Ravenna Creek Alliance

General Info:

The Story
Not so very long ago, Ravenna Creek ran from Green Lake through the Ravenna ravine and into a wetland where University Village is now. From there it flowed into Lake Washington. Habitat for salmon and trout, the Creek wandered through an old-growth forest as recently as the 1920s. The trees were so large then that sight-seers paid a quarter to come see them.

The Creek
Ravenna Creek was culverted, diverted, and finally disconnected in order to accommodate new development. The stream was channeled into a grate at the south end of Ravenna Park, where it has been sent underground to the sewage treatment plant.

Two million gallons of fresh water from Ravenna Creek are added to sewage every day. A few years ago, Metro was looking for a way to separate the clean waters of Ravenna Creek, and considered piping the Creek underground along 25th Avenue NE to an outlet on Union Bay.

The Opportunity
One way or another, the Creek's course will be changed during the next few years. But instead of letting the crystal-clear waters of the Creek continue to disappear down a drain, why not keep the Creek on the surface as a posit ive benefit for the neighborhood? That's the idea the Ravenna Creek Alliance is proposing. This group of volunteers from the community hopes to restore the Creek to the surface, thus 'daylighting' a natural resource for the entire community to enjoy.

This restoration project has gathered momentum and funding. Metro has pledged $800,000, its cost of piping the Creek to Union Bay, if the community can raise the remainder of the funds. An additional $300,000 has been contributed by the Parks Department . For the additional funding required, we are pursuing both public and private sources.

The probable route for the Creek between Ravenna Park and Lake Washington is along Ravenna Place, under 25th Avenue NE, along the Burke-Gilman Trail, through an adjacent small park and then through University Village, on its way to Union Bay via Universit y Slough in Montlake Fill.

The Project
Ravenna Creek Alliance, a community group based in northeast Seattle, is incorporated as a tax-exempt nonprofit organization as part of its effort to restore the lower reaches of Ravenna Creek to the surface of the land. In doing so, the Creek will be reconnected to its former receiving waters in Union Bay. The spring-fed creek now begins and ends within Ravenna Park where its water quality is very good and the creek supports a resident Trout population. Ravenna Creek now enters a METRO sewer trunkline. Since it is cost-effective not to pump and treat the clean spring waters of the creek, METRO planned to pipe it to Union Bay under 25th Avenue NE. METRO has allowed the community time to develop its plan and to raise the support necessary. By October 1994, the Ravenna Creek Alliance had reached a membership of 500.

The creek reconnection will be approximately 4,200 feet long, with an average grade of 1.5%. The minimum width of the stream corridor will be 20 feet, which has been determined to be adequate by the RCA technical committee. The stream carries 1 to 2 c.f .s. (cubic feet per second) of water, and because of the nature of its watershed, both relatively well vegitated and entirely within the Park, the quantity of water remains within a stable range.

The stream route's use of public rights-of-way has been given preliminary approval by the Seattle Engineering Department. The restored stream will cross private land at three points. At the Silver Cloud Motel site an easement has been offered. The University of Washington does not oppose passage of the stream through its property. Negotiations are underway for an easement through University Village Shopping Center.

The People
This project is supported by the Seattle Parks Department, our Mayor and by Metro. It has been endorsed by both community and environmental organizations, including the community associations of Ravenna Bryant, Montlake, Laurelhurst, and the University District, the Sierra Club and Trout Unlimited. The Creek Project is also unanimously supported by a King County Council Motion of support sponsored by Cynthia Sullivan and a City of Seattle resolution cosponsored by Jim S treet and Sue Donaldson.

We have developed a feasible plan. Our work has received an award for community service from the state chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The entire community stands to gain in this transformation from an ordinary shopping center i nto a showplace of restoration and community involvement.

Neighbors will have a place to go, to meet, a way to walk between the Park, the Trail and the Village. Citizens of Seattle will benefit since the water now being pumped to the treatment plant will enter Lake Washington and augment its waters, benefiting especially the Ballard Locks. Fish will benefit from restoration of their habitat.

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Seattle, Washington