West Seattle, Washington
The one-on-one Reading Partners tutoring program is in danger at Highland Park Elementary, according to volunteer tutor Dina Johnson, who’s organizing a campaign to save it. “All the tutors wish to continue. We have established a close rapport with students and watched them progress. We know this is one of the under-performing schools in Seattle. Over 50% of the kids aren’t reading at grade level. So we decided to try raising the funds – $30,000. Deadline is July 15th.” They’ve set up a crowdfunding page here; there’ll also be a free Summer Book Swap event 1 pm June 25th at Highland Park Improvement Club – more information to come. And look for Dina at the Westwood Village Street Fair Saturday, with a table in front of Giannoni’s Pizza on the south side of the center.
That’s the new Snack Shack for West Seattle Baseball, and you’re invited to the Pee-Wee Fields at Riverview Playfield this Saturday to celebrate it, and to watch championship games. We heard about this from Megan Varner, a WS Baseball board member who has run the Snack Shack for the past three years. She explains, “We finally got a new Snack Shack after 15+ years, through large donations and fundraising!” They’re still adding the finishing touches – “literally … down to the final minute” to get ready for Saturday: “A lot of local sponsors donated time and work to pull this off. Great community effort.”
The “grand reopening” will start around 11 am Saturday, with a ribboncutting planned at 11:45 am, followed by the Pinto and Mustang season championship games starting at 1 pm. Megan says, “It will be a day filled with food, games, and baseball!”
P.S. Megan says special thanks goes to: “Eric Moe of JEM Contractors and Mark Hubbard of Grindline Skate Parks did all concrete work. Big thanks to O’Neill Plumbing for their help, and our many sponsors this season, as well as several WS families who went above and beyond to support this effort.”
As mentioned in our West Seattle Thursday highlights this morning, Highland Park Elementary School‘s playground project has a dine-out fundraiser continuing this evening at Zippy’s Giant Burgers in White Center (open until 9 at 9614 14th SW). We recently asked the HPE PTA how the project is going, since the city mentioned some grant money had been awarded. Here’s the update from PTA vice president Connie Wolf:
After three years of work on our playground project, we are ready to break through the asphalt. Construction drawings from the Pomegranate Center along with funding from the Neighborhood Matching Fund’s Community Partnership Fund and King County Youth Sports Facilities Grant have us set to build Phase 1 of our new playground.
This phase will include installation of a net climber, hill slides, a boulder scramble, an ADA ramp, and a new welcoming community entryway. Two key principles of the design are a natural landscape that encourages imaginative play for our children and a welcoming place for our school and neighborhood.
In order to ensure the funds on hand will cover all of the construction work, we had to pull certain elements out of our base bid. Gateway artwork, landscaping, and a seat wall are pieces of this phase that we are currently fundraising for.
Phase 1 should be completed this fall, and then we will begin working toward the second half of the project which will include more play equipment: a tree deck, log steps, and boulder stacks.
You can support the HPE playground project by participating in our dine outs (thank you Proletariat Pizza, Zippy’s Giant Burgers, Chipotle, and Mioposto), attending our fall playground celebration (currently being planned), and volunteering in our work parties (more info on that to come).
Thank you to everyone who has helped to create this incredible play space for our children.
Meet Stannis. He’s the 10-week-old Newfoundland puppy who’s just joined the family of Dutchboy Coffee proprietor Jenni Watkins, and today he’s making his public debut at the stand in Highland Park.
When the stand opened in January, we introduced you to its namesake – Dutchboy the Newfoundland. Heartbreakingly, he died a few months ago. While no beloved pet can ever be replaced, there’s room in the heart to love again, and so here’s Stannis of Court Royal. You can stop by and say hi until 1 pm today; he’ll make other periodic appearances. And any time this month, there’s something else special to see at The Dutchboy:
The stand has been featuring local artists, and Jenni’s husband Todd Watkins created the photography that’s on display this month – you can admire it from the ordering window while you’re getting your coffee. The Dutchboy is on the northeast corner of 16th and Holden.
6:47 PM: Seattle Fire is calling out a “full response” for a possible house fire in the 9000 block of 12th SW [map].
6:50 PM: The response is already being downsized.
7:02 PM: Our crew reports that while there’s some smoke, there’s no sign of fire, and the SFD units there haven’t even rolled out the hoses. Photo added above.
