West Seattle, Washington
10:59 PM: Police are searching in Morgan Junction for someone reported to have just robbed, or tried to rob, West Seattle Thriftway (California/Fauntleroy/Morgan; WSB sponsor). Early information from scanner has this description: Man in his 40s, dark skin, bald, 6′, heavyset, wearing a blue sleeveless sweater or vest and blue basketball shorts, last seen headed away from the store, northbound on California SW. He is reported to have demanded money from a cashier, though no weapon is reported to have been seen. Call 911 with any information.
11:45 PM: A K-9 team joined the search for a while, but no arrest reported so far.
Family and friends are remembering Elmer E. “Buzz” Watson, who died last weekend. This remembrance is shared by his daughter, who says they wrote it together:
Elmer Earl ‘Buzz’ Watson, 95, died July 30th, 2016. following a long life well lived.
He is survived by his son, Gary Watson (Deborah) and granddaughter Kristina Watson (Brock Towler) and great grandson, Miles Towler, grandson Michael Watson (Gillian), and daughter Rebecca Watson (Darwin Nordin). He is also survived by his sister, Dorothy Roeder (her children, Catherine, Cristine, Eric, Aaron) of Bellingham.
Buzz, son of Rachel and Elmer Watson, and great-great nephew of Ernest Watson of Whidbey Island fame (1886 historical house still stands as a B&B in Coupeville), grew up on a 120-acre dairy farm in Sumas, Washington, during the Depression, where he learned how to milk, and avoid being kicked by, a cow.
When not doing farm chores, or riling his sister Dorothy, he spent a lot of time hunting & fishing in the nearby woods & streams. Once or twice a year, his family ventured to the big city – Bellingham – to see the sights. When he was 17, the family sold the farm and moved to Bellingham, where he attended Western Washington College of Education (now WWU) for two years before moving to Seattle to work for the Western Electric (Ballard) phone company for a brief time. In 1941, he joined the Marine Corps, completing his flight training in Eastern Washington and Corpus Christi, Texas, where he graduated as Second Lieutenant. After meeting at a friend’s wedding in 1943, he wooed and married Jacque Lee Crawford in just one week. They honeymooned on the train, en route to North Carolina, and on the night they arrived, not able to find a room in a hotel, asked a police officer if they could spend the night in jail. After finding a home in Morehead City, NC, he received advanced flight training in preparation for active duty in WWII. He served 4 1/2 years as Captain at Midway Island, where he flew a B-25 Mitchell.
Personal highlights included shooting skeet with actor Robert Stack in Hawaii, and fishing off the islands for tuna. Following the war, he served 14 years in the Marine Corps Reserves, and was honorably discharged as Lieutenant Colonel in 1960. His military service was followed by several post-war jobs, gas station attendant, bread truck driver, bank teller at Bellingham National Bank – anything to make ends meet. He then worked for 35 years as a public servant – Deputy Collector for the Internal Revenue Service – and later was promoted to Supervisor of the Bellingham IRS office. He was feared but fair, finding creative ways for people owing tax to pay what was owed to the government (or as he liked to say owed to their neighbors).
Following his retirement from the IRS, he worked part-time as a real estate agent and enjoyed driving clients around and sharing stories about Whatcom County. Following his divorce from Jacque in 1972, he was awarded custody of his daughter Rebecca (unusual for that time) and was a single father for 4 years before marrying Josephine Durnan in 1976 (they divorced in the late ’80s). He lived in Bellingham (rented an apartment from beloved friend Cheryl) until suffering a stroke in 2012, which brought him to West Seattle, where he lived at Daystar Retirement Village, to be closer to his daughter who cared for him until his passing.
According to him, he was the best fisherman in Bellingham, and enjoyed many fishing trips with friends near Point Roberts, Stuart Island, and off Vancouver Island. He especially enjoyed the fishing trips to Alaska with son Gary, and to HiHume Lake in Canada with daughter Rebecca and son-in-law Darwin. He enjoyed golfing (was a huge Fred Couples fan) and watching the Mariners (when they were winning). A personal friend of Senator Scoop Jackson, he was (and undoubtedly still is) a yellow dog Democrat, and enjoyed seeing Barack Obama elected twice. He was also happy to see Hillary Clinton be nominated as the democratic candidate for President this year. He loved to cook (a foodie before it became trendy), made a mean apple pie and was always asked to barbecue the salmon for friend/family gatherings. Later in life, one Thanksgiving weekend, after a brief introduction by Darwin and Rebecca, he took up painting and produced many beautiful landscapes. He loved his family very much, and was very grateful for all their love, and proud of all their many accomplishments.
His family is saddened by his passing but is grateful that he had the courage to find his own path to a dignified end, and is finally at peace. The family thanks Daystar Retirement Village, Synergy HomeCare, & Kline Galland hospice for their support. At his request, there will be no memorial service. In his honor, please consider a donation to your favorite environmental organization, preferably dedicated to river or ocean conservation efforts – oceanfdn.org, wecprotects.org, marine-conservation.org, tpl.org. Also, don’t forget to vote!
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
From today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin:
3601 FAUNTLEROY APPEAL SETTLEMENT: Neighbors have withdrawn their appeal of key approvals for the 14-house development planned on this east Admiral site [map] as part of a settlement with the owners/builders. While the notice in today’s bulletin doesn’t carry details, the document is in the Hearing Examiner‘s case files. It involves six points of agreement, including the builders’ promise to install speed bumps, monitor traffic and parking during construction, and monitor drainage after construction to ensure the road doesn’t flood. This cancels the appeal hearing that had been scheduled for later this month, as reported here in June.
4532 42ND SW COMMENT TIME: The developers of 4532 42nd SW [map] in The Junction – 6 stories, 74 apartments, 71 offstreet parking spaces, and ground-level office/retail space – have officially applied for a land-use permit, and that opens a new comment period. This is the project that had to go through an extra Early Design Guidance meeting because a large tree had been cut instead of being included in proposed design; that third EDG meeting was held in April (WSB coverage here), and ended with approval to advance to the next phase of Design Review. No date yet for that next meeting, but comments on the land-use application will be accepted through August 14th. The notice has a link you can follow if you’re interested in commenting.
We’ve had multiple reports of a tire-slashing rampage on at least two streets southwest of Admiral overnight:
Karen on 48th SW sent the photo and reports, “We woke to find several cars with punctured tires today on our street. Three in our section of the block and at least three to the north. Our neighbors and I are reporting to the police via online reporting. Some of us were lucky and only had one puncture others had two. AAA said there is a slash in the tire. Looks like they hit cars from Stevens to Hinds so far.” [map]
Then Emily reported: “The tires on my car and a few of my neighbors’ on my block were slashed last night. 47th Ave between Hinds and Spokane. Jerks.”
And Jennie reported seeing “numerous cars with flat tires as I was riding my bike on my way to work this morning. Along 48th Ave SW, they were all between Stevens and Hanford. Then on 47th between Hanford and Spokane. I’d say I saw at least a dozen flat/deflated tires and some cars even had two.”
If it happened to you too, be sure to file a police report. You can do it online by going here. And if you witnessed anything potentially related to this – call it in.
Thanks to Ken Gollersrud at the High Point Library for the photo reminding us all that West Seattle’s new permanent King County Elections dropbox awaits your ballot – cutoff time for your primary vote is tomorrow (Tuesday, August 2nd) at 8 pm. You can mail it, too, but that’ll cost you a stamp; using the dropbox is free.
You also will narrow the fields for the 7th Congressional District seat, as well as U.S. Senate, Governor, Lt. Governor, and other statewide offices, plus races for State Supreme Court and King County Superior Court, and one 34th District State House seat.
The dropbox is just north of the library, along SW Raymond east of 35th SW [map].
Blue Angels landing now! pic.twitter.com/UIX5jQZbS6
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) August 1, 2016
BLUE ANGELS TODAY: As first reported here last week, Seafair was expecting the Navy’s famous flight-demo team between noon and 2 pm today. It’s 1:30 pm as we publish this from runwayside at Boeing Field, and they’re due soon. One bit of news earlier – Seafair says its fan-fave support plane “Fat Albert” has a “mechanical issue” that will keep it from flying during the local shows. Meantime, we’ll update once the Angels have arrived.
1:59 PM: Just added video (atop this story) of the Boeing Field flyby during their arrival a few minutes ago.
3:33 PM: Thanks to Monica Zaborac for the photo above, taken as they flew past Jack Block Park. Also remember, Thursday-Sunday, I-90 bridge closures will accompany their practices and shows – details here.
(back to original report) PARADE OF SHIPS TOMORROW: We published info two weeks ago for the Navy ships due for tomorrow afternoon’s parade past West Seattle and downtown shores, and set for Wednesday-Sunday tours. Today, Seafair’s website has the full lineup, including the U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Navy participants, and who you can tour where – see it here. The official time for the “parade” is 1 pm Tuesday but start watching from West Seattle around noon.
12:01 PM: Thanks to everybody who tipped us on this (and thanks to Lorraine for the photo)! Fencing is up around Lincoln Park’s north play area by the wading pool so that construction can begin on the renovation project. We reported last fall/winter on community discussions during planning for the work; after we contacted Seattle Parks to ask about it today, project manager Katie Bang told WSB that signage is going up this week, adding: “The project was awarded to LW Sundstrum Inc, who has worked on many Seattle Parks and Recreation play areas as well as other play areas around the area. The contractor will begin work at the cable ride. This was an additive alternate that was discussed in the public meetings that we were hoping to fund and were able to do so! He also will be removing and recycling the old play equipment materials. The work is scheduled to be complete by the end of October. The wading pool and shelter 5 will remain open during construction.” You can see images of the new equipment on the project website, which notes that the $600,000 cost is from the Seattle Park District levy.
1:35 PM: You might recall that during the planning period, we reported on a group of Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) students sharing ideas they had been promoting for “accessible” play areas. We asked Bang if any of those ideas made it into the final project:
We have integrated some of the ideas from the 8 students from Explorer West into the design of the renovated play area at Lincoln Park along with all of the other public input.
In our conversations with the middle school students and other community members, we emphasized that the Lincoln Park North play area was probably not the location for a “state of the art” play area for children in the autism spectrum for the following reasons: lack of ADA compliant restroom, lack of ADA compliant parking and compliant pathways in Lincoln Park, the size of the play area, and overall budget.
However, as part of this current project, we are making the play equipment and the immediate area of the play area ADA compliant and we have incorporated some nice features that will appeal to children on the autism spectrum as well as all users. A few of these features include the tactile sand play area which features an accessible play table, tactile rocks, many ground element features of the play equipment are accessible, an accessible group swing, and an accessible cable ride.
Welcome to a new week and a new month. From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar and beyond:
LOW-LOW TIDE WITH BEACH NATURALISTS: Until 12:30 pm, find volunteer Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists on the shore at Constellation or Lincoln Park. Today’s low tide: -1.9 feet at 10:24 am. (Find a daily tide chart any time on the WSB West Seattle Weather page.)
BLUE ANGELS ARRIVAL: Last we’ve heard, the Blue Angels are due to arrive at Boeing Field (just east of West Seattle, so it’s practically local) early this afternoon, coming here for Seafair after a weekend airshow in Alaska. Noon-2 pm was the word from Seafair, with whom we’ll be checking again later this morning if no advisory arrives earlier.
WESTWOOD-ROXHILL-ARBOR HEIGHTS COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 6:15 pm at Southwest Library, with two big topics as previewed here on Sunday – a followup on last week’s Find It, Fix It Walk and a focus group on crime/safety/policing issues. (35th/Henderson)
SHAPE WEST SEATTLE HI-YU’S FUTURE: 7 pm at Admiral Congregational Church, a big meeting for West Seattle Hi-Yu, as the peak of parade season has passed and the organization starts to assess its future. Your help is needed, as mentioned here. (California/Hill)
ARTSWEST CABARET: 7:30 pm, you’re invited to “join ArtsWest as your favorite Seattle performers sing the songbooks of the artists who inspired them, from Carole King and Alanis Morrissette to Freddie Mercury and Stevie Wonder.” More info in our calendar listing. (4711 California SW)
JERRY GARCIA BIRTHDAY BASH: 8-11 pm, tribute to the Grateful Dead-leading legend, at Parliament Tavern. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
MORE ON OUR CALENDAR! For today, tonight, tomorrow, and beyond – just go here.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7:14 AM: One major traffic advisory this morning – “emergency City Light repair” has Admiral Way blocked between 57th and Stevens. We are headed over to find out more.
7:37 AM: In comments, Emily says an early-morning crash damaged a pole (apparently no injuries, as the 911 log doesn’t show an SFD dispatch). And as we write this, our crew arrived and sent this photo:
Meantime, Metro says this is “delaying” Routes 50, 56, and 775. No specific reroutes in the alert. Our crew is waiting to talk with an SCL supervisor on scene for a time estimate on the closure.
8:02 AM: No time estimate but it’s not going to be any time soon. For one, the crew hasn’t arrived yet; when they do, the supervisor tells us, they will have to evaluate factors including what kind of a replacement pole is needed and how to deal with wires that are in a precarious balance now with the top of the damaged pole.
8:24 AM: Buses aren’t just delayed, they’re no-shows, per comment, and as we were following up with Metro, they texted/tweeted this:
Transit Alert – Metro routes 50, 56 & DART route 775 are rerouted off of SW Admiral Wy between 49 Av SW & 59 Av SW.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) August 1, 2016
8:37 AM: The only addition to this so far is “Use stops east of 49th Av SW or west of 59th Av SW.” One comment says the 37 is running late too. We’ll be checking on this closure for as long as the situation lasts and updating this story, which we’re also linking from the first of our “spotlight” boxes atop the home page.
9:57 AM: Metro has texted/tweeted that the reroutes continue. We’ll be checking firsthand at the scene shortly.
10:45 AM: Repair crews were on scene when we went by a short time ago.
We’ll be checking again around 11:30.
11:43 AM: Open again, per this Metro alert just tweeted and texted:
Transit Alert Update – Routes 50 & 56 & DART route 775 have returned to normal operation on SW Admiral Wy between 49 Av SW & 59 Av SW.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) August 1, 2016