Planters on 14th are on the move – volunteer opportunities starting this weekend

EBCA volunteers watering the newly installed planters on 14th in 2010
EBCA volunteers watering the newly installed planters on 14th Ave NW in 2010

It seems just like yesterday when neighbors in East Ballard applied for a grant from the Dept of Neighborhoods to install planters along 14th NW to help make the street more beautiful and create a safe buffer for intersection crossings.

13 years later, these planters have served us well, and are ready to serve a new purpose along 14th Ave NW south of Market St, thanks to our partnership with the Ballard-Fremont Greenways.

The Ballard-Fremont Greenways is a group of neighbors who are working to make our streets safer, more accessible, and more comfortable for everybody. This community group works on safe street projects and advocates for people-oriented places in the greater Ballard-Fremont area. They have a very similar mission to the EBCA, which is why we’re so excited to partner with them.

The Move
The Ballard Fremont Greenways received a permit from SDOT and is coordinating a volunteer effort to move our planters to two intersections in the Ballard Brewery District along 14th Ave NW at NW 51st and 53rd. These planters will be placed in the no-parking areas at the intersection ends to keep them free of parked cars and help keep a clear line of sight for freight and other drivers who are turning in those intersections.

Opportunities to Volunteer
If you are interested in any of the following volunteer opportunities, please email Jessi Lucas at to get on her communication list.

Sunday, September 10th, 11 am until we are done
Work party to clean out the planters. Some have dirt and shrubs in them. We will need shovels and tarps to remove the dirt, plus pruners and saws to break down the vegetation.

Monday, September 18th, 10 am until we are done
Work party to move the empty planters to their new locations south of Market. We’re seeking neighbors with vehicles to help with the move. Each planter weighs about 60 lbs. Please reach out to Jessi Lucas at if you can provide transportation to help with the move.

3rd Date, TBD 
Fill the planters with dirt and plants. We’ll be looking for donations to purchase the dirt and plants and how quickly that happens will decide the final date.

Thank you Jessi for volunteering to coordinate these work parties! Let’s make sure she’s not doing this all by herself! Please contact Jessi a today to sign up!

If you’re curious about the origin story of these planters, check out these previous posts:

Thanks for all the Fish!


It’s been over a month now since our fish arrived on 14th Ave NW and they still make me smile as I pass by them. Some of you may be wondering where these fish came from and what they’re all about. Well, do I have a story for you!

This all started back in 2009 when The ebca applied for and received a Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Matching Grant to install planters in the median on 14th Ave NW. We dubbed our project, “Planting Partnerships on 14th Ave NW”, because the goal of our project wasn’t just to beautify our neighborhood, but to build strong community bonds between our residents, businesses and organizations of East Ballard and the surrounding neighborhood. If you’ve been a faithful follower of this blog over the past year, you’ve seen that it has truly taken a village to get these planters installed.

We’ve had businesses donate everything from plants to compost, to gravel and food. We had neighbors with trucks, trailers and strong backs to help pick up and deliver these hefty containers. There were neighbors with shovels for compost and stakes for laying out landscape fabric, and families that donned safety vests to clean up the streets. I can’t forget the committee members who worked with the city to get the permitting and nonprofits, like Groundswell NW providing us with insurance and fiscal sponsorship. Thanks goes to the landscape architects and planter consultants who donated their time to select the plants and guide the planting process.  I also need to include the personal checks and Ballard Market Receipt donations that will be helping offset our future watering and plant replacement costs. We’re still taking donations, so it’s not too late to help out!


So, what about those fish? I have to say that these fish are the icing on the cake. Not that sticky, too sweet stuff that sticks to the roof of your mouth, but instead, that light and airy whipped cream topping that you can’t get enough of and you specifically scope out that extra big end-piece to make sure you get enough!

