High-school baseball: Chief Sealth IHS off to 2-1 start

March 26, 2015 at 11:58 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

Thanks to Howard Chilcott for this report on the Chief Sealth International High School Seahawks‘ first week of baseball:

Our Seahawks are off to a nice start to their Metro schedule, posting a 2 win/1 loss record over week 1. That includes strong wins over Ingraham and Franklin and a heartbreaker yesterday vs. Lakeside. Highlights have included strong pitching, increasingly solid defense, and big hits as the team is developing nicely early in the season.

The schedule includes a rematch with Lakeside away on Friday, then Ballard on Monday, 4 pm at SWAC! Also, please join us in supporting the boys at their Annual Spaghetti Dinner & Auction Saturday 4/4 at the School Galleria, 6 pm.

(Sealth is at 2600 SW Thistle.)

Numbers @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition: 35th SW, Vision Zero, $900 million levy…

March 26, 2015 at 10:03 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(From left, WSTC’s Joe Szilagyi & Amanda Kay Helmick, SDOT’s Scott Kubly & Jim Curtin)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition stuck with its agenda tonight, hearing from and talking with SDOT leaders about the proposed Move Seattle levy and two safety projects – Vision Zero citywide and 35th SW locally – instead of digressing into a discussion of Tuesday’s 9-hour Highway 99 blockage.

Co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick said WSTC would be writing out its concerns/questions for SDOT to consider regarding the incident. Otherwise, here’s how the meeting unfolded:

Click to read the rest of Numbers @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition: 35th SW, Vision Zero, $900 million levy……

Congratulations! 2015 Westside Awards for Nucor Steel, Meeples Games, Southwest Seattle Historical Society, James Jackson of Jackson, Morgan & Hunt PLLC

March 26, 2015 at 5:15 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | No Comments

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has just announced its 2015 Westside Awards winners, in advance of the presentation at the awards breakfast next Thursday (April 2nd):

Nucor Steel Seattle, Meeples Games, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and the founder, James (Jim) Jackson of Jackson, Morgan & Hunt are the winners of the 2015 Westside Awards, presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

Click to read the rest of Congratulations! 2015 Westside Awards for Nucor Steel, Meeples Games, Southwest Seattle Historical Society, James Jackson of Jackson, Morgan & Hunt PLLC…

West Seattle development: Project possibly ahead for PCC site

March 26, 2015 at 4:50 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 32 Comments


(WSB photo)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Will the PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) location in West Seattle be the next Admiral District supermarket site to be redeveloped?

Making a routine check of city permit applications, we discovered a very-early-stage plan suggesting a new building is being contemplated for much if not all of the 2749 California SW site, where the current store and its main parking lot are.

But what it will be is too soon to say, as well as how/whether it will proceed.

One of the two documents in the public city online files so far suggests that the proposal is coming from Madison Development Group, the developer that is currently finishing Spruce at the Fauntleroy/Alaska corner once known as, when it stalled under previous ownership, “The Hole.” Kirkland-based Madison bought that site at auction and is completing a project with about 200 apartments plus an LA Fitness gym. Madison also built Element 42, the mixed-use building on the east side of the redeveloped Admiral Safeway property.

As for the PCC site:

We’ve been researching this for several days now. Before we found the document listing Madison as the prospective applicant, we inquired with PCC’s media-relations department, asking whether an expansion might be in store for the market, which opened in 1989 and underwent interior remodeling four years ago.

The reply came from Cate Hardy, the West Seattleite named CEO of PCC back in January. “We recently became aware that our landlord is in discussions about the possibility of selling the site where our store is located. We do have a current lease that is in effect for the next several years.”

We hadn’t realized that PCC didn’t own the property at California/Stevens; records show the landlord is Development Services of America, another of the companies owned by the late Tom Stewart, who had been headquartered in the West Seattle Corporate Center before moving to Arizona.

We continued rooting around for info and contacted PCC CEO Hardy again to clarify that whatever is in the works so far, it wasn’t a PCC-proposed project. She subsequently told us, “At this time, we have not been brought in to any conversations with the potential future owner, so do not have any real insight in to their plans or timing. Our lease is in place through most of this decade, and we would certainly hope and expect to be part of West Seattle well beyond that. We anticipate an introduction to the new owner in the near future, and will look forward to conversations with them about how best to ensure that West Seattle is well-served by PCC Natural Markets for years to come.”

We’ve reached out to Madison’s principals for comment; no reply yet. The “site plan” page in the online file shows only the most rudimentary of outlines for a possible new building covering the footprint of the current one plus most of the parking lot; Hewitt Architects is the firm listed as applicant, and the online file carries notations about a request for “paid zoning coaching” plus an expectation that any resulting project would require Design Review. The site is zoned NC2-40, mixed-use development with a four-story height maximum.

We’ll continue to keep watch.

Seen off West Seattle: Two helicopters, boat marked ‘Tunisia Navy’

March 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

2:47 PM: An unusual sighting, shared by Gary Jones, who photographs from Alki Point: Seen in the noon hour, a boat marked “Tunisia Navy,” with two helicopters nearby.

Their markings match what we saw on two helicopters passing overhead, westbound, one behind the other, as we arrived at HQ in Upper Fauntleroy after a noontime trip.

