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What’s in a name?

Interesting conversation about what to call the part of Hillyard that's on the east side of the train tracks. A canine reference is often used in the name of this part of town - you all know what I'm talking about. Part of the area east of the train tracks and the incoming North-South Freeway, south of Francis and north of Wellesley, is designated for industrial development, but there is also a significant number of single and multi-family homes over there.
There's some agreement among the Historic Hillyard Merchants to call it simply East Hillyard.

Part of the conversation hit on the famous Hillyard bumper sticker that reads "I'm Frum Hillyurd and I Voat." Apparently this bumper sticker originated at Rogers High School some years back and it was an "inside joke" promoted by the student body council. Funny at the time, not so much any longer, so what to do? One suggestion was to produce a new bumper sticker with a positive message along the lines of "I (heart) Hillyard" - stay tuned for more updates.

Hearts in Hillyard

This neighborhood has a lot of heart, there's no question about that, and for Valentine's Day the merchants are putting together a 'Heart of Hillyard' promotion. Look for special events, promotions and discounts.
And speaking of Valentine's Day, the Outlaw Cafe is once again hosting a dinner theater event on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. Stages of the Old West is putting on the show and the Outlaw Cafe is making a dinner featuring prime rib, game hen or salmon filet. Beer and wine will be for sale that evening. RSVP at the cafe - cost $18 per plate.

The Westminster Bakery is coming back

When Dave Bergstrom was looking for a place to located a bakery in Spokane, he thought fondly of growing up in Hillyard. He was coming home after a stint in Alaska at a big commercial bakery - now it was time to get his hands into his own dough.
"My dad had the Westminster Bakery just down the street from here," said Bergstrom, who's opening a bakery in the Capital Building on Market Street. "His name was Jerry Bergstrom. He passed away in '97, but he had the bakery here in Hillyard for 14 years."
Dave Bergstrom is starting the business together with his brothers Rick and Mike Bergstrom. They plan to sell donuts, muffins, cookies and cakes at first, and then expand into bread making later.
"It will be retail and we'll have coffee too," said Bergstrom.
The building is undergoing some restoration and modernization, and the plan is for a grand opening on April 1.
Dave Bergstrom is looking forward to baking and to working with his brothers: "I can promise you it will be fun. Anything we do together has to be fun."

Rogers, a historic place

Rogers High School made it on to the National Register of Historic Places. The original building is from 1932 and one of a handful of high schools built in art deco style. Read colleague Mike Prager's story about the award here.

How to promote a neighborhood

One issue that's always on the agenda here in Hillyard, is how to promote the business district. At the Wednesday meetings someone usually has a question or a suggestion for advertising or some sort of promotion.
And the questions remain the same: what works and how much is it?

T-shirts are printed, fliers are printed, banners are put up and taken down, decorations for holidays and seasons are put up, special promotions are planned, Santa comes once a year - there is no lack of ideas and creativity.

So, can you think of promotions that have worked for you, or encouraged you to visit a neighborhood where you usually don't go or shop? Do you want a printed newsletter mailed to you? Is e=mail better? Coupons? Let's hear it.

Bakery opening in Hillyard

The first round of applause at this morning's Historic Hillyard Merchants Committee meeting came after an announcement that a bakery is opening in one of the old buildings up here - stay tuned for more details after the meeting.

City council decision on impact fees

The city council made a decision on impact fees last night. Here's a link to colleague Jonathan Brunt's story from the meeting. An impact fee is a one-time tax on builders; the money is supposed to go toward the development of infra structure such as streets, water and sewer.

"The approved impact fee for a single-family home is $90 downtown, $749 in northwest Spokane, $694 in south Spokane and $1,004 in northeast Spokane. The builder of a 50,000-square-foot supermarket will pay $23,000 downtown, $163,000 in northwest Spokane, $151,000 in south Spokane and about $219,000 in northeast Spokane." From Jonathan Brunt's story this morning.

Hillyard-based IEL facing cuts

The Institute For Extended Learning teaches English as a second language - among many other things - and it's facing budget cuts. Read colleague Kevin Graman's story here.

Impact fees high for Hillyard

Another issue brought up this morning was the proposed impact fees that were put on hold at the City Council meeting last night. It was noted by several people that the impact fees would be higher in Hillyard and northeast Spokane than in downtown and on the South Hill. Here's an excerpt from colleague Jonathan Brunt's story this morning:

"During Tuesday’s debate, the council voted 5-2 to remove some projects from the list of road upgrades. Councilman Richard Rush argued that some of the projects would cause sprawl.

The decision will lower the proposed rates. As proposed, the new impact fees would have ranged significantly based on project size and location. The builder of a single-family home in northwest Spokane would have had to pay $994, $1,216 in northeast Spokane, $850 on the South Hill and $314 downtown.

