CONGRATULATIONS! White Center’s Sophorn Sim honored as ‘Sustainability Hero’

March 13th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Sustainability, White Center news 2 Comments »

Congratulations to White Center resident Sophorn Sim for winning top honors in Sustainable Seattle’s annual awards. The photo and announcement were shared with us by ECOSS, for whom she works:

Sustainable Seattle announced the winners of their Sustainability Leadership Awards – known as the “Sustainability Oscars” – at their annual dinner March 3rd at the Swedish Cultural Center. The evening’s top prize, the Sustainability Hero Award, went to Sophorn Sim, an environmental educator working with immigrant residents and fishermen in the Duwamish Valley.

Business, organization, and individual award winners in six categories were recognized at the event for their efforts to make the greater Seattle region a more sustainable, resilient and equitable place to live.

“It was such an inspiration to hear everyone’s stories and see the amazing advances our region is making for our future,” said Sustainable Seattle’s Executive Director BJ Cummings. “It was also important to celebrate the people and organizations doing this work, especially now, when we need amplify the voices of our sustainability leaders.”

KNKX environmental reporter Bellamy Pailthorp emceed the event, which was opened by Duwamish Tribal leader Ken Workman, a direct descendant of Chief Si’ahl, and Julie Whitehorn of Sami Searvi, representing the indigenous people of northern Europe.

The awards are competitive. Nominations were solicited from the community and narrowed down to top five finalists in each category. Winners were selected by a panel of 15 independent judges who have significant experience and involvement in sustainable business, agency and local community initiatives.

The 2017 winners are:

Sophorn Sim, a former refugee who fled Cambodia in the mid-1970s, for her work in her community and at ECOSS helping build resilient immigrant communities by connecting them to their environment through education and experiences, such as healthy fishing, clean water and access to parks and recreation.

Fremont Brewing Company for incorporating environmental sustainability and social responsibility practices into their business, including diverting waste streams into clean energy, providing low-cost health insurance and a minimum $15/hour wage to all employees before it was required by law, and more.

Ikea Seattle for the sustainable design of their stores, active community involvement, product design innovations and partnering to plant 5,000 trees in the Mt. Adams Post-Fire Restoration Area. IKEA is working towards a goal of 100% renewable energy; their new Renton store has the largest rooftop solar installation in Washington.

King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C) for spearheading development, technical assistance and outreach that helped lead to the adoption in July 2014 of countywide greenhouse gas reduction targets of 25% reductions by 2020, 50% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. K4C is a consortium of King County and 11 cities.

APANA for its innovative technology that helps commercial and industrial water users save money and manage their water using real-time, automated information. Users, such as supermarkets, carwashes, food and beverage processing facilities, and commercial buildings, have demonstrated an average 22% savings in water use.

No Gasoline Day – Coltura for helping change cultural norms about the use of gasoline through mobile and interactive live performance, social media, and powerful imagery and videos challenging the cultural status quo. In 2016, they produced mobile theatrical series performed at art festivals and gasoline stations across Seattle.

The Sustainability Leadership Awards, began in 2001 by local non-profit Sustainable Seattle, recognize the accomplishments of those raising the bar for sustainability in the greater Seattle area. The nominations and awards celebrate and encourage positive change as well as appropriately recognize the time and energy invested in transforming the local economy, community and environment, making Seattle a national sustainability model.

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Interested in solar power? Solarize Southwest is launching

July 3rd, 2014 Tracy Posted in Environment, Sustainability, White Center news Comments Off on Interested in solar power? Solarize Southwest is launching

A new incentive campaign for residential solar power is headed this way. Here’s the announcement we received about Solarize Southwest:

Solar energy is currently powering hundreds of Seattle homes, and residents of West Seattle, White Center, Georgetown, Burien and other southwest neighborhoods are about to get a special opportunity to add their rooftops to our city’s growing solar array. Through a nonprofit-led program called Solarize Washington, homes and small businesses can qualify for special pricing and take advantage of many incentives that make solar installations more affordable than ever.

Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) and Seattle City Light are working with several community groups to launch Solarize Southwest, a solar energy education and installation program that starts today and runs through October. The program will be co-led by a community coalition of local volunteers, which will spearhead neighborhood outreach. Supporting organizations include Sustainable West Seattle and Sustainable Burien.

The campaign features a group-buy program that provides a streamlined process for residents and small businesses to purchase solar systems for a discounted price. Participants learn how solar photovoltaics (PV) works, how it is installed, what tax and production incentives are available to bring the price down, and how low-interest financing can spread out the cost. The limited-time campaign intends to install nearly one megawatt of solar energy in southwest Seattle and Burien by the end of 2014.

