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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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Name the Lane and Win a Prize

Here’s your opportunity to be a part of history in the making, as well as a chance to win a $300 gift certificate to Top Ten Toys!  A new one-way lane is being built from 1st to Greenwood Ave at the level where 86th Street would be. The lane will be for people, bikes and cars and is intended to promote gathering and community.

More information here

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

All Hopped Up!

Here's one for the beer drinkers... From the blog Crooked Timber the question is: What's a Good American Beer?

Budweiser, eh?

I asked the brewmaster, Jean-Marie Rock, which American beer he likes best. He thought for a moment, squinting down his bladelike nose, and narrowed his lips to a point. Then he raised a finger in the air. “Budweiser!” he said. “Tell them that the brewer at Orval likes Budweiser!” He smiled. “I know they detest it, but it is quite good.”

Thanks very much for the heads up to Luis Enrique and Unfogged. Sweet vindication, albeit coming from a guy with pointed lips. Other gems from the article:

“When a brewer says, ‘This has more hops in it than anything you’ve had in your life—are you man enough to drink it?,’ it’s sort of like a chef saying, ‘This stew has more salt in it than anything you’ve ever had—are you man enough to eat it?’”

Microbrewers, gahhh.

More here Pay attention to the Comments.

So what do you think? What's a Good American Beer?

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wack WHack WACK-tastic!!




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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Flush Away!

This by popular demand! When the folks in the PNA offices got wind (sic) of it there was no stopping the mirth that followed!

From the Seattle PI's blog "Dateline Earth"It's World Toilet Day! A word from the *other* WTO...

Yes, indeedy, that's right: World Toilet Day, Nov. 19, is being promoted by the World Toilet Organization* today. Now, I'm not 100 percent certain this isn't a put-on, but after looking over the Web site it sure looks legit.....

Could it be that someday we'll get away from central wastewater treatment? There is, as some commenters have pointed out, an alternative: the composting toilet. I thought those would be gross until I looked into it a little after Michael Broili mentioned it when I was in his rainwater harvesting class a few years ago at the Phinney Neighborhood Center.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Photos of Recent PNA Events

Photos of the PNA Winter Beer Taste are HERE.

Photos of our Day of the Dead Festival are HERE

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dia de los Muertos Celebration at the PNA

Thanks to our neighbors at Parsons Public Relations for this post on their blog:

Parsons Public Relations is fortunate to be located across the street from one of Seattle’s most prominent community centers, the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA). As an active part of our community, PNA often hosts events to foster neighborhood involvement. Friday, as I was walking back to the office after having dinner with a friend, I came across a parade and festival for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Crowds of people from the neighborhood were gathered in the street watching music and dance performances and honoring this traditional Mexican celebration of life and death. The performance troop moved inside PNA’s building and I was curious enough to join the crowd. Inside, I found an entire set up of art, food, crafts and a community altar.

... more at the Parsons blog

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Monday, November 10, 2008


Friday 21 November 2008, 7p

Concrete poet NICO VASSILAKIS & Subtext cohort MICKEY OCONNOR present poetry to challenge your brain, followed by a collaboration between nationally-touring, movement artist BETH GRACZYK and experimental musician ANGELINA BALDOSZ. Starting at 7P on Friday 21 November, Phinney Neighborhood Center on Phinney Ridge in Seattle. This is Untitled [Intersection]'s 3rd stellar event of Fall 2008 and you're invited!
Artists manifestos will be offered as usual.


Thank you for supporting these NW artists!

A. K. Allin
Curator, Untitled [Intersection]


NICO VASSILAKIS - Nico Vassilakis is working on "Nothing". He collects shoehorns and enjoys colanders. His most recent book is Orange: A Manual. He is a member of the Subtext Collective.

MICKEY OCONNOR - Mickey O'Connor lives and writes in Seattle. He is the author of THE CHARLESGATE APARTMENT POEMS, NOT EVEN MERELY END & the forthcoming WEIRD WIND INSIDE WORDS.

BETH GRACZYK is a movement-based artist who works as a contemporary dancer, choreographer, teacher and producer based in Seattle, WA. She has performed both nationally and internationally working extensively with Locate Performance Group (Pablo Cornejo, Paige Barnes) (2002-2006), Sheri Cohen & Co. (2000-2004), Corrie Befort
(2003-present) and Scott/Powell Performance (2004-present). Beth co-produced and performed in 12 Hour Play and several dance/music improvisations in Seattle and Portland. She is a GAP grant recipient for Salt Horse through Artist Trust. Beth earned a double degree from the University of Washington in Dance and Molecular Biology. She was recently published in Nature Cell Biology for her work in mitosis.

ANGELINA BALDOZ has been performing and composing in the Seattle improvisational music and dance communities since 1996. Her distinctive trumpet playing has been presented in collaboration with Deborah Hay, Gust Burns, Lori Goldston, Ellen Fullman, Susie Kozawa, Beth Graczyk, Jason E Anderson, Paul Hoskin, and Torben Ulrich. Last fall she scored the feature film "Aliens Cut My Hair", as well as composed and performed for an evening length dance concert with Portland choreographer Linda Austin. Currently, Angelina can be heard around the Northwest with the newly formed quartet Instead Of, and playing electric bass with the rock band BC Campbell & The Celebrity Orphans.>>Back to main blog page

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gizzards and Gravy

This article originally appeared in the 2008 Holiday Edition of the Phinney Ridge Review

How to fix up your turkeys, partridges, turtle doves and other holiday birds.
By: AP Hurd

I call them gizzards, but gizzards are really a subset of giblets. Little bits that don’t look like much when you pull them out of the bird: the heart, liver and gizzard make up the giblets. The gizzard is the neck of the bird, and if you’ve ever wondered why it’s so muscular, it turns out that in the absence of teeth, it actually grinds the grain up before it reaches the stomach. Crazy.

If you’re in holiday mode, and fixing up your bird, you can probably ditch the liver. Though chicken livers are lovely in quantity, fried with butter, onion, sage and thyme, it’s probably not worth it if you only have one. Most people don’t find chicken livers that festive on the other hand, if you’re eating a fattened goose, chances are the liver is worth enough that the butcher won’t throw it in for free.

The heart and the neck should go straight into a small pot of boiling water as a base for gravy. Apart from the liver, giblets are golden. When you first look at these little pellets, you wonder that they could have much flavor at all, but if you boil the heck out of them, the resulting scummy-looking broth is exceptionally flavorful. If you use that liquid to deglaze your roasting pan after taking the turkey out of the oven, it’s hard to go sideways on your gravy.

Full disclosure: If it’s not already apparent, I am a gravy perfectionist. We used to have Christmas at my stepmother’s family’s house and the people who usually ran the show couldn’t make gravy to save their lives—it was grey, fatty, salty and lumpy. After about two years of enduring this, my father and I resorted to dramatic measures, one of us staging a distraction in another room (setting off the smoke detector, encouraging the dog to tear into the wrapped gifts, etc.) while the rest of us focused on the gravy amidst the resulting hubbub.

Here are some of our other foolproof strategies, besides the giblets, just in time for the holiday season.

1. Siphon off some of the fat in the pan before you make the gravy. This is especially important if you are roasting a fatty bird like a goose or duck.
2. Don’t go to the other extreme and siphon off all the fat since it adds a lot of flavor.
3. If you run out of giblet broth, use regular broth.
4. Worcestershire sauce and/or liquid browning. I don’t know what’s in there, but it’s good stuff.

Keep tasting the gravy and doctoring it. Work it until it tastes right. This is one of those things that you need to taste and work on for a while. Think about how salty it is. Think about adding red wine, white wine, port (for gamier birds)—make sure you boil off the alcohol. Consider adding sage, thyme, caramelized onion, onion powder, even current or cherry jam for sweetness.

Only when you’ve got the flavor just right should you thicken your gravy. For goodness’ sake, take the extra step to mix your flour or cornstarch with water before you add it to the pan. If you do this and you stir hard, you won’t get lumps. If lack of flavor is a sin of omission, then lumps are a sin of commission. Once you add the flour or cornstarch, how long you keep boiling will determine how thick it is, so you don’t want to be fooling around with the flavor at that point. If it gets too thick and you have to add water, you’ll only dilute the flavor.

