West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to Kevin Broveleit for the photos – tonight in the gym at Schmitz Park Elementary, sign-making was an all-ages activity looking ahead to the Washington State PTA-organized Focus Day at the State Capitol in Olympia on February 3rd. Clockwise from lower left in the top photo are Josie, Brea, Chris (the grownup), Lilly, Conrad, Dora, Joelle.
Advocacy is also expected to be an all-ages activity that day – at least four of the students Kevin photographed will be going along, he says. At the top of the priority list for the statewide group is getting the Legislature to honor the McCleary decision’s mandate to fully fund public education. Tonight’s signmaking party, by the way, was held concurrently with the Schmitz Park PTA’s meeting, according to an update on the group’s Focus Day plan.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Southwest Design Review Board has just given its final blessing to the design of 1307 Harbor SW, the mixed-use project planned for the former Alki Tavern site and neighboring parcels, following a meeting that revealed more about what the building will be used for – residential units are a small part of what it will hold.
The board’s part of the process ended with the minimum amount of meetings – Early Design Guidance approval in April 2014, and a final recommendation tonight. Four of the board’s five members were present for the meeting, the first part of a doubleheader – chair Todd Bronk, T. Frick McNamara, Matt Zinski, and Donald Caffrey.
Here’s how it unfolded:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The first West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting of the year drew one of its biggest recent turnouts, ~30 people. Here’s how it unfolded, from a briefing and Q/A with West Seattle’s police commander, to an insurance-industry expert’s inside information on car prowl/theft tactics:
CAPTAIN’S BRIEFING: Southwest Precinct Capt. Pierre Davis began Tuesday night’s meeting by thanking citizens for staying alert and calling 911. He mentioned the micro-community policing plans for 12 neighborhoods, while assuring people outside those areas that it doesn’t mean they get less policing resources.
As for the trends:
*Car prowls remain big, as does retail theft (shoplifting).” Also, “We’re still having street robberies,” but often there’s a relationship of some kind between robber and victim, “not so much individuals coming out there just to get (random) individuals.” He pointed out that numbers are available via the SPD Dashboard, saying it’s a “real-time” stat system.
Hot spots right now: High Point and North Delridge – “assaults, lots of gunfire, things of that nature, we’re on that as well … trying to determine what the true issues are, and sometimes they have nothing to do with West Seattle – these guys are migratory, they have cars … only thing we can do is make arrests, identify who we can identify.” He said the precinct is getting more resources, not just in house but from outside including SWAT teams, Gang Unit, etc.
Just in, an update from WSDOT, following up on its order last week telling its contractor to stop Highway 99 tunneling because of recent incidents including a sinkhole and trouble with the barge that was receiving excavated material:
Last week, WSDOT notified Seattle Tunnel Partners that they must “suspend for cause” tunneling operations involving the tunneling machine and the loading of barges. WSDOT took this step to ensure STP’s work can proceed safely following recent incidents on the SR 99 Tunnel Project. Safety remains the top priority for the project and we can’t speculate on when tunneling will resume.
In response to the suspension for cause, STP has informed WSDOT they are analyzing the recent incidents and intend to provide follow-up information this week. WSDOT, in consultation with its tunneling experts, will then review the information and determine the appropriate next steps.
STP has notified WSDOT they plan to sequentially turn off the deep dewatering wells soon. These wells, which have been used to control groundwater, were previously scheduled to be shut off when the tunneling machine reaches the next planned maintenance stop. With tunneling operations currently on hold, STP has determined that there is an opportunity to turn off the wells earlier than planned. We will continue to monitor movement of the ground, structures, utilities and the viaduct. Additional information about our ground monitoring program can be found here.
(UPDATED with meeting video and documents showing what was approved/changed)
(Click above to see Seattle Channel video of this afternoon’s relatively brief meeting)
3:37 PM: Happening now at City Hall – the special meeting of the City Council to consider Mayor Murray‘s emergency order setting up, among other things, two “safe lots” for people living in their RVs and other vehicles – one of them on the paved area adjacent to what for years was an unsanctioned encampment at West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW in HP. As District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold told the Delridge District Council last night, she and her colleagues have the opportunity to amend the order as they consider it. We’ll be updating live as we monitor it via Seattle Channel.
They’re beginning with public comment; one of the first speakers is an advocate who says she is concerned about the city’s current schedule of “sweeps” at unauthorized encampments – “there’s real harm done to real people” – and says that the schedule does not reflect what councilmembers heard at their briefing about those sweeps back on Tuesday. Another speaker, an Interbay businessperson, says he’s concerned about the RV lots creating an inhospitable atmosphere both for those living in them or those near them. A third speaker is advocating for the city to “stop the (encampment) sweeps. The fourth and final person who signed up to speak says she’s a Magnolia resident concerned about crime that she and her neighbors believe is related to unauthorized encampments.
