Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fire in Renton - additional photos

This evening, when I flew out of the house like a bat out of hell to go to the site of the second 4 Alarm Fire to rock our city of Renton, I was determined to get some photos and information.These are taken from the park behind Highlands Elementary School on Harrington in the Renton Highlands/Sunset Hills area this evening.

This is the Harrington Square Complex of apartments/condominiums that was just halfway through completion and said to be viewed as a great new addition to the Highlands area. Retail space was going to be available for rent on the street level.

As you can see, this was taken earlier on during the fire and the entire block on this side seems to be engulfed in flames.

So far, there seems to have been no injuries reported from the fire, but a police officer directing traffic was it by a motorist. It seems the vehicle then hit another police car and other officers wrestled the driver out of the car and to the ground. View report on this news here. Hopefully, that will be the only injuries related to this fire that need be reported.
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Renton Fire Chief says no one hurt

According to Renton Fire Chief David Daniels, there are no injuries that are known of concerning the 5 Alarm Fire in the Renton Highlands/Sunset Hills area tonight. The Harrington Court apartment complex was about 50% completed when it broke out into flames this evening just a little before 8 pm.
Here is a link to the story that this posting references here.

Huge fire in Renton claims complex

At a few minutes of eight this evening the sirens began to sound and people left their homes to see a huge column of bright orange flames topped by a large plume of black smoke drift from the Sunset Hills area of Renton. The above photo is on Houser Way, near the Value Village Store and you can see that the flames are incredibly visible even from this distance. After the 5 Alarm Fire in downtown Renton only days ago, citizens are more sensitive to the sound of the fire truck and medics as they charged up the hill.

This is a Tukwila fire engine responding just minutes before eight and heading up 4th street to get at the fire through the "back door". I was not able to go onto the side of Sunset Ave to see the effect of the fire from there, but I saw a few medic vans battling traffic on the side streets even this early in the fire and knew that streets were quickly being shut off.

These photos are all taken from the park behind Highlands Elementary School and from the school's playground itself. This is when it pays to be on a bike. People had to leave their cars and walk to see what was occurring. Most were from the neighborhood at large. Everyone could see the flames and the shock of the initial fire sent a shake and shiver through homes all around. Not unlike the feeling of an earthquake shutter and the sound of a loud "pop". Folks knew something was not right.

This is at the corner of NE 9th Street and Harrington, where a very new and large apartment complex called Harrington Square was under construction. The outside balconies were just beginning to be built and new appliances were seen being delivered to outfit the interiors within the last day or so. These were as yet unoccupied residences.

Rather ironic is the fact that at this very corner, in what now houses the Pablanos Auto Repair on NE 9th, this brick building once was the fire station. It was moved to NE 12th Street sometime ago.

On this corner there was also an Espresso Stand - and all that is left of that structure is the sign that is hanging up right next to the swinging stop light that you can just make out in the above photo. (As I write this to you in North Renton the air is full of heavy smoke wafting through my open window).

These are all of the neighbors who have come through the opened gates at the Highland Elementary School and are standing in what is the baseball field which happens to be exactly at the corner where the burning fire is located. Everyone is on their phone, taking photos, taking videos. The news is spreading like the wild fire that burns in front of us through the ease of modern technology. Everyone is a mini-journalist to an audience of friends and family.

This is a fire engine from Bellevue that has come to Renton's aid. This fire IS a 4 ALARM FIRE and is much larger than the one we just went through downtown. This will have brought in far more than the 119 firemen that we had on June 11th. Already, we have fire stations included in this fire that didn't have to come to our aid the last time. You can see that the spout of fire causes a rainbow effect in the air that is not occluded by smoke. Alongside of where this engine sits are single level small apartment units that seem to be out of harms way.

In this photo, later on, you can see that the bulk of the large shooting flames have been put out and an entirely large portion of this apartment complex is completely gone.

However, just as that portion of the flames die, what I think maybe a private residence on the corner of NE 9th and Harrington suddenly bursts into flames and the roof begins to glow and then go.

From my position I could see at least 7 streams of water hitting at the fire, and it wasn't possible to battle the impeded roads and cordoned off streets to see what, if anything, was happening on the Sunset Ave. side of this complex where there is a Safeway, a Pizza Hut and a Kentucky Fried Chicken. I am guessing that there were many more fire trucks and medics surrounding this entire area on all sides. On Kirkland and NE 10th Street there is the Highlands Community Church as well - and I have no idea at this time whether that building was affected at all.

