West Seattle, Washington
A full City Council vote in September is the next step to a street vacation for the West Coast Self-Storage project planned at 3252 Harbor SW. Today’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee hearing/vote – previewed here on Monday – was unanimously in favor of it (with two of the three committee members – chair Mike O’Brien and Rob Johnson – present) – first item in the Seattle Channel video, after open public comment:
SDOT’s point person on street (and alley) vacations, Beverly Barnett, explained that Nucor’s interest in an adjacent 25,175-square-foot section of unimproved 29th SW – added to the self-storage project’s request for 2,029 sf of unimproved SW City View – dated back to 20 years ago, when tracks were built there as part of a plan that ultimately fell apart. As noted in our preview, the self-storage company is promising a $300,000+ “public-benefit package” including improvements to the Alki Trail, such as moving utility poles. If the street vacation gets final approval, the land also would have to be purchased from the city at fair-market value.
Only one person spoke at today’s hearing, and his concerns involved the 850-storage-unit building’s projected 56-foot height (almost 30′ below what the site’s zoned for), not the street vacation itself. But if you have comments, you can still send them to the council before its September vote – find all councilmembers’ contact info here.
8:06 PM: A “full response” is headed to a possible house fire at Delridge and Holden.
8:12 PM: First units on scene noted smoke. But it’s not a major fire – most of the units are being dismissed. We’ll find out more once our photographer is on scene.
8:21 PM: SFD tells us this started with trees/shrubbery catching fire – they’re not sure how, but it’s so dry, it doesn’t take much. @drewhamlet tweeted this photo:
The flames spread to a fence and the siding of a condo building but it’s all extinguished now, and no one was hurt.
From Washington State Ferries:
On Wednesday, August 16, the Vashon 5:45 am to Fauntleroy and the Fauntleroy 6:10 am return to Vashon are cancelled due to overnight repairs to the propulsion system of M/V Issaquah, requiring sea trials in the morning. The Issaquah will return to service with the Vashon 6:40 am sailing to Fauntleroy upon successful completion of sea trials. We apologize for any inconvenience. Updates will occur as more information becomes available.
4:50 PM: Just certified by King County, final results from the August 1st primary. See them all here. Advancing to the general election:
Jenny Durkan 51,529 27.9%
Cary Moon 32,536 17.62%
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL POSITION 8
Teresa Mosqueda 53,676 31.59%
Jon Grant 45,652 26.87%
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL POSITION 9
M. Lorena González* 108,602 64.17%
Pat Murakami 33,349 19.71%
KING COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Dow Constantine* 304,456 76.99%
Bill Hirt 49,687 12.57%
SEATTLE PORT COMMISSION POSITION 1
John Creighton* 124,884 32.74%
Ryan Calkins 121,177 31.77%
SEATTLE PORT COMMISSION POSITION 3
Stephanie Bowman* 191,203 51.29%
Ahmed Abdi 121,898 32.7%
SEATTLE PORT COMMISSION POSITION 4
Preeti Shridhar 94,679 24.82%
Peter Steinbrueck 91,227 23.92%
And these are final results for the lone local ballot measure:
KING COUNTY PROP 1 (ACCESS FOR ALL SALES-TAX INCREASE)
Reject 211,113 50.9%
Approve 203,633 49.1%
Seattle voter turnout was 40.49%; countywide, 33.76%. The general election (aka voting deadline in our system) will be Tuesday, November 7th.
ADDED 6:28 PM: Both mayoral candidates have e-mailed statements to the media. Read them in their entirety below:
Remember the saga of that house in South Delridge, which stood for months after the third fire in five years? It was a reminder of city rules that make it difficult for nuisance houses to be dealt with – by the city and/or by their owners. Rule changes have been making their way through City Hall, and today, they won approval from the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee, after an extensive discussion and some amendments. In the Seattle Channel video below, it was the first item after a half-hour plus of public comment on various agenda items:
This has been an issue for many years – in 2009, North Delridge neighbors led a tour of problem properties, with City Councilmembers and department heads in attendance, and there was talk of changing the rules. No major changes ensued; at least one of the vacant houses featured in that tour is still standing, still vacant. The current proposal is summarized as:
Summary of the Proposal
Vacant Building Maintenance (SMC 22.206.200)
Strengthen the standards for securing the windows of vacant buildings to require slightly thicker
plywood and fastening with screws rather than nails, and add the option of using clear polycarbonate
panels or other approved materials instead of plywood.
Establish an expedited process for removing garbage, junk, or other debris from a vacant property if the owner does not respond to a notice of violation.
Demolition of Unfit Buildings (SMC 22.208.020)
Establish an expedited process for ordering the demolition of a vacant building that can be documented
Demolition of Housing (SMC 23.40.006)
In instances when a final redevelopment permit has not yet been issued, reduce the length of time that
rental housing must sit vacant before a demolition permit can be issued … and expand this provision to apply in commercial, industrial, and multifamily zones (in addition to single-family zones).
(That’s from the start of the Director’s Report document you’ll find, along with other documents related to the bill, by going here. Among the docs is the following map, showing vacant-building complaints around the city:)
One concern long voiced has been that making it too easy to tear down vacant houses will reduce available housing stock. West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold said it would be helpful to know more about the 200+ vacant buildings that are on the city’s radar, and which ones might be usable for housing. She also offered an amendment to try to toughen the scrutiny of demolition review for structures that might contain a “dwelling unit,” but it wasn’t approved.
Meantime, there was a compromise in a central provision of the new rules, reducing the waiting period required for demolition from 12 months after a building was last used for rental housing, to 6 months. (The original proposal was to cut it to four months; then there was a counterproposal for eight months; and six months was today’s compromise.)
After today’s committee approval, the rule changes move on to the full Council, likely in September, so if you have something to say about them before a final vote, there’s still time – you can start with Councilmember Herbold at email@example.com, and/or contact all councilmembers via the info you’ll find here.
ORIGINAL REPORT, TUESDAY: Earlier today, we mentioned in the morning traffic/transit report that closure signs were up – then removed – for Fairmount Avenue, through the ravine between Alki and Admiral, and that a reader had called us last night asking how best to report a tree concern. The reader, who comments here as Drahcir61, has since sent the photo shown above, with this report/alert:
I called 911 last night to report a 200-foot dead tree that is collapsing & now resting on another massive live tree. I heard several small popping/cracking of tree branches giving way. The dead tree is now at a 45-degree angle; the live tree is now leaning itself from the weight of the dead tree.
The police & SDOT responded early evening last night & put up warning tape & flashing beacons to alert anyone moving past this area overnight. One of the SDOT guys told me he also heard branches starting to crack & pop. The police returned this morning & closed off Fairmount while SDOT surveyed the site (see attached photo). Due to the proximity of power lines it appears SDOT has deferred to Seattle City Light. By 10 am this morning the police, SDOT & all warning cones/beacons have been removed.
I advise extreme caution if you are in this area, especially if you are walking or riding a bike. These are massive trees & if/when they fall there will be little warning to get out of the way.
We’re checking with SDOT and City Light to see if anything is planned. By the way, if you see what seems to be an imminent or current hazard – whether it’s a tree, road debris, etc. – the first call to make is always to 911.
THURSDAY UPDATE: Drahcir61 confirms that City Light crews did the work promised in this Wednesday comment from SCL’s Scott Thomsen. And SDOT’s Sue Romero just sent this reply to our original Tuesday inquiry:
The tree was growing in the side of a creek bank which may have contributed to its failure. As the tree leaned, it got hung up on another tree and began to encroach on both the road and nearby high voltage powerlines. Though the tree initially appeared somewhat stable, the City determined the tree needed to be removed quickly. SDOT, SCL and Parks coordinated efforts and determined an SCL contractor was best suited for the job as they access to a 70’ aerial lift. The tree was on Parks property. The road was closed for about 2 hours while the work was completed.
Like the superstructure of the state ferry Chimacum last year, the superstructure for the new ferry Suquamish will be passing West Seattle on its way to Vigor. This time, though, the superstructure is coming here from the south, not the north. From the news release announcing the move:
About a year before its scheduled official launch as the newest member of Washington State Ferries’ fleet, the superstructure of the 144-car ferry Suquamish will move by barge from Jesse Co.’s fabrication facility near the Port of Tacoma to Vigor’s Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle.
The superstructure is expected to leave Tacoma on Wednesday afternoon, travel up Puget Sound and arrive at Harbor Island in Seattle on Thursday morning.
The movement of the superstructure, or top half, of the 362-foot vessel is not only a major milestone but also illustrative of the wide-ranging jobs and economic impact of building ferries in this state.
Jesse Co. is one of more than a dozen subcontractors working with Vigor on the Suquamish, the state’s fourth new Olympia Class ferry. Each 144-car ferry built in Washington generates up to 560 direct jobs at shipyards and subcontractors, and a total of 1,300 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the Puget Sound region.
“We take great pride in helping build quality ferries for the State of Washington,” Phil Jesse, General Manager of Jesse Co. said. “The work is important, the jobs are great, and our families and future generations are able to ride and watch the ferries travel on Puget Sound for many years to come.”
The movement of the Suquamish superstructure to Seattle is scheduled to begin Wednesday morning when it is loaded onto a barge at Jesse Co.’s facility in Tacoma. At the same time Vigor is scheduled to move the Suquamish hull, or bottom half, which is being built on Harbor Island, into its massive drydock. The superstructure is scheduled to arrive at Vigor early Thursday and will be joined to the hull on Friday.
Completing the construction of the vessel with all necessary engineering, propulsion, electrical, safety and other components prior to sea trials will take approximately 11 more months. The Suquamish is scheduled for delivery to Washington State Ferries in July of 2018.
The Suquamish will be the fourth and final currently authorized addition of new Olympic Class 144-car ferries to the WSF fleet, following the Tokitae in 2014, Samish in 2015 and Chimacum earlier this year. Construction cost of the Olympic Class 144-car ferries has been within one percent of the projected budget on each vessel.
“Building these ferries is extremely gratifying to our workers and helps strengthen our company and the maritime industry,” Vigor CEO Frank Foti said. “The skills and expertise required are essential to maritime, and the middle-income manufacturing jobs provide great opportunity for industrial artisans and help diversify the economy.”
“All of us at Vigor are honored to do this work for Washington State Ferries and for the people who will use these ferries for decades to come,” continued Foti.
Maritime is a $30 billion industry for the State of Washington and provides more than 148,000 jobs, according to a study by the Economic Development Council and Workforce Development Council of Seattle and King County.
Washington State ferries are built to serve for 60 years with appropriate maintenance. That’s the longest lifespan of virtually any vessel fleet. In comparison the U.S. Navy typically retires vessels after 35 years, the Coast Guard after 30 years, and BC Ferries at 40 years.
The schedule could change, but the current plan is for the superstructure to start its voyage from Tacoma to Seattle around 5 pm tomorrow, and arrive at Vigor on Harbor Island “early Thursday morning.” You’ll be able to track it by watching the progress of the transport tug, Pacific Knight, via MarineTraffic.com.
12:30 PM: If you have to head eastbound onto the West Seattle Bridge – you might want to wait a while:
UPDATE: Collision on West Seattle Bridge EB now blocking 2 left lanes. pic.twitter.com/OOMuwj66sj
— seattledot (@seattledot) August 15, 2017
That collision, reported to involve 2 vehicles and no serious injuries, is on the EB bridge near 4th Avenue South. We’ll update when it’s cleared.
12:40 PM: Fast work – SDOT says the scene is now clear.
Before the afternoon arrives, here are highlights for the rest of today/tonight, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
WADING POOLS AND SPRAYPARK OPEN TODAY: Lincoln Park wading pool and Highland Park spraypark are both open 11 am-8 pm; Delridge wading pool is open noon-6:30 pm. (Find addresses here)
WEST SEATTLE PTA COLLABORATIVE: As previewed here, this new collaboration of community members, including PTA members, is meant to lift up all local schools, and you can find out more at tonight’s 6:30 pm meet-and-greet at Southwest Library. (9010 35th SW)
UNPLUGGED – A MUSICAL GATHERING! Acoustic musicians and singers all invited to jam at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
Advance tickets are still available for the first-ever West Seattle Junction Wine Walk on September 28th, but going fast. 14 wineries will be guests in Junction storefronts 6-9 pm that night. From West Seattle Junction Association executive director Lora Swift, here’s the list of wineries – including several where the merchants are now confirmed:
Coral Wines – Menashe Jewelers
Elephant Seven Winery
Masquerade Wine Co
Michael Florentino Cellars
Sky River Meadery
Three of Cups
Trevelen Farm – Click! Design That Fits
Viscon Cellars – Capers
Waving Tree Vineyards & Winery
Welcome Road Winery – Carmilia’s
(Other merchant/winery matches will be announced soon.)
Your ticket, which includes tastings, is $25 in advance – get it online, right now! (that same page has more info on the Wine Walk) – or $30 on the event day, if any tickets are left.
P.S. – BENEFITS FOR VOLUNTEERS: Can you volunteer on Wine Walk night? You’ll get 10 tasting tickets and a Wine Walk glass. Here’s how to sign up.
P.P.S. Our standard disclosure – of the wineries/businesses mentioned above, Viscon Cellars, Welcome Road Winery, Menashe Jewelers, and Click! are WSB sponsors.
Just two more free Summer Concerts at Hiawatha this season – and the next one is two nights away. The Disco Ballz are onstage this Thursday night (August 17th); here’s the preview from the Admiral Neighborhood Association:
Bring your boogie shoes and be prepared to dance the night away this Thursday! The Disco Ballz will be appearing at Hiawatha Park from 6:30 pm-8 pm.
The Disco Ballz have been playing for most of a decade, bringing their infectious groove to dance floors all over the Pacific Northwest. Playing a unique mix of classic disco hits with pop, rock, and soul music from the ’70s to current Top 40 chart toppers, The Disco Ballz bring the party to any dance floor or venue – playing all the popular dance tunes from an era when polyester pants and satin shirts ruled the dance floor!
If you’ve been meaning to check but haven’t quite made it, this is the 2nd to last Hiawatha concert of the summer (Caspar Babypants will play August 24th)! Bring a blanket, a picnic, some friends, and be ready for disco fun. All shows take place on the east lawn outside the community center [along Walnut, south of Lander].
The concert series is made possible through the generous donations of community businesses and volunteers. The Admiral Neighborhood Association would like to thank Metropolitan Market, Umpqua Bank, Seattle Parks, and the Associated Recreation Council for their continued support, as well as our Silver and Bronze sponsors.
WSB is proud to be one of those sponsors, as we have been every year since the first season of Summer Concerts at Hiawatha (2009).
7:06 AM: Good morning! So far, no incidents reported in/from West Seattle.
8:59 AM: We also have a report that Fairmount Avenue is closed through the ravine between Alki and Admiral. We’re checking on that – we had a report last night about ongoing tree concerns, not the first time in that area, and had advised the caller to tell SDOT, so we’ll see if that’s what’s happening.
10:02 AM: Just went by – there are “road closed” signs at the top of the ravine but not at the bottom, and the road is open, no sign of a work crew.