Backstory? We don’t know yet. At first, we wondered about a movie shoot (Seattle wouldn’t seem to be much of a stand-in for Tunisia, which is on the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa, but you’ll recall Alki doubling for Florida) – then a bit of Googling revealed that the U.S. donated two similar types of patrol boats to Tunisia seven months ago and was planning to donate more. Still checking around. Know anything? editor@westseattleblog.com as always.

8:44 PM: After a couple of e-mail tipsters suggested we check with local boatmakers that build military-style patrol boats, we sent out queries around 5 pm and just received this reply from sales manager Kevin Rowlee at Bremerton-based SAFE Boats International:

Yes, that was a boat built by SAFE Boats International. It is a “65 Full Cabin – Inboard” destined for the Tunisia Navy. The boat you saw was the second of two boats purchased under the same contract.

Commenter Brian confirms the photo-shoot angle.

Mayor puts a number on ‘affordable housing’: 20,000 units in 10 years

March 26, 2015 at 1:52 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 27 Comments

Will runaway rents chase (more) people out of the city? With heartbreaking tales like this one emerging, and discussions like this one ongoing, Mayor Murray has stepped up While his affordable-housing advisory committee continues to work on its recommendations, Mayor Murray has just given them a goal with a specific number:

Mayor Murray today directed the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee to meet his new goal for both income-restricted affordable and market-rate units to be created over the coming decade.

Mayor Murray asked the committee to develop specific proposals that will allow the building and preservation of 50,000 housing units over in the next 10 years within the city limits. 20,000 of these must be income-restricted affordable units for individuals and families making 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) and below. 30,000 units would be market rate.

“Seattle is facing a serious lack of affordable housing options that displace families and people in this city,” said Murray. “Next week, Seattle’s minimum wage workers are getting a raise as a part of our broader affordability agenda. We need to make sure that those who work in Seattle can afford to live here.”

The increase in income-restricted affordable units is nearly a tripling of the current rate of units being built for those at 80 percent of AMI or less. Currently, income-restricted affordable housing is being built at a rate of around 700 units per year.

“As the HALA enters the last stretch of analysis and discussion of strategies, this target will sharpen our focus,” said Faith Le-Pettis, co-chair of the advisory committee. “No matter your perspective, the target we’ve been given by the Mayor is an enormous number. We’ll need determination, long-sightedness and civic commitment to meet the challenge.”

The Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee was formed by Mayor Murray and city councilmembers in the fall of 2014 to develop policy recommendations for the city. The committee is made up of 28 housing experts, activists and community leaders. They will issue their recommendations to the Mayor in May.

Right now, the Multi-Family Tax Exemption is one incentive the city has been offering developers for some years – if they agree to keep a certain number of units in their projects in certain areas (including West Seattle’s urban villages/centers) at a certain percentage of the area’s median income, they get a 12-year tax break, no property taxes on the residential portion of their buildings.

When we talked to Mayor Murray at his neighborhood-press availability last week, he mentioned he would be announcing an affordable-housing goal and that it would take “a series of tools – not just one tool” to make it reality. He said in that interview that it would be vital to build units for people who will “never qualify for subsidized housing” but are being priced out of the “market” nonetheless.

Think summer! Application time for 10th annual Morgan Junction Community Festival

March 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm | In West Seattle festivals, West Seattle news | No Comments

(WSB photo from 2013 festival)
Not trying to rush you, but it’s already planning season for summer festivals – including the 10th annual Morgan Junction Community Festival. From Susan Madrid:

Applications are now available for local businesses and organizations to participate in the Morgan Community Association (MoCA) 10th annual festival. This year it will be held on Saturday, June 20th, from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm. As in previous years, participant booths will be located in open areas and parking lots near Morgan Junction Park. The festival will feature live music and entertainment throughout the day, as well as the popular Bite of Morgan and Bark of Morgan events.

The booth charge will be the same as last year; community groups and non-profits will be asked to make a $10 contribution and businesses to make a $20 contribution.

Contact Cindi Barker at cindibarker@gmail.com for an application form and further information. The deadline for applications is June 5. Announcements and applications are also available on the MoCA website www.morganjunction.org

Award-winning basketball coach Sonya Elliott is leaving West Seattle High School

March 26, 2015 at 10:19 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | No Comments

(WSB photo from February 2015: Coach Elliott helps cut down net after Metro League title win)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

It’s the epitome of “going out on top.”

After a history-making season in which her team made it to the state tournament and won the Metro League championship, West Seattle High School girls’ basketball head coach Sonya Elliott is leaving.

Elliott, a longtime West Seattle resident, was honored as Metro League Coach of the Year twice, in 2013 as well as this year, a showstopping season that concluded March 7th (WSB coverage here) – a season that, as she remarked at the WSHS pep rally before the team’s first state game, had the whole school (and community!) cheering for girls’ basketball.

She shared the news with WSB via e-mail late last night and said her players already know: “I won’t be coaching at West Seattle next year. It was a really tough decision, because as you know there are some amazing girls on the team and we have all worked hard over the last 5 years to build the program, but it was time.”

