West Seattle, Washington
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.
(Added 7:54 pm: Blue Architecture‘s ‘packet’ for upcoming SWDRB meeting)
This Thursday (January 7th), the Southwest Design Review Board is scheduled to take its second look at the 9021 17th SW apartment project during its first meeting of the new year. As we first reported four weeks ago, this is the only project on the board’s agenda for January 7th. The image above is from the “packet” for the meeting (see it on the city website here, or embedded above), which includes this updated description of the project:
The project is a four-story apartment building over a partially below grade parking level with approximately 32 one- and two-bedroom dwelling units. 32 parking stalls are provided, either below grade, or a combination of below grade and surface parking. All parking is accessed from the alley. The project anticipates BuiltGreen certification for an FAR increase and allowable height increase.
The height would be up to 44 feet plus “4 feet for roof features,” per the packet; the unit count is one more than the previous version of the proposal, which was critiqued for a “mini-fortress”-like appearance during its first SWDRB review in October (WSB coverage here; official city report here) and is as a result returning for a second try at the Early Design Guidance phase of the process.
As always, the meeting will include time for public comment on the proposed design; you can also send written comments to its designated city planner, Tami Garrett, who also is your contact for comments on non-design aspects of the project, including traffic, parking, and noise – email@example.com. Thursday’s meeting is at 6:30 pm, upstairs at the Sisson Building/Senior Center, SW Oregon & California SW in The Junction.
12:26 PM: SFD reports that two people are hurt and that the fire is under control.
12:35 PM: Because of the sizable response, Delridge Way is closed for at least a block, between Brandon and Findlay, as Andrew points out in comments and as confirmed by our crew at the scene.
12:50 PM: If you’re seeing/hearing a helicopter in the area, it’s just TV checking this out.
1:12 PM: SFD has just briefed the media on scene, saying one person has gone to Harborview with serious burns; the fire was limited to a mattress in that person’s apartment on the
top second floor and the building’s sprinkler system put it out.
The other injured person did not need hospitalization. The Fire Department also says one person was found dead in a nearby apartment, and apparently had died within the past few hours, but that is not believed to have been related to the fire.
2:10 PM: Delridge had reopened and SFD’s fire investigator was on scene when we passed through about 15 minutes ago. We’ll update when there’s official word on the fire’s cause. Though the flames hadn’t spread beyond the aforementioned mattress, SFD says three units had significant damage because of the water from the sprinkler system.
2:50 PM: We’ve added more photos as well as the unedited video of SFD Lt. Sue Stangl‘s earlier briefing.
4:43 PM: If you are in the area and wondering about a new multi-unit response at the building, the 911 log shows it’s an “automatic fire alarm” response.
ADDED EARLY THURSDAY: The Seattle Times reports that the man hospitalized after this fire has died. The County Medical Examiner’s daily media recording lists the death of the 39-year-old burn victim mentioned in the Times’ report but does not specify a location, so we’ll be verifying later this morning. We had checked with SFD on Wednesday to ask about any official ruling on the fire’s cause; not yet, they told us.
If you need to borrow something from the West Seattle Tool Library before Christmas – hurry! After today and tomorrow, the WSTL is taking a break until the New Year. Christina Hahs wants you to know the Tool Library will “be closed from Thursday, December 24th through Thursday, December 31st. We’ll be back up and running on Saturday, January 2nd. We are requesting that items due back during this time not be returned until we are open again. No late fees will accrue.” Haven’t been to the Tool Library? It’s on the northeast side of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center at 4408 Delridge Way SW – read all about it here, including inventory and regular hours.
City crews continue working on West Seattle’s second neighborhood greenway, Delridge-Highland Park, and concurrently, on roadside raingardens and other “natural drainage” elements in part of the area. Some of this work will involve temporary water shutoffs, according to this update just sent by project managers:
Seattle Public Utilities began constructing the natural drainage system along 17th Ave SW from SW Cloverdale Street to SW Thistle Street.
Construction crews are installing curb ramps that are compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards in this area, and pedestrian detours are in effect. To perform water-service relocations, SPU water crews will shut down the water main two blocks at a time. If your water is going to be shut off, you will receive a door-hanger notification 48 hours in advance. Curbs and sidewalks that were removed for the water service relocations will then be re-installed.
The project webpage says some of that water work was expected to happen today and tomorrow, and includes a reminder that once the water’s back on, you might see discoloration for a while.
Meantime, the city’s update continues with information on the next round of road and sidewalk work:
Construction to build a pedestrian pathway connecting areas north and south of the cul-de-sac on 17th Ave SW between SW Myrtle and SW Webster streets has been delayed and will begin as early as January 4, 2016.
When construction begins, parking will be limited and pedestrian detours will be in place around the work area. This work is expected to take up to two weeks to complete.
Final work to be done at the intersection of 15th Ave SW and SW Holden St includes pouring curb ramps and sidewalk. We expect this work will be complete by Monday, December 28.
Crews began preparing the intersection at 16th Ave SW and SW Webster St for pedestrian safety improvements, including new crosswalks, new sidewalk, and new ADA-compliant curb ramps.
Crews began pouring sidewalk and curb ramps. Weather permitting, this work is expected to be complete by December 28.
Crews will return to the west side of 21st Ave SW, south of where 21st Ave SW and 22nd Ave SW merge, to rebuild the sidewalk. We expect this work will begin as early as January 4 and will include pouring concrete for sidewalk and asphalt for driveways. Both pours require dry days. Weather permitting, this work will take 2 weeks to complete. Residents will be notified in advance of driveway closures.
Construction is complete at 16th Ave SW and SW Kenyon St.
And the city notice includes the caveat that much of this is weather-dependent, so rain can change the schedule. More updates, and links to the full project plan, can be found here. The work’s been under way since late summer.
7:52 PM: The original call is for a medic response at Delridge and Kenyon; via Twitter, a tipster says it’s blocking the road, so we’re off to check.
8:10 PM: Seattle Fire had cleared the scene before we got there; two SPD units remained, in the pullout by the bus stop on the northbound side, so traffic had resumed flowing both ways. The officers told us a driver hit a pedestrian – injuries not life-threatening; the pedestrian was taken to the hospital by private ambulance.
Don’t just play games – make them! That’s the invitation Delridge Library has for students 9-13, during an upcoming multi-day special event, December 14-17, involving designing games with the system you see in the demonstration video above:
This 4-day workshop will be taught by the creator of BlockStudio, a new system that lets novices create games and animations rapidly, without using code. Students will learn how to turn their creative ideas into interactive software, and tackle progressively harder challenges each day. The final day will consist of a show-and-tell session, where students will show off their creations to each other. All games and animations created during this workshop will be playable after the workshop is over. For ages 9 – 13.
The library calendar shows the workshop happening 4-5:30 pm each of those four days. It’s free, but registration is required, so call the branch (5423 Delridge Way SW) to find out how – 206-733-9125 it’s open 11 am-6 pm today.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:12 PM: Police and medics are on the way to an apartment in the 4800 block of Delridge Way SW, where a man is reported to have a gunshot wound to the back. Officers are starting a search for a suspect or suspects last seen northbound on Delridge. Police are blocking Delridge near the scene. Updates to come.
11:34 PM UPDATE: We just arrived near the scene. Before getting here, we heard via scanner that the victim’s wound is not life-threatening, and that there might be multiple suspects who reportedly fired from outside. Delridge is reopening.
12:09 AM: No new information was available at the scene, but we’ll pursue the report in the morning and add whatever more we find.
12:37 PM: We just received the narrative from the official report. With names redacted as is SPD policy, here it is:
(The victim) was over at his friend’s house playing video games.
He went outside with (two people) to try to locate a set of car keys that he may have dropped outside.
(Those two) were on the west side of Delridge while (the victim) was on the east side of the street near (the victim’s) van. All three said that they heard shots and dropped to the ground. All three said that the shooters were three B/Ms [black males], younger, possibly in their twenties, wearing dark clothing.
(One person) said that they came out from behind 48xx Delridge (east side of the street), fired approximately 3 times, then ran off to the north and then back behind the buildings on the east side of Delridge where they were no longer in sight. (Witnesses and victim) retreated back into 48xx (west side) Delridge Way SW #A where they contacted 911 to report the shooting.
