West Seattle, Washington
While overall voter turnout wasn’t so great, there were some positive numbers associated with this month’s primary election – including the number of voters using the new permanent ballot dropbox by the High Point Library. A King County Council committee got a briefing from KC Elections today on how the new dropboxes – this was one of 19 in the county – did; here’s the resulting news release:
…Nearly 36 percent of voters (more than 160,000 voters) cast their primary ballots via drop boxes. This is a substantial increase compared to the 2015 general election, in which 26 percent of ballots were returned via drop boxes. This year, over 100,000 primary ballots were returned to drop boxes on Election Day, 20,000 more than any previous Election Day total….
…In December 2015, the King County Council passed a motion asking King County Elections to develop a plan to improve access and convenience of ballot drop-off locations throughout King County. A primary aim of the motion was to lower barriers to voting. The Elections Division’s plan, which was approved by the Council on May 2nd, 2016, adds 33 additional ballot drop-off locations in King County for a total of 43 locations.
For the August primary election, a total of 29 ballot drop box locations were ready for voters. The remaining locations will be open in time for this fall’s general election. Once the plan is completed later this year, more than 90 percent of King County residents will live within three miles of a ballot drop box.
Among the most used new locations are the Lake City Library, University of Washington – Schmitz Hall, and High Point Library drop boxes, all located in areas that scored highest in the evaluation for key equity demographic characteristics. Scores were based on an Equity and Social Justice metric that considered a combination of diversity, household income, and English proficiency. Strong return rates at these locations signal progress for King County’s ongoing efforts to lower barriers to voting and strengthen the ability for all citizens to exercise the right to vote.
We followed up to get the West Seattle-specific numbers: 5,548 ballots were turned in via the High Point drop box for this year’s primary. King County Elections spokesperson Nancy Standifer tells WSB more than 4,300 of them were dropped off on Election Day (August 2nd). While it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison given that ballot vans only were sent over for a few days and limited hours each election, we asked for those numbers: August of 2015, 1,725 ballots at the West Seattle Stadium dropoff van; August of 2016 (two days) at the HP Library dropbox, 4,912 ballots.
11:30 AM: While the West Seattle Bee Garden is here to see at High Point Commons Park any time, it’s only once a year that you can enjoy it with the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association offering a variety of activities and demonstrations – and that’s happening right now: PSBA Kids’ Day at the WSBG. If you’re worried about the weather – there’s shade, as well as canopied booths with activities, crafts, and coloring, plus a garden full of gorgeous flowers.
This is all free and all happening at 31st SW/SW Graham until 1 pm.
Above, Bee Garden founder Lauren Englund in her “bee suit” for a hive demonstration; next one, by the way, is 12:15 pm, so you have time to get here!
12:20 PM: Back at HQ, we’ve added a few more photos, including Chris Porter (below) with pollination information:
Christine Deppe and Marco Deppe had a coloring quiz for older kids – whether you can identify parts of a bee’s anatomy:
The PS Beekeepers, by the way, are the people with whom you check if you discover a honey-bee swarm and don’t happen to be a hive-keeper – information about that is here.
(Photo from 2015 PSBA Kids’ Day at West Seattle Bee Garden)
Remember the West Seattle Bee Festival back in May, a fun but damp day? If you’ve been looking for a reason to make a return trip to the West Seattle Bee Garden in High Point – this Saturday (with sunny, very warm weather expected) brings it! The Puget Sound Beekeepers Association is presenting Kids’ Day at the Bee Garden 10 am-1 pm on Saturday (August 20th), with hive demonstrations, honey tasting, scavenger hunt, pollination simulation, crafts, even the “waggle dance.” And the kids will learn along the way how important bees are to our everyday lives. It’s all free, courtesy of “your friendly local beekeepers,” who work hard to protect and nurture these amazing (and sometimes misunderstood) insects. The Bee Garden is on the north side of Commons Park, 31st SW and SW Graham.
