West Seattle, Washington
10:11 PM: A large “fire in building” response is arriving at an apartment building in the 5600 block of California SW. More to come.
10:21 PM: Sorry the website jammed up for a bit. This is a kitchen fire, per scanner, and already “tapped.” One person has been taken out of the unit where it happened but is NOT reported to be seriously hurt.
10:30 PM: Some of the units are already being dismissed since it turned out to be a small fire. Whenever a fire is reported in a residential building – and this was initially reported to have generated a lot of smoke inside the building – a large response is sent, as it could be a matter of life or death to send too few units and have to add more later, rather than to have too many and have to cancel some.
10:34 PM: Our crew at the scene confirms that no one was seriously hurt and that it was a kitchen fire, albeit a very smoky one. The units on scene will continue to clear out and California SW should get back to normal within a half-hour or so, SFD tells us. And we’ve confirmed the log address is correct, 5656 California SW – the building’s name is Green Acres.
Just one project was on tonight’s Southwest Design Review Board agenda, but it’s a multi-lot project, so the review was not brief. It’s 3257 Harbor Avenue SW, with 30+ townhouses now proposed for what was previously in line for a now-scrapped apartment project. Here’s the design packet:
As with many review meetings, transportation issues comprised many of the concerns. The 15-plus members of the public in attendance were mostly from 30th SW, on the west side of the site. Their major concern was that the proposed parking entry is on that street instead of from Harbor. They said that a nearby condo building had a similar parking setup but no one uses the ramps in bad weather (icy, snowy, slick) because they’re too steep. The location of the parking entry was also of concern because it’s close to City View, a narrow street down which some drivers speed, neighbors explained. The board asked the project team to bring back more explanation of the 30th vs. Harbor parking-entrance decision.
The project is proposed for one parking space per unit, meantime, and that raised the question of whether it’s really outside the Alki overlay that requires one and a half spaces per unit. The board said that would have to be looked into as well.
Since this was the Early Design Guidance meeting – first of Design Review’s two stages – the team showed three “massing” options; the third, their preferred option, would have an east-west public staircase down the middle of the site, with a large courtyard stretching north to south. Board members and attendees were OK with that option. Board members also wanted to be sure the project won’t show a big blank wall to the 30th SW side.
Also discussed, pedestrian-safety issues, bike storage, bike-path access – board members noted that it’s a very bikeable spot – plus whether there’ll be a homeowners’ association to ensure upkeep of the staircase and to handle issues such as collective solid-waste disposal.
The three board members present all voted in favor of advancing the project to the next stage of Design Review. That means the city will set a date for another meeting, usually at least a few months down the line. If you have comments about the project in the meantime, you can e-mail its designated city planner,
Sean Conrad, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe you’ve seen the sign for The Studio West Seattle (2648 59th SW in Alki, where Gelarto quietly closed last fall). It’s a brand-new photography studio – and one of its proprietors is someone whose work WSB readers have seen, photographer Leda Costa. She and husband/co-proprietor Jeff Larson invite you to their open house on Saturday (April 8th) for treats and giveaways, and to find out more about their services: “We’d like to invite people this Saturday from 5-7 to come to our space, meet us, ask us anything, and get to know what we offer! We’re trying to break the stereotype of cheesy walk-in photo studio, so we want people to get to know us, our process, and the work we offer. Pets, people, still life, we do it all!”
Back on March 22nd, Mary Gorjance sent us that photo of an SDOT crew installing the new “Duwamish Waterway” sign at the crest of the high bridge. We later noticed an identical sign newly installed on the low bridge. We hadn’t gotten around to asking SDOT about the new signs … but tomorrow morning we’ll get the backstory, as a media briefing is planned near the one on the low bridge. The announcement from the city says that representatives of the Duwamish Tribe and Southwest Seattle Historical Society will be there along with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, to “discuss the significance of the Duwamish River to the City of Seattle and the importance of the ‘Duwamish Waterway’ signage.”
5:20 PM: If you’re wondering about the police search in East Admiral, including K-9, they’re looking for a suspect in a burglary attempt. That’s all we know right now.
5:45 PM: The search continues. The break-in attempt happened at a house on or near the east side of Admiral Way north of the bridge.
One month ago today, we published our report on the launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association, formed out of concerns related to the years-in-the-works, in-final-design-phase Fauntleroy Boulevard project. The group has just announced its second meeting, 7:30 pm Wednesday, April 19th, with a list of current/continuing questions and concerns:
The Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association will host this meeting to discuss the current status of the Fauntleroy Way Boulevard project. Our aim is to leave this meeting with a clearer understanding of the project with respect to the following Association interests:
– Traffic studies. Per SDOT, a new traffic study was ordered. Our requests for an update have gone unanswered, to date.
– Current design completion. We were informed the design is now at 90%, but have not received updates from the SDOT mailing list, from SDOT directly, or how any traffic study may have impacted design updates.
– Treed medians vs. left turn lanes. SDOT indicated that they were re-examining additional access along Fauntleroy Way in place of planned treed medians, but we have received no update, to date.
– Addition of crosswalks. Much of the justification for this project relates to pedestrian safety, but no additional crosswalks are planned. At our last meeting with SDOT, we were told this was being examined, but we have received no update, to date.
– Loading zones and temporary parking. Will there be any spaces along the street that allow for short-term parking, e.g. 3-minute loading and unloading.
– Construction worker parking. Given the squeeze on existing parking in the area, will workers be made to park outside the area of affected business to allow greater access by our patrons?
– Communication of the project to the neighborhood. What is SDOT’s plan for communicating traffic plans to the West Seattle community? Businesses would like some say in the way this is communicated to help keep our doors open.
– Signage for businesses during construction. We’ve been advised by OED that this is normally not planned for. Given the extended duration of this project, we would like to reach a compromise.
– Pedestrian access. Will pedestrians have access to the length of Fauntleroy Way throughout construction?
– Mitigation. We have been advised by OED that the only mitigating assistance the City will provide to impacted businesses will be in the form of access to construction updates and influence on project phasing and planning. We seek more clarity around this so that we can plan ahead to work together.
– Traffic re-routing plan. We would like any update available on the planned traffic re-routing during construction. Per the note on mitigation, our strong preference would be to keep traffic moving in both directions along Fauntleroy Way for the length of the project.
– 23rd Project. What has SDOT/the City learned from the 23rd Ave project that will positively impact the Fauntleroy Way project?
Please contact us with any questions or concerns:
Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association email@example.com
The April 19th meeting will be in the Rotary Room at the West Seattle YMCA (36th/Snoqualmie; WSB sponsor).
(Supporters of landmark status pose in front of the Campbell Building during a “We Love The Junction” event in February)
By Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The Campbell Building on the northeast corner of California and Alaska in the heart of The Junction is now an official city landmark, after a unanimous vote during Wednesday’s Landmarks Preservation Board meeting at Seattle City Hall.
After the board voted in February to nominate the historic building – which currently houses Cupcake Royale and three other storefronts facing SW Alaska Street, along with residential and office space upstairs – for landmark status, this was the last step toward protection for the century-old building. Read More
11:52 AM THURSDAY: The National Weather Service now has a High Wind Watch up for our area for tomorrow – 9 am to 8 pm Friday. NWS forecasters say we could see south wind 20 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph. Read the alert here.
7:57 AM FRIDAY: The alert is now downgraded a bit to a “wind advisory” as of this morning, 9 am-10 pm, predicting 25-35 mph wind with gusts to 55 mph. Read the updated alert here.
(UPDATED 12:56 PM with city’s plan to accelerate clearing the under-bridge area)
11:08 AM: Will this morning’s fire in the unsanctioned RV camp under the West Seattle Bridge accelerate planning to clear it? That’s one of the questions we have asked city reps in the aftermath of the fire. We were not at the scene during the 4 am fire – TV was – but have since gone for a closeup look and also to check the nearby area in the aftermath of last week’s sweep/cleanup. Above are the two RVs that burned. Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Lt. Harold Webb tells WSB no injuries were reported, and the fire was accidental: “Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental and occurred when owner/occupant attempted to start the engine for warming purposes and it caught on fire.” This area is just west of East Marginal, under the bridge west of the Highway 99 overpass.
Those SDOT trucks were there during our stop but it did not appear to be related to the fire’s aftermath; SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah didn’t have information on what they were doing but said that the fire left the bridge with “superficial surface damage; the engineer thoroughly inspected and deemed it safe for travel.” Meantime, with a week passing since the recent sweep of tent campers nearby, we took a look at that area too, walking the path for a distance. It’s empty:
This sign warns would-be campers that it’s an “emphasis area,” as reported here last week:
Meantime, we’ll add updates later when we get answers to our questions about what’ll be done in this area in the future. This isn’t the first fire in an RV under the bridge; in January 2016, a man died of smoke inhalation in an RV fire near 1st and Spokane, a few blocks east of this morning’s fire scene.
12:56 PM: Here’s what the city says it’s doing – moving to “close the area to all camping.” An excerpt:
… While closing the area to all camping will take a bit more time, we are now addressing the immediate hazard where the fire occurred early this morning.
The Navigation Team has been there all morning, doing individualized outreach and offering alternative shelter. For today, we are focusing on removing the two burned-out RVs, which will first require moving other RVs and tents in that immediate vicinity to create a safe work zone. The Navigation Team is assisting with moving people a safe distance for that to occur.
Over the next 10 days, the area under the western end of the Spokane Street Viaduct will be cleared of all people and structures and a work zone perimeter will be established to allow SDOT and Seattle City Light to perform repair and maintenance unrelated to today’s fire. Outreach will continue up to that point to work with the individuals living there and find them alternative shelter.
We are beginning to assess the working condition of the RVs and other vehicles all along the Spokane Street as we work to close the area to all camping. Outreach will lead the engagement with any individuals living in tents or RVs.
In general, the City has been focusing its efforts to address the homelessness crisis on working with individuals in tent encampments, especially the ones with the greatest public health and safety concerns for the individuals and the surrounding community. The Navigation Team has been finding success with many individuals, finding solutions that fit their needs and helping move them into safer living situations. Other City crews are addressing the trash related to encampments and illegal dumping in general around the city. This work will continue.
Camping under low bridge structures presents a hazard for this essential infrastructure. In addition to other efforts to mitigate the impacts of the homelessness crisis, including working to move people into alternative shelter and cleaning trash, we will be assessing these low-bridge structures around the city and will prioritize efforts to address immediate hazards.
As we did with the previous cleanup in the area, we will check in on this one in the days ahead, too.
(Steller’s Jay, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
Thursday highlights from the calendar:
DINE-OUT BENEFIT AT ZIPPY’S: 15 percent of today/tonight sales at the White Center location of Zippy’s Giant Burgers go to the Seattle Walk MS through Team Blitz; the walk is happening this Sunday and participants remind you that “every dollar raised counts.” (9614 14th SW)
STORAGE FACILITY STREET VACATION: As previewed here, the proposal for a street vacation at 29th/City View goes back before the Seattle Design Commission this morning, ~10:30 am at City Hall. This time the SDC looks at the “public benefit package” proposed in exchange for the street vacation. (601 5th Ave.)
DESIGN REVIEW FOR HARBOR AVENUE TOWNHOUSES: The 30+-townhouse project that is now proposed for 3257 Harbor SW gets an “early design guidance” (size, shape, placement on site) review from the Southwest Design Review Board tonight, 6:30 pm, Sisson Building/Senior Center. See the design packet in our preview. (4217 SW Oregon)
STYLE ’17: The benefit fashion show for and by West Seattleite-founded and-led Northwest Hope and Healing is at Block41 in Belltown this year, 6:30 pm – check to see if tickets are still available! (115 Bell St.)
PATRICK GALACTIC: 7 pm, psych-pop at Whisky West. 21+. (6451 California SW)
‘BONNIE & CLYDE,’ 2ND-TO-LAST NIGHT: 7:30 pm at the West Seattle High School Theater, musical adaptation of the true-crime legend, presented by the WSHS Drama Club and Music Program. Our calendar listing includes ticket info. (3000 California SW)
SOUTH SOUND TUG & BARGE ALBUM RELEASE: 9 pm at Parliament Tavern – details in our calendar listing. $5 cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
AND SO MUCH MORE … check the full calendar here!
(WSB file photo)
With some spring activities happening this weekend, and Passover and Holy Week just days away, it’s time for our annual one-stop-shop list for egg hunts, services, and more, and it’s up now – see it here. Happy to add whatever your organization/center/church/synagogue/etc. is up to, so please send us the info ASAP and we’ll continue to update – firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!