Drama of the Week

Two weeks ago, Tom Bailiff and his neighbors on 11th Avenue East--fed up with the ugly, paved-over planting strip in front of Lowell Elementary School on Capitol Hill--cut holes in the asphalt and installed five 10-foot-tall maple trees, surrounding them with flower boxes. Lowell neighbors hoped the trees would both beautify the street and prevent the school from using the strip as a loading zone--a use Bailiff and his cohorts believe is illegal. (Indeed, the curb is painted red, and signs designate the area as a no-parking fire lane.)

Last Friday morning, the school district escalated hostilities, sending a crew to tear the trees out of the ground. "I'm so furious at them I can't see straight," says Bailiff. City staffers from the Seattle Department of Transportation and city council member Tom Rasmussen's office are trying to negotiate a détente between the school and its angry neighbors. AMY JENNIGES

Quote of the Week

"Clearly, it seems to this court, a same sex couple, especially a same sex couple with adopted children, is a family," said Thurston County Judge Richard Hicks, in his Tuesday, September 7, opinion declaring Washington State's Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. "If the compelling state interest is to encourage procreation and stable environments for children then these statutes under scrutiny sweep too broadly and are not narrowly tailored for that purpose. They work to invalidate forms of family that the community recognizes and supports." Score another point for the gays: Judge Hicks' opinion is the second in Washington since August to declare the 1998 anti-gay marriage law unconstitutional, paving the way for both cases to head to the state Supreme Court in the next few months. AMY JENNIGES

Death of the Week

Heaving its florescent-lit corpse onto the growing charnel pyre of dead Broadway Avenue establishments is the Safeway on the corner of Broadway and East Mercer: Safeway management announced the impending closure to its Broadway store employees on August 30.

"They are opening a huge new (Safeway) store on 23rd and Madison," a longtime employee explains. "Between that one and the one on 15th [and East John], and with the new QFC taking over the Broadway Market, management decided to focus on those two stores." But good news for employees: No one is getting the sack. That, at any rate, is what employees say they were told; Safeway spokesperson Darcy Bowman did not return calls by press time.

The 25-year-old neighborhood grocery will officially go belly-up in mid-October, leaving yet another smoking hole in the increasingly cracked-out Broadway landscape, sure to be filled with a tacky new tobacco shop, another Thai restaurant, or shamefully constructed condos. ADRIAN RYAN