West Seattle, Washington
“Nice chatting with you, neighbor.” That friendly goodbye, said as one participant left the “peace gathering” at Myrtle Reservoir Park tonight, summarized what it was all about – neighbors gathering with neighbors. We stopped by around 45 minutes into it, and at least 50 people were there.
It was informal – candlelight, pizza, children running around and playing. And a lot of talk. One person told another that she was worried some ongoing issues won’t be resolved in her lifetime. And certainly, nothing was going to be resolved in one night. But Mary Ellen Cunningham told us she had the idea for the gathering, while having trouble sleeping last night.
Sarah, who sent us first word of the gathering this afternoon, tells us tonight, “Thanks to all who came out to the peace gathering tonight – I know many were encouraged simply by your presence.” She adds that a mailing list is being set up “regarding further gatherings and ways to come together as a community,” so if you’re interested, please e-mail email@example.com to be included.
2:10 PM: Just out of the WSB inbox from Sarah, who describes this as a “peace gathering”:
Join us tonight at 5 pm at Reservoir Park on 35th & Myrtle for a time of being together as a community. This isn’t about joining to stand against our new president or the people who voted for him. It’s about joining together to stand FOR love, FOR justice, FOR equality, and to give a space for those who are grieving and afraid.
Bring warm jackets, picnic dinner, candles, games or instruments. We look forward to seeing you there.
3:02 PM: Sarah adds that this is a family-friendly gathering
5:42 PM: We are stopping by the event right now. Several dozen people of all ages are here, on the north side of the park by the play area.
Back in August, we published an invitation for you to get involved with Gatewood Elementary‘s quest for a “green schoolyard.” It’s moving ahead, despite a recent setback, and your involvement is still heartily welcomed, says Sandy Lennon:
We’ve posted the final permaculture design proposal for a Gatewood learning garden/outdoor classroom (here). Take a look! We are currently soliciting feedback on the design from our school staff, community, and the school district.
· If you’re interested in the Gatewood project, or generally interested in green schoolyards, learning gardens, or permaculture in schools, you can sign up to follow our conversation at: gatewoodgreenschoolyard.org
· We learned recently that we were unfortunately not awarded a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant for green playground design work in this round of funding. We will be meeting this week on Thursday, November 3, 5:00-6:30 pm in the school library, to de-brief on City feedback, review the 2006 Gatewood conceptual master plan, discuss our current vision and possible staging of work, and determine next steps for both the playground and garden. Our principal, PTA leadership, and a representative from the school district will be participating. Gatewood families and interested neighbors are encouraged to join us.
Gatewood Elementary is at 4320 SW Myrtle.
3:50 PM: What started as a house-fire response has now switched to a “rubbish fire that spread to brush” in the 7300 block of California SW in Gatewood [map]. We’re on the way to check it out.
4:01 PM: The last SFD unit was pulling away as we got there. So, it’s out, and wasn’t major.
You can help Gatewood Elementary get greener – by helping plan playground improvements and/or renovating the school garden. Here’s how:
Help us imagine and design a greener schoolyard at Gatewood Elementary!
We are applying for a Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) grant to design playground improvements to renovate active play spaces and provide more opportunities for connection with nature and outdoor learning. Think shade trees, natural play areas, wildlife habitat, etc.
We want your input and need your help to win the NMF grant, as we need to demonstrate community match/engagement through pledges of volunteer time. Could you attend any evening design meetings next spring (there will likely be three meetings, Jan-Apr 2017)? If you are a Gatewood family, neighbor, or interested community member, please join us! Children and teens are more than welcome.
To pledge your time, please email Sandy Lennon (firstname.lastname@example.org) with names (of all participating family members), address/zip, phone, email, and the amount of time you can offer. If you don’t want to share all contact info, an email or phone contact is fine.
We are also hoping to begin rejuvenation of our school garden to be an awesome learning garden, outdoor classroom, and permaculture demonstration project. If you’re interested in helping with this project, we’d also love to hear from you.
11:17 AM: Seattle Fire has sent an “automobile rescue” response to a crash scene reported at 35th and Southern [map] in Gatewood. Per scanner, southbound 35th SW will be closed at Elmgrove. More to come.
11:27 AM: Our crew just arrived. Two cars involved – a VW Bug and Ford Escort.
SFD had to cut into the latter to get to a patient. No word yet on injuries.
