Who Painted That?


henry’s mural on the Sloop Tavern at NW 54th & Market Street, Ballard (Photo: Alethea Myers)

If you live in or frequent Ballard often, you may have seen exterior walls filled with brightly-colored, whimsical creatures and wondered, “Who painted that?” In many cases, the answer is the prolific muralist/ artist Ryan Henry Ward, who signs his work simply “henry”. His outdoor canvases adorn buildings in Ballard, Fremont, West Seattle, Crown Hill, and beyond.


Raccoon with banjo on Value Village’s store, 8532 15th Ave NW in Crown Hill (Photo: Alethea Myers)   His pink walruses on Axis Automotive building, Ballard (now demolished). (Walruses photo courtesy of seattlemurals.org)


West Seattle home’s sea life at 3425 39th Ave SW. (Image courtesy of seattlecurbed.com)

Although henry has been artistic all his life, he painted his first mural only 8 years ago when a bar owner who admired his work asked him to cover up graffiti on the side of his building. A Ballard News-Tribune article drew more attention to his work. After a career as a social worker, the Puget Sound Business Journal mentioned henry ran a successful landscaping business with his brother. He had to stop, due to a spinal injury.

At last count, Ryan Henry Ward has painted around 200 murals since 2008 on different business buildings & homes: automotive, thrift store, children’s nursery, taverns, among others, and now works on commission. One of his mythical creatures, a sasquatch, is sandwiched on a fence between the Sip ‘n Ship store and Golden Beetle Restaurant, a ½ block east of 20th Ave. NW on Market Street in Ballard. His work has had a positive influence on the Sip ‘N Ship, according to Matt Beavers, the shipping manager for the past year. “We have people from all over who notice the mural first and it touches them in a way, from the heart”, he said. “Because once they see it, they’re drawn into the store.”


Sasquatch (and bird pal) between Sip ‘n Ship and Golden Beetle on Market St., Ballard (Photo: Alethea Myers)

Baking Up Something Sweet! Hood Famous Bakeshop Puts Down Roots In Ballard


Well known and loved pop-up Hood Famous Bakeshop is laying down roots at last, right in the heart of Ballard!

You may remember Hood Famous first gaining local fame and somewhat of a cult following after appearing with the Food & Sh*t pop-up series (which was co-founded by HFB’s owner Chera Amlag) with a routinely stunning rotating dessert course.

Hood Famous made a fabulous impression with it’s delicious and inventive desserts, drawing heavy inspiration from Filipino, Hawaiian and Asian flavors.



While they have built their reputation on their not-of-this-world fabulous Ube cheesecake (just try and walk past that glorious purple color and not NEED a piece), they have expanded their menu to include even more exotic combinations like Coconut Pandan, Mango Calamansi, and White Chocolate Guava, much to the delight of patrons.

Amlag’s ability to blend the distinctive flavors of East and West so delicately and precisely is a testament not only to her skill and talent but also illustrates an obvious passion for food and culture.

Their new Ballard home will be a to-go only spot, with no seating space offered. However, in addition to grab-and-go goodies, Hood Famous will still be making items to order, taking catering orders and crafting luscious treats for selected retailers and restaurants in the greater Seattle area and Bellevue.

Hood Famous offers something truly unique and spectacular if you’re in the market for something sweet or just want to try something new.

Be sure to check them out when they have their grand opening this Saturday, October 8th, and see what all the buzz is about!

Hood Famous' violet hued Ube Cheesecake at Kraken Congee

Hood Famous Bakeshop 2325½ NW Market St,
(206) 486-6429

Open Thursday-Friday 12 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Get Your Oompah On! Ballard Oktoberfest


If you’re into local craft brews, pretzels, and German oompah band music, check out this weekend’s 2nd Annual Oktoberfest in Ballard. According to The Ballard News, on Saturday, Sept. 17th, four local breweries will be hosting this mini event in a fun way, providing at least one Oktoberfest variety beer and a food truck at each location.

Leading a procession of impromptu participants from one brewery/taproom to another will be The Oompah Machine, a travelling oompah band, who were first assembled last year during the first Ballard Oktoberfest. They will lead a procession between the four breweries, which are only 2-3 blocks apart, for those who’d like to continue with the revelry. The traipsing between places starts at Reuben’s Brews at 2 pm, and then continues to Stoup Brewing (3 pm), Lucky Envelope Brewing (4 pm), and then on to Populuxe Brewing (5 pm).

