West Seattle, Washington
Two months after Mayor Murray announced his plan to end city support for the 13 Neighborhood District Councils in Seattle and invent a new “engagement” strategy, a City Council committee will get a related briefing tomorrow.
This news comes tonight from the office of City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. She had requested the briefing, and, her office says, they just discovered it at the end of tomorrow’s seven-pages-long agenda for the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee, of which she is vice chair. (The meeting is set to start at 9:30 am; this item is expected around 11:30 am.)
The briefing, to be led by Department of Neighborhoods director Kathy Nyland, is specifically about her department’s response to the council’s request last year that the DoN review how the new City Council districts would interact with the longstanding 13 neighborhood districts. The mayor didn’t wait for the report to come out in mid-July (WSB coverage here) before making his surprise announcement about ending support for the Neighborhood District Councils.
His announcement set a September 26th deadline – less than a week away – to “develop a proposed City Council resolution with mayoral concurrence that memorializes the community outreach and engagement principles outlined in” (the mayor’s announcement), and that would officially cut off city support ($500/year for each all-volunteer district council’s expenses, plus some city staff time). The agenda for the committee meeting doesn’t include any such document, so we don’t know its status.
Later tomorrow, by the way, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council – whose members are from community councils and other organizations in eastern West Seattle – will have its monthly meeting (7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW), and the district councils’ future was already on the agenda, as previewed here. Along with Councilmember Herbold, Councilmembers Tim Burgess – who chairs the committee that’s hosting tomorrow’s briefing – Lorena González, and Mike O’Brien are likely to be there. You’re invited, too.
P.S. The district council for western West Seattle, Southwest DC, already had its September meeting (WSB coverage here), and voted to continue on as an organization even if city support is formally severed.
More details tonight as we look ahead to Sunday’s Seattle Summer Parkways – the latest incarnation of “car-free day,” though it’s not really “car-free” – on Alki . Official event time is 11 am-4 pm, but things get started earlier with hundreds of Orca Half (Marathon) runners leaving Don Armeni Boat Ramp, heading westbound, at 9:30 am.
First, here are the specific times and locations for parking and other vehicle restrictions on Sunday. As the map shows, the heart of Alki will be entirely closed to motorized-vehicle traffic, while from 56th to Don Armeni, one lane will be closed, one open:
-There will be no waterside parking along Alki Ave SW from 63rd Ave SW to Don Armeni Boat Ramp from 8 am to 5 pm on 09/25
-Parking will be allowed on the residential side of the street from 55th Ave SW to Don Armeni boat ramp
-Local access to vehicles will be maintained from 56th Ave SW to Don Armeni boat ramp via one lane
(ADDED WEDNESDAY) The Metro Route 50 reroute will be:
L 60 Av SW
R SW Hinds
R 63 Av SW
R SW Admiral Wy
S SW Admiral and 61 Av SW (temp terminal)
We’re still awaiting word on the Water Taxi shuttle route(s).
(BACK TO ORIGINAL REPORT) In addition to the long list of “partners” that’ll be providing activities/information/etc., mentioned on the SSP West Seattle page, the time-specific event schedules are now available, too:
9:30 AM – Orca Half Marathon begins at Don Armeni Boat Ramp.
11 AM – Kick off Summer Parkways with bike decorating & Kids’ Bike Parade from FamilyBike Seattle
11 AM-4 PM – Disaster Relief Trials begin at the Alki Bathhouse
12-3 PM – West Seattle Summer Walking Tour with Feet First. Meet at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. RSVP on Meetup.
1-2 PM – Behind the scenes bicycle tour of Summer Parkways with the event organizers. Meet at Don Armeni Boat Ramp, where free Pronto bike rentals will be available.
1-3 PM – Free ice cream at CityScoop near 61st SW & Alki Ave SW.
MAIN STAGE SCHEDULE (61st Ave SW and Alki Ave SW)
11:00 AM – Disaster Relief Bike Trials launch
11:15 AM – Mayor Murray, Scott Kubly, and others open the event
12:00 PM – Zumba Kids with Jeannette
1:00 PM – Ephrata takes the stage to play Dreamy Shoegaze
2:00 PM – Groove Powers provides music to dance for all
The Disaster Relief Bike Trials are still open for participation, and the folks at West Seattle Be Prepared tell us that four local “hubs” will be activated so this really serves as a preparedness exercise as well as a fun activity – read about it on their website here. And if you have any questions/points of confusion about Seattle Summer Parkways, please comment or otherwise let us know, as we’ll be publishing more updates before Sunday and will be happy to ask organizers more questions.
As September continues, so does the new season of community meetings – and the next group to resume its schedule is the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. The WSTC just announced what’s on its agenda this Thursday:
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition hopes you are refreshed after summer and ready to get back to work! Our first meeting after summer recess is this Thursday, September 22nd at 6:30 p.m. We meet at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.