7:28 PM: Firefighters tell us they traced the smoke to a kiln that was in use. No fire, no injuries; they’re ventilating so the resident can go back inside.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
New hope that the Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout will get designed and built – that was the big news during last night’s Highland Park Find It, Fix It Walk, which brought Mayor Murray and an armada of city reps to the neighborhood. Most prominent among them, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who got to announce the roundabout breakthrough in her own neighborhood, when the 4th of 6 preplanned stops took walkers to the top of the HP Way hill: $200,000 to turn the “concept” you see above into a buildable design.
First, Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Michele Witzki recounted the long history of the intersection’s troubles:
There’s WSB coverage for all those incidents she mentioned – including the flipped-car-gas-leak incident in March 2016. We’ve also covered the years of HP trying to get the ~$2 million roundabout beyond “conceptual design” stage, efforts that left residents skeptical in advance of last night’s walk. Meantime, here’s Councilmember Herbold announcing the design funding, and SDOT’s Jim Curtin talking about a meeting with one group that could help the city get the money to build it:
Transportation was a big topic during the walk. A short distance west along busy SW Holden, site of preplanned stops #2 and #3, Alan Robertson had talked about the side-street speeding problem caused by people trying to dodge its backups:
SDOT says it’s working on more safety features – the 11th/Holden flashing-beacon crosswalk was just a start – including a raised crosswalk on Myrtle.
SDOT’s walk presence included a briefly fiery pothole-fixing demonstration:
Pothole demo during Find It Fix It Walk / fiery! pic.twitter.com/QD3CI4vDMn
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 26, 2017
Part of the purpose of the FIFI Walks is to tout the city’s app of the same name, which you can use to report problems including potholes (those can be reported via the city website, too). But the concerns and requests in Highland Park are much bigger, too – as are the aspirations and community-initiated work that’s already been going on for years. The first stop on the walk was Riverview Playfield, where Paul West talked about trail work and plans in the nearby West Duwamish Greenbelt as well as needs at the playfield itself.
You can find out more about the ongoing West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails work by going here. Also at Riverview, the city recapped the good news that we reported earlier this week – the arson-damaged restroom/storage building will be fixed and reopened this year – starting with roof work in July.
As with many of West Seattle’s hilly neighborhoods, Highland Park has stairways in need of TLC, and the one at 14th and Holden was stop #5. Then the group continued down Holden to the final stop, the former substation on the southwest corner of 16th and Holden. Its future remains in question – City Light intends to sell it; the community has asked that it be rezoned to allow commercial development, to enhance Highland Park’s business district – a nearby entrepreneur, Jenni Watkins of Dutchboy Coffee on the southeast corner, spoke briefly about the joys and challenges of running a small business:
Also at the final stop, Brennon Staley of the Office of Planning and Community Development, talking about the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) as well as site-specific information:
Mayor Murray picked up the growth/zoning topic:
He also closed out the walk there by declaring it to be the most positive one of the 23 that have happened so far (two others were in West Seattle – North Delridge in 2015, Westwood/Roxhill last year).
The event began with a mini-resource fair in the patio and parking-lot areas outside Highland Park Improvement Club, whose scrappy history was recounted by Julie Schickling:
The welcomes also included words of praise for Highland Park neighborhood advocates from Councilmember Herbold, who, as mentioned, is a neighbor:
The mayor gave opening remarks there too, explaining the purpose of the FIFI Walks, and introduced the highest-ranking city reps on hand, as well as giving shoutouts to the walk’s organizers:
Will there be a fourth Find It, Fix It Walk in West Seattle next year? Depends on which of the 21 mayoral candidates succeeds Murray, and whether they decide to continue the program. In the meantime, participants from this one have a group photo as a souvenir, taken near the site of the aforementioned roundabout announcement:
(We’ll substitute the official city photo if and when we get it. Seattle Channel was along for the walk, too, and we’ll be watching for their report.)
P.S. One more group view – we recorded this at the Riverview stop:
P.P.S. While at HPIC before the walk, we talked with some city reps about non-HP events/projects of interest – watch for those stories soon!
