UPDATE: Van fire at 27th/Roxbury

3:51 PM: If you’ve heard the sirens or seen the smoke (one texter said it was visible from Westwood Village) – Seattle Fire is arriving at a van fire at 27th and Roxbury. The dispatch started fairly sizably because there was concern about “exposure” – possibly to a nearby structure – but per scanner, that didn’t turn out to be the case, and the response is being downsized. We’re still on the way to check it out.

3:59 PM: Fire’s out.

4:05 PM: Talked to firefighters. No one hurt. The possible “exposure” – concern about the fire spreading – turned out to be the tree under which the van was parked, as you can see in the photo we added above.

TLC for LP: Dozens of volunteers @ Luna Park work party

(First two photos by David Whiting)

More than three dozen volunteers weeded, cleaned, and mulched in the Luna Park area this morning. Toward the right side of the top photo is Roxane Rusch, who organized the work party as part of the preparations for a Neighborhood Park and Street Fund project on its way to the area. SDOT-provided river rock is part of the landscaping preps, too:

At right, above, Luna Park Café owner John Bennett was among the volunteers, and he shared the next two photos, starting with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold pulling weeds:

So when you next ride, walk, or run through the area, you can appreciate the volunteer work – and if you would like to help, watch for word of the next work party.

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)

The original vision for the future city-grant-funded work … with the way paved by volunteer help … is in this WSB story.

HAPPENING NOW: Get your Memorial Day poppy from American Legion Post 160

Honor those who served this Memorial Day weekend by getting a poppy from American Legion Post 160. Post members will be outside West Seattle Thriftway (4201 SW Morgan; WSB sponsor) until 4 pm today and again 10 am-4 pm tomorrow. We stopped by a short time ago and photographed Ron Wright, who served in the U.S. Army, and Walton Delong, a U.S. Navy veteran and former Post 160 commander. The poppy tradition is almost a century old – read about it here.

Also – as noted in our preview earlier this week – you are invited on Monday to join Post 160 in putting up and/or taking down the Memorial Day flags in The Junction, and to attend the traditional 2 pm holiday ceremony at Forest Lawn (6701 30th SW; WSB sponsor), followed by a community cookout at Post 160 headquarters in The Triangle (3618 SW Alaska).

West Seattle weekend scene: Cottonwood ‘snowstorm’

If you’ve been anywhere near cottonwood trees today – you might have found yourself in something of a “snowstorm.” Jamie Kinney‘s quick clip above, recorded at Westcrest Park, captures it; we experienced (but didn’t record) the same thing at midmorning, while driving eastbound toward Highway 509 from the end of the Roxbury/Olson corridor. Looking for some background, we found this 2010 story by Seattle Times reporter Lynda V. Mapes. As she noted, the peak season continues into the first half of June.

CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle High School’s Anthony Coats chosen for Metro All-Conference First Team

Thanks to Sheree Fantz-Gut for providing West Seattle High School baseball updates and photos this season, including this news:

Anthony Coats, a junior from West Seattle High School, has been named to the 2017 First Team Metro All-Conference Baseball Team. Anthony finished the year with a .450 batting average for the season along with a .550 slugging percentage and a .526 on-base percentage. He also posted a 2.75 ERA pitching with 28 strikeouts, allowing only 8 walks while leading his team in many offensive and pitching categories. Congratulations, Anthony!

West Seattle Saturday: From Luna Park to low-low tide, Colman Pool to poppies, more…

(Downy woodpecker, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

Good morning and welcome to the holiday weekend!

DIG IN AT LUNA PARK: Meet at 9 am at Luna Park Café to help get the area ready for an upcoming beautification project. Tools provided; work party’s on until noon. Here’s our preview. (2918 SW Avalon Way)

GET A POPPY: 10 am-4 pm at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor), American Legion Post 160 is distributing Memorial Day poppies, as previewed here. (4201 SW Morgan)

COLMAN POOL OPENING DAY: The outdoor pool on the shore at Lincoln Park starts its first preseason weekend today at noon – schedule info in our preview. (Never been? To get there, walk or bicycle from either end of the park – here’s a map.)

EXPLORE THE SHORE DURING LOW-LOW TIDE: Low-low tide today, down to -3.5 feet at 12:42 pm. Go to Constellation Park or Lincoln Park 10:30 am-2:30 pm to meet up with Seattle Aquarium volunteer beach naturalists!

