City of Seattle

Courtesy American Forests

Seattle is among the nation’s top ten cities for urban forests. This might sound like a no-brainer, but many cities that take pride in their trees did not make the cut. 

The Washington, DC non-profit American Forests based the list on surveys of urban forestry programs in the nation’s fifty most populous cities.

Bellamy Pailthorp photo / KPLU News

It’s data that’s been collected and analyzed for several years now.

But predictions on how high tides and extreme storm events might combine to cause flooding in Seattle are seeming less and less like science fiction.

The City has unveiled a new map, showing huge areas that are much more likely to end up waterlogged during storms. And it says the estimates are no longer considered extreme. 

Bjørn Giesenbauer photo / Flickr

Imagine a future in which major areas of Seattle’s waterfront are flooded because of rising tides.

Businesses that front on Elliot Bay, including the famous Edgewater Hotel, or parks such as Myrtle Edwards or Golden Gardens, would have to adjust to storm surges more than six feet higher than we’re used to.

According to a new federal report on climate change, that future is just a few decades away. 

sadaton / Flickr

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and County Executive Dow Constantine say there’s not much they can do about gun laws. Past efforts to ban firearms in parks have failed because they’re preempted by state laws. But they say they can revive an idea last tried in Seattle twenty years ago: a gun buyback program.

They hope to get hundreds of weapons off the streets with a privately-funded effort.

Bellamy Pailthorp photo / KPLU News

It was one of the biggest outpourings of environmental activism that Seattle has seen since the WTO protests more than a decade ago.

At Freeway Park, a giant balloon shaped like an asthma inhaler floated above a sea of red shirts and banners from the Sierra Club. There was also a giant salmon puppet accompanied by schools of ailing herring and a sad-looking polar bear. And a white-haired lady dressed like Santa held a sign that said, "SAVE MY NORTH POLE." 

The City of Seattle continues to build its case against huge new coal
trains that would rumble through town if an export terminal is built
in Bellingham.

The Mayor of Seattle has released a new study that ups the pressure on
the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Ecology, who are
responsible for the environmental impact study of the proposed
terminal at Cherry Point.

To close a loophole in state law and further control the growth of the medical marijuana industry, the city of Seattle is proposing to tighten its zoning laws.

The Associated Press

It’s 1970 and the one thing really bugging one Seattleite – enough to make him/her write a letter and, apparently, leave the city – was hippies.

“Seattle got so bad with hippies, I just had to get out of that city,” the anonymous writer told Mayor Wes Uhlman.

In addition to hippies, we found four other things really bugging people in the early 1970s on the Flickr stream of the Seattle Municipal Archives – communists, smelly busses, the United Nations and protesters.

The Associated Press

For some it’s the next big source of high-wage jobs; for others, an environmental nightmare: At least 9 trains a day could soon rumble through Seattle, carrying coal to export terminals in Washington and Oregon.

Cities from Missoula, Mont., to Edmonds have passed resolutions that call the idea into question. Seattle is now poised to join them with one of its own.

Courtesy Seattle Public Utilities

A more efficient way to fix one of Seattle’s most embarrassing environmental problems – that’s the promise of a proposed agreement on meeting federal standards for clean water.

The problem is untreated sewage that flows into our lakes and other waterways after big storms.

More than 20 percent of households and businesses in Seattle are opting out of phone books.

One year ago, the city implemented an opt-out program that includes fines for publishers that fail to honor opt-out requests.

Laurel Mercury / Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation

During the January snow and ice storm,  Seattle officials told commuters to stay off the roadways.  But the message caused confusion among the city’s own employees.

Courtesy james corner field operations and City of Seattle

Should the Pike Place Market be connected to Elliot Bay with new walkways?

That’s one of many expensive questions on the minds of landscape designers in charge of rebuilding Seattle’s waterfront.

In less than a week, the city will once again convene stakeholders and the public for help shaping the future of the city’s  “front door” on Puget Sound.

The group Waterfront Seattle is calling on the public to join in discussions that will help determine what the new waterfront will look like, after the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down.

Florangela Davila / KPLU

It’s been a long running problem – how to keep and create affordable spaces for artists to live, work and perform in.

That’s the focus of Cultural Space Seattle, a two-day event beginning Tuesday at Town Hall. The City of Seattle is asking a wide range of people to roll up their sleeves to look for ways to preserve Seattle’s vibrant arts scene.

The Seattle City Council is considering a ban on thin single-use plastic bags at checkout stands. The ban will also include a pass-through fee of 5 cents for paper bags.

The council is holding a public hearing on the proposal tonight at 5:30

Bruce Irschick / flickr.com

Vancouver, B.C. comes in 5th on Mercer's 2011 Quality of Living survey, while Seattle is ranked at 48 (just below New York City).

Dave Knapik / Flickr

Young people in Seattle are committing fewer violent crimes than they did a couple of years ago – especially in areas that, historically, have had the most juvenile offenses, according to a new city report.

The drop could be the result of a citywide effort to combat the problem.

Gwen Harlow / Flickr

"Paper or plastic?"

Seattle wants to take that choice away in order to save the environment and money. The city council is considering a ban on single-use plastic bags, because they are harmful to marine wildlife as well as to recycling machinery.

King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks

When you go to the grocery store, it’s easy to forget to bring a reusable bag with you.

But the consequences of just taking the plastic bags that are doled out at most grocery chains is devastating to the health of local waters and wildlife. That’s the message from Environment Washington – a group that has issued a renewed call for a ban on plastic at checkout stands in Seattle.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Seattle has selected a contractor to build its new fleet of streetcars. The city is gearing up to start construction of a route through First Hill. 

Officials say it could be the beginning of many more streetcar possibilities.

A snapshot of everyday business practices displays a pattern of discrimination against black and disabled renters in Seattle. That’s the conclusion of an undercover investigation by the city’s Office for Civil Rights. 

The city contracted with the non-profit Fair Housing Center of Washington to test 48 properties that were randomly selected. It found more than half of all properties tested showed evidence of illegal housing discrimination.

Emiliano Pennisi / flickr.com

If you live in Seattle and want to avoid receiving piles of phone books that you don't need, the deadline is September 23. The city has an opt-out website at www.seattle.gov/stopphonebooks

Seattle voters will face a proposed car tab fee on the November ballot. The city council has unanimously agreed to ask for an additional $60 annually for the next 10 years to help pay for road and transit projects. 

The news comes just a day after the King County Council added a temporary $20 car tab fee to maintain bus service.

Flickr

University of Washington, the City of Seattle and King County all face possible credit rating downgrades because of the federal government stalemate over raising the national debt ceiling.

SIF

“We live in this amazing community where so many people are trying to make a difference …”

Seattle has become a hub, or more accurately a hodgepodge, of international do-gooders. And, well, nobody seems to really have a handle on everything going on.

That’s where another internationally oriented foundation in Seattle comes in. Appropriately enough, it’s called the Seattle International Foundation.

Read more.

Jen Nance / Office of Seattle Mayor

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has signed an ordinance that will regulate medical marijuana shops like any other business.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Seattle residents and businesses have hit an all-time high for recycling rates. And from the front yard of a model recycling family in Seattle, Mayor Mike McGinn gave the city a pat on the back:

“53 percent – an all-time high– 53 percent of the waste produced in the city of Seattle is taken out of the waste-stream and recycled,” McGinn said.

"Good Lord, how did we get here ..."

Seattle has become the first city in Washington to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. A number of other cities have banned the businesses outright.  The Seattle City Council decided to take the opposite approach after efforts to regulate medical pot at the state level failed.

Mayor McGinn's photostream / flickr.com

The city of Seattle is greening up its fleet of vehicles with the addition of five Nissan Leafs. The city plans to have a total of 35 Leafs by the end of 2012.

Seattle is one of 18 cities taking part in The EV Project, the nation's largest electric vehicle demonstration.

Flickr

With roughly 25,000 Seattleites “legally” smoking marijuana for medical reasons, the city council has decided to step in where Gov. Chris Gregoire dared not tread. The city will begin holding hearings on an ordinance for regulating the growing and sale of medical marijuana.

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