Dear neighbors,

The Madrona Community Council (MCC) would like to respond regarding the holiday tree that was at 34th and Union last year. Some of our neighbors have shared that the presence of the tree caused them pain and distress. We hear you and acknowledge your concern and empathize with the discomfort that you felt.

We would first like to point out that the tree was not an MCC project, and funds for the tree were raised independently by the Madrona Blossoms organization. All funds for the tree were raised from private donations.

MCC’s involvement was as a pass-through entity for the funds. We will no longer be acting in this capacity.

What follows below is a series of questions and answers to help address concerns that we heard via online community forums. We also share who is Madrona Blossoms and who is the MCC and its role in our neighborhood. We also share how to get involved with the council and how to make sure your voice is represented in council decisions.

Who is Madrona Blossoms?

Madrona Blossoms are comprised of neighbors who fundraise each year to bring beautiful flower baskets and other street decorations to Madrona’s business district.

Who is the MCC?

The MCC is a group of neighborhood volunteers who plan neighborhood events, such as Neighborhood Appreciation Day, Madrona Mayfair, summer concerts in the park, and more. The MCC also publishes the Madrona News. The group’s purpose is to support a vibrant, welcoming Madrona and enable neighbors to gather in community.

Did the MCC use funds donated to the council to purchase a holiday tree?

No. Money for the holiday tree was raised with private donations led by the Madrona Blossoms organization.

What does it mean to be a “fiscal pass-through entity?”

From time to time, a community-based project is spearheaded by a group or person with a specific goal, like funding a new playground, resurfacing the tennis court, installing public art in the park, and the Madrona Blossoms. These groups or people come to the MCC for help in temporarily handling donations and grants, which are placed into an account separate from the MCC. The projects then use these collected funds to pay for project expenses. Such funds are never intermingled with the general funds of the MCC and are accounted for separately. We use our experience, expertise, banking relationships, and non-profit status to make dealing with the logistics of handling the money easier for these neighbor-led endeavors.

How did the MCC find out about the tree project?

On June 4, 2019, at the monthly MCC meeting, the representative of Madrona Blossoms came to present the idea for the tree and to ask for MCC’s assistance acting as the pass-through entity for the donations.

During that MCC meeting, did someone express that the tree might not be well received by neighbors with varied traditions?


According to the meeting minutes, it appears the MCC may not have considered that feedback.

It is important to note that council meeting minutes are not an exact transcript of MCC meetings.

In the spirit of the MCC being an open forum for neighbors, there was a discussion about the independent donations for the flower baskets and the tree.

One person in the meeting raised the concern that a holiday tree might not be well received by neighbors with varied traditions. People then shared ideas on how to give the holiday endeavor more breadth and inclusivity. Several ideas were shared. 

From the perspective of the council, the concern seemed to have been addressed to the demonstrable satisfaction of the resident who raised the concern. Following the meeting, we witnessed both residents (the Blossom’s rep and the concerned neighbor) having what appeared to be an amicable conversation about the topic.

During the months that followed, the MCC noted that the tree project was being well-communicated to neighbors by the tree project sponsor. Plans regarding the tree were published on page 2 of the council’s main communication vehicle, the Madrona News, in the Sept. and Oct. issues. Plans were also shared by the tree project sponsor via Madrona Moms. Additionally, the tree project sponsor canvased parts of the neighborhood in a door-to-door fundraising campaign.

Was the holiday tree on public land?

The holiday tree was on private land. The location for the tree was secured via the efforts and collaboration between Madrona Blossoms and the property owner. The electricity for the tree lighting was also donated by the property owner.

When was the MCC made aware of concerns regarding the tree once it was installed?

The MCC was informed via Madrona Moms and the Blossom organization on Jan. 1 that a concerned citizen requested a discussion regarding the tree. An invitation was extended to discuss the issue at the Jan. 7 MCC meeting.  No one attended the meeting to discuss the tree.

The MCC did not hear any additional feedback, positive or negative, from neighbors regarding the tree until the issue was formally raised on neighborhood list serves (Feb. 6, Madrona Moms and Feb. 7, Next Door).

How can I make sure that my voice is represented in council decisions and community issues such as the holiday tree?

