West Seattle, Washington
Think it’s calm out there this afternoon? Not for a few moments just before 4 pm at Highland Park playground, according to someone who called us. A “whirlwind” swept through, picking up and swirling wood chips in the air. Nobody was hurt but, the caller said, it was startling, to say the least. We asked the National Weather Service about this via Twitter; they hadn’t heard anything, but then Marcia joined the conversation, saying, “It was CRAZY! Blankets and clothes went flying in the air. Someone lost their kite!” The NWS says it sounds like a “whirlwind/dust devil” – apparently these can and do happen anywhere.
After last week’s June meeting of the Highland Park Action Committee, we published our first report, on the vote to send the city a letter about the proposed sale of what’s known as the Myers Way Parcels. Next step toward a decision on their future is the community meeting about the site this Thursday, 6:30 pm, at the Joint Training Facility (9401 Myers Way S.).
But the Myers matter was far from the only topic HPAC tackled at this month’s meeting. Here are the rest of our toplines:
TRAFFIC TROUBLE SPOTS AND SDOT: Will the worst intersections in HP ever get fixed?
Hot real-estate market? Bidding wars? Not necessarily, if the property in question is a former Seattle City Light substation.
MAJOR PRICE REDUCTION is splashed across the cover of the just-revised brochure for the city-owned former substation that’s up for sale on Pigeon Point (2100 SW Andover). We found the flyer after spotting the price cut in a routine check of local commercial-real-estate listings. The 8,000-square-foot site was originally put up for sale almost four months ago for a “minimum bid of $400,000.” It’s zoned for lowrise housing.
And while we were checking on that one, we scrolled further down the latest West Seattle commercial-real-estate listings and found the same thing has happened to the ex-substation that’s for sale in south Highland Park (8820 9th SW) – revised flyer dated yesterday, also with the big red banner MAJOR PRICE REDUCTION.
This one also has been cut to $200,000 asking price – a more-drastic slash, since its asking price in March was $500,000 – and it’s even bigger: 13,000+ square feet, zoned for lowrise housing.
This is of extra interest as the city looks at selling other “surplus” real estate such as the Myers Way Parcels (reminder: community meeting this Thursday) and also because at the time the City Council approved the sale of these two ex-substations, they also outlined conditions for community groups’ prospective purchases of others. Would those potential sales be held to the “fair market” value – aka appraised value, which in the case of these two substations is well above what they’re now being offered for? We’ll be following up with the city Finance and Administrative Services Department, which is in charge of real estate.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: SDOT confirmed that this is 8th S. work, not 8th SW as first announced.
TUESDAY UPDATE: See comments – this appears to be on 8th S., not 8th SW as announced – we will be verifying Wednesday with SDOT.
ORIGINAL MONDAY REPORT: After SDOT paving workers finish on SW 106th in Arbor Heights later this week, they’re headed for 8th SW in Highland Park. Just announced:
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers in West Seattle that crews will be paving 8th Avenue SW between SW Barton Street and SW Cambridge Street [map]. This work is weather dependent.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on (UPDATE) Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1, travelers can expect the following:
· Crews will grind and repave 8th Ave SW between SW Barton St and SW Cambridge St.
· The southbound lane of 8th Ave SW between SW Barton St and SW Cambridge St will be closed.
· North-south traffic will alternate in the northbound lane, assisted by flaggers.
· Parking on 8th Ave SW will be restricted – “No Parking” signs will be in place 72 hours before the work starts and parking restrictions begin.
· Access to and from driveways on 8th Ave SW between SW Barton St and SW Cambridge St may be delayed for up to 15 minutes for equipment to clear.
SDOT would like to thank the public for its patience while this work is completed. This project is part of SDOT’s 2016 Arterial Major Maintenance (AMM) program. The AMM program maintains our busiest streets by making strategic small scale investments at key locations on city streets.
Friday is the last day of classes for Seattle Public Schools – and at Highland Park Elementary, today was Field Day, a tradition at many elementaries in the final days of the school year. PE teacher Chellie LaFayette invited WSB to stop by and see what they were up to (that’s her in the hat, below):
In the morning, the younger students were out enjoying the (fleeting) sunshine:
That included a chance to do some splashing:
The older students got their turn in the afternoon. Tomorrow, by the way, school gets out one hour early around the district.
