West Seattle, Washington
Another quick note from tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting: An artist has been chosen for the Junction Plaza Park project (42nd SW & SW Alaska). Susan Melrose from the West Seattle Junction Association told the SWDC that the decision had been made at a meeting earlier in the evening: The artist will be West Seattle resident Troy Pillow, whose public art you can see here. He also is the artist commissioned for The Whittaker (there’s some information on that plan in our report from last December’s city Design Commission meeting). The $25,000 budget for this project was part of the “public benefit” from what became the Spruce project (3922 SW Alaska). No specific design yet, Melrose said, but she says Pillow is “very collaborative.” Watch for updates.
8:36 PM: A crash on the eastbound West Seattle Bridge has closed the ramp to NB Highway 99, according to SDOT. We’re hearing that no one is seriously injured, so the closure might not last too long.
9:23 PM UPDATE: SDOT says the crash is clear and the ramp is open again.
From tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting: A reminder that the Port of Seattle‘s rescheduled “West Seattle Working Waterfront Tour” is coming up on Saturday, September 19th, and registration is happening right now. It’s a round trip from Pier 66 on the downtown waterfront, aboard the Spirit of Seattle; free (validated) parking near the pier will be available if you need it. All ages are welcome and there will be a special program during the cruise for kids, as well as narration for all. The official description: “Get an up-close look at the Port of Seattle cargo facilities that generate 24,000 jobs in our community with an annual payroll of $2 billion.” Check-in will be at 9 am on tour day; the tour itself will take you out on the water 9:30-11:30 am. The Port (which is advertising on WSB to promote the tour) reminds you that space is limited and you can register for up to 4 tickets – “RSVP with the name for each guest attending and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by September 15th. Questions? Call 206-787-3527.”
(WSB photo. Note: This is NOT the bus on which the substance was found – that’s a few buses down)
4:42 PM: Eastbound Barton is closed right now at 30th SW because of a Seattle Fire response at the bus stop across from Westwood Village. According to the scanner, a “white powder” of some kind was found on a bus, which subsequently was evacuated, and they’re treating it as a possible hazmat situation until otherwise determined. We’ve just arrived at the scene to find out more.
4:48 PM UPDATE: This appears to be happening aboard a C-Line bus – not the one in our photo, a short ways east on Barton, which is now blocked both ways.
4:55 PM UPDATE: We’ve confirmed with SFD at the scene that no one has needed medical treatment. The suspicious substance was called in by the bus driver. Barton remains blocked off between 30th and 26th. (And yes, that is a TV helicopter that just arrived over the scene.)
5:09 PM UPDATE: Crews are suiting up in hazmat gear.
5:25 PM UPDATE: They subsequently went into the bus. We’re waiting to hear/see what happens next. Again, Barton is blocked BOTH WAYS.
5:33 PM: The verdict: Cleaning supplies (photo added above).
Barton will reopen shortly.
4:28 PM: That’s the picket line along SW Thistle outside Chief Sealth International High School (mouse over the image to show and click the video’s “play” button), one of two sites in West Seattle and nine around the city where Seattle Education Association members are picketing on the eve of their strike vote.
After more than three months of contract talks, there’s no agreement, so when members from around the city meet at Benaroya Hall tomorrow evening, they’ll be voting on whether to strike. As noted in our most recent coverage here and here, the issues on which they disagree include pay increases and guaranteed recess time. The SEA members picketing at Sealth are from not just that school but also its “feeder” elementary and middle schools; we’re heading next to West Seattle High School, where picketing also is supposed to be happening until 5:30 pm. The first day of classes for Seattle Public Schools is scheduled to be one week from today, Wednesday, September 9th.
5:14 PM: We aren’t going to make it over to WSHS because of the breaking story we’re covering. If anyone has a photo to share of picketing there, please send – email@example.com – so we can add. Meantime, Melissa has sent a photo from Delridge/Thistle, a few blocks east of the Sealth picketing:
10:02 PM: We did get photos from the WSHS picketing – thank you!
That photo is from Roland; the next one, from Rich.
The district has published another update, saying it has asked for mediation, and that the union has agreed, starting Friday. There’s also an update on the union website. Both updates spell out the respective sides’ views on where they remain apart.
The first microhousing (in official city terminology, Small Efficiency Dwelling Units) project in The Junction goes back before the Southwest Design Review Board tomorrow night (Thursday, September 3rd) at 6:30 pm. Embedded above is Alloy Design Group‘s “packet” for the meeting (or see it here as a PDF). Toward the start, it explains the 4528 44th SW project:
The owner proposes the construction of a new 6-story apartment building with approximately 58 small efficiency dwelling units, or SEDU’s. An existing apartment building on site will be demolished. The objective for these apartments in to provide upscale, yet affordable, housing to the West Seattle Junction neighborhood. The demographic that will benefit most from this housing will be wage earners in the neighborhood that can’t afford the $1,000 plus rents of nearby properties – millennials desiring to move out of their parents houses, people opting for minimal consumption as a lifestyle, and people that commute to downtown businesses that will utilize the Rapid Ride bus service steps from the project. In short, the project endeavors to promote urban density and support the thriving pedestrian-oriented businesses and activities in the neighborhood.
Public comments on the proposed design will be taken during Thursday night’s meeting (upstairs at the Senior Center of West Seattle, southeast corner of California SW and SW Oregon). You can review the official city report on the previous SWDRB review by going here.
SIDE NOTE – THE LAWSUIT: You might recall, the developer sued the city and the current tenants of the 2-story, 8-unit building that this will replace, challenging the city’s notice saying they needed to apply for a “tenant relocation” license under the city law requiring compensation for demolition-displaced tenants. The city filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit – as we reported in July – and that was scheduled to be argued in court this morning; we’re checking on whether a ruling resulted or is pending.
We’ve just dug up details on two Seattle Parks projects you might have noticed:
(Seattle Parks photo)
SOUTHWEST POOL/TEEN LIFE CENTER/NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICE CENTER: You’re being asked to enter via the south side while this work is happening on the north side of the building at 2801 SW Thistle. A leaky water pipe was detected, and has to be replaced; once that’s done, the cement that’s being removed to get to the faulty pipe will have to be replaced, and this is all expected to continue for another week and a half.
SEACREST PIER: Remember last year’s controversy after the city temporarily shut off the Seacrest shower used by divers, because it drains into Puget Sound? Parks mentioned a “permanent solution” was being sought, and this project is apparently it.
When the work is done, the shower will drain into the sewer system instead. The $71,500 project is expected to be complete by the end of next month. (Thanks to Paul for the tip.)
(Golden-crowned kinglet, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
Midweek highlights (delayed a bit today by breaking news):
EDUCATORS PICKETING: On the eve of their strike vote, Seattle Education Association members will be picketing at high schools around the city, including both Chief Sealth International High School (2600 SW Thistle) and West Seattle High School (3000 California SW), 3:30 pm-5:30 pm today.
FINAL MONTH FOR HIGH POINT FARM STAND: 4-7 pm, the High Point Market Garden Farm Stand is selling fresh-picked produce, and this is its last month of the season. Details in our calendar listing. (32nd SW & SW Juneau)
SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: The city-supported group with reps from community councils and other key organizations around western West Seattle meets tonight at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center. Main agenda item: Potential environmental impacts of the Terminal 5 project, with a neighborhood advocate leading the discussion. (SW Oregon & California SW)
JIM PAGE @ C & P: Singer-songwriter Jim Page is live at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
MORE NIGHTLIFE … find it via our complete calendar.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
9:41 AM: Big Seattle Fire/Police response en route right now to 49th SW and SW Graham (map) in Seaview, where a two-car crash is reported, one said to be “on its side” per the dispatch. More to come.
9:44 AM: First SFD crew at the scene confirms one vehicle, an SUV, is on its side and two people are inside – they’re checking on injuries as well as how to get them out. The response is being upgraded to “heavy rescue,” which means even more SFD vehicles headed that way.
9:52 AM: They’re getting the two people out now. Some of the responding units are being canceled.
9:58 AM: Our crew at the scene confirms both people are out of the vehicle that went into a tree on the SE corner of 49th/Graham; the other vehicle is a silver Volvo still out in the intersection.
