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Originally published April 14, 2014 at 9:27 PM | Page modified April 14, 2014 at 9:52 PM

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Sub Pop founders find a step on Nordstrom Walk of Fame

Sub Pop’s founders are honored on the Nordstrom Walk of Fame, and Treehouse for Children fundraiser is a tear-jerker.

Seattle Times staff columnist

Names on the Nordstrom Walk of Fame

• Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix

• Businesswoman Mary Gates

• Former Seahawks wide receiver Steve Largent

• Mountaineers Jim and Lou Whittaker

• Pioneering physician Dr. Belding Scribner

• Music mogul Quincy Jones

• Former Gov. Gary Locke

• Microsoft co-founders Paul Allen and Bill Gates

• Artists Gwen Knight and Jacob Lawrence

• Philanthropists the Bullitt family

• Choreographer Mark Morris

• Attorney and civic activist Jim Ellis

• Seattle Symphony conductor Gerard Schwarz

• Former Mariners All Star Ken Griffey Jr.

• Glass artist Dale Chihuly

• Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz

• Former Seattle Sonics point guard and coach Lenny Wilkens

• Former University of Washington President Charles Odegaard

• Former World Cup soccer player Michelle Akers

• Former Olympic speedskater Apolo Ohno

• Sub Pop Records co-founders Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman


It takes six weeks to get your footprint bronzed and embedded into the sidewalk in front of the flagship Nordstrom store in downtown Seattle.

And it took 26 years for Sub Pop Records founders Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman to win their spot in the Nordstrom Walk of Fame.

But really, the timing was perfect.

Last Wednesday’s event was a happy break from an otherwise frenetic couple of weeks for Poneman, Pavitt and the Sub Pop family. The week before marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and the week after, his band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“We’re honored because the people they have chosen have contributed a lot to the community and the region,” Poneman said before the ceremony.

I’ll say: Other feet walking around the store’s downtown facade include Jimi Hendrix, Bill Gatesand Paul Allen.

“It’s humbling,” Pavitt said. “My great grandkids could be skipping school and walking downtown and think, ‘Oh, my God!’ ”

“And walk all over your name,” Poneman cracked.

The idea belonged to Pete Nordstrom, who may be the company’s executive vice president and president of merchandising — but he’s also a musician (his band, Stag, put out a self-titled LP in 2012) and a longtime supporter of KEXP and local music.

“What these guys have been able to accomplish in an industry that is really challenging is something to be celebrated,” Nordstrom said of Poneman and Pavitt. “Seattle stands out as a vibrant music community, something that people are really proud of. And Jonathan and Bruce deserve a ton of credit for that.”

Nordstrom built excitement for the event by creating a Sub Pop-themed window at the corner of Sixth and Pine, featuring memorabilia on loan from the EMP Museum, and an interactive touch screen for selecting songs and music videos by the label’s artists. The display will stay through April.

Outside, before a happy crowd and under some welcome sun, Poneman thanked “Sub Pop co-workers past, present and future,” among others, and joked that the company has been “going out of business since 1988.”

“I never thought anyone would foot the bill to have us on the street,” he said.

Pavitt gave a shout-out to KEXP, which used to be KCMU, which is where he and Poneman first connected.

Said Nordstrom: “The benefit of time shows the legitimacy and durability of their impact. It’s bigger than just grunge and the moment of time that represents.”

The unveiling was followed by a short set by Sub Pop band The Helio Sequence, which set up inside the store window. People lined up on the sidewalk across Sixth Avenue to listen, while traffic drove by a little more slowly than usual.

“This is not unlike what we’re going to be doing at Seattle Center,” said KEXP station director Tom Mara, speaking of the station’s planned new home, for which director of development Leesa Schandel is doing some furious fundraising.

There were club maven Linda Derschangand former Screaming Trees member Mark Pickerel, who is preparing to open the Sub Pop store down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Sub Pop’s flame-haired executive VP, Megan Jasper, couldn’t stop smiling.

So what shoes did the gents choose for all eternity?

Pavitt chose a pair of Blundstone boots, and Poneman, Nike sneaks.

“I’m still waiting to get my shoes back,” Pavitt joked.

Treehouse of love

“This is where all the good people are!” Rena Fuller-O’Brientold me, and I couldn’t disagree. Or stop tearing up.

The annual fundraiser for Treehouse for Children will do that to you. The nonprofit, which supports children in foster care with housing, education planning, essentials and advocacy, was a reminder of the angels among us, and what they take on. They make other people’s children their own.

Elaine and David Evaand their children Tully and Lauren won the Volunteer of the Year Award award for turning a family tradition called a “lollipop harvest” into a fundraiser. In four years, they’ve raised $27,000 for Treehouse.

The Community Partner awards went to Rep. Ruth Kagifor her advocacy, and Rep. Reuven Carlyle for securing state funding to support Treehouse’s Graduation Success Program. One of Treehouse’s goals is to have King County foster youth graduate at the same rate as their peers, with a plan for their future by 2017.

But the one who silenced the crowded ballroom was Karla Peterson, a nurse who became a licensed foster parent 23 years ago. She now has seven kids in her home: four adopted, one grandson and three foster kids.

One child witnessed her mother’s rape and murder. Another fell from a second-story window when she was 1 years old — she had been left home alone. And another was homeless for more than three years. With Peterson, they have stability and love. And with Treehouse, they have clothes and clean sheets, school supplies and swim lessons — and an eye to the future.

“Every hug, every kiss and every ‘Thank you’ I get,” she told the gathering, “is the same for you.”

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or

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