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Monday, September 5, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Jean Godden

The Steepest Streets May Be In Seattle

What's the steepest street in Seattle? Is it the Counterbalance on Queen Anne Avenue North (once a route of Seattle cable cars)? Or a hill near Woodland Park Zoo?

According to Andy King, civil-engineering specialist with the city Department of Engineering, Queen Anne North between Prospect and Highland Drive has an 18.5 percent grade. But the city has far steeper streets.

Most vertical of all is a block-long street in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood: Northwest 60th Street between Second and Third avenues Northwest has a 28 percent grade. What's more, the street has never been paved. The grading dates back to 1908.

Two other standouts are East Valley Street between 25th and 26th avenues East, which has a 25 percent grade, and Fourth Avenue North between Newell and Dexter streets, also 25 percent.

How do Seattle streets stack up alongside San Francisco's? King contends, "When it come to steep, Seattle is even or ahead."

Pay as you go: Do you suppose Puget Sound Power & Light Co. is on an economy kick? Last week, the giant electric utility mailed out four-color invitations to a Sept. 22 reception at Overlake Golf & Country Club.

The private party will honor Neil McReynolds, who is retiring as senior vice president for corporate relations. The invitation lists three masters of ceremonies: ex-Gov. Dan Evans, Puget Power president Richard Sonstelie and ex-Puget Power chairman John Ellis.

Sounds as if Puget Power is going all out. But no. At the bottom of the invitation, in the smallest print of all, is a blow for thrift. The invitation reads: "$20 per person."

Holiday for hammers: "Hammering Man," the 48-foot sculpture that stands in front of the Seattle Art Museum, gets a reprieve today. No hammering. No risk of carpal-tunnel syndrome. Why? Because it's Labor Day and Hammering Man supposedly represents All Workers.

Sculptor Jonathan Borofsky says this about his out-sized creation: "He or she is the village craftsman, the South African coal miner, the computer operator, the farmer or the aerospace engineer."

The idea for the day of rest came from Howard Clifford, a Seattle writer who suggested it back in 1992. No doubt it took that long to process Hammering Guy's vacation request.

Garbage out: Difficult to find, but worth the search, is a line of greeting cards that depicts Seattle in the early 1900s. The illustrations, most by artist Carl Funseth, memorialize such sites as the King Street Station, Elliott Bay and Pioneer Square.

Paul Russell of Russell Galleries in Spokane publishes the cards. He sends along one of his cards with a nostalgic view of old Colman Dock. It's his response to my offhand remark that the present Colman Dock ferry terminal "has all the personality of a garbage transfer station."

Mickey who? A travel tip from a Seattle publicist who just returned from Los Angeles: Visit Disneyland while L.A. is overdosing on O.J. Simpson.

The publicist and his wife traveled there last week and had Disneyland almost to themselves.

His explanation: "Everyone was glued to live TV coverage of the courtroom events. Even the public-radio station was broadcasting courtroom proceedings live."

Jean Godden's column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Local News section of The Times. Her phone is 464-8300.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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