Environment 1272 results

FOLLOWUP: Near-record Recycle Roundup!

April 26, 2017 12:33 pm
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 |   Environment | West Seattle news


(WSB photo from Sunday: Some of the items dropped off in the first hour)

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).

HAPPENING NOW: Spring 2017 Recycle Roundup until 3 pm

April 23, 2017 10:17 am
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 |   Environment | Fauntleroy | West Seattle news


(WSB photo)

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.

Duwamish Alive, report #2: Music, mulch, more at Pigeon Point Park

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.

HAPPENING NOW: Book bargains @ Tibbetts UMC

April 22, 2017 12:28 pm
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 |   Environment | West Seattle news

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.

Duwamish Alive! report #1: Kickoff ceremony celebrates progress, warns of setbacks

April 22, 2017 11:30 am
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 |   Environment | West Seattle news

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:

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 – editor@westseattleblog.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:

REMINDER: Recycle Roundup this Sunday

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).

EARTH DAY: Lafayette Elementary cleanup on Saturday

Looking for someplace to make a difference tomorrow, on Earth Day? We’ve already featured Duwamish Alive! – but there are smaller events, too, like this one at Lafayette Elementary, all ages welcome:

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.

FOLLOWUP: City announces $440,000 settlement in two of three lawsuits filed for illegal West Seattle tree-cutting

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(Part of the illegally cut site, photographed in spring 2016)

When we published this followup three weeks ago on the status of the East Admiral illegal-tree-cutting, one year after it first came to light, we noted that the city said the investigation remained active. And today, the city has announced that two of the three lawsuits it filed last fall have been settled, while the third is proceeding. Here’s the news release:

The City has settled one of two civil suits against West Seattle homeowners who the City alleged hired people to cut down a swath of a greenbelt in late 2015 or early 2016 to improve the homeowners’ views.

The unpermitted tree cutting near the 3200 block of 35th Ave. SW occurred in environmentally critical areas on a steep slope below the defendants’ homes. In its two lawsuits, the City alleges that two separate groups of people are responsible for cutting two distinct groups of City trees. Between the two groups, about 150 trees of varying sizes, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, were felled and left crisscrossing the area.

According to the settlement, two couples – Stanley J. and Mary E. Harrelson and Marty and Karrie Riemer – will together pay the City $440,000 regarding one of the decimated areas. The City’s suit regarding the other area is ongoing, and unaffected by this settlement.

Today the City amended the complaint in that action, which previously named Kostas A. and Linda C. Kyrimis, to add the following defendants: Nancy Despain, Wendy Sweigart, Leroy Bernard, Joyce Bernard, Charles King, Shirley King and Bruce Gross. The Kyrimises were recently given criminal immunity for their statements in the lawsuit regarding the tree cutting by the City and King County in exchange for their full cooperation in discovery, including sharing the identities of their neighbors who are alleged to have shared the cost of tree-cutters with the Kyrimises.

With the first case resolved, the Parks and Recreation Department will use the settlement proceeds from the Harrelson/Riemer suit to begin remediating the slope.

“We have met our three goals – to recover damages and penalties that make the City whole financially and deter future cutting, to hold people accountable for the destruction, and to make the public aware that laying waste to public lands in whatever form will bring consequences,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said.

“All of Seattle was disappointed to learn that hundreds of trees were illegally cut down in West Seattle—this was a violation of code and Seattle’s values,” said Mayor Murray. “With today’s announcement, we can begin to turn this unfortunate event into an opportunity. The settlement will pay for the replanting of the trees and will provide resources for the City to hire youth from West Seattle to help restore the greenbelt, connecting them to the local environment and green jobs.”

“Today, we see that actions result in consequences,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park). “I’m hopeful this settlement — 60% higher per tree than the 2003 case in Mount Baker — will deter future rogue clearcutting. In Seattle, those with financial means can’t count on small settlements to pave the way towards increased views and property values. Trees in our greenbelts are precious natural resources that maintain soil stability, thus lessening the risk of landslides, and maintain air quality by absorbing carbon. We must protect them.”

