West Seattle, Washington
10:29 PM: Police are investigating a report of gunshots fired toward or near a West Seattle home. No reports of any injuries, so far. We don’t have a hard and fast address for it yet, but one caller says it’s in the vicinity of 20th and Cloverdale (map), where similar incidents were reported recently. Per the scanner, witnesses reported a car resembling a gold Taurus headed northbound on 20th afterward.
WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: Not long after that report, police now say, they got a second one, just a few blocks west, in the 2400 block of SW Thistle. A man said someone fired a shot at him from a passing vehicle – details are in this SPD Blotter update, which also includes the latest on the 20th/Cloverdale gunfire report, though police say they are not sure if the two are related.
As the question of what will happen to the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville,” its residents, and the government-owned site it’s on comes to a head, the nonprofit that wants to build a new facility on the site is asking for public support. Food Lifeline has been waiting to hear from city leaders whether they will help facilitate the purchase and ensuing project, or not; Mayor McGinn‘s office told WSB last week that they expected a report from the city’s finance office by mid-April. Food Lifeline spokesperson Amy Lee Derenthal says this is the “call to action” they are circulating among those interested in supporting their proposal:
Help Food Lifeline secure their chosen piece of land for the Hunger Relief Center.
Your voice in support of Food Lifeline being able to secure its parcel of land is critical to expediting the procedure. Reach out to the Seattle City Council today and let them know that you want them to declare the 10-acre site on West Marginal Way in Seattle surplus, and sell the land to Food Lifeline. The City’s plan for the property is a future storage site. Please call or email the Seattle City Council in support of Food Lifeline today.
Here is sample language for you to use when you call or e-mail the Seattle City Council:
“Food Lifeline distributes millions of pounds of food each year to help end hunger in Western Washington. Help Food Lifeline secure their piece of land to build the Hunger Relief Center by expediting the procedure for land purchase. As my representative on the Seattle City Council, I urge you to declare the 10-acre site on West Marginal Way in Seattle surplus, and sell the land to Food Lifeline NOW.
Thank you for your support of Food Lifeline.
Your Name Here”
Contact information for the council, whether collectively or individually, for this issue or any other, is on this page.
Investigators returned to the Avalon/Charlestown scene this afternoon – the first place a shooting victim was reported, after people in the area heard gunshots around 11:30 last night. The investigators there today were spotted and photographed both by WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams (who took the photo above) and by your co-publishers, a short time apart while heading back to our respective HQ’s after coverage of the “Bertha” arrival. As you see in Nick’s photo, investigators were using a dog to look for evidence. It’s the same area of Charlestown as shown in WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli‘s photo from overnight:
Meantime, a friend of one of the two men who were shot tells WSB that it all started as a robbery attempt and that his friend shot the other man in self-defense. The friend asked to be anonymous, and since we don’t have official identification on either of the men who were shot, we are not using our source’s friend’s name yet either.
According to the friend, the victim was working last night, driving a car for hire – he’s also a musician – and was taking a break when the other man approached him, and the exchange of gunfire ensued. No other details of the circumstances; the friend has visited the victim in the hospital and says he is able to nod his head in response to questions but that’s about it. He says the victim is in stable condition with three gunshot wounds and is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. (The other man also is reported to still be in the hospital.) We will continue to follow up with police to see when they will be ready to say more about the case.
To reduce impacts to the community, intersection construction is taking place on weekends, working around the clock. The next intersection closure is at SW Thistle Street from 7 pm Friday, April 12, until 6 am, Monday, April 15 at the latest.
Through traffic will be detoured, with local access maintained. Detour information will be available shortly. Meanwhile, most of the in-road work in Phase 1, between SW Henderson and SW Trenton streets, is now complete. Remaining elements include weather-dependent crack-sealing work and final roadway markings.
From WestSide Baby executive director Nancy Woodland – an urgent call for help, so they can keep helping local families in need:
Requests are up and donations of items are low at WestSide Baby. We are asking the community to do a Spring Clean and gather together as many essential children’s items as possible. We are quickly adding temporary increased collection hours and trying to come up with creative ways to make donating these things as easy as possible. WestSide Baby provides essential items to local children in need and we expect these things to reach the hands of King County children very quickly. For perspective, we could NOT fill requests for the following items last month: 46 car seats, 33 cribs, 32 high chairs and 46 strollers. This is why we need your help now! Please consider cleaning out closets at your own home or you can go a step further and act on some of the ideas below.
Our Donations Collection Center is in White Center at 10027 14th Ave. SW. We are tucked between the tortilla factory and the welder! Our regular hours for donations are 9-4:30 Mon-Thursday and Sat. 10-1. Right now we are adding hours as much as possible and our website is being updated regularly with our increases during this time of great need. TONIGHT we are open 5:30-7:30 for those really speedy responders and we will be here 10-5pm this Saturday.
Your effort will help families in crisis or those just in need of a little help right now. Terri from Child Care Resources shared, “A parent needed a double stroller; it was essential for her to have one to get her two small children to child care safely. She walks and takes the bus to get them there, and WestSide Baby was able to provide a small, fold-up double stroller for her to take on the bus. A(nother) family just moved to Seattle, and when I asked them if they had enough extra clothes to leave with their child at child care, I could just see the look of worry on their faces. WestSide Baby provided that family with a bag of clothes to help ease that stress.”
Our current critical wish list includes:
· Children’s Clothing Size Newborn to Size 12
· Car Seats – especially those > 6 years old
· Portable Cribs
· High Chairs
· Spring Coats
· Diapers Sizes Newborn and Size 1
· Hygiene items like diaper cream, shampoo
Ideas to make an impact right now
· Gather things at your own home
· Offer to pick up and launder a school Lost & Found
· Collect diapers from friends by pulling together a simple gathering – like Girls Night Out
· Help us with pick-ups from drop-sites
· Park your large truck somewhere as a temporary drop site
· Help us with an Earth Day Outreach
· Volunteer to sort or to clean up equipment
· Host a Car seat drive
· Help us reach donors outside of our drop site areas of West Seattle and Burien
Thanks to Seattle Parks for sharing the “after” photos – their graffiti team was indeed able to clean the paint off tagger-defaced trees at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park. We reported on the vandalism yesterday, with a photo shared by Jason, who discovered the vandalism as well as a litter-covered picnic spot. Today, as promised, Parks workers went to the scene and got the tags off the trees.
Last night, hours before Highland Park Action Committee chair Carolyn Stauffer sent HPAC’s official letter to the Mayor and City Council regarding an ultimatum on the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville,” we received the following open letter from Stauffer’s predecessor, Dan Mullins. We didn’t get to publish it overnight because of breaking news – but here it is now:
An open letter,
My name is Dan Mullins and I live in Highland Park in West Seattle and Im the former Chair of the Highland Park Action Committee.
The neighbors in our area have worked for years to keep our little community a clean and safe place for kids and families.
I have always felt compassion for the folks in the giant homeless encampment named Nicklesville, less than 1/2 mile from my home, but things have gotten out of hand and something needs to change sooner than later.
It’s been a steady progression for 2 years now, from the little pink tents and muddy conditions to what we have now.
Stacks of pallets, plywood shacks and gates with guards, rats, urine, litter, its like a post apocalyptic novel down there.
While I sat at the stoplight recently I observed people unloading plywood and construction supplies and there were young girls with signs, begging for money at 3 of the 4 corners of E. Marginal and Highland Park Way.
The 4th corner had 4 or 5 young men sitting on the ground smoking and waiting.
My neighborhood is filled with people who don’t take the bus to work anymore, because of the rough, intimidating crowd constantly coming and going from Nickelsville.
I’m told that If you do drugs you can’t stay there, and I commend them for that, but where do you go if you are a trouble maker or a meth head and get kicked out by the Nickelsville bosses?
They go across the street, and into the woods, adjacent to our backyards, where our kids play.
Recently three of my neighbors had their cars vandalized, two with smashed windows and numerous neighbors homes have been burglarized.
I have heard normally rational people talk crazy about taking action into their own hands and vigilante justice.
