Parks Board To Review Downtown Parks Recommendations

The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners will hold its next meeting at 7:00 pm, Thursday, March 10, in the Park Board Room at 100 Dexter Ave. N at the corner of Dexter and Denny.  The meeting was originally scheduled for Thursday, February 24 but was postponed due to expected freezing road conditions after sundown on Thursday.

The meeting agenda includes:

Parks staff will present the 10th Annual John C. Little Award, established to honor the Parks employee who best exemplifies this former Park Commissioner’s dedication to youth and youth programs. Little was a diligent advocate for Seattle’s youth; he worked for the Seattle Water Department and spent his free time doing community work. He worked to create the Central Area Youth Association in the 1960s; in the 1970s he helped devise a youth conservation corps program which trained youth and took them to work in Olympic National Park. Little said he had never seen a program that so profoundly affected the lives of its participants; it has led to more outdoors and wilderness programming for young people. Little later became director of the Mt. Baker Service Bureau, which pioneered demanding, realistic job training programs for inner-city youngsters. His final career was as head of the Seattle 4-H program.

  • Discussion and recommendation on proposed Supplemental Use Guidelines for downtown parks.

The Board will discuss and make a recommendation to the Superintendent on proposed new Supplemental Use Guidelines for downtown parks. The guidelines will provide direction on the activities that will provide a mix of active and passive use for the workers, residents, and visitors who use the parks. The policy covers City Hall Park, Freeway Park, Hing Hay Park, Occidental Square, Piers 62/63, Victor Steinbrueck Park, Waterfront Park, and Westlake Park.

It encourages park uses consistent with Parks’ new direction for downtown parks, based on the work of the Center City Task Force: Parks is working to provide for more positive activities and entertainment in these parks to make them feel safer and more inviting. The policy would supersede old supplemental use guidelines for Market (Steinbrueck) Park, Freeway Park, Occidental Park, and Waterfront Park.

The Board heard a staff briefing on these proposed Supplemental Use Guidelines for DowntownParks at its January 27 meeting and held a public hearing at its February 10 meeting. The Supplemental Use Guidelines briefing paper is available online at

The Board of Park Commissioners is a seven-member citizen board created by the City Charter. Three members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council; three members are appointed by the City Council; and one member is appointed by the Park Board. The Board meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month to advise the Parks and Recreation Superintendent, the Mayor, and the City Council on parks and recreation matters. For more information, please contact Sandy Brooks at 206-684-5066 or

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Workshop To Teach Basics of Greenhouse Gas Accounting

Sustainable Seattle is hosting a one-day workshop on The Carbon Landscape and the basics of Green House Gas Accounting on March 9, from  9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  The workshop will take place at The Good Shepherd Center, room 202, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.  The closest bus stops are the 16, 26 & 44.

Please bring a calculator and/or laptop.  Coffee, tea and light snacks will be provided, but you will be on your own for lunch.

Course Description

This one day workshop discusses the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) landscape and how to create a GHG inventory. We will answer those burning questions; What are GHGs and why does this affect me? What are global warming potentials and is Laughing gas really a serious GHG? What is the current regulatory framework (Federal and Washington State)? What is the voluntary market? Who has to report, where to report, and what to report? Cap and Trade or Carbon Tax, and what is the WCI? What is a GHG inventory and how to develop it? What are Scopes and how this avoids double counting? What does Carbon Neutrality really mean? What are Offsets, how they work and are they valid? What International Standards are applicable to GHGs? Verification and Validation is 3rd party assurance, but why add this expense to yearly reporting and is it required? What’s an organizational boundary and geographic boundary when we’re talking about GHGs? What are typical GHG sources?

Along with an understanding of the current GHG landscape, this workshop will also give you the experience of actually calculating GHG emissions, providing tools to start to develop your organization’s GHG emissions report. Through case studies, participants will understand the extent of GHG emissions in different scenarios and types of facilities and carbon sequestration projects.

The instructor is Gary Lichtenstein, the Principal of Lightstone Consulting, LLC, a company dedicated to helping organizations save money, be better stewards of the environment, be stronger competitors in the marketplace, earn increased respect from their customers, and broaden their customer base through environmental management.  Gary is a founding member of Sustainable West Seattle.

Registration is $150, government, nonprofit and tribal employees registration is $100, and students and unemployed individuals will pay $50.  Some financial assistance and volunteer exchange opportunities available – please contact us if the price is a barrier to attendance.

