like our magnolias, and locate them on your cell phone or GPS unit,” she said. “We can start putting together virtual tours, and visitors can go from plant to plant.”

25th Northwest Garden Show goes Hollywood — Opening Night Party to benefit the Arboretum Foundation

Image: Arboretum Foundation

The annual Arboretum Foundation Opening Night Party will kick off the Northwest Flower and Garden Show this Tuesday, February 19th. The theme for the show’s 25th anniversary this year is the Hollywood ‘silver screen’ — coming just days before the Oscars. Food, music, sneak previews, auctions and garden celebrities included. More info here, buy tickets here.

Tuesday, February 19 — 5:00 to 9:30pm — Washington State Convention Center

Union Bay Watch: The First Sign of Spring

These beautiful young owlets may very well be some of the first Washington birds hatched in 2013.

Image: unionbaywatch.com

Image: unionbaywatch.com

While this photo is not from our neighborhood there is a good chance that young Great Horned Owlets may be residing in the Arboretum. You may want to keep your eyes peeled if you go for a walk in the Arboretum around dusk. GHOs are primarily night time hunters and daytime tree potatoes. Learn more about what the young ones look like and how they behave at UBW. Owlets from the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge.

Wired: Tech gadgets on new 520 Bridge include water sensors, ‘red phone’ alerts, Vegas lights

Image: WSDOT

Image: WSDOT

Wired.com has posted a review of the high-tech gadgetry on the new 520 floating bridge, shedding light on how crews will monitor safety systems, respond to emergencies and keep people moving across the lake. A maintenance facility at the east end will serve as central command, staffed with 8-10 engineers available at all hours of the day.

Features of the new bridge include:

  • Fire hydrants supplied with water pumped from the lake
  • Roadway sensors alerting crews of sandy or icy conditions
  • A high-efficiency street sweeper to collect debris before entering the storm water system
  • A mid-bridge weather station to track wind storms
  • Concrete cooling tubes embedded in the pontoons to reduce heat and control cracking (oops!), and electrified rebar to reduce corrosion
  • Moisture sensors in each pontoon cell to alert crews of rising water (3″ triggers an alert)
  • Security systems, backup power, computer servers and a ‘red phone‘ that will alert crews with news of trouble
  • Improved lighting” — including LEDs that will illuminate the sentinel towers at each bridge end with a multi-colored display of Las Vegas style lights.
Image: WSDOT

Image: WSDOT

Construction on the new floating bridge and West Approach Bridge North is expected to wrap up in 2016, providing 6-lanes across Lake Washington including 2 lanes for HOV.