West Seattle, Washington
The bus and “Duck” involved in the deadly Aurora Bridge collision 12 hours ago have both just been towed away, and Highway 99 has reopened both ways, SDOT just announced. The investigation into the crash that killed 4 college students will continue Friday with the arrival of a National Transportation Safety Board team.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two big topics for tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting – a candidates’ forum for the two Seattle Port Commission races, and a discussion of the newly released West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor “action report” – which veered into a debate about the group’s stance on the Move Seattle levy.
Chair Amanda Kay Helmick started the meeting with a moment of silence for victims of the Aurora Bridge crash. Then it was on to politics:
PORT COMMISSION CANDIDATES: For Position 2, incumbent Courtney Gregoire canceled at the last minute (with a note about staying home with a sick child), leaving Goodspaceguy for that position; for Position 5, which has no incumbent in the race, both Fred Felleman and Marion Yoshino were in attendance. Each got about a minute for an opening statement, and we recorded all three on video:
Questions followed (our summaries below are highlights, not full verbatims). First – “what transportation system improvements are needed to better serve the West Seattle peninsula and the Port?”
(WSB photo: Serving up Harvest Festival chili tastes for judges – that means you! – during 2014 festival)
Which West Seattle restaurant will win this year’s Harvest Festival chili competition, delighting tastebuds and raising money for the West Seattle Food Bank? Just announced – the field is open for entries:
The West Seattle Junction Association is sponsoring a fundraiser for the West Seattle Food Bank at our 4th Annual Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 25th. Our neighborhood restaurants will bring their best pot of chili and compete for bragging rights of Best Chili at Harvest Festival – 2015. It’s free for restaurants to enter. The West Seattle public will vote by buying a flight of chili and choosing their favorite! 100% of the donations collected will go to the West Seattle Food Bank to help our community. In the past two years, this competition has raised over $4500 for the food bank!
Some logistics and rules to enter. Participants must:
* Be a West Seattle business.
* Bring 2.5 gallons of hot chili made in commercial kitchen. We’ll have chafing dishes but bring it hot!!
* Provide a chili server who has a current Food Handlers Card. Restaurant owner, lead chef, or manager preferred.
* Be ready to serve at 11 am! With 2.5 gallons of chili, we’ll be able to serve over 100 flights and the competition will be done by 1 pm.
* We have room for only 9 competitors. First come, first serve, don’t delay.
We’ll provide everything else. To register, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your business name, contact person, and agreement that rules will be followed. Deadline Friday, October 16th.
Last year, West Seattle caterer Deano’s was the winner; the year before that, Husky Deli.
P.S. Along with chili, trick-or-treating (at noon and not a second sooner) is part of the Harvest Festival, as is the costume parade (now confirmed – West Seattle High School Marching Band will lead the way again!), harvest activities, and the Farmers’ Market, all happening in the street in the heart of The Junction, 10 am-2 pm Sunday, October 25th.
In West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon:
STOLEN BICYCLE & BREAK-IN ATTEMPT: That’s Lisa‘s bike, stolen – via cutting off two locks, including a “U lock” – in the 9100 block of 45th SW between 10:40 last night and 2 this afternoon. She adds, “They attempted to break in to my apartment but were unsuccessful.” A police report is in progress. Be on the lookout for her bicycle.
ABANDONED BICYCLE: In most cases, that means someone stole it and cast it aside, so we’re featuring Denise‘s discovery here:
Located 18th/Myrtle near greenbelt to Sanislo, 1/2 block north of intersection, in bushes on west side of road. (Wednesday) morning, I was dropping off materials for a specialist at Sanislo Elem, and saw this abandoned bike. Thought “physical fitness bicycle” characteristic was familiar…
BURGLARY HOTSPOT: Another one Tuesday in the general Camp Long area. From George:
At 9:10 a.m. our back door alarm was triggered (5200 block of 35th Ave SW near Brandon). Neither of us were at home but the police were dispatched. They didn’t see any forced entry — the burglar(s) must have been scared off by the alarm, but clearly the back door had been tampered with, which triggered the alarm.
Ours is at least the third house in the immediate vicinity that has been targeted by burglars in the past year, so this is a reminder to call 9-1-1 if you see any suspicious activity. Likewise, if anyone saw anyone acting suspiciously or perhaps running from or speeding away from 35th and Brandon at 9:10 a.m. Tuesday and can provide any identifying info, please contact the police.
Then on Wednesday morning, according to a note from another area resident, 36th between Brandon and Findlay, had a burglary attempt following at least two car break-ins and home burglaries since Sunday. One of those victims saw a man trying the doors on her neighbor’s house yesterday, then called police, only to see the would-be burglar “hide in another house/yard across the alley when they drove by”; she then saw the man break into another house after police left. Neighbors Then watched as he came back and entered her neighbor’s house, as she tried again to get the police to come. This tipster also says, “I would like to let folks in our extended neighborhood know to be on the lookout and to report any car prowls or suspicious activity.”
Two months after first word that Mayor Murray will come to Delridge on Saturday, October 3rd, for West Seattle’s first-ever “Find It, Fix It” community walk, one year after the program began, we have full details today: It’ll start at Louisa Boren STEM K-8 (5950 Delridge Way SW) at 11 am. In addition to the traditional Find It, Fix It issues, Delridge-specific concerns will be discussed, as explained here – you can also follow that link to find out about applying for city grants to fund community projects aimed at “fixing” problems. Whether you want to do that or not, you’re invited to join the walk.
(SCROLL DOWN for the newest information)
11:28 AM: A collision with major injuries reported has blocked the Aurora Bridge both ways. It’s reported to involve a Ride The Ducks vehicle and a bus. That’s likely to be a relatively long-lasting closure so if you use Highway 99, plan an alternate route.
11:55 AM: SFD says two people are dead, nine critically injured, and they are still evaluating people.
SR 99 is closed NB at Western Ave and SB at N 46th St. All traffic must exit. Use alt routes and expect long delays pic.twitter.com/5gqvCACGpa
— seattledot (@seattledot) September 24, 2015
12:42 PM: The city says the traffic effects are likely to last into the evening. The mayor and police chief will be speaking at the scene shortly.
12:49 PM: The mayor, at the news conference happening now, confirms they expect the closure to continue into the evening. Fire Chief Harold Scoggins says 4 people died at the scene and 12 are critically injured; the crash involved not only a charter bus and a Ride The Ducks vehicle but also two cars.
(Added: Seattle Fire Department photo)
1:41 PM: Short updates are now online via SPD Blotter and SFD Fireline (looks like the same info). Because of the transportation effects, we will keep this story pinned atop the WSB home page TFN, but as we publish other, unrelated stories (starting soon), they’ll appear beneath it, so from the home page, just scroll down to see what else is happening.
2:44 PM: Some miscellaneous information that’s also being discussed in comments:
—METRO REROUTES: Latest list is here
—BLOOD DONATIONS: Bloodworks NW says because of so many injuries in this incident, it needs more – go here to find out how to donate
3:31 PM: Still closed, NB from the Western exit, and SB, according to commenter “Cadburry,” reopens just south of the Aurora Bridge. Meanwhile, SPD has issued a short update on its investigation.
5:22 PM: No change in the situation – Aurora Bridge still closed, with Highway 99 closure NB at Western; SB, we’re told you CAN get on starting around lower Queen Anne, south of the bridge. Also, some more bus reroutes – updated info here. And while this is NOT related to the crash, we just got word that the cycles on the signal at 35th/Alaska are apparently running too short and causing a backup on southbound 35th there – we flagged SDOT via Twitter and they say engineers are looking into it.
5:34 PM: SDOT says that’s fixed now; our crew just arrived and verifies that it seems to be OK, no notable backup.
5:50 PM: Briefing expected shortly from the mayor – you can watch live here. Meantime, in another non-related traffic update, a crash is reported at Fauntleroy/Hudson; traffic’s getting by, says our tipster, but barely.
6:05 PM: The briefing is under way, with the mayor, fire chief, police chief. The Aurora Bridge might remain closed until sometime tomorrow, the mayor said. No change in the number of deaths; 15 people are in critical condition. “Too early … to draw any conclusions” about crash’s cause, says Police Chief O’Toole. They’ve set up a hotline for witnesses: 206-233-5000. SDOT director Scott Kubly explains that once the investigators are done, there will be cleanup and bridge inspections among other things before 99 can reopen.
8:28 PM: The closure continues. We’ll shortly remove this from its position stuck atop the WSB home page, and will publish a new story if there’s a change this evening. We’ll of course have traffic/transit coverage first thing in the morning as usual, too.
11:17 PM: The southbound lanes of 99 have reopened, right after the bus and “Duck” were towed. Awaiting word on the northbound lanes.
