West Seattle, Washington
If you make visual art – sign up to display and drop off up to 3 pieces. Dropoffs are this Thursday (September 29th) through Saturday (October 1st).
If you make music – MP3 submissions are open starting now. Upload 3 songs to spl.org/southwestartistsshowcase for the branch’s new music listening station.
And then – show up for the artist reception on Sunday (October 2nd) at 2 pm at the library (35th SW/SW Henderson)! Your work will be showcased throughout October.
In West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:
STOLEN GROCERIES: From Ryan in Gatewood/south Morgan Junction:
Our Amazon Fresh grocery delivery was stolen from our front door this morning between 4 am – 6 am. We live on SW Myrtle St near Caffe Ladro. Unfortunately, it contained all of the school snacks we had ordered for our son’s preschool class. I confirmed with Amazon that it was delivered and our empty Amazon Fresh containers we left out had been taken.
DUMPED BICYCLE #1 Also in south Morgan Junction, this bicycle turned up, apparently abandoned, near the McDonald’s:
DUMPED BICYCLE #2: And Jason found this one in an unspecified location:
Recognize either of those? Let us know. Last but not least, another reminder:
WEST SEATTLE BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS NETWORK TUESDAY NIGHT: 6:30 pm at the Southwest Precinct, WSBWCN’s meeting features a guest from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office talking about prosecution of repeat offenders. Questions about what happens after suspects are charged? Bring ’em. The precinct is at 2300 SW Webster, and you don’t have to be part of a Block Watch to attend.
Thanks to Jamie Kinney for the photo of the sculpted sky during tonight’s sunset less than an hour ago; you might have missed if you were among the estimated 100,000,000 people watching The Debate. We got to see it while out checking on an unrelated reader tip, but our phone photo does not compare. Forecast says those clouds might bring in a bit of rain tomorrow morning.
6:39 PM: Admiral Bird is among the West Seattle spots where people are gathered right now to watch the first Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump presidential debate. From TV to YouTube to Twitter, in the words of one anchor, this might just be the “biggest electronic event in history.” It’s scheduled to continue until 7:30 our time; if you missed this one and want to see rounds 2 and 3 – here’s the schedule – October 9th and 19th, with the one and only VP debate on October 4th.
7:41 PM: Debate’s over. Just in case you weren’t watching it, but were wondering.
The Seattle Department of Transportation advises travelers that work on the SW Admiral Way Safety Project in West Seattle will start on Wednesday, September 28, and last for about one week, depending on weather.
Starting at 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, travelers can expect:
• No parking on both sides of SW Admiral Way between California Ave SW and 63rd Ave SW to keep a travel lane in each direction open
• Existing striping will be removed Wednesday; new striping will be installed Thursday and Friday
• Temporary lane closures and lane shifts around the work area; flaggers will be present to direct traffic
• Sidewalks will remain open during work; people biking on the sidewalk must yield to people walking at all times
• People biking should use alternate routes during construction
• Construction equipment, trucks, noise and activity will be in the area for about one week
Over the past year and a half, SDOT has worked with the community on a new street design for SW Admiral Way between California Ave SW and 63rd Ave SW. The project will create a comfortable and predictable bike connection between Alki and the business district at California Ave SW. The new design will reduce speeding and collisions, and accommodate on-street parking. SDOT would like to thank the public for its patience while this work is completed.
3:46 PM: Seattle City Light has just restored power to the Junction businesses/residences that have been out in the aftermath of this morning’s Junction construction-site crane-in-wires incident (WSB coverage here) that left two workers in critical condition. Some businesses had closed because of the outage, while we found at least three that were able to stay open. We had a crew in the area just before power came back on, and we’re heading back over momentarily for an update, and to check on whether SW Oregon has reopened.
4:41 PM: Yes, the road has reopened.
(5:19 PM NOTE: The video window now has the mayor’s speech as archived by Seattle Channel.)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 2:03 PM: Click “play” above and you’ll see, via Seattle Channel, the live feed from City Hall downtown as the City Council begins its weekly full-council meeting by hosting Mayor Murray’s presentation of the city budget proposal for 2017-2018.
While listening, we’re going through the just-released budget documents and will add highlights to this story.