There are several ways.

  1. Attend an MCC meeting. The MCC meets the first Tuesday of each month at 7:15pm (except for July and August) at the Madrona Playfield shelter house. The meetings are a way for everyone to have an equal voice amongst a present, caring, and engaged group of neighbors. We believe that the relationships formed in face-to-face friendly dialog pursuing our collective neighborhood welfare is one of the paramount benefits achieved by the MCC for almost 50 years.
  2. Get involved with the Madrona Community Council. “Council” is such a formal word—what it really means is a neighborhood gathering. We have been asking (sometimes pleading) for more neighbors to join us for many years. At present, we are six people doing what in the past has been done by 10-12 people. As such, we most certainly are not wholly representative of the breadth and depth of viewpoints that exist in Madrona. A council should be representative of its neighborhood which means we need you, too.
  3. Bring your ideas and concerns to the MCC. Attending a meeting is best, but if you can’t you are welcome to email us. Our email addresses are on the website ( and on the back of the Madrona News. We will be sure to air your comments in the next meeting. We encourage neighbors to bring any concerns to us so that we can address them in the most expedient and helpful way. The council does not have a presence on community forums such as Madrona Moms and Next Door nor do we formally monitor these forums.

Those of us who make up the current council volunteer our time because, like you, we love Madrona and want it to be a wonderful place for everyone. We are a handful of folks trying to do good things for the neighborhood. If you think we’re missing that mark or could do more, please get in touch and give us the chance to show you that we do, indeed, truly care.


The Madrona Community Council



December 3rd, 2019

7:15pm at Smallish Photography Studios

All are invited. There will be wine and refreshments. Come join the fun.

Madrona! You are invited


Madrona Neighbor Appreciation Awards 2018


Each year the Madrona Community Council accepts nominations for Neighbor Awards. At the same ceremony, Madrona School also presents awards to their outstanding members.  This year the awards are:

1. The Nora Award, named in honor of Madrona activist Nora Wood, is given to a Madrona resident who, in ways both large and small, has left a personal mark on the community.  The award this year goes to Bill Mahoney.

Since joining the MCC board in 2010 Bill Mahoney has proved himself a generous volunteer on behalf of Madrona neighbors, and he is leaving a personal mark on the community as he steps down from being MCC president.. As President, he has taken quite a few hits for the neighborhood team—most notably the spectacular slide down a long ladder while hanging fairy lights for the 2017 wine tasting fundraiser. Happily, in that and many other ways, Bill has proved himself a guy who bounces well whether it is off gym floors or at setbacks the MCC experienced during his long run as president, and his even longer run as volunteer extraordinaire. He often has been the guy to contact various city offices to gain answers to large and small questions from Madrona residents.

As President of the MCC, Bill did a great job of brokering the Kraus fund projects; he worked long and hard with Rob Ward to revise MCC bylaws; and thanks to Bill’s persistence the MCC now has its very own key to the Madrona Park Shelterhouse. He has been the main liaison between performers and the MCC for August summer concerts, and for most of those events he has been the “man at the mike” to explain MCC activities and seek volunteers. Bill additionally has led the charge to distribute MCC funds for important community projects. Through all this Bill has been a strong leader whose sense of humor and will to work on behalf of the community has never waivered. He showed particular grace as president of the MCC during a time when his day job exerted more pressures, even as he was living with a major house remodel at the same time. The MCC thanks him warmly for his leadership over the years, though there may be those who question his dedication to the Patriots in Seahawks country.

Bill Mahoney photo

Nora Award Winner Bill Mahoney pictured above.

2.  The Tyrone Love Unsung Hero Award: Named in honor of neighborhood activist Tyrone Love, this award is given to a Madrona resident for service to others in the larger community. Paul Gray is our recipient this year, and we thank him for the many ways he has served Madrona and its surrounding communities over the years. Doing business on 34th at the Barber Lounge/Lounging Barber for 18 years, Paul Gray has welcomed so many to his place. He is much too circumspect to name the names of the famous people who visit Madrona for Paul’s skills, so suffice it to say they do come. And on occasion he has shared his skills at Leschi School, by providing haircuts to elementary school students there. On his own time and dime, Paul prepares meals for people in need of food.