Register online here.

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Tool Library Tool of the Week: Handscrew Clamps

By Patrick Dunn

For the workshop dreamers among us, it’s always a tough reality to face. You decide that it’s finally time to get all the tools you need to truly supply your new home workshop. Visions of routers, table saws, bandsaws, and jointers all dance in your head. Norm Abrams and Bob Villa start popping up in your dreams. You even start to design a workflow plan for your garage that’ll allow you to glide from one gloriously shiny new tool to the other, as if choreographing a woodworker’s waltz. This all continues until the day you have that horrible realization. If you’re actually going to have a workshop, before you get any that fancy stuff, one of the first things you’re going to need is probably just a lot of plain old, boring clamps.

Luckily, there’s a huge selection to choose from and plenty of great opportunities to spend your whole budget on clamps alone. When the objective of the tool is simply to hold a couple things in place or apply some pressure, the designs inevitably become vast and varied. Nonetheless, some clamps are definitely cooler than others and the handscrew clamp probably qualifies as one of the more interesting clamps in The Tool Library’s collection.

Though it may look all antique and specialized, it basically does the same job as most other clamps. The real advantage of the handscrew, though, is that the pressure it exerts can be spread out over the surface of the jaws, from the spindles to the tips. Most clamps, such as C and G clamps, usually just apply a single point of pressure and need to be teamed up with some sort of support in over to be effective at securing a larger surface.

The great thing about the handscrew clamp is that it can also apply this pinpoint pressure as well. With a little adjustment of the screws, it can actually reach over and around a surface that doesn’t need to be clamped and still grab one that does. It’s a beautiful tool, by any definition.
Handscrew clamps are just a small part of over 1,000 tools currently available at the West Seattle Tool Library, which is free to use and run primarily on user donations.

If you or someone you know you would like to be involved in The Tool Library, feel free to drop in on Saturdays from 9am-2pm or Sundays from 1-5pm to explore the Library, meet our community of DIYers, and maybe sign up for a membership. In any case, we would look forward to meeting you!

The Tool Library is located in the LHO Complex off the North Entrance to South Seattle Community College, 6000 16th Ave SW.

Follow us on:
Twitter: @WSToolLibrary
and Meetup:

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Public Meeting Set on New Seattle Shoreline Rules

Join the City of Seattle for a discussion about what the new rules mean for you.

Will the new shoreline rules affect you? They could if you’re a waterfront homeowner or business owner, live on a boat, or play along Seattle’s shorelines. The Seattle Department of Planning and Development is hosting a public meeting to discuss the changes and answer your questions.

The meeting is Tuesday, March 8, from 5:30 pm to  7:30 pm in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at Seattle City Hall.  The presentation starts at 6:00 pm.

The proposed new regulations will cause these changes which might affect folks:

  • Increasing shoreline setbacks for new residential development
  • Changing requirements for new and replaced bulkheads, unless water threatens to undermine buildings
  • Clarifying the use of shorelines to support businesses
  • Improving public access to shorelines
  • Prohibiting additional, new floating homes
  • Continuing current regulations that maintain existing floating homes
  • Regulating the number of liveaboards at marinas

Detailed information about proposed regulation changes is available at: The draft regulations, director’s report, and supporting material are posted at:

Public comments on the proposed Shoreline Master Program update, which regulates Seattle’s shorelines, are accepted through May 16, 2011. Please send your written comments to Margaret Glowacki at Written comments may also be submitted at the public meeting.

NW Film Forum To Premier Bee Colony Collapse Film

Collective Eye, a community of filmmakers who explore social, political and environmental issues is hosting a new film by award-winning documentarian Taggart Siegel on bees, “Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?”

The Seattle Theatrical Premiere will be at the Northwest Film Forum, starting March 4th with simultaneous releases in Bellingham and Olympia. Director and Producer Taggart Siegel will be in attendance March 4th for a Q & A.

Queen of the Sun is a profound, alternative look at the global honeybee crisis from Taggart Siegel, award-winning director of The Real Dirt on Farmer John. calls Queen of the Sun, “stunning… as soulful as it is scientific, as uplifting as it is alarming.”

