West Seattle, Washington
1:21 PM: Police are in North Delridge right now, investigating reported gunfire. A texter told us about it just after 1 pm, saying they had called 911 and were told others had too. No victim reported, but police have been searching an alley west of Delridge Way, between Edmunds and Hudson, and other nearby areas including a stairway along Genesee.
1:54 PM: We went to the area in hopes of finding officers to ask what if anything they’d found, but they apparently had moved on. However, we did talk to a lieutenant here at Forest Lawn, where the Memorial Day ceremony is about to start; he says the initial report was someone with a revolver, in which case no shell casings would have been left behind.
The North Delridge development boomlet continues. A long-set-for-construction site north of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center suddenly caught a lot of attention today with crews cutting trees (note the “FREE WOOD” sign). That brought in a few questions about what’s happening there. The city files for this site contain a variety of plans that have changed in the past few years, but as far as we can tell, what’s currently approved includes two 2-unit, 4-story townhouse buildings toward the middle of the site, and one single-family house on the north side.
Separate from the High Point investigation reported earlier, police are looking into a report that someone was shot earlier tonight in North Delridge. The over-the-air report was that someone had shown up at Harborview with a gunshot wound (how serious, we don’t know, but the victim apparently was conscious) and claimed to have been shot somewhere near where they live, possibly in the Delridge/Alaska vicinity. No other details so far.
Just announced – a new outdoor-music series in West Seattle this summer!
For more than twenty years, the Seattle Chamber Music Society has presented a series of free, family-friendly summer concerts in various parks around town. This year — for the first time — we will be coming to West Seattle.
In partnership with the Delridge Community Center, these events will take place on Tuesday, July 5th, and then three successive Mondays (July 11th, 18th, and 25th). Each event begins at 7:15 pm with a live performance by an outstanding student ensemble, followed at 8:00 pm with KING-FM’s broadcast of that evening’s Seattle Chamber Music Society concert, streamed live direct from Benaroya Hall.
Here’s the lineup for the live ensembles:
July 5th: “An eclectic program of music for guitar and violin, performed by an ensemble from Cornish College of the Arts”
July 11th: “Trio from UW”
July 18th: “Quartet from the Seattle Youth Symphony”
July 25th: “An eclectic program of music for guitar and violin, performed by an ensemble from Cornish College of the Arts”
Delridge Community Center is at 4501 Delridge Way SW.
Elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Seattle invites you to its Grand Reopening next Sunday (May 22nd). This is the big gym at 5050 Delridge Way SW, known previously as Straight Blast Gym of Seattle (WSB sponsor). From the announcement: “Recent events have allowed the two female owners of BJJ gyms to come together and grow our communities and provide a number of martial-arts programs such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, along with Strength and Conditioning classes for both youth and adults! We’d like to invite the community to our event and check out the mini clinics that will be held. There will be a gathering of people of all skill levels and interests.”
That photo is from this past Sunday, when they had a staff meeting with other Elite groups from around the metro area. Next up before the Sunday event, they’ll be doing renovations and rebranding this Wednesday through Friday, “which will include transformation of both the inside and outside facilities!” And then on Sunday, set for 1-4 pm, here’s what you can enjoy:
Join us in celebrating a new chapter as we open our doors and start our journey as a part of the Elite team.
Elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offers year-round programs for the entire family for kids and adults of all ages and skill levels, in a fun and safe environment.
1:30 and 3:30 pm
Take part in either a Muay Thai, Strength & Conditioning, or Kids clinic. A short 30-minute class with highly experienced coaches, you’ll have fun and learn something new. All skill levels welcome.
BJJ clinic with Professor Miriam Cardoso, head professor of Elite – 5x World Champion; check out her technical jiu-jitsu skills and coaching!
* Stop by for some local eats and fun!
* New student and family specials!
* Raffle Prizes
(UPDATED TUESDAY MORNING with suspect getting out of jail – also, see comments for more info)
3:52 PM: Late Saturday night, we reported on a gunfire suspect arrested near Delridge and Genesee. We have more information this afternoon from both SPD Blotter and the police report. First, just published on SPD Blotter by the department’s Jonah Spangenthal-Lee:
A ride-share driver led police to arrest a convicted felon Saturday night and recover a backpack filled with meth, crack cocaine, cash and a handgun.