This is Elizabeth Landrum, lifetime Rentonite, neighbor and a blogger's best resource. Elizabeth felt her entire house shake tonight when the fire began, as if someone might have run into her home. She left her house in her 'jammies and large shoes to investigate. Elizabeth grew up in this neighborhood and watched the progress of Harrington Square as it grew. It was just becoming apparent that the street level was going to sport retail space, and she was looking forward to maybe seeing a bookstore go in. Thanks go out to Elizabeth for letting me bend her ear and for her wonderful information that I was able to impart to all of you.
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Tully's on Rainer - Gone!

This past weekend, quietly and without much fanfare, the Tullys Coffee on Rainier closed. I was informed by my favorite mail carrier, Barbara (you all know her - and if not - here is my blog about her), that her favorite place to go and get her daily cup of joe was closing and they only informed their customers on the last day of business it seems.

I made it there on Sunday, to find, indeed, the shop completely closed with a sign instructing clients to head over to the Rainier Beach store to get their morning fix. Yeah, like that's gonna happen. I did witness two cars slowly go by as I snapped my photos, mystified by the papered over windows of what used to be their coffee hook-up.

However, the good news is that an independent coffee shop will be acquiring the space and moving in soon. The new name is Tuscany Coffee Co., and there seems to be a drive-through branch of this shop in existence already in Lakewood. Yeah! for another small, family-owned business.

In the meantime, outside of Liberty Cafe, which always has my utmost love, please try the lovely Caffe Umbria coffee that is being served so well at the Yoggi Yogurt store on S. Third Street. Soon, this coffee operation will move around the corner to the Deli that the same owners are hard at work to open in the coming month. Until then, you can have a lovely cup and indulge in the very good frozen yogurt as well.

Yoggi Frozen Yogurt 801 S. Third Street (425) 204-9991 Don't forget to get your yogurt punch card started right away!

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Market Day!

Farmers Market today!

Today at 4:30 pm there will be a Chef Demo by Southport Cafe
Live Music from 5:30-6:30 pm by Tacoma Banjos

The Piazza S. Third Street/ Burnett 3pm til 7 pm
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Vandals of library still at large

Those of you who read the Renton Reporter already know that the vandals who broke into the library last week as still being sought. Here is the link to that updated story.

Some of you out there seem to possibly know or think you know who the perps maybe from the comments you left on this blog. One is thought to have fled out of state. If you do know anything, but feel awkward in expressing that in this format (and it goes without saying, you should call 911) leave an anonymous comment. It will go directly to me, without being printed in the blog and we can go from there.
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A moment on Tobin Street

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Tapestry Saloon - stroll on in

Beer has sadly been missing from the blog for awhile here, so it was time that I ambled over to the Tapestry Saloon on S. Third Street to see what, as of late, I had been missing.

I immediately saw on old friend, besides the ever charming bartender Josh Bauer , and that was the Snoqualmie Brewery's Summer Beer. This is just such a delicious drink for the summer that I just bypassed my all time IPA favorites and started right in. Good to the last drop - no disappointment there! Josh also had a sign that he was making Blue Cheese Martinis. That sounds like a meal in itself. I think I will stick with my beer, please.

I hadn't had the pleasure of eating at the saloon for awhile as well , so I splurged. You can look at the appetizers or of course order anything off of the adjoining Cafe Lure's menu. Calico Cheesecake can be had for desert. I bypassed something small, and ordered dinner. The Prawn Tempura took my fancy and it was amazing. Remember, they also serve a mean french fry here and some other great food. This is a "must try" food stop.

Beers on Tap: Alpine Pilsner Elysian Avatar Lazy Boy Amber Snoqualmie Summer Beer Lagunitas IPA Fishtail Mudshark Porter

Tapestry Saloon
(425) 572 - 5931 Corner of Main/ S. Third Street
Tues - Sat 3pm - Closing
Sundays 9 - 3pm
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Fire Sale - a one man band

The Comic Den seems to be thriving in their new locale, the Common Ground Coffee and Cupcakes are back to business and the Renton Laptop is open for trade. But some people are still struggling with the fire. Here is John, previous tenant in the now burnt Harries Building. For the last 2 days he has been having his own personal fire sale. There is something new out all the time as he sorts through his personal effects and tried to make a little money and clear out what he can no longer afford to keep.

While I was there, a kind lady was buying the plant that you see above. John had stepped away for a minute to work, and she was arranging to leave him a check for the bookshelves and planter that she was taking home.