The showings are sponsored by KBCS 91.3 FM and are:

  • Friday, March 4 at 07:15 pm
  • Friday, March 4 at 09:15 pm
  • Saturday, March 5 at 07:15 pm
  • Saturday, March 05 at 09:15 pm
  • Sunday, March 06 at 07:15 pm
  • Sunday, Mar 6 at 09:15 pm
  • Monday, Mar 7 at 07:15 pm
  • Monday, Mar 7 at 09:15 pm
  • Tuesday, Mar 8 at 07:15 pm
  • Tuesday, Mar 8 at 09:15 pm
  • Wednesday, March 9 at 07:15 pm
  • Wednesday, March 9 at 09:15 pm
  • Thursday, March 10 at 07:15 pm
  • Thursday, March 10 at 09:15 pm

When documentary filmmaker Taggart Siegel released his debut feature The Real Dirt on Farmer John, he knew he was onto something special. A new wave of local environmental concern since that film’s release has become nearly commonplace in Seattle. Queen Of the Sun, like Farmer John, provides a profound, alternative examination of the tragic global bee crisis, known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Featuring Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk, and Vandana Shiva, Queen of the Sun reveals both the problems and the solutions in reforming a culture to be in balance with nature.

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City Fruit Offers Mason Bee Pollinating Class Again

City Fruit is offering another class on using “Mason Bees for Pollination,”  March 3, from 7:00 to  9:00 pm at Jackson Place Cohousing, 800 Hiawatha Pl. S, Seattle WA

Native, non-aggressive mason bees can dramatically increase fruit yields while improving the entire city ecosystem. In this class you’ll learn how to be successful in raising mason bees and will receive hands-on experience with harvesting mason bees. Instructor Dave Hunter has been working with mason bees for nearly 20 years and helping gardeners become more aware of pollination requirements. He recently launched

All regular City Fruit classes cost $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Register online at Brown Paper Tickets.

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Seattle To Preserve “Salmon in Schools” Education

The Salmon in Schools program, cut by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife last fall as part of the State’s 2010-2011 fiscal year budget reductions, will likely continue in Seattle schools.

Upon learning that Fish & Wildlife may no longer fund the statewide program, Seattle Council President Richard Conlin requested that Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) find a way to support the program for Seattle school children. SPU is offering additional support for the program at a cost of $10,000 per year through the Restore Our Waters program.

“Environmental stewardship starts young,” said Council President Richard Conlin. “Kids learn best by seeing and interacting with nature and wildlife. The Salmon in Schools program is a successful example of hands-on education. I had to do something to preserve this valuable resource, and I hope that other municipalities and organizations around the state will do the same.”

The Salmon in Schools program, established in 1991, is an educational project that encourages respect for our aquatic resources and promotes responsible behavior toward the environment. Large tanks and salmon eggs are provided to both public and private schools and students learn about the salmon lifecycle and the interrelationships between water quality and habitat issues by watching the salmon hatch and grow into fry. Eggs are provided by state and tribal hatcheries. The salmon are released into local streams after about 12 weeks. Statewide, an average of 495 schools participated each year, reaching 40,000 students. Approximately 50 of those schools are in Seattle.

In addition to supplying the eggs and providing and maintaining the tanks, Fish & Wildlife funding has supported administering the permits necessary to release the salmon into the streams. All schools raising salmon require permits and staffing the administration of these permits will need to be resolved for the program to continue.

Fish & Wildlife is exploring ways to continue the program with private or non-profit funding if the cuts become permanent, and in the meantime SPU has offered to assume the cost of maintaining the tanks used in Seattle schools. SPU will also continue partnering with local watershed groups, Seattle school district staff, and teachers to implement and maintain the educational component of the program.

“This program is an engaging way for youth to garner an understanding of the important connections between salmon and healthy waters,” said Ray Hoffman, Director of Seattle Public Utilities. For this year, salmon eggs have already been delivered to schools across the City and kids and grown-ups alike are excited to watch them hatch, grow and swim away down one of Seattle’s streams.

Energy Blog: Wind Power Needs Transmission Line Help

By Andy Silber

The Poorest County in the Country is in the middle of the Saudi Arabia of Wind

The latest rankings show that the poorest county in the Country is Ziebach County, South Dakota. Two Indian Reservations make up this very rural county with a population density of 1.3 people per square mile (as compared to  816 people per square mile for King County). This is a place where more than 60% of the people live at or below the poverty line (a family of four making less than $22,000 a year).

Dealing with generations of poverty is difficult.  It’s hard to imagine what the people of Ziebach County could do to bring prosperity to this windy spot in the middle of nowhere. Wait, did you say windy? There’s power in the wind. There’s money in the wind. There are jobs in the wind. Maybe the Reservation could raise capital and build a windfarm.

