West Seattle, Washington
Thanks for all the rainbow photos! At the end of an afternoon that toggled between sun and rain, with thunder along the way, it was a beautiful sight from many angles. The top photo is by Andria Hoover, who explained, “We just happened to be driving by Belvedere Park when we saw this full rainbow. It was only there for a few mins, but was beautiful!!”
From some places, the full double rainbow was visible – Judah Stevenson sent the photo above, saying, “Can’t say I’ve ever seen such a distinct perfect rainbow. The photo was taken from Avalon area looking east.”
The Elliott Bay view above is from Tiff Rivera. And this next one is from Tammi Doyle, west of The Junction:
Finally, a view from the low bridge, over the Duwamish, tweeted by Russ Walker:
Tuesday’s forecast suggests sunshine!
Thanks to Stephanie for the tip – she got a partial glimpse of window wrap on the former MoneyTree storefront at 4000 SW Alaska late today and wondered what it was. We went over a short time ago for a look: It’s going to be ZOOM+Care, an urgent-care-and-more chain with locations in Washington and Oregon. Last August, we had word of a similar chain, CityMD, coming to The Whittaker (WSB sponsor) later this year.
Four days after the fire that burned those RVs along SW Spokane Street west of East Marginal, the city says its operation to clear out RV campers beneath the bridge will start tomorrow. The accelerated clearing was announced that same day (and by Friday, the burned RVs already had been taken away), and this evening, the timeline was published as part of a long online update, which starts with backstory and then gets to the heart of what happens next, where, and when:
… The City is addressing the immediate hazard where the RV fire occurred last week, clearing that area of any RVs, vehicles, tents and other materials. SDOT has set a perimeter that encompasses the median along Spokane Street, from under the base of the West Seattle Bridge to Colorado Street on the east [map], that must be cleared. That area will then be fenced off to allow SDOT and Seattle City Light to perform repairs and maintenance, including following up on necessary lighting system repairs.
On Friday, April 7, the City provided notice to individuals who were on site that clearing of the area within the perimeter described above would begin on Tuesday, April 11. Recognizing the large number of RVs and other vehicles present, many of which are not operational, the City expects this effort will take several days, possibly into next week. The Navigation Team has also been offering services and alternative shelter to these individuals, outreach that will continue as long as necessary.
Additionally, on Friday the City began notifying RVs and vehicles parked all along the median under the Spokane Street viaduct to the east of the perimeter at Colorado Street that the City will be focusing enforcement of the 72-hour parking law. SPD is assisting with notification and will be leading that enforcement effort as the Navigation Team focuses its outreach efforts on people living in tents in that area.
We got notification of this update too late to ask followup questions such as where the inoperable RVs will be taken to, but will pursue the answers tomorrow. This all is happening a little over two weeks after the city started paying attention to the area, following an attack on a woman bicycling home from her job in West Seattle; days later, tent campers encroaching on the path were cleared, and a trash cleanup began in the RV area nearby. At that time, the city said it was working on “a plan” for the RV camp, but there was no timeline until the aftermath of last week’s fire.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 5:24 PM MONDAY: Just in from SDOT:
Contractors working for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will be replacing several short segments of pavement on the SW Spokane St corridor on Harbor Island this coming Wednesday, April 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The segment of 11th Ave SW just south of SW Spokane St (and north of Klickitat Ave SW) will be closed for paving [map].
Westbound traffic onto Harbor Island will not be impacted. Traffic leaving Harbor Island westbound to West Seattle will need to detour east off Harbor Island to under the Alaskan Way Viaduct for a turnaround on surface Spokane St, to return westward.
In addition, several small spot repairs will take place on Klickitat Ave SW, just west of the driveway into the office park on the south side of the street. These repairs will not require any detour.
UPDATED 12:05 PM TUESDAY: SDOT says it’s postponing this work until next week because rain is expected tomorrow.
(Delridge Community Center file photo from seattle.gov)
4:40 PM: Heads up if you use Delridge Community Center – it’s closed through Friday, according to Seattle Parks, which says the closure is for “routine maintenance.” But the center is scheduled to reopen by Saturday, when its annual egg hunt is set for 10 am. (Here’s our list of all this week’s egg hunts, services, and other seasonal activities!)
ADDED MONDAY NIGHT: Delridge CC’s Angie Ramirez tells WSB that the maintenance includes refinishing of the center’s hardwood floors in the gym and multipurpose room, and “other deep cleaning of the center.”
Six months ago, we reported on a construction-related electrical incident in The Junction that sent two workers to the hospital. Today, the state Department of Labor and Industries announced that its investigation into what happened at the 4505 42nd SW construction site has led to citations:
Two King County contractors face large fines from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for safety violations after a crane boom made contact with high-voltage power lines at a construction site in Seattle. Two workers were severely injured during the incident when 7,200 volts of electrical current traveled down the crane’s hoist line to the men working below the power lines.
As a result, Marpac Construction, of Seattle, has been cited for six workplace safety violations, including three “willful,” and fined $133,500. A subcontractor, Spartan Concrete of Kirkland, faces five violations, including two “willful,” and $90,000 in fines. Also, Shaffer Crane & Equipment Inc., another subcontractor, was cited for three serious and one general violations with a total fine of $5,700.
The investigation began last September when news outlets reported that two workers had been taken to Harborview Medical Center after suffering severe electrical burns.
L&I investigators at the site found that a mobile crane and a forklift with a crane-boom attachment had been operating under live high-voltage power lines. The power lines were scheduled to be moved underground, but rather than wait for that work to be done, the companies continued to work under them.
A Shaffer Crane employee was operating the crane and a Spartan foreman was giving signals when the incident happened. Seven workers were put at risk by being exposed to the potentially deadly electrical shock.
Cranes and power lines a known hazard
The danger from a crane contacting overhead power lines is well-known. From 1999-2012, there were nine deaths in Washington from crane contacts with power lines, including a double fatality in 2010.
In 2012, L&I issued an alert to warn companies of the deadly hazard after receiving reports of six power line contacts by cranes over six months.
Companies operating cranes must make sure that all power line requirements are implemented. That includes putting protective measures in place to prevent crane booms from contacting energized power lines, designating a qualified “lift director” to ensure the safe operation of the crane, and maintaining a safe radius from power lines.
Willful, serious and general violations
The willful citations are for not ensuring that protective measures were in place and for not prohibiting work below energized power lines. Marpac was cited for an additional willful violation for not designating a qualified “lift director” who was aware of the voltages of the power line and the safety requirements for working around them. The investigation found that Marpac’s lift director was not aware of the voltages involved or the specific safety requirements.
Marpac was also cited for three serious violations related to inadequate training and for not ensuring an effective accident prevention plan, with penalties totaling $7,500.
The investigation found that Spartan’s employees were not trained or aware of the danger of working under power lines. Consequently, the concrete company was cited for two serious safety violations and fined $6,000 for not ensuring that employees clearly understood the hazards of overhead power lines and for lack of training and supervision. Spartan was also cited for one general violation for not holding and documenting walk-around safety inspections at the beginning of the job and weekly.
A willful violation is one where L&I finds evidence of plain indifference or an intentional disregard to a hazard or rule. A serious violation is one where there is a substantial probability that worker death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition.
As a result of the violations and the severity of the injuries, both Marpac Construction and Spartan Concrete have been identified as severe violators and are subject to follow-up inspections to determine if the conditions still exist.
Marpac and Shaffer have appealed the citation, and the appeals are pending. Spartan has until April 14 to appeal. Penalty money paid in connection with a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.
We don’t know how the workers are doing now – we’ve never even had their names – but when we followed up three days after the incident (noting that the state investigation was under way), they both had improved, to satisfactory and serious condition.
1:32 PM: We’re getting a flurry of questions about loud jets. Checked the flight tracker – they’re all commercial jets, to/from Sea-Tac Airport. So we’ll be checking with the airport next to see if anything unusual’s happening – might just be an abrupt weather change – we’ll update if we find out more.
1:36 PM: A caller points out there are military jets in the area too. Still checking.
1:40 PM: Sorry we hadn’t heard about this in advance: Military flyover for the Mariners‘ home opener (which has the odd start time of 2:10 pm, as we noted in today’s morning traffic report). That would tend to divert commercial traffic for a while, as when the Blue Angels are flying, for example.
2:27 PM: Mariners spokesperson Rebecca Hale replies, “We did inform media this morning of the possibility of the fly-over. As it was weather dependent, we weren’t sure it was going to happen until the last minute.” Of the many media lists WSB is on, somehow we weren’t on the M’s list, but we’re fixing that.
1:21 PM: As noted earlier, today marks the start of the all-day, 7-days-a-week schedule for the West Seattle Water Taxi. And it marks the debut of the new Water Taxi system logo on MV Doc Maynard. We first told you on April 1st about the impending rebranding of the Water Taxi, after it appeared on at least one shuttle bus. At the time, King County was planning an announcement for last Monday, but it was postponed until today. We’ve just received photos and background info from KC Department of Transportation spokesperson Scott Gutierrez:
The Doc Maynard is now sporting the new Water Taxi logo.
The Water Taxi program logo was carefully thought out to be simple, unique and bold. It is designed in a manner that depicts the shape of the Water Taxi vessel. The logo features various elements that are signature to our service:
· Sun and Water – the program brand mark is a conceptual, dual-purpose graphic depicting the Water Taxi and the sun over water. It represents speed, reliability and the Seattle waterscape.
· Speed and Agility – the sleek flavor reflects the design of the Water Taxi’s two catamarans, the MV Sally Fox and MV Doc Maynard.
· Landscape – a reflection of the rider experience on the Water Taxi, whether the destination is Downtown Seattle, West Seattle or Vashon Island.
Last winter, King County DOT — led by graphic designer Amy Sanders — developed new branding for the Water Taxi. This entirely in-house effort — buoyed by support from talented Metro and Department of Natural Resource and Parks graphic designers — showcases a new logo and program mark. The Water Taxi saved some $35,000 by not hiring a consultant and instead relying on in-house talent to develop and design the new branding.
Riders will also notice new branding on the Water Taxi’s printed schedules and website. Riders will begin seeing the new look on the uniforms of our dedicated crew members later this month.
We have a followup question out on what the total cost was/will be, with the savings mentioned above – as noted in our April 1st report, this year’s county budget had included $144,000 for the first rebranding since 2009, when the Water Taxi was part of a no-longer-separate KC Ferry District.
7:06 PM: Gutierrez says the cost breakdown should be available tomorrow. He adds that the Vashon Water Taxi vessel, MV Sally Fox, is expected to get the “rebranding” look next weekend, weather permitting.
ADDED TUESDAY AFTERNOON: As promised, the cost info, from spokesperson Gutierrez:
The actual cost is about $50,000 for the vessel and shuttle rebranding, marketing materials, uniforms, and facility signage. That is below the total $144,000 that Marine Division was budgeted for rebranding over the biennium. We estimate saving about $35,000 alone by not hiring outside consultants and designers, and instead relying on in-house employees to develop and design the new branding. Other savings were mostly a result of the vessel work (vinyl decal/wrapping) and new uniforms coming in below budget.
Are you dealing with memory loss – or related to/friends with someone who is? You’ll want to plan to be at this social gathering in West Seattle later this month:
People with memory loss, their family and friends, and all who support a dementia-friendly community are invited to attend a fun social gathering called “Rock the House.” Organized by local business owners, organizations, and neighbors, the event takes place from 3 – 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, at Shadowland in the West Seattle Junction.
Along with a chance to enjoy food, drinks, and good company, the event features MC Brent Amaker (of Brent Amaker and The Rodeo) and live music by Jay Cates (of The Bend). Happy-hour menu will be available. Event is free other than the cost of menu items ordered.
“I’m excited about this because I love to get people together, especially people in different situations,” says Frances Smersh [WSB photo at right], who helped plan the event. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to engage people and have a great time. And music is always good for the heart and the soul!”
Frances was diagnosed with dementia in 2015 at the age of 48. Since then, she and her husband John, the owners of Click! Design That Fits, have openly shared her diagnosis with the West Seattle community.
“It was important for me to share the news about my diagnosis,” says Frances, “because I knew I couldn’t hide from it, and I don’t think it does anyone any good to try to hide. Remaining engaged in the community is important to me personally, and it seems to be one of the best things for people dealing with memory loss.”
With over 100,000 Washingtonians, and over 5 million Americans, living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, Frances is certainly not alone. However, it can be easy for people with dementia to feel socially isolated. Although they remain vital members of the community, social stigma and other barriers can prevent them from staying involved and engaged.
In this context, a local movement called Momentia is empowering people with memory loss and their loved ones to stay connected and active in their communities. People and organizations are coming together to produce “dementia-friendly” opportunities in popular public spaces – like walking groups at Woodland Park Zoo, art gallery tours at the Frye Art Museum, and service projects at the Cherry Street Food Bank. (Learn more at momentiaseattle.org)
“For too long, a dementia diagnosis has meant fear, shame and isolation,” states Marigrace Becker, Program Manager for Community Education and Impact at the UW Medicine Memory & Brain Wellness Center. “People with memory loss and their loved ones deserve to stay engaged in their communities – and by working together, we can make that happen.”
Here in West Seattle, Momentia is taking off. In the fall, a group of organizations and neighbors involved in the Momentia movement hosted a community meeting for people with memory loss and their loved ones to develop their own dementia-friendly programs, making use of favorite West Seattle venues.
As a result, several new programs are in the works. In the new year, Providence Mount St. Vincent began opening up their drum circle to others living with dementia in the wider West Seattle community. Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Senior Center of West Seattle, and others are offering a 4-week creative arts and storytelling workshop for people with dementia and their loved ones.
And now, the Momentia group of West Seattle is proud to announce “Rock the House.” Whether you have dementia, love someone with dementia, or want to meet others who support a dementia-friendly community, you are invited to attend.
The event is offered in partnership by Shadowland, Click! Design That Fits, the Senior Center of West Seattle, Full Life Care, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Providence Mount St. Vincent.
Some weeks after Thailanding on Alki quietly closed, its signage and blue paint are gone, and a building-permit application confirms a reader tip that El Chupacabra is expanding into that upstairs space at 2620 Alki SW. We asked proprietor Aaron Wright for details:
We are excited to be expanding the Chupacabra into the upstairs soon. The plan is to add another full bar upstairs with additional seating for 29 inside and 15 on the upper patio. We will be using the upstairs for overflow seating for the summer months. For the winters we will be using the space for private parties and events. The current plan is to add a covered pergola and gas heating to the upper patio for outside dining on the cooler days.
No date for completion yet – Wright says that “the permit process is taking longer than expected” which seems to be the case for just about every commercial project these days – but he’s hoping to be ready “by early summer, June-ish.” It’s been six years now since the Alki location opened – the second El Chupacabra, after Greenwood – and Wright added a third location at South Lake Union in 2015.
(Cherry blossoms at 12th/Trenton in Highland Park, photographed by Long Bach Nguyen)
WALK THE LABYRINTH AT TIBBETTS UMC: Now through 2 pm, the rainbow labyrinth at Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor) is open for contemplative walking. (Enter through north alley door between 40th and 41st)
SPRING BREAK MOVIE: 1 pm, watch “Up” at Southwest Library, free, snacks provided too. (35th SW/SW Henderson)
FREE TAX HELP: The deadline’s getting closer; free tax help is available on a drop-in basis today at Delridge Library, 2-7 pm. (5423 Delridge Way SW)
HELP OUT AT THE COMMUNITY ORCHARD: 3-5 pm is the weekly meetup/work party at the Community Orchard of West Seattle – all welcome to come learn about, and show some love for, the orchard, which is on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus’s north end. (6000 16th SW)
FREE MEALS FOR KIDS: 3:30-4 pm Mondays-Thursdays, youth 18 and under can get free meals at the High Point and South Park Libraries, no eligibility requirements and no questions asked. (35th SW/SW Raymond, 8604 8th Ave. S.)
FAMILY STORY TIME: 6:30 pm at High Point Library. (35th SW/SW Raymond)
AND THERE’S MORE … especially at the libraries! See the complete list on our full calendar.
6:39 AM: Good morning! No incidents in/from West Seattle so far. Here’s what you need to know as this week gets going:
SPRING BREAK … is happening this week for many local schools, including Seattle Public Schools, Vashon Island public schools, and some secular independent schools.
WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI … is now on its spring/summer schedule, with all-day, every-day service – see the schedule here.
SEATTLE MARINERS’ HOME OPENER … is at 2:10 pm today, so the stadium zone will be busy from noontime into the evening commute.