ALKI POINT LIGHTHOUSE TOURS BEGIN: 1-4 pm today, weekend tour season starts at the historic Alki Point Lighthouse, as previewed here; last group enters at 3:40 pm. Free, courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. (3201 Alki SW)

DUWAMISH RIVER HISTORY: 1-3 pm at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse: “Geologist Devin O’Reilly shares how glaciers, volcanoes, earthquakes & humans have shaped the river” over the past 15,000+ years. Free; more info here. (4705 W. Marginal Way SW)

STEVE NORRIS & PAT GILL: Live music at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)

CHAMPAGNE HONEYBEE: Live music at Whisky West, 9 pm. No cover. 21+. (6451 California SW)

MOLASSES, 45TH STREET BASS: 9 pm, live music at Parliament Tavern. $5 cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

CHECK OUR CALENDAR … for more of what’s up today/tonight/beyond.

WEST SEATTLE DEVELOPMENT: ‘Soft demolition’ begins for project that includes ex-Alki Tavern site

(WSB photo, looking up toward the house now undergoing ‘soft demolition’)

An Alki-area resident called to tell us that while walking along the California Way hill today, he noticed a demolition crew at the vacant house at the top of the development site that also includes the former Alki Tavern (now 4+ years closed). We subsequently confirmed that indeed, the long-in-the-works project at 1307 Harbor Avenue SW is getting going. West Seattle architect Tim Rhodes tells WSB, “Chinn Construction has started a ‘soft’ demolition (pulling fixtures, toilets, etc.) and will have a preconstruction meeting with the City of Seattle next week. We are thrilled. The site will get cleaned up quickly and then you will see us transition into construction.” Rhodes had told us back in January that the project team was eager to get the vandalized structures cleared from the site but the city permit process has been bogged down. The project won final Design Review Board approval almost a year and a half ago.

(Rendering from final design packet for 1307 Harbor SW project)

It is planned as a six-floor mixed-use building with 15 residential units, office and “light manufacturing” space, ground-floor retail/commercial, 41 offstreet parking spaces, and a public hillclimb/breezeway between California Way and Harbor SW.

UPDATE: Fire response in 9000 block 12th SW

6:47 PM: Seattle Fire is calling out a “full response” for a possible house fire in the 9000 block of 12th SW [map].

6:50 PM: The response is already being downsized.

7:02 PM: Our crew reports that while there’s some smoke, there’s no sign of fire, and the SFD units there haven’t even rolled out the hoses. Photo added above.

7:28 PM: Firefighters tell us they traced the smoke to a kiln that was in use. No fire, no injuries; they’re ventilating so the resident can go back inside.

Citywide forum June 3rd: ‘Aging the LGBTQ Way’

We mentioned at the end of our Highland Park Find It, Fix It Walk coverage that the convergence of city reps had yielded information on other upcoming events. Here’s one: West Seattleite Irene Stewart, who works with the Age-Friendly Seattle program, tells us that there’s still time and room to sign up for a free all-day event downtown one week from tomorrow, on Saturday, June 3rd, “Aging the LGBTQ Way: A Forum on Respect, Equity, and Inclusion.” You’ll find out about research; you’ll help develop recommendations for Age-Friendly Seattle; and you’ll learn about resources for aging well. It’s free to attend, with lunch and dinner provided, 10 am-5:30 pm at City Hall downtown, but they’d appreciate RSVPs – go here to sign up online.

Wondering about the helicopter?

4:59 PM: Just TV flying over the ferry dock, doing holiday-getaway traffic reports. 90-minute wait at Fauntleroy per Washington State Ferries.

6:03 PM: Finally got a chance to check out the ferry lineup. Not bad at all right now – ends south of the main Lincoln Park parking lot.

DONATING, DELECTABLY: Taste of West Seattle 2017 sets record

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

Last night’s Taste of West Seattle at The Hall at Fauntleroy raised more money for the West Seattle Helpline than any of its predecessors – that’s the word today from Helpline executive director Chris Langeler, who says the tally is $70,000 “and still counting!” We stopped by for a few photos. A highlight of The Taste is the chance to vote on your favorites.