The builder of a 50,000-square-foot supermarket would have had to pay $216,000 in northwest Spokane, $264,500 in northeast Spokane, $185,000 on the South Hill and $68,500 downtown.

Last week, Mayor Mary Verner said she supported the change in the law to allow the tax to be collected."

Here's a link to the entire story.

Highlights from Wednesday morning

The blog made it - carefully on icy streets - to the meeting in the Historic Hillyard Merchants Committee meeting this morning. Councilmember Bob Apple is here today and about 20 neighbors and business owners are here, too.
There's a meeting today at 3:30 p.m. the Washington State Department of Transportation's office about the north-south freeway's progress. The office is located at 2714 N. Mayfair Street, that's one block east of Ruby Street on North Foothills Drive.
Representatives from the Hillyard neighborhood has been meeting with WSDOT on a regular basis since the Market Street restoration project began and they continue to meet on a regular basis.

The Hillyard Neighborhood Council is meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone.

Hogwarts in Hillyard

NOrtheast Youth Center is offering a magic class straight out of Harry Potter on Jan. 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The class is taught by Hogwarts' professors and covers potions, divination and herbology - it promises to be a magically good time. Cost: $37. Call: (509) 482-0708.
Northeast Youth Center is located at 3004 E. Queen Avenue in Hillyard.

Thursday’s Beacon Hill hearing

The Beacon Hill development got a preliminary plat/PUD hearing before the city of Spokane hearings examiner Thursday morning. About 20 people were there to testify in support of the development, which has been widely embraced by Hillyard business people and residents.

The project presented at last week's hearing, is the first phase of the Beacon Hill Home development and this part is located on the northern face of Beacon Hill, with access from Wellesley Avenue. It proposes the construction of 304 single and multi-family homes on 40.31 acres of a site that covers a total of 182 acres.

Owners Pete Rayner and David Baker have been working on the project for more than a decade, and at Thursday’s hearing Rayner said it has cost the developers close to $900,000 to get to this point because the city has delayed responses to various applications.

Rayner presented a document from 2006, signed by then head of the city water department Brad Blegen, which outlined an agreement in which the city, Beacon Hill and another entity known as Vista Homes, would each take care of part of the water infrastructure improvements needed.

Vista Homes was not represented at the hearing and no one in the room knew if that development is moving ahead or not.

Rayner wants the city to move ahead and make the promised water infrastructure improvements so he can get on with his development.

He said it would cost him as much as $800,000 to bring the water access up to par, a job that may include the construction of a new water tank, water mains and a booster station.

Representatives from the city’s water department at this point are reluctant to foot the entire bill, and the city also has some concerns about the access road to the development (too steep, blind curves) as well as the sewer capacity at the site.

At the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing the city and Beacon Hill were both asked to submit a document outlining a satisfactory solution to the current stalemate.

Look for a full story in Thursday's Voice section.

Hillyard Festival 100th anniversary planning

There's a meeting on Tuesday, Jan 11th at 6:30pm at the Northeast Community Center (4001 N. Cook Street) of  the Hillyard Festival Association meeting and we need your help.
This year is our 100th anniversary of celebrating the Hillyard Festival, so I am asking you to attend and support our Festival.
The only donation we are looking for right now is a little bit of time and wisdom to the cause.
We've revamped how we do things to be more effective and efficient, but we need help to implement the system. We can't just let the 100th anniversary of our Festival pass like any other one.  We have to make it monumental, the best ever. Please help. If you can't make it on Tuesday but want to help, please let me know.  
Via e-mail from Luke Tolley - please rsvp to Luke at Luke.Tolley@gmail.com or by calling (509) 475-3509

Beacon Hill development hearing Thursday

The preliminary plat/PUD hearing for the proposed Beacon Hill housing development is Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. in the city council briefing room, lower level of city hall. Look for a story in tomorrow's Voice section. And here's an e-mail from Luke Tolley, Hillyard Neighborhood Council Chair, in support of the proposed 304 single and multi-family home development:

"The Hillyard Neighborhood Council has pledged its support for the Beacon Hill development effort and as such we are encouraging our members to attend Thursday morning's hearing with the City that Beacon Hill is having.  
The hearing is Thursday, Jan 6th, 9:30am at the City Council Briefing Room, lower level of City Hall.
The hearing has to do with issues with the water access and will very much effect the future of not only the Beacon Hill development, but the development of all of East Hillyard.
I encourage you to attend, but furthermore I encourage you to get others from your organizations to attend as well. " Via e-mail from Luke Tolley.

A new year - lots of new plans

The Historic Hillyard Merchants Committee met for the first time this year, this morning at the Outlaw Cafe. First on the agenda was the upcoming Snowflake Ball - it was canceled because of low ticket sales.

Moving right along to upcoming events: there are plans for a Hillyard Hop on May 21 - complete with a parade, a car show and lots of special for Hillyard shoppers.
HIllyard it planing on getting in on Arbor Day this year. If everything works out, merchants will be giving away small trees in the week leading up to Arbor Day. The Northeast Youth Center is planing on helping out, too.
Another big topic on today's agenda is advertising. The Hillyard Merchants have been shopping around for a good deal on advertising. TV commercials are expensive (the price batted around was $15,000) and many business owners worry that they can't afford it. A point was made repeatedly that marketing Hillyard is not a one-time deal - what it takes is a campaign that businesses and community groups all can buy into. On Feb. 7 at noon there will be a meeting at the Outlaw Cafe to further discuss advertising and marketing efforts and offers.
The time is set for the Valentine's dinner: Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Outlaw Cafe - please make reservations at the cafe.
And lastly, the parking spots have been cleared of snow by an independent contractor - so come on up.

It’s meeting time

- once again. The Hillyard blog will be at the Historic Hillyard Merchants Committee meeting Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. (or maybe a little earlier to get breakfast…) at the Outlaw Cafe. See you there.

Happy New Year

The blog has a few days off here toward the end of the year, but it will return in full force on Monday Jan. 3. Remember to send the blog a note with neighborhood news to piah@spokesman.com

And once we get started on the new year, the blog would like to visit with a few other groups, non-profits and organizations in Hillyard - no offense to the Historic Hillyard Merchants Committee that so gracefully has helped the blog getting started. E-mail a pitch - see you all in 2011.

The Hobo Bulletin is out

Pam Farnsworth began publishing the Hillyard Hobo Bulletin via e-mail last winter. Here's a link to the latest edition (PDF) - and another link to a story about the Hobo Bulletin.

Holiday hours in Hillyard

The Historic Hillyard Merchants Committee is not meeting on Dec. 29 - but back together again on Jan. 5, 2011. It should be noted that the Outlaw Cafe IS open on Wednesday, and there's plenty of coffee and breakfast for everyone. Hillyard businesses are closed on Jan. 1.

Hot rods to benefit Hillyard

There's a hot rod calendar for sale in Hillyard. The Jerry Frazier memorial calendar - the first one of its kind - can be picked up for $12.95 at the Hillyard Variety Store or the Outlaw Cafe. Almost 500 calendars are already sold, but there is another 500 left. The calendar features locally owned hotrods in front of Hillyard businesses, and a Hillyard quiz. Proceeds go to Hillyard Futures, a non-profit organization that works on rebuilding Hillyard.

Family health center pre-enrolling

The Riverstone Family Health Center is opening a clinic at Northeast Community Center in January, adding dental services by March. Patients can pre-enroll at this time by stopping at the clinic's temporary office in room 320 at the Northeast Community Center, which is located at 4001 N. Cook Street.
The clinic is part of the Yakima Valley Farm Workers network of clinics. Pre-enrolling makes the first appointment easier and faster because all the new patient paperwork is taken care of.

City holiday hours and tips on tree disposal

Spokane City Hall will be closed on Fridays, Dec. 24 and 31, in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
The Spokane City Council is not scheduled to meet on Monday, Dec. 27. Council meetings will resume on Monday, Jan. 3, with a 3:30 p.m. briefing session and 6 p.m. legislative session.  Both meetings will be held in the City Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Parking meters don’t have to be plugged on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 24 and 25, and again on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.
The Spokane Municipal Court will be closed on Fridays, Dec. 24 and 31.
All Spokane Public Library branches will be closed on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 24 and 25, for the Christmas holiday. In addition, all library branches will be closed on Saturday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day. 

Tree disposal:
the City’s Solid Waste Management Department offers free curbside pickup for its customers.  Once the decorations are removed, residents can place their trees alongside their garbage carts on their regularly scheduled garbage pickup days. The City will accept trees up to 6 feet in height; if they’re taller than that, cut them in half. Trees collected at curbside will be chipped up and composted. For information, call Solid Waste Management at 509-625-7878.
City and County residents also can take their undecorated, unflocked trees for disposal to the:
Waste-to-Energy Facility, 2900 S. Geiger Blvd.
Spokane Valley Transfer Station, 3941 N. Sullivan Road.
North Side Transfer Station, 22123 Elk-Chattaroy Road.
Here, trees taller than 6 feet should also be cut in half.Trees taken to these facilities are subject to a $5 minimum charge for clean green disposal; they will be composted. 
For more information, call the Recycling Hotline at 625-6800.
Also, watch for opportunities to dispose of trees and help a good cause. Scouts, school groups, and other charitable organizations will dispose of trees for a donation.


The meeting is wrapping up and Mayor Verner summarized it this way: “Rest assured that we recognize and value this little corner of the city. What I’m hearing is for you to report, report, report and then have faith that we are listening. It’s not CSI, it’s honest to goodness police work so it’s going to take a little while. Be patient. And report it again if it happens again.”

