West Seattle, Washington
With three nights to go till the first of two city-organized public forums on the two potential city-jail sites that are in southeast West Seattle, the Highland Park Action Committee got together again tonight to strategize in advance. Part of their plan is to research and counter some of the documents the city is citing as reasons why a jail wouldn’t be detrimental to this community (or either of the other two with potential sites). In particular, they are poking holes in this study posted on the city’s jail-info website, taking issue in particular with whether that federal study has any relevance to effects a jail might have here:
That’s HPAC’s Kathleen Voss, saying that trying to apply the findings of that study to the situation here is a real case of apples-and-oranges. HPAC chair Dorsol Plants also noted that even where there might be economic activity tied to a jail, the money from jail workers buying lunch in Highland Park, as he put it, would not outweigh the money lost by families that wouldn’t buy homes in HP because of a jail nearby. HPAC continues its activism on a variety of fronts, including an online petition that’s linked from its jail-info page, but the next big focus is Thursday night’s city forum, 6-9 pm at 9125 15th Place S. in South Park (map). HPAC will hold its next monthly meeting July 21 (7 pm, HP Improvement Club), so members will have a chance to confer before the city’s second public forum (July 26, 9 am, South Seattle Community College). But as Plants warned tonight’s 50 or so attendees, “It’s going to be a long fight.” To catch up with all WSB coverage on the jail-sites fight, check out the newest-to-oldest archive page here.
L to R in this photo from Seattle Public Schools‘ “School Beat”: Zenaida Lopez and Nita Tino (West Seattle Elementary); Cynthia Linder (Cooper Elementary); Pauline Hance (Highland Park Elementary); Carmen Maymi O’Reilly, Family Support Worker and parent leader trainer; and Ayaan Aden (Cooper).
We often get – and share – info from Seattle Public Schools celebrating achievements by students and teachers. SPS’ latest newsletter also includes this bit of news about what a group of parents — most with ties to West Seattle schools — is doing:
Ten parent leaders at five elementary schools coordinated and implemented more than 22 family engagement events this school year which impacted more than 2,360 family members. Seattle Public Schoolsâ€™ Readiness To Learn (RTL) project began training parent leaders in 2006 and will have trained 24 by June 2009. Parent leaders are identified by principals and staff, and have natural skills in connecting with others. They receive training in cross-cultural communication, effective leadership, how to help others navigate schools and the critical things parents and families can do to support their childrenâ€™s school success. Schools with active parent leader programs are: Cooper, Dearborn Park, Highland Park, T.T. Minor, and West Seattle elementary schools. The RTL program is exploring ways to expand to additional schools next year.
First: The city has added more information to the “public outreach” page of the seattle.gov section focusing on the jail proposal. See it here; it includes this link to information gathered from 50 community leaders (including Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding, who gave us the heads-up that this info is now online – thanks!) during the process that narrowed a list of potential sites down to four, including two in southeast West Seattle (see the map above). SECOND: King County Councilmember Dow Constantine‘s has provided more information on the county ordinance officially proposed today, as first mentioned by Constantine during Monday night’s Highland Park meeting (WSB coverage here), to extend the contract the county has with cities for handling misdemeanor inmates, till a “regional solution” can be found rather than a patchwork of city jails like a prospective new one for Seattle. Councilmember Larry Gossett is the main sponsor, with all others joining as co-sponsors. It now moves to the Committee of the Whole, which Constantine chairs, where a committee hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 9:30 am June 16th. Read the first version of the ordinance here. After that hearing, the next meetings scheduled on the jail-sites issue are Highland Park’s meeting on June 23 (get the latest at the Highland Park Action Committee site) and the city-organized meetings – June 26 in South Park, July 26 at SSCC (full details here).
(photo added 3:40 pm)
ORIGINAL REPORT: Thanks to those who have called/e-mailed about the major police presence in the 16th/Trenton vicinity (map) and beyond — police tell us they are looking for an armed-robbery suspect who got away on foot. Working to get info on what/where was robbed. 3 PM UPDATE: More information from Detective Nick Bauer at SWP: Officers are going through neighborhoods in the late 8000s/9000 block areas of 16th and 17th looking for the robber, who held up the GameStop store on Roxbury with a gun. He even pointed the gun at an officer at one point but managed to get away. We’ll keep you updated on the search as we find out more. 3:18 PM UPDATE: Lt. Steve Paulsen just confirmed that the suspect has been arrested. 3:33 PM UPDATE: GameStop has this sign on the front door.
Police were still inside the store interviewing employees about the incident as of 3:20 pm. We have a phone call and email into their coporate headquarters in Texas to see when the store might reopen.
That’s a video look at the crowd — about 100 people — from tonight’s Highland Park meeting, where neighbors gathered to further strategize opposition to two nearby sites on the city’s list of four potential locations for a new jail — the ones shown in these city aerials:
The crowd got support from King County Councilmember Dow Constantine and State Rep. Sharon Nelson, both of whom had said previously they’re opposing the sites. Constantine also unveiled a proposal that he thinks could render the city’s search a moot point — more on that, including clips from his energetic speech and Nelson’s remarks — ahead:Read More
Out front at that Highland Park house, you see the start of a wheelchair ramp. This weekend, volunteers hope to finish renovating the house inside and out for the person who needs it, Addie Killam, a West Seattle native who is on a long road to recovery after a freak surfing injury (original WSB coverage here). They are asking for help with what they call “the big push” — in particular, anybody with hardwood-floor-refinishing experience. Full details on what’s needed, where, and when can be found on this site detailing the ongoing project.
LINK #1: Highland Park Action Committee‘s website now has the promised page compiling information in the group’s fight against the two proposed city-jail sites in southeast WS.
Those are some of the 100-plus people who packed the Highland Park Improvement Club on Monday night to find out why two of the four potential city-jail sites are in their backyard (previous WSB coverage here), and to decide what to do about it. One revelation in a city rep’s presentation particularly galled them — hear about it, and see the map we made afterward, straight ahead:Read More
Just back from Highland Park, where more than 100 people gathered to declare themselves ready to fight the possibility that a city jail might be built on one of two sites in southeast West Seattle. They heard from a city project representative as well as a communications consultant assigned to the project, and one revelation that raised eyebrows was that the city apparently had not yet mapped out the proximity of schools to the four finalist sites (the other two are in the north end). We’ll be overlaying the location of the nearest schools onto our Google map of the two WS sites for the full report on this meeting coming up later tonight in a separate post.
As mentioned over the weekend, the two southeast West Seattle sites (mapped here) on the list of four possible locations for a new city misdemeanor-offender jail are on the agenda at tonight’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting (7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club at 11th/Holden; map). We just confirmed that West Seattle’s County Councilmember Dow Constantine and State Rep. Sharon Nelson will be writing letters to city leadership to express opposition to building the jail at either of those sites. (We’ll be checking with West Seattle’s other legislators too.)
With temperatures still in the 80s as Saturday night began, Highland Park Elementary truly had a tropical-island atmosphere for its luau last night. (Above, video of a young dancer who was one of many entertainers, getting a little help from a young assistant; shortly afterward, other kids were invited up on stage to get a chance to sway to the island music.) A little education sneaked in with the entertainment and luau food — with info about recycling on display at the back of the cafeteria. We hadn’t been inside Highland Park Elementary before – it’s a beautiful school inside and out (see photo below), built in 1999 (background here) to replace a 1921 building, at 10th and Trenton.