That’s the whole secret. The gizzards—I mean giblets—and the tasting. Taste, taste, taste.
Happy Holidays. >>Back to main blog page

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Feature

We've just added a feature to this blog. We call it "Blogs, etc. We Like".

It's right over there... under the picture of the venerable Blue Building.

So far we have PhinneyWood and the Greenwood Blog. Got any ideas? What should we add?

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Fall Colors

Recently some relatives were visiting from out of town. While they were here they went up to the mountains to see the fall colors. When they came back to my house in Greenwood they said: "There's more fall color in your neighborhood than there is in the mountains!"

What do you think? Where is the best place to view the fall colors?

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Neighborhood Summit

The City Neighborhood Council and the Dept of Neighborhoods invite you to attend the annual Neighborhood Summit event on Tuesday. Mayor Nickels will be there as will members of the City Council so it’s a good opportunity to network with other citizens and elected officials about a wide variety of issues of concern in Seattle.

Click here for the PDF flyer of the event.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Friends of The Seattle Public Library

John Smith, the Chair of the PNA's board of directors has asked that this open letter from the Friends of The Seattle Public Library be posted here:

October 15, 2008
Dear Phinney Neighborhood Association members,

The Seattle Public Library’s 27 new and expanded facilities are overflowing with children, teens and adults checking out books and materials, using computers for research and homework, attending programs with award-winning authors, and much more. Particularly in the down economy, people are using Library resources even more to find out about social services, look for job opportunities, improve English skills and get expert assistance from librarians. 11.6 million people visited Library facilities last year with more than 9.3 million items circulated and 1 million questions answered.

These statistics will be surpassed in 2008 because our libraries are busier than they’ve ever been. Libraries must continue to offer strong and relevant collections to meet the growing information needs of this city’s diverse community.

Last year, thanks to community input, the members of the Seattle City Council approved a 2 million dollar add to the Mayor’s budget for The Seattle Public Library collections for a total of $7.1 million. The Library reported to the City Council on Monday, October 6th that the 2 million dollar increase had been well spent. Based on priorities identified in the 2006 Patrons Needs and Satisfaction Survey, The Library “increased supply of popular titles, number of titles with more than 5 holds cut in half, expanded ESL materials and world language collections, expanded children’s picture book collection, added 6,350 new downloadable items to the virtual library, added five premium databases to virtual library and replaced over 500 public computers.”

You can view the proposed budget for The Library for 2009 and 2010 here [pdf]; Watch The Library's presentation and view The Library's power point presented to the Budget Committee on The City Council's "Departmental Presentations" page by scrolling down to the Monday, 10/6/08 here to learn even more.

Now is the time to let council members know how you have benefited from The Seattle Public Library and the important role it plays in enhancing the educational, cultural and economic vitality of our city. Act now.

Here’s how:

1) E-mail council members: Tim Burgess, Sally Clark, Richard Conlin, Jan Drago, Jean Godden, Bruce Harrell, Nick Licata, Richard McIver, and Tom Rasmussen. Tell them your name, the branch you use, how you use the library and how it is important. Thank them for their past support and ask them to support library collections and services.

2) Join us at a public hearing on the budget at City Hall at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27 at City hall. R.S.V.P. to

We have a blog:, or visit our Web site: to find out more on how you can support the excellent services and programs of The Seattle Public Library.

Thank you,
Friends of The Seattle Public Library
>>Back to main blog page

Sustainability and Community

The following was written by Cecile Andrews (Phinney EcoVillage and author of Slow is Beautiful) for the upcoming Holiday edition of the Phinney Ridge Review but, due to lack of space, did not make the final edit. We thought you might enjoy reading it nevertheless.

People are finally understanding the importance of sustainability. We’re beginning to realize that we must change our ways — in particular, we’re beginning to understand that climate change is forcing us to reduce our use of oil.

In response, we’re trying to drive less, keep our heat turned down, use compact fluorescent light bulbs, and so on. But there’s one thing we often neglect — something that should be at the top our lists: building community.

Why community? Because it helps you cut back on consumerism, the issue at the heart of oil reduction.

We overconsume because we are confused about the nature of happiness. We think that if we’re rich and have lots of stuff, we’ll be happy — so we throw ourselves into the pursuit of money and things. But the research shows very clearly that, after a certain point, more money does not bring more happiness.

What does? Warm, supportive relationships with others — community.

But since we don’t understand this, we go along with the consumer society, working long hours and spending our time at the malls, growing more depressed and frantic. In fact, over the last several years happiness has decline just as community has diminished..
Further, we consume because we don’t have many alternatives to the malls. There’s not a lot of fun, free things to do in most people’s neighborhoods. But what if people had vital community lives? What if people knew their neighbors and took the time to gather together to talk and laugh. Who would want to go to the mall?

So building community is central to sustainability. As we support our local businesses, we create a vital and congenial street life where people will hang out rather than drive across town for costly entertainment. As we get involved in community activities, we have no desire to wander the department stores.

Above all, community is where people transform themselves from consumers into citizens. In a democracy people must be engaged at the local level, and there’s plenty in Phinney to get involved in. We can take a class at the PNA, get involved in a conversation group at the Phinney EcoVillage (, affect public policy in the Phinney Ridge Community Council (see, or work to stop the war with Phinney Neighbors for Peace and Justice.

Ultimately, it is the experience of community that teaches us to care about the common good. It is in community we learn that we’re all in this together — that our individual fate is connected to the fate of others. That's the heart of sustainability. >>Back to main blog page

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Neighborhood is Going to the Dogs

About a year ago I discovered that I could tell exactly where the mail carrier was by the sound of the dog barking. Later, when everyone on the block got together for the annual National Night Out Block Party, dogs seemed to be everywhere, even throwing themselves out of windows apparently to join the fun! Lately I've noticed a growing number of neighbors out walking, not just one dog, but two! So when did my block go to the dogs and why? Can you explain it? Do you have a dog? Did you just get another one? Aren’t they just the cutest little puppies EVER? (Full disclosure: I prefer cats and share my home with one.)
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

In Search of Donuts

Where do you go to get a good donut around here?

I don't mean those Crispy Creamy ones, the poodle dog of donuts. Where are the Golden Retrievers of donuts? You know, the perfect donut: good with kids and grown-ups love them too.

The sizzling hot apple fritters covered with warm glaze that melt in your mouth amid small chunks of tasty apples… the buttermilk cake donuts lightly crisp on the outside and safe and warm inside done to the perfect consistency that allows a sip of hot coffee to combine with a bite of donut into a mouthful of morning magic…

Where do you go in or around Greenwood/Phinney for the best donuts ever?

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Greenwood/Phinney… what’s the dif??

Lately I’ve noticed a number of people, for whatever reason, pointing out what they consider to be the differences between the Greenwood & Phinney neighborhoods.

I live in what is considered Greenwood and work in Phinney (full disclosure: I am the Marketing Director of the PNA) and I don’t get it. I mean, sure there are differences, just like there are between you & me, dogs & cats, us & them, Earth & Mars, etc. but why belabor it? Isn’t their enough divisiveness in the world today?

So I ask you, is it worth it to point out the differences between Greenwood & Phinney… and, if so, what are those differences??

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Holiday Wacktastic Light Show

Two Greenwood-Phinney residents want to light up the neighborhood and “make the rest of Seattle sit up and take notice.” But they need your help to do it.

Beegee Tolpa and Kelly Davis, local residents who are also illustrators and graphic designers, want to generate excitement and pride about living in the neighborhood. “We want to get to know our neighbors. We want Greenwood-Phinney to become a destination neighborhood.” The neighborhood is “full of wonderful shops that can benefit from holiday shoppers so let’s create an excuse to get them here!”
So the excuse they’re creating is the Holiday Wacktastic Light Show. They’re inviting neighborhood businesses and residents to think creatively and light up their yards, fences, mailboxes, street signs, garbage cans and driveways with lights.

“This is not a show of how much money you spend on lights but rather how creative you get. Each display doesn’t have to be big but we want to get as many people involved as we can so that people from other neighborhoods will see Greenwood-Phinney as a destination.”

And to promote involvement, they’ve turned the event into a contest as well. They’ve recruited three local “celebrity judges;” Robynne Raye, an award winning graphic artist; Rocket Man Houlihan, mascot for the Rat City Rollergirls; and Jennifer Worrick, author of “The Prairie Girl’s Guide to Life” and the “Worst-Case Scenario” books. First, second and third place winners will receive big “loot piles” of goods donated by local businesses. They will also get bragging rights and a chance to judge next year’s contest.

At this writing, Kelly and Beegee are still working out some of the details but information should soon be available at

They’re hoping the Light Show will be “a great way for Greenwood-Phinney to come together and add sparkle to the wet winter days ahead!”
>>Back to main blog page

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Celebración del Día de los Muertos

Celebre esta festividad tradicional mexicana de vida y muerte con desfile y actividades el dia viernes 7 de noviembre. La procesión empezará en las calles 75 y Phinney a las 18:30 y seguirá al Phinney Neighborhood Center, ubicado en 6532 Phinney Ave. N donde se encontrará un altar comunitario y se podrá disfrutar de musica en vivo, chocolate caliente, actividades de manualidades y más. Llame (206) 783-2244 para más información.
En México, El Día de los Muertos es un evento festivo y familiar, tradicionalmente celebrado el 1 de noviembre (Día de los Angelitos) y el 2° (Día de los Muertos). Día de los Muertos enfatiza que la vida y la muerte son parte del mismo ciclo. Según creencias basadas en tradiciones pre-Colombianas, en el Día de los Muertos, los mundos de los vivos y los muertos estan cercanos y los muertos puede ser atraídos por medio de los aromas de flores y sus comidas y bebidas preferidas. En ciertas partes de Mexico, un componente importante de esta celebración es la ofrenda o altar personal, construido en casas y/o sobre las tumbas de los fallecidos. Según la tradición, fotos de los muertos estan puestos en medio de la ofrenda y estan rodeadas porcomida, bebida, velas, flores, calaveras de azucar y recuerdos personales. Todo esto está hecho en presentaciones hermosas para honrar las almas volvientes.

Gracias a la Oficina de Artes y Asuntos Culturales de la Ciudad de Seattle y a la Comisión de Artes del Estado de Washington quienes facilitan la continuación de esta celebración importante y tradicional.>>Back to main blog page

Friday, October 10, 2008

New PNA Fourm

The PNA is considering starting an on line forum and we'd like to know what's on your mind. What would you like to talk about on a neighborhood forum?
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Monday, October 6, 2008

Missed Out on Pig Out?

If the Great Debate reduced your appetite on the night of the Phabulous Phinney Pig Out consider giving directly to the Soup Kitchen.

Use your credit card on line here.

You can phone in you credit card donation to (206) 783-2244.

Checks may also be sent or hand delivered to:

Phinney Neighborhood Association
6532 Phinney Ave N
Seattle WA 98103

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

PNA Set to Buy its Home of 27 years

Sept 15, 2008

SEATTLE – Following months of negotiation, the Seattle School Board will soon decide whether or not to accept a purchase and sale agreement that will allow the Phinney Neighborhood Association to buy the former John B. Allen Elementary School for $3,050,000. The agreement is set to be introduced at the Sept. 17 School Board meeting. A final vote is expected on Oct. 1.

Allen Elementary was one of several Seattle schools closed in June of 1981 due to declining enrollment in the district. The PNA has leased the buildings since October 1981, creating the Phinney Neighborhood Center, a unique multi-purpose community center that is operated by the neighborhood rather than the City’s Parks Department.

The Phinney Neighborhood Center is Seattle’s best known community center and has become a model across the nation for how to build community. It serves as the focus of the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhoods with a wide variety of programs, services, events and activities – everything from childcare to beer tastes, a tool lending library to soup kitchens – that attract over 20,000 people each year from throughout the region. Last year, more than 1,000 volunteers donated over 23,000 hours to PNA programs and activities.

Purchasing the site has been a long-term goal for the Association, notes PNA Executive Director Ed Medeiros. “The PNA has been careful stewards of the Allen School for almost three decades, preserving these historic buildings for community use. Ownership will help guarantee that the community continues to determine the future of this valuable neighborhood asset.”

The School District placed the school on its surplus property list in spring 2007 and offered the Association the opportunity to purchase the site. School District staff commissioned a third party appraisal of the property based on a variety of uses. The property was landmarked by the City’s Historic Landmarks Commission in February 2008, limiting some of those uses. PNA and School District representatives have been negotiating since spring 2008 on the details of the purchase and sale agreement.

“We’re happy to have come to an agreement with the School District that we believe represents a win/win for everybody – the district, the Association, and most importantly the community,” Medeiros added.

In anticipation of the sale, the Association earlier this year launched a $12 million capital campaign, Community Begins Here, to finance both purchase and major improvements and renovations to the site.

“Ownership is just the first step,” Medeiros notes. “Over the years, members and neighbors have developed a comprehensive site plan that includes new entryways, new elevators, a new hillside park, and new community gathering spaces. Once we own the buildings, these dreams can finally become reality.”

“And because preservation, sustainability and stewardship have always been part of the PNA’s values, we’re going to insure that those values drive all of the improvements and renovations as well. Our vision is to create a living, sustainable, enduring community space that retains the character and charm of these historic, landmarked buildings for generations to come.”

Last fall, the Seattle City Council and Mayor Greg Nickels appropriated $2.5 million for purchase and improvement of the Phinney Neighborhood Center. The State has also designated $4.5 million to be used to purchase surplussed public schools. That money will be divided among Allen and four other schools.

With additional donations from individuals and foundations, the PNA’s Capital Campaign has so far raised just over $4 million of the $12 million goal.

For additional information about the PNA and the Phinney Neighborhood Center, visit

Contacts: Ed Medeiros, Executive Director, 206-783-2244 (H-206-782-6232)
Ann Bowden, Development Director, 206-783-2244

>>Back to main blog page

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Do you see what I see?

As some of you know, I love to take pictures. I have seen a lot of photos by a lot of people, but I have to tell you the show in the Phinney Center Gallery this month stops me in my tracks. When Andrea Huysing shows me what the world looks like through her lens, I just want to BE HER.

. . .it's not so much out of jealousy that every one of her photos is so much more stunning than anything I've ever taken (which they are, but I am so over that). . .

It is more out of an intense yearning to be able to see the beautiful everyday world the way she does: in intricate detail and in vibrant color. Each image is a simple pleasure to explore. If you live in Seattle you will recognize some of these places/objects, but I guarantee you will never have seen them like this before.
The joys of foreground/background, contrast, composition, positive and negative space, light, and texture are all laid out for you in a way that is a joy to experience whether as an art geek, or simply as a being. She shows me intricate everyday subjects, with all the sharp and honest detail of unaltered uncropped photography presented in a very contemporary frameless style, a very simple sensibility that inspires me to say, "Ah ha! I SEE."Come on down and see for yourselves. Opening night for “Life in Color,” the photography of Andrea Huysing is Friday September 12, from 7 - 9 p.m. The show runs through Friday, 26th September 2008. If you need a preview, already missed the show, or if you just prefer to experience life virtually check out her work at >>Back to main blog page

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tool Sale Saturday, Sept. 13

Over the years a large number of tools have been donated to the PNA that are not needed for the Tool Library. Mike Broili, the director of the program, felt it was time to add a new dimension to the activities of the Well Home Program: a Tool Swap Meet!

Asked what types of tools will show up Broili said, “I think it is safe to assume there will be lots of power tools, both electrical and gas powered. There should be a good array of yard tools. I would also expect mechanics tool such as wrenches, meters, pliers, gauges, and so forth. Construction tools such as levels, chisels, drills, and saws are also commonly found at this sort of sale.”

Broili says that, as a collector of old tools, he hopes to see some antique tools, “I’m looking forward to finding a primo wood working plane, or even better, an antique tool that I am totally unfamiliar with and will need to research.”

The Swap Meet will be held in the lower parking lot of the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N. on Saturday, September 13, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Cost for a space is $15 for non-members and $10 for PNA members. Sellers must bring their own tables.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2008 PNA Garden Tour September 7

This year’s Phinney Neighborhood Association Garden Tour emphasizes diversity and promises to delight. From an elegant hillside garden with a stunning view to a garden incorporating recycled materials, there is something here for everyone.

The self-guided walking tour includes eight gardens, many of them created with little more than great vision and a lot of hard work. The Garden Tour features a contrast of both professionally designed and installed gardens, and those created by resident gardeners. You will notice an amazing array of plants on the tour and many of the gardens have utilized designs for sustainability, some featuring water catchment systems.

One of the gardens began with the owner's desire to have a garden view from every window. Working with professional salvage landscapers from Green Xross Landscaping, the gardener created a sanctuary. Overgrown ivy, rotting apple trees, untidy shrubs, and old railroad ties were replaced by designed rock beds, curved lawns, metal trellis, patchwork brick pathways and old glass; all creatively applied using reclaimed and recycled materials. Lush and varied mixed borders complete this unique and artistic garden.

In addition to the gardens, the Tour includes an opportunity to purchase $1.00 raffle tickets for a chance to win 1,000 lbs of Zoo Doo! (Thank you to Woodland Park Zoo!) Another exciting addition is a sale of local garden art held at the Phinney Neighborhood Center parking lot; ten percent of the proceeds benefit the PNA.

Gardeners and volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions. The Garden Tour is a great learning experience where design ideas abound for both the novice and the experienced gardener. Cameras and notebooks are allowed.

Sponsored by Swanson’s Nursery, the 2008 Garden Tour will be held on Sunday, September 7, rain or shine. Tickets are $10 for PNA members, $15 for the general public and $5 for children ages 2-12. Tickets are available at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, online at or at Swanson’s Nursery.


This article was written by Joanne Fenn. Photos by Elisa Sherman

You can see more photos of the gardens on the tour here

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Where Are They Now Dep't

A former teacher of kung fu at the Phinney Neighborhood Center has written a beautiful article about what it is like being a transplant to the Northwest.

You can read the piece in the
Smithsonian Magazine.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

I WON! I WON!! I...LOST?!?!? hahah, it's ok...

Howdy folks:

Recently, i entered into the video contest for the Gumshoe/Mystery Week.

At first, my submission was the only one and on the final day of submission (August 6th), there were no other video entries so I thought I'd win by default.

Not so. Apparently, there was a submission but we no one noticed that it was submitted at Red Mill Burgers.

Let me tell you: it was a very superb submission. The whole schtick about "disappearing food" in Red Mill was cleverly done and quite funny. Excellent editing, acting, and script writing.

Mine, however, is an incoherent "quasi-trailer" that barely made sense. In order for it to make sense, you'll have to watch the full 8-minute short film for it to make any sense.

So yeah, my "rival" or "opponent" won the video contest. I just heard the news this morning when I was commuting to work. It's ok, though. I'm not mad or sad. I think I tried my best and I humbly accept the vote of the crowds for this video contest.

If there's gonna be something like this next year, I encourage all of you with video/filmmaking skills to participate. And yes, if this is gonna happen next year, I shall come back and enter that redeem myself.

hahahhaha, oh well, maybe next year, yes?

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Although I've been a correspondent for the PNA blog for a while, I've been waiting until now for something truly important to write about. I've been living in the Phinney neighborhood for all of my eighteen years of life and I feel that its time some of us rethink our transportation and how we go about our daily lives.

For a middleclass neighborhood filled with energy and earth conservation minded residents, I find it appalling that I can walk down the street and see the parking lots of Ken's Market and Red Mill Burgers filled with cars, while not seeing a single bicycle locked to a bike rack. Sure, It’s easier to throw the groceries into the back of your brand new minivan- but is it really necessary? How much effort would it take you to break out your old bike, run down to Gregg's Cycle and buy a front and rear grocery rack? I guarantee it will not only be cheaper than your next seventy-dollar fill up, but it will also have a positive effect on not only our planet, but also your very own neighborhood.

I'm not advocating the complete annihilation of all cars- yes I drive, and I rather enjoy driving, but I also bicycle, or walk, or take a bus. I would just like to ask that the next time you’re out buying organic groceries or supporting some "green" organization, that you think about the options you have yourself to make this world a better and cleaner place.

I hope that Phinney residents will soon realize that you can be cooler on your retro ride from Recycled Cycles, then you ever could in your BMW X5 and will take to the streets. Caring about the environment doesn’t have to be about spending extra money or buying into product labeling. Alternative transportation wont always get the job done, but let's start to realize that it will work for many of us.

Some links to help you get started:
Gregg's Cycle
Recycled Cycles
Cascade Bike Club

Friday, August 8, 2008

I Want to Phinney Ridge (uncut version)

Here's a link to the DIRECTOR'S CUT of my video submission for the "What's So Mysterious About Phinney/Greenwood?" video contest. Imagine: an 8 minute short film whittled down to a bite-sized 40 second quasi-trailer. Enjoy!

Decorate a Zucchini

We are holding the Zucchini 500 here on August 29. Kids will be decorating zukes, attaching wheels, and racing them then down a ramp, similar to those used for pinewood derby cars. I'm collecting fun stuff (already got some weird stuff) that can be used for decorations - stickers, fancy toothpicks, pipe cleaners, etc. If you've got materiel lying around your house that you'd like to unload, just bring it to me and we'll add it to our supply. The fun will take place in the Community Hall from 3:30-5 and I'm also looking for volunteers if you'd like to help out that afternoon. Set-up will begin after 2 and we'll be done by 6.

Judith Wood
Director of Volunteer Programs
Phinney Neighborhood Association

Best times to reach me are Tuesday,
Thursday, or Friday from 9 am - 2 pm

6532 Phinney Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98103

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Just wondering…

Have you noticed that when you type PNA into a famous web search engine the Phinney Neighborhood Association comes up fifth? A few months ago we were further down the list. I wonder what it would take to get us to the top of the list.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Do the entering in the VIDEO CONTESTS!

I know there are a lot of aspiring filmmakers in this neighborhood! You can't lie. You can't hide. SHOW US YOUR TALENTS!

Anyway, Mystery Week (a series of fun fundraising events and activities that benefit the Greenwood Senior Center) and the Gumshoe Walk is coming very soon (August 8th-17th). What is it exactly? Well you should mosey on to:

and you'll find out all the amazing and mysterious activities that will be happening that week.

Anyway, for Mystery Week/Gumshoe, there's a video contest: simply answer the question "What's So Mysterious About Phinney/Greenwood" in a 4o to 45 second video and you can win a wonderful $149.95 cash prize, sponsored by the fabulous folks at Red Mill (who were to cheap to add in 5 cents, bleh. hahahah).

(I could sure use a double bacon deluxe right now)

Anyway, to get a clearer sense of what this questions means, i suggest you take a gander at this hilarious promo video (thanks Mike Veitenhans!) we posted on youtube:

so, all you wonderful Phinney Ridge Filmmakers, please submit your video answers for this contest! For more info, please let us know!

Monday, July 14, 2008

More Kudos for PNA's Well Home Program

Organizing your own toolbank is as easy as holding a meeting, making a list of tools and trading phone numbers. Starting from the Phinney Neighborhood Association, Seattle’s nationally acclaimed Well Home Program grew to serve the whole city, offering tools and training to low-income people throughout the city. Thus, what begins as a pet project might evolve into the next best thing for your town.

So says today's blog entry in the Sustainability Library from the Northfield (Minnesota) Center for Sustainable Living.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Torn From Today's Headlines!

... and yesterday's... and last week's.

Seattle Times - Monday, July 7, 2008
At Green Lake, latest word in poetry is ... umbrellas
For those who missed the Green Lake Poetess after her yearlong hiatus, she was back Sunday with a bold new display.... Allin, a resident artist at Studio-Current on Capitol Hill, said she wants her work to combine poetry with visual and performance art to broaden its appeal... Besides her Studio-Current gig, Allin runs a monthly poetry reading at Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Center. Day to day, she works in a Ballard boatyard to pay the bills.

See below for a description of Mimi's last event at the PNA. Untitled [Intersection] was conceived as a live art series, designed to strengthen the Seattle arts community by cross-fertilizing, fostering dialog between genres and bringing fresh talent to the fore. On the 4th Friday of every month, between 7-9 pm, Untitled [Intersection] showcases experimental performance art and exceptional poetry.

Seattle P-I - Sunday, July 6, 2008
State and local governments side with builders on runoff pollution
.... Those methods ["low impact" techniques] slurp up rainwater that, in traditional developments, carries away pesticides, fertilizer, oil, dog poop and the other residues of our daily lives, dumping them in a nearby stream or bay. We know how to stop this so-called stormwater pollution: development that mimics natural conditions, with big swaths of greenery to soak up rainwater. This building method minimizes hard surfaces such as rooftops and asphalt, replacing them if possible with plant-covered roofs, porous pavement and other techniques that soak up the rain.

Of course you know the PNA's Well Home Program features many classes in sustainable building and living.

And finally, this one isn't specifically local but did you think all that run off went some place else?

The Christian Science Monitor - June 27, 2008 edition
A holistic approach to saving the sea
Scientists recognize that species cannot be managed in isolation; management must be based ecosystem-wide – including earth and sky.

>>Back to main blog page

Thursday, July 3, 2008

PNA's Tool Library Rules the World!

Well, perhaps a small part of the world. Specifically, a web site by the name of WorldChanging Seattle. In a discussion about "owning the experience rather than the stuff itself" our venerable tool library gets kudos for helping to keep down the proliferation of products:

"...If we take the product-service model to a smaller scale, we get down to my issue with the hammer. The Phinney Neighborhood Center's tool lending library is one example of group ownership working to everyone's advantage. This program, still in a growth phase with limited hours, nevertheless shows the possibilities. For reasonable weekly use fees that generally range from $2 to $30 (a few expensive appliances run $80-$115), you can borrow the tool you need for your job, and then return it (with no need to clear another storage space in your home!). Available tools include basics like extension cords and wrenches, yard tools like lawn mowers and pruning shears, and even advanced equipment like a pressure washer, cement mixer or table saw."

You can read the entire article here.

BTW: The PNA’s Tool Lending Library encourages you to consider the donation of new, used and antique tools and home construction, repair and maintenance books and magazines. Bring your materials by the library or call (206) 546-3119. The tool lending library is open Wednesdays from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Here's a little tidbit sent to me by Mimi Allin about the inagural event in the UNTITLED [INTERSECTION], 2008 series.

here are some photos
from our first event in Ed Medeiros park it was absolutely wonderful!!
&i don't just mean the weather

the crowd changed so much
we had a much broader palate
with farmers & small children
on the outskirts
some wanderers of course

along with those who had come to see jeremy & paige i've got to find a way to fund this program i really want to pay the performers &this is the lowest cost method i've ever tried for producing a show i spend less time setting the space up & less money on food so whatever money could be found would be able to go directly to the artists anyway i invite you all to attend one of these short sweet stellar outdoor events the next one is friday 25 july it only last an hour from 7-8pm thanks, mimi

More about the event is here.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where to eat during your lunch break

Ok, i usually take my lunch break around 1 or 2pm. I'm just crazy like, it's to kinda avoid the rushhour folks, though at Red Mill, a lot of people seem to share my idea of eating lunch at 2pm.

Anyway, here's a list of local places that i go to if i eat out for lunch:

Red Mill Burgers--double bacon deluxe w/ an oreo shake...*drool* Surprising, i love their fries. I know their onion rings are supreme (according to GQ, that is), but i love their fries. I'm planning to go there later on this week.

El Chupacabra--tasty tasty Mexican food, reasonably priced. I had the torta. and the guac dip. NICE

Fresh Flours--I LOVE their selection of baked goods. I especially love their fruit galettes (esp. w/ raspberries). However, their hot chocolate is ehhh, and that's why you should go to...

Chocolati Cafe--best hot chocolate, hands down, especially

Mr. Gyros--cheap and delicious gyros. the greek fries (feta cheese and spices?) is nice and the customer service is warm, casual, and down-home.

Mae's Cafe--i forgot what it was called, but they have this chile/hashbrowns/omelette topped with cheese and ground beef. *drool* best place to go for heavy breakfasts

Ken's Market--I like their deli sandwiches.

Phinney Ridge was mentioned in this week's issue of Seattle Weekly in the Food & Drink section. Specifically, they were reviewing Ed's Kort Haus, which is roughly a block away from the Phinney Center. I never ate there, but i'm curious now, considering Ed serves "exotic meat" burgers...we'll see, check out the link below:

>>Back to main blog page

post-commentary re: gala of my C.A.P. documentary

Yesterday was the "premier gala" for my CAP project--a short documentary about teens and their concept of community. We set up shop at Room 7 and I was say a super special thank you to Emily, my supervisor, for putting in an INSANE amount of work to make sure that this gala was successful. Especially the food and the potluck "spread"...well, it wasn't exactly a potluck, but we had an assortment of nice treats. I was personally proud of my "Dirt Bed Pie", which is essentially a ginormous Dirt Cup*'s extreme decadance is only worth one or two servings. After awhile, you kinda get sick.

So, i started the day to do some last minute voiceover recording and editing (*gasp*) because i had to re-do the ending. At 11am i finished my film (took me 3.5 days to edit) instead of a 7 minute quasi-music video, it became a 24 minute standardized-investigative-journalism-documentary. Very standard, actually.

and then it was off to PANIC about the gala event. I had to set up the sound system, the laptop and LCD projector and make sure all the food and volunteers and furnishings get in room 7! We needed a longer audio cord, we needed drinks, we needed coffee...need need NEED. Thankfully, my supervisor, Emily, was there to the rescue and I cannot find the words to express my deepest gratitude for her dedication, wisdom, support and wherewithal to make sure the gala would be solid.

i was surprised i was able to maintain my composure and calmness throughout the rest of the activity. I was kinda disappointed at my opening remarks during the gala though...I was hoping to be more eloquent and loquacious, but i ended up being terse and kinda nonchalant in a non-ironic way, and then we were off to watch the film

i was actually SURPRISED that people were laughing at some parts of the film.

Thank you, also, to all the staff and volunteers who also contributed in the preparation for this event and the guests who attended. In addition, thank you to all the teens and partner organizations who made my film possible.

All in all, i'm pretty proud of my film. Sure, i have some self-deprecating criticisms about the film aesthetics, but i think it was great overall. People loved it. I'm also glad to see my fellow AmeriCorps friend Kim from CWB show up that day. I thank you for your support as well.

And without further adieu, my self-deprecating criticisms

* jerky/jarring cuts in the editing; timing wasn't as sharp as i'd like it to be

* not enough "varied" interviews--I would've liked to see more Asian American teens in the final cut...we had two, but it was pretty poor footage that I couldn't use it in any form or fashion. Or, not just ethnicity/gender, but more varied locations, like people from West Seattle or from Renton or Kent or Shoreline.

* no car chase scenes =(

But, it was still good and i think we had a wonderful group discussion afterwards. Me and Ed seem to be on the same wavelength about the purpose and themes of my documentary--the value of communicating to the youth, trying open up dialogue. The possibilities of mentorship and less-intensive volunteerism to draw in teenagers to our communities...there's more, but i'd like all of you to watch the doc FIRST before I spoil anything more!