Two West Seattle Crime Watch reports tonight:
STOLEN CAR: Rebecca‘s neighborhood in Gatewood has been hit again by car thieves. Her car was taken two months ago; we published her report, and an observant neighbor spotted the car nearby. Tonight, she says, two sisters visiting the neighborhood reported someone stole their car just feet from where Rebecca’s was taken in the 3900 block of SW Elmgrove [map]. It’s a 2009 Nissan Versa, baby blue, WA plate ending in 632, “trim near driver-side door hands loose near keyhole.” Call 911 if you see it.
DOORSTEP THEFT: In the 9000 block of 4th SW [map], Sheila reports a doorstep theft last night:
Our neighbor returned a car battery recharger he borrowed, left it on the front step at 10 pm. We have video of a man quickly walking up the front walk at about 11:20, grabbing the small pouch with the charger in it, and walking quickly away. I’ve reported to police. … The guy was wearing a hat so can’t see his face. Short, apparently dark hair is best we’ve been able to make out. Coat with bright tape (like safety jacket) and high-top sneakers.
P.S. Reminder – this month’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting is next Tuesday (June 21st), 7 pm, at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster; map).
P.P.S., ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: WSCPC president Richard Miller tells WSB that the guest on Tuesday will be SPD’s Chief Operating Officer Brian Maxey, who will be able to speak about the operations of the 911 Center, among other topics.
Just in case you were wondering – after a breakdown yesterday, the Highland Park Spraypark is back up and running today, in time for what’s expected to be an even hotter afternoon/evening than yesterday. We just went over to check firsthand, and that’s what we found. (We won’t be able to find out from Seattle Parks what caused yesterday’s problem until tomorrow.)
3:58 PM: We’ve received two reader reports that Highland Park Spraypark is out of service so we’re sharing the news here before anyone else heads that way and is disappointed. We’re trying to find an after-hours number for Seattle Parks to see if we can find out whether help is on the way; we’ll check at the park shortly, too, and will update when we get word it’s working again.
5:15 PM: Not fixed yet.
SATURDAY NIGHT NOTE: We never did get word on its status before official closing time but will check as close as we can to 11 am opening time on Sunday.
Thanks to Highland Park Elementary PTA president Holly Briscoe for photos and a report on “an exciting event” at the school Friday morning:
Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders FC Midfielder, came to HPE for the morning assembly. He was there to help the school celebrate the successful completion of their Breakfast Challenge, which is a part of the Fuel Your Future campaign.
The campaign is a joint effort between United Way and the Seattle Sounders to help reduce food-insecurity. School Nurse Tina Urso worked to bring both the campaign and Cristian to HPE. Go, Sounders!
Thanks to the texter who tipped us about police with “armored vehicles” in the 8800 block of 14th SW. We got there just as they were wrapping up; turned out to be Bellevue Police again, saying they could only tell us they were “serving a warrant.” You might recall our report about BPD at another Highland Park location (9400 block of 9th SW) back in April; two days later, they announced that was linked to an “ID theft ring.” We just talked to BPD’s PIO and he said he does NOT believe this investigation is related to that one, but he can’t comment further than to say it was a “search warrant … safely completed” by Bellevue SWAT officers and “investigators.”
(Click image to see as full-size PDF)
At this month’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting, Connie Wolf, vice president of the HP Elementary PTA, gave the group a quick update on progress toward the school’s new playground. It now has a design, with help from students, but also has a long road to reality. Your help is needed – and your enthusiasm for helping them get a place to play! An upcoming open house was mentioned; we asked for more information and design images, and received this update from Elyse Clemens on the playground committee:
Over the course of this school year, the community at Highland Park Elementary School worked together with Pomegranate Center to design a playground for our school. Using input from the students, families, teachers, and community members, the new playground design is full of natural elements for students to play and explore on. There are hill slides, boulder steps, log scrambles, a net climber, and rain and sensory gardens. We are also looking forward to a welcoming entry way on 11th Ave SW that will invite the entire community to enjoy the new space:
(Click image to see as full-size PDF)
This Fall we will be working with Pomegranate Center to develop construction drawings for the design. And throughout the 2016-2017 school year we will be holding community events to raise funds, both direct monetary contributions and community participation matching through Seattle Neighborhood Matching Fund. We hope to have enough money to start the first phase of construction in Summer 2017.