The team from The Westy (photo above) won Best Pour; in the other two voting categories, Best Taste went to Fresh Bistro, and Best Sweet went to repeat winner Stuffed Cakes. Other scenes from The Taste:

This year’s title sponsor was Metropolitan Market, also dishing up tomato and freshly pulled mozzarella on garlic crostini for Taste-goers, who get unlimited food and drink for the price of admission, which goes to help Helpline provide emergency assistance that often keeps people from becoming homeless. The event of course is powered by volunteers – like Frances:

If you were looking for fine wine at The Taste, you would have found Viscon Cellars – below, Susan Viscon and Ben Viscon:

Back to the food – Christie, Ruth, and Leslie from Dream Dinners brought Gaucho Pork Tenderloin with peach salsa:

And from Endolyne Joe’s, Andrea and Jon-Paul were there with pulled-pork sliders:

Delia and Cheryl from Pecos Pit, meantime, were serving up Frito Pie:

More than 40 food and beverage providers participated this year. There was music, too – piano player Derek Richards:

Helpline director Langeler has words of gratitude: “”We are so grateful for the restaurants, the volunteers, our sponsors, and everyone who joined us last night for the 12th Taste of West Seattle! We raised enough funds to help more than 200 families stay safely housed while they recover from crisis. We are so lucky to be part of our wonderful West Seattle community–thanks to everyone for supporting the West Seattle Helpline! See you at Taste 2018!”

(Of the participants mentioned above, The Westy, Metropolitan Market, Viscon Cellars, Dream Dinners, Endolyne Joe’s, and Pecos Pit are WSB sponsors.)

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Car break-in; bike found

Two reader reports to share:

CAR BREAK-IN: From Jessica:

My car was broken into (Wednesday night) in the Seaview area at 48th Ave SW and SW Juneau. The person used some sort of remote keyless device as there was no smashed windows/forced entry and the car was 100% locked. They rummaged around to find not that much: some loose change and a couple old gift cards with probably less than $15 left on them.

BICYCLE FOUND: Behind Charlestown Center (3727 California SW):

The finder, who sent the photo, says: “Some cobwebs and pollen on the bike lead me to believe it has been there a while.”

TOMORROW: Start your holiday weekend @ Luna Park work party

Reminder if you haven’t seen it in the calendar yet – you’re invited to start your weekend by helping clean up the Luna Park area tomorrow with neighbors, businesses, and city Tree Ambassadors. Organizer Roxane Rusch says it’s “another in a series of work parties to ready the site for the receipt of a Neighborhood Street and Park fund grant that your neighborhood councils, associations, and groups have generously endorsed. We are working with SDOT on final plans.” As the flyer says, meet at Luna Park Café (2918 SW Avalon Way) at 9 am Saturday. The work party is scheduled until noon, but even if you can just give an hour or two, your help will be welcomed.

IN THE WATER: Colman Pool opens tomorrow; Highland Park Spraypark delayed

Two aquatics notes since we’re going into a warm three-day weekend:

(WSB file photo)

COLMAN POOL OPENS TOMORROW: West Seattle’s only city-run outdoor public pool – on the shore at Lincoln Park – opens on schedule tomorrow for its first pre-season weekend, Saturday-Monday. The schedule each day: Noon-2:45 pm lap swim (8 lanes); 3-4:45 pm public swim (no lap lanes); 5-7 pm lap swim (4 lanes) and family swim (slide open). 7-day-a-week operations at Colman Pool start June 19th. You can see this year’s brochure with full season details by going here.

HIGHLAND PARK SPRAYPARK DELAYED: With work continuing at Highland Park Playground, the spraypark’s opening is delayed until next month; the city website now lists the expected opening date as Saturday, June 24th. That’s the same day wading pools in West Seattle start opening, as we reported earlier this month.

VIDEO: Roundabout breakthrough, and what else Highland Park neighbors heard from, and told, city reps on Find It, Fix It Walk

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

New hope that the Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout will get designed and built – that was the big news during last night’s Highland Park Find It, Fix It Walk, which brought Mayor Murray and an armada of city reps to the neighborhood. Most prominent among them, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who got to announce the roundabout breakthrough in her own neighborhood, when the 4th of 6 preplanned stops took walkers to the top of the HP Way hill: $200,000 to turn the “concept” you see above into a buildable design.

First, Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Michele Witzki recounted the long history of the intersection’s troubles:

There’s WSB coverage for all those incidents she mentioned – including the flipped-car-gas-leak incident in March 2016. We’ve also covered the years of HP trying to get the ~$2 million roundabout beyond “conceptual design” stage, efforts that left residents skeptical in advance of last night’s walk. Meantime, here’s Councilmember Herbold announcing the design funding, and SDOT’s Jim Curtin talking about a meeting with one group that could help the city get the money to build it:

Transportation was a big topic during the walk. A short distance west along busy SW Holden, site of preplanned stops #2 and #3, Alan Robertson had talked about the side-street speeding problem caused by people trying to dodge its backups:

SDOT says it’s working on more safety features – the 11th/Holden flashing-beacon crosswalk was just a start – including a raised crosswalk on Myrtle.

