West Seattle, Washington
(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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
2:02 PM: Two weeks ago, we reported that SDOT told a City Council committee the Harbor Avenue SW speed-limit drop from 35 mph to 30 mph would happen “soon.”
Now we have a date: Tomorrow. And a reader just called to say that signage is going up – we’re off to check.
SDOT originally planned to reduce speed limits on five West Seattle arterials, including Harbor, by the end of 2015, but the changes have been rolling out more slowly.
2:50 PM: Down here on Harbor, all the signage we’re seeing so far says 25 mph, not 30 as announced. We’re checking with SDOT.
4:08 PM: SDOT spokesperson Sue Romero just confirmed to WSB that those are the wrong signs: “We are redirecting a crew to install the proper signs, which will be 30 mph, before the end of the day today.”
P.S. This isn’t the first mistake involving speed-limit signs in our area – remember the “20 HPM” signs two years ago?
10:36 PM: We went back to Harbor Avenue to check:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 26, 2017
(2015 photo by Long Bach Nguyen)
We’ve arrived at the time of year when you don’t have to be in the sky or on the water for a good look at the historic Alki Point Lighthouse. Summer tour season starts this weekend! From Debra Alderman on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary:
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will again be leading free tours for the public at the Alki Point Lighthouse most Saturday and Sunday afternoons Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.
This weekend the group plans to offer tours on Saturday, Sunday, and Memorial Day Monday as well.
Hours: 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. (last group enters site at 3:40 p.m.)
All ages welcome, but only those 6 and up may go to the very top of the lighthouse tower.
The Lighthouse is at 3201 Alki Ave. SW. Questions? email@example.com
If you use Highway 509 just south of West Seattle/White Center/South Park, you’ll want to know about a big project that’s about to get going – repaving northbound 509 between S. 112th and S. 168th, starting in about a week and a half. The project also will replace sections of guardrail with concrete barrier, and that work will require some lane closures on the southbound side too. The project page is here; today’s news release with project details is here.
(Wednesday sunset photo from Constellation Park, by Vy Duong)
Here’s what’s big today/tonight!
LOW-LOW TIDES BEGIN: Tides get really low during the holiday weekend, and it starts today with a -2.5 foot low-low tide at 11:12 am. Go beach-walking … but tread lightly!
BEER TASTING AND VETERANS’ FUNDRAISER: Pelican Brewing is at The Beer Junction 5-8 pm and half the proceeds go to the West Seattle VFW, with Memorial Day poppies being distributed too – details in our calendar listing. (4511 California SW)
HIGHLAND PARK FIND IT, FIX IT WALK: Doors open at Highland Park Improvement Club at 5:30 pm for pre-walk mingling, and then the walk starts at 6:30 pm – see the map and description of planned stops in our preview (if you can’t join at the start, join along the way). This is your chance to come show city leaders (including department heads as well as elected officials) what you want to see fixed in Highland Park. (1116 SW Holden)
WSHS STUDENT SHOWCASE/13TH YEAR PROMISE SCHOLARSHIP EVENT: 6 pm at West Seattle High School, more than 100 career-tech student projects are on display, and the event also will include information about the 13th Year Promise Scholarship – one free year of college – adding WSHS in a year. Details in our calendar listing; all welcome. (3000 California SW)
2-DEVELOPMENT PUBLIC MEETING: 6 pm tonight at the Senior Center/Sisson Building, the city is convening a by-request public-comment meeting about two microhousing projects in one block of California SW, 5952 and 6016, as previewed here. (4217 SW Oregon)
TASTE OF WEST SEATTLE: The big West Seattle Helpline fundraiser at The Hall at Fauntleroy, with more than 40 food/beverage providers is tonight. Helpline says “a limited number of tickets” for 6:30 pm general admission are expected to be available at the door. (9131 California SW)
MUCH, MUCH MORE on our complete-calendar page!
6:59 AM: Good morning! No incidents in/from West Seattle so far.
7:38 AM: Still quiet. So we’ll take a moment to look ahead to some transportation-related events tonight:
8:20 AM: The relative quiet continues. We’ve heard, however, that the port-truck traffic backup early this morning – long before we got the morning traffic report rolling – was particularly intense. We’ll be working on an update about this – if you have any anecdotes/information to share, firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
Earlier this week, we mentioned that the West Seattle Transportation Coalition will sketch out hopes and dreams for Sound Transit 3 light rail in a community-led design workshop next month. First – WSTC is talking with an ST rep tomorrow (Thursday, May 25th) about how the agency is going to do outreach and planning for the West Seattle line – as we reported last month, some of it’s already under way. That’s part of the agenda for WSTC’s May meeting, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House High Point (6900 Sylvan Way SW), all welcome.
From American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle, as Memorial Day nears, a set of invitations:
POPPIES: Post 160 will distribute poppies at West Seattle Thriftway (4201 SW Morgan; WSB sponsor) 10 am-4 pm Saturday and Sunday (May 27-28). The backstory:
On September 27, 1920, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion.
Each year, members of The American Legion family, led by the American Legion Auxiliary, distribute poppies with a request that the person receiving the flower make a donation to support the future of veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families with medical and financial needs.
MEMORIAL DAY FLAGS IN THE JUNCTION: They go up at 9 am Monday and come down at 5 pm:
Community members of all ages are welcome to help put up and take down the flags at 9 am and 5 pm. Volunteers are requested to meet on the northeast corner of California and Alaska.
MEMORIAL DAY REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY: 2-3 pm at Forest Lawn Funeral Home and Cemetery (6701 30th SW; WSB sponsor), and you are invited to attend:
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. The ceremony will be conducted at the flag pole in the cemetery. Free parking can be found at the Forest Lawn office across the street.
After the ceremony, join American Legion Post 160 at its home, 3618 SW Alaska St, for a complimentary community cookout from 3:15 – 5 PM.
5:52 PM: If you were planning on riding Washington State Ferries to or from Southworth – you can’t. The terminal is out of service TFN, says WSF, after “a car somehow smashed the control panel for the dock.” WSF says “maintenance crews have been dispatched”; in the meantime, service between Fauntleroy and Vashon continues.
8:56 PM: Just in from WSF – repairs are finished and the terminal “will be back in service with the 9:35 pm sailing from Southworth to Vashon.”
Four years ago, Seattle Public Schools proposed moving what was then K-5 STEM to what was then Schmitz Park Elementary.
Eventually, it was decided instead that what started as STEM’s temporary home, the former Louisa May Boren Junior High School, would be its permanent home.
Or maybe not permanent after all.
This week, a Louisa Boren STEM K-8 parent is calling attention to new talk of a possible move, and a district official coming to the school next week to talk about it.
When we asked district spokesperson Tom Redman what’s under consideration, his reply included the meeting announcement:
Dr. Flip Herndon, Associate Superintendent for Capital Projects and Planning and Enrollment Planning, will meet with the Louisa Boren K-8 STEM School Community on June 1st from 6:30-7:30 at Louisa Boren School to provide information and answer questions.
With growing student enrollment and the McCleary class size student-teacher ratios for grades K-3 issue, we’ll need additional classrooms in our elementary school buildings. With this in mind, we need to identify short and long term capacity solutions for Genesee Hill, Alki and Lafayette elementary schools. At the same time, we need to identify interim locations for future school capital construction projects: we will consider the use of Schmitz Park, Louisa Boren and Roxhill school buildings as options.
Just a few of the factors that might be playing into this: The Roxhill building is already scheduled to be vacated after next school year; as we’ve been reporting for more than a year and a half, its program is scheduled to move to EC Hughes Elementary, which is about to start renovation work to get ready to reopen in fall of 2018. Schmitz Park, meantime, has been home to preschool and after-school-care programs this year, since its former elementary program moved into the new Genesee Hill building last September. It, Lafayette, and Alki are already being studied for the BEX V ballot measure that the district will send to voters in 2019. Stay tuned.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Just after 9 am Tuesday, we noted here that a City Council committee had scheduled a briefing today about gun violence.
Just before 9 pm Tuesday, West Seattle’s second shooting in three days took the life of a 23-year-old man.
This morning’s briefing ended a little over an hour ago, and while much of it was focused on citywide trends, prepared long before the deadly shots last night on Alki Beach, councilmembers did ask repeatedly about the case and what will be done to try to prevent more violence and to reach out to neighbors.
The stats regarding the number of gunfire incidents/shootings are through May 15th, councilmembers were told. So that does not include the two West Seattle shootings in the past three days – Sunday in High Point, last night on Alki.
About the deadly shooting itself. SPD management at the briefing said the same thing that had been sent out as an SPD Blotter update earlier in the morning – it’s not believed to be random. Some sort of confrontation preceded it, with a large group in the area “because it was a nice day.”
West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold – not a member of the committee but in attendance – asked about plans for increased patroling on Alki. The main part of the answer: Bicycle patroling was being stepped up.
She also asked about use of the mobile precinct – after years without one, the SW Precinct got its own in late 2015 (WSB file photo above) – and how that’s decided. It’s up to the precinct commander, she was told.
At that point, we messaged SW Precinct leadership and talked with Operations Lt. Ron Smith. The mobile precinct has spent some time on Alki already this year, he said, but they have to balance it with deployment to our area’s other trouble spots – Westwood, Roxhill Park, Don Armeni Boat Ramp (last weekend), South Park, among others.
Councilmember Lorena González, the West Seattle-residing at-large councilmember who chairs the committee that was briefed today, said she had heard good things about the mobile precinct’s use and wondered about its funding and staffing. She also asked what SPD’s plans are regarding reaching out to neighbors and others worried about what happened last night and about safety in general. She referred to a woman who had spoken about the Alki shooting, emotionally, during the public-comment period at the start of the meeting.
The response started out with a mention of Community Police Team outreach and eventually circled around to a suggestion that SPD could call a community meeting to provide information and answer concerns. And what we hear at every police briefing at neighborhood meetings was reiterated – call 911 if you see something that makes you “feel uncomfortable … we need to come out and see what’s going on.”
Again, this briefing was scheduled long before what happened last night, and was more intended to address a wave of shootings in the South Precinct jurisdiction earlier this year, as well as citywide trends. Toplines on that included SPD reps saying that Seattle’s violent-crime rate is lower than it was a few years ago – same number of incidents, more residents.
But the number of gunfire incidents this year is higher than previous years, and here’s some of what’s being done to address that:
SPD says they’re looking at “street segments” where there are repeated problems and trying to analyze how to address it – for example, one such location somewhere in the city was a convenience store, so they were looking at talking with the business owner about better lighting. (There’s no grant money to help with that, so far as SPD knows, though – that was noted in response to a question.) Somewhere else in the city, a house that was repeatedly fired at was once the home of gang members, and though they had moved, their “opponents” continued to go by and shoot at it.
What about public perception that safety could be improved by police visibility in known trouble spots? Herbold asked. SPD says they do ask officers to drive through such areas, spend “down time” in such areas. Data-gathering is a big part of their effort to reduce the problem. So is regional collaboration to put what happens into context and try to prevent future instances, and the recognition that some of the trouble stems from people “coming into and out of our city.”
Collaboration with other agencies includes tracing shells/firearms with help of ATF.
Video of the entire briefing should be available via Seattle Channel‘s video archives by day’s end, and we’ll embed it here when it is. (Added: Here’s the video.)
We’ve also asked the Southwest Precinct for any additional details of what’s planned in terms of a presence on Alki for the upcoming holiday weekend, which is likely to be a busy one at the beach with sunshine predicted to return starting Friday and continuing into next week.
Calendar highlights for the rest of today/tonight:
ADMISSIONS WORKSHOP: South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) invites future students to this workshop to help with the admissions and enrollment process, 4:30-6:30 pm in the library on campus. (6000 16th SW)
WSHS MULTICULTURAL POTLUCK: Everyone’s invited, 6-8 pm tonight – bring a dish to serve 6-8 people if you can, you’re still welcome if you can’t – for food and performances and community, at the West Seattle High School Commons. (3000 California SW)
HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: 7 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club, including a look ahead to tomorrow night’s Find It, Fix It Walk. (1116 SW Holden) CANCELED: We’re told the HPAC meeting is off, with the FIFI Walk coming up tomorrow.
MADISON MS PTA & BIRDS-BEES TALK: After a short Madison Middle School PTA meeting at 7 pm, stay for a 7:30 presentation with Amy Lang on “The Birds & The Bees for Parents of Middle Schoolers.” Details in our calendar listing. (45th SW/SW Spokane)
BOB DYLAN BIRTHDAY BASH: 8-11 pm at Parliament Tavern. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
9:17 AM: Big SFD response to the former Schmitz Park Elementary School building, 5000 SW Spokane. Crews on scene are finding smoke but not its source.
9:19 AM: What crews are seeing is now described as a “large volume of steam,” but no related fire, so far.
9:35 AM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli reports that the response is winding down. The building, by the way, is currently used primarily for child care outside school hours, though the district is taking another look at its future (separate story later). Christopher says he’s told that the students who would be brought to the SP building after school today will stay at Genesee Hill instead.
9:43 AM: Christopher also has just found out that this indeed was a steam issue in the boiler room. Seattle Public Schools engineers are on scene. No one was hurt.
6:54 AM: Good morning. No incidents reported in/from West Seattle right now.
7:33 AM: SDOT reports a stalled vehicle on the eastbound bridge is blocking the right lane just past the Delridge ramp.
9:12 PM: First we got a call about gunfire heard on Alki – then, a big emergency response for an “assault with weapons” call at 62nd and Alki. More to come.
9:19 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli is at the scene and says a victim is being worked on in an aid unit. A witness tells him the same thing we heard from some readers – multiple shots. Police have been looking for a vehicle, described via scanner as a gray Mercury Marquis, last seen heading out across the bridge.
9:41 PM: SPD is sending a public-information officer to Alki to brief media. Detectives are on the way too. There is no information so far about the victim’s condition – only that they have been taken to Harborview Medical Center.
9:48 PM: More police continue arriving at the scene – Gang Unit and Homicide Unit among them. Please note that the presence of the latter does NOT mean anyone has died – they respond to certain non-fatal incidents as well.
10:12 PM: The PIO has arrived so more information should be available soon. And a side note, as we reported 13 hours ago, SPD has a scheduled City Council committee briefing about gun violence tomorrow morning – this will certainly be part of it.
10:45 PM: Police briefing wrapped up. (Added – here it is in its unedited entirety:)
Victim in his early 20s, life-threatening injuries. No suspects in custody so far. Both SPD and a witness with whom we just spoke say it was preceded by a large gathering, and then some kind of disturbance, and then gunfire. The witness said everyone then scattered – except the victim, who had fallen to the ground.
11:46 PM: Police recap has just appeared on SPD Blotter – the only additional detail is that the victim was shot “several times.” Still no word of arrests or suspect/vehicle description; anyone with information is asked to call police.
ADDED EARLY WEDNESDAY: A commenter identifying herself as the victim’s mother says he did not survive.
8:03 AM WEDNESDAY: A Harborview Medical Center spokesperson confirms to WSB that the victim died.
8:38 AM: Police have updated the SPD Blotter report, adding that the victim was 23 years old, and that they believe he was targeted, that this was not random.
4:13 PM: The Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the victim as Jordan D. Thomas.
Some promising news about one of the stops set for Thursday night’s Find It, Fix It Walk in Highland Park. It’s the long-closed, arson-damaged restroom/storage building at Riverview Playfield. As we’ve reported previously, community members are concerned that the building has yet to be fixed and reopened, almost a year after last year’s arson -and at one point were told that it might be up to six years before repairs could be funded. But Christina Hirsch of Seattle Parks tells WSB that funding for repair and restoration has been secured. Hirsch told WSB’s Randall Hauk that the Seattle Park District has approved $202,000 for the work.
Parks will now work with city purchasing and contracting on details for the management of the project. Though there is no set deadline yet for completion of repairs, Hirsch says the hope is to finish by the end of the year. She adds that the schedule and scope of the project will be posted on the Riverview Playfield webpage as it becomes available. Meantime, portable restrooms will remain in place at the much-used fields until the permanent facility.
P.S. If you haven’t already seen it, the route, starting place, and other information about Thursday night’s walk – starting at 6:30 pm from Highland Park Improvement Club (where you can gather starting an hour before that) – is here.