2014-2015 was Coach Elliott’s fifth season leading the team. We first checked in with her during the first season – noting that she took over after a season in which the WSHS girls had won a total of three games, and that she brought in new initiatives including a holistic focus on academics as well as basketball fundamentals.

That first 2010 story featured an inspirational guest Elliott brought in to talk with her team; she continued that initiative up through this year, too. Elliott herself proved an inspirational figure beyond her basketball-coaching skills, with a story she turned into a book titled “Back on the Court,” telling how she came back from a life-threatening and heartbreaking tragedy.

We have a followup question out about what’s next for her, and we’re also asking WSHS what’s next for the team; we’ll add updates as we get them.

West Seattle Thursday: Whales, transportation, theater, more…

March 26, 2015 at 9:13 am | In West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | No Comments

Thanks to Don Brubeck for the “solar halo” sunrise photo from this morning! Now, looking ahead to today/tonight, highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

TAI CHI, QIGONG FOR 50+: 2 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle with Sifu Viola Brumbaughdetails here. (Oregon/California)

ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES … at the Community Orchard of West Seattle, for this week’s 4-6 pm Health & Harvest work party. North side of South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. (6000 16th SW)

SDOT AT WSTC: 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center, hear from – and bring questions for – SDOT director Scott Kubly. (6400 Sylvan Way)

THE WHALE TRAIL: TWT‘s first Orca Talk of 2015 is your chance to hear from Brad Hanson, a federal researcher who recently spent three weeks out on an extensive whale-watching/-researching cruise, including the first sighting of the Southern Resident Killer Whales’ newest (known) calf, L121. 7 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) – details here including ticket info. (5612 California SW)

SEE ‘CHINGLISH’ BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE: 7:30 pm curtain at ArtsWest (WSB sponsor) for the laugh-out-loud comedy that’s in its final days. (4711 California SW)

PUNDAMONIUM! 8 pm at Skylark Café and Club, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Sorry we can’t be more creative than that, but we bet YOU can and will.

Free baseball game at Safeco Field – WSHS Wildcats on Saturday!

March 26, 2015 at 9:00 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

(2014 photo by Greg Slader)
See a baseball game free at Safeco Field this Saturday – while cheering for local players! West Seattle High School assistant baseball coach Bryan Tupper shares the reminder:

Come out and support West Seattle High School Baseball at Safeco Field. WSHS continues the annual tradition of playing in the High School Baseball Classic for the 9th year in a row! This year, they take on Sedro Woolley from the Northwest Conference. Admission is free and concession stands will be open.

The game is at 12:30 pm Saturday (March 28th).

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday on the move

March 26, 2015 at 7:19 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 19 Comments

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
No trouble spots in/from West Seattle so far. Alerts/advisories:

FAUNTLEROY FERRY DOCK: The pump-station project next door is almost done, but some work this morning will result in a closure of the northern lane/tollbooth for up to two hours starting at 9:30 am.

VIADUCT/99 CLOSURES THIS WEEKEND: Yet another reminder – a stretch of 99 from the Battery Street Tunnel *north* will be closed from late Friday to early Monday; between the West Seattle Bridge and the south end of the BSTunnel, inspection closures are scheduled 6 am-6 pm Saturday and the same hours Sunday.

Tonight:

SDOT DIRECTOR @ WSTC: Questions about the big road/trail projects under way and coming up here? Or, about the 9-hour Highway 99 closure earlier this week (here’s our followup from Wednesday)? Or? 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way), West Seattle Transportation Coalition hosts SDOT director Scott Kubly tonight, and all are welcome.

Added at 8 am since it’s still quiet:

THIS WEEK’S ‘TRAFFIC THROWBACK THURSDAY‘: For the second week in a row, we’re presenting a historic West Seattle road photo from the Seattle Municipal Archives:


(Click the picture for a larger image.) That’s in the files from 1951 as supporting evidence for “rezoning 6051-6053 35th” as proposed by a lumber company. We haven’t figured out whether this is looking north or south; the address checks to a 35-year-old condo building on the west side of 35th at Graham.

8:32 AM: Thanks to AD in comments and Jeremy via Twitter for word that a RapidRide bus is broken down at the onramp to the bridge and passengers are awaiting rescue.

12:21 PM: The Viaduct’s had some off and on trouble this morning.


One of those incidents is clearing as we type this … but another one still has a lane blocked in the stadium zone.

West Seattle Crime Watch followups: Store-burglary suspect in jail; stolen car found

March 25, 2015 at 10:02 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Two West Seattle Crime Watch followups tonight:

STORE BURGLARY ARREST: You might recall Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) in Westwood Village getting broken into twice in December, the first one hitting hours before their holiday open house, to which they responded defiantly with a bow over the plywood covering the smashed-in door:

Talking with the proprietors this week, we found out a suspect has been arrested and charged in that break-in. Police identified 38-year-old Ioane Sua of First Hill via a palm-print match and surveillance video. Once they knew who they were looking for, he wasn’t hard to find … he was already in the King County Jail, arrested on January 10th after being found driving a car that had been stolen on New Year’s Day from the Home Depot parking lot on Delridge. Prosecutors charged Sua with second-degree burglary in late January, and have since charged him in the stolen-car case too. He was scheduled to return to court today, but the hearing was postponed because a possible plea agreement is in the works, according to a document in the online files. He remains jailed in lieu of $30,000 bail, and has a lengthy criminal record.

