West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Riverview Playfield needs some TLC – including repairs for a restroom damaged by fire last year, the Highland Park Action Committee agreed last night, during a meeting that spanned a wide range of neighborhood concerns:
RIVERVIEW TLC AND FIRE REPAIRS: With improvements completed and under way at Westcrest Park and Highland Park, HPAC talked about supporting some attention for Riverview Playfield. Its then-three-year-old restroom/storage building was set on fire last June and still hasn’t been fixed; HPIC member Craig Rankin reported contacting Seattle Parks recently to ask about that and being told that staff is working on an estimate so it can be added to an “asset list” to be handled sometime in 2018-2023.
The fields are popular for sports, including being the home of West Seattle Baseball, so potential revenue loss for the city was discussed. HPAC hopes to have this and other Riverview needs on the list of stops for the Highland Park “Find It, Fix It Walk“ later this year.
Speaking of which …
WAITING TO FIND OUT ABOUT ‘FIND IT, FIX IT’: The plan to have one in HP was announced by a city rep almost two months ago at a community meeting about the sanctioned encampment on Myers Way. But there’s been no word of the date or of the start of a planning process.
So HPAC’s going to start talking about where they want to go on the walk and what they want to see accomplished. Besides Riverview, the Highland Park Way/Holden intersection – for which locals have long been trying to get safety upgrades – will be a prime spot to visit.
Speaking of the encampment …
COMMUNITY ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR CAMP SECOND CHANCE: HPAC chair Gunner Scott asked if anyone would be able to represent HPAC on this newly formed group, part of the deal for the city sanctioning of the encampment. Scott noted that some of the services that they’ve requested for the camp and vicinity – lighting, Dumpster, etc. – are showing up (we recently reported the lighting installation). HPAC members also talked about getting solicited to join some of the regional groups that have sprung up to campaign against camps, and while HPAC has concerns about the city’s policies and plans, they’re skeptical of the groups’ motives and memberships and not planning to join.
YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE: Also on the community-advisory front, this ongoing new city process for vetting potential street/park grant projects was the subject of a discussion similar to the one at the Admiral Neighborhood Association last week – that the process as it is now is not nearly as effective and thorough as the old one done through district councils, where presentations of projects for review would include information from neighborhood residents who know the area. Scott had been to one of the “project development” meetings where he said people were asking each other, do you know this area? Is this something that’s needed?
It was also noted that $285,000 per council district seems to be less than was allocated before – “$2.85 per person,” as one attendee noted, since West Seattle has ~100,000. Also, chair Scott noted, the grant process has been under way for so many years, there should be an existing list of needs “instead of making us go through this crazy process.” And Scott noted that all the complaints about district councils not reaching out to enough people don’t seem to have been acted on by the city – and now they’ve turned what was a two-meeting process into a four-meetings-and-more process. One person said it was great that there were so many ideas from West Seattle – more than 200 (as reported here).
HPAC is considering sending a letter with the suggestion that basic needs be addressed in the future before another round of new ideas is solicited. Another suggestion was that proposals, especially those made repeatedly, exist in “living documents” within the city somewhere so there can be reference – “since this was first proposed in 1986, the population has tripled” type of information. One person said that it’s frustrating to see projects get requested year after year, but some projects not requested turn up seemingly overnight.
HPAC leadership will talk more about the issue. Co-chair Michele Witzki suggested getting a rep from Feet First to come talk with the group so they can learn more about effective advocacy.
CRIME UPDATES: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith presented the latest info as the meeting began: Auto theft is up, car prowls are down. Property crimes overall are down a third.
This week’s Seaview package-theft arrest was a springboard for a discussion of how security cameras really help police. Lt. Smith said, “The quality is so good – it’s amazing. For each car prowler or package thief we arrest, they’re good for many, many more.”
Would the precinct consider offering training on security-camera use and best practices? Lt. Smith will look into it. Maybe, he said, that could be a project for former intern Jennifer Burbridge, who he said has been hired as a full-time crime analyst – the first time the Southwest Precinct has had one.
A few more minutes of discussion with Lt. Smith touched on derelict properties, trespass agreements, and how to complain to the city. One attendee said it’s clear the rules/laws have to change – and that it’s time for citizens to apply pressure on that.
NEW LOOK FOR HPAC: Chair Scott had big props for artist Dina Lydia of digital-genie.com, who designed the new logo for the group (and took the photo below featuring the logo with, from left, Witzki, Scott, HPIC’s Christie Sjostrom, and Rankin):
HPAC will also be sending postcards to more than 2,000 people in the Highland Park area to let them know. They hope, among other things, to reduce community confusion between HPAC and HPIC (which is a community group too but not a community council – as the latter, HPAC addresses issues and takes action on them).