Through a competitive bidding process, community volunteers selected Puget Sound Solar and Artisan Electric as the project’s solar installation team. These contractors will offer solar systems at discounted rates to project participants.

Solarize Southwest will be the tenth campaign of Northwest SEED’s Solarize Washington program. To date, Solarize Washington campaigns have resulted in over 2 MW of new solar capacity, over 2,000 people educated through public workshops, 475 residents who installed solar on their homes, and more than $12 million injected into the local solar economy. The last Solarize campaign, Central/Southeast Seattle, was so successful that 885 kW of solar photovoltaics was installed on the grid and over 620 people attended workshops. Solarize Southwest is the third campaign sponsored by Seattle City Light, and momentum is already building to make this campaign even more successful than the last.

Registration for Solarize Southwest is open to Seattle and Burien residents who live in the geographic area bordered by downtown Seattle to the north, I-5 to the east, and within Seattle City Light service territory. Free educational workshops will be held on Jul 19, Jul 24, Aug 9, Aug 26, Sept 10, Sept 17, and Oct 4. For more information and to pre-register for a workshop, visit

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Got a bike? ‘Tunes and Tune-Ups’ on the way to Greenbridge next week

August 19th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Arts, Greenbridge, Sustainability, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on Got a bike? ‘Tunes and Tune-Ups’ on the way to Greenbridge next week

Big event at Greenbridge next Wednesday!

Want to have a more cycle-centric White Center and South Park? We do too! Many organizations partnered to plan this FREE event for families in our neighborhood. Hope you can come to TUNES & TUNE-UPS & pass on the word.

The new date is Wed Aug 24th, 4pm – 6pm, Greenbridge Music in the Plaza Outdoor Concerts. Chain lube, brakes, flat tire repair.

Also, look for a monthly bike repair clinic on Sunday afternoons at Full Tilt Ice Cream, planned for September 2011.

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Follow Up on Editorial: Should We Take Susan Hutchison Seriously

September 28th, 2009 Ricardo Posted in Boulevard Park, Development, Economy, Election, Government, housing, Jail Sites, Jobs, King County, Safety, Sustainability, Traffic, Transportation, White Center 19 Comments »

For those who missed it, KUOW today broadcast an interview with, King County Executive, Susan Hutchison.  You can find the interview at KUOW Weekday.  In a prior post I had made the following observation which sparked a fair amount of discussion:

Ms. Hutchison has never held public office.  She has never had to struggle with the political realities of governing a complex political entity whose ambits include not only roads and sewers but social services, neighborhoods and law enforcement.  It is difficult to see how her experience on the board of the Seattle Symphony prepared her, in the slightest way, for such a weighty role.

If anyone had any doubt about Ms. Hutchison’s lack of specificity on issues, policies or even advisors, it is worth a listen (available on podcast).  Pressed by the moderator to name a single advisor who she consults, or who she would bring to her administration, she flatly resisted naming anyone, except to say bus drivers.  Her conclusion was “trust me” they will be great people.  I have nothing against bus drivers, but maybe she could have named a couple of the guys that she intends to bring to the Hutchison administration that will “bring people together.”  I’m sorry but calling Hutchison a “lightweight” does not begin to describe the chasm that is her lack of qualification to hold such an important post.  Listen for yourself.

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The Great Markets of White Center: Hung Long Sieu Th! (White Center Supermarket)

May 23rd, 2009 Ricardo Posted in Beverages, Businesses, Economy, Food, Sustainability, White Center 8 Comments »

Hung Long (White Center Supermarket)
9828 15th Avenue SW
Seattle, WA 98106
(206) 768-8087
Hung Long's Veggies - some familiar some not

Hung Long

Of all the great Asian markets in White Center, Hung Long Sieu Th! is almost certainly my favorite.  It is distinguished by being directly across from the White Center State Liquor Store.  Some would see this as a convenience and others as a liability.  That aside, this is almost certainly the most well-stocked Vietnamese market.  This is a market in the truest sense of the word: stocking within its tightly knit quarters, all manner of fish and meat as well as a very nice selection of fruits and vegetables, some familiar, some not.  The aisles are packed with sauces, spices and all the accoutrements for fine Asian (or in my case, Mexican) meal.  Indeed, many of the patrons shopping at Hung Long are Latin American, although the overwhelming majority are Asian, attesting to the market’s authenticity.  Most times, I am the only non-Asian at the check-out line, as Vietnamese is thrown around as the lingua franca.

Fresh Fish

Fresh Fish

My advice for any gringos wishing to venture to Hung Long is to explore and if confused, just ask, the staff are very friendly and more than willing to assist.  Did I mention that the prices are incredibly modest.  You could pack a bag of fruit for under $10.00.  And the fruit would certainly be much nicer than the industrial brand you find at Safeway and other corporate stores.

Fresh meats and vegggies in a typically clean aisle

Fresh meats and vegggies in a typically clean aisle

The seafood is invariably fresh.  No need to trek to Pike Place Market to pick up some fresh crab or halibut.  And you can get some nice black bean sauce to dress the dinner meal.

Fresh Crab

Fresh Crab

If you feel like noshing while shopping, Hung Long has a small Hong Kong style deli where you can pick up ribs, roast duck, hum bows or other tasty stews and barbeques.

Roast Duck

Roast Duck

Fried Fish

Fried Fish

My favorite quality of Hung Long is its authenticity.  When I step into Hung Long, I am immediately transported to the wonderful markets of Chinatown in New York City or Hong Kong.  This is the real deal, venture forth gastronomes and lovers of food.   An awesome market, Hung Long.

Asian Drinks

Asian Drinks

Hong Kong Style Deli

Hong Kong Style Deli

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Review of Asian Markets Coming

April 9th, 2009 Ricardo Posted in Businesses, Food, Sustainability, White Center 2 Comments »

One of the best things about White Center is the abundance of great food.  The restaurants offer some of the tastiest array of food from around the world.  What many may have missed are the wonderful Asian markets brimming with fresh fish, tasty meats, exotic fruits, vegetables and sauces.  You can wonder around them for hours and pack away enough fresh ingredients for the choicest of meals.  So, I will be posting a listing and review of Asian markets.  If you have a favorite or a question, send it in and I will try and include it.  Bon appetit!

Typical fare in our wonderful White Center markets

Typical fare in our wonderful White Center markets

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Winter Advisory: Cold Weather on the way for this weekend

December 8th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Sustainability, White Center Community Development Association 1 Comment »

Per Advisory from NWS:

Statement as of 3:15 PM PST on December 08, 2008

… Much colder weather is expected this weekend… A major change will occur in the large scale pattern near the end of this week… bringing much colder weather to western Washington over the weekend. The transition will get underway Friday or Friday night… as a cold front and its upper trough swing southeast from the Gulf of Alaska across the Pacific northwest. In the wake of the cold front… colder air will move from southwest Canada into western Washington over the weekend. We can expect temperatures to fall below freezing… at least during the night and morning hours… across most of western Washington this weekend and early next week. People should be ready for weather that is cold enough to cause icy roads… burst outdoor pipes… and endanger pets. The trough will bring some much needed snow to the Cascades and Olympic Mountains Friday and Friday night… followed by scattered snow showers over the weekend. There is also a possibility of snowfall across the western Washington lowlands… perhaps as early as Friday night… but it is too early to say with any confidence whether or not this will occur. Western Washington residents should keep informed of the latest National Weather Service forecasts and statements as this situation unfolds by listening to NOAA Weather Radio or visiting our web Page at weather.Gov/Seattle (all lowercase).

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Greenbridge: The Failure of the Cabrini-Green Model of Public Housing and the Rise of the New Urbanism

November 28th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Crime, Development, Greenbridge, Real estate, Sustainability, White Center, White Center news Comments Off on Greenbridge: The Failure of the Cabrini-Green Model of Public Housing and the Rise of the New Urbanism

The modern debate on urban housing policy takes as its starting point the post-World War II period when the country invested heavily in developing cities and its suburbs.  An outgrowth of the New Deal was  the belief that government should ameliorate the problem of housing for those unable to afford the cost of commercial or private housing.   The response to the housing problem was a mixture of modernist thought, good intentions, government bureacracy, racial attitudes and local politics.   While this subject is vast and would require tomes to fully comprehend it, we are here most concerned with the present moment in Seattle’s urban design and specifically the philosophy behind the Greenbridge Project.

The model against which much of the current thinking pivots is the Chicago Housing Authority and its notorious housing projects such as the Cabrini-Green projects.  Witold Rybczynski is an architect and an astute observer, with a sweeping knowledge of urbanism and a very accessible writing style.  I was introduced to Rybczynski’s writing when I was designing a home about 15 years ago and happened upon his meditative tome, “The Most Beautiful House in the World.”  Rybczynski took Cabrini-Green as a paradigm for the development of urbanism for a 1993 article entitled, “Bauhaus blunders: architecture and public housing – 1950s public housing estates Cabrini-Green, Chicago, Illinois, US“:

