News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood


Entries from November 2010

Montlake Bridge traffic alert for Saturday

November 30th, 2010 by master

WSDOT maintenance crews will clean under the Montlake Bridge this Saturday (12/4) from 6am to 11:30am. During the work, the left lane in both directions will be closed. WSDOT says some of the work will be noisy as crews clean out the large pits where the bridge counterweights sit. Expect congestion and delays during that time.

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Neptune Theatre to close, reopen with new focus

November 29th, 2010 by master

One of the U-District’s classic movie houses is in for a big change. Our news partners at the Seattle Times report that Landmark Theatres will cease operations at the Neptune in February.  After that, the Neptune will undergo a facelift and reopen in the spring operated by the Seattle Theater Group. 

Neptune Theatre image from Google street view

Instead of full-time film programming, the Neptune’s new focus will be on concerts, comedy and other performing arts.  Seattle Theater Group, which also operates the Paramount and Moore theaters, says it hopes to continue the Neptune’s role in the Seattle International Film Festival and other film events.

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U-District History: Ice skating on Lake Washington and professors on skis

November 29th, 2010 by master

Last week’s pre-Thanksgiving snowstorm left some motorists with little to be thankful for as they waited in Interstate-5 traffic for hours.

This one, though, won’t be one for the history books. Probably not even a “decade’s worst” list. Then again, it’s only November, and a La-Nina winter looms ahead.

Let’s just hope we won’t have a repeat of Feb., 1916 blizzard that dropped 21.5 inches during 24-hours in Seattle, still a record. It was, in the words of UW atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass, “the biggest of the big” Washington snow storms.

Around the U-District that year, workers heaved snow off the roof of the university’s Denny Hall. They weren’t interested in sniping unsuspecting students below. No lightheartedness here. Actually, nothing light at all; the roof could have collapsed under the tremendous weight of all that snow.

A few yards away, the university’s grandstands did collapse. Apparently, the wet snow weighed a lot more than the hundreds of people the grandstands were meant to accommodate.

The Daily of 1916 reported during a 1917, anniversary-story that the weather hampered travel so much that “professors came to classes on skis and in wagons when they came at all.” For freshmen registration, a whopping total of 22 students braved the snowy weather to register, still a record low.

In another winter first, the U-District played host to the first UW ice-skating competition on a frozen Lake Washington during Jan., 1930. The Daily had the details:

“Each aggregation will be built around four men, every one of whom will circle the course twice – a distance of approximately 700 yards.”

The winning team, though, seems lost to history.

Oh, yes, and our lovely snow-maiden photograph. That was the result of some vigorous sculpting by some university students during 1950:

“Take a little snow, add the right touch of moisture, skill, willingness, and memory, stir up a little college blood, and what do you get? Answer: Minerva, the goddess of love – in snow, yet.  The statue is currently reclining on a snow bank in front of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity, where passing students can view with full appreciation this high tribute to – ah – art.”

The inevitable melting of the 1950 storm, the only snowfall to rival 1916’s, The Daily reporters chronicled these happenings:

“Campus walkways turned to slush and then to ice. The Book Store’s basement stockroom began to leak. Coeds fell into interesting heaps. Noses ran. Men cursed.”

Chaos. We’ll have to wait and see what’s in store for this winter.

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Santa arrives at U Village

November 27th, 2010 by master

By Joon Yi

U Village holiday shoppers might feel a bit more Christmas spirit now that a certain red-clothed, white-bearded man has taken up temporary residence next to Fran’s Chocolate.

Santa Claus has arrived with reindeer and trees, and quickly went about setting up his “Santa Cabin.” Nearby rests the Christmas Giving Tree, a charity tree under which passersby can place gifts for donation. Inside the Santa Cabin, anyone to take a picture with Santa Claus. The cabin is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Santa takes a trip to “feed the reindeer” from 2-3 p.m. daily, and he probably has a bite to eat as well.  Photographs are for sale in various packages, prices ranging from $16 to$46.’

In front of Ben Bridge and next to Headlines Salon stands a tall Giving Tree. This tree holds “wish tags” that anyone can take to be a Santa for charity. To take part in this event, take a tag that best interests you, purchase the gift for the person on the tag and then return the unwrapped gift and put it in the box.  Last year, there were more than 1,000 gifts donated through the Giving Tree. The tree and box will be there from Nov. 26 to Dec. 20 to give you plenty of time to shop for a heart-warming purpose.

