West Seattle, Washington
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.
For the fourth year, West Seattle Elementary School invited students and their families to a Family Health Carnival – “to increase families’ knowledge of and participation in physical activity and healthy eating,” explains school nurse Terri Helm-Remund, who got the grant that enabled the first one in the 2012-2013 school year. Since then, “the school has duplicated the event each year using volunteers (many from AmeriCorps) and grant funding from different sources.”
About 120 people participated, The evening began with a round of Zumba, then dinner sponsored by the United Way, followed by games, activities, and informational tables featuring organizations including the American Lung Association, Cheer Seattle (top photo), First Tee, Girls on the Run, Seattle Fire Department (photo below), Seattle Parks Aquatic Program, Seattle Parks Scholarship Program, Camp Long (which brought the owl in the photo above this paragraph), Within Reach, WSE Parent Booster Club, High Point Neighborcare, and High Point Neighborhood House.
About 120 people were there to enjoy the evening, Helm-Remund tells WSB.
Update on the three cross-country runners from the High Point Community Center team who represented our area in the national championships in Albuquerque (here’s the backstory, from earlier this week). Coach Eric Linxweiler sent the photo and report:
They ran this morning in a driving rain, at 37 degrees. It was cold, but they did fantastic! Boden, William, and Whit ran their best races of the year. West Seattle should be very proud!
Eric says the team they’re representing is the only one of its kind in the city, based at a Seattle Parks community center. All three of these boys are students at Schmitz Park Elementary and ran in the youngest division at the meet.
Meet Boden, William, and Whit. They are part of the only Seattle Parks cross-country team in the city, based at High Point Community Center, and they are off to the national championships in Albuquerque! The photos and info are courtesy of their coach, Eric Linxweiler, who explains:
We started training in September at Lincoln Park, and have competed in races all across Western Washington. We have one particularly special set of runners, our 7- and 8-year-old boys. The team took second or third in all their races, including the Western Washington region of USA Track and Field’s Junior Olympics championships. That bought them a ticket to a Regional meet held on 11/21 in Pasco, including runners from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. There, they placed 5th in their age group, getting them a ticket to the National Championship on December 12th in Albuquerque.
We have three boys who will be representing our team going. Whit, Boden, and William. All three are students at Schmitz Park Elementary, and are really excited to be a part of this team, representing all of West Seattle at the national championship. Their race, as all have been, are 2,000m (about 1.2 miles).
They’ve been continuing their training, right on up to this week’s travel to Albuquerque.
After other proposals surfaced and stalled in recent years, the mixed-use project making its way through the city system for 35th and Graham in High Point has just hit another milestone: Official application for a land-use permit, as announced in today’s edition of the city’s Land Use Information Bulletin. This means a two-week public-comment period has opened.
(From the second Early Design Guidance meeting’s information packet)
After two Southwest Design Review Board meetings – find the reports here – the project at 6058 35th SW is now proposed as two 4-story buildings, with a total of 102 apartments, 10,000 square feet of commercial space, and an underground garage with 109 parking spaces. The notice is here; you can use this form to send in a comment – December 2nd is the deadline. Meantime, this project, currently named “Upton Flats,” still has to go back to the Design Review Board at least one more time; no date yet.
P.S. This development only covers a fraction of the sprawling vacant space at 35th/Graham, specifically the 35th SW frontage and part of the corner; the rest of the site is still planned for an 11-building, 52-unit townhouse development, under the address 3420 SW Graham, shown in the image above, to the east of the 6058 35th SW buildings.
5:16 PM: Seattle Fire is headed for the 6500 block of 31st SW in High Point [map] for a possible house fire.
5:19 PM: Fire units on scene confirm it’s a problem in the kitchen, not a fire, so most of the response is being canceled.
Quick advance mention in case you haven’t seen this on the calendar: One last West Seattle stop on Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre‘s listening tour – which otherwise made the rounds in this area 2+ months ago – is happening tomorrow (Wednesday) @ High Point Community Center (6920 34th SW), 6:30 pm. Bring comments/questions about what’s working for you re: Parks, and what’s not. (Here’s our report on one of his local stops in August.)
(SCROLL DOWN for additional video that appears to show fire-setting)
Just in from Seattle Police – video showing a “person of interest” in two of the West Seattle arsons, near 35th SW and SW Morgan:
Detectives have obtained video footage of a person of interest in the first two fires on October 12th. In that incident, two fires were set near the 3500 block of SW Morgan Street. The footage, recorded shortly before 2:30 AM on the 12th, shows an individual dressed in black and carrying a black bag walking toward the bus shelter, where the first fire was set. The surveillance camera did not capture the individual’s face, but police believe the person is a white or light-skinned male. Detectives are hoping someone out there will recognize the person’s clothing or may have seen him in West Seattle around the time of the fires.
If you have any information about this person or this case, please contact detectives at 206-684-8980 or call 911.
Screen grab (click image for larger view):
If you’ve missed previous coverage of the arsons, full backstory is in our “where it stands” report from Wednesday, to which we also added our video of what Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis told the Morgan Community Association last night.
5:54 PM UPDATE: In the past hour or so, SPD has substituted in its blotter post a longer clip for the original :12 one you see above. This one shows the actual fire-lighting:
2:12 PM: Fire crews are back at 6558 35th SW. The road is blocked at Holly. More to come.
2:20 PM: More fire crews continue to arrive. Firefighters are focused on the roof. Avoid the area – 35th is blocked south of Morgan and the side streets are jammed.
2:40 PM: Added photos (and Instagram video below). Firefighters are cutting into the building’s mansard-style roof.
The response has brought in multiple ladder trucks, another sign that this fire is centered atop the building, which – if you missed our coverage of this morning’s arson – is home to the Seattle Housing Authority’s High Point rental office as well as other tenants including a mosque.
2:51 PM: While we are still awaiting official information at the scene, a High Point resident says in comments that the homeowners’ association has sent e-mail describing this as a rekindled hot spot from this morning. Via the scanner, we’ve heard SFD make plans to keep “fire watch” on scene – which is typical when there’s concern a fire might re-ignite.
3:04 PM: Seattle Fire spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl has just spoken to us and the citywide media at the scene but will not confirm that it’s a hotspot – she says their investigator is still on the way, and firefighters are still working on the roof to make sure there’s nothing else smoldering/burning. Via scanner, meantime, we’re hearing that they’re trying to move crews around so 35th SW can be reopened, but in the meantime, we’ll say it again – AVOID THE AREA – 35th is blocked south of Morgan and that’s jammed side streets such as 34th and 36th.
3:35 PM UPDATE: The fire has just been declared “tapped.” Arson investigators are at the scene (photo above). 35th SW has just reopened northbound and should have a southbound lane open soon – though we’d still advise avoiding it, as it’ll be “one lane for a (short distance) right at Holly” for a while.
4:16 PM: Commenter Nora confirms 35th is open again.
(SCROLL DOWN for midday updates – SEPARATE COVERAGE OF AFTERNOON FLAREUP IS HERE)
6:12 AM: Another arson in the High Point area this morning – second morning in a row. As you can see in our photo, “arson” is the declaration on the sign that’s up at the Seattle Housing Authority-operated office on the northeast corner of 35th and Holly [map] after someone set a fire outside its basement entrance on the Holly side just after 3 am. No one was hurt. Seattle Police and Fire investigators are looking into this; it happened less than 24 hours after two cars were set ablaze in the Sylvan Ridge area on the southeast edge of High Point, about half a mile away, though there’s no word on whether this is related – we’ll be following up on that later this morning, and also re-inquiring about the 35th/Austin (ex-Red Star Pizza) fire early Thursday. Back to this morning’s fire – staffers are already at the office cleaning up after water damage and boarding a window; they say it will be open for business today.
11:16 AM: The building is also where the High Point Masjid As Sunnah mosque meets. We stopped again at the scene to check on the cleanup, and staff told us the SHA office side is what was damaged, not the mosque’s area.
SPD tells us they’ll have information to release later this hour, so we’ll have another update coming up.
11:39 AM: Here’s what SPD has just released via its “blotter,” saying they’re not seeing a connection so far between what happened this morning and what happened early Sunday:
Seattle police responded with Seattle fire to three intentionally set fires over the weekend in the High Point Neighborhood in West Seattle.
Police and firefighters responded to the 2700 block of SW Sylvan Heights on Sunday around 4:45 AM after receiving a report of two cars on fire.
Both vehicles were parked on the street and suffered significant damage before the flames were extinguished.
In a separate incident about 24 hours later, officers and firefighters responded to a fire in an entryway of a commercial building in the 6500 block of 35 Ave SW around 3:30 AM Monday. The fire caused exterior damage to the lower level of the building as well interior damage as the flames passed through a broken window.
SPD arson detectives are investigating the two incidents, but say they have not found anything connecting the cases. Police do not currently believe Monday’s fire on 35th Ave SW was set with the intent of targeting any of the tenants of three offices on the property.
Detectives are working with the Seattle Fire Department and our federal partners at ATF on these cases. If you have any information about these incidents, please call 911.
11:52 AM: We just called to doublecheck with SPD to be sure that by “three intentionally set fires” they meant the two cars plus this morning’s fire, not something additional, and Officer Lauren Lovanhill says yes, that’s what it means. She also confirms that the ex-Red Star Pizza fire from last week is NOT considered arson nor related in any way. (Later, SFD told us SPD is investigating that fire, though, because of its proximity.)
3:01 PM: If you haven’t seen our later story yet – fire broke out at this building again an hour ago, bringing a huge callout. We are covering this separately – go here.
Congratulations to West Seattle Elementary nurse Terri Helm-Remund, who, after 28 years as a school nurse – the last seven of those at WSE – has just been announced as statewide School Nurse of the Year by the School Nurse Organization of Washington. We photographed her as school staff took a moment to congratulate her during their afternoon meeting on Wednesday. She’s holding one of the special memory books that students made for her, full of pictures and drawings. Here is what her WSE co-worker Laura Bermes tells us about “Nurse Terri”:
Terri is pretty remarkable in the care she offers our students and families, in her service leading our Safety Committee, and in her work on our Student Intervention Team and Attendance Intervention Team. She takes a lead role in assuring the successful integration of the Neighborcare Clinic within the school, in supporting our Fruits and Veggie program, and in coordinating our annual School Health Fair. She’s also President of the School Nurse Organization of Washington (SNOW), she mentors multiple nurses every year, and has been published (along with some of her nursing colleagues) regarding her work with our Attendance Team.
In addition to all of her assigned duties, Terri took her passion for mosaic arts and started an after-school mosaic club for our students. Their mosaic creations are displayed around the school, and at the Bee Garden in High Point. Terri puts the PRO in professional. She’s one of the most competent people I’ve ever worked with – she knows her job, and she’s willing to go the extra mile to assure it gets done right. Terri’s also one of the most compassionate people I know. She isn’t afraid to speak on behalf of children and families in need, and she takes time to get to know people. She holds herself to a high standard, but isn’t prideful. She’s always ready to learn new skills, and she’s eager to teach others. Terri is no doubt the perfect candidate for School Nurse of the Year for the State of Washington, and we at West Seattle Elementary know how lucky we are to have her on our team!!!
From the staff of West Seattle Elementary, Congratulations, Nurse Terri!!!
Also to celebrate – this cake:
But we don’t know when Nurse Terri and co-workers got a chance to enjoy it – after a brief moment to celebrate, they had to get back to some urgent discussions, so we moved on.
Some of the cats and kittens at the Seattle Animal Shelter Cat Adopt-A-Thon at High Point Community Center were snapped up fast. But Katya, 10, above, didn’t have a forever home yet as of about 15 minutes ago. Go see her and the others looking for new homes.
HPCC is at 6920 34th SW and this is on until 3 pm. There’s even a tent where you can get acquainted with your potential new furry family member.
(That’s Bowser the kitten.)
That’s Miles, our ex-shelter cat and official WSB assistant, suggesting you might want to add a feline family member this Saturday, when the Seattle Animal Shelter returns to West Seattle for an adopt-a-thon. He’s not available but dozens of cats are – including, we’ve just learned, 16 kittens, among them Bento and Sushi (city-provided photo below):
Here’s the basic info about the event:
The Seattle Animal Shelter will host a cat adopt-a-thon on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, at the High Point Community Center, located at 6920 34th Ave. SW. The event runs from noon to 3 p.m. and features numerous kittens and cats of different breeds. Cats available at this event have been living with foster parents, who are available at the event to share information about the personality and habits of the cats with potential adopters, helping to make a perfect match.
“With our monthly neighborhood adoptathons, we hope to continue to spread the word about the joys and value of adopting shelter pets and saving lives. If you have room in your home and your heart for an orphaned animal, this is a great opportunity to come and see some of the wonderful pets available from our foster-care parents,” said Don Jordan, Seattle Animal Shelter director.
Adoption prices range from $45 to $135 (plus applicable license fees) and include:
● Initial vaccinations
● Feline Leukemia testing
● Certificate for free health exam at local veterinarians
● Spay or neuter
The Seattle Animal Shelter has a foster-care program to rehabilitate sick and immature dogs and cats. Donations from the city’s “Help the Animals Fund” pay for veterinary care for these animals while they are being fostered.
Or maybe Nellie or Robbie.
One more school note: Heads up for the High Point area – a temporary portable used for the start of the school year at West Seattle Elementary will be removed from campus this Saturday morning (October 10th), now that a new one to be used TFN is in place. The district says the 12′ x 56′ modular structure is scheduled to be moved out at 9 am Saturday “via the site access gate at the intersection of 34th and Willow Streets. The city will coordinate with us and may or may not place traffic signs on the street(s) being affected.”