These “fish-sticks”, as I’ve heard them lovingly referred to, are the culminating project of our grant. The ebca had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the teachers and students at St. Alphonsus School in East Ballard on this art project. Shannon Dunn and I had a blast working with the teachers and staff from St. Als over the past 4 months brainstorming ideas for this project and figuring out all the logistics to make it happen. Susan Ozubko, the art teacher from St. Als, had the foresight to save old vinyl window shades that had been recently replaced at the school. This turned out to be great waterproof  material for the fish, plus one less item going to the landfill. Susan worked with her students to design, paint and decorate the fish. Shannon and I worked out the installation logistics and luckily, we had had the forethought to work with the ReStore at the beginning of our project to have them design and install platforms inside our planters to hold the dowels in place.

On April 16, during our Adopt A Street Cleanup Event, several students from St. Als and neighbors proudly paraded along 14th Ave NW and “planted” the fish. It was great fun to see the school and the community come together during this event.  We had such a great time, that we’re already talking about doing more projects together. But for now, I think we all need a little break and a chance to sit back and enjoy our accomplishments. Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in this project. I feel so lucky to live in a such an active and vibrant community!

p.s. on your next walk along 14th, take a closer look at the fish and you’ll see that the students added personalized messages that’ll really make you smile!

14th Ave Adopt A Street Cleanup Next Saturday

4.17.10 Cleaning up the neighborhood

ebca April Day Out
Adopt A Street Cleanup &
Planter Art Installation
Saturday April 16 10am-1pm

at Blowing Sands Glass
5805 14th Ave NW
(Rain or Shine!)

Come join your neighbors next Saturday April 16th for a fun morning of picking up trash, weeding and pruning along 14th Ave NW. What a great feeling of accomplishment to count the number of full trash and compost bags and admire a nice clean street! Oh, don’t forget the free food and drink from the Ballard Market too! We’ll supply all the tools, reflective vests and gloves you’ll need. If you’re coming to weed, bring your favorite tools. We’ll also be installing the awesome fish artwork that the students at St. Alphonsus School have been making for the planters. They’re really going to brighten up the street!

Come dressed for the weather, cause this event will be held rain or shine! Don’t forget to bring your Ballard Market receipts you’ve been saving up to support the Planters! This will also be your last chance to fill your pledge for the Department of Neighborhood’s Planting Partnerships on 14th Matching Grant!


Fish on 14th!


St Al's art teacher, Ms. Ozubko, shows off designs created by Ms. Babson

In keeping with the nautical theme of Ballard and in honor of our treasured salmon and all aquatic life in our waters, the ebca, the teachers and students of St. Alphonsus School, and The ReStore are collaborating on an art installation due out this Spring in the planters along 14th Ave NW. This project will be funded by the grant we received from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods last year for Planting Partnerships on 14th.


Ms. Ozubko, Ms. Schmutz and ebca's Shannon Dunn going over the details


February 15th was our second meeting with the teachers at St. Al’s to plan out the details and talk about design. The hope is to be able to cut out nautical creatures from tin scraps and have the students paint them and design the layout in the planters. We hope to be able to attach some the fish to metal rods that fit into supports already installed inside the planters. It’d be even better if the fish could spin!

Wanna help out? Here’s how:

  1. Hook us up with some free or cheap tin scraps or metal rods
  2. Help us come up with an ingenious way to install and secure the fish in the planters
  3. Volunteer your time in the classroom when it comes time to decorate
  4. Come celebrate during Adopt A Street Cleanup April 16th from 10am-1pm

Send email to Dawn at

Check out the new planters on 14th and 60th! More to come in the next few weeks.

A few gray clouds and a little drizzle (ok, I admit, it was a bit more than that at times) didn’t keep almost 40 neighbors from coming out to 14th Ave NW to show some civic pride. Our sign in table was swamped with volunteers noshing on donated treats from the Ballard Market, homemade blueberry banana bread from a neighbor and fancy cheeses left over from Rob’s dinner party the evening before. With bellies full, volunteers had the choice of 3 different tasks;  pick up trash along 14th, plant the planters, or dig out weeds in the remaining median ends in preparation for gravel delivery.

Since we started cleaning up 14th on a regular basis, I’m pleased to see that the number of bags of garbage being collected is getting smaller and smaller. It’s become manageable enough that we plan to sort out the recyclables next time in October.

The planters look amazing at the intersection of 14th and 60th. Steph showed up at my house early in the morning with a latte’ from Cafe’ Bambino in hand and we got started sorting out plants, and transporting them out to the sites by wheelbarrow. Neighbors came out in full force to help plant and by looking at the pictures, I think they had a pretty good time! Stay tuned for opportunities to help within the next couple of weeks to get the rest of the planters installed!

Last, but not least, my heartfelt thanks goes out to those who dug the trenches and pulled out the weeds in the median ends. This was really back breaking work, and to be honest, the part of our project that I worried about the most, because the labor requirements were so high! I’m truly amazed at how much these folks did. All of the medians are now ready for laying out burlap (much easier work) and gravel delivery. The hardest part has been done!

Upcoming Opportunities:

Monday April 26th 6-8pm
Weed barrier work party part 1

Meet at Blowing Sands Glass 5805 14th Ave NW
We’ll be nailing down weed barrier in the median ends between NW 58th and NW 63rd
Dress for the weather and bring a hammer or mallet. We’ll provide the weed barrier material and stakes

Canceled cause we got the job done on Monday
Wednesday April 28th 6-8pm
Weed barrier work party part 2

Meet at Blowing Sands Glass 5805 14th Ave NW
We’ll be finishing up what we didn’t get done on Monday.
Dress for the weather and bring a hammer or mallet. We’ll provide the weed barrier material and stakes

Week of May 3rd
Sometime during this week, we plant to get soil delivered,  which means we’ll need some brawn and trucks, trailers, etc to help move the planters into place. Contact me if you want to help, along with your availability that week. We might be able to work around the volunteers’ schedules.

Saturday May 8th 10am-2pm
Planting Day

Meet at Blowing Sands Glass 5805 14th Ave NW
We’ll be planting the planters in the median ends between NW 58th and NW 63rd.
Dress for the weather. We’ll provide tools.

February Night Out on Parks and Planters – A Great Success

For those of you who weren’t able to attend our big community meeting last week, I’m going to give you a quick synopsis to get you up to speed on what’s happening in east ballard and encourage you to share your input.

On the evening of February 18th, Maureen Reid, the principal of St. Alphonsus school welcomed the ebca and over 35 neighbors and city staff from Parks, the Dept of Neighborhoods and Sally Bagshaw’s office to the ebca’s February Night Out community meeting on Parks and Planters. Many thanks go to Maureen for hosting our event, the Ballard Market for feeding us, Nervous Nellie’s for the caffeine and neighbor, Robert Matisse for the yummy homemade cake! A lastly, thanks to Derek for taking the pics!

Shannon got the ball rolling by introducing herself and the speakers for the evening, and jotting down questions from the audience on issues they wanted to have us discuss. Here’s the list, along with answers!

I was the first presenter. I started off by explaining what the east ballard community association is all about. For those of you new to the ebca, check out the “What is ebca?” Tab. I then provided a quick recap on the goals of the Planting Partnerships on 14th Ave NW Project. Mark Saturday April 17th on the calendar for the big planting day and Adopt A Street Cleanup. We will also have work parties beforehand to prepare the planter sites and will need to gather up trucks and vans to pick up the planters a week before hand. We got a lot of volunteers for trucks, thanks neighbors!

Peter Locke, the original visionary of the 14th Ave NW Park Boulevard project, then presented the overarching vision for 14th Ave NW and some local history concerning how it got to be what it is today.  Did you know there was a footbridge built in the 1880s crossing Salmon Bay along 14th?  Did you know that in 1890, the first trolley bridge went in and tracks were laid along 14th? The parking medians we have today are where the trolley used to run and why this street has 100′ right of way.