EVENTS AHEAD: HPAC hopes to have a neighborhood cleanup/barbecue this summer … HPIC events ahead include Corner Bar on April 7, Art Lounge on April 14, and the annual Uncorked benefit on May 20th – tickets will go on sale April 7th … watch for more info at hpic1919.org.
Highland Park Action Committee meets fourth Wednesdays most months, 7 pm, at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th/Holden).
Volunteers of all ages were out this evening at the West Seattle Little League‘s facilities on Alki Point’s Bar-S Playfields, working not only to repair damage done by vandals – as reported here earlier this week – but also to fix storm damage.
Many hands make light work, as they say, and that was certainly the case.
This required an extra round of teamwork, even before the players take the field this weekend. West Seattle Little League also had words of thanks for help from their counterparts at Southwest Little League, and for water, snacks, and assistance donated by Second Gear Sports (WSB sponsor) proprietor Mark Bremen.
The nonprofit organization is also planning to boost security, with measures including cameras, and is crowdfunding to raise money for them – here’s where to donate if you’d like to help.
The photo is courtesy of Chief Sealth International High School teacher Noah Zeichner, who says students are at school this evening working hard to prepare for the 3rd annual Washington Global Issues Network conference that Sealth will be hosting the next two days, drawing students from other schools all over the state. Program highlights are on the conference website – keynoters include West Seattle climate-change activist Aji Piper and Seattle activist, now also mayoral candidate, Nikkita Oliver. Sealth also hosted the first WAGIN conference two years ago.
3 items in West Seattle Crime Watch:
STREET ROBBERY FOLLOWUP: The Southwest Precinct tells us they are pursuing “leads” in Wednesday’s street robbery on the south end of The Junction. We obtained the report today; it says police found the victim on the northeast corner of 45th and Edmunds, a revolver on the ground next to her. She told them she was walking westbound on Edmunds, looking at her phone, then noticed the robber walking southbound on 45th toward her. Without a word, he grabbed her purse, a large brown Louis Vuitton handbag, and began tugging on it. She tried to keep hold of it; they struggled, “spinning in circles together,” the police-report narrative says. During that scuffle, the gun “fell off the suspect and to the ground.” Two water bottles fell out of the purse. Eventually, the robber pulled the victim to the ground, by pulling the purse, and started dragging her, at which time she said she yelled, “Get the f— off me.” The strap broke, and he got away with the purse, headed westbound on Edmunds. She picked up the gun, noticed it was loaded, and put it back down, so she could call 911. Police also talked with a witness who said he saw the robber and victim scuffling, and tried to chase the robber, but lost him in the southbound alley between 45th and 46th. Police meantime took evidence including the broken purse strap and the gun, described as a Smith and Wesson .38 special. The records check on it was “clear,” according to the police report. The robber description, which changed in broadcasts during yesterday’s search, is in the written report as “mixed-race male, 30s, scrawny build, black hat, black zip-up hoodie, black pants, large bluetooth in one ear, black beard/mustache.”
STOLEN BICYCLES: From Julie:
Our three bikes were stolen from our apartment building secure garage yesterday (03/22/17) between 5:30 am and 11 am. Police report: #1700010282. They were locked together with a bike lock behind my car, so they were taken as a grouping. Two of them were purchased in Fall 2013 and we would really like them back. The 3rd one was gifted to us and I don’t recall much information about it other than its a blue mountain/road bike. All three is very good condition and well maintained. Any information, please call the police and reference the report number.
Men’s Specialized AWOL 2013
Color: Satin Black/Bronze
Women’s Specialized bike
Color: Black with gold writing
Cannot remember the name:
VEHICLE BREAK-INS: From E: “I live on Belvedere and Manning and have had both my van and car broken into in the last 2 weeks. Both were right on my driveway on Belvedere. We saw a small silver car circling the block earlier in the evening with a man driving it. It’s happening after 11 p.m. at night.”
For your planning purposes – we just heard about this, announced on the Seattle Public Library home page:
All locations of The Seattle Public Library and the book drops at Central Library will be closed Wednesday, March 29 for a staff in-service day. Regular operating hours will resume Thursday, March 30.
If you need to go to a library that day, the King County Library System‘s White Center branch isn’t far – 1409 SW 107th.
The Highway 99 tunneling team has now moved from twice-weekly progress reports to daily progress reports. Not that the tunneling machine is on an “any day now” basis yet, but here’s what WSDOT reports this afternoon:
Seattle Tunnel Partners is making final preparations for the SR 99 tunneling machine’s arrival at the disassembly pit near Seattle Center. Because mining rates will continue to vary as crews approach the pit, we can’t predict when Bertha’s breakthrough will occur. We will continue to provide regular progress updates along the way.
