Are You RainWise? Learn How You May Be Eligible for Free Rain Gardens or Cisterns!

RainWise Contractor Fair
Saturday, March 21st,  11:30AM-1PM
Hunter Farm Gathering Place, 7744 35th Ave NE

In Seattle, many of our roads drain to catchbasins that feed into combined sewer overflow (CSO) stormwater infrastrucutre.  These CSO systems periodically get overwhelmed during heavy rain events and result in discharges of sewage into our water ways, such as Lake Washington.  You can actually check out this interactive map to see whether CSO’s are discharging into our City’s waterways during rain events.  In Wedgwood, most of this water either drains south to North Union Bay, near the Center for Urban Horticulture.

To help alleviate the volume of stormwater entering these systems and minimize costly infrastructure improvements, the Seattle Public Utilities has developed the RainWise program.  Through SPU’s RainWise program, home owners can get significant rebates to have rain gardens or cisterns installed on their property to capture runoff from roofs or other impervious surfaces.  In many cases, these rebates will pay the whole cost for construction and landscaping of a rain garden or instllation of a cistern (Average Rebate = $4,400!).  There’s an easy way to figure out if you qualify for RainWise rebates.  Simply, check on SPU’s RainWise website whether your address is within the boundaries of a RainWise CSO basin.

If you do qualify for RainWise rebates, SPU will be hosting a a series of FREE RainWise 101 workshops over the coming months to learn more.  You can even meet RainWise qualified contractors on March 21st from 11:30AM-1PM at the Hunter Farm Gathering Place (7744 35th Ave NE) to help meet and select a contractor to help guide you through this process.  SPU has even put together a walking tour for the NE Seattle and the Wedgwood area to see rain gardens that your neighborhs have already had installed through SPU’s RainWise program.  You can learn about all of this and more through their NE Seattle RainWise Brochure (PDF).

UPCOMING RainWise EVENTS.  Register at

  • RainWise Contractor Fair - Find out how to get started with RainWise and meet qualified contractors.
    Satureday, March 21, 11:30AM-1PM at Hunter Farm Gathering Place, 7744 35th Ave NE
  • FREE RainWise 101 Workshops – Learn about the RainWise program. Register at
    • Thursday, March 19, 7-8:30PM, Sand Point Methodist Church, 4710 NE 70th St
    • Wednesday, April 1, 6-7:30PM, Ballard Public Library, 5614 22nd Ave NW
    • Sunday, April 19, 3-4:3oPM, NE Seattle Public Library, 6801 35th Ave NE
    • Wednesday, April 22, 7-8:30PM, Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave N

Two Years of Tools

NE Seattle Tool Library members

The NE Seattle Tool Library is celebrating two years of sharing, skill-building, community networking and just plain old-fashioned fun.  Everyone is invited to join in at the anniversary celebration on Saturday, January 24, beginning at noon. Come and meet the folks, take a look around and consider a membership for unlimited borrowing and for participation in classes.

The NE Seattle Tool Library is located at 2415 NE 80th Street, just west of Ravenna Ave NE.  Go one block west from the traffic light at NE 80th Street.

New Year, New Skills

Sustainable NE Seattle is collaborating with Meadowbrook Community Center to offer the Fifth Annual ‘HANDS ON!’ community skills–share fair.

What is a skills fair?  It is a day of sharing practical skills with our neighbors.  There will be short workshops on a wide variety of skills, from sock darning to bread baking to fruit tree grafting. The day will include a luncheon and speaker.

The Skills Fair is from 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, February 7, 2015, with lunch from 12 to 12:45 at Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Ave NE.

Sharing skills to strengthen our community.

Do you have a skill you would like to teach? This community has stepped up in the past five years and filled the day’s schedule with classes of all kinds. Think of the things you know that help aid in your ability to live more in concert with the earth and adds to your resilience. Then email and let them know what you want to teach.  The SusNE page has a list of areas of interest from past years of the Skills Fairs.

Holiday Dinnerware, Borrowed from the Tool Library

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to inventory your plates and flatware: do you have enough for all your guests?  You can borrow sets of dishes, serving bowls, tablecloths, silverware, champagne flutes and wine glasses from the NE Seattle Tool Library.

Join the Tool Library and borrow punch bowls, serving trays and cooking utensils instead of buying seldom-used items.  The Tool Library has enough dinnerware to serve 180 people.  Check the browsable inventory on-line.

Hurry in this weekend!  The NE Seattle Tool Library will be open for the last time before the Thanksgiving holiday, on Saturday, November 22 from 9 to 3 PM, and Sunday, November 23 from 2 to 5 PM.

