Ask An Expert Returns to Tool Library January 22

The West Seattle Tool Library is pleased once again to host “Ask an Expert: For the Do-It-Yourselfer.”  The next session will be Saturday, January 22 , from 10:00am till noon.

The West Seattle Tool Library is presently located in the Horticulture Classroom at the north end of South Seattle Community College, on 16th Avenue SW at the north entrance to the college.

West Seattle businesses and Tool Library staff offer up answers to all questions big and small in order to help you along in any and all of your projects.

Experts include:

For more information or to make an appointment contact Micah Summers at

SWS Stormwater Group To Meet Jan. 26 @ Uptown

The next Sustainable West Seattle stormwater meeting will be held Wednesday, January 26th, 7:30 to 9:00 pm at the Uptown Espresso at the corner of SW Edmunds St. and California Avenue SW, one block south of Alaska Junction.

This meeting is the  RESCHEDULED from the previously-scheduled  Jan. 19 date discussed at the last meeting and is due to conflicts with other SWS meetings.

New Matching Fund Cycle Starts January 18

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods announces the 2011 program for the nationally recognized Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF).   Updated application forms, program guidelines, and application deadlines are available for its three funding programs – Large Projects Fund, Small and Simple Fund, and Small Sparks Fund.

There have been several changes and impacts to the Neighborhood Matching Fund for 2011. To provide more opportunities for smaller projects, the Small and Simple Fund now has three application rounds in 2011. The deadline for the first round is January 18. The Tree Fund will no longer reside in Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, however, funding was transfered to Seattle Public Utilities for citywide coordination of all tree giving programs in 2011.

For NMF projects that occur on Seattle Parks and Recreation as well as Seattle Department of Transportation property, projects will continue to require departmental approval and coordination based on established criteria. Overall, the criteria continues to support neighborhood-initiated projects that provide a public benefit and are consistent with the goals of each department. The criteria also continues to limit large scale projects such as neighborhood-wide planning efforts or master plan development for large parks. Lastly, Parks and Rec and SDOT may have limitiations related to staffing cuts and reassignments. For more detailed information on each department’s project criteria, visit

The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) program was created in 1988. All projects are initiated, planned and implemented by community members in partnership with Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Every award is matched by neighborhoods’ or communities’ resources of volunteer labor and donated materials, professional services, or cash. Since the program was created 22 years ago, the Neighborhood Matching Fund has awarded nearly $47 million with a community match of more than $68 million. Projects have involved more than 85,000 volunteers who have donated more than 566,000 work hours.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods provides programs and service that engage residents in civic participation, foster stronger communities, make government more accessible, and preserve and enhance the character of Seattle’s neighborhoods.

Duwamish Superfund Comment Period Extended

Aerial View of Duwamish River

The deadline for comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cleanup plan for the Duwamish River Superfund Site has been extended to Friday, January 14. Click here to learn more & comment on the Duwamish River Superfund cleanup.

The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group (DRCC/TAG), the EPA, and other local governments hosted two very successful public meetings for the Superfund Feasibility Study (Cleanup Alternatives) on December 7th and 9th

DRCC and EPA worked with Concord International School for the December 7th meeting, and provided information in Spanish and English, with hands-on, small-group activities using Legos to illustrate the different cleanup choices.

December 9th was a more “traditional” public meeting, but also included a powerful video produced by local youth from the International District Housing Alliance’s Project WILD about their experiences interviewing Duwamish River fishermen. View their video here.

After hearing from the community representatives at workshops, through surveys, online, and in person, DRCC/TAG is proposing an additional cleanup alternative: #7

  • Cleanup Alternative #7 would clean up more of the river – it would aim to reduce chemical concentrations to “natural background” and provide better health protections for tribal and subsistence fishermen.
  • Cleanup Alternative #7 would include ongoing pollution source control, both along and upriver of the cleanup site, as an integral part of the alternatives described in the Feasibility Study.
  • Cleanup Alternative #7 would include an environmental justice assessment, to evaluate what the impact of chemicals left in the river would be on fishermen and others, and make that assessment part of the cleanup decision.

To view or download DRCC/TAG’s assessment of the cleanup alternatives, to to to download the PDF with the various options.

Background on this project: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft study of cleanup alternatives for the Duwamish River. Past and present activities have left a legacy of chemical pollution in the river and in the sediment (mud) at the bottom. This pollution comes from many sources, including industries along the river and stormwater runoff from upland activities, streets, and highways.
The Draft Feasibility Study describes a range of river cleanup options. It is being prepared by the Lower Duwamish Waterway Group (LDWG) – Boeing, King County, the City of Seattle, and the Port of Seattle. Click here to visit the EPA’s web site for an overview of the Duwamish Superfund site and link to their 8-page Fact Sheet on the cleanup alternatives.

You have a voice in determining how our river gets cleaned up. Please share your comments with us by Friday, January 14th: or call 206-954-0218. Comments can also be sent directly to EPA at

Solar Washington Annual Meet: 2010 Was Good Year

Join Solar Washington  for the January, 2011 Annual Membership Meeting from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Seattle REI, 222 Yale Ave N, to learn just how great 2010 was as we recap the year, then get a glimpse of the vast potential that 2011 holds for our industry.

2010 was an epic year for solar in Washington, with better incentive programs and declining module prices finally driving the market the way we have all been waiting and hoping for. Our local solar industry – and a wave of new solar customers – are poised to make 2011 a true break-out year.

Solar Washington has assembled a lineup of speakers and organizations to kick off our first meeting of 2011 that is not to be missed!…

  • 2010 Recap and Looking Forward
    • Jason Keyes – President, Solar Washington & Attorney, Keyes & Fox LLP
  • Legislation and Incentives Recap
    • Mark Bohe, Tax Policy Specialist, WA State Department of Revenue
  • Made in Washington – Products, Pricing, and Possible New Entrants
    • Jeremy Smithson – Owner, Puget Sound Solar
    • Gary Shaver – President, Silicon Energy LLC
  • Installed Solar and Industry Expansion in 2010
    • Phil Lou – Solar Energy Specialist, WSU Extension Energy Program
    • Howard Lamb – Principal, Sunergy Systems
  • Solar Legislation and Incentives Recap and Outlook
    • Mark Bohe – Tax Policy Specialist, Washington State Department of Revenue
    • Mike Nelson – Solar Washington Policy Chair
    • Jason Keyes – President, Solar Washington & Attorney, Keyes & Fox LLP
    • State Legislator(s) – TBA
  • Utility Projects and Perspectives
    • Jake Wade – Net Metering Program Manager, Puget Sound Energy
    • Jack Brautigam – Renewable Energy Program Manager, Seattle City Light
    • Natasha Houldson – Emerging Technologies Program Manager, Snohomish PUD Solar Express Program
  • 2011 Projections and Summary
    • Howard Lamb, Principal, Sunergy Systems

Can’t make it down to REI? Skip the traffic and join us online to listen or chat questions for the speakers, or just listen in by phone. You must reserve a Webinar seat in advance to participate.

[mappress mapid=”273″]

City Light, SPU Offer Utility Bill Help for Families

During these hard economic times Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light know that many families are feeling a pinch. Did you know that there is a program that can help residents pay their utility bills? Households that qualify could get 50 percent off their Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities bills for 18 months.

For more information on the overall program contact Michael May, Sr. Public Relations Specialist, Seattle Public Utilities, 206-684-8056 (office) or 206-255-8544 (cell) or email at

There is also a Utility Assistance Signup Event in Delridge as a part of Seattle Public Utilities’ and Seattle City Lights’ Utility Discount Program.  Get signed up on January 14 through 16, from 9:00 am through 3:00 pm. The event will be hosted by community partner Southwest Youth and Family Services. Interpretation is available in Arabic, Cambodian, Samoan, Somali, and Spanish. If you can’t make it to this event, call them directly at 206-937-7680 for ongoing signup assistance at this location.  Go to for information on what documentation to bring.

Click here to read informational flyers in Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese (PDF).

[mappress mapid=”269″]

Permaculture & Mulch Class @ SSCC This Saturday

Community Orchard of West Seattle (COWS) will be offering a free Permaculture Site Analysis and Sheet Mulch class this Saturday, January 15, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm at the site on the grounds of South Seattle Community College.

Learn about the elements of permaculture site analysis from Laura Sweany, owner of Terra Flora Farms, in a free morning class at South Seattle Community College. The class will meet at the north end of the South Seattle Community College campus, in the tan-colored LHO building #150, room 2, just next door to The West Seattle Tool Library. After the class, attendees and volunteers from the community will be invited to a sheet mulching demonstration on the Orchard’s grounds to create the site’s first garden beds and wood chip paths. Come see how quickly a site can be transformed!

The day’s schedule is

  • 10:00 am – 12:15 pm : Permaculture Site Analysis Workshop
  • 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch
  • 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm – Sheet Mulch Work Party

All are welcome in the afternoon session but space in the morning session is limited.

Please RSVP ( or email any questions to

Fruit Tree Biology and Pruning Class @ Phinney

This Saturday, January 15, from 10:00 am to noon, City Fruit is offering a class on Fruit Tree Biology and Orchard Management at the Phinney Neighborhood Association,  6532 Phinney Ave. N.

The course will provide a basic understanding of the systems of a tree – its root, vascular, and photosynthesis/leaf systems.  This knowledge will help you better care for your trees and produce healthier fruit. The class covers basic tree biology and orchard management month by month – when to prune, thin, manage pests, etc.

Finally, the class discusses orchard safety (especially ladder safety) and basic tools and equipment. Ingela Wanerstrand, is the owner of Green Darner Garden Design, specializing in edible garden design. Ingela has been pruning fruit trees professionally for 15 years, works with the Friends of Piper’s Orchard and Plant Amnesty.

For more information contact Jill Eikenhorst, City Fruit Coordinator, at 206-783-2244, or check out their website at

All City Fruit classes cost $15 for members, $20 for non members. click here to register via Brown Paper Tickets.

[mappress mapid=”271″]