Monday, July 25, 2011

Seattle times article

Nicole Brodeur

Alone in a battle over her loan

Vera Johnson, 42, the owner of the Village Green Perennial Nursery in West Seattle, is on the brink of losing her home and her business.
Seattle Times staff columnist

Vera Johnson answered the door and grimaced.
Nothing personal, she told me. Huge migraine.
"I think it's the stress," Johnson said, sitting back down on the couch to tell me her story. It's a private thing, an individual drama, but one I have heard time and again over the past few years.
Johnson, 42, the owner of the Village Green Perennial Nursery in West Seattle, is on the brink of losing her home and her business.
That means this two-acre oasis of dirt and green and blooms and bees, of Northwest natives and old-fashioned roses that have inspired a Full Tilt ice-cream flavor, could become a casualty.
It's not just a retail operation, but Johnson's home, and the home base for a near-decade of good deeds: donated veggie starts to the White Center Food Bank, school fundraisers, free gardening classes for children and adults, and music on the stage in the back yard.
"It's such a nightmare," Johnson said, and then did her best to give me the short version.
Her mother died. Her marriage fell apart. Her household income went down by $140,000 a year, and then her support payments were reduced by two-thirds.
Johnson decided to seek a loan modification on her Bank of America mortgage.
That was in March 2010.
The 16 months since, Johnson has searched and scrambled and sat on hold. She has explained her situation to one loan officer, then another who was sitting in the same office, but may as well have been in another country. She has faxed and FedExed documents once, twice, three times, had partial payments rejected and even watched a loan officer at her own Bank of America branch sit on hold for an hour and get nowhere.
Apparently, Johnson has to be in deeper trouble before the bank will toss her a rope. She wonders, though, if they are just setting her up to lose the place.
Last Monday, Johnson received a "Notice of intent to accelerate" from Bank of America. The bottom line: She would lose her house if she didn't come up with $14,888.99 by Aug. 6.
"I don't think they're really looking at what's happening in the economy," she said. "And I don't think that one more house in foreclosure is going to help."
She's probably right: The Treasury Department estimates there will be between 8 million and 13 million foreclosures by 2012.
I called Bank of America, told them what Johnson had told me. Within 20 minutes of my call, I received three emails from the bank, confirming Johnson's address and telling me they would be researching her case. By noon the next day, another email saying that Johnson is not in foreclosure, that the bank has attempted "several times" to help her with a modification, but that the "very specific" documentation has not been completed — including a quitclaim deed removing Johnson's ex-husband from the loan.
Johnson disputed this, saying she faxed the necessary documents at the end of June.
Four hours later, I talked to the bank's local spokeswoman, Britney Sheehan. The bank had the quitclaim deed they said Johnson hadn't sent.
Now do you get what people are going through? I asked.
"Yeah, I do understand," Sheehan said. "That's why we're leading with an apology."
The bank said it would have an associate from its new customer-assistance center in Seattle contact Johnson to "meet face to face" and walk her through the process. One single, local rep.
Other Bank of America customers may do the same, Sheehan said, whether it's for a mortgage, a credit card or a car loan. The center can be reached at 206-358-4338. (I tried it; they answered on the first ring.)
When this story first broke in the West Seattle Blog, one commenter called Johnson "the George Bailey of West Seattle," referring to the protagonist of "It's a Wonderful Life." Johnson watched the movie again to see the scene where people pour in from all over to fill up a basket of cash to help Bailey save his savings and loan.
"That would momentarily please the Bank of America," Johnson said, if she was so lucky. "But I don't see how paying them is going to encourage them to give me a loan modification. It will just continue."
In the meantime — and as is her way — Johnson is reaching out. At 4 p.m. on Sunday, she will host the first meeting of Homeowners Facing Foreclosure, a support group for others caught in the mortgage morass. It's at the nursery, 10223 26th Ave. S.W., and anyone can attend.
"I have no idea what it's going to look like, no answers for anyone," Johnson said. "It's just a way for people to get together and share resources and our stories and hopefully, move toward a solution.
"It takes people working together, rather than alone."
Nicole Brodeur's column appears Tuesday and Friday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or
Let's see how it goes.

Seattle Magazine, Urban Safari?

We made the cut.

White Center got an honorable mention!

Seattle magazine

Urban Safari: White Center

Once a mishmash of constantly revolving storefronts, White Center, in West Seattle now teems with an eclectic mix of cultures and family-owned businesses.
Old-school charm on the streets of White Center
For a pint and a small plate, head to newcomer Company Bar, pictured right, (9608 16th Ave. SW; 206.257.1162) for nibbles crafted by co-owner Jesse Lovell, including salt cod fritters ($6) and chickpea fries ($5).
Or, try Stefanie and Mike Albaeck’s Proletariat Pizza (9622 16th Ave. SW; 206.432.9765; for their organic, 18-inch thin-crust creations.
Unleash your inner caveman with finger-lickin’ good ribs, brisket and links at Uncle Mike's Superlicious Barbecue (9640 16th Ave. SW; 206.588.2713;
Visit Full Tilt Ice Cream (9629 16th Ave. SW; 206.767.4811; and choose from creative flavors like the new “antique rose,” crafted with rose petals from nearby Village Green Nursery.
3.14 Bakery (9602 16th Ave. SW; 206.420.4784; offers home-style baked goods with a twist (cake balls, anyone?).
A stone’s throw away is Salvadorean Bakery (1719 SW Roxbury St.; 206.762.4064;, where the authentic pupusas are locally renowned.
For your next big party, rent a keg full of locally brewed beer from Big Al Brewery (9832 14th Ave. SW; 206.453.4487;