Among the city officials in Highland Park for tonight’s Find It, Fix It Walk was George Scarola, director of homelessness. We took the opportunity to ask him if anything had changed regarding the city’s non-prioritization of the unauthorized RV camp that started setting up off 2nd SW between Highland Park Way and West Marginal Way two weeks ago. He told us the city in fact had just posted a warning there today that those on the state-owned site will have to clear out by June 1st. While, Scarola said, they understand that the campers are trying to set up a self-managed community, the site is just not suitable for camping, and the state has other plans for it.
6:54 PM: After gathering at Highland Park Improvement Club, community members and city officials are headed to Riverview Playfield, first scheduled stop on tonight’s Find It, Fix It Walk. See the route here and join along the way! We’ll be updating on Twitter with a full report here later.
7:58 PM: 2nd to last stop – the 14th/Holden stairway.
8:20 PM: The mayor, who left the spotlight to others most of the way, concluded the walk by declaring it the most positive one he had been on. Details, photos, video
later on Friday morning!
Some promising news about one of the stops set for Thursday night’s Find It, Fix It Walk in Highland Park. It’s the long-closed, arson-damaged restroom/storage building at Riverview Playfield. As we’ve reported previously, community members are concerned that the building has yet to be fixed and reopened, almost a year after last year’s arson -and at one point were told that it might be up to six years before repairs could be funded. But Christina Hirsch of Seattle Parks tells WSB that funding for repair and restoration has been secured. Hirsch told WSB’s Randall Hauk that the Seattle Park District has approved $202,000 for the work.
Parks will now work with city purchasing and contracting on details for the management of the project. Though there is no set deadline yet for completion of repairs, Hirsch says the hope is to finish by the end of the year. She adds that the schedule and scope of the project will be posted on the Riverview Playfield webpage as it becomes available. Meantime, portable restrooms will remain in place at the much-used fields until the permanent facility.
P.S. If you haven’t already seen it, the route, starting place, and other information about Thursday night’s walk – starting at 6:30 pm from Highland Park Improvement Club (where you can gather starting an hour before that) – is here.
One week before the city’s Highland Park Find It, Fix It Walk – first announced, casually, more than three months ago – the starting point, starting time, and route map have just been made public. Click the image above for a full-size PDF of the plan. The walk will start at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden) at 6:30 pm, but you’re invited to HPIC as early as 5:30 pm for refreshments and mingling. The stops planned with community leaders are listed on the map and include some of Highland Park’s key unresolved issues, including traffic at Highland Park Way/Holden, this winter’s major mudslide down the HP Way hill, the unrepaired, arson-damaged restroom at Riverview Playfield, side-street speeding, and more. Meantime, from today’s route announcement, a few notes from the city Department of Neighborhoods:
Participants can use the Find It, Fix It mobile app on the walk. This smartphone app offers mobile users one more way to report selected issues to the City. Make sure to download the app before the walk.
In partnership with Cities of Service, the City will offer up to $3,000 in grants for community-led projects to each 2017 Find It, Fix It Walk neighborhood. The Highland Park Community Project Grant Application is available at seattle.gov/finditfixit until June 8. If you have an idea for a project in Highland Park please apply today!
Something new for one of our area’s liveliest community facilities! The photos and report are from Dina Lydia Johnson:
The 98-year-old Highland Park Improvement Club, a neighborhood gathering place, finally has permanent signage! This is something we’ve been wanting and needing for many years.
The design was developed by committee: Kay Kirkpatrick (photo above), Dina Johnson (photo below), Julie Schickling, and Nicole Mazza over the past year or more.
The new signage graces the area of the facade where the “eyebrow” fell last year. Meantime, more scenes from the installation, featuring HPIC trustees Blair Johnson and Billy Markham:
Dina adds, “It’s done just in time to be wildly celebrated at the Club’s annual festive wine-tasting fundraiser Highland Park Uncorked, this Saturday, May 20th. Thanks to ALL!” Find out more about Uncorked (with sponsors including WSB) on the HPIC website.
Highland Park’s Find It, Fix It Walk is now a week and a half away – the evening of Thursday, May 25th – but there’s a lot left to plan, and Tuesday’s your chance to help do that. Just be at Highland Park Elementary (1012 SW Trenton), 6:30 pm (May 16th). The walk’s start time and route still have to be set, and while there’s already a long list of potential topics, it’s not too late to add your idea, and help shape which stops/topics are chosen. The proposed starting spots for the FIFI Walk, for example, are either Riverview Playfield or Highland Park Improvement Club, and this post on the Highland Park Action Committee website lists the potential stops/topics discussed so far.
So far, it looks like the city does not plan any immediate action about the new, unauthorized RV camp in east West Seattle. We checked back there late today, one day after getting word it was setting up on vacant state-owned land toward the east end of the original 2008 “Nickelsville” encampment site, off 2nd SW between West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW. We were told five more RVs had arrived today, bringing the total there to about 15, and that some government entity had dropped off trash bags for them to use. Their status, they said, remains unclear.
This morning, we had updated our original story with information from Julie Moore, a spokesperson for the city’s homelessness-related efforts. She had told us the Navigation Team was out at the site assessing the situation. This afternoon, she reiterated that the city had not directed campers there, and that it’s a site WSDOT intends to use this summer as “the staging area for the critical I-5 resurfacing project.” She also reiterated that if any of these RVs’ owners were told to move, it was a parking-enforcement issue, not a camp sweep.
That said, Moore added:
While the site is not authorized for camping, nor is it an appropriate place to do so due to WSDOT’s use and activity there, the City prioritizes encampment removals based on several issues, including health and safety. The City has been focusing its efforts on mitigating the most hazardous encampments, particularly those:
Where individuals are sleeping outside in tents.
In locations that are physically unsafe for the individual or surrounding community (e.g., along busy roads, ledges, sidewalks).
That have become so large that trash, hazardous structures and negative behavior become too problematic.
Where there is a public health threat to the campers or surrounding community.
With those priorities in mind, the City is spending the next two weeks focusing on addressing the extensive illegal encampments along I-90/Rainier Avenue/Dearborn Street. More on those efforts, including the outreach efforts underway since May 1, can be found (here).
While a WSDOT rep was looped into our e-mail exchange with Moore, we have no direct comment from the state yet on whether they will allow the vehicle campers to stay on the site. We did ask a camper how they entered it; they said the chain-link fencing at the entrance was not locked, and had numerous openings. Both the state- and city-owned sections of the site were ringed with chain-link fencing after the last encampment there was evicted in 2013.
(If you can’t spare 3 minutes, the stop-sign-running is particularly prolific in the final minute-plus)
That video was recorded in November at 17th SW and SW Trenton by area resident Darryll Wolf. He sent it to various city reps then – and sent it again yesterday, after a close call. This time, we were on the CC list. His e-mail:
Dear SDOT, SPD, and Councilmember Herbold,
(Thursday) morning, as I was running to catch the bus to work at 7:53 am, a driver accelerated into and through the intersection at SW Trenton Street and 17th Ave SW, refusing to stop at the stop sign while I was in the lane! She did this as I was in front of her car, forcing me to run backward to avoid being hit. I’ve reported rampant violations at this intersection before and was even hit by one car (hit and run) and nearly hit by several others in the past several months. I shared this 3-minute video in this same email thread in November showing fully 85% of drivers fail to stop or yield right of way at this clearly signed intersection.
The incident this morning felt like a deliberate attempt by the driver to threaten or injure me with her car. I am very worried about my own safety as well as the safety of my family and neighbors who live, work, and play along the 17th Ave SW greenway.
In 2016, the Seattle Greenways project team created this new sanctioned pedestrian and bicycle greenway on 17th Ave SW north of SW Henderson Street and then placed stop signs at each of the east-west intersections along the greenway where no stop signs had ever existed for likely near 100 years. But they and SDOT failed to do any awareness campaign or enforcement follow-up to ensure the safety of those who use the greenway. I am disappointed that after having reported the frequent violations and one known hit and run at 17th and Trenton in the past few months to SPD, CPT, and the Greenways project team, we have only seen about an hour of SPD enforcement at this intersection with no ticketing for violations, and the Greenways team and SDOT have been a complete no-show here.
I have been documenting the continued pattern of violations at the 17th and Trenton intersection since last November and will continue to report this problem to SPD. I have reported similar incidents of speeding and aggressive or threatening driving through school crossing zones, and the general failure to yield to pedestrians along 16th Ave SW, and along SW Trenton Street from Delridge to 16th Ave SW. But I have seen zero SPD presence in those areas during rush hour and have never seen a single person ticketed for this blatant and common recklessness.
As the increased densification under HALA upzoning increase car, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic in our area, it is my hope that SPD, SDOT, and the City will take this seriously and do real traffic calming, enforcement, and ticketing before we see people killed by reckless drivers. Throughout the area from 16th Ave SW to SW Delridge, between Holden and Roxbury, there are many children and public transit users who are vulnerable to death and disfigurement by reckless drivers every day. And these drivers must be shown that traffic laws are not optional and that drivers cannot threaten and maim pedstrians with their cars with impunity. We need your help to send this message!
I look forward to hearing from SPD, CPT, SDOT, and the City in the near term on how each of you plan to address this very real public safety issue in our area. I am happy to discuss this in person or over a phone call if it will result in quick action.
From the list to whom Wolff sent the video, the first response (at least, the first to the entire CC list including us) was from Councilmember Herbold:
I watched your video and I’m aghast that of a dozen cars going through that intersection over the 3 minutes you filmed, only two cars made a complete stop at the stop sign. By the way of this message, I’m asking that Chief Davis consider an enforcement at this intersection. Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of pedestrian safety.
As mentioned here Thursday morning, SPD’s Traffic Unit chief, Capt. Eric Sano, is the scheduled guest for the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council next Tuesday (7 pm May 16th), so if you have neighborhood concerns, it’s a good time to bring them up.
FIRST REPORT, 5:53 PM THURSDAY: Just yards from where the city almost set up an “RV safe lot” last year before scrapping the idea, an unofficial RV camp is taking shape right now. We just visited the site on the east end of the land twice inhabited by the tent camp that called itself “Nickelsville,” after finding out about the RVs’ move via e-mail sent to us and other media outlets. That e-mail said that the RVs headed this way after “Seattle Police provided a 3-day notice to random RVs [in industrial areas of SODO] that their RVs and vehicles – and personal belongings inside them – would be towed and impounded today, 5/11/17.”
The site is state-owned; we counted about 10 RVs during our short visit to find out what was happening. A camper named Rebecca told us more are expected, and that police and state troopers were at the site earlier. The vehicles are parked just inside a gate off 2nd Avenue SW, between Highland Park Way SW and W. Marginal Way SW (south of the marker on this map).
The city’s proposed “safe lot” – a plan officially scrapped in March 2016 – would have been to the west along West Marginal, on a paved lot adjacent to the city-owned encampment site that was cleared three years ago. The announcement of the new unofficial camp notes, “The City of Seattle’s 2016 plan to assist homeless people living in RVs has largely been abandoned. This is an independent effort to find a safe site.” We won’t be able to find out anything from SPD or WSP until tomorrow.
ADDED 9:18 AM FRIDAY: We just heard back from Julie Moore, spokesperson for the city’s homelessness-related efforts. She tells WSB: “The City did not direct people to this site.” They first heard yesterday that “an unauthorized encampment had set up at that property.” She also says that regarding RV campers allegedly being chased there from SODO, “There was no encampment cleanup effort going on in SoDo this week. Any notices about RVs needing to move would have come from SPD parking enforcement.” Meantime, the Navigation Team is “visiting the site to assess the situation this morning.” It’s “not appropriate for camping,” she added, because “it will soon be used for staging for critical I-5 construction work this summer.”
Thanks for the tips. We just checked out what was reported as a sizable police response in Highland Park, near 12th and Thistle. It’s wrapping up; responders at the scene tell us it involved a “person in crisis.” No injuries, we’re told.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
First, Delridge in 2015 …
Then, Roxhill/Westwood in 2016 …
Next, Highland Park in 2017.
Though it was semi-announced in early February, the date wasn’t set until very recently: Thursday, May 25th. The start time and route are not set yet. Those will be discussed at a series of meetings starting next week, according to two city/AmeriCorps reps who coordinate the Find It, Fix It Walks. Lemmis Stephens and Paige Madden came to HPAC’s meeting to talk about preparations for the event, starting with a public planning meeting next week. And they got an earful of skepticism and concerns, much along the lines of – “so, we find it, AND we then have to fix it?” from people who already spend much of their time volunteering for community-improvement projectsRead More
8:12 PM: Seattle Fire and Police are on their way to a crash reported to have injured a motorcycle rider in the 900 block of SW Holden, west of Highland Park Way [map]. Dispatch radio indicates this was reported as a hit-run with a driver having left the scene. More as we get it.
