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Updated: 2017-12-08T12:51:15-08:00


New Tacoma sculpture garden highlights works of Auguste Rodin



Including a cast of his iconic sculpture “The Thinker”

The LeMay Collections are perhaps better-known for their collection of vintage automobiles. But a new sculpture garden devoted to the works of French sculpture Auguste Rodin

Rodin is perhaps best-known for his 1903 sculpture “The Thinker.” A version cast from Rodin’s original foundry plasters—that is, formed in the 1990s, but from the actual mold sculpted by Rodin—sits along one of the garden’s paths. (The original sculpture, appropriately, still sits in the sculpture garden outside Musée Rodin in Paris.)

The garden, designed by Seattle firm Weber Thompson, winds through a 100-year Douglas fir forest on the grounds of historic military academy Marymount. In a nod to the history of the grounds, Weber Thompson used some materials as old as the forest and the casts. Wood was salvaged from century-old pickle barrels from Tacoma’s Nalley Foods pickle plant became two trellises bookending the garden’s path and benches along the way.

(image) Courtesy of Weber Thompson

The garden also includes casts of Rodin’s “Eve” and “The Age of Bronze.” In a release announcing the garden, Weber Thompson noted that Rodin frequently used the same figures in multiple compositions at different scales—something the firm said is highlighted in this setting.

“[N]ot many people know of [the LeMay family’s] appreciation for the artistry of industrial design or the extent to which the site is a tribute to the American story,” said Weber Thompson landscape principal Rachael Meyer in a statement. “Building on the juxtaposition between what is old and what is new, the success of the garden design is evident in how integrated the sculptures feel in the natural, forested setting.”

The collection had a soft grand opening on November on the 100th anniversary of Rodin’s death. It’s now open to the public. Access comes with a ticket to the LeMay Fine Art Collection: free for members, $15 for adults, or $5 for youth.

Wedgwood house with a muraled master suite listed for $750K


A hand-painted ceiling tops an already-unique space In Wedgwood just blocks from Matthews Beach Park, this four-bedroom home is cute enough on the surface, with bright shutters and a collection of gables and dormers. The inside, of course, matches, full of wainscoting and hardwoods. But the crown jewel of the home is really the master bedroom. Located on the top floor under vaulted ceilings and surrounded by wood-panel walls—including built-ins—and exposed beams, it’s like a little cabin all its own. A fireplace only adds to the coziness. Its most notable feature, though, is a collection of murals painted on the ceiling panels, painted back in the 1940s—soon after the home’s construction—by tenants in the home as part of their payment. At the time, the seller tells us, that room was a common space, not a bedroom. Its history as a common area help explain the large attached balcony and a closet that looks more like a small room, separated by French doors. This is not to undersell the rest of the house. On the main floor, cased openings connect the living room, dining area, and kitchen. The kitchen is massive, and connects to a laundry room with adorable Dutch doors. All the bedrooms are decently sized and feature hardwoods and, in one case, a dynamic, semi-vaulted ceiling. The finished basement has a separate entrance, perfect for a mother-in-law conversion or someone with a large need for privacy. An office or bedroom connects to its own back deck, which in turn leads to a large backyard with patios and a firepit. The home is listed for $749,000. Charming Cape Cod home [RSIR] 3826 NE 95th St [Estately] [...]

Seattle rent comparison: What $1,448 rents you right now


A studio in Eastlake or a one-bedroom in West Seattle? Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, where we explore what you can rent for a certain dollar amount in the Seattle area. We cast our net a little wider this week and found six listings within $100 of today's price: $1,448, Seattle’s median rent according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Via Pine Street Apartments In Capitol Hill, this one-bedroom apartment in a renovated turn-of-the-century building rents for $1,490, although none of the period details show up inside. No pets are allowed, but it’s on the top floor and has 625 square feet of space. Via Medora This pet-friendly Roosevelt studio has a sliding-glass door that opens to a small patio, plus in-unit laundry. Shared amenities include a roof deck, barbecues, a pet-washing station, and a 24-hour gym. Rent here is $1,450 per month. Via Craigslist For two bedrooms at this price point look to North Admiral, where this 850-square-foot apartment in a six-unit building is renting for $1,495. That includes in-unit laundry and one off-street parking stall. Pets can’t come, though. Via Illumina In Eastlake, this pet-friendly, 462-square-foot studio also has a den—not technically a bedroom, but nobody’s stopping you from sleeping in it. It has hardwood floors and in-unit laundry, and the building shares a large roof deck. Rent here is $1,450. Via Craigslist Head to Fremont for this 650-square-foot one-bedroom apartment that comes with a patio and covered parking. It’s a corner unit, and it allows cats. Rent is $1,450. Via Craigslist This one-bedroom apartment in a quieter part of Ballard near the Locks features a patio and in-unit laundry. It seems to have an Old Ballard vibe, too; the listing says, “live in Ballard without having to be hip, just be happy.” Rent here is $1,425; cats are allowed. [...]

