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Friends of the Market Newsletter

June 2019

The soundtrack in the Market for June is the munching and crunching of giant demolition machines, as they chew away at the adjacent viaduct. Their roar can be heard from the Market garage; their progress can be watched from the MarketFront. As the huge cement structure falls, a newly-open vista appears.

Viaduct Mementos 

Ever creative, Market vendors are finding uses for the viaduct debris. Forays to the destruction site provide rubble, which becomes the material for art and souvenirs.

One example: Christina and Ron Sabando select stone, rock and cement. These are then polished to become the surprisingly varied and beautiful centerpieces of jewelry. Pendants are embossed on the back with a graphic depicting the viaduct or the Highway 99 sign. The Sabandos (Sabando Design) can be found on the Market daystalls most weekdays. 

If your taste runs more to whimsy, look for crafter Patty Roberts (Falcorations Odyssey). Patty prepares pieces of the viaduct as a ground on which to paint her little creatures and scenes. 

Other craftspeople, and some Market merchants as well, offer viaduct themed products: a great way to remember this loved (and hated) Seattle structure!

Offsite Farmers Markets

With summer officially here, the Market summer events are in full swing.  The downtown Pike Place Farmers Markets are up and running. These off-site venues give Market farmers another outlet for their produce and keep the “Pike Place Market” name before consumers. Pike Place farmers can be found Tuesdays at City Hall (600 4th Avenue from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and the Regrade (7th Avenue and Lenora from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). On Thursdays, the farmers sell at South Lake Union (410 Terry Avenue N. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). On Friday, look for them on First Hill (9th Avenue and University from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Producers Evening Market 

The first Producers Market was a great success! Dates for the next events are June 27th, July 25th, August 29th and September 26th, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.  These evening Markets are a great way to enjoy a summer evening in the MarketFront Pavilion.

Friends of the Market Tours

Another standard of summer: the Friends of the Market (FoM) tours. For local residents and their out-of-town guests, FoM tours offer a back alleys view and secret places glimpse of the Market, with a focus on history and art, given by people who know. Tours are offered Saturdays, from June through September. Pre-registration is required on the FoM website. One enthusiastic tour-goer opined that this was the best and most informative tour taken, well-worth the modest $15 price for an adult ticket. (Tickets for seniors 65+ are $10; tickets for children ages  6 to 12 are $8.)

FoM is always on the lookout for new tour guides. If you enjoy talking about and showing people our iconic Market, this might be the very thing for you! Training is provided. If interested, contact the FoM Tour coordinator, Stephanie Young.

Showbox News

This newsletter would not be complete without an update on politics, so here is a quick run-down on the Showbox:

On June 5th, the Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board (LPB) voted unanimously to nominate the Showbox for landmark status. The LPB included the entire exterior and interior in their consideration for designation. The hearing is scheduled for July 17th.

On June 10th, the City Council voted to approve a six-month extension of the Ordinance directing the Department  of Neighborhoods to study the expansion of the boundaries of the Historic District.
The Department of Neighborhood contracted with two agencies to do the study: Stepherson & Associates Communications and AECOM. 

On June 13th, Board member Nick Setten and I met with Kirk Ranzetta and Tim Wood of AECOM. Kirk and Tim are both architectural historians. The questions they posed focused not just on the buildings; but, more particularly, on the impact or value to the current Market Historic District of expanding the boundaries. While the stated goal was evaluating the possible inclusion of the Showbox property in the historical District, the perimeters given for the Project Study Area stretched from Virginia Street to Union, and east to the alley between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

On June 13th, the King County Superior Court nullified the Ordinance that temporarily annexed the Showbox to the Market Historic District. A lack of due process was reported as one of the reasons for the ruling.  It was also pointed out that the City’s up-zoning of the area in both 2006 and 2017 paved the way for development.

Given the media attention and the outcry and public testimony against the loss of the Showbox, how could it be that there was not enough process—even if the Ordinance was on a fast track because of the urgency to act?  How much public outreach and neighborhood input was sought by the City in 2006 and in 2017 when the area was up-zoned to allow for more development? Up-zoning is such an abstract concept—until it threatens a particular site. What constant vigilance it takes to protect our cherished places!

The FoM continues to support the Friends of the Showbox in its attempt to save this treasured venue. The latest updates can be found by clicking here

The story isn’t over. The Landmarks Preservation Board’s designation hearing is still pending. And Historic Seattle has asked the owners of the property to give them a year’s time to find a buyer for the property who would be willing to preserve the we will see what happens next...

As always, questions, comments and suggestions are welcome at my email below.



Written by Christine Vaughan at 

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