Renton is full of warmhearted, well meaning people. I see it all the time. I have heard so many stories of how people were trying to donate to those tenants that lost there home at the fire on Wells 2 weeks ago.

If you are in the neighborhood, and feel like helping out - come by and make a purchase from John. I am certain he would appreciate it.
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

At the local cafe

The local cafe is the place to see a slice of Renton life and indulge in cafe and conversation. Let a little of the world drift by, or in this case, come to you. Emily Duffy, fellow blogger and artist extraordinaire, was here in Renton after coming up to participate in the Fremont Fair last weekend. Fellow cafe comer, David, brought her by the local hang. More the luck for us - nice to meet ya there, Emily!

Bill Provin doesn't always say that he likes dogs - but dogs are always very fond of Bill. Here's Bill and Ginger on the cafe bench.

Ginger loves yarn, loves knitting, is a great craft lap dog. Here she is with her mommy, Shannon, happily guarding the safety of the knitting.

No, that is not a boy eating a canary - it is Perry Davis just moments after having his loose tooth finally yanked free by his Dad (mouth then stuffed with Mom's tissue to avoid any spillage of body fluids) . Proud moment of passage - ahhh, no front tooth to get in your tongue's way. We all remember what that feel like, right?

Liberty Cafe /top of South Third Street
THE place to be
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Seasonal Flowers

Why? Because I can....
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Everyone says goodbye to Michael in their own way

You might not all be sad, but many people were remembering the music of the recently departed Michael Jackson in our little burg these last 2 days. Deb of Girlfriends Antiques popped around to Mary Clymer's store Happy Delusions (both on S. Third Street) to show the original "Off the Wall" album that she dug up for memories sake. Time to play some tunes and think of the good ole days, pre- Diana Ross, Neverland Michael Jackson when his music was still way hot and his dance moves beyond compare.

Whether you liked his music or not, Michael was and an amazing artist and performer. May he rest in peace.
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Plant thieves among us

Actual photo I took a month ago of one of the stolen plants

The planter was taken from right under the window, in the middle of the afternoon and any other time, someone would have been at home.

My friend is heartsick over the theft of some lovely plants that she grew from both seed and little starts herself, this, the first year of gardening for her after many years of failing health. Revitalized by a major surgery, my friend has been working her green thumb everyday. She shares all of her efforts with her neighbors as well as spending hours down at the local P-Patch on N.First Street adjacent to the Renton Senior Activity Center. After consoling her, I encouraged her to call the police. This was the third call that day for this type of theft in the area. The policeman was not without humor - he suggested a booby trap that would cut off the next hand that tried to steal a plant from her.

Once more phone calls were made to neighbors and friends, the link to other articles and thefts of plant life was discovered. I am enclosing links to the articles below and the video that was taken outside the Jahn's home, who are featured in the articles, of a plant thief in action. Even sadder for that neighborhood - it seems that it is a resident in their own area!

We just want things to be pretty around here! Must we padlock the pansies? If you see anyone carrying planters down the street in a stealthy, ne'er do well manner - please call the police. Mention this to your friends and neighbors as a precaution. It was thought that maybe the plants in this instance might be being resold to gain money for other "activities". Keep your eyes open - if you cruise Craiglist, be on the watch out for people trying to make a buck off of someone else's yard labor.

Note: I have been told that about 2 weeks ago there was a feature in perhaps The Times that directly mentions Renton and plant theft. I was unable to track this down. Do any of your know?

UPDATE: Monday 6/29 The thieves were back AGAIN in the middle of the day. My friend came back early from her doctor's appt to find plants pulled to the side and readied for a speedy cruise by pick-up. Damn - she is mad and hurt. If you have had plants stolen, please leave a comment on The Picaroon.

Here in the Seattle Times June 17


Another about the theft on the video below at the Jahns Residence:
On Video:

In with the new - a glimpse of the new face at the Renton Reporter

It's amazing what you can see on the corner of S. Third St.
Here is the crew of the Renton Reporter escorting Emily Garland (second from end on right, next to Dean Radord, editor) to her farewell lunch at La Hacienda here in downtown Renton. Emily departs for the wilds of Cambodia to work with the Peace Corps on July 21st.

Emily fades into the background of Renton's reporting scene as Celeste Gracy, on the left, takes her place. Welcome to Renton Reporter's newest addition and safe travels, Emily!
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