West Seattle, Washington
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.”
Lauren reports, “It was jam-packed with learning and fun – kids were engaged in all of the activities (bee anatomy game, flower/pollination worksheets, pollination simulation, waggle dance, scavenger hunt, and especially the bee demonstration).”
She adds, “Good times and great people – I was very impressed by everyone’s eagerness to learn. Many thanks to the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association!” You can visit the Bee Garden any time on the north side of High Point Commons Park at 31st and Graham.
(UPDATED FRIDAY AFTERNOON with children’s condition – scroll down)
6:54 PM: Major medical response under way right now at 34th and Morgan – two children are injured and being rushed to Harborview. Scanner traffic indicates a fall from a window.
7 PM: We’ve arrived at the scene. This is actually closer to 34th and Holly and apparently happened in an alley behind a cluster of townhouses on the west side of 34th.
7:04 PM: Via Twitter, SFD confirms a 1-year-old boy and 2 year-old boy fell about 30 feet from a window and are both in serious condition.
7:10 PM: SFD medic units have now rushed both children to Harborview and the remaining SFD units are clearing from the scene.
9:19 PM: We’re not likely to get any further information tonight but will follow up tomorrow.
2:11 PM FRIDAY: We’ve just heard back from Harborview Medical Center, with whom we inquired this morning in hopes of getting an update on the boys. An HMC spokesperson tells WSB they are both in intensive care, both still listed in serious condition.
(Photo by Ann Anderson)
Where would we be without bees? Your favorite kid(s) can learn more about them at the West Seattle Bee Garden on Saturday, during the first-ever Kids Day presented by the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association! WSBG founder Lauren Englund shares the news:
Beekeepers from the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association are gearing up for the first PSBA Kids’ Day!
The day will begin with a story time hosted by the Seattle Public Library, followed by a variety of science activities. Kids will join a group and rotate through a live hive demonstration, scavenger hunt, and activity booths.
Booth themes will include Waggle Dance, Pollination Simulation, Bee and Flower Facts, Honey Tasting, Meet the Beekeepers, and Crafts.
Participation is free – we hope everyone can come join the fun! We recommend arriving a few minutes early to get assigned to your group before the Story Time begins. Registration/Sign-in will begin at 9:30 am. Parents/Chaperones, please plan to enjoy the event along with your attendees
Know if you can make it? Great! Please register here. Not sure? That’s ok. Walk-ins will be welcome too!
Registration helps them figure out how many kids to plan for, but again, it’s not mandatory. You can find out more about Kids’ Day on the WS Bee Garden’s website; if you’ve never been there before, here’s how/where to find it.
2:29 PM: If you’re seeing smoke from a distance – it’s a brush fire in High Point, near the pond, on a grassy slope.
Firefighters are here and taking care of it but the smoke was visible from a couple miles away. More to come.
2:38 PM: Engine 36 is the crew on scene and the flames are out, the smoke has dissipated, but they’re soaking the charred slope in a big way – as neighbors are observing, it’s really dry here, even just over the green embankments by the pond itself. This was stopped before it could spread to any buildings, and no injuries are reported. No info yet about how it started.
10:01 PM: Still awaiting the cause info but we do know that it burned a quarter of an acre and came perilously close to a fence. SFD planned to check back at the scene tonight to be sure no hotspots remained.
8:45 AM: Firefighters are arriving at the scene near 31st and Morgan of what’s being described as a brush fire that spread to a vehicle and fence. More to come.
8:48 AM: From the scanner – the fire’s been declared under control.
8:52 AM: And now the fire’s tapped. Some units have been dismissed.
9:06 AM: Our crew talked with firefighters at the scene. They don’t yet know how it started, but it’s out. It happened at a residence along 31st south of Morgan. No injuries.
9:22 AM: Photo added.
Summer weather arrived early, and it’s led to an early opening for the High Point Market Garden Farm Stand, selling freshly harvested vegetables grown steps away, at 32nd and Juneau. Today is the first of the farm stand’s weekly selling sessions between 4 and 7 pm on Wednesdays – while there, we noted peas on sale for $3/pound and a variety of other veggies, including greens, leaf lettuce, and root vegetables, on sale for $2/bunch. We also were there for a blessing by The Venerable Soveth Mountain from Wat Dhammacakkaram Khmer Buddhist Temple, dedicating the stand’s season:
The words of gratitude, as printed on a commemorative card:
Thank you, earth, for this food,
Thank you to the gardeners who till this soil,
Thank you to the sellers who bring the food to market,
Thank you for this abundance,
Which we accept in grace and deep gratitude.
The stand is extra-abundant this year because of a new partnership with the urban farmers of ROAR (Roots Of All Roads), who are selling at a table by the stand – what’s there today is from Hillman City, we were told:
They’re also offering samples of a squash salad prepared with some of the items on sale today. Again, if you don’t make it there by 7 pm, stop by next Wednesday, 4-7 pm, and see what’s fresh. The Market Garden, by the way, is tended by community farmers, in partnership with the city Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Community Garden program.
(WSB photo, looking eastward across the garden this afternoon)
It’s a mini-farm in the middle of a residential neighborhood – the High Point Market Garden. Every summer, its farm stand offers a weekly chance to buy fresh-grown produce steps from where it’s grown, and the city Department of Neighborhoods sent word that this Wednesday is opening day. Just-harvested organic produce will be on sale 4 pm-7 pm at the farm stand at 32nd and Juneau (map), every Wednesday from this week through September 30th. EBT cards are accepted and the stand participates in Fresh Bucks, doubling the first $10 spent on the card. The announcement adds, “A new feature at the High Point Farm Stand will be the ROAR mobile farm stand that sells produce grown by local farmers across Puget Sound. ROAR, which stands for Roots of All Roads, is focused on connecting community with locally grown produce and sharing new ways to enjoy it.” DoN oversees the High Point Market Garden (one of two in the city – the other is at NewHolly) as part of its P-Patch program.
TUESDAY P.S. We noticed the city webpage for the program had listed a later opening date, in July; the warm, dry weather that’s led so many gardens to bloom earlier has also accelerated food gardens like this, so the date was moved up.
(WSB file photo, teacher Alonzo Ybarra and MCHS High Point students in fall 2012)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Supporters of Middle College High School‘s West Seattle program are fighting to save it, and asking for community support.
We first reported nine days ago that Seattle Public Schools had abruptly announced it would cancel the alternative high-school program’s longtime West Seattle branch, which moved to Neighborhood House’s High Point Center three years ago after more than a decade and a half at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor). The district now says that even after three years, that “was a temporary lease while SPS assessed transition to other Middle College sites.” The three that remain are all in North Seattle.
The district blamed the closure primarily on low enrollment. In response to one of the questions we asked last Friday, asking for elaboration on that, the district responded:
Enrollment projections are generated by Enrollment Services and the second round of projections (for the 2015-16 school year) for all SPS schools are currently being finalized. These projections (went) out to principals on May 29th. High Point ended the 2013-14 school year with 58 students. The 2014-15 projection for High Point was 60 students and they were staffed with 2.2 core teachers. On October 1st, enrollment had dropped to 50 students. In the beginning of February 2015, the enrollment dropped again to 36 students. Enrollment numbers stayed at high 30’s until the High Point staff was told to stop enrolling students.
The district seems to be blaming teachers for the enrollment trouble: “Many students enroll through word of mouth but this year we have had much fewer due to the poor climate at High Point this school year. Teachers have been unhappy with the schedule and have communicated their discontent to students.”
MCHS-HP teacher Alonzo Ybarra, who sent first word of the impending closure, has said that MCHS’s principal Cindy Nash “forcefully imposed an arbitrary schedule that severely diminished our abilities to deliver exciting and creative curriculum and instruction.”
He says the staff has yet to hear directly from her. He is circulating this letter outlining what can be done to show support for MCHS-HP; it was shared with us by a West Seattle resident who received it and asked us to publish it:
On the MCHS blog-format website, Ybarra has published some of the letters of support that have come in so far – you can read them here. One letter is from a former MCHS student who is the parent of a current student; he writes in part, “It makes absolutely no sense shutting this program down. These teachers and this program should be the gold … no, platinum standard for our school district. I’d go as far and say that all Seattle Public High School teachers should job shadow the teachers at Middle College. This program should not be reduced, it should be expanded, and publicly promoted.”
West Seattle’s school-board rep Marty McLaren, though, told WSB she “couldn’t make a strong case against” closing MCHS-HP. Her response to our request for comment last week:
I had been briefed by Alonzo and visited the SSCC site in 2012, and have regularly visited and/or maintained contact since the move to HP, and have advocated for MCHS in the southwest area ever since. There have been various issues in the last two years that have indicated to me that the strength of our program was in question by district. My main way of addressing this has been to make absolutely sure that district leaders were hearing all sides — to facilitate communication. At various points, MCHS staff members maintained that they had not been given adequate chance to meet with leadership; although I couldn’t force meetings, I did make sure, with MCHP staff permission, that their communications were seen by district leadership, and did repeatedly remind our leaders of the value the community places on the program. I think I’ve heard of a recent meeting between MCHP staff and district leaders, but am not sure.
