Vino in the Village Goes Green

August 29, 2023. Vino in the Village is going green on September 16th, from 6 to 9 pm in Magnolia Village. Thanks to our sponsor, Windermere, the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce is partnering with r.Cup. Born from 30+ years of sustainability expertise and innovation, r.Cup brings environmental solutions to Vino in the Village through its integrated, end-to-end reusable cup systems.

r.Cup’s methodology eliminates single-use waste at scale. After Vino in the Village ends on September 16th, r.Cup Seattle will collect, wash, sanitize, inspect, and then repackage the wine-tasting cups to be used repeatedly. 

The continued reuse of these cups will allow r.Cup to displace tons and tons of single-use, disposable waste. And any damaged or retired cups are upcycled into items even more remarkable than the r.Cups. It’s genuinely a closed-loop system.

All r.Cups are made in the U.S.A. And, r.Cup offers the highest quality cups with the lowest carbon footprint, increasing the positive environmental impact.

To learn more about what to expect with the r.Cup experience at Vino in the Village, click here.

Vino in the Village – Sept. 16th. Purchase tickets NOW

August 10, 2023. Get ready for Vino in the Village on September 16th, from 6 to 9 pm in Magnolia Village. Vino in the Village is a popular fundraising event, and the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce is immensely grateful to our title sponsor, Magnolia Dental, for helping us put on this always popular event held two times a year. Thanks also to our event partner, Seattle Uncorked. All proceeds go to support your Magnolia Chamber of Commerce.

Current Magnolia Village businesses where you will taste delicious wines include American Dance, our event sponsor Magnolia Dental, Windermere, Sell Your Sole, Mainspring Wealth Advisors, Village Fitness, Triune Pilates, Westerly Studio, Henry Simmons Salon, Vixen Collection, Floof, Studio K, & Cetera Advisors. A curated array of wines will be located at each participating business, and the September 16th Vino in the Village allows you and your family & friends to sip, savor, and shop from 6 to 9 pm in beautiful Magnolia Village.

To register and learn more, click here.

A Brief Guide To Seattle’s Updated Tree Code – July 2023

Contributed by Seattle Tree Care

July 27, 2023

Seattle’s Tree Protection Code is complicated and lengthy. There are many factors to consider when determining what protections are in place for each specific tree. Different parameters apply to different species on different types of properties. 

The team of Certified Arborists at Seattle Tree Care studies the code and its implications to fully understand its many nuances. The most recent ordinance, which goes into effect July 31, imposes stricter tree removal restrictions on private property not undergoing development. 

Below is a brief and simplified overview of the new regulations for trees on private property not undergoing development. Tree protection regulations are different for properties undergoing development, properties located in an Environmentally Critical Area (ECA), and public property.

There are many other elements of code application that are not covered here. For questions about a specific tree, contact the team of ISA Certified Arborists at Seattle Tree Care.

Starting July 30, 2023:

A tiered classification system will replace the previous Exceptional and Significant designations. A tree’s protected status is determined by its tier. Tree species and size, measured at Diameter at Standard height (DSH), are two important factors that separate the tiers.

Tier 1 trees are part of the Heritage Tree Program, a joint effort by Plant Amnesty and the City of Seattle.

  • Tier 1 trees need a permit to be removed and must be replaced or a fee paid in-lieu.

Tier 2 trees include most species with a DSH of 24 inches or greater.

  • Tier 2 trees need a permit to be removed and must be replaced or a fee paid in-lieu.

Tier 3 trees include most species with a DSH between 12 and 24 inches. Tier 4 trees have a DSH between 6 and 12 inches.

  • Up to three Tier 3 and 4 trees can be removed in a one-year period without a permit in Downtown and Industrial property zones.
    • In all other zones, Tier 3 trees need a permit to be removed and must be replaced or a fee paid in-lieu.
  • Up to two Tier 4 trees can be removed in a three-year period without a permit in the following zones: Neighborhood Residential, Lowrise, Midrise, Commercial, and Seattle Mixed Zones.

In order to be approved for removal, a tree must be hazardous, dead, causing severe conflict with infrastructure, or have serious insect or disease issues.

Trees with a DSH smaller than 6 inches are not regulated by the SDCI.