“I was absolutely outraged last year when I learned someone clearcut an entire hill in one of our public green spaces,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle), Chair of the Council’s Parks Committee. “I commend the City Attorney’s Office for its vigorous pursuit of just compensation. We will not tolerate the razing of City-owned trees for the sake of an improved view. Not only does the quality of our air depend on trees, but the structural stability of our hillsides does as well.”

“This settlement represents our reasonable, best efforts to hold those responsible for the illegal tree cutting accountable. As stewards of one of the largest parks and recreation systems in the country, our goal is to preserve and protect parkland,” Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre said.

“Trees are not only nice to look at, but they play a crucial role in managing storm water, stabilizing slopes, providing habitat, reducing air pollution, and contributing to neighborhood character,” Aguirre said. “The funds from this settlement will be used to restore the lost trees and damaged land, as well as to support urban forestry restoration at Duwamish Head and programs that engage youth in forest restoration work in West Seattle. Since the beginning, we have been committed to securing the best outcome on behalf of Seattle park users and tax payers. This settlement offer demonstrates our strong commitment to protecting parkland from illegal acts of destruction.”

Parks expects to complete the majority of restoration work on the site in 2017, with work to begin in the next month or two. Holmes said the City appreciates that both sets of homeowners consistently expressed an interest in resolving the issue short of trial, and worked cooperatively with the City towards a fair resolution.

Had the Harrelsons and Riemers not been so cooperative, the City would have sought a greater recovery. On a per tree basis, this recovery is significantly higher than the amount recovered in the City v. Farris matter based on 2003 tree cutting. That case involved 120 trees and settled for $500,000, or $4,166 per tree. This case involved 66 trees, and the settlement amounts to $6,667 per tree.

“We accept responsibility for a portion of the cutting that took place in the area described as ‘Site A’ in the City’s Complaint for damages, as disclosed to the City in early 2016,” the Harrelsons said in a statement.

The Riemers said: “We have taken responsibility for our fraction of the tree cutting from the very beginning and are glad we were able to successfully resolve this with the City.”

As part of the Harrelson-Riemer settlement, the City will assign its rights to pursue the tree cutters, Forrest Bishop and John Russo, to the Riemers and Harrelsons. The tree-cutters hired by the Kyrimises and others remain unknown.

In the two complaints filed last fall, the City sought relief on several grounds, including timber trespass, damage to land, trespass, negligence, environmentally critical areas violations, violations of the parks code and violations of the city’s tree and vegetation management in public places code.

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

We’ve also received documents from the city and will be adding those shortly.

ADDED 12:51 PM: Here they are:
Amended complaint against Kyrimises (and others)
Riemers’ settlement document
Harrelsons’ settlement document

SPRING CLEANING? 3 reminders – Recycle Roundup, Junction shredding, WS Community Garage Sale Day all coming up

Spring holidays, rain-free weekend … you might finally be ready to accept that the warmer, brighter season is here. And if that has you in spring-cleaning mood/mode, here are three reminders of events ahead:

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(WSB photo from last fall’s Recycle Roundup, September 2016)

RECYCLE ROUNDUP, APRIL 23: One week from today – 9 am-3 pm on Sunday, April 23rd – it’s the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee‘s twice-yearly free drive-up/ride-up/walk-up dropoff event. Here’s the newest list of what their partner, 1 Green Planet, will and won’t take this time. (9140 California SW)

SHREDDING, APRIL 29: 10 am-1 pm on Saturday, April 29th, Windermere invites you to bring your shreddables to their free event in The Junction (which also offers e-cycling). The truck will be in the 42nd SW parking lot south of SW Oregon. (This is also the Junction Day of Giving.)

WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE DAY, MAY 13: If your spring cleaning involves downsizing by selling off some stuff, registration is open for another week and a half for the 13th annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day. 115+ sales so far – all sizes, all around the peninsula – sale day is Saturday, May 13th, 9 am-3 pm (you can start early and/or end late, but be sure to include that info in the up-to-20-words listing with your registration). If you haven’t registered yours yet, go here when you’re ready!

