Highland Park Action Committee notes: SPU’s big West Seattle project; crime-trend updates; more…

Highlights from the Highland Park Action Committee‘s last meeting until January (since the fourth Thursday conflicts with winter holidays in November and December):


(South Operations Center rendering, from city website)

SEATTLE PUBLIC UTILITIES DRAINAGE & WASTEWATER SOUTH OPERATIONS CENTER: SPU project manager Tom Fawthrop presented details of the new facility at the bus yard at 4500 W. Marginal Way SW. It’s a retrofit/remodel project. SPU wants a center here to “position ourselves to be (on this side of) the bridge in case of The Big One” plus reduce the distance their crews go to serve this part of the city – one-fourth of Seattle, Fawthrop pointed out.

It’ll be a secure site with emergency management and community benefits, he said. It will be home to a boat that SPU has, working on water-pollution issues about 200 days a year. The crews based at the new center will include those that clear drains – the vactor trucks, of which SPU has “(fewer) than 20” – and those who take images of drains and sewers. There will be 25 or so administrative staffers based and working there, besides

The project will include reframing the building, replacing and improving building siding, roof, windows, doors, upgrading the interior and furnishings, improving major utilities and building systems, installing parking, new landscaping, and site drainage, and incorporating sustainability features, and they’re aiming for LEED Gold. Four electric vehicles will be on site, and the slide showed other ways they plan to achieve the rating:

Other points:

-Fawthrop said the site has some soil contamination and “we’re cleaning that up as we go along.”

-They’re interested in expanding bus service to the area but “Metro has turned a deaf ear to us so far.” As for other transportation concerns, they have met with West Seattle Bike Connections to talk about the trail that goes past the site. The area needs sidewalks, it was pointed out; Fawthrop said that those seem to be needed more on the west side of the street, since the east side – where their project will be – has a trail that also serves as a pedestrian connection. Closer to the entrance, they’ll have a speed hump. Attendees pointed out to Fawthrop that the area parks and trail are “very well used.”

-Though SPU works 24/7/365, their busiest times are 6:30 am-3:30 pm.

-SPU has not yet spoken with the Duwamish Tribe, whose Longhouse and Cultural Center is a few blocks south, but is working to set up a meeting, Fawthrop said.

-What about climate-change water-level rises, given the location of this site? They’re adding a foot to the floor, he said.

-While a concern was expressed about the fencing around the yard and its unfriendly appearance, Fawthrop noted that SPU has trouble with theft at its yards – so it’ll be a “secured site” but the building will be “involved with the community somehow” and “will be here a long time.”

-Construction is expected to happen in 2019, and they hope to start operations at the site in spring of 2020. After HPAC attendees ran out of questions, he offered to come back again if needed/wanted.

The other utility presentation announced for the meeting, Seattle City Light‘s new metering system, didn’t happen because no one showed up (check our coverage from last week’s Morgan Community Association meeting if you’re interested in the topic).

UPDATE FROM SPD: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith told HPAC that street robberies are down by more than half and car prowls are down by almost half. Property crime is down 14 percent and crimes against persons down 12 percent. The biggest property-crime concern right now is a spike in auto thefts. As for solutions, the Westwood Village emphasis that police have been discussing at community meetings will affect people all over West Seattle, as the people arrested there are usually responsible for crimes elsewhere – for example, they might steal a car in Highland Park to take it to the shopping center to commit crimes there. He also said SPD’s Major Crimes Task Force is operating in West Seattle and focusing on investigations including the three recent burglaries at Canna.

HPAC co-chair Gunner Scott asked Lt. Smith if they could get some traffic enforcement for Highland Park – even the traffic-circle-equipped intersections are having trouble, with people driving over them and taking out landscaping. Lt. Smith will look into it.

Other quick topics:

TRANSPORTATION: Co-chair Michele Witzki talked about a problem with multiple full buses and what seems like an obvious need for more service in eastern West Seattle. Also, a followup report from the city on the May Find It, Fix It Walk is well overdue, and HPAC has found itself having to nag the city for it. (Since FIFI has been a mayoral project, some wondered if the turmoil in the city’s executive office was to blame for the delay.)

CITY BUDGET: A majority of councilmembers appear to be sponsoring an expansion of LEAD citywide, which has been a longtime Highland Park interest. (If you have budget comments, remember, you can e-mail council@seattle.gov.)

FALCONRIDGE FARM: Last month’s WSB story about the horse facility that’s up for sale – possibly to be redeveloped as home sites – drew interest from a land-trust group that will come to Highland Park on Saturday, November 18th, for a community-visioning event, “to think about what we might want to do.” One attendee said he had heard the property might have a buyer already, so that will be investigated first. (We’re checking on its status, too.)

TENNIS FACILITY: HPAC will hear in January from the West Seattle group that’s been pursuing an indoor tennis facility – they’re now looking at a possible Highland Park site.

PLANTING PARTIES: See the list on the HPAC website (scroll down) and join in!

HIGHLAND PARK IMPROVEMENT CLUB: The group that maintains the building where HPAC meets has a lot of fun community events booked:

-SHNIT International Shortfilm Festival
-Yada Yada Blues Band at next Corner Bar
-Holiday Cooking Class
-Holiday Bazaar – still looking for vendors

Check the HPIC calendar for full details (and we’re making sure ours is caught up, too).

LEADERSHIP: Co-chairs Gunner and Michele are hoping to have successors step up to lead the group so they can move into other roles. Elections will be next year.

Speaking of next year, next Highland Park Action Committee meeting will be Thursday, January 25th, 7 pm at HPIC (1116 SW Holden). Check hpacws.org for updates in the meantime

6 Replies to "Highland Park Action Committee notes: SPU's big West Seattle project; crime-trend updates; more..."

  • fiz October 26, 2017 (12:02 pm)

    So SPU is building on the river in preparation for “the big one”?

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    • John October 27, 2017 (8:31 am)
      • Agreed -“Seattle has a high probability of “post-lahar sedimentation.” A lahar is likely to stop in the Kent Valley, then the next big storm transports loose materials from the lahar down the Green and Duwamish Rivers, causing problems for the maritime community.”

  • Heather October 26, 2017 (8:40 pm)

    We’re 1/4 the population of Seattle? Wow. That’s rather amazing. 

    • WSB October 26, 2017 (9:02 pm)

      I believe it’s more one-fourth the size than one-fourth of the population (which is ~100,000). I usually refer to it as Seattle’s *largest* neighborhood.

      • Heather October 26, 2017 (11:32 pm)

        Thank you for the clarification/correction.

  • dsa October 26, 2017 (9:21 pm)

    So if they are moving to unstable ground and our low population part of the city, we need to be thankful they are taking the chance to serve us this way.

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