Officer Nic Plemel was on patrol in the Delridge neighborhood around 11 PM Saturday when he heard the sound of gunfire several blocks away.
Moments later, a ride-share driver called 911 and reported seeing a man dressed in a white t-shirt, jeans and a red baseball cap firing a gun on the street in the 5400 block of Delridge Way Southwest.
Officers arrived and immediately saw a 29-year-old man, dressed just as the 911 caller had described, standing behind a bus stop at Delridge Way SW and SW Genesee Street.
Officer Plemel and Officer Nathan Worthen approached the man, who was standing right next to a backpack on the ground. He refused to answer any questions, but said the backpack wasn’t his.
When police looked inside the backpack, they found $2,700 in cash, 53 grams of suspected methamphetamine and three containers of marijuana. They later discovered 21 grams of suspected crack cocaine in the man’s pocket.
After a witness confirmed the 29-year-old was the same person they had seen firing a gun on the street, officers also discovered the 29-year-old is a previously convicted felon.
Officers booked the man into the King County Jail for drug possession and unlawful possession of firearms and are investigating.
According to the police report, a gun also was found in the backpack. We’re checking on the suspect’s record and status and will update with whatever more we find.
4:12 PM: The suspect’s background includes multiple felony convictions, according to what we’ve found so far in online records, including previous drug and gun cases.
7:33 PM: We’ve obtained the police-report narrative from the probable-cause documents provided at a hearing this afternoon during which the suspect’s bail was set at $150,000. It has some additional information beyond the SPD Blotter summary:
Two big announcements today regarding West Seattle-based nonprofit Nature Consortium, known for its forest-restoration work and melding of arts and nature, in education and other activities:
There won’t be a search for a successor because of the other big news – Nature Consortium will become a project of Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, the nonprofit that runs Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, where NC is based. According to DNDA’s David Bestock, NC will be “retaining its own branding and programs, but with operations and finances run through DNDA,” and that’s why it won’t have its own executive director any more.
Bestock adds, “All NC programs will continue as they are, as well as NC staff other than Merica, who was sought out and recruited by the organization she’s moving to in her home state of Nebraska. Willard Brown, DNDA’s Properties and Housing Director, who has been spearheading DNDA’s environmental justice programming in Delridge and partnering with NC, will become even more involved in supporting NC’s staff and programs. … We are still working out details for how this will look structurally, but it made lots of sense to everyone when Nature Consortium approached us with their proposal. Our missions have a ton of overlap in terms of social and environmental justice, preservation of local greenspace, etc. The staff and board of both orgs feel that together we can do more for our shared community by combining our resources to address the educational, health, and economic disparities that exist in Delridge.”
The official news release about all of the above is here.
11:36 PM: In the past half-hour, we’ve heard by text and by comment from people who heard gunfire in the North Delridge vicinity. Via scanner, we’ve just heard confirmation that police found shell casings, near Delridge and Genesee. No injuries reported; they’re talking with someone at the scene who might have been involved.
11:53 PM: Still from the scanner – the person was reported by a passerby to have been seen “reloading”; he’s being taken into custody.
3:59 PM: Big response for a fire call at the commercial building at 5214 Delridge Way SW. More to come; we’re en route.
4:12 PM: Sorry for the site slowness these past few minutes. Meantime, our crew has arrived. Firefighters found light smoke in the building and a “small heat signature on the roof” but were trying to track down the source. This building is home to the Daily Dose coffee shop and at least one other small business. No word of injuries. The response is scaling back but for now, Delridge is blocked between Brandon and Hudson.
4:16 PM: What happened seemed to be in the yoga/massage side of the building, something involving scented oils that could be smelled from outside the building. It’s out. Police are letting Metro through on Delridge but otherwise, it might be another 15 minutes or so before it’s clear enough that they can get other vehicles back onto the road.
5:21 PM: Just came back to check. SFD is gone; Delridge is fully open.
The World Dance Party on April 29th at Delridge Community Center will launch something brand new in West Seattle – Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association‘s Cultural Events Series. It’ll be the first of 10 events – both new and recurring, including the Delridge Day and Arts In Nature festivals – from now through the end of the year. Today’s announcement includes this backstory:
There has been growing discussion throughout broader Delridge about a need for more collaboration and communication between organizations, and an aspiration to highlight the diverse cultural groups working and living in SW Seattle. According to the 2010 census, Delridge had some of the highest per capita percentages of diverse ethnic groups represented in Seattle, and the highest percentage of youth ages 0-17 in the city. As the demographic of Delridge is rapidly changing, it is important that all residents are encouraged to invest in their community and support organizations doing significant service, cultural and artistic work here in the neighborhood.
