West Seattle, Washington
By Dennis Hinton and Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog
Last year about this time, “Big Wally” closed the spawning season by hanging out in lower Fauntleroy Creek for two weeks. The 7-to-8-pound male coho was likely waiting (in vain) for a mate.
This year, the last of four spawners spotted in the creek was “Little Jill,” a small hatchery-released female. Collectively known as “jacks,” these immature coho come back to fresh water after only one year at sea instead of the standard two.
At about 15″ long, Jill was first thought to be a cutthroat in to feed on fresh salmon eggs. But after she zipped up and down the fish ladder for a few days, volunteers saw that her adipose fin was clipped – the way hatcheries mark smolts when they release them. Watchers last saw her November 2nd, showing signs of deterioration common to spawners.
Volunteer watcher Mark Ahlness claimed the first spawner sightings October 27 – a 3-to-4-pound female and a smaller, red-sided male. The little one was soon a carcass fluttering in the flow. A third fish came in before Jill; at least one other was spotted at the mouth, but watchers didn’t find it in the creek. No fish were seen venturing farther upstream than the fish ladder (just across Fauntleroy Way SW from the beach). Watchers saw no indication of spawning.
Given favorable high tides and creek conditions, watchers continued their surveying until yesterday (Sunday, November 19th), with no further sightings.
The watch involved a dozen volunteers this year. About three dozen visitors stopped by to check out the fish and habitat.
Previous five years’ totals: 7 in 2016, 0 in 2015, 19 in 2014, 0 in 2013, 274 in 2012.
The Fauntleroy Community Association board just wrapped up tonight’s monthly meeting at its usual location, the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, where more than 15 people crowded into the conference room, several drawn by the biggest topic on the agenda – this site about a block west:
REZONE PROPOSAL: We broke the news two weeks ago about an early-stage proposal to rezone and redevelop 9250 45th SW in the heart of Fauntleroy’s Endolyne business district. Since then, two FCA board members have talked with the site’s owners to find out more.
The Fauntleroy Fine Art and Holiday Gift Show is on! Until 8 pm tonight, you can visit the Fauntleroy Church Fellowship Hall (9140 California SW) to browse and buy from what 17 artists (listed here) are offering. We stopped by late this afternoon for a quick preview – including garden art by Dee Miller:
Underwater images by Jen Vanderhoof:
And fiber art by Mary Anderson:
If you don’t get there tonight, the show continues 10 am-4 pm Saturday and 11 am-2 pm Sunday.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Triangle Route Task Force is at a crossroads – should it continue or wrap up?
It was created early this year with the expectations its members would commit a year to tackling some of the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route’s challenges.
But now Washington State Ferries says it’s time to tackle a big one – revamping the Triangle Route’s schedules – and thinking the task force might want to hang around and help.
That was one big topic at tonight’s meeting, which started 15 minutes late because the ferries were running late, not because of a Fauntleroy backup like the ones that have caused so much past trouble, but because of what WSF alerts described as an “offloading problem” on Vashon.
First – the group’s executive “sponsor” from WSF is now John Vezina, because the scope of its work has moved away from how things work at the dock. Several other WSF managers were present today; facilitating again was WSF’s Hadley Rodero, supported by Justin Fujioka, also from the WSF Communications team.
CHANGING THE SCHEDULE: The WSF reps now say this will happen – it wasn’t voiced in such certain terms earlier this year. The numbers reviewed included these:
The West Seattle Helpline‘s new executive director Erin Dury Moore and her predecessor Chris Langeler were at The Hall at Fauntleroy tonight along with a big roomful of people supporting the Helpline mission: Emergency assistance for thousands of neighbors in need.
The “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” began with beverages, and then, along with dinner and live/silent auction bidding, was headed toward a dessert dash:
And if you bought at least $50 in raffle tickets, you got to light up the night with a blinking ring:
Tonight’s guest speaker was Gregg Hersholt, a longtime local radio journalist and West Seattleite who served as the Helpline’s first board president in the ’90s, a few years after wife Maureen Hersholt co-founded the nonprofit.