3:48 PM: Council President Bruce Harrell is saying the council has four options – do nothing, accept the mayor’s order, reject it, or modify it. After asking city staffers for some background, he also notes the council has the authority to revoke an order like this if they don’t feel it’s accomplishing its goal. Right after that, Councilmember Herbold proposes amendments. “The amendments broadly fall into two categories,” she says, adding that they include “reporting-back requirements” regarding demographics of those served, impacts on nearby communities, and what the city will do after the “safe lots” end – “we’ll still have RV camping, and what will the city do then?” And she’s asking to make sure that the lots are not just for “one particular part of the city” but that outreach is done all over the city. (Much of what she’s listed are points that came up at last night’s meeting in Delridge.) Herbold also says her questions include what she’s heard from “(her) community” about whether the Highland Park lot is truly suitable, particularly because of its lack of nearby services.
4:08 PM: After a lot of trying to straighten out fine print, questions ensue. Councilmember Rob Johnson wonders what kind of a dent these two lots with a combined 50 spaces or so will make, when at least 800 people are believed to be living in their vehicles around the city, and will it affect the ability of religious and other institutions to host “car campers”? He is told it won’t affect that ability. They’ve just passed an amended resolution; we don’t have the documents yet but will add them when we get them. Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, joining the meeting by phone, says it’s about knowing who the people are (in the lots/encampments), knowing that they’re safe, and knowing that neighbors are safe. And at 4:13 pm, the meeting’s adjourned.
4:37 PM: Updated – here’s the amended order – scroll to what’s in blue, to see what was added/changed:
You also can see it here as a PDF.
4:56 PM: Here’s the second document, an amended resolution. As with the one above, scroll through to see (in purple) what was added/changed:
And here it is as a PDF if you’d rather read it that way. Again, the lots are supposed to be operational in about a month, so we’ll have more followups about what’s planned, what’s expected, and other related issues/questions.
ADDED 7:30 PM: A statement received from Councilmember Herbold via e-mail:
“Last year in the One Night Count, volunteers found approximately 760 vehicles with people living inside them. I thank the Mayor for acting on the clear need to assist these people and, in doing so, addressing the impacts on people living without access to water, garbage, and bathroom facilities.
“Today, Council amended the Order before it took practical effect. If we hadn’t acted within 48 hours, it would have gone into effect without our changes. Firstly, it was important to explicitly ensure we are collecting demographics on the people served in the safe parking lots. As outreach workers attempt to find solutions to find permanent housing, it’s essential we track the barriers they face. We must also track perceived and actual impacts on communities and the City’s response to those impacts. Looking forward, we also need to hear from Executive departments how the City intends to address vehicle camping after the terms for these particular safe lots end. This was all addressed in the amendments adopted today.
“Secondly, we memorialized operational commitments that were not included in the original Order relating to site management, sanitation, electricity, and potable water, and defining a length of term for the individual lots (six months, with the option for a one-time six month renewal). In addition there is an expectation that these lots will not be reserved for vehicle residents from one particular set of neighborhoods, rather the City will do outreach to all neighborhoods where people are living in their vehicles. The amendments also require the Executive to justify site suitability and name the factors used to justify that selection.
“Moving forward, it’s important that the Seattle community serves their unhoused neighbors in a way that best meets their needs. Choosing a remote location with little access to grocery stores, transportation, social services, showers and laundry facilities simply because it’s the easiest choice helps no one.
“Further, these lots cannot be opened to simply serve people living in RVs in Magnolia. There are vehicle campers all over the city, including Delridge and South Park. If we are to continue this model I want to see the City use a race and social justice lens to fully analyze the properties available citywide and identify choices that are best for those whom we wish to serve, as well as the surrounding community.
“Lastly, I’d like to thank my fellow Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Debora Juarez, and Lorena González for working with me to develop amending language to the Mayor’s Order of Civil Emergency. I’m pleased with our vote today, and we intend to continue our efforts to find housing for people who need it most.”
The mayor also has issued a statement: ““Thanks to the Council for the quick approval of emergency order that will provide a safer, cleaner environment for some of those who are homeless. By organizing better sanitation and centralizing the delivery of human services for those in need, we will work to move them to permanent housing as quickly as possible. While these aren’t long-term solutions, they do allow us to respond to more of the impacts of unpermitted parking and tents in neighborhoods around the city.”
This report is from D in Highland Park, who was only gone for a short time when the burglar(s) hit:
We had a break-in this morning at our home on 18th/Trenton. The thief (or thieves) kicked in our locked back door and stole my iMac, speakers, mouse, keyboard, and a Kindle Fire right off my desk. I was gone from the house for less than 30 minutes picking up my daughter at preschool. The iMac wasn’t worth anything (2009 model) and it contained all our family pictures and videos. A good reminder to back up digital information and pictures to the cloud.
As we were processing this, D e-mailed again to add that the burglar(s) also stole video equipment, a spare set of their house keys, and even roller-derby gear.
If you weren’t able to get to last night’s presentations about the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) – organized by the Morgan Community Association with a West Seattle-wide focus – here’s the video we recorded so you can watch/listen. Both presentations were by city staffers – above, Jesseca Brand presented an overview of HALA (57 minutes); below, Nick Welch talked about backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments (49 minutes), aka Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs) and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).
The presentations were preceded by a short MoCA business meeting, with some updates on neighborhood projects/issues – separate story about that later.
Interested in development? Two local meetings might interest you. Lots of entertainment tonight too. From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
DESIGN REVIEW X 2: Two Alki projects are on the agenda for the Southwest Design Review Board tonight – 6:30 pm, second review for the 1307 Harbor SW mixed-use project that includes the ex-Alki Tavern site, details and project packet linked here; 8 pm, 1250 Alki SW, the ~100-apartment project known as Perch, as previewed here on Wednesday. Both meetings have public-comment opportunities; both are upstairs at the Sisson Building, home of the Senior Center of West Seattle. (California SW/SW Oregon)
ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: Earlier meeting time tonight so that members can get to the aforementioned Design Review Board meeting for Perch. ACC starts at 6:30 pm in the parlor at Alki UCC, with topics including Statue of Liberty Plaza maintenance plus a discussion with the VP of real estate for West Coast Self-Storage, regarding a “new development that will involve a street vacation for 29th SW, east of Harbor and north of ActivSpace,” according to ACC president Tony Fragada. (6115 SW Hinds)
WEST SEATTLE TIMEBANK: 6:30 pm potluck, 7 pm meeting at the Senior Center of West Seattle – perfect time to get involved with the West Seattle Timebank – details in our calendar listing. (California/Oregon)
DENNY/SEALTH CONCERT: 7 pm at the Chief Sealth International High School auditorium, free concert featuring the Denny Junior Bands, Denny Junior Orchestra, Beginning Orchestra, Denny Jazz, and Mariachi. (2600 SW Thistle)
OPEN MIC – UNPLUGGED! At C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7 pm. (5612 California SW)
‘GEEKS WHO DRINK’ TRIVIA NIGHT: 8 pm at Treehouse Lounge in The Admiral District – details in our calendar listing. (2206 California SW)
LOTS MORE ON THE CALENDAR – see it all here.
Thanks to Patricia for the heads-up on this – SFD confirms that an open house 11 am-1 pm on Saturday, January 30th, is planned at Fire Station 29 (2139 Ferry SW), now that firefighters have moved back in after 9 months of seismic and other upgrades. (See before/after views here.) Patricia also reports the temporary structures are now gone from the triangle of city-owned land used as the temporary FS29.
6:21 AM: Good morning! Give yourself extra time today – no incidents so far but the rain’s been heavy at times.
3 ROAD-WORK ALERTS: Here’s new information about the Delridge-Highland Park Greenway work … ongoing nighttime work on SW Alaska west of Fauntleroy … and the lane closures on Highway 99 north of downtown continue.
7:04 AM: Northbound 99 is slowing because of what SDOT says is a stall south of the Seneca exit.
7:14 AM: SDOT says that stall has now cleared, but “residual backups” remain a factor.
7:47 AM: SDOT now reports a crash at W. Marginal and Highland Park Way.
8:10 AM: Now, bridge trouble: SPD has just been dispatched to a stalled vehicle on the eastbound West Seattle Bridge, “at the high rise.”
Stall: Eastbound W Seattle Bridge mid span, center lane blocked. Use caution & expect delays pic.twitter.com/JucgBkGOSL
— seattledot (@seattledot) January 21, 2016
8:29 AM: Mike says via Twitter that things are “backed up to The Junction.” MJR in comments says police are with the stalled vehicle and the bridge is “wide open” once you pass it.
9:31 AM: That stall, by the way, cleared before 9 am, per SDOT. As noted in comments, though, the bridge is still very slow going. And now a commenter reports a new stall.