Esteemed guests who will be joining us include Jim Curtin from SDOT to talk about the 35th Ave SW project and Angela Brady from the Office Of The Waterfront for a general talk about the post-Viaduct world. And undoubtedly we will also discuss ST3 and WSTC’s role (if any) in the initiative process.
We hope you can join us for what should be a fascinating meeting!
(It’s been a month and a half since the unveiling of options for Phase 2 of the 35th SW Corridor Safety Project – but the final plan hasn’t come out yet.) The meeting site is at 6400 Sylvan Way.
5:28 PM: Thanks for all the texts – surface traffic between SODO and West Seattle is still being affected by a crash involving a Sounder train that happened at 3rd and Holgate about an hour ago. Holgate is still closed, according to SDOT, and will be TFN, and with a Mariners’ game tonight, that’s extra congestion, so don’t take the surface route.
5:46 PM: Holgate has just reopened.
Thanks to Eddie for the tip and the photo:
The first of two photo murals went up today on the north side of Aura, the new mixed-use building on 35th south of Avalon. This one is on the northwest side of the building, and the other one is scheduled for installation on the northeast side tomorrow, according to building management, with whom we inquired after receiving Eddie’s photo:
The images are historic photos which we received from the Log House Museum in West Seattle. Both depict historic transportation methods to and from West Seattle, which we felt was important for our location, directly adjacent to the RapidRide stop. The first image is the historic W. Seattle Ferry (photo circa 1907), and the second is the historic Spokane Street (trolley) (photo circa 1930). The digital artist who gave the images a modern twist with the “pixelation” at the corners was a group in SODO called Grand Image.
The aforementioned RapidRide stop was restored just last week.
Just published on SPD Blotter by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee – news that a West Seattle murder case dating back to 1984 is now closed. 36-year-old Michael Vanderpool was shot and killed in an alley in Highland Park. An SPD detective reviewing cold-case files this summer – who says, “We want to make it clear to suspects, we never give up” – tracked down witnesses and determined who the killer was. Read the whole story on SPD Blotter here.
(UPDATED 4:45 PM with comment from lawyer for two of the people the city is suing)
12:04 PM: Last week, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold told the 34th District Democrats that she’d learned the City Attorney’s Office would have something to say this week about last winter’s illegal tree-cutting in West Seattle’s Duwamish Head Greenbelt.
Here it is:
The Seattle Times just broke the news that the city has filed lawsuits “seeking more than $1.6 million in combined damages and fines.”
We’re following up with the City Attorney’s Office and checking court files.
12:15 PM: We’ve obtained City Attorney Pete Holmes‘s statement from his office:
City Attorney Pete Holmes: “Earlier this year, the City learned of unpermitted improper tree cutting on City property in West Seattle near the 3200 block of 35th Ave. SW. Today, the City filed two lawsuits, naming people the City believes were involved in the tree cutting. The property is in an environmentally critical area on a steep slope. Approximately 150 trees of varying sizes, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, were felled.
“My office has been involved in the City’s response. We launched an investigation to assess the extent of damage and identify the responsible parties. To that end, we retained a consulting arborist to assess the damage and prepare a comprehensive restoration plan.
“No one has yet come forward to give the City the full story of what happened despite SPD’s best efforts and extensive investigation. However, we are satisfied that we now know enough to proceed with civil lawsuits. We expect to learn that additional people, beyond those named in the lawsuits, were involved with the cutting as the suits progress. Between the lawsuits, the City seeks over $1.6 million in damages and fines. The City seeks relief on several grounds, including timber trespass, damage to land, trespass, negligence, environmentally critical areas violations, violations of the parks code and violations of the city’s tree and vegetation management in public places code.
“On its damages theories, the City generally alleges that the defendants and/or their agents cut down trees on City property without permission when they should have known better. The extensive tree cutting damaged the trees and the underlying land. On its code violation theories, because the cutting took place on City property and some occurred in City right of way, the cutters or their employers were required to obtain a number of permits before they cut any trees. No permits were issued to authorize the cutting and penalties and fines are therefore appropriate.
“The SPD criminal investigation of this matter is ongoing, and it is possible that SPD will refer this matter to the King County Prosecutor or my office in the future for potential criminal prosecution.”
We also have the court documents and are going through them for additional details. More to come …
12:27 PM: Two suits are filed. The first one, involving “the northern site” (off 35th), names Stanley Harrelson and Mary Harrelson, who are residents next to one of the cut zones, and Martin Riemer and Karrie Riemer, who live across the street to the east from the Harrelsons. That suit also names Forrest Bishop and John Russo, who the city alleges “were hired by the Harrelsons and Riemers to cut trees on city property located adjacent and/or across from (theirs).” The same suit also names “Defendants John and Jane Does 1-10 (who) may have retained Bishop, Russo, or others to cut trees on (two city parcels) or may themselves have cut trees on those parcels.”
(added) This suit alleges that “55 trees 6 inches in caliper or greater were cut down on the Parcels in Exhibit 1 Area A (which) are located in an environmentally critical area that contains steep slopes and landslide-prone areas. None of Defendants sought permission from any City department to cut trees on the Parcels. The cutting of trees increased the likelihood of landslides on the Parcels, and thereby damaged the land itself.” It alleges six “causes of action”:
*Damage to land
*Violations of the Environmentally Critical Areas Code
*Unauthorized use of park property
The damages sought in this suit are listed as:
… a principal judgment against Defendants, jointly and severally, including treble damages of $678,180 on the City’s timber trespass claim or in such other amount as may be proven at trial; penalties in the amount of $275,000 for cutting down 55 trees of six inches or more in diameter and an additional $500 for each tree cut …
… as well as other costs including legal fees and “enforcement costs.”
The suit involving “the southern site” (off City View) names Kostas Kyrimis and Linda Kyrimis, as well as “defendants Jane and John Does 1-14 (who) resided at and owned property within a two-block radius of the intersection of 35th Ave SW and SW Hinds Street and had views that were previously impaired by trees … (and) Defendants Jane and John Does 15-20 (who) were hired by the Kyrimises and/or Jane and John Does 1-14 to cut trees on property owned by the City …”
(added) This suit alleges that “72 trees over 6 inches in caliper” were cut in the area involved and makes the same allegations as the other suit, that no permission was sought, and that damage included the increased likelihood of landslides on the steep slopes.
Along with the same six “causes” as the northern-area lawsuit (listed above), this one adds a seventh:
*Tree and vegetation management in public places
And the damages sought in this suit, along with various costs such as enforcement and attorneys’ fees:
… A principal judgment against Defendants, jointly and severally, including treble damages of $362,760 on the City’s timber trespass claim or in such other amount as may be proven at trial; penalties in the amount of $360,000 for cutting down 72 trees over six inches in caliper and an additional $500 for each tree cut pursuant to SMC 25.09.460.A; land restoration costs …
We’ll add any comment we get from those targeted in these two lawsuits.
1:32 PM: Councilmember Herbold’s statement:
“I thank the City Attorney’s Office for filing two civil lawsuits this morning to address the illegal cutting of 150 trees in West Seattle earlier this year. I appreciate the use of a full range of the legal remedies available for civil suits, including timber trespass, which allows for 3x damages.
“The $1.6 million total in damages and fines sought by the City speaks to the seriousness of the claims. The damages and penalties must be significant enough to deter this kind of activity in the future, so that those with financial means don’t see unauthorized tree cutting as a cost-effective way to increase their views and property values.
“These trees played an important role in maintaining soil stability in an environmentally critical area, and lessened the risk of landslides onto a major arterial, SW Admiral Way. They also helped maintain air quality by absorbing carbon—an important issue in West Seattle, which sits adjacent to SODO and the Duwamish industrial area.
“I understand the Seattle Police Department’s criminal investigation is ongoing. My hope is that the Department will eventually be able to establish probable cause for pursuing criminal charges. However, I appreciate the difficulty they face, given that persons believed to be involved are declining to cooperate with investigators, and the legal standard needed to establish probable cause for criminal charges and to prove those charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”
ADDED 4:45 PM: Just received a statement from Clayton Graham, lawyer for two of the people the city is suing:
We are disappointed by the City Attorney’s decision to file the lawsuit today. Our clients, Stan and Mary Harrelson, deeply regret the tree cutting which happened next to their property. At no point did our clients request, or condone, the extent of the work that was done by the contractor.
The Harrelsons have acknowledged their role in this mistake but the City has been non-responsive to our attempts to reach a settlement in this matter. We believe the damages sought in the suit are excessive, given our clients’ limited role in the cutting that took place. While the lawsuit claims that none of the homeowners has come forward with the full story, our clients have fully cooperated with the City’s efforts since they, themselves, disclosed this work to the City early this year, and hired a former City of Seattle arborist to develop a restoration plan. The Harrelsons remain ready and willing to work with the City to remedy this matter.
We had published a statement from Graham in this March 28th story on behalf of his then-unidentified clients, saying they and also-then-unidentified neighbors had “hired a landscaping business to top and prune some trees to improve the view from their respective residences” and that his clients had come back from a trip to find out the landscapers had gone beyond their mandate.
11:31 AM: We’ve been checking on an odd situation from early today – automatic fire alarms going off simultaneously at three Seattle Public Schools buildings in West Seattle. Between 2:41 am and 2:45 am, the alarms went off, and Seattle Fire Department units were dispatched to, West Seattle High School, Madison Middle School, and Genesee Hill Elementary. After e-mailed questions from readers who either heard the alarms or noticed the three adjacent listings on the automated real-time 911 log, we followed up this morning with both SFD and SPD. SFD verified, first, that its crews found no sign of fire and no other obvious reason the alarms had gone off. SPS spokesperson Luke Duecy tells WSB, “According to maintenance, there was a pressure change in the city’s water system that triggered the fire alarms. It was investigated by security and maintenance and cleared. Systems are functioning.” (We’re now checking with Seattle Public Utilities about the pressure change, but in the meantime, wanted to share what we’d found out so far.)
4:25 PM: Andy Ryan from Seattle Public Utilities says they’re still investigating this: “It is true that a sudden change in water pressure can trigger a fire alarm. Some alarm systems interpret low pressure as high flow — indicating that a sprinkler system is going off. In the case of alarms sounding at West Seattle schools today, it is possible that the problem was caused when we switched pumps this morning at our Spokane Street Pump Station. Our system data shows outlet pressure from the pump station went from 162 pounds per square inch (PSI) down to a minimum of 126 PSI, and then settled out at 151 PSI within 15 minutes of the pump switchover. That pressure drop — not huge — might have caused the fire alarms to go off. However, other nearby school alarm systems did not sound. Lafayette Elementary is essentially across the street from West Seattle High School and its alarm didn’t go off. The alarms at Schmitz Park Elementary, a block away from Madison Middle, didn’t go off either.”
Thanks to JayDee for the radiant view of last night’s sunset. Can’t guarantee anything that gorgeous again tonight, but if you want to watch in realtime, sunset’s just after 7. The WSB West Seattle Weather page has sunset/sunrise/moonset/moonrise times any time you want to check. Meanwhile, from our calendar (which you also can check 24/7/365 to see what’s coming up):
ENDOLYNE JOE’S, ORIGINAL BAKERY REOPEN: After a week-long closure because of roof work in their building, Endolyne Joe’s (WSB sponsor) and The Original Bakery are open again. (45th SW/Wildwood)
‘DOG DAYS’ SWIM SESSION #1: It’s postseason “pooches in the pool” time at the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club. This is the first of five days for the annual furry fundraiser – 5-7 pm today; details in our calendar listing. (11003 31st SW)
WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct, bring your neighborhood crime/safety concerns to local police, who also will talk about current crime trends; plus, a special guest from Seattle Public Schools will talk about student-safety issues including bullying and harassment. (2300 SW Webster)
LIVE MUSIC @ WHISKY WEST: 7-9 pm, Siggie the Vintage Man performs at Whisky West in Morgan Junction. No cover; 21+. (6451 California SW)
LIVE MUSIC @ PARLIAMENT: 8-11 pm, South Sound Tug and Barge performs at Parliament Tavern in The Admiral District. No cover; 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
Something for our calendar? firstname.lastname@example.org – text in the body of your e-mail, please, NOT in a doc or image – thank you!
Thanks to Judy Pickens for the file photo and reminder: You have five days to get your recyclables ready to drop off at Fauntleroy Church:
The fall Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church is this coming Sunday, September 25, 9 am to 3 pm in the church parking lot (9140 California SW). The list of what you can bring for responsible recycling (and what not) is here. Plan to avoid coming at the last hour, else you may have to wait several minutes for the crew from 1 Green Planet to unload your recyclables. The twice-yearly event is free but the church’s Green Committee won’t turn down a donation.
Last spring’s RR brought in 11.5 tons of recyclables.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:53 AM: Good morning! No incidents in/from West Seattle right now.
LOOKING AHEAD: In the stadium zone, Mariners are home vs. Toronto again tonight (7:10 pm) … Remember that next Sunday (September 25th) the water-side lane of Alki and Harbor Avenues will close all day for Seattle Summer Parkways between 55th and Don Armeni, and Alki will fully close between 63rd and 55th. Our next detailed update is coming up later this morning.
SPEED LIMIT @ CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE TODAY: 2 pm today, the City Council Transportation Committee takes up the proposal to make 20 mph the speed limit for non-arterial streets around the city.
8:17 AM: Washington State Ferries says Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth is running 15 minutes late because of “a disabled vehicle.’ And a texter reports a collision st 26th/Andover.
9:54 AM: Thanks to the caller who just pointed out that there’s a heavy rescue on NB I-5 at Mercer – big backup. Two lanes open now, according to WSDOT.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
A week and a half after the famous Fauntleroy white geese were relocated to Vashon Island, the rescue group that is now housing them says they “are both doing great.”
We promised to follow up on our original September 9th report of their sudden removal, and in keeping that promise, have learned more about how that unfolded, and about how they had come to live in Fauntleroy in the first place.
We have communicated by e-mail with the rescue group, BaaHaus, and Seattle Parks, and have spoken by phone with the man who says he is the person who originally brought geese to the Fauntleroy shore and is sad that they are gone. Read More