How can our community support the CDN crew and honor Matt?

Like many of you, I’m a regular CDN reader and occasional contributor via comments and the rare post. I logged on this morning expecting to see a story from Scott reporting on the Night Out block parties. There would definitely be pictures, probably reports for a few different parties, and perhaps a small aside about the newshound snagging a spare hot dog.

I was not expecting the headline “Matt Durham, 1979-2009.” CDguy’s tragically unexpected death was the lead news; Scott’s beautiful brotherly tribute was the story; and four dozen and counting condolences and tributes from readers were the beginning of the epilogue.

I don’t know much about the Durham brothers. I didn’t even know there were brothers at CDN world headquarters until a few minutes ago. I’ve met Scott a few times at the Bottleneck, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never met Matt. But I’m crying now at this news. Why? Because Scott and Matt are both an important part of my weekday life. I log onto their work almost daily. CDNews connects me to my neighbors and is part of my neighborhood. Because I admire their work ethic, their commitment to a new kind of community organizing, and their wit. And maybe because I have a beloved sibling myself, and Scott’s loving tribute did what his best stories on here do – it made me stop and think about how we’re all connected.

So what does a community do in the face of such a loss of one of its members? It steps in to support those close and to honor the lost.

CDN readers, can we do this?

If a close neighbor or friend could find out any specifics about how we could tangibly help Scott and Ray, that would be great. Certainly ones among us could cut grass, walk the dog, bring over food, or do other tasks to make their lives a little easier right now. Given the affection that people seem to hold for this crew, I imagine and hope that those closest will be doing these things.  If there’s a need beyond the close circle, please let us know.

For the wider community, let’s think of this tragedy as a call for stepping up our own contributions to the CDNews. The best tribute I can think of is contributing to the site with extra vigor for the next few days and weeks. Post your NNO pictures. Follow up on a neighborhood story and write a real article. Take the time to note things happening around the CD. Perhaps someone out there could even serve as our scanner reporter for a few days. In Texas and around US, a death in the family often means a flood of casseroles from the friends so that the grieving have something to eat and feed others.  Contributions could be our casserole dishes.

These are just the thoughts that came immediately to mind. Certainly you all have others. What can we do as support and tribute?

Thanks for reading! -Jennie

Stolen bike recovered thanks to CDN!

I posted yesterday after I discovered my old commuter bike had been stolen off of my deck.  

Another CDN reader, D. left me a phone message about some suspicious bike activity she had seen.  D. and her son were out walking when they saw some (two?) people riding one bike and carrying another.  She thought it looked suspicious so she took note of where they ended up, a house near an intersection not quite a half mile from my house.

I made sure my dog walk today went by this intersection and – sure enough – my bike was there in the yard.  It had already had one wheel taken off and was spray-painted over the identifying decals.  

I bee-lined back home and called the non-emergency line.  Within a half hour, Officers Schmidt and Ball (Bell?) came by my house, took a description of the bike, and went to the address.  They were back 10 minutes later with my bike, including the back wheel.  Officer Schmidt obviously knows more about bikes than I do.  He’d reattached the back wheel and from the odd front gear (a biopace), he correctly guessed that it dated from the early 1990s.

The officers said they just went and got the bike without any interaction with the residents.  Apparently one of the home’s recent residents is known to them as a juvenile burglar, but they said there is no way to know who was responsible for my bike.  They also observed some lawnmowers, weed wackers, and other “porch items” in the yard and planned to follow up with the burglary detail about whether any of those items were stolen.  

I apologized to the officers for not having reported the bike yesterday (and felt like a bit of a jerk about it, since I did take the time to write a blog post).  They reminded me that all crimes should be reported, since reported criminal activity helps us get more patrol officers in our area.

My bike is now home and locked up.  The back tire needs to be fixed and I plan to head to 20/20 Cycles to keep the positive bike energy in the CD.  Thanks to CDN, observant reader D., and the SPD for helping reunite me with my bike!

another stolen bike – old black specialized w/ rainbow decal

Sorry to post with bad news, but I’m hoping the CDNews eyes-on-the-street might help me recover my commuting bike.  It was stolen off my (fenced and gated) back deck last night, in the 26th and Yesler area.  It’s almost 20 years old, heavy, creaky, and worth maybe $30, but it was recently tuned up, the first bike I bought with my own money, and how I got to work and back these days.

It’s a black specialized cross/hybrid with dark pink lettering.  There was a small rainbow pride flag decal and some really ancient toe straps patched in places with electrical tape.  If you see it, I’d appreciate a heads-up to 206-372-7034.



PostGlobe article!3{2}”24 hours on MLK”

Himanee Gupta-Carlson, a writer for the Seattle PostGlobe (founded by former PI writers), and her husband walked all of MLK Boulevard this spring, documenting their trip with pictures and writing along the way.

MLK begins more or less at Madison and continues 8-some miles down into the Rainier Valley.  They describe parts of the CD along the way, including the intersection of MLK and Yesler:

At Yesler: We’ve covered the first five blocks of MLK walking south from Marion. We’re at Yesler, and have climbed a slight incline. Two buses — different routes — just met, doing left turns in unison. This stretch of Yesler is familiar terrain. I walk it, drive it often. I’m always struck by its flora and fauna, wild and overgrown blackberries, sweet pea flowers pouring out of the concrete. At the southeast corner, a substantially sized house on the market two years ago for $600,000 appears abandoned. It’s tagged in blue, black, and white paint.


