Laurelhurst Community Club

Minutes for March 12, 2007

St. Stephen's Church, Seattle WA


Attending: Maggie Weissman, Leslie Wright, Mark Holden, Marian Joh, Jeannie Hale, Liz Ogden, Don Torrie, Joe Herrin, Nan Haigwood, Heather Newman, Stan Sorscher, Jean Amick

Excused:  Barb Bender, Brian McMullen, Lora Poepping, Susan Rupp

 Guests:  Dr. Tom Hansen, Director and CEO, Children’s Hospital; Dr. Sandy Melzer, senior vice president for strategic planning and business development; Dr. David Fisher, medical director; Suzanne Petersen, vice president for external affairs and guest services; Desiree Leigh, assistant director, community government and advocacy; Chappie Conrad MD; Steven Reisler, Dixie Porter, and Ruth Binfield

 The meeting was called to order at 7:07 PM.

 Pocket Park. Jean Amick described the work party at the pocket park last Saturday, endorsed by LCC and Children's Hospital. Jean encouraged donations to complete the park, as designed. Neighbors may apply for a small and simple grant from the City. The park Steering Committee has 9 members.

Dixie Porter explained that the pocket park is near Laurelhurst Elementary School. That corner will be reserved as a private urban sanctuary. Neighbors bought the land and placed it in the Cascade Land Conservancy. Landscaping will start after the housing construction is finished. It will feature native species, and preserve the open character of the lot.

 Children's Hospital.

Mission. Tom Hansen talked about plans for Children's Hospital and Medical Center. The Center's mission is to treat, eliminate and prevent pediatric disease. They promise to provide care regardless of the family's ability to pay. Their goal is to be the best in their field, and to affect pediatric practice across the country.

 Dr. Hansen discussed 6 key components of their program;

            The highest quality of care

            Growth = more access + better service

            Research to treat, eliminate and prevent pediatric disease

            Attract and retain the best people

            Develop leaders

            Pay for all of it

 As measured by US News and World Report, Children's is the best children's hospital on the West Coast.

 Growth Growth comes from increased population in the region, and longer stays as treatments become more complicated. Two-thirds of children admitted have chronic life-long conditions. Complex conditions and concerns about contagious diseases means that patients often have single rooms, increasing demands for more hospital space. Technology is another component of growth.

 Examples. Sandy Melzer and Chappie Conrad talked about their areas of specialization. Core groups at the Sand Point Campus will include orthopedics, bone tumors, cardiology, cranio-facial surgery, transplants, cancer, and nephrology.

 Expansion. As CHMC expands, some of the growth will occur beyond the Sand Point Campus including downtown at 9th and Stewart, where about one million square feet of space will be used for clinics and research. These groups will interact with research facilities in South Lake Union. Another 50,000 square feet of facilities in Bellevue Everett and Kent will be added. CHMC will continue to develop relationships with hospitals in Spokane, Anchorage, and Tacoma.

 Expansion plans were sown in very general conceptual terms, with new construction staying within current campus boundaries. At this time, 65% of staff (including doctors) commutes other than by single occupancy vehicles. Bicycles are encourages, and Dr. Hansen expressed interest in Flex-car options on the campus for occasional work-related trips.

 Research. CHMC will offer a full range of services clinically, while becoming more focused in research. CHMC will conduct research in immunology, genetics, prematurity, heart surgery, infectious diseases, toxicology, and five other areas that I didn’t have time to write down.

 Case load. Case load is running close to full capacity. The case load is projected to double in the next 20 years at the Central Campus. New construction will add beds, clinical and surgical areas, laboratories, and support facilities. For the most part, outpatient activity will move off campus to the downtown site, and locations in Bellevue, Everett and Kent, which should help control traffic growth to some extent.


Steven Reisler asked about expansion or related growth off campus, but in the neighborhood, such as the Springbrook Building or the Talaris site?

No such plans exist.

 Is CHMC involved in satellite occupants? No.

 Family support housing?

CHMC has not finished its planning, but Dr. Hansen imagines an increase in Ronald McDonald housing, hotels and other arrangements. This should be included in future planning and studies.

 Helicopter trips?

Dr. Hanson prefers "stabilized transport" other than helicopters. That is, the patient should be stabilized before being transported to CHMC. In that case, ambulances would be appropriate.



Treasurer’s Report:  Marian Joh said over 500 dues payment have come in, so far, amounting to $24,600 in February. She reviewed expenses. The Finance Committee will look at ideas for projects in the community

 Minutes:  The board reviewed the February 12, 2007 minutes.  Corrections were made regarding the meeting date, adding mark Holden and Liz Ogden as excused Trustees, and typos on page 5. Motion by Joe Herrin, seconded by Don Torrie to approve the minutes as corrected. Motion passed unanimously.

 Mark Holden spoke in favor of keeping the basketball hoops in the playfield at Laurelhurst School.


1.    Talaris Leasing:  On 3/10, Kit O’Neill from the Ravenna Springs Group forwarded a message from Steven Reisler who had concerns about leasing on the Talaris site.  Because Talaris is encouraging leasing for medical research, concern was raised that the property might be used for a biosafety lab.  Reisler also asked about Children’s interest in the property.  Sorscher does not see a controversial biosafety lab as a possibility.  Kate Hokanson called Stan Sorscher to go over details of leasing space in the Talaris development.

 2.    Helipad:  Chris Barrett emailed on 3/08 to ask about changes planned for Children’s helipad.  She noted that Children’s is trying to get the cooperation of the Laurelon Terrance neighbors.  Hale explained the planned move of the helipad from the current location to the top of one of the buildings.

 3.    Disturbances at the Playfield:  On 2/26, Todd Sherman reported that a group of about 15 school age children were making a fire at the fire pit at around 7:30 p.m.  On 2/27, Miriam Muller emailed to inquire as to the status of the fire pit removal.  Royal Alley-Barnes from the Parks Department responded that the decision was on hold and the meeting cancelled due to the death of the Second Grader at Laurelhurst School on the day of the meeting was supposed to take place.  She indicated that park crews would monitor the situation daily and pick up debris at the Playfield.  On the same day, Bill Counter emailed to suggest that the police access the Playfield using the service road next to the tennis courts.  On 2/28, Muller emailed with concerns about why the meeting had been cancelled due to the child’s death and the decision put on hold as disturbances at the Playfield are continuing.  On the same day, R.A. Ruidl emailed to support Muller’s position.  He also noted that he saw a girl urinating at the school after coming across the street from the Playfield.  He said he has also seen vomit and raised public heath issues.  Muller then emailed Royal Alley-Barnes again asking for a timetable for fire pit removal and asking why there is a delay.  Barnes responded that the community meeting has been rescheduled for April 4th.

 On 3/10, Muller reported the following disturbances from the evening before: 

·          "Slow Children at Play" sign directly across from our house ripped out of its foundation and laying on the ground;

·          Three or four large stones removed from very old stone wall at north entrance to park.  Stones lying on the ground;

·          Loud music to the extent it was vibrating furniture and pictures in her house occurring directly in front of her home;

·          Foot traffic to and from park for four hours;

·          Vehicles cruising around and around the block at very high speeds;

·          Cussing, loud talking in front of her house. 

 She also noted that the church sign was missing from below church in main parking lot, but was unsure when this occurred.  She said that the disturbances are happening every weekend, as well as some nights during the week.  She sees retention of the fire pit as a quality of life issue and she does not understand the delay in removing the pit.  Warren and Sandra Fisher confirmed Muller’s assessment of the damage over the weekend.  They also saw that there were people in the street and cars turning around the corner from 45th had to break hard to avoid hitting those in the street.  The young people were leaning against cars drinking and throwing empty cans.  They suggested a private security patrol and posting license plate numbers on the website.  Weissman indicated that she would bring this issue up at the trustee meeting.

 Ruidl also called 911 for the Friday night incident.  He supports alternative security for the area.

 On 3/10, Geoff Osler reported that his neighbor now has four-foot high spray painted obscenities all across their new fence.  His home had been spray painted in the past.  Osler said that a few weeks ago, his six-year old daughter pointed out obscenities painted regarding Villa Academy.  On Friday night, the Oslers also saw 20-25 kids playing loud music, blocking the road with their cars and throwing beer cans around.  They called 911.  They noted that the problem is getting worse.

 On 3/11, Muller reported very loud firecrackers and highschoolers at the Playfield, despite the rain.  She expressed disappointment with the City’s response to the situation due to the graffiti, destruction at the park, vandalism at the school and church, tagging, etc.  Again, she asked that the fire pit be removed.

 Today, emails have been going back and forth regarding the agenda for the April 4th meeting.

 Also today, Cary Lassen emailed and suggested that:

·          Efforts continue to remove the fire pit;

·          Hire private security with just Friday and Saturday shifts; and

·          Begin recording license plate numbers and sending letters to the registered address.

 Lassen is convinced that it is not Laurelhurst kids causing all the problems, despite information provided by the police department in January.  She suggested a meeting devoted exclusively to the private security issue with representatives from Villa, Laurelhurst Elementary School and Windermere security and the Parks Department involved.

 4.    Traffic circle:  Mimi Levin cleaned up the traffic circle at 38th Ave NE and NE 43rd St, and planted flowers. A vehicle had overrun the traffic circle damaging a tree and taking out the traffic warning signs.  The tree is staked back up, and a message sent to the city about the sign post.


1.    Street Fund:  The City is considering reducing the amount of funding ($1.5 million) in the Neighborhood Street Fund and restricting projects to those with neighborhood planning areas.  As we understand it, forty percent of the City is not covered by a neighborhood plan.  Details of the proposal are still unclear.  Currently, the district councils rank projects within its jurisdiction and this could be changed or other kinds of projects (other than transportation projects) could be added to dilute the fund. By general agreement, the Board decided to write a strong letter to have the maximum amount available for the Neighborhood Street Fund.

 2.    Nutrition News:  Copies of the Winter 2007 Laurelhurst Nutrition News were distributed.

 3.    Concert at St. Stephen’s:  Music at St. Stephen’s presents Benjamin Britten’s “Noye’s Fludde”, a one-hour opera based on the story of Noah’s Ark.  This year, Noah’s ark will set sail on Saturday, March 17th at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 18th at 4 p.m. – complete with lights, sets, costumes, orchestra, ballet, and brimming full of singing animals.  Suggested donation is $15, $10 for seniors and students and $5 for children 12 and under.

 4.    Repaving:  Repaving of the lower portion of NE 45th bordering Children’s Hospital is underway.  Children’s agreed to pay $70,000--half of the cost of the project.  During construction of the new out-patient clinic 100 big dump trucks a day traveled that portion of the roadway causing damage to the street.

 5.    Thank you, Great Harvest Bread Company!  The March 4th fundraiser to benefit the Laurelhurst Elementary School playground project at Great Harvest was a tremendous success.  Last Sunday, March 4th, Nate and Dayspring opened their bakery (on their only day off!) and joined by several of their workers (who donated their time) taught the school principal, teachers, staff and parents to be “Bakers for the Day.”  Nate and Dayspring donated 100% of the day’s proceeds to help fund the construction phase of the project.  The fundraiser brought in $5,002.29!  That’s a lot of bread and a lot of dough for the playground project!

 6.    Thank you!  Thanks to Don Torrie for coordinating distribution of the agenda packets this month and to Nan Haigwood for assisting.

 7.    Playfield Discussion:  Due to the death of the Second Grader at Laurelhurst Elementary School, the February 15th meeting to discuss the fire pit removal was postponed.  The new date is the evening of April 4 and it will be held at the community center. 

 8.    Laurelhurst Community Center Grand Reopening:  Saturday, March 31st, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.  Laurelhurst Community Center will open its doors following a year long renovation project. Volunteers are line dup, including the Park Advisory Committee. Mark Holden encouraged all Trustees to attend the opening event.



Crime Prevention:  Weissman and briefed the board. 

1.    February Crime Update: No 911 calls were reported in our area during February. Maggie talked about park disturbances and emails on that subject. Neighbors find this frustrating. Several juveniles were arrested in or near the park. The Villa is considering extra security, and they may try a private security guard for a month.

 Joe Herrin asked about Block Watch patrols with pairs of neighbors to document activities. Mark Holden observed that congregating and using the park facilities is legal up to 11 PM. Maggie said View Ridge and the Burke Gilman parks also have rowdiness.

 2.    Mayor’s Police Staffing Plan:  The Mayor has proposed a new Neighborhood Policing Staffing Plan.  The Plan calls for adding 154 new patrol officers over an eight-year period.  This includes the 49 officers that were added since mid-2005.  The remaining 105 officers would be added between 2008 and 2012.  In the North Precinct, which covers 32 square miles, there would be five sectors and 15 beats.  Priorities would be extended foot, bicycle and car patrol presence in the University District, two-officer patrols in the Aurora corridor, Ballard-Fremont and Lake City-Northgate business districts, and more emphasis on Friday and Saturday nights on Greek Row.  Motion by Maggie Weissman, seconded by Heather Newman to support the Police staffing plan. Motion passed unanimously.  

3.    Eckstein Underage Drinking Coalition:  Hale attended the March 8th meeting of the Eckstein Underage Drinking Coalition to brief the ground on the continuing disturbances at the Playfield.  Officers Ken Turner and Kipp Strong were present from the North Precinct.  Officer Strong is the head of the Community Response Team for the Playfield and he works closely with Officer Havenar.  A new program has started called “Start Talking Now” geared at getting parents more involved with alcohol-related issues and their children.  The website for the program is  Several business establishments have been cited for selling alcohol to minors.  These include:  the 7-Eleven at 51st and 25th Avenue NE, Café Solstice, Campus Food Mart and Pagliacci Pizza all on the Ave, The Ram Restaurant and Brewery in University Village and Judy Fu’s Snappy Dragon on 89th and Roosevelt.  The acting Surgeon General has issued a national call to action on underage drinking, aimed at changing the culture and attitudes towards drinking in the country.


Community Center

1.    Survey Results:  The results of the recent Parks Department survey to assess neighbor views on programming at the expanded community center are included in the packets.  LCC webmaster Susan Rucker compiled the online results into both an Excel file and a Word file.  She then added the 51 hardcopy responses received by the Parks Department.  There were a total of 198 responses to the survey.

 2.    Community Center Re-Opening: Don Torrie reviewed some of the planned activities planned for the Community Center opening.

 3.    Influenza in Our Schools:  Liz Ogden briefed the board on the three recent deaths of elementary school children due to flu or complications from the flu. The King County Public Health Department monitors outbreaks, with reports from schools, parents and a network of 50 doctors offices. The Federal Center for Disease Control has recommended more comprehensive reporting and immunizations. The King County Public Health Department says the single most important step is immunizations. Of course, funding is always an issue, and that is controlled by the State legislature. Motion by Liz Ogden seconded by Heather Newman to write to the State legislature, King County Public Health Department, the CDC and School Board calling for immunizations for school age children, financed separately from education funding. Motion passed unanimously.

4.    Senate Bill (SB) 6099:  SB 6099 would require the state transportation department (WSDOT) to hire a mediator and urban, transportation and neighborhood planners to assist with developing an impact plan for the SR 520 bridge replacement project within existing appropriations.  The mitigation plan that would be developed would be due 60 days prior to the November 2007 election.  Both the Seattle Community Council Federation and the Northeast District Council support the bill.  Their letters of support are included in the correspondence packet.  Motion by Joe Herrin, seconded by Liz Ogden to support the positions of the NE District and Seattle Community Council Federation and write our own letter to State legislators. Motion passed unanimously.

 5.    The SR 520 packet includes a statement from Ted Lane who represents the Portage Bay/Roanoke Park community council.  Lane lists several reasons for supporting SB 6099, focusing on the many areas of agreement with regard to mitigation.  He has suggested that impacted communities come together to work with WSDOT on mitigation to be included in the final proposal and other feasible alternatives that deserve further study.  By general agreement, the Board decided to support Ted Lane's statement.

 6.    A flyer being distributed by a Ravenna resident named Mark Stoner is included in the packets.  Stoner heads a group called Laurelhurst Friends for the Pacific Interchange (even though he does not live in Laurelhurst).  When Hale contacted Stoner, he was unable to provide the names of any Laurelhurst residents who are a part of his group.  To avoid confusion, Hale suggested that Stoner change the name of his group because he doesn’t live in Laurelhurst, but Stoner refused.

 The Pacific Interchange option for replacing the 520 bridge might end up looking like an imposed solutions. Seven community groups oppose the Pacific Interchange option and 2 support it.

 7.    Cell Phones:  The state senate recently passed SB 5037, which would prohibit a using a hand-held cell phone while driving.  This would be a traffic infraction with a $101 fine.  A person could only be cited if pulled over for another kind of offense.  The prohibition would not apply to emergency vehicles or tow truck drivers, anyone using a hand-free device or to a person reporting illegal activity, summoning emergency help or using the cell phone to prevent injury to persons or property.  This type of offense would not become a part a person’s driving record.  The bill has now gone to the State House for consideration.


 The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 PM.

 Minutes by Stan Sorscher