Late-spring cleaning? E-cycling, shredding in The Junction on Saturday

May 28, 2015 at 11:54 am | In Environment, West Seattle news | No Comments

Got something to get rid of? Your next chance is in The Junction on Saturday. Thanks to SBK Recycling for the reminder – they’re part of a free electronics recycling/shredding event, 10 am-1 pm in Saturday in the West Seattle Junction Association parking lot off 42nd SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska. SBK’s website has the list of what they’ll accept.

No, it’s not red tide: Looks like noctiluca is back off West Seattle

May 28, 2015 at 11:06 am | In Environment, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Thanks to Tamsen for the photo from Lincoln Park, and also to Linda for a sighting report from the nearby Lowman Beach area: As has been happening every year for a while, warm weather and long days are bringing reddish water to the West Seattle shores, and today marks the first report we’ve received this year. It’s almost always a NONTOXIC bloom called noctiluca – you can see earlier photos in our first report from last year and from 2013 (both of those were in May, too). Here’s a state webpage with more information, plus a way to report sightings, which they’re interested in studying.

Shell @ Terminal 5: County says it can’t access the sewer system on-site for wastewater; city appeal-hearing date set

May 27, 2015 at 12:46 pm | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 35 Comments

(UPDATED 2:16 PM with additional new information regarding appeal of city ‘interpretation’ re: Polar Pioneer mooring)

(May 15th photo of Polar Pioneer at T-5, by Long Bach Nguyen)

ORIGINAL 12:46 PM REPORT: Just in from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division:

King County’s Industrial Waste Program today denied a permit application for discharge of wastewater from the Alaska Venture Shell Facility at Terminal 5 into the County’s regional sewer system.

“Everyone has to follow the rules, even multinational corporations,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Click to read the rest of Shell @ Terminal 5: County says it can’t access the sewer system on-site for wastewater; city appeal-hearing date set…

PHOTOS: Protest ‘flotilla’ gathers in Elliott Bay, then near Polar Pioneer

May 16, 2015 at 2:02 pm | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 84 Comments

(UPDATED 9:54 PM with added photos – scroll down)

2:02 PM: That’s just one section of the anti-Arctic-offshore-drilling “flotilla” that’s amassed in Elliott Bay this afternoon. Even if you haven’t been down by the water, you’ve probably noticed the helicopter flyover, circling North Admiral to the bay and back. Hundreds of people with kayaks and canoes started arriving before 9 am, organizing in groups along the Harbor Avenue shore; the traffic peaked a couple hours ago but will pick up again when this is over in late afternoon. An onshore program is scheduled at Jack Block Park, where this portable video sign has been showing a live feed of the kayakers, as well as this logo:

A barge off Seacrest, dubbed “The People’s Platform,” is expected to be showing “projections” in the evening. Here’s an aerial we just received from local photographer/pilot Long Bach Nguyen:

Meantime, on sea and land, police have been very conspicuously in view, from this bicycle pedal-by …

… to a patrol boat on the water and two mast-equipped command vehicles parked with an overview of JB Park and Terminal 5:


T-5 is where the drill platform Polar Pioneer has been docked since Thursday, but no word of any arrests or clashes. The date for today’s protest, as well as a demonstration on land Monday, was announced weeks ago, even before it was known when the PP would arrive; the drillship Noble Discoverer, which Shell also expects to use in the Arctic, remained docked in Everett at last report.

2:10 PM: Our crew at Jack Block says the flotilla participants are paddling by now, getting closer to the Polar Pioneer:

From our partners at The Seattle Times, via Twitter:


2:56 PM: Our crew says the flotilla is heading back out of the Duwamish River (Terminal 5 is at its mouth) and toward Jack Block Park.

3:25 PM: What was supposed to be a program of speakers at Jack Block scheduled for around 2 pm hasn’t started yet. So if you’re trying to keep track of when the outbound traffic might start in the area – all bets are off.

4:43 PM: Big outbound traffic as of about 4 pm, us included. More photos later.

ADDED 9:54 PM: As promised – more photos of the sights from and near Jack Block Park over the course of the day, now that we’ve had time to go through what we have – starting with Native canoes that joined the flotilla:

Part of the U.S. Coast Guard’s presence:

One person we recognized in the flotilla – Sustainable West Seattle co-founder Bill Reiswig:

One other view, for geographic context – Long B. Nguyen shot this in the early going today – it shows where Polar Pioneer is, in relation to Jack Block Park (Seacrest is not far off the right edge of the image, which you can click for a larger view):


While this has been promoted as a three-day “Festival of Resistance,” we don’t know of anything tomorrow; Monday morning is the on-land demonstration near the low bridge, scheduled to start around 7 am – so it could affect the morning commute – our most recent mention is here.

UPDATE: Shell drill rig Polar Pioneer arrives in West Seattle

May 14, 2015 at 1:29 pm | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 87 Comments

(Added: Photo by Admiral 935, looking north on California SW as PP passed)
1:29 PM: We’re launching as-it-happens coverage now that the Polar Pioneer is close to Seattle – destination: West Seattle’s Terminal 5 – and media as well as spectators are getting in place. We’re starting at Seacrest, where TV crews are converging, as well as some drilling opponents who say they plan to “unwelcome” PP; they’ve put up red “warning” flags on the pier and some kayakers are in the water.

Also spotted: City Councilmember Mike O’Brien:

Meantime, after slowing to a near-stop for a while across the Sound from Shoreline, Polar Pioneer and its accompanying vessels are on the move again. Updates to come.