STOLEN CAR FOUND: Speaking of stolen cars – the one reported here this morning has since been found, reports its owner:

They found my car in White Center with stolen plates on it. The inside was filled with garbage, food and a bag full of stolen mail that was all opened, from as far away as Sammamish, hence my full tank of gas depleted. My glovebox, console, trunk all emptied. Every part of the inside and parts of the outside wiped down with smelly, greasy cleaner to cover their tracks. The good news is that there’s no real damage. With case # in hand I drove home with no license plates, which I’ll have to replace tomorrow.

The mail must go through … the fence? Truck crashes, no one hurt

March 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

We don’t know how it happened, but thanks to those who sent photos of this U.S. Postal Service truck crash in Upper Morgan earlier this evening, including this one from Rob. Someone who texted us about the crash says no one was hurt, verified by an absence of an SFD callout on the department’s online log.

You can help! One month until mega-consignment sale for West Seattle Co-op Preschools

March 25, 2015 at 7:43 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(2014 WSB photo)
Of interest to sellers as well as shoppers – the West Seattle Co-op Preschools are planning another mega-consignment sale, exactly one month away. Here are the details:

The West Seattle Co-op Preschool system is very excited to be hosting another spring/summer kids’ consignment sale on April 25 from 9 am- 1 pm at the West Seattle VFW Hall, to help fund scholarships for families in need.

Anyone from the community can consign at this sale. Consigners can set their own prices, and guidance and information about how to register to be a consigner are available at westseattlepreschools.org.

This sale will be a great way for families to make some money with their gently used baby/kids gear, spring/summer clothing, toys and books. Sellers will make 65 percent of the asking price and the preschool scholarship fund will take 35 percent. The consigners will be paid for the sold items via a check, which will be mailed the week following the sale.

Anyone is welcome to shop for low-cost, good-quality items for their kids the day of the sale. All proceeds from the sale benefit the scholarship program to help families in need. The West Seattle Co-op Preschool system is hoping to make this consignment sale a biannual tradition every fall and spring as a way to bring the community together. Hope to see you there!

The VFW Hall is at 3601 SW Alaska.

Barton Pump Station Upgrade traffic alert for tomorrow; project ‘very close to being done’

March 25, 2015 at 5:07 pm | In Fauntleroy, Utilities, West Seattle news | No Comments

(WSB photo, taken today)
With another traffic advisory from King County Wastewater Treatment Division related to the Barton Pump Station Upgrade Project next to the Fauntleroy ferry dock, we asked for an overall update. First – the traffic advisory:

The northern ferry lane entrance and toll booth will be closed for up to two hours starting at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, March 26. The closure is necessary to allow Seattle City Light crews to remove the temporary electrical system that has served the Barton Pump Station during construction. This work is part of construction wrap up for the Barton Pump Station Upgrade. Flaggers will be on hand to keep ferry and Fauntleroy traffic moving. Please call the project hotline with any questions or concerns: 206-296-2999.

Now the overall update: County spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson tells WSB that “the project is very close to being done. The art work is scheduled to come in in April, and landscaping and restoration is ongoing through spring. WTD is working with Friends of Cove Park to plan a June celebration for the public. We’ll offer pump station tours, and Friends of Cove Park will host a celebratory re-opening of the beach.” Cove Park closed in June 2012, as the construction got under way.

Question for Mayor Murray? Come to The Triangle on Saturday

March 25, 2015 at 2:34 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 7 Comments

Announced by the Department of Neighborhoodsdistrict coordinators – Mayor Ed Murray is making a quick conversation stop in West Seattle on Saturday (March 28), his second visit this month (first one was at the 34th District Democrats‘ meeting – here’s our coverage, with video). It’s a public event, 12:30-1 pm at Chaco Canyon Organic Café, northeast corner of 38th/Alaska.

Four highlights for your West Seattle Wednesday night

March 25, 2015 at 1:50 pm | In West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | No Comments

Before we get too much further into the afternoon, four events to spotlight for tonight:

LAND USE 101 AT WSLUC: Ever wonder how to make your way through so much (or so little) information about development and land use? Hear tonight from two citizen/volunteer/neighborhood experts, Deb Barker and Cindi Barker (no relation), at the West Seattle Land Use Committee meeting. 6 pm, West Seattle (Admiral) Library, lower meeting room. (2306 42nd SW)

HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: 7 pm, SDOT traffic engineer Dongho Chang will be there to talk about the Vision Zero safety plan. HPAC also will hear from District 1 City Council candidate Lisa Herbold. More agenda details here. (12th/Holden)

OPT OUT OF TESTING? That’s one of the topics at a special meeting of the Chief Sealth International High School PTSA, 7 pm tonight – the hot topic of whether to opt out of the Smarter Balanced assessments. Also on the agenda, principal Aida Fraser-Hammer with items including an update on the budget for next school year. The PTSA also is electing an interim president. (2600 SW Thistle)

BENEFIT TRIVIA: 8:30 pm at Talarico’s in The Junction, the Wednesday night trivia is a benefit for the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) Annual Campaign, which provides scholarships for kids’ activities at many local schools – details in our event listing. (4718 California SW)

FOLLOWUP: Why did it take 9 hours to clear toppled truck from Highway 99?

