Greenwood is a diverse neighborhood that straddles the northern edges of Ballard and Green Lake, extending north to the edge of Seattle, its boundary with Shoreline. Like so many parts of Seattle, Greenwood started out as its own city, but later saw the advantages of annexing to Seattle. For Greenwood, this was done in 1954 for the goal of getting sidewalks for the city streets. However, those sidewalks never came to be and much of the ones that do exist are in shambles and need of repairs.

One of the reasons for the sidewalk problems are the underlying issues of the neighborhood—literally. Greenwood is built upon a peat bog, basically land made from glacial runoff of dead plants. Thus the land settles from time to time, changing the shape beneath buildings and concrete.

The neighborhood starts around 70th in the south and ends at Seattle’s northern border, 145th street. While Greenwood Avenue is its mainline, it extends east to Highway 99 (Aurora) and west to about 5th. These are vague borders, as other neighborhoods jut about in the area, including Ballard to the southwest and west and Phinney ridge to the southeast and east. Greenwood and 85th is the main commercial center for the neighborhood, housing a number of restaurants and food stores that exemplify the area’s diverse population.

The neighborhood is down-to-earth, an even mix of single-family homes, apartment buildings from various eras and townhomes. The laid back and calm attitude of residents was shocked into action in 2009 when a spat of arsons occurred surrounding the main intersection at 85th and Greenwood. While the perpetrator was later caught, it was not until after he damaged and destroyed few stores, a handful of restaurants and other neighborhood businesses.