If you have questions about the Tree Code, the Arborists at Seattle Tree Care are here to help. You can contact the Seattle Tree Care team via their website, seattletreecare.org, or by email: info@seattletreecare.org.



Salmon Bay RV parking lot to launch in August – strategy to address homelessness

July 6, 2023

Seattle Times, July 4, 2023

Seattle’s new, and only, parking lot for people living in RVs is expected to open in August — more than a year after money was allocated for the project and eight months after it was expected to open.

The Low Income Housing Institute was awarded the $1.9 million project in June 2022 by the King County Regional Homelessness Authority. It was the only organization to apply for the job. 

At the time, authorities estimated the “safe lot,” as this model is called, would open by the end of the year — a pace that some vehicle advocates criticized for being too slow.

The Interbay site comes at a time when safe lots are gaining momentum across the county. The city of Bellevue created funding for a safe parking program, but has yet to find a homelessness services organization willing to run it. The Regional Homelessness Authority recently asked for bids for organizations to stand up one or more safe lots across King County, offering up to $4.2 million in the first year. But with Bellevue struggling to find an organization to even take on the work, and Seattle’s new site taking more than a year to set up, it’s unclear how soon these new programs could open. 

This isn’t the first time Seattle and the Low Income Housing Institute have attempted such a program. The nonprofit housing and services provider operated a lot in Ballard in 2016 — homeless services nonprofit Compass Housing Alliance was in charge of case management — but it closed after six months when the property owner, Seattle Public Utilities, determined it needed the land for a different project, according to Jon Grant, chief strategy officer for the Low Income Housing Institute.

A site in Sodo followed with even less success as almost no one parked there and three people died there in early 2018.

The institute’s leaders say they have better support now to make this program a success. Every person who enters the RV site, called Salmon Bay, will have access to housing case workers and mental health and substance use disorder support. There will be showers and restrooms, as well as a kitchen.

The housing institute said it’s spent most of the last year evaluating more than 50 available properties, looking for lots that can hold oversized vehicles and a landlord willing to lease to a homelessness program.

After several close calls and incidents of cold feet, the homelessness nonprofit announced in May it had entered a leasing agreement to take over a narrow piece of property in Interbay, located along 15th Ave. W. The lot is owned by Seattle Storm co-owner, Ginny Gilder.

“Homelessness is not going to disappear from Seattle without communities engaging, as we all know,” Gilder said in a public statement regarding the agreement.

The site is expected to hold 26 recreational vehicles and other oversized vehicles alongside nine tiny houses — a form of individual shelter the nonprofit is best-known for managing. Moving into the safe lot will come with one major requirement: Residents must be willing to give up their vehicle and eventually move into permanent housing. 

The tiny houses will go to people whose current vehicle isn’t deemed safe enough to stay in.

Every vehicle will go through an inspection that looks for potential risks, including black mold, electrical concerns, damaged fuel lines and gray or black water leaks, Grant said.

If an RV is deemed not fit to live in, it will be demolished. And the others, too, will be demolished after their owner finds housing.

“One of the problems with RV homelessness is that the vehicles often stay in circulation on the streets and continue to decline in condition and become unsafe for habitation,” Grant said. “We don’t anticipate any of the RVs to be in a reusable condition.”

In addition to medically vulnerable and elderly RV dwellers, a portion of referrals will also be provided to vehicle residents living in the Interbay area, so that nearby neighbors will begin to see an immediate impact.

“There are some RV clients who would love to stay in their RV, and this isn’t the spot for them,” said Jen Manlief, manager of the Vehicle Resident programs for University Heights Center.

The organization, formerly known as the Scofflaw Mitigation team, Seattle’s only outreach team for people living in vehicles, is subcontracting with the Low Income Housing Institute to help build its referral list for the program. Outreach workers connect with hundreds of vehicle campers every month, Manlief said, to better understand their needs and determine who might be ready for housing.

The last time this population was counted, in 2020, more than 2,700 homeless people were found to be living in their vehicles across King County. It’s a group with a wide variety of needs. 

Chanel Hornerwho lives in a passenger bus similar to one used for public transit, said that since Seattle reinstated it’s 72-hour on-street parking enforcement — which allows vehicles to be towed if parked on the same street for three days or more — and because many concrete “eco-blocks” have been placed illegally in parking spots outside of businesses and homes around the city, it’s becoming harder for vehicle residents to find safe places to be without fear of losing their shelter or home. 

“We don’t want to be a problem,” Horner said.

She’s been advocating in Seattle for more safe lots for years. Currently, there are three small safe parking sites located across Seattle for people living in vehicles smaller than RVs, Manlief said, and only a few can park there at a time.

For example, the University District safe lot offers 10 parking spots nightly. All vehicles have to leave in the daytime.  

Horner said that in addition to this new Interbay safe lot that has clear housing goals, Seattle could benefit by offering more permanent parking spots for people living in vehicles and RVs, like a trailer park. 

She serves on the Regional Homelessness Authority’s Vehicle Resident work group. And she’s had her bus towed and taken away for months before.

Helping people in vehicles is complicated because they have an object of value and a roof over their head, they just don’t have places where they can park or exist freely, said vehicle outreach manager Manlief.

Many have jobs, like Tiffany Meek. Meek estimates that she’s been homeless, living in vehicles, for about 10 years in Seattle. She said waiting to find out if you get towed is like playing Russian roulette.

In March, Meek said, every time she has to leave her RV to go to work, she worries if it will be there when she returns. 

“It’s sickening really,” she added. “We’re waiting for the bottom to fall every day.” 

And it did.

Meek was at a friend’s house a few months ago, using the shower, and missed a call telling her to move her RV or it would be towed. She returned to find an empty parking spot.

She hasn’t been able to get her RV back and is currently surviving by the generosity of a friend who is sharing their RV with her.

Correction, July 4, 2023, 11:00 a.m.Due to a source’s error, a previous version of this story misidentified the organization that oversaw case management of the Ballard lot operated by the Low Income Housing Institute in 2016.

Anna Patrick: apatrick@seattletimes.com; on Twitter: @annaleapatrick.

Meet your 2023 candidates – primary vote on August 1st

June 26, 2023 – UPDATED July 12, 2023

The Community Engagement Committee of the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce has developed a questionnaire sent to the Seattle City Council candidates for the 6th & 7th districts and the King County Council District 4 candidates. The questions reflect the concerns of the Magnolia community, including those we have heard from small business owners.   

Below, we share the responses we received from the Seattle City Council and King County Council candidates. Not all candidates participated in returning the questionnaire. We also provide the link to the candidate websites. The primary election is on August 1st. The general election is on November 7th.

A reminder: The Seattle city council redistricting process in 2022 split the Magnolia peninsula into two council districts. You can click here to determine if you are voting in the 6th or 7th council district.

Seattle City Council – District 6

Seattle City Council – District 7

Metropolitan King County Council – District 4

Community Safety Top Concern of Seattle Voters Ahead of Historic City Council Election 

May 1, 2023.

New Downtown Seattle Association/Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce research points toward public call for more officers and holistic approach to public safety 

The Downtown Seattle Association and Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce recently released voter research conducted by EMC Research, capturing voter sentiment regarding public safety in Seattle. The January survey of likely November 2023 voters posed a series of questions about safety in their neighborhoods, top safety concerns, Seattle police funding and staffing, unarmed alternative response, and confidence in elected officials on the issue of safety.

Voter sentiment clearly demonstrates a complete approach to public safety is desired in Seattle, with respondents calling for proper staffing levels to meet response times, police reforms and responsible alternative responses.

Survey findings include:

  • Voters are less likely to support candidates who supported a recent city action to eliminate 80 unfilled and unfunded police positions, regardless of the decision being framed as “defunding the police” (60%) or “being fiscally responsible.” (49%)
  • A strong majority of voters (70%) believe we need more officers to keep us safe and reduce crime, and that things like signing bonuses will help (66%), while they are evenly split on whether the department has made progress on reforms (51%-45%). More than six in 10 voters (62%) view Seattle police favorably.
  • In an open-ended question, a little more than half of voters (52%) cited homelessness and/or lack of available housing as their top safety concern. 
  • Eight in 10 voters (80%) support the idea of a public safety force with unarmed officers to respond to low-priority calls.

Seven of the nine Seattle City Council positions are up for re-election on the November 2023  ballot. DSA and the Seattle Metro Chamber conduct research exploring voter sentiment and advocate on behalf of their members.

“We’ve heard from our members — people who visit, live and work downtown — that safety is their number-one priority,” said DSA President & CEO Jon Scholes. “This survey confirmed  that voters are largely aligned. They think community safety is critical to revitalizing downtown and neighborhood business districts, that it needs to be a top priority for elected officials and that law enforcement should be able to respond in a timely but also appropriate manner. For those who are running for local office — or thinking of running — it’s pretty clear that voters are calling for a focused approach and urgent action on public safety.”

“It has been our position – and the research shows that the voters share it – that an all-of-the-above approach to public safety is needed: reforms, alternatives, and the right number of officers to meet response times,” said Rachel Smith, president and CEO of the Seattle Metro Chamber. “With the most city council positions open that we have seen in 20 years, we urge those who have already filed to make their positions on public safety clear to the voters. And as leaders of civic organizations, we encourage people to run for office – especially if they share the opinions of the voters.”

Four of the current nine Seattle City Councilmembers are not seeking re-election this year. Candidates for Seattle City Council must file a Declaration of Candidacy with King County Elections by Friday, May 19, 2023. The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 1 and the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 7. 


Magnolia Chamber of Commerce is a great way to be engaged, get involved, and make a difference. Read the article to find out why!

Queen Anne & Magnolia News ran a great story on Vino in the Village to be held on April 29th. The event is sold out, but the news story highlights an interview with Magnolia Chamber of Commerce executive director Jason Thibeaux. In the interview, Jason shares information about several upcoming events exclusive to Magnolia Chamber members. The value of Magnolia Chamber membership comes through loud and clear. Please read the story and join the Magnolia Chamber here to become an individual, family, or business member.

By Jessica Keller

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Tickets are still available for purchase to the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce’s popular event and spring fundraiser Vino in the Village. (Editor’s note – the event is sold out)

The spring event will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday starting at Modeles Home Furnishings, 3220 W. McGraw St., in Magnolia Village. This event will feature 16 local wineries that will pour wines and spirits at different businesses in the village. Go to https://discovermagnolia.org/ and click on the Vino in the Village tickets link. (Editor’s note – the event is now sold out)

Magnolia Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jason Thibeaux said the biannual event is an important fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce because of its popularity.

“It’s, by far, our most consistent fundraiser,” he said, adding the goal is to sell out of tickets at each event. “Events like this definitely make us whole at the end of the year.”

The event was especially important during COVID, when the chamber was deeply impacted, Thibeaux said. Since then, the chamber is doing well in terms of membership.

“I would say our membership grew slightly during the pandemic, but not to the tune of making up for events,” he said.

That is why events like Vino in the Village is so important to the chamber, which has a number of campaigns to support businesses in the community, Thibeaux said.

The chamber is slowly adding back events to its annual calendar and recently hosted its first casino night since the pandemic, as well as its first in-person annual awards dinner, and chamber board members are planning additional events.

None, however, surpass Vino in the Village for the chamber.

Thibeaux said the event not only benefits the chamber; it also is an important event for businesses in the Village. “It’s great exposure for the businesses,” he said, adding even the restaurants, which can’t participate because of liquor licensing rules.

Thibeaux said a restaurant owner said even without hosting a wine-serving station, just having so many people in the Village draws attention to the restaurants, with the extra foot traffic generating more business at the restaurants from people hungry for a bite to eat.

“So, it usually ends up being a good night for a lot of people,” Thibeaux said.

The chamber hosts two Vino in the Village events a year, with the last one in December, and the chamber typically sells between 550 to 600 tickets.

“We try to balance the number of tickets to the host sites we have,” Thibeaux said, adding the event usually features 16 wineries.

Some businesses host more than one winery depending on the venue’s size. The upcoming event will include 13 independent businesses and 16 wineries.

“The ideal scenario is to sell out or get super close to a sell out,” Thibeaux said. “If we can do that and give good exposure to all the businesses, then that’s a successful night for us.”

Thibeaux said, beyond Vino in the Village, the chamber is working on many other projects and events, some just for members, such as a gardening class at the Magnolia Garden Center, and some for the entire community. He said the Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification project has hit its goal for phases 4 and 5. Now that the committee in charge is close to finishing, attention will be turned to annual maintenance fundraising.

The chamber is also hosting conversations with candidates for the upcoming election, which includes City Council candidates from districts 6 and 7 and the County Council, and the organization will submit questionnaires to candidates with questions from a business perspective.

Thibeaux said the chamber is expanding its organization beyond the business sector. He said people who want to become involved in the community and advocate in a small way can join the Chamber of Commerce as individuals; they don’t have to own a business to be a member anymore.

“A lot of what we do is enhancing our community, like the beautification committee project,” Thibeaux said. “It’s a way to have a little bit of influence in our community.”

For more information about the Chamber of Commerce, visit https://discovermagnolia.org.

Thibeaux also invites residents interested in more information about the chamber and what it does to schedule a conversation with him at jason@discovermagnolia.org.

Launching Seattle Blue Incubator at Fishermen’s Terminal

Washington Maritime Blue, in partnership with the Port of Seattle, create a new incubator program for concept and early-stage maritime and ocean-focused startups.

April 26, 2023. The Port of Seattle has commissioned Washington Maritime Blue to create and execute a program focused on helping founders working on maritime and ocean related startups by providing access to workspace, mentors, programming and more. This one-year, free program will be housed in the Blue Hub located at Fishermen’s Terminal and allow founders to learn how to take their concept and early-stage companies to the next level. This new incubator will act as a possible feeder to the marquee Maritime Blue Innovation Accelerator, a fourth-month program investing in venture scale companies.

Five to eight companies will be selected for a program that will begin June 1, 2023 at the Blue Hub in Fishermen’s Terminal. The focus areas for Maritime Blue include: Maritime Decarbonization, Renewable Ocean Energy, Sustainable Fishing & Seafood, Ocean Health & Sustainability, and the Digital Transformation. The Blue Ventures program works to ensure that we are providing underserved communities a safe space for ideas to grow, seek out and recruit women, BIPOC, and other underserved startup founders.

This program will accept everything from ideation/concept to early-stage startups. We will also consider companies further along who are interested in a soft landing into the region’s blue economy.

Over 12 months, The selected startups will receive rent-free collaborative working space at the Blue Hub in Fishermen’s Terminal. The startups will benefit from the full suite of the Washington Maritime Blue cluster members, stakeholders and partners, be a part of unique programming, and the opportunity to connect with a global network of maritime and ocean economy mentors. Maritime Blue members include global, national and regional maritime companies, leading research institutions, government and public agencies, and other community organizations.

Applications are open and close Friday, May 26th at 5 p.m.(PST). To apply, click here.

AI for Business: Bewares and Boasts

Practical ways to use it in business and what to avoid

March 27, 2023.

At first glance, especially for people who have trouble writing or have difficulty starting out and  collecting their thoughts at a keyboard, AI can feel like the smartest kid in the class offering to do your homework for free, forever. It seems like a huge win and I’m not saying it isn’t. But there are a few things you should be aware of as well as some tasks it does tremendously well that could save you a lot of time and energy.

AI “Doesn’t Always Get It Right”

Google’s new Bard (AI) issued this statement to all users, “Bard will not always get it right.
Bard may give inaccurate or inappropriate responses. When in doubt, use the ‘Google it’ button to check Bard’s responses.” This is true of all AI. AI is not a sentient being. It gets its answers and content by crawling the web and condensing information. Sometimes that can cause problems.

It doesn’t:

  • Fact check or verify stats and attributions/citations
  • Sift out bad info (if that information is mentioned in a variety of places)
  • Have any vested interest in producing SEO-rich content for you (unless you use an AI program that is created for that)
  • Know what your audience responds to

AI Has Different Levels of Sophistication

There are many free options out there as well as AI/bot starters where you can build your own “in minutes.” It’s important to know that each one has different capabilities and claims—some have a plagiarism detector, for instance, so you needn’t worry about the copy it creates for you being flagged as duplicate content.

It’s Only as Good as What You Feed It

The real benefit of using AI lies in its ability to create content in a fraction of the time it takes for a human to write it. Even talented writers using dictation software or ones blessed with 100+ words per minute typing skills, can’t research and write a 300-word blog post in a minute.

But the content is only as good as the instructions you give it. For instance, if you were producing a blog post about Golden Retrievers, as a dog walker your blog would be different than that of a dog breeder/dog show participant, which would be different still from a vet’s perspective written for other vets. The level of sophistication and knowledge is different for each of those audiences. You will need to express that in the directions you provide the AI if you want a good piece of content that fits the needs and understanding of your audience.

AIs Struggle with Same Names

When I asked Google’s AI Bard what Bard does really well as research for this article, it responded with things that a bard/storyteller excels at, not what it does. (However, when I asked “what do you do well?,” it provided a satisfactory answer.

So, if your business shares a name with something else or you’re using a play on words or employing a name/word in a different context, the program may not produce helpful results.

5 Things AI Does Well

Now that you know what to watch out for, let’s cover a few things it does really well. Using AI for these things can save you lots of time.

  1. Help you brainstorm. If you’re rewriting your business tagline and you have part of it but can’t think of the perfect ending, try giving an AI writer a prompt such as, “help me finish my <insert type of business> tagline <insert what you have so far>.
  2. Come up with invite language. Basic invite language is a breeze for AIs. Canva has one built in.
  3. Write simple emails or letters. Creating form letters can be a pain but not with AI. Feed it the necessary info and you can move on to a better use of your time.
  4. Create an org chart. Provide your positions and it will give you what you need.
  5. Produce content without colorful language. Many writers lament that the content AI creates is boring. It lacks colorful language and stories. While it can create stories for you, it won’t add a story example to a blog post. However, “boring” is not always bad. If you want to create content that lacks biased language AI might be the way to go. Don’t ditch your editor yet but I have not come across any use of language bias when employing an AI assistant.

Is using AI right for you and your business? Perhaps. But keep in mind, it is a tool, not an additional employee. It can produce content in a fraction of the time, but it requires oversight. It does not always generate content ready to be used as is. If you envision what it creates as a starting point product like how a sous chef does the prep work for a top chef, you have a good understanding of how you might use it in your business.

Christina Metcalf is a writer/ghostwriter who believes in the power of story. She works with small businesses, chambers of commerce, and business professionals who want to make an impression and grow a loyal customer/member base. She loves road trips, hates exclamation points, and believes the world would be a better place if we all had our own theme song that played when we entered the room. What would yours be?


Twitter: @christinagsmith
Facebook: @tellyourstorygetemtalking
LinkedIn: @christinagsmith

West Point Construction Impacts – “In the 98199” – policy and local government news

Power quality improvement

West Point Treatment Plant Current Projects

March 20, 2023. Discovery Park and the Magnolia community will see increased cement truck traffic as crews pour concrete for the West Point Treatment Plant’s new battery storage building. From 3 a.m. to 4 p.m. on three consecutive Thursdays – March 23, March 30, and April 6 – approximately 80 cement trucks will travel through the Magnolia community to and from West Point in Discovery Park. King County continues working hard to improve the West Point Treatment Plant’s power reliability and protect Puget Sound.

Residents and park visitors can expect increased truck traffic and associated noise as vehicles travel through the area. There will be no road or park closures associated with these activities

Project description

Power disruptions at the West Point Treatment Plant can cause electrical equipment to protectively shutdown, and when this happens during heavy rain, the facility is overwhelmed with untreated wastewater and stormwater. To prevent the plant from flooding, flow is diverted to Puget Sound in an emergency bypass.

The objective of the project is to eliminate the emergency bypasses of wastewater that are caused by power disruptions. This project has identified a solution and is rapidly implementing it to improve the reliability of the plant’s electrical power supply.

The project team analyzed numerous potential solutions and chose the solution that is the most effective and quickest to implement. The County will install a battery-based system to condition power as it is fed to critical systems in the plant so that they continue to operate during power disruptions, preventing the emergency bypasses of wastewater to the Puget Sound. 

Construction begins in 2022. The power quality improvements are expected to be protecting West Point from power disruptions by 2025. To learn more, click here.


  • Emergency declared by King County Executive and project initiated: Feb 2021
  • Battery solution selected: May 2021
  • Demolition of existing structure: 2022
  • Construction (estimated): 2023-24
  • System online, project complete (estimated): 2025