March 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm | In Alaskan Way Viaduct, Transportation, West Seattle news | 57 Comments

(UPDATED 6:07 PM after followup conversation with SPD)

(Reader photo texted shortly after the crash)
12:01 PM: “Why did it take 9 hours?” is the big question today, one day after a truck full of fish went sideways on southbound Highway 99 in the stadium zone, leading to a 9-hour shutdown that clogged traffic citywide. We have some early answers from Seattle Police:

Lincoln Towing responded to the scene with two large tow trucks and one standard-size tow truck.

Eventually Lincoln Towing personnel were able to raise the overturned trailer. However, the load of fish in the trailer’s container had shifted, causing the truck to become unstable. At this point the trailer was upright, but still blocking all southbound lanes. Lincoln Towing determined the trailer’s cargo of would have to be off-loaded in order to stabilize the trailer.

City officials ultimately had to rely on personnel from Seattle Tunnel Partners, and used their heavy equipment to off-load a portion of the container. Once about half of the container’s cargo was removed, the trailer was deemed stable enough to be moved from the viaduct.

STP is WSDOT’s contractor for the Highway 99 tunnel project. All of the above is from a long update published a short time ago on SPD Blotter; it also includes a dispatch-log timeline and aggregated tweets (some of which were featured in our as-it-happens coverage Tuesday afternoon/evening) about the incident.

We also have an inquiry out to Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who chairs the Transportation Committee and has pursued extensive followups on earlier incidents, most notably last June’s 4-mile, 5-hour shutdown after a head-on crash on 99 just south of the West Seattle Bridge. Some of the changes promised in this September followup report/”after-action plan” (embedded below) were clearly in effect yesterday – SPD/SDOT communication, longer hours for the SDOT traffic-management center communicator(s):

But Tuesday’s truck mishap was a completely different type of incident, without a major criminal investigation to complicate things, so it brings up different questions. We’ll update this report with anything more we find out today.

P.S. We’ll mention again that SDOT leaders including director Scott Kubly were already booked for tomorrow night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, 6:30 pm Thursday at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, if you want to ask your own questions and/or hear the answers firsthand.

4:30 PM: Councilmember Rasmussen says he has the same info that you see above from SPD, plus, “I have already requested that SPD and SDOT prepare reports for the Council. We will be scheduling a presentation of their reports to the Council and are working on that date and time now.”

5:26 PM: We talked a short time ago with SPD’s media-relations/public-affairs Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, seeking answers to several followup questions:

First: Commenters asked, couldn’t they just drag the trailer/truck off the highway? No, says Sgt. Whitcomb, there was no way to do that. They tried towing it, dragging it, pushing it; it just wouldn’t work, it wasn’t stable enough, so finally they tried Seattle Tunnel Partners’ heavy equipment. “It was an engineering problem – getting the damaged, jack-knifed truck up on its wheels, stabilized, just took a great deal of time and consideration … determining that additional tools were needed was part of the problem-solving process.”

Could STP have been involved sooner? Maybe, but, “at the heart of it, this was a towing operation,” said Sgt. Whitcomb. The circumstances “would be hard to replicate – complicated by the damage (to) and the position of the truck. It was fortuitous that (STP) were just right there and could help when needed – a spirit of partnership between the state and the city.” (STP is WSDOT’s contractor for the tunnel project.)

He said it was cleared as soon as possible, in the end, and they were at one point afraid it could have taken even longer – “there was a two am conference call planned” at one point, to see what the prospects were for the morning commute. The mayor’s office was notified early on, and the information loop went all the way to the top at SPD, including consultation with Deputy Chief Carmen Best, #2 in command. Originally, he said, they had hoped it would be cleared by the evening commute, but at some point, everyone but those directly involved in the towing/clearing were “spectators.”

Sgt. Whitcomb didn’t have details handy on whose truck it was or what happened to the fish, though he recalled a truck spill in the past (full of Mountain Dew) in which the contents of the trailer had to be disposed of because once there had been a mishap, the items weren’t salable.

So what now? In addition to the reports about the 9-hour closure, the collision remains under investigation, Sgt. Whitcomb said. No indication of DUI, but, he pointed out, generally “somebody will be cited … ‘accidents’ don’t just happen, it’s either mechanical failure or operator error – a rule of the road has been violated and somebody will be cited.” And when it comes to commercial vehicle operation, that kind of ticket is “a big deal,” he notes.

West Seattle whale-watching: Orcas in the area

March 25, 2015 at 10:13 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 1 Comment

Thanks to Norman for the tip via Twitter, and we see the Orca Network Facebook commenters are discussing it too: Orcas turned up along the Bainbridge ferry route earlier this morning and have now been seen heading south along West Seattle (Me-Kwa-Mooks, says Norman) – let us know if you see them!

