Neighborhood Wildlife: The Madrona Beaver

On a walk along the Madrona lakefront yesterday morning we saw a personal first in terms of neighborhood wildlife: a beaver swimming south right next to the concrete bulkhead. But we weren’t fast enough with the camera to get photographic proof.

But tonight on our evening walk we spotted it again: a rather large beaver swimming about 15 feet from the shore, this time headed north. (Perhaps a commute south for work in the morning and then back north home after a long day?)

This time we managed to get video proof, included above.

He didn’t seem phased by the large groups of people at the park on a warm, clear solstice evening. In fact, he passed right through the beach swimming area even though there were about a dozen kids and parents frolicking about in the water.

Some bystanders thought it was a nutria. But we’re very familiar with those vermin from our time at our grandparent’s lake house in Texas. This was much bigger, with little beaver ears, and a big flat beaver tail vs. the rat-like appendage of the imported invaders from South America.

Definitely a beaver.

Now we just need to give it an official name. Suggestions?

Fallen tree blocking Lake Washington Blvd at Olive – Updated

A tree fell on Lake Washington Blvd at E. Olive St. about five minutes ago, and we were there to hear and see it.

I was taking the dog on his evening walk when I heard a loud, repeated cracking sound for about 25 seconds. I thought it was nearby construction work, until I saw a big tree to my left fall down and over Lake Washington Blvd.

The road is now impassible to vehicles, and only passable to cyclists and pedestrian who bushwhack their way through the fallen foliage.

The city has been notified and is on their way to assess the situation.

Although the tree has green new leaves, the base is clearly rotten. It snapped away from another trunk that may be at further risk.

You’ll want to avoid the area is at all possible until things are cleaned up. This blocks a long stretch of the roadway where it runs below a steep cliff, with the only nearest access points at Madrona Dr and McGilvra Blvd.

Update: SDOT crews made quick work of about half the tree, getting one lane of the roadway reopened by the time we walked back by at 9pm. Note that the sidewalk is even more blocked now that the debris is piled up on that side of the street – might want to re-plan your scenic morning jog.


Arsonist targets SPD drop-in center at 23rd & Union

It appears that recent anger against the Seattle Police Department escalated to an arson attack over night, targeting the small SPD drop-in facility on the southeast corner of 23rd & Union.

The Seattle Fire Department responded to the scene with 15 units at 3:32am, after someone caught fire to the front doors of the storefront that the police department has leased since 2008. It appears the damage from the fire was limited to scorched paint and a partially burned awning. Structural and interior damage is minimal, if any.

This is the third act of property damage targeting that building in the last year. On July 19th a man and a woman broke the windows of the drop-in center with sledgehammers, just a week after anti-police graffiti was scrawled on the side of the building. Those events occurred following a manslaughter verdict against a California police officer who killed another man on a subway platform.

Today’s arson comes after several days of protests and anger resulting from the decision not to charge SPD Officer Ian Birk in the controversial shooting of John T. WIlliams.

Another vehicle vs. pedestrian collision at 29th & Union

Just a few days after Tom told us about the Central District’s unusually high rate of pedestrian deaths, tonight there is another serious accident involving a vehicle vs. a pedestrian.

Police and medics are currently responding to the 2900 block of E. Union, where a pedestrian was struck and seriously injured.

Although we don’t have any details on the pedestrian’s condition, a 6-unit medic call is not a good sign. 

We’ll try to follow up tomorrow with more details.

Gifts needed for giving program at Leschi Elementary

Parents at Leschi Elementary have organized an Adopt-a-Family program this year, helping to provide gifts to eighteen disadvantaged families at the school this holiday season.

They’ve put out a call to the community for gift donations to help make sure the program is a success, asking for things ranging from books and toys to clothing and other basic items.

The goal is to get all gifts and gift-cards together by the end of the day this Friday, 12/17, in time for the Giving Garland event on Monday. Donations can be dropped off at the school’s main office, located at 31st & Yesler.

Reader reports another break-in at 26th & King

Reader SL gives us a detailed report on a series of property crimes that have affected them, which they believe are coming from a neighboring house:

My housemate and I were hoping to alert the neighborhood regarding a series of recent burglaries that have occurred at or in front of our home near 26th S and S King.  On September 15th, our home was broken into, in broad daylight, in full view of the street.  The robbers opened an old living room window (that we’d never been able to get open ourselves, and had to hammer to close after the robbery) from our front porch (!!), and entered our house around 4 or 5 pm.  When my housemate (the homeowner) arrived, the scene looked as if the robbers had been interrupted, as they left a flat-screen television, laptop and other relatively portable electronic items on the floor.  The house had been rummaged through, but not thoroughly.  They made off with a laptop, a watch, an iPod, and an expensive digital camera.  The police took prints and were sympathetic, but not hopeful.  Several days later, the corner drug dealer (there is a drug house – up for foreclosure sale – filled with known gang members only two doors away) taunted my housemate as she padlocked our fence, saying: “What? You afraid you’re gonna get robbed again?”  The occupants of this house were noted to be standing around, looking toward our house when my roommate arrived on the day of the first break in.

A second incident occurred shortly after Thanksgiving, while another housemate was moving out.  She left her Zipcar unlocked and unattended for approximately five minutes, while she and a friend entered our house to get a mattress.  In that short amount of time, someone apparently walked by and snatched a large backpack from the Zipcar, containing a wallet/credit cards, a laptop, clothing, and the title to a new vehicle.  The police were called, but they didn’t respond in person to this incident.  (Again, people were observed lingering around the suspect house, and they all turned and went inside when the police were called – loudly – from a cell phone, while standing by the car.)

