West Seattle, Washington
Much to celebrate tonight at the West Seattle Helpline Founders’ Day Dinner. In honor of the emergency-assistance agency’s 25th anniversary, founders, supporters, and current leaders gathered for dinner at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) – among them, Kate Stannard, just chosen as WS Helpline’s ninth executive director, who paused for a photo with board president Brooks Riendl:
A thumbnail history of the Helpline notes that its inspiration started with the late Queen Anne Thriftway owner Dick Rhodes starting the Queen Anne Helpline in the 1980s, and wanting to do something similar in West Seattle when he opened Admiral Thriftway a few years later. The three organizers of the first planning meeting – Maureen Hersholt, Gregg Hersholt, and Phil Talmadge – were among the 20-plus guests at tonight’s dinner.
10:27 PM: Thanks to Kate Giannaros for sharing that photo of one of two orcas she reported seeing in Elliott Bay this afternoon. Lise also reported seeing one from the Water Taxi. Two transient male orcas have been seen around the area in recent days. P.S. See a whale? That’s breaking news – text or call our 24/7 hotline, 206-293-6302 – thank you!
ADDED 7:11 AM TUESDAY: Someone just did exactly that to report a sighting in The Arroyos this morning.
8:02 AM: Another text – northbound orcas by Alki Point.
8:57 AM: Guy and Kate (who shared the photo above) have both reported in recent minutes that the orcas are back in Elliott Bay! (And thanks to Carolyn Newman for the photo above this paragraph, also from the sighting yesterday.)
First they walked – then they ran. Concluding a day that began on the East Coast with the first Boston Marathon since last year’s deadly attack, about 40 people gathered at West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor) this evening to head out on a run in tribute and solidarity. Co-proprietor Tim McConnell showed his solidarity-themed gear:
You’ll see that same shirt on one of the six West Seattleites mentioned in our earlier story about locals running in Boston today. (And if there’s anyone we missed – we’re still updating that story – let us know at email@example.com – thanks!)
(Photos courtesy Village Cooperative School)
The students of West Seattle’s Village Cooperative School have read her work – and now they’ve heard from author/storyteller Atinuke in person. She visited the school’s home on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus today, after getting a letter from student Henry Banker, who wrote to her about reading her book “No. 1 Car Spotter” in the book club at school:
Atinuke’s books are set in Africa; she is a resident of Wales, born in Nigeria and raised in both Africa and the UK. Her 12 children’s books also include the “Anna Hibiscus” series, described as “a medley of traditional folklore and contemporary urban life” by Sarah Schieron of the Village School, who says the letter kindled “a conversation between author and student … and culminated in an in-person meeting today. This is a great example of how parent supported, small, cooperative educational settings promote innovative learning opportunities for school aged students.” Students from The Bridge School, a similar school in Normandy Park that serves ages 5-11, were at the Village School for today’s event.
P.S. Village School, in its inaugural year, is having an open house on Thursday, May 1st, 6:30-8:30 pm.
Auto theft in The Triangle today; Lori hopes you will watch for her SUV:
Our green 2007 Honda CRV, license plate #425XBU, was stolen from the West Seattle Family YMCA around 12:30 pm today, along with my husband Charlie’s wallet and keys. Someone broke into his locker while he was working out, took the keys and wallet, and sped off in the car. A police report has been filed, case # 14-122027, and we appreciate people keeping an eye out for it.
In case you haven’t heard – there’s new timetable for getting the Highway 99 tunnel going again. Digging is expected to resume in “late March 2015,” according to the latest update from WSDOT’s contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners. That would be 15 months after the tunnel machine’s December 2013 stall. At one point, the tunnel was supposed to open by the end of 2015. The state says 2016 might still be possible.
(TOPLINE: The long-debated alley vacation is approved by the City Council in a 6-3 vote.)
We’re at City Hall this afternoon for the City Council meeting expected to bring a vote on the “alley vacation” for 4755 Fauntleroy Way, aka The Whittaker (or, the “Whole Foods” project). Five councilmembers voted in favor of it at the Transportation Committee‘s meeting almost two weeks ago.
The meeting begins with public comment on whatever’s on the agenda, not just this item; Deb Barker, a longtime opponent, is the first to comment on the alley vacation, urging the council to vote “no.” Next commenter is Elena Perez (above), coordinator of the group that has opposed the development for a year, Getting It Right for West Seattle. She says that after outreach done by the group, “Overwhelmingly, the conclusion is that this development is bad for our community” and calls the potential alley vacation “a land grab.”
First speaker in favor of the alley vacation is Sharonn Meeks (above). She says there’s a misconception – “the developer is going to pay” for the alley, not get it for free. She’s followed by Dave Montoure, who also is a supporter and says he has been to many meetings and hearings: “Density supports business, not just Fortune 500 businesses, (but also) small businesses like my own.”
2:25 PM: Now to the alley vacation item. Councilmember Mike O’Brien, one of three councilmembers who voted “no” at the Transportation Committee meeting, presents the “minority report” first. He says the main reason he’s opposing it is because of “the public-benefit tradeoff.” He says he doesn’t think it will meet the needs of pedestrian access. Next, the “majority report,” presented by Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. He says it’s been vetted through “dozens of meetings” at community and city-department levels. After a brief bit of history about the alley/street-vacation process, he notes that the committee he chairs reviewed the project and determined that it meets the requirements laid out in the process, including public benefits such as green-street improvements on 40th, a crosswalk to the north, landscaping, a $25,000 contribution to the new city park on 40th, and a new bike lane on the west side of Fauntleroy. And Rasmussen reiterates that the developer would pay “full market value” for the alley land.
Next, Councilmember Nick Licata, who voted against it at the committee meeting, says he is still opposed because he believes it does not provide “a significant public benefit.” After him, Councilmember Sally Clark reiterates her support, and also says she’s glad to hear that West Seattle is forming a Land Use Committee (via the Southwest District Council – see our earlier coverage). She says she believes the project “is providing more than adequate public benefit” while acknowledging that the project might not be perfect, but it has gone through boards and committees and other layers of feedback and “sets of expectations.”
Rollcall vote: 6 yes, 3 no. The alley vacation petition is approved. Rasmussen offers closing words that the development will upgrade what is currently a “bleak” site. He also thanks everyone for public involvement in the extensive process. The “no” votes are Mike O’Brien, Nick Licata, and Kshama Sawant; the “yes” votes are Tom Rasmussen, Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell, Sally Clark, Jean Godden.
The council will be talking about parks funding after this meeting so we’ll be staying for that, as parks funding is a big issue for much of West Seattle.
TUESDAY MORNING NOTE: We’re working on a separate followup for later today, but a project spokesperson says a published report today of construction starting in July is NOT accurate. They continue to expect that work will begin “by year’s end.”
(Adrienne Salzwedel, in Boston today; thanks to Jennifer for the photo)
First, big thanks to those who answered our call for info on West Seattleites at the Boston Marathon. Ironically, the only entrant we knew about when we published our first story very, very early this morning wound up not running, we’ve learned – 20-year-old Matthew Haggerty had suffered a recent injury and wasn’t able to run the marathon.
So here’s who did, and how they did – First, Francine sent this report:
Martin de Vrieze, 18-year resident of West Seattle, finished the Boston Marathon today with a time of 3 hrs, 9 mins, 49 secs. He lived in Boston as a child and his father had run in the marathon in years past. Martin is also training for the Leadville 100, a 24-hr, 100 mile race in Leadville, Colorado this summer. We wish him the best!
And thanks to Jennifer for this report:
Adrienne Salzwedel, a West Seattle resident, bib number 9154, finished the marathon with a time of 3:18:02! This is her second Boston Marathon. Last year was her first and she was luckily able to finish before the bombing occurred.
Next, thanks to Mark for using the results website to aggregate the info on other entrants we’d mentioned (before we knew that Haggerty had had to withdraw):
(added) Here’s a pre-marathon photo of Julie Granahan, shared by co-worker Michael Copeland:
(back to original text)
We have a few images to add, and we’ll transcribe what’s in the screengrab above as soon as we get a chance, but wanted to get the information out – along with one more reminder of tonight’s 6:30 pm solidarity run from West Seattle Runner (California/Charlestown; WSB sponsor).
From Seal Sitters‘ Robin Lindsey:
Seal Sitters’ hotline received a call last evening that two women (with illegally
off leash dogs on the beach) at Lincoln Park picked up a harbor seal pup and moved the animal. By the time we received the call the pup had left the beach. Apparently there were a number of people who told the women it was the law to stay back and not touch the pup – information which they disregarded. The pup was close to our beach signage at the north end of the Park which also has the number of our stranding hotline.
Seal Sitters would like to remind people that all marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act which prohibits touching, feeding, moving and disturbance. Violations such as the one reported last night can be prosecuted by NOAA Office for Law Enforcement punishable with a substantial fine and, if the infraction is severe enough, jail time.
I personally find it hard to believe that an approximately 7 month old pup would allow anyone to pick him up unless he was sick or injured. This is all the more reason the women should have called Seal Sitters’ hotline at 206-905-7325 (SEAL) in case the animal needed to be transported to rehab for stabilization and treatment.
We have had an unusually quiet off season with very few weaned pups coming ashore. They are more often using the offshore platforms to rest – which is obviously much safer from harassment by people and dogs.
Harbor seal pupping season is just now beginning on the outer coast of Southern Washington and Northern Oregon. Please be aware as you walk coastal beaches and if you see a pup alone on the beach, stay back and give the animal space so the mom will not abandon her newborn.
Seal Sitters thanks the residents of West Seattle for their support in helping to keep marine mammals safe in our area. If you see a seal pup on the beach, please call our hotline immediately.
On West Seattle’s Puget Ridge, this house demolition happening now is big news – it’s the long-awaited removal of the house on the future site of Puget Ridge Edible Park (18th/Brandon). Thanks to Stu Hennessey for the photo and word that demolition has begun. PREP has been in the works for years – here’s our March 2011 report about volunteers working on the plan after the city agreed to buy the 3/4-acre site with Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund money. As noted on the project page, the vision for PREP is “to create an urban community farm which is a neighborhood meeting place, a community food garden and a test site for environmentally conscientious sustainability.” We’ll be following up on where the park-development plan goes from here, now that the site’s being cleared.