P.S. Didn’t get to go to tonight’s event? You can still support the Helpline any time.
New in the city-permit files: An early-stage proposal to rezone a site in Fauntleroy’s Endolyne business district and demolish the building that’s there now, replacing it with a new 5-story mixed-use building. The early documents were filed last week for 9250 45th SW (photo above), the site also known as 4412 Brace Point Drive and bounded by Wildwood Place on the north side, just uphill from the Fauntleroy ferry dock [map]. Notes from an early conference with city reps say the building would be ground-floor “retail,” four floors residential, with 32 units proposed, no offstreet parking. (It’s on the RapidRide C Line.) The site is currently zoned NC (Neighborhood Commercial) 1-30 (for up to three stories), and the owners are proposing a rezone to NC3. Working title for the project, as shown on one early-stage sketch, is “The Fauntleroy.” Again, this has just appeared in city files, no formal application yet, but we’ll be watching for official comment periods and other parts of the process that would be required for rezoning – which ultimately requires City Council approval – as well as redevelopment. (This is the same area where traffic flow was reconfigured a little over a year ago, with the Brace Point Drive side changing to one-way eastbound.)
Less than a week after this year’s gathering to call the coho home to Fauntleroy Creek, two have shown up. Creek steward Judy Pickens says Mark Ahlness‘s photo above shows the first one, seen yesterday afternoon: “It reverted to the culvert and appeared again this morning.” She adds, “Then another, with full color, came in this afternoon. That’s a firm two now, perhaps a pair.” So you are invited to come to the creek tomorrow afternoon (Sunday, October 29th) – volunteers will be at creekside 2 pm-3:30 pm. They can’t guarantee you’ll see one but you can take a look and ask questions. As Judy says, “People interested in taking a chance on seeing spawners will be welcome. Children should bring a parent and dogs should stay safely at home.” Come to the fish-ladder viewpoint (SW Director & upper Fauntleroy Way SW, across from the ferry terminal) and a volunteer will invite you down.
Though the annual gathering along Fauntleroy Creek is billed as singing and drumming, today, the messages resonated most – messages written by participants of all ages, to tie to the fence at the creek overlook across and upslope from the ferry terminal.
Some were simply notes of welcome. One even carried an apology. And of course there was also singing and drumming, led by Jamie Shilling:
The songs urge the salmon to return:
And the singing/drumming begins. Volunteer watchers counted 7 coho spawners in Fauntleroy Creek last year. pic.twitter.com/NgFIZNisoU
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) October 23, 2017
And then there’s an urging of environmental respect, “Habitat,” to the tune of the half-century-plus-old “Lollipop.” Some wore salmon hats, decorated during the Fauntleroy Fall Festival a week earlier:
Leading the activity then, and emceeing the gathering today, was creek steward Judy Pickens, who noted that the welcoming event goes back to 1994:
She provided updates including the explanation that volunteers will now be watching for coho spawners, likely into mid-November, since the prediction this year is that they’ll arrive late. She also says a UW researcher will be studying pre-spawning mortality in the creek and will be waiting for word of any fish in obvious distress – less of a problem on Fauntleroy Creek than Longfellow Creek in eastern West Seattle, which has more of a runoff-pollution problem.
With Judy’s help, we’ll have updates during salmon-watcher season – and she says they’re hoping to organize another weekend event where you can come to the creek and talk with volunteers; we’ll let you know as soon as we get word of that.
4:20 PM: Thanks for the texts – we’re on our way to check out a police response near Fauntleroy Park. Checking with Seattle Police media relations in the meantime, this apparently started as a report of a possible burglary at a home on the north side of the park, along Barton. More to come.
4:27 PM: Police are outside a house on the south side of Barton at Director.