When officers arrived (the victim) walked out to Delridge where he was treated by SFD Engine 11 and Medic 32. He was transported to HMC [Harborview Medical Center] for further treatment. (The two others and a third person) all believed that this was a gang-involved shooting. They implied that they knew who had done this. (One) said that he had heard the three shooters on previous occasions yell out (gang name), but all three believed that they were associated with a (different gang). All three witnesses were shaken up and did not want to provide statements at the time of the incident. I advised that detectives would be contacting them and they would be able to tell them what had happened. … Officers were unable to locate suspects or any evidence at the scene.
(WSB photo from Sunday)
Crews were in the vicinity again today investigating the cause of the sewer discharge in the right of way near Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard Street. They determined that the overflow was caused by two maintenance-hole covers that were not watertight. We are exploring ways of sealing the holes to prevent future overflows at the location.
Crews also found that the new Delridge combined-sewer-overflow (CSO) project construction is working as designed.
By Sunday evening (11/15), crews responded to and contained the sewage overflow. They removed warning signs once the area had been cleared, and the road was reopened to traffic. We will let you know when we have figured out how, and when, we seal the maintenance holes that caused the overflow.
If you’re interested in the city’s policies regarding off-leash dogs in parks – whether you think current policies are too lenient, too tough, or just right – you’ll be interested in this Wednesday’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting. The agenda includes a discussion of the People, Dogs, and Parks Strategic Plan (previously called the Off-Leash Area Strategic Plan) that’s under development, with a draft plan to go public in early January. Scheduled guests include reps from Seattle Parks and from the Seattle Nature Alliance. The under-development plan was a topic at last week’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting, as reported here. The DNDC meets at 7 pm Wednesday (November 18th) at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW.
P.S. If you can’t be there, the city is also taking comments via this form.
8:03 AM: Multiple texters report road flooding has closed Orchard at Delridge. We’ll be checking on it shortly.
10:06 AM: We’ve since learned from Seattle Public Utilities spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin that this is a sewage overflow:
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has responded this morning to a sewage overflow in West Seattle at Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard Street. The sewage is discharging north on Delridge to SW Myrtle Street and eventually overflowing into Longfellow Creek. SPU crews have posted signs alerting residents to stay out of the water, which may be contaminated. Orchard Street near Delridge Way is closed while spill response and drainage and wastewater crews contain the overflow and begin the clean-up. The volume of the spill is unknown at this time.
This is primarily happening on the east and north sides of the Delridge/Orchard intersection. You might recall that SPU worked in recent months on what was supposed to be a combined-sewer-overflow-control project, so we’ll be following up to see what went wrong.
9:36 PM: While Orchard east of Delridge was still closed in late afternoon, it’s now open, but narrowed – one lane each way, with an area blocked off at curbside on the westbound side for a short distance. No crews on scene now so we’d have to guess this will continue into the morning commute; we’ll check back by 7 am or so.
Thanks to the texter who sent that photo from Delridge/18th. We subsequently headed over to check out the scene and found the northbound lane is blocked. One person was being put into Medic 32, and police told us he’s being taken to Harborview.
(Added: Photo e-mailed by Amelia)
Avoid the area for a while.
(Quick clip of salmon in Longfellow Creek last year, contributed by Josh)
Tom e-mailed earlier this week to report spotting salmon in Longfellow Creek, by Dragonfly Pavilion in North Delridge – two last Friday, and “four big ones” last Monday. If you want to go look for salmon, tomorrow morning brings an excellent chance – go on an educational walk 10 am-11:30 am Saturday with Puget Soundkeeper volunteers. You’ll learn about their ongoing study of pre-spawning mortality, too. Meet up at the pavilion (4107 28th SW); you’re advised to “wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet/stinky.”
P.S. On the other side of West Seattle, no salmon sightings in Fauntleroy Creek yet, as of our last check.
(Added: WSB photo outside Super 24, taped off after shell casings were found in the parking lot)
5:50 PM: Thanks for the tips – police are investigating gunfire in the Delridge area, with a report of shell casings found near Delridge and Findlay, and possibly other locations. No word of any injuries so far.
6 PM: Police were also investigating reports from the 17th/Elmgrove area, but aren’t finding anything, per scanner.
6:21 PM: At Delridge/Findlay, the investigation centers on the Super 24 store’s parking lot. The casings found there are proof of gunfire, but still no indication of any victims. The officers there had no further information beyond the basics as reported here. We’re off to see if anything turned up at 17th/Elmgrove.
6:26 PM: The Guardian One helicopter (operated by the Sheriff’s Office but assisting with other law-enforcement agencies in the region, including Seattle Police, which does not have its own chopper) is now headed toward Delridge/Webster to search for something possibly related in that area. So is our crew, which didn’t find anyone on 17th.
6:37 PM: We talked to police searching across Delridge from the precinct. What they’re checking out there is a report that someone heard what sounded like a shotgun being “racked.” We asked them if they have any description(s) to share – they said no, they’ve just been chasing reports, as have we. Our crew is headed back to Delridge/Findlay to see if anything’s new there.
6:53 PM: Two things – regarding the shotgun, we heard via scanner that the sound might have been attributable to a piece of metal in the road. Second, we did speak to officers back at Delridge and Findlay who say three vehicles might have been involved in all this – they have partial descriptions of two: A blue Chevy Impala and a light-colored Mercedes.
Tonight at Delridge Community Center – a Halloween carnival that had everyone aglow. It was lights-out in the gym for the Glow-In-The-Dark Party, with crafts and games.
Best part – all this fun was for free:
So was the Delridge Grocery “pop-up pumpkin patch,” sporting little spotlights:
Partygoers had the chance to take pumpkins home – just in time to turn them into jack-o-lanterns!
(UPDATED 11 AM with confirmation of arrest)
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 5:19 AM: Two people were shot in West Seattle early this morning; one did not survive. It happened before 2 am in the 6900 block of 23rd SW (map). Multiple 911 callers reported hearing gunfire; police say officers found the victims lying in the street. One was dead at the scene; the other was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. No arrests reported so far; homicide detectives ask that anyone with information call 206-233-5000.
This is the first deadly shooting in West Seattle since December 31st, 2013, when 40-year-old Stephen Jeffries, Jr., was killed in the 9200 block of 16th SW, a murder that remains unsolved.
5:46 AM UPDATE: Detectives are still at the scene (photo above), where we just spoke with Homicide Unit Capt. Steve Paulsen. He tells WSB the victims are both men in their 20s, and that investigators believe an “altercation” preceded the gunfire. They’re still looking for others who might have been involved.
11 AM: More than two hours after a SWAT operation at 26th and Holden – less than a mile from the shooting scene – that resulted in one man being detained, police are confirming that a suspect in the shooting is in custody. We’re still working to confirm details.
1:44 PM: As we noted in the comment discussion, we’ve since found via other court documents that the 25-year-old man in jail right now for investigation of homicide lives or has lived at the 26th/Holden house where police converged this morning. He does not have a felony record; he was charged in connection with a nearby street robbery in 2009 but the case was dismissed. We might not find out much more before Monday but we’re still looking.
ADDED LATE SATURDAY NIGHT: We have learned a little about the man who was killed. We don’t know whether next of kin have all been notified, so we aren’t identifying him at this point, but he was 24, had a culinary career – working at a downtown restaurant – and was an alum of West Seattle High School. We are also told the man who survived is 34, not in his 20s as police had told us, but we don’t yet know anything more about him.
Maybe you’ll find this stolen bicycle dumped in the bushes somewhere – that’s what happens to so many stolen bikes. From Kathleen:
Unfortunately today my 14 year old brother rode his bike to the Delridge Library and left it unlocked when he went inside and it was gone when he came out. It’s a red and white Trek bicycle in an older youth size. Sadly it was the last gift our mom gave him before she passed away of cancer so it also has great sentimental value. I’ve reported it to the police but we don’t have a picture or serial number so it’s a long shot to get it back. Hopefully someone will see it somewhere.
