Thursday, August 7, 2014
Every Thursday this month there will be Music in the Park, presented by the Madison Park Business Association. On the boards tonight is The Moonspinners, a "60's-esque" trio. You can get a good idea of their particular vibe by watching this YouTube video.
In upcoming weeks, three groups that have appeared in past years at Music in the Park will be back: August 14, The Side Project, August 21, Two Scoops Combo, and August 28, Gin Creek.
The music begins at 6:30 and ends at 8. The venue is the grassy area of the park, near the tennis courts.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
After a very long gestation period, Seattle-based HomeStreet bank birthed its Madison Park baby today, finally revealing to the world its long-awaited branch along the neighborhood's main thoroughfare. The prominent Madison Street location next to Bert's Red Apple was most-recently the site of the Tully's, the much-lamented and long-departed coffee shop. It's been almost two years since that exit.
HomeStreet would have been here earlier had it not been for the involved design and permitting processes and the fact that the hundred-plus-year-old building was in worse shape by far than originally anticipated. The end result of all that rehabilitation is pretty impressive, however. If you're willing to accept the fact that Madison Park is now a banking hub with five bank branches calling the neighborhood home, you will probably be pleased with the attractiveness and compatibility of HomeStreet's finished product. The bank sign apparently meets the community standards for its modest size, and the building doesn't look too bank-like. That, we're told, sits well with the neighborhood "powers that be" who try to enforce the various "village" standards. Another concession to the community: the fireplace that graced Tully's is back in an improved form to add to the ambiance of the bank's interior.
While we certainly can't claim that HomeStreet is not a bank, it can be argued that it's a bank that is different from the others that (with the exception only of KeyBank) have been part of the Madison Park community for many decades. Though they certainly didn't start out that way, each of the neighborhood's other four bank branches is a part of a big national bank organization based out of state---far out of state, in most cases (New York in the case of Chase, Ohio in the case of Key and North Carolina in the case of Bank of America). Only Wells can make the claim that it's even based in the general region (California).
Not that there's anything wrong with being from out of state. However, HomeStreet is definitely home grown, having been founded in Seattle as a mortgage company 93 years ago, later becoming a federally-chartered savings bank. HomeStreet, with about $3.3 billion in assets, operates 31 branches, ten of these in Seattle.
In charge of HomeStreet's Madison Park location is Ila Wagner, who joined the bank from Chase during the past month. She told us that she understands the fact that "there's a fear of over-saturation with banks in Madison Park." But "HomeStreet will be a different kind of experience." She cites the bank's intense involvement in the communities it serves as one example. Also, HomeStreet is, we're told, the "official bank" of both the Seahawks and the Sounders, with promotions related to both teams (special deals for season ticket holders, for example).
While today is Day One for HomeStreet's Madison Park incarnation, the big official grand opening will take place for the community in early September. That's when the bank will be giving away a lot of money.
Just kidding. (About the money give-away, that is).
[As a matter of self disclosure for those not already aware of the fact, the Madison Park Blogger is a banker by day, though not an employee of any of the banks who operate branches in Madison Park.]
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
It's just a lovely memory now. It was trucked away, for the most part, over the weekend. But for multiple decades this majestic tree, believed to be a Chinese Elm, graced the E. Highland Drive road end near Lake Washington, just off of 43rd Avenue E. It split apart Friday morning at around 2 am, and a significant portion crash landed in the owners' backyard with a big kaBOOM (though at least some neighbors, we understand, slept through the whole thing). While the tree had not been known to be diseased, a not-very-close inspection shows the rot that must have caused the collapse.
There was no saving the standing portion. We're told that the arborist who made the initial inspection of the downed tree commented that what remained upright could fall at anytime: ten months, ten weeks---or perhaps ten minutes. The homeowners wisely decided not to take the chance.
As an aside, we note that this Lake Washington road end has something of a reputation, or perhaps multiple reputations. "Lovers' Lane" is one descriptor. We've heard that when the tree fell in the dark of the early morning there was a car either directly underneath or close by. It was occupied by a couple who were not only startled out of doing whatever they were doing but also seriously impeded in their efforts to exit the scene. No injuries reported, however.
It was just a few weeks ago that another prominent Washington Park tree experienced its own sad separation. This tree overhung E. Lee Street near 39th Avenue E.:
In this case the the rest of the tree has been saved, at least for now. Though some of the tree is still there, it's standing with a lot less elegance and artistry than before the fall.
And speaking of trees, these two very tall trees located on the lot of a soon-to-be-demolished house at the northeast corner of E. Galer and McGilvra Boulevard are the subject of some concern. It's not because they are in imminent danger of collapse, however.
In this case the issue has to do with the possibility that the recent purchaser of the property, Chaffey Building Group, may decide to remove the trees as part of its redevelopment plans. The immediate neighbors and some other Madison Park residents are interested in petitioning to keep the trees. If you would like to help you can contact Gayle Jack, who is heading up this effort: firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Middle photo courtesy of Nancy Dobrin.]
Friday, August 1, 2014
Blogger rethinks policy on reader comments
By Bryan Tagas
Our recent posting on the SEC shutdown of Lakeside Capital Management has had higher readership than any story we've ever reported, with over 2,200 page views to date. The posting has also resulted in a higher-than-normal volume of reader comments on the Madison Park Blogger website. Unfortunately, some of the commentary is scurrilous. Specifically, unwarranted personal attacks have been made on the family of Lakeside's owner, Dennis Daugs, all of them anonymously.
This low level of discourse has prompted one horrified MPB reader to challenge me to enforce a minimum standard for reader commentary on blog postings. While Daugs may be fair game, she correctly points out that his family is not. I've always taken the view that readers of this blog should have an open forum to say what they think, even if they wish to remain anonymous. But because this privilege is now being abused by some, I agree that a standard of behavior for commentators should be enforced: no more ad hominem attacks. In plain English that means inappropriate or irrelevant commentary, such as statements about the supposed physical or personality characteristics of people who are not even the subject of the blog posting, will be removed from the site. This rule applies retroactively to the reader comments on the Lakeside story.
[The Peter Steiner cartoon, shown above, is from the New Yorker magazine. It's a famous take from the 1990's on the freedom the internet provides. But with freedom comes responsibility. Cartoon used without permission.]