Paul’s nomination came from someone who on a more personal note wrote:as my husband became increasingly disabled and could no longer travel to Paul Gray’s barber shop, Paul would come to our home to cut my husband’s hair. I later learned he does the same for other clients who are no longer able to visit the Lounging Barber.

Paul Gray photo.jpgPaul Gray pictured above with Sharon Safarik


3.  The Local Hero award goes to Mike Stegman to honor acts of singular kindness and generosity. In his l7 years waiting tables at St Clouds, Mike in many ways helped to create St. Cloud’s as a home for Madrona people–a place where all could feel cared for. Mike knew his customers, and built community through all that he did at St. Clouds. In addition to great service as a waiter, Mike was an integral participant in the monthly homeless cooking sessions.

Perhaps people who never knew Mike by name will remember him as the tall waiter who not only took orders efficiently but also often walked St Cloud floors with a baby who had grown restless and bored while parents dined. The first of these babies are now in college but know of Mike’s calming influences from their parents; one of them recently introduced himself to Mike on a ferry.

Even if your table wasn’t within Mike’s assigned area, he would watch out for you and others. And he made sure that everyone could have a good time. On one occasion, we witnessed him calming a pair of rowdy toddlers whose parents had little success in reining them in. Just a few words from Mike sent the pair quietly back to their seats. This is only one of many examples of Mike’s extra care for guests at St. Cloud’s.

Mike Stegman

Mike Stegman is pictured above.

4.  The Madrona Resident for Life Award is bestowed on a long-time, active resident who has left Madrona but is much missed. This year the award goes to our friend Wayne Duncan.

During the years before and during the time when the City studied Madrona to develop practices that could balance the interests of pedestrians and street trees, Wayne spent many hours creating the Safer Sidewalks Mature Trees agenda, researching city rules, reaching out to the community about SDOT’s plan to remove trees, studying alternative sidewalk construction, writing calm, thoughtful, and professional statements to the City, and planning or attending city meetings.  Wayne is super smart, patient, and simply loves this Madrona neighborhood, and with his work he made Madrona a better place.

Aly Frei, Wayne Duncan & Sarah Westneat.jpg

Wayne Duncan pictured above with Aly Frei and Sarah Westneat.

5. The Madrona Good Neighbor Award: This award goes to an organization whose activities particularly benefit Madrona. This year the award goes to St. Therese—both St Therese Catholic Academy and the St. Therese Parish for the good work they have done in educating children and sharing their gifts large and small. Writing for the Madrona News in Jan 2018, current principal Matt DeBoer (who accepted the award) reminded us that St. Therese sisters knocked on African-American doors so that by the 1950s they had succeeded in creating an intentionally integrated school where faith and family were driving forces. The parish continues to draw on diversity through the year, welcoming everyone to their chapel. And the Madrona Community Council thanks both the School and the Parish for kindly sharing their facilities for recent wine-tasting fund raisers to benefit the Madrona community.

Matt DeBoer

Matt De Boer is pictured above.

Happily, Madrona School which hosts the Neighbor Awards event in their school library also provides awards to special people in their community.  Receiving the following awards this year are:

  1.  The Kaaren Andrews and Mary Bass Award is given to a person who goes above and beyond the call of duty linking the community and the school. This year the award goes to Sarah Kent.

Sarah Kent and Sharon Safarik

Sarah Kent is pictured above with MCC President and PTSA Co-President Sharon Safarik.

2.  The Go Panthers Award goes given to a person who goes above and beyond to support the school community. This year the winner is Kharen Nakauye.


Pictured above is Karen Nakauye.

3.  The Staff Award goes to an outstanding staff member, and in 2018 the person chosen for this award is Tammy Alexander.

Miss Tammy

Tammy Alexander (AKA Miss Tammy) is pictured above.

4.  The K-2 Student of the Year is Maya Frank.

little child

Maya Frank is pictured above.

5.  The Grade 3-5 Student of the Year is Sethitee Tarr


Nominate Your Neighbor

The Madrona Community Council (MCC) will again sponsor Neighbor Appreciation Day—this year on Feb. 10. To celebrate our 23rd year of appreciating neighbors, we seek your nomination of one or more neighbors for the following awards:

  • The Nora Award: Named in honor of Madrona activist Nora Wood, this award is given to a Madrona resident who, over time and in ways large and small, has left a personal mark on the community.

  • The Local Hero Award: Given to a Madrona resident for an act of heroism, singular kindness, or generosity.


  • The Tyrone Love Unsung Hero Award: Given to a Madrona resident for service to others in the larger community, named to honor neighborhood activist Tyrone Love.
  • The Madrona Resident for Life Award: Bestowed upon a long-time, active resident who has left Madrona but is much missed.
  • The Madrona Good Neighbor Award: This award goes to an organization whose activities particularly benefit Madrona.

You are invited to submit the names of one or more nominees by sending a few sentences about how the nominee reflects values of the award for which nominated. Email your nomination(s) on or before Dec. 30 to Barbara Parker ( for MCC Board selection. If you prefer, you can drop your written nomination(s) at the Dec. 5 MCC board meeting at the Shelterhouse. Meetings begin at 7:15pm.



Mayfair 2017

At Mayfair 2017 the rains held off, the parade was held, and as the sun broke through many more people appeared in the park.  Below are some photos from the day:

The In the paradeparade begins        Girl Scouts marchMadrona K-8 Girl Scouts March

Gymboree funGymboree fun       Hmm, are these for dogs tooHmm, are these                                                                                    bake sale items for dogs too?


Always a good time in the sandbox there’s always fun in the sandbox at the Playfield!


MCC's Ly Tran assisting pony riderThe MCC’s Ly Tran helps a pony rider dismount


The Madrona Community  Council thanks you for your part in making this 41st Mayfair celebration a successful one.


Enter a caption

Mayfair May 13, 2017

Mark your calendar for the latest, greatest Mayfair to celebrate 41 years of fun and games with Madrona neighbors and friends on May 13. The annual parade line up begins at Al Larkins Park at 9:15. At 9:30, Charles the Clown and Seattle Firefighters (and possibly Blue Thunder’s percussion unit) will lead the parade to the Playfield where Charles will perform his clown show at 10:00 at the Shelterhouse, followed by the the Reptile Man at 10:30. Throughout the morning, children can enjoy pony rides and bouncy houses, have faces painted, and balloons tied. Children also can arrange Pots for Tots at Cambium’s booth, visit the Seattle Public Library booth, learn more about the Madrona School Playground Revitalization project and much more. On offer will be cotton candy spun by Madrona Grace, popcorn popped by Epiphany Parish, baked goodies, hot dogs, and the always-popular Imperial Mixup from St. Clouds Restaurant. Morning events will conclude with the ever-popular Recess Monkey concert in the park.

Generous sponsors for activities offered include Cambium, Riolo Orthodontics, Ewing and Clark, Harvard Avenue Preschool, Lakeview Kids Dentistry, Molly Moon’s, Recology, and SRG Partnership Architecture. Thanks also go to St. Clouds Restaurant, and to Girlie Press for printing the Mayfair poster gratis and to Becky Gelder Designs for poster creation. The entire event is put on by the Madrona Community Council which funds the events through sponsorships, donations, and hard work.  And by you when you bring your check or cash to donate toward defraying costs.

It takes many volunteers to put on this event. If you have an hour or all morning to offer as a volunteer, please let volunteer coordinator Rob Ward know by contacting him at

Neighbor Awards 2017

On Feb. 11, the Madrona Community Council gathered neighbors from Madrona PK-8 School and the surrounding community to honor neighbors who’ve made extraordinary contributions to the quality of Madrona life.   Those named below received MCC awards; awards bestowed by Madrona PK-8 also are in this issue.