YOU CAN HELP! Volunteer at a Duwamish Alive! site next Saturday

image
(WSB photo by Leda Costa from last fall’s Duwamish Alive! work party at Herring’s House Park on the river)

One week from today, it’s the spring edition of the multi-site work party that does good deeds for the Duwamish River, its watershed, and all that depend on it – including you and your neighbors. Next Saturday (April 22nd) is Duwamish Alive! – this year, coinciding with Earth Day – and it will begin with a 10 am celebration at the T-107 public-access site (4700 W. Marginal Way SW), featuring a welcome by Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen as well as remarks by Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition coordinator James Rasmussen and U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith speaking. This year’s John Beal Environmental Stewardship Volunteer Awards will be presented, too.

T-107 is just one of the dozen-plus work-party locations that are looking for help 10 am-2 pm April 22nd. See the others here – many are in West Seattle; choose one where you’d like to go.

Youth-led Plant for the Planet launches West Seattle meetings


Last weekend, we brought you West Seattle climate activist Aji Piper‘s keynote presentation at the Washington Global Issues Network conference at Chief Sealth International High School. As he told more than 100 student attendees, his activism was galvanized by involvement in Plant for the Planet. The group has now launched monthly meetings in West Seattle, and here’s an announcement of how local youth can get involved, from parent co-coordinator Marco Deppe:

With the growth of Plant for the Planet in Seattle and enough Climate Justice Ambassadors in the South, we have officially kicked off our monthly West Seattle meetings. Every 3rd Friday we’ll meet at 7 PM at the Puget Ridge Co-housing Common House.

So the next West Seattle Plant for the Planet meeting will be on Friday, April 21st at 7 PM. Children who would like to be active to get our planet back to a stable climate and their parents are always welcome to join. Please RSVP by email to pftp-west-seattle@googlegroups.com. Every child who wants to join officially can attend a one day, free academy: One is coming up on April 8th in Marysville [sign up here].

Here’s what the group did during its March meeting. Meantime, as for the April 21st meeting, it’s at 7020 18th SW.

PUGET SOUND SALMON: Counting and teaching

Tonight, salmon are in the spotlight at The Whale Trail‘s Orca Talk. Right now, we have two updates involving local salmon and the people who track them:

Spring is when coho smolts leave Fauntleroy Creek for their two years in saltwater and creek volunteers have documented the first to head for Puget Sound.

Soft trapping of smolts at upper- and lower-creek locations began in mid March and Dennis Hinton found a healthy 4-5 incher on March 20. He and Pete Draughon check both traps daily to count the fish before sending them on their way.

“The number of smolts to survive their year in Fauntleroy Creek tells us a lot about habitat conditions here – the health of the creek,” Dennis said. “Like the number of spawners in the fall, smolt numbers have varied widely over the 14 years we’ve been monitoring, from a high of 157 in 2012 to 19 last year.”

Most of the smolts are likely coho released as fry by students in the Salmon in the Schools program. Creek volunteers will be supporting 19 releases involving about 750 students starting in late April.

–Judy Pickens

Among the schools in that program is West Seattle Elementary, which got a visit earlier this month from biologist Steev Ward – who gave students a close-up look at what’s inside a fish:

Ward’s presentation took about an hour, explaining the fish’s internal systems, how they worked, what’s different from ours. The students asked about topics including the salmon’s digestive and nervous systems, and they learned that a salmon has a small bone in its head that helps it hear.

They asked Ward how many fish he had dissected; he said he’d lost count, maybe in the thousands. What would happen to what’s left of this one, they also asked. It was to be buried at his house, since the possibility of contamination meant the carcass couldn’t just be placed back in a stream.

ONE YEAR LATER: What has, and hasn’t, happened in the West Seattle tree-cutting case


(WSB photos: Above, south section of the illegally cut site, photographed this weekend; below, same area, photographed April 2016)
IMG_2684

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

One year has now passed since first word of a brazen round of tree-cutting on publicly owned slopes in east Admiral.

