West Seattle, Washington
If you had hoped to check out the first West Seattle edition of Coffee With a Cop at the Junction Starbucks this afternoon, but couldn’t get there … there will be a sequel. It seems Starbucks thought it had been rescheduled, explained Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge, but nobody got the memo, so she and some officers showed up, including the bicycle squad, as evidenced by parking outside:
Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis dropped by too:
We haven’t yet verified the new date – hoping to get that info tomorrow – but we’re hearing early May. This is a national program, and Starbucks is supporting 100 of the meetings coast-to-coast this year.
Last month, we reported on Metro‘s first survey seeking opinions on how to – whether to – simplify fares. Now, Metro has come up with two options – and a new survey asking what you think about them – for adult fares (no changes are being considered for youth, senior, disabled, ORCA LIFT, or Access):
Our current adult fare structure includes extra charges for travel during weekday peak commute hours (6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.) and for trips that cross a zone boundary during those peak hours. Riders can pay $2.50, $2.75 or $3.25, depending on when and how far they travel.
We’re considering two options for making adult fares simpler:
Option 1: A single $2.75 fare for travel any time, any distance
Option 2: A $3 peak-period fare and a $2.50 off-peak fare, with no extra charge for two-zone travel
And you have two ways to tell Metro which you would prefer – answering an online survey by May 5th, or participating in a downtown meeting on April 25th or an online meeting on April 27th. Go here (scroll to the bottom) to see how to do any or all of the above.
Mentioned at the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors meeting under way now: Four public schools in West Seattle are among the 23 SPS schools that have won 2016 Washington Achievement Awards, presented by the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. As explained in this district announcement, “The Washington Achievement Award is based on statewide assessment data for the three previous years. The hard-earned awards acknowledge progress in the areas of English language arts, math, closing the achievement gap between subgroup of students, and overall academic success.”
The local winners, and the achievements for which they were honored, are:
Alki Elementary School – High Progress
Denny International Middle School – Special Recognition Math Growth
Genesee Hill Elementary – Closing the Achievement Gap (Students with Disabilities)
Sanislo Elementary School – Closing the Achievement Gap (Students with Disabilities)
The awards will be officially presented at a May 3rd event in Auburn.
Next step in fixing the malfunctioning streetlights on the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, aka the Fauntleroy Expressway: Overnight closures, starting May 1st. Here’s the announcement just in from SDOT:
The Seattle Department of Transportation is advising travelers that there will be overnight closures of the Fauntleroy Expressway beginning on May 1 for up to three weeks for streetlight maintenance.
From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly, beginning on Monday, May 1 through May 4, travelers can expect the following:
·The Expressway will be closed to westbound traffic, west of Delridge Way.
·The Expressway will close at 9 p.m. and reopen at 5 a.m. the next morning. If any Mariners baseball home games reach an expected attendance of 20,000 or more during this time, the Expressway closure will be delayed until 11 p.m.
·Westbound traffic will exit the Expressway at the Delridge Way off-ramp and will follow the marked detour.
·On some evenings, a single traffic lane may close at 8 p.m. for preliminary work in advance of streetlight maintenance.
·This work may be extended into the week of May 7 – 14, if necessary, until the work is completed.
When work in the westbound lanes is completed, maintenance for eastbound lanes will begin at the Expressway entrance at Fauntleroy Way SW and continue to the Delridge Way on-ramp. These closures will begin at 9 p.m. and will reopen to traffic by 5 a.m. the next morning.
For as long as the work continues, we’ll include reminders in our morning traffic coverage.
It’s waitlist season for Seattle Public Schools – families who have applied for schools other than their default neighborhood schools are waiting to see if they’ll get in. Starting this week, the district is posting citywide lists weekly showing which schools and which grades have waitlists – here’s the newest one. The West Seattle schools/grades with double-digit waitlists are:
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 kindergarten – 57
Fairmount Park Elementary kindergarten – 40
Pathfinder K-8 kindergarten – 36
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 1st grade – 28
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 3rd grade – 28
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 2nd grade – 26
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 6th grade – 25
Arbor Heights Elementary kindergarten – 20
Madison Middle School 6th grade – 20
West Seattle High School 9th grade – 19
Pathfinder K-8 1st grade – 14
Pathfinder K-8 6th grade – 12
Alki Elementary kindergarten – 11
Fairmount Park Elementary 2nd grade – 11
Fairmount Park Elementary 2nd grade (advanced) – 10
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 5th grade – 10
The district continues to accept open-enrollment applications through May 31st – you can get forms here. If you’ve already applied and haven’t heard back about your student’s status, you can try the lookup tool here. The district now dissolves waitlists at the end of August, rather than maintaining them for a while after the school year starts.