Thanks to Deborah for the dahlia photo! Calendar highlights for this first full day of fall:
CHAT WITH PARKS SUPERINTENDENT AGUIRRE: Missed his West Seattle “listening tour” stops? Have a followup question? Noon chat on Twitter today with Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre. Use the hashtag #ParkRecSupe.
‘REMEMBER ME THURSDAY’: Help bring attention to all the pets awaiting their forever homes, with Furry Faces Foundation and friends at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), 6-8 pm, candlelight ceremony at 7, details in our calendar listing. (4410 California SW)
WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm, Neighborhood House’s High Point Center – Seattle Port Commission candidates’ forum, the West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor “action report,” more. Everybody welcome. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)
3 PLAY RICOCHET: 7 pm tonight at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), “Bluegrass, Old-Time, Ragtime, & String-Band Americana” music, live. (5612 California SW)
THAT’S JUST THE START … get the rest for today/tonight/tomorrow/this weekend/beyond, by browsing our complete calendar.
The 24th annual Southwest Library Community Artists Showcase is just a week and a half away – so, whatever you want to show off, get it ready for dropoff, and take note of something new this year: Music! Songs can be uploaded to the library website starting next Monday (September 28th) and continuing through October; visual art can be dropped off at the branch for display October 1st-3rd; for both visual art and music, up to three entries per person. The showcase runs October 4th-31st, starting with a 2 pm opening reception on the 4th. Saturday art classes are on the schedule too, 1 pm Saturdays, October 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st. Southwest Library is on the southeast corner of 35th and Henderson in Westwood – drop in to sign up and/or get more info.
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:38 AM: Good morning! No incidents in the area so far. The president of China is heading from downtown Seattle this morning back to Paine Field in Snohomish County to end his two-day visit; we’ll update here when we hear the motorcade’s on the move. I-5 express lanes are already closed and regional media is expecting the “mainline” to close shortly, as the state’s traffic cams are blacked out.
METRO CANCELLATIONS: One for Route 55 was announced earlier this morning via Twitter and text (as were two others, for non-WS routes). This afternoon we’re getting a closer look at the system, by request – do you have a question or concern beyond the obvious? Please comment (or otherwise message us) so we can be sure to ask about it.
REMINDER – METRO CHANGES SATURDAY: Metro’s next “service change” is Saturday. Not much in it for this area but here’s the breakout we published previously.
TONIGHT – WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, WSTC’s meeting will include a Port of Seattle Commission candidates’ forum as well as discussion of the city’s new West Seattle Bridge Corridor “action report” (first reported here Sunday night, briefly discussed at the City Council Transportation Committee meeting Tuesday).
REMINDER – 35TH & ROXBURY WORK NOT DONE: In case you missed our followup last night – we talked with the project manager for both, to get a status report, about midway through SDOT crews’ work on both arterials.
8:14 AM: Along with the express lanes, I-5 NB from Northgate north to SR 526 is closed for President Xi’s departure.
8:26 AM: WSDOT says the I-5 NB closure now extends south to 85th.
8:44 AM: And now it’s all reopening. P.S. Too soon for schedule/details but if you missed the recent reports, President Obama is visiting Friday, October 9th – that’s two weeks from tomorrow.
5:25 PM: We’ve been covering the Aurora Bridge crash all day at the top of the home page. Also, right now (thanks for the comment), the signal on 35th at Alaska is reported to be cycling too short to keep traffic flowing, so SB traffic is reported to be backing up. SDOT tells us engineers are or will be checking it out.
5:37 PM: Fixed, says SDOT. And our crew’s verified, no residual backup.
Long after Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s two-day visit – ending this morning – is over, hundreds of local students will continue learning about China’s language and culture in local schools. The Confucius Institute is involved in much of that local education, and its Washington branch co-sponsored a spectacular slate of art demonstrations and performances at Chief Sealth International High School last night – coincidental to the president’s presence in our area, as far as we know. The artists and performers were all from Seattle’s sister city Chongqing, in western China; above, a demonstration of sugar painting; below, our video of the Chongqing Song and Dance Troupe performing “Girls Playing Water”:
That was just the first of eleven planned song, dance, and acrobatic performances. The art demonstrations outside the Sealth auditorium preceded the show; they included crafting with shredded bamboo:
Fans and scrolls are some of what’s made from the bamboo filaments:
Before returning home, the Chongqing artists and performers will appear in San Francisco on Saturday.