In the second part of Thursday night’s Southwest Design Review Board doubleheader, a 31-apartment, 31-offstreet-parking-space building proposed for 9021 17th SW was told to give Early Design Guidance a second try – though board members agreed the design had promise from the start, they were most concerned about how the building would relate to its setting.
Four SWDRB members were on hand – chair Todd Bronk and Matt Zinski, who are West Seattleites; Donald Caffrey from Beacon Hill; Alexandra Moravec from the Central District.
With them, Tami Garrett (at right in photo above), the DPD planner assigned to the project.
Bob Guyt with Bremerton-based Blue Architecture and Design said it’s a 4-story building over underground parking “optimiz(ing) the zoning for the site,” which is LR3, and noted that all three of their massing (height and shape) alternatives are “code-compliant” – no zoning exceptions. “The scale of the neighborhood per zoning is beginning to change and become more dense.” The single-family house that used to be on this site has been torn down, he said. The architects pointed out the transitions in the area – some single-family housing, some apartments, some commercial zoning. “This is kind of a middle ground.” They tried to respond to a couple of large trees on the south side of the site, regarding solar shading.
Option #1, the project team’s “preferred option,” has some pitched-roof elements, and a larger residential-amenity area “on the sunny side of the area.” 20 spaces would be under the building, 11 on the north side of the building, all accessed off the alley (and later noted, on the lower point of the site). A raingarden is planned on the site to divert rainwater.
Option #2 “would take advantage of the entire zoning envelope,” including 4 feet of additional height and a flat roof. No overhangs at the top, so the building would be closer to the south property line, with less shading of the properties on the north side.
Option #3 “brought back the shed roof elements,” with a raingarden space, but the parking “flipped over to the south side,” with the building pulling back a bit from those two big trees on a neighboring property.
BOARD QUESTIONS: Bronk said he wasn’t really seeing much difference in the massing – at the Early Design Guidance stage, there are supposed to be distinct options. He also wondered why they hadn’t gone for entirely underground parking. It had to do with circulation, the architects said, while promising the surface-parked cars would be in carport-type enclosures to “minimize the impact.” The cars wouldn’t be parked directly at units’ window level, they said.
Zinski asked for elaboration on the amenity area. Guyt said it would be a place for residents to “barbecue, hang out,” and noted that they are required to have a certain amount of square footage devoted to that. Moravec asked about the private patios and whether they’d be basically equal to the shared spaces. The architects are still working that out.
Three people spoke. The first did not identify himself. He said the building looks a lot like many other buildings in West Seattle. “What distinguishes this building from a lot of the other buildings” in the area? “Is this a building they can be proud of, want to go and spend their life there?” He also wondered if the roof for the outdoor parking could be a green roof. And he wondered about the need for outdoor barbecuing space. Finally, he said rectangles and squares seem to be the “operative word in architecture,” but maybe there’s some other way to go about it. “I don’t see this as being that welcoming to passers-by.” He wondered “what’s the personality of this building? If I seem rather critical … that’s the general environment we’re facing in the community now … I would like to see more character, quite frankly. This building’s going to be here for quite a while, and people are going to be living with it in their neighborhood.”
The second was Deb Barker, former Design Review Board member, who pointed out that the architects had erred in declaring that this was White Center. She pointed out it was the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village. She voiced concern that too much would be crammed into the site – that drew applause from the dozen or so attendees 0 and also noted that the three options didn’t have much differentiation in massing. She also felt the applicant had jumped to far ahead by setting up the unit counts before seeing what the site could accommodate. She also pointed out that the “underground” parking is NOT underground, that the site’s not being dug into, that it’s really “at grade,” and if it was being dug into, the building’s units would’t be separated from the street. “To set your whole facade in a seating wall, you’re really separating your pedestrians from the residents.” She also said she’s a fan of roof overhangs as seen in Option 1. She urged the project to come back with other massing options, maybe a U shape with internal courtyard.
The third person to speak didn’t identify himself. He said he likes the U shaped idea and he expects at least half the units to have kids so there should be a courtyard for them to play in. He said he was nervous about fencing because graffiti vandalism is a problem in the areae and landlords usually aren’t very responsive about painting it over. He also said he “really really really appreciate you guys putting parking spaces in.”