It is with this vision that the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA) seeks to convene the Cultural Events Series to not only advance the mission of the organization but also to activate growth in a manner that will build, strengthen and empower all of the communities within the Delridge Corridor.
Partnerships will encompass the diverse group of organizations housed at DNDA’s Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and other local organizations including Nature Consortium, Totem Star, Reel Grrls, Arts Corps, Southwest Youth & Family Services, Vietnamese Cultural Center, Delridge Community Center and others. Significant funding for the project comes from Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods.
By fostering local partnerships and incorporating the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), the Cultural Events Series will increase awareness around the history, culture and needs of Delridge. The series will activate a support network to encourage residents and families who have long called Delridge home to stay rooted, empowered and engaged while deepening the perspectives of what is possible in our neighborhood.
That’s the first of the “surplus substations” in West Seattle to officially start the journey to greenspace – the former Delridge substation at 23rd SW and SW Findlay. It’s now at the heart of the Delridge Wetlands and Stewardship Project, and community volunteers were there Saturday as part of the multi-site Duwamish Alive! event.
This document on the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association website explains what the project is all about – including plans for the site to include a community garden and to be an outdoor classroom for students from nearby Louisa Boren K-8 STEM.
DNDA’s Willard Brown (above), who’s leading the project, offered words of welcome as well as elaboration on plans for the site:
The “next generation of stewards” mentioned on Saturday morning was already represented, working with the Nature Consortium on an art project:
Also there were reps of other partner organizations – including City Light, whose senior environmental analyst Rory Denovan (a West Seattleite), offered a few words too, as did Sharon Leishman of the Duwamish Alive! Coalition and Mary Fleck of the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition. It’ll take a lot of work to make hopes and dreams for the site come true – if you can help, firstname.lastname@example.org is how to check in with Willard Brown and find out how.
The spring edition of Duwamish Alive! has just wrapped up. We stopped at two of the dozen-plus volunteer sites, and this was the first:
Dozens of volunteers gathered before the 10 am work-party start time at Greg Davis Park along Longfellow Creek in North Delridge. Supporting the Duwamish River means supporting its watershed and the waterways that feed into it, like Longfellow. A special 9:30 am kickoff event here included words from 34th District State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (below), who’s hailed as an environmental champion, as well as from Chauncey Foster (2nd below) and Sharon Leishman (3rd below), both from the Duwamish Alive! Coalition:
The main message is that supporting your local urban forest and waterway(s) matters all year long, not just on special days like this one and the fall Duwamish Alive! date – get involved. Every little bit helps – no matter how young (or not-as-young) you are:
You’ll also see “the next generation of stewards” in our second report, coming up in a few hours.
4:45 AM: Police are reported to be investigating gunfire in North Delridge. We heard from one person who heard something that sounded like shots around quarter till 4, and now a second person who says police found shell casings near Cottage Place and SW Edmunds [map]. No reports of injuries. We’re checking and will add anything more we find out.
5:22 AM: Police were gone by the time we arrived; we stopped by the precinct and confirmed that the original dispatch did come in with word of damage to vehicles in that area, as our second tipster mentioned, but we’ll have to get the official report later for further details.
12:47 PM: Just obtained the report from SPD. It says damage was done to three “party buses” (photo below) and a window at their owners’ residence, and “several” shell casings were found.
The owners told police they didn’t know of anyone who would target them but they did hear two males arguing out back before it happened. A nearby resident had told dispatchers of hearing three shots and seeing a red Cadillac SUV leaving the area. Police obtained surveillance video that might have recorded it.
MIDNIGHT: Via scanner: Police are checking out multiple reports of possible gunshots heard in North Delridge. They haven’t found any evidence of gunfire yet (shell casings or property damage). If you heard them but hadn’t called 911, please do, because that helps them zero in on what might have happened and where.
12:41 AM: Still no indication any evidence was found. If you spot anything in the morning, call it in.
