West Seattle, Washington
(Photo by Robin Lindsey)
As this weekend winds down, here’s a plan you can make for the start of next weekend: Lend a couple hours next Saturday morning to help Seal Sitters keep Alki Beach wildlife from being harmed by trash. Here’s the announcement:
Let’s clean up our act! Join Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network and co-sponsor Sno-King Marine Mammal Response on Saturday, June 24th, as we clean up Alki Beach and surrounding sidewalks and streets to help reduce the impact humans have on our fragile marine ecosystem and save wildlife (photo is a typical early morning scene at Alki during warmer months). Trash on the beach becomes treacherous in the water. The “Sentinels of the Sound” cleanup is from 9:30-noon with assembly at the Statue of Liberty Plaza (Alki Avenue SW and 61st Ave SW).
All marine life is endangered by marine debris and plastics pollution. Many, many thousands of marine animals and sea birds are injured and die each year from derelict fishing gear, marine debris, and pollution. They are entangled and drowned by nets and gear – strangled and contaminated by plastics.
Harbor seals (who do not migrate and are year-round residents) and resident Puget Sound orcas, both animals at the top of the food chain, are especially hard hit by pollutants from storm runoff and plastics that break down into microscopic particles and enter the food chain. These deadly toxins are then stored in the blubber of marine mammals and passed on in mothers’ milk to nursing young.
You can truly make a difference for wildlife. Come on down and grab a bucket and pair of “pluckers” (if you have your own, please bring them). RSVP is requested – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org – to ensure there are enough materials on hand. If you can’t attend on Saturday, you can make every trip to the beach a personal cleanup day by taking a bag and gloves along with you to pick up and dispose of trash. Every little bit helps!
Please visit Seal Sitters’ website to learn more, in-depth, about the dangers of marine debris and pollution.
We’re at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, where an open house continues until 9 pm, first public review of the design alternatives for the Delridge Wetlands Project. If you can get here by 7 pm, project leader Willard Brown tells us, you’ll see the official presentation by the Pomegranate Center designers who are presenting three alternatives. This project involves a site at 23rd SW and SW Findlay that includes a former City Light substation; the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association and its Nature Consortium affiliate are partnering to turn it into a park and educational site, which it’s already been for students from nearby Louisa Boren STEM K-8:
Even if you can’t get here for the presentation, stop by before 9, have a look at the designs, share your thoughts on what’s meant to be a community resource. The open house is in the south classroom on the ground floor at Youngstown, which is at 4408 Delridge Way SW.
That’s one of the scenes we showed you on Duwamish Alive! day in spring of last year, when the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association and its affiliate Nature Consortium held an event at the site that’s home to the Delridge Wetlands Project. It’s another one of Seattle City Light‘s no-longer-needed former substations, and this one, instead of going up for sale as real estate, has a different future, in a public/private partnership.
You can be part of it by dropping by Youngstown Cultural Arts Center between 6 and 9 pm Thursday (June 15th). It’s a chance to see the design planned for the site, in its future as:
…a project spearheaded by DNDA to protect, restore, preserve and expand the existing wetland to improve water quality in Longfellow Creek, meanwhile developing the space as a public park for all to enjoy. Beside wetland restoration, other plans for the park include the creation of an urban garden, community orchard, as well as developing the space as an outdoor classroom for local students and the community to learn hands-on environmental science and wetland stewardship.
Youngstown CAC is at 4408 Delridge Way SW; the Delridge Wetlands Project site is at 23rd SW/SW Findlay.
Alki’s a little cleaner after one hour of volunteer help today – thanks to Kersti Muul for the photos and report!
Today many groups are meeting at several beaches to help clean up for “An hour for the ocean” another event for Orca Month.
I worked with Whale Scout at Alki and we got 100 pounds of trash in one hour, in a small stretch near the bathhouse!
Beautiful day, beautiful people. We had a woman from Poland there, and one from Colombia helping, amazing!
More chances to clean up the beach are coming up this summer – including a Seal Sitters event two weeks from today!
(WSB photo, January 2015)
Two and a half years ago, that was the view into the then-under-construction million-gallon combined-sewer-overflow-control tank at what’s now called the Murray “wet weather facility” across from Lowman Beach (named for Murray Avenue SW).
Today, that’s the view from atop the site – which we just toured with a delegation from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, which runs the facility, where you’re invited to a community celebration next Saturday (June 10th, 10 am-noon). The $47 million facility has been operational since last November – when it handled an overflow situation; now the exterior’s complete, too, and it’s party time. This has been eight years in the making, dating back to community meetings in 2009 to talk about options for reducing combined-sewer (the system that takes both stormwater and sewage) overflows into Puget Sound in two areas of central/south West Seattle, part of a wide-ranging court order. The Murray project – which replaced a block of residential buildings – ultimately was designed to include viewpoint, seating space, and art atop and alongside its support building. What looks like lawn, for example, is actually part of a green roof.
