Building roadside raingardens in West Seattle: Barton CSO project progress

April 16, 2014 at 11:37 am | In Environment, Utilities, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

If you live in or travel through Sunrise Heights or Westwood, you probably know the “roadside raingarden” construction for the first phase of the Barton Basin Combined Sewer Overflow Control project continues to intensify. The King County Wastewater Treatment Division is building “green stormwater infrastructure” in eight blocks this year, seven blocks next year – 91 roadside raingardens in all. En route to a meeting last night, we noticed the activity on one block, 34th SW north of Holden (map), so went back today for a closer look (above). The county is now publishing weekly updates on its website – including what’s happening in which blocks:

For any residents who didn’t get block-by-block informational flyers, those also are available online. This project is part of state-mandated work to reduce combined-sewer overflows into Puget Sound; in this area, it’s called Barton because the wastewater ends up at the Barton Pump Station north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock.

P.S. The county is scheduled to present an update on its other in-progress Combined Sewer Overflow Control project, the Murray-basin-serving storage tank across from Lowman Beach, at tonight’s Morgan Community Association meeting (7 pm, The Kenney [WSB sponsor], lower-level meeting rooms, 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW).

TLC for river and its watershed: Duwamish Alive! on April 19th

April 10, 2014 at 1:33 pm | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

View Duwamish Alive! 2014 in a larger map

The spring edition of Duwamish Alive! – one big 12-site work party to help the river and its watershed – is just nine days away, and it’s prime time for you to choose where you can and will help out 10 am-2 pm on Saturday, April 19th. Each tree on the map (note that two overlap) marks a specific site from West Seattle to Tukwila; once you’ve chosen a site, sign up by going here (note that West Seattle’s own Roxhill Bog is in particular need). If you need more convincing, here’s what Duwamish Alive! is all about.

West Seattle Summer Fest 2014: GreenLife signup time

April 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm | In Environment, West Seattle festivals, West Seattle news | No Comments

This year’s West Seattle Summer Fest is set for July 11-13. We’ve already published the call for vendor/music applications – and now, it’s application time for the GreenLife area!

Sustainable West Seattle and the West Seattle Junction Association are pleased to announce that the application for the 2014 GreenLife section of West Seattle Summer Fest is now available online:

The mission of GreenLife is to to raise awareness and equip our community with tools, knowledge and capabilities to create a more sustainable West Seattle. We are looking for local businesses to showcase merchandise, products and services related to these goals.

Organizations, including many local non-profits, contributing to this Expo will provide information, demonstrations and products in these areas:

*Home gardens – grow your own food, capture your rain water
*Composting – how to do it in your kitchen or yard
*Permaculture – what is it and how your garden can be sustainable
*Bee keeping and honey – how to raise a hive and harvest the honey
*Backyard chickens – learn how to raise and keep them
*Community fruit harvesting – learn how you can help the Food Banks
*Puget Sound and local streams – learn how you can help clean them up

The application requires a $20 application fee. The tabling cost is $250
for commercial vendors and $75 for non-profit vendors. The application
deadline is April 15th, but we usually fill up prior to this date so get
your application in early.

Please contact Christina Hahs at or 360-269-0332
with questions.

‘Tis the season: SDOT planting trees in West Seattle

March 31, 2014 at 7:03 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

SDOT says it’s just started another round of tree-planting in West Seattle – almost 300 trees in Gatewood and near Fairmount Park, with the work to be done by May 1st. Its announcement says the trees “are all grown in Northwest nurseries.” They’ll be maintained by SDOT’s Urban Forestry division, with watering bags in place for the first two to three growing seasons. Some street-tree planting was done recently in The Junction; in addition to West Seattle, SDOT says its springtime planting is also focused on Rainier Beach, which is getting 150 new trees.

World Water Week: Sealth students host visitors from India

March 29, 2014 at 1:06 am | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

(Photo added, courtesy Michael Bunch: Visitors with Riley Bunch & Randi Rankin)
The fourth annual World Water Week wrapped up at Chief Sealth International High School on Friday. Teacher Noah Zeichner sent word of just one of the aspects that again made it a “world” event:

The Global Leadership class at Chief Sealth IHS hosted a group from India who are in Seattle as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program. This three-week U.S. Department of State-sponsored project for five participants from India will provide an increased understanding of the milestones that various ethnic and religious groups have achieved and the challenges such groups continue to face.

The students discussed water related issues with the visitors including fresh-water scarcity and water pollution.

Plastic pollution was the main theme for this year’s World Water Week at Sealth.

Highland Park Action Committee: HPIC ‘greening’ update; more

March 28, 2014 at 9:18 am | In Environment, Highland Park, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

The “de-paved” lot outside Highland Park Improvement Club was a major topic at this week’s meeting of the Highland Park Action Committee, which convenes at HPIC. As work continues on greening the HPIC grounds following last Saturday’s work party (WSB coverage here), two events are ahead: Boeing employees will volunteer at a work party on April 19th; a week later, on April 26th, the site will be a Sustainability Stop on the annual Northwest Green Home Tour, with co-hosts including Sustainable Seattle and Stewardship Partners, and a chance to look at nearby RainWise installations too. Find out more about the tour here (scroll way down that page to see HPIC, “stop #11″; two West Seattle homes are on the tour too).

Two more toplines from HPAC’s meeting, ahead: Click to read the rest of Highland Park Action Committee: HPIC ‘greening’ update; more…

Happening now: ‘Vactoring’ cleanup at Fauntleroy ex-substation

March 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm | In Environment, Fauntleroy, Utilities, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

After cutting trees as part of a soil cleanup at two of West Seattle’s six “surplus” ex-substations, over the objections of community advocates including the WS Green Space Coalition, City Light said it would try a different technique at the Fauntleroy and Genesee Hill sites – “vactoring” contaminated soil in a way that WSGSC was told should make cleanup possible without destroying the trees. Thanks to a reader tip, we learned this work is happening at the Fauntleroy site (just around the corner from the Endolyne business district-let) right now. Meantime, as noted in our most recent report, the Green Space Coalition is continuing to advocate for a larger community role in determining the sites’ future – rather than what has been the usual past path of seeing them sold for housing development. City Light has said it could send disposition-plan legislation to the City Council – which has the final say – as soon as the third quarter of this year.

Update on ex-substations’ future, as West Seattle Green Space Coalition meets again today

March 23, 2014 at 10:28 am | In Environment, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

What will be done with those six long-shuttered substation sites in West Seattle, declared surplus by City Light?

Today is your next chance to check out/get involved with the citizens group asking the city to slow down the process so that neighborhoods can help determine the sites’ future, the West Seattle Green Space Coalition. Its meeting is open to all, 3 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle in The Junction (California/Oregon).

Earlier this month, the City Council’s Energy Committee, chaired by Councilmember Kshama Sawant, was briefed on where the substation-disposition process stands. What you see above is the presentation prepared for that committee and a meeting later in the day of the city’s Urban Forestry Commission, providing a thorough overview of the group’s efforts and each of the six sites. (Thanks to coalition member Michael Oxman for providing the slide deck, and pointing us to this city webpage where you can hear archived audio of the commission meeting as well as see its draft notes.)

Click to read the rest of Update on ex-substations’ future, as West Seattle Green Space Coalition meets again today…

Countdown to World Water Week @ Chief Sealth: 3 days away

March 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | Comments Off


(Chris Jordan on Midway, via Midway Journey photoset on Flickr)
School is almost out for the week at Chief Sealth International High School – and when its students return to class Monday, it will be a special occasion: The start of the fourth annual World Water Week “ideas festival.” You are invited to the keynote presentation Tuesday night by Chris Jordan, who addresses this year’s theme – plastic pollution – via a close-up look at one particular effect of the Pacific Ocean “garbage patch.” Here’s the official WWW overview:

Students, teachers, and members of Chief Sealth International High School community will come together for a week dedicated to raising awareness about global and local water issues during the fourth annual World Water Week. This year’s festival theme is plastic pollution.

