Environment 1203 results

YOU CAN HELP! Volunteer to survey Longfellow Creek salmon with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance

(WSB photo – Longfellow Creek during fall 2014 salmon survey)

Help survey coho salmon returning to Longfellow Creek in West Seattle! Puget Soundkeeper Alliance is looking again this fall for dedicated volunteers. Here’s their announcement:

During the salmon run each fall, a population of coho salmon enters the Duwamish River from Elliott Bay, and then swims up Longfellow Creek to spawn. As coho migrate through urbanized waterways like Longfellow, they encounter a chemical cocktail of toxic runoff from roadways and other paved surfaces. These chemicals severely disorient adult coho and result in “pre-spawn mortality” in many individuals, meaning the salmon die before reproducing.

Previous surveys conducted by the City of Seattle and NOAA on Longfellow Creek have found pre-spawn mortality rates of up to 90% amongst females, an alarmingly high statistic. Examining the number of salmon that return to Longfellow Creek every year and documenting the pre-spawn mortality rate are great indicators of the health of our local waterways. Data gathered from these surveys shared with NOAA, the City of Seattle, Department of Fish and Wildlife and King County.

Volunteers will attend an orientation meeting on Tuesday, October 4th from 6:30-8:30 pm at Chaco Canyon Organic Café in West Seattle.

Requirements/qualifications:

The nature of this work is geared toward adults only.

Surveying is a weekly commitment that takes approximately 1 hour to complete. The salmon run begins in mid-October and finishes mid-December, during which there will be a survey every day. Volunteers will be divided into teams of 2-3 people and assigned a weekday to conduct their survey.

We’re looking for adventurous volunteers! Surveying requires handling fish carcasses found in the creek (with gloves) and dissecting the female salmon to check for eggs.

Volunteers should be in good physical condition. Surveying in Longfellow Creek requires climbing up and down steep muddy embankments and wading through shallow water on uneven terrain.

Surveying is conducted in varying weather conditions. If conditions are dangerous (e.g. a downpour), we will cancel on that day. Otherwise, we survey rain or shine.

Volunteers will be provided with surveying kits and waders (unless you have your own pair). Data collected during the survey will be uploaded by the volunteers into Puget Soundkeeper’s database.

Salmon surveys are a great way to observe one of nature’s most amazing migrations and experience scientific field work. The data we collect from these surveys help us understand the effects of toxic runoff on one of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic species and determine the best methods to protect them in the future!

Qustions? kerry@pugetsoundkeeper.org – and when you’re ready to register, go here.

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FOLLOWUP: Revisiting East Admiral illegal-tree-cutting site

After Tuesday’s news of city lawsuits in the case of illegal tree-cutting on public land in East Admiral, some asked what the site looks like now. We don’t have September 2015 photos for a true comparison, so keep in mind that any area with deciduous trees will look dramatically different between the end of winter and the end of summer. But here are the closest “now and then” shots:

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Above is our Wednesday afternoon view looking west/upslope after walking into the city land north of CityView/34th SW. You can barely pick out the tops of a couple of the residences (note the chimney) clearly visible in our March photo taken from that same trail:

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(March WSB photo)

Looking the other way, this time, to the east:

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That was the Wednesday afternoon view from an angle similar to, but from a higher perspective than, this one photographed in March:

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(March 2016 WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)

Note that our photos involve what the city calls “Area C,” which is the subject of the “southern site” lawsuit against Kostas and Linda Kyrimis and “John and Jane Does.” The “northern site” lawsuit involves “Area A,” which is much less accessible, aside from a view looking downslope from the 35th SW street end, which is where we took this photo Tuesday afternoon:

(We haven’t found a photo with a March view from that spot.) Here’s the graphic from the lawsuit documentation, showing where Areas A and C are:

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Meantime, we are watching court files to see what tentative scheduling will be set for these cases to proceed in court.

ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON: We did obtain the case numbers for the lawsuits today, and the online files verify that for starters, as with most if not all civil cases, these have tentative trial dates that are a year away. Along the way, however, motions and hearings pop up, and that’s what we’ll be watching for.

UPDATE: Lawsuits filed in illegal West Seattle tree-cutting; criminal prosecution still possible, City Attorney says

(UPDATED 4:45 PM with comment from lawyer for two of the people the city is suing)

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(April WSB photo – south end of area where trees were cut)

12:04 PM: Last week, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold told the 34th District Democrats that she’d learned the City Attorney’s Office would have something to say this week about last winter’s illegal tree-cutting in West Seattle’s Duwamish Head Greenbelt.