Monday night’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting is likely to be lively – the agenda includes the city’s recent announcement of two jail sites almost literally in Highland Park’s back yard (click on the map above for exact addresses). While covering an unrelated event in Highland Park (neighborhood map) tonight, we received a copy of a bright yellow flyer neighbors are circulating, with text exhorting those concerned to “attend what may be the most important meeting for our revitalized neighborhood.” To recap – the city is deciding whether to build a jail for misdemeanor offenders, and a week and a half ago announced that the list of potential sites is down to four (WSB coverage here), including these two. A decision is expected later this year. A section of the city website is now devoted to this potential project (see it here) and the city has hired a consulting firm, The Keller Group, for public outreach; a representative, Cynthia Scheiderer, attended the Southwest District Council meeting in West Seattle shortly after the jail-sites announcement week before last. We checked with Scheiderer on Friday to see where things stand; she told us, “We’re working hard right now to get community meetings planned and scheduled; no dates/locations are set just yet but will be soon and we’ll keep you posted. … There will be multiple opportunities for people to attend meetings and they’ll be held June/July. Also, we’re happy to attend community meetings and provide handouts of the maps/information and take questions and comments.” She also provided us a contact on the city team working on the jail-site project, and we’ll be talking with them next week for another update. Meantime, the Highland Park Action Committee meeting is at 7 pm Monday, at the Highland Park Improvement Club, 11th & Holden (map); the HPAC website is at highlandpk.net; the city’s accepting comments/questions through this webpage.
*We first told you yesterday morning about the deaths of a couple in a 2nd/Roxbury home. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office confirms it was a case of murder-suicide; 48-year-old Traci Creamer, the first person murdered in West Seattle in 2008, died of head injuries and suspected strangulation blamed on her 44-year-old husband Jeffrey Creamer, whose death from wrist wounds was ruled a suicide. As we reported yesterday, police say they had a long history of domestic violence. Online court records we checked appear to bear that out.
*The city’s list of more than 30 potential jail sites for misdemeanor offenders is down to four, and two are on the eastern edge of West Seattle: Highland Park Way/W. Marginal Way (map) and 9501 Myers Way (map). According to Delridge Neighborhood Services Center Coordinator Ron Angeles, community meetings are expected this summer.
See that bun? It almost kept Zippy’s Giant Burgers (16th/Holden) from opening as planned today. We called this morning to see if Opening Day was on schedule and were told “If the buns get here …” They did, and the burgers are on the grill. Hours: 10:30 am-9 pm Mondays-Thursdays, 10:30 am-10 pm Fridays, 11 am-10 pm Saturdays, noon-7 pm Sundays. (Cash only.) Below, employee Chris LaFayette and owner Blaine Cook, proud of the new enterprise:
Early Sunday, we posted 3 reader reports about gunshots at 17th/Trenton and promised to follow up with the Southwest Precinct. Just heard back from Sgt. Jeff Durden, who shared this info from the report: A 22-year-old was having a party for a friend’s birthday; “uninvited guests” showed up, a fight ensued, “several rounds” were fired into the air. The shooter(s) took off. No arrests, no injury, no property damage … no description of the suspects’ car, either. Regarding readers’ reports that this house had problems before, Sgt. Durden, who leads the Community Police Team, says it wasn’t on their radar but CPT officer Adonis Topacio will investigate — that’s who to contact (info here) if you have info to share.
E-mailed late last night by Justin:
Just wanted to let our neighbors in the 9200 block of 12th Ave SW (Highland Park) know about our break-in . Sometime between 8:30 Monday morning and 5:30 Monday afternoon someone skinny broke one of our very small basement windows out and shimmied into our house. We lost very little (the window, a Dell laptop, a blue iPod shuffle and a Dell PDA) so we feel very lucky. The officer that stopped to take the report left with several liquor bottles that had been handled and a few batteries that were relocated in the house. None of the neighbors that were home this evening saw anything unfortunately. In addition the officer thought that the perpetrator was likely a juvenile due to the fact that they looked very carefully through our underwear drawers and scattered multiple brassieres around our driveway. The scene was so profound I backed my car into our rockery causing a minor fender bender in addition to our break-in. All in all a very troubling evening. If anyone thinks they have any information, call the southwest precinct and ask for Officer DeBella. Thanks.