On Tuesday, March 25, World Water Week presents keynote speaker, Chris Jordan. For the past few years, Jordan, a Seattle photographer, has immersed himself in a stunning environmental tragedy on Midway Island in the heart of the Pacific: the starvation of thousands of albatrosses who mistake floating plastic trash for food. Jordan will share his journey to Midway through stories, photos, and film, recounting his harrowing and redemptive journey into horror, beauty, grief, love, and — ultimately — healing. The event is co-sponsored by Town Hall Seattle and will take place in the Chief Sealth International High School Auditorium.

Students are currently fundraising to cover festival costs. Online contributions can be made here:

The 2014 World Water Week schedule includes:

Monday/Tuesday, March 24-25: The student body will attend a student-led assembly that introduces the topic of global plastic pollution. The students will also participate in a synchronous all-school lesson about plastic pollution.

Tuesday, March 25: Resource Fair with local water organizations from 6-7 p.m. with music and refreshments. Keynote lecture with Chris Jordan in the Chief Sealth International High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. This is the only public component of the festival.

Wednesday, March 26: School-wide student conference with workshops for students with speakers from NOAA, King County Solid Waste Division, 5 Gyres, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, UW-Tacoma, Waste Management, Product Stewardship Institute, and others.

Thursday, March 27: Students’ families will attend a Multicultural Night program that will feature activities about water and plastic pollution for all ages.

Friday, March 28: Closing all-school assembly.

This festival is being organized by Chief Sealth International students Tasha Addington-Ferris, Aisaya Corbray, and Paloma Robertson along with teacher and mentor Noah Zeichner. The team works with a hard-working group of over 40 Chief Sealth students and teachers, in collaboration with several local organizations.

These students became interested in water issues after participating in the 2011 World Water Week festival put together by then-Sealth senior Molly Freed. In the summer of 2010, the Bezos Family Foundation selected Freed and Zeichner as Bezos Scholars — two of 12 scholar/educator pairs across the nation — to attend the Aspen Ideas Festival. At the festival, scholars were directed to create their own local Ideas Festival, and Freed and Zeichner developed the vision for World Water Week.

Here’s our coverage of the community kickoff night from that first-ever Sealth WWW; in 2012, we covered outdoor activities including a food walk and garden-building; last year’s focus was on sanitation issues, including a visit by world-famous “Mr. Toilet,” Jack Sim.

Bringing Roxhill Bog fully back to life: WWRHAH searches for more community history, seeks help for bog’s future

March 16, 2014 at 7:28 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

(Southwestern side of Roxhill Bog, photographed today by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
Just a short distance past the playground and skatespot in Roxhill Park is Roxhill Bog – historically, where Longfellow Creek begins.

It’s undergone some restoration work in the past, but needs a lot more, and the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council has been working to put together a plan/request for Seattle Parks and Seattle Public Utilities. The bog’s past may be a key to our area’s future – and the proper restoration could help reduce flood problems along the Longfellow Creek corridor, as well as reducing the area where trouble sometimes lurks.

They’ve gathered a fair amount of information already, but, as WWRHAH secretary Joe Szilagyi explains, “At this point we’re just trying to fill in the last gaps of knowledge and information over a very, very long period of time before we can finalize our planning and bring this to SPU and Parks.” So if you have had any historical knowledge of/information about Roxhill Bog, they’ve set up a special e-mail address and invite you to get in touch:

P.S. The area’s wetlands have had rough treatment in the past – while doing some added research, we found in the Seattle Municipal Archives this city photo dated exactly 53 years ago today (March 16, 1961), labeled “W. Roxbury paving, peat bog/26th and Barton,” though we can’t tell exactly where it is in relation to the current park site:

Meantime, if you are interested in more background on the current challenges and potential benefits of tackling them, read on for the text of the letter Szilagyi has sent to city and county leaders on WWRHAH’s behalf:

Click to read the rest of Bringing Roxhill Bog fully back to life: WWRHAH searches for more community history, seeks help for bog’s future…

Fairmount Ravine cleanup followup, plus: How about an ivy-fighting day – are you in?

March 16, 2014 at 2:03 am | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

After the 22nd annual Fairmount Ravine cleanup, a lot of work’s been done, and much remains. The photo, report, and question, are from Sarah Schieron:

23 volunteers joined to remove 65 large bags of trash, 4 tires, 5 chairs, a kids swimming pool, and many many cans and bottles out of the Fairmount Ravine this morning.

This year, we saw fewer volunteers than last year despite very favorable weather conditions. However, those that participated, to a person, worked hard and made a valuable contribution. Volunteers ranged from 2 to 86 years of age and over half were participating for the very first time. We were grateful to have veterans, John Lang and Blair Constantine, participate for their 22nd consecutive year as their history and experience in this green space is so useful.

Our thanks to Metropolitan Market, Zatz a Better Bagel and Natalie Steffens of the Admiral Starbucks for donating generous refreshments. SPD Officers Flores and MacNeil were a very helpful presence and arranged for trash pick-up at midday.

Each year the majority of our time and effort is under the Admiral bridge. We do some invasive plant cutting, but we never make the impact we would like on this growing concern. We wonder if our community has the interest and commitment for a second work day specifically to cut back ivy? There are many trees that are overcome by this invasive plant and will die and fall without some intervention. If helping in this way interests you, please contact so we can plan another community workday in the next month (before the nettles grow taller).

Thank you to the volunteers, donors, and police team who made Saturday such a success!

You can help! Be one of the West Seattle neighbors cleaning up Fairmount Ravine tomorrow

March 14, 2014 at 10:03 am | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(WSB photo from 2013 Fairmount Ravine cleanup)
One more advance shoutout for a community cleanup tomorrow (Saturday, March 15th) that REALLY needs you. Every year for more than two decades, Fairmount Ravine neighbors have joined forces to get out and not just pick up some of what’s been left behind, tossed out, dumped in the ravine, but also to pull invasives. You might know the area better for the road that runs from Harbor Avenue uphill/south almost all the way to Hiawatha, under the eastern Admiral Way Bridge. The road and bridge are used by far more than just the area residents, so consider pitching in. The basics:

*Saturday, March 15th, 8:30 am (stay as little or as long as you can)
*Meet at the top of the hill at Fairmount and Forest – directly east of Hiawatha (map)
*Refreshments provided (donated by Metropolitan Market and Zatz A Better Bagel)
*Please wear gloves, boots and old clothes as we remove garbage and invasive plants
*All ages welcome
*Rain or shine

Neighbor Sarah Schieron says they’d also like to thank SPD Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores “for participating with us this year and helping us haul out our garbage in an expedited manner through a noon pick-up.” Whatever time you can spare, the intrepid neighbors of Fairmount Ravine hope to see you Saturday.

Get ready to recycle! Next date set for Fauntleroy drop-off event

March 13, 2014 at 9:35 am | In Environment, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(WSB file photo from past Recycle Roundup)
The twice-yearly Recycle Roundups at Fauntleroy Church are so eagerly awaited, we always want to let you know when the date is set and the material list is available. So here goes: Mark your calendar for Sunday, April 27th, 9 am-3 pm. Judy Pickens has shared the official list of what will be accepted that day by their partner 1 Green Planet – see it here and start setting aside what you plan to drop off for recycling (free, though the sponsoring Green Committee from the church always appreciates donations to help cover the cost of organizing these roundups).

You can help! Teach local kids about ‘Finding Urban Nature’

March 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(Photo courtesy Seattle Audubon)
Love the natural world that’s all around us? Volunteer to teach local elementary-school students about it! West Seattle’s own Sanislo Elementary is one of two schools where Seattle Audubon will place volunteers – provided they step up to help!

Want hands-on experience teaching science to kids? Seattle Audubon is looking for volunteers for its environmental education program at Sanislo and Graham Hill Elementary Schools!

Seattle Audubon’s Finding Urban Nature (FUN) is an environmental education program for Seattle Public Schools students. It introduces 3rd and 4th graders to the natural world in their own schoolyard habitats. FUN students participate in 4, one-hour lessons, over the course of 4 weeks during the month of April. Each lesson takes about one hour per classroom (usually 2 classrooms per school), and volunteers work with small groups of 5-7 students at a time. Training is provided and a background check is required.

Seattle Audubon provides environmental education at no cost to the district, so it relies on volunteers. Can you help? Please respond by 3/14/2014.

If you’re interested, please e-mail

West Seattle weather: Flood watch, landslide risk as rain continues

March 8, 2014 at 6:05 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle weather | 11 Comments

How rainy is it? In the late afternoon, West Seattle-based environmental advocate “Diver Laura” James – whose specialties include stormwater-runoff education – caught these maxed-out sewer covers at the east dead-end of Yancy between West Seattle Athletic Club and Longfellow Creek (map).

The National Weather Service has two alerts out for our area – a Special Weather Statement that warns the rain “has led to an increased threat of landslides in Western Washington … The threat will increase tonight into midday Sunday as heavy rain affects the area. Several inches of rain over the past several days has increased soil moisture to high levels across Western Washington,” and a Flood Watch that speaks for itself. Here, by the way, is the runoff’s outfall to Longfellow, as noted by Laura:

To find out how to minimize the toxicity of what’s in runoff water, check out You can also check this real-time map to see which marked outfalls have combined-sewer overflows happening right now, the same kind of overflows that city and county projects under way now are aiming to reduce.

P.S. The NWS says the official gauge at Sea-Tac has collected almost four inches of rain in the first week of March – ending yesterday.

West Seattle’s surplus ex-substations: Advocates tour with Rasmussen; Andover cleanup continues

March 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm | In Environment, Utilities, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Two updates on the six former substations in West Seattle that City Light has declared “surplus”:

GREEN SPACE COALITION TOUR WITH COUNCILMEMBER RASMUSSEN: Community advocates including members of the West Seattle Green Space Coalition, who hope to keep the long-deactivated sites as open space, hosted Councilmember Tom Rasmussen this morning on a tour that started at the Dakota site on Genesee Hill:

Rasmussen tells WSB, “I support the efforts of the community to keep the sites as open space. The challenge is finding the funds to do so. I am researching and checking how we can do that.” Some City Light sites have become parks – in West Seattle, those include Dakota Place Park north of The Junction and Nantes Park along Admiral Way – while others in the city have been sold to housing developers. Five of the West Seattle sites are zoned for single-family homebuilding; the one on 9th SW near Westcrest Park is zoned Lowrise 2.

We couldn’t stay for today’s full tour, but organizers were expecting also to visit the Fauntleroy and Andover sites. We reported back in December about what City Light described as “cleanup” work at the latter site on Pigeon Point, work to which the WSGSC had taken exception because of vegetation removal; the city says it’s continuing that work. From SCL’s environmental-compliance manager William Devereaux:

Tree cutting and clearing was completed several weeks ago. The final phase of work involves the actual digging up of the contaminated soil putting clean soil in, reseeding grass, and replanting. NRC Environmental Services, a company from South Park, is carrying out the work. I heard that there were some questions regarding chalk/paint lines outside of the site. Before we dig on any site we have to have all of the utilities located to ensure that we do not disturb them. There will not be any digging outside of our substation site and the SDOT right of way immediately adjacent to the site.

When we start working on the SDOT right of way portion, there will be one-way traffic only, with flaggers between 21st and 22nd Ave SW on SW Andover St and between SW Charlestown St and SW Andover St on 21st Ave. This portion is not anticipated to start until next week. We are anticipating that the entire soil removal and backfill will be complete within 2 weeks.

One of the advocates on today’s tour, Cass Turnbull of PlantAmnesty, contends that “it makes little sense to choose a remediation method before the final disposition of the property is determined.” She says that if it’s determined the sites will be kept as green spaces, there are other ways of dealing with the reported low-level soil contamination that has had the city cutting and digging.

The Green Space Coalition is planning to take its case to the City Council’s Energy Committee next week. It’s up to the council to make the final decision on the ex-substations’ future, once SCL has made its recommendations.

Ace pitcher can be a catcher in your kitchen: Freebie Wednesday

February 24, 2014 at 3:51 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

Though the city has scrapped the plan to try to increase recycling (among other goals) by decreasing trash pickups, as our story last Friday noted, they still hope to urge residents to try other means. One would be increasing the number of people who recycle food scraps. Seattle Public Utilities is offering a freebie if you’re still reluctant:

Last year, Seattle residents helped divert more than 125,000 tons of food scraps and yard debris from the landfill through composting. Fans at Safeco Field helped recycle or compost more than 90 percent of their waste. To recognize their efforts, Seattle Public Utilities and the Seattle Mariners are offering free kitchen compost containers to Seattle residents to help store and carry kitchen scraps to their food and yard waste carts.

On Wednesday, February 26, from 11 am to 3 pm, Seattle residents who pledge to recycle and compost will receive a collector’s edition Felix Hernandez Kitchen Caddy.

This is happening at five locations in the city during that four-hour span – among them, the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center at 2801 SW Thistle (co-housed with Southwest Pool and Southwest Teen Life Center). In case you’re off-peninsula at that time and interested in checking out another location, they’re all listed here. One container per household.

CSO-control project updates: Truck routes revealed for Murray; drilling time for Barton

February 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm | In Environment, Utilities, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Updates on both of our area’s King County Wastewater Treatment “combined-sewer overflow control” projects today:

(Click image to see full-size PDF)
MURRAY PROJECT ‘HAUL ROUTES’: Community members have long been asking which route trucks will use to get to and from the Murray (basin) CSO project site across from Lowman Beach, once excavation begins for its million-gallon storage tank. Morgan Community Association president Deb Barker got the word on Thursday that the routes had been finalized and published on the project website – see the map above. We asked KCWT when people along those routes will see the resulting truck traffic. From spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson:

Peak truck traffic is expected between April and December 2014 for the following activities: between April and July during the placement of secant piles that will act as support walls; between August and October for the excavation of the storage tank; and between October and December for tank construction (bringing in concrete and materials to the site.) During these time periods, the truck traffic will occur all day long. Work hours are 7-6 on weekdays. Any weekend work would be a special request by the contractor and if it was granted, King County would notify the community. Congestion at the site will be minimized by staging trucks away from the site and having them arrive at the site in a coordinated manner.

As for when the “primary” route would be used and when the “secondary” route would be used instead, that information isn’t available yet but we’ll add it when it is.

BARTON PROJECT PRE-CONSTRUCTION WORK: The Barton (basin) CSO project involves roadside raingardens on certain blocks in Sunrise Heights – and part of the support structure involves wells:

The construction was previewed during the recent pre-construction meetings (WSB coverage here). What’s being drilled at the south end of each raingarden block – 15 blocks getting 91 raingardens in the next year and a half – is a “deep infiltration well.” That’s considered pre-construction work; this year’s official construction schedule, block by block, is here.

West Seattle development followup: Formal notice of March 11th hearing on 4755 Fauntleroy ‘alley vacation’

February 14, 2014 at 8:50 am | In 4755 Fauntleroy, Environment, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Back on Wednesday, we reported the date had finally been set for the City Council Transportation Committee’s public hearing on the “alley vacation” that needs council approval before The Whittaker, aka “the Whole Foods project,” can proceed at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW: 9:30 am March 11th in council chambers at City Hall. This morning, the official city notice is out – see it here. It includes details on how to comment at, and before, the March 11th hearing. It also includes this map of the site and the surrounding area (partially shown at right). The hearing before the Transportation Committee, chaired by West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, is the first step in formal council consideration; the full council would consider it afterward.

Biodiesel bust at Admiral Safeway, 7 years after pumped-up debut

February 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm | In Environment, Transportation, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

Almost exactly seven years ago, the Admiral Safeway gas station added biodiesel with pomp, circumstance, and even participation by then-Mayor Greg Nickels. It was the company’s first location in the nation to offer the part-vegetable-oil fuel mix. Now, the alternative fuel has been dropped. We found out from WSB reader Jay F, a biodiesel user, and checked with regional Safeway spokesperson Sara Osborne, who confirmed it via e-mail late today, explaining: “Simply stated, there was no longer enough demand to justify the investment..” That leaves the Propel Fuels mini-station at 35th/Barton, which offers B20 and B50, and Hans VW at 35th/Graham, which offers B100. (WSB photo from February 2007 – check those prices!)

West Seattle Green Space Coalition to rally at Genesee Hill ex-substation tomorrow

February 1, 2014 at 8:23 pm | In Environment, Utilities, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Before (or while) sporting Seahawks blue and green tomorrow, you’re invited to join the West Seattle Green Space Coalition in a rally.

On Sunday at noon (before the Super Bowl game), according to coalition leader Mary Fleck, “neighbors at 50th Ave SW & Dakota will be tying ribbons around the trees at the Dakota St. surplus substation to express the neighbors’ love for the wooded, green space.”

According to a detailed announcement on the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council mailing list, it’s feared that Seattle City Light will remove the trees and shrubbery from the site soon as it continues what it says are cleanup operations at surplus ex-substations around the area – though it has not yet presented the City Council with its recommendations of what to do with the sites, 6 of which are in West Seattle. The sites in Pigeon Point and Highland Park already have had vegetation removed, and Fleck has filed complaints with the city saying it was done without permits/reviews.

Most other ex-substation sites around the city sold in recent years have gone to residential developers; the Genesee Hill site that’s the focus of tomorrow’s rally is just under 10,000 square feet and is zoned residential, SF (single-family) 5000. The WSGSC wants the utility to slow the disposition process to increase the possibility some sites might be preserved as greenspace.

Well-drilling, raingarden-digging for overflow-control project about to start in Sunrise Heights, Westwood

January 27, 2014 at 2:02 am | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 3 Comments

Three years after King County announced two very different plans for reducing combined-sewer overflows at two West Seattle pump stations, both projects are about to go into the major construction phase.

The county hosted a pre-construction meeting back in November (WSB coverage here) for the CSO project in the Murray basin, a million-gallon storage tank across the street from Lowman Beach.

And now, the Barton basin project – 91 roadside raingardens on 15 blocks in Sunrise Heights and Westwood – has just had two pre-construction meetings. The project map has been updated, showing construction on eight blocks this year, seven blocks next year, and five more blocks in reserve if needed:

We covered the first meeting Thursday night at Westside School (WSB sponsor), which was followed by a Saturday morning session at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.

Thursday night brought a scene very different from an early project meeting in the same room a few months after the plan was first unveiled.

Click to read the rest of Well-drilling, raingarden-digging for overflow-control project about to start in Sunrise Heights, Westwood…

West Seattle development: Comment time extended for 24th SW subdivision proposal near Longfellow Creek

January 26, 2014 at 10:46 am | In Development, Environment, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Photographed by a neighbor, the top photo shows 6536 24th SW (map), where the city is considering an application to split two lots into eight just east of Longfellow Creek.

We first wrote about it in December, and then again when the city formally published notice of that application on January 16th. That notice launched a comment period that now has been extended two weeks by request of neighbors, until February 12th.

Though this application only covers the proposed lot-splitting, city files (as mentioned in our previous reports) include plans for eight homes on those proposed eight lots. The creek runs through the front yard of homes across the street, neighbor Cyndie Rokicki points out, sharing this version of the same view as the top photo, when the water runs high in heavy rain:

She says, “The creek has gone over the banks and flooded the road 6 out of the 8 years that I have lived here. While at flood state, we are unable to get in or out of our property. My concern is, what the impact of cutting a road to establish access to the subdivision (which has an extreme slope which runs directly into the creek) will have on the already bad flooding situation, not to mention the effect of 8 more homeowners’ ability to reach their property during the flooding.”

Click to read the rest of West Seattle development: Comment time extended for 24th SW subdivision proposal near Longfellow Creek…

West Seattle beach notes: Of sewage and seals

January 22, 2014 at 10:20 pm | In Environment, West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Remember that sign on Lowman Beach? We now know the extent of the Murray Pump Station overflow that closed the beach back during the January 11th power outage: 1.5 million gallons. That’s according to Annie Kolb-Nelson from King County Wastewater Treatment, who didn’t have that stat when they were still dealing with the exact aftermath; we checked back this week to ask. It happened just as the county is launching into construction of two West Seattle projects meant to dramatically reduce the chance of such overflows – one of them right there at Lowman, which is now full of fencing and bordered with two construction trailers (this is their water-facing side):

Two components of the work ahead could have prevented or reduced the January 11th overflow – the pump station itself, beneath the south side of Lowman Beach Park, will get a backup power system, instead of having to await the arrival of a portable generator if an outage happens. And a million-gallon overflow-holding tank will be across the street.

The other project will reduce overflows at the nearby Barton Pump Station, north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock, which itself, like Murray, is getting a power upgrade. Its overflow-reduction system is very different – roadside raingardens to hold stormwater will be built in two of the neighborhoods in the “basin” feeding that station. And that project is about to have its two pre-construction community meetings – tomorrow and Saturday – time/location details are here.

The end result of both projects is supposed to be cleaner water. Not just for people, but for wildlife. We were reminded of that when we went to Lowman Beach today to photograph the construction trailers.

At Lowman, we also saw that seal pup, which had been on the rocky shore since relatively early in the morning, when Morgan spotted it and shared that photo via Twitter, hours before our visit. Seal Sitters were there by the time we saw it, and they thought it might be the same one we found ourselves guarding for a little while Tuesday evening at Lincoln Parkthe story’s on the Seal Sitters’ website.

ADDED: Turns out it probably wasn’t “Cameo.” The Wednesday seal hung around all day and, as noted by Seal Sitters, got the nickname “PeeWee.”

Puget Creek Watershed gets King Day TLC from CityYear

January 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Peek through the trees and greenery of the forest/wetland alongside Sanislo Elementary today, and you’ll see flashes of red – the signature T-shirts worn by members of CityYear Seattle/King County. These 18-to-24-year-olds are best known for their classroom work supporting local students, but today, for the MLK Day of Service, they are out helping the Puget Creek Watershed Alliance with restoration work. That means, among other things, moving a lot of mulch:

Like so many other greenspaces in our area, the trees here are under siege by invasives like ivy and blackberries, so weed-pulling is part of today’s work too:

As noted by organizer Steven Richmond, who leads frequent volunteer work parties at the wetland, work here supports salmon habitat downstream in the Duwamish River; that’s where Puget Creek drains after an undergrounded section that the Duwamish Tribe is hoping to daylight near its longhouse on West Marginal Way – and it’s cleaner if stormwater is filtered by healthy woodlands and wetlands upstream.

P.S. If you’d like to help – the next regular work party is Saturday (January 25th); details here, including Richmond’s contact info if you have questions.

Pre-construction meetings, survey for Westwood, Sunrise Heights ‘roadside raingardens’ sewer-overflow-control project

January 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 2 Comments

King County’s next major combined-sewer-overflow-control project, the Barton basin “green stormwater infrastructure” roadside raingardens on 15 streets in Westwood and Sunrise Heights, is close to starting construction. So the county has just announced two pre-construction community meetings:

Join King County at one of two community meetings to prepare the neighborhood for upcoming construction activities. At the meeting, you can:

· Learn more about the construction schedule and sequence of activities
· Meet representatives from the construction contractor, Goodfellow Brothers
· Hear how King County works with neighbors during construction
· Learn about anticipated construction impacts
· Bring the kids! A kids activity table will be set up in the main room both days

Thursday, January 23, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Westside School, 7740 34th Ave SW
Saturday, January 25, 10:00 – 11:30 am, High Point Neighborhood House, 6400 Sylvan Way SW

Checking the project website, we also found this online survey for those in the neighborhoods affected.

West Seattle post-holiday scene: Rainbow Girls’ tree-cycling

January 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm | In Environment, Holidays, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

With the second truckload of trees dropped off during their Christmas-tree-recycling fundraiser at the Alki Masonic Center in The Junction today are West Seattle Rainbow Girls (from left) Zoë, Kyla, Esther, Destiny, and Laurel. This is the sixth year of tree-cycling for the group, and we haven’t heard from any other West Seattle organizations doing it, so if you missed it, here’s how to work with the city to recycle yours, and some ideas on how to handle it in a home garden.

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