Tyrone Love Unsung Hero Award

Luel and Selam Mengistu


Luel Mengistu with MCC President Bill Mahones

Luel and his wife Selam Mengistu live in Renton with their two children, commuting daily to Madrona to open the Madrona Deli. Luel learned to drive at age 11, running parts for an auto-repair business in the Ethiopian city of Gonder. He emigrated to the US for opportunity, becoming a US citizen in 2005. And despite a rough beginning with a mixup over immigration paperwork that almost saw him deported, Luel has been a hard worker and a big booster to the US. He and his wife Selam keep the Madrona Deli store open seven days a week—even during snow storms and during the infamous Hanukkah Eve windstorm in 2006 that knocked out Madrona power for five days. According to a column about Luel and Selam that Danny Westneat wrote, Danny remembered Luel propping open his front door during those chill Dec. days to keep his produce and milk cool; customers shopped by flashlight. Westneat noted that Luel said about the US: “If you want to work, you can work. It’s still [the] only country you can be whatever you want to be,” he says. “Look at Barack Obama. Look at me.” Westneat asked Luel how to succeed in the US, and he replied: “Dream. Have a plan. Be decent person. But above all, show up!” Madrona thanks Luel and Selam for showing up each day.


Madrona Resident for Life Award


Burke Gibson

The recipient of this award is Mr. Burke Gibson. He grew up in Madrona where his father acquired a number of properties at the intersection of 34th and Union in the early 1920s. Mr. Gibson and his father originally operated the drugstore where the Madrona Ale house is now located. In acknowledging this award, Mr. Gibson said he attended Madrona Elementary School, Garfield, and the UW. The family still owns property formerly occupied by Amara. While they intend to develop it at some future point, they expect to work with neighbors to find just the right mix for their interests and those of Madrona neighbors to enhance the desirability of the neighborhood .


Madrona Good Neighbor Award


Curate Todd Foster is on the left and Rector Doyt Conn is on the right

Epiphany Episcopal Parish received this award for 2017. In accepting the award, Rector Doyt Conn shared the congregation’s thanks, mentioning that the parish has been in Madrona for 110 years so the award has been a long time coming. This award went to the Parish to acknowledge many activities that positively affect Madrona and the Seattle community.


The church welcomes any and all to regular services on Sunday and special events throughout the week.   Every Wednesday and Friday mornings, neighbors are invited to join in guided meditation in the newly renovated chapel. They invite the community to enjoy wonderful music through the offerings of the recently established Music Guild.  Neighbors are encouraged to enjoy Friday evening outdoor concerts in July. Additionally, the parish sponsors many families through the YMCA and provides food and gifts at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter…even Halloween.  They provide fully-outfitted backpacks as needy local kids start back to school each fall; harvest vegetables in the front garden to help those in need; and every Friday night hosts Operation Nightwatch to ensure eight men have a safe, warm, and comfortable place to sleep.  Members of the parish clean YMCA apartments to ready them for new families, help staff the Baby Boutique at Wellspring, and support the weekly Teen Feed program.

Nora Award


Stacey Kryman with husband John, Josie, and Will

The Nora Award, named in honor of Madrona activist Nora Wood, is given to a Madrona resident who, in ways both large and small, has left a personal mark on the community.  Stacey Kryman received this award in 2017 to acknowledge the many ways she has benefitted the community and been a great liaison between the MCC, Madrona PK-8 School, and the broader community. Over many years she has employed her creative energies to organize and expand on events like Mayfair, the fund raising wine tasting, the Halloween celebration, and Aug. concerts in the park. She initiated the painting and refurbishing of the Shelterhouse, which along with a Seattle Parks-added interior bathroom, makes it an even more welcoming place to host celebrations and events year-round, and she helped produce the MCC booklet, Building Community and Bringing Peace to Madrona, in response to violence in our community. Stacey is inclusive and enthusiastic and has consistently given her time and creativity to support the vibrancy of Madrona.


Local Hero Award


Mike Walker has owned the Hi-Spot for nearly 25 years, the longest-serving restaurant in Madrona. He was nominated for this award by several community members who note he is a “generous and thoughtful host and employer. He has made the Hi-Spot a gathering place for David Brewster’s weekly breakfast crowd of people interested in politics over many years. He contributes generously to the monthly “Homeless Cooking” needs for which St. Cloud’s is better known and to many other community projects. He helps his customers with apartment-hunting or other problems. Another person who nominated Mike for this award wrote: “The Hi-Spot puts Madrona “on the map” for many of us living in and out of Madrona. The cafe and staff exemplify the sense of community and Mike creates that community through his friendliness, thoughtfulness, and good cheer.”