Seattle Public Library managers just announced that eight teams of fourth- and fifth-graders citywide have made it to the finals of the 2008 Global Reading Challenge, an event set for 7 pm April 22 at the downtown library. Among those eight teams are the “Flaming Reader Raiders” of Highland Park Elementary School and the “Concord Cougars” from Concord Elementary. Here’s the full announcement:Read More
THE NOTE: As first mentioned last month, today and tomorrow are the days West Seattle’s only official off-leash park area, Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area, will be completely closed, so the Parks Department can do maintenance work. It’s scheduled to reopen Friday.
THE PIX: Left over from Tuesday but too good not to share now. First, taken by Meredith @ Lincoln Park:
Second, Forrest P captured pre-sunset rays @ Emma Schmitz Viewpoint on Beach Drive:
Two Three West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports to share — as discussed elsewhere, primarily in the interest of all of us watching out for each other. First from Erik in Westwood:
My neighbor’s house just got vandalized. Their fence was tagged by graffiti vandals at 8:15 tonight at the corner of 16th and Trenton in plain view right across from a street lamp. I scared the vandals away (before I got their license plate! D’oh!) but called 911 and the police took a report and were circling the block. I think other neighbors should be aware of this, and I think it’s worth sharing the “tip” that I should have gotten the license number before scaring them away. Keep an eye out for a red Mazda or Toyota with three vandals out looking for property to destroy and property values to drop.
ADDED MONDAY MORNING: This one from Shannon may be related:
There was a lot of tagging going on behind our townhouses on 18th Ave SW near Barton. We didn’t see it happen and, surprisingly, our dogs didn’t bark but we saw flashing lights when the police officer arrived. The vandals tagged our fences and a van parked in the lot of the apartments across the alley with the “M13” gang sign. The neighbor who reported it said they were driving a white car. His daughter saw them and he ran outside. When he did run outside, they drove away quickly before he could get their plates.
Just wanted everyone to be on the lookout. The officer says this is a known gang sign but, for some reason he didn’t make very clear, he believed it was a fake… not that he had any evidence that it was a fake he just said he had a “feeling” it was a fake. Needless to say, that didn’t make any of us feel any better.
(back to the original Sunday night post) And from Dunsany:
Last night, someone broke the lock off my gas cap and siphoned my tank. We’re in Highland Park near 12th and Holden. Savages, I only had maybe 5 gallons in the tank. I hope it was worth it.
Remember, police stress that if you see someone or something suspicious NOW, call 911. If you want to report something that happened some time ago, the non-emergency number is 625-5011.
You may have heard that Seattle Parks will soon put out their first recycling containers for park visitors, beginning with parks in West Seattle as well as the city’s southeast section. They’ll collect glass bottles, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans. Suspecting this didn’t mean ALL West Seattle parks, we asked the Parks Department for a list of exactly where those containers will go, and Dewey Potter from the communications team obliged:Read More
Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area steward Steve McElhenney reports West Seattle’s only official off-leash park area will be closed for two days next month — April 2-3 — for maintenance work, and that’s GOOD news! Here’s how he announced it to users:
Finally, after many years of complaining, my persistence is paying off. On Wed. and Thurs. April 2nd and 3rd. Westcrest will be completely closed! Parks will be trenching a water line from the entrance to the main area to replace my garden hose. They’ll also be repairing the fences and other maintenance issues. They are bringing in heavy equipment and have requested for full closure so we don’t interfere with their work. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding.
Again, that’s the off-leash area, not the rest of the park. Looking for an alternative OLA those two days? Here’s the city Parks Department’s full list.
As you can tell from the photo, a lovely afternoon to visit Westcrest Park in southeastern West Seattle (home to the only WS off-leash area; here’s a map) — the occasion, a chance for Parks Department and Police Department to review citizen concerns about public-safety issues. Officer Brian Ballew from the Southwest Precinct Community Police Team was there, as were three Parks employees — Carol Baker, Steve Langley, and Cheryl Fraser. They say that Westcrest safety concerns are definitely high on their radar, thanks to ciizen concerns, particularly “inappropriate behavior” at the “comfort station” as well as the poisoning concern involved in the “Mo” case, though there have been no similar reