Monday, March 18, 2013

Phinney Center Gallery Shows

EDGES: Recent work by artists Tamara Stephas and Kristen Scott looks at the boundary between nature and the built environment. Tamara Stephas explores the relationship between humans and nature in an era of rapid environmental change. Her new landscape paintings pay homage to the power and beauty of the Pacific Coast, with a nod to the romantic imagination of the era of manifest destiny. As an architect and artist, Kristen Scott is drawn to edges — the line of how a building meets the sky and the ground, the shadow pattern on a wall, the framed view through a window that separates inside and out. Working in watercolor and often plein-air, she describes the unique qualities of a place, by exploring line, shape and the space between.

In April, Painters Under Pressure, a Seattle print arts salon will be showing their work at the Phinney Center Gallery. Painters Under Pressure Salon is a cohesive group of artists who gather each month to share their art with each other, offer and receive feedback, provide support and discuss challenges of being an artist. They are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year. Join us for the opening reception on Friday, April 12, from 7-9 pm.

Alternative Transport - Options For Neighborhood Travel Expand

By Bill Fenimore

The Phinney Neighborhood Association now has some great new features to help broaden our staff and visitor’s options for getting to the Phinney Center. This is a continuation of the work we started last summer. Both of these new improvements are in the corner of the upper lot next to the new stairs.

We have a beautiful new bike rack/sculpture that was the “peddle-away” winner of the Artistic Bike Rack competition. Designed and fabricated by Bruce Andersen of Andersen Studios, the piece includes options to do minor bike repair. We wanted to make bike riders feel more welcome and this project should accomplish that. Andersen Studios has great public art all over the area. This project was funded by a Department of Neighborhoods matching grant. Learn more about the artist team at

In addition, the Center has installed two new electric vehicle charging stations. Our partner on this project is ECOtality ( The two chargers are linked to the Blink Network via the Internet. This is our contribution to the shift away from carbon fuels for a more sustainable future. The dilemma associated with electric vehicles is to have enough locations for charging even as the conversion to electric begins. Unless we build it they won’t come.

This spring we will be seal coating and re-striping the lots to conform to the City of Seattle’s parking requirements. This will provide more spots and somewhat tighter parking (because the City specifies the size and number of spots). That is good news as the number of visitors for classes and events continues to grow here, but it means that biking, walking and carpooling are more important than ever.

PNA Kids! Summer Camps - REGISTER NOW!

School Age Summer Day Camps
Whittier Kids offers 11 weeks of Summer Day Camps for kids entering grades Kindergarten - 5th grade (ages 5-11) offer a bountiful choice of daily activities including: arts and crafts, swimming, science, drama, dance, cooking, and outdoor recreation…plus a wide array of field trips that take us all over Seattle nearly every day! Check out our Summer Camp flyer to learn more about all the exciting adventures we have planned for this Summer.
Register Now
Submit your Registration, including sunscreen authorization and deposit, to Whittier Kids, PNA or by mail to PNA Kids, 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103.

Half Day Preschool Summer Camps
Whittier Kids Preschool offers 8 weeks of summer camp for preschoolers ages 3-5 (must be potty trained). Fun, play-based learning combined with a variety of themes and flexible scheduling. Check out our Preschool Summer Camp flyer to learn more.
Register Now
Submit your Registration, including sunscreen authorization and deposit, to Whittier Kids, PNA or by mail to PNA Kids, 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103.

Flyers and Registration forms are also available onsite at Whittier Kids. All children are accepted on a first-come first-served, space available basis but current Whittier Kids families will receive priority enrollment through March 29. Sign up early for best availability!

Walking The Dogs, Linking To Neighbors

By Lee Harper
PNA Executive Director

One of the best things about having dogs is the link they provide to my neighborhood. Walking the dogs gives me an opportunity to chat with my neighbors, stop at Greenwood Hardware for dog treats, take a shortcut through Billy Goat’s Bluff P-Patch, or check out books at one of the many free libraries close by. Working in PhinneyWood - yes, the name is actually beginning to stick - gives me additional insight into the vibrancy and connectivity of our neighborhood.

The PNA has a long history of innovation and creativity, and new projects, programs, events and activities often come into being because of an idea from a community member.  We provide a platform for people and ideas. Working together with members, businesses, volunteers and neighbors, we co-create the future. This manifests itself in many ways, including: supporting local businesses through the PNA Business Membership; creating new events like the PNA Garden Party and Costume Exchange; focusing on sustainability through the Fixer’s Collective; evolving educational opportunities based on what neighbors are interested in; partnering with Solarize Seattle to bring affordable solar to the neighborhood; and providing electric car chargers in the Phinney Center parking lot.

In the mayor’s recent State of the City address, he pointed out the importance of social infrastructure, saying that arts, education and human services are just as important than a good physical infrastructure to knitting a neighborhood together. This is very much in line with what we at the PNA strive for.

Our goal is to always be open and responsive to YOUR ideas. Contact us with ideas, suggestions and feedback. Call 206.783.2244 or email We’re here for you!

Meet Me At The Market

By Ivy Fox

Meet your neighbors, your farmers and new friends this summer at the Phinney Farmers Market.
Starting June 7, from 3-7 pm, your Friday ritual can once again include your unique neighborhood Phinney Farmers Market. We are lining up the tried-and-true offerings, some brand new farms and more prepared food vendors for you as you gather to shop with friends and neighbors. Get a jump start on your weekly shopping, eat dinner while planning seasonally inspired brunch for the weekend, and let’s not forget about keeping picnic supplies at the ready for swimming at Green Lake and attending Zoo Tunes.

Meet new people as you both grab for that flat of perfect juicy berries. Allow time for double takes…wait, did you just see fresh ginger?! Let your kids meet the Washington Farmers that grow your delicious food.