SDOT’s walk presence included a briefly fiery pothole-fixing demonstration:

Part of the purpose of the FIFI Walks is to tout the city’s app of the same name, which you can use to report problems including potholes (those can be reported via the city website, too). But the concerns and requests in Highland Park are much bigger, too – as are the aspirations and community-initiated work that’s already been going on for years. The first stop on the walk was Riverview Playfield, where Paul West talked about trail work and plans in the nearby West Duwamish Greenbelt as well as needs at the playfield itself.

You can find out more about the ongoing West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails work by going here. Also at Riverview, the city recapped the good news that we reported earlier this week – the arson-damaged restroom/storage building will be fixed and reopened this year – starting with roof work in July.

As with many of West Seattle’s hilly neighborhoods, Highland Park has stairways in need of TLC, and the one at 14th and Holden was stop #5. Then the group continued down Holden to the final stop, the former substation on the southwest corner of 16th and Holden. Its future remains in question – City Light intends to sell it; the community has asked that it be rezoned to allow commercial development, to enhance Highland Park’s business district – a nearby entrepreneur, Jenni Watkins of Dutchboy Coffee on the southeast corner, spoke briefly about the joys and challenges of running a small business:

Also at the final stop, Brennon Staley of the Office of Planning and Community Development, talking about the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) as well as site-specific information:

Mayor Murray picked up the growth/zoning topic:

He also closed out the walk there by declaring it to be the most positive one of the 23 that have happened so far (two others were in West Seattle – North Delridge in 2015, Westwood/Roxhill last year).

The event began with a mini-resource fair in the patio and parking-lot areas outside Highland Park Improvement Club, whose scrappy history was recounted by Julie Schickling:

The welcomes also included words of praise for Highland Park neighborhood advocates from Councilmember Herbold, who, as mentioned, is a neighbor:

The mayor gave opening remarks there too, explaining the purpose of the FIFI Walks, and introduced the highest-ranking city reps on hand, as well as giving shoutouts to the walk’s organizers:

Will there be a fourth Find It, Fix It Walk in West Seattle next year? Depends on which of the 21 mayoral candidates succeeds Murray, and whether they decide to continue the program. In the meantime, participants from this one have a group photo as a souvenir, taken near the site of the aforementioned roundabout announcement:

(We’ll substitute the official city photo if and when we get it. Seattle Channel was along for the walk, too, and we’ll be watching for their report.)

P.S. One more group view – we recorded this at the Riverview stop:

P.P.S. While at HPIC before the walk, we talked with some city reps about non-HP events/projects of interest – watch for those stories soon!

5 options for your pre-holiday West Seattle Friday

(Northern Flicker looking as if it’s ready to swoop into the weekend. Photo by Mark Wangerin)

Ways to spend this sunny, summery pre-Memorial Day weekend Friday:

LOW-LOW TIDE, WITH BEACH NATURALISTS: The midday low tide is even lower today, -3.2 feet at 11:56 am. Explore with a Seattle Aquarium volunteer beach naturalist, 10 am-2 pm at Constellation Park or Lincoln Park.

VISIT THE HOME OF WEST SEATTLE’S HISTORY: The Log House Museum is open noon-4 pm today. (61st SW/SW Stevens)

COUNCILMEMBER HERBOLD’S DISTRICT OFFICE HOURS: 2-7 pm, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is holding office hours at the Senior Center of West Seattle. Drop-ins welcome. (4217 SW Oregon)

INDIE FOLK: That’s the music Tara Velarde makes, and you can see/hear her at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)

WEEN-IVERSARY: For the 20th anniversary of Ween‘s “The Mollusk,” Boys Club will play the album in its entirety, 9 pm at Parliament Tavern. $5 cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday updates; Memorial Day previews

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

7:06 AM: No incidents on the routes through/from West Seattle so far.

Looking ahead to Memorial Day:

WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI: On Monday, the WS Water Taxi will run a Sunday schedule. (The Vashon WT won’t run at all.)

METRO BUSES: They also will be on a Sunday schedule on Memorial Day.

WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES: The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run will be on its regular schedule Monday.

And a reminder:

HARBOR AVENUE SPEED LIMIT CHANGE: As of today, Harbor Avenue SW is 30 mph, down from 35 mph. Signs were installed yesterday – briefly, the wrong ones.

8:05 AM: We’ve continued to hear from people about the port-truck backups – hearing on the scanner now that city and port police are checking out today’s situation right now.

