Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finding Community

Some folks have requested I begin to tell some of my stories through the PNA Blog. Since my retirement is lurking in the very near future (January, 2010), they thought that it would be a good time to get some of the history that is part of my being down onto paper while I can still remember it. No faith in the aging process I guess.

Oh, by the way, I am Ed Medeiros. current (and to date the only) Executive Director of the PNA. I do have a history before PNA but I will address that some other time. For this installment I thought I would concentrate on my first community experience in Seattle.

In my former life I worked on first hill and commuted daily on the number 5 bus. Initially, I could ride and read virtually unnoticed. It was a great chance to forget about the stresses of the job, relax before getting jumped by two young boys the minute I entered my home, and before sharing the details of my day with Susan, my wife.

Then I met one, two and many more people who got off at my stop and often would be walking in the same direction. Soon I couldn't ride the bus in either direction without having a conversation with one of my new friends. We quickly established our commonalities, shared differences, opinions and eventually phone numbers. The regular riders of the #5 bus were my first community.

For the past 29 years I have commuted by foot from my house on 1st Ave. NW, up hill to the Phinney Neighborhood Center. Given my commute time I have occasion to see other neighbors readying themselves for their day. There is a friendly good morning and good evening greeting, but more in haste Not the relaxed chit chat of riding the #5 so long ago.

Not having ridden the commuter bus for so long I wonder if things have changed much. Are people still connecting or are people more isolated today?

How about some of you commuters filling me on your experiences.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Neighborhood Businesses — and Snowmen — Warmly Welcome Art Walkers

By Maribeth Stephens

Move over, Frosty. Your corncob pipe and button nose pale in comparison to the colorful garb painted by local artists and children on your plywood peers. The 17 Snowmen on Parade lining Greenwood Avenue North on December 12 helped kick off the monthly Art Up/Open Up Greenwood-Phinney art walks.

Sponsored by the Greenwood-Phinney Chamber of Commerce, the art walks are designed “… to expose the neighborhood to highlight what we’re fortunate enough to have,” according to Chamber vice president Steven Giliberto.

Businesses hosted a mix of visual art, music and performance art or offered special activities and promotions. In all, 26 companies from North 60th to North 87th Streets participated.

This snowman appeared to be keeping an eye on his neighborhood. It was a fitting image outside of Seattle Management Group Real Estate, 8313 Greenwood Avenue North.

As the snowmen stood sentry outside, walkers inside explored the art, talked with artists and shop owners, enjoyed refreshments — and placed silent bids on the snowmen. The highest bidders won the snowmen, but the real winner was the North Seattle Boys & Girls Club. Crystal Barnard, unit director of the recently remodeled and reopened North Seattle Boys & Girls Club, says the $575 raised will help provide nutritious snacks to those participating in its after-school programs.

Attendance varied by venue. Some shops attracted dozens of walkers while others drew fewer; the chilly, wet weather may have played a role in the uneven attendance. Organizers believe that, over time, the ongoing art walks will help attract more neighbors and others living further afield across the thresholds of local enterprises. “It’s a neighborhood whose time is coming,” says Giliberto.

Artist Rick Rogers discussed his work displayed at Seattle Management Group Real Estate, 8313 Greenwood Avenue North.

Art Up/Open Up Greenwood-Phinney art walks occur the second Friday of each month, 6-9 pm. For information, contact the Greenwood-Phinney Chamber of Commerce,, (206) 789-1148.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Phinney at Twilight

Joe Fitzgearld recently completed a class on photography. First thing he did after completing the class was a series of photos he calls "Phinney at Twilight.” About the photos he wrote:

“Walking through the streets of Phinney Ridge in the early evening, I am often drawn by the power of the light. The neon signs of the various storefronts on Greenwood Avenue transform this otherwise quiet and upscale neighborhood street into something more sultry and urbane. In this series, I attempt to replicate that feeling of time and place.”

See the photos and more at Joe’s blog No Friday.

Great job Joe!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Giving Tree

With all the talk and angst about economic downturn, the Phinney Neighbors in Action Giving Tree seems more important than ever this year. It’s my job to coordinate with the agencies that provide close to 400 names and gift requests for this project. The need is always great, but that’s not what overwhelms me – it’s the amazing generosity of folks in our community. Every year children and adults choose tags from the tree and return with beautifully-wrapped presents that they have carefully chosen. It’s clear to me there is just as much joy in the giving as there will be in the receiving of these gifts. You may notice that there are plenty of requests for Fred Meyer of Target gift cards on the tree. We realize these may not be as interesting to purchase, but put yourself in the shoes of a teenager or adult. Wouldn’t you rather have the chance to shop for a gift of your own choosing – in a size, color, or style that you know will be a good fit? An added bonus is that you can purchase gift cards directly from the PNA receptionist, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the preschool co-op. Giving Trees are located at the Phinney Neighborhood Center and Greenwood Senior Center for your convenience. You’ve got until December 13 to fulfill a wish for someone in our community – won’t you help?

- Judith Wood, PNA Director of Volunteer Programs

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

PNA is number one! Top of the world Ma!

When you think of PNA what do you think of? Well, if you happen to be a famous internet search engine (aka Google) you think of the Phinney Neighborhood Association first! Yep, as of this morning we are on top of the Google search list for “PNA.”

All those other web sites take a back seat to us, including:

The Peptic nucleic acid article in Wikipedia
Polish National Alliance
Pituitary Network Association
Philippine Nurses Association
Pacific Northwest Associates
Preferred Network Access, Inc.
PNA Bank
Etc, etc.

*Insert Victory Dance here*

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Monday, December 1, 2008

BBC reports Brits are Lonely. What About You?

"Community life in Britain has weakened substantially over the past 30 years, according to research commissioned by the BBC. Analysis of census data reveals how neighbourhoods in every part of the UK have become more socially fragmented. The study assesses the health of a community by looking at how rooted people are in their neighbourhood. Academics created 'loneliness indices', to identify where people had a 'feeling of not belonging'."

How do you feel? Are you isolated and lonely, living in a fragmented community? Or not.

Full story at the BBC website.

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