West Seattle, Washington
WSDOT won’t send out a notice until it’s closer, but for your advance planning, we’ve confirmed that – as listed on the city’s weekly Construction Lookahead – the next Alaskan Way Viaduct inspection closure is set for Saturday, March 24th, 6 am-6 pm. The state also reserves the right to close it again the same hours on Sunday, March 25th, but recent closures haven’t needed that second day. In confirming this with AWV spokesperson Laura Newborn, we noted that many people are likely to be on the road on March 24th getting to and from the March For Our Lives; she says they set the date before the march was planned, but hope it won’t be too much of an impact since the march route is from Capitol Hill to Seattle Center.
P.S. The most recent estimate for the permanent closure of the AWV is September – that’s what County Councilmember Joe McDermott told the West Seattle Transportation Coalition last month.
(Though the live event is over, it’s archived already, so you can replay it above)
6:44 PM: Click “play” and that should get you into the Seattle Channel live stream of an event that just started in the auditorium at Chief Sealth International High School right now – Mayor Jenny Durkan hosting a town hall on the topic “Students Stopping Gun Violence.” We’ll be chronicling it as it goes, and will substitute archived video when it’s over.
West Seattle/South Park school-board director Leslie Harris opened the town hall – she is president of the board, which passed a gun-violence resolution unanimously last week. (She is also parent of a Chief Sealth IHS graduate, as she noted.) She introduced TV journalist Natalie Brand and radio veteran Ross Reynolds, who are moderating the event. “This violence has to stop,” Harris declared in closing. The moderators note that they are using an interactive platform for this, and you can access it – pigeonhole.at – enter passcode ENDGUNVIOLENCE. Panelists along with Mayor Durkan include a principal, a student, a gun-violence researcher, and a leader from the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps.
Also introduced as being in the audience are dignitaries including City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, SPS superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland. SPD Chief Carmen Best is here too (below with Harris).
First question seeks elaboration on the SPS gun-violence resolution. Harris says it also underscores the importance of services for students. Second, “will Seattle be taking an interest in preventive legislation as well as retroactive legislation?” Durkan says, “We will do what we can and will continue to press Olympia to give us power to protect our communities.” She adds, “I personally believe we need an assault-weapons ban.” And she mentions those killed in shootings that are suicide or accidents, and that she wants to address that too. She asks the student on the panel for his thoughts; gun availability is a key issue, Rainier Beach HS student Gregory Pleasant says.
“If I leave my house every day and I feel like if I don’t have a gun on me, I can’t walk back out that door, that’s going to change the way I live.” The mayor asks about his T-shirt, which reads WHO’S NEXT? That question can apply to positive answers as well as negative, he said.
Today is Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s 100th day in office. (And she’ll be back in West Seattle tonight.) Her office sent a long list of what she’s done in those first 100 days – and one section of the list caught our eye, touting hundreds of new street signs:
Maintaining and Preserving Our Roads, and Responding to Winter Weather: Under Mayor Durkan’s first 100 days, the City has made important strides in maintaining and preserving our City’s roadway infrastructure. In the last 100 days, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) filled 7,200 potholes, installed 128 new crosswalks, 360 new directional signs (like speed limit signs), and replaced 62 street signs. In addition, SDOT teams worked approximately 32 shifts over 16 days to respond to the threat of snow and ice from late December to early March.
Though a breakdown wasn’t provided, anecdotally we’ve seen a fair number of new “no parking” signs around the area, mostly the kind meant to warn you from parking too close to a corner or driveway. A few of them have also removed parking spaces.
With the intent of a story about the signage – even before today’s mayoral list – we asked SDOT recently about the sign additions, and spokesperson Karen Westing shared the explanation from the Transportation Operations team:
Projects that install parking restrictions can generally be grouped into three categories:
-projects where parking restrictions are part of a larger operational change
-projects signing the existing legal restrictions
-projects that restrict otherwise legal parking to reduce collision risk or improve roadway function
Seven signs – including the ones in our photos – placed recently here in Upper Fauntleroy, SDOT says, were “examples of the second and third types,” as were signs placed in a north Morgan Junction neighborhood that was the original reason for our inquiry. In that neighborhood, near 41st/Graham, she told us, “we restricted two parking spaces to improve sight lines between drivers on Graham coming over the crest of the hill and pedestrians crossing the street.”
Westing says the signs are installed in batches “because our layout and maintenance/installation crews group nearby projects to avoid unnecessary travel-time.” And she says they often are the result of “constituent correspondence” – such as complaints – that result in a review by SDOT engineering staff. Side note: While researching this, we realized that the little flags we had seen placed in planting strips, marking utility lines, seemed to be the precursors to sign installation, so if you see them, new signage might be on the way.
“Sadly, there has been an increase in false threats, all of which require and receive police attention,” Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Kim Schmanke told WSB today after we contacted her about a reader tip. She was talking about the district as a whole; we had asked her about one specific instance mentioned to us today. The reader had heard of a possible threat and police presence at Madison Middle School. Schmanke hadn’t heard about it when we checked in, so we went to the school to ask. Assistant principal Ronnie Belle told us that a police officer had stopped by the school earlier today to take a report on an incident earlier this week. Belle said a student had made remarks that concerned other students enough to report it to administrators. The student was “counseled,” Belle said, without going into specifics of the counseling or what the student had said.
ORIGINAL STORY, 1:17 PM: Thanks to everybody who has tipped us on this. We’ve been checking into the mysterious closure of Tully’s Coffee on Alki Beach since this “temporarily closed” sign went up yesterday afternoon:
Though the sign says they “look forward” to reopening, some who have contacted us are skeptical that will happen, given the recent travails of what’s left of the chain, and someone even put a memorial by the door with “RIP” and flowers, spotted when we went back today to check if it was still closed:
According to the city business-license database, the shop is owned by Global Baristas, as are other remaining Tully’s shops, bought by the group in 2013 after Tully’s itself filed for bankruptcy. Online court records show the state is seeking back taxes from Global Baristas, with a court filing dated this past Monday citing more than $180,000. And records list multiple “unlawful detainer” – potential eviction – filings since mid-October, most recently for a location in Bellevue. Three shops closed last fall, including one on Capitol Hill, where our friends at capitolhillseattle.com investigated extensively. But we haven’t yet found documents mentioning anything specific about this location (2676 Alki SW). We have a message out to the “media contact” listed on the Tully’s website. We’re also trying to find the Alki property’s owners; property records carry both the name of an accountant in Federal Way and the name of the former owner of the Taco Time that was on the site before it became a Tully’s shop in 2000. We’ll update if and when we find out more.
8:25 PM: We never did hear back from the company. But The Seattle Times inquired and reports tonight that a company memo says the stores closed because they were out of coffee. (Thanks to commenter David for spotting that.)
We start your Thursday highlights with a big event that will get a regional spotlight:
MAYOR’S TOWN HALL ON GUN VIOLENCE: Mayor Jenny Durkan hosts a “town hall” in West Seattle for the second time in less than two weeks. This one, however, has a very specific topic: Gun violence, and students’ advocacy to stop it. Here’s the announcement from last week. It’s set for 6:30-7:30 pm in the auditorium at Chief Sealth International High School, and all are welcome. (2600 SW Thistle)
Tonight’s other big event – the monthly West Seattle Art Walk! 5 pm until late. Here’s the venue list/map:
This month’s highlights – including art previews – are here. Perhaps the most unusual from that extensive list – free painting classes at 5:20 and 6:40 pm at Graystone Mortgage in Jefferson Square! Also scroll through the preview list for a sneak peek at these: WSB sponsor Canna West Seattle (5453 California SW) features work by Machel Spence starting at 4 pm; WSB sponsor Viscon Cellars (5910 California SW) is showcasing the work of Greta Musland (and tasting fees are waived for Art Walk-ers).And we’ve heard from a few others:
ZEKE BRUCKER: Showing at Locöl (7902 35th Ave SW) and will be there – beer specials, too.
GRAHAM VITTUM: Showing at Freshy’s (2735 California Ave SW)
AERONAUTICAL TECHNOLOGY OPEN HOUSE: Want to find out about studying for a career in these fields? 6-7 pm, stop by this open house at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) – full details in our calendar listing. And check our calendar for other SSC programs’ upcoming info sessions, too. (6000 16th SW)
WORDS, WRITERS, WEST SEATTLE: This month’s featured writer is David B. Williams, talking about “Seattle Walks,” in this free monthly author series at Southwest Library, presented by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. (9010 35th SW)
SECOND THURSDAY OUT! This monthly Senior Center of West Seattle-organized gathering for LGBTQ people, friends, and allies starts at 6 pm at Great American Diner and Bar for dinner, followed by an optional trip over to ArtsWest for tonight’s 7:30 pm performance of “Hir” – see the calendar listing for a special ticket code. (4752 California SW)
THERE’S A LOT MORE – just browse our complete-calendar page to see!
After a successful first year in Green Lake, The Inc. Community Coworking + Playschool is expanding to West Seattle. The nonprofit explains what it does as “community-driven, neighborhood-centric workspaces for parents which include onsite flexible drop-in care for their young children.” Its West Seattle location will be at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Admiral (3050 California SW), and starting April 2nd, it will be open 9 am-1 pm Mondays-Fridays, with drop-in care for ages 1-5. That’s just the Phase 1 plan; future potential phases are explained here, which is also where you can buy a membership, or just donate if it’s something you want to support but can’t or won’t use. But first – The Inc. is hosting an informal Meet-N-Greet Open House 10 am-noon next Monday (March 12th) with coffee, doughnuts, and a chance to see the space and meet the team.
7:14 AM: Good morning. Rain’s back. No traffic incidents or transit alerts for our area so far.
METRO SERVICE CHANGE SATURDAY: Another reminder that Saturday is when Metro’s next “service change” kicks in. Here’s our preview with West Seattle-specific changes.
(UPDATED 11:28 AM with more info from SPD)
3:34 AM: SPD and SFD are investigating that car fire, reported about an hour ago in the Southwest Athletic Complex area. In radio discussion, the car was described as having been found fully engulfed in flames – as shown in the photo tweeted by Pat – with no one inside and no one around.
11:29 AM: SPD confirms that its arson detectives are handling the investigation. The car was a 1996 Toyota Corolla – not reported as stolen, in case you wondered (we did). But given the circumstances, it was impounded after the fire was out.
ADDED TUESDAY: In a West Seattle crime discussion at the Fauntleroy Community Association meeting, Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Smith mentioned that investigators believe an accelerant was used in this fire.
(UPDATED 11:23 AM with more info from SPD)
3:25 AM: The High Point incident wasn’t the only confirmed gunfire in West Seattle on Wednesday night – about an hour earlier, someone shot at this car at 23rd SW and SW Andover on Pigeon Point. Its owner posted in the WSB Forums and shared the photo by request. “Looks like three rounds went through; two through the window and another through the hatch under the right of the Legacy tag,” he reported. Other cars reportedly were hit too. We’ll also be seeking followup information on this later in the morning.
11:23 AM: The full report isn’t yet available but SPD media-relations Det. Mark Jamieson confirms that three cars were damaged, the Subaru (in the photo) most seriously. “No known suspect description,” he adds. So far there is no indication of any link to the evening’s other gunfire event.