Dozens of people gathered outside a Harbor Island office this afternoon to demonstrate in support of hundreds who are protesting almost 200 miles away, on Burnaby Mountain, east of Vancouver, B.C. The Harbor Island office belongs to Kinder Morgan, which wants to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby to carry tar-sands oil.
The expansion would bring hundreds more oil tankers into Northwest waters to receive that oil. While today’s Harbor Island rally was uneventful – though Port of Seattle police were visible nearby – the protest in Canada has resulted in dozens of arrests since Kinder Morgan obtained an injunction to prevent opponents from interfering with their preparatory work, which currently involves drilling. The pipeline-expansion decision is in the hands of Canada’s National Energy Board, which has an infopage about it here.)
Big dig done: Excavation ends at million-gallon-tank Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project site by Lowman BeachNovember 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 6 Comments
Not long after we took that photo last week, excavation concluded at the site of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Project‘s future million-gallon tank. After a reader mentioned seeing a big excavator on a truck heading eastbound, we checked the project’s status today with Doug Marsano from King County Wastewater Treatment. He confirmed the conclusion of the 60-foot-deep excavation, which started two months ago, and said the next big job will be a three-day concrete pour for the 17-foot base on which the tank will rest – no dates set yet, but they hope to get it done before Thanksgiving. It’ll mean:
About 20 trucks an hour will deliver concrete to the site to pour the base. Two concrete pump trucks will be located on the east side of Beach Drive SW to pump the concrete into the hole. Trucks will enter the site from Lincoln Park Way SW and exit using 48th Ave SW. Trucks waiting to pour will park on Fauntleroy Way SW and Lincoln Park Way SW. Flaggers will direct traffic around the site. To maintain local vehicle access, no parking will be available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 7000 block of Beach Dr. S.W. and on Lincoln Park Way from Murray Ave. to Beach Dr. on pour days.
That’s from the official construction update, which you can see here. In case you missed it in our early excavation coverage, here’s how much dirt was removed and where it went.
As of noon, a Stage 2 burn ban is in effect in King County, and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency expects to keep it in effect until 6 am tomorrow. It cites “continued weather conditions and air-pollution levels. Here’s what this level of burn ban means:
During a Stage 2 burn ban:
* No burning is allowed in any wood-burning fireplaces, certified or uncertified wood stoves or fireplace inserts. Residents should rely instead on their home’s other, cleaner source of heat (such as their furnace or electric baseboard heaters) for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is cancelled.
* The only exception is if the homeowner has a previously approved ‘No Other Adequate Source of Heat’ designation from the Clean Air Agency
* No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimineas.
* Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.
It is OK to use natural gas and propane stoves or inserts during a Stage 2 burn ban.
Rain is expected to return early tomorrow.
1 1/2 months until mandatory food-waste composting: City asks about your ‘most compostable’ holiday dishNovember 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle online | 21 Comments
On New Year’s Day, the new city rules about food-waste composting kick in. To keep that top-of-mind, Seattle Public Utilities just launched a mini-survey with an incentive – asking what food you’re most likely to compost this holiday season. 14 options (or write in your own) on one page, with a chance to win a kitchen compost bin if you choose to include your e-mail address. Friday’s the deadline.
(Photo courtesy Cindi Barker: Some of the plants that await you!)
Four West Seattle sites are part of the citywide Green Seattle Day workparty-a-thon tomorrow – but just one comes with the added notation “Needs some love” on the signup list: Orchard Street Ravine in the Gatewood/Morgan area. Organizers say it’s “a big effort (that) can use lots of willing hands”:
We are finishing some clearing and have 150 plants that need to get into the ground. After planting we will be laying burlap and bark down in preparation for the winter. So there are tasks of all kinds, please come for some or all of the time, tools will be provided, just bring your own gloves.
They’ll be working 9 am-1 pm, but even if you can only be there for part of that time, that would still be a BIG help. Directions are on this page, which is where you also can RSVP right now, to let organizers know help is on the way!
The Whale Trail’s Orca Talks: Southern Resident Killer Whales’ status next time; protection-zone proposal last timeNovember 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 5 Comments
(2012 photo by Rick Rasmussen)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Ten years after they were formally listed as endangered, what do we really know about Puget Sound’s endangered orcas, formally known as the Southern Resident Killer Whales?
One of the focal points of her research is how boat traffic affects the whales. And that was at the heart of The Whale Trail’s first Orca Talk of the season, last Thursday at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor).
