day : 04/12/2017 10 results

UPDATE: Water break closes 35th SW south of Avalon for 11 hours; privately owned line to blame, SPU says

(5:41 AM UPDATE: 35th now reopened both ways)

6:18 PM: Thanks to everyone who’s been messaging us about what they’re describing as gushing water on the road at 35th/Avalon on this rainless night. We are on the way over to find out more.

6:34 PM: This is BIG water gushing from southbound 35th just south of Avalon. SFD is here and closing 35th between Avalon and Alaska. Avoid the area.

6:44 PM: Firefighters have also closed the sidewalks to keep people far away – they’re worried this could lead to a big sinkhole in the street. SPU has arrived. We have a message out to find out what more they know. We also hear there’s low water pressure at some residences nearby.

7:05 PM: This is going to go on a while. Full complement of utilities here now – Puget Sound Energy (there’s been concern about natural-gas odor around the KFC), Seattle City Light, as well as SPU. Again, 35th is blocked off between Alaska and Avalon, but before that happened, here’s video from @jetreset showing how it looked when a C Line bus went through the water (which is right by the southbound stop on 35th):

7:23 PM: Just talked with SPU spokesperson Andy Ryan. He says what broke is a 4-inch “service line” that belongs to the adjacent apartment building (which would be Aura) – “it’s not city infrastructure.”

The building is only a year old.

Ryan added, “We have the water main shut down between Avalon and Manning while crews look for the water shutoff valve.” Repairs might not be complete before midnight, he says.

7:43 PM: Buses have been rerouted for a while since the road remains closed (and the water’s still bubbling up on the southbound side), but here’s the official Metro reroute alert just texted/tweeted:


7:55 PM: The water’s not off yet, but the volume is down. Kevin tells us water service is off to the south of here, too, near 36th/Edmunds.

8:14 PM: Water’s down to a trickle.

SFD has left, but SPD is still at the scene to keep the road closure enforced. We’ve left for a while but will keep checking on the status of the road – and we’ll start our morning traffic coverage earlier than usual with word on whether that section of road is open or not.

10:07 PM: Street’s still closed, and heavy equipment’s now at work digging:

SDOT quotes SPD via Twitter as saying the closure will continue “until tomorrow morning.” No police left at the scene for us to ask in person – just the work crew. We’ll check the scene again in the very early hours.

4:59 AM: Back at the scene. 35th is still closed south of Avalon. Crews still at work.

5:16 AM: Northbound traffic is now being allowed through the area. Southbound still blocked by crews.

5:41 AM: They’ve just removed the barricades on the southbound side and traffic is now going both ways.

Big response, small fire in High Point

The big Seattle Fire response in the 6300 block of 30th SW [map] turned out to be a kitchen fire, with minor damage to cabinets. No injuries reported.

FOLLOWUP: City Council OKs church’s rezone for townhouse project, but without waiving Mandatory Housing Affordability requirement

(Proposed project site – WSB photo from last month)

FIRST REPORT, 3:35 PM: This afternoon at City Hall, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning of land owned by the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene to Lowrise 1 from its current Single Family 5000, requested by the church so it can build and sell six townhouses to raise money for renovating its old building (5911 42nd SW). However, the council did not grant the church’s request to waive a requirement that it either devote part of the project to “affordable housing” or pay a fee, estimated at $200,000, to the city to fund affordable housing elsewhere.

This is the same Mandatory Housing Affordability requirement that is to be implemented with upzoning around the city, proposed as part of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, but even though that is not in effect citywide yet, and this project has been in the pipeline for four years, a council decision last year called for applying MHA. Only the council had the power to waive it, and they declined; local Councilmember Lisa Herbold said that while the argument was that the church had agreed to set aside open space as part of the site, that wasn’t a reason to waive it. (In a side note, she had to read a disclosure statement before voting today, because she had responded to a social-media criticism after last week’s committee vote, from which she abstained, saying she wanted to read the Morgan Community Association‘s letter supporting a waiver before she voted.) We have a request for comment out to the church, to ask if they will proceed with the project despite the decision to not waive MHA.

ADDED 7:17 PM: We’ve heard back from the church’s pastor emeritus Terry Mattson, who’s been a spokesperson for the church during the years the project’s been in the works. He says it’s on:

West Seattle Church of the Nazarene was extremely pleased to see the Seattle City Council unanimously approve our project today. This decision ensures we’ll be able to make the necessary repairs to our church to continue to serve our members and neighbors. Although it would have been an ideal scenario to have the MHA fees waived, we want to assure the community we will be proceeding as planned and that you’ll still have access to the open space and the trees will be preserved.

We look forward to the development in the months ahead and will keep all of you up to date on progress. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to visit us any Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. We’d be happy to chat. We especially want to thank the Morgan Junction Community Association, Deb & Cindi Barker, our partners Paar Development and Neiman Tabor Architects and our council representative for West Seattle Lisa Herbold for her support in helping carry this through the PLUS committee.

We can’t wait for you to experience the upgrades to our park and facilities with us.

UPDATE: ‘Polar Express’ tickets all taken

ORIGINAL REPORT 2:29 PM MONDAY: Want to see “The Polar Express” for free this Saturday? Alice Kuder and some of her colleagues at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate (WSB sponsor) are sponsoring a free showing at 10 am Saturday (December 9th) at West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater. This is the third year that they have organized this for their clients and the families of Sunshine Kids cancer patients, but they would love to have a full house, Alice tells us, and so about 40 tickets remain, so they’re offering those free tickets to YOU – “first-come, first served) – 4 maximum per family or group.”

To request tickets, contact Alice: alice@alicekuder.com or voice/text at 206-708-9800.

She and the other sponsors will provide free cookies, hot cocoa, and coffee at the screening (and the Admiral’s concession stand will be open too). If you go, consider also bringing a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. Alice will let us know when the tickets are gone, and we’ll update this announcement then.

MONDAY LATE-NIGHT UPDATE: Tickets all taken!

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: More package-theft alerts, plus a prowler

The newest reader reports we’ve received:

PACKAGES TAKEN – WATCH FOR POSSIBLY DITCHED DISHES: Anne works at home so has not had a problem before, but while out for about an hour and a half last week, had two packages apparently delivered and taken: “I know it’s a long shot, these thieves took two boxes of pieces of my mom’s 1950s everyday dish set — something very sentimentally valuable to me but not anything I think random thieves can hawk or sell. So just in case someone happens to find the contents, [at right] is a picture of the pattern. One box had several of these plates, and one had some tea cups and saucers, which just have the little flourish decoration. If you happen to find these, and I know it’s unlikely, could you please drop me a note at AHin206work – at – gmail.com. Thanks, neighbors, I know we have to work together.” (Anne also wanted you to know, she has since discovered that Alki Mail and Dispatch will accept your package for $4.)

PACKAGE THIEF: The video and report are from Derek in South Delridge:

I wanted to report a package theft to remind neighbors to be alert this time of year. I’m at 18th and Henderson. Amazon delivered a package around 8:30 (Friday) night and at 12:48 AM my camera recorded the theft. Like an idiot I didn’t use the Amazon Locker at 7-11 or Safeway, so I should have seen this coming!

CAR PROWLER: The video and report are from Charlie:

We live above Luna Park across from the housing development. A few months ago my wife’s car was vandalized in our carport, so we installed a video floodlight. At 1am a prowler casually walked up to our cars, checked if they were locked, then moved along, presumably to our neighbors. If anyone in our neighborhood had any theft last night this person may be responsible.

‘ANYONE MISSING THIS CAR?’ So asked the person who texted this photo:

The texter says it’s on SW Barton near 20th SW. We asked if they had called the police. No reply yet.

DAY 7: Mayor seeking new police chief, new Seattle City Light CEO

12:32 PM: Even before the official announcement event at City Hall last hour, Mayor Jenny Durkan had revealed (as we noted on Twitter) that she would be looking for a new Chief of Police. Now we know she’s also looking for a new CEO/general manager for Seattle City Light.

From the announcement (which you can read in full here):

WHO’S GOING: SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole‘s last day, after 3 1/2 years, is December 31st. Deputy Chief Carmen Best will be interim chief as of January 1st. (As we reported last week, we spoke with O’Toole at the new mayor’s Youngstown Cultural Arts Center event, and she said she was planning to talk with Durkan this week “about the department’s future.”) … City Light CEO/GM Larry Weis has resigned after less than two years; chief compliance officer Jim Baggs will run the utility in the interim.

WHO’S NOT GOING: The mayor says Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and Emergency Management director Barb Graff are staying. … Durkan also said she has asked Seattle Public Utilities CEO/general manager Mami Hara to stay.

No other cabinet mentions – staying OR going – so far.

ABOUT THE POLICE CHIEF SEARCH: The mayor announced a committee will search for O’Toole’s successor, with four co-chairs: Former mayor/City Council president Tim Burgess (who also is a former SPD detective), former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, ACLU executive Jeffery Robinson, and Chief Seattle Club executive director Colleen Echohawk. (See their bios here.) The mayor promises the chief search will include “an extensive community outreach process during early 2018.”

6:12 PM: Here’s the chief’s full statement.

FOLLOWUP: Third day of West Seattle Trader Joe’s closure because of crash-caused power outage

The West Seattle Trader Joe’s is still closed right now, third day since a power outage caused by a flipped-car crash early Saturday, as first reported here that morning. We have new information from Seattle City Light, after a conversation with spokesperson Scott Thomsen. He explains that the crash damaged not only SCL’s “pad-mounted transformer” – in the spot shown in our photo above, on the northeast corner of 39th SW and Fauntleroy Way – but also “some equipment that belongs to the customer” (Trader Joe’s). Thomsen says SCL completed its work, including replacing the transformer, by 7 pm Saturday. The delay since then is because the electrician working on TJ’s equipment has not yet finished fixing it; once they have, Thomsen says, they are ready to reconnect the power. Side note, answering some questions that had come up in the comment discussion: The damaged transformer did NOT contain PCBs: “The transformer that was hit was one of our new ones, containing certified FR3 vegetable oil. No PCBs. We cleaned up the oil that did leak.” We also sent an inquiry to Trader Joe’s this morning and have not yet heard back; if and when we do, we’ll add the information to this story. Meantime, SPD was investigating the crash as a possible case of DUI; Angela caught the crash aftermath on video:

The driver (who SPD says is a 26-year-old man) was taken to the hospital by private ambulance, which indicates his injuries weren’t major.

HOLIDAY GENEROSITY: Give early and often to donation drives!

Though we’re three weeks away from Christmas, it’s never too early to give to holiday-season donation drives, many of which involve a lot of coordination to get the gifts to recipients in time.

At the Dave Newman State Farm Insurance Agency office (WSB sponsor), we photographed Dave with Kristy Hoppenrath by the bins where they’re collecting coats, shoes, and other winter clothing for the West Seattle Helpline. The annual drive’s been going on for more than a month now and they’re taking deliveries over to the Helpline weekly. You’re invited to drop off donations 9 am-5 pm weekdays at 3435 California SW, or if you can’t get there, call 206-932-1878 about arranging a pickup.

OTHER DONATION DRIVES: We’re continuing to add them to the West Seattle Holiday Guide as we get them. Some have early deadlines – this Saturday, for example, is the deadline for the West Seattle and Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) Giving Trees, and for the Bartell Drugs Toy ‘n’ Joy Drive. If you are collecting holiday gifts for local nonprofit(s), it’s not too late to let us know so we can add the info – editor@westseattleblog.com – thank you!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Monday watch

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

7:02 AM: Some fog in spots, and that’s about all we have of note for the outbound commute from here so far this morning.

8:24 AM: Still quiet.

WEST SEATTLE POWER OUTAGE: More out in south Arbor Heights/Arroyos

Thanks for the messages about the power outage in the south Arbor Heights/Arroyos area; Comcast is reported to be out, too. Seattle City Light‘s map shows the outage as an extension of the one that started yesterday, though now it’s listed as 127 customers, about 30 more than when last we checked Sunday night. If you’re out and not shown on the map, be sure to let City Light know (206-684-3000).

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