8:17 PM: The crash is now described as closer to 11th SW/Holden, blocking eastbound Holden in that area, and a private ambulance is being dispatched, suggesting non-life-threatening injuries.
8:29 PM: Police at the scene confirm that the rider, described only as male, is being taken to the hospital by an AMR ambulance, and that they are looking for a hit-run driver in connection with the crash. No description so far.
Thanks for the texted tip: A man was taken to the hospital after that crash at 13th SW and SW Henderson in Highland Park. Police say he is the driver of the black car and suffered injuries including a broken leg after crashing into the parked RV on the north side of SW Henderson. The cause remains under investigation; the weather is rainy as well as windy and was a full-on downpour while we were at the scene.
While the transformation of Metro Route 120 into the RapidRide H Line is three years away, major decisions are being made now, and this is the time to bring up concerns to SDOT and Metro, both leading the project because city dollars are helping pay for it. Since the new planning phase revved up last month, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSB coverage here) and Delridge Neighborhoods District Council (WSB coverage here) have hosted discussions/briefings. And this week, it’s the centerpiece of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council agenda (6:15 pm Tuesday, Southwest Library). The WWRHAH agenda says the discussion with SDOT/Metro reps will include “mobility issues surrounding the Westwood Village ‘transit hub’ and the Westwood/Highland Park Urban Village.” All are welcome; the library’s on the southeast corner of 35th SW and SW Henderson.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Riverview Playfield needs some TLC – including repairs for a restroom damaged by fire last year, the Highland Park Action Committee agreed last night, during a meeting that spanned a wide range of neighborhood concerns:
RIVERVIEW TLC AND FIRE REPAIRS: With improvements completed and under way at Westcrest Park and Highland Park, HPAC talked about supporting some attention for Riverview Playfield. Its then-three-year-old restroom/storage building was set on fire last June and still hasn’t been fixed; HPIC member Craig Rankin reported contacting Seattle Parks recently to ask about that and being told that staff is working on an estimate so it can be added to an “asset list” to be handled sometime in 2018-2023.
The fields are popular for sports, including being the home of West Seattle Baseball, so potential revenue loss for the city was discussed. HPAC hopes to have this and other Riverview needs on the list of stops for the Highland Park “Find It, Fix It Walk“ later this year.
Speaking of which …
WAITING TO FIND OUT ABOUT ‘FIND IT, FIX IT’: The plan to have one in HP was announced by a city rep almost two months ago at a community meeting about the sanctioned encampment on Myers Way. But there’s been no word of the date or of the start of a planning process.
So HPAC’s going to start talking about where they want to go on the walk and what they want to see accomplished. Besides Riverview, the Highland Park Way/Holden intersection – for which locals have long been trying to get safety upgrades – will be a prime spot to visit.
Speaking of the encampment …
COMMUNITY ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR CAMP SECOND CHANCE: HPAC chair Gunner Scott asked if anyone would be able to represent HPAC on this newly formed group, part of the deal for the city sanctioning of the encampment. Scott noted that some of the services that they’ve requested for the camp and vicinity – lighting, Dumpster, etc. – are showing up (we recently reported the lighting installation). HPAC members also talked about getting solicited to join some of the regional groups that have sprung up to campaign against camps, and while HPAC has concerns about the city’s policies and plans, they’re skeptical of the groups’ motives and memberships and not planning to join.
YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE: Also on the community-advisory front, this ongoing new city process for vetting potential street/park grant projects was the subject of a discussion similar to the one at the Admiral Neighborhood Association last week – that the process as it is now is not nearly as effective and thorough as the old one done through district councils, where presentations of projects for review would include information from neighborhood residents who know the area. Scott had been to one of the “project development” meetings where he said people were asking each other, do you know this area? Is this something that’s needed?
It was also noted that $285,000 per council district seems to be less than was allocated before – “$2.85 per person,” as one attendee noted, since West Seattle has ~100,000. Also, chair Scott noted, the grant process has been under way for so many years, there should be an existing list of needs “instead of making us go through this crazy process.” And Scott noted that all the complaints about district councils not reaching out to enough people don’t seem to have been acted on by the city – and now they’ve turned what was a two-meeting process into a four-meetings-and-more process. One person said it was great that there were so many ideas from West Seattle – more than 200 (as reported here).