We happened to be driving 35th SW less than an hour ago when we noticed Engine 37 heading to a “brush fire” call a block away, so we followed. A patch of tall, dry grass was burning on the vacant, to-be-developed lot on the north side of Graham at 34th SW. As we tweeted while standing there, it was out literally within two minutes of the Seattle Fire crew’s arrival.
Seemed too small to mention here, but we heard High Point management just put out a notice about it, so in case you were worried, this is what happened.
2:55 PM: Police are in High Point right now searching for someone believed to be related to an incident they described on Twitter as starting with a “dispute/fight between drivers on the West Seattle Bridge.” One person was hurt and treated by Seattle Fire in The Triangle.
3 PM: We are near the scene a few blocks east of the High Point Library as more police continue to arrive.
3:01 PM: A person police were looking for is reported to be in custody, having emerged from a residence into which they say they saw the person go.
3:09 PM: Police were looking for a “mid-’90s Crown Victoria” and traced the car here, a lieutenant tells us.
He confirms they took one man into custody and that they believe he is “party to aggravated assault.”
3:14 PM: Talked to Southwest Precinct Capt. Pierre Davis near the scene. He says it apparently began with a “fender-bender” on the bridge; one person was attacked, and somebody showed a gun – possibly a rifle – before taking off, and that’s when they started tracking the suspect vehicle. He confirms there might have been others involved. (Added 9:48 pm – A reader texted this photo of the incident, which was at the east end of the westbound bridge – we don’t know what role in it the person seen outside the red car played:)
4:04 PM: That’s why police are still in High Point. If you’re heading home from work or elsewhere, the center of activity has been near 29th/Raymond, and you might find closed roads. SWAT is involved, too.
4:54 PM: More arrests, per this SPD Blotter report just published:
Officers arrested four men in the High Point neighborhood Wednesday after a motorist was injured in a suspected road rage incident on the West Seattle Bridge.
Witnesses called 911 around 2:15 PM and reported that a group of men had stopped their vehicle on the westbound side of the West Seattle Bridge, pulled a motorist from his vehicle and assaulted him and then fled. Witnesses also reported the suspects had been armed with a rifle or shotgun during the incident.
The victim, who chased after the suspects in his own vehicle, also called 911 following the assault provided information about the suspects.
Officers found the victim, who suffered a bloodied nose, and immediately called for Seattle Fire Department medics to treat his injuries.
Police found the suspects’ red Ford Crown Victoria in the 6000 block of High Point Dr. SW and surrounded a home. The four suspects eventually surrendered to police and were taken into custody for assault.
8:59 AM: Thanks for all the tips. SFD has a “fire in building” call in the 3000 block of SW Bataan [map]. More to come.
9:03 AM: SFD describes this as a “room fire” and says it’s “tapped.”
9:09 AM: Some of the responding units already are being dismissed. The huge initial response is standard for a fire in a residential building. SFD is calling out its fire investigator to determine how the fire started. No word of injuries but our crew will doublecheck on arrival.
9:26 AM: We’ve verified on site with the incident commander that no one is hurt. This is a multi-family residential building. After some light smoke was seen, firefighters are on the roof making sure there’s no “extension,” but otherwise they were awaiting the aforementioned investigator – who just arrived. We’ve added a photo atop the story.
2:11 AM: If you’ve heard yet another round of sirens – this time it’s a “heavy rescue” response sent to a reported rollover crash in High Point, near 30th and Graham. Scanner indicates the response is already being scaled down.
2:26 AM: The car is upside down on a block of Graham lined with townhouses. It damaged at least two parked cars, according to one car’s owner, who says two people were in the car that flipped. One person can be heard loudly sobbing that they were going home and trying to get away from someone. No life-threatening injuries apparent.
Until 7 pm, you can stop by the High Point Market Garden Farm Stand at 32nd SW and SW Juneau and be among the first to shop there this year!