Garage Sale at the Tool Library

NE Seattle Tool Library members

The NE Seattle Tool Library is a tool-sharing resource located at 2415 NE 80th Street.  For a small annual membership fee you can have access to the huge inventory of tools, now numbering over 2,500.

The Tool Library’s mission is to leverage existing resources, reduce our environmental footprint, reduce consumption of tools used only once, educate community members in proper use and maintenance of tools, enhance self-reliance and resilience, foster sense of community and mutual support, and encourage repairing or re-purposing items instead of throwing them in the trash.

On Saturday, October 25 from 9 to 3 the NE Seattle Tool Library will have a sale of surplus tools.  There is lots of quality stuff, so your holiday shopping could begin here!  Stop by to see the inventory and check out the great resources of the Tool Library.

At the same day and time at the Tool Library, Saturday from 9 to 3, a class called Reinventing Fire will be held on how to build a BioChar Stove.  This efficient fire pit can be used as a barbecue grill as part of your emergency preparedness to cook food if/when the power goes off.

Bikes for Sale

Bikes for sale are at the Bike Shack which shares space in the NE Seattle Tool Library at 2415 NE 80th Street, just west of the traffic light on 25th Ave NE at NE 80th Street.  Photos of bikes which are available, are on the Bike Shack’s Facebook page.

The Bike Shack is a volunteer-run, donation-funded community bike shop that helps people learn to fix their bikes and provides tools for community use.  Open hours at the Bike Shack are the same as the Tool Library: Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 PM; Saturday 9 to 3 and Sunday 2 to 5.

Community Barter Fair and Cider Pressing

Sustainable NE Seattle will sponsor a Community Barter Fair and Cider Pressing festival on Saturday, September 27, from 1 to 4 PM.  Bring your home-grown and homemade goods to barter with others at the Fair, to be held at The Gathering Place at Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE, next to the Wedgwood Post Office.

You and your neighbors can collect the apples from your yard trees and bring them to the Fair to be pressed into cider.  Please bring all the containers you will want to use, such as washed milk or juice containers, and bring extra to share.  Bring the kids to see how food can be conserved and shared.

Barn Raising!

On Saturday, August 23 from 10 AM to 4 PM, everyone is invited to join in with Sustainable NE Seattle at a “barn raising” event at Patrick Linder’s house. This is an opportunity to contribute your labor in exchange for learning the the basics of building a simple wood-frame structure.  Site preparation, leveling, the use of pier stones, assembling and plumbing walls, applying wood siding, building and mounting rafters, and basic roofing will be explained and worked on.  Please bring gloves and eye protection, if possible.  Lunch will be provided.  Please RSVP.

Greendrinks Community Picnic

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM will be a community picnic and festival at the Gathering Place at Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE next to the Wedgwood Post Office. Seattle Greendrinks is teaming up with Sustainable NE Seattle to bring even more hands-on fun to this third annual event.

When you arrive at the Hunter Farm Gathering Place on August 12, there will be opportunities for fun – and networking – at every corner. From making your own button to your own birdhouse, you won’t leave empty handed – you could even get your bike all fixed up!  Organizations and businesses will be helping you green your home from the inside out – including laundry soap, gardening tips, energy efficiency, and more.

Children’s activities at Greendrinks will include games, urban farm animals, and sweet treats provided by Snoqualmie Ice Cream and others.

Silicon Energy will power the evening with solar energy and Cleanscapes will make sure waste goes to the right place!

Vendors at GreenDrinks:
Snoqualmie Ice Cream
Silicon Energy (powering the evening with a solar trailer!)
Honest Tea
Audubon Society
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
NE Seattle Tool Library
Seattle Electric Bike
Bike Shack (they can help you with some quick bike fixes!)

Spiffing Up the Gathering Place

Celebration Ceremony at The Gathering Place in September 2011.

Are you looking for a way to get to know more of your Wedgwood neighbors and contribute to the community with some volunteer work?  The perfect opportunity is coming up: on Saturday, June 28 from 9 to noon there will be a work party to cut the grass and do clean-up at The Gathering Place at Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE next to the Wedgwood Post Office.

The Gathering Place is a unique outdoor venue which was created by grant funding and volunteer hours in 2011.  At the site, owned by Hunter Tree Farm, the Wedgwood community obtained permission to add improvements to make a usable outdoor event venue.  With the summer season of activities approaching, the oversight committee called Hunter Gatherers invites you to join in on the work party.  Bring snacks, beverages, work gloves, manual grass clippers and push mowers.

If you would like to use The Gathering Place for a family event, picnic, birthday party, etc. then access the Hosting an Event page.