Here it is:

The Seattle Times just broke the news that the city has filed lawsuits “seeking more than $1.6 million in combined damages and fines.”

We’re following up with the City Attorney’s Office and checking court files.

12:15 PM: We’ve obtained City Attorney Pete Holmes‘s statement from his office:

City Attorney Pete Holmes: “Earlier this year, the City learned of unpermitted improper tree cutting on City property in West Seattle near the 3200 block of 35th Ave. SW. Today, the City filed two lawsuits, naming people the City believes were involved in the tree cutting. The property is in an environmentally critical area on a steep slope. Approximately 150 trees of varying sizes, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, were felled.

“My office has been involved in the City’s response. We launched an investigation to assess the extent of damage and identify the responsible parties. To that end, we retained a consulting arborist to assess the damage and prepare a comprehensive restoration plan.

“No one has yet come forward to give the City the full story of what happened despite SPD’s best efforts and extensive investigation. However, we are satisfied that we now know enough to proceed with civil lawsuits. We expect to learn that additional people, beyond those named in the lawsuits, were involved with the cutting as the suits progress. Between the lawsuits, the City seeks over $1.6 million in damages and fines. The City seeks relief on several grounds, including timber trespass, damage to land, trespass, negligence, environmentally critical areas violations, violations of the parks code and violations of the city’s tree and vegetation management in public places code.

“On its damages theories, the City generally alleges that the defendants and/or their agents cut down trees on City property without permission when they should have known better. The extensive tree cutting damaged the trees and the underlying land. On its code violation theories, because the cutting took place on City property and some occurred in City right of way, the cutters or their employers were required to obtain a number of permits before they cut any trees. No permits were issued to authorize the cutting and penalties and fines are therefore appropriate.

“The SPD criminal investigation of this matter is ongoing, and it is possible that SPD will refer this matter to the King County Prosecutor or my office in the future for potential criminal prosecution.”

We also have the court documents and are going through them for additional details. More to come …

12:27 PM: Two suits are filed. The first one, involving “the northern site” (off 35th), names Stanley Harrelson and Mary Harrelson, who are residents next to one of the cut zones, and Martin Riemer and Karrie Riemer, who live across the street to the east from the Harrelsons. That suit also names Forrest Bishop and John Russo, who the city alleges “were hired by the Harrelsons and Riemers to cut trees on city property located adjacent and/or across from (theirs).” The same suit also names “Defendants John and Jane Does 1-10 (who) may have retained Bishop, Russo, or others to cut trees on (two city parcels) or may themselves have cut trees on those parcels.”

(added) This suit alleges that “55 trees 6 inches in caliper or greater were cut down on the Parcels in Exhibit 1 Area A (which) are located in an environmentally critical area that contains steep slopes and landslide-prone areas. None of Defendants sought permission from any City department to cut trees on the Parcels. The cutting of trees increased the likelihood of landslides on the Parcels, and thereby damaged the land itself.” It alleges six “causes of action”:

*Timber trespass
*Damage to land
*Trespass
*Negligence
*Violations of the Environmentally Critical Areas Code
*Unauthorized use of park property

The damages sought in this suit are listed as:

… a principal judgment against Defendants, jointly and severally, including treble damages of $678,180 on the City’s timber trespass claim or in such other amount as may be proven at trial; penalties in the amount of $275,000 for cutting down 55 trees of six inches or more in diameter and an additional $500 for each tree cut …

… as well as other costs including legal fees and “enforcement costs.”

The suit involving “the southern site” (off City View) names Kostas Kyrimis and Linda Kyrimis, as well as “defendants Jane and John Does 1-14 (who) resided at and owned property within a two-block radius of the intersection of 35th Ave SW and SW Hinds Street and had views that were previously impaired by trees … (and) Defendants Jane and John Does 15-20 (who) were hired by the Kyrimises and/or Jane and John Does 1-14 to cut trees on property owned by the City …”

(added) This suit alleges that “72 trees over 6 inches in caliper” were cut in the area involved and makes the same allegations as the other suit, that no permission was sought, and that damage included the increased likelihood of landslides on the steep slopes.

Along with the same six “causes” as the northern-area lawsuit (listed above), this one adds a seventh:

*Tree and vegetation management in public places

And the damages sought in this suit, along with various costs such as enforcement and attorneys’ fees:

… A principal judgment against Defendants, jointly and severally, including treble damages of $362,760 on the City’s timber trespass claim or in such other amount as may be proven at trial; penalties in the amount of $360,000 for cutting down 72 trees over six inches in caliper and an additional $500 for each tree cut pursuant to SMC 25.09.460.A; land restoration costs …

We’ll add any comment we get from those targeted in these two lawsuits.