VIDEO: West Seattle High School celebrates Career Tech Night and 13th Year Promise

It was a sweet night at West Seattle High School, in multiple ways. It was first and foremost a celebration of Career Tech, with students showing off projects in various disciplines, including culinary (above) and woodworking (below):

From the health program, Naomi Meredith showed the game she created, focused on talking about mental health:

Music was in the spotlight too, with WSHS Band members performing:

Career education ultimately is meant to get students along the road to their future, and in one year, West Seattle HS students will have a new option to help with that – as we’ve reported, the school is becoming part of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) 13th Year Promise program – one free year at SSC for any graduating senior who wants it. Thursday night’s event was a celebration of that too, and administrators from both schools talked about it:

Find out more about the 13th Year Promise Scholarship program here.

FOLLOWUP: City says unauthorized RV camp will be cleared next week

Among the city officials in Highland Park for tonight’s Find It, Fix It Walk was George Scarola, director of homelessness. We took the opportunity to ask him if anything had changed regarding the city’s non-prioritization of the unauthorized RV camp that started setting up off 2nd SW between Highland Park Way and West Marginal Way two weeks ago. He told us the city in fact had just posted a warning there today that those on the state-owned site will have to clear out by June 1st. While, Scarola said, they understand that the campers are trying to set up a self-managed community, the site is just not suitable for camping, and the state has other plans for it.

REPORT #1: Highland Park Find It, Fix It Walk

6:54 PM: After gathering at Highland Park Improvement Club, community members and city officials are headed to Riverview Playfield, first scheduled stop on tonight’s Find It, Fix It Walk. See the route here and join along the way! We’ll be updating on Twitter with a full report here later.

7:58 PM: 2nd to last stop – the 14th/Holden stairway.

8:20 PM: The mayor, who left the spotlight to others most of the way, concluded the walk by declaring it the most positive one he had been on. Details, photos, video later on Friday morning!

FOLLOWUP: Police presence at Alki; no arrests in Tuesday murder

5:07 PM: While checking out the new speed-limit signs on Harbor, we continued to Alki to look for signs of Seattle Police presence, with another summer-like evening on the way, two nights after 23-year-old Jordan D. Thomas was shot and killed. Here’s what we found:

That’s the Mobile Precinct, which we spotted parked at Marine and Alki. And a short distance east at 57th/Alki, an SPD bus:

SW Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis tells WSB that emphasis patroling, through the holiday weekend and “mostly geared toward weekends and warmer days where we’ve seen an uptick in vehicular and pedestrian traffic,” will include “Mobile Precinct visibility, bicycle patrols, and an extra foot beat patrol.”

Meantime, we asked SPD today about the murder investigation. Nothing new to report, Det. Patrick Michaud told us.

10:39 PM: At tonight’s Find It, Fix It Walk, we asked SW Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith about the bus. He explains that it’s used to transport the bike squad. Meantime, we drove along Alki about an hour ago. The bus was gone but the Mobile Precinct was still at Marine/Alki, with an SPD SUV a few vehicles west of it.

West Seattle High School’s next principal: Brian Vance to succeed Ruth Medsker

Earlier this month, we reported that principal Ruth Medsker is leaving West Seattle High School at the end of this year, headed for Lincoln High School. This afternoon, Seattle Public Schools just announced that WSHS’s next principal will be Brian Vance, who’s been leading Roosevelt HS. Here’s the letter sent to families:

Dear West Seattle High School community:

I am pleased to announce that Brian Vance has been selected to be the new principal of West Seattle High School.

Mr. Vance was selected because of his vision for social-emotional learning for high school students within the Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports framework, his culture building experience as principal in several different comprehensive high schools, and his experience developing and leading work in high school advisories.

Mr. Vance has served as principal of Roosevelt High School since 2007. Under his leadership, the school has made significant progress to close achievement gaps, and established a school culture that promotes rigorous instruction for all students, and has been recognized for its academic and performing arts successes numerous times. Prior to that, Mr. Vance was the principal of the Center School from 2003-2007.

Mr. Vance holds a Master of Education in School Counseling from University of Maryland, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Hobart College, and an Administrative Certificate from the University of Washington’s Danforth School of Educational Leadership.

Principal Vance is excited to be a part of the West Seattle community that he calls home, and continuing the momentum built by the staff and students around student achievement and positive school climate. His official start date will be July 1, 2017. We will be scheduling opportunities for staff, families and students to meet Mr. Vance before the end of the school year.

I would like to extend my thanks to Principal Ruth Medsker for serving as principal for the past seven years. Her deep commitment to the West Seattle community is greatly appreciated, and Principal Vance looks forward to build on the foundation to lead the school into the 21st century.

Welcome Principal Vance to West Seattle High School.


Dr. Larry Nyland
Seattle Public Schools

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