West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen bicycle; stolen car; mail theft; suspicious person who ‘danced and lit his pipe’

March 25, 2015 at 10:08 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

Four West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports this morning:

STOLEN BICYCLE: That bike’s owner says it was stolen last night around 9:45 pm:

My bike (which happens to be my primary means of transportation) was stolen on the 42XX block of Admiral Way. It was locked to a bike rack in front of Vidiot (a small bar). A report has been filed with the police who drove around for a bit in search of the property. I saw the man ride away but unfortunately could not keep up with him. He was wearing street clothes, had a backpack, and had medium length curly hair. … The police mentioned that stolen bikes are typically ditched after a joy ride or end up in a pawn shop. I’m hoping that if someone sees the bike they can alert the police.

(added) STOLEN CAR: Got word of this just after we publishing this roundup, so we’re adding:

My car was stolen from in front of my house. On 40th Ave SW between Brandon and Findlay. 1994 Honda Accord LX, black with plates AFV7888. Has a sticker like this one on the right side back bumper, maybe a different color. I think I had a Sierra Club sticker in back window, or WTA sticker.

MAILBOX BREAK-IN: From a Highland Park resident:

I just wanted to let you know that we had our mailbox, which is a sturdy locked box, broken into. It looks like they used something to bend the metal, dislodging the locking mechanism. Mail was taken and discarded on the side of our property- I guess they didn’t want our medical bill or mortgage statement :) This happened this weekend while we were out of town. We live on the corner of 17th and Cloverdale.

SUSPICIOUS PERSON: In the 4400 block of 39th SW last night:

We had to call the police … At 10:00 pm, there was a man smoking either crack or meth on our front lawn. He knocked on my door and asked for water. When we asked him to leave, he danced and lit his pipe. We called 911. The police came but said they could not arrest him. They said they would monitor his activity.

ABOUT READER REPORTS: SPD does not routinely make public the detailed reports of most incidents – so unless we get a reader report or happen to cover an incident as it happens, we won’t hear about it, but it’s often helpful for your West Seattle neighbors to know what’s happening and where (not just your block – a stolen car, bike, etc., could turn up miles away). We hope you WON’T ever have anything to report, but if you do, editor@westseattleblog.com … provided you’ve already reported it to the police. For breaking news, 206-293-6302, text or voice, 24/7; thank you!

Global Reading Challenge: Scenes from the finals, featuring teams from West Seattle, Lafayette Elementaries

March 25, 2015 at 9:09 am | In West Seattle books, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 3 Comments

(Tuesday night WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
We went downtown last night for the 20th annual Global Reading Challenge finals, in which West Seattle Elementary‘s Reading Warriors (above) and Lafayette Elementary‘s Rad Radical Hyperactive Jellyfish (below) were among the seven teams that made the cut from around the city.

Even this event was affected by the southbound Highway 99 closure – our area’s teams made it in time, heading northbound, but the start time was postponed so everyone could arrive from the north end. Ahead – scenes from the competition:
Click to read the rest of Global Reading Challenge: Scenes from the finals, featuring teams from West Seattle, Lafayette Elementaries…

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday watch, & what’s ahead

March 25, 2015 at 7:07 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 8 Comments

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Just in case you missed it, yes, southbound 99 finally reopened late last night, nine hours after a truck toppled across the lanes by the stadiums. Not that you’re going that way this morning. (And remember this weekend’s *planned* closures.) So far, otherwise, this commute’s main challenge is the rain.

EARLY RELEASE DAY: Reminder that Seattle Public Schools are out two hours early today.

7:47 AM: Texter says a dump truck is stalled in the left lane on the eastbound bridge by Nucor, so things might be backing up from the Fauntleroy entrance.

8:04 AM: Now the word is that the truck apparently lost a wheel, so this is not just a stall. Looking at the video feed from the city map, the Fauntleroy entrance appears to still be moving OK, so this isn’t catastrophic, so far.

8:41 AM: Haven’t heard confirmation of clearing yet – the video feed shows slow going before the curve, before you’d reach this scene (which itself is out of camera range). (Added below – photo from Robert:)

Also, emergency responders are headed to a crash reported on northbound 99 near the bridge – checking for the exact location on this.

8:50 AM: Fire units are clearing that scene, but SDOT says two lanes are blocked, so backups could persist.

9:04 AM: Thanks to the commenters who’ve explained where the 99 crash is – just past the onramp from the eastbound West Seattle Bridge. Also a truck involved. One lane blocked.

9:16 AM: Fauntleroy access to the bridge is now back up to speed, per the video feed, so we’re thinking the truck’s been moved. We’re off to verify.

10:35 AM: It actually hasn’t yet been moved. Thanks to the texter who sent us an update, even before we made it to an East Admiral overlook from which we could see firsthand (without further complicating traffic ourselves!).

Capt. Pierre Davis returning to lead Southwest Precinct, West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network told

March 24, 2015 at 9:03 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 7 Comments

(WSB photo from January 2014)
Seems the Southwest Precinct is a place you just don’t leave forever. Its next commander, like two of its past three commanders, will be a Seattle Police leader who has spent time at the precinct before. That’s according to what the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network heard tonight from Operations Lt. Ron Smith, who told them his predecessor in that role, Capt. Pierre Davis, will return from the East Precinct to take over the SW Precinct in the aftermath of Steve Wilske‘s promotion to Assistant Chief.

Capt. Davis was SW Precinct operations lieutenant (second in command) for more than three years, and then served briefly in early 2014 as acting SW Precinct commander before Wilske’s arrival, which in turn followed Capt. Joe Kessler‘s second stint here, following 2 1/2 years at the helm for Capt. Steve Paulsen. … A formal citywide announcement of changes is pending. Lt. Smith told the Block Watch Captains it was fitting they be among the first to find out, given their volunteer service in keeping local neighborhoods safe. Their meeting also included a briefing on the new SW Precinct bicycle unit and tips on staying safe from cybercrime – we’ll write up that part of the meeting later.

UPDATE: Southbound 99 reopens after 9-hour closure caused by overturned semitruck full of salmon

March 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm | In Alaskan Way Viaduct, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 141 Comments

(SOUTHBOUND 99 IS OPEN AGAIN AS OF 11:40 PM)


2:39 PM: All lanes of southbound Highway 99 are blocked by an overturned semi-truck in the stadium zone. More to come.

2:55 PM: The southbound Viaduct is now closed at the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel, so if you are headed that way from north of downtown, you’ll have to exit on Denny Way. Otherwise, to head south from downtown, you’ll need to take I-5 or surface streets such as 1st or 4th. We’ll keep updating this since we’re heading into the pm commute.

3:14 PM: This is affecting buses too:


3:22 PM: For those stuck on the Viaduct when this happened, here’s what’s being done:


We have another view of that courtesy of Chi Krneta:

3:43 PM: Still closed. And southbound I-5, we’re told, has a stall on the south side of downtown. Another alternative for getting back to West Seattle: The Water Taxi. Its afternoon schedule is just now starting up:


Here’s the schedule. Meantime:


And a view texted to us:

We’re still trying to find out if there’s any ETA for this being cleared. For now, just assume it’ll be hours, and plot your homeward alternative (or don’t leave until you hear it’s clear).

4:07 PM: SPD says a tow truck’s on the case – but that still doesn’t mean it’ll clear fast:


4:19 PM: Keep in mind that there’s a domino/spillover effect in many other places. For example, if you click around on the live video cameras in the general downtown area accessible via the SDOT Travelers’ Map (lower right) – you’ll see scenes such as vehicles STILL clearing off the Viaduct backward – right now at the Columbia onramp, a bus can be seen backing toward 1st, and someone is directing traffic. Also, via Twitter, SDOT says they’re hoping to have at least one lane open within a half-hour or so.

5:40 PM: SPD now says two tow trucks are on scene.

5:45 PM: And the problem has finally been explained – “a very large load of fish” is what the semi was carrying.

6:11 PM: The Sounders FC/Club Tijuana match has been pushed back to 7:23 pm. And SPD has an update on the semitruck’s driver:


6:33 PM: Latest tweet from the scene – “Responders have separated the tractor from the overturned trailer and are attempting to put the trailer back on its wheels again now.”

6:57 PM: Making progress:


7:12 PM: After 4 1/2 hours, the truck is right-side up again:


7:47 PM: Now they’re moving on to cleanup.

8:19 PM: And that’s not so easy, tweets SDOT: “Trailer contents have shifted, making it unstable to transport. They will detach trailer from truck and pull it off roadway.”

9:30 PM: Now going on 7 hours since this happened. The trailer has to be unloaded before it can be moved. We asked via Twitter, just out of curiosity, what kind of fish? Answer: Salmon.

10:05 PM: Still closed while crews work with the trailer.

10:47 PM: According to discussion just monitored via scanner, the problem is that the trailer remains unstable. It’s about a third empty now and they might try to move it again once it’s half empty. We are now in hour 9 of the total southbound 99 closure from the Battery St. Tunnel southward.

11:34 PM: They’re about to start reopening southbound 99, now that the truck and trailer have been moved successfully. They’re reopening starting at Denny, and then from Columbia.

11:40 PM: Official confirmation, 9 hours after the closure began:


That’s almost twice as long as the much-dissected 5-hour closure in June of last year following a head-on crash south of the West Seattle Bridge. Different circumstances here – no life-threatening injuries, but the wreckage posed a major challenge to clear. Some of what was promised in reports following the June incident (most notably this one) has been implemented, notably longer coverage hours in the city’s Traffic Management Center. We’ll be following up on this tomorrow, and certainly we won’t be the only ones.

11:16 AM WEDNESDAY: We did indeed inquire with SPD this morning. No direct response but they’ve published a long report on SPD Blotter which includes photos and tweets from yesterday (some of which we featured in real-time in this report) – we’re writing a separate story on this.

District 1 City Council race: Dave Montoure no longer running

March 24, 2015 at 2:18 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 31 Comments

2:18 PM: Thanks for the tips: West Seattle entrepreneur Dave Montoure has announced via Facebook that he is no longer running for the District 1 City Council position. That leaves 10 candidates. We are seeking comment; more to come.

3:01 PM: Via e-mail, Montoure confirms his withdrawal, and also gave us permission to republish the statement he posted on his personal FB page:

Friends, family and fellow small business owners. A little over six-weeks ago, I entered the campaign race for Seattle City Council District 1. It’s been a great experience and I have learned a lot from talking to old friends and new acquaintances. However, it is with regret that inform you that I have decided to withdraw from the campaign.