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Person of the Week: U-District Farmers Market's Bill Whitbeck

November 26th, 2010 by master

By Aina Nadia Mohd Rafee

“These mussels have just arrived on shore this morning!” said Bill Whitbeck to his customers.

On an early Saturday morning, Whitbeck from Taylor Shellfish Farm is one of the many farmers who keep coming back to the U-District Farmers’ Market.

With food on the minds of many this week, we’re profiling Whitbeck as our Person of the Week.  He, along with many others, will be at the U-District Farmer’s Market Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the corner of Northeast 50th Street and University Way.

Whitback has been working with Taylor Shellfish Farm, a locally-owned business based in Shelton, WA for over seven years now. Whitman said that the reason why the business loves to come back to the market every week is because of its community feel.

“Everybody knows everyone.” said Whitbeck.

The most valuable asset to their business is their relationship with the customer. After being a part of the U-District Farmers Market for over seven years now, Whitbeck knows all the regular customers.

Taylor Shellfish Market has grown shellfish in the bays of Puget Sound for 130 years now, said Whitbeck. Today, the business has expanded to Samish,Willapa and Quilcene, WA. Their specialties includes fresh supply of scallops, clams and geoducks.

This fresh, local food can be accessible to anyone. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or food stamps) can be redeemed at the Farmers Market as well.

In addition to the Farmers Market, Whitbeck arranges deliveries of the seafood supplies to the restaurants.

Known to his colleagues as “Oyster Bill”, Whitbeck’s work requires him to not only oversee the business at Seattle Farmers’ Market but also manage orders from local restaurants.

“We supply our product to some of the best restaurants in Seattle,” he said.

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Food bank begins holiday drive on UW campus

November 26th, 2010 by master

by Candace Winegrad

The holiday season is officially upon us, and for many that can mean struggling to make ends meet.

“Winter weather means colder temperatures and higher utility costs for everyone, which is especially hard on low income families,” said Joe Gruber, Executive Director of the University District Food Bank.

With Thanksgiving passing and Christmas looming, people will want to celebrate. So this week through the end of the year, the food bank will host a drive on the UW campus.

“[The] holidays create pressure to celebrate with more food and with family so food bank families need to have food for these celebrations and save money to travel,” Gruber added.

As a result, the food bank sees an annual rise in traffic.

“We probably get about 10 percent busier during the holidays than we are normally,” Gruber said. “However, we [were] already at record service levels before the holidays, so this increase puts extra pressure on our organization.”

While collection barrels can be found in various locations (outside of classrooms, in staff lounges, etc.), Gruber says that students can get even more involved.

“You can get your department or residence hall or even the IMA to host one. We deliver and pick up,” said Gruber.

A list of the most needed items for the drive can be found here.

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Wednesday weather scene

November 24th, 2010 by master

The UW has canceled classes for Wednesday.  Here are updates from the Seattle Department of Transportation:

SDOT continues working to prevent freezing on snow routes:

  • Currently the City has 17 trucks with salt spreaders and two flusher trucks deployed.
  • Snow routes are in good condition.
  • There was no significant re-freezing of cleared roadways during the past 24 hours.
  • There are no significant problems on the snow route network.
  • The Alaskan Way Viaduct and the West Seattle High Rise Bridge are bare and dry.
  • Focus is on reopening closed roads. The Seattle Police Department and SDOT are working to review roads currently closed and will update the list online.
  • The City will focus on efforts to prevent re-freezing, address trouble spots on Level 3 routes, and bring more roads off the closed list.
  • Because of the possibility of precipitation today leading to the formation of black ice tonight, some roads will remain closed.
  • 24 hour shifts will continue through Thursday, November 25.
  • Here are some other quick notes:

  • Seattle Schools are closed again today. No school and no activities.
  • No residential garbage, yard waste or recycling pick-ups Wednesday, November 24. If today is your collection day, you can put double the trash out next week.
  • Libraries will be open from noon to 5 p.m. today.
  • Metro Transit is once again running on snow routes.
  • Photo taken late Tuesday night at Ravenna and Roosevelt by Laura Bernstein

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    Tuesday's weather challenges

    November 23rd, 2010 by master

    5:30pm  A group of people gave this van a much needed push to make it up the hill to 15th Ave NE today.  Karissa Bodnar snapped the photo, along with one of snow on the UW campus.  A special thanks to all the UW communication students who supplied most of the photos on our site today.