CABRINI-GREEN IS a large, inner-city public housing project on Chicago’s Near North Side. It attracted national attention in October of 1992, when a seven-year-old boy walking to school with his mother was fatally shot (for no apparent reason) by a sniper from an abandoned apartment in one of the project’s high-rise buildings. The tragic shooting was widely reported, and journalists drew predictable, if farfetched, parallels with violence-ridden Sarajevo. What struck me was how much the background behind the television reporters really did resemble Sarajevo–that is, it looked European rather than American. It was not only the bleak expanses of grassed public spaces rather than streets, and the lack of private gardens, but also the sight of tall, institutional-looking apartment blocks rather than of neighborhood streets lined with single-family houses.
What I saw of Cabrini-Green on television after the shooting was a reminder, as the housing critic Catherine Bauer wrote more than thirty-five years ago, that “Life in the usual public housing project just is not the way most American families want to live.” That this was not always so is evidenced in Cabrini-Green itself, which is a veritable Olduvai Gorge of American public housing policy evolution.

Cabrini-Green is but one of the most notorious housing projects known for its drab and sterile concrete towers of festering poverty, rampant crime, trash-strewn stairwells and unmitigated squalor.  Most of the towers are now being torn down.

The oldest housing on the site dates from 1941, not long after the Housing Act of 1937 that signaled the first involvement of the federal government in funding housing for what there then called the deserving poor. Frances Cabrini Homes was named after a soon-to-be-canonized Chicago nun, famous for her charitable work, and it was built on the site of a notorious Italian-American slum kown as Little Hell. The new housing consisted of almost 600 dwellings in two- and three-story brick buildings; the total area of the project was relatively small: sixteen acres. The unassuming architecture of these row homes–every dwelling had its own front door on the street–was not substantially different from the popular urban housing then being built by the private sector in the surrounding city. The brick facades even incorporated some decorative elements. The overall design, like that of most prewar public housing projects, is modest but unremarkable; it was taken for granted that poor people would prefer to live lie everyone else.  (emphasis added)

Although Cabrini-Green has become synonymous with large government-run slums, they were not the largest or worst of its kind.  Hunt D. Bradford has written a concise piece on the Robert Taylor Homes, a larger Chicago Housing project in piece entitled, “What went wrong with public housing in Chicago? A history of the Robert Taylor homes.”

The choice to build large-scale developments proved to be problematic, as it helped concentrate, isolate, and stigmatize public housing residents, with the distinction between the “project” and the rest of the neighborhood clear and unmistakable.
Cabrini-Green towers undergoing demolition.

Cabrini-Green towers undergoing demolition.

The high-rise design of the Robert Taylor Homes was not purely a product of modernist architecture theories, and the design cannot be blamed entirely on Mayor Daley’s desire to “warehouse” the poor. Instead, Chicago’s insistence on using expensive black belt slum sites and the PHA’s (Public Housing Authority) shortsighted political concern with costs led to the use of high-rises. Daley did nothing to challenge public housing’s black belt locations, nor did he provide leadership that might have opened up vacant land sites in white areas for more low-rise, row house projects. But his efforts on behalf of low-rise alternatives for Chicago’s slum clearance projects have gone unnoticed. Tragically, Daley, the CHA, (Chicago Housing Authority) and the PHA all understood that low-rise rowhouses were far superior for large families with children.
Cabrini-Green Tower

Cabrini-Green Tower

Importantly, the initial tenants of Taylor were predominantly working-class, two-parent families with low but not impoverished incomes. In 1963, two parents headed roughly two-thirds of Taylor’s families. Roughly half were working-class and received no government benefits, while a third relied on the federal government’s primary welfare program, Aid to Dependent Children (ADC). The remainder received other forms of federal aid, including Old Age Assistance, Social Security, and Veterans benefits. With a median income of $12,700 (in 1984 dollars), Taylor residents earned about half as much as the average Chicago resident in 1963… Taylor’s tenant base underwent a dramatic decline in socioeconomic status in a mere seven years. Between 1967 and 1974, the percentage of working-class families fell from 50% to 10%, while reliance on ADC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) shot up from 36% to 83%. The mass exodus of twoparent, working-class families and their replacement with non-working, female-headed families caused the bulk of the change, though an unknown portion of existing residents shifted from work to welfare status. With the loss of working-class wages and with the failure of welfare benefits to keep pace with inflation in the 1970s, average incomes at Taylor plunged after 1969. The CHA was not alone in experiencing these trends, though in Chicago they occurred more rapidly and with greater severity than in other cities.
Crime was rampant in Cabrini-Green

