West Seattle, Washington
Toward the end of the first day of the Washington Global Issues Network conference at Chief Sealth International High School, West Seattle climate activist Aji Piper, 16, took the stage as a keynoter.
The question he started with was simple: “How did I get involved in the environmental movement and why?”
The answers, complex. We recorded his almost-hour-long speech on video:
Piper spoke about his work, from early participation in Plant for the Planet, to being one of what are now 21 young plaintiffs suing the federal government over its failure to protect their rights to clean air and water.
“Climate change means life as we know it will change,” he declared. And he recounted some life-changing climate events that have rocked the globe already, from 314+ square miles of wildfire damage last year – “more than 152,000 football fields” – to storms like Hurricane Sandy.
“I thought about my home. What did this all mean for the people and places I love? What do I do with this knowledge? … I’m one person in a world of 7 billion people. What am I going to do about this?”
What he has done in the past several years started with planting trees to writing and performing protest songs with a ukulele, as he learned about new issues including oil trains and Arctic drilling. To challenge the latter, he wrote and performed a protest song, with his ukulele, at a Seattle Port Commission meeting (his slide for this featured a framegrab of WSB video from that 2015 meeting). And he joined in the “kayaktivism” off West Seattle’s shore as the Polar Pioneer drilling rig floated in.
He got involved with Earth Guardians.
And then there was the lawsuit, which, he said, hasn’t gone to trial yet, but has had several hearings. (He and his co-plaintiffs have had international publicity because of it.) They’re representing everyone in the U.S., he asserted, saying we all have rights to clean water and air, and “a livable future.”
WAGIN continues Saturday at Sealth, with the ~100 student attendees from all over the state spending the day in workshops and hearing from three more keynote speakers, including Seattle activist and mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver toward day’s end. This is the second time in three years that Sealth has hosted the conference.
Five notes in West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:
STOLEN CAR: Lisa sent the photo, reporting: “Our 1999 white CR-V was stolen from 35th and Andover sometime in the last two days. Plate number BCX-8350. It has a Yakima rack on top, and the back window has a snowflake on the top left and WSEA sticker on the right.” Call 911 if you see it.
STOLEN PACKAGE: Thao reports from The Triangle: “Just wanted to notify that I had a package stolen today. FedEx had it delivered (I verified with them the correct address later and they confirmed the drop off) at 9 am. I came back to pick up my package at 11 and it was not there. Asked neighbors and they did not see anything at all. I know there has been a lot of theft lately, but this is the first time it has ever happened to me. I am on 37th and Alaska.”
CAR BREAK-IN: From Tiffany: “We had a car break in (Wednesday) night/(Thursday) morning at 39th and Stevens. Nothing material stolen but we can’t figure out how they got into the car. We just want the neighbors to know in case someone is stealing car signals or something!”
FOUND FISHING POLES: From John in Gatewood: “While out walking today, came across two discarded fishing poles (with reels) discarded at 39th and Cloverdale; possible that someone stole them and dropped them there (or set them down and forgot them?).”
BICYCLE REUNION: Happy ending for a bicycle-theft case in the Westwood area. Mark found one in his yard and sent the photo we published early Thursday. Hours later, Thad saw that photo here and immediately recognized the bicycle stolen from his son – who now has it back.
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, email@example.com – thank you.
Thanks to the Louisa Boren STEM K-8 parents who just shared a letter sent to families today: The school says the county Health Department has told them a student has a confirmed case of mumps. According to today’s weekly update about the countywide mumps outbreak, that’s one of 25 cases in Seattle, 254 confirmed/probable cases in King County. Here’s the text of the letter families received:
Dear Louisa Boren STEM K-8 Parents:
Public Health – Seattle & King County (Public Health) has been informed of a student with mumps who attends Louisa Boren STEM K-8. The student is doing well and will remain out of school until no longer contagious. This case is linked to the ongoing King County outbreak.
What is mumps?
Mumps is an illness caused by a virus that can cause fever, headache, and swelling of the cheeks and jaw. In rare cases, mumps can lead to more serious complications that may require hospitalization. Up to 30% of people with mumps infection will have no symptoms.
How is mumps spread?
A person with mumps can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, or talking. It can also be spread by sharing cups or eating utensils, and by touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.
Who is at risk of getting mumps*?