    5pm  Seattle Public Schools closed Wednesday.

    4 p.m. Here are the highlights from the latest snow update from the City:

    • Residents and businesses are advised they are responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front of their homes or businesses.
    • As of 2pm, SDOT had eight plow/spreader trucks operating in the north end.
    • No decision yet on whether garbage, recycling and yard waste will be picked up Wednesday.
    • SPD will not cite routine parking violations or overtime/peak violations but will tow cars blocking streets.
    • All locations of the Seattle Public Library will be open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday.
    • 3pm  We’re posting some more photos from around the U-District today.  Thanks to Yuzheng Zhuang and Joi Niemeyer for sending these pics to us.

      UW Tower

      Safeway on Brooklyn Ave

      Side street off The Ave closed due to ice

      Greek row

      12:30pm  Sam Han snapped this photo today from his apartment on 42nd and 8th Ave NE.  He spent most of last night listening to cars harshly accelerating (unsuccessfully) and then sliding down the hill.

      Noon  UW staff and students have the day off, but the folks at the University District Food Bank are hard at work preparing for what would normally be one of the busiest weeks of the year. Staff members are scraping ice off the sidewalks and stocking shelves to make sure the families who rely on the food bank each week can have access to some of the essentials for their Thanksgiving meal.

      Photo of work going on inside the U District Food Bank

      10:45am  Adding some photos of the NE 45th Street Viaduct and Denny Hall taken during the worst of the snowfall last night.  Thanks to Luke Springer.

      9am  The University of Washington has canceled operations and classes today according to its emergency website.

      Red Square on UW Campus at 9am this morning

      Seattle Public Utilities says garbage, recycling and yard waste service is canceled today due to dangerous road conditions. Missed customers will be collected next Tuesday, November 30, and allowed to set out double their normal amount of garbage at no additional charge.

      King County Metro buses are still on snow routes Tuesday morning and some routes have been canceled.  Check here for the latest route information.

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    Snow around the U-District

    November 22nd, 2010 by master

    5:30pm  Here are some live images of SDOT cameras around the U-District that refresh every minute or so. 2nd image is Montlake Blvd at 25th Ave.

    3:30pm  Looks like the most intense snow will fall over the next couple of hours.  The wind won’t help things.  The Seattle Parks department is closing all community centers programs scheduled after 6pm as well as all athletic fields.  You can check out this video of snowfall around the U-District and Wallingford from our news partners at the Seattle Times.

    12:30pm We’re adding some photos taken by Jeff during his walk to work on NE 45th at I-5.

    8:30am As you can tell from the SDOT traffic cameras around the U-District, the snow is definitely sticking around where cars haven’t already passed over it. These images were taken around 8am from Montlake Blvd near Husky Stadium and on NE 45th near U Village. Send your photos to and we’ll post them. Also feel free to post any snow info or conditions on your street in the comments below.

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    U-District History: University Seafood and Poultry

    November 22nd, 2010 by master

    by Becca Prashner

    When jets were still the preserve of the military, one of the Ave’s oldest businesses opened its doors. The Erickson family started University Seafood and Poultry Company during the 1940s, years before the first commercial jet flight.

    This week, as we prepare for Thanksgiving feasts, our weekly U-District History column focuses on the closest equivalent the U-District has to a mom-and-pop butchery. University Seafood and Poultry Company is located at 1317 NE 47th street, just off of the Ave. It started as an open-market stand just across from the Wilsonian apartments, but had to move when the Bank of America opened at that location.

    Photo by Clayton Getsinger

    The owner, Dale Erickson, is the second generation owner. His father was the founder. Dale Erickson, says of the company that “since the day of the jet, the business has really changed a lot.”

    What started as a humble fish stand now supplies restaurants around Seattle, with a healthy number of walk-in customers. Most of the fish in the shop are local, but Dale gets shipments from all over the world now that they can be flown in fresh: on display are Alaskan troll salmon, dungeness crab, and tanks of live oysters and lobsters in the back.  Continue reading at the link below.

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