They walk through the night and are surprised by how empty the street is for much of the time and by the friendliness of people along the way.  The full story is worth a read. 

KOMO / PI Story “Central District loses crime fighter”

Today’s has a short story about the elimination of Michael Yasutake’s position at the East Precinct.  Of course, CDN had the scoop a month ago…


Central District loses crime fighter


A budget blunder by the Seattle Police Department has forced out a community organizer in one of the city’s most challenging neighborhoods.

Michael Yasutake used to oversee the streets of the Central District as the East Precinct’s crime prevention coordinator. He got neighbors involved and kept them up on crime trends.

The CD is referred to as “one of the city’s most challenging neighborhoods.”  Hm.

Tyrone Love memorial service

There’s a memorial service for Tyrone Love today at Madrona Presbyterian.  The PI has the full story.

A memorial service for Tyrone Love, the man shot to death last week in the Central District, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Madrona Presbyterian Church.


STimes article on man shot in CD last year

Today’s Seattle Times has a profile of Donnie Cheatham, the man who was shot outside the Garfield Community Center a few months back.   Full story

In the flash of a bullet, a young man goes blind

Donnie Cheatham, a once-promising high-school basketball star, survived a bullet to the temple but lost his right eye and the vision in his left when he was shot outside Garfield Community Center last December. With little to go on, police hesitate to call the shooting gang-related.

Ideas for a small community-building project?

Jefferson’s helpful summary of Central Area Neighborhood Council meeting contained the following notice, “Small Sparks provides grants of up to $ 250 for small scale community-building initiatives.  Have an idea?  email Mr. Divina at [email protected].”

Small Sparks is a city-funded project designed to inspire and support grassroots events.  From their website,

Small Sparks is a unique program designed to encourage community members, who may not be involved in neighborhood activity, to use their personal interest and creativity to do something fun and beneficial in the neighborhood. Small Sparks organizers involve new people in their neighborhood project. Small Sparks projects are intended to “ignite imagination, create community, and make a difference” in neighborhoods across the City.

Small Sparks projects

  • Build on what you enjoy

  • Involve new people

  • Benefit the neighborhood

  • Make the most of existing neighborhood resources

  • Take no more than two months to complete

  • Receives assistance from a neighborhood Small Sparks coach

Some of the Projects:

Garden of Homeless Angels: Street kids and community groups helped create a beautiful garden memorial to homeless kids who died. They transformed an ugly site into a green streetscape while celebrating neighborhood relationships.

Toss From the Tower: Residents of Beacon Tower wanted to know their neighbors, so they invited them to an afternoon of building and tossing paper airplanes from the Tower rooftop. Young and old joined together for a great time.

Wedgwood Neighborhood Service Exchange: Individuals from the Wedgwood neighborhood organized a flexible way for neighbors to meet and exchange skills and resources with each other. A directory of goods and services lets members know what is offered like plant, animal, and house sitting; car, window and clothes washing; rides to the doctor or airport; home repair; cooking; and more. Participants keep track of their exchanges in small booklets that resemble checking account registers.

Walking the Wagon: A wagon filled with used and interesting magazines is pulled by different families and youth throughout the neighborhood. Neighbors can choose a magazine of interest and add ones that they have already read to the mix. The wagon also displays neighborhood news and events to spread the word.

Let’s start a conversation.  Do any of these options look like fun?  What are your other ideas for a CD project?   Who else could we involved?  Perhaps CDN or other area businesses could provide some in-kind donation of advertising and/or time…


Determined neighborhood business owner

Today’s Danny Westneat column in the STimes celebrates a Madrona business owner.  

Showing up is a show of strength


The other morning the city was serene as a sleeping child. No planes whining overhead. Few cars jostling the streets. Seattle quiet under a thick white quilt.

At my house this lasted until my kids woke up. Loudly expecting food for breakfast that I foolishly did not have.

It was 7 a.m. The city was frozen. Which was when my thoughts turned, as they often do in a pinch, to Luel.

“I bet the Ethiopians made it in,” I said to my wife as I headed out the door.

Sure enough, Luel’s shop — the Madrona Market at 33rd and East Union — was open. As it always is. No matter what. …



Luel Mengistu clears snow from the sidewalk Tuesday in front of his Madrona Market, where it was business as usual. Mengistu says he doesn't want to let the community down.

The rest of the story is at

 It’s good to know of this walk-able option for food.  I’ve been in there once or twice, normally when I was at the library and needed a snack.  They also stock Boars Head meat, which I appreciate.

anyone see a spare ladder?

We had a nice aluminum ladder stolen from beside our house sometime in the last 2-3 days.  If anyone sees it around (or has someone offer to sell it to you), I’d appreciate the heads-up.  It would cost maybe $200 to replace and has some sentimental value on top of that.  It’s the folding 4-position style shown in the attached.