HPAC is considering sending a letter with the suggestion that basic needs be addressed in the future before another round of new ideas is solicited. Another suggestion was that proposals, especially those made repeatedly, exist in “living documents” within the city somewhere so there can be reference – “since this was first proposed in 1986, the population has tripled” type of information. One person said that it’s frustrating to see projects get requested year after year, but some projects not requested turn up seemingly overnight.
HPAC leadership will talk more about the issue. Co-chair Michele Witzki suggested getting a rep from Feet First to come talk with the group so they can learn more about effective advocacy.
CRIME UPDATES: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith presented the latest info as the meeting began: Auto theft is up, car prowls are down. Property crimes overall are down a third.
This week’s Seaview package-theft arrest was a springboard for a discussion of how security cameras really help police. Lt. Smith said, “The quality is so good – it’s amazing. For each car prowler or package thief we arrest, they’re good for many, many more.”
Would the precinct consider offering training on security-camera use and best practices? Lt. Smith will look into it. Maybe, he said, that could be a project for former intern Jennifer Burbridge, who he said has been hired as a full-time crime analyst – the first time the Southwest Precinct has had one.
A few more minutes of discussion with Lt. Smith touched on derelict properties, trespass agreements, and how to complain to the city. One attendee said it’s clear the rules/laws have to change – and that it’s time for citizens to apply pressure on that.
NEW LOOK FOR HPAC: Chair Scott had big props for artist Dina Lydia of digital-genie.com, who designed the new logo for the group (and took the photo below featuring the logo with, from left, Witzki, Scott, HPIC’s Christie Sjostrom, and Rankin):
HPAC will also be sending postcards to more than 2,000 people in the Highland Park area to let them know. They hope, among other things, to reduce community confusion between HPAC and HPIC (which is a community group too but not a community council – as the latter, HPAC addresses issues and takes action on them).
EVENTS AHEAD: HPAC hopes to have a neighborhood cleanup/barbecue this summer … HPIC events ahead include Corner Bar on April 7, Art Lounge on April 14, and the annual Uncorked benefit on May 20th – tickets will go on sale April 7th … watch for more info at hpic1919.org.
Highland Park Action Committee meets fourth Wednesdays most months, 7 pm, at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th/Holden).
That’s our video from the “grand entrance” during last year’s Niksokowaaks Community Pow-Wow at Highland Park Elementary. Organizers of this year’s Pow-Wow are inviting you, your neighbors, and everyone in the community to join them this year: “There will be incredible dancing, beautiful arts and crafts from vendors all over the United States, delicious food, and drumming.” It’s happening 6-10 pm Friday inside HPE, 1012 SW Trenton. Its main goal, organizers add, is to “help support the Native youth” in the community, especially in deepening their connection with Native culture, and to bring everyone together “to share in this celebration.” Here’s the flyer with more info.
Sometimes what sounds like gunfire turns out to be fireworks – or something else – unless evidence is found, such as casings and/or property damage. What you see above is evidence. A neighbor shared the photo and this report from Highland Park:
Last night at around 9:45 pm, we heard load gunshots near our house on 10th and Elmgrove [map] and a car speeding away. We called 911 as did some of our neighbors. This morning my husband found bullet casings in the intersection, underneath the 10th and Elmgrove sign. He called the police again; they came out, collected the bullets, and took his statement.
We are feeling very rattled today. Even though we live near some dangerous spots like 16th and Holden, we’ve never had gunshots this close to our home. This street (10th Ave SW) is home to lots of kids and Highland Park Elementary.
If you saw something related to this and haven’t reported it – you can call police at 206-625-5011 and refer to incident 17-097562. And if you hear what you think is gunfire anywhere, even if you’re not sure where it’s coming from, call 911 to report it ASAP – the more calls they get, the better the chances of finding evidence, a suspect, and/or … if there is one … a victim. (Consider then letting us know for Crime Watch, as this neighbor did.)
P.S. SPD’s SeaStat data reviews track “shots fired” around the city to look for trends; the last page of this slide deck from the most-recent briefing shows that confirmed gunfire incidents are up slightly citywide so far this year, compared to last.