TRENDS: Last week’s SPD SeaStat citywide briefing slide deck included a map of where gunfire was confirmed in the previous four weeks. It shows five incidents in the SW Precinct – including South Park – between January 19th and February 15th. (That cutoff date was just before last week’s two incidents in Highland Park, outside the 7-11 on February 16th and outside a house in the 7900 block of 16th SW on February 18th.)
(Rendering by architecture firm Ryan Rhodes Designs)
When we mentioned earlier this month that the “streamlined design review” comment period had opened for four 2-townhouse buidings at 9043 18th SW [map], there was one glitch – the design packet hadn’t been posted online, so anyone interested in commenting couldn’t see it for themselves. We contacted the project’s assigned city planner, Magda Hogness, to ask if that would be fixed; she replied to say it’s there now, and because of the delay, the comment period has been extended a week (that would make the deadline March 3rd). You can see the packet on the city website by going here. “Streamlined” means no public meeting, so this is your one chance to have a say. The project has eight parking spaces along an alley behind the buildings instead of built into the three-story townhouses themselves. It’s going onto a site comprised of two lots, one vacant, one with an old house set for demolition (if it hasn’t been torn down already). To comment, e-mail email@example.com and include the city’s project number in the subject line – #3020870.
Thanks to everyone who called/texted (206-293-6302 any time) about the big police response outside the burned-out auto shop on the northeast corner of Delridge/Henderson. We just came back from going over to find out what was happening. According to officers at the scene, they were called because of a loud argument/fight between two men, which apparently started up the street and drew attention as the altercation moved toward the arterial. As they arrived, they determined the two knew each other, and that neither was seriously hurt so police were focused mostly on trying to break it up. Some of the SPD cars, and SFD Engine 11, were already leaving as we pulled up.
(1st & last photos, by WSB: This one’s from SW Yancy; look closely and you’ll see ‘Bethlehem,’ the plant’s 1930-1985 owner)
We called the plant to find out why; here’s what environmental manager Pat Jablonski told us:
The water tower hadn’t been used in decades. It’s being decommissioned and removed as part of construction/renovation work for a two-story office building at the plant. They’re not sure exactly how old it was but believe it dates back to the 1920s-1930s (the plant itself is more than a century old), built to hold an emergency water supply “before this part of Seattle had a reliable water system,” Jablonski explained.
Perhaps the tower’s most noticeable feature, catching eyes in the holiday season, has been its illuminated star (featured here in 2007). Jablonski says they’re keeping it, “upgrading it to LEDs,” and relocating it somewhere else at the plant, though they haven’t decided where yet.
As for the steel that comprises most of the tower – yes, it’ll be recycled at Nucor.
Toplines from tonight’s North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting:
RV ‘SAFE LOT’ UPDATE: The last item discussed at the meeting was the one that yielded the biggest news. NDNC co-chair Michael Taylor-Judd, leading tonight’s meeting, said the current target date for the “safe lot” at West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way to open is February 19th. We had checked again with the city at the end of last week and were told only that they were still on track for the one-month time frame mentioned in the initial announcement, which was on January 19th, exactly one month before the date mentioned tonight. Discussions since that announcement have revealed that the city expects about 15 vehicles to use the lot; that they would be solicited from among those already living in vehicles in West Seattle and SODO; that the Low Income Housing Institute would operate it, with services offered by Compass Housing Alliance. It’s one of two such lots the city announced; the other one will be in Ballard.
Also discussed by NDNC – crime, preparedness, transportation, and more:
Avery sent this warning for neighbors who park on Delridge Way SW, particularly in the 5400 block:
Just wanted to get the word out that my car was broken into last night or this morning (1/27-1/28) from where it was parked in front of the Delridge Branch Library. It seemed like they tried to steal the whole car, since the ignition was broken into, but they were unable to.
My checkbook was stolen along with some change, and my car was left disabled. It could have been a lot worse, but residents along that block should take extra care with their cars parked on the street.
Avery had to arrange to have it towed for repair.
P.S. Crime stats for the year are in the newest SeaStat briefing from which Seattle Police has released some numbers. Citywide, car prowls were down last year – 13,695 in 2015, compared to 15,351 the year before. (Precinct breakouts were not included.)
Police are still on both sides of Delridge at Willow as they investigate the crash that sent a driver to the hospital and left his classic Cadillac up on the sidewalk. He was transported by private ambulance, so his injuries aren’t life-threatening. No tow truck on scene yet but traffic is getting through, except for pedestrians on the east side of Delridge. (Thanks to the person who texted about this – our hotline is 206-293-6302, text or voice, any time.)
(WSB photo looking north on Delridge near Myrtle – existing ‘fog line’ is toward the left)
Though SDOT reaffirmed two months ago that its planned speed-limit cuts for three more West Seattle arterials would happen before the end of 2015 as planned, they didn’t happen. They’re still on the way, says SDOT’s Jim Curtin, but one of them – Delridge Way north of Orchard – will come with something extra: Fog lines. This news came in another round of correspondence with the concerned citizen whose questions sparked our November followup, “A Dad On Dangerous Delridge.” Curtin’s first reply to ADODD this week:
In an effort to achieve the lower speeds we seek on Delridge, we will be adding a fog line (aka edge line) to narrow the existing travel lanes on the street. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has a good website dedicated to lane widths here. Some sections of Delridge already have an edge line but most areas do not. Several locations, including the area just south of the Boren Building (home to two schools), have wide swaths of roadway with little to no organization or structure. The edge line will change that and help us reduce vehicle speeds on the corridor. This work is weather-dependent so we’ll need some dry weather before we can install the new pavement markings. We are hoping to make this change in the first quarter of 2016 during a dry stretch. A public communications effort will accompany these changes to help raise awareness of the speed limit change.
After seeing that via a CC in ADODD’s correspondence, we followed up with Curtin, first to ask if there’s a specified width for the resulting, narrowed traffic lanes: “Travel lanes will be 11 to 12 feet wide depending on the location to match the existing edge lines on the corridor. The roadway channelization will look very similar to the existing conditions on Delridge between Croft Pl SW and SW Myrtle Street.” (That’s where we took the photo atop this story.) He added that “the edge line will be applied to both sides of the street. Bike lanes are not planned through this low cost effort.” No existing markings will be changed, according to Curtin, just “essentially filling in the gaps in the channelization so we will not make changes to existing pavement markings.”
Our last question: What about the other arterials set for speed-limit reduction? Curtin replied: “Fauntleroy between Alaska and California will occur first – likely within the next month or so. The speed limit is already 30 mph along most of Fauntleroy but the speed limit jumps up to 35 in this section (which contains mainly residential land uses, Fairmount Park Elementary, and a park). Speed studies show that drivers are already traveling well below the existing 35 mph speed limit on this section of Fauntleroy. We intend to recalibrate the radar speed sign at SW Brandon Street and change the existing speed limit signs. As you know, the design of the roadway was significantly changed in 2009.” The 30 mph speed limit for more arterials was first announced last February.
1:23 AM: We’ve heard from several people about possible gunshots in North Delridge a short time ago. We haven’t (yet) heard any confirmation of gunfire – police need to find casings and/or property damage for that – and definitely no victim(s) reported anywhere. Though a few people mentioned hearing a helicopter, the area’s one law-enforcement helicopter, Guardian One, is nowhere nearby, according to the last transmission we heard. We’re still checking – please let us know if/where you see police activity.
1:35 AM: One person who heard it says the 911 dispatcher confirmed police are looking into this. We’re off to see if we can find where they’re focusing.
ADDED 9:39 AM: While the full incident report isn’t available yet, we were able to get a few details from SPD media-relations Officer Lauren Lovanhill: She says “multiple bullet holes were found in a residence in the 5600 block of Delridge (Way SW),” and 32 casings were found in the front yard and driveway. Four people were seen running from the area and getting into a car. And she confirms that, as we believed to be the case at the time, no one was hit.
ADDED 8:27 PM: As noted in comments, the precinct’s second-in-command, Operations Lt. Ron Smith, was at tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting. This didn’t happen in that district and so wasn’t on the agenda but we talked to him briefly as soon as we saw him pre-meeting – he said so far there’s no indication any of the recent incidents are connected, and that this is being investigated by the department’s Real-Time Crime Unit and “intel” unit. The written report still wasn’t available by day’s end so we’ll renew our request for it tomorrow. The meeting’s guest speaker was newly inaugurated Councilmember Lisa Herbold; she was asked one question about public-safety issues in general, and said one that’s on her radar for starters is 911 response times, and she is working to get documentation on that from SPD.