1:39 PM: Texter says it’s in view in the distance from Alki Point. We’re setting up near Anchor/Luna Park to see it when it rounds the bend. Photos? editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks!


1:47 PM: Visible now coming up to West Point. (Added)

(Photo by Gary Jones, taken from Alki Point as Polar Pioneer passed West Point)


Kayakers are off Duwamish Head. As mentioned in our earlier coverage when it left Port Angeles around 1:30 am, the rig has four Foss vessels with it – Andrew Foss, Garth Foss, Lindsey Foss, and Pacific Star – and, since then, has added three Coast Guard vessels.

2 PM: A police boat has taken up position near the navigation marker off Duwamish Head. The kayakers are still floating just offshore. (added) The police boat came over for a closer look at them:


2:25 PM: It’s in Elliott Bay now, traveling at 7 knots, 13 hours after leaving Port Angeles. Meantime, that’s NOT a TV helicopter circling over us on the Duwamish Head shore, that’s Guardian One.

3:01 PM: We’ve been on Twitter (and live on Periscope) for the past half-hour as the Polar Pioneer passed Duwamish Head. Lots of spectators.

Helicopters overhead, kayakers, Coast Guard, other vessels on the water.

3:16 PM: Co-publisher Patrick Sand has headed east/southeast to Don Armeni, where a protest sign is about to be hoisted or floated. He sent this photo:

(added) Here’s what it looked like – yes, it was tethered:


(added) Chief Seattle’s great-great-grand niece, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen, watched with her daughter from Jack Block Park. Thanks to Ann Anderson for this photo:

Ann also shared this one, in which you can see a tribal canoe out with the group on the water:

Speaking of sending photos, thanks to everyone who’s done that – just starting to check them. Polar Pioneer remains stopped in the bay.


3:44 PM: It’s on the move again, heading south, toward the port. We’ll see if it goes all the way to T-5, where, as we reported yesterday, the city says it would be in violation of the Port’s permit and could be cited.


4:36 PM: Kevin‘s tweeted photo shows the Polar Pioneer as it rounded the bend and headed into the mouth of the Duwamish River, where it’s arrived at T-5:


We’re back at HQ right now getting ready for some evening coverage (unrelated) and will be adding more photos.

(Thanks to Scott for this view from Riverside, looking toward the “low bridge”)
5:08 PM: For some, seeing it might be their first word about all this – we were reminded of that by a phone call. Same way that the shutdown of T-5 last summer surprised some who didn’t make the connection until they saw the vast, empty stretch. But no, it’s NOT here to drill in local waters. It’s scheduled to stay here for a matter of weeks before leaving for the offshore Arctic drilling for which Shell recently won a key federal approval. But first – opponents are continuing with their plans for a “festival of resistance” this Thursday through Saturday. We talked today with Seattle Police to ask about their plans; they acknowledged a briefing this morning but said that on the water it’s Coast Guard jurisdiction, on port land it’s Port Police jurisdiction – they’re just standing by to see if anything happens outside those two areas. We are awaiting the port’s answer to our questions about whether they are planning any different access policies at Jack Block, for example. Meantime – it’s been three months since the Port’s CEO announced the signing of the lease with Foss, which said it in turn had a deal to bring the Shell vessels here.

ADDED EARLY FRIDAY: David Hutchinson photographed the Polar Pioneer, docked, with the latest “kayaktivist training” class, which had headed out from Seacrest earlier in the evening.

That was billed as the last training class before Saturday’s long-scheduled on-the-water protest. More on that later today.

Shell @ Terminal 5: Polar Pioneer expected here Thursday; city ‘could issue a notice of violation’

May 13, 2015 at 4:59 pm | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

(May 4th image courtesy Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce webcam)
4:59 PM: While the oil-drilling platform Polar Pioneer is no longer in view on the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce’s webcam, it’s still in the PA harbor – but apparently not for long. The Peninsula Daily News reports that the Polar Pioneer will be towed to West Seattle’s Terminal 5 tomorrow. That, despite the city Department of Planning and Development declaring that mooring Shell’s rigs at T-5 is not covered in the Port’s existing permits, and despite the Port Commission’s vote yesterday afternoon (WSB coverage here) to formally inform T-5 interim tenant Foss of that. Foss, meantime, as reported here last night, has filed its appeal of the DPD “interpretation”:

The Port Commission, as also noted in our Tuesday report, voted to appeal the ruling of the DPD, whose director Diane Sugimura answered questions at yesterday’s meeting. Meantime, Foss also expects Shell’s drillship Noble Discoverer, now starting its second day docked in Everett, to move on to T-5. And Arctic-drilling opponents are continuing to plan for an on-the-water protest Saturday plus one on land Monday.

6:11 PM UPDATE: Wondering what the city might do if the Shell rigs really do show up despite the DPD interpretation? We sent that question to Mayor Ed Murray‘s office. The reply:

The mayor expects the Port to have the proper permits in place before an off-shore oil drilling rig comes to Terminal 5. The Port Commission is also on record saying a rig should not come to Elliott Bay before the proper permits are in place.

Should Shell bring the rigs to Terminal 5 before the appropriate permits are in place, Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development will evaluate the situation and could issue a notice of violation. There are monetary penalties associated with operating without the necessary permits. … Foss and the Port have said they intend to file an appeal. Even after an appeal is filed, the City is not prevented from moving ahead with enforcement actions.