When we published this followup three weeks ago on the status of the East Admiral illegal-tree-cutting, one year after it first came to light, we noted that the city said the investigation remained active. And today, the city has announced that two of the three lawsuits it filed last fall have been settled, while the third is proceeding. Here’s the news release:
The City has settled one of two civil suits against West Seattle homeowners who the City alleged hired people to cut down a swath of a greenbelt in late 2015 or early 2016 to improve the homeowners’ views.
The unpermitted tree cutting near the 3200 block of 35th Ave. SW occurred in environmentally critical areas on a steep slope below the defendants’ homes. In its two lawsuits, the City alleges that two separate groups of people are responsible for cutting two distinct groups of City trees. Between the two groups, about 150 trees of varying sizes, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, were felled and left crisscrossing the area.
According to the settlement, two couples – Stanley J. and Mary E. Harrelson and Marty and Karrie Riemer – will together pay the City $440,000 regarding one of the decimated areas. The City’s suit regarding the other area is ongoing, and unaffected by this settlement.
Today the City amended the complaint in that action, which previously named Kostas A. and Linda C. Kyrimis, to add the following defendants: Nancy Despain, Wendy Sweigart, Leroy Bernard, Joyce Bernard, Charles King, Shirley King and Bruce Gross. The Kyrimises were recently given criminal immunity for their statements in the lawsuit regarding the tree cutting by the City and King County in exchange for their full cooperation in discovery, including sharing the identities of their neighbors who are alleged to have shared the cost of tree-cutters with the Kyrimises.
With the first case resolved, the Parks and Recreation Department will use the settlement proceeds from the Harrelson/Riemer suit to begin remediating the slope.
“We have met our three goals – to recover damages and penalties that make the City whole financially and deter future cutting, to hold people accountable for the destruction, and to make the public aware that laying waste to public lands in whatever form will bring consequences,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said.
“All of Seattle was disappointed to learn that hundreds of trees were illegally cut down in West Seattle—this was a violation of code and Seattle’s values,” said Mayor Murray. “With today’s announcement, we can begin to turn this unfortunate event into an opportunity. The settlement will pay for the replanting of the trees and will provide resources for the City to hire youth from West Seattle to help restore the greenbelt, connecting them to the local environment and green jobs.”
“Today, we see that actions result in consequences,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park). “I’m hopeful this settlement — 60% higher per tree than the 2003 case in Mount Baker — will deter future rogue clearcutting. In Seattle, those with financial means can’t count on small settlements to pave the way towards increased views and property values. Trees in our greenbelts are precious natural resources that maintain soil stability, thus lessening the risk of landslides, and maintain air quality by absorbing carbon. We must protect them.”
“I was absolutely outraged last year when I learned someone clearcut an entire hill in one of our public green spaces,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle), Chair of the Council’s Parks Committee. “I commend the City Attorney’s Office for its vigorous pursuit of just compensation. We will not tolerate the razing of City-owned trees for the sake of an improved view. Not only does the quality of our air depend on trees, but the structural stability of our hillsides does as well.”
“This settlement represents our reasonable, best efforts to hold those responsible for the illegal tree cutting accountable. As stewards of one of the largest parks and recreation systems in the country, our goal is to preserve and protect parkland,” Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre said.
“Trees are not only nice to look at, but they play a crucial role in managing storm water, stabilizing slopes, providing habitat, reducing air pollution, and contributing to neighborhood character,” Aguirre said. “The funds from this settlement will be used to restore the lost trees and damaged land, as well as to support urban forestry restoration at Duwamish Head and programs that engage youth in forest restoration work in West Seattle. Since the beginning, we have been committed to securing the best outcome on behalf of Seattle park users and tax payers. This settlement offer demonstrates our strong commitment to protecting parkland from illegal acts of destruction.”
Parks expects to complete the majority of restoration work on the site in 2017, with work to begin in the next month or two. Holmes said the City appreciates that both sets of homeowners consistently expressed an interest in resolving the issue short of trial, and worked cooperatively with the City towards a fair resolution.
Had the Harrelsons and Riemers not been so cooperative, the City would have sought a greater recovery. On a per tree basis, this recovery is significantly higher than the amount recovered in the City v. Farris matter based on 2003 tree cutting. That case involved 120 trees and settled for $500,000, or $4,166 per tree. This case involved 66 trees, and the settlement amounts to $6,667 per tree.
“We accept responsibility for a portion of the cutting that took place in the area described as ‘Site A’ in the City’s Complaint for damages, as disclosed to the City in early 2016,” the Harrelsons said in a statement.
The Riemers said: “We have taken responsibility for our fraction of the tree cutting from the very beginning and are glad we were able to successfully resolve this with the City.”
As part of the Harrelson-Riemer settlement, the City will assign its rights to pursue the tree cutters, Forrest Bishop and John Russo, to the Riemers and Harrelsons. The tree-cutters hired by the Kyrimises and others remain unknown.
In the two complaints filed last fall, the City sought relief on several grounds, including timber trespass, damage to land, trespass, negligence, environmentally critical areas violations, violations of the parks code and violations of the city’s tree and vegetation management in public places code.
On its damages theories, the City generally alleged that the defendants and/or their agents cut down trees on City property without permission when they should have known better. The extensive tree cutting damaged the trees and the underlying land. On its code violation theories, because the cutting took place on City property and some occurred in City right of way, the cutters or their employers were required to obtain a number of permits before they cut any trees. No permits were issued to authorize the cutting.
We’ve also received documents from the city and will be adding those shortly.
He’s the man who literally wrote the book on West Seattle history, and for the past 4+ years, he has been the main cheerleader for appreciating, stewarding, celebrating, exploring, and recording it. Today,Clay Eals has announced he’ll be making way for someone else – not yet hired – to lead the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Here’s the news release:
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society soon will seek a new executive director to succeed heritage advocate Clay Eals, who has resigned after four-and-a-quarter years in the position.
In a letter to the organization’s board, Eals wrote that his decision to step down stems from “a desire to spend more time focusing on other aspects of my life.”
His departure will be effective in mid-July. The board plans to begin advertising for the full-time position later this month and hopes to fill the position in time for the successor to overlap with Eals, who has been involved with the historical society since its founding in 1984.
Eals became the historical society’s first executive director in January 2013. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity, adding that he is confident that the organization’s mission, track record and board leadership will result in continued organizational success.
The author, historian and ex-journalist wrote in his resignation letter that the timing of the transition would be “as good as it gets” for the organization.
“We just finished a huge phase of our Junction landmark campaign, and between now and mid-July several manageable events (including the Sea View Hall home tour) can be pulled off while attention is devoted to a hiring process,” he wrote. “Most important is that there is enough time to get a new executive director on board to become immersed in the planning and execution of our 2017 Champagne Gala Brunch.”
As executive director, Eals has seen himself as a pied piper, bringing together members, volunteers, donors, sponsors and community leaders to achieve and monitor landmark status for iconic buildings, assemble Group Hug photo events featuring school children and others at key sites, champion programs and collections of the organization’s “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum, deepen relations with the Duwamish Tribe, create and sustain two monthly speaker series, revive the historical society’s annual “If These Walls Could Talk” home tours, broaden the organization’s visibility, and deepen its financial viability.
Primary responsibilities of the position are fundraising, outreach, volunteer recruitment, staff supervision and overall management. In addition to the full-time position of executive director, the historical society has two paid part-time staff positions of curator and museum operations coordinator.
“We will so miss Clay in his departure from our organization,” says Karen Sisson, who became board president of the historical society in January.
“We have appreciated the guidance Clay has shown us,” she says. “Clay has left us in such a better place than when he came to the organization, so now we are able to take what he has given us, build on that solid ground and reach for the stars! We wish him well with his ventures and will welcome his involvement with us in the future as a seasoned volunteer.”
For more information on the search for a new executive director, please contact Karen Sisson at 206-579-0126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photo credit: Joanne Murray)
Despite the overnight gunfire spree hours earlier, turnout was low at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, so we recorded highlights on video. Above is what precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis told attendees; below, special guest Officer James Ritter, talking about the SPD Safe Place program, which has now been adopted by more than 50 cities across the country.
Toplines: Capt. Davis said a multi-city/multi-agency task force is working on the gunfire situation, which has seen recent incidents in South Park as well as West Seattle (SP also is part of the SW Precinct’s jurisdiction). None of the WS incidents have resulted in injuries – so far; the precinct is working with special teams including the Gang Unit and SWAT and trying to get more officers out on patrol to try to get ahead of the problem. They are working to identify potential suspects who might be from out of the area – he mentioned Kent, Renton, Federal Way – but spending time with family in this area.
Also, as he has mentioned at other recent community meetings including the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce lunch last week (WSB coverage here), Capt. Davis said shoplifting is spiking and the Community Police Team is working with business owners (and, when necessary, contacting out-of-town corporate ownership) to help them prevent it.
And yes, they’re gearing up for the warm-weather crowds at Alki and elsewhere.
One more bit of news: Southwest/South Precinct Liaison city attorney Matthew York is leaving that job after almost three years – he’s just been appointed to an open judge position in King County District Court’s southeast division.
P.S. As mentioned again in today’s preview, if you’re on-peninsula and interested in talking with/hearing from police, you’re welcome at West Seattle’s first Coffee with a Cop event at the Junction Starbucks (SE corner of California/Alaska), 1-2:30 pm.
(Cooper’s Hawk, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
Busy day/night ahead:
BABY STORY TIME: 11:30 am at High Point Library, bring your up-to-12-months-old little ones for fun! (35th SW/SW Raymond)
OFFICE JUNCTION TOUR & MEETUP: 11 am tour, noon-1:15 pm weekly community meetup at West Seattle’s only coworking center, WS Office Junction (WSB sponsor) – all invited to drop in. (6040 California SW)
COFFEE WITH A COP: Starbucks has partnered with police departments nationwide to host these conversations, and this is the first one in West Seattle, 1-2:30 pm at the Junction Starbucks. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis told us at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting (our report on that is coming up later today) that he’s planning to be there along with others from SPD. (California/Alaska)
DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOODS DISTRICT COUNCIL: 7 pm at a new location – Neighborhood House High Point Center – the DNDC will get an update on West Seattle’s two recently approved Neighborhood Street Fund projects, Harbor/Avalon/Spokane/Manning and Chief Sealth IHS Walkways. SDOT‘s Natalie Graves will present the updates, as she did at the Southwest District Council meeting earlier this month (WSB coverage here). Other topics include the conversion of Metro Route 120 into Delridge’s RapidRide H Line. Here’s the full agenda (PDF).(6400 Sylvan Way SW)
MORGAN COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: 7 pm at The Kenney, Morgan Junction’s neighborhood council has another info-packed quarterly meeting including the neighborhood’s response to the proposed HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning – see the full agenda here (PDF). All welcome. (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW)
AWARD-WINNING POETS AT WORDSWEST: 7 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), WordsWest Literary Series celebrates National Poetry Month with two national-award-winning poets, Terrance Hayes and Jane Wong, as previewed here. (5612 California SW)
FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD PROJECT: 7:30 pm at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) Rotary Room, the second meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association to talk about the project; since our preview published here, it’s also been announced that city reps will be there, including SDOT and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. (36th/Snoqualmie)
DEADGRASS: Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia tunes at Parliament Tavern, 8-11 pm. No cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
MUCH MORE … on our complete-calendar page.
We’re two weeks into registration for the 13th annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day! Here are three things you should know at this point:
SALE DAY: Saturday, May 13, 9 am-3 pm, all over West Seattle & a bit beyond (ranging so far from Alki in the north to North Shorewood in the south)
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Thursday, April 27, 11:30 pm – go here before then!
MAP/LISTINGS AVAILABLE: Saturday, May 6th, here and at westseattlegaragesale.com
As of this morning, 150 sales are registered! If you’re planning to shop, somebody will have what you’re looking for … if you’re selling, be sure your up-to-20-word listing mentions both popular and unique items you’ll have. Or other reasons to visit … one recent registrant says their tortoise might be on hand and accepting visitors, weather permitting. Some sellers promise lemonade and/or bake sales along with the WSCGSD merchandise. If you’re a gardener, multiple plant sales are on the list already, including a P-Patch, and some sellers have gardening gear; if you’re looking for furniture, lots of that, both antique and contemporary; if transportation is on your mind, look for listings mentioning bicycles, and at least one classic car! Boating stuff, motorcycle gear, camping gear … block sales, business sales, benefit sales … garage sales, yard sales, courtyard sales … Just 24 days to go!
7:24 AM: Relatively quiet morning on area roads/paths so far – no incidents in/from West Seattle.
7:55 AM: Shortlived stall on the westbound bridge by Admiral, cleared quickly. Just mentioning in case you passed it going the other way and check here later wondering what that was.
8:05 AM: Meeting note for tonight – the Fauntleroy Way Association, a business/neighborhood coalition focused on the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, has its second meeting tonight, as announced a few weeks ago.