West Seattle, Washington
From the WSB inbox:
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that crews will be paving SW 106th Street from 35th Avenue Southwest to 39th Avenue Southwest next week. This work will require lane closures and parking restrictions during the week. This work is weather dependent.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28 and Wednesday, June 29:
· SDOT crews will grind and repave SW 106th St between 35th Ave SW and 39th Ave SW.
· The eastbound lane of SW 106th St will be closed between 35th Ave SW and 39th Ave SW.
· East-west traffic will alternate in the westbound lane, assisted by flaggers.
· Access to driveways on SW 106th between 35th Ave SW and 39th Ave SW may be delayed for up to 15 minutes for equipment to clear.
· Parking will be restricted – “No Parking” signs will be put in place 72 hours before the work starts and parking restrictions begin.
SDOT would like to thank the public for its patience while this work is completed. This project is part of SDOT’s 2016 Arterial Major Maintenance (AMM) program. The AMM program maintains our busiest streets by making strategic small scale investments at key locations on city streets.
(UPDATED 5:22 PM with fire’s cause)
10 AM: Seattle Fire is reporting smoke and flames as it arrives at an Arbor Heights home in the 10200 block of 38th SW [map]. One person is reported to be hurt and they’re calling for an additional medic unit.
10:08 AM: SFD says the patient is being cared for. Our crew will be on scene shortly.
10:11 AM: Per scanner, the fire is under control “in a shed” adjacent to the house.
10:17 AM: Our crew says firefighters are cutting into the roof – ventilating – to continue fighting the fire.
They also say the patient is male and appears to be conscious; (update) scanner indicates he’s 62 years old and likely suffering from smoke inhalation. Scanner traffic indicates they’re bringing in more engines for additional water supply. Also, our crew tells us a TV helicopter is now in the area.
10:24 AM: Per scanner, they’ve had to run a hose on SW 102nd from 35th so they’re asking to close off 102nd to protect it.
(Please stay away from the fire zone in general anyway.)
10:43 AM: We’ll be asking SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl, who is now on scene, about the water situation. As discussed in comments, multiple Arbor Heights fire hydrants were upgraded in 2011 after flames destroyed a house while firefighters lost time awaiting supply. Meantime, scanner discussion indicates part of 35th may be blocked in the area too – so if you have to get to or from Arbor Heights, the further WEST you can stay, the better, for now. Meantime, SFD’s investigator has been dispatched to look into the fire’s cause.
10:50 AM: Lt. Stangl says a firefighter also was hurt, a leg injury suffered apparently on what was reported to be an unstable deck at the house. She confirmed that the 62-year-old man with smoke inhalation lives at the house. The fire is now tapped. Regarding the water supply, she said that they brought in additional engines so that they could run at the highest pressure possible – Arbor Heights does have uneven supply (as noted in our 2011 coverage, some hydrants are atop smaller mains, though some of those also were upgraded in 2012).
11:23 AM: Our crew’s back and uploading the video of Lt. Stangl’s briefing so you can hear what she had to say about the water, the fire, and the people who were hurt. We also have questions out to Seattle Public Utilities, which is responsible for water mains and fire hydrants. Meantime, photojournalists including ours were taken around to see the major fire damage:
12:05 PM: The audio in our video of the briefing is unfortunately mostly unintelligible because of the TV-helicopter noise. We’ll be following up with Lt. Stangl for further explanation on what firefighters had to do. Meantime, we’ve added a few more photos to this report.
12:21 PM: Just talked with Lt. Stangl by phone. She says that coincidentally, the incident commander on today’s fire was the same one from the 2011 fire nearby and was already familiar with the area, as are many of the crews, and with the plans for dealing with fires in the area, so that plan was implemented. She says there was not a supply shortage at any time – they did not have to use extra water from the backup engines. Lt. Stangl also noted, as we now recall learning in 2011-2012, that if necessary, SPU can reroute water supplies around the city to make higher flows available in any given area if needed, but they did not need to request that in this case, either. We’ll update again later when we hear from SPU about our questions relating to the overall hydrant status in the area.
1:34 PM: In case you wondered – SW 102nd is open again, but 38th SW remains closed, in the vicinity of the fire.
3:37 PM: We just spoke with SPU’s Andy Ryan, who reiterates that there were no problems with the hydrant system today. As per city standards, everywhere in the area is now no further than 1,000 feet from a 1,000-gallon-per-minute hydrant. The ones closest to today’s fire are 500 and 600 gallons per minute, he said, and there are 800-gpm hydrants nearby. (The WSB archives include this map from 2013 showing remaining 500-gpm hydrants around West Seattle, and this explanation of how they figure into firefighting. The hydrants’ exact addresses are listed here.)
5:22 PM: And we checked back with Lt. Stangl to ask about the fire’s cause: Accidental – the resident was doing some work in the garage, spilled some fuel, a table fell over, and “fuel vapors” were ignited.
Damage to the structure is estimated at $55,000, and $18,000 to its contents. We don’t know the resident’s condition but she says the firefighter is already out of the hospital.
5:19 AM: As day breaks, police are following the trail of a stolen ATM. The cash machine was taken from South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) on Puget Ridge a few hours ago.
5:29 AM: The investigation has led police to a north Arbor Heights neighborhood where they have just recovered it.
5:45 AM: Police have pointed us to the backyard of a house at 39th SW and SW 97th, regarding where it was recovered – they say it’s the large white item in the background of our photo. And if you’re in AH, that’s a TV helicopter. No arrest(s) reported so far.
6:09 AM: Just talked to SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson, who says officers are waiting on a search warrant before going in and actually taking possession of the stolen ATM. He says he can’t yet confirm what led police to the house; discussion we’d been monitoring for hours via scanner indicated it was a satellite tracking device, relatively new technology developed as ATM theft started to spike.
6:53 AM: Apparently at least one TV helicopter also has been over the theft scene on Puget Ridge, too. We expect a bit more information from police later this morning and will update when that’s in.
11:38 AM: And here’s that information! Just posted to SPD Blotter by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee:
Police recovered a stolen ATM from the backyard of a West Seattle home Tuesday after a thief in a pickup truck smashed his way into a college building and made off with a safe filled with cash.
Officers responded to South Seattle College in the 6000 block of 16th Avenue Southwest just before 2 AM after receiving reports of a break-in. At the scene, they found someone had broken through locked gate and driven a pickup truck through a glass door on campus to get to an ATM. After dismantling the cash machine, the thief loaded the ATM’s heavy-duty cash safe into their truck and fled.
Police found the unopened safe in the yard of a home in the 3900 block of Southwest 97th Street, where robbery detectives later detained and interviewed one male resident. Detectives released the man and continue to investigate the case.
Detectives are still looking for a white Chevrolet pickup truck with a crew cab, believed to have been used in the break-in at the college.
If you have any information about this case, please contact the SPD Southwest Precinct Burglary Unit at 206-233-2623.
Here’s a closer look at the item in the yard that we now know was the ATM’s safe:
Yesterday we published an alert from an Arbor Heights mom who wanted to let families know that her daughter had been followed from a Denny International Middle School-dropoff stop at 100th/44th on Tuesday. This afternoon, Denny principal Jeff Clark has sent us the notice sent home today to families of students at his school and adjacent Chief Sealth International High School:
Dear Denny and Chief Sealth Scholars and Families,
Yesterday afternoon, one of our 6th grade female scholars reported to us that she was followed by a man in his car while she walked home from her bus stop in Arbor Heights near the intersection of SW 100th St. and 44th Ave SW. She reported that the man seemed to be in his 20s and had short black hair. His car was a black four-door sedan. Our scholar did a great job by running off and telling her mother, who contacted the Seattle Police Department.
As a precaution, we are reminding our scholars about safety tips for walking to and from school. We would appreciate your help by having a similar conversation at home. The walking safety advice includes:
GENERAL SAFETY TIPS
· Pay close attention to your surroundings, avoid “automatic pilot.”
· Walk with a purpose; project an assertive, business-like image.
· Use common sense; plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
· Stick to well-lit areas.
· Develop a plan before you see trouble. Crossing a street or entering a store may get you out of a potentially bad situation.
· If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
· Consider wearing clothing and shoes that you can move freely and quickly in, especially when walking or waiting for the bus.
· Carry minimal items; overloading yourself can make you appear vulnerable.
· Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings. Avoid shortcuts. Walk confidently. Scan your surroundings and make eye contact with people.
· Avoid walking alone at night. As much as possible, walk or travel with a friend, even during the daytime.
As always, thank you for your help and partnership!
Just sent to us by Sabrina, who wanted to make sure other parents know to alert their kids:
Neighborhood alert: My daughter was followed by a man in a black sedan walking home from the Denny bus dropoff at 100th/44th in Arbor Heights on Tuesday.
Description of driver: black, thin, black short hair, 20-30 years old, smoker.
Police and school notified. Police with be patrolling before and after school at and around this stop. The officers were confident this creep would be back as he has picked a target.
Here are safety tips offered by Seattle Police.
(King County Assessor’s Office photo)
From the city files: A new development proposal in the area some call “downtown Arbor Heights.” It’s an early-stage plan for nine live-work units at 4220 SW 100th, the property whose ownership is listed as the West Seattle Church of Christ. It’s zoned NC1-30, which allows commercial/residential development to three stories. The preliminary “site plan” filed last week, by Lemons Architecture, shows three units fronting on California SW, six on SW 100th, with nine surface parking spaces on the north side of the 8,100-square-foot site.
If you heard the sirens in the past quarter-hour or so – a “fire in single-family residence” response was sent to a house in the 10600 block of 34th SW [map]. It turned out to be on the porch of a vacant house, according to emergency-radio traffic, and a neighbor put it out, so most of the response has been dismissed.
They’re next door … yet currently, they are officially treated as if they are a world apart: The Westwood/Highland Park Urban Village (WWHPUV) in the city, and White Center in unincorporated King County. This Tuesday night, city and county reps will join the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council to talk about it all together, including the potential of WC annexation and the Seattle 2035 “comprehensive plan.” If you’re interested in either or both sides of the line, be in the upstairs meeting room at Southwest Library, 6:15 pm Tuesday (February 2nd).
The newest reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
ARBOR HEIGHTS CAR BREAK-IN: From Shaun:
Wanted to report that our Chevy Tahoe had two windows busted out last night. Perp(s) took diaper bag with my wife’s wallet inside along with various other property, daughter’s new bday purse, CD’s….Theft occurred at approx. 3 am and set off car alarm. Car was parked at curb in front of our house.
Shaun is near 39th SW/SW 106th in Arbor Heights; when we followed up to get that information, he added, “I’ve learned that the perp/s attempted to rent 4 video games at a Redbox at 5 am. The kiosk in question is located at a 7-Eleven near 112th St S and 8th Ave S.” (We found it on Google Street View.)
HIGHLAND PARK PACKAGE THEFT: Erika near 17th SW/SW Kenyon thought her package had been stolen, then contacted Amazon and was told it actually hadn’t been delivered – and then the sad truth: “My neighbor just came by with a ripped-open package that she found in our alley near her garbage, with one item found intact on the ground and another taken out of its packaging and it’s gone. … The contents included a bag of dishwashing detergent pods and a tub of Honest brand pregnancy belly balm. What a score.” She says this stirs up bad memories from a burglary last summer, but want to be sure everyone’s aware of “activity in our neighborhood.”
MAIL THEFT: From Corey:
I wanted to report continued mail theft in Highland Park neighborhood. I have now found mail discarded on lawns and stuffed in bushes on
three different occasions/3 different addresses, around 18th-20th Ave SW and Trenton St. The first occasion was in late November, the second
right before Christmas, and (Friday) January 22nd. The mail has all been from homes in Highland Park and within a few block of where I found it.
MAILBOX BREAK-IN: Mike reports this happened to his mailbox in the 7300 block of 35th SW in Sunrise Heights.
ALSO IN SUNRISE HEIGHTS: Todd at West Seattle Autoworks (WSB sponsor) reports a potential case of casing outside the shop at 35th/Webster around 9 pm Thursday night. They reviewed video from their surveillance camera after noticing it was “tilted up – as if someone had pushed it out of place.” The video shows someone walking in front of the camera and hiding his face, then a few minutes later walking back and pushing the camera up while walking under it. Todd says they didn’t find anything else out of place or damaged but wanted to alert the neighborhood.
Thanks to everyone who shares reports via West Seattle Crime Watch – once you’ve reported it to police, share it with your neighbors all around the peninsula by e-mailing email@example.com – for breaking news (once you’ve called 911), text/call 206-293-6302 – thank you!
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The organization that was planning to open West Seattle’s first charter school in the former Freedom Church space at 35th and Roxbury is putting the plan on hold for at least a year.
That announcement comes amid uncertainty about the fate of charter schools in our state, after the state Supreme Court ruled that they weren’t entitled to “common” state funds, and refused to revisit the ruling.
A West Seattle parent just forwarded us this e-mail announcement sent last night by the Summit employee hired to lead the West Seattle school, Summit Atlas – Greg Ponikvar:
Dear West Seattle families,
I want to thank you all for your ongoing support of Summit Public Schools. I have been so impressed with the passion you have shown for ensuring your children and all students in Washington have the choice of attending a public charter school.
Unfortunately, with the state Supreme Court ruling public charter schools “unconstitutional,” we have had to make some difficult decisions. While we are still deeply committed to opening a middle/high school in West Seattle, we have decided to delay opening Summit Atlas until the 2017‐18 school year as we work toward a legislative fix that will ensure public charter schools have a secure future in the state of Washington.
I know this is incredibly disappointing to our families and students in West Seattle who are eager to enroll their students next fall. I want to encourage those of you with incoming 9th and 10th graders to consider Summit Sierra.
I hope you will also continue to be a voice of support for public charter schools so that we are able to open Summit Atlas in 2017. The state legislature meets again in January, and we need our state legislators to hear from parents and students about the importance of school choice and the need to move forward with a Summit Public School in West Seattle. If you would like to contact your state representatives to make your voice heard, you can find them here.
While we have delayed the opening, we will continue working hard on our plans in West Seattle. An additional year will allow us to continue building community support for the school which will ultimately make our school’s foundation even stronger. Please join me for coffee on Tuesday, December 15 anytime between 8 and 11 am at Dubsea Coffee in White Center to ask questions and share ideas.
Thank you again for your ongoing support and partnership. We will continue to keep you updated with important events and announcements as we approach the upcoming legislative session.
As reported by the education-news site Seattle Schools Community Forum, the state Charter School Commission – chaired by West Seattleite Steve Sundquist – met this week and started the process of shutting down, with state charter funding running out as of next week. Meantime, some of the already-open schools have been reported to be looking at other options for staying open and funded, including affiliating with a small school district in Northeastern Washington.
We broke the news of the West Seattle charter-school plan at the start of this year, after discovering early-stage documents in city Department of Planning and Development files. Summit Public Schools – a California firm that opened its first Washington schools this fall in Tacoma and in Seattle’s International District – was soon revealed as the school’s prospective operator, and this summer it was approved to open a middle-and-high-school campus at the 35th/Roxbury site.
Meantime, Washington Charter School Development – also the local arm of a California firm – bought the site from Freedom Church for $4.75 million. Interior renovations were planned so that the first two grades could start next fall, with building additions planned later; Freedom Church leased the site back for a while but has now purchased and moved into its own new location in Skyway, so the prospective school site is in essence vacant.
We’re checking with Summit for more information on what happens now, both for families who had been seeking to attend the future school and for the site, a prominent, sizable piece of Arbor Heights real estate. The organization had told WSB twice since the Supreme Court’s ruling on charter funding that they were moving forward with the West Seattle plan.
(WSB photo: Barton St. P-Patch)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The city’s P-Patch community garden program is maxed out for now and not expecting to grow in the near future – but not all P-Patches have waiting lists, contrary to popular belief.
That’s just some of what the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council learned Tuesday night from visiting city Department of Neighborhoods reps – including director Kathy Nyland – who came to answer questions and provide updates about some of the department’s programs.
First, as is often the case with neighborhood meetings, an update from police:
As the long holiday weekend ebbs, the everyday world gets ready to rev. So, we’re looking ahead: On Tuesday night (December 1st), the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council has assembled a lineup of guests that’ll be of interest regardless of whether you live/work in those neighborhoods or not. The meeting starts at 6:15 pm, and after some regular WWRHAH committee updates, here’s the main event, as announced by co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick:
6:35-7:45: Department of Neighborhoods (DoN): At our September brainstorm meeting, several residents requested information about P-Patches, grants, and painted crosswalks. We will have a whole team of DoN folks to answer your questions!
Tim Wolfe: Community Investments Division Director
Juan Martinez: Neighborhood Matching Fund Project Manager
Rich Macdonald: P-Patch Garden Program Supervisor OR
Bunly Yun: P-Patch Garden Program Coordinator
Kathy Nyland: Director
Howard Wu: Seattle Department of Transportation
Kerry Wade: Neighborhood District Coordinator
WWRHAH meets upstairs at Southwest Library (35th SW & SW Henderson).
Just found out about this – Joey went through his Arbor Heights neighborhood with flyers and is now awaiting (whether you got a flyer or not) donation dropoffs for the West Seattle Food Bank. His family sent the photo and explains, “Joey will be out until 5 pm loading up the truck. He delivered over 70 flyers and is anxiously awaiting for food dropoff in the cold! Stop by and say hi and drop off your donation! 9910 34th Ave SW.”
New information today in the case of the 30-year-old man arrested at an Arbor Heights house Tuesday night on suspicion of robbing the Westwood Village Game Stop store earlier that night. His bail is set at $100,000 after his appearance in a jailhouse courtroom downtown this afternoon. And the probable-cause documents say police suspect him and a 39-year-old relative – who is not in custody – of committing this robbery, and are investigating them in connection with three other robberies/major thefts in the past six months:
Thanks to everyone who tipped us about a big police response at an Arbor Heights house last night. We have finally obtained Seattle Police confirmation that the arrest made there was linked to the robbery we covered earlier in the evening at the Westwood Village Game Stop store. A witness to the robbery tells WSB they saw a getaway vehicle and provided its description and license plate to police. Officers found the vehicle at a home near 35th and 104th in Arbor Heights and, with a warrant, searched the house and arrested a 30-year-old man who is now in the King County Jail; the vehicle was towed as evidence. We’re expecting a few more details from police this afternoon, and will add them when available, but after many inquiries today about the AH response, we wanted to publish this as soon as we had confirmation of the link.
10:35 PM: Per scanner, “fireplace started a wall fire.” Everyone is reported to be out safely.
10:55 PM: Our crew is on scene. Some smoke visible, and firefighters working on the wall.
Some of the responding units are being dismissed. We’ve confirmed that no one is hurt.
11:00 PM: The fire has just been declared “tapped.”
3:28 PM: West Seattle’s first charter school is still moving toward opening in Arbor Heights next fall, despite the state Supreme Court ruling saying public funding for charter schools is unconstitutional.
That’s according to Jen Wickens, regional director for California-based Summit Public Schools, which plans to open Summit Atlas, a charter middle/high school, at 9601 35th SW. Washington Charter School Development bought the site from Freedom Church in June for $4,750,000, initially with a large-scale remodeling/addition project that has now been changed to two phases, the first to get the building ready to host the founding 6th- and 9th-grade classes next fall. City files show its permit is still pending.
Wickens tells WSB that the Washington Charter School Commission “unanimously approved the Atlas contract” earlier this month. She says that while Summit is “deeply disappointed” with the state Supreme Court ruling, they’re moving ahead because “we remain hopeful that we will find a solution to serve the students and families of West Seattle.”
Summit opened its first two schools in Washington this fall and took interested West Seattle families on a tour of one earlier today, Summit Sierra in the International District. Wickens says the Summit Atlas principal, Greg Ponikvar, “has been meeting with families and students and we know there is deep interest from the West Seattle community.” The Charter School Commission approved Summit’s application in August, less than a month after a hearing held at the building the school intends to use. First word of the charter-school plan emerged in January, when we found out about it via a building-permit application that popped up in city files.
Meantime, 10 state legislators – none from our area – are asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision. The ruling has not been finalized, which is why, as explained in this month’s report by the Charter Commission’s executive director, the schools that are open have continued to receive state funding.
ADDED 4:09 PM: And there’s word a short time ago of another filing asking the Supreme Court to reconsider – this one is a “friend of the court” brief from four former state Attorneys General – Ken Eikenberry, Slade Gorton, Christine Gregoire, and Rob McKenna. Here’s the document.
(Added 6:21 pm: WSB photos)
4:50 PM: Police are dealing with a possibly armed person in crisis at a residence in Arbor Heights, and as a result, they’re blocking off traffic, including SW 106th – we’re not sure exactly how far west of 35th, but avoid the general area.
5 PM: Our crew checking on the nearby road closures reports helicopter activity. First it was Guardian One, then a TV helicopter.
5:13 PM: We still have a crew in the area watching for word of a resolution to this. They and others are being kept at a distance. Again, SW 106th is blocked off for several blocks from 35th west.
5:19 PM: The person is reported to have come out of the house and is in custody. An ambulance is going in. That doesn’t mean anyone’s been hurt – usually in situations like this it’s so the person in crisis can be evaluated.
5:30 PM: The person who came out of the house is being placed in the ambulance.
5:40 PM: Our crew at the scene just talked to SW Precinct Lt. Alan Williams, who says they’re still sorting out exactly what started all this, but they hope to have the area opened up again shortly. A relative has been allowed into the house to make sure three dogs in there are safe, and police have been dealing with parents arriving to get their kids at a nearby day care that was being “held in place” until everything was resolved. They also are reported to have retrieved what was described as an inoperable .22 from the house. Again, no injuries reported to anyone in the situation. Police deal with things like this more often than you might realize; we’re reminded of an incident in Gatewood we covered just nine days ago, also resolved without injury.
Update on a story we reported here about this time last night: The memorial bench from ARK Park in Arbor Heights has been found. The family of the baby for whom it was named says the little bench turned up in some bushes in the park, broken in two. Despite the damage, they’re glad to have it back, and thankful that so many people were on the lookout for it.
This marble bench graced ARK Park at 42nd SW and SW 102nd in Arbor Heights, in memory of a little life lost, until a heartbreaking discovery: Someone has stolen it. They had to have known it was a memorial, given this plaque:
Allexandra Ramona Kimball is the park’s namesake and inspiration; as noted here in 2009, the first anniversary of her birthdate was the day ground was broken for the park. While the land is owned by neighboring Arbor Heights Community Church – which also operates ARK Preschool in her memory – it was created for the entire neighborhood, and has been the site of block parties and other celebrations. The bench is described as “irreplaceable to those who were affected by her short, sweet life.”
4:21 PM: A big Seattle Fire response is on the way to a possible house fire in the 10200 block of 41st SW (map). More to come.
4:26 PM: First unit on scene said it appears to be a small fire on the deck.
4:46 PM: We confirmed that on scene. So small, firefighters were able to extinguish it quickly. No injuries, little damage, SFD left right after we got there.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
Didn’t take your dog to the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club tonight for the first of five “Dog Days of Summer“? Your next chance is 5-7 pm tomorrow. It was sunny but a little brisk, yet the dogs just couldn’t wait to get into the pool
This is an annual fundraiser tradition to help support the AHSTC swim teams – the dogs are allowed in after the human swimming season ends, before the pool is drained and cleaned to await next year.
This continues 5-7 pm the next three days, and 11 am to 1 pm this Saturday – details in our preview.
The pool is at 11003 31st SW.