West Seattle, Washington
More new developments on the night before a City Council committee next discusses how to shape the city’s rules about where unsheltered people can camp:
That’s the archived video of a media briefing called by Mayor Murray late today. While the announcement said it would be “a press conference ahead of the severe storms expected to impact Seattle (and to) lay out steps the City is taking to protect people experiencing homelessness during the severe weather,” more time was spent on the encampment legislation and the mayor’s plan for a proposal of his own.
A key point he stressed is that he would not allow camping in parks or on sidewalks, period, and that any such campers “will be removed.” He also said that he has city staff looking for sites for four new authorized encampments somewhere in the city (no locations mentioned), “safe alternative locations for people living unsheltered.” He also said that he will address the “trash crisis” related to so many living without shelter or services, including a system for picking up needles, and 10 new “dropoff boxes” for them “around the city.” (Again, no locations mentioned.) And he repeated something he’s said often, that the state and federal governments need to “step up” to help with the homelessness emergency, which he says has been brewing for decades.
Also present at the briefing, in addition to various city department heads, were Councilmembers Tim Burgess, Sally Bagshaw, and Debora Juarez. Bagshaw, who chairs the Human Services and Public Health Committee that will meet at 9:30 am tomorrow to discuss the encampment rules, spoke briefly; she reiterated that her committee will not vote tomorrow, but will discuss the alternatives that are now public, including the divergent bills she and Councilmember Mike O’Brien are offering (covered in this WSB story last night). She also issued this statement.
WHAT COUNCILMEMBER HERBOLD IS SAYING: Our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has issued an updated statement on the encampment-rules issue. It’s published in its entirety on her blog-format City Council website; she says it’s the reply she sent to people who had contacted her about the issue.
-“There is still much more work to be done before this bill is ready for a vote.”
She says her three goals for the process are:
*Better manage public property and respond to the crisis of public homelessness with the objective of having fewer people living outside in our community
*Ensure that our current encampment removal practices are not barriers to people accessing housing and shelter resources.
*Address the legitimate and immediate public health and safety issues impacting both housed and unhoused residents in our communities
Elaborating extensively on all three points, she notes in reference to the first that: “There are 619 known encampments today, on city owned land, with only vague, ineffective written guidelines for how the city defines and prioritizes its work associated with cleaning areas, or removing people from specific locations.” And that’s why she says the council is trying to write rules/guidelines.
Toward the third point, Herbold says, “No one working on this legislation intends to create a ‘right to camp’ much less a ‘right to camp anywhere.’ The reality is that people are and will, for the near term, be living outdoors and that no one has a magic wand to change that reality overnight.”
Again, you can read her entire statement here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Neighbors of the former Avalon substation building by the southwest end of the West Seattle Bridge say they were surprised to find out, after years of living nearby, that it is contaminated with mercury and set for demolition.
Wednesday afternoon, they gathered with Seattle City Light and Department of Construction and Inspections reps and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold to try to clarify what happened and what’s planned for the site after the building is torn down and the contamination cleanup. Read More
(UPDATED 9:16 PM with change in first storm’s timing – scroll down)
4:58 PM: Here’s the newest update from the National Weather Service about what’s headed this way late tonight:
The High Wind Warning for tonight remains scheduled for 6 pm-7 am, though the wind isn’t due until hours after the warning kicks in.
The National Weather Service also has added a High Wind Watch (which is one level below a “warning” but that’s because it’s further away time-wise) for noon Saturday to 3 am Sunday.
The major change in the forecast so far is that tonight’s wind could continue longer into Friday morning than first thought. Again, we’ll be on duty all night and into the morning with weather coverage. If there’s trouble where you are, once you’re safe and know it’s been reported to authorities, please let us know – text or voice, 206-293-6302 is the best way.
Speaking of phone numbers, save these:
CITY LIGHT, REPORT AN OUTAGE: 206-684-3000
SDOT, REPORT AN EMERGENCY ROAD HAZARD: 206-386-1218
ADDED 6:21 PM: Mayor Murray called a news conference late today that was billed as an update on city preps for the storm but spent more time on the encampment legislation. It just wrapped up; we monitored it via live stream and will have a separate story on what’s new with that issue, but in the meantime, one point made by the mayor: Once the wind picks up, stay out of city parks, because of tree danger. Most parks are technically closed during the hours the wind is supposed to be at its worst anyway. Also, Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre mentioned that grass playfields citywide are closed because of the rain. The mayor says the city is planning to open its Emergency Operations Center early tomorrow to coordinate whatever storm response is needed, and that SPD and SFD already have extra personnel called in and on standby, in addition to the utility crews you’d expect.
ADDED 9:16 PM: The storm has slowed its approach, we’re told. And this from the NWS:
As model data streams in, it appears Puget Sound could see 2 bursts of high wind on Fri: early AM & again in afternoon. Stay tuned. #wawx
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) October 14, 2016
(WSB photo, May 2016: West Seattle Elementary group at Fauntleroy Creek with volunteer Dennis Hinton)
By Dennis Hinton, Fauntleroy Creek volunteer
Special to West Seattle Blog
After months of not knowing if the Fauntleroy Creek Salmon in the Schools program would continue uninterrupted as it has for more than 20 years, word came late last week that it will.