My passion for issues that affect small, independent businesses and the greater prosperity of West Seattle is strong as ever, and I have come to believe that right now, I’m a better advocate as a private citizen than as a politician. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work as simply, Dave.

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

3:37 PM: Added photo from Montoure’s original campaign announcement. And for the record, here’s where the District 1 race stands now:

CANDIDATES: David Ishii (back as of 3/9/2015), Pavel Goberman (declared 3/5/2015), Tom Koch (declared 2/19/15), Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

The next District 1 Candidates’ Forum is scheduled for the 34th District Democrats‘ meeting on April 8th (7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy).

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Port Commission again hears comments on Terminal 5 lease; commissioners say they won’t seek to cancel it

March 24, 2015 at 1:16 pm | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

1:16 PM: We’re back at the Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center for the Port of Seattle Commission‘s regular meeting. Nothing regular about the meetings lately, as the public-comment period two weeks ago ran more than 3 hours, with almost 80 people commenting about the port’s controversial lease with Foss to host part of Shell‘s Arctic-drilling fleet on part of West Seattle’s Terminal 5. The gallery is full again today – more regional media has shown up than two weeks ago, too – and we will chronicle as it goes.

Public testimony is first on the agenda. #1 – A representative of the Building and Construction Trades says they support the lease because of the jobs it will provide and “the dreams of the future. … We would hope the port follows through with this lease so we can build for the future …” #2, Jordan Royer, representing the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, terminal operators and shipping lines. “This is important because it allows you to reinvest into the terminal, to be competitive on the world stage. … We lose the port, we lose manufacturing … My biggest concern is that if for some reason political winds take your eye off the ball and your core business, that it will be difficult to get other maritime businesses to look at this port as competitive.” #3, Emily Johnston from 350.org, refers to the taped comments by Commissioner Bill Bryant published by The Stranger: “‘You silly people,’ leave these decisions to the grownups – that is in effect what (supporters) are saying. … (But) the so-called grownups have failed us … Scientists have told us this is a catastrophic project and the regulatory bodies have failed to step in.” She mentions that the Obama Administration is likely to give permission for Arctic drilling, maybe even today. She says the lease is “supporting catastrophic climate change … You are all addicts, and this is your intervention. … All lives are on the line.” First applause of the meeting. #4, Cameron Williams, with ILWU Local 19, saying he represents about 3,000 dock workers. “I commend the commission for (moving forward with) the lease.”

#5, Paul Stevens, president/CEO of Foss, thanking the commissioners. He notes that 164 are “working to support our project at T-5,” including “101 at the facility,” a dozen of them Foss employees. “We have contributed $3 million in revenue to the port since signing the lease.” He mentions that they expect to bring non-Shell projects in, as well. And he says maritime competition is tough and faced by this area – and that the competitiveness is enhanced if there’s certainty that political pressure won’t affect deals. #6, a man identifying himself as an Edmonds resident. He says opposition to this and to drilling is “alarmism.” #7, Beth Smith of Foss says having local oversight of this project will make a difference. #8, a woman wearing a red T-shirt reading “The People vs. Shell.” She says Greenpeace has a ship in the Pacific “keeping an eye on Shell’s massive drilling ships as they head north” and promises to “shine a light on one of the most dangerous drilling projects in the world.” #9, Zarna, in the same T-shirt, saying she’s with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. She acknowledges that jobs matter, but “Shell and oil workers around the country are striking, and have been striking for 2 months, for health and safety reasons.” She says she has spoken to workers in Anacortes who told her about deaths on the job. “When you say this is about jobs, it’s not true – it’s about money” and says Commissioner John Creighton received campaign contributions from executives of Foss and its parent company Saltchuk. “How much money will it cost to buy you back?” she yells, and presents the commission with a symbolic “blank check.”

#10, another man in the same T-shirt. He says he apologizes to his brothers and sisters in labor, “but jobs go up and down, and particularly with wise leaders, we can increase jobs with good jobs, quality jobs, but the climate is on a descent straight down.” He says Commissioner Bryant’s remarks included ridiculing his kayak, and says he’s sorry that commissioners no longer seemed to be supporting the reasons he voted for them. “I have only a few more years to live. It’s not about me … (future generations) are going to live with (the results of this). We have a blessing here, and we’re destroying it for money – Shell profit. I like Foss, Foss has been around a long time, has done a good job, but Foss has sold their name to Shell.”

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE CONTINUES AFTER THE JUMP:
Click to read the rest of AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Port Commission again hears comments on Terminal 5 lease; commissioners say they won’t seek to cancel it…

VIDEO: West Seattle YMCA preschoolers show off healthy-food know-how for high-ranking visitor

March 24, 2015 at 12:24 pm | In Health, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(WSB photos/video by Patrick Sand)
Are West Seattle kids getting enough healthy food? Kevin Concannon, the USDA’s Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, visited this morning to find out. We caught up with him at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) Preschool (with him in the photo above is Emilia Holbik from the Y). They made a smoothie for him.

And here’s what he had to say about it:

The Y’s focus is on food as well as fitness, so they showcased this as an example of nutrition-focused activities in which their students regularly participate.

After his stop at the YMCA Preschool, Under Secretary Concannon was headed to West Seattle Elementary.

Next Page »

All contents copyright 2005-2015, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^