We will be holding an Open House on Thursday June 16th from 6-7 pm at the current playground. This is an opportunity to meet the Pomegranate Center design team and get excited about the future playground. They will map out the design with sidewalk chalk on the blacktop and answer questions. All are welcome to join in the celebration!
We hear there’ll be ice cream! Get it on your calendar – it’ll be on ours. HP Elementary is at 1012 SW Trenton.
Car prowls, car prowls, car prowls – that’s what Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith just told the Highland Park Action Committee is that neighborhood’s biggest crime problem – like most other West Seattle neighborhoods: 145 in this area so far this year, compared to 46 in the same period last year. HP’s Westcrest Park is a hot spot, though not as much as Lincoln Park; Lt. Smith hailed the vigilant citizens who have stepped up keeping eyes on the park, and he encouraged people to keep reporting them, even if nothing was taken: “We need to report these crimes,” even if that means a jump in stats because more people are reporting what happens.
Also up this year over last: Robberies, especially along the southernmost boundary of Highland Park (SW Roxbury) – about a fourth of them were “shoplifting (incidents) gone bad.” Residential burglary is happening at about the same rate has last year, and “we’ve arrested one prolific burglar/car prowler recently, so hopefully we’ll see a reduction,” Lt. Smith noted, adding that non-residential burglary is down by more than half.
Still to come at HPAC, in our next report – city reps are here with their draft recommendation for what should be done with the city-owned Myers Way Parcels; we’ll have the details later tonight.
The Highland Park Improvement Club‘s “Uncorked” wine-tasting fundraiser packed the house last night, for wine-tasting, appetizers, and an auction to raise money for the nonprofit community organization. One item was a subtle reminder of some travails that HPIC’s almost-century-old community-center building at 12th/Holden has encountered this spring:
That art donated to the auction by R. Mac was painted on a piece of the overhang that came down, we’re told. The auction also included some more-conventional items, including these festive baskets:
A major change for this year’s “Uncorked” – instead of it being a sort of wine-tasting potluck, with participants bringing wine to contribute, the wine was provided by local wineries, including the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Northwest Wine Academy:
In our photo are Jessica and Phyllis from the academy; they brought a rosé. (NWA’s spring-release event is coming up June 9th-11th, by the way.)
P.S. This year’s “Uncorked” sponsors again included WSB.
The folks at Highland Park Improvement Club want to make sure you know that, post-“eyebrow” trouble, their building is back in business again – they just hosted the monthly Corner Bar on Friday night and have another big event on the way:
The awnings are gone, the building is safe, and we are back in business! Movie Night, Corner Bar, Highland Park Uncorked, and all classes and events are on! More than ever, we need your support to help make this neighborhood gathering place better.
Highland Park Uncorked is Saturday, May 21. Tastings from 8 local wineries, raffle, silent auction featuring local artists – register here.
(Sponsors for HP Uncorked include WSB.) HPIC is at 12th SW/SW Holden.
Big changes this year for the Highland Park Improvement Club‘s annual wine-tasting fundraiser, Highland Park Uncorked, coming up Saturday, May 21st:
Registration is now open for our 8th Annual Highland Park Uncorked! We are so excited to be planning this event, with a few changes that will be sure to impress you!
Register now, as we’re sure to sell out.
A few noteworthy changes & new events:
*We now provide the wine for you! We’re working with 8 local wineries to bring you some amazing wines to try! So leave your bottles at home, the wine is on us…
*Everyone gets a commemorative glass to take home! Because you are our valued guest and supporting our community, we think you all deserve one.
*Silent art auction! With so many amazing talented artists in our very own neighborhood, we will be highlighting them with a new silent auction, in addition to our regular raffle. Our club is deeply rooted in this community, and it’s a perfect opportunity for us to share some of our local talents with you all.