Want a FREE DVD copy of "What Does Community Mean to Us?" Please call or email us here at the Phinney Neighborhood Center: 206-783-2244 or

* dirt cup: a kids dessert, a "layer cake" consisting of layers of chocolate pudding, oreo crumbs, garnsihed with gummy worms, cool whip, marshmallows, crushed almonds, for that "dirty" look, heheheheh...

>>Back to main blog page

Monday, June 30, 2008

No Phinney Farmers Market This Week

There will be no Phinney Farmer’s Market on Friday, July 4, because the farmers are taking a holiday too!

Meanwhile, save the Date of August 24 for “The Incredible Feast – Where the Farmers Are the Stars” - Seattle’s gathering of gourmet chefs and local farmers, with over 25 unique dishes made from delicious local farm products – plus live music, country-fair-style games, a wine & beer garden, and more!

The Feast takes place Sunday, August 24, 4-7pm, at the Phinney Farmers Market site. Tickets available starting mid-June on (adults $65, children aged 5-13 are $10, aged 4 and under are free). All proceeds to benefit the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance and the Good Farmer Fund. For more information, call (206)632-5234.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008


The world is not likely to run out of beer anytime soon, certainly not before the PNA's annual Summer Beer Taste on July 19th (see below), but I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar headline on at least one of Seattle's daily papers any time now. (You know which one I referring to!)

Perhaps you've heard talk or seen the news that brewski is costing more moolah lately because of that darn bio-fuel! Well, like most things in the news, it isn't exactly so. For a reasonable assessment of this crisis (sorry… I'm writing like a journalist again!) you could do worse than to read this article in the June issue of Geotimes magazine. Be sure to take the poll "If the cost of beer went up, would you change what you drink?"

Personally, I'm walking to the beach this July 4th and taking a big, not-plastic, jug of tap water!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Talking Trash

Some PNA staff and community members are getting serious about waste reduction.

We want to send less to the landfill. We want to compost more. We want to recycle. The PNA has made the leap to weekly clean green pickup, which means we can compost all food scraps (meat and dairy too) not just veggies!

You can help.

Level one: When at the PNA, THINK about your garbage and where it should go. Can it compost? Can it be recycled? Does it need to go to the landfill? If you don't see the right place to dispose of it, ASK!

Level two: A team is forming to help improve composting and recycling options at the PNA. We are looking at the current systems and designing improvements that will make it easy for everyone who comes to the PNA to sort and dispose of things properly. New bins, clear signs, new waste vendors and programs, maybe even worm bins on site! If you want to be a part of this committee, contact

For instance, did you notice that most waste produced at the Phinney Farmer's Market is compostable? ALL of the food scraps (plate scrapings including meat, cherry pits, carrot tops, etc) paper plates, and napkins, should go in the compost bin. Pizza boxes are compostable if they are greasy, and recycleable if they are clean! They get stacked next to the bins.

Anything recyclable at home can go in the recycle bin here, too.

Really, if we get it right, just about the only things in the landfill-bound trash can should be plastic utensils, plastic lids, and drinking straws, (and if you must--disposable diapers and dog poop)! We may even get our vendors to switch to compostable utensils and cups, so keep your eye out for that!

Help us out, if you see something in the wrong bin, be a good neighbor and sort it out!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

To Beer Or Not To Beer, That Is The Question

Don’t miss Shakesbeer in the Parking Lot, the 3rd Annual PNA Summer Beer Taste on Saturday, July 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. Beer tasting, music, snacks and fun takes place outside in the lower parking lot of the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. North.

Tickets cost $22 for PNA members, $27 for the general public and $10 for designated drivers and can be purchased at the Phinney Neighborhood Center or online at Admission includes your choice of ten tastes from a variety of microbrews plus pub style snacks. Meet local brewers, learn about their brewing styles and enjoy the results.

Cheers to our Summer Beer Taste Sponsors, The Barking Dog Ale House, the Park Pub and Prost! Drink locally and enjoy a summer beer at one of these neighborhood pubs.

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New Preschool Programs At PNA

The Phinney Neighborhood Association is pleased to announce the addition of two new half-day preschool programs beginning in September. Each half-day preschool program will operate daily throughout the school year from 9 a.m. - noon. One will be onsite at the Phinney Neighborhood Center (PNC) the other will be at Whittier Elementary School in Ballard.

The PNA’s new half-day preschool programs are modeled after our popular Whittier Kids! full day preschool program. The new programs will offer preschool age children (ages 3 - 5) daily opportunities for learning and growth and will feature a low staff to child ratio of 1:6. The preschools will use the Creative Curriculum, a play based curriculum model for early childhood. Both new preschools will offer child centered play, circle time, field trips, music and dance, dramatic play, arts & crafts, science investigations, learning centers, sensory explorations and much more fun! In addition, the new preschools will offer flexible scheduling to best meet the individual needs of families.

For more information on the new half-day preschool programs, please contact the PNA at (206) 783-0851 or Registration information can also be found on our website at

[This post is from the current edition of the Phinney Ridge Review]

>>Back to main blog page

Phinney-Greenwood New Business Round Up

By Travis Warren
[This post is from the current edition of the Phinney Ridge Review]

Thanks to the many new local businesses popping up along Greenwood and down 65th. this summer the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhood is filled with new possibilities for adults and children looking to learn, play, shop, drink, remodel or enjoy a meal.

First off, on the Phinney-Greenwood corridor a new café opened its doors in March at 8560 Greenwood Ave. The Sip and Ship is the second location... for this unique combination coffeehouse, gift shop and shipping center. Like its sister store in Ballard, the Greenwood Sip and Ship has a decidedly local feel. Upon entering you might notice the Greenwood gear in the boutique area to your right, while to the left there is a full service café stocked with local pastries and coffee from Olympia-based roaster, Batdorf and Bronson. Continuing on to the back of the store, a customer can ship packages at the shipping counter, set up a private mailbox or peruse the local art hanging on the ample wall space.

If you’re in the area without a package to ship or a coffee craving but you do have a toddler who’s full of energy, you might consider stopping by Playmatters on Greenwood at 77th. Playmatters is an 1100 square foot activity- focused facility, offering games, toys, and space geared towards children five and under. Owner Val Anker has applied her 20 years of experience working with children to the facility. From the organic cleaning products she uses to the various workshops offered in the evenings, Playmatters is an excellent resource for both parents and children. Playmatters is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for drop in visits and Sunday for events.

After witnessing the bright greens, oranges and purples of Playmatters you might be inspired to create a bright new play space of your own. The folks at Space: a Design Build Collective have opened a new showroom on 76th and Greenwood and will be happy to help you with all aspects of your project. At the Space Design Center a person can expect to find advice and services on topics as varied as ecologically friendly building materials to the details of feng shui design. A design consultation onsite is available at a fraction of the cost of an at-home visit. The professionals who make up the collective offer comprehensive resources for any building or décor related task. The Space Design Center is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and by appointment Tuesday and Wednesday.

Traveling a little further south onto Phinney, Chef Tokara has some unique catering options for those who have perhaps just finished their dream remodel and are looking to entertain friends and family. Tokara Japanese Confectionery is located at 6208 Phinney Ave. If you peak through the gate you’ll be greeted by the sight of the sweetest Zen garden this side of the Arboretum. The confectionery is open only on certain days every year, generally coinciding with the dates of Japanese festivals. Those in search of traditional Japanese confections need not wait for the doors to open however, as Chef Tokara’s creations can be pre-ordered for special events or be found around Seattle at various cafés and restaurants.

Delicious Japanese confections may make a person thirsty and brew master Joel Vandenbrink is doing his best to quench that thirst at Two Beers Brewing Company. Located on 49th and Aurora, Two Beers is a distribution only brewery filling kegs and the occasional growler for local beer lovers. Currently available at the Park Pub, beer enthusiasts can expect to find the Crooked Belgium Wit, Two Beers’ seasonal offering. In addition to a rotating seasonal, Joel will also be filling kegs with his 20/20 Blonde Ale and Immersion Amber Ale, offered year round. Look for the fledgling brewery at this year’s Washington Brewers Festival at St. Edwards Park over Father’s Day weekend.

