WEST SEATTLE WHALE-WATCHING: Humpbacks in Elliott Bay

Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip – humpback whales have been off West Seattle much of the afternoon, and are in Elliott Bay at last report. One Orca Network commenter reports seeing them from the Water Taxi. Not sure how to ID a humpback? Here’s some help from The Whale Trail.

CLOSURE UPDATE: West Seattle ‘low bridge’ repair work continues

As you’re hopefully well aware by now, the West Seattle “low bridge” – officially, the Spokane Street Swing Bridge – is closed to non-maritime traffic so repairs can be made after a hydraulic-fluid leak. No new estimate for when it’ll reopen – it’s been closed since Wednesday night, with an estimate of “at least a week” – but SDOT has provided another update on the work, with photos, including:

Today, crews repairing the West Seattle Lower Bridge are pulling electrical conduit and casings from the western bridge support machine room.

They need to reach and replace damaged hydraulics that move the west side of the swing bridge – work that will take several days.

The city-provided van shuttles for bicycle riders continue until 7 pm tonight at both approaches to the low bridge, departing approximately every 20 minutes. Riders who would rather try the detour – across the 1st Avenue South Bridge – have two new ways to check it out, thanks to fellow riders:

1. Don Brubeck of West Seattle Bike Connections sent a RideWithGPS map that he and Bill Gobie created, complete with cue sheet – see it here.

2. Robert Sverci made this video with a first-person view of the ride:

The Water Taxi runs 7 days a week this time of year – you can see the West Seattle schedule here. And whatever mode you’re using, you can check area traffic cameras including the high-level bridge on the WSB West Seattle Traffic page.

P.S. Thanks for all the extra tips on traffic problems during the closure – the best way to get info to us instantly, 24/7, is 206-293-6302, text or voice.

SATURDAY: All-you-can-eat pancakes for Chief Sealth International High School football program

School’s out for summer – but fall is right around the corner. Among those very aware of that – those involved with fall sports! Like the Chief Sealth International High School football team, which is raising money for new headsets, dummies, and sleds. As part of that, they’re serving all-you-can-eat pancakes for $5 tomorrow morning, 10 am-noon (Saturday, June 23rd), in the Denny International Middle School Galleria (2601 SW Kenyon, adjacent to Sealth). Just show up – tickets will be available at the door! (Thanks to Jeanette for the tip.)

VIDEO: A tale of two Highway 99 closures – this weekend, and this fall, which will be longer than you’ve heard

(WSB photo: Construction zone just south of southern Highway 99 tunnel portal)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

For the first time in a while, the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program invited the media into the project zone outside the tunnel – not for a tunnel update, but to talk about two closures.

First one is the one we’ve been reminding you about daily since last weekend – 9 pm tonight until 6 am Sunday, southbound 99 is closing between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge. When it reopens, the stretch just north of the stadium zone will be realigned – a little less curvy, basically; not the final configuration, but closer to it. Here are WSDOT-provided images with the before and after – the U-shaped structure at the top of both views is the Atlantic Street overpass:

This won’t be a major change but it’s important for the project – WSDOT’s viaduct-to-tunnel program boss Dave Sowers explained at the briefing that this is part of getting 99 ready for connections to the tunnel and ramps in the area that will carry non-tunnel-bound 99 users into downtown post-viaduct.

Speaking of which, an update on the big tunnel-to-viaduct closure (likely this fall) was the other part of the briefing, and there’s something new for West Seattle drivers/riders – non-tunnel northbound traffic will be affected beyond the main closure itself. We’ll get into that next but first, here’s our video of the entire briefing and media Q&A in case you’d like to watch/listen for yourself:

The first thing to stress: No, there’s still no date for the three-weeks-or-so viaduct-to-tunnel closure. WSDOT hopes to be able to announce it about a month in advance, and currently expects the contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners will officially hand off the tunnel in late August. Sowers said their biggest goal is to have the tunnel open by Thanksgiving, but it could of course be sooner.

While the three-week closure itself isn’t news – we’ve reported it multiple times before – this is: West Seattleites need to know that even when the three-week closure is over and the tunnel is open, the main pre-tunnel ramp from northbound 99 into downtown – Dearborn Street – will not be ready for up to two MORE weeks. So your main paths into downtown until then will be via the low bridge/Spokane Street, or 1st or 4th or I-5 off the eastbound West Seattle Bridge – if you’re not tunnel-bound, you won’t be able to use NB 99 between here and downtown until Dearborn is ready to go.

WSDOT says it’s of course working with other agencies/services including Metro, the Water Taxi, and SDOT to coordinate planning, but they want you to start preparing too, so they’re starting to sound the alerts now.

Something else new: Viaduct demolition, post-closure, is expected to take about six months. That’s a shorter timeframe than previously mentioned. The contractor Kiewit will start at Columbia Street and at the “Pike hillclimb area.” Some work might even begin before year’s end, if the tunnel really does open by November, according to Sowers.

Though the briefing wasn’t about the tunnel itself, we asked what’s going on underground right now. Sowers said the roadway’s built and much of what’s happening now is testing, testing, testing. The tunnel includes “more than 5,000 different instruments” and they not only have to be tested individually, but project managers have to be sure those systems are “talking to each other.” They’re also striping and installing signs.

WSDOT is continuing to put more information about the project and the viaduct-to-tunnel transition online, with an easy-to-remember website: 99tunnel.com. And watch for word of another short-term closure later this summer like the one that’s set for 9 pm tonight through 6 am Sunday – Sowers said they’re trying to figure out the least-impactful dates.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Truck breakdown on eastbound bridge

11:55 AM: Thanks to Jeff for the tip – confirmed by SDOT, which tweeted the image above: A broken-down truck is blocking the left lane on the eastbound West Seattle Bridge just past 1st Avenue S., and that’s extra trouble given the unavailability of the “low bridge” as a detour. So if you have to head east, you might want to wait a while.

UPDATE: SDOT says this was cleared just before 1 pm.

West Seattle Friday: First full day of summer!


(Sunset earlier this week, photographed from Alki by David Hutchinson)

Today is the first full day of summer, which arrived very early Thursday. And as mentioned in the morning traffic coverage, it’s the last day of school for Seattle Public Schools. The calendar’s pretty quiet but we do have a few highlights:

COLMAN POOL: Remember that the outdoor saltwater pool on the shore at Lincoln Park is now open 7 days a week, with swim sessions noon-7 pm. (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW)

GAME ON! Last day of school, and students are invited to celebrate with games at High Point Library, 2-4:30 pm. (3411 SW Raymond)

STEVE ITTERLY: Singer-songwriter performs at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)

‘HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH’: The “off-Broadway smash hit” has a 7:30 pm curtain time tonight at ArtsWest and a few tickets remained when we checked. (4711 California SW)

BOBCAT & SHADOW CATS: Live music at The Skylark, doors at 8, music at 9, $8 cover, 21+. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

TONIGHT’S SUNSET … 9:10 pm. You can always check the sun/moon times (and some other things) on the WSB West Seattle Weather page.

PREVIEW THE WEEKEND … via our complete calendar!

SPORTS: Final days for West Seattle Soccer Club fall signups! Plus, anniversary party planning

Two things the West Seattle Soccer Club wants to make sure you know – sent by Tim McMonigle:

With almost a thousand players already registered, we are rapidly coming to the end of our open registration period for the West Seattle Soccer Club 2018 fall season. After July 1, players will only be placed if there is room available on a team. The club exists for players from 5-18 years old, so please register before the deadline.

Play begins right after Labor Day, and will end before Thanksgiving for most ages. The older teams may have some games into early December. Hopefully the World Cup will motivate the players to get out on the pitch to show their stuff.

Also, this is WSSC’s 50th Anniversary, having started in our community in 1968. We are planning a celebration for (new date) September 8th, and hopefully will have some of our founders and early soccer participants available to share stories, along with a lot of food and fun events. If you were part of the WSSC in the late ’60s/early ’70s, please contact us at wsscboard@gmail.com. We’d love to see some old team photos and stories of the early years of our program.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday watch, with low-bridge closure continuing and SB 99 closure starting tonight

6:51 AM: We again start our morning-traffic watch with a reminder that the “low bridge” remains closed to all non-maritime traffic:

SDOT says the “low bridge” emergency repairs will continue until the middle of next week. The commute-times shuttle for bicycle riders has been extended to last the entire closure. Meantime, if you are riding the West Seattle Water Taxi instead, here’s the schedule.

Our other regular cameras:

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links)

No incidents reported so far otherwise, in/from West Seattle.

SB 99 CLOSURE: Tonight at 9 pm through Sunday at 6 am, southbound Highway 99 will be closed between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge, for tunnel-related work. We’ll take a closer look at that later this morning.

LAST DAY OF SCHOOL: Final day of classes for Seattle Public Schools, with one-hour-early dismissal.

7:13 AM: Transit alert just texted/tweeted by Metro:

CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle High School Class of 2018 graduates

The field lights were on, the caps were up, and West Seattle High School‘s Class of 2018 graduates were off to their respective futures as their commencement ceremony concluded around sunset at Southwest Athletic Complex.

Student-body president Lillian Murphy welcomed all by declaring that “West Seattle is an awesome school for so many reasons.”

She cited three – a “generous, supportive community”; a staff from which there “always seems to be …someone in the building who has inspired us … to pursue our goals”; and her classmates, saying she has made friends she expects to keep for life. “I truly believe we are leaving as a unified class … I am excited for our future.” This is the school’s 100th graduating class, so her alma mater has a lot of past, too. And she brought that number back in a quote from Drake, “All I ever asked is keep it eight more than 92 with me, one hundred.”

Next, the student-chosen faculty speaker, class adviser Sean Riley.

He hailed the grads for “arriving at this moment … of autonomy …Now you get to make your own laws, on how you get to live.” He reminded them that they “do have powers,” including zaniness, audacity, artistic vulnerability, physical majesty, resolve, and more. The seniors had thrived to “reach this moment of rich and ripe autonomy … it’s the daily freedoms that build the only currency that matters … self-respect.” On the freeway of life, they can pull over to ponder the joy of existence. From Mary Oliver‘s poem “Summer Day,” he quoted the question, “What is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?”

Valedictorian Madalyn Stewart spoke next.

She acknowledged that “much of high school has been a blur,” so, she said, it’s vital to not take for granted “those who have been there for us” – family, friends, teachers, coaches. “It feels like those before us really didn’t want us to have it easy,” she said, while expressing confidence that her peers are ready to “change the world. … You will never meet a more bright, outspoken group of students. … We are the next doctors, actors, female presidents” – that drew cheers – “and more.”

First-year principal Brian Vance then started what he called a new tradition:

Not long after he led that spirited W, E, S, T, S, I, D, E cheer, Vance turned somber, with a tribute to Avery Scheit, a Class of 2018 member who died of a sudden illness in March, a young woman “who always will be remembered as a caring and loving friend.” An empty chair had been placed in her honor, and a moment of silence was observed.

Declaring that his first WSHS graduating class had set a “new bar to reach’ for those that will follow, Vance presented the class to West Seattle’s school board rep, board president Leslie Harris (below right, entering the stadium with Vance and other faculty).

She advised them to “be kind, be fierce, be lifelong learners, come home and show us where you’re going, because you guys are going to amazing places, and, last … vote. … You can change the world, and it needs changing.”

With that, and with the principal’s spirited, “Let’s do this!” it was diploma time. But that didn’t end the ceremony; the presentations were followed by Alec Maroon‘s “Lessons of Life” speech.

He wished everyone a Happy Solstice (summer arrived just after 3 am today) – “it’s also the first day of the rest of our lives.” He said the word “journey” informed his speech – “the journey that has brought us all here today, and that we will continue to go on tomorrow.” Tomorrow will bring a new start, he added, also noting that kindness, respect, attitude are choices – and he quoted Maya Angelou, that people will never forget how you made them feel.

“All right people, we made it thus far, we might as well go out with a bang,” began the performer who followed, Zoser Dunbar.

“Love can change the world in a moment, but what do I know,” he sang, full of optimism, before the tassel-turning, and the school song.