Census data: Seattle is in top five most expensive US cities



In 2016, median rent was $1,448

Seattle is the fifth most expensive big city in the United States, according to census data released earlier this week. In 2016, median rent in Seattle was $1,448, up $92 from 2015.

San Francisco is, of course, above us, but they’re not at the top. Those honors go to San Jose, with $1,919 median rent.

Although we’ve reached a whole new milestone of unaffordability by reaching the top five, we’re only seventh in rent increases. Portland, Oregon’s rent is growing a little more quickly than ours, as did rents in Atlanta and Denver.

$1,448 may seem a little lower than a lot of estimates—and lower than a lot of renters’ realities. And there are reasons for that. The short version: It’s not based on active rental listings.

Unlike many of the rankings that we publish here at Curbed Seattle every month (new numbers are coming soon), which tend to show the prevailing market rate for apartments, the census data is designed to reflect what people are actually paying, including those in subsidized housing. So instead of reflecting the rate an apartment-seeker can expect to pay with no assistance, census data reflects what rent people are currently paying in Seattle across rental types.

It’s also a little more carefully crafted. Some other apartment rankings try to mirror the way census data is weighed, but they don’t have the same access to actual renters that the Census Bureau does.

There aren’t too many surprises in the area surrounding Seattle, either. Bellevue—which, not being one of the 50 biggest cities in the U.S., didn’t make the main ranking—had a whopping $153 rent increase last year. Its $1,846 median rent is higher than San Francisco’s $1,784.

Rent in Tacoma, meanwhile, continues to skyrocket. The City of Destiny’s median rent hit $1,054 this year, its first time above $1,000.

Seattle weekend traffic: Another December weekend, another bunch of holiday stuff


What’s blocking up traffic this weekend—and how to ride transit to it (or around it) Another weekend, another whole list of things that could disrupt getting around. Some of these events might be things you’re doing, too. We’ve combed through the alerts and advisories from both the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to deliver transit-friendly solutions for your weekend outings. Some of this weekend’s advisories—and transit-oriented alternate routes to events—are listed below. Sports: What sports? The Seahawks are in Jacksonville on Sunday and while it’s a really big weekend for the Seattle Sounders, Saturday’s MLS cup is in Toronto. So while there might be some extra revelry around your sports bars, there’s no physical game to worry about. Other events: Ballets, markets, and other yuletide stuff Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker starts Friday and runs all weekend (and beyond), with showtimes throughout the day. The 2, 3, 4, 13, and 19 will all get you close to McCaw Hall. On Friday, Urban Craft Uprising’s South Lake Union Winter Market takes over Amazon’s Van Vorst Plaza from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The South Lake Union Streetcar or Metro route 70 will get you there. On Saturday, monthly pop-up shop the Sodo Flea is having their special holiday market. That takes over—and closes—Occidental Avenue South and Forest Avenue South in an L-shape bounded by First Avenue South and South Hanford Street. It’s also set up at Sodo’s Rejuvenation. Get there directly on Metro routes 21 or 50, or get a few blocks away on Link light rail from the Sodo station. On Sunday—because there’s always a 5K somewhere in Seattle—prepare for the Jingle Bell Run to take over downtown Seattle on in the morning, including the Interstate 5 express lanes. The run goes south on 5th Avenue from Westlake Park then enters express lanes at Columbia Street and heads north, then moves south to exit at Pike Street. It then goes west on 9th and south on Pine before finishing at 6th Avenue. It’s a whole lot of downtown, so if you’re not participating, maybe avoid the area starting at 8 a.m. or so. (But it benefits the Arthritis Foundation.) Westlake Park is one of the most transit-accessible places in the city—any bus or train that stops downtown on Pike or Pine, or that stops at the Westlake tunnel station, will get you there. Road work Cyclists, take note: the Burke Gilman Trail will be closed between Phinney and Stone on Saturday and Sunday, with cyclists and pedestrians being detoured onto 34th. In Georgetown, lanes will be reduced on Corson Avenue South between Michigan and Airport Way, with a detour northbound, starting Friday night and running through Sunday. SDOT is completing paving work. Weekly travel planner [WSDOT] Seattle Area Construction Lookahead [SDOT] Events Traffic Advisory [SDOT] [...]

The 520 bridge pedestrian and bike trail opens December 20



Pedal across the lake

Trying to get across the State Route 520 bridge, but aren’t in a motor vehicle? Starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, December 20, a 2.7-mile pedestrian and bike path on the new Evergreen Point Floating Bridge will connect Seattle and the Eastside.

One end of the trail starts in Montlake by Montlake Park, near the Arboretum. The other end exits the lake in Medina, although the 520 trail continues all the way to Kirkland.

In addition to making some commutes a little easier, it also provides some variations in the Lake Washington Loop trail, which, appropriately, covers the 60-mile circumference of the lake. That trail will connect directly on the Seattle side of the bridge; doing just the top half of the loop, including 520 as the southern border, cuts the trail down to 27 miles.

The new bridge opened to traffic in April of last year, although work on the bridge wasn’t completed until this August.

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At 7,708 feet, the new 520 bridge is the longest floating stretch of highway in the world.

Work isn’t done on this corridor yet; the next phase involves a freeway lid and interchange around Montlake. At this point, the last of Seattle’s Ramps to Nowhere are slated to come down, too.

King County has the third-highest number of unsheltered people in the US



It’s been two years since Seattle declared a state of emergency

Back in January, a local point-in-time count found that 11,643 were experiencing homelessness in King County. Nearly half of them were living unsheltered. A recent report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), reported by the Seattle Times, found that those numbers are among the highest in the United States.

Out of all jurisdictions that are required to report counts to receive federal funding, King County ranked third both in homelessness—behind only New York City and Los Angeles County—and in people living unsheltered.

HUD also had the fifth-highest rate of homeless families with children in the country.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much our local homeless population has grown. Our count was conducted differently this year: the county brought in a research firm and volunteers were paired with formerly-homeless people to help with the count, so the new numbers aren’t directly comparable to past counts.

That said, the results of our count did grow at a higher rate than the rest of the United States, with the unsheltered count going up 21 percent and overall count of people experiencing homelessness growing by around 8.5 percent. Nationwide, the homeless population grew about 1 percent.

In response to Seattle’s growing homelessness crisis, the city declared a state of emergency two years ago—but clearly, the problem is still severe.

In an attempt to better-serve the homeless population, the city recently overhauled its homeless services contracts. While this led to new providers getting funding and a greater emphasis on housing, many longtime providers, especially those who provide emergency beds, are slated to lose their city backing.

19 Seattle pop-up markets for buying local and handmade gifts



Get unique with your gifting this year

Editor’s note: This map was first published November 16. It has been updated with additional markets.

This time of year is big on gift-giving for many, between Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, a month or so’s worth of year-end birthdays, and countless other traditions coming up. Something unique and handmade can be an especially thoughtful option—especially if it’s local.

There’s another option besides browsing Etsy for a million years and waiting on shipping. This time of year especially, Seattle is full of pop-up markets selling one-of-a-kind gifts, whether they’re new and handmade or incredible vintage finds.

And because there’s more than usual going on this time of year, chances are there’s one in your neighborhood—we found a couple in Ballard, a couple in Beacon Hill, and a couple more in Sand Point. Of course, a lot are centrally located, too. Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square are both popular options. There’s even an ongoing downtown pop-up for integrating a little local shopping into the rest of the gift-buying process.

We’ve mapped 19 pop-up markets below.

Coalition calls on City Hall to restore shelter funding


Some shelters were cut in the city’s rebidding process—especially those that provide emergency beds The Housing for All coalition, which includes many local service providers and advocacy organizations (most visibly the Transit Riders Union), delivered a letter to Seattle’s mayor and city council today demanding they reverse recent cuts to homelessness service providers. In a recent rebidding process, the city started from scratch awarding homeless services contracts. Some providers came away with more funding than they had before—and some new providers received city dollars. But in an effort to prioritize programs like rapid rehousing over emergency shelter, some longtime providers didn’t receive city contracts. A few, including Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE) and Women's Housing, Equality and Enhancement League (WHEEL), lost their funding altogether. Housing for All estimates that the cut programs add up to about 300 shelter beds. In their letter, they say they’re “deeply concerned” at the city’s decision to “redirect human services funding from longer-term shelter and housing toward shorter-term tools such as rapid rehousing that are likely to be successful only for a small part of the homeless population.” During the city budget process, city councilor Mike O’Brien proposed an employee head tax that would have increased funding for both housing and homeless services—and would have allowed more contracts to be funded. That measure failed, but the city council passed a resolution to pass legislation by the end of March to address that funding gap. The letter asks city leaders—especially the mayor—to find bridge funding for the programs that will lose funding “until this new revenue is secured and can sustainably fund these programs.” It also proposes cutting money used for city’s clearing of unauthorized homeless encampments, better-known as sweeps, from the budget and using that money for services instead. When the city contracts were announced, Housing and Human Services Department affairs director Meg Olberding told us over email that SHARE and WHEEL run programs that were a low priority in the city funding process; they “run basic, mats-on-floor shelters, and [have] not exited anyone to permanent housing, which is a priority in this funding round,” said Olberding. Olberding said the city will provide bridge funding, but just for the next six months, and that “no shelter beds will be lost this winter.” Both SHARE and WHEEL, along with Nickelsville, Real Change, and the Neighborhood Action Coalition, participated in a vigil Wednesday outside City Hall to protest cuts to their funding. In a press release announcing the vigil, a representative for WHEEL said that the homeless women’s community was “particularly hard hit.” “The unique and loving WHEEL low-barrier women’s shelter at Trinity Episcopal, [which houses 50-plus] 50+ women a night, has been quietly and heroically doing its survival shelter work for 17 years,” said the statement. It also pointed to Catholic Community Services (CCS)’s Women’s Referral Center and Women’s Wellness Center programs, which also lost funding—although CCS was one of the top-funded providers in the process. The mayor’s office did not immediately return a request for comment. $34 million in city contracts overhaul Seattle’s funding for homeless services [CS] [...]

Announced legislation would lift the state ban on rent control


State Rep. Nicole Macri announced the measure at a rally outside a landlord convention During a rally outside a landlord trade show on Tuesday, state Rep. Nicole Macri announced she’d be introducing legislation to lift the state’s contentious ban on rent control. Rent control was banned in Washington State in 1981, on the heels of an unsuccessful Seattle initiative to establish a rent-control system in 1980. That initiative appeared on the same ballot that first elected Ronald Reagan president, during a time when conservative organizing was strong. With rising rents in Seattle in recent years, though, the state on the rent-control issue has gained mainstream momentum. In 2015, the City Council passed a resolution calling for the law to be changed. The city’s 2017 legislative agenda, which was approved by the City Council earlier this week, also calls for “repeal or modification” of the law “to allow local governments to protect tenants from rent increases, without causing a negative impact on the quality or quantity of housing supply.” A post shared by TypeThursday SEA (@typethursdaysea) on Nov 12, 2017 at 3:59pm PST The debate around rent control has been bubbling in renter-advocacy circles for quite some time, though. Landlord advocacy group Rental Housing Association of Washington (RHA), which takes credit for the state’s ban on rent control, claimed in a recent blog post that “rental housing costs will soar, new rental housing construction will stop, and housing opportunities and mobility will be limited to anyone not lucky enough to already be living in their preferred rental unit.” “The cause of increasing rents in the region is due to a lack of supply of housing,” said RHA spokesperson Sean Martin over email. “Rent control would further restrict construction of new housing and exacerbate this problem. The best place for state and local governments to look when addressing housing affordability issues is the basic lack of housing supply and how they can encourage more construction of housing.” Martin pointed to New York and San Francisco as examples of why rent control won’t work. Those cities employ a specific form of rent control: rent stabilization. But it’s not the only form that rent control can take—and the state’s ban could reach wider than just stabilization. Oregon, for example, has a similar statewide ban on rent control. A Portland ordinance that would require landlords to pay relocation after certain rent increases is currently tied up in the state courts, although one court has already ruled in the city’s favor. (Seattle City Councilor Kshama Sawant has been mulling a similar ordinance.) The ordinance wouldn’t enact rent control anywhere—it would simply allow individual jurisdictions to establish rent-control laws that work for them. If this ordinance does eventually pass through the state legislature, it’d be up to Seattle to pass its own regulations. This article has been updated with comment from the Rental Housing Association of Washington. Macri to introduce legislation to end state ban on rent control [CHS] Rent control is illegal in Seattle. Here’s why [KUOW] Seattle seeks authority to enact rent laws [ST] [...]