Starting with concerns: Moravec said she didn’t think it was a bad design but would have liked to see more options. She also voiced concern about at least three units in the shade and looking at parked cars. Caffrey’s concerns included the interaction with the site – retaining walls, fences, etc. Bronk said he doesn’t see the project doing anything to be of value to the neighborhood. He doesn’t “feel great about approving a project that gets a bonus for having only half of its parking underground.” Taking a single family lot and putting 15 cars on there just feels “not in concert with being a good neighbor.” He also is “not in love withthe big ramp that’s going to be necessary at the entrance.” He also voiced concern about the “self-constrained program of 31 units.”
Issues of concern for the board include topography. They gave props to the project team for trying to save plants/habitat, and expressed appreciation for the raingarden that’s proposed; some “significant” but not “exceptional” trees are proposed for removal, and that requires replacement, Garrett noted. One of the architects pointed out that this building is not required to have parking but “street parking there is a mess” and so they have opted to provide some.
Adding 31 people to the block without a real “meet your neighbor” aspect to it is a problem, said Bronk, looking at the public life/open space guidelines for the area. They asked to see a “window study” to see how nearby residents will be affected. They asked the team to consider where people would park bikes and how bikes would be brought into the building, as that wasn’t shown in the presentation. Zinski said he didn’t think the building had to be a “jumble” of facade treatments. Bronk voiced concern about the size of the outdoor amenity space, and whether it would be accessible to more than the people next to it.
Ultimately they wanted to see another Early Design Guidance round because they weren’t seeing three distinct options. Though this isn’t a bad design, a majority of board members said, they would like to see a U-shaped option among others. Bronk said he doesn’t think the building’s design is in the best interest of the neighborhood. He’d like to see another massing option “with the building on the ground.” Moravec agreed that she’d “love to see another option.” Zinski said he saw a “lot of unresolved (issues) … all of the unresolved pieces of this are really going to drive the massing.” Bronk said that when issues are left unaddressed in Early Design Guidance, the building might wind up having the next phase of the Design Review process stretched out. “It feels like a mini-fortress,” is how Bronk summarized the concerns about the current massing. But while saying the changes might just be “little tweaks overall,” cumulatively they are “big enough that we need to see it again.” That means at least two more meetings; in the meantime, if you have comments on the project, contact planner Garrett, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story, photos, video by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
Successes, challenges, even tragedy took turns in the spotlight as Mayor Ed Murray and a strike force of city staffers descended on North Delridge today for their 12th Find It, Fix It Community Walk, first one in West Seattle.
This was no “drop in and we’ll wander around” event. It was meticulously planned for months, with a community committee involved in planning the route and who would speak where and when. An audio system was carted from stop to stop, and speeches – by community members as well as the mayor and staffers – took up about a third of the hour and a half it actually lasted. With so much planned, it was far more thorough than the last mayoral walking tour we recall in the area, by Murray’s predecessor Mike McGinn five years ago, though part of the route was the same.
We’ll begin at the beginning:
At the starting point, the Louisa Boren STEM K-8 school at 5950 Delridge Way SW, the mayor was introduced by Neighborhood District Coordinator Kerry Wade, who spent months working with community volunteers to ensure this happened without a hitch. With a podium, PA system, and the full crowd, speeches ensued, starting with the mayor explaining what the walks are about:
He introduced the many department heads who were along for the walk:
From left, Seattle Public Utilities’ Ray Hoffman, Seattle City Light’s acting GM Jim Baggs, SPD Deputy Chief Carmen Best, Department of Neighborhoods’ Kathy Nyland, SDOT’s Scott Kubly, Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre, budget director Ben Noble, Department of Finance and Administrative Services’ Fred Podesta. Also taking a turn at the podium, City Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Tom Rasmussen:
The school was also the official first stop on the walk, highlighting the success story of its new crosswalk, installed just before this school year began:
Ironically, as community member Craig Rankin pointed out – having been deeply involved in making it happen (as reported here in March 2014) – it wouldn’t be where it is if the city had had its way:
After he spoke, it was off to the next stop, with residents Michelle Whelan and Maketa Wilborn pointing out one of the many places where the Delridge area – mostly a narrow valley, the “dell” between the “ridges” – has drainage challenges:
Using a tablet, they showed the mayor and SPU director Hoffman some images of problems in the past, and pointed out that nearby slopes are slated for development, wondering just how much worse things will get because of that, if something’s not done.
Stop number 3, as the group headed north, was a piece of city-owned property that will remain greenspace thanks to a community organization’s efforts to keep it from being sold off.
That’s Willard Brown from the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, which – as reported here recently – will be using grant money and donations to buy one of City Light’s surplus substation sites; here’s the aerial look from SCL’s website.
During the Find It, Fix It walk, Brown spoke about how preserving the greenspace will benefit students from the nearby school:
But some “fixing” is still needed here, he noted, adding his voice to those clamoring for drainage and water-routing improvements in the area. Turning west, the group crossed Delridge Way, and stopped by the planting strip on the south side of the Super 24 store, where, as previewed here last week, the Nature Consortium had a cleanup project under way:
(You might recall some controversy over that planting strip – which previously had been part of a small perpendicular-parking area, and then, when converted, was overpaved, leading to the creation of the beds that were weeded today.) NC executive director Merica Whitehall spoke here during today’s event:
She told the mayor and participants about her organization’s work with the community and with the West Duwamish Greenbelt, in tandem with thousands of volunteers every year:
The alley leading toward Delridge Library was the next segment of the route:
While walking northbound in the alley, community advocate Pete Spalding (above right) talked about neighbors’ watchfulness and the principle “if you see something, say something.” The mayor also heard from library manager Jane Appling, whose staffers and clients have to deal with what happens in the alley, too, and with North Delridge Neighborhood Council‘s Michael Taylor-Judd (below left):
(At right in the photo above is city traffic engineer Dongho Chang, seen at many a local project meeting.) Concerns related to the alley, besides its overall condition, continue to range from vandalism to drug use; the mayor mentioned the ongoing work to hire more officers for SPD, as well as rampant problems attributed to the nation’s “drug epidemic.” Finding needles and syringes was a problem also mentioned by Delridge P-Patch volunteers, who spoke at the next stop:
They also spoke of successes including their Giving Garden – growing food-bank donations – and how they were able to convert some young area troublemakers into garden volunteers. Some of the walkers moved on through the garden, still beautifully in bloom for fall …
… while some stopped for treats, including the mayor:
DGC volunteers met the visitors and talked about their years of work to get a store open to help make Delridge less of a “food desert.” This week, they announced to their 400+ members that they had been told “informally” that DGC would be declined for a loan it had hoped would bring a big boost toward opening – but they vow to push on and find financing some other way. This stop was a rare chance, by the way, to look inside their future space at 5444 Delridge Way SW – mouse over our Instagram clip to play a :15 clip panning around inside:
In the courtyard of Cottage Grove Commons, those who hadn’t straggled off along the way heard about the building – open now for almost two years as housing for people who were previously homeless – and that one of residents and managers’ biggest concerns is nearby traffic and safely crossing the street. This is where tragedy was mentioned – the death of a CGC resident hit by a car in November of last year. This next clip also includes the mayor’s closing remarks:
With his promise to return, the first West Seattle “Find It, Fix It” walk wrapped up after about an hour and 20 minutes – a visit that had been months in the making.
Perhaps one of the most important exchanges was back at the P-Patch, where the garden volunteers said they didn’t know how to ask for help with some of their problems – where to go in city government. The mayor said for one, speaking up at the event was the same as asking for help. For two, he said, his staff is working on ways for people to navigate the tangle of city departments and services more easily. Sometimes it might seem like departments are in silos – but a sighting along the way was a reminder that it doesn’t have to be that way:
Staffers from multiple departments – including the firefighter in our photo – carried grabbers and bright yellow bags, picking up trash and debris as they walked in the Saturday sunshine.
P.S. Both candidates for West Seattle’s new District 1 City Council seat were there too; photos to come, in a separate report looking ahead to Election Day, now exactly one month away.
P.P.S. Lots of side conversations – we’ll be adding notes about the ones we hear of, like this mention from Sanislo Elementary, whose reps brought up the illegal dumping that’s a chronic problem nearby.