Looking at the wind resource map for South Dakota shows that Ziebach County is in the middle of some of the best wind resources in the world. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that South Dakota alone could be home to over 800,000 MegaWatts (MWs) of wind turbines. This could replace about 300 plants the size of Washington’s only coal-fired power plant in Centralia. By comparison, Washington State’s wind potential is less than 10,000 MWs.

South Dakota could support 800,000 MW, but only has 412 MW of installed capacity. By comparison Washington, which has relatively meager wind potential, has 1964 MW of installed wind turbines. The difference is access to markets. Washington’s wind farms are located near existing long distance transmission power lines that can transmit the power generated to Seattle or elsewhere. The windfarm developers didn’t need to build the transmission capacity, they just connected to what was already there. In South Dakota there just isn’t much in the way of transmission lines to connect to. Without the transmission, that wind power is stranded. Looking again at the map of the grid, we see that North Dakota has significant connections to the Minneapolis area and 1222 MW of installed wind power, despite having slightly less potential than its neighbor to the south. It’s clear that the most important element leading to the development of wind power is not wind, but transmission.

In the 1950’s we started to build the interstate highway system, which changed the landscape of this country, allowing goods and commerce to flow more easily. We had state highways that served local needs, but if you wanted to drive from sea to shining sea you needed to cobble together a route from a series of highways.

The federal system eased the trip. Today we need to build a similar system for the flow of renewable energy. The current electrical grid was built to move power short distances, not move wind power from Ziebach County to Chicago, Detroit or Miami. Building such a system would allow us to decommission our fleet of coal-fired power plants, while bringing prosperity to places like Ziebach County.

Hands-on Low Impact Development Workshop Scheduled

Sustainable Seattle and EOS Alliance are partnering to provide a hands-on low impact development workshop.

The rain running off our roofs, roads and yards is the biggest source of pollution entering Puget Sound’s water. We all contribute to this pollution, and we can all help solve this problem by applying Low Impact Development techniques that slow the runoff down and treat the water. To help you learn about and apply LID on your own property, Sustainable Seattle, in partnership with EOS Alliance, is offering a workshop that combines a class about the benefits and types of LID with a hands-on experience building a rain garden or bioswale so you can exactly what is involved.

Saturday, February 26th will be the theory and background day. We will cover what sustainable design is, what it means to you and its context in the neighborhood, city, region, nation and planet, and its nexus with Low Impact Development, before going into more detail about site assessment and design.

Sunday, February 27th will be the hands-on day. Participants will have a chance to enter their own property into a drawing, the winner of which will be the work site for the rest of the day. We will visit the winning site to do an initial survey, design what to build there to improve its stormwater handling, and spend the rest of the day building what we have designed.

Thank you to EOS Alliance for partnering with us on this workshop.

To read more and register online, visit

The schedule for the two days is below:

Saturday February 26

  • 10:30 am – noon: The first session will cover what sustainable design is, what it means to you and its context in the neighborhood, city, region, nation and planet, and its nexus with Low Impact Development.
  • 12 – 1:00 pm: Lunch and socialising. Bring a sack lunch and we’ll eat together.
  • 1:00 – 5:00 pm: Detailed discussion of Low Impact Design. Topics covered will include:
    • Site assessment
    • Soil analysis
    • Site hydrology
    • Site mapping & analysis
    • Site planning & layout
    • Site design

Sunday February 27

  • 9:00 am – noon: Optional site assessment field trip. We will have a drawing to pick a students house for the installation of a rain garden or other LID design solution. It is understood from the class syllabus that all those participating in the drawing will need to share in the cost and labor of building a rain garden. Participation in this is voluntary and is not part of the basic course syllabus. We will then arrange a field trip to that location for in field practice of site analysis and site planning based on the analysis principles learned.
  • 12 – 1:00 pm: Lunch indoors.
  • 1:00 – 5:00 pm: Construction. We will retrofit a class member’s house with a rain garden and/or bioswale. This is a hands-on physical exercise.


Vance Building, room 530

1402 Third Avenue

Seattle, WA 98101

Closest transit station: University Street.

What to bring

Please dress comfortably, and bring paper, something to write with and a sack lunch for each day. Most of Sunday will be spent outdoors, so please bring rain gear, boots and work gloves if you have them.  We will provide tea, coffee and light snacks.