Three men are now charged in what’s been dubbed the “My Gun’s Bigger” robbery attempt at Highland Park’s Morning Star Market. Seattle Police announced the arrests on November 26th, three days after the clerk scared the would-be robbers away, and we got word of the charges today. Read on for the story they tell:
Remember the Saturday night Highland Park robbery attempt thwarted by a clerk who said he had a bigger gun? Tonight Seattle Police say suspects are now in custody, after the distinctive getaway car was spotted following a street robbery in South King County. This is all explained on SPD Blotter.
If you live in Highland Park/South Delridge but didn’t get to Tuesday night’s open house about the greenway proposal – the maps shown that night are now linked on the city website, and you might want to take a look, particularly to see where new stop signs and other features are being proposed. See the maps here; see the background explanation, including how raingardens will tie in along part of the way, here. (Note that on the north end, the plan goes a bit further north than Highland Park, including a stretch of SW Myrtle by Sanislo Elementary – the plan there includes two blocks of repaving.) The official project website includes a comment sheet that was available at the meeting – you can still download it and send it in; the deadline is December 10th.
(WSB photo: Crews mobilizing in South Park)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:39 PM: Just in from Puget Sound Energy:
A natural gas regulator is having some problems in the Highland Park area in West Seattle. More than 1000 customers are currently without natural gas service. There is no safety issue. Work is under way to fix the problem. Once the gas-system pressure is operating normally, PSE personnel will go door-to-door to inspect the meters and gain entry to re-light furnaces, water heaters and other gas equipment. Most of the customers affected are residential. This situation is not due to a natural gas leak. There is no escaping natural gas.
We’re hearing about some customers out in South Park, too, and are asking PSE about that.
3:06 PM UPDATE: PSE’s Ray Lane tells us the bulk of the outage IS in South Park, though some are affected in Highland Park too. Here’s his latest update:
Approximately 1,120 PSE customers in the South Park area are without natural gas service due to a suspected problem with the gas system pressure equipment.
This means there is not adequate gas pressure in the system to operate equipment, such as furnaces, water heaters and other appliances. The situation is not due to a natural gas leak.
PSE is on site to correct the problem. We have 28 technicians in the field and will be working to shut down gas service to impacted customers. This allows us to reintroduce gas into the system safely. We anticipate having all customers shut off by 8:00 p.m. Once we have tested and stabilized the system, PSE personnel will need to enter homes and businesses to relight equipment. This may not occur until late in the evening. Customers wanting gas restored overnight should leave a front exterior light on. Service crews will be available all night and through tomorrow morning until all customers are restored.
As in any situation, call PSE or 911 immediately if you smell leaking natural gas. For updates, follow us on Twitter.com/PSEtalk or call 888-225-5773. PSE representatives will also be able to answer customer questions at the South Park Playfield at 8th Ave S and South Sullivan Street.
The first big weekend of bazaars means the holiday season is off and running in West Seattle! At historic Highland Park Improvement Club, the bazaar that’s under way until 3 pm includes artists and crafters including Deloris (above). Vendors’ tables are full of gift possibilities like these (who WOULDN’T want Darth Vader on their wallet?):
Among the vendors, historic HPIC itself – with the all-new Highland Park hoodies!
(Added: Found out post-publication, they’re screenprinted by local Rain City West!) Even if you’re not in the shopping mood, go learn more about raingardens:
At right in that photo is Jo Sullivan from King County Wastewater Treatment Division, which is in the early stages of a green-stormwater-infrastructure project for Highland Park and vicinity and, at left, Hannah Kett from Sustainable Seattle, which has been working on other raingarden projects in the area. (If you need new inspiration for considering/supporting raingardens – think of the Longfellow Creek coho salmon, often killed by polluted stormwater runoff. The more runoff you keep out of the system via raingardens (etc.), the more you keep out of local waterways.)
Haven’t been to HPIC? Find it at 12th/Holden (map).
