City seeks 80 Montlake homes to join “Rainwise” program: Community meeting planned for Sept 19th

Image: Seattle Rainwise

By Julee Neuhart

​On Tuesday, July 30, Susan Harper, from Seattle Public Utilities spoke to a small group of Montlake residents at the Montlake Library. Susan reported the city wants 80 neighborhood home owners become “rainwise” to cut the amount of rainwater that overflows the city’s containment system in heavy rain storms, dumping polluted water into Portage Bay and the ship canal. Properties that are eligible for the program are:

  • the Shelby-Hamlin area
  • along 25th Avenue E. and 26th Avenue E. near the Arboretum
  • homes between Boyer Avenue and Portage Bay, west of 19th Avenue E..

To encourage participation, the city is offering rebates to help cover the cost of rainwise landscaping and/or rain collector cisterns. The rebate is $3.50 per square foot of roof that will direct rainwater into these features. Home owners can find out if their property is eligible for the program and if so, what projects are possible in their yard, by clicking here. This project does not cover modifications to the parking strip areas between the street and sidewalk.

​Susan reported that many homes in the Ballard and Broadview neighborhoods have installed rain gardens and or other features. The rebates have varied from $1000 to $4000, usually covering approximately 75% of the total cost. The website also has detailed information about the program and photos of rain gardens and cisterns used in Seattle. The utility has trained about 50 landscaper from many Seattle area firms. Their names and contact information is also included.

​A Rainwise Open House is scheduled for Thursday evening, September 19, 2013, at the Montlake Community Center. This event will provide interested home owners with more information. Representatives from Seattle Public Utilities will be on hand to answer questions and landscape firms will be displaying projects they have created and can answer questions specific to residents’ property.


Poll: What Should Dog Walkers Do With Their Bags of Dog Poop? *UPDATE*

Image: Montlaker

UPDATE February 27, 2013: A shitstorm of 30 emails arrived today through the Montlake Forum, after this seemingly innocent comment:

Imagine my surprise when I opened my garbage can and discovered a bag of  pooch poop. I was surprised because, I don’t have a dog! I have no idea about the rules regarding  disposal of such waste. The bag wasn’t even tied. Please take your pooch poop with you and disposal of it in your receptacle.
Worse than poop bags in your trash can? Bags of poop in your inbox. Polls are still open folks…
Original Post: May 4, 2012

A neighborhood survey was recently conducted to better understand and prioritize the many issues that affect us here in Montlakeshire. However, one burning issue was missing from the survey despite having set the Montlake Forum ablaze with controversy earlier this year: what should dog walkers do with their bags of poop?

Now that we’re all friends again, it’s time to settle the Great Forum Shitstorm of 2012 with a legally binding poll:

Poll: Rats!

Image: Flickr: Kris *V*

A reader wants know:

How many of you have ever received city complaints about rats in your backyard? We who live under Interlaken Park cannot NOT have rats. I use 5 electronic traps, and 2 rat motels, plus poison in many hidden places. I JUST started using a sprung rat trap. Oh, I felt SO BAD when it killed the sweet bird that has been hopping around on the ground for several years. The rats seem to learn so quickly, I never see any in the electronic nor motel traps. No animal nor human food is out.
Well folks, there’s only one way to solve this…

Light rail station name: UW or Montlake?

Image: LMN Architects

An interesting debate is happening at CHS over Capitol Hill’s new light rail station name. With the Sound Transit Board set to formalize the station names this summer, the question should be asked: are we settled on University of Washington Station?

The University’s resistance to locating the light rail station on the main campus was an unintended benefit for its neighbors, resulting in two stations on its periphery, separated by a 10-minute, half-mile walk from Red Square. Yet the status quo stations names are inconsistent in that one refers to the campus at large and the other to a secondary local street.

Following the street-naming scheme it would make sense to use the name Montlake Station, after the boulevard next to Husky Stadium and in keeping with Broadway and Brooklyn Stations. This sets up consistency with other nearby stops with University and Westlake Stations downtown, and Roosevelt and Northgate Stations further along the line.

It also makes sense to use Montlake Station for the neighborhood naming scheme since the UW community commonly refers to the entire east side of campus as Montlake. This would be consistent with Pioneer Square, Sodo, Beacon, Mt. Baker to the south and Northgate and Roosevelt to the north — so long as Brooklyn was reconsidered to be U-District Station.

But then, who needs consistency? Let’s find out:

Poll: 520 Portage Bay bridge designs

Didn’t make it to WSDOT’s Portage Bay Bridge Community Design Meeting? No worries, here is a chance to respond to the three bridge types being considered for 520 across Portage Bay. We will have to live with this thing for the next 75 years so have a look at the design drawings in the previous post below, hold your nose if you have to, and vote below…

*UPDATE* Pros and Cons of each bridge type:

Box girder

– Hollow section bridge deck
– No additional structure above roadway – preserves views
– Spans up to 400 feet
– Heaviest footprint of columns


– Combination of box girder and cable stay
– Short support towers above the road surface
– Requires thicker cables – obscuring through views
– Spans up to 900 feet
– Light footprint of columns

Cable stay

– Low profile bridge deck
– Tall towers with cables, visually striking
– Thinner cables – through views somewhat preserved
– Spans up to 1200 feet
– Lightest footprint of columns


All images from WSDOT’s Flickr collection.

Dog Poop Poll Results Say Carry It Home


A recent poll asked Montlakers what dog walkers should do with their bags of dog poop and the results have now been tallied and certified:

60% say it’s best to carry it all the way home.
27% endorse dropping it in the nearest garbage can left out on the curb.
11% think it’s fine to walk onto someone else’s property to drop it in their garbage can.
2% voted to toss it in a neighbor’s yard.

So there you have it: Carry It Home wins by a mile. Or did it? Some 40% voted it OK to pass the poop to someone else’s property, in one way or another. What does it say that individual versus collective responsibility splits 60-40 on this issue?

Vote: Montlake’s Sassiest Tree?

Image: Montlaker

Spring must be Montlake’s finest hour. We recently walked the neighborhood looking for its biggest, bestest and most sassiest tree. This tree is it. It is across from St. Demetrios. Go see it soon before the rain and wind litters the street with its confetti. Seen enough? Then vote on its sassiness. Nay voters please locate your contenders in the comments and we’ll go reconsider.


**Update** Montlake resident and plant expert Arthur Lee Jacobson weighs in:

I confess confusion as to the term sassiest… As for the Yoshino Cherry tree pictured, right now it is lovely in bloom –but the rest of the year it is undistinguished.

Hmmm…. Montlaker is taking that as a ‘nay’. Indeed, sassiness in Montlake is fleeting!