As far as the closure announcement: I learned over a month ago, I think, that staff had been told not to enroll for MCHP for next year. I was told that enrollment had been down, but I don’t have figures. At that time, I pushed with inquiries about the future of the program; there were enough issues that I couldn’t make a strong case against the impending decision to close the site. Staff knows that I am adamant that SPS needs to find a way to serve the kinds of students who have thrived at MCHP.
SIDE NOTE: Some wondered what Neighborhood House plans to do with the space that MCHS-HP has been using. (The district says it was paying $28,000/year to lease the space.) From NH’s David Johnson:
. The “classroom” is really a couple of shared spaces, Middle College successfully used a large partitioned area for their main classroom, and another space, designated as a Teen Center for an office and secondary classroom. Both are in shared hallways, amidst the many offerings from Neighborhood House and other providers.
. SPS leased the space through SHA, which is a traditional and strong partner of NH, both in the operations of the building and in its support of the construction of the building. NH is the owner and leases space to SHA in a long-term relationship, that benefits the entire HP community.
. There are currently no plans as of this date for another tenant or agreement on the uses of those spaces. There are discussions happening with SHA and our other partners about the best uses of these spaces.
. I would also say we were happy to host Middle College, that the students and staff brought a liveliness to our space and community that will be missed.
WHAT’S NEXT? Ybarra says they are asking supporters to turn out at the next School Board meeting, this Wednesday (June 3rd) at district HQ in SODO; public comments start at 5 pm (advance signup is required and starts this morning, as shown on the agenda). That happens to conflict, though, with the MCHS-HP graduation ceremony, 5:30 pm the same night. But, he vows, “we will have a presence” at the board meeting. Meantime, if you have any questions about this for School Board rep McLaren, her last community-conversation meeting of the year – open to any SPS topic – is tonight (Monday, June 1st), 6 pm, at Southwest Branch Library, 35th and Henderson.
In case you’re wondering, as are some who’ve messaged us – police are checking on reports of possible gunshots heard between High Point and Delridge. One texter said it sounded like six to eight shots in the Home Depot area; the area officers are investigating is west of there, near 27th and Shinkle (map). No report of anyone or anything being hit so far; often it’s impossible for officers to know whether it was gunshots or fireworks unless they find shell casings and/or property damage. We’ll update if we find out anything else.
4:47 PM: A crash at 35th and Juneau is reported to be blocking the northbound side of the road. No word yet on injuries; police and fire are arriving. We’re en route to check.
(Added: WSB photo)
5:19 PM: Two people have been taken to the hospital, neither with serious injuries. Another person is being cut out of his car because the door won’t open, but we are told he’s OK. 35th is open both ways but Juneau is blocked at 35th on the east side.
Officers working to locate missing Thus Nguyen, 81. Please call 911 if seen. pic.twitter.com/k3qgiKKZMc
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) May 27, 2015
7:30 PM: Have you seen 81-year-old Thus Nguyen? Since SPD sent that tweet, we have learned that she is missing from her home in High Point and has a serious medical condition; she might be in West Seattle or the International District. Please call 911 if you see her or know where she might be.
9:27 PM: Via scanner, we’ve learned that she turned up safe at Fire Station 37 and police confirmed it’s her.
(WSB photo from MCHS High Point’s 2014 graduation ceremony at The Hall @ Fauntleroy)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
With just a few weeks to go in the school year, Seattle Public Schools has abruptly announced that one of its high schools in West Seattle won’t reopen next year.
In a letter dated May 18th, the district told families that it’s closing alternative Middle College High School‘s High Point campus, also known as the School for Social Justice and Community Engagement, after almost 20 years, citing declining enrollment. (If you’re not familiar with the overall MCHS program, it’s explained here.)
A statement on MCHS’s staff-maintained website suggests they’re not going without a fight:
The faculty and staff at Middle College High Point are very disappointed with this decision and are working with our community supporters, parents and students to prepare an organized response to this decision and to challenge the justification for closure.
It’s only been three years since MCHS’s West Seattle program went through a major transition: