The Laurelhurst Letter

June 2004

Don’t be a victim! Combat summer crime!

New trustees elected

Group to study ‘lids’

Concerts scheduled

Club’s efforts interest out-of-state observers

Neighbors' efforts key to Night Out success
Golf driving range: UW scales back plans to expand facility Current park name best, neighbor groups tell city

Police should issue citations, not warnings, LCC advises mayor


Don’t be a victim! Combat summer crime!

Summer’s here, and the season brings with it a whole host of special opportunities for criminals:  families are away from home for extended periods, windows are left open to combat the heat, homeowners are in the garden as much as they are in the house during the day, and the streets are crowded with strangers till late at night.  Here’s a few tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of crime:

 •be observant of any “unusual” behavior in your vicinity.  Write down license numbers, ask passersby who seem aimless if you can help them, double-check with neighbors that deliveries are legitimate, and if you have any doubts, contact the police department.

 •be suspicious of door-to-door solicitors.  Check their credentials before transacting any business and don’t feel obligated to contribute to charities on the spot.  A polite response might be: “Leave me some literature and I’ll consider your request after I have read it.”  Report any overly aggressive soliciting to the police.

 •don’t let strangers come into your home.  If someone asks to use your phone in an emergency, offer to phone for them, then leave the stranger on the doorstep and close and lock the door before phoning.

 •keep your front and back doors locked at all times, especially when working in the garden.  You may be “home,” but you’re not in the house, and more than one burglar has come in through the back door while the homeowner’s been busy out front.

 •don’t ever drive away from home without making sure your garage door is closed.  There’s nothing simpler for a burglar than to break into your home through the garage after closing the door behind him to avoid observation.

 •leave a radio tuned to a “talk” station on while you’re away at work or out for the evening.  You’ll use a negligible amount of electricity, and the sound of voices just might deter a thief.

 •arrange for a friend or neighbor to monitor your house while on vacation.  Have the post office hold your mail and cancel the newspaper, but also have someone cut the lawn and pick up any unexpected advertising flyers or empty recycling bins.  Use inexpensive timers to turn lights on and off in your home.  Make it look lived in, even when you’re not there!

 •reevaluate your locks, especially those on sliding doors and windows.  A variety of ingenious devices, not all of them expensive, can add to your security.  Visit a specialty locksmith to find out more.®

Group to study ‘lids’

LCC trustee Joe Herrin has been selected to represent Laurelhurst on the Westside Community Roundtable, a group that will discuss design ideas for “lids” over State Route 520 in the Montlake neighborhood.  The lids, similar to those over Interstate 90 on Mercer Island, have been proposed as part of the overall plan to renovate SR-520 and the Evergreen Point floating bridge.  Among other issues, Herrin’s group will examine pedestrian and bicycle connections as they relate to the lids.®

Club’s efforts interest out-of-state observers

Everyone likes to know their work’s appreciated.  These days, what with the Internet, that appreciation sometimes comes from unexpected sources.

Last month, the LCC received an inquiry from Nashville, Tenn.  The Nashville Planning Department wanted to know about our work several years back to help shape legislation regarding video advertising signs.  At one point, it was feared the high-tech (and highly distracting) signs would be ubiquitous on storefronts throughout the city.  With LCC input, the city crafted an ordinance to stop that from happening.  President Jeannie Hale forwarded to Nashville all the information we have on the subject, wishing them well in their attempt to write similar legislation.

This is not the first time Laurelhust’s work on the video sign ordinance has generated interest.  We had another inquiry on the same subject last year—from a city in Texas.  We have also had inquires from as far afield as Halifax, Nova Scotia, where city officials wanted to know more about our accommodation with Children’s Hospital regarding the helicopter landing pad.®

New trustees elected

At the May 27 annual meeting, LCC members elected three new trustees: Dan Becraft, a financial consultant and Washington native who has lived in the neighborhood since 1997, Joyce Hinkley, an accountant and investment manager who came to Seattle from the East Coast in 1988 and recently moved to Laurelhurst; and Tom Maider, a real estate agent who was born and raised in Laurelhurst and attended neighborhood schools.

In addition, 10 serving trustees were reelected: Jennifer Biely, John Clark, Jeannie Hale, Mark Holden, Mimi Carsley, Susan Torrance, Don Torrie, Mark Trumbauer, Maggie Weissman, and Bonnie Zinn.

The trustees and members joined in thanking retiring board members Shahina Piyarali, Jim Romano, and Shawn Whitcomb for their years of service.®

Neighbors' efforts key to Night Out success

On Tuesday, Aug. 3, Seattle will join thousands of other communities across the country to celebrate National Night Out, an evening dedicated to creating safer, more vibrant neighborhoods and building stronger ties between citizens and law enforcement personnel.