If Two Beers’ malted delights have made you thirsty for another tasty brew or if you’re looking for a fine establishment to enjoy a friendly football (soccer) match on the television, The Dray might be the place for you. Just opened on corner of NW 65th and 7th The Dray offers coffee, pastries and sandwiches for the whole family from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., while catering to the 21 and older crowd from 9 p.m. until close. Much of the décor includes custom touches from local artisans and free wifi is available. Co-owner and bartender Travis Eaton will be standing by to serve a latte, pour a pint or fill a growler.

It’s been theorized that Asian-inspired tapas and beers go together just as well as soccer and beers but if you’re not one to take an expert’s word for it, the Dray’s next door neighbor, the Tiger Tail will give you a chance to test the theory for yourself. The Tiger Tail offers a full bar with an extensive list of saki and eight beers on tap. Stop in for an impressive $1 PBR happy hour offering from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday and stay to enjoy the Asian flavored décor and local art.

A day’s worth of playing, designing and drinking might finally lead a hungry neighborhood resident to Il Giardino, an Italian eatery just on the same block as The Dray and Tiger Tail. Il Giardino offers a full bar, patio dining on sunny days, as well as two floors of indoor seating. Live music can be heard on Fridays complementing the full traditional Italian menu.

With so many new businesses opening in the Phinney-Greenwood area, local residents are going to be hard pressed as to where to spend their time. Luckily, rain or shine, there’s something new to try no matter what you’re in the market for.

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Two P-Patches, Four Parks In One Morning Walk

The Phinney Neighborhood Center (PNC) at is a fine starting point for city walks in any direction. And most any direction provides a hill climb and a close encounter with a barista. This occasional series guides walkers on roughly six-mile jaunts with notes about points of interest.

By Peter Hendrickson
The P-patch program is alive and well in Seattle, and particularly well represented with five community gardens along the Greenwood to Fremont fertile crescent. Cross the street west from the PNC for a grande mocha latte and pumpkin scone to fuel a level and downhill walk north along Greenwood Ave. to soak in the heart of the Urban Village Center. With spring, the activity of the restaurants and small shops spills onto the sidewalks, inviting a stroll rather than winter’s quickened pace. Quick, name the business in the Becker Building.

At 85th St. (one mile) check the billboard at the Taproot Theatre, then head north... again on 1st Ave to monitor the Piper Village mixed use construction project. The absence of sidewalk is remedied at Sandel Playground on 90th, a great place to walk your dog, zip your skateboard down the curved asphalt, wade with the kids or chase a Frisbee. Head west to 3rd Ave then south to NW 88th where, a half block west, a white picket fence overhung with lilac signals the Greenwood P-patch, up the rosemary flanked salvaged pavement walk through the archway in a neighborhood of modest post-war homes.

Chat with a gardener or simply admire the edibles and florals. Don’t miss the impressive vine at the northern neighbor’s house. Exit east via 87th to the corner of Evanston Ave(two miles) for an illustrated history of Greenwood Park. The text and photos in the entry arch tell the story of Japanese market gardens lovingly tended then lost due to internment during the war, later to become the Otani Greenhouses. At the northern end of this 2.2 acre gem, the urban toilet demands kudos for the “Closed” sign which appears in the ironwork when the gate is latched for privacy—rugged aesthetics. The Seattle to Everett Interurban rail line ran this way with a 1910 inaugural electric trolley trip. By 1939 autos made the trolley redundant but the right-of-way is being reclaimed for cyclists and walkers.

Wander east on 89th St to Linden Ave. for a pleasant stroll south to 83rd St and down the hill to Aurora. Cross Aurora and take Green Lake Dr N (3 miles) towards Green Lake. Hug the shoreline where you can walk, run, stroll, cycle, skate or mosey past Bathhouse Theatre, keeping an eye out for the well lit crosswalk and light at 66th to cross Aurora.

Linden Orchard Park is two blocks away down Linden Ave. at 67th St. This wellcultivated P-patch/Park was once an orchard and kitchen garden but now sports an arroyo stream bed for play and water recycling. This wheelchair accessible gathering spot also features a tool shed with a turf roof, a stained glass window and mosaic pavers. Inscriptions on several paver tiles tell the story of strong community support. Like many blocks in the area, the curb strip planting is elegant. Only the entry gate at 67th St. seems a bit out of place on its galvanized supports.

P-Patch Community Gardens started in the early 70s when the City of Seattle bought the Picardo Farm (there’s the “P”). Historian Judy Hucka traces city gardens back to the Boeing Bust, hard economic times. UW student Daryln Rundberg Del Boca started Neighbors in Need, using part of the Picardo truck farm so Wedgwood Elementary students and families could grow vegetables in 8 by 8 foot plots. Surviving three decades, P-patches are now a cornerstone of City’s Department of Neighborhoods with seven full-time staff and over 2000 plots. Nearly a third of gardeners report they grow 50% or more of their food during April to October. Most gardens have waiting lists.

Return to the PNC with a brisk walk up N 67th St, pausing to catch your breath and the view at the bench on the corner of Dayton Ave. N, about 4 miles. This walk is half a Figure 8 walk. Next column the other loop will sweep south to visit three more P-Patches including the vertiginous Billy Goat’s Bluff, no relation to the Fremont Troll.

[This post is from the current edition of the Phinney Ridge Review]

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Strawberries Slo-wly Come Into Season In Northwest

By A-P Hurd

If you grew up on the East Coast, strawberries are a sign that spring has finally arrived. On the West Coast, spring creeps along slower and steadier, and by the time we have hot enough weather for local strawberries, it’s full-blown summer. But this year, the West Coast spring has been slow to arrive, with only a dash of warm sunny weekend days. So it may come to pass that when we see our first strawberries at this year’s Farmers Market, they may coincide with the first warm blast of summer, like they do back east.

Those first local strawberries have an intensity of flavor that can’t be matched by the well-travelled grocery store variety. Like tomatoes, great flavor and texture... seem to be incompatible with travelling any distance at all. In fact, the best strawberries I’ve ever had are the almost-over-the-top-ripe ones picked at a berry farm, on my knees on the muddy matted hay that lines the spaces between the rows. They come home in shallow trays or pans, where the weight of even a few layers turns the bottom ones to juice. These summer strawberries are so small and red and ripe that you can mash them with a fork on a piece of toast and they taste instantly like jam.

What you’ll do with them when they hit the farm stand is a good question to ponder. It may even warm your heart under these interminable gray skies. Pie? Milkshake? Angel food cake and whipped cream? In my book, when it comes to strawberries, less is more. Strawberries, pink lemonade, ice and rum make a mean daiquiri (or strawberry slush for the kids if you omit the rum). Even more traditional, sliced strawberries sprinkled with sugar and mint and left to sit for an hour are perhaps the ultimate ending to a summer meal. The juice that comes out in the bottom of the bowl tastes more like concentrated strawberry than anything in the world. If Patrick Süskind’s character Jean-Baptiste Grenouille had made essence of strawberry in the book Perfume, this is how he would have done it.

If you’re hankering for the red berries of summer, you could do worse than to start your weekends at the Phinney Farmers Market, which began this year on May 16. Or go fetch some right and ripe out of the field. A great website to find pick-your-own farms in the area is WAnortheast.htm Eat ’em while they’re here. Strawberries are a testament to the pleasure of eating local, and a scrumptious connection to this place and time of year.

[This post is from the current edition of the Phinney Ridge Review]

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tutelage follow-up

Some time ago, I posted a blog regarding “Tutelage” and some upcoming, developing projects from the Education Program. We got some of our own ideas for a tutoring program, but we thought it best to look for the professionals in the “biz” to look for advice. Thus, a few days ago (last Thursday) we visited 826 Seattle, a drop-in writing/tutoring center in Greenwood. They’re roughly a mile or so away from the Phinney Center. Myself and uber-volunteer Cheryl...—also a contributor to this blog—were assigned as the envoy to the PNA to 826. Their place was pretty cool—it’s a “space travel” shop with a tutoring center in the back. I only recently found out... it was 826 simply by chance several weeks ago. I was in the Greenwood area eating lunch (Mr. Gyros!!!) when I passed by the “space travel shop” and noticed on a tiny corner of the windows was the sign “826 Writing Center”. I was shocked because (for other reasons) I’ve been trying so hard for the past several months to find 826’s location and it was right under my nose the entire time. Thank you, location-of-Mr.-Gyro’s-so-I-can-spot-826! =p

Anyway, Cheryl and I met their programming coordinator, Toffer (not “Topher”, heheheh) at 826. Great guy, very good sense of humor.