According to the program, this year’s WSHS graduates number more than 240.

CONGRATULATIONS! Chief Sealth International High School Class of 2018 graduates


Now launched out into the world – the Chief Sealth International High School Class of 2018, in the first of tonight’s two commencement ceremonies at Southwest Athletic Complex.

The Sacred Waters Canoe Family sang a “victory song” toward the start of the ceremony, which also was attended by dignitaries including deputy superintendent Stephen Nielsen, a Sealth alumnus. Principal Aida Fraser-Hammer delivered words of thanks to the faculties of Sealth’s feeder schools: “You taught these students to investigate their world, to challenge the status quo …” She congratulated valedictorian Zhen Williams and salutatorian Rumi Conley; she noted that gold cords marked those graduating with GPAs of at least 3.2. She also noted that the school had ben touched by tragedy, including the murder of sophomore Derek “Peachy” Juarez-Lopez just before classes began. But she also offered words of celebration for students who led social-justice actions in support of causes including gun safety and racial equity. And she mentioned the students who shone in athletics including Quinn Wiley and Elijah Jackson, as well as academic-related pursuits such as Mock Trial, and musical/artistic endeavors. “As you can see, there’s a lot to be proud of.” No one knows that more than the family, friends, and community members, and the students were asked to turn and salute them too.

Featured faculty speaker was social-studies teacher Matt Baudhuin, who started at the school when this year’s seniors were freshmen.

“Of all the classes I’ve had, no one has pretended to laugh more at my jokes than you guys.” So he offered a few more. The students, in turn, held up fake beards they’d made in tribute:

And then he turned serious, quoting from Maya Angelou, “Just Do Right” … including “Try to be the best human being you can. … This is your life, your world, you make your own choices. … It is up to us to just do right.”

Student speaker Gregorio Avalos followed, first acknowledging that not only is the school on Native lands, but that it’s named after Chief Sealth.

Then: “Four years felt like four months.” He shared memories going back even further, all the way to elementary school at Concord. He expressed gratitude to those who’ve been part of his life, and for this day as a chance to “be very proud of ourselves to know we overcame many barriers and obstacles” to reach this milestone.

Following him, “lunch lady Doree” (Fazio-Young), who joked she hadn’t seen some of them since she “threw PB&J’s at them in 8th grade.”

She graduated from CSIHS in the class of 1978. “One thing has remained the same – tonight you’ll receive a piece of paper, a piece of paper you’ve earned.” She urged them, “Never forget where you came from.” She hadn’t imagined she would wind up serving lunch to students for 26 (so far) years – but she says it’s exactly where she’s meant to be. “I got old, you grew up.” And she left them with the words “Choose your roads wisely … I love you.”

Another student speaker, Lauryn Haywood, spoke next, beginning with a Dr. Seuss quote that start “You have brains in your head, feet in your shoes” (read the entire quote here).

She acknowledged nervousness at looking to the future, but also excitement. “The future is in our hands .. we are the future doctors, lawmakers, inventors … the people who will create change. … We can accomplish whatever we choose.”

Then, the big moment(s) – diplomas, smiles, and cheers:

According to the ceremony program, this year’s CSIHS graduating class numbered 229.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: 3 guns seized after early-morning search; more car prowls

Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes:

EARLY-MORNING INCIDENT NEAR 20TH/BARTON: We got some questions today about an early-morning police search in the 20th/Barton vicinity. Following up took some time – the full report wasn’t available, but we did get some information from Southwest Precinct Lt. Steve Strand. Police responded to a report of “a person with a gun,” he says, and while that person got away, a second armed suspect – “a convicted felon” – was found and three guns, one stolen, were found too. A rental truck associated with the call was impounded, awaiting a search warrant. No one was shot, no shots fired, but someone “had been maced somewhere along the way,” Lt. Strand added.

GATEWOOD CAR PROWL: Caught on security video around 5:30 am, near California/Ida:

I don’t think it would have been visible from the street but apparently we left our minivan unlocked with the window down last night and this guy took the opportunity to make off with a couple of gift cards. … That black car behind him is what he pulled up in.