During that event, Bruce Stedman of Orca Relief talked about his organization’s proposal of a zone in the San Juans where boats would have to keep a greater distance from whales than they do now. He said it’s not the only action that’s needed to help them – but it’s the one that could make a difference the quickest. Pointedly, he noted that the recovery plan originally envisioned up to 115 Southern Resident Killer Whales by 2015, but that is at this point beyond impossible … that’s three dozen more than the current population, which has had only one birth in the past two years, the calf that is now missing and presumed dead.
Coho season continues on 2 local creeks:
Thanks to Josh for sharing that quick clip of one of more than 20 salmon he spotted during a visit to Longfellow Creek: “There are a ton of fish near the bonefish bridge, and we recommend people check it out!” (It’s a short distance down the trail from the Dragonfly Pavilion area just south of 26th/Yancy.)
Meantime, from Fauntleroy Creek, Judy Pickens and Dennis Hinton report more than 90 human visitors during their three-hour “open creek” sessions Saturday and Sunday afternoons. No new coho sightings over the weekend, though, so the total remains at 19. But as Judy puts it, visits are worthwhile, fish or no fish, enabling visitors “to experience spawning season very close to home and to learn a lot about salmon and habitat protection.” (Find out ways you can make a difference, here.) Volunteers will continue their watch in Fauntleroy for at least another week.
West Seattle windstorm aftermath: Lowman Beach cleared to reopen after sewage overflow during power outageOctober 29, 2014 at 1:53 pm | In Environment, West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news | 5 Comments
(WSB photo: Excavation site at midday today)
As the excavation continues at the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project site across from Lowman Beach Park, another reminder of what the future million-gallon tank is for – King County announced that Saturday night’s windstorm led to a power outage and another overflow from Murray Pump Station, into Puget Sound.
We’re still waiting to hear the amount of sewage that (updated) 200,000 gallons of sewage overflowed; county Wastewater Treatment spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson says bacteria levels “were never elevated,” but the beach was closed “as a precaution” and has since reopened. The county brought in a mobile generator to get the pump station back online and stop Saturday night’s overflow; once the entire Murray project is complete, that shouldn’t be necessary either, since the pump station itself is getting a “permanent back-up electrical system” in addition to the huge tank to hold overflows. Right now, the overflow tank site is more than two-thirds of the way into the 60-foot-deep excavation that’s planned for the $26 million project, which is designed to bring the county into compliance with orders to limit overflows to no more than one per year; currently, this pump station averages five.
The salmon homecoming continues! Above, another coho from Fauntleroy Creek; on Monday afternoon, Dennis Hinton reported, he and Judy Pickens “saw four new coho come through the culvert and shoot up the creek. Three were females, 4-5-pounds. One was a red-sided male, about 7 or 8 pounds. The big male did something I’ve never seen before in all my years of watching at Fauntleroy Creek. It leaped entirely out of the water over weir #6, into the next pool. Spectacular sight. Just like you’ve seen in the movies.” The photo above shows that red-sided male, one of nine counted in the creek as of last night (if we get an update for today, we’ll add it). Find out more about Fauntleroy Creek here. (**ADDED 8:58 PM** As Dennis notes in comments, 4 more today – 13 total in 3 days.)
(back to original report) And we’ve heard a couple reports of salmon back in Longfellow Creek, too – John sent a photo:
He “counted at least five around and under the salmon bone bridge” during a visit on Monday morning. You can find out more about Longfellow Creek (and its Legacy Trail) on this city webpage.
(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand)
As neighbors drummed and sang tonight in the annual gathering to welcome Fauntleroy Creek‘s coho spawners, steward Judy Pickens (above) had an update: Five seen so far. Definitely within earshot of tonight’s welcoming party!
Last year, the coho were a no-show, but the year before, it was a record run. Some of tonight’s participants at the Fauntleroy Creek overlook across from the ferry dock made decorations in honor of the salmon’s return.
Jamie Shilling led the songs and chants once again:
This time of year is one of two key peak periods of attention for Fauntleroy Creek; the other is springtime, when hundreds of schoolchildren visit to release classroom-raised salmon fry. Meantime, with Judy’s help, we’ll continue updating this year’s coho watch; you are welcome to watch down by the creek (off SW Director just east of the overlook) when volunteer watchers are on duty in the days ahead.
P.S. Clean water is vital to the salmon’s health. Reducing runoff – which ends up in creeks and Puget Sound – is a big step you can take. It’s not too difficult; try these seven simple steps featured at tox-ick.org.
P.P.S. See this year’s first two arriving spawners here.
From West Seattle to Tukwila, hundreds of volunteers teamed up today for another productive Duwamish Alive! multi-site work party. In the West Duwamish Greenbelt at Pigeon Point Park, Nature Consortium and EarthCorps led the way – volunteers we saw there included NC founder Nancy Whitlock:
The 100-plus people at work at this site alone also included Green River Community College students. And we even met Harriet the helpful Corgi:
Eleven sites were on the list for Duwamish Alive! today. Watch duwamishalive.org for word of next spring’s edition. And watch WSB for other opportunities to help with cleanups and planting parties around the community just about EVERY weekend (for example – North Delridge could use your help one week from today!).
(Murray CSO storage-tank-site excavation, photographed Monday by Richard)
An alert for Lowman Beach-area residents: The contractor for King County’s Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project plans four hours of late-night work tomorrow night. The county sent the notification this afternoon; the work involves pipe inspections that have to be done under certain tidal and pipe-use conditions, and those conditions happen 11 pm Friday night until about 3 am Saturday. Workers will be inspecting pipes beneath two manholes, one on the south side of Lowman Beach Park, one alongside the CSO project site on Lincoln Park Way. A map is part of the notification document you can see here (PDF). The county says neighbors are being notified, and reminds anyone with questions/concerns that they can call the 24-hour project hotline at 206-205-9186.
Also, a reminder: This Saturday is also scheduled to be the first of several Saturdays with extra excavation work, as previously announced.
View Duwamish Alive! 2014 in a larger map
From West Seattle, south along the Duwamish River, and even to a few spots southeast of where our map ends, October 18th is the fall edition of Duwamish Alive! – 11 work parties to help the river, its watershed, and everyone/everything living in/along them. You only need to commit four hours that day – registration is at 9:30, then you’ll be helping out 10 am-2 pm. Here’s where to go to choose your site and sign up.
Followup: What West Seattle’s Lafarge plant is doing, after federal settlement of water-pollution investigationSeptember 30, 2014 at 9:13 am | In Environment, West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 2 Comments
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
A long-running water-pollution investigation involving the Lafarge plant in West Seattle has ended with a settlement and fine. As first reported Sunday by seattlepi.com, the company was fined $300,000, confirmed operations manager Jonathan Hall in an interview with WSB.
Ready to ride? Denny teachers to lead bilingual community bike tour on Longfellow Creek Trail this SaturdaySeptember 25, 2014 at 3:33 pm | In Delridge, Environment, West Seattle news | 3 Comments
Another quick look ahead to Saturday – this time to make sure you know about a community bicycle ride along the Longfellow Creek Trail, to be guided in Spanish and English by Denny International Middle School teachers Andrew Chase and Ben Evans. Its goal is “to connect students and their families to local ecology” – but everyone, whether connected to a local school or not, is welcome to be part of it. Above, the invitation in English; for the Spanish version, click here. Meet at 9 am Saturday (September 27th) at the baseball fields by Roxhill Elementary (30th/Roxbury).
Despite the sunny weather and afternoon Seahawks game, Sunday’s Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church netted 7.8 tons of recyclables from West Seattle. An estimated 325 vehicles brought everything from water heaters to wire fencing and keyboards. We’ll do it again on April 26.
If you missed the roundup and can’t wait that long – the county website has a directory of who takes what, starting with the search box here. And for items that weren’t accepted on Sunday, the Green Committee has suggestions on this flyer they were offering to participants.
Don’t look at it as a ban on throwing away your food scraps, suggested City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw before this afternoon’s vote – look at it as expanded recycling. And with that, she and the rest of the City Council voted to require recycling of food scraps and compostable paper, starting next year. The enforcement teeth won’t be very sharp – $1 fines, and only after a “massive” informational campaign – but the city believes this is what’s needed to jolt the “stalled” shrinkage of Seattleites’ recycling rate. (Also, as noted on the city website, “Food waste is one third of the residential garbage in Seattle … and is transported by train 300 miles to an Oregon landfill.”) Details of how it would be enforced are in this slide deck from a briefing earlier this month.
That’s the most unusual item we saw during a brief stop at the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee‘s “Recycle Roundup,” under way until 3 pm – someone’s recycling a watercooler. Tons of items (literally) are dropped off during these six-hour, twice-yearly, FREE events – and one-third of the way into today’s roundup, it’s busy:
1 Green Planet‘s team will unload your stuff and get it into their containers. Just make sure what you’re taking is on this list. If you want to recycle something that isn’t, the committee’s “Green Ideas” handout (with other sustainable-living advice) has suggestions.
P.S. The church lot is at 9140 California SW, but don’t try to drive south on the California straightaway to get there – it’s a short section that is best reached by heading west on SW Barton from 35th and following the curves (and name change), or by heading southbound past the ferry dock, and following the eastward curve up toward and just beyond the Endolyne business district.
Twice a year, the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee brings in 1 Green Planet to collect dozens of types of items that are recyclable but not routinely picked up in your curbside service. Tomorrow is this year’s second Recycle Roundup, 9 am-3 pm at the church parking lot (9140 California SW; map). Here’s the list of what you can drop off, with a few notes about what you can’t. As usual, no charge for your dropoff (the Green Committee does accept donations to help cover the cost, if you are so moved; they’ll also be offering a flyer with some green-living tips).
Two ways to make a difference Saturday morning in West Seattle: Alki Beach cleanup, Boren Building parking-lot partySeptember 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | 1 Comment
Before you move entirely into weekend mode, early reminders about two ways you can start your weekend in grand community-contribution style, both happening Saturday morning:
ALKI CLEANUP: Join Puget SoundKeeper Alliance and friends on International Coastal Cleanup Day. Check in by Statue of Liberty Plaza (61st/Alki) at 8:45 on Saturday, clean the beach 9 am-noon. Full details here.
PARKING LOT PARTY: The big lot at the Boren Building (5950 Delridge Way SW) is now used by two schools, with Arbor Heights Elementary joining K-5 STEM these next two years. They could use some community help with safety upgrades and cleanup 8 am-noon Saturday: “Projects include painting, unearthing a hidden sidewalk, adding new signage, and beautifying the grounds. We’ve got the supplies & tools – we just need your help to make it happen!”
After all that, TONS more ways to enjoy your Saturday – preview them on our calendar.
One of West Seattle’s biggest digs is under way.
Excavation started today at the site of King County’s Murray Combined Sewer Overflow control project, a million-gallon underground tank across from Lowman Beach. The announcement published here Wednesday – noting that up to 55 trucks a day will travel two nearby routes – brought lots of questions in WSB comments, so we asked KCWTD’s Doug Marsano for answers. We also went to the site overlook along Lincoln Park Way for a firsthand look (see the short video above, and the photo added here).
HOW MUCH DIRT? At an earlier community meeting, it was described as “enough to fill Colman Pool twice.” Specifically, we now know – 21,000 cubic yards.
ARE THE TRUCKING HOURS SAME AS THE WORK HOURS? The latter, according to this week’s update, are 7 am-6 pm. But, we learned today:
Haul hours are 8 am- 3:30 pm. There may be additional trucks entering or leaving the site outside of those hours, but the bulk of the trips will occur between during haul hours.
IS IT ‘UP TO 55 TRUCKS A DAY’ FROM THE START, OR RAMPING UP? The latter, replied Marsano: “Today, for instance, crews removed about 30 loads. The most intense period will be through early October when the tank hole is relatively shallow. Truck trips will slow to about 20 a day (or 3-4 an hour) when the hole is at its deepest.”
WHERE ARE THE TRUCKS STAGING? “The initial plan is to stage trucks on Fauntleroy. Adjustments will be made as necessary to ease congestion and accommodate ferry traffic, including use of 48th Ave and the east side of Beach Drive.”
The project website is here; the 24-hour project hotline, for questions or to report problems, is 206-205-9186. Current timeline for completing the storage-tank facility is the second half of 2016.
(PHOTO ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON, with digging & trucking under way)
Just got word that tomorrow is the start of the next major phase of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow control project – digging the hole for the million-gallon tank across from Lowman Beach:
Now that the contractor has completed secant pile installation, crews will begin digging to clear space for the underground storage tank tomorrow, September 18, 2014. Excavation will be complete by early 2015. Crews will dig out an area about 80 feet deep and 100 feet wide. All of the material removed will be trucked off site. These activities will bring as many as 55 trucks per day to the project site to load and haul off material. Trucks will access the project site from 48th Avenue SW or Lincoln Park Way SW. Please be aware of traffic as trucks move in and out of the site.