We learned a lot about their drop-in system of tutoring. Learned lots of great ideas about what the PNA’s tutoring program should and should not be. By no means are we trying to “compete” with these folks (in fact, check their website, it’s just that we want to see where this program can possibly take us if we do implement it next year.

Now, let’s turn the clock back 24 hours before that Thursday. That Wednesday we had an ice cream social/meet ‘n greet for the Filpino Alumni Chapter of Seattle University and our mentorship program. This is because I’ve developed a similar program at my old college (SU), except it focuses more on mentoring Filipino American undergrads rather than actual tutoring. I had a wonderful time—I finally met my “protégé”, a psychology major named Pauline (I was a psych major, too). She’s smart and funny and we hit it off quite well that night. We had a blast getting to know each and we barely even mentioned “psychology” I look forward guiding her as mentor, even though my “psychology skills” aren’t up to snuff lately. hahahah

Now you’re thinking: drop-in writing centers? Ice cream socials? Filipino American alumni at Jesuit colleges? Space Travel boutiques? Rex! You’re totally deviating from the main topic—PHINNEY NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION!!!

Well, think about it—if we indeed have this Tutoring Program for the PNA, think of the wonderful benefits that might happen. I think the “spirit of mentorship” can be applied to our little Education project next year. Perhaps, it’s not so much about teaching people a skill, or help write an college entrance essay or do calculus. Maybe—just maybe—it’s about neighbors who can identify with other neighbors through similar interests, skill sets or challenges that they can connect and build their own sense of community. Going back to my mentorship example, I feel that my protégé Pauline didn’t necessarily need someone to help her study for various psych tests, nor help her in her research. Maybe we just need someone who can relate and acknowledge our interests and challenges as a human being. I think we just need that someone to recognize us, even though we might be the students, the protégés, the neophytes.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Good to go!!!! (re: Phinney Center CTC)

Harvey Friedman...wonderful guy and super duper CTC volunteer.

I just want to take this time to give a special shout-out to Harvey for being an outstanding volunteer. He supervises open lab on Thursday mornings and teaches several computer courses in Linux and OpenSource programs.

He's always there for me to help me troubleshoot the PCs (being that I'm not the greatest of computer whizkids) at the CTC and recently got one our "out of order" computer up and running again! He even volunteered to upgrade the memory on that particular desktop!

Thank you, Harvey, for all your hard work for the CTC. We all appreciate it immensely--not just the staff or the patrons, but the neighborhood in general.

Now that I have your attention, if you read the email newsletter or have gotten a phone call or email re: CTC, you probably know about the survey we're doing for the CTC program. We want to hear your thoughts on what you like/dislike about our labs and our programming and how we can improve things for next year. To take the CTC survey, please click on the following link:

or, you may visit the PNA's website-- click on the link "technology survey"

dum laborus prosperous
* "As long as we are working, we are prospering"

Monday, June 2, 2008

Moving Shop, Phinney-Style!

Some of you may have noticed that Phinney Greenwood businesses seem to be playing Musical Chairs--Metropolis and Turabi switched places, the flower shop moved up Greenwood Avenue almost to 85th Street, and now Santoro's Books is moving in to the flower shop's old space!

Even more fun than that, with these short hop moves, our neighborhood businesses have been inviting their neighbors to help them move. Metropolis threw a moving party a couple of months ago. With generous help from so many friends and neighbors, they brag that everything was moved in 45 minutes!

Carol Santoro set her moving party for Friday May 30 at noon. I had missed the Metropolis move, so I was determined to get to this one, both for the great photo op and the fun of helping out.

As I grabbed a sandwich at Ken's Market, I could see the parade of hand trucks crossing at the light and heading up the street. What fun! How cool! I can't wait to help! So I headed across the street to Santoro's. When I got there at 12:05pm, I found out what I had seen was the very last load! They'd started by 11:30 and I'd missed the fun (and the photos)! Oh, no!

I went over to see the new shop and was invited to help unpack and shelve the books. Now mind you, to a book-geek with a gimp foot, this sounds even more fun than pushing hand trucks up and down the block! 15 or so of us stayed and had a wonderful time shelving books and visiting with our neighbors.

We each picked our favorite section, and with a little bit of guidance from Carol and the Santoro's staff, the alphabetizing and artful arranging began!

By 3 pm almost everything was unpacked and shelved. The staff was fine-tuning the spacing and remarking that they were at least a day ahead of schedule.

Many thanks for the generosity of friends, neighbors, and neighborhood businesses open to helping each other out.
That's how we do it in my neighborhood.

Howdy neighbors!

Welcome to the PNA Blog! This is my first posting and actually my first blog entry anywhere ever! Please pardon my neophyte enthusiasm and my technical fumbles as I figure out how this works.

I hear Stu has been talking about me already, so I can’t get away without posting a few photos in my next post after I introduce myself in this one.

I am a PNA spouse and uber-volunteer (I ask the rest of you staff-spouses--how can you NOT be and keep a happy marriage?) I have a particular fondness for several PNA programs and events.

Today’s Top Ten: (! at the risk of sounding like Ericka Newman! )

  • Farmer’s Market!
  • Day of the Dead!
  • Community Fruit Tree Harvest!
  • Mystery Book Exchange!
  • Gumshoe Walk and Mystery Week!
  • Greenwood Garage Sale Day!
  • PNA Auction!
  • Shop Talk!
  • Anything related to sustainability or neighborhood gatherings and gathering spaces!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

PNA Rates 4.5 of 5 on Yelp

In the last 6 weeks 2 people from Seattle and one from Poulsbo have written reviews of the PNA in Yelp. Here's some of what they say:

"A great neighborhood resource, with community classes in all kinds of things..."

"The PNA is great, ... especially the Tool Rental program!"

"I took a set of evening classes there and loved how alive and diverse the activities were there. Everything from art displays, real estate classes to computer and martial arts. Plus, the wood floors..."

Read the whole thing here... and if you're in the neighborhood, stop by and see the wood floors for yourself. This old school building really is amazing. I have a friend who actually went to school here. If you ask him nice he'll even show you the coat hook where he used to hang his jacket.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Phinney Ridge Review Goes to Printer

If you're wondering about my flurry of posts today, well, it's due to putting the Summer Issue of the Phinney Ridge Review (PRR) to bed this morning and getting the June Member Newsletter (both email and paper versions) out a couple of days ago. (BTW, let me know if you want to help save a tree and discontinue your hard copy member newsletter.) Now I have time to take care of other business... such as posting to the blog! Here's a sneak peak at the contents of the Summer PRR.

Cover: Modern Dog Poster Art. A visit with Robynne Raye who makes the ArtWalk posters written by Molly Manor.

Front Page: To Beer or not to Beer. Summer Beer Taste
Phinney Farmers Market Open Until Oct 3
Summer Bingo/Karaoke at GSC
New Preschool Programs at PNA

Other contents include the President's Report, a new morning walk by our walking correspondent Peter Hendrickson, our food writer A-P Hurd offers a meditation on strawberries, a story about how local "Cool Moms" are helping to mitigate global warming by Divya Krishnan and a round up of new area businesses written by Travis Warren. This last item is something new. We hope to be able to cover more new business by writing a single round up article rather than individual stories. Let us know what you think. In addition to all this there's information about the Greenwood Car Show, the Greenwood Seafair Parade, the Summer class schedule and much, much more in the Summer PRR. Look for hard copy in your mail box (USPS) and in stores and the like all around the neighborhood next week.