1:42 AM THURSDAY: We’ve been checking MarineTraffic.com all night and it looks like Polar Pioneer and its accompanying tugs are finally headed out of Port Angeles, as of minutes ago.

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: 75 speak during Port Commission’s first all-T-5/Shell meeting; commissioners pass two motions

May 12, 2015 at 12:58 pm | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 43 Comments

(9:44 PM UPDATE: Foss’s appeal document added, after coverage of 75 speakers at Port Commission meeting, followed by commissioners passing both motions – as Shell drillship Noble Discoverer arrived in Everett)

12:58 PM: Just as Seattle port commissioners are about to start their meeting on the controversial Terminal 5 lease to Foss/Shell, we received that photo of one of the Shell offshore-drilling rigs that is expected to wind up here for a while: The Noble Discoverer, which, as we reported earlier, entered Washington waters early today. Jason Mihok photographed the ND (and Foss tugs) as they passed Port Townsend – he was on board the Victoria Clipper. Meantime, we’re at Pier 69 (steps from the Clipper’s HQ, in fact), where the commission chambers are overflowing – we in fact are sitting on the floor in the back of the room. We’ll be chronicling the meeting as it unfolds.

1:05 PM: The meeting has begun. Commissioner Stephanie Bowman is leading it; her co-president Courtney Gregoire is absent “for health reasons.” Bowman urges civility, saying her 70-year-old mom is in the front row so if you’re rude to the commission, you’re rude to her mom. This will start with public comment, and #1 is the one elected official Bowman has mentioned as being here – Alaska State Senator Cathy Giessel, who chairs the Senate’s Resources Committee and “the special committee on the Arctic.” She urges the commission to “stand firm” on the lease with Foss/Shell.


#2 – a speaker who says he’s from a faith-based community: “Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing … It is my hope and prayer that this commission will … find a sustainable path leading to the right side of history.” Drilling in the Arctic “is not on the right side of history,” he continues.

#3 – Anthony Edwardson from Barrow, AK, chair of Arctic Inupiat Offshore, “asking the commission to honor (the lease). … We have partnered with Shell to be sure they do right in our waters.”

#4 – Mohawk, a speaker who urges the commission to “follow the Seattle city laws” in terms of the DPD interpretation that said the drilling vessels’ docking is not allowed under existing port permits.

#5 – Hugh, who also has come from Alaska, “imploring you to understand the far-reaching effects of your decision to our communities on the North Slope.” He too chairs an Alaska Native corporation, he says. “The environmental community doesn’t have a plan for our people. … We are the people of the Arctic – we live it, day by day. They would like to place us in a diorama in a museum.”

#6 – John Hobson from Wainwright, Alaska; he and we believe all of the Alaskan Natives who have spoken so far spoke to the Seattle City Council yesterday as it considered its resolution opposing drilling and asking the Port Commission to reconsider the T-5 lease. “There are people involved who want the same things you have -” like education and sanitation. “We want to impress on you that the Arctic isn’t just a place of polar bears.”

#7 – Stu Yarfitz. He is a Seattle resident who says he has two questions: How will the commission respond if the city DPD issues a stop-work order? And he asks about Terminal 5′s future – why is the modernization work not happening now, when that was the reason it closed last year?

/AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE CONTINUES/ - click ahead if reading this from WSB home page) Click to read the rest of AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: 75 speak during Port Commission’s first all-T-5/Shell meeting; commissioners pass two motions…

FOLLOWUP: Shell drillship Noble Discoverer now in WA waters; Port Commission meeting details now public

May 12, 2015 at 3:59 am | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Hours after federal approval of Shell‘s Arctic offshore-drilling plan, and hours before the Seattle Port Commission‘s public meeting about the Terminal 5/Foss/Shell lease, one of Shell’s two designated drill rigs entered Washington waters. We reported Sunday night that the drillship Noble Discoverer had done a turnaround off the Washington coast and went out of tracking range; early this morning, it reappeared, and entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s still headed for Everett first, Shell told The Seattle Times (WSB partner), also saying the other designated driller, Polar Pioneer, is to be towed this week to T-5 from Port Angeles (where it remains visible on webcam as of this writing). (June 2012 photo of Noble Discoverer by Long Bach Nguyen)

As for the Port Commission’s meeting this afternoon, the agenda details finally have been added. They include two potential motions: The first one comes down to, the port can’t/won’t do anything about the city interpretation disallowing the drill rigs until “if and when this code interpretation is deemed a final decision by the City of Seattle.” (The way the Hearing Examiner process works, that usually takes months.) The second one seeks to have the port appeal the city interpretation too. Today’s meeting is set to start at 1 pm at port HQ at Pier 69 on the downtown waterfront and will start with a public-comment period.

9:04 AM: The Noble Discoverer is just now passing Port Angeles.

Shell @ Terminal 5: Pivotal week begins with federal approval of Arctic offshore-drilling plan; City Council resolution passage

May 11, 2015 at 12:18 pm | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

(Monday midday image from Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce webcam, republished with permission)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:18 PM: In our update last night on the events surrounding the plan for Shell to bring its Arctic-offshore-drilling rigs (including Polar Pioneer, above, still in Port Angeles) to Terminal 5 in West Seattle, we described this as a “pivotal week.” And since that update last night, it’s become even more so: This morning, the federal government issued its approval for Shell’s revised plan to drill six wells in the Chukchi Sea this summer – read the announcement here. This comes just before the City Council is scheduled to vote during its 2 pm meeting today on this resolution expressing opposition to Arctic offshore drilling and asking the Port of Seattle to reconsider its lease with Foss bringing Shell vessels to T-5. (The Port Commission‘s meeting on lease-related issues is at 1 pm tomorrow.) Representing a coalition of anti-drilling groups, Earthjustice has reacted by saying, “The project Interior approved today is bigger, dirtier, and louder than any previous plan, calling for more sound disturbances and harassment of whales and seals, more water and air pollution, and more vessels and helicopters. It also runs the risk of a catastrophic oil spill that could not be cleaned in Arctic waters.”