1:32 PM: Councilmember Herbold’s statement:

“I thank the City Attorney’s Office for filing two civil lawsuits this morning to address the illegal cutting of 150 trees in West Seattle earlier this year. I appreciate the use of a full range of the legal remedies available for civil suits, including timber trespass, which allows for 3x damages.

“The $1.6 million total in damages and fines sought by the City speaks to the seriousness of the claims. The damages and penalties must be significant enough to deter this kind of activity in the future, so that those with financial means don’t see unauthorized tree cutting as a cost-effective way to increase their views and property values.

“These trees played an important role in maintaining soil stability in an environmentally critical area, and lessened the risk of landslides onto a major arterial, SW Admiral Way. They also helped maintain air quality by absorbing carbon—an important issue in West Seattle, which sits adjacent to SODO and the Duwamish industrial area.

“I understand the Seattle Police Department’s criminal investigation is ongoing. My hope is that the Department will eventually be able to establish probable cause for pursuing criminal charges. However, I appreciate the difficulty they face, given that persons believed to be involved are declining to cooperate with investigators, and the legal standard needed to establish probable cause for criminal charges and to prove those charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”

ADDED 4:45 PM: Just received a statement from Clayton Graham, lawyer for two of the people the city is suing:

We are disappointed by the City Attorney’s decision to file the lawsuit today. Our clients, Stan and Mary Harrelson, deeply regret the tree cutting which happened next to their property. At no point did our clients request, or condone, the extent of the work that was done by the contractor.

The Harrelsons have acknowledged their role in this mistake but the City has been non-responsive to our attempts to reach a settlement in this matter. We believe the damages sought in the suit are excessive, given our clients’ limited role in the cutting that took place. While the lawsuit claims that none of the homeowners has come forward with the full story, our clients have fully cooperated with the City’s efforts since they, themselves, disclosed this work to the City early this year, and hired a former City of Seattle arborist to develop a restoration plan. The Harrelsons remain ready and willing to work with the City to remedy this matter.

We had published a statement from Graham in this March 28th story on behalf of his then-unidentified clients, saying they and also-then-unidentified neighbors had “hired a landscaping business to top and prune some trees to improve the view from their respective residences” and that his clients had come back from a trip to find out the landscapers had gone beyond their mandate.

COUNTDOWN: Recycle Roundup this Sunday @ Fauntleroy Church

Thanks to Judy Pickens for the file photo and reminder: You have five days to get your recyclables ready to drop off at Fauntleroy Church:

The fall Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church is this coming Sunday, September 25, 9 am to 3 pm in the church parking lot (9140 California SW). The list of what you can bring for responsible recycling (and what not) is here. Plan to avoid coming at the last hour, else you may have to wait several minutes for the crew from 1 Green Planet to unload your recyclables. The twice-yearly event is free but the church’s Green Committee won’t turn down a donation.

Last spring’s RR brought in 11.5 tons of recyclables.

Not comfortable with composting? West Seattleite’s {POST}MODERN now available

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(Photo courtesy {POST}MODERN)

Still struggling to be successful at the messy business of food-waste composting? Lots of different ways to make it work – and now, West Seattleite Glenn Geisendorfer has something you might want to try. After a few years in development, he and collaborator Gabe Goldman are going wide with their compostable compost bin. {POST}MODERN is on the shelf at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor). Geisendorfer says it’s “molded out of pulp made from recycled cardboard boxes, and designed with a vacuum-like seal to be extremely moisture- and odor-resistant.” The starter kit ($9.99) is a three-pack with an under-sink hanger, and you can buy refills (5 for $11.99). Once it’s full, just put the entire bin into your yard-waste container, or your backyard compost pile if you are a DIY composter. Provided what you put in isn’t too wet, you should be able to use it 4 or 5 times before composting it. Here’s the {POST}MODERN backstory; Geisendorfer is also partner in the West Seattle-headquartered design agency Platform.

ALSO TONIGHT: Community meeting for proposed Seattle City Light facility along Duwamish River

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(Planned site of Technical Training Center)

Along with what we’ve already previewed, here’s one more event for tonight. While it is happening in South Park, Duwamish River advocates tell us this event is potentially of interest to everyone concerned about the river and its watershed. It’s a Seattle City Light community meeting tonight to talk about its planned Technical Training Center. The center, with classrooms and an outdoor training yard, would be on Hamm Creek, on the north side of SCL’s Duwamish Substation. The plan would include “wetland mitigation … with approximately 4 acres of habitats similar to historic conditions on the Lower Duwamish River,” as well as a walking trail. Tonight’s meeting is scheduled for 6:15-7:45 pm at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S.).