Crime was rampant in Cabrini-Green

The current plan to demolish Taylor acknowledges the monumental failure of the public housing model as conceived in the 1950s. Sprawling high-rise projects housing exclusively poor families with many children amounted to a tragic, terrible mistake. Today’s “New Urbanist” planners have learned these lessons and use projects like Taylor as a foil for their small-scale, mixed-use, mixed income communities now sprouting in urban areas. “New Urbanism” has its roots in the critique of public housing begun by Jane Jacobs in her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.  Jacobs celebrated the diversity and complexity of the fragile working-class urban neighborhoods labeled as “slums” by planners. She advocated rehabilitation, not clearance. Provocative and controversial in her time, Jacobs’ basic ideas today permeate progressive thinking. Replacing Taylor with a “New Urbanist” neighborhood will not be easy, and will require the concerted efforts of the city to ensure that former residents are treated fairly. While government at all levels must continue and, indeed, increase its efforts at addressing the housing needs of the poor, the Robert Taylor Homes experience makes perfectly clear that what should constrain government involvement is not the nobleness of its intentions but its effectiveness in achieving them.

The consensus it that the project tended to congregate poverty and stigmatize the residents.  As articulated by Rybczynski:

Although Cabrini-Green occupies almost as much land as the Loop itself, it is not the biggest public housing project in Chicago–that dubious honor belongs to Robert Taylor Homes, said to be the largest public housing project in the world. But Cabrini-Green was the first of the big projects, and it did become a model for how municipal authorities would rehabilitate deteriorated inner-city real estate and provide large amounts of public housing. The solution–bulldoze existing houses and replace them with tall apartment slabs spaced far apart in open parkland (created byh closing off existing streets to make immense “supper-blocks”)–reflected the prevalent social and architectural thinking of the time. As Bauer pointed out, his was not how the majority of Americans really lived–or would choose to live–but the idealistic housing reformers felt that they knew best.

Architects and planners maintained that high-rise buildings were better because they occupied less land, and provided their occupants with sunlight and unobstructed views, but the Chicago Housing Authority was probably attracted to Modern architecture for the same reason that many commercial developers were partial to the designs of Mies van der Rohe–their cost. The truth is that standardized, stripped-down, and undecorated tall buildings can be erected quickly and inexpensively. It is also likely that the plain architecture suited the puritan view of many Americans–and certainly of the housing reformers–who felt that social housing should not be fancy. Soon, utilitarian high-rise apartment towers were accepted as the best solution for public housing.

High-rise slums

However, it was one thing to build apartment towers for the upper-middle-class, as Mies did, and quite another to adopt them as solutions for housing the poor. The well-off have doormen, janitors, repairmen, and baby-sitters; the poor have none of these things. Without restricted access, the lobbies and corridors were vandalized; without proper maintenance, elevators broke down, staircases became garbage dumps, roofs leaked, and broken windows remained unreplaced; without baby-sitters, single mothers were stranded in their apartments, and children roamed unsupervised sixteen floors below. In Cabrini-Green, there were problems with the design of the buildings: To save money, no private balconies or terraces were provided, access galleries and elevator lobbies were left open to the elements (in frigid Chicago!), and despite the lack of air-conditioning, the unshaded apartment windows of the tall buildings faced east and west.

Equally unsuccessful was the overall layout which dispensed with the familiar street and supplanted it with parkland, although what little landscaping there was quickly disappeared and was replaced by beaten dirt and asphalt parking lots. In any case, the open pedestrian spaces were problematic: windy, unappealing, and more crime-prone than conventional streets and sidewalks overlooked by individual homes. In the name of housing the poor, the well-meaning social reformers of the 1950s invented a new type of urbanism, quite foreign to any previous American ideal of city planning. It is hardly surprising that the projects acquired a social stigma. This, as well as crime, drugs, and poor management, explains why today one-third of the apartments at Cabrini-Green remain unoccupied [and are now being demolished].

The reaction to the failure of Cabrini-Green style projects was a return to a style termed, the New Urbanism.  Again,  Rybczynski:

The carefully crafted project of the winning team is representative of a current approach to urban design that has been termed neo-traditional, but whose adherents prefer to call it the New Urbanism. The New Urbanism represents a turning away from the principles that have characterized American urban design since the 1950s, a rediscovery of the virtues of traditional, gridded streets scaled to the pedestrian, and a return to cities that integrate a diversity of urban uses–commercial and industrial as well as residential–rather than being zoned according to single functions. So far, the accomplishments of architects and planners like Peter Calthorpe, Daniel Solomon, and Andres Duany and Elezabeth Plater-Zyberk, have been predominantly suburban in location and aimed at an upper-middle-class clientele, but the commercial successes of the New Urbanism are evidence of its broad appeal to consumers and developers alike. It seems entirely appropriate that such a mainstream, pragmatic approach should be appealing feature of the New Urbanism is architectural design whose flavor is regional rather than international. In Nelson and Faulkner’s proposal, moreover, the traditional design approach means that public and private housing are indistinguishable. “One must avoid the danger of building for the poor under regulations or in a style very different from that to which the middle class is accustomed,” wrote Nathan Glazer in the pages of The Public Interest in 1967. Just so. Despite the argument of one of the Carbini-Green competition entrants that “Architecture is not the solution, architecture is not the problem,” it’s obvious that large islands of high-rise apartment blocks that contribute to social isolation are a problem.

Which brings us to the Greenbridge, High Point and Holly Park developments in Seattle.  Each of these projects reflects completely the philosophy of the New Urbanism and the rejection of the Cabrini-Green model.   The development are designed to mix inhabitants of different income levels.  As well, the housing is of a human scale with an emphasis on street life, walkability and sustainability.   Most critically, these developments aim to look like housing, that anyone, regardless of their station in life, would choose to live in.

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White Center Community Development Association benefit dinner pictures

October 26th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Development, Economy, Sustainability, White Center, White Center Community Development Association Comments Off on White Center Community Development Association benefit dinner pictures

The White Center Community Development Association held its Fifth Annual Banquet Fundraiser at South Seattle Community College’s Brockey Center on Saturday, October 25th. Jammed full of people, everyone had a great time. Herein some pictures from the event.

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Notes from Cafe Rozella: Linux and Windows

October 15th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Sustainability, Technology, White Center 3 Comments »

One of the unknown duties of running an independent cafe is maintaining a wireless network.  Unlike Starbucks, we have no IT department to turn to when we have computer problems.  We have to learn to manage our networks much as we do the espresso machines.  Not that I mind, I love tinkering in the bowels of these neat machines. In addition to maintaining the WiFi, we also keep a terminal for use by the community.  (So stop by if you need to check your email.)

Like nearly everyone else, we were running our computers on the Microsoft Windows operating system.  About two years ago one of our machines bit the dust.  In an effort to salvage what I could of the computer’s remains, I switched out some parts and decided to load the Linux operating system on the old pc.  Techy customers had told me that Linux consumed much less resources and was much more reliable.   I took the plunge and loaded the Mandrake version of Linux on our public PC.  The system worked great!  Reliable and, unlike Windows, it never crashed.

Next I tried Linux Ubuntu on one of my pcs.  I was hooked.  I liked it so much that I had the Ubuntu folks send me a bunch of disks (they normally run about $2)  and I distributed them to interested customers.  In the interim I became much more adept at Linux and its particular foibles (some of which can be maddening).  I have to say, I am a convert.  Not only can you do anything on Linux that  you would on Windows — it’s all FREE and more reliable.

So, if you are interested in dipping your toe in the open source operating system world, try out Linux.  It will load on top of Windows so you can play with it without actually burning it onto your hard drive.  I recommend Ubuntu but there are other very user friendly interfaces.  And they are almost all Free.  So give it a whirl and maybe you won’t have to shell out $500 for an operating system next time you need to upgrade.

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Rossi vs. Gregoire: Who is Better for White Center?

October 14th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Annexation, Development, Economy, Election, Environment, Families, Jobs, Politics, Sustainability, White Center 5 Comments »

Ok, this is a heavily Democratic neighborhood but there seem to be some Rossi supporters in White Center land?  I am inviting comments on who would be better for White Center, Dino Rossi or Christine Gregoire?  Obviously, we have issues of housing, jobs, health care, affordability, crime, education, sustainability, greenspace etc… And I will gladly share my views.  Forum’s open.  Speak your mind.

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Zapotec Weavings – Pictures from Event taking place today

September 30th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Arts, Businesses, Development, Economy, Sustainability, White Center Comments Off on Zapotec Weavings – Pictures from Event taking place today

Here are some pics from the Zapotec Weaving exhibit and sale at Cafe Rozella going on today.   Drop by – great rugs.  Wonderful cause:  direct to producer sale!

Looking at Oaxacan rugs

Looking at Oaxacan rugs

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Today – 3 pm – 9 pm Zapotec Women’s Exhibit and Sale at Cafe Rozella

September 30th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Arts, Cultural Center, Sustainability, White Center Comments Off on Today – 3 pm – 9 pm Zapotec Women’s Exhibit and Sale at Cafe Rozella