They think a burglar might be inside, so they are using a bullhorn to tell anyone inside to come out before they send a K-9 in to search.
4:41 PM: The K-9 has gone in and come out.
4:47 PM: The house is empty but police found a hole in the fence. Now the Guardian One helicopter is flying around the area looking for any signs of a possible burglar at large.
5:40 PM: The helicopter has long since departed after doing what it could; no word of an arrest yet but last we heard, police in the Fauntleroy area were still on the lookout.
8:18 PM: We checked with SW Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith at tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting; no arrest. The K-9 tried tracking from the hole in the fence that might have been used for entry/exit but couldn’t pick up a trail.
2:24 PM: If you’re not already here, you have until 5 pm to get to this year’s Fauntleroy Fall Festival – an awesome autumn all-ages celebration that’s under way on both sides of the 9100 block of California SW (around Fauntleroy Church and Schoolhouse). Above, Ladybird the Eurasian Eagle-Owl is one of the birds here as part of a new festival participant – The Falconer – find her and the other birds with their handlers in a garden area behind The Hall at Fauntleroy‘s courtyard. Here’s the schedule of everything that’s happening:
(Or see it here in PDF.) The Cake Walk (and cake-decorating judging) inside The Hall is not to be missed. Just a few entries:
You can vote until 3 pm, when the winners will be announced; then the Cake Walk is 3:15-4:15 pm, with your chance to win a cake! Back outside, over in the church parking lot – music, bouncy toys, birdhouse-making, salmon-hat making, pumpkin-painting …
2:44 PM: This is a festival with something for the very littlest visitors, too. Like “Baby Dino Lake” for 4 and under:
And for those bringing babies/toddlers, there’s a diaper-changing station inside Fauntleroy Children’s Center on the north side of the schoolhouse. It’s not all kid stuff, though. We’ve been enjoying awesome jazz by the Jump Jazz Trio behind the schoolhouse:
Jump Jazz Trio behind the historic schoolhouse @ Fauntleroy Fall Festival (which is on until 5) pic.twitter.com/nWeo6RORag
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) October 15, 2017
And the West Seattle Big Band plays inside The Hall starting at 3.
3:11 PM: Bronwyn Edwards‘ ferry cake won the “experienced” category in the cake judging. And now, the cake walk is under way:
Back over in the church lot, you still have time to paint a pumpkin:
4 PM: Final hour of the festival has just begun. Still lots of people having lots of fun. Music outside…
And more Fauntleroy Fall Festival music… pic.twitter.com/Xg5aFNXVp9
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) October 15, 2017
…where it’s mixing with the hammering of birdhouse-makers. Inside, it’s the big sound of the WS Big Band:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) October 15, 2017
Jim Edwards directs the WSBB, and the vocalist in our short clip is Sarah Ackers. As you arrive/leave, you might notice the donation stations … this is an all-volunteer, all-community event, and if you can spare a few $, those donations help it stay free and fun every year. They’re also collecting socks for people in need:
That bin is by the walkway up to Fauntleroy Church on the south side of the lot.
5:04 PM: Festival’s over! Spectacular afternoon. We expect to add a few more photos later. (added) From the back lot – the ponies and the petting farm:
We couldn’t leave without one more look at the birds:
(WSB file photo of birdhouse-building at Fauntleroy Fall Festival)
This weekend’s biggest event is the Fauntleroy Fall Festival, 2-5 pm on both sides of the 9100 block of California SW [map], in and around Fauntleroy Church and Schoolhouse. We published some preview notes back on Wednesday, in our Fauntleroy Community Association coverage; today, courtesy of festival organizer Debbie Kerns and Fauntleroy information coordinator Judy Pickens, we have the full festival activities/entertainment schedule, followed by the food lineup:
P.S. Bring socks to contribute to a donation drive for those in need.