The event is sponsored again this year by Verity Credit Union, who will be providing free pretzel necklaces! And commemorative steins will be available for sale at each location.

For more brew and kinship on a larger scale (and in a nearby neighborhood), check out the Fremont Oktoberfest the following weekend: Sept. 23, 24, and 25.


Looking South from 6756 17th Avenue NW

Looking South from 6756 17th Avenue NW

On June 10th tickets go on sale for the 2016 Ballard Classic Home tour. Organized every three years by the Ballard Historical Society, this year’s tour will be comprised of eight homes built between 1892-1934. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased from Brown Paper Tickets (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2530147) or the Ballard Public Green Market, the Secret Garden Bookshop, and Scandinavian Specialties.

The town of Ballard was settled in 1887 and remained an independent entity until 1907 when it was annexed by the city of Seattle. Despite only existing as an autonomous entity for 20 years, Ballard retains much of its original independent identity as a small town.  Housing in Ballard ranges from early pioneer farm houses, to post-war ranch houses.  The majority of the housing stock reflects Ballard’s history as a middle-class enclave.  Small Queen Anne houses, early-twentieth century catalogue cottages, craftsman bungalows, and Cape Cod-style houses are very prevalent. Despite their modest sizes, many of these homes feature impeccable craftsmanship, fine millwork, leaded glass, and unique architectural detailing.

All proceeds from the Ballard Classic Home Tour go to the Ballard Historical Society, which supports community projects, presents free lectures, and maintains extensive archives.

Join Historic Seattle and the Ballard Historical Society for “Digging Deeper”


Historic Seattle’s acclaimed multi-session program Digging Deeper continues on May 7th with a behind-the-scenes look at the archival collections of the Ballard Historical Society. Along with a conversation about the material housed at the Ballard Historical Society and how to access it, Anne Frantilla, Deputy City Archivist, Seattle Archives and Records Management Program, Seattle Municipal Archives, will also discuss the Ballard records housed at the Seattle Municipal Archives.  Also attending will be John LaMont, Genealogy Librarian for Seattle Public Library (SPL), and Hannah Parker with the Ballard Branch of SPL.

Ballard was chosen as a Digging Deeper site after a 2015 Historic Seattle survey revealed strong public interest in the history of the neighborhood. The town of Ballard was settled in 1887 and remained an independent entity until 1907 when it was annexed by the city of Seattle. May 7th’s Digging Deeper program will expand upon the early history of Ballard and audience members will learn how Ballard got its name, when/why the railroad came through Ballard, and many more fun facts about this unmistakable Scandinavian community in Seattle.


Date: May 7th

Time: 10:30 – 12:00pm

Location:  Sunset Hill Community Association, 3003 NW 66th Street, Seattle
Series of eight sessions: $65 general public / $50 members
Individual sessions: $10 general public / $8 members

Ballard Historical Society

In Ballard, Portland Seeks Lessons on Affordable Housing


A tech-boom, soaring real estate prices, and a very tight vacancy rate are causing the city climate of Portland to seem very similar to its neighbor to the north, Seattle. In an attempt to avoid the housing crisis playing out in the West Coast’s premier tech hub, San Francisco, Portland’s city planners are looking to Seattle, and specifically to Ballard, for innovative ways to preserve affordability. Yet, Seattle’s response to its booming population growth has not been universally applauded, especially in Ballard.

The city of Portland is particularly interested in Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). The two major components of the agenda are an Affordable Housing Impact Mitigation Program, which requires developers to pay a fee on all new commercial development that directly funds the construction of affordable housing, and a Mandatory Housing Affordability Program, which requires builders to designate five to eight percent of units in new multifamily residential developments as affordable.

While most, if not all, of Seattle residents, can agree that affordable housing is a critical issue, backlash against HALA developed when an unfinished draft of recommendations was leaked to the press in July of 2015.  Among the recommendations was a proposal to increase density in Seattle’s single-family neighborhoods. Neighborhood density is a hotly contended issue, especially in the wake of Seattle’s 2010 land use code change for low-rise multifamily zoned areas.  Many urbanists, as well as developers and builders, argue that increasing density is the only way to provide sufficient housing units for the growing city.  Neighborhood activists and preservationists argue that new out-of-scale development is irreparable changing the unique character of the city’s residential neighborhoods.

