West Seattle, Washington
Seattle Police, according to radio communication, have found at least one shell casing while investigating reports of gunfire in Highland Park. The discovery is reported in the 8400 block of 10th SW, not far from some of the locations where 911 callers reported hearing it – from the 8600 block of 12th SW to the 9200 block of 21st SW. No reports of anyone being hurt.
From a reader reporting anonymously:
(Friday) sometime between 12:00-1:30 pm, in the South parking lot at Westcrest Park, my car was broken into – no sign of forced entry and nothing obvious taken – except for my wallet, from the glove compartment. I was playing with my son for about 20 minutes at the small play area there in front of the lot, and did take passing note of a sketchy looking man hanging out listening to his radio and possibly reading a newspaper in a beat-up old-model white pickup truck.
After 20 minutes, we walked the dog into the dog park, then played for an hour or so at the Westcrest playground and then returned to the car around 1:45 pm. I noticed my wallet was gone only when I went to grab it before heading into a store around 2 pm. I then started receiving text alerts about suspicious charges about 15 minutes later. The thieves racked up over $11,000 or charges at Apple, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and other stores, all at Southcenter – within probably 20 or 30 minutes, before their charges started being declined and I was notified. While filing a police report, I was told by the officer that it is relatively common for thieves to use signal-boosting devices for RFID key fobs to mirror the correct frequency to a vehicle and thereby gain entry without any apparent sign of forced breaking and entering. These devices can work over a fairly sizable range: the playground we were at near this parking lot would be well within range. I had no idea such a thing existed and hopefully others can learn from my mistake:
1) Westcrest parking lot, in the middle of the day, as per other reports on here, is still a high car prowl, sketchy place.
2) Be aware of suspicious looking car-sitters and remove all valuables from your car. The glove box is the first place they target after any visible purses on seats.
3) Thieves can essentially gain entrance to your vehicle if you have a keyfob and hang out relatively near your vehicle for a while. Consider getting an RFID blocking device and place your key in it.
Regardless of whether they’re using an electronic device, car prowlers can work quickly, we’ve heard from police and victims time and time again, without those nearby, even in busy areas, being aware of what’s going on.
12:55 AM: Seattle Fire has sent a midsize fire response to the 900 block of SW Holden after a caller reported some kind of possible fire across the street from their home, according to radio communications. So far, the units on scene aren’t seeing anything. We’re monitoring.
1:10 AM: Nothing found – SFD has left and the call is closed.
If you notice police activity just southwest of the 1st Avenue South Bridge, in the area between West Seattle and South Park, here’s what it’s about, according to scanner traffic: Police are looking for a suspect who is reported to have run away after crashing a vehicle near Highland Park Way SW/2nd SW. (added) A K-9 team has joined the search in the brushy areas alongside the highway.
11:31 PM: If you hear the Guardian One helicopter in southeast West Seattle, near Westcrest Park – it’s being called in to help with what scanner traffic indicates is a search for two people described as auto-theft suspects. There’s a ground search with K-9, too. The suspects are described so far as male, white, one in a camouflage jacket, ponytail and goatee, the other in a black shirt or jacket and “slightly unshaven.” If you have any information, call 911.
12:54 AM: Sounds as if police detained one person. We’ll be following up later this morning to see what else we can find out about how this started and shook out.
This morning Highland Park Elementary students rocked the tie dye at our first annual Move-A-Thon!
This fun event was made possible by our incredible school staff, passionate parents, and community-minded sponsors (Rain City West Screen Printing, Roxbury Lanes, Pagliacci Pizza, and West Seattle Runner). Also a very special thanks to our friends at Gatewood Elementary and Genesee Hill Elementary for their guidance. It’s been a landmark year for the HPE PTA, and it has everything to do with the support we’ve received from our West Seattle village.
This is what your generosity and thoughtfulness helps us accomplish!