The program centers on coho fry released by schoolchildren. Ten elementary schools and three preschools in West Seattle receive coho eggs in January and students rear the fish while learning about biology, habitat, and the role of salmon in Pacific Northwest environment, commerce, and culture. Nearly 800 students came to the creek this past spring on release field trips, bringing 1,800 coho fry.
For the first time since 1991 when it started Salmon in the Schools, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife notified program coordinators six months ago that coho eggs might not be available for the 2016-17 term. Without them, participating West Seattle schools would have had to rear another salmon species for release elsewhere.
(WSB photo: Judy Pickens at Westside School on egg-delivery day last January)
“This news from the state was chilling to both teachers and creek volunteers,” said Judy Pickens. She and Phil Sweetland represent Fauntleroy Creek on the Salmon in the Schools – Seattle steering committee that coordinates the program for 71 schools in the city. “Without coho, the creek would have lost much of the life we’ve been working for 26 years to restore and the community would have lost a much-loved natural feature, a small taste of the wild in urban West Seattle.”
The state based its warning on last year’s meager return of coho spawners to Puget Sound and predictions of a low coho return this year. Warm water off the Oregon-Washington coast killed their prey and, without food, the fish that had survived predation and pollution to get that far died. No spawners came into Fauntleroy Creek last fall.
Based on early coho returns to area hatcheries, creek volunteers are cautiously optimistic about getting spawners this year. The annual drumming to call them in will be Sunday, October 30, at 5 pm at the fish-ladder viewpoint (SW Director and upper Fauntleroy Way SW).
Volunteers will start watching for spawners the following week when tides are high enough for the fish to have easy access to the mouth of the creek. Assuming veteran watchers spot fish, watch here for an invitation to join their ranks.
Here’s a 4-point update from the National Weather Service:
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) October 13, 2016
No wind so far today – just rain. The alerts remain:
Yes, a storm is still brewing. But the forecasters say the big wind isn’t due in until very late tonight. So, so far, a full schedule of events is still planned for this evening:
OYSTER HAPPY HOUR: As mentioned in this morning’s followup on the Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) remodeling, 5-7 pm at Admiral MM, you’re invited to the first “oyster happy hour” – 99 cents each. (41st/42nd/Admiral)
VOLLEYBALL RAISING $ TO FIGHT BREAST CANCER: West Seattle High School‘s volleyball teams invite you to watch them play Ingraham tonight at WSHS and to contribute to their breast-cancer-fighting fundraiser:
The photo was shared by WSHS head coach Staci Stringer, who says, “We would like to invite the West Seattle community to our Breast Cancer awareness volleyball match at 7 at West Seattle! JVC/JV starts at 5:30. We will be asking for donations at the door and would love to raise awareness and some funds for research.” (3000 California SW)
OPEN HOUSE FOR CHIEF SEALTH INTERNATIONAL HS FAMILIES: Tonight: “CSI will be hosting our annual Open House. This is an opportunity to meet your student’s teachers and learn about their classes. A spaghetti dinner will be served starting at 5:30 pm. The official welcome to Open House will be given by Principal Fraser-Hammer beginning at 6:30. During the welcome, families will hear from the counseling department and from representatives from our International Baccalaureate and Academy programs. At 6:50, families will be given time to travel to their student’s first period. Families will spend 10 minutes in each class and then will move on to the next class period. The last class period will end at 8:25.” (2600 SW Thistle)
WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: 6-9 pm at venues around the peninsula. See previews and locations on the official West Seattle Art Walk website.
SECOND THURSDAY OUT! 6 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle: “Inviting the LGBTQ community and their friends and neighbors for social hour, light dinner at the Center, followed by ArtsWest’s production of Ibsen’s ‘Ghosts’. Everyone is welcome to attend – no membership or signup is required.” (SW Oregon/California SW)
OPEN MICROPHONE: 7-9 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), express yourself musically! (5612 California SW)
SEATTLE OPERA PREVIEW: 7 pm, preview “Hansel and Gretel,” free, with live music, at Kenyon Hall!
With refreshing humor and Wagnerian orchestration, this atmospheric fable explores universal themes of poverty, peril, and bravery, culminating in happiness for all—save for one very bad witch! Deepen your enjoyment of this provocative, dreamy, and melodious opera as you get an inside look into Seattle Opera’s upcoming production. Featuring professional singers and accompaniment at the Steinway, this hour-long presentation will take you on a journey through the story and music of Humperdinck’s masterpiece. There is no charge for this performance.
(7904 35th SW)
SOUTH SOUND TUG & BARGE: “Unbridled bluegrass, Irish and folk tunes with a side of punk” – live music at Parliament Tavern in The Admiral District, 9-11 pm. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
THERE’S ALWAYS MORE on our complete-calendar page.
Here’s hoping you are already ready for the stormy weather that’s on the way. But storm trouble is just one of the challenges you need to be prepared for. And you’re invited to find out about being ready for almost anything, via a free class that longtime WSB sponsor John Moore @ Northwest Insurance Group is presenting later this month:
6-8 pm Monday, October 24th @ The Kenney (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW):
Northwest Insurance Group is sponsoring a Disaster Preparedness Presentation and will have a guest speaker from the American Red Cross. Lucia Scordamaglia will bring sample supplies/kits and provide plenty of information and handouts addressing how to best prepare for winter storms, earthquakes, house fires, flooding, landslides, and other disasters that disrupt our day-to-day lives.
RSVP to John Moore – email@example.com
Get your RSVP in ASAP to be sure there’ll be room.
Almost a month into its remodeling project, Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) in Admiral is showing major signs of change:
We didn’t have many details when we mentioned the remodeling last month, but we do now, after a mini-tour on Wednesday, with store director Paul Marth and MM executive VP Helen Neville. Above, new cases and tiling have brightened and expanded the area where you’ll find cheese, deli meat, and the olive bar.
The bakery area has new tile, too, and the coffee bar will be moving downstairs this weekend to its new home adjacent to the bakery, by the west doors.
That will create room for an expanded housewares area upstairs.
The kitchen behind the hot-food and sandwich-case area is getting new equipment, and as previously mentioned, will be adding pizza and wok food. The soup bar and seating area will expand; the poke bar will move to a more central location.
The remodeling is now set for two phases. The first phase of work will be done by November 11th, and then the remodeling will stop for the holiday season, a traditionally very-busy time for Metropolitan Market. Then after the holidays, they’ll turn attention to the meat, seafood, and grocery areas.
Marth has been the Admiral store director since summer, 11 years after a previous stint.
He adds that while they remodel and look at additional items for the latter, they are talking with and hearing from customers about what they’ll be looking for while the West Seattle PCC Natural Markets (also a WSB sponsor) is closed for the construction of the mixed-use building that will be its new home (likely to start sometime next year).
One more MM area in transition – the big covered patio south of the main east entrance. They’re expanding its seating to facilitate monthly “events” there, such as farm-to-table dinners with guest chefs. You can get a sneak peek during an “Oyster Happy Hour” planned tonight (Thursday, October 13th), featuring 99-cent Hama Hama oysters, 5-7 pm. (Yes, there will be heaters!)
P.S. Until the first phase of remodeling wraps up next month, the store continues closing overnight (10 pm-6 am) Sunday through Thursday, while maintaining its round-the-clock schedule 6 am Fridays-10 pm Sundays.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7 AM: Good morning. The rain continues, and the National Weather Service says the first round of wind is on the way, with a High Wind Warning from 6 pm tonight to 7 am Friday.
If you are heading TOWARD West Seattle right now or soon, be forewarned that a crash has closed the southbound Battery Street Tunnel.
7:40 AM: That crash has cleared. Nothing else reported on nearby routes except general slowness. Meantime, forecasters say that while the wind warning starts at 6 pm in our area, the worst isn’t expected until late tonight. We will be on storm watch through the night and into early Friday. (Another reminder that school’s out tomorrow – long-scheduled day of no classes for Seattle Public Schools.)
7:48 AM: Texter warns of especially slow traffic on Admiral Way getting to the bridge.
7:55 AM: Could be related to that:
Mass bus lane violations at bottom of SW Avalon! Bus has to go around! Random enforcement plz @SeattlePD!
— Kevin Freitas (@kevinfreitas) October 13, 2016
8:11 AM: Texter (reach us at 206-293-6302 any time) says the light on Cloverdale at Highway 509 is out, and that’s causing some backup on the 1st-to-Olson-to-Roxbury hill.
8:28 AM: Iggy reports in comments that the Route 22 bus has lost a tire, south of Morgan Junction, and is awaiting Metro maintenance. Until and unless a replacement has been brought in, could mean delays for people waiting to ride elsewhere on the route.
The utility-bill scammers just don’t quit. We heard Wednesday night from another Junction business that got the call and wanted to warn you not to fall for it:
We received a call from someone (Wednesday) saying they were from Seattle City Light. The person on the phone said he was given a work order to disconnect our power due to unpaid bills.
The person knew we are set up with automatic pay with SCL and he said our payments for the last two months didn’t process due to something that went wrong with their processing system. He said we needed to immediately pay a certain amount of money or our power would be disconnected in the next half hour.
Long story short, this ended up being a scam but the person on the phone was extremely convincing. We were hoping you could spread the word about this new scam so nobody gets taken.
As a City Light spokesperson said in a 2014 alert, the utility “does not call, email or visit customers demanding immediate payment to avoid shutoffs. Anyone who falls behind on payments will receive at least two written notifications before the shutoff process starts.” If you are concerned about your account status, call an SCL customer rep at 206-684-3000 – don’t deal with the person who called you out of the blue.