West Seattle, Washington
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 firstname.lastname@example.org – 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.
When Betina found her car had been prowled overnight, she noticed an odd detail:
My car was broken into last night/early morning between 2:00 and 7:00 AM (Saturday, 9-12-15) near the intersection of SW 104th Street and 32nd Ave. SW in Arbor Heights. The car was parked in the driveway.
I found that the rear passenger quarter glass window was smashed, the driver door was left open, and the hood was also left open (not left wide open, but they did not latch it closed after they were done peering into the engine compartment). Nothing of any significance was stolen and there was no damage to the car, except the window. It does not appear that the person/prowler/thief was very interested in any personal items in the car or they were very neat, because everything was still in the glove box, console, etc.
I find it interesting that the hood was open, but no attempt was made to steal the car itself (no steering column damage). Maybe this car did not fit their esteemed criteria.
It’s become a tradition at the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club pool – just before it’s drained and cleaned after the season ends, it’s opened to local dogs for a fun(draiser). More than a few people have messaged us in recent weeks to ask if it’s happening again this year, and finally we can say “yes,” after receiving the photo and announcement from Cori Roed:
It’s that time again, The Dog Days of Summer at the Arbor Heights Swim & Tennis Club. Tuesday 9/22 – Saturday 9/26.
Weekdays 5-7 pm
Saturday 11 am-1 pm
Donation to AH Teams via cash or check to AHSTC
Suggested: $10/dog or $25 for a pass for the week.
Your donations allow us to purchase equipment and keep our team fees low. Thank you!
11003 31st Ave SW – Please drive slowly on 31st, no matter HOW excited your passenger is. See you on deck!
No, you don’t have to be a member. And no, you can’t go in too – dogs only.
ORIGINAL STORY, 10:48 AM: In West Seattle Crime Watch this morning, a stolen work van to watch for:
My husband’s van was stolen from in front of our house sometime between 8:00 pm last night and 9:00 am this morning. It was locked and parked in our driveway. We live in the Arbor/Arroyo Heights neighborhood at 10811 35th Ave SW.
It is a white 2003 Ford Econovan 250. It has my husband’s logo on both sides and the back of the van – “Toma Construction LLC.” It contained many tools. We have notified the police, and the dispatcher told us another Econovan (apparently a painter’s van) was stolen from the neighborhood last night, as well. If anyone has seen it, please contact us at email@example.com, at 602-326-7262, or at 206-697-5087.
But first, please call 911.
6:57 PM UPDATE: Found!
(Late this afternoon), we got a call from a WSB watcher saying the van was parked on his street, about two blocks from our house. There is damage to the car and my husband’s expensive tools are gone, but we are thankful that we have the van. Thank you, WSB and neighbors!!
Received tonight from SDOT:
We are writing to provide an update on the microsurfacing project in Arbor Heights. We will be using our make-up day, tomorrow, Friday, September 11, to complete microsurfacing on the following streets:
*SW Arroyo Dr and 39th Ave SW, beginning at 9 AM
*49th Ave SW
*SW 112th St between Marine View Dr SW and 35th Ave SW, including side streets scheduled for microsurfacing
*SW Ocean View Dr
*SW 114th St
We understand using our make-up day may interrupt plans or be otherwise inconvenient, and we make every effort to avoid such occurrences. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we complete this work.
If you have any questions about what to expect during tomorrow’s work or about the project, please feel free to review the attached construction notice we sent previously or contact us.
Here’s that notice; the project hotline is 206-727-3669.
Before this week’s round of community meetings gets under way, we have one more to recap from last week – the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council‘s first meeting since June.
CRIME FOLLOWUP: As WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick pointed out, the June meeting (WSB coverage here) focused on crime, especially chronic problems in the South Delridge area. Some action had ensued – “some flare-ups, some diedowns.” And then Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores got up to speak. He’s one of two Southwest Precinct CPT officers right now – the team had been up to 4 just a few months ago, but, he said, one member has been promoted and another has been assigned to a technology project.
In this area in the past two months, he said, SPD has tallied:
-112 calls for suspicious activity/circumstances
-19 residential burglaries
-13 harassment/threat calls
-6 car prowls
-2 armed robberies
After the June WWRHAH meeting, Officer Flores said, they were clear on what needed to be done in the South Delridge area – they met with several other city departments, got some CPTED principles applied to the area, but they are still working on some things, like graffiti-vandalism cleanup.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As you might have heard by now, the State Supreme Court has ruled that the publicly funded charter schools stemming from Initiative 1240, approved by voters in 2012, are unconstitutional. The Friday afternoon ruling (see it here) said they’re not eligible for public funding because they’re not under local voters’ control.
This comes less than a month after the state Charter School Commission approved what would be West Seattle’s first charter school, a plan by California-based Summit Public Schools to open a middle-/high-school campus next year at what’s currently the Freedom Church/Jesus Center at 35th/Roxbury (newly named Summit Atlas, according to its website). Even before the state commission’s approval, the site was purchased by Washington Charter School Development for $4,750,000, with the intention of remodeling the supermarket-turned-church building into the school’s first wing (its seven grades are to be phased in, starting with 6th and 9th in the first year). Summit announced that the West Seattle school’s director, Greg Ponikvar, was starting work right after the approval, and had started taking applications.
Summit’s first two schools in Washington had just opened – one in the International District, one in Tacoma. We e-mailed Summit’s regional director Jen Davis Wickens (who we interviewed in July to talk about the West Seattle plan) to ask for reaction on the court ruling. Regarding the West Seattle plan, Wickens said, too soon to say: “Our lawyers are still analyzing the ruling and we’re working on our next steps.” Their Washington operation has been focused on reassuring the families enrolled in the two newly opened schools – here’s the letter Wickens said was sent to those enrolled at Summit Sierra last night in the ID by its director (principal), Malia Burns:
Dear Founding Spartan Families,
It is with sadness that I write this message to you this Friday evening before the holiday weekend.
Today, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that public charter schools are “unconstitutional.” The ruling is not a criticism of charter schools or charter school organizations like our, nor does not immediately shut down charter schools. The case will be sent back to King County Superior Court to determine next steps.
We want to assure you that school will be open on Tuesday, September 8th, as usual. We will be hosting a special community meeting Tuesday morning at 7:45 AM to provide updates.
Rumors and misconceptions can quickly take hold, but please remember that Summit remains deeply committed to each and every family.
Also, please know there are many folks fighting for our public charter schools. We will be working with our colleagues in other schools and with WA Charters to chart our collective path forward (updates will be available on the WA Charters website).
For those families that have asked how they can show their support for their school, please come to the community meeting Tuesday. We will share any and all information that we have with you then.
Our community is new, but it is powerful, courageous, and committed.
Here’s the statement that the Washington Charter School Association, mentioned in the letter, has published. Meantime, back to Summit Atlas, the 400-plus-page application it had filed with the state envisioned supplementary funding from charter-school-support organizations as well as the public funding set up by the voter-approved initiative; the organizations mentioned include the Hollyhock Foundation, CSGF Walton, and the Gates Foundation. You can see the budget documents starting with Attachment 25 in the application. Work has not yet started at the building, which its new owner had leased back to Freedom Church TFN.
Final details are now all worked out for the rescheduled microsurfacing in Arbor Heights. Here are full details from SDOT:
The pavement on many Arbor Heights streets is about to improve. On Wednesday, Sept. 9 or Thursday, Sept. 10, SDOT will be applying a microsurfacing overlay to local roads, weather permitting. This preventative maintenance work was scheduled originally for Monday, Aug. 31, and Tuesday, Sept. 1, but SDOT postponed the work due to rainy weather.
SDOT understands Wednesday, Sept. 9 is the first day of school. Please review the map above and the notes below, and contact us if you foresee any complications with your transportation and access needs during the work period. This week, SDOT’s contractor, VSS International, distributed a final notice confirming the work with neighbors on streets scheduled for microsurfacing.
To ensure the microsurfacing treatment has time to properly cure and dry, streets receiving the treatment are closed, on average, for 4 hours between 7 AM and 5 PM on the day work is scheduled. In rare cases, streets may be closed for up to 8 hours to ensure proper curing and drying. If you live, work or play on a street scheduled for microsurfacing, please note the following:
• Please follow posted “No Parking” signs and detours
• Cars must be relocated off the road and planting strip area prior to the start of work. Cars parked within the posted work area will be towed at the owner’s expense. If you wish to use your car on the day you are scheduled for microsurfacing, we recommend you move it to an unaffected street prior to 7 AM.
• If work coincides with your regular garbage, recycling or yard waste pick-up, please have your bins to the curb before 6 AM to ensure collection. We will not affect pick-up.
• Streets generally reopen within 4 hours of closure, but in some cases, may take up to 8 hours to reopen
• If a street is not completed on the day it is scheduled, it will be completed on our make-up day, Friday, Sept. 11. If for any reason SDOT is unable to maintain this schedule, you will be re-notified of the new date to resurface your street.
• Emergency vehicles will have access through the project area at all times without delay
Please note, SW 104th St east of 35th Ave SW is scheduled for microsurfacing on Thursday, Sept. 10, not Wednesday, Sept. 9 as indicated on some final notices distributed in the neighborhood.
Microsurfacing is a preventative maintenance method that extends the life of pavement for 7 to 10 years. Similar to painting a house, microsurfacing creates a protective layer which preserves the underlying structure and prevents the need for more expensive repairs in the future. To be effective, the treatment must be applied in dry weather and dry completely before being driven or walked upon again.
SDOT successfully completed a microsurfacing pilot project in Arbor Heights in 2014. More information on that project is available here.
Questions? For more information:
Art Brochet, Seattle Department of Transportation
2015Microsurfacing@seattle.gov | 206-727-3669