If you can’t get to the meeting but are interested in commenting on the plan, SCL is taking comments through next Tuesday (September 20th) as part of its State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)-related review. Those comments can be sent to Margaret Duncan, SEPA Coordinator, at margaret.duncan@seattle.gov or by postal mail at 700 5th Avenue, Suite 3200, Seattle 98104.

HAPPENING NOW: West Seattle Chamber of Commerce cleanup

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(WSB photo)

Rather than go home and kick back after work, some members of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce have hit the street.

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(Laura Schneider from Meeples Games [WSB sponsor] & Katie Krause from Daystar)

They’re cleaning up trash along California SW, starting at SW Charlestown and heading south to The Junction, until 6:30 or so. You’re welcome to grab a bag and join them – look for the people in the bright-blue T-shirts, as shown in our photo.

SAVING SALMON: What you need to know about the ‘nearshore,’ and what experts say is needed to fix it

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By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Puget Sound’s boundless beauty might be its ultimate undoing.

But it’s not too far gone – yet.

That was the message heard by and shared among more than 100 people during a recent boat tour that used the Sound’s beauty as a backdrop for a message that grows increasingly urgent: Restore more of its nearshore.

That’s the part you might not even think twice about as you gaze at the spectacle of the water, sapphire under sunshine, silver under showers.

We hear a lot about the water itself – pollution we can reduce, like combined-sewer overflows and toxic runoff. But what’s next to the water matters too. The beach, or what’s replaced it; the bluffs; those comprise the nearshore. So does what’s on the beach, the rocks, the bluffs … NOAA Fisheries Service explains it, plainly, here.

Another term that mattered on the tour: WRIA 9 – a zone you’re in, but might not ever have heard mentioned.

WRIA stands for Water Resource Inventory Area. Zone 9 is the Duwamish-Green Watershed … as in, the Duwamish-Green River, which runs south from West Seattle.

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With that area of focus, those who were aboard (listed here) included elected officials from South King County as well as representatives from advocacy groups, businesses, and government agencies.

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The slate of speakers began with Jay Manning from the Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council opened with the dire warning that you can’t judge Puget Sound by its beauty: Read More

ONE MONTH AWAY! Fauntleroy Church ‘Recycle Roundup’

August 24, 2016 4:30 pm
|    Comments Off on ONE MONTH AWAY! Fauntleroy Church ‘Recycle Roundup’
 |   Environment | Fauntleroy | West Seattle news

This is your early reminder: Start collecting your recyclables for the fall edition of the Fauntleroy Church Recycle Roundup. It’s a month away – 9 am-3 pm Sunday, September 25th. Courtesy of Judy Pickens, we have the latest list of which items they will and won’t be able to accept. If you haven’t participated before, it’s a free drive-up/ride-up/walk-up event in the church parking lot at 9140 California SW.

Two cans closer to a less-trashed Alki Beach

Remember our June story about Diana‘s quest for Metro to bring back a trash can at the 61st/Alki bus stop? A customer-service rep had told her it was pulled (years earlier, it turned out) for overuse and wouldn’t be replaced. Then the next day – a replacement, after all. Today, Diana tells us, she’s scored bins for the corner to the east:

She explained to us via e-mail, “So as not to overburden the Metro trash can (as was their concern), I asked Seattle Public Utilities if they could install both trash and recycling bins on the opposite corner of 61st. Surprisingly, they responded saying my request met all the requirements to do so. It took eight weeks, and I had almost given up hope, but they miraculously showed up yesterday.” She sent the photo as proof. So if you’re at the beach sometime soon and use those new cans, you know who to thank. (If you’re having a big party, though, consider bringing bag[s] so you can pack it out.)

‘No-discharge zone’ in Puget Sound? State asks feds to make it happen

The state has formally asked the federal government to declare Puget Sound – and some contingent waters including Lakes Union and Washington – a “no-discharge zone.” Right now, vessels can discharge sewage into the Sound in some situations; this proposal – which would be phased in over several years – would ban that. The Department of Ecology‘s news release has details; this DOE page explains the process, now that the state has officially petitioned the EPA.

Save Puget Sound & save money: Free workshop for you and your car!

Just got word from Seattle Public Utilities that there’s room at this FREE event one week from Saturday at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor):

Oil and other automotive fluid leaks reduce the life of your engine and find their way to Puget Sound and other waterways where they pose a risk to wildlife and habitats. Seattle Public Utilities’ Automotive Maintenance Program wants to help you make sound choices.

