West Seattle, Washington
(Latest image from city camera pointing east on The Bridge; refresh for updated image)
Just last week, when reporting on more new traffic cameras being installed in West Seattle (but not scheduled for activation till next year), we had asked SDOT for an update on when at least one of the cameras on the “high bridge” would be back. Hadn’t received a reply yet (two months ago, we were told “shortly”). But tonight, we notice – the one that’s pointed east is working again. We’re going to take a leap of faith and put it back in the sidebar, where it’s been gone for a few weeks once it was clear both “high bridge” cameras were out of commission. Cross your fingers.
By State Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle) and State Sen. Karen Keiser (D-SeaTac)
Chairs of the Washington House and Senate Health Care Committees
Many senior citizens are concerned about the impact health care reform will have on them. They’ve been targeted by opponents of federal health care reform with false and misleading claims.
One fear is that reform will come at the expense of Medicare benefits or other current coverage. The fact is, Medicare was created by our government more than 40 years ago out of the belief that no one should go without health care once they reach retirement age. That commitment will not change. Neither will benefits.
Current reform efforts aim to improve Medicare’s finances so it will remain viable for generations to come. If we don’t take action now to reduce fraud, abuse and insurance company overpayments, it’s estimated that by 2017 the money Medicare spends on benefits will exceed its income. Seniors would then have to pay more or they would receive fewer Medicare benefits. Health care reform legislation will improve Medicare’s finances.
Reform legislation would also help older Americans who are not enrolled in Medicare by making it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. The bills in both chambers also require insurance companies to cover routine screenings for preventive care such as diabetes, osteoporosis and colonoscopies with no out of pocket costs. And both bills would end age discrimination by making it illegal for insurance companies to charge ridiculous rates for people just because they are older.
In the past few weeks, we’ve heard from several people about a traffic problem on the “low bridge” during rush hours, involving truck backups, and Port of Seattle Police directing traffic. Rob was the first to e-mail, and he made the Google Map you see above (follow the “View Larger Map” link for more details on what it shows). Most recently, Desiree wrote the other day to ask about this. We inquired with the port – so here, for starters, is what we received back from Port spokesperson Peter McGraw:
A combination of factors has created the current congestion – we are aware that it is impacting the community and have been working to keep traffic moving in and around Terminal 5.
Like many other businesses, terminal operators are feeling the impacts of the down economy with lower cargo volume, and are scaling back hours of gate operation to reduce costs. Other ports in the region are experiencing similar issues at their gates, though it can be more pronounced here because of the proximity of our terminals to major thoroughfares like the West Seattle Bridge.
Also, there’s a surge in export cargo from Eastern Washington right now- so more trucks from across the mountains are lining up at Terminal 5 very early in the morning. They do so in order to make a second trip on the same day. On the bright side, this means that goods are moving to markets, which is a very good sign for the region’s economy. Each container represents men and women working in King County.
The Port of Seattle has been working hard to correct this traffic problem by working with the truckers, terminal operators, City of Seattle and the port’s own police force to find a solution. We recognize this is a problem for the truckers, for nearby businesses, and for the community, and we are looking for both interim and long-term solutions. We also need to ensure that the swing bridge can open and close to allow marine traffic from the Duwamish to move in and out of Elliott Bay.
While we work with other stakeholders in finding a workable solution, Port of Seattle police will assign additional officers to keep intersections clear and make sure the swing bridge is not blocked. Please feel free to call either of the port’s media officers, myself, Peter McGraw (206-787-3446) or Charla Skaggs (206-787-3235) if you continue to experience unusual amounts of traffic congestion and delay in this area.
Rush hour bridge opening, of course, is yet another issue; you may recall the city’s request to reduce the number of rush-hour openings, and last year’s rejection of that request.
Just a few of the artists/craftspeople/vendors you’ll find inside the Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) till 6 pm, in its first-ever Holiday Bazaar. Get out of the wind – support local small businesspeople (and some nonprofits too, like Furry Faces Foundation, with pet gifts!). And after this one – lots more bazaars and other holiday-season events can be found on our updated-daily West Seattle Holidays page.
Didn’t catch a name, but thanks to the caller who tipped us to this – a mudslide behind a residential building in the 1200 block of Alki Avenue SW (map). No injuries reported, and the residents we saw told us they had NOT been asked to leave – authorities reportedly showed up, checked it out and left. It took out part of a fence behind the building:
But it’s yet another reminder about potential perils of the soggy season – the city has landslide-awareness info here, including what to do if it happens to you.
Alki Point wildlife watcher/writer Guy Smith shares that photo with news of the first brant sighting – just two days after we published his story about the small geese who return to West Seattle waters (and elsewhere in Puget Sound) Thanksgiving week every year (see Guy’s story here). So – just like clockwork, they’re back; Guy photographed these a bit earlier this afternoon.
One month after announcing it had secured financing for the project, Harbor Properties‘ Emi Baldowin reports that construction work is scheduled to officially begin tomorrow at the Triangle site where it’s building Link. There’s already heavy equipment staged on the north end of the site, as you can see in our photo (taken along Alaska, from which point the site runs north along 38th [map], with to-be-demolished buildings including an ex-Huling garage and the former home of West Seattle Montessori School [WSB sponsor, now at a new location]). Link will have 200 apartments and 14,000 square feet of retail; at last month’s Fairmount Community Association meeting, Harbor’s Denny Onslow said they expected construction to go “really fast” – which still means just under a year and a half.
Turns out a short-lived emergency incident on the 911 log in the 3400 block of West Marginal Way (map) last night involved a sunken tugboat at Terminal 5; one person went to the hospital (but is out already). The state Ecology Department has just reported it, as follows:
The state Department of Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard and NRC Environmental Services (NRC-ES) are actively working to raise the response tug Sea Born that sank Saturday night at Terminal 5 in Seattle .
The NRC-ES tug had an estimated 200 gallons of diesel fuel in its tanks when it sank around 10 p.m. last night after high waves inundated the stern of the vessel. This morning, responders found the tug upright underwater near the location where it sank at Terminal 5.
Earlier this morning, responders spotted a light, unrecoverable sheen of diesel fuel on the water near the location where the Sea Born sank. Oil containment boom and absorbent materials were placed on the surface as a precaution. All petroleum products, including diesel fuel, are environmental toxins.
Divers from Ballard Diving have conducted an underwater assessment of the tug. The fuel vents are small and state, federal and private responders do not anticipate further leaks from the tug.
NRC-ES is planning to lift to the Sea Born out of the water with a crane barge as soon as possible today.
One person was on the tug when it sank Saturday night. That person was taken to Harborview Hospital and later released.
Have had a few reports in the past few hours of orcas passing southern West Seattle shores as well as Three Tree Point to the south – so it’s another day worth keeping your binoculars handy! (Here’s our Saturday coverage, photo included.) 3:36 PM: Note the comment a few minutes ago from G. Jones (who took yesterday’s great pic): “Just watched a pod of orcas – at least a dozen heading north past Alki Point over nearer to Bainbridge, now probably about due west of West Point.”
After last weekend’s Morgan Junction Pet Adoption Stroll, somebody asked if all the pets looking for their forever homes found them. Not entirely … here we have Snoops from Saving Great Animals, whom Cheryl explains “was rescued off death row at the last minute, there solely due to over-crowding in a high-kill shelter. He is now ready for a loving forever home! Snoops is between 1-2 years old and weighs about 70 lbs and is a striking mix of shepherd and St. Bernard. He is tall and thick and healthy. He is GREAT with EVERYONE, and loves men, women, and children!!! He’s a little on the happy, spastic/rambunctious side, so he probably wouldn’t be suited for small kids without close supervision or until he learns to be careful moving around them.” She adds, “He is updated on his shots, micro-chipped and is going to be neutered this week.” There is an adoption fee; for more info, you can contact Cheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s Al Watt at the griddle at Seattle Lutheran High School‘s gym on behalf of the West Seattle Lions, whose pancake breakfast continues till 1 pm (see this preview for menu/cost). C’mon, you’re going to The Junction anyway, stop by. They’ve got a table full of bake-sale goodies too:
West Seattle Lions fundraisers support projects including scholarship funds and the Northwest Lions Foundation for Sight and Hearing, as well as local nonprofits. (P.S. – This is your last chance for a big somebody-else-cooks-’em pancake extravaganza till the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle‘s event on December 5th.)
STOLEN VIOLINS: Joan posted about this in the WSB Forums, and Ricardo has a story on our partner site White Center Now: 2 violins, in a rare double case, stolen from a truck on the Seattle side of White Center yesterday. The violins aren’t worth that much – but the sentimental value is high – and owner Mike teaches violin, so they’re part of his livelihood. This is a Seattle Police case; contact info is in the links above.
STOLEN TRUCK: @alpacadero via Twitter wanted to ask people to be on the lookout for a stolen truck used for work, stolen Friday night from the 9800 block of 18th SW (map). It’s described as a “white Ford utility truck w/ auto crane, welder, etc.” similar to this. That’s King County Sheriff’s Office territory but 911 should be able to help if you see it.
WEST SEATTLE LIONS PANCAKE BREAKFAST AND BAKE SALE: Even if you wake up late, you’ve got time to get to this one – 8 am to 1 pm, Seattle Lutheran High School gym (41st/Genesee, Google Street View above). Menu includes three types of pancakes – buttermilk, “Judy’s Pumpkin Crunch,” gluten-free. Plus ham/sausage, coffee/juice/tea/milk – all for $8 adults, $5 kids 12 and under.
FEEDBACK LOUNGE BAZAAR: 2-6 pm today, shop at the first-ever Holiday Bazaar (well, it’s their first holiday season!) at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) – jewelry, aromatherapy, handbags, more. Wine and cocktail specials too.
LAST FARMERS’ MARKET BEFORE THANKSGIVING: 10 am-2 pm, 44th/Alaska. It’s also your last chance to shop for the big contest – the most Farmers Market-sourced Thanksgiving feast – rules here. Today’s Ripe ‘n’ Ready list is here.
FAUNTLEROY ART SHOW/SALE FINALE: Last chance! 11 am-12:30 pm, Fauntleroy Church (9140 California).