Infants who are too young to receive mumps vaccine (less than 1 year of age).
Children over 1 year of age who have not received at least 1 dose of MMR
Adults born in or after 1957 who have not been vaccinated or have not previously had mumps
If you are unsure of your child’s vaccination status please contact your health care provider.
Even persons with 2 doses of mumps vaccine can get mumps infection (but the risk is less
than for people who have not been vaccinated or those who have only had 1 dose of mumps vaccine).
What should I do now?
Watch your child for symptoms of mumps, even if your child has had 2 doses of mumps vaccine. If your child develops any of the symptoms listed above:
Call your child’s healthcare provider and tell them about your child’s symptoms and that he or she may have been exposed to mumps. Bring or read this letter to the health care provider.
Keep your child home and away from other persons and from public settings until he or she has been evaluated by a healthcare provider.
If you have additional questions, please contact your health care provider.
Will children who do not have two doses of mumps vaccine be excluded from school?
At this time Public Health is not recommending exclusion of children with vaccine exemptions. This will change if there are additional cases in the school. Students without at least one dose of MMR vaccine will be excluded from school of a minimum of 25 days after the last case. If your child does not have 2 doses of MMR vaccine please contact your healthcare provider to discuss vaccination.
Additional information about mumps can be found at:
Krista Rietberg, MPH
Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Immunization Section
The 25 cases reported within Seattle city limits are not publicly broken out by location, so we don’t know if any of the others are in the West Seattle area, but this is the first West Seattle notification that’s been called to our attention.
BACKSTORY: This Seattle Times report says the King County outbreak started last fall in Auburn. Statewide, through mid-March, this data sheet says 473 cases have been reported this year; that’s up from 155 statewide for all of 2016, Before that, according to that same page, the statewide total had been in single digits 2009-2015, following three years in double digits.
(Newest Delridge RapidRide slide deck, as shown to WSTC)
The main topic of last night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting: The 2020 conversion of Metro Route 120 to the Delridge RapidRide H Line. The city is leading the planning right now because it’s a service enhancement using the extra tax dollars approved by Seattle voters.
DELRIDGE RAPIDRIDE H LINE: Dawn Schellenberg from SDOT came at what she called the “middle of the second comment period,” which ends on March 31st. She brought an updated slide deck with a few new slides (embedded above, and viewable here in PDF). First comment she got, toward the start, was from WSTC board member Mark Jacobs, who suggested the new line should serve the underutilized park-and-ride lot under the west end of the West Seattle Bridge. Then Kim Barnes from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council said the line should serve the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village, which is already densifying with redevelopment and facing HALA upzoning, as are all urban villages. What about having an H-A line and an H-B line, one of which loops through the WW-HP area? suggested WSTC board member Chas Redmond.
Bicycle safety is a concern. One attendee said neither of the two options currently being pitched by SDOT seems safe from a bicycle rider’s standpoint, especially the loss of a median, which motorized-vehicle drivers usually use to get safely around riders who are in general traffic lanes. Read More
Saving Puget Sound’s orcas can’t happen without saving our region’s salmon. Next Thursday, The Whale Trail‘s next Orca Talk will show you what’s happening, and what needs to happen. In case you haven’t already seen it in our calendar, here’s the announcement:
Washington State’s Regional Fishery Enhancement Groups: Making a Real Difference for Salmon (and Orcas)
Presentation by Jeanette Dorner
Thursday, March 30, 7:00 – 8:30 pm.
C & P Coffee Company, 5612 California SW
Cost: $5 suggested donation; kids free!
Presented by The Whale Trail
Salmon, the primary food for our endangered orcas (J, K, and L pods), are in trouble. Almost 20 years ago the state of Washington created a network of 14 non-profits to work with local communities on salmon habitat restoration projects in different watersheds.
These Regional Fishery Enhancement Groups have worked since then with private landowners and community partners to identify and implement valuable projects that can help increase the number of salmon returning to Washington state.
The latest report on the state of Washington’s salmon shows that overall the recovery of endangered salmon is mixed and salmon populations in Puget Sound are still declining. It is even more important to support and invest in these efforts to restore habitat.
Jeanette will share what the Regional Fishery Enhancement Groups across the state are doing to make a difference and also about the group in Seattles backyard: the Mid Sound Fishery Enhancement Group and how you can help.
Buy tickets now to reserve your seat. And hurry! This will likely sell out.
About the Speaker
Jeanette Dorner has a long history working to recover salmon in Puget Sound. She worked for 11 years as the Salmon Recovery Program Manager with the Nisqually Tribe, coordinating the protection and restoration of salmon habitat in the Nisqually watershed. She played a lead role in helping facilitate with partners major salmon restoration projects including the 900-acre restoration of the Nisqually Estuary. She then worked as the Director of Ecosystem and Salmon Recovery at the Puget Sound Partnership, supporting the work of hundreds of partners around Puget Sound to protect, restore and clean up their rivers, streams and Puget Sound shorelines.
In January of this year Jeanette became the Executive Director of the Mid Sound Fishery Enhancement Group. In her new role she is focused on working to grow the organization to achieve a broader impact on restoring salmon habitat in the Mid Sound area which includes the Green – Duwamish watershed, the Cedar/Sammamish/Lake Washington watershed, the watersheds of Eastern Kitsap County which drain into Central Puget Sound, and all the Puget Sound shorelines in the Central Puget Sound area in King County and Kitsap County.
Jeanette is also the mother to two wonderful kids – a 13-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl. Part of her passion to recover salmon habitat and to preserve and protect this beautiful place we call home is to try to pass on to her children a home where they can continue to enjoy the natural wonders of this place with their families – going to watch orcas swimming through Puget Sound, visiting salmon spawning in our local streams, and hiking in the majestic forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Go here to get your ticket now!
In case you were wondering about the police/fire response at California/Edmunds, given other incidents there recently … this is *not* a crime investigation. Police tell us they were called because of a “person in crisis.” They determined she was not physically injured but called in a private ambulance to take her for an evaluation.
(Pileated woodpecker, photographed in Fauntleroy Park this week by Mark Wangerin)
Highlights for your Friday!
COUNCILMEMBER LISA HERBOLD’S OFFICE HOURS: Got something to bring up with your City Councilmember? Lisa Herbold has in-district office hours noon-7 pm today at the Senior Center/Sisson Building. (4217 SW Oregon)
FRIDAY FISH FRY: 6-8 pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe Walmesley Center, you’re invited for dinner – fish, fries, and slaw, with a portion of the proceeds donated to CRS Operation Rice Bowl – details here; all welcome. (35th SW/SW Myrtle)
SPAGHETTI DINNER AND ART SHOW: Hope Lutheran School is raising money for a student trip to Washington, D.C., with a “free-will offering” spaghetti dinner and art show tonight, 5-8 pm. Details here. (42nd SW/SW Oregon)
PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Ages 3-11 welcome, at >West Seattle High School, Junior ASB fundraiser; details here including how to RSVP. (3000 California SW)
WEST SEATTLE LIONS CLUB OPEN HOUSE: Stop by the Senior Center/Sisson Building 5:30-8:30 pm to find out more about the Lions Club of West Seattle while enjoying free hot dogs, popcorn, and beverages. (4217 SW Oregon)
MADISON SWING DANCE AND AUCTION: The Madison Middle School music program’s benefit event is tonight, 6-9 pm in the Madison Commons, featuring the West Seattle Big Band as well as Madison student groups, swing-dance lessons, more. Details/ticket info here. (45th/Spokane)
THE ROLLING BLACKOUTS: Best band name on today’s calendar. 9 pm at Parliament Tavern. $5 cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
THREE BANDS: Triple bill at The Skylark, 9 pm. $7 cover. 21+. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
MORE … on our complete calendar!
7:42 AM: In the heart of the week’s final morning commute, the murky weather is the main challenge right now. And this afternoon, the National Weather Service says, there’s a slight chance of thunderstorms.
7:58 AM: Regional highway alerts for this weekend as listed here by WSDOT include lane closures on westbound I-90 and the I-5 express lanes.
(UPDATED 5:34 PM with additional SCL information, 6:07 PM with city plan for camps in the area)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:49 AM: For years, Jackie has commuted by bicycle between her job in West Seattle and home in Georgetown, using the trail under the West Seattle Bridge.
What happened to her Thursday night has never happened before. And she wants to get the word out. Via e-mail, she told us it happened around 8:30 pm:
I was jumped by a guy at Spokane and Marginal on the bike trail. It was that super dark patch (the city hasn’t fixed the lights, they’ve been out since last year). A guy jumped out from the bushes in front of my bike. I had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting him. He then came around my left side and grabbed at my shoulder, I’m guessing to drag me from my bike. I was so scared. I ducked (luckily I was wearing a close-fitting nylon jacket, so he couldn’t get hold of me), and I rode as fast as I could out of there.
It happened near an area where bicyclists have noticed an increasing number of campers. There is no way to know for sure whether the man who tried to grab Jackie lives there or elsewhere. But in response to some followup questions we asked after her first note, she added:
I don’t know if the individual this evening was associated with the larger encampment or was with the small group of tents on the west side of Marginal Way. He did mutter incoherently at me as he was trying to grab me. I’m assuming he was either under the influence or was in need of psychiatric help. The bushes/vegetated area he seems to have emerged from (but I’m not certain, as it was dark and everything happened quickly) are on the north side of the sidewalk. For what it’s worth I didn’t get a good look at him, but he was African American, maybe in his 40s or 50s. He was of average build, maybe around 5′ 10″. That is all in my police report as well.
She has been “road-riding” for at least a decade. We asked if, given what happened, she has specific advice for other riders:
I guess the one thing I would tell cyclists would be to avoid this part of the trail, as it is dark and you are vulnerable (as you’re removed from the road and easily ambushed). If you do take the trail, try to ride in a group if you can. I’m planning on staying in the road the next time I ride through here, especially in the evening. Usually I avoid the road during the day because of all the truck traffic, but I’m not sure what else to do. I asked the responding officer if it would be better to take West Marginal south and go over the First Avenue Bridge – he said it’s more dangerous down there.
The area where this happened is, we believe, outside Southwest Precinct jurisdiction, but we’ll be asking police later today who’s accountable, and also checking on the lighting situation Jackie mentioned.
10:42 AM: We are following up with City Light for starters regarding why the lighting isn’t fixed after months of reports – the e-mail chain provided to us indicates it’s more complicated than a matter of broken bulbs but not why it’s taken so long. SPD is next on our list.
12:43 PM: Just went back to the scene and caught up with a city team that included the mayor’s public-safety adviser, Scott Lindsay. He said this report hit the radar of the Emergency Operations Center’s daily homelessness-related activation first thing this morning. A trash cleanup was already planned in the area for next week, he said – a Seattle Public Utilities rep was there, too – but now it’ll be expanded, and they’ll be addressing the tents encroaching on the paths. Overall, he said, they’re putting together an “action plan.” We’ll have a separate followup by day’s end with this and more.
1:35 PM: What else we’ve learned so far:
-Seattle City Light spokesperson Scott Thomsen says a fix for the lights requires an “engineering” solution which has not yet been finalized, and permits will be required.
-City Councilmember Lisa Herbold tells us she was saddened to hear about last night’s attack and that she had been “trying to get SPU’s attention to this location for several weeks to address the need for garbage pickup. The Mayor’s office notified me yesterday that garbage pickup will happen next week.” Here is another photo we took today – this is the sidewalk on the south side of Spokane, across from the area where the attack happened.
-SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson provided us with a copy of the police report on the incident – nothing in it that we hadn’t learned directly from Jackie in our e-mail exchange late last night – and also confirmed that in addition to local officers, the department’s Navigation Team is aware of the situation too. (As we’ve reported in recent community-meeting reports, or as you might have heard from citywide media, this is the departmentwide SPD team tasked as of recently with homelessness-related intervention/enforcement.)
5:34 PM: More information from SCL spokesperson Thomsen about the light-repair status:
After the streetlight outage was reported in December, crews made a determination that the outage did not involve the lamp fixtures, which would have been a quick fix. That shifted the task to our streetlight engineering group, which determined that the outage was caused by damage to the underground power supply, likely from someone who was trying to steal copper wiring from a hand hole access vault.
Engineers started sketching the designs for a restoration, but have been unable to complete that work due to a number of homeless people who have been camping in the area and debris.
Plans are in place for the city to clear that encampment next week, which will allow our engineers to complete their work.
Once the engineers have finished, we have a contractor ready to do the repairs.
6:07 PM: The city has more details on its plan to sweep the tent camp by the bike path next week and to clean trash along Spokane Street – read about it here.