On Saturday, March 26, 2016, a stream of visitors made their way to the narrow street ends from which the cut trees could be seen (the photos above are from just north of City View/34th). The night before, The Seattle Times had broken the news, reporting that more than 100 trees had been cut on Parks– and SDOT-owned land, apparently weeks earlier.

Among those who visited the slashed slopes a year ago today were City Attorney Pete Holmes and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. As noted that day in our first followup, she reported being “assured that criminal and civil sanctions are on the table for the responsible parties.”

No criminal cases so far. But you might recall that midway through the past year – six months after the tree-cutting went public – Holmes announced two civil lawsuits on September 20, 2016. One involved “the northern site” (off 35th SW), naming nearby residents Stanley Harrelson and Mary Harrelson and Martin Riemer and Karrie Riemer, as well as Forrest Bishop and John Russo, who the city alleges “were hired by the Harrelsons and Riemers to cut trees on city property located adjacent and/or across from (theirs).” The second suit involved “the southern site” (off City View), naming nearby residents Kostas Kyrimis and Linda Kyrimis. Both lawsuits also mentioned John/Jane Does whose identities the city had not learned yet.

(March 2017 video by Christopher Boffoli)

Since then, we have continued to watch the online files of both lawsuits, which have tentative trial dates in fall 2017. Two months after the filings, we reported last November on some action in both cases: The Kyrimises had sought a stay, saying they “have good cause to believe that one or more criminal charges are potentially going to be brought against them.” They were granted a partial stay. The Harrelsons and Riemers, meantime, filed documents that acknowledged they hired Bishop and Russo for tree-cutting but specifically not admitting to any involvement in the illegal tree-cutting on the city parcels. The Harrelsons’ lawyer acknowledged that a month before the tree-cutting came to light publicly, they had contacted the city — “on February 5, 2016, the Harrelson Defendants sent a letter to the City advising the City of what had occurred on the Parcels and offering to share a remediation plan the Harrelson Defendants had developed with a former arborist for the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation. …”

Since that report, another four months have gone by; we’ve continued to check the files, and nothing else of note has happened in the cases. No criminal charges, either misdemeanor or felony, either. In preparation for this “one year later” update, we checked directly at week’s end with both offices that would be involved with such filings – the City Attorney’s Office (if misdemeanor) and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (if felony).

KCPAO spokesperson Dan Donohoe said nothing has yet been referred to their office (which would have to happen before prosecutors could prepare felony charges). CAO spokesperson Kimberly Mills told us they have nothing to report yet but affirmed that the investigation is still very much active. So we haven’t heard the end of it, apparently. Stay tuned.

VIDEO: West Seattle activist Aji Piper keynotes WAGIN conference @ Chief Sealth IHS

Toward the end of the first day of the Washington Global Issues Network conference at Chief Sealth International High School, West Seattle climate activist Aji Piper, 16, took the stage as a keynoter.

The question he started with was simple: “How did I get involved in the environmental movement and why?”

The answers, complex. We recorded his almost-hour-long speech on video:

Piper spoke about his work, from early participation in Plant for the Planet, to being one of what are now 21 young plaintiffs suing the federal government over its failure to protect their rights to clean air and water.

“Climate change means life as we know it will change,” he declared. And he recounted some life-changing climate events that have rocked the globe already, from 314+ square miles of wildfire damage last year – “more than 152,000 football fields” – to storms like Hurricane Sandy.

“I thought about my home. What did this all mean for the people and places I love? What do I do with this knowledge? … I’m one person in a world of 7 billion people. What am I going to do about this?”

What he has done in the past several years started with planting trees to writing and performing protest songs with a ukulele, as he learned about new issues including oil trains and Arctic drilling. To challenge the latter, he wrote and performed a protest song, with his ukulele, at a Seattle Port Commission meeting (his slide for this featured a framegrab of WSB video from that 2015 meeting). And he joined in the “kayaktivism” off West Seattle’s shore as the Polar Pioneer drilling rig floated in.

He got involved with Earth Guardians.

And then there was the lawsuit, which, he said, hasn’t gone to trial yet, but has had several hearings. (He and his co-plaintiffs have had international publicity because of it.) They’re representing everyone in the U.S., he asserted, saying we all have rights to clean water and air, and “a livable future.”