I then jumped back in and talked money. Where can it come from? We’re hoping Acquisition funds from the Seattle Parks and Green Spaces Levy set aside for a park in the Ballard Urban Village. We’re also vying for opportunity funds from the same levy in competition with 149 other projects. Additional sources of funding we are seeking could come from Department of Neighborhoods and Seattle Department of Transportation. If you are aware of any other funding we could seek out, please contact me!

Zack Thomas then shared with us ideas on how we could use Parks funding to implement 2 blocks of the Park Boulevard Vision between NW 59th and 61st. This includes 3 different possible road configurations to think about and possible elements and activities the park could provide.

After the presentation, everyone had a chance to provide input on what type of road configuration they prefer and put a dot on types of activities and elements they’d like to see in the park. We’ve posted the responses on our site and encourage YOU to add your 2 cents via the comments section of this post or email me at

Oh, and don’t forget the celebration beers afterward!

RSVP today for ebca February Night Out Event on Parks and Planters

“February Night Out Event on Parks and Planters”
Thursday February 18th, 6:30pm
St. Alphonsus School Cafeteria
5816 15th Ave NW
(entrances on 58th and 59th toward 14th Ave NW)

The east ballard community association invites you to our first bi-monthly community event of the year . We’ve been busy these past few months on 2 very big projects, both involving 14th Ave NW. This is one event you won’t want to miss!

The first project is Planting Partnerships on 14th Ave NW which is bringing our community together to plant and take care of new planters that will be installed at the median ends along 14th Ave NW north of Market St in April. We will be reporting on the latest status and announcing volunteer opportunities for you to cash in your pledges toward the Dept of Neighborhoods Grant that is helping fund this project.

The second project is to pursue Seattle Parks and Green Spaces Levy funds to transform 2 blocks of 14th Ave NW between NW 59th and NW 61st into an urban park boulevard as a first phase implementation of the 14th Ave NW Visioning Project. This is a unique opportunity to create community open space in the east ballard neighborhood and this meeting is an opportunity for you to provide input and influence design!
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Thanks for a successful planting partnerships kickoff event last week!

photo by Michael Harthorne - Ballard News Tribune

Thank-you to the over 20 neighbors and donors who attended our planting partnerships kickoff event last Wednesday Dec 16th. Thank-you to Jeanette and Todd, owners of Nervous Nellie’s Espresso, for opening their space to us for the evening, and thanks to Nicole for serving up the drinks and helping us clean up! Thanks to Ballard Market for ingredients for the food we served. Plus a huge thanks goes out to Shannon Dunn (civic soldier extraordinaire) who sent out beautiful invitations to the donors, cooked us up a hot meal, decorated the space beautifully, plus so much more that I don’t have enough space here to include! We’re well on our way to making successful partnerships with this project and we haven’t even planted anything yet!

If you missed our event, check out the Ballard News Tribune’s article. Thank-you, Michael, for covering our event.

Also, check out our work plan. We’ve confirmed April 17th for planting day, so make sure you get that date on your calendar today! If you see an activity in the work plan that interests you, please contact me (Dawn) at

In addition to the work plan, we’re looking for some expertise in the following roles:

  • Volunteer Coodinator(s) – We need someone to maintain our volunteer pledge list and coordinate getting volunteers to events and help out with individual activities of their stated interest.
  • Construction Coordinator – We’re looking for someone who has experience managing construction projects. Maybe you are or know someone who’s retired and looking for a way to be involved in the community. We’re finding that this project is going to require a lot of coordination between  SDOT, the city permitting office, delivery services, and so on, with strict deadlines. Someone with this type of experience would be incredibly valuable to this project!
  • Artist(s) – We’re looking for artists who have experience working with elementary students to create art pieces with the students at St. Alphonsus Elementary, that will be installed with the planters. This project would need to be done during the school year either in winter, spring or fall of 2010.
  • Social Networking Guru – Help us become more effective in communicating with the online community via social networking tools like Facebook. This would not only help our project, but the ebca as a whole!