Last night (December 13th), I returned home from Christmas shopping to find that our house had been thoroughly trashed and robbed yet again.  This time, they got everything they left the first time, and everything that had been replaced.  All bedrooms were tossed completely.  They entered the house from a high bathroom window – that was locked – over our back deck, and climbed into the bathtub to get in.  They took two laptops, three iPods, the flat screen, antique jewelry, wedding jewelry, a highly sentimental box of childhood memories (with zero monetary value), all chargers and cords, liquor, checkbooks, credit cards, a new professional digital camera – and a spare set of keys to the house.  (They left another set of keys that were located in the same drawer as the house keys, so it would seem that they took the time to try out the keys first.)  The police responded in person this time, took photographs and fingerprints, and the list of missing items.  They had little advice or hope to give us.  (They actually suggested that we just get a safe.  For our tv?!)  Obviously, the locks have been changed and we’re taking further security measures and also talking to our realtor.  This is unbelievably frustrating, violating, and traumatic.  We had just begun to feel at ease again, and now we’re wondering if it will ever be safe to leave our house unattended.

The police were told that we suspect the people who live two doors down (they’ve also been caught in person, stealing small items from our porch last year), and their response was, “Oh yeah.  We know that house.”  Great.  Drug activity goes on in broad daylight on our corner and well into the night.  The police don’t really seem to care about it.

We’ve reported it multiple times.  We don’t know if we’ve been targeted because of our intolerance for illegal activity on our corner, or just because we have an older house that seems easier to break into than the new construction and Dwell homes that have gone up recently.  It does seem like our comings/goings were being watched – my housemate is an artist and business owner, who works from home, and they just *happened* to pick the rare moments during both robberies when no one was at home. Other neighbors we’ve talked to since the first robbery have reported car and bicycle thefts in the past year.  Our 80 year-old neighbor has had her home, the house she grew up in – the house that survived her internment during the WWII Japanese “relocations” – repeatedly robbed.  It’s disgusting.  People in our area should be aware, since these thefts haven’t been fantastic enough to make the news. 

Also, since both of our robberies happened when the perpetrators would have been visible to the neighbors and passerby, we’re looking for anyone who may have witnessed anything yesterday (i.e. people loading items over the fence, etc.) or in September.  It is believed, based on specific characteristics, that both home robberies were committed by the same people. 

CDNews recommends that anyone affected by a criminal property become a regular police informant. Watch closely, keep detailed notes, call 911, and tell them everything you see. There’s nothing bad about being a snitch if people can’t keep their hands off of you and your stuff.

Reader report: Occupied, attempted break-in in Madison Valley

CDNews reader MT sends us this report of an attempted break-in at his house while he was home Saturday:

My partner and I own a home in Mad Valley, and I just wanted to give you a heads up that we had an attempted break-in yesterday, at 12:15pm in the 200 block of 32nd avenue E.  The perp smashed through our rear sliding glass door- I was home, but downstairs.  I came running up at the sound, and scared him away.  Apparently the EXACT same thing happened to our neighbor down the street the day before and she was home too.  (That info was from the police, I have not had a chance to talk to her yet)  The guy was young, 5’8″-5’10″ish, average build, light skinned (white/hispanic/asian?) wearing a faded black hoodie with the hood up.

We’ll keep an eye out for the police report on the other nearby house and will let you know the details there too.

Heavy rain puts Madison Valley hole to the test

Heavy rain fall last night and expected throughout today has put the newly expanded Madison Valley detention pond to the test.

We stopped by this morning and found about four feet of water in the pond, backed up to prevent overflows of the city sewer system.

The pond is designed to temporarily hold storm waters until the city sewer systems can handle the large amount of rain runoff from area streets.

We’re also getting reports from readers of flooded basements and other localized issues.

The city is also asking residents to monitor storm drains near them and help keep them clear of leaves and other debris.

23rd & Union holiday lights were result of community, landowner effort

Last night Justin gave us pictorial proof of the new lights that are now decorating the intersection of 23rd & Union.

We were there yesterday as the lights went up on those four corners, and found that it was a team effort of local property owners and interested community members.

Hundreds of LED light bulbs were screwed in to their sockets, and an equal number of light clips were assembled to easily connect the lights to the buildings.

Here’s community teamwork in action:

Will hangs lights on the fence of the vacant lot

Jason and Gary attach lights high on the roof of the old sandwich shop

Jeff gets to work assembling strings of lights



Small Business Focus: Pert’s Deli in Leschi

This holiday season there’s a renewed focus on small businesses, as the great recession continues to cause problems for our neighborhood shops. We’ve been taking a lot of weekend walks through Leschi recently, and have become big fans of one locally owned business down there. 

Pert’s Deli sits right on Lakeside Avenue, in the business block between the two ends of the marina there. And so far everything we’ve had there has been great. Their coffee is excellent, and crafted in a much more loving way than their corporate competition that sits across the street.

And if you need a bite to eat, they’ve got a great selection of sandwiches that are made to order.

But I think our favorite item so far is in the desert category. The Pert Bar is a tasty complement to either a latte or to top off an otherwise light lunch.

Pert’s is open 7am to 5pm on weekdays and 8am to 5pm on weekends. Give them a shot and tell us all about your experience by leaving a review here on the site.