WAGIN continues Saturday at Sealth, with the ~100 student attendees from all over the state spending the day in workshops and hearing from three more keynote speakers, including Seattle activist and mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver toward day’s end. This is the second time in three years that Sealth has hosted the conference.

SPRING 2017 RECYCLE ROUNDUP: See what you’ll be able to drop off this time

On the first day of spring, if you’re thinking “spring cleaning” … we have some information that might help. Just in, the list of what will and won’t be accepted at the spring edition of the always-popular Fauntleroy Church Recycle Roundupsee it here (PDF). The free-dropoff event is set for 9 am-3 pm Sunday, April 23rd (9140 California SW).

Volunteers rally for erosion emergency on Fauntleroy Creek


(Hydrologist/watershed resident Steve Winter [left] directed the work party and staked coir logs into place with Mark Harman. Photo courtesy Judy Pickens)

By Dennis Hinton
Special to West Seattle Blog

Volunteers turned out Saturday morning for state-approved emergency work to check bank erosion in lower Fauntleroy Creek. Over the past four years, erosion had chewed away a section of path used by hundreds of schoolchildren in the spring and salmon watchers in the fall.

The Fauntleroy Watershed Council spent nearly a third of its bank account on supplies and called on creek lovers to pull ivy and anchor coir logs to force flow away from the eroded bank. The council unsuccessfully sought grant funding two years ago, before the problem became severe, and plans to try again this spring to fund what has become an even larger scope of work.

“Starting in the late 1990s, the City of Seattle got behind restoration of its urban creeks and, in partnership with residents, accomplished a lot,” said longtime Fauntleroy Creek advocate Judy Pickens. “Over the past few years, the city has pulled back, making maintaining natural drainage systems a challenge borne to a great extent at the neighborhood level.”


(Steve Hodson, Judy Pickens, Pete Draughon, Mark Harman, Steve Winter, Fred Fleischmann. Photo by Dennis Hinton)

As the mile-long Fauntleroy system illustrates, urban creeks convey more than a lot of water. “They’re also rich outdoor classrooms, science labs, urban respites, and close-at-hand examples of the value of protecting habitat,” Pickens said. “We’re doing all we can to avoid losing this urban creek to the impact of development and shifting city priorities.”

Last May, volunteers with the watershed council hosted a record 764 students, who released 1,795 coho fry as part of the Salmon in the Schools program. In October and November, volunteer salmon watchers documented seven coho spawners in the reach just repaired.

UPDATE: Diesel spills into Duwamish River’s West Waterway after tug hits barge


(U.S. Coast Guard photo)

3:50 PM: That’s the scene at Island Tug and Barge in West Seattle, where the U.S. Coast Guard and state Ecology Department say a diesel spill of up to 1,200 gallons is being cleaned up. Ecology says it happened “at 3456 West Marginal Way SW on the West Waterway of the Duwamish River after a tug struck a barge, causing a breach in the hull of the tug that damaged one of its diesel fuel tanks. Island Tug and Barge and its response contractor Global Diving and Salvage contained the spill with double layers of containment boom, absorbent boom and absorbent pads. The response continues under Coast Guard and Ecology oversight. The tank’s capacity is 9,000 gallons; however, the reporting source stated it contained approximately 1,200 gallons at the time of the incident. The initial approach assumed that the entire amount could have been released.”


(Department of Ecology photo)

The USCG update quotes Lt. j.g. Madeline Ede, federal on-scene coordinator representative, as saying, “The Coast Guard and Ecology are working together to monitor the situation to ensure any further environmental threats are mitigated.”

4:04 PM UPDATE: Ecology spokesperson Larry Altose tells WSB, “The response is winding down, with the rate of recovery now very slow. ITB and their contractor got boom around the scene very quickly. That’s a critical move as soon as a spill occurs. The boom and absorbent setup will remain in place, which will catch whatever is swept from the dock pilings as the tides come and go over the next, say, couple of days.

YOU CAN HELP! Seattle Audubon seeking outdoor-education volunteers to work with Sanislo, Lafayette students

February 23, 2017 7:40 pm
|    Comments Off on YOU CAN HELP! Seattle Audubon seeking outdoor-education volunteers to work with Sanislo, Lafayette students
 |   Environment | How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools


(Photo courtesy Seattle Audubon)

Love the outdoors? Love to work with kids? Seattle Audubon is looking right now for volunteers to combine those interests by working with its FUN program at two local elementaries:

Help Sanislo and Lafayette students have FUN!

Finding Urban Nature (FUN) is Seattle Audubon’s free environmental education program in Seattle Public Elementary Schools.

FUN introduces 3rd- and 4th-grade students to the nature in their own schoolyard habitat, and examines how each organism depends on others to survive. Volunteers lead small groups of four to six students through a series of outdoor investigations, which teach kids to use their senses and scientific practices to discover the importance of urban biodiversity firsthand.

Volunteers devote about two hours a week for four weeks to lead 4-6 students through each lesson, with the support of the school’s FUN Team Leader and classroom teachers. No previous teaching or science background is necessary; volunteers will attend a training session before going into a school.

The program needs volunteers at Sanislo and Lafayette Elementary Schools for lessons in April and May. Please respond as soon as possible to be a part of FUN training in April. Contact us at FUNvolunteer@seattleaudubon.org or call 206-523-8243 ext. 12 if interested.

Celebration of life announced for greenspace activist Cass Turnbull

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(WSB photo: Cass Turnbull at Myers Way Parcels meeting in West Seattle last June)

Though she was not a West Seattleite, Plant Amnesty/TreePAC founder Cass Turnbull‘s local/regional greenspace activism led many here to mourn her sudden death last month at age 65. (Here’s her Seattle Times obituary.) We promised to share the news when a memorial was announced. And the announcement arrived in the WSB inbox late today:

The Life and Times of Cass Turnbull

Please join us as we honor her on Saturday, March 25th, 2017

1 pm – 2 pm (reception to follow)

Shoreline Community College Theater
(Building #1600)
16101 Greenwood Ave N., Shoreline

A map of the campus can be found here.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to PlantAmnesty or TreePAC.

Most recently, Ms. Turnbull had a high profile in the campaign to keep the city from selling the Myers Way Parcels in southeast West Seattle.

FOLLOWUP: Water monitoring south of Alki after pump-station overflow


(WSB photo)

That sign was up this afternoon near the 63rd Avenue Pump Station south of Alki Point, following the 330,000-gallon combined-sewer overflow reported late last night by King County Wastewater Treatment. The overflow happened during Thursday afternoon’s less-than-one-hour power outage in western West Seattle, before a portable generator could be brought to and fired up at the pump station.

We followed up today with county spokesperson Doug Williams. For one, as commenter Schwaggy asked, why isn’t there already a generator at the pump station? He says there soon will be:

We are wrapping up a construction project at the 63rd Avenue Pump Station that, when finished, will include a new emergency power generator at the facility. While that construction project is underway, we have an emergency generator loaded on a trailer and stationed at the Alki CSO facility. Yesterday when our workers got the 63rd Ave pump station overflow alarm they went to the Alki facility and picked up the emergency generator for the short drive over to the pump station (about ¼ mile, I believe). However, power was restored before the emergency power was brought online.

As for how long the signs will stay up, Williams didn’t have information on water-quality-test results yet when we checked in, but he said the signs will not be taken down until results are “below thresholds for human contact.”

POLLUTION ALERT: 330,000-gallon Alki overflow during power outage

Just got word from the King County Wastewater Treatment District that this afternoon’s power outage caused a ~330,000-gallon overflow from the 63rd Avenue Pump Station in South Alki. The pump station usually sends stormwater and wastewater flows to the Alki Combined Sewer Overflow facility at Alki Point. That facility has an emergency generator on site, and the county says crews brought that generator to the pump station, but it wasn’t needed for long, since the outage lasted less than an hour.

… King County has reported the overflow to health and regulatory agencies. King County employees will post signs in the vicinity of the pump station at first light on Friday, Feb. 17, and employees with the County’s Environmental Lab conducted water quality monitoring.

The Alki facility itself had a quarter-million-gallon overflow just four weeks ago.

FOLLOWUP: Court challenge, city-fee settlement in tree-or-house case

Three weeks ago, after city Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner ruled against the neighbor-filed appeal in the Admiral tree-vs.-house case, appellant Lisa Parriott was still considering what to do next. Now, she tells WSB she’s taking the case to court. And she revealed she’s reached a settlement with the city regarding the fees they sought to charge related to her appeal.

First, the basic backstory if you haven’t been following this: The tree is a 100-ish-foot Ponderosa Pine growing at 3036 39th SW, on what the neighborhood had long seen as the side yard for the house next door. Real-estate investor Cliff Low bought the property – house, tree, and all – in late 2015 and sought a city opinion to confirm that the side with the tree was a buildable lot. The city said it was. He filed for permits to build a two-story house with a two-vehicle garage. Neighbors launched a save-the-tree campaign. When the city formally said OK last October, both Parriott and the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition filed appeals, though ultimately Tanner only allowed Parriott’s case – and only in part – to proceed.

A hearing was held on January 12 (WSB coverage here); the ruling came in January 25th (WSB coverage here).

That is considered the city’s final say in the matter, so any challenge has to be taken to Superior Court, and that’s what Parriott has done, filing a Land Use Petition and Complaint. You can read the document in its entirety here; the contentions include the same argument at the heart of the case taken to the Hearing Examiner, that the site doesn’t qualify for a Historic Lot Exception because there is nothing on record suggesting it was considered a separate building lot. Parriott’s action also seeks an injunction to keep the tree from being cut and house from being built while this plays out; city files show the building permit for the house was issued two weeks ago, on February 2nd.

Meantime, with that court fight looming, Parriott reached a settlement with the city precluding a fight over fees charged for the interpretation she was forced to seek because the Hearing Examiner threw out her other potential avenue of appeal even before the January hearing. Here’s the agreement:

She paid the required $2,800 to cover staff time the city said would be spent on the “code interpretation,” and then the city sent a bill for more than $10,000, saying that was the cost of additional hours its staff spent on the case. As a result of the settlement, the Department of Construction and Inspections will waive that fee.

Next steps in Parriott’s land-use petition will likely be a hearing for both sides to argue before a King County Superior Court judge.

MURRAY CSO PROJECT: Landscaping close to complete


(WSB photos from Sunday)

While on a walk from Lowman Beach into Lincoln Park on Sunday, we stopped for a few photos of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project, planning to check for an update this week. One arrived tonight, even before we could ask. The million-gallon tank at the heart of the facility has already functioned successfully, as the King County Wastewater Treatment Division told the Morgan Community Association last month, so now the project is down to the final loose ends:

King County’s contractor is nearly finished with landscaping on the County’s facility building site, including a green roof on the facility building and a rain garden north of the public staircase. Grading is also underway in Lowman Beach Park in preparation for landscaping installation.

When complete, the green roof on the facility building will absorb rainwater and improve the building’s energy efficiency. Excess water from the green roof and other parts of the facility will be directed to the rain garden, reducing runoff to nearby storm drains.

Schedule update

Landscaping and restoration activities on site are expected to be complete by the end of the month. Once restoration is complete, the project artist, Robert Horner, will install the remaining project art.

The contractor will wait to plant grass in Lowman Beach Park until the weather is warmer, likely during the month of March. Fencing will remain in place around the park until grass is established. The County anticipates the public staircase to be open to the public by early April.

To celebrate completion of the project, the County will host a ribbon cutting event and facility tours this spring. Keep an eye out for an invite in the mail!

The county also says it’s changing its hotline hours for the project “now that major construction is complete.” They’ll answer 9 am-5 pm Mondays-Fridays and will take messages the rest of the time, 206-205-9186. It’s now been three and a half years since major work began at the Murray CSO site, with demolition of the residential buildings that used to be there.

P.S. During heavy rain, check here to see if overflows are happening anywhere around the area.

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