Lots of SFD units still in the area so stay clear – 49th is residential but 48th, one block east, is a minor arterial through the area.
10:04 AM: Per our crew, the two people who were cut out of that vehicle – you’ll note that its roof is now missing, as shown in our top photo – will be taken to a hospital for evaluation, by private ambulance.
10:32 AM: The flipped Hyundai was headed eastbound on Graham, the Volvo northbound on 49th, when they collided, police tell us, as they continue investigating. The Volvo’s driver was unhurt.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
No, the city’s new strategies for clearing crashes more quickly won’t compromise investigations.
So promised Seattle Police traffic section Capt. Eric Greening during the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s monthly meeting. He and SDOT’s Traffic Management Center manager Adiam Emery were there to talk about the city’s new emphasis on Traffic Incident Management (TIM), as first detailed in an August 3rd media briefing downtown focused on a new analysis by consultants.
WSTC also heard on Thursday night from the transit-advocacy group Seattle Subway, which is encouraging West Seattleites to join them in pushing Sound Transit for a bolder vision/plan than is currently being explored for next year’s “ST3” ballot measure.
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:34 AM: Good morning. More rain due later today.
BACK TO SCHOOL: As of today, all the local parochial schools are back in session – today is the first day for Hope Lutheran and Holy Family (whose area of Roxbury has school-zone cameras – see the enforcement schedule here).
METRO CANCELLATIONS: In our followup published last night, a King County Department of Transportation spokesperson explained that cancellations aren’t new but their efforts to notify riders via texts/tweets are, while also responding to our questions about hiring efforts, since personnel shortages are behind the cancellations. So far this morning, one announced cancellation in West Seattle, the Route 37 run at 6:46 am.
— Amanda Kay Helmick (@ak_helmick) September 2, 2015
10:12 AM: We’re following up on that bus bench, by the way. Meantime, in addition to the 49th/Graham crash we’re covering, there’s a stalled vehicle reported to be partly blocking the Admiral offramp on the westbound West Seattle Bridge – tow truck has been requested.
ADDED 2:17 PM: In subsequent tweets, Helmick had said she was told the bench was removed because homeless people were sleeping on it. Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer cites loitering and drug dealing:
The bench in this shelter was removed April 20 at the request of Metro Transit Police due to chronic loitering and
drug dealing* in the bus shelter. Removing the bench can often discourage this type of activity in a bus shelter. We don’t like to remove any benches needed by our customers, but it is an option we use when needed to try to reduce security issues in a bus shelter that otherwise drive customers away.
We’re monitoring and are open to further discussions with the community about solutions that work for this location. We’ve had two walking tours in this area with community leaders, Seattle Police and Metro Transit Police. We are always open to working with social service groups and law enforcement to address homeless and security issues beyond Metro’s control.
Metro staff were notified and plan to remove the giant rocks found in the shelter so riders don’t accidentally trip and become injured.
We covered both of those walking tours – most recently, at the end of March, about 3 weeks before the bench-removal date mentioned by Switzer; the previous one was 15 months earlier, at the end of 2013. Our coverage noted that liquor was mentioned as a problem at that bus stop – with four places to get it nearby.
2:32 PM: *Referring to the asterisk and struck-out text above – at the exact moment we were publishing that update, Switzer sent a note saying that Metro Transit Police corrected themselves in a followup note to him, saying it was alcohol, not drug dealing, that was the problem at this stop.
3:02 PM: Back to bus cancellations – just tweeted:
Transit Alert – Route 56 to Alki due to leave 3rd Av and Bell St at 3:04 PM has been canceled.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) September 2, 2015
4:58 PM: Avoid Barton between Roxhill Park and the east end of Westwood Village – a potential-hazmat response has blocked off the street. Also, while this is bound to be causing some bus problems, there were more *unrelated-to-this* cancellations noted by Metro – we’re posting them here for the record:
Transit Alert – Route 56 to Alki due to leave 3rd Av and Bell St at 4:28 PM has been canceled.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) September 2, 2015
Transit Alert Update – Route 55 to the Admiral District due to leave 5 Av & Wall St at 4:59 PM & 5:22 PM have been canceled this evening.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) September 2, 2015