Chilly storm moves through, a little ice from the sky … In the holiday mood yet? Highland Park Improvement Club hopes so – Christie Sjostrom is organizing this year’s Holiday Bazaar for Saturday, November 9th, 10 am-3 pm, and looking for vendors, $20/table, $15 for HPIC members, handmade arts/crafts only (no commercial items) – e-mail her ASAP to snag your spot, email@example.com.
Thanks to everyone who messaged us about a big police response in the 17th/Kenyon vicinity of Highland Park. Police on the scene told our crew it’s a case of suspected auto theft. Witnesses saw at least three people detained – but keep in mind, detained doesn’t always translate to arrested; we will be checking back with police a little later to see how the case shook out.
One of the former substation sites that Seattle City Light might sell is right in the heart of a Highland Park crossroads.
With this Wednesday’s formal public hearing on the ex-substations’ fate approaching, what’s called the Dumar site – on the southwest corner of SW Holden and 16th SW – got a spotlight at this month’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting.
After City Light rep David Barber‘s presentation about the process that’s under way, community discussion revealed some sentiment that it might be optimal for that site to become commercial/retail property, like two of the three other corners at 16th/Holden (NW corner is 7-11, SE corner is Seamart and Wanna Teriyaki/Burger, and the NE corner holds Fire Station 11, which SCL says is using part of the ex-substation for parking).
One attendee voiced surprise that a park/open space wouldn’t be considered the highest and best use of the site, but HPAC co-chair Carolyn Stauffer said some community members with whom she had spoken suggested that HP has a relative abundance of park space already, but not of open space. Most other commercial properties in HP are scattered in one-off sites, until you reach the South Delridge business area.
The 10,000-square-foot site is officially zoned for potential single-family home (5,000-sf parcel) development.
Wednesday’s public hearing is at 6:30 pm at High Point Community Center (6920 34th SW); you can also comment online – as explained here. City Light says it’s not expecting a final decision on this and the other surplus sites before next year.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has sent word of sentencing today for a mail thief whose three-county spree included, we are told, West Seattle crimes. Here’s the announcement:
A mail thief who broke into locked mailboxes to steal checks and identities was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 44 months in prison and four years of supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. WILFREDO BERMUDEZ, 40, of Seattle, was arrested in November 2012 after 13 months of breaking into mailboxes in the Puget Sound region. BERMUDEZ stole mail in three different counties, including checks, driver’s licenses, and other items by breaking into victims’ mailboxes. He often threw away or destroyed the remainder of victims’ mail, and left the mailbox damaged or unusable in the process.
(Officer Wollberg on Jet)
After the Seattle Police Mounted Patrol found itself in danger of being put out to budget-cut pasture a few years back – rescued with community support rounded up by the Seattle Police Foundation – they realized that for some in the city, their existence was a too-well-kept secret. They’re based here in West Seattle, and even here, many didn’t know about them. So today’s first-ever open house, presented by the foundation, is an attempt to change that – with riding demonstrations and some behind-the-scenes views:
And it was clear even before we saw the elbow-to-elbow crowd in the arena, the event is a hit:
It’s not only the horses and humans who are the attraction -
A different kind of horsepower is also on view –
That’s the famous classic SPD 1970 Plymouth Satellite, often seen at events – read all about it here. But back to the horses – as the SPF website rallying support for them points out, SPD has had a Mounted Patrol for more than a century. Get a firsthand look until 5 pm today – their HQ is just inside the 8600 8th SW entrance to Westcrest Park (look for the Mounted Patrol-labeled police car marking the entrance).
At the Pacific Plumbing Supply (WSB sponsor) tent sale in Highland Park, we asked PPS’s Dan Sherman if he would show us one of the most notable items not yet snapped up. That’s him in it – a $13,000+ walk-in jetted bathtub on sale for about a third that price. Same footprint as a standard bathtub. If you’re doing bathroom/kitchen remodeling/adding/etc., lots of other discounted items to browse too; sale’s on until 5 pm today, 9-5 tomorrow and, if anything’s left, 9-noon Monday, at 7115 West Marginal Way SW, on the southwest corner at the bottom of the Highland Park Way hill.
Thanks to the multiple WSB’ers who tipped us on this – hard to miss the big signage that has just gone up at 1513 SW Holden, which had been the bricks-and-mortar home of Athena’s since May of last year. It was the original home of Zippy’s Giant Burgers before that, and now burgers are returning to the space, along with teriyaki, according to the signage for Wanna. Nobody was around when we followed up on tips by heading over to look, so we inquired at neighboring Seamart, and were told the proprietor is a relative of Athena’s owner Nick Parisi – we’re following up to try to find out more.
Athena’s has actually been closed for several weeks; as noted here in late August (after we’d received several questions), a post on its Facebook page mentioned it would be closed “for construction” until early September.
6:58 AM: Police are on the scene of what they describe as a vehicular assault in Highland Park, in the 9400 block of 11th SW. They say they’re looking for a woman who “allegedly intentionally struck a male victim with a car and fled.” We’re en route to find out more.
7:11 AM UPDATE: This is on 11th SW just north of Roxbury, but our crew at the scene says Roxbury is not affected. Two police units are still on scene and they tell us that little end of 11th will be blocked off for a while, though, because the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is coming out.
7:24 AM UPDATE: Police say the victim is in his 20s and has been taken to Harborview Medical Center, and they say the suspect is “known,” though not yet in custody.
11:55 AM UPDATE: We’re awaiting official confirmation, but it sounds like the suspect might have been found – along with the vehicle – in south King County.
12:14 PM UPDATE: Police have now confirmed the arrest. Here’s their update, in full, from SPD Blotter:
Detectives are investigating a strange call that occurred early this morning in Highland Park involving a stolen car, vehicular assault and eventual arrest of the suspect.
Just after 6:00 this morning, Southwest Precinct officers responded to a report of a hit and run to a man in the 9400 Block of 11th Avenue SW. Witnesses stated that a woman known to the male victim stole his 2007 Cadillac and struck him with the car as he attempted to stop her from leaving. The 24-year-old victim sustained injuries to his head and body and was transported to Harborview Medical Center by the Seattle Fire Department.
Officers interviewed witnesses at the scene who provided information on the female suspect and possible locations for her. A stolen vehicle report was completed for the Cadillac and that information was broadcast to officers in several jurisdictions.
Officers attempted to locate the 23-year-old suspect in the Federal Way and Des Moines area, but she was not at any of the locations they checked. Detectives from the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad (TCIS) responded to the collision scene and began their investigation.
Within the past hour the suspect was located with the stolen Cadillac and taken into custody in SeaTac. The car was impounded and taken to the processing room and the female suspect will be booked into the King County Jail. Officers and detectives are still conducting their investigation.
Just got word from Seattle Parks that the repair work is over and Highland Park Spraypark (11th/Cloverdale) will reopen at 12:30 pm today. Its regular hours are 11 am-8 pm daily; info on the city’s other kid-geared aquatic facilities (wading pools and other sprayparks) can be found here.
If you noticed police activity in the 16th and Holden area of Highland Park earlier today, here’s what it was about: Southwest Precinct Lt. Alan Williams says two neighbors called police after seeing four people break into a house in the 7700 block of 15th SW and run away. Two suspects were stopped at 16th and Holden, two at 15th and Holden; all were juveniles, and Lt. Williams says some “had property on their person that was later identified by the victim as their property.” One had a “loaded semi-automatic ammo clip on his person,” but a K-9 searching the area didn’t find a gun. He says three suspects were booked, one interviewed and released.
After the Tuesday night multi-location investigation described as involving a possible carjacking (WSB coverage here), police promised they would have followup information once they sorted it out. They still haven’t entirely sorted it out, but an update just appeared on SPD Blotter – read it here. Bottom line: It all may have had something to do with stolen auto parts that someone was trying to buy back; the later locations involved police trying to find a suspect who had called them. While two people were briefly in custody at one Highland Park location, as we noted in a followup comment Wednesday, nobody was actually arrested; two vehicles were impounded, though.
11:20 AM: The new Highland Park Spraypark has had a few technical glitches since opening a week ago, as we’ve been noting, and Seattle Parks just sent word there’s another today:
Highland Park Spraypark has mechanical problems with the backwash system. It cannot open until repairs are made. Tom Dunning, (project manager) Kelly Goold and Contractor are on site, but it will not open at 11:00. There is no estimate for the time.
We have updated the Wading Pool Hotline.
Of special note, people in the community brought their own brooms to help clean up the spraypad to remove fireworks garbage.
We’ll post an update when we hear (or see) that it’s fixed. Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad, who sent the announcement, says, “We do expect to get it open today. We just don’t know when.”
ADDED 11:44 AM: We asked if this is related or similar to the earlier problems. Parks says no – the first-day glitch involved nearby grass-mowing just before the spraypark opened, and cut grass repeatedly clogged the system; today, it’s “an electrical problem on the automatic backwash system.”
3:26 PM UPDATE: Seattle Parks confirms a commenter’s report – it’s open!
2:34 PM: If you saw all the Seattle Fire crews, they were responding to a possible house fire in the 7700 block of Highland Park Way SW – but most have just been canceled. We’re en route and will check at the scene to see what happened.
3:22 PM UPDATE: Couldn’t get anything definitive at the scene – just one engine left (photo) and not easy to pull over on the busy street – but whatever it was, it was being extinguished with a garden hose in the front yard.
(Seattle Parks photo from spraypark testing earlier this month)
Less than an hour after we last checked with the Seattle Parks project manager for the new Highland Park Spraypark, Kelly Goold, he’s written back with big news: They JUST got approval from King County Public Health, and the spraypark opens tomorrow – just in time for the heat wave! It’s at 11th and Cloverdale (map).
2:11 PM UPDATE: Just checked on the hours: 11 am-8 pm. An official community celebration is expected later this summer, probably August, when a nearby art project is complete. The spraypark has been four years in the making. We had first word in July 2009 that the old wading pool would be converted. Then in early 2010, Carolyn Stauffer (now co-chair of Highland Park Action Committee) circulated a proposal to seek more Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund dollars to add to the functionality and sustainability of the spraypark. It eventually won approval; community meetings began in May 2011, and the spraypark was built this year.
We’ve been asked a few times lately, what happened to all the coyotes? We haven’t heard of any sightings for a while, but that by no means suggests they’re not still out there. And in fact, Tiann just reported moments ago:
Just saw 2 coyotes between Webster and Holden on 14th. … They must be lost. That’s a very odd area for coyotes to be seen.
Not that unusual, actually – coyotes have been discussed before at the Highland Park Action Committee‘s meetings, just a couple blocks from Tiann’s sighting, with a brief appearance this spring by the federal hunter whose rounds made a stir last year (his advice about ensuring we and they keep away from each other was the same you’ll find here).
Last fall, city reps came to eastern West Seattle for three meetings on plans for reducing sewage overflows in Longfellow Creek, including potential raingardens and other types of “natural drainage.” The plans have evolved since then, Seattle Public Utilities is announcing this week, and they want your input on the next decisions that have to be made. For starters, SPU’s Susan Stoltzfus tells WSB, “further modeling and analysis” has shown the city that “the sewage overflows can be mostly controlled by making improvements to the existing storage tanks along Delridge Way and diverting some of the flow to King County’s system.”
That said, they are still pursuing “natural drainage” to help protect the creek “from polluted stormwater runoff which, even without sewage in it, can be more harmful to the health of the creek and the creatures that live in it.” And the new plan is for this to be installed along the route of a future greenway – a road improved for pedestrian/bicycle safety – that has yet to be chosen. If you live in the area – the city wants to hear from you.
(Click image for larger version you can zoom in on)
The map above shows the alternatives. SPU says everyone along the potential routes will get a survey in the mail asking what they think about the idea of a greenway and raingardens in their neighborhood – and a public meeting is planned, July 9th at Highland Park Improvement Club. (HP Action Committee has already announced that this meeting will be a substitute for what otherwise would have been its regular monthly meeting in late June.)
Information about the new proposals will be up on the city website within a few days, we’re told. In the meantime, if you live on one of the greenway routes, watch your mailbox – and if you have any interest in the project, plan to be at the July 9th meeting.
P.S. One greenway already is in the works, in North Delridge – SDOT published an update this week – and the city says it might be a candidate for after-the-fact natural-drainage projects.
(Seattle Parks photo, taken during spraypark testing)
School’s out, the sun’s out (despite forecasts to the contrary), and West Seattle families are anxiously awaiting the opening of our area’s first-ever spraypark, in Highland Park, five years in the making. As reported here a week and a half ago, construction is done – but they can’t open just yet. First, they were awaiting a part; now, an inspection. After a reader e-mailed to ask for an update, we checked with project manager Kelly Goold, who replied: “We are now waiting on final King County Health approval. Not sure when this will occur, hoping in time for this weekend, but could be next week.”
P.S. City-run wading pools start opening this weekend – the first in our area is Lincoln Park, where the season starts Saturday (weather permitting). Here’s the full citywide schedule.
2:54 PM: Heads up if you’re headed to or from Highland Park, among other affected areas: A crash at West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way (map) is leading police to close West Marginal at the scene and for at least a few blocks north.
3:18 PM: Our crew at the scene says a car hit a pole and hydrant (though there’s no water flowing from the latter) on the west (southbound) side of the road a short distance north of Highland Park Way. While the car will be towed soon, the pole and resulting suspended wires have to be taken care of by City Light. P.S. Just added a cameraphone photo but because of the sun and tree cover, the pole hit by the car is hard to see – we’ll substitute clearer photos when our crew gets back. The driver was not seriously hurt.
3:35 PM: Via radio, police are saying City Light can’t get there for another hour or so because it’s shift change.
Meantime, the closure is requiring semi-trucks to turn around as well as smaller vehicles, since they are heavy users of this road. So we do advise avoiding the area entirely TFN.
4:01 PM: Substituted a clearer photo. West Marginal at that spot is still closed off, be forewarned.
5:20 PM: Open both ways, but City Light repair crew has outside southbound lane blocked.
Thanks to Kelly Goold, Seattle Parks‘ project manager for the Highland Park Spraypark, for the sneak-peek photos taken while it was being tested. We’ve been checking with him on the spraypark’s status; he tells WSB this afternoon that opening day is “close,” but right now, they’re waiting on a part:
Construction is complete, and the spraypark is fully functional (and very cool). However, there are some minor problems with the water quality system, and we need to be overly cautious in dealing with this. The manufacturer is supplying a new part and it will be installed as soon as we get it … we are very close.
The Parks and Green Spaces Levy-funded spraypark replaces the old Highland Park wading pool, which has been closed for five years. Sprayparks are considered more economical and sustainable – no staffing required; less water evaporation.
Speaking of wading pools – their season starts two weeks from tomorrow; here’s the citywide schedule.
(Photos by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
4:10 PM: Multiple ambulances are being called to 12th and Holden in Highland Park for a crash. We’re on our way to find out more.
4:16 PM: Per radio communications, 2 vehicles, 7 patients, at least two seriously hurt. Large emergency response in the area so stay clear TFN.
4:30 PM: Our crew on the scene says the vehicles are a van and an SUV. Multiple SFD medic units and private ambulances there. Photo added. The wrecked vehicles are on the south side of Holden, about 100 yards west of 12th.
4:45 PM: Seattle Fire’s public-information officer is on scene, so we’re expecting some additional information from our crew shortly. The 12th/Holden area has long been flagged by the Highland Park Action Committee and other area advocates/neighbors for safety concerns.
4:56 PM: The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad will be coming to work on this, which means the area is likely to be closed at least a few more hours. If you are heading west on Holden, you will have to detour onto 12th; if you are heading east on Holden, you will have to detour onto 13th.
5:11 PM: SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl confirmed to us and other media at the scene that seven people were taken to Harborview Medical Center – two of them children – but none is believed to have life-threatening injuries. In all, she says, the first crews arriving at the scene were told that 10 people in all were in the two vehicles; one had to be extricated (cut out) of the wreckage.
Though some at the scene reported smoke, neither car caught fire, she said.
5:32 PM: Briefing video added (and shortly afterward, two more photos). We’ll check on SW Holden’s status in a few hours – please let us know if you see it reopen sooner (via comments here or text/voice 206-293-6302, our 24/7 line) – thank you.
9:37 PM: Drove by to be sure SW Holden had reopened – it has.
ADDED 8:16 AM MONDAY: Seattle Police have published a summary on SPD Blotter. The only information beyond what we’ve already reported includes the vehicles’ directions and the fact neither driver is believed to have been impaired:
… At about 3:52 pm on Sunday, it is believed that a Hyundai Santa Fe was travelling westbound on SW Holden. At the same time, a Dodge Caravan was travelling eastbound on SW Holden. For reasons still to be determined, while the cars were mid block, they collided head on.
Seattle Fire responded and treated the three adults and two small children that were in the Santa Fe. All the occupants were transported to Harborview Medical Center. Two of the adults suffered serious, but non life-threatening injuries. The two adults (one man and one woman) in the Dodge Caravan were also transported to Harborview, one with serious but non life-threatening injuries. The three young children in the Caravan were evaluated at the scene by Seattle Fire, but they did not have to go to the hospital.
As is routine in serious collision investigations, a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officer responded to the hospital and evaluated both the female driver of the Caravan and the male driver of the Santa Fe for any signs of impairment. It was determined that neither driver had any signs of impairment from drugs and/or alcohol.
What was long just another stretch of asphalt in the Highland Park Improvement Club parking lot is now a brand-new rain garden, after today’s planting party gave it the finishing touches. As explained on the HPIC website (where you also can see the Rain Dog Designs vision for the garden), “every little bit helps” to get toxic runoff water out of the drains that run right into the Duwamish River and Puget Sound. (You can find out about possibilities for your own little corner of West Seattle, by checking with RainWise.)
Since last week’s City Council discussion of possible next steps regarding the “Nickelsville” encampment now in its third year in West Seattle (WSB as-it-happened coverage here), we’ve been following up regarding what’s next. So far, there are two public meetings of note, both at City Hall downtown: One, as mentioned in last week’s coverage, is 5:30 pm June 25th; that’s the formal public hearing on Councilmember Nick Licata‘s proposal to expand the areas of the city in which encampments would be allowed; here’s the official notice with details. Before that, however, Licata staffer Lisa Herbold confirms to WSB that the committee he chairs – Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture – will take up the overall issue of Nickelsville’s future during the committee’s next regular meeting at 2 pm Wednesday, June 12th. That will include the alternative proposals suggested by the mayor and by the encampment’s own Central Committee, in hopes the discussion will reveal which way councilmembers are leaning, though no final decisions will be made.
Meantime, as noted in a followup discussion at last week’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting, community members are urged to contact the mayor, councilmembers, and other decisionmakers with their opinions and ideas; HPAC’s website has more details, including contact information.
ADDED FRIDAY: Just noticed that, minutes after we published this update, Slog published a picture of a flyer that turned up posted in Crown Hill, equating HPAC – whose leadership met with the mayor last week, though no notable progress is reported – with NIMBYism. Anyone seen the flyer around here?
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