You might already have seen the exterior – people were there on this sunny morning doing yoga and walking the stairs. The tank itself is off-limits but we got a look at what’s inside the support building:
Our area has the city’s longest stretch of contiguous forest – the West Duwamish Greenbelt – and it was the place to be to celebrate National Trails Day this weekend. Paul West from the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails group shared the photos from Saturday’s guided hikes; below, Patti Bakker from Seattle Parks told hikers about the city’s forest-management plans:
The trailhead closest to Saturday’s hiking area is at 12th SW/SW Holly (map), if you want to go explore on your own. You can also help out in the forest – next work party is June 17th.
Explore your peninsula! Next Saturday brings a special opportunity – the announcement and photo are from Judy Bentley:
On National Trails Day, Saturday, June 3, hike locally without crossing the bridge.
The West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails group is sponsoring guided hikes in the largest urban forest in Seattle, on a ridge above the Duwamish RIver. Members of the trails group and Nature Consortium will be on hand to guide hikers and provide information on the history and reforestation of the greenbelt.
The first half of the trail is a constructed gravel trail. The second half is muddier and less developed. There are a few ups and downs and a bit of scrambling but only modest elevation changes, suitable for most ages with appropriate footwear. The trail makes a loop from the south end of the campus of South Seattle College, paralleling the campus in the greenbelt, to the Chinese Garden and Arboretum at the north end of campus, returning to the start along the campus and 16th Ave. SW.
Guided hikes will be at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Meet at 12th Ave. SW and SW Holly Street.
The West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails group’s work was also featured at the first stop on last Thursday night’s Highland Park Find It, Fix It Walk (WSB coverage here).
If you’ve been anywhere near cottonwood trees today – you might have found yourself in something of a “snowstorm.” Jamie Kinney‘s quick clip above, recorded at Westcrest Park, captures it; we experienced (but didn’t record) the same thing at midmorning, while driving eastbound toward Highway 509 from the end of the Roxbury/Olson corridor. Looking for some background, we found this 2010 story by Seattle Times reporter Lynda V. Mapes. As she noted, the peak season continues into the first half of June.
Thanks to Fauntleroy Creek steward Judy Pickens for the top photo and report (and headline!):
Today’s salmon release in Fauntleroy Park was the last for retiring fifth-grade teacher Tim Hannah. He’s spent most of his 28-year career at Alki Elementary and initiated the Salmon in the Schools rearing project there in 1992.
(Photo courtesy Karisa MacLachlan)
Alki’s release was No. 13 for Fauntleroy Watershed Council volunteers, with six more to go. By the end of the month, an estimated 750 students will have enriched the creek with about 2,200 coho fry.
After that, the next seasonal touchpoint for Fauntleroy Creek and its salmon happens this fall, when volunteers watch for spawners.
Cathy Phillips from King County Public Health and Julianne Ruffner from the state Ecology Department (below) visited Alki Beach this morning, to sample the water while providing a quick media briefing on the BEACH program, which monitors the water at “high-use saltwater beaches” between Memorial Day and Labor Day. (Here’s the draft list for this year.)
Whether you’re going to Alki or one of the other beaches on the list, their message is to “surf the web before you surf the beach” – check online before you go into the water – look at this map to see if there’s an advisory where you’re going. The BEACH program samples water at its designated beaches every week; Phillips explained that the water is shipped to the lab the same day it’s gathered, and they find out within about 24 hours whether there’s a problem. Be careful after a storm, she warned, because rain can change the water quality even from whatever a previous day’s tests showed. You can help keep the water safe, the program advises – “pick up after your pets, have toddlers wear swim diapers, make sure young children get frequent bathroom breaks, and pick up your trash. Avoid feeding the wildlife.”
In our most recent update on the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control facility across from Lowman Beach Park – now complete after more than three years of construction – King County mentioned that the fences would come down this week and the stairway through the site would be open to the public. We just checked back for the first time in several days, and indeed, it is.
That opens up Puget Sound views from atop the facility – which holds a million-gallon storage tank to prevent/reduce overflows during storms – and from the stairway landings (photo above). You also can get a closer look at artist Robert Horner‘s “rammed-earth” installations:
As mentioned in the last update, a community celebration is planned on June 10th, 10 am-noon.
(Click for full-size PDF version of map)
If you live in the highlighted areas of eastern West Seattle – this is for you. Seattle Public Utilities is launching the Longfellow Creek “natural drainage systems” project – meant to find ways to keep runoff out of the creek, via raingarden-type installations, among other things. Here’s the announcement we received today, including a survey:
Seattle Public Utilities is working to reduce polluted stormwater runoff from entering the Longfellow basin water system. As part of this effort, we are designing and constructing 7 – 10 blocks of Natural Drainage Systems (NDS) in the Longfellow Creek basin.
SPU is currently working to determine where we can partner with other city departments on related projects and which blocks will be technically feasible for NDS placement. While SPU can only build these systems where it is technically feasible, we would like to incorporate community input into the final decision. (Please see the map for our initial analysis of potentially feasible areas in your neighborhood, where input from the community is needed.)
As part of this effort, SPU is sending a mailing (the attached letter, project brochure, and survey) to residents located on these potentially feasible blocks. We need input from folks who live directly on these project blocks to help inform our final NDS siting decisions. The cutoff for the survey (linked here) is May 26, 2017.
Please feel free to contact Luis Ramirez, project manager, at Luis.Ramirez@seattle.gov or 206-684-3660, or April Mills, Line of Business Representative, at April.Mills@seattle.gov or 206-733-9816 for eligibility requirements or our survey outreach approach. Visit our SPU project page for additional information.
As the brochure says, construction is expected to happen in 2019. City and county “natural drainage systems” projects are already in place in other parts of West Seattle including Highland Park, South Delridge, Sunrise Heights, and Westwood.
Until 5 pm, you can visit 4 West Seattle stops on the free Northwest Green Home Tour. Here’s the list, south to north:
9323 31ST PLACE SW: Above, Parie Hines of LD Arch Design (WSB sponsor), architect for two of today’s stops. This one transformed a “typical warbox” with “a family-sized porch & 2-story addition.” The builders were Mighty House Construction, whose Doug Elfline is there talking with visitors, too.
3726 SW AUSTIN: Mighty House also remodeled the kitchen that’s being shown off at this stop.
WEST SEATTLE NURSERY: As noted when it opened, the expansion building here was designed by Hines and built by Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor), whose co-proprietor Anne Higuera was leading a tour when we stopped by:
The tour website explains that while this is a commercial building, “it features many strategies that can be used in green homes.”
While the tour continues tomorrow, the West Seattle stops are today only, until 5 pm.
12:04 PM: The free shredding (and e-cycling) event in The Junction right now is so popular (as noted in comments on today’s West Seattle Saturday preview), Cara Mohammadian from event sponsor Windermere called to say they have a second truck on the way and so they’re extending the time – instead of a 1 pm cutoff, they’ll go until ~3 or until the second truck is full. It’s happening in the Junction parking lot off 42nd SW just south of SW Oregon.
12:46 PM: That was fast – just got another update; the second truck’s full and they’re wrapping up. Anybody else sponsoring a shredding event in the area sometime this year, let us know – obviously a big demand (people had been asking us about this one for months).
Been wondering about the status of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control facility across from Lowman Beach, with construction crews gone but fences still up? We requested an update yesterday, and received this today:
With restoration work complete, King County’s contractor will remove fencing around the facility site during the first week of May. The public staircase will be open once the fencing is removed. The fencing around Lowman Beach Park will remain in place through the spring until the grass is established.
King County will raise the height of some sections of railing on the facility roof to enhance site security and safety. You may see temporary barriers in place until this update is complete. The staircase will remain open to the public during this work.
SAVE THE DATE!
Community celebration & facility tours
Saturday, June 10
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Murray Wet Weather Facility
The County will host a community event on Saturday, June 10 to celebrate the completion of the project and to thank you for your continued patience during construction. Please stop by to:
· Take a tour of the facility (tours inside the facility building are limited to those ages nine and up)
· Learn about how the facility and underground storage tank protect water quality and public health
· Share your feedback about the project and construction process
The heart of the facility is a million-gallon underground-storage tank to hold overflows during storms, which previously would have spilled into Puget Sound. It’s been operational since last November. Construction began more than three years earlier, with the demolition of residential buildings that were previously on the site.
With the rain record we’ve just set, it’s almost humorous that there wasn’t a drop in sight when RainWise threw a party today at Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood, in honor of the “green stormwater infrastructure” that has lessened the load on the combined-sewer system in the area, to reduce the chances of overflows into Puget Sound.
The church is in what King County refers to as the “Barton basin,” where combined-stormwater overflow control has been put into place via projects like this as well as the county-installed raingardens and bioswales in nearby Westwood and Sunrise Heights a short distance to the east.
Here’s a map showing green-stormwater-infrastructure projects around Seattle and King County.
If you dropped off something during Sunday’s Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church, you were part of a BIG turnout, despite the rain! Judy Pickens shares the report:
Sunday’s Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church returned a near-record 20 tons of recyclables to the resource stream, bringing to 180 tons the total since the congregation’s Green Committee initiated this twice-yearly service in 2010. The crew from 1 Green Planet unloaded a record 450 vehicles and will be back to do it again on September 24.
P.S. If you couldn’t get to that event but have electronics to recycle – or something to shred – take note of this event next Saturday in The Junction (10 am-1 pm April 29th).
Outside Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW), the spring Recycle Roundup is in its second hour, with a steady stream of people dropping off items to be recycled through nonprofit 1 Green Planet. You’re invited to do the same – no charge – until 3 pm today. The friendly folks at the church Green Committee, who coordinate this twice a year, are hoping you can go sooner rather than later, so everyone can be processed as quickly as possible and there’s no last-hour backup.
P.S. Here again is the list of what you can and can’t recycle there today.
Most recent years, Pigeon Point Park near Pathfinder K-8 School has had the biggest volunteer turnout for the multi-site twice-annual Duwamish Alive! events, and so far as we’ve heard, today kept that tradition going. Another tradition – music:
We found Jimmy Knodle on the northwest edge of the work zone – he had just stopped playing his trumpet when we pulled over, but posed for a photo. Elsewhere, Ricky Gene Powell was singing and playing:
That video is courtesy of Michael Oxman, a local arborist and Seattle Green Spaces Coalition board member who was there today. He also shared this photo of Seattle Parks volunteers:
Delridge-headquartered Nature Consortium, which was at the site along with EarthCorps, has long included music and art at its worksites, as part of its mission. But unintended art can be found, too – as in this arrangement of tools:
If you weren’t out at a site volunteering today, watch for word of the fall Duwamish Alive! event – and for work parties many other weekends inbetween; the Nature Consortium’s site will point you to frequent opportunities in West Seattle’s West Duwamish Greenbelt.
If the return of the rain has you feeling like you’d prefer to stay home and read a book … you have until 2 pm to go find one (or more!) at the Tibbetts United Methodist Church (3940 41st SW; WSB sponsor) Earth Day used-book sale. Books for all ages – $1 hardcovers, 50-cent paperbacks.
P.S. We noticed this work party outside the church:
It’s Boy Scout Troop 282, working this weekend next to build some retaining walls for Tibbetts.
FIRST REPORT, 11:30 AM: Duwamish Alive! – two days a year with a long list of work parties along the river and in its watershed – is all about volunteers. At the T-107 Park opening ceremony that concluded a short time ago, four volunteers were honored in the name of another – left to right in our top photo, Liana Beal, daughter of the late Hamm Creek hero John Beal, presented the stewardship awards given annually in his name, to Brenda Sullivan, Tom Reese, and Lisa Parsons (plus Scott Newcombe, who couldn’t be there). The dozens of volunteers who gathered to watch and listen before starting work also heard from Cecile Hansen, chair of the Duwamish Tribe, whose longhouse is across West Marginal Way SW from the park:
She thanked the volunteers, and the environmental-organization leaders who were there, for their work. Other speakers included U.S. Rep Pramila Jayapal, who hailed the years of progress in cleanup and restoration, and warned of what is in danger of being undone:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) April 22, 2017
Other speakers sounded a similar note. We’re off to a few other sites – if you’re part of Duwamish Alive! today, we also welcome photos – email@example.com – thank you! More coverage to come.
ADDED SATURDAY EVENING: Rep. Jayapal with some of the T-107 volunteers:
We also recorded more of her speech, which included a shoutout to some of West Seattle’s natural wonders:
(As reported in our coverage of this month’s 34th District Democrats meeting, Rep. Jayapal says she is expecting to move to West Seattle, from Columbia City, later this year.) The morning ceremony was emceed by Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition coordinator James Rasmussen, who concluded it by leading volunteers in a rousing round of shouting that they won’t and can’t stop what they’re doing.
They also heard from Puget Soundkeeper‘s Chris Wilke, who said he’s going to Washington, D.C., next week, to see what he can do about the proposals that would ravage federal funding for the environment:
He noted that the most important cleanup that could happen along and in the river would be to get every piece of plastic, whatever its size, adding that a microplastics study was to be done during today’s event. Also speaking during the ceremony: Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman and Mindy Roberts of the Washington Environmental Council. And stretching into the distance behind them all … the river itself:
Are you ready for the Recycle Roundup? The twice-yearly free dropoff event presented by Fauntleroy Church‘s Green Committee is this Sunday (April 23rd), 9 am-3 pm. So we’re reminding you again, in case you still have sorting to do. Here’s the list of what they will and won’t be accepting this time; here’s a map to the dropoff spot (9140 California SW).
On April 22nd we will be celebrating Earth Day here at Lafayette from 9:00 am-12:00 pm. It is a Saturday morning and we will be having a community clean-up day. We are joining hands with our self-help and Jackson Lewis P.C. We will have at least 25 volunteers. Please bring your child and help clean up/ freshen up Lafayette’s grounds this Earth Day! There will be water, juice, donuts, and coffee.
The school is at California/Lander.