Family skate spot Southgate Roller rink (9646 17th Ave. SW; 206.707.6949; has been revamped and restored by local Josh Rhoads and his family. (The rink, which was built in 1937, closed in 2005 due to fire damage.) Attend one of the beginning skate classes and you’ll be rollin’ like a Rat City Roller Girl in no time.
Quaint, family-owned Village Green Perennial Nursery, pictured above, (10223 26th Ave. SW; 206.767.7735; is a garden oasis specializing in herbaceous perennials.

Locals congregate at Dubsea Coffee (9910 Eighth Ave. SW; 206.708.6806; to sip Sibelle Nguyen’s fresh Stumptown joe.
Stock up on specialty goods at family-owned bodegas: Lee's Produce(9435 Delridge Way SW; 206.762.5220) carries a killer house-made kimchi; Hispanic grocery Carniceria El Paisano (9629 15th Ave. SW; 206.767.5526) sells delicious jalapeƱo-laden tamales for only a buck each.Seattle Magazine

Ice cream in the Garden

Full Tilt is coming to the garden again!
Come and celebrate our 8th year!
What flavor will it be?
This is lways a fun time for the whole family.
A community event, everyone welcome.

We will be hosting live music again...will let you know soon who will be tickling our fancy with toe tapping rhythms.

When August 13th 1pm
Village Green Perennial Nursery
10223 26th Ave SW
Seattle Wa 98146
donations accepted

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bank of America- stop foreclosure

Bank of America- stop foreclosure
sign this petition!

I have been trying for 17 months to get a loan modification with Bank of America, providing endless copies and resubmitting paperwork repeatedly.
They even went so far as to 'block' my account to prevent any payments to make sure my account went into late payment so as to 'help jump start the load mod action' as they put it! Is that legal?
As a business owner and well respected member of the community, I am ready to make this issue public. 
thank you!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

West Seattle In Motion program

West Seattle feels like a small town in many ways.  This summer, neighbors can get to know more about their West Seattle town by getting out of their cars a little more often.  King County Metro and local partners invite you to participate in West Seattle In Motion.

Join your neighbors and try parking your car and getting In Motion!

Pledge to walk, cycle, take transit or share a ride for at least two trips a week this summer (trust us- you’ll get addicted).  You’ll receive West Seattle In Motion membership card that you can flash at local shops and restaurants to get great deals and free ride tickets to help you get moving.

After you pledge, report your progress each week. Every week you meet your pledge, you will earn one chance to WIN the ULTIMATE STAYCATION plus additional Free-Ride tickets to help you stay mobile.
Come visit our booth at the corner of California and Alaska our big kickoff at the West Seattle Fest on July 8-10th or sign up at

Del Rey plays a house concert at Village Green

$10 Pre-pay, limited tickets, will sell out FAST!
no online tix sales- pease send a check or come in and pay cash.

When: Sunday August 28th 2pm
Where: Village Green Perennial Nursery

Del Rey started playing classical guitar when she was four. As a teenager, she met bluesman Sam Chatmon who inspired her to become a blues queen. Her guitar playing combines country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly boogie through the sensibility of an autodidact trailor-park esthete. Her live show is full of complex guitar grooves and sly humor.

Del Rey plays concerts world wide and also presents a concert/lecture on women musicians called Women in American Music.
read more... /Del_press.html /quotes.html


“Rey is one of the greatest modern players of the metal-bodied resonator guitar.”
Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"Del Rey is one of the most sublime modern guitarists " La Hora del Blues

“To listen to Rey is to abandon all hope of ever viewing the world in the same
comfortable way.” Dirty Linen Magazine

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Sale! 25-50% off

  • Midwinter fire dogwood shrubs 25% off
  • Nw Native dogwoods 25% off
  • Euphorbia 25% off
  • Birch trees 50% off
  • Select roses $5.00
  • Many herbs and veggies 4/$5.00

Garden install before and after photos



Village Green Perennial Nursery patio and bermed gardens for a happy West Seattle client.

Food should be prepared with butter and love- cooking demo

Cinnamon Berg is a classically trained chef with a passion for food who loves to share that passion with others. In her career she has worked in many local restaurants and has traveled far and wide for catering events. Her love of grilling, utilizing seasonal ingredients and spontaneity are knowledge and skills gained through these years of experience as a cook. 
Although most of her life has been in and around Seattle she spent some time in Hollywood working with a former sous chef of Spago and the originator of California Pizza Kitchen. The importance of local, organic ingredients and our role as leaders in this movement toward sustainability were some of the many lessons she learned and value most. Her interest in teaching came about through these experiences and having children. She has taught kids of every age in schools and the Youngstown Cultural Art’s Center how simple it can be to create fresh nutritious meals. From the importance of knife skills to the subtle art of bread making and how making food can be a truly sense stirring experience she has classes for everyone.

Cinnamon has been married for 15 years and has two spirited and beautiful daughters. She has a variety of other interests, including organic gardening, creating all natural lip balms and body products and organizing events and working for her local p-patch.