(Click map for full-size, PDF version of map)
More info is on the county’s site for the project; if you have questions or concerns, there’s a 24-hour hotline at 206-205-9186.
P.S. As discussed in comments about an hour after we first published this, when the county announced these routes in February, they were labeled “primary” and “secondary” (see the map in the story we published back then). Now they are labeled entry/exit with a warning that either route might be used at any time by any truck, depending on a variety of conditions.
(added) Following further discussion – here’s the PDF including the county’s full announcement, also embedded below:
Feels like endless summer at the moment. But fall’s a week away. And on the eve of its arrival, it’s your next chance to clear out no-longer-needed items, without just throwing them away. Sunday (September 21st) is the fall edition of the twice-annual Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church. Here’s the list of 1 Green Planet will accept at the event, free (and a few specific mentions of what they will NOT take). Just bring the recyclables to the church parking lot at 9140 California SW that day, 9 am-3 pm.
(Photos by Holli Margell of Holli With An I Photography)
Do you take the trees in your neighborhood for granted? One way to shake that ennui – organize a Tree Walk. That’s what Patrick Baer did in North Delridge today, and about 30 people joined him, including photographer Holli Margell, who shared these photos. Above, that’s Patrick with the Heritage Cully River Birch. The walk started at Greg Davis Park, and the group heard about the park’s origins.
From left in that photo are Lisa Taylor-Whitney, Patrick Baer, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, and Tanya Baer. The route included part of the Longfellow Creek Trail:
And a stop under the canopy of a Lawson Cypress:
Find out more about tree walks around the city and how to be a Tree Ambassador, by going here.
When is a teardown not just a teardown? When it’s a salvage operation, too – like Arbor Heights ElementarySeptember 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm | In Arbor Heights, Environment, West Seattle news | 8 Comments
Lots of demolition work around West Seattle this month – and we’ve received some bonus information about one project: With major teardown work at Arbor Heights Elementary starting this week, SODO-based Second Use has spent three days on site “reclaiming materials that still had life in them to divert them from the landfill,” according to outreach coordinator Mary Anne Carter, who shared the photos and adds:
We recovered hundreds of items including slate, trough sinks, porcelain enameled barn lights, fir wall cabinets, fir built in cabinets, stainless steel sinks, and more.
Although the school was built in 1953, many of the fixtures were built in the decades previous and used in other schools before being moved to Arbor Heights. Tags and markings on fixtures listed John Hay School, Fauntleroy Elementary School, and others. Most of the inventory can be viewed on our website, though we are continuing to process items and add new material daily. …
It’s my hope that this provides the community with the opportunity to potentially reconnect with the furnishings of their formative years and glean a better perspective of what happened to the material that the school left behind.
Second Use is not involved with the Genesee Hill school-teardown project, according to Carter (work there also has intensified – here’s video we published on Instagram yesterday).
Forecast promises sunshine returning tomorrow (and continuing through the weekend). We’ve just found out from the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition that there’s room for more to join tomorrow night’s Community Kayak Tour of our city’s only river – what a way to enjoy the evening. This time, the tour leaves from Duwamish Waterway Park in South Park (7900 10th Avenue South), just minutes east of West Seattle, 6 pm Thursday (bring your picnic dinner!). You don’t have to have your own kayak, or even experience; everything is provided, through DRCC’s tour partner, West Seattle’s own Alki Kayak Tours, $45/person. But you do need to RSVP ASAP – firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way. If you DO have your own kayak, you’re welcome to join the tour too, by donation. Find out what all the buzz is about, with ongoing campaigns like riverforall.org and the newly announced city/county coordination
The City Council is considering a change to the recycling rules – instead of just enabling food-waste recycling, they’re looking at requiring it. The next discussion of this proposal is on the agenda for the Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee meeting this afternoon at City Hall at 2 pm (here’s the agenda). The slide-deck presentation accompanying the agenda item (see it here or above) says the city will take too long to get to its recycling goal of 60 percent of all waste, without a requirement like this, because food waste and compostable (but not otherwise recyclable) paper are “the largest component of readily divertible material” in what both residences and businesses throw away. If the proposal is finalized by the council, the new rules would start next year, with warnings at first, and then in July, a residential violation would cost you $1, a dumpster violation $50 after 2 warnings.
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