NEW THIS YEAR: You’ll find a raptor display in the garden area behind The Hall at Fauntleroy, between the building and the open area where you’ll find the pony rides and petting zoo. Also new, an inflatable obstacle course and some extra activities for the littlest festivalgoers.
RETURNING FAVORITES: Birdhouse-building in the Fauntleroy Church parking lot, visiting vehicles from Seattle Police (the Mobile Precinct is expected) and Seattle Fire. Lots of live music around the festival grounds!
FOOD: Vendors will include Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering with brats and squash soup, plus pretzel sticks … Fauntleroy’s new Wildwood Market will be there … Endolyne Joe’s (WSB sponsor) too … and “the tamale guy.”
CAKE WALK AND DECORATING CONTEST: It’s a highlight every year and cakes are needed – from the festival announcement:
There are three categories: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. To enter, bring your decorated cake to the Vashon Room at The Hall at Fauntleroy on Sunday 10/15 between 12 noon and 1 pm. Voting takes place from 1:30-3 pm. Prizes will be awarded for each category! The Cake Walk follows and continues until all the cakes are gone. Cakes can be any shape or size. They should have an autumn, Halloween, or West Seattle theme.
The festival is 2-5 pm Sunday on both sides of California SW in the heart of Fauntleroy – around Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW, east side of the street) and The Hall at Fauntleroy/Fauntleroy Schoolhouse (9131 California SW, west side).
Also at last night’s meeting:
CRIME TRENDS: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith said the Fauntleroy area is seeing an increase in car prowls and auto theft and as often happens, police suspect it’s related to a repeat offender’s recent release, with some new accomplices, and Southwest officers/detectives are on their trail. Asked how best to thwart them, Lt. Smith repeated the most-important advice – leave absolutely nothing in your vehicle, and keep it locked.
FERRY BRIEFING: Gary Dawson, who’s on the Ferry Advisory Committee for Fauntleroy as well as the Triangle Task Force, updated the FCA board on the ongoing travails related to trying to reduce backups – including the recent meeting on Vashon (WSB coverage here).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
~60 people sang, prayed, and pondered in a candlelight circle tonight outside Fauntleroy Church, during an emotional vigil that went beyond mourning the 59 lives lost in the Las Vegas massacre.
Leading them, above, were West Seattle’s three United Church of Christ pastors, from left, Rev. Diane Darling of Alki UCC, Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski of Fauntleroy UCC, and Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom of Admiral UCC. Their voices rang clear in the night with grief and anger – and even a prayer of confession, that “I confess I believed things would get better on their own, and I confess that I was wrong.”
There were questions – including those raised in Bob Dylan‘s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” the first song led by Bronwyn Edwards and Leann Conley-Holcom, with readings between the verses:
As the names of those who died in the massacre were read – “so many lost” – there were a few words about each. Someone celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary. Someone celebrating their 28th birthday. A father there with his four grown children. Off-duty law enforcers. The mother of a 6-week-old baby. A 67-year-old woman. And when Seattle resident Carrie Parsons‘ name was read, Rev. Atkinson Bilinski noted that Ms. Parsons was the “close friend of the granddaughter of a Fauntleroy Church parishioner.”
A chime sounded after each name and description … and the last name read was that of the killer, noting that he left behind his family, as well as a nation “confused and heartbroken.” And it was noted that the massacre took the spotlight from others around the world who are in pain and suffering, from hurricane and earthquake victims to those in our country experiencing racism and other social injustice daily. Gun-violence statistics were read, including the fact that “most gun deaths are suicides.”
Ultimately, however, the vigil’s message was that of hope, with the candles representing “the light of love” – hope that with action, with collaboration, change can be made. In that spirit, the final song was “Somewhere to Begin” by T.R. Ritchie:
As the vigil ended, participants were invited to continue lighting candles and to write notes of appreciation to local first responders.
We are told the notes will be taken to a local fire station on Sunday.
Another call today for salmon-creek volunteers in West Seattle – this time, it’s Fauntleroy Creek that can use your help watching for spawners starting later this month. From creek steward Judy Pickens:
Salmon Watch 2017 will start on Sunday, October 15, on Fauntleroy Creek and new volunteers are welcome. Watchers monitor the lower creek after daytime high tide to record any spawner activity. Sign up as often as you want, with training during your first watch. Contact Judy Pickens at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Seven coho were counted last year – which was seven more than the year before.
P.S. Whether or not you plan to volunteer as a watcher, you’re invited to the fish-ladder overlook (upper Fauntleroy Way and Director, across from the ferry dock) for drumming to welcome the salmon home at 5 pm October 22nd.
The grand total is in from the most recent Recycle Roundup in Fauntleroy. Judy Pickens sends the report:
A total of 370 vehicles bearing 13.5 tons of recyclables passed through the Fauntleroy Church parking lot during the Sept. 24 Recycle Roundup. This take brings to 204 tons the amount collected from West Seattle households for responsible recycling since twice-yearly roundups began in 2010. The church’s Green Committee will host the spring roundup on Sunday, April 22.
That’s up almost 50 percent from last fall’s 9.25-ton dropoff day.
P.S. If you can’t wait until spring – the West Seattle Junction Association‘s recycle/reuse event is coming up a week from Saturday – 9 am-1 pm October 14th!
In the wake of the Las Vegas shootings, Admiral, Alki, and Fauntleroy United Churches of Christ are organizing a community candlelight vigil for victims, survivors, and “the soul of the United States.”
It will be Saturday, Oct. 7, 7:30 pm in the main parking lot at Fauntleroy Church (9140 California Ave. SW). Parking there will be reduced but available in the upper lots.
The report and photos are by Jenny Mandt (thank you!):
Olivia Lundstrom (left) and Ava Geary, members of Girl Scout Troop #40890, recently installed a Little Free Library geared to young readers outside Fauntleroy Church.
It was their troop’s Silver Award project – the highest award a cadette (6th-8th grade) can earn – and the design mirrored the church’s iconic sanctuary window. The troop partnered with the church to encourage the love of books in young readers and invites everyone to take or leave a book, especially titles for pre-school through middle-school readers.
SIDE NOTE: Just two and a half weeks until the Fauntleroy Fall Festival, at the church (9140 California SW) and at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse across the street – 2-5 pm Sunday, October 15th!
The fridge and bed frame are just some of the items dropped off in the early going at the fall 2017 edition of Fauntleroy Church‘s twice-yearly Recycle Roundup. Until 3 pm, you can drive up, ride up, or walk up to drop off your recyclables, free – as long as they’re on the list – in the church parking lot at 9140 California SW. The crew from 1 Green Planet is again filling truckloads, fast – they’ll get you through in mere moments.
Until 9 tonight, there’s a party in Fauntleroy’s Endolyne business district – the grand-opening celebration for Treo Organic Salon. It’s in the 45th SW/SW Wildwood corner space where Salon Fauntleroy closed earlier this year, next to The Original Bakery and two doors down from Endolyne Joe’s (WSB sponsor). Treo’s proprietor is Sarah Griffiths:
Sarah explains, “We are partnered with Green Circle Salons which allows us to recycle used foil, hair clippings, and much more, reducing our waste by 85-95%. We also work with a new charity every year donating a portion of all sales and services to the cause. This year we are working with the White Center Food Bank. We will happily take food donations on their behalf as well.” That includes at tonight’s party.
2:06 AM: Seattle Fire is sending a “heavy rescue” response to 40th SW and SW Thistle [map] on the Gatewood/Fauntleroy line for a report of a box truck hitting a house. We’re on our way to find out more.
2:23 AM: SFD is working to free the driver from the truck.
2:36 AM: Firefighters have cut the driver, a man believed to be in his late 20s, out of the truck. Medic unit will take him to the hospital. SFD says he is in ‘stable’ condition. No one hurt in the house; a neighbor tells us the residents apparently weren’t home.
2:57 AM: Firefighters have patched a spot on the corner of the house where the truck stopped. Some of the SFD units are leaving.
3:15 AM: We just left too – but first, once we were able to get closer, saw more of what happened, a story told by torn-up shrubbery and fencing: The truck appears to have gone onto the wrong side of the road just east of 40th SW….
then westbound across 40th and into/through the side yard, behind shrubs and fencing, of the house east of the one that it finally hit, also crossing an alley in the process:
Via scanner, SFD has just cleared the scene, and when the truck is towed, the Department of Construction and Inspections will have to check the house to see if it’s safe to inhabit.
One more reminder that Fauntleroy Church‘s twice-a-year Recycle Roundup is now just two days away – 9 am to 3 pm Sunday (September 24th). Drive up, ride up, or walk up to drop off, free, whatever the Recycle Roundup partner 1 Green Planet is accepting (scroll through the list above, or see the PDF version here). As always, the church – which is at 9140 California SW [map] – advises that lines are shorter in the early going.
(UPDATED THURSDAY AFTERNOON with slide deck from meeting)
(WSB video of Vashon meeting)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Ferry riders’ frustrations resulting from months of seeing vessels leave Fauntleroy during peak hours with space remaining, and a long line of vehicles still waiting, boiled over into everything from angry words to constructive suggestions at the first of this week’s two public meetings.
Last night’s meeting brought a standing-room-only crowd to Vashon Island High School to talk, and hear, about the Triangle Route and what has been, and might be, done about its challenges.
In one of the WSF presentations/speeches that began the meeting, WSDOT assistant secretary Amy Scarton, who is in charge of WSF, noted that their system is “very safe and generally efficient,” and that “ridership is growing … I know you guys feel that … 2016 ridership is highest that it’s been since 2014, and 2017 ridership is even higher … But … we’ve had a tough summer. I admit that, I own that.” She mentioned ferries going out of service for maintenance/repairs as short as 12 hours and as long as 2 months. “We are working hard every day to get those boats back in service as quickly as we can.”
She also insisted that “these dialogues are extremely important,” because management “is not going to know the best thing for your community” until they hear it directly from community members. She noted that the attempts to fix the Triangle Route dated back to her predecessor, and led to community conversations and creation of the Triangle Route Improvement Task Force. “I think as long as we keep this dialogue we can come up with some stuff to make this route even better.”
The dozens who spoke before meeting’s end certainly had a lot of “stuff” to suggest. More about that shortly, but first:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Is there really anything the Triangle Route Improvement Task Force can do to improve the route?
One task-force member asked that question about midway through the task force’s most-recent meeting at Fauntleroy Church, wondering aloud, “What is (Washington State) Ferries hoping to get out of us continuing to meet – because maybe we’re done.”
There was no direct answer for that but the indirect answers could be heard throughout the meeting, including toward the end, when time was opened for public comment, and several of the Vashon residents in attendance stood up.
While WSF changed its Fauntleroy terminal processing procedures in mid-June, hoping to get drivers through the tollbooths more quickly, frustrated Vashon residents have been pointing out that many boats are still leaving with empty spaces – and not because there are no vehicles left to load.
WSF says a major part of the problem is that the Fauntleroy dock holds 80 waiting cars, but the route is running 120-vehicle-capacity boats. Expanding the dock, in the midst of a single-family-residential zone, has long been considered to be out of the question.
Riders contend that problem could be transcended somewhat if WSF had portable scanning equipment that could be used by terminal staffers, so that those with tickets didn’t have to stop at the booth to be scanned.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, we should note that WSF plans two community meetings this coming week – the one on Vashon, Wednesday night, is likely to be particularly contentious. (Times and locations are at the bottom of this page.) Now – here’s how last Thursday’s task-force meeting unfolded: