West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In the wake of this week’s announcement of teacher-staffing changes at local schools – with Chief Sealth International High School told to cut the equivalent of three full-time positions – some plan to be there to speak out.
When we first reported the changes on Monday, the only attendance projections for next year that were publicly available were estimates made in February and included in the district’s “budget book.”
Today, the district made its newest projections public – the ones, we’re told, on which the staffing changes were based. You can see them here. The local schools with double-digit changes from the February projections are:
Arbor Heights Elementary – 23 more than previously projected
Chief Sealth IHS – 73 fewer than previously projected
Denny IMS – 13 fewer than previously projected
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 – 20 more than previously projected
Lafayette Elementary – 19 more than previously projected
Madison MS – 29 more than previously projected
Schmitz Park Elementary – 13 more than previously projected
West Seattle HS – 79 more than previously projected
West Seattle Elementary – 21 fewer than previously projected
Shortly after seeing those numbers today, we spoke with the district’s enrollment manager, Ashley Davies, about the trends and what they are watching for another potential round of changes in fall.
Davies told us that the projection changes for Sealth and WSHS are because of “fewer 9th grade residents” in the Sealth attendance area and more in the WSHS area “than we anticipated.” She added, “We have seen more students in the Chief Sealth area who have opted into option schools like Cleveland, NOVA, Center School, schools that only get students through the open-enrollment choice process across the district.”
Also, she said, “there were more students from the Sealth attendance area who applied to WSHS than the other way around … The district does have a neighborhood model, but we do value choice for our families, so they can choose another school.”
The school-choice process closes May 31st, Davies said, and that is why these projections arrived with less than a week left in the school year.
Regarding choice, we asked her about the contention/suspicion some commenters voiced that prospective students might have been directed away from Sealth. Davies said, “To my knowledge, there was no instance in which families had been directed away from Sealth … (but) it does come to a point where a school is limited in its capacity and we might not be able to offer as many seats. … Initially, though, we had seen, based on Sealth and WSHS enrollment from last year, we did anticipate more students at Sealth than at WSHS and they do have similar capacities …” But as of now, she said “both have (room) so it’s not an instance where we need to ensure that one school doesn’t get full.”
The trend could continue, she acknowledged, because the north West Seattle increases/south West Seattle decreases are also playing out at elementary schools. She said the district is “trying to find ways to closely monitor what’s going on in the individual attendance areas – some of the things are happening at a pace that we can’t necessarily predict.” One way in which she said they hope to do that is to “partner with school leaders around finding out ways in which neighborhoods are changing and how that will impact their individual schools.”
How this week’s teacher-staffing-change orders will affect schools, we don’t yet know; administrators were told to come up with their plan by week’s end. Meantime, Thursday’s public hearing on school budgets is set for 4:30 pm at district HQ in SODO (3rd and Lander) – if you’re interested in speaking, the agenda says, just show up.
(Click to see full-size PDF)
Our first report from the Highland Park Action Committee meeting that just wrapped up: HPAC voted tonight to send the city a letter asking that the proposed sale of most of the Myers Way Parcels in southeastern West Seattle be shelved. From the draft letter approved by the group:
… As you know, these 33 acres contain wetlands, wildlife habitat, and open space connected to the Hamm Creek watershed and the Duwamish River. In addition, there are several racial and socio-economically diverse neighborhoods surrounding and connected to this area, many of which are unincorporated areas of King County.
Highland Park and South Park are the closest Seattle neighborhoods bordering the Myers Way Parcel, but for the neighborhoods of North Highline, including White Center, Boulevard Park and Top Hat – the Myers Way Parcel is at the center, connecting these communities to each other. Yet, these communities have no representation or say in what happens to this area at this time. At the same time, there are ongoing discussions about annexation of these unincorporated communities into the City of Seattle, with a determination possibly as early as November 2017.
There is a significant clean-up underway for the Duwamish River, which could be the heart of this part of West Seattle, if the clean-up efforts continue and there is no additional negative environmental impact of the river, the creeks and wetlands that feed into the river.
Therefore, we are strongly urging Mayor Murray, Seattle City Council, and Department of Finance and Administrative Services to:
1) Hold off on any further plans to develop and/or sell any or all parts of Myers Way Parcels PMA #4539-4542 until there is final determination of annexation of North Highline into the City of Seattle and if North Highline is annexed that those community members are given the same opportunity to provide input into the final recommendations;
2) Until an outside agency with experience, knowledge, and connection with the clean-up of the Duwamish River has evaluated the environmental impact of the each of the “Range of Options,” as outlined on page 6 of the Preliminary Recommendation Report On Reuse and Disposal of the Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services PMA 4601 JTF Expansion Property PMA 4540-Undeveloped lot at 9501 Myers Way S. PMA 4541-Undeveloped lot at 9701 Myers Way S. PMA 4542-Undeveloped lot at 9600 Myers Way S. PMA 4601 JTF Expansion property from June 15, 2016, has been fully explored and vetted that there will be no additional negative environmental impact on the Duwamish River, the clean-up efforts or in any violation of the Clean Water Act. …
The city’s preliminary recommendations – to keep part of the land for expansion of the adjacent Joint Training Facility, and sell the rest – were made public one week ago. A community meeting is planned at the JTF (9401 Myers Way S.) one week from tomorrow, 6:30 pm June 30th (here again is the official notice). The eventual decision on the land’s future will be made by the City Council.
P.S. The rest of our coverage of tonight’s HPAC meeting will be published tomorrow.
From last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the Southwest Precinct, last one until September:
CAPTAIN’S BRIEFING: Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis opened with the declaration that a “grandiose state of car prowling is happening in our neck of the woods” – The Junction, Highland Park, and South Park are the hardest-hit spots right now. He implored people to PLEASE not leave ANYTHING in their cars – if thieves stop scoring stuff, they’ll stop trying. “We don’t want to make it lucrative for these guys to keep doing what they’re doing.” Without naming names, he mentioned that some prolific suspects have been caught. “We want to keep the pressure up throughout the whole summer.”
He said the shots-fired issues are under scrutiny as well. “Some of them have a nexus toward certain houses, or friends that they visit … these guys are riding cars, coming from (different areas, north to east to south) … if you hear it, make sure you call it in, so we can get the appropriate types of response out there.” Arrests tend to “make a lot of that activity go away,” he said. “Timely and accurate reporting is the key to a lot of this stuff … sometimes we don’t get the information until maybe the next day, which is not good enough … it’s a lot harder than … right when that stuff is happening. Load 911 up so they can get all that good information out to our officers.” He said that things in Puget Ridge/Pigeon Point had quieted down – traffic-wise as well – after emphasis patrols. One PR resident verified that. Capt. Davis said that with the 4th of July approaching, there’ll be some fireworks/gunshots confusing, but still call it in. “Sometimes we get there and it is fireworks … sometimes we get there and we find shell casings … exercise due diligence, make that 911 call.”
Next topic, burglaries: Read More
One day after the official grand opening of Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que in West Seattle, today is the new restaurant’s first full day in business, and we’re welcoming them as a new WSB sponsor. As with all new local sponsors, Pecos Pit gets the chance to let you know what they’re about:
We believe in BBQ’s primal power: The artful use of wood, fire, and smoke to enhance the quality of one’s life and “spread the love.” So … we are taking this power, fusing it into an innovative business model and delivering a simpler but better BBQ experience. Do Well, Do Good, Have Fun!
After 35 years of having a single Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que location on 1st Avenue, Ron and Debra Wise have teamed up with Gerry Kingen to share their iconic Seattle jewel with the rest of the world. The new Pecos Pit location serves the same famous Pecos Pit BBQ found on 1st Ave for decades, along with some new habit-forming options. Offerings include our traditional pork, beef, and chicken sandwiches in a decidedly sloppy style, plus beef brisket and hot links. (Explore the menu here.)
New variations include stuffed smoked potatoes (sweet or russet) and a “Walkaround Bowl” filled with the meat of your choice plus cheese, cold slaw and sauce. We also serve healthy salads made with your choice of smoked meat, or have it veggie style with baby kale, olives, tomatoes, cowboy caviar, cheddar cheese, and blue cheese or ranch dressing. You can even buy bulk, smoked meats, including Pecos pork, beef brisket, turkey legs and smoked chicken.
Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que‘s new West Seattle restaurant is located at 4400 35th Avenue SW. Our hours are 11 a.m.– 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. We have indoor and outdoor seating; you can order ahead by phone at 206-708-7691; or, use the drive-through. Our 16 parking spaces are next door, off the alley, to the east.
We thank Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
What started as an Alki car-prowl report and continued with alleged brandishing of “guns and golf clubs” resulted in two arrests late last night, according to SPD Blotter.