We recognize that there is great interest surrounding this stage of the project, and we are working on ways to share this historic moment with the public. We will be activating a new time-lapse camera as well as streaming video of the disassembly pit prior to breakthrough. These cameras will offer the best view of Bertha’s arrival in the pit. We will also continue to share photos and provide frequent updates via social media, including daily progress updates. For safety reasons, the public will not be allowed in the construction zone during the breakthrough.
Look for more updates soon about the breakthrough sequence, the process for disassembling Bertha and the work that remains before the tunnel opens in 2019.
As of today, WSDOT tweeted, “Today Bertha has 320 feet to go – less than the Mariners 326′ right-field foul line in Safeco Field.” They’ve said that they won’t be setting up an in-person breakthrough-watching event because the pit is in the middle of a construction zone.
They’ve been among the judges’ favorites for years in the West Seattle Grand Parade, but this year you don’t have to wait until July to see the Joyas Mestizas Mexican folk-dance troupe in West Seattle – if you haven’t already seen the listing in the WSB Event Calendar, their spring recital and benefit is happening at Hiawatha Community Center this Saturday night (doors at 5, show at 6). It’s been more than 25 years since a group of parents founded Joyas Mestizas, and community support keeps it going … here’s a way to show yours. Tickets are $10 including refreshments, recital, and auction – at the door, or online in advance.
What’s ahead for the rest of your Thursday, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
TINKERLAB DROP-IN: Work on a fun STEM-based craft at High Point Library after school, 4-5:30 pm. Free. (35th SW/SW Raymond)
WEST SEATTLE LITTLE LEAGUE WORK PARTY: 5:30 to dusk tonight is the first of two work parties to help West Seattle Little League recover from damage done by vandals last weekend, as the teams look ahead to the start of play. Here’s the update from WSLL:
Work parties will be Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th from 5:30 to dusk.
Work to be done:
• rebuilding pitching mound on south field – 1 volunteer needed
• filling trenches in infields (rain runoff has created trenches in both infields)
• sweeping loose material from outfield lips back into the skins
• top dressing edges of infield skins along edges of infield grasses
• resurfacing pitching mound areas in front of rubbers
• pressure washing north field bleachers and dugouts
• cleaning bulk material from hillside on north field parking area
• edging / weeding parking lot
• filling potholes on gravel road
• cleaning out bollard holes for easy locking of bollards
• painting of wooden bleachers
• hang new hooks in storage shed (hooks to be used for hanging of tools/ organization
• removing grass from under south field bleachers / spread rock under bleachers to match North Field bleachers
• installing fence cap on south field 1st base line close to scoreboard
• cleanup of bulk area
• weed eating fence lines – bring a weed eater if possible
• check scoreboard / microphone/ make sure all tech is working properly
• cleaning tools and machines
• cleaning doors / walls in bathrooms
• prep for painting of doors (and painting doors if possible)
• addressing graffiti in men’s room that is still visible
• general cleaning and prep of shack for opening day!
Please consider bringing work gloves and tools to help!
This is happening at Bar-S Playfields. (6425 SW Admiral Way)
WEST SEATTLE MONTESSORI OPEN HOUSE: 6 pm to 7:30 pm, you’re invited to an open house at West Seattle Montessori & Academy (WSB sponsor):
West Seattle Montessori School & Academy Open House gives parents and prospective families a chance to meet our staff, teachers and tour the facilities. You’ll be able to view samples of student work and pick up application materials. Our teachers and staff are available during and after the Open House to answer questions.
(11215 15th SW)
NICK LICATA @ WEST SEATTLE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN: 6 pm at West Seattle Golf Course, WS Democratic Women are hosting former City Councilmember Nick Licata, who’ll talk about his book. Check to see if there’s still room. (4600 35th SW)
WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center. Tonight’s WSTC agenda includes open board positions and an SDOT guest to talk about Delridge RapidRide H Line. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)
SERA CAHOONE: Live, free, all-ages in-store performance at Easy Street Records in The Junction, 7 pm. (California/Alaska)
MORE NIGHTLIFE … check it out on our complete calendar!
Metro has questions for you, in an online survey launched as they start a planning process in hopes of making “paying fares to ride the bus faster, easier, and simpler for everyone.” Here’s the announcement, which includes a link to the survey:
Metro and the six other regional transit agencies that represent the ORCA (One Regional Card for All) smart-card system have committed to looking at simplifying fares across all agencies as they prepare for improvements and modernization of the ORCA system. As part of that process, Metro is considering options that would allow for speedier boarding, improve safety for drivers, help increase ridership and further reduce barriers for vulnerable populations.
This month, Metro invites the public to provide direction on fare change options and longer-term work on fare-related issues by participating in an online questionnaire. In April, the public will have additional opportunities to provide feedback on fare change options via a second online survey and open houses.
The public can find the survey as well as sign up to receive updates via Metro’s fare review website.
Metro encourages all transit riders to participate, including youth, older adults, students, ORCA Lift riders, riders with disabilities, as well as schools, employers and community-based organizations. Metro also is contracting with community organizations to hear from harder-to-reach populations so their input is considered as Metro assesses options and develops programs to address affordability and access to transit. Feedback during the outreach process will be used to draft proposals. A final proposal will be submitted to the King County Council for consideration in June.
Metro also is convening an advisory group to consider various fare options and advise on additional work Metro needs to do to make transit and ORCA more accessible to people. The group, which will meet three times through May [next meeting April 4th], comprises employers, social service organizations, advocacy groups and others, and serves in an advisory role to provide input on fare options and longer-term programs. Meetings are open to the public for observation. Details are available on the project website.
We went through the survey to see if it included specific options under consideration. In the version we saw, it did not – you are asked an open-ended question at one point about what you think would make fare-paying simpler, and you’re also asked to set priorities for what you would want a changed fare-paying system to accomplish. The survey’s deadline is April 7th.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It was a night 28 years in the making.
From the time the Admiral Theater was shuttered in 1989 – then saved – its future as a moviehouse was never fully guaranteed, until now, with its transformation to a first-run fourplex, celebrated last night. The gala included a ribboncutting with a “ribbon” made of film (across the center of the photo), presided over by Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals (below left), whose involvement dates back to leading the campaign to save it:
Eals proclaimed that everyone there last night was “standing in history.” The ribboncutting was the kickoff to a night in which four movies, from The Admiral’s “Four Eras,” were screened – as detailed here, from silent movies celebrating the building’s early history as The Portola, through a brand-new (and very popular) film.
This happened six months after the restoration work at the circa-1942 moviehouse started in earnest, more than a quarter century after it was designated a city landmark as part of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society campaign to save it. The company that owned it in the late ’80s abruptly decided to close it in 1989, and said the following year that it might not ever be a moviehouse again.
That was proven wrong after local entrepreneur Marc Gartin bought it in 1992. (He owns it to this day.) He was thanked last night by Sol Baron from Faraway Entertainment, which runs the moviehouse business and collaborated on the renovation plan, which was officially announced two years ago:
(WSB photo, February 2015)
7:18 AM: Good morning. No incidents so far reported in, or on the outbound routes from, West Seattle.
DELRIDGE RAPIDRIDE DECISIONMAKING: Two ways to hear about and comment on proposed options for converting Metro Route 120 to Delridge RapidRide H Line – SDOT reps will be out at bus stops along Delridge 4:30-6:30 pm today, and then at 6:30 pm, a project spokesperson is on the agenda at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW).
7:35 AM: From the scanner, “piece of wood in the roadway” on the eastbound bridge. Didn’t catch where, but police are being sent to handle it.
7:41 AM: Metro just sent a text alert that what was supposed to be the 7:10 am Route 37 to downtown was running half an hour late. And here’s the tweet:
Transit Alert – The last Route 37 to downtown Seattle due to leave SW Oregon St & 35 Av SW at 7:10 AM will operate about :30 late.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) March 23, 2017
8:09 AM: If you drive surface Alaskan Way, we’re hearing scanner discussion of a “two-mile” backup of semitrucks.
8:26 AM: Police report over the air that the trucks “are starting to move.”
Three more things to report from the Crime Watch files before the night’s out:
GUNFIRE FOLLOWUP: We did finally get the police report on the North Delridge gunfire from early Tuesday. It says the reports started coming in via 911 about 2:38 am Tuesday, centered on the 4800 block of Delridge Way SW [map]. Many heard it; no one saw it. “After an extensive area search, multiple shell casings and property damage were located in the alley behind (a redacted address in that block). Two separate calibers of spent shell casings were located – nine 9mm shell casings (and) three .45 caliber shell casings … intermixed along the alley stretched approximately 20 yards.” Four rounds hit a Honda Accord in the alley, while another hit a Land Rover, and yet another was found embedded in a garage door, while one more hit a downspout and went through a fence. The report makes one more note: “Gang-affiliated graffiti” was found on one garage door, though the resident there said it had been there for about three months. If you have any information about the case, the incident number is 2017-99086.
DUMPED BICYCLE: Does this bike look familiar?
M sent the photo, saying: “Sometime in the last 24 hours, a kids’ bike was stashed underneath a large juniper bush in my yard near Westwood. I’m sure whoever owns it would like it back.” (UPDATE, THURSDAY NIGHT: The owner’s dad saw this, and now has the bike back!)
PACKAGE THEFT: Michael e-mailed to report: “Sad to say, we had a package stolen off our porch today (Wednesday). We live near 21st and Cambridge. Just wanted to spread the word.”
Thanks to everyone who shares Crime Watch reports! Once you’ve reported it to police – 911 if it’s happening now or just happened – consider letting us know so your neighbors all around the peninsula will be aware of what happened – 206-293-6302 text or voice, firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you.