I imagine them to be idle threats but it demonstrates how angry people are getting in this community.
I know it’s a complicated situation and a public relations nightmare for the city, but it’s reaching a point where our elected officials need to act.
This self governed community can only last so long before it self destructs and I feel that the inhabitants of Nickelsville and the neighbors will all lose.
My fear is that the solution will only come when there is a murder or a young woman is raped.
It has gotten so bad that, in my work as a real estate agent, I have heard people say, they will not look at homes in Highland Park because of the Nickelsville problem.
This blue collar neighborhood has always been compassionate and open minded and we have invited Nickelsville organizers to speak at community meetings, I have personally donated food and bathroom supplies, but people here are past their breaking point.
Something needs to be done about this illegal population and they need your help to move to somewhere safe for them but with less impact on their surrounding community.
There are mentally ill and chronically homeless, runaway kids, substance abusers and all manner of folks on the fringe who need help, but their leaders have created a private City-State, with their own hammer wielding police force, deciding who can stay and who needs to go, and if necessary they will punish all of the individuals by withholding toilet facilities for the sins of the few.
I was passing by today as I do every day and I know they are scrambling to clean the place up because they are aware of all the bad press about them lately and their leaders are gearing up for a fight.
I feel that the City’s lack of conviction to do something serious about finding a real solution for Nickelsville is mainly because it lays between two of Seattle’s poorest neighborhoods, South Park and Highland Park, and that makes it seem easy to sweep this illegal community under the carpet.
Let’s be honest, this would never be allowed in Queen Anne, Magnolia, Fremont, Ballard, anywhere else than a lower income community.
When I talk to people in those other neighborhoods, they don’t even know about Nickelsville.
I understand that Food Lifeline, a service that helps thousands of marginalized folks yearly by distributing food to the needy, wants to buy the WA State and DOT owned property for their new facility but the illegal encampment has become a major roadblock in their plans.
The city must not let this opportunity slip away.
All people deserve a little humanity, clean water and a place to lay their head and that is one of the reasons we vote and pay our taxes to build roads and schools and public assistance for those who need it.
But this illegal community, which is bound to swell in size as the warmer weather approaches must go and it must go now.
(UPDATED LATE AFTERNOON with more views)
(Newest photo: 1:05 pm cameraphone view from Jack Block Park)
10:45 AM: The Jumbo Fairpartner, a heavy-lift ship carrying the custom-built Highway 99 tunnel machine nicknamed “Bertha,” is approaching Seattle – so we’re going on Bertha watch. For its latest position, check this MarineTraffic.com link – it’s traveling down the west side of Whidbey Island as we type this. Here’s the official WSDOT page with Bertha background and links – the state promises a live webcam as Bertha’s ship approaches its berth at Terminal 46. If you use Twitter, follow @BerthaDigsSR99. More shortly.
11:13 AM: Approaching Edmonds now, though it’s currently closer to the Kitsap County side than the Snohomish County side.
11:35 AM: Passing Kingston, per MarineTraffic.com.
11:58 AM: Seeing it in the distance from mid-Alki. If you’re coming down to the beach (or points east) for a look, get going!
12:12 PM: Bertha is now turning toward Elliott Bay. You can’t miss the cranes. Another pic shortly.
12:31 PM: Just substituted new photo above – still clearly visible from Alki but closer to the other side of the bay. Jack Block, Seacrest, Don Armeni will have good views shortly.
1:05 PM: The Fairpartner is now approaching Jack Block Park, where WSDOT executives have gathered to talk with the media, so we’ve moved there. Newest photo is atop this story.
1:30 PM: Adding a few more. The ship has stopped, for now, a ways off the park. WSDOT deputy program administrator Matt Preedy (above), the West Seattleite who you see so often speaking about the projects in this area, is here and says it’s going to anchor for a while; currently, the ship is pivoting to some degree. This is about the closest view we’re getting:
1:42 PM: WSDOT reps confirm to us here at Jack Block that Bertha is not coming all the way in to dock today – preparation will be done on ship and on shore, and they’re working around other marine traffic. Meantime, we have more great photos in the inbox, beyond what we’ve been sharing – here’s what WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli sent from Columbia Center downtown:
We’ll add more photos in a bit – and will get on to other news, too.
ADDED 4:52 PM: Also from Christopher, the pit that “Bertha” is destined for:
From WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams, the Fairpartner and The Needle:
Jesse Doerr photographed the ship looking out over its eventual docking area:
Chi Duong‘s photo is from downtown:
And Adam Dunko‘s is from Hamilton Viewpoint in North Admiral:
Still more to check out – thanks!
After almost two unsanctioned but unchallenged years at the West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way site where it was founded, the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” is coming under increasing scrutiny, particularly after its open admission of turmoil last month, first reported here. After again discussing the encampment at its last meeting (WSB coverage here), followed by a letter to the city, the Highland Park Action Committee community council has just sent a formal letter to Mayor McGinn and the Seattle City Council with a deadline:
To Mayor McGinn, his staff, and members of Seattle City Council,
The Highland Park Action Committee (HPAC) would like to request a move out date for the homeless encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” at 7116 West Marginal Way at the base of Highland Park Drive. HPAC represents the Highland Park and Riverview Neighborhoods in Southwest Seattle. It has come to our attention that it has been difficult for the residence of Nickelsville to keep order in the camp and the management technique used to try to restore order recently included the “Show of Force Team” removing the Porta Potty Service. As the residents of Nickelsville wrote:
“The reason for this decision (to remove the Porta Potty Service) was our inability at Nickelsville in preventing the overrun of our community by meth dealers and barred, violent former campers. Progress was made yesterday, but the situation is still teetering on the brink.”
A new letter has been released from the encampment stating that things are “returning to stability.” The intent of their letter was to express dismay with the Seattle Police for not helping them with security. The Seattle Police are in a bind because the entire encampment is squatting illegally, so they cannot enforce one group’s illegal presence there over another group. The situation at Nickeslville has gotten out of hand, we have noticed a shift in the population from what was originally there, and this has been verified by campers living in Nickelsville. We were surprised, however, at the threatening management technique. As we have continued to hear stories of how the camp is currently being run, we were struck by the realization that there really is no oversight whatsoever for this encampment- it is illegal after all, and we have a lot of concerns with how it’s being managed at this point.
No time again this morning for a long list of schedule highlights – you can find them any time, 24/7, on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – but there is one reminder we wanted to get out: The third meeting of the new Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights community council is TONIGHT, 6:30 pm, Southwest Library (35th/Henderson) upstairs meeting room. Transportation’s on the agenda, with a rep from SDOT; more details here.
(WSB photo from 2011 West Seattle Grand Parade)
So apparently this will be a summer without a Seattle 4th of July fireworks show.
A summer possibly without Blue Angels.
But we’ll have the West Seattle Grand Parade – right?
Well, provided there’s a little help footing the bills, yes. The parade is planned for 11 am Saturday, July 20th, and co-coordinator Dave Vague says:
We are still in our planning stages and have secured a couple of our sponsors from last year, but we are still a little short and are once again asking for the support of the West Seattle Community, who has been so generous in the past and helped us to continue this cherished community event.
Donations can be made at the West Seattle Grand Parade website:
If you’re new in town or have missed our coverage of this in recent years, the costs of putting on the parade have continued to go up, and just the barricades/no-parking signs alone cost thousands of dollars. WSB will be donating again this year and we hope that if you can, you will too.
(Live view from the east-facing WS Bridge camera; see other cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
Nothing out of the ordinary reported currently on the main West Seattle-vicinity routes.
‘BERTHA’ WATCH: Today’s the day the ship carrying the Highway 99 tunnel-boring machine arrives in Elliott Bay; it’s just about to Port Angeles, according to MarineTraffic.com, so still a few hours out – we’re awaiting WSDOT’s next official estimate. ADDED 8:32 AM: Bertha turned up on KING 5’s Port Angeles webcam a short time ago:
— Bertha (@BerthaDigsSR99) April 2, 2013