 Phinney Farmers Market is an expression of your community and is reflected in this year’s exciting lineup of vendors and events including the Zucchini Races, the kids’ passport program and cooking and canning demonstrations. We rely on your continued weekly support so we can bring the best local farms straight to your family. 

Love the Market? Adopt an A-Board to put on a street corner near your home or place a “Meet Me at the Market” yard sign in your beautiful yard!  For more information see

Fixers Collective - Friends With Broken Blenders

By Patrick Dunn

Ever had a fancy gadget or kitchen appliance break just as soon as that trusty warrantee expires? It’s a frustrating experience, to be sure, but surprisingly few people actually stop to think whether they can fix the problem themselves.

The reason is simple. When the blender breaks, it’s almost always easier and less expensive to just trash it and head to the store for a replacement. The idea of trying to fix it hardly crosses anyone’s mind. With the advent of fixers collectives, however, and the modern celebration of old-fashioned tinkering, all that may soon be changing.

These groups, which are now popping up all around the world, are taking on this challenge with gusto. By encouraging people to be a little more curious about their otherwise disposable possessions, fixers collectives have introduced whole communities to the amateur tinkerer’s world of curiosity, ingenuity and sustainability. More important, they’ve also allowed folks to have a lot of fun and make friends while playing around with items they would’ve previously just thrown away.  

So, in early February, the PNA decided to join this movement by forming a fixers collective of our own. Its first meet-up took place in February at the PNA Tool Library and concentrated mainly on a broken table saw that desperately needed some tender loving care before it re-entered the Tool Library’s active inventory. After some casual hypothesizing, a couple of crude experiments, and a bit of elbow grease, that same table saw was spruced up and ready to get back to work.

With that initial fix successfully under its belt, this group now invites you and all your broken gadgets and gizmos to our next meeting. You don’t need to know anything about fixing to participate. We’ll help you take them apart, put them back together and – with a little bit of luck – we may even help you fix them!

For more information on The PNA Fixers Collective and future meetings, call the PNA at 206.783.2244, visit the Tool Library’s webpage, or simply email

Yanni’s Fling With Hollywood

By Jan Gray

Friday, March 15, you can tune into Q-13 at 8 pm and see the show that Chef Gordon Ramsay made working with the Avgoustiou family at Yanni’s Restaurant, 7455 Greenwood Ave N. Kitchen Nightmares is wild; it’s scary! It’s pretty good television, but what was it like to live it?

Executive Chef Peter, host Karen and their two daughters have been living and breathing their PhinneyWood icon for 30 years along with Peter’s father Yanni. Crowds waiting for a table outside the door were typical until the “Great Recession” began to wear thin on Seattlites over the past couple of years. Then, as for several great restaurants in PhinneyWood, things got tough.

Even so, when the family first thought about Kitchen Nightmares what they thought was, “Not us!”  They had watched the shows and clips from shows available on the Nightmares website and the drama was high. Gradually, they came to think more about the results. Karen said, “It seemed like a real chance to change things up, to re-energize.” After some serious family discussion, Peter and Karen said, “Yes.”

Late last year, Kitchen Nightmares arrived on Greenwood. “It didn’t take long for the crew to size us up,” Karen noted. “They already expect what they’ll find. Peter was the stubborn one who didn’t want to change. Taryia was the emotional one. Alyse gave as good as she got and I was the calm in the storm.” 

The family was able to set some limits.  The Parthenon and the city of Athens still sit calmly above the bar. They aren’t sure, however, how much in love they are with some details of the new d├ęcor. The new menu is brief, by comparison, but the dishes are delicious (taste-tested by the writer) and a word to the wait staff can sometimes bring an old favorite straight to your table  – in newly speedy time.

Was it worth it?  The Avgoustiou family consensus is, yes. “It feels new,” they agreed, “and it gives us new energy. When we bring that to our customers along with great food, we know we did the right thing.”

A Note from Yanni’s Restaurant:
The Avgoustiou family would like to thank their neighbors for putting up with all the unpleasantness that the production brought with it. Kitchen Nightmares contacted us because they were looking for a “credible famous restaurant in Seattle.” Thanks to Yanni’s, once the show airs nationally, everyone will know where Greenwood is, and we should see much more traffic, which will help our neighborhood businesses.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Energy Minding? Not With Solar!

I got my solar energy system installed last week, and now I can’t stop turning off lights.

Weird, huh? Now that I have free energy, why would I care? Well, because the system came with an ingenious web-based tool: the Energy Minder. Once it got hooked up and I could see my energy use graphed out on the “eGauge” screen, I quickly got the energy-saving bug.

Every time I turned on and off a light, I could see the e-gauge go up and down. And when our 19-year-old refrigerator kicked on – whoa! When we used the clothes dryer – double whoa! This sort of thing really makes you think.

So now I’m replacing my few remaining incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, and I’ve been looking at the expensive but long-lasting LED lighting, which really sips lightly at the energy tap. We got a Community Power Works energy audit and we’re considering what else we can do – including replacing that refrigerator.

Of course, the coolest thing is seeing how much energy we’re making. The system produced energy – sometimes, as much as I was using – every afternoon last week, for at least a couple of hours when the sun was out. For at least that time, I was a solar-powered worker.

My solar system has me itching for summer too. Not just because we’ll be making energy like crazy. But we’ll be able to hang our clothes outside on the line again, like we’ve been doing for a few years. Gotta keep that dryer silent.

– Bill Thorness Bill is a PNA member and the volunteer outreach coordinator for the Solarize Seattle: Northwest program, which has two more free solar workshops this spring. He will also be on a tour of solar homes, coming in early April. Check back for details or see the program’s website,