Density is a particularly sensitive issue in Ballard.  Livable Ballard, a neighborhood advocacy organization argues that “under the code changes, modest and affordable houses and duplexes are being torn down and replaced with tall, expensive groups of three or four townhouses, which tower over the existing houses and sidewalks and are not at all compatible with the neighborhood.” Furthermore, the group argues that the type of new development being seen in Ballard is particularly worrisome as the neighborhood is already poorly served by mass transit. Neighbors are also concerned by the aesthetic implications of new development.  Chris Bodan, who moved to Ballard in 2004, described the new apartment buildings being constructed in the neighborhood to the Oregonian as “aesthetically and architecturally horrendous.”

Despite opposition from neighborhood groups, Seattle’s City Council passed the Affordable Housing Impact Mitigation Program component of HALA last fall and will be soliciting public feedback on the rest of plan this year. Meanwhile, Portland is in the midst of rewriting its own plans for growth and infill and while a HALA-like collation has not formed, city officials have said much about the need for affordable housing. Portland’s mayor, Charlie Hayes, however, has garnered much criticism from affordable-housing advocates for his support to preserve the low density of the city’s residential neighborhoods.

Hayes’ desire to preserve residential neighborhoods, best seen in his recommendation to reduce the allowable density in the affluent residential neighborhood Eastmoreland, is felt throughout the city. One merely has to scan the comment section of the Willamette Week to find an overwhelming number of diatribes against the city’s new apartment buildings. Yet, there is also consistent public outcry over increasing rents and real estate prices.

The current affordable housing conflict occurring across west coast cities has many wondering if  historic low-density neighborhoods have the ability to accommodate the type of growth the region is seeing?  Looking at Ballard, one might presume no.

Celebrate Ballard’s Scandinavian Heritage at the Taste of Norway

When you think of anything Scandinavian in Seattle, you have to think of Ballard and there’s no better time to get your fix than at the Norway Norwegian Cultural and Heritage Day this Saturday, March 19!

Get ready for a day filled with Norwegian-themed fun, and lots of tasty food! Enjoy a Scandinavian smorgasbord of delightfully authentic Norwegian favorites such as krumkaker, smorbrod sandwiches, ertesuppe pea soup and of course, lefse, to name a few. Watch live demonstration of how these tasty traditions are made, so you can make them yourself at home, when the cravings kick in. The festival will also feature plenty of lively traditional Norwegian music, live demonstrations of traditional Norwegian crafts, and genealogy experts to help you better connect to your Norse roots, or see if you have any to begin with. Folks are encouraged to dress in traditional garb, and, if they can, to participate in the Bunad Parade of clothing and jewelry, at 12pm.

The festivities kick off with the Leif-to-Leif walk/run (from the Leif Erikson Lodge to the statue of Leif Erikson at Shilshoe Bay and back) at 9am. Come (a little) hungry, as you will be rewarded for your efforts with a tasty heart-shaped waffle and the Norse’s favorite waffle-topper, homemade jam.

What better way to start your weekend then with some movement, tasty foods and a lot of fun in beautiful Ballard? There’s never been a better excuse to get your Viking on and there won’t be again…until next year, that is.

Annual Hot Chocolate Run Headed Our Way!

2016_HC_SEA_CourseMap_Small-791x1024Get ready to sprint your way to sweet sips!

Time to lace up those running shoes and sign up for the annual Hot Chocolate 15/5k run! This fun and festive event will be held on Sunday, March 6th and is fun for seasoned runners and first-timers who aren’t afraid of a challenge!

The 5k begins bright and early at 6:45a.m. and the 15k starts at 7:55a.m. Participants can expect a fun, well organized and challenging race through the heart of beautiful Downtown Seattle (hills and all!), a fabulous SWAG bag to take home and, of course, delicious chocolate!

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend your Sunday while getting a great workout, consider signing up for this once-a-year event. The challenge is worth it to get to the Post Race Party where runners will enjoy music, a family friendly environment and a ‘finisher’s mug’ filled with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and delightfully dippable treats. Don’t sweat the calories, you will have earned this chocolate indulgence!

The Hot Chocolate Run isn’t just a great way to spend a day off. The Hot Chocolate Run is partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities, helping to provide a home-away-from-home for children and the families of children being treated at Seattle Children’s’ Hospital, at little to no cost to the families. A portion of the proceeds from signing up for this race will go to this outstanding cause, helping to make a real difference in our community.

Not ready to lace up and race? That’s fine! But be aware, this race will take place in Downtown Seattle and along many main roads and thoroughfares, so you will want to plan ahead for any travel on that day. Take a look at the map (above) to see the route and read the chart below for a street closure timeline, to help you plan your day.



Street Closure



Side of Road

Closure Time

Anticipated Opening

2nd Ave Thomas St Broad St Whole Road 6:15AM 9:10AM
Broad St 2nd Ave Elliott Ave Westbound 6:15AM 9:15AM
Elliott Ave Broad St SR-99 NB On-Ramp SB One Lane 6:15AM 9:20AM
Elliott Ave SR-99 NB On-Ramp Western Ave Whole Road 6:20AM 9:20AM
Western Ave Elliott Ave Spring St Whole Road 6:20AM 9:40AM
SR-99 Bell St John St NB Lanes 6:15AM 11:15AM
SR-99 Western Ave John St SB Lanes 6:15AM 10:25AM
Aurora Ave Denny Way 45th St NB Lanes 6:15AM 11:15AM
Aurora Ave 38th St Denny Way SB Lanes 6:15AM 10:25AM
Harrison St Aurora Ave Dexter Ave Whole Road 6:25AM 11:15AM
Dexter Ave Harrison St Mercer St SB One Lane 6:25AM 11:15AM
Mercer St Dexter Ave 5th Ave East Bound Lanes 6:25AM 11:20AM
5th Ave Mercer St Thomas Ave SB Lanes 3:00AM 12:00PM
5th Ave Mercer St Thomas Ave NB Lanes 6:25AM 11:25AM

“Safe Seattle” Meeting Tonight

safetyfirstIn a city as beautiful as Seattle, it’s easy to forget some ugly truths that linger beneath the surface.

A local group calling themselves “Safe Seattle” is having a meeting tonight, bringing to the forefront the growing public safety issues facing the city and calling the city’s inhabitants to action.

This meeting was organized by Cindy Pierce, a resident of Magnolia,  to shine a light on and address the growing problem of drug dealing and use, theft, illegal encampments and other public safety problems that are increasingly impacting residents and business owners in various areas of the city such as Ballard, Queen Anne and Magnolia, to name a few.  The goal of the meeting is to bring together residents of the community to talk about and demand action in regards to these issues, which, some say are reaching crisis level.

The meeting is expected to earn a potentially big turnout, due in large part to the response it’s had on social media. The meeting will include representatives from city hall and people from different neighborhoods throughout the city speaking on the issue.

The meeting will be held tonight, January 6th, from 6:30-8:30 PM at United Church of Christ in Magnolia 3555 W McGraw St.

Ballard Real Estate – Fall Recap

Ballard saw brisk sales activity in October with 52 properties sold, including 13 condos and 39 single-family homes. Though sales volumes were steady over the year, with an almost identical number of properties sold as in October 2014 (53), average sales price increased by 15 percent over the year to $573,254. Homes are selling quickly, with most only lasting on the market for approximately a week. Only 10 single-family homes were on the market for more than seven days in October, and condos sold in an average of 6 days.

Condo sales prices ranged from $260,500 for a 700-square-foot unit in a 1981 building at 11th Avenue Northwest and Northwest Market Street, to $425,000 for a 923-square-foot unit near the Ballard Locks. The lowest priced single-family (non-townhouse) home sale came in at $450,000 for a 1908 Craftsman in Loyal Heights; and at the high end, two new-construction modern homes on 23rd Avenue Northwest sold for $1.15 million each. Only four properties sold for below list price, and of the 52 properties sold, 35 sold for more than list price. The highest list-to-sales-price ratio came in at 122 percent for a 1967 715-square-foot condo a block from Ballard Commons Park.

If you’re curious what your Ballard home would sell for, please contact one of our agents for a free market analysis!