The Spokane Police Department’s Aim Report - which shows what the police department is aiming at - are available from the police department’s website www.spokanepolice.org

Business owners aim to protect reputation

Several business owners are upset with how and when media refer to Hillyard. One person said that when something good happens in Hillyard, the area is referred to as “Northeast Hillyard” - but when something bad happens, like the recent shooting at the Special K Bar (on Garland and Market) it’s referred to as “Hillyard” - an argument could be made that the Special K is not in Hillyard.

Part of the business owners’ frustration is that they say they have worked hard on changing Hillyard’s reputation and as long as crime continues to be a problem, they say, it is really hard to keep the good PR going.

Suggestions toward solving the problem

Major Stevens explains that SPD has a ‘repeat offender program’ and for the people who end up on that list “It’s kind’a like being on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. We notice that these people pop up and pop up and pop up - and we make an effort to catch those people.” You want to catch them, you don’t want to move them to another spot (this is repeated by several SPD officers).

Someone suggests a citizens police academy similar to one in King County. The Spokane citizens police academy was eliminated due to budget cuts about two years ago. The academy in Spokane was more informational, where the one in King County gives citizens an opportunity to ride along with officers and be more hands on.

Neighborhood “patrols”

One business owner talks about confronting two intruders on his property, cutting up steel and trying to steal his “stuff” out of a yard. This happened last night. He says he “kicked the guy’s” behind, because he ended up in a wrestling match with the intruders. He says he has a right to bear arms and confront people on his property, but he is tired of getting ripped off. (This business owner did eventually call 911 and file a report).

SPD response: a burglary in progress is “nirvana” for cops because they want to come and help people - so call in and report it to 911 on the spot. It’s important to call in and let police come out and do their job. If a burglar gets run off someone’s property, the burglar is likely to go somewhere else and break in again.

Mayor Verner: what I’m hearing is that people don’t report incidents because they don’t think anything is going to happen? (correct, business owners say) Verner explains that she gets “Aim Reports” from the SPD that show what the police department is focusing on. “We need a feedback loop, we need to find a way to get that information back to the community, so people don’t think their reports go into a black hole.”

Crime prevention measures

They are labor intensive, someone has to watch them all the time. The business owners in Hillyard have purchased ISP addresses so their camera feeds can be viewed at the COPS shop.

SPD needs license plate numbers, times and dates. Descriptions of the people who show up frequently, but be careful while you are doing it so you don’t get into a confrontation with drug dealers or other criminals.
Report incidents even if you don’t think police is going to come out - it helps the police department build a pattern of activity, if there is one. Some of this information may be useful in court.

COPS suggests Business Watch - a plan like Block Watch, just for businesses. This effort has been very successful in the International District on East Sprague.

Note: These are essentially my notes, the way I take them at any meeting I cover - experimenting with live blogging.

SPD explains what it’s doing already

SPD: patrol officers in general run from disaster to disaster. The drug unit is not well equipped to deal with drug problems like the one in Hillyard. SPD says that you can’t just throw a couple of officers out there in plain clothes and take care of it. Some smaller drug units will be formed in January.

SPD Major Stevens: one thing we are trying to do is coodinate with the community and the police department - sometimes we don’t communicate real well and coordinate our efforts - we are working on that. He says they are going to sustain the drug effort. One thing people in Hillyard can do is notice and report drug houses - it will help SPD pick people up. “The more information we have the better we can respond,” Stevens said.
He adds that they have a high level of technology that can help them sustain what they are doing - they want to keep the pressure up - especially with people that are identified as repeat offenders. “We are trying to get the judges on board to boost their bail up, so they don’t get out of jail so easily,” Stevens said.

What’s the problem?

Marv Peterson: “There is so much drug dealing and vandalism going on here. I was broken into. We know the people who did it but we can’t do anything about it.”

Richard Burris: “We sometimes go out at night to keep an eye on things. There was a lot of traffic and people were getting in your face. We are not asking for more protection, we know that you don’t have enough resources. What we are asking for is more undercover patrols - everybody can recognize a black and white patrol car from a mile away. It doesn’t work.” The community groups are hoping that the SPD will be able to switch some resources to undercover patrols instead of regular street patrols.

Luke Tolley: “The response to the letter we sent has been awesome. Where we are at now is how do we continue on and work with the city.”


It’s a who’s who in Hillyard right now

In response to a letter sent to City Hall and the Spokane Police Department in November, there’s a community meeting going on right now at the Outlaw Cafe on Market Street. About 30 people are here - including council member Amber Waldreff, Mayor Mary Verner and many representatives from the Spokane Police Department.

Apologies for typos in the following posts - it’s the first time I’m doing live blogging - fun, yet demanding!