As always, long line at ski swap.


Swap starts now til 2 pm. Islander middle.

Great Fall Farmers Market

A jamming band and fall colors. Last before the Harvest Market in November. You’ve got til 3 pm to come out!


Second e coli alert. Boil water.

You’ve got to be kidding me. Here’s the Mercer Island gov alert.

Schools closed Monday; e coli update expected 8 am Monday

UPDATE: As of 8:45 am Monday, the City says the Mercer Island boil water advisory is lifted and all water is fine.

The Mercer Island Reporter tells us schools will be closed Monday.

QFC north island has plenty of bottled water. They must have gotten a shipment (apologies if you saw an earlier and somewhat vulgar autocorrect) since yesterday, I heard about a run on water yesterday afternoon.


Looks like they had to wipe out a LOT of veggies though:


Next update expected from the city at 8 am Monday.

E coli Closes Farmers Market


There’s no farmers market here in Mercerdale, and a policeman just taped off the water fountain. The e coli warning is forcing folks to continue to boil water for drinking.

E. Coli is Unwelcome New Neighbor on Mercer Island

At 3 p.m. today the City posted a notice that residents should boil all drinking water because routine water tests showed the presence of the E. Coli virus. Best guess from the City is this alert will last through Monday at least.

Ha ha Bellevue, thanks.

I found out a little after 4, much the way many folks probably did: from a neighbor. I texted some friends on the Island and told another neighbor. Yet another neighbor sent their son door to door to make sure people knew.

Great to see neighbors reaching out, but it does seem that there’s got to be a better way to alert folks for something that might kill kids or older residents. The first neighbor found out through a text alert from King 5. Sign up for those if you want to get such alerts.

There are no hard numbers of what the concentration of E.Coli was discovered to be, nor what’s a safe amount. At this point the safest thing is to boil or buy any water that goes in your mouth, including brushing teeth. So far, no reports of sickness. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Two really interesting notes in the Seattle Times article. First,
Water is delivered to the island through a 16-inch pipe that runs from the Eastside over Mercer Slough and along the Interstate 90 bridge, but no signs of E. coli have been found in the utility’s water system outside Mercer Island, said SPU spokesman Andy Ryan.

One pipe for the whole Island. That’s a less redundant system than I would have expected.

Second interesting note:
“We are very confident that the E. coli originated on Mercer Island and is contained on Mercer Island,” he said. “In other words, it can’t get back to the rest of our system.”

How’s that happen? I guess that’s the question right now.

Old map of Mercer Island plots

If you’re slightly obsessed with Mercer Island history, as I am, you’ll want to check out this map from 1890.


I came across it again on the David Rumsey map collection, which has a number of old Northwest maps. You can zoom to many interesting features. Let’s start in North Island:


Mercerdale was the first neighborhood settled in Mercer Island. Here you can see it labeled “East Seattle,” with the large red square labeled “Caulkins Addition.” Thompson Ave, which I believe is now SE 24th St, is at the top of the main subdivision.


Mid Island

Mid Island was the next subdivision. The yellow is an area around the current library. It seems no coincidence that the subdivisions are about the size of our current parks: Island Crest and the three squares of Pioneer Park.


The Ferries

Ah, the ferries, always an interesting aspect of early Mercer Island life. Of course this was pre-bridge, so the Island must have felt much more remote then. This zoom shows the three ferries coming to Mercer Island: two to the landing dock just north of the Roanoke Inn, from Leschi and Bellevue, and a second ferry from Leschi straight into Mercerdale.


Fascinating. Check out the map on the Rumsey site, and go ahead and buy one if you’re so moved. And if you come across any other good maps or Mercer Island history, let me know.

Larger Homes Selling Closer to List Price in 2014

It’s time for one of our infrequent updates on the Mercer Island Real Estate market. Our handy database of home sales shows that year to date, median home price is $952,500– the highest in six years.


Even more indicative of a hot market, the average sale-to-list price for this year is 100%, meaning that sellers are getting the price they are asking for the first time in years. In 2009, average sale-to-list price was 87%!

Price per square foot hasn’t quite recovered to 2008 levels, so people are getting a little more for the money they are spending. And sales are up– more than 400 homes sold in 2013, and 328 have sold year to date in 2014.

Below are the same stats, monthly. Click to get to an interactive view.


Analysis done in Tableau Public. Data collected over a period of years from Redfin.

Mercer Island Farmers Market: Which Vendor is Your Favorite?

The Mercer Island Farmers Market is back! Has been for several weeks, in fact. Note to readers: if you’re following this blog for timely news, you shouldn’t be. I recommend The Mercer Island Reporter for news.

There are a lot of new vendors, including a yogurt stand. The yogurt is sweet. I couldn’t figure out if it was supposed to be lunch or dessert but I liked it.

The music is always my favorite. Last week Joe Ross had the kids going:
Music-farmers market

And a couple of weeks ago, swamp soul was pretty good too.
Music-swamp soul

Other changes: there’s a guy who sells edible plants. We got some basil to round out our garden. This year they had crafts in June. There were some cool aprons and bird art. Crafts will come back for the Harvest Market, which has a nice enough selection that you can do a bit of Christmas shopping there.
Aprons and birds

Good returners are the pizza place, lots of the veggie places, and the Master Gardeners, who will patiently look at the cuts from your garden and tell you what they are. Once I saw them look at a cut and say to the presenter, Get out while you still can! Just kidding.

The organizers have done a great job of creating a community gathering place. There’s lunch, there’s ice cream, there’s music, and it’s right next to Mercerdale Park which offers a grassy field and playground. If you have little ones, the nearness of the firehouse and fire engines is an attraction too.

Who’s your favorite vendor at the market? Leave a note in the comments, we’ll do this the unscientific way.

Best Pizza on Mercer Island

The tip came from a Bellevue friend a few months ago. “Oh you’re in Mercer Island? I’m so jealous! My favorite pizza place just moved there!” It’s Tuscan Stone Pizza, the one that used to be on the corner of Bellevue way and NE 4th St. Now it’s parked at 2885 78th Ave SE, just west of the QFC in North Island.

Since moving to the Island, my husband and I have lamented the absence of a few things on Mercer Island: Trader Joe’s. An Indian restaurant. Great pizza. for me, this ranks up there with the opening of Freshy’s, and almost as high as the farmers’ market.

My criteria? Just the pizza. It’s good. Not to knock Moe’s or Sahara, but their pizza is good post-game pizza, perfect when volume is required. Zaw is nice, but you still gotta cook it. Tuscan Stone is the best. Call ’em from work, pick it up and eat when you get home.

It’s also fun to go into the pizza tent. The folks are quite nice, and it’s warm.

Stop by and check it out. We got the cheese and a veggie pesto. Mmmmmmm…. might see you there tomorrow.