Police report # is 18-226065.

NEW WEST SEATTLE BAR: The Alley to open in the back of Be’s Restaurant

(WSB photos. Above, Jade Nguyen and Tony Larson)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Soon to join the West Seattle bar scene: The Alley.

Jade Nguyen explains that her parents – who have operated Be’s Restaurant in The Junction for more than 30 years – wanted to open a bar.

The private room in the rear of the restaurant at 4509 California SW, which hadn’t undergone much updating over the years, seemed like the perfect space.

So it’s undergone a transformation in recent months – with Jade teaming with veteran local bar specialist Tony Larson to create a space with a “speakeasy” motif. We talked there with Jade and Tony earlier this week.

The lighting will be dim; the decor and cocktails will transport you back in time to the Prohibition-era. Even the bartenders/servers’ uniforms and chilled glassware will be intended to enhance the mood.

Tony says he is “huge on bars as a place for people to talk, to put your phone down.” The Alley will be that kind of place.

You’ll enter from the alley, one door down from California/Oregon. There might not even be signage. Probably just a light to let you know you’re in the right place. Most of the drinks will be familiar: “a decent-sized menu, about two dozen cocktails, you’ll recognize most of them.” Manhattans, for example. And Sazeracs. And some “new classics,” promises Tony, who will do some bartending in the early going too (you might know him from the launch team at Alchemy [WSB sponsor]).

Music? Jazz, says Jade, who has also been working on the decor – The Alley’s somewhat industrial-looking legacy windows will be covered by velvet drapes; a crystal chandelier catches your eye over the corner “lounge” area on one end of the bar. Other touches include an antique fireplace grate and some wall bricks that are newly installed but look like they’ve long been in place.

Food? Small bites. And before too long, you’ll be able to dine next door, as Jade says she expects to expand Be’s dinner offerings into later hours once the bar’s open – Vietnamese food, in particular (she’s working on a new menu for that).

Hours for The Alley will be 4 pm to midnight Sundays-Thursdays, 4 pm-2 am Fridays and Saturdays. Happy hour 4 pm-6 pm. They expect to be open by West Seattle Summer Fest Eve (July 12th).

Second-to-last day of school makes a splash at Highland Park Elementary

Big fun at Highland Park Elementary on this second-to-last day of school – a Field Day celebration! Thanks for HPE’s PE teacher Chellie LaFayette for inviting us to stop by. Third- through fifth-grade students had fun for an hour and a half in the morning, which is when we visited:

Then in the afternoon, preschoolers through second-graders got their turn, and the school day was scheduled to end with free balls for everybody courtesy of the YES Foundation. P.S. The district’s school year ends with one-hour-early dismissal tomorrow.

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle High School hires new head football coach; prospective players invited to meet-and-greet

Last week, we reported that West Seattle High School was looking for a new head football coach after Marcis Fennell‘s resignation. Today, there’s word a new coach is on board and inviting prospective players to a meet-and-greet pizza party tomorrow:

“The WSHS team is extending an open invitation to a Pizza Party Meet & Greet with the awesome new head football coach, Jeff Scott, and his coaching staff. Any potential football players are invited to come and learn more about the team. Incoming Freshmen as well as any upperclassmen are welcome! If you know a student who loves football but is unsure about their experience or ability, or the practice schedule, come have some pizza with the team and check it out. The Wildcats have only had a few practices so far in spring training so it’s not too late to suit up and be a part of the action. Join us Friday afternoon at 4 pm at the Hiawatha football field, adjacent to the high school.

LOW-BRIDGE CLOSURE NOTES: Warning signs fixed; West Seattle Water Taxi update; bicycle shuttle extended

Two Three notes related to the West Seattle “low bridge” closure that’s expected to last at least a week:

WARNING SIGNS: As mentioned in our morning traffic coverage, the long-broken, reported-but-not-fixed “use high-level bridge” sign on Delridge suddenly became a crisis with the bridge closure. One reader escalated it to Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who in turn escalated it to SDOT, saying the sign needs to be fixed immediately. Herbold staffer Newell Aldrich just forwarded this update from SDOT:

Crews have fixed two flashers for the “When flashing use high level bridge” signs on Delridge Way SW. They are working to fix the others on Admiral Way SW and SW Spokane St.

BIKES ON THE WATER TAXI: Since the bridge closure has taken out the main route for bicycles, some are using the West Seattle Water Taxi. We asked spokesperson Brent Champaco if there was an uptick this morning. He replied, “Although we don’t officially count bikes boarding the West Seattle route, our crew reported a surge in bikes onboard this morning.” He added: “As a side note related to this, we actually had plans to pull the Doc Maynard out of service next Monday through Wednesday for some maintenance work, which would have placed the Spirit of Kingston in service. However, due to the emergency closure, we decided to postpone that maintenance until later in July to provide additional passenger and bike capacity (the Doc Maynard holds ten more bikes than the Spirit of Kingston).” The bike rack on Doc Maynard, which became the main WS vessel two years ago, has an official capacity of 26 bicycles. (3:34 PM UPDATE: Regarding ridership rise today, Champaco tells WSB, “Ridership for the morning commute was up 12.5 percent over yesterday’s ridership.:

ADDED 12:57 PM – BICYCLE SHUTTLE EXTENDED: Just in from SDOT:

Inspections are underway following last night’s emergency low-level West Seattle Bridge “closure” – essentially a forced extended opening to enable inspection and repairs. With bicyclists impacted significantly, to reach alternative routes over the Duwamish River, we will continue van service for bicycle commuters and evaluate use throughout the week.

·Shuttles for bicyclists operating during heavy commute hours: 6 to 10 AM and 3 to 7PM .

More details to come, on bridge damage associated with hydraulic fluid leakage. The leak is inside a machine room that holds the huge cylinders which turn the bridge sections in for roadway traffic and out for marine traffic.

West Seattle Thursday: Graduation night for CSIHS and WSHS; Fix-It Party; more!

(Bald Eagle, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

Busy Thursday, so here’s a quick look at some of what’s ahead:

VOLUNTEER FAIR AT THE MOUNT: Ever thought of volunteering at Providence Mount St. Vincent? 2-8 pm, stop by the Volunteer Fair and explore the possibilities. (4831 35th SW)

TRIANGLE ROUTE TASK FORCE: This Washington State Ferries advisory committee meets at Fauntleroy Church at 4:30 pm. Here’s the agenda. (9140 California SW)

CHIEF SEALTH INTERNATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION: 5 pm ceremony at Southwest Athletic Complex. (2801 SW Thistle)

FIX-IT PARTY … with the West Seattle Timebank, West Seattle Tool Library, and Sustainable West Seattle, 6:30-8 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center: “Bring your torn, your too-long, your cracked, your miswired, your I-think I’m-doing-it-wrong and get some help, advice, and restore your stuff to its former glory.” Potluck, too! (4408 Delridge Way SW)

ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: Special-event planning and vehicle noise are on tonight’s agenda, 7 pm at Alki UCC. (6115 SW Hinds)

WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION: 8 pm ceremony at Southwest Athletic Complex. (2801 SW Thistle)

SEE LOTS MORE FOR TODAY, TONIGHT, BEYOND … on our complete-calendar page!

SUMMER CAMP: Volleyball @ West Seattle High School

Tomorrow’s the last day of school in Seattle Public Schools – if you’re still finalizing summer plans, this invitation from West Seattle High School‘s new volleyball coach Abby West might be of interest:

The West Seattle High School Volleyball Team is hosting its first annual Wildcat Volleyball Mini-Camp for rising 5th-8th graders. It will be in the West Seattle High School gymnasium July 25th, 26th, and 27th from 9:00 am-12:00 pm. The camp is designed to introduce and improve team and individual skills for young people of all skill levels. We hope the camp will instill a passion for the sport of volleyball and help all campers understand the importance of positivity, enthusiasm, hard work, and teamwork. We facilitate a safe and fun environment to help campers make friends, enjoy their time with us, and learn about the sport! All genders are welcome! If you have questions or would like to obtain a registration form, email abby.west1@gmail.com

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday watch, with low bridge CLOSED for at least a week

6:43 AM: We start our morning-traffic watch with a reminder that the “low bridge” is closed to all non-maritime traffic and expected to remain so for at least a week:

While the “low bridge” undergoes emergency repairs, SDOT’s detour advice is here. Some bicycle riders who usually use that bridge are riding the West Seattle Water Taxi instead; no early line, Scott reports. Here’s the schedule.

Meantime, our other regular cameras:

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links)

No incidents reported so far otherwise.

6:58 AM: Ann reports that the “use the high bridge, not the low bridge” sign on Delridge was NOT flashing when she went by.

9:32 AM: Problem-free commute. We’re checking with the King County Water Taxi to see how/if bike usage increased – Kevin reported this along the way:

TRAFFIC ALERT: West Seattle ‘low bridge’ now closed for at least a week

Just a reminder – that’s what you’ll see at the west end of the West Seattle “low bridge” across the Duwamish River, officially the Spokane Street Swing Bridge, now closed for at least a week of emergency repairs. SDOT’s sudden shutdown of the 27-year-old bridge – one of a kind – was announced just a few hours in advance. Discussion following our first story published this afternoon includes some helpful information and reader-to-reader Q&A about getting around; SDOT advises bicycle riders to use the 1st Avenue S. Bridge:

From West Seattle:

Detour signs are placed at the West Seattle Bridge Trail, to head south along West Marginal Way; crossing SW Michigan St onto 1st Ave S

From SODO:

Detour signs are placed along 1st Ave S to continue south, to SW Michigan St

If you are on foot or on two wheels, the West Seattle Water Taxi also will get you across the bay – here’s the schedule.

TRAFFIC INFO DURING THE CLOSURE: We track traffic/transit every morning and will be keeping even closer watch during this closure, starting earlier in the morning as of tomorrow. And as we’ve been mentioning since last weekend, remember that SB Highway 99 will be closed between downtown and the West Seattle Bridge from Friday night until Sunday morning. And you can check West Seattle-relevant traffic cams on this WSB page any time.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: 1 neighborhood, multiple burglaries; plus, two followups, including the fish-theft case

In West Seattle Crime Watch:

SOUTH DELRIDGE BURGLARIES: On Sunday and Monday, we reported on early-morning burglaries in the South Delridge area while people were home. No one asked police about them at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, so we asked Capt. Pierre Davis if police believed they were related, and he said no. We heard from a worried neighbor this afternoon and she said police are now telling them otherwise – that at least two have similar MO’s, with the burglar coming into the resident’s bedroom. There have been at least four: Two reports in the 9400 block of 13th SW, early Sunday and early Tuesday; one in the 9200 block of 12th SW early Tuesday; and the one we detailed, early Sunday in the 9000 block of 11th SW.

CAR PROWLS: At least two overnight in 40th SW and SW Charlestown vicinity, per a brief texted reader report.

Two repeat-offender updates:

GREGORY L. THOMPSON: The Puget Ridge resident is now charged in the fish-theft case as well as with alleged witness intimidation, and he remains in jail with bail set at $325,000, a combination of current and previous cases. Charging documents tell the same story about the intimidation charge that we reported from probable-cause documents earlier this week – Thompson is accused of going to the home of the owner of a vehicle he is charged with stealing, and shooting out the vehicle’s window. But the charging papers also include new information about the saga of the stolen fish. Police found it while searching his house on a warrant related to the other case. Police say a purple Ford Explorer associated with Thompson left his house around 3 am Thursday and didn’t return until about quarter till 8 am (the fish theft is reported to have happened around 7:30). Early Friday, they served the search warrant at his house, but, the documents say, they actually arrested Thompson in White Center. At his house, the documents say, hundreds of rounds of ammunition were found as well as bb and Airsoft guns. Plus: “Detectives also located several large Styrofoam boxes marked Seattle Fish Company and at least 2 boxes containing 4 large cans of crabmeat stacked in the garage.” The charging document says this happened when Thompson was questioned about the fish:

Thompson initially denied ever being at the company. He later changed his story saying he was there and was with a friend named “Alex Harris” who had allegedly made a deal for the product. Later his story changed saying “Alex” was not with him. Thompson admitted to taking and loading several boxes into his truck and taking them to “Alex’s” place stating none of the product would be at his house. Thompson even went so far as to agree to recover the seafood from “Alex” if he called him.
When confronted with the fact detectives had located boxes of products from the Seattle Fish Company stacked in his garage and would like his consent to recover them, Thompson replied saying he would give consent if he could go home rather than being booked into KCJ, but otherwise no. A King County Superior Court addendum to the search warrant was completed and approved to recover the stolen seafood.

Thompson, police say, was never able to connect them with the mysterious “Alex,” who he said looked a lot like him. He remains in jail as of last check, and is due to go to trial later this month in connection with other cases.

NICHOLAS D. WATSON: When last we mentioned this repeat offender in a comment discussion, there was a warrant out for his arrest. Looks like police finally caught up with him. He is jailed in connection with three failure-to-appear warrants in two stolen-car cases and one burglary case, bail set at $125,000.

SEEN FROM WEST SEATTLE: The SODO fire that sent up all that smoke

7:33 PM: Thanks to those who sent photos (the one above is from Jamie) – the smoke you are (or were) seeing is from what Seattle Fire has initially described as an RV fire that spread to a building at Colorado and Hanford in SODO [map].

7:37 PM: SFD says the fire’s out and no injuries were reported.

8:28 PM: Since we were in the area, headed back from the light-rail meeting, we checked out the aftermath:

The SFD crew that remained on scene confirmed no one hurt and no significant damage to the building, which is open-faced and holds metal materials.

ADDED 11:56 PM: Bill Gobie sent this video:

This was along his route home.

Crash at 46th/Massachusetts sends 1 to hospital

Thanks to Todd for the photos from this afternoon’s crash at 46th SW and SW Massachusetts [map] in North Admiral. The call was at some point upgraded to “rescue extrication” (formerly “heavy rescue”) because the white car’s driver had to be extricated.

We couldn’t get to the scene in the early going because we were en route to cover the light-rail Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting; we did get someone there before the scene totally cleared and they tell us one man went to the hospital, with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

CLOSURE ALERT: West Seattle ‘low bridge’ closing for at least a week, starting tonight, for ’emergency repairs’

3:38 PM: Thanks for the tip. SDOT has finally just confirmed that the West Seattle “low bridge” will close starting tonight for emergency repairs. So far, just a tweet – we’re seeking more details – sources from whom we heard say it could last for days.

4:03 PM: SDOT has just provided more information, confirming that the closure is expected to last a week or more:

During a routine inspection, our bridge operators discovered a hydraulic fluid leak on the Spokane St Swing Bridge (aka West Seattle Low-Level Bridge).

To protect the safety of travelers and mitigate potentially costly cumulative damages, we will be conducting emergency repairs starting at 8 PM tonight, 6/20/18. The bridge will swing out of commission for a week or more and will be closed to vehicle traffic but open to marine vessels.

The leak is in one of the cylinder seals, shown above. To determine the extent of the damage, the bridge must be swung out in its open position and remain there during repairs.

… It’s hoped the repair will be complete by the middle of next week, but that cannot be confirmed until the cylinder is opened and more thoroughly investigated for damage.

Detour information is here, including word of van service *tonight only* for bicycle riders, to get them across the Duwamish, and detour maps for tomorrow and beyond.

6:07 PM: The detour points are now listed as text bullet points in the SDOT post:

Vehicle Detour Routes will begin at 8 PM and be clearly marked at the following locations:

Chelan Ave SW
1st Ave S
E Marginal
Harbor

✔ Bike Riders:

From West Seattle:

Detour signs are placed at the West Seattle Bridge Trail, to head south along West Marginal Way; crossing SW Michigan St onto 1st Ave S

From SODO:

Detour signs are placed along 1st Ave S to continue south, to SW Michigan St

6:44 PM NOTE: Since we’ll be heading back from downtown (light-rail meeting coverage) around the time the bridge is scheduled to close, we’ll be going that way for an update on whatever’s happening.

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