In case you haven’t already seen it on our calendar – Saturday night, our area’s only rowing club invites you to a benefit party at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden). It’s the seventh annual fundraiser for Duwamish Rowing Club, 6-10 pm, with a chili dinner, silent auction, and raffle drawing, plus guest speaker Bill Tytus, owner/president of Pocock Racing Shells. Donation is $25 adults, $10 youth 10-18, and you’re invited to bring your favorite (vinyl) record to play! You’ll be supporting the club’s mission “that rowing should be affordable, accessible, and open to anyone who wants to participate.”
CRIME-TRENDS UPDATE: First up, Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith, with updates on Highland Park trends.
Last weekend, we featured Sam‘s report on Highland Park Elementary playground progress. We received a followup, with photos, from Connie Wolf of the HPE PTA:
Over 100 adults and kids generously gave of their time (last) Sunday morning to move a mountain of play chips and prep the gravel under our new net climber. A huge THANK YOU to our school families and staff, community members, City Year, Pomegranate Design, and Bethany Community Church for turning a daunting task into a community-building celebration. All the credit for organizing the event and getting Phase One of our playground built goes to the volunteer group Highland Park Plays and especially Gretchen DeDecker (Seattle Public Schools Program Manager).
Up next – concrete work is wrapping up, and then we’ll finish getting the chips into the play area. The highly anticipated play structures will be ready for our students in April. We’re planning a Grand Opening Party on May 5th. Stay tuned for details!
FRIDAY, 9:25 PM: Friends and neighbors are trying to find out what happened to Kathleen, who they say hasn’t been seen at her Highland Park home for two weeks. Her disappearance is suspicious, explains her neighbor Grace, because Kathleen’s home appeared to have been ransacked and her dog left behind, with obvious signs of neglect. Grace says Kathleen “was considered our neighborhood vigilante,” in terms of watching out for crime and suspicious activity, and that she would never let a neighbor’s disappearance go unremarked on, so they’re trying to find out what happened to her. They say Kathleen worked at Home Depot but hadn’t been there for a few weeks. A police report has been filed, 2018-109928, so if you’ve seen Kathleen or have any information about the circumstances of her disappearance, her friends hope you will call 911 and refer to that incident number. (We are not publishing Kathleen’s full name, as we have not heard from relatives, nor, Grace says, have neighbors.)
ADDED MONDAY MORNING: We just talked with Det. Mark Jamieson at SPD media relations, who talked with the detective assigned to the case after we inquired. He confirms what a family member says in the comment section, that at this point there is no indication of foul play (criminal activity); she was reported missing about two weeks ago and the case remains open.
Big birthday party this afternoon at Highland Park Improvement Club for a longtime community mainstay – Martha Mallett celebrated her 90th birthday! After a few warm words for partygoers, led them in a cheer of sorts:
She’s been involved since the 1950s with the historic community center, which is getting close to its centennial.
Highland Park-residing City Councilmember Lisa Herbold was among those at HPIC to honor Martha.
The councilmember read a special city proclamation declaring today “Martha Mallett Day” and detailing Martha’s many accomplishments:
As the proclamation noted, Martha’s decades of involvement with HPIC date back into the 1950s! Memorabilia including photos were on display at the party:
She was also serenaded with “What a Wonderful World.”
P.S. Due in no small part to Martha’s efforts, collaborating with neighbors, HPIC remains a thriving community organization/center to this day, with a variety of weekly and monthly events you can browse here.
Not everyone is kicking back on this Sunday morning! Sam sends the photos from Highland Park Elementary, explaining what the people in the photo above were warming up for:
After 4 years of work, phase one is finally nearing completion on Highland Park elementary’s new playground plan. We are moving wood chips into place as we await the contractor to finish pouring concrete.
