Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Ravenna Creek Daylighting within Cowen Park
Pro Parks Project Information

5849 15 AVE NE

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Project dedication ceremony: Saturday, October 16, 2004. Held at the Shelterhouse, 5849 15th Ave NE.
See press release.


Colleen Browne
800 Maynard Ave. S, 3rd Floor
Seattle, WA 98134-1336
Parks has completed the initial phase of work to recreate and revegetate a portion of the former Ravenna stream corridor in Cowen Park.

The sinewy streambed has been defined and the first layer of gravel has been laid. At the end of the new creek channel, just before it turns into something more like a running creek, there is a pond, built by Conservation Corps. Work has also been completed on the pedestrian path and to stabilize the new stream bed banks. The project is now buttoned up for the winter to await spring planting.
5849 15 AVE NE
Total Budget: $267,000
Allocation by Year:
2001 2002 : $30,000
2002: $ 237,000
Planning: 2001- 2002
Design: 2002
Construction: 2003
Completion: 2004


Project Description:
The Ravenna Daylighting project includes work on two segments of the creek (one in Ravenna Park, and one in Cowen Park). See separate fact sheet for daylight project in Ravenna Park.

Within Cowen Park the project will recreate a streambed feature in the filled ravine. While the source waters of Greenlake are no longer connected to the watershed, there is a possibly to pick up subsurface seepage. The feature would also provide an outlet for both existing and future drainage from the Cowen Park meadows. The project will be coordinated with other improvements in Cowen Park.

Project History/Background:
At the turn of the century, Ravenna Creek flowed from source at Green Lake, along what is now Ravenna Boulevard, and into Cowen Park. It carved a deep ravine through what is now Cowen and Ravenna Parks. It dropped from an approximate elevation of 175 to 130 within Cowen Park as it flowed eastward into Ravenna Park on its way to Union Bay. As the watershed was developed, the stream and associated wetlands were gradually reduced, diverted and filled. Green Lake was lowered by seven feet in 1911. The remaining stream above Cowen Park was directed into a sewer pipe, leaving only the springs within the parks as source water. Springs within Cowen and Ravenna Park continued to feed the stream. When I-5 was constructed in the early 1960s much of the Cowen ravine was filled with dirt and debris from roadway cuts through the city. The fill was leveled, and play fields and meadows were created.

Today Ravenna Creek starts out as a wetland in Cowen Park just below the park entrance at 62nd and Brooklyn. The surface water is minimal in Cowen Park. The creek is spring fed throughout Ravenna Park. Near the lower end of Ravenna Park, the creek is diverted into King Countys trunk sewer system. The total length is approximately 3500 feet from Cowen wetlands to the King County sewer intake structure.

In 1990 Metro proposed a new pipe conveyance project to separate Ravenna Creek from the sewer system. The Ravenna Creek Alliance (RCA) formed in 1991, with the alternate proposal of daylighting the creek from Ravenna Park to Lake Washington. While the primary focus of the Metro Project and the Ravenna Creek Alliance was on the creek from Ravenna Park to the outlet, community interest was expressed in daylighting or recreating the creek within Cowen Park as well. In 1997 the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association obtained a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant to develop plans for park improvement. The resulting Cowen Park Site Improvement Plan includes a restored stream natural area was included in the Cowen Park Site Plan. The site was incorporated in the 1999 Roosevelt Neighborhood Plan.

Anticipated Impacts:
Creek restoration construction may impact trail access in late 2002 or 2003. Creek development may improve drainage in the meadows and improve habitat for birds, amphibians and invertebrates.

Plan 1 - Work Area
Plan 1 - Work Area

Plan 2 - Planting Plan
Plan 2 - Planting Plan

Ferns & Native Plantings Along Path
Ferns & Native Plantings Along Path

Section Through Creekbed, Low Wall & Path
Section Through Creek bed, Low Wall & Path

Footbridge and Emergent Plants
Footbridge and Emergent Plants


At the Open House held July 23rd, people who have planted native vegetation now buried under invasives requested a chance to tag their plants to be removed and replaced. If you have plants you would like saved, please notify the Project Manager (contact information above).


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Updated  10/17/2004 15:01 
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