11:37 AM: Neither driver is seriously hurt, so this will not be a long-running investigation situation; the Escort’s driver will be taken to a hospital via private ambulance to be checked out.
11:50 AM: KM mentioned the southbound Route 21 reroute in comments – and now there’s an official alert from Metro:
Transit Alert – Rt 21 is rerouted off SB 35 Av SW btwn SW Holden St & SW Thistle St. Use the stops on 35 SW at Holden St or at Thistle St.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) August 26, 2016
12:!5 PM: Reroute’s over, meaning the road’s open again, per Metro alert. Also, we’ve added two more photos from the SFD response earlier.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 30, 2016
Someone will have a roof over their head soon, thanks to volunteers and donors at Peace Lutheran Church, carrying out an idea from the church’s most recent confirmation class (14- and 15-year-olds). Today is the second of four days that they’re spending building a “tiny house” to be donated to the Low-Income Housing Institute.
One of the youth who came up with the idea, Katharine, told us that $2,200 was raised to buy the materials through a deal LIHI has with Home Depot. Now they have the kit and are assembling it right outside the church in Gatewood, also supported by a $250 grant from Thrivent that funded items like gloves, food for volunteers, and even the T-shirts they’re wearing.
Which of the city-sanctioned camps managed by LIHI will get it, that’s up to LIHI, the Peace Lutheran volunteers say; the nonprofit will pick it up once it’s ready to go sometime Monday.
Two West Seattle Crime Watch reports tonight:
STOLEN CAR: Rebecca‘s neighborhood in Gatewood has been hit again by car thieves. Her car was taken two months ago; we published her report, and an observant neighbor spotted the car nearby. Tonight, she says, two sisters visiting the neighborhood reported someone stole their car just feet from where Rebecca’s was taken in the 3900 block of SW Elmgrove [map]. It’s a 2009 Nissan Versa, baby blue, WA plate ending in 632, “trim near driver-side door hands loose near keyhole.” Call 911 if you see it.
DOORSTEP THEFT: In the 9000 block of 4th SW [map], Sheila reports a doorstep theft last night:
Our neighbor returned a car battery recharger he borrowed, left it on the front step at 10 pm. We have video of a man quickly walking up the front walk at about 11:20, grabbing the small pouch with the charger in it, and walking quickly away. I’ve reported to police. … The guy was wearing a hat so can’t see his face. Short, apparently dark hair is best we’ve been able to make out. Coat with bright tape (like safety jacket) and high-top sneakers.
P.S. Reminder – this month’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting is next Tuesday (June 21st), 7 pm, at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster; map).
P.P.S., ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: WSCPC president Richard Miller tells WSB that the guest on Tuesday will be SPD’s Chief Operating Officer Brian Maxey, who will be able to speak about the operations of the 911 Center, among other topics.
A little help can make a big difference. That proved true this morning in Gatewood, where resident Jill Boone decided to organize a spring cleanup once she found out nobody else had something planned for the area. Despite the chilly rain, a small, stalwart group got the job done:
We had three families for our Gatewood litter clean-up out in the rain this morning, picking up litter from the water tower Park to Holden, especially the bus stops. Two big bags of trash were picked up. If you are a smoker, please dispose of your cigarette butts somewhere besides the ground!!
Here are a few photos of the Morelands and the Boones. Many thanks to the City for Spring Cleanup support. We hope to do this again on a day when it’s a bit drier to be out and about.
Not too late for your own community cleanup!
The second and final day of the first-ever Westside Plant and Garden Art Fair is on! We stopped in just as the gate opened at 11 am and were pointed to the sign you see above, celebrating what a huge success Day 1 was. If you get there soon, you’ll still find some plants:
But there’s lots else to see and do, including kids’ activities. This is all happening in the lot outside Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 7141 California SW in Gatewood.
Before you go, browse the official website!
5:17 PM: A big Seattle Fire response is arriving at a possible house fire in Gatewood, in the 6700 block of 36th SW [map].
5:20 PM: Early arrivals have made the preliminary assessment – as monitored via scanner – that it’s a “small smoldering fire in the attic.”
5:22 PM: All but three SFD units are being dismissed. Those remaining on scene report “water on the fire.”
5:28 PM: Our crew has arrived and confirms that firefighters have extinguished the small fire in the attic, believed to be electrical in origin. No injuries reported.
Just in from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: 22-year-old Malik R. Jones is charged with first-degree burglary in connection with the Saturday morning break-in (WSB coverage here) in which a Gatewood woman was startled awake by an intruder touching her. State law incorporates assault in this particular charge (read the law here), so it covers the alleged touching as well as the burglary itself.
Prosecutors are asking that Jones’s bail remain set at $100,000, though his only criminal history is described as a “reduced DUI charge” resolved three months ago in Pierce County, where he is believed to live. Allegations in the document are largely what we reported on Monday, after his bail hearing, except for the added information that the cell phone stolen from the victim was later found outside the house, “smashed to bits.” More to come …
$100,000 is the bail amount set today for the 22-year-old man arrested early Saturday for allegedly breaking into a Gatewood home and trying to get into bed with a woman asleep with her 5-year-old. We first reported the incident on Saturday morning after hearing from the victim.
From the narrative of the incident written by police, used to determine there’s probable cause to hold the suspect:
(The victim) was woken up by male touching her face and shoulders. She thought it was her husband and said, “Honey, what is it?” An unknown male said, “It’s OK. He’s asleep.” The male kept saying, “It’s OK.” She tried to turn on her nightstand light but the suspect grabbed her wrist, restraining it. He held her wrist for a bit, but then she was able to pull away and turn the light on and call for her husband. The suspect turned away and walked off. The suspect was a (black man), 20’s, about 5’6 with short hair, wearing a gray and green checkered shirt and jeans, apparently intoxicated. She did not know the suspect and he did not have permission to come into her home or to touch her. Her cell phone had been charging on her bedside table but it was now missing.
At 0332, Officer Gindhart saw the suspect walking in the alley just south of the location. Officers detained the suspect … At 0342, I transported (victim) to the location. She immediately recognized the suspect Officers were contacting, and positively identified (him) as the person who burglarized her home, touched and restrained her without permission. Officer Gindhart read (the suspect) his Miranda rights from his SPD resource booklet and asked if he understood. He said, “Yes.”
Officer Ginhart transported (the suspect) to SW Precinct. I spoke with (the suspect). He said he thought he was going to a house his brother rented for a big party all weekend. He said he was looking for his brother. He was affected by alcohol and/or drugs, with watery eyes, slurred speech, and an odor of intoxicants on his breath. He said he never touched anyone or took a cell phone. He was later booked into KCJ for Investigation of Burglary.
(A neighborhood party was mentioned in WSB comment discussion over the weekend.) Online records show a dozen cases for the suspect, all in Pierce County, but no felony charges/convictions. Prosecutors will decide later this week whether to file charges.
7:20 PM: Reader report from Ron:
Sunday afternoon 1/31. someone had target practice with my back window of our car. We heard the car alarm sound and when we checked our car, there were BB-sized dents around the window. Unfortunately the back window was gravely shot and is not expected to recover. Amazing that this took place in broad daylight. That takes a special kind of person. We are located on the 6700 block of 37th Ave SW in Gatewood [map]. Hopefully we are the only ones who were victimized by this type of idiocy.
10:37 PM: In comments, Ryan reports a similar incident, 7700 block of 32nd Avenue SW.
MIDDAY MONDAY: And more reports in comments. We’re working on a followup.
Multiple reports this morning of Comcast being out in Gatewood. They’re reporting the company hopes to have service back by 11 am.
Side note: Checking the city’s Office of Cable Communications page, we note it’s still taking comments on the proposed Comcast renewal through Monday.
As promised, we’ve followed up today on Sunday morning’s burglary in the 8200 block of California SW, with a nearby resident seeing it happen and calling it in, but police not arriving until after the burglar was gone.
The 911 call was made at 11 am, as we reported on Sunday – the witness has record of that on a cell phone screen. The first officer to arrive at the house was shortly after quarter past – we happened to see it firsthand, because we are based a few blocks south and happened to be heading out on an errand at the time.
Here’s what SPD told us happened in the meantime.
*The dispatch went out at 11:03. An officer was headed to the house by 11:09.
*Before arrival, police got word the burglar(s) had left (11:14, the witness said), and so instead of proceeding immediately to the house, they tried to find the vehicle, using the description and plate (Washington AWB5824 – here’s a photo from the witness):
As the witness told us, they spotted a car they believed to be the vehicle, and they tried to pull it over – but the driver didn’t stop, and proceeded “in an unsafe manner,” as SPD put it, so officers were told to terminate the pursuit, which is SPD policy if it’s believed to be a threat to public safety. From the SPD pursuit policy, which you can read in full here:
…3. Officers Will Not Pursue Without Justification
The circumstances justifying the decision to pursue an eluding vehicle must be articulable at the time the officer initiates the pursuit.
Officers will not pursue solely for any one of the following:
– Traffic violations / Civil Infractions
– Gross misdemeanors
– Property crimes
– The act of eluding alone
4. Officers Will Cease Pursuit When the Risk of the Pursuit Outweighs the Danger to the Public if the Suspect is not Captured
Following up on one other point from our original story – the SPD spokesperson with whom we spoke hadn’t seen anything about the mention of “shift change” and did not think that was related. The case is open, SPD verifies, and detectives have “good information” to follow up on.
(Police blocking road near scene)
3:20 PM: Thanks for all the tips. Avoid California SW in Gatewood between Portland and Ida – there’s a big police response. Initial scanner traffic indicated police were trying to make contact with a possibly armed man in a house in the 7700 block of California.
Officers just knocked on the door and went inside.
3:39 PM: Our crew says police came back out without anyone, but there’s someone in a squad car. That doesn’t necessarily mean an arrest; we are waiting to talk to the sergeant on scene to find out more.
3:49 PM: Police tell us the person they have in custody is the person they were called about because of concern he was going to harm himself. They did not find anyone else in the house; no one is injured. They expect to be at the scene a while longer, and the road is still partly blocked. (Whenever we mention crisis situations like this, we also always mention the local 24-hour Crisis Clinic hotline – 206-461-3222.)
5:02 PM: Just got a chance to go back and check the area. The road is open again.
Incidents we’ve been tracking tonight:
11:13 PM: Police are responding to the Westside Unitarian Universalists Congregation church in Gatewood (7141 California SW) right now after a report of a possible burglary/theft. The Guardian One helicopter is in the area and offered to help search for a possible suspect, so you might hear it shortly. No description at this point beyond “unknown race male” in a hoodie.
11:20 PM: The helicopter’s in the area now.
11:29 PM: And it’s moved on, while police continue investigating on the ground.
11:50 PM: **Separate incident** but while we have this Crime Watch report open, we’re adding it. Police are investigating a report of someone being robbed at Roxhill Park. No aerial search in this case – the trail was quite cold, as the victim did not report it until getting home about half an hour later. (We have no further info on this one but more often than not, street robberies have a reporting lag because the robber[s] take the victim’s phone.)
12:44 AM: **Separate incident** Police rushed to Fauntleroy after multiple calls about someone screaming for help. After trying to figure out where exactly it happened, they found a victim in the 8600 block of 46th SW, a 21-year-old woman who is reported to have been assaulted. SFD is en route to evaluate her injuries. Police are trying to sort out what happened.
The sun’s out and two vehicle-wash fundraisers happening right now in West Seattle, both by donation:
WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADERS: Until 3 pm, WSHS cheerleaders are washing vehicles at Les Schwab, Fauntleroy/Alaska (map).
TRINITY WEST SEATTLE YOUTH: Also until 3 pm, a fundraising vehicle wash is under way to send Trinity and Skate Church youth to camp. It’s at the church, 7551 35th SW (map).
Jeff lives in north Gatewood and has found car-prowl loot discarded near his house before. He’s been able to reunite items with their owners before … but this time he’s not having luck and asking if you know whose things these are:
I found some things hidden behind a bush off of the alley behind my house that I believe are unwanted items from a car prowl. The items include some clothing, a drawing book, and a CD case that must have 20 or 30 CDs in it.
The book and the clothing probably aren’t worth much but the CDs would have some value. Judging from the drawing book I am guessing that it is all from a young person. There is a name in the drawing book … I could not find a person by that name in West Seattle but then a young person might not show up. There are also some dates from March and then the 4th of July so the items are probably from a recent event. I would like to return the items to the owner if they want them.
We advised him to notify police, but in the meantime, if the owner comes forward, he’d still be able to return the items.
Since midnight, the Seattle Fire Department 911 log shows two “brush fire” calls in West Seattle (out of a total of six citywide today). Above, the aftermath of one of them, shared by Dennis, who wrote, “Someone with fireworks didn’t like our tree. 12:35 last night. Be careful, folks, it is REAL DRY out there … this is what can happen.” He’s in the 3600 block of SW Othello in Gatewood; the other “brush fire” call so far, about 12 hours later, was in the 8100 block of 14th SW in Highland Park.