UTILITY UPDATES: Water break; tree removal; streetlight switchovers

Three utility updates today:

ARBOR HEIGHTS WATER-MAIN BREAK: Late last night, a reader mentioned a water-main break at 35th/107th in Arbor Heights. The crew was already gone when we got a chance to go take a look. Seattle Public Utilities spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin tells WSB it was a four-inch water-main break around 8 pm and crews had it fixed within a few hours.

The next two involve bucket-truck work for Seattle City Light:

TREE REMOVAL: Alan sent this photo and wondered about tree-removal work visible in the right-of-way near SW Holly and 14th SW:


SCL’s Scott Thomsen tells WSB:

When the trees in this area were last trimmed four years ago, the contractor doing the work did not follow best practices. This compromised the health of some trees with rot and multiple new starts. We stopped using that contractor.

In this cycle of trimming, we are resolving some of the problems that were created. Some of the trees that were damaged are indeed being removed based on their deteriorated condition.

STREETLIGHT SWITCHOVER: As mentioned here toward summer’s end, SCL is continuing to switch arterial streetlights to LEDs. Last night in The Junction, Paul Weatherman took these photos of crews working on SW Alaska just east of California SW:


The arterial work follows the completion of the switchover on residential streets. Here’s the wider view from last night:


SCL told us in August that the arterial conversions should be completed this year.

18 Replies to "UTILITY UPDATES: Water break; tree removal; streetlight switchovers"

  • Alan January 6, 2017 (2:51 pm)

    WSB – Thank you for checking on this.

    They cleared out every tree on the hill near the wires. They also cleared out most of the brush. It used to be that the path was skirting the bushes and trees, giving you an idea of how much was cleared out. The good news is that plantings done years ago by Nature Consortium are now exposed, so hopefully they will fill in.

  • KtotheF January 6, 2017 (3:21 pm)

    Next I’d like to get the Port to use flush, LED lighting to eliminate the salmon-colored glow their massive banks of lights add to the night sky.

  • zephyr January 6, 2017 (3:29 pm)

    I don’t understand the LED conversion.  These lights had been replaced
    not too long ago from the amber/yellow lights to the bright white (which
    I thought LED).  Now they are putting in even brighter lights.  I was walking along Graham recently and noticed how ridiculous it was for the neighborhood west of California.  It creates a harsh
    industrial effect.  Was that really necessary?  The previous ones
    seemed more than adequate.  I also noticed a strange addition.  On many
    of the poles they are adding an second street light 90 degrees to the other one.   Feel sad for the residents there.  


    • Josh January 6, 2017 (4:45 pm)


      seems like most people like the change. But I totally agree with you. Even walking at night seems more stressful with the new lights. Everyone says they’re NOT brighter but perception is reality-  they sure seem brighter.

      I notice they changed over all the lights along Marine View Drive but somehow residents in the Arroyos area were able to keep their lighting traditional amber. I wonder how/why, but give up on trying to fight.

      • WSB January 6, 2017 (4:49 pm)

        Are the Arroyos undergrounded? Different setup, if so. Undergrounding generally requires an area’s property owners to tax themselves. If not, SCL might not have gotten there yet.

        • Alan January 6, 2017 (4:54 pm)

          Yes, the Arroyos are undergrounded down to the beach. When this was done, the residents on Arroyo Beach Pl (almost all on the beach side) opted out.

          • Josh January 7, 2017 (9:46 pm)

            What has me curious is the non-LED (amber) lights are on Marine View Drive too- outside of the Arroyos, and north a couple blocks. So much nicer than the bright white lights.

          • Alan January 7, 2017 (11:29 pm)

            Josh – I see that the same lights down in the Arroyos are also on California and 39th, up a little past 107th. They are also on Marine View Drive and 107th between California and 39th. As the light type changes, you can see the power lines start.

            It seems most likely that these were all done at the same time as the Arroyos power lines were undergrounded.

          • Neighbor January 8, 2017 (8:51 am)

            The upper part of the Arroyos has decorative stanchions for lights. They will be the last to be replaced. Arroyo Beach has the conventional LED lights. 

            And if you don’t like how they trim trees around power lines, google “Bellingham tree fire explosion”. You’ll see why they trim the trees the way they do.  They should just remove them rather than trying to trim them, because they only have to come back and do it again in a few years. 

  • Lynn January 6, 2017 (4:40 pm)

    They must have just recently replaced the lights on 49th between Alaska and Edmunds.  I noticed it one early dark morning last week.  I thought there was a searchlight shining down the street.  Not sure how I feel about it–does this save money, improve safety, both, or something else?

  • miws January 6, 2017 (4:43 pm)

    Zephyr, you may want to contact SCL regarding specific lights. I understand that they can make adjustments to reduce the harshness. 


  • WestCake January 6, 2017 (10:04 pm)

    Who was the low bid contractor for the tree work? It seems like that should be public information. Better question, is it an open bidding process for tree work needed by Seattle Public Light?
    Also, fellow citizens, would you support a tax increase to pay for a bid that wasn’t the lowest for tree removal work?

    • Neighbor January 8, 2017 (8:31 pm)

      It’s all public information, you only have to ask (the utility, not the blog).

      And yes, it’s  all lowest bid, as long as the vendor meets the qualifications laid out in the requests for bid, which are all on the city website.

      And  “your tax dollars” have nothing to do with Seattle City Light. It is tax paying and self-supporting.  They used to have that on their trucks, but it disappeared for some reason. 

      “Seattle Public Light” does not exist.  You may be confusing it with Seattle Public Utilites, which is a fancy name for what we used to call the water department.  ;-) 

  • WSGuy January 7, 2017 (12:12 am)

    New lights are too bright.  It looks like perpetual daylight out my front windows now.

  • anonyme January 7, 2017 (6:07 am)

    Tree work the last few years has been appallingly bad.  We need to know who these bozos are.   There are a number of trees on California south of Morgan that have been badly butchered.  Sometimes this is the result of property owners doing or allowing work that they are neither qualified nor permitted to do.  But if an actual arborist did some of this work, they should be named and shamed.

    Asplundh was doing work for the City 9-10 years ago, and they were doing some atrocious things to trees.   They were also planting street trees, placing species that would easily grow to 50 ft. plus under power lines – thereby guaranteeing job security when the same trees would need to be removed and replaced in a few years.

    • WSB January 7, 2017 (8:06 am)

      Don’t know. The Asplundh case was reported here in 2008.

    • Alan January 7, 2017 (8:53 am)

      Asplundh was the company that did the work last on the section of Holly in the picture. That is not something that I would normally remember, but they did a lot of work in the area and I kept asking them for a load of chips.

  • threetrees January 7, 2017 (1:39 pm)

    I bet it’s Asplundh. They butchered the trees on my planting strip a few years ago, I came home and they were almost finished so I had no way to stop them. I had JUST spent hundreds on a professional, quality arborist to shape the trees and keep things away from power lines and then those a***oles came in with the city’s freaking blessing and now the trees are a mess, thousands and thousands of these sprouts coming off these butchered limbs. I got a card on my front door back in summer that said someone would be coming by to work on my trees in fall, and I was livid, because I figured it was going to be the jackasses at Asplundh.  And there’d be nothing to do about it, because it’s the city. 

    As far as I know whoever was supposed to butcher the trees next hasn’t shown up. But my landscaping people, when we were talking about the trees, got red-faced with anger at the mere mention of Asplundh’s name. I wouldn’t be even a tiny bit surprised if they were the ones who’d done the original bad work; like Anonyme, I’d love to know if these jerks are still doing work for the city, because thinking about my taxes going to have them do what they did to mine makes me red-faced with anger too.

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