(Neighbor Appreciation Day at Station 37, photographed in 2011 by Cliff DesPeaux for WSB)
Going through football withdrawal? There’s lots to keep you busy this weekend. One thing we’re reminding you about quickly right now: Three West Seattle fire stations are open for tours 11 am-1 pm Saturday as part of the city’s Neighbor Appreciation Day: Station 11 in Highland Park at 16th/Holden, Station 32 in The Junction at 38th/Alaska, and Station 37 in Sunrise Heights at 35th/Holden. It’s your chance to get an up-close look WITHOUT having an emergency in your neighborhood!
Seattle’s new mayor has promised a “neighborhood summit” within his first 100 days in office. No date is set yet, not even a format, but the person who’s organizing it came to the Highland Park Action Committee‘s January meeting to talk about possibilities. That leads off our report from the meeting Wednesday night:
Highland Park Action Committee just shared a preview of tomorrow night’s meeting, and one topic is of interest even beyond HP and vicinity:
… We’ve invited Kathy Nyland to come speak. She was recently “borrowed” from city council staff to help Mayor Murray’s office coordinate a Neighborhood Summit. We’re going to hear what she’s up to and share our thoughts about what this could look like and how Highland Park and Riverview can participate. We’d like Mayor Murray to be aware of the concerns our neighborhood may have, so please join us to learn about this effort and provide feedback to her.
We trust other community councils are participating in this planning in other ways, but this is the first we have seen with a specific agenda item about it. HPAC plans a 6:30 pm potluck, 7 pm meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, January 22) at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th and Holden).
Highland Park has no sports bar/lounge where you can go for a big game like today’s Seahawks victory over the Saints – or a small game, for that matter – but the Highland Park Improvement Club transformed itself into a viewing venue – same way it morphs into the pop-up Corner bar one night a month. Members and neighbors gathered to watch today’s game – and yes, there was at least one Saints fan in the crowd:
That’s Mike in the Saints jersey and Jim in the Seahawks jersey. By now, of course, you know who won. The Seahawks stay home to host the NFC Championship next Sunday, 3:30 pm, vs. either Carolina or San Francisco, depending on who wins those teams’ faceoff tomorrow; tickets for the January 19th game go on sale this Monday at 10 am.
5:52 PM: An assault-with-weapons response rushed to the 1500 block of Holden. A man is reported to be there with a ‘knife wound to the buttocks’ that is believed to have happened somewhere else. More to come.
6:01 PM: Now radio traffic suggests it wasn’t a stabbing after all.
6:22 PM: No police/fire left at the scene by the time we got there.
Can you spare some time Sunday afternoon to give the gift of time? Craig Rankin shared the photo and the call for volunteers:
A small informal group called the Highland Park Neighbors have just received a Small Sparks grant for the “Kenyon St Right-Of Way Beautification Project.” The $1000 grant from the City of Seattle /Department of Neighborhoods will be used to purchase plants for the space, which has been an on-going restoration project for just under two years. The sloped area, which is used locally by students and bus riders willing to climb/descend the steep “social trail,” is partially planted and mostly mulched. Most of the grant will go toward purchasing native bare-root plant stock to be planted in the spring.
The first official work party will be this Sunday between 12 pm and 3 pm. There are 10 yards of mulch to move via 5 gallon buckets. If you would like to join the fun, please bring some gloves.
That’s John Gray, moving mulch, in the photo Craig shared. Here’s a map to the area.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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