Events are organized by neighbors on a block-by-block basis.  They take place usually between 7 and 10 p.m. and include block parties, cookouts, parades, ice cream socials, visits by police officers, flashlight walks, safety fairs, poster and essay contests, and neighborhood meetings.

Neighbors also traditionally leave their front-porch lights on all night long.

The Seattle Police Department assists these efforts in a number of ways: it keeps a register of all planned events, issues free permits to close non-arterial streets, provides signs and other organizational materials, and if possible, tries to arrange for on-duty officers to drop by.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Seattle's participation in the program.  To find out more or to register your event, visit the police department web site at  The deadline for event registration is July 20.(r)


Police should issue citations, not warnings, LCC advises mayor

After learning that the city’s new noise ordinance isn’t being effectively implemented, the LCC has written a letter to the mayor urging that Seattle police officers receive additional training in enforcement and that the city undertake a periodic review of police practices in this regard.

Whereas the ordinance requires that offenders be issued a citation on first offence, individual officers are continuing to deliver verbal warnings instead, according to residents of the University Park neighborhood.  Such warnings have little effect on what has become a widespread and perennial problem in this area, the complainants say.

“The citation process should be exercised and given a chance to  work,” LCC president Jeannie Hale told the mayor. “Even one or two citations can have a big effect on behavior, and official sanctions make a clear statement about community standards.”

Given that noise complaints are among the most frequent concerns expressed by neighbors, the community club has a compelling interest in this issue, Hale added.®

Concerts scheduled

Back for a sixth season is the very popular Summer Concerts in Laurelhurst Park series, sponsored by the Laurelhurst Community Center Advisory Council and the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation.

The five free concerts will take place on successive Thursdays, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Laurelhurst Park.  First to perform, on July 15, are blues artists Little Bill and the Bluenotes. followed by jazz pianist Deems Tsutakawa (July 22), jazz/pop vocalist Nadine Shanti (July 29), soulful R&B group Pat Wright and the Good Foot Band (Aug. 5), and boogie woogie blues band Two Scoops Combo (Aug. 12).

The July 29 performance coincides with the annual Family Salmon Bake. In addition to the wonderful music, concert goers can enjoy either baked salmon ($7) or a hot dog plate ($4).®

Current park name best, neighbor groups tell city

The LCC is supporting efforts by other community organizations to insure that the entire park property now known as Magnuson Park retain that name, rather than be known as Sand Point/Magnuson Park.

Aside from the clumsiness of the latter designation, it does not sufficiently recognize the one person most responsible for the very existence of the park. 

“Senator Magnuson’s efforts in securing the property for our citizens have laid the groundwork for creation of the finest park in our city,” LCC president Jeannie Hale told members of the Seattle Parks Department’s naming committee.  “It is only fitting that the park be named in his honor, on the 100th anniversary of his birth.”

The LCC also recommended that Building 406, the former brig serving Sand Point Naval Air Station, be named Warren G. Magnuson Community Center.®

Golf driving range: UW scales back plans to expand facility

The University of Washington has substantially scaled back its plans to renovate the golf driving range on Montlake Boulevard, project manager Jon Lebo told LCC trustees at their May meeting. 

He said that cost was a primary factor in the decision: recent engineering studies have determined that the facility, which is built on a landfill, requires much deeper footings than originally  thought, while at the same time, the price of steel has risen dramatically on the world market.

The new plans call for a marginally expanded number of tees, all on a single level, and a modest increase in the size of the clubhouse.  The existing fence will be replaced, but its height will remain the same on the east and west sides and will rise to a maximum of only 65 feet at the north end (a figure that is consistent with the heights allowed in the adjacent University Village shopping center).

The university’s original plans, announced nearly four years ago, called for construction of a double-decker tee-line structure and a 105-foot-high fence.  Many neighborhood groups opposed the project, primarily because of the fence height.  They argued that it was out of proportion to the surrounding built environment, that it constituted a visual blight alongside a designated “scenic highway,” that it would interfere with the migratory patterns of birds such as herons, and that it could provide a precedent for the “up-zoning” of height limits on neighboring properties.

The LCC trustees were generally pleased with the changes.  Lebo told them that in addition to being much lower than originally proposed, the new fence would require only 13 poles to support it, rather than the existing 33.  He also said the lighting system would be changed to further reduce any glare perceived by neighbors and that in any case, the lights that will be used will not be as bright as those used in other sports complexes.®


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