Attend a FREE Auto Leaks Workshop to have your car inspected by a certified expert, learn how to find and fix leaks, and get a free Vehicle Maintenance Check Kit.

Upcoming class:
Saturday, July 23, 9 am-1 pm

To register go to www.seattle.gov/util/autoleaks

If you can’t make that date – check out a couple more (same link) later this year.

Time’s running out: Terminal 5 comment deadline Friday afternoon

(WSB file photo of Terminal 5)

If you have something to say about the proposed “modernization” project at West Seattle’s Terminal 5 – especially something you hope the project will include, in response to environmental factors including traffic, noise, water quality, air quality – you’re running out of time to say it during this round of planning. You might recall that the comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was extended, by community request, after last month’s public hearings; the new deadline is just two days away – 4 pm Friday, July 8th. Information that might help:

Official Port links:

The “online public meeting”
Volume 1 of the Draft EIS document (13 MB PDF)
Volume 2 of the Draft EIS document (65 MB PDF)

Other links of potential interest:

WSB coverage of the first community meeting on June 5th
WSB coverage of the second community meeting on June 9th
WSB coverage of T-5 discussion at West Seattle Transportation Coalition in May
WSB coverage of official DEIS release announcement in May
Neighbors’ concerns/petition

So, you know what you want to say, but want to know how to say it? Here’s how to comment, from the Port website:

The comment period will end at 4 p.m., July 8. Comments can be submitted online at t5eis.publicmeeting.info and via email at SEPA.p@portseattle.org.

Written comments can be mailed to:

Paul Meyer (Email: meyer.p@portseattle.org)
Environmental Services
Port of Seattle
P.O. Box 1209
Seattle, WA 98111

Beacon Hill International School students’ TLC for Alki Beach

People come to Alki Beach from all over the region – but not always just to hang out. We just received this report about one group who visited Alki recently specifically to give the beach some TLC. And they have a request for you:

5th-grade students from Beacon Hill International School did a beach cleanup at Alki Beach on June 22nd. These students are part of the school Global Leadership Team and spent all year working on sustainability education at their school and in their community. The students had just held a 30-day single-use plastic ban at the school and choose to culminate the event by picking up plastics and other garbage along the beach. Students collected mostly plastic bottle caps, cigarette butts and a variety of small plastic particles that washed ashore during their low-tide cleanup.

The team would like to remind beachgoers this busy holiday weekend of the critical impact plastics have on our oceans and sea life and encourage everyone to refrain from using single-use plastic products, such as straws, cups and lids, cutlery or single use water bottles, whenever possible. Instead, bring your own reusable bottles, silverware, and containers, and take all your garbage with you. Help keep our beaches and seas healthy!

The students would also like to thank the folks at Pagliacci Pizza in West Seattle for donating pizzas and fully compostable products for the cleanup.

West Seattle schools: Arbor Heights Elementary students’ walking field trip to nearby greenspace-in-progress

June 19, 2016 5:46 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle schools: Arbor Heights Elementary students’ walking field trip to nearby greenspace-in-progress
 |   Delridge | Environment | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

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Back on Duwamish Alive! day in April, one of the events we covered was at the 23rd/Findlay site that the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association is turning into the Wetlands and Stewardship Project with the help of various partners. Among the beneficiaries and collaborators are local students, including those from the nearby Boren Building, where Arbor Heights Elementary is about to go into its final week. Teacher Angie Nall shared the photos and this report:

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Wanted to send some pics along from a walking field trip my 5th grade students from Arbor Heights Elementary went on to Delridge Wetlands on Findlay St SW in West Seattle. The kids worked with folks from Delridge Neighborhood Association, Nature Consortium, and the City of Seattle.

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The kids were the 3rd class to visit the site.

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They engaged in hands-on science, taking measurements of the run and rise of the water’s path on the property that eventually runs into Longfellow Creek. The wetlands are being restored to help clean the runoff naturally before it enters Longfellow Creek.

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Two 4th grade classes and one 5th grade class from K-STEM also worked on the project! We all are in the Louis Boren building on Delridge so the wetlands are a block away from the school- WHAT a cool opportunity for students and a benefit to the community!

DNDA welcomes help with the Wetlands and Stewardship Project – contact Willard Brown at willard@dnda.org if you’re interested in joining in.

West Seattle illegal tree cutting: Criminal, civil action both possible, Councilmember Herbold reports

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(March WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)

If you’ve been wondering what’s going on with the investigation of the illegal Duwamish Head Greenbelt tree-cutting in East Admiral – City Councilmember Lisa Herbold confirms it’s continuing, and that criminal and civil action are both possible. From an update she published today:

… The Seattle Police Department is continuing its investigation to determine if there is probable cause for criminal prosecution and will prepare a case to submit to the King County Prosecutor. The King County Prosecutor has jurisdiction over criminal felony prosecutions. The Police Department has conducted interviews and distributed flyers in the adjacent neighborhood for any information or leads. Last month, the Parks Department removed blackberry bushes for evidence of any previous cutting beyond the recent example, but didn’t find any additional tree cutting.

Separately from this effort to prepare a potential criminal violation, the City Attorney’s Office is also working to pursue potential civil action. It is likely that the office will issue one or more demand letters in the next few months, asking potentially responsible parties to pay the City damages and fines. If the King County Prosecutor declines to prosecute, the City Attorney’s Office may – at that time – decide to pursue a criminal action. Responsible parties may (1) be required to pay the City damages, civil fines and penalties, including restoration work, and also (2) face criminal penalties. It appears that the City has between 18 and 30 months during which to timely file a court case.

The City Attorney’s Office and Seattle Police Department are reluctant to publicly disclose additional information or additional specifics on their timeline as they believe that doing so could limit the effectiveness of the investigation and any prosecution or civil actions. …

Herbold’s update continues with details of the laws that could apply, and potential penalties – read it in its entirety here.

FOLLOWUP: Metro’s trash-can turnabout

(UPDATED FRIDAY NIGHT with trash can’s arrival)

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9:24 PM: Another followup tonight: This one, in the case of the 61st/Alki bus stop that is without a trash can because Metro says the one it used to have was used too much. On Wednesday, we published the response that Diana got from Metro after asking them to place a can there – it boiled down to “no.” We followed up with Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer, including a question of whether it’s Metro policy to remove trash cans that are much-used. This evening, he sent word that they’ve changed their mind and will try a trash can there again:

Our records show Metro hasn’t had a trash can at that site since 2012 after seeing a pattern of it being misused by nearby businesses and residents, with home garbage showing up at the bus stop. It reached the point that our facilities crews were regularly receiving work orders and complaints about garbage, so we decided to remove it.

One of our thresholds in deciding whether to remove a trash can is if a location becomes so problematic that it generates a large number of work orders and crew time cleaning up a persistent problem, something that stretches beyond a transit issue into a community issue.

That said, we’re going to put a new 35-gallon can out there in the next few days, and will monitor how things go. If problems re-emerge beyond what Metro can address, we’ll see if we can get some help from the city and businesses to supply additional trash cans in the area.

We’ll keep an eye out for the new can – please let us know if you see it first.

ADDED FRIDAY NIGHT: The trash can has arrived. Diana sent the photo to prove it:

Trash Can 6-10-16

TERMINAL 5 PROJECT: How public hearing #1 unfolded tonight

(T-5, empty since summer 2014, in center of 2015 photo by Peter West Carey)

We went to tonight’s Terminal 5 Improvements Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement public hearing in Georgetown mostly to find out the format so you know what to expect at the one in West Seattle on Thursday night.

So you can plan, here’s the format:

5-6 pm, open house
6 pm, presentation, including project background and information on the environmental-review process
6:30 pm, opportunity for attendees to ask “clarifying questions”
6:45 pm until 8 pm (depending on how many speakers), public hearing
8-8:30 pm, open house

Spanish and Vietnamese interpreters were available.

After a welcome by Port Commissioner Fred Felleman, an overview of the “project purpose” was offered, showing that while the current T-5 (which has been closed to cargo for two years now) is set for 136′ maximum ship width, the largest ships out there now go to 193′, and that’s why they need to make it “big-ship ready.”

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The project is sponsored by the Port of Seattle and the Northwest Seaport Alliance – its partnership with Tacoma – but Seattle is the lead agency and responsible for the environmental review, which it originally wasn’t going to do – then, after considerable citizen urging, it changed its mind, saying it had discovered that the project was likely to be big enough to mandate one anyway.

As you’ll see in the DEIS, three alternatives are reviewed: Read More

FOLLOWUP: Myers Way Parcels recommendations ‘short-sighted … slice-and-dice,’ say preservation supporters


(Click to see full-size PDF)

11:17 AM: For the first time since the city Finance and Administrative Services‘ “draft recommendations” about the Myers Way Parcels came out – May 25th, as first reported here – we’re hearing from the group that’s been the loudest voice for keeping the site as open space.