*$440 million budget proposed for 2017, $561 million for 2018
*Not many West Seattle specifics, but the Fauntleroy Boulevard project is in for $7 million in 2018, so it looks like that’s the year projected for construction
In his speech, the mayor also called out the Lander Street Overpass project in SODO, of interest to many here, as it gets closer to full funding. (An “online open house” continues this week.)
Next, public safety.
Here’s the Seattle Police Department breakout. Overall, the budget says SPD would “hire 72 new officers [35 in 2017, 37 in 2018] and hire 25 new 911 communication center staff” for the entire city.
*Southwest Precinct (West Seattle/South Park) mentions: The patrol budget actually drops a bit over the next two years (as do the other precinct budgets). The number of full-time equivalents at the SW Precinct stays the same, at 124.
Here’s the Seattle Fire Department breakout. Its primary challenge is to keep up with attrition: ” As in previous years, the proposed budget adds funding for 35 additional recruits, for a total of 60 new recruits in 2017. The additional recruits, once trained, will fill existing positions that have been vacated as a result of retirements or other attrition.”
Since we’re on a peninsula, this excerpt from the SFD budget is notable:
Another programmatic area in which the Fire Department is making improvements this year is water rescues. SFD owns two large fire boats and several smaller rescue boats that are used primarily for fighting marine fires. Responses to water rescues are limited given that the City has one fireboat crew and one technical rescue/dive team. To address this, SFD proposes piloting a Surface Water Rescue Program to provide a greater level of water rescue capability. The proposed Surface Water Rescue Program will train up to 40 firefighters as technician level rescue swimmers and deploy them city-wide, allowing them to respond more quickly to water rescues.
3 PM: The mayor’s speech has just ended. Some had wondered whether protesters would disrupt it, as had happened to the City Council last week, but many would-be attendees were kept out of the chambers. Councilmember Kshama Sawant made a motion at the meeting’s start to let more people in, but the motion did not pass.
Speaking of participation – we have now started reviewing the Department of Neighborhoods‘ budget breakout.
This includes components of the mayor’s plan to cut city support for Neighborhood District Councils, hailed in a city document just a few years ago as a “nationally significant model of grassroots democracy, being Seattle’s only advisory committees whose members are entirely selected at the grass roots, rather than appointed top-down by elected officials or City agencies.”
This is further addressed:
Expanding Outreach and Engagement
In 2016, through Executive Order 2016-06, the Mayor tasked DON with leading an effort to implement equitable outreach and engagement plans and practices across all City offices and departments. Also in 2016, DON added two positions that will now be made permanent: one to oversee the re-envisioning of DON’s Outreach and Engagement Division and lead Citywide response efforts, and another to work with other departments to coordinate and leverage opportunities for effective outreach and engagement efforts.
DON is also reallocating and deploying resources, including staff, within the department to prioritize the
application of the community outreach and engagement principles that reflect the Mayor’s vision of inclusive participation. This vision is articulated in Executive Order 2016-06 and the proposed resolution on equitable community involvement practices submitted to the City Council as part of the Mayor’s 2017-2018 Proposed Budget. As part of this effort, DON will reallocate nine Neighborhood District Coordinator positions to meet this scope of work and the department’s business needs.
Those positions, which have provided city-staff support to the 13 district councils (two of which are in West Seattle – Southwest and Delridge), are still funded in the budget plan at a level similar to what’s budgeted now. Part of the “reallocation” is detailed in one budget line item:
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will fund positions in DON for outreach and engagement. Two existing Neighborhood District Coordinator positions will be reallocated to Strategic Advisor 1 positions. These positions will work closely with SDOT and the Office of Economic Development on improving outreach and engagement to neighborhoods and communities affected by large-scale infrastructure improvement projects.
4:19 PM: This mass e-mail from Neighborhoods director Kathy Nyland has more detail on the “reallocation.”
5:19 PM: The archived Seattle Channel video of the mayor’s speech has now replaced what had been the “live” video window above. Also – if you missed it in earlier stories – Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s explanation of how the budget process goes from here, with specific dates, is in her newest online update.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
So far we’ve found two big items of interest in King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s two-year budget proposal, made public this morning.
*The King County Water Taxi, serving West Seattle and Vashon, would have a “stable source” of funding – 1.25 cents per $1,000 valuation. The levy was reduced in 2009 and “reserves” have been used since then, but, says the budget book, “those reserves are now exhausted.”
*The King County Air Support Unit, including this area’s only law-enforcement helicopter Guardian One, will be shut down by 2018 unless, Constantine says, there’s tax reform. In 2017 it would be limited to search-and-rescue operations in King County; in 2018, it would be shut down entirely.
First, the Water Taxi toplines, from the 753-page full budget document:
*The county currently has been taxing for the passenger-ferry service at a third of a cent per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. That funding has been supplemented by reserves that the budget says have run out. Constantine proposes increasing the tax rate to 1.25 cents per $1,000 starting next year because the service is “no longer able to draw on reserves to stay afloat.” (Math = $2/year now if your property is assessed at $600,000; just under $8/year with the increase.) Without that increase, next year wouldrun $3 million short. The gap already has been narrowed, the budget book points out, by “efficiencies” enabling the new boats to be operated with a crew of 3 rather than 4.
(added 6:53 pm) King County DOT spokesperson Jeff Switzer sent this clarification:
Taxes won’t be going up as a result of this budget.
The collected property tax amount will stay the same, meaning the county will reduce the property tax collected for Metro by just over $9 million, and the property tax collected for Water Taxi (Marine) will be increased by just over $9 million. No net dollar increase in property tax collections for marine/transit.
The budget calls for another fare increase in 2018, 50 cents for adults, to continue its every-two-year increases.
And one more major Water Taxi note – while there’s no money for it in this two-year budget, there is a line item to “plan, design, and construct a new West Seattle (Water Taxi) terminal during the 2019-2010 budget cycle,” noting that Seacrest has always been meant as just a “temporary” terminal.
*Next, the helicopter elimination, which is just one of several major public-safety cuts in the county executive’s budget, explained in the news release about the budget, with a call for “local tax reform”:
… King County’s General Fund primarily supports criminal justice and other functions required by the state. About 59 percent of net General Fund revenues come from property taxes. The balance is comprised of sales tax and other sources.
In 2007, legislators reinstated Tim Eyman’s I-747, which had been tossed out by the state Supreme Court. The law arbitrarily limited revenue growth in most property taxes to 1 percent annually. The value of new construction is added to the tax base, which amounts to about 0.5 percent to 2.0 percent depending on the economy.
Because property tax is limited below the rate of population growth and inflation, the General Fund is chronically stressed. Last year, about 37,000 people moved to King County, adding to the demands for transit, behavioral and mental health programs, public safety, and other services.
Over the last few months, Executive Constantine worked with the Office of Performance, Strategy, and Budget, county departments, and elected officials to balance the $1.6 billion General Fund budget. Through a mix of revenue changes, efficiencies, and spending reductions, Executive Constantine resolved a $22.4 million shortfall.
Program cuts and service reductions in this budget include:
*Reductions in the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
*Closing the work release facility and electronic home detention programs by Jan. 1, 2018.
*Eliminating inmate booking at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent as of Jan. 1, 2018.
*Eliminating the King County Sheriff’s Office air support and marine units by Jan. 1, 2018.
“We will do everything we can to mitigate the impact of these cuts, but let there be no mistake — unless the Legislature fixes the problem, these reductions will only get worse over time,” said Executive Constantine. “And local governments across the state face the identical situation.”
While Guardian One is operated by King County, it is the only helicopter available for regional law-enforcement agencies including Seattle Police.
We’re still reading the county budget and will report on anything else of direct local interest. It now will go through a review-and-comment process in the weeks ahead – find the details here. Our area’s County Councilmember is Joe McDermott, so if you have something to say about these issues or others in the budget, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(UPDATED 2:48 PM with victims’ condition)
10:38 AM: Big SFD medical response for an incident at the 42nd and Oregon construction site. 2 workers are reported injured, and an electrical problem was involved. Avoid the area.
10:51 AM: Road closure update – SW Oregon is closed east of California.
Police tell us the incident involved some part of a crane reportedly making contact with the power line that runs north-south along the alley.
11:04 AM: SFD’s Lt. Harold Webb tells us one worker was taken to the hospital in critical condition, one in serious. They were on the ground near the crane when it happened. The crane operator is being evaluated to see if medical treatment is needed. (The helicopter overhead is TV.)
11:31 AM: As noted in comments, this has affected power to some others in the area. The Senior Center, just west of the construction site, has lost part of its power, we’re told. Seattle City Light was dispatched to the scene early on.
The project that is under way at the site, just north of one of the West Seattle Junction Association parking lots, is 4505 42nd SW, a seven-story mixed-use building with apartments, “lodging” units, and retail. Work has been under way at the site since June.
SIDE NOTE: Just last year, a similar type of mobile crane caught fire after touching wires during a residential project near 47th and Andover; no one was hurt.
11:57 AM: Just went back to the scene. SW Oregon is still closed between California and 42nd. Work was halted at the construction site immediately after the incident.
The aforementioned parking lot south of the construction site is open. No further word about the workers or their conditions; we’ll be checking with Harborview a bit later.
12:23 PM: More power outages nearby, particularly south of Oregon – the City Light map now reflects them.
2:48 PM: Harborview Medical Center tells us both men are in critical condition.
3:48 PM: As noted in a separate update, the businesses/residences that lost power nearby have just gotten it back.
Tonight’s biggest event is happening thousands of miles away:
WATCHING THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN WEST SEATTLE: Hosting a viewing party for tonight’s first presidential-candidates debate (in Hempstead, NY, starting at 6 pm our time), or at least putting it up onscreen at your establishment/venue? Not too late to get onto our list, which has five options as of the moment we’re publishing this. Let us know in a comment here or via email@example.com – thanks!
Here’s what else is up:
BACK TO SCHOOL: Day 1 of the fall semester at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor).
DONATE A PINT, GET A PINT: West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) is hosting a Bloodworks NW donation drive today, 1-7 pm, and offering a free pint of ice cream as an incentive to everyone who registers to donate. Can’t tell from the Bloodworks website if any spots are available, so call 800-398-7888 to inquire if you’re not signed up already. (4201 SW Morgan)
STRATEGIZING SOLUTIONS FOR TEAM TRANSPORTATION TROUBLE: As previewed here last week, a meeting at West Seattle High School tonight, 7 pm in the library, will be a strategy session for taking concerns to the School Board about transportation changes that have resulted in athletes having to miss multiple classes on away days. Others around the city affected by this are invited too; details in our calendar listing. (3000 California SW)
MORE … on our complete-calendar page!
Before we get to what’s happening in West Seattle today/tonight – a reminder that the city-budget process moves out into the public arena starting this afternoon. At 2 pm, the City Council’s regular weekly full-council meeting starts with Mayor Murray’s budget speech. And that’s when his plan will go public – not just a long list of dollar amounts, but also a road map to what he’s proposing to do regarding a variety of issues and projects. For example, as noted in our coverage of last Wednesday’s Delridge District Council meeting, the budget is where he would have to officially execute his proposal to cut off city support for district councils.
What the mayor delivers today will have City Council-led changes by the time it goes to a final vote on November 21st. And this will be the first budget process since the City Council was changed to seven district reps and two at-large, so that’s a new dynamic in the mix. Our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold included a timeline of the process in her latest online update – see it here. The first major public hearing – “an opportunity to request that Councilmembers sponsor changes (or not make changes) to the Mayor’s proposed budget,” as Herbold explains it – is next week, 5:30 pm Wednesday, October 5th, at City Hall. Her timeline explains other key points for commenting. (Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.)
You can watch the mayor’s budget speech today at 2 pm via Seattle Channel, online or cable channel 21. We’ll be covering it for the local specifics, of course, so check here for those.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:54 AM: Good morning! No incidents reported so far in or from West Seattle.
THIS WEEK’S ALERTS
*Spokane St. project continues east of the low bridge
*South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) starts the fall quarter today
*Seattle Public Schools will be out two hours early on Wednesday
*West Seattle Bridge west-end closure next Saturday morning for jersey-barrier replacement
8:05 AM: Still no incidents to report.
Photos by Leda Costa for West Seattle Blog
We showed you what was happening at Seattle Summer Parkways on Alki as it happened along two waterfront miles on Sunday. Now, through the photos of WSB contributing photographer Leda Costa, a closer look at who was there having fun. Above, the bouncy obstacle course brought in by Seattle Parks; below, the Pan family, jumping rope:
Ahead, 12 more scenes from what really was a summery afternoon, despite it having been the third full day of fall: Read More