Thursday, April 28, 2016

Kind words from Greenwood businesses

We've received many words of thanks from businesses who have received relief from the community's generosity to the Greenwood Relief Fund, and we wanted to share them with you:

This help will go a long way for the immediate future and the rebuilding process, thanks for being so kind and compassionate during this difficult time.
~ Sammy Arhseed, owner of Mr Gyros

As you know, the last few months have been incredibly difficult for small businesses in the Greenwood area, especially for Tim and the Angry Beaver. With the explosion and the recent break-in, Tim’s been beaten down pretty bad, and struggling financially to keep his bar and his dream alive… I recently saw your letter to Tim and learned of the Phinney Neighborhood Association’s commitment to Tim and the Angry Beaver. I just wanted to reach out and say thank you, and let you know that it damn near brings me to tears to see this good man finally be treated the way he treats others. Tim needs all the help he can get, and the Phinney Neighborhood Association has made a potentially game-changing decision that could save Tim and his business. This type of effort by the PNA makes me proud to be a member of this community, and I just wanted to share with you my sincere appreciation and respect for what you guys are doing. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. This is amazing.
~ Aaron Thompson, Angry Beaver’s attorney

Your efforts along with those of everyone else at PNA to support businesses, employees and residents through the Greenwood Relief Fund is very much appreciated. You are a model in so many ways for the value of a strong community. Thank you for providing assistance to our business. Although our loss was not nearly as great as others’, the help you have offered for our small business is meaningful.

~ Bill Clements, owner of Rosewood Guitar owner

I want to thank you for the funds that was appropriate it for my business, will be a big help to restore some of the funds that the insurance will not cover…I want to thank you for the wonderful work everyone is doing one day soon I will give back!
Eleni Henry, owner of Kouzina and Zoey Catering, 4/14/16

WOW! This is amazing, and not what we expected at all. Thank you so much.

~ Davey Oil, owner of G&O Family Cyclery, 4/20/16

The gang at Angry Beaver brought us flowers when they came to pick up their employee relief checks.
(Razzi's also brought us pizza--twice!)

Greenwood Relief Fund tops $260,000; funds still needed

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two months since the explosion that devastated the center of Greenwood.

Fundraising efforts have reached $260,601, thanks to countless individuals and over 100 businesses who donated or held benefits. We expect more contributions to come in through various fundraisers and charitable organizations, including proceeds from the Bureau of Fearless Ideas' book Encyclopedia Greenwoodia and proceeds from the auction of the Greenwood plywood murals, which Urban Hands has organized. The auction will take place at Greenwood Square/Upper Crust Catering (8420 Greenwood Ave N), starting at 6 pm (appetizers, bar and social hour at 5 pm) on Friday, May 13 during the BIG One Art Walk.

Here at the PNA, we’ve been working hard with the Greenwood Relief Advisory Board, communicating with the 53 businesses, and all of the employees and residents affected, determining needs and distributing funds.

So far, $234,423 has been disbursed but funds are still needed, as the estimated damage is in the millions. Roughly half of the funds went directly to the displaced residents and the employees who lost work hours because of business closures. The remaining is currently being distributed to businesses based on the amount of damage they suffered. Of the 53 businesses affected, 30 have requested funds for uninsured loss, many have declined assistance because of sufficient insurance coverage and we are waiting to hear back from several businesses who have not responded.

Progress with repairs is moving slowly as businesses, building owners and insurance companies navigate this complicated situation. We have heard countless expressions of gratitude (including flowers and a pizza!) from those receiving relief, and we are honored to steward the community’s generosity.

PNA continues to welcome donations to the fund, and we will keep it open through fall. You can still donate online or via mail/in-person at 6532 Phinney Ave N., Seattle, WA 98103. PNA will also continue to promote any fundraisers or benefits organized by businesses or groups.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sustained conservation

Columbo, service dog in training,
appreciates energy conservation.
Reduce, reuse, recycle are Phinney Center founding values
Originally appeared in the Fall 2015 edition of The Review
In the 1980s, when a group of neighbors formed the PNA, one of their very first projects together was focused on conservation: designing and building internal storm windows for houses in the neighborhood. “Energy conservation and sustainability were som-e of the first cornerstones and one of the ways they started reaching out and finding a community to work together on stuff,” says PNA Director of Facilities Bill Fenimore. “It was also based on that idea of neighbors helping neighbors.”
Sustainability is an important PNA value; the drive to “reduce, reuse and recycle” is reflected through many different programs and initiatives, including the Tool Lending Library, the PNA Fixer’s Collective, PhinneyWood Garage Sale Day, book swaps and various recycling drives. However, according to Bill, “the most green, the most sustainable initiative we have taken on is the preservation of buildings on this campus.”

He continues, “The ability to take what was an elementary school and turn it into a community center without tearing old buildings down and putting up brand new buildings is an enormous creative reuse of what is here.”

Just as the PNA upgraded the original three-story Blue Building with an elevator and other improvements, the new Campaign for Accessibility will modernize the Brick Building so it can remain useful and functional for the community.

As Bill notes, “In making these buildings work better, you are actually doing something very sustainable. You don’t have to go out and buy new bricks and new timbers and build a new building if you can make an existing building work really well for what the community needs.”

Even with smaller projects, Bill and his team capitalize on sustainable practices whenever possible. When the Brick Building needed a new roof, he found a vendor willing to re-roof using 70 percent of the existing slate, instead of buying new. When PNA’s hot meal partner Crown Lutheran Church was demolished, he got them to donate their industrial appliances and sink for the Blue Building’s kitchen.

PNA staff Michel Broili was already an expert in the field of rainwater harvesting when he spearheaded a project to bring rain-flushed toilets to the Blue Building. With donated time and expertise from a number of folks, including the City of Seattle and King County, the group built a system that stores over 8,000 gallons of rainwater. This water is used to flush the two main toilets in all but the driest months. When rains return, the system switches back on.

Last summer, another conservation project brought a lot of attention to the Phinney Center, when Seattle City Light installed a 78.4 kw solar energy system on the roofs of the Blue Building and the Woodland Park Zoo. With its program Community Solar, City Light installs community systems and converts energy savings into electricity bill rebates for City Light customers who buy a solar unit in the project. 

The partnership was perfect for PNA. “It’s a way for our neighbors to support solar energy without having to have the perfect roof or access to engineering themselves,” says Bill. “So it’s a natural fit with our values.”

Sustainability is a word that’s thrown around a lot these days, and at the PNA, it means stewarding our environment and our neighborhood as a community at every available opportunity—through our own conservation initiatives or through programs that help neighbors to fix instead of throw away, borrow a tool instead of buy new, or take a class on harvesting rain to flush their toilets.

The PNA Fixers Collective meets every first Wednesday at 6 pm at Greenwood Hardware. For more information and for PNA Tool Library hours, visit

Then PNA Director of Facilities Bill Fenimore had electric car charging stations installed in the Blue Building’s parking lot.