The Seattle Green Spaces Coalition calls FAS’s three-part recommendation (update – here’s the PDF summarizing it) “short-sighted,” saying that the city has been less than thorough in evaluating the site’s ecology and its value, and in reaching out to the community. Here’s its statement:

The 33 acres of Myers Parcels is the largest plot of undeveloped land that the City of Seattle owns. It provides a wide range of benefits for the City of Seattle, and people in the White Center, Highland Park, South Park, Roxbury, Delridge and Georgetown neighborhoods. The City’s Finance & Administrative Services (FAS) Department issued a formal Notice of Excess Property for a large area of Myers Parcels on January 15, 2016. But it only distributed notice to a limited number of people. Then on May 25, 2016, FAS presented its draft recommendation for disposing of Myers acreage at the Highland Park Action Committee meeting.

The Seattle Green Spaces Coalition (SGSC) finds the draft recommendation short-sighted, and calls on FAS to withdraw it. It also calls on FAS to significantly increase engagement with the affected neighborhoods, and to re-assess the Myers Parcels ecology.

The FAS Department’s top-down recommendation runs contrary to Mayor Murray’s Equity and Environmental Action Agenda, which call for grassroots, community-driven planning.

FAS recommends breaking up and selling off parts of Myers Parcels, before it has assessed the current value of this forested area, which contains a watershed with two streams that feed clean water into the Duwamish River.

SGSC is working with numerous individuals and community organizations, such as White Center Community Development Association (WCCDA), Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association and others, to demand robust community engagement, and clear strategies to promote environmental sustainability and social justice.

The FAS recommendation presents nothing new. It does not take into account any of the 400+ comments sent to FAS, nor the more than 800 signers on SGSC’s change.org petition calling for the City to stop the sale until communities are fully involved in the future of this site, and new environmental studies are conducted.

FAS recommends using part of the land immediately south of the Joint Training Facility for an expanded parking lot, selling the flat portion of the site for a commercial warehouse operation, and keeping the unmarketable wetlands and critical slope, with the addition of a possible adventure park on the critical slope above SR 509. FAS does not take into account that Myers Parcels holds origins of Hamm Creek, part of the most fragile link in Chinook Salmon Recovery, and within the Superfund Site of the first five miles of the Duwamish River.   Its plan does not keep that watershed healthy, or help to restore the Duwamish River and promote salmon habitat.   While we are spending millions of taxpayer dollars to clean up the Duwamish River, it makes no sense to jeopardize this watershed.  As a city we should be improving it, not building warehouses around it.

The land has healthy, mature trees that filter water, retain storm water run-off, control erosion, clean the air and help keep the city cool.   They create a green buffer for the communities of South Park and White Center.  Decreasing the green buffer by selling it for warehouse operations will degrade air quality with increased car and truck pollution. Increased hardscape will also increase stormwater runoff.  The inclusion of an adventure park can also potentially degrade the forest and wildlife habitat.

FAS’s recommendation to “slice and dice” this land, selling off parts of it, fails to recognize the land’s value as a whole. In a true “balance,” clean water and clear air would clearly win out over more warehouses that South Park and White Center do not need. 

Seattle Green Spaces Coalition demands meaningful community engagement and a valuation of all the benefits this land does and can continue to provide.  If we are going to live up to the commitment of the Equity & Environment Action Agenda and our Climate Action Plan, important questions must be answered:

·      What is the most environmentally friendly use of the land?
·      What is healthiest for the neighborhoods?
·      What ecosystem services will the proposed uses provide or reduce?
·      Will wildlife habitat be enhanced or reduced?
·      Will it be of use and used by the diverse communities?
·      What will its value be in the future for different uses?
·      How broadly will the land serve diverse community and the City?
·      How will it impact the watershed and recovery of the Duwamish River?
·      What are the land’s unique features and role in the ecosystem?
·      What will be the interplay of planned upland development of housing and the land?
·      Who will benefit from commercial development?
·      Would alternate uses such as fee activities benefit or exclude neighboring communities?

 So far, over 850 people have signed Seattle Green Spaces Coalition’s online petition demanding a robust, transparent and inclusive community engagement so that all people can participate in the decision-making process.

The city’s webpage with information about the parcels is here. Two weeks before the draft report came out, we toured part of the site with FAS reps, community members, and City Councilmember Lisa Herboldsee that report here.

ADDED 12:49 PM: We checked back with FAS’s Hillary Hamilton, who provided electronic versions of the draft-recommendations map and summary, both of which you’ll now see above. She says a public meeting is still planned but that they’re not yet ready to finalize the announcement. Meantime, comments are still being taken, she reiterates:

Comments are taken continuously through the review process, and a full report of people’s names and comments will be provided to the City Council before any decision is made. People can send comments at any time; we will acknowledge receipt. Those who contact us can be sure to be on the mailing list for updates. Email or regular postal mail is encouraged to Daniel Bretzke, Real Estate Services, Dept. of Finance and Administrative Services. Email is Daniel.bretzke@seattle.gov. Postal address is Daniel Bretzke, FAS Real Estate Services, P.O. Box 94689, Seattle, WA 98124-4689.