*Wine Roulette! Test your luck by spinning our wheel and pulling a wrapped wine bottle from our ‘wine cellar,’ ranging from high-end bottles, worthy of sharing with the boss, to barely guest-worthy, but still drinkable. No matter what, you walk away with a bottle, the club gets a donation, and it’s a great opportunity to win a top-quality bottle of wine for a cheap price.
So register now! As a reminder, we book out in tables of 10. So book an entire table, or we’ll put smaller groups together so you can cozy up to some new friends.
(WSB is among the co-sponsors of HP Uncorked again this year.)
That photo is from Nancy, one of two smashed-in vehicle windows she noticed at Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area late today. We’ve had other reader reports lately, and the SPD crime-report map shows nine car-prowl reports in the general Westcrest vicinity in the past month, though that’s likely an undercount, since some don’t report it and some file online, which takes a while to work through the system. While an SPD “car-prowl prevention” one-sheet mentions calling 911, Nancy says today’s victims tried that and were pointed to the non-emergency line, where they gave up while waiting (as we’ve been reporting, the call center has fewer 911 lines while renovations are under way and calltakers are in temporary quarters).
Don’t leave anything in your car; you might not be as “lucky” as one recent victim, whose backpack and wallet were stolen from her car – also via window-smashing – while she was walking her dogs; the backpack was found tossed aside at 14th and Barton, according to the finder, who contacted us while trying to locate the owner. The victim told the finder that hundreds of dollars were run up on the cards in her wallet before she got them canceled.
Some of your West Seattle neighbors have been out doing awesome things this weekend. Thanks to Highland Park Action Committee chair Gunner Scott for the photos and report on Saturday’s HP Community Cleanup:
Thanks to the 15 neighbors who came out to pick up trash at Highland Park Playground; on SW Holden from Highland Parkway to 16th Ave SW; down Highland Parkway to Othello and the 3 traffic circles on 12th Ave SW at Thistle, Cloverdale, and Trenton.
A few more areas of West Seattle have cleanups in the works for this month – stand by for news on those!
12:57 PM: We’re getting word of a big Seattle Police response near Highland Park Way and Holden right now – you might see the Guardian One helicopter helping with the search too. SPD tells us it’s a foot pursuit of someone who ran from police, a possible suspect in a package theft. We’re on the way to find out more.
1 PM: We’re not there yet but hearing via scanner that the suspect might be in custody.
1:14 PM: About all we can verify is that the search is over – helicopter left and police cleared just as we were running up – had to park on the other side of Holden and traffic was too jammed for an easy crossing. Will follow up shortly with media relations in hopes their system has the info.
From last night’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting:
HIGHLAND PARK ELEMENTARY UPDATE: Two years after the school community reached out to its nearest community council, in hopes of enlisting help with its struggle as one of the most-challenged schools in the district, it was time for an update. HPE’s principal, PTA representatives, and School Board director Leslie Harris were among those who spoke. We recorded it on video:
In all, principal Chris Cronas said many good things have happened but many challenges remain. He has been working on social/emotional learning. Also, the school adds a 6-hour preschool next year, and his staff is working with churches and other area groups to identify the preschoolers who will attend.
MYERS PARCELS: Open-space advocates from around the city are coalescing to try to stop the city from selling this land in southeast West Seattle. Mary Fleck from Seattle Green Spaces Coalition spoke to HPAC:
The land is left over from a city land purchase that was originally related to the Joint Training Facility next door. As reported here previously, the mayor earmarked $5 million from the expected future sale to help fund programs to address homelessness. The land is commercially zoned, but advocates believe it’s important as part of the Duwamish River watershed, and could have other future uses. Right now the push is to slow down the process so that there can be more outreach to people in the community who might not be aware of the potential sale plan.
HPIC BUILDING UPDATE: One week after the “eyebrow” collapse, and days after the work party to clean up after it, HPIC reps told HPAC that the remaining overhang has been braced, and now they’re making plans about how to raise money for further repairs. HPIC’s already-planned Uncorked annual wine-tasting fundraiser is coming up on May 21st (WSB is a co-sponsor), and that will pre-empt HPIC’s movie night this month. One more note: They’re considering a fenced area outside so that Corner Bar events in good-weather months can include outdoor imbibing.
HIGHLAND PARK CLEANUP DAY: Get involved in a community cleanup this Saturday! Details on this page of the HPAC website.
Highland Park Action Committee meets fourth Wednesdays, 7 pm at HP Improvement Club. Get updates between meetings at hpacinfo.wordpress.com
1:24 PM: Less than 48 hours after the “eyebrow” of their historic, almost-a-century-old building fell off (WSB coverage here), members, friends, and neighbors of the Highland Park Improvement Club are hard at work getting the debris out of the way. They have enough help, they told us, to be done this afternoon; that help included neighbors who didn’t wait for the announced 11 am start time, as well as someone passing by who asked if they could take some of the plywood off HPIC’s hands.
Next step, shoring up the remaining awning, and they’re putting out a call to West Seattle contractors/construction companies to see if anyone’s willing to help (contact info is on the HPIC website, hpic1919.org). That’s on the south side of the building, along SW Holden, where the sidewalk remains closed until the awning is shored up:
In the short run, they’re hoping to put a brace on that remaining overhang. The building not only is used as a community center by Highland Park groups including HPIC – this Wednesday, for example, it’s scheduled for the regular fourth-Wednesday meeting of the Highland Park Action Committee – it’s also usually busy with classes, rentals, and events including movie nights and the first-Friday Corner Bar.
3:04 PM: As Alan said in comments, no work party tomorrow. Here’s the official message just in from HPIC:
Thanks to all that helped! We just wrapped it up. There will not be a work party tomorrow. Many hands made light work! We do have a small pile of metal next to the large dumpster in case anyone is interested in saving us from cutting it up to size for the recycle bin! It is yours for the taking.
We are also putting out the call for a bonded contractor to remove the awning that has not fallen. We are hoping to hire someone from the neighborhood.
7:11 PM: And the latest on the building’s status:
The debris from the fallen awning is cleaned up, a support post was put under the awning next to Holden and repairs were made to the handrails. We are now back open for classes and meetings. We still have a large dumpster in the middle of the parking lot for removal of the awning on the Holden side. We hope to have that awning removed soon but, until it is, we are not going to be able to support any large rentals or Corner Bar. Hopefully, we will get the rest of the awning removed very soon, as none of us want to miss Corner Bar!
(The next CB would be Friday, May 6th.)
West Seattle’s historic Highland Park Improvement Club building is closed until further notice after an overhang, described as the”eyebrow” of the building, collapsed late today. Nobody was hurt, but the collapse raised safety issues and that means the much-used almost-a-century-old building at 12th and Holden is off-limits for now. Its regular uses include classes – yoga was scheduled tonight – as well as meetings and HPIC events such as Corner Bar and Movie Night; it’s also rented out for special events. We covered its 90th-anniversary celebration in 2009 – read HPIC’s history here – and it’s where we hosted the first candidate forum of last year’s historic City Council District 1 campaign, in February 2015.
Seattle Fire and Police were at the scene to help secure things. So were HPIC leaders, who told us they first heard about this from an apartment resident across the street who reported looking out her window and simply seeing the awning fall down, without even much of a sound. Seattle City Light was en route to check if any power lines were in a precarious spot if the rest of the awning came down. We’ll be following up with HPIC about repair plans and needs.
Celebrate Earth Day weekend by helping out with a community cleanup. We’re mentioning the ones we’ve heard about – yesterday, we featured Saturday’s North Delridge cleanup, and today, this announcement from the Highland Park Elementary School PTA:
Saturday is the second annual HPE Earth Day Cleanup. This year we are working together with the Playground Planning Committee to both clean up the school and design our future playground. The Earth Day portion of the event will meet at the front of the school from 9:00 – 12:00, rain or shine. Come prepared to clean up and beautify the school grounds. The playground planning portion of the event is from 8:00 – 4:00. Come to either event, or both. Stay for 30 minutes, or all day! Coffee and lunch will be provided.
HPE is at 1012 SW Trenton. The Highland Park community also has a series of neighborhood cleanups planned – more on that later – and if you’re looking for volunteers for your cleanup, we’d love to help; e-mail the information to email@example.com – thanks!