3:33 PM UPDATE: The City Council passed the aforementioned resolution unanimously. City Councilmember Mike O’Brien said it’s not possible to just abruptly stop using oil, but “a just transition” must be worked on; Councilmember Kshama Sawant, whose amendment to the resolution also won unanimous approval, said that while the jobs created by the drilling-related work are important, the more important issue is that of oil executives’ profits – she accused them of “hoodwinking” people into thinking it’s the environment vs. jobs. And Councilmember Nick Licata said the environment is “changing rapidly” and a resolution like this is a “small step” toward action to try to slow that rate of change. The comment period before their deliberation and vote included Alaskan Natives who had come from areas close to the prospective drilling zone to express their support for Shell.

Shell @ Terminal 5: Drillship turnaround, at start of pivotal week

May 10, 2015 at 7:41 pm | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | No Comments

This week promises to be pivotal in the ongoing controversy over and scrutiny of the plan for two Shell-leased drill rigs to come to the Port of Seattle‘s Terminal 5 in West Seattle before heading to the Arctic Ocean.

One of those rigs, the drillship Noble Discoverer, took an unexpected – at least to observers – turn this weekend.

As noted here Thursday, Noble Discoverer is expected to stop in Everett this week. Foss Maritime has indicated that the city of Seattle’s suggestion that it’s not coming here is inaccurate, so the expectation is that it would then proceed to T-5.

We’ve been checking online vessel tracker MarineTraffic.com relatively often for any signs of the drillship coming into range – it was last “seen” by tracking signal when it was off Honolulu two weeks ago (at which time, it’s since been revealed, it failed a Coast Guard inspection).

Looking at MT very early this morning, we noticed Noble Discoverer had been in tracking range for a while starting Saturday morning, approaching the entrance to the Strait of Juan De Fuca – but then disappeared from tracking. Almost concurrently, we received a note from Robert, pointing to this online observation with a few more specifics, showing that the ship had turned around and gone back out of tracking range. Here’s what MT’s records show:

MT tracking doesn’t pick up until relatively close to the coast, so we don’t know quite where the drillship is now – just that it’s out of range, shown as having been last “seen” at 2:43 am today (our time) sailing away from the Washington coast, about 18 hours after it had become visible while sailing toward it.

Meantime, Shell’s other drill rig, the platform Polar Pioneer, has now spent three weeks in Port Angeles (where this webcam points toward it around the clock); here in Seattle, the Port Commission takes up the T-5 lease/city interpretation situation in public session Tuesday afternoon, and opponents of offshore Arctic drilling plan a series of protests here in (and off) West Seattle starting later in the week, culminating in an early-morning march from Harbor Island to T-5 one week from tomorrow .

Mayor appoints Kathy Nyland as new Department of Neighborhoods director

May 8, 2015 at 11:58 am | In Environment, Neighborhoods, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

The mayor’s office has just announced new directors for two city departments – including a new director for the Department of Neighborhoods, though it’s a name many will recognize. Here’s the official announcement:

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today named Jessica Finn Coven to serve as director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) and Kathy Nyland to serve as director of the Department of Neighborhoods (DON). Bernie Matsuno, who has served as director of DON since 2011, will be stepping down effective June 2.

Finn Coven comes to OSE after serving as Washington Director of Climate Solutions since 2011. Previously she worked at the U.S. Climate Action Network and Greenpeace. She serves on the board of directors of Washington Conservation Voters and Puget Sound Sage.

“Jessica brings deep connections to Seattle’s environmental community,” said Murray. “Her commitment to environmental justice will lend strength to Seattle’s new Equity and Environment Initiative. The benefits of progressive environmental policy must reach all our diverse communities more equitably, including low-income families, immigrants and people of color.”

“Anyone who knows Jessica appreciates her deep knowledge of environmental policy,” said Rashad Morris of the Bullitt Foundation. “Her commitment to economic and racial equity makes this an especially strong choice as Seattle works to bridge issues of sustainability and social justice.”

“Seattle has long been a proof point that we can create more broadly shared prosperity by prioritizing a clean and healthy environment,” said Finn Coven. “Mayor Murray has been a leader throughout his career on sustainable transportation solutions and equitable responses to climate change. I’m absolutely thrilled to join his team and to be part of Seattle’s next chapter in clean energy development and ensuring the health of all Seattle’s family.”

Finn Coven will be paid $132,000 and start at OSE on June 12. Finn Coven replaces Jill Simmons, who announced her decision to step down as director of OSE in April.

Nyland is currently a senior policy advisor on land use and planning in the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation. She is a former chief of staff to City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. Before joining city government, she served on several community councils, founded the Georgetown Merchants’ Association and chaired Seattle’s City Neighborhood Council.

“During my first year as mayor, Kathy has become a trusted advisor,” said Murray. “Her personal history as a community advocate, her strong relationships with neighborhood leaders throughout the city, and her policy acumen make her the natural choice to step into this role. I look forward to her leadership in community conversations on private development, public investments and support for vibrant neighborhoods in our city.”

“I am honored by this opportunity to continue to serve the Mayor and the city in this new role at the Department of Neighborhoods,” says Nyland. “I’ve long believed that our communities are our strongest resources and I look forward to bringing more voices to the table. We want to support and strengthen all our neighborhoods in Seattle.”

Nyland joins DON on June 2 and will earn $136,000.

Matsuno came out of retirement to serve as director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, intending to serve only a few months, but staying on for more than four years. She developed and expanded new community programs at DON, including the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE) and the Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison (POEL) program to expand civic engagement, especially in underrepresented communities.

“Bernie has been a true champion of our neighborhoods and a helpful advisor to me on community issues and needs,” said Murray. “She has advocated effectively for the community to have a greater voice in City government and their neighborhood – an important role that the department will sustain.”

“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to serve in Mayor Murray’s administration, but I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life,” said Matsuno. “I’m excited about this transition and intend to continue my professional work for the people of Seattle, as well as volunteer in my community.”

“Bernie Matsuno was one of my first and best hires 27 years ago,” said Jim Diers, former DON director. “Bernie initiated a powerful leadership development program and innovative outreach strategy to ensure that all voices are heard. I’m excited that Bernie is passing the torch to Kathy Nyland, someone who I have long admired for her leadership of the Georgetown neighborhood. I know that she believes deeply in the department’s mission and I can’t wait to see what she does in taking it to the next level.”

Matsuno will continue to lend her expertise to future City community-engagement projects.

Councilmember O’Brien visits West Seattle for ‘kayaktivist’ training

May 3, 2015 at 11:02 pm | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:02 PM SUNDAY: Most of the time when we mention a city councilmember’s visit to West Seattle, it’s in connection with a meeting or a walking tour, staples of an elected official’s life. But Councilmember Mike O’Brien came here this morning for something entirely different:

He was among those who participated this morning in the latest round of “kayaktivist” training in advance of the on-water demonstrations planned when Shell‘s Arctic-offshore-drilling rigs get to Terminal 5. The activist coalition that’s organizing them has been leading kayak training with Alki Kayak Tours at Seacrest, roughly twice a week for the past few weeks. Our partners at The Seattle Times covered this morning’s session too, and photographer Ken Lambert went out on the water for this photo he tweeted:


The Times’ story with Ken’s photos is here. O’Brien chairs the council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee, which on Tuesday will consider a resolution that voices opposition to Arctic offshore drilling and urges the Port of Seattle to reconsider the lease with Foss that is bringing the Shell rigs here. The first to arrive in Washington waters, the drilling platform Polar Pioneer, is still in Port Angeles; a Chamber of Commerce webcam there still has it in sight; live image here, and here’s a screengrab from earlier today (used with the PA C of C’s permission):

No date set for its expected tow to Terminal 5; the other drill rig Shell has said it hopes to use in the Arctic Ocean this summer, the drillship Noble Discoverer, left its latest stop, off Honolulu, more than a week ago and is not back in MarineTraffic.com range yet. The only Shell ship to visit Terminal 5 so far, the icecutter Aiviq, is back there now after some time in Port Angeles. As announced in mid-April, the anti-drilling coalition has set May 16-18 for a “festival of resistance” starting with a kayak flotilla.

ADDED 8:42 AM MONDAY: Regional news orgs are reporting that Mayor Murray announced at a breakfast event today that the city has determined new/renewed permit(s) will be needed before Shell’s rigs can come here. We’re working to find out more and will have a separate story soon.

Start of the season for student-raised salmon at Fauntleroy Creek

April 30, 2015 at 12:27 pm | In Environment, Fauntleroy, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(WSB photos)
Pathfinder K-8 is the first West Seattle school to visit Fauntleroy Creek this season to release student-raised salmon. We were there as volunteer creek stewards hosted them this morning, first with a gathering at the park entrance, then on to the creek:

In the next photo, that’s Dennis Hinton, leading the event along with Pete Draughon.

Creek steward Judy Pickens was there too – she’s put together this year’s schedule of releases with 15+ schools (most, but not all, from West Seattle) visiting over the next four weeks:

Here by the way is what the fish that survive will look like when they head out in a year or so as smolt (like this one):

We of course were not alone in photographing the event – this young lady had a GoPro:

This season marks 25 years since the first salmon release on Fauntleroy Creek, Judy says. She estimates that they’ve hosted at least 10,000 students for salmon releases in that quarter-century. Last season, more than 2,500 coho fry were set free in the creek; volunteers then watch in the fall for returning spawners – 19 came back last year.

FOLLOWUP: Spring ‘Recycle Roundup’ results, plus fall date

April 28, 2015 at 10:06 am | In Environment, Fauntleroy, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(WSB photo from Sunday’s Recycle Roundup)
If you dropped something off at the Fauntleroy Church “Recycle Roundup” this past Sunday, you were part of another successful, sizable round of recycling. Judy Pickens shares the news:

The sun on Sunday brought out the best in West Seattle residents as an estimated 400 vehicles delivered recyclables to the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee’s spring Recycle Roundup. The crew from 1 Green Planet carried, loaded, and took away an estimated 10 tons for responsible disassembly. We’ll do it again on September 27!

HAPPENING NOW: Got recyclables? ‘Roundup’ on until 3 pm

April 26, 2015 at 11:43 am | In Environment, Fauntleroy, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(WSB photo: Some of the early dropoffs)
You can’t put them out at the curb … you can’t put them in the trash … but chances are, those old items you have in the basement or back yard CAN be dropped off at today’s Recycle Roundup, happening right now in the Fauntleroy Church parking lot. If you haven’t already seen it in our daily highlights list, here’s the guide to what 1 Green Planet will accept (free!) and what they won’t. The church’s Green Committee sponsors this twice a year and will be glad to see you at 9140 California SW (map), until 3 pm.

FOLLOWUP: Shell drill rig still in Port Angeles, awaiting trip here

April 23, 2015 at 2:35 am | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 32 Comments

(Saturday photo by Chuck Jacobs)
Six days after arriving in Port Angeles, the drilling platform Polar Pioneer is still there, being prepared for its tow to West Seattle’s Terminal 5. The Peninsula Daily News reports that it’s an economic boom to PA – both from the workers that are getting it ready for the trip, and from tourists who have come to gawk at it. It’s expected to start heading this way by early May. When it gets here – it’ll be a gawk magnet even here in the big city. Remember the SBX floating radar platform that was here in 2011?

(WSB photo, August 2011)
Polar Pioneer is 25 percent taller – 355 feet, compared to the SBX’s 280. Pending the Polar Pioneer’s arrival, the icebreaker Aiviq remains the lone Shell-related vessel at Terminal 5; the other drilling vessel, Noble Discoverer (derrick height 170′), is still crossing the North Pacific, headed this way.

Meantime, Arctic drilling opponents are still preparing for rallies here, even before the Shell drill rigs get here. The Shell No” coalition sent this photo of banner-waving on the foot/bike bridge over the Fauntleroy approach to the bridge this past Monday evening:

They’re planning to rally at Myrtle Edwards Park at 2 pm this Sunday in addition to already-announced mid-May actions – that’s the rally announced during the “encouragement march” in West Seattle earlier this month. A kayak flotilla is also planned for May 16th, with ongoing training at Alki Kayak Tours in West Seattle – a session at 5 pm tonight is for would-be trainers.

And the Port of Seattle already has a webpage linking to its reminders and background about the T-5 situation, pending the start of protests and arrival of more vessels, including a link to the Coast Guard’s announcement of “safety zones” and a “voluntary free-speech zone.”

West Seattle Earth Day: Tilden School’s big cleanup

April 22, 2015 at 9:58 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | Comments Off

Another local cleanup this Earth Day – Julie from Tilden School (WSB sponsor) shares the photo and report:

From Hiawatha Park to the Alaska Junction, Tilden School’s students, faculty, and staff showed their respect and appreciation for Mother Earth (and more specifically, West Seattle) by picking up trash. As always, the kids enthusiastically leapt to the task, rapidly filling their bags. (Students noted that the number of cigarette butts, which they have generally found to constitute the larger part of the trash in the past, has increased this year.) Local business people took time to express their thanks, which made the kids feel so proud!

‘Stop talking, start planting’: Plant for the Planet’s Earth Day message

April 22, 2015 at 9:03 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

It’s been a busy Earth Day week for some local students who are part of Plant for the Planet. Last weekend, they joined in the Cascadia Climate Conference on Whidbey Island, as shown in the clip above. Christine Deppe tells us what they were up to today:

Today, Fairmount Park Elementary students Abby Snodgrass and Tim and Sarah Deppe held a schoolwide presentation on climate change. As Plant For The Planet Ambassadors they explained the impact of climate disruption and their 3-point plan on what can be done. One action item is to plant 150 trees per person by 2020, bringing Seattle to a little over 95,000,000 trees. The plan ‘Stop talking, start planting’ was originally created by 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner, and now 52,000 Youth Ambassadors all over the world share his vision.

If you want to learn more, please visit the website and watch ‘How We Children Save the World’ with your family.

Christine says Abby was interviewed for an HBO documentary that aired tonight, “Saving My Tomorrow” – watch for repeats on the HBO schedule. And Christine says, if you want some trees planted – Plant for the Planet would be happy to help.

West Seattle Earth Day scenes: Alki Beach cleanup

April 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm | In Environment, West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

(WSB photos)
Beautiful day for a beach cleanup! As promised, the Surfrider Foundation‘s Seattle chapter was out at Alki on this Earth Day afternoon, with volunteers picking up trash.

The special focus is on cigarette debris left behind, as this sidewalk message pointed out:

Read more about that campaign on this Surfrider Foundation page.

West Seattle Earth Day reminder: 4 days to Recycle Roundup

April 22, 2015 at 2:16 am | In Environment, Fauntleroy, West Seattle news | Comments Off

A green reminder on this Earth Day: If you’re ready to recycle items that you can’t put out with the usual curbside recyclables – good news: Fauntleroy Church‘s next Recycle Roundup is only four days away, coming up this Sunday (April 26th), 9 am-3 pm. It’s one of the two days each year that the church’s Green Committee partners with sustainable recyclers 1 Green Planet to set up the main church parking lot at 9140 California SW as a dropoff zone for your no-longer-needed items … as long as they’re on this list. See you there!

VIDEO: Duwamish Alive! celebrates 10th anniversary, honors tireless volunteers

April 19, 2015 at 10:09 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(WSB photos/video)
More than 1,000 volunteers spent hours on Saturday giving TLC to the Duwamish River and its watershed, during the twice-yearly Duwamish Alive! mega-work party at multiple sites (11, this time, from West Seattle to Tukwila).

This time, it started with a special event marking Duwamish Alive’s 10th anniversary, featuring the presentation of the John Beal Environmental Stewardship Award, in honor of the tireless volunteer who, as the program pointed out, “dedicated decades of his life to the health of the Duwamish River and Puget Sound,” especially Hamm Creek, where his work “became a beacon of all the good a single person can accomplish directly benefiting our river, the Puget Sound, and the overall health of our communities.” (Mr. Beal died in 2006.)

Six volunteers were honored:

- Brooke Alford (who couldn’t be at the ceremony)
- Mike Arizona
- Scott Blackstock
- Marianne Clarke
- Susan Ward and Peg Peterson

We recorded the presentations on video:

The pre-work party event at Terminal 107 Park on the river in West Seattle was emceed by James Rasmussen of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition (as you can see in our video), who reminded all present that it’s a river, not a “waterway.” Volunteers also heard from longtime river advocate and Tukwila City Councilmember Dennis Robertson, who urged them to keep the pressure on local elected officials regarding the health of the Duwamish River and other areas that are vital to our area’s sustainability:

The artists working on Duwamish Revealed spoke too (you’ll hear that in a separate story about the project) – and volunteers were greeted by Cecile Hansen, chair of the Duwamish Tribe, whose longhouse is right across West Marginal Way SW from the park. She shared history as well as words of welcome:

After the ceremonies – it was time to work. One of the award recipients happens to be the steward of a site here in West Seattle. So we went to Roxhill Bog, where we photographed Scott Blackstock with his plaque:

The bog – which has its own challenges – is at the historic headwaters of Longfellow Creek, which feeds into the Duwamish River after making it through a somewhat torturous route – piped beneath Westwood Village, for starters. And it’s in a park that has some challenges of its own, making cleanup all the more vital:

We were shown one of the items found strewn at the site:

At both sites we visited on Saturday, what was stressed was this: One person can make a difference (as Blackstock has done at Roxhill Bog, for years). So if you can take some time – watch for word of work parties. Or opportunities to comment on a project or proposal. The next Duwamish Alive! event, by the way, will be in October, and that’s a great time to get involved too.

West Seattle Earth Day 2015: Alki Beach volunteer cleanup

April 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Making your plans for Earth Day on April 22nd (one week from Wednesday)? Barbara Clabots from the Surfrider Foundation (in our August 2014 photo above) just sent word they’re organizing a volunteer cleanup on Alki Beach, 2:30-4 pm on Earth Day – details on their website. They’d love all the help they can get to remove cigarette butts and other trash from the sand. We’re hearing of some possible warm weather this weekend, so there might be a lot of cleanup to do by then.

P.S. Their Hold On To Your Butts disposal-can campaign continues too – and at least one West Seattle business has signed on.

VIDEO: ‘Port Encouragement March’: 50+ walk from Junction to T-5

April 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm | In Environment, Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 29 Comments


3:23 PM: This rally was just the start, promised speakers at the rally that wrapped up today’s “Port Encouragement March” about an hour ago, with more than 50 people walking from Walk-All-Ways in The Junction to the 5-way intersection by Terminal 5, west of the low bridge, in hopes of “encouraging” the Port of Seattle to cancel the T-5 interim lease that will bring Shell Arctic-drilling equipment here.


Encouragement March almost to 35th and Alaska. #westseattle

A video posted by West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) on

The march was peaceful and relatively low-key – several speakers and a song at the end; walking along from The Triangle to the end of the route, we noted lots of sign waving along the way, some horn-honking from passing motorists, one bicyclist telling the marchers “thank you.”
Seattle Police officers on bicycles accompanied the march, which stayed on sidewalks/trails throughout.

ADDED 4:37 PM: Here’s how it unfolded: Participants gathered at Walk All Ways in The Junction, including the Raging Grannies:

Today’s march segued from a standing monthly rally to encourage people to take action against climate. Marchers headed east on Alaska – along the way, American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle offered a “hydration station”:

Staying on sidewalks and trails along the way, the group headed down 35th to Avalon:


On Avalon, the police bicycle escorts blocked traffic at the Genesee stoplight for an extra few moments so everyone could cross safely:


Turning onto the Alki Trail under/alongside the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, the marchers were urged to stay single-file so bicyclists could get past them. Those with signs held them high to catch the eyes of drivers heading westbound on Spokane:


Rather than going all the way to the gates of Terminal 5, the group stopped by the 5-way intersection west of the low bridge and listened to a few short speeches before the rally ended.

Organizer Stu Hennessey, a longtime West Seattle community advocate, said he felt “betrayed” by the Port’s decision:

Speaking second, Zarna Joshi of Rising Tide, who said there is more at stake than people realize:


She criticized Port Commissioner Tom Albro for telling her he wouldn’t take action to try to cancel the lease, even though he personally opposes Arctic drilling. (At the last Port Commission, as we reported in as-it-happened coverage, both Albro and Courtney Gregoire, the other anti-drilling commissioner, had said they won’t take action to try to cancel it.) Organizers of today’s march included the Green Party of Seattle and Greenpeace, which also provided a speaker:

She said another rally is being planned for April 26th, after the expected arrival of Shell equipment including the drilling platform Polar Pioneer, now in the North Pacific and being trailed by a Greenpeace boat. No counter-protesters showed up today, but supporters of the 2-year lease for Foss to use a third of T-5 say it will provide hundreds of jobs and that it’s better to have a company like Foss, which has a good environmental record, handling this work, than someone else.