The HPMG is a mini-farm right next to the stand, tended by local residents, and what they’re selling was picked right there. As previewed here on Tuesday, you also can buy produce grown a little farther away via the mobile farm stand ROAR, which is visiting during Farm Stand hours again this year.
If you can’t make it there today, stop by any Wednesday through the end of September, 4-7 pm.
That’s the lush (and nutrient-packed!) greenery, photographed this morning, of the High Point Market Garden, where this year’s weekly Farm Stand opens for the season tomorrow at 32nd SW/SW Juneau. 4-7 pm on Wednesdays through September 28th, you’ll be able to buy fresh-picked produce grown by High Point residents. EBT cards are accepted and the The Farm Stand also will offer additional Puget Sound-grown produce from ROAR, “the mobile farm stand that sells produce to neighborhoods with limited access to healthy food.”
— Nathalie Wargo (@nathaliewargo) June 23, 2016
Thanks to Nathalie Wargo at High Point Library for tweeting the photo – King County Elections‘ permanent ballot dropbox has arrived! Earlier this year, the county committed to restoring dropboxes in areas including West Seattle, where the last one was removed more than five years ago. For the past few years, ballot vans had been brought here for a few days before each voting deadline, but otherwise, using postal mail was required, which required stamps; county dropboxes don’t. So when your ballot arrives for the August primary, you’ll be able to drop it off at High Point Library (35th and Raymond) if you don’t want to use the U.S. Mail.
Just out of the WSB inbox:
I wanted to report something that happened to me Friday night as I was walking on Myrtle by the playfield at 31st. It was around 11 pm and I was walking alone west on Myrtle. A red SUV (Mazda, I think) drove up 31st to Myrtle and idled at the intersection. Two young men, late teens or early 20s, slight build) got out and walked across the street and came quickly up behind me. I turned to face them and the one closest to me punched me in the face and told me to hand over my money. I fell back on the lawn of the house I was in front of and kicked out at him, screaming, “I don’t have any money, get the f— out of here! I’m calling the cops.” The two guys ran back to the car and then peeled out and turned the corner to drive south on 32nd. Although the lights were on in most of the houses and a dog started up barking, nobody came out of their house to help me. I called the police and they took down my account and escorted me home.
We asked the victim, who didn’t want to be identified, if she is physically OK; she replied, “Face hurts but he got me in the back of my jaw near my ear, so no teeth loose or anything.”
The incident number for the attack, categorized as strong-arm robbery, is in this tweet, if you have any information for police.
7:21 PM: A big emergency response is headed to the 6000 block of High Point Drive for an “assault with weapons” call. We’re headed there to find out more; updates to come.
7:38 PM: Seattle Fire has dispatched a chaplain; indications so far at the scene are that this might be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. SPD described the victim on Twitter as “a teen.”
7:42 PM: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith confirms that, and says the victim did not survive.
8:27 AM THURSDAY: SPD’s Det. Patrick Michaud confirms this morning that police believe the shot was accidentally fired. Final ruling will be up to the Medical Examiner, as always. The victim was a 17-year-old boy.
In case you haven’t yet seen them in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, two Memorial Day notes:
(2015 WSB photo)
JUNCTION FLAG HELP: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2713 welcomes community assistance in putting up and taking down the West Seattle Junction’s U.S. flags on Monday. Meet at California/Alaska, in front of Cupcake Royale, at 8:50 am for flag placement, 4:50 pm for flag removal.
FOREST LAWN CEREMONY: At 2 pm on Monday, American Legion Post 160 and community partners will present the traditional annual Memorial Day ceremony at Forest Lawn (WSB sponsor) in High Point (map); all welcome.
(2014 WSB photo)
Right afterward, you’re invited to a 3:30 pm reception at Post 160 HQ in The Triangle (3618 SW Alaska).
11:33 PM: Police are checking out reports of possible gunfire heard in High Point, possibly south of 31st SW and SW Graham. We’ve heard from one person who says 911 tells her – as we’ve also heard via scanner – that others reported it, too. No word of any victim(s) so far.
11:36 PM: Also via scanner, police report finding shell casings in the 6500 block of Sylvan Way, potentially related to a call in the area in which someone reported being threatened (by someone they knew). They’re looking for two women reportedly seen leaving the area. We haven’t heard a description.
12:19 PM: Police now are being called to another nearby address, on 32nd SW, where someone is reporting finding a bullet hole.
(2013 WSB photo from first WS Bee Festival Parade)
The place to “bee” tomorrow is the West Seattle Bee Festival – you can even join in the parade celebrating those buzzy little insects on which our lives depend. A few things so you can plan your visit:
*Official festival hours, 10 am-3 pm
*Official locations – High Point Commons Park and inside Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (immediately south of the park at 6400 Sylvan Way SW)
*Honey Run, 10 am (signups start at 9:30 am by the Commons Park amphitheater)
*Costume-making and face-painting activities to prepare for the parade start at 10 am
*Food trucks west of HP Center, 10 am-2:30 pm
*Music in the park, 10 am-3 pm
*Kids & pets parade, 11 am, starting from the amphitheater
*Vendor/Information Fair, 11 am-2 pm along Lanham Place SW on the west edge of the park, between Graham and Sylvan/Morgan
*Plant/Seed/Tool Swap, 11 am-2 pm
*Woodland Park Zoo “Up Close” pollinator program, 11:30 am-1:30 pm inside HP Center
*Art-making activities, 11:30 am-3 pm inside HPC Center
*Bee hive demo, noon-12:30 pm at the Bee Garden on the north side of the park
*Bee Garden tours, periodically noon-2 pm
Aside from food trucks and vendors’ merchandise, it’s all free! More details here. WSB is participating in the Vendor/Info Festival, so we hope to see you there!
5:30 PM: Thanks for the text about the Seattle Fire response – four units sent – at or near Walgreens at 35th/Morgan in High Point. According to the SFD 911 log, the response is for a “natural gas leak.” We’re en route to find out more.
5:45 PM: Here’s what we’ve found out: Store employees called SFD because of a strong odor of natural gas. Responding firefighters used detectors (special equipment from the technical rescue apparatus in our photo, we’re told) to try to find a source, but couldn’t trace it. It’s reported to have dissipated and people have been allowed back in the store.
High Point and South Park are two of four neighborhoods whose Seattle Public Library branches will get Friday hours back as of July 1st. Here’s the SPL announcement:
Thanks to funds from the seven-year, 2012 voter-approved Library levy, The Seattle Public Library will restore Friday operating hours to four neighborhood branch libraries whose hours were reduced during recession-related budget cuts.
The High Point, International District/Chinatown, South Park, and University branches will all have restored Friday hours as of July 1.
“We are so glad to be able to restore hours at these four branches,” City Librarian Marcellus Turner said. “Expanding Library hours in neighborhoods that currently have limited access continues to be a priority.”
When the levy passed in August 2012, 15 of the Library’s 27 locations were closed on Fridays and Sundays. In 2013 the levy funded the restoration of Sunday hours at all locations and the expansion of the Columbia and Northgate branches into branches operating seven days a week, but patrons often tell the Library they wish more branches were open on Fridays.
Last year, the Library Board prioritized adding open hours at several branches when a limited amount of funds became available from inflation savings from the levy. The $378,000 in levy funds to restore Friday hours at the four branches were approved as part of the Library’s 2016 Operations Plan.
The branches were selected after an administrative review of traditional Library statistics, community demographics, income distribution, transportation links, key partnerships, internet and Wi-Fi sessions, and review by a Library staff team involved in the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and more.
The new open hours at the four branches will be: 1 pm-8 pm Monday and Tuesday, 11 am-6 pm Wednesday through Saturday, and 1 pm-5 pm Sunday. The HP and SP branches’ Friday closures started six years ago, this archived WSB story reminds us.
12:06 PM: Thanks for the tips about a police/fire response in High Point, in the 3000 block of SW Juneau. According to scanner traffic, a 2-year-old girl who was missing for a few minutes was found underwater in nearby High Point Pond; she is reported to have been revived via CPR. SFD medics are taking her to Harborview Medical Center.
12:52 PM: By the time we got to the scene, responders had cleared out to rush the toddler to the hospital, so there was no one for us to follow up with but we did just talk with police by phone – they confirm she lives nearby and her family had just reported her missing; right after she was found in the pond, an officer arrived and started CPR immediately, and she started breathing again.
1:29 PM: The incident is now on SPD Blotter and says Officer Tyler Keating is who revived the little girl.
MONDAY UPDATE: Harborview tells us the child was in very critical condition on arrival at their facility and was transferred to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It’s been a question spanning many years and many plans – what will be built at High Point’s last big vacant corner, 35th and Graham?
The two-building mixed-use project Upton Flats at 6058 35th SW might be the one destined to happen. It won final Southwest Design Review Board approval tonight.
Four of the five board members were present along with the project’s assigned city planner Tami Garrett: Chair Tod Bronk, Matt Zinski, Alexandra Moravec, and Don Caffrey, to take one more look, and offer one more round of feedback on, the project with two 4-story buildings, about 100 residential units, 10,000 square feet of commercial space, and 100+ offstreet-parking spaces, now planned below grade.
From Erin, near 31st and Holly in High Point [map]:
We had a scary situation we wanted to report to you about an attempted intrusion to our home this morning in High Point.
My husband was downstairs in the kitchen at 4:45 am, when he noticed a man with a backpack walk up the alley (heading toward the street). Moments later our security panel chimed saying the garage (side) door had opened. My husband opened the side door to the house and found the guy he’d just seen with the backpack standing inside our garage!
The man claimed he and his friends thought our house was abandoned. After my husband informed him our house was not abandoned (nor were any of the houses on the street) the man left our property. We called the police this morning and filed a report.
The officer reminded us to always call the police immediately and not approach these guys because you never know if someone has a weapon or some other intention, and of course to lock all doors. Typically our garage is always locked but we had forgotten to do so after some extensive repair work and been done on it the previous day.
The man was African American, 5’11”, wearing a shiny gray wind pants, zip up hoodie, and square backpack.
Just a reminder to everyone to stay vigilant!
4:03 PM: Big Seattle Fire callout is heading to a possible house fire in High Point, 5900 block 34th SW.
4:11 PM: We’re at the scene. No flames visible, a little smoke. Firefighters were up on the roof to investigate.
4:22 PM: No injuries. Heating system problem suspected.
With music, art, poems, and stories, West Seattle Elementary in High Point celebrated Black History Month this morning in a district-wide spotlight, with media invited to cover the event. They’ve been learning about legendary leaders – note the kindergartener (above) holding a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as classmates read a poem about him, and art in the hallways, with Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou among those featured:
The art is by third-graders, who also wrote essays incorporated into displays.
Along with learning about black Americans’ accomplishments, the children also heard firsthand stories of oppression, told by substitute teacher Lois Watkins, who is publishing a book soon with stories of growing up in segregated Little Rock, Arkansas.
Watkins read two of her short stories. One recalled how she and her sister were only allowed to play with a white girl under certain circumstances and in certain places, as they were not allowed in her home. Her other story recounted how she sneaked a drink of water from a drinking fountain designated “whites only” and was disappointed to find out the water was no different from what was provided in the one labeled “colored only” – as she realized the water all came from the same pipe.
The assembly also celebrated music, with first-graders singing Nat King Cole‘s classic “L-O-V-E“:
While onstage, the first-graders carried flags of all nations:
Fourth-graders also sang at the assembly – Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me.”
The annual celebration of African-American history was expanded to a month 40 years ago, in the nation’s bicentennial year, 1976.