Monthly Archive: November 2010

Recap & Update on Saving Green Lake Community Center

by Gayle Garman, FOGL President

On Friday morning, Nov. 12, the City Counci Budget Committee, voted on a proposed “limited space conversion” compromise for the Green Lake Community Center. By an 8-1 vote, they voted to convert one of the two upstairs classrooms (980 sq ft) at GLCC to offices for 7-9 special events scheduling staff. The proposal also adds 0.5 FTE staff compared to the Mayor’s original budget and added 75 additional “drop-in” hours to the 5 Community Centers that were being cut back to only 15 hours each in the Mayor’s budget: Ballard, Alki, Laurelhurst, Queen Anne and Green Lake. If distributed equally, Green Lake’s drop in hours will go from the current 62 hours/week to 30 hrs/wk beginning in Jan. 2011. This doubles the drop-in hours proposed in the Mayor’s 2011 budget.

Better Than First Plan

While it hurts to think that any portion of the Community Center will be turned into offices, this is much better than what confronted us on Sat morning, Oct. 16, when Tom Rasmussen came to the Green Lake Branch Library for a “listening session”. At that time the pre-school was closing at the end of Dec., and the upstairs tot play-space was closing on Nov. 4 so construction could begin to convert that space and the two upstairs classrooms to offices for 24-28 Department of Parks and Recreation and Associated Recreation Council Staff. The teen program at GL was ending, because the teen drop-in room on the first floor was going to be needed as a meeting/conference space for DPR staff. It still isn’t clear what will happen with that space.

Many people contributed to the progress that was made, but special thanks are due Tom Rasmussen, who immediately wrote the Mayor and Christopher Williams protesting the start of construction before the budget was final. Without his intervention, construction would be underway and the issue would be dead. Councilor Rasmussen was the lone dissenting vote on Nov 12, giving three reasons for not voting to support the compromise: He noted that the Department of Parks and Recreation had known for at least a year that they would need to find new office space for these employees, and there was empty space in other City-owned buildings, so there should have been time to find a better option; that if Seattle wants neighborhoods with families as residents the City needs to support the needs of families and especially children; and that if the Department leadership had consulted with the community and front-line employees, a better solution probably would have evolved.

The budget isn’t final until the vote by City Council on Nov 22, but it is very unlikely we can get a majority vote to put the offices elsewhere. However, the Mayor and Christopher Williams, Interim Superintendent of DPR might still find another solution. According to City Councilor Sally Bagshaw, they are working toward such a solution. Other City Councilors noted that they hoped that if part of GLCC were converted to offices, that it would only be temporary.

Thank you all for the flood of phone calls, emails, and letters. On Nov 11, I sent email thank yous to both Sally Bagshaw and Tom Rasmussen, on behalf of the Friends of Green Lake.

FOGL Meeting Program: Algae of Green Lake – a Photographic Overview, by Karl Bruun

CANCELLED DUE TO ICY WEATHER – Program will be rescheduled for March 2011. Work party on Dec. 4 still a go.

Green Lake got its name from its natural green color – the result of tiny free-floating algae plants in its water. Friends of Green Lake began as an appeal to the City to reduce algae growth in Green Lake after the King County-Seattle Bd of Health closed the Lake to all contact during the summers of 1999, 2002 and 2003. The Lake looked like split-pea soup and smelled like something dead and decaying. Many types of algae still grow in Green Lake, but are diminished since the 2004 alum treatment.

In 2008, FOGL received a grant from King County Waterworks to identify and count algae in samples collected along with the nutrient samples we take under the King County Small Lakes Stewardship Program. At the Nov 23rd meeting we will see photo-micrographs (photos taken through a microscope) of the various kinds of algae found in the 2008 samples collected by Gayle Garman and Richard Fleming.

Our speaker Karl Bruun, who grew up near 85th St and 1st Ave, and spent his childhood in and around Green Lake, has worked in the King County lab identifying algae for many years. An accomplished photographer of algae, his photos appear in a National Geographic Special called X-ray earth. Check out his award-winning images at

Program moved to March 2011 meeting

Nov 6 Work Party at Green Lake – 4th Annual Milfoil Cleanup – a Big Success

Friends of Green Lake is sponsoring volunteer work parties the first Saturday morning of each month, from 9:00 to noon, in partnership with Seattle City Parks. On Sat morning Nov 6, twenty-one enthusiastic volunteers grabbed rakes and donned chest-waders or boots and gloves to remove invasive Eurasian water milfoil from the shallow water and shoreline of Green Lake at the embayment just north of the paddle-boat rental, where the milfoil is usually especially dense. But since the wind had shifted in the prior few days, much of the milfoil was blown offshore into deep water where we couldn’t get at it.

The milfoil on the shoreline and in shallow water was quickly gathered, so volunteers continued with the important work of cutting and uprooting blackberries, English ivy and bindweed along the shoreline to the north and west, including part of the Gaines Point.

December 4 is the next work party, when we will start removal of a large blackberry patch just north of the split rail fence on the southeast quadrant of the Lake (counter clockwise from the golf course). Please pre-register for Dec 4 at, so we know how many volunteers will need tools such as loppers and heavy rakes, for cutting and uprooting blackberries and ivy.

Unlike our previous work parties, you will not get your feet wet on Dec. 4, but it may be cold and/or rainy; so please dress for the weather. And the blackberries have fierce thorns, so wear clothes and boots to protect yourself from punctures. If the weather is really miserable, we will cancel. There won’t be any work party in Jan, because the first Sat is a holiday.

We greatly appreciate all the hard work our many volunteers have donated to improve Green Lake’s shoreline habitat. Photos courtesy of Gail Barker.
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