On June 21st, at about 11:40 pm, officers responded to a report of a car prowl near Bonair Drive SW and Alki Avenue SW. A victim reported one of the suspects in the break-in had flashed a gun at the victim and his friends before fleeing in a white Ford pickup truck.
The victim told police he and his friends had returned to their parked vehicle and found the driver’s side window was broken. A bystander pointed out the suspects to the victim just before the two men rolled past them in a pickup truck. As the suspects drove by, the driver and passenger reportedly flashed handguns at the group. The truck then made a U-turn and came back toward the group, and the two suspects began shouting threats.
The victims ducked behind a parked car and the suspects drove off.
Officers took statements from the victims and photographed the prowled vehicle. As the officers were processing the scene, police received another report that two men in a white Ford truck had just brandished golf clubs in another incident near SW Charlestown and 50th Avenue SW. The original responding officers went with other officers to the new call in an attempt to locate the suspects.
Officers found the suspect’s truck parked at a 7-11 in the 3800 block of California Avenue SW and soon spotted the two suspects, ages 19 and 25, walking out of the store. Police discovered the 19-year-old was carrying a handgun in his front pocket, and also found a handgun, golf club and metal pipes inside the pickup truck.
Both suspects were arrested and booked into the King County Jail for felony harassment and theft. The 25-year-old, who is a convicted felon and unable to lawfully possess firearms, was also booked for unlawful possession of the firearm.
The two men remain in jail, according to the register; we’re checking on whether they’ll appear for bail hearings today or tomorrow.
Independence Day is now only 12 days away, and Walking on Logs is decorated in honor of West Seattle’s only 4th of July parade, the Kids’ Parade in North Admiral. This is a parade through neighborhood streets, with participants walking, rolling, biking, riding in strollers and wagons – no floats, no motorized vehicles except the fire truck and old-time pickup that usually lead the way. Everyone’s welcome to show up at 44th and Sunset for the start of the parade at 10 am on the Fourth (which is a Monday this year), and new coordinator Emily Williams now tells us two guest speakers are expected at the parade kickoff, County Executive Dow Constantine (an Admiral-area resident) and Mayor Ed Murray. The parade travels to Hamilton Viewpoint Park, for a mini-festival of games (sack races, etc.) and treats (the Admiral Neighborhood Association sells popsicles and more). The permits for the parade and games do cost some $ so this year there’s a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs – if you can contribute a few dollars to help reach the goal, go here.
P.S. Another way to help – as the banner says, the parade is collecting diapers for WestSide Baby again this year!
1:28 PM: Thanks to Todd for the tip via Twitter: 92 homes in Upper Alki, mostly west of Schmitz Park, are without electricity, according to the City Light map, which says the cause is still under investigation.
2:29 PM: According to the outage map, the power’s back on.
(WSB file photo, Westcrest Off-Leash Area)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Months later than first promised, the draft plan for Seattle Parks‘ off-leash areas is finally out today. See it here.
The process leading to this has been under way for almost a year – we mentioned a survey last July, and several local community councils included discussions at their meetings earlier this year.
We’ve just taken a quick read through the draft plan, and here are some of the points:
*No specific new off-leash areas are proposed
*A process for adding new OLAs “gradually” is outlined
*In the meantime, the city proposes spending up to $1.3 million to improve the 14 existing OLAs, through funding from the voter-approved Park District
Here’s the outline of the process suggested for adding new OLAs:
For each proposed OLA, except those involving private developers, SPR will convene a committee including dog advocates, environmental advocates, a veterinarian or animal behaviorist, community members, and SPR staff to recommend to the Superintendent whether the proposed OLA should move forward.
1 Adding OLAs through new park/redevelopment processes. SPR will specifically include OLAs as an element
for consideration in the planning process when SPR embarks on the development or redevelopment process
for new and existing parks, along with any other suggested use that arises during the process.
2 As SPR develops land-banked park sites, SPR will examine their use for new OLAs as part of the park
3 SPR will continue to consider adding new OLAs by request of the community, whether through
Neighborhood Matching Fund processes or other community processes.
4 Support groups such as COLA in developing OLAs on non-park public land suitable for OLAs, by convening
the committee described above and assisting with design.
5 Encourage groups like COLA to work with private property owners to provide OLAs on unused property.
6 Encourage private developers, through the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection, to include
OLAs as part of prospective developments.
There will still remain the issue of development costs for any of these alternatives, but those can be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
The document says adding a one-acre off-leash area is estimated to cost just under $1 million.
As for the nature of improvements/additions, the draft plan includes these recommendations:
Based on the potential for conflict between leashed and unleashed dogs and between dogs and other park activities, limited enforcement resources, and feedback from other jurisdictions, SPR recommends continuing to offer fenced OLAs only.
*Based on the potential for conflict between leashed and unleashed dogs and between dogs and other trail users, the associated need for more maintenance and enforcement and the potential for disturbing animal and bird habitat, SPR does not recommend designated leash-optional trails.
*Based on the protection of many of Seattle’s beaches by the Marine Reserves Rule and the potential for disturbing animal, marine and bird habitat, SPR recommends against establishing any more OLAs with beach access.
We’re still reading through the rest of the plan and will add anything else of note in the next hour or so (again, see the full draft plan here). Geographically, it notes that a “small area of (north West Seattle)” is one of the parts of the city that does NOT have an off-leash area within 2.5 miles; West Seattle’s one and only OLA is at Westcrest Park in Highland Park, opened in 1997 and described in the draft plan as the second-busiest off-leash area in the city.
The Westcrest analysis starts on page 145 of the report and recommends these improvements:
1. Reinstall ADA parking sign and ADA path in small and shy dog area.
2. Upgrade fencing to protect natural areas.
3. Replace woodchips with other surfacing and fill in ruts.
4. Restore eroded slope.
5. Pave service road from the north lot entrance to the inside dumpster.
WHAT’S NEXT: The process for commenting on the draft plan is outlined here. A public hearing is set for July 28th in Northgate (that same link has full details), and the Seattle Parks Board is scheduled to vote at its September 8th meeting. Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre has the final say on the plan.
(Pigeon Guillemot, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar for the rest of today/tonight:
LOW-LOW TIDE: Today’s tide is out to -1.9 feet again, right before 1 pm. Between now and 1:30 pm, volunteer beach naturalists are out at Constellation and Lincoln Parks to answer your questions.
LOCAL BIZ MEETUP: If you’re a West Seattle businessperson, take a lunch break and come to the meetup at West Seattle Office Junction (WSB sponsor), noon-1:15 pm. (6040 California SW)
PREPAREDNESS: Get ready, just in case. Tonight’s an easy way to learn more about getting and being prepared in case of earthquake or other disasters – free event at Southwest Library, 6 pm, details in our listing. (35th SW/SW Henderson)
GROUP RUN AND ORCA HALF SIGNUPS: 6:15 pm at West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor) – it’s this week’s group run as well as a chance to sign up for the September 25th Orca Half that’ll kick off Seattle Summer Parkways car-free day on Alki. Full details here. (2743 California SW)
HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: 7 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club. Agenda items include Highland Park Way/Holden intersection discussion with SDOT, what’s in the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan for HP and vicinity, and Myers Way Parcels, in the wake of the city’s “preliminary recommendations,” as first reported here last week. Full agenda details are on the HPAC website. All welcome! (12th SW/SW Holden)
NIGHTLIFE AND MORE … on our complete calendar.
(WSB photo from 2015 Seattle Chinese Garden Kite Festival)
Saturday’s West Seattle summer slate isn’t just about pirates … it’s also about kites. The annual Kite Festival at the Seattle Chinese Garden on Puget Ridge is set for 2-6 pm Saturday (June 25th):
Come fly kites in the garden’s ridge-top field. Bring your own or buy one at the festival. This fun event for all ages includes kite flying demonstrations and displays, kite coloring for children (with prizes), entertainment, and refreshments. Free for children from tots through teens; suggested adult donation is $3. More information at seattlechinesegarden.org, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can get to the SCG via the north entrance of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus at 6000 16th SW.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:16 AM: Good morning – quiet commute so far. What you need to know:
BRIDGE ‘BUMP’: The Fauntleroy Expressway end of the West Seattle Bridge will have a “bump” today and some subsequent days because of how the work has changed; it’ll also be closed again tonight, 9 pm-5 am.
26TH SW WORK: One block of southbound 26th SW is closed, between Barton and Cambridge, while SDOT finishes the pavement-repair work that started back in April.
PRESIDENT ON FRIDAY: President Obama returns to Seattle for a fundraising dinner at the Convention Center downtown on Friday night. This report says he’ll be staying overnight and leaving Saturday.