La Vida Nueva – Zapotec women’s weaving collective visits Seattle
Tuesday, September 30th 3pm – 9pm
(Café Rozella: 9434 Delridge Way SW  206.763.5805
La Vida Nueva is a women’s weaving collective in Teotitlan del Valle , Oaxaca Mexico .  These Zapotec artisans are continuing their traditional methods of dying, spinning, and weaving wool tapetes (rugs) all by hand.  Their work and homeland are internationally acclaimed for the quality of weaving.
Pastora Gutierrez will be representing the 14 women of the collective on this 2008 West Coast Tour.  Each stop is an opportunity to create cultural ties with the Zapotec women, as well as learning about the work and community of their cooperative.  All the women of La Vida Nueva are independently supporting themselves and their children through the work of the collective.
There are two opportunities in Seattle to meet Pastora and her friend and translator Juanita Rodriguez.  These are also opportunities to purchase heirloom quality traditional Zapotec tapetes.  This annual selling tour is the main source of income for La Vida Nueva.
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Oaxacan Zapotec Weavers Exhibit at Cafe Rozella – Tuesday September 30th

September 27th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Arts, Cultural Center, Economy, Sustainability, White Center 1 Comment »

La Vida Nueva – Zapotec women’s weaving collective visits Seattle

Tuesday, September 30th 3pm – 9pm
(Café Rozella: 9434 Delridge Way SW  206.763.5805


La Vida Nueva is a women’s weaving collective in Teotitlan del Valle , Oaxaca Mexico .  These Zapotec artisans are continuing their traditional methods of dying, spinning, and weaving wool tapetes (rugs) all by hand.  Their work and homeland are internationally acclaimed for the quality of weaving.
Pastora Gutierrez will be representing the 14 women of the collective on this 2008 West Coast Tour.  Each stop is an opportunity to create cultural ties with the Zapotec women, as well as learning about the work and community of their cooperative.  All the women of La Vida Nueva are independently supporting themselves and their children through the work of the collective.
There are two opportunities in Seattle to meet Pastora and her friend and translator Juanita Rodriguez.  These are also opportunities to purchase heirloom quality traditional Zapotec tapetes.  This annual selling tour is the main source of income for La Vida Nueva.
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White Center stakes out a spot for PARKing Day this Friday

September 17th, 2008 Tracy Posted in Environment, Sustainability, White Center news 5 Comments »

(update: here’s a link to a map of all Friday’s PARKing Day “Parks” citywide)
Perhaps you’ve heard of PARKing Day – a relatively new annual event in which volunteers in cities nationwide transform parking spaces into parks, to spotlight the importance of urban open space. This year’s edition is coming up on Friday, and there’s going to be a PARKing Day “park” in a prominent White Center spot – here’s the official announcement:

Seattle Parks Foundation is partnering with The Trust for Public Land and Feet First to turn Seattle’s parking spaces into parks on September 19th as part of PARK(ing) Day, a fun and visible event started by Re-Bar in San Francisco to bring attention to the need for more green space in urban areas.

Technology Access Foundation and The White Center Community Development Association will be transforming the parking spaces in front of Full Tilt Ice Cream into a classroom. We are hoping to provide awareness to the community about the work that we do. Everyone is invited to come out and show support to the community.

National Parking Day
Friday, September 19
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

In front of:
Full Tilt Ice Cream
9629 16th Ave SW

Come out and meet your community neighbors!
For More info call – 206-722-2369×102

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Zapotec Women’s Weaving Collective Visits Seattle – Cafe Rozella

September 11th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Arts, Development, Sustainability Comments Off on Zapotec Women’s Weaving Collective Visits Seattle – Cafe Rozella

La Vida Nueva – Zapotec women’s weaving collective visits Seattle
Monday, September 29th 6pm – 9pm
(9th House: for more info 206.323.4483 or )
Tuesday, September 30th 3pm – 9pm
(Café Rozella: 9434 Delridge Way SW 206.763.5805


La Vida Nueva is a women’s weaving collective in Teotitlan del Valle , Oaxaca Mexico . These Zapotec artisans are continuing their traditional methods of dying, spinning, and weaving wool tapetes (rugs) all by hand. Their work and homeland are internationally acclaimed for the quality of weaving.
Pastora Gutierrez will be representing the 14 women of the collective on this 2008 West Coast Tour. Each stop is an opportunity to create cultural ties with the Zapotec women, as well as learning about the work and community of their cooperative. All the women of La Vida Nueva are independently supporting themselves and their children through the work of the collective.
There are two opportunities in Seattle to meet Pastora and her friend and translator Juanita Rodriguez. These are also opportunities to purchase heirloom quality traditional Zapotec tapetes. This annual selling tour is the main source of income for La Vida Nueva.
La Vida Nueva – la colectividad que teje de las mujeres de Zapotec visita Seattle
Lunes, 29 de septiembre de 6 P.M. – 9pm
(residencia privada: para más Info 206.323.4483 o

Martes 30 de septiembre de 3 P.M. – 9pm
(Café Rozella: 9434 Delridge Way SW 206.763.5805

