West Seattle, Washington
Our hotline (206-293-6302) rang this afternoon – someone wondering who to call about a dead porpoise. In West Seattle, if it’s a stranded (dead or alive) marine mammal, you call Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network, we replied – 206-905-SEAL. We just found out what happened later, with local wildlife advocate Kersti Muul sending photos and this report:
This evening there was a washed-up female harbor porpoise on the beach at low tide just South of the Lighthouse…. Initial rudimentary scans appear to reveal some issue with birthing perhaps. She was so beautiful, practically flawless and beautifully designed by nature…. I photographed her for evidence of transient orca interference but found none.
Seal Sitters was there with her and a group of us helped carry her to a private driveway where she was to be picked up for necropsy by Cascadia Research Collective.
As noted by NOAA last year, harbor porpoises had dwindled in Puget Sound until a big comeback in recent years
Congratulations are in order for the Denny Underwater Robotics Program! We sent two teams to compete in the Pacific Northwest ROV competition in Federal Way on Saturday. Both teams worked extremely hard all year and our Scout Team placed 3rd overall! Way to go, Dolphins! Thank you to Mr. Nelson for coaching them!
As reported here last weekend, an independent team of West Seattle youth competed too, and is headed to internationals.
An amazing story that unfolded just west of here 15 years ago, with many West Seattleites involved, will be retold and celebrated starting this Saturday. Donna Sandstrom of WS-based The Whale Trail shares the explanation and invitation:
“Celebrate Springer!” marks the 15th anniversary of the dramatic rescue in the waters off of Vashon Island of the orphaned orca Springer (A-73) and the heroic efforts by Washington and British Columbia teams working together to return her safely to her home 300 miles north in Johnstone Strait at the north end of Vancouver Island.
Today, Springer is still healthy and in 2013 had her first calf, Spirit. They are most often seen on the north central British Columbia coast and occasionally return to Johnstone Strait in summer.
The 2002 Springer rescue team will reconvene at 1 PM on Saturday, May 20, at the Vashon Theater to tell “Springer’s Story,” first-hand accounts of how Springer was identified, rescued and rehabilitated.
“Celebrate Springer!” will also feature a dance performance by Le La La Dancers, who were present at Springer’s release, and followed at 5 PM by The Whale Trail sign dedication at the Point Robinson Lighthouse Park.
Sponsors for the Vashon Theater event are Jody Peetz and Pete Schroeder, Marine Mammal Veterinarian. Tickets are available in advance from Vashon Theater tickets (go here).
The Point Robinson location has been identified by The Whale Trail as one of the best places to watch whales from shore. The new sign was funded by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and customized for the Point Robinson site with the assistance of Vashon resident Rebecca Benson, Point Robinson historian Bruce Haulman and Vashon Park staff Eric Wyatt.
“Life is filled with magical moments,” said Vashon Parks executive director Elaine Ott-Rocheford. “I count myself lucky to hold a front row seat to many spectacular sights from our own beloved park system. We are thrilled about the new Whale Trail sign being posted at Point Robinson Park, as it provides a ready education about the natural marine life wonders to be viewed from the park’s shoreline. The posting of the sign represents a perfect tribute to the story of Springer, the orphaned Orca, who was rescued off the north end of Vashon Island.”
The new Whale Trail sign is one of three funded by the state Fish and Wildlife Department. Others will be dedicated in the summer at Fay Bainbridge State Park and at Point Defiance.
“WDFW provides services that link our quality of life to healthy natural resources and ecosystems,” said Deputy Chief Mike Cenci with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police. ”It’s a privilege to be a partner in this project where the public can view and appreciate the spectacle of these Northwest icons from shore. Watch for and wave at the Fish and Wildlife Police Boat that ensures protection of the whales.”
“Springer’s story is an unqualified success – the only project of its kind in history,” said Donna Sandstrom, director of The Whale Trail and organizer of the Vashon Island event. “We hope her story inspires people to join us in working on issues facing our endangered southern resident orcas today, with the same urgency, courage and resolve.”
“Celebrate Springer!” events will continue in June and July with programs at NOAA Fisheries, Whale Trail Orca Talk, Whale Trail sign dedications, and conclude with a three-day program at Telegraph Cove, British Columbia, where Springer was released in 2002 and rejoined her Northern Resident family.
July 22 – “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
July 29 – “The LEGO Batman Movie”
August 5 – “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
August 12 – “Finding Dory”
August 19 – “Queen of Katwe”
August 26 – “Beauty and the Beast” (2017)
The movie series (with co-sponsors including WSB) will feature preshow kids’ games and activities coordinated by the Y. Food trucks, too, and concessions, plus nonprofit-fundraising rallies. And the last movie of summer will include the free community barbecue sponsored by West Seattle Christian Church. Movies start at dusk. See you in the street!
Continuing to count down to summer events, we are now exactly one month away from this year’s Relay for Life West Seattle, raising money to fight cancer. This year, the overnight event will be at Hiawatha Playfield instead of West Seattle Stadium (which has a resurfacing project coming up), starting at 6 pm Friday, June 16th. Even if you’re not participating, you can stop by to cheer for the teams and/or donate – the Survivors’ Lap at 6:30 pm and the luminarias at 10 pm are two reasons to visit. Find out more here.
12:48 PM: Thanks for the tips. Police are investigating a possible holdup/attempt at Washington Federal north of the Junction. More to come.
1:04 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli reports that a K-9 unit is at the scene, searching for a suspect described as a white man around 40 years old, about 5’7″, dark curly hair that might have been a wig, wearing a Gap hoodie, armed with a handgun. The bank is currently closed.
ADDED TUESDAY NIGHT: At tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting (separate report to come), we followed up with police. No arrest, but “lots of nice footage” of the suspect, we’re told. None of it public so far.
11:54 AM: Seattle Fire has sent a “full response” to a possible house fire in the 9200 block of Delridge Way SW. More to come.
11:57 AM: The first arrivals in the area have downgraded the call, canceling most of the dispatched units. Scanner discussion indicates steam from shingles might have been mistaken for smoke.
Before afternoon arrives – here are tonight’s highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
FIND IT, FIX IT WALK PLANNING MEETING: As noted here last night, the next community planning meeting for Highland Park’s May 25th city-presented Find It, Fix It Walk is tonight at HP Elementary, 6:30 pm. (1012 SW Trenton)
SEATTLE READS ‘THE TURNER HOUSE’: High Point Library convenes a book group tonight at 6:30 to talk about this year’s “Seattle Reads” book, Angela Flournoy’s “The Turner House.” (35th SW/SW Raymond)
WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct, community crime concerns/trends plus scheduled special guest Capt. Eric Sano, commander of the SPD Traffic Unit. (2300 SW Webster)
‘UNPLUGGED, A MUSICAL GATHERING’: Acoustic musicians of all types are invited to C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) for this monthly gathering, 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
SOUTH SOUND TUG AND BARGE: 8 pm, local band playing bluegrass, folk, and Irish music, live at Parliament Tavern. No cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
AND EVEN MORE … just check our complete calendar!
Filing week continues – and one West Seattleite has just announced that she’s NOT running for mayor. Persistent rumor had it that Councilmember Lorena González, a Junction resident, would jump in, after Mayor Murray bowed out, but she just sent this statement to media organizations including us:
After speaking with my family and much consideration, I have decided to not enter the Seattle Mayor’s race in 2017. While being the Mayor of Seattle would be an incredible honor, I remain focused on the work we have yet to accomplish on the Seattle City Council. Over the next four years, I am uniquely positioned to continue protecting our immigrant and refugee families and championing paid family and medical leave, police reform and housing affordability. I am humbled by the incredible outpouring of support and encouragement to consider this opportunity but I instead will redouble my efforts on the Seattle City Council as a citywide representative in Position 9.
The countywide list of “who’s filed so far” shows she’s officially filed for re-election to that role. No one else has filed for Position 9 yet, but the deadline’s not until Friday; six others have campaigns registered with the city.
Spring is really and truly finally arriving. and on Saturday, you can be out enjoying the weather and enjoying the satisfaction of doing a good deed. Start the day by being part of the team for Spring Clean in The Junction. You’ll get coffee, breakfast, and a limited-edition tote bag, as well as a fun time with West Seattle neighbors. Here’s all you have to do:
*Show up at Junction Plaza Park (42nd/Alaska) at 9 am Saturday (May 20th)
If you want to preview what needs to be done before you sign up – see the list here – you have many options! You don’t have to bring anything – it’s all provided.
6:30 AM: Good morning! Off to a damp start. No incidents reported in or from West Seattle.
7:42 AM: SDOT says there’s a crash at 47th/Lander. No SFD dispatch so apparently no serious injuries.
8:08 AM: SFD has since been dospatched.