For 5th graders at Highland Park Elementary, it’s the trip of a lifetime – traveling across Puget Sound for outdoor education. But every year, teachers and community members have to raise money to make it happen. This year’s trip is almost here and they still need help, and asked if we could let you know. From the crowdfunding page:
Highland Park is a unique place. We are a Title I school that serves an extremely diverse population with 80% of our students receiving free or reduced-price lunch. Many of our students speak more than one language and bring rich, cultural backgrounds to our community. The wide spectrum of learners creates a distinctive environment where we are happy to teach and grow with our scholars.
Each year, we have the pleasure of taking our fifth graders on a trip to IslandWood – a school in the woods on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from downtown Seattle. During the four-day excursion, students are exposed to many things that they have never seen or done before, beginning with the ferry ride across Puget Sound and extending throughout their time on site. The staff at IslandWood provides an authentic, engaging learning experience. Every year, we get to watch our students learn in a way that cannot be provided inside the four walls of a classroom. To see the transformation under which many students go when they step beyond the world they live in is nothing short of inspirational. We love seeing those ‘lightbulb’ moments when our scholars click with learning in new, indescribable ways. Not only is the trip to IslandWood a fun-packed adventure, but it shapes the fifth-grade community upon our return as well. We create a close bond and build deeper relationships that greatly improve our ability to rise to the demands of fifth grade.
We want every student to be able to take this trip and have the opportunity to do something completely outside of their normal routine. However, while all the benefits of IslandWood are impossible to quantify, they do come with a price tag. This is where we need your help.
As teachers of Highland Park Elementary, we want to raise money to subsidize the cost of IslandWood so that every student can afford to come, and the only way we can do that is with your support. The last two years, generous donations helped pave the way for our students to have this powerful experience and we want nothing more than for this year’s scholars to receive the same opportunity.
Please consider donating to this trip and help us change the lives of these fifty-eight scholars.
Here again is the link.
11:33 AM NOTE: As commenters point out, there appears to be a problem with the donation process, which isn’t shown until three steps in … we have a message out to organizers … if you were planning to donate, please save the link and check back later! Sorry! (Per comments – fixed.)
But first: Outgoing co-chair Gunner Scott said he’s going to keep Mayor Jenny Durkan to her promise to visit Highland Park. He extended the invitation at her West Seattle “town hall” last weekend:
And she accepted it. Scott says he hopes to have her visit for coffee, donuts, and a look at Highland Park’s infamous traffic trouble (the one for which a roundabout is being sought).
Speaking of city business – City Light’s new meters will be installed in West Seattle soon:
11:31 AM: Thanks for the tips about police activity outside the Highland Park 7-11. That helped us zero in on the source of some scanner traffic about an arrest – and now we’ve just obtained more information from SPD media-relations Det. Mark Jamieson (officers at the scene declined comment). He says the white Escalade in the photo was suspected in connection with a West Seattle burglary this morning and a non-West Seattle burglary yesterday (in South Precinct jurisdiction); an officer spotted it, called for backup, and a “felony stop” (which usually means guns drawn) was made in the 7-11 parking lot. They arrested a suspect and impounded the vehicle, pending a search warrant. More details are expected to be made public a bit later, police tell us, so look for another update.
ADDED 1:36 PM: SPD Blotter‘s report notes that an “observant neighbor” is to thank:
A neighbor called 911 Tuesday at 8:45 a.m. after she spotted a man attempting to break into a home in the 1200 block of SW Othello Street. The witness continued to update dispatchers as officers were responding to the home and described a white Cadillac Escalade driving away from the home.
The King County Sheriff’s Guardian One helicopter was in the area and spotted the SUV leaving the neighborhood. The pilot directed officers to the vehicle in the 1600 block of Southwest Holden Street. Seattle police officers took the 23-year-old into custody and have turned him over to burglary detectives. Detectives believe the suspect may be responsible for an additional burglary in the area this week. Detectives will book the suspect into King County Jail for investigation of burglary.
ADDED 2:58 PM: According to a separate online update from the South Precinct’s commander, the non-West Seattle burglary yesterday was in the 10100 block of Rainier Ave S. The victims, who were home, provided police with a plate number, so that’s how police knew what/who they were looking for.
Saturday night, you’re invited to have a good time for a good cause – a big party with food, drink, and one of the coolest “photo booth” settings ever, all for the Highland Park Elementary PTA, which shares this announcement:
The Highland Park Elementary PTA is putting on our first-ever auction, and we need your help! Our event is less than a week away, February 3rd, and we’ve sold only 61 out of 150 tickets.
An energetic and resourceful group of parents got together to organize our ‘Fund the Future’ auction – featuring delicious food from Joanie’s Catering, tasty cocktails, a ton of items up for bid, games, and a DeLorean. Yes, a DeLorean! Dressing up in costume from your favorite era is encouraged (bonus points for working in the ‘Back to the Future’ theme). Need childcare? Lil’ Bug Studio is showing their support by offering a Parents’ Night Out during the event so your school-aged children can have a fun night out too.
Fundraising is an essential job of any PTA, but a significant challenge at a school where over three quarters of our students come from low-income families. While the Highland Park PTA’s budgetary needs are just a fraction of more affluent schools, we still need to raise funds so we can provide enrichment opportunities for our amazing students, support our hardworking staff, and bring all of our families into the school through events.
We just brought the Science On Wheels program to our school and every student spent a memorable day exploring astronomy. We are beginning construction on a 4-year-old project to build a playground and in two months students will have play structures for the first time. We are trying to make sure our 5th graders have the opportunity for a transformational outdoor experience at IslandWood.
Help us continue this impactful work by going to our party! You can find out more about ‘Fund the Future’ at our blog, and tickets are available for purchase at Brown Paper Tickets. If you can’t make the event, please consider helping our 5th graders get to IslandWood.
Be the lightning that powers our school family into the future!
Get your ticket(s) here.
From the Highland Park Action Committee‘s January meeting:
‘I FOUND A NEEDLE, NOW WHAT?’ The Sharps Collection Pilot Program from Seattle Public Utilities gave a presentation. It was basically Needle 101 – where do discarded needles come from? Not just IV drug users – could be people with medical conditions that require injections, even pets that need shots, or allergy sufferers. In Seattle, it’s illegal to just throw needles in the trash, “for the safety of sanitation workers,” said the SPU presenters.
If you find a needle on public property:
12:42 PM: A big Seattle Fire callout is in the 8400 block of 5th SW [map], near Westcrest Park, where SFD says what started as a vehicle fire has “extended to a structure.”
12:48 PM: According to radio communications, the fire has not extended to the residence at that address. Many of the responding units have been dismissed. Adding an SFD photo from before the vehicle fire was extinguished.
1:08 PM: Our crew at the scene confirms that the fire is out. How it started remains under investigation; we’re told no one was home at the time, and there are no injuries.
1:16 PM: Firefighters on the scene also confirm that damage is limited to the vehicle and garage. (Photo of the other side of the house, added above)
6:08 PM: SFD tells us they have not yet determined how the fire started, “pending further investigation.” Damage estimate: “$20,000 loss to structure and $20,000 loss vehicle.”
(Reader photo, texted)
Thanks for the tips on an emergency response at 15th/Holden in Highland Park. The scene cleared shortly after we arrived a few minutes ago, but for anyone who was wondering – police tell us a pedestrian was hit. Her injuries were not major, and a private ambulance was called to take her to the hospital to be checked out.
We’ve heard from residents of Highland Park and South Delridge about possible gunfire heard around 12:30 am. 911 calls were made. This time, so far, no word of any shooting victims, and we haven’t heard whether any casings or damage turned up either.
(UPDATED TUESDAY AFTERNOON with fire’s cause)
12:17 AM: The first units to arrive report flames and heavy smoke from what’s described as a 3-story house.
12:22 AM: More engines are being sent.
12:35 AM: Just added first photos sent by our photographer, who says flames and smoke can still be seen pouring from the house.