What’s up down in the pit? Murray CSO project update

April 4, 2015 at 6:56 pm | In Environment, Utilities, West Seattle news | Comments Off

A little over one year into major work at the site of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project‘s million-gallon storage tank, another phase has begun, according to a notice from King County: The outer wall and floor of the tank are done, and crews are now building its inner walls. That’s what you see in the photo above, which we took this afternoon through the fence along Lincoln Park Way over the northeast side of the site. The inner-wall work will mean “small concrete pours every week” through June, says the county, and possibly some Saturday work. Then this summer, according to the update, “the contractor expects to begin work to connect to the tank to the existing sewer system. This work will affect traffic on Beach Drive SW. King County will provide more information to the community before work begins.”

The Morgan Community Association has had Murray project updates at its quarterly meetings for quite a while now, so you’ll probably see one on the agenda for the April 15th MoCA meeting (7 pm, The Kenney), in case you have questions, which you can also take to the 24-hour project hotline – 206-205-9186. The project is supposed to be finished by fall of next year.

FOLLOWUP: Sunday’s Port Encouragement Rally/March; Saturday’s kayak training for would-be ‘flotilla’ participants

April 3, 2015 at 2:42 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

Opponents of the plan for Shell’s Arctic fleet to use part of the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 plan two events in West Seattle this weekend:

SUNDAY ‘ENCOURAGEMENT’ MARCH UPDATE: That’s the map for Sunday’s rally/march from The Junction to Terminal 5, dubbed by organizers as a Port Encouragement Rally – encouraging the Port of Seattle to cancel the T-5 lease for Shell vessels/equipment intended for Arctic drilling. We published the original announcement back on Monday. It starts at Walk-All-Ways (California/Alaska) at 1 pm Sunday; the march will be “using sidewalks and obeying pedestrian traffic laws,” says the update from Stu Hennessey, which also notes:

This March is sponsored by the Green Party of Seattle and is supported by Greenpeace, 350.org, Backbone, West Seattle Meaningful Movies and the citizens of West Seattle. Speakers from the Green Party, Sustainable West Seattle and 350.org will address the crowd as they gather at the entrance of West Seattle’s Terminal 5.

Also noted in the update – Sunday’s march will be discussed at the West Seattle Meaningful Movies gathering this Saturday night, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.

KAYAK ‘FLOTILLA’ – SATURDAY TRAINING: Opponents of the lease warned at the last Port Commission meeting March 24th (WSB coverage here) that the presence of Shell vessels/rigs here would result in a “long, hot summer” of demonstrations. In addition to Sunday’s rally/march, plans for a “flotilla” are taking shape, and the coalition organizing it is planning training sessions at Alki Kayak Tours in West Seattle. The first one is scheduled for 10 am-12:30 pm tomorrow.

WHEN DOES THE ‘FLEET” ARRIVE? No timeline has been announced for expected arrivals – the chair of Foss‘s parent company Saltchuk, Mark Tabbutt, told the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce yesterday morning (WSB coverage here) that the platform Polar Pioneer is indeed headed this way. (Here are its specs, including a 17-story-high derrick; not as high as the SBX radar platform that was here four years ago. It was built by Hitachi Zosen, also known in these parts for building the Highway 99 tunneling machine “Bertha.”) It’s on board a “deck cargo” ship called Blue Marlin, which is still out of MarineTraffic.com-tracking range but filed a plan with estimated arrival in the Port Angeles vicinity around April 12th. Greenpeace is following the Polar Pioneer/Blue Marlin across the Pacific with its boat Esperanza.


That same Greenpeace boat was here in 2012 while part of Shell’s fleet was at Vigor.

Here’s where you can make a difference during the spring edition of Duwamish Alive!

April 1, 2015 at 12:09 pm | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Duwamish Alive! is just two and a half weeks away, and organizers hope you’ll take a minute now to decide where you want to join in to help out our city’s only river and its watershed. All you need to commit to is a four-hour shift on April 18th – 10 am-2 pm – and as the map shows, you have options from West Seattle to South Park and beyond. Go here to find out more and to choose your site.

Shell drilling fleet @ Terminal 5: West Seattle rally, march Sunday

March 30, 2015 at 7:37 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 31 Comments

Though the Port of Seattle‘s Terminal 5, expected to host part of Shell’s Arctic-drilling fleet, is in West Seattle, the challenges to the lease have mostly been taking place elsewhere – in public-comment periods at Port Commission meetings, and in legal action at the King County Courthouse. This Sunday, that changes, with a rally in The Junction followed by a march to Terminal 5. Stu Hennessey sent the announcement:

What: Large turnout expected to encourage the Port of Seattle to rescind the lease agreement with Foss Marine and Shell Oil for Terminal 5 in West Seattle. A march will be made after the monthly “All Walk Encouragement Rally”

Where: The West Seattle Alaska Junction

When:
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM Press Availability
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Event and march
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Speakers and rally

This will be a 1.5 mile march from the Alaska Junction in West Seattle to the entrance to Terminal 5. The March will follow the monthly “All Walk Encouragement Rally” which takes place at SW Alaska and California Ave. SW in West Seattle.

To recap the backstory and where things stand:
Click to read the rest of Shell drilling fleet @ Terminal 5: West Seattle rally, march Sunday…

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