West Seattle schools: Taproot students’ study picks up where others … didn’t pick up

(Photo courtesy Michelle Taylor: Taproot students attend to a bag dispenser in Fauntleroy Park)

What Fauntleroy Creek/Watershed volunteers did in 2004 and 2008, students from Taproot School are doing now, according to watershed/creek steward Judy Pickens:

Continuing concern about pet waste left in Fauntleroy Park prompted students at Taproot School to take on the 2016 Poop Study.

The study documents the number and location of pet waste along a segment of trail in Fauntleroy Park that’s popular with dog walkers. After a baseline count earlier this spring, the students are reaching out to dog owners with information about why picking up after their pet is important and making compliance easy with free bags.

Located in the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse Community Center, Taproot School makes almost daily use of the park as an extension of classroom learning for its 27 (K-5) students. Run in 2004 and again in 2008, the study initiated by the Fauntleroy Watershed Council aims to reduce the level of fecal coliform bacteria that Fauntleroy Creek conveys into Puget Sound.

Students will do a second count in July and a third in September, then compile their report, with an emphasis on what more they recommend doing to get dog walkers to scoop.

CONGRATULATIONS! Chief Sealth IHS Green Team honored as Conservation Champion for project that might go district-wide

waterbottle
(In photo: Students Katia Oliva, Clarissa Perez, Brandon Edwards; Sealth grad & former Green Team president Jessie Dirks; teacher Noah Zeichner; YMCA Earth Service Corps instructor Tyrell Dozier)

Thanks to Nicole Sipila from the Chief Sealth International High School PTSA for sharing the news that the CSIHS Green Team has been “recognized as a 2015-16 Conservation Champion for their work to get water-bottle-filling stations installed in our school. We should have quotes for the work (this) week and we hope to see them in place before the 2016-17 school year. Great job!” Teacher Noah Zeichner, who provided the photo above from a school-board meeting last month, says the project has been in the works for two years, “when members realized they could reduce the use of plastic water bottles in their school if students had the ability to fill up reusable water bottles. … Not only did they get the green light to purchase filling stations at Chief Sealth, additionally they convinced the school board to pursue a $200,000 grant for filling stations in every single Seattle Public School.”

Nicole also shared this district-produced PDF with photos and profiles of other schools recognized around the city this year, including, from our area, Alki Elementary, Arbor Heights Elementary, Concord International, Pathfinder K-8, and West Seattle High School. Congratulations to all!

YOU CAN HELP! Seal Sitters training Monday; ‘Sentinels of the Sound’ cleanup June 4th

May 22, 2016 6:53 pm
|    Comments Off on YOU CAN HELP! Seal Sitters training Monday; ‘Sentinels of the Sound’ cleanup June 4th
 |   Environment | How to help | West Seattle news | Wildlife

seagull-with-trash-lindsey

(Photo by Robin Lindsey)

From Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network, word of two ways you can help care for West Seattle shores and the creatures who share the beaches and waters with us – first, an announcement, second, a reminder:

Seal Sitters and the Alki Community Council will be co-sponsoring the “Sentinels of the Sound” beach cleanup at Alki Beach on Saturday, June 4th, 10 am-noon. There will be a very low tide that day, enabling access to a wide stretch of beach to remove dangerous debris. The adjacent sidewalks and street will also be scoured for trash – it is estimated that up to 80% of all trash discarded on land ends up as marine debris.

Trash poisons, maims, and kills wildlife. Lend a hand to help keep marine life safe and meet up at the Statue of Liberty Plaza. There will be a brief talk about the dangers of marine trash before dispersing to clean up the area. Last year, volunteers removed an estimated 9,000 toxic cigarette butts in approximately two hours.

Please visit our website for more details and the RSVP link. Volunteers do need to provide gloves and pickup sticks this year, but bags will be available at the sign-in table.

Now, the reminder – Seal Sitters training tomorrow!

Harbor-seal pupping season is on the horizon and Seal Sitters volunteers enable pups to rest safely on our urban beaches. We will be holding a training on Monday evening, May 23rd. There are just a few available spaces left to attend. Please visit the volunteer page of our website for info and to RSVP.

Seal Sitters welcomes volunteers of all ages.

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