Via scanner, we’ve heard firefighters say they’ve finished searching and have not found any victims in the house.
12:59 AM: SFD’s public-information officer Kristin Tinsley has arrived at the scene. She confirms no injuries are reported so far. Meantime, two nearby residents have sent photos – this first one via text:
This is via e-mail from Bryan:
1:11 AM: SFD tells us 4 people were home when the fire started. They all got out OK, no one hurt. SFD isn’t certain yet if more people live at the house. The Red Cross is being called to help. (Added – our video of spokesperson Tinsley’s briefing:)
Fire’s still not out, one hour after initial dispatch.
1:18 AM: The fire is now declared officially “under control.”
1:29 AM: And now they’re describing the fire 90+-percent out. Meantime, the people for whom they’re calling for Red Cross assistance are described as 3 women and 3 men, all adults.
2:05 AM: SFD has dismissed some of its crews. Investigators will be working to try to figure out the cause – we’ll have updates later this morning.
9:18 AM: SFD’s fire investigator is back out at the scene right now. Engine 11 is also keeping “fire watch” – an engine usually stays at major fire scenes for a while in case of flareups – you can see the hoses in our photo taken a short time ago:
We will update whenever new information is available.
2:01 PM: SFD just announced that “overheated electrical equipment in the void space above the basement kitchen” is what started the fire. Damage is estimated at $450,000.
Highland Park is the only neighborhood in West Seattle where you can start your New Year’s Eve with a parade – and tonight’s 9th annual Not-So-Silent-Night Parade through the streets near Highland Park Improvement Club was huge, with more than 100 participating, all ages as always:
The light of the almost-full moon shone on the parade, with participants invited to bring drums, noisemakers, musical instruments, lights, whatever adds to the cheery stroll along the sidewalks – here’s what it sounded like near the start:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) January 1, 2018
The weather was about as good as it gets – dry and not too cold (it’s a no-matter-what-the-weather parade, and we even recall icy 2010). Things warmed up considerably once everyone was back in the HPIC lot, as the Sage Comet Performance returned after skipping NYE 2016:
Then everyone moved into the historic HPIC building to join the Corner Bar party, usually on first Fridays except for New Year’s Eve:
For the holiday, there was the extra element of a masquerade party – those in costume include DJs Dr. Lehl and Evan:
The DJs and musician McTuff are providing the HPIC sounds for as long as the party goes on – 1 am or so. And we suspect it’s the only West Seattle NYE party with a hot-dog stand in the courtyard:
You’re invited, 1116 SW Holden.
You can make it a neighborhood New Year’s Eve again this year by celebrating with Highland Park Improvement Club – starting with the all-ages Not-So-Silent-Night Parade along nearby streets. As also featured in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, here’s the full night’s lineup for Sunday at HPIC:
Join us in our annual celebration of the New Year. We’ll be hosting a Masquerade Party, so come donning your best masks, disguises, or alter egos.
Not So Silent Night Parade – Assemble at 6 pm. We will head out into the neighborhood when everyone is ready. Bring your noisemakers, lights, umbrellas – whatever is necessary!
DJ Dr. Lehl & DJ Evan will provide us the tunes that take us to the main event.
The HPIC Hot Dog Stand will be open in the Courtyard, courtesy of Nickie Jostol!
McTuff will provide us with the life-sustaining music that will power us to and through the New Year from 9ish until late (1-130?)
RL Carroll will be here again for all your keepsake photos!
Beverages – Draft beer, wine, special cocktail and champagne! As always, we offer a wide assortment of non-alcoholic beverages as well. Please remember that no outside alcohol is allowed.
HPIC is on the northeast corner of 12th SW/SW Holden. (If you’ve never seen, or been part of, the parade, check out our coverage from last year.)
Got a New Year’s Eve/Day event in West Seattle that’s not already in our Holiday Guide? Please e-mail us the info ASAP so we can add it – email@example.com – thank you!