9:49 AM: Over the weekend, we reported on a South Park cottage being moved off a little slice of Duwamish River shoreline to make way for a pocket park, pointing out that you might notice the 95-year-old house floating past West Seattle shores (on the river or the bay) as it’s taken to a new site in the San Juans. Crews from Nickel Bros. started work early this morning and already have the cottage on a barge, as our photo shows. We don’t yet know the timetable from here, but if you see it pass, now you know!
9:54 AM UPDATE: And literally two minutes after we published the first take of this story, the barge and house passed Duwamish Waterway Park, where we had been working in hopes of catching it as it goes by:
Announced this morning: The city has set the date for a public-comment meeting on 4439 41st SW, the 40-apartment, five-parking-space project that has drawn opposition from neighbors including nearby schools and churches. Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin includes the official notice of the meeting – 7 pm Thursday, May 8th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon). The project did not require a meeting, as it’s not subject to Design Review, but the community can request one on a project by collecting at least 50 petition signatures. Petitions were circulated after an organizational meeting three weeks ago (WSB coverage here). This is the same type of meeting held in recent months for projects including 6536 24th SW in March, 3210 California SW in February, and 4535 44th SW in November.
(Latest bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Monday traffic watch begins. Note the earlier crash on Sylvan Way; we won’t be able to check back for a while, so please let us know (206-293-6302) if you drive through the area and it’s still blocked. Meantime, transportation-news notes:
SPRING BREAK, PART 2: While Seattle Public Schools had last week off, this week is spring break for local parochial schools, so you’ll still see different traffic patterns and more kids out and about than you usually do on weekdays.
SW GENESEE IS OPEN AGAIN: Just in case you hadn’t been by SW Genesee east of Avalon Way since last week’s concrete-panel-replacement work, we doublechecked on Sunday and it’s all done; the hill is reopened.
HIGHWAY 99 LANE CLOSURES: Just north of downtown, tonight and tomorrow night, as explained here.
2 DAYS LEFT TO VOTE ON PROP 1: Tuesday night is the deadline. This morning, bus riders in The Junction will see some campaigning; our Sunday night story explains.
10:07 AM UPDATE: County Executive Dow Constantine, talking with bus riders before catching RapidRide downtown:
Separate Election Eve update to come later.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
FIRST REPORT, 4:06 AM: Seattle Fire crews have just started arriving at Sylvan Way/SW Holly (map) after a “heavy rescue” dispatch. The first unit on the scene, Engine 11, reported via radio that there’s a rolled-over car at the scene. Three people were reported to have gotten out of the vehicle. More to come.
4:29 AM: Our crew at the scene says this is just east of Forest Lawn Cemetery (WSB sponsor), near Sylvan Ridge Townhomes. The vehicle was believed to have been westbound. One person has been taken to the hospital by private ambulance. A tow truck is already on scene so while Sylvan is blocked now, probably won’t be closed much longer.
4:50 AM: Just added photos. The car took out a streetlight pole; police were notifying SDOT.
1:25 PM: One bit of followup information – police tell us there were actually two people in the car, not three, both in their 20s. Though only one went to the hospital, both reported minor injuries.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 1:13 AM: People coast to coast (and beyond) will no doubt be watching the Boston Marathon more closely than ever this morning, because of what happened a year ago. But it of course has long been an inspiring event all its own. More than 170 of this year’s runners list Seattle as their hometown. The youngest among them is from West Seattle – 20-year-old Matthew Haggerty – and this isn’t even his first time running the Boston Marathon; we reported on his previous run in 2012, when he was a senior at Seattle Lutheran High School (our story also noted his community-service projects). That year, he finished 227th out of more than 27,000 runners! Today, he’ll wear bib 363, according to info on the Boston Marathon website, and will be in the group starting at 7 am our time. You can track the race and runners online; the race website promises video streaming too. (Any other West Seattleites there? Please let us know!)
ADDED 4:41 AM: Thanks to Sybil for the tip that there’s at least one more West Seattleite, 28-year-old Danielle Villarreal, who also will be in the 7 am “wave” of runners, with bib 8329.
ADDED 8:45 AM: Thanks to Mike for tweeting that 35-year-old Kirsten Garner is running today too (bib 18480)!
ADDED 10:15 AM: And via Facebook, we get word that 43-year-old West Seattleite Sharman McAllister is running too! We’ll be checking on everybody in a bit. If you get word – please comment, or e-mail us – firstname.lastname@example.org – photos from Boston welcome too!
ADDED 10:49 AM: From Michael Copeland via e-mail: “West Seattle is also being represented in Boston today by Julie Granahan … she’s a fellow Keller Williams agent.”
1:28 PM UPDATE: We’ve found out that Matt Haggerty had an injury and did not run today after all. But there is another West Seattleite – Martin deVrieze – we’ll have an update soon on how he and the other runners did. And there’s still time to tell us if we’re missing anyone else! email@example.com