La Vida Nueva es una colectividad que teje de las mujeres en el del Valle, Oaxaca México de Teotitlan. Estos artesanos de Zapotec están continuando sus métodos tradicionales de teňido, de giro, y de tapetes de las lanas que tejen todas a mano. Su trabajo y patria internacionalmente se aclaman para la calidad de tejer.
Pastora Gutiérrez representará a las 14 mujeres de la colectividad en este viaje 2008 de la costa oeste. Cada parada es una oportunidad de crear lazos culturales con las mujeres de Zapotec, así como el aprendizaje sobre el trabajo y la comunidad de su cooperativa. Todas las mujeres del La Vida Nueva se están apoyando independientemente y a sus niños a través del trabajo de la colectividad.
Hay dos oportunidades en Seattle de resolver Pastora y su amigo y traductor Juanita Rodriguez. Éstas son también oportunidades de comprar los tapetes tradicionales de Zapotec de la calidad de la herencia. Esta publicación anual que vende viaje es la fuente de ingresos principal para el La Vida Nueva.
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Crosscut Blog delves into White Center’s Changing Character

August 18th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in People, Sustainability 1 Comment »

Vashon resident, author and contributor to the blog, Daniel Jack Chasan, has a couple of informative posts on current developments in White Center. The first post, “Gentrifying White Center” deals generally with the issue of affordable housing and how it is being impacted by gentrification and more specifically by the Greenbridge Project. Greenbridge is housing development of mixed income community taking shape in the old Park Lake housing project site. The model for Greenbridge is the Holly Park development in the Rainier Valley. Chasan points out the paradox that bedevils the economic revitalization of previously poor areas such as White Center. In the process of providing new jobs, businesses and higher income residents the area pushes out the very people who it was designed to assist. In the process, the area loses the flavor that the refugee and immigrant community imparted to the neighborhood. As well, Chasan takes King County to task for reducing the number of affordable housing units. I am not sure that I feel quite as pessimistic about gentrification destroying the character of White Center but Chasan’s concerns are certainly valid.

The second post by Chasan, “Social Progress in White Center” deals more broadly with the various social initiatives by foundations such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The White Center Early Learning Initiative is nicely described. As with the first post, Chasen voices some concern for the changing character of the community. This post is a good primer for anyone wanting to understand some of the dynamics at play in White Center. Unlike the housing issue, it is hard to fault a program that invests heavily in the betterment of children. All the more so, as success would mean that the Initiative would become a model for other communities. In any event both posts are highly recommended reading.

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New Start Students: Park Stewards.

August 14th, 2008 FullTilt Posted in Education, Food, Health, Neighborhoods, Parks, People, Sustainability, White Center news 2 Comments »

By Kyla Woodall, New Start student

Over the course of six weeks, my classmates and I worked together to learn about the world around us. We discovered all about invasive plant life and how they affect our community. We broadened our minds in learning about new ways to help our environment by composting, recycling, and picking up the garbage that litters the streets. Even during the summer Samantha Rost came up to Ann Magyar (a teacher at New Start) and said “You know I am almost annoyed with you because now that I learned about native and invasive plants I really see them everywhere”, It was an engaging experience that helped us to develop an interest for improving our community. I feel that by attending this program, we have become more aware of our surroundings and how we make an impact on our global community and the future for our children and our children’s children.

This all started when Mark Farrell, a King County Education Employment Specialist and New Start partner, received a grant from the King County Natural Resource Stewardship Network with funds from The King Conservation District, the Forest Service and King County. As a class, we identified the invasive plants in Salmon Creek Park and removed them. Besides removing the invasive plants, we also did a lot of our own planting in our school’s raised bed planters. Soon New Start and its neighbors will have a crop of tomatoes, bush beans, turnips, beets, and other produce. Throughout the program we worked with people whose careers focus on the environment. People who came to see our final presentation stated, “In the beginning it looked as if it would take five years to finish what you guys accomplished in 6 weeks.” I feel that we really did quality work. We did everything by hand; it was very hard but rewarding at the same time.

Also in the class, we learned about this wonderful thing called compost. Before the program many of us had no prior knowledge as to what compost was, and after completing the program, we were all motivated to have our own compost at home. It was satisfying knowing that we could help to improve our environment just by separating our garbage. We did our part by reusing plastic bottles to drink water from, and when we were down at Salmon Creek Park we looked for trash to separate and recycle.

Some of us are going to return this summer and help build the native plant nursery, to help benefit the community even more than we already have. The New Start nursery will be part of the classes, and the plants will be transplanted to Salmon Creek Park. The students are also going to be doing a composting program on the school campus.

This program has really helped to shape us as individuals, as well as team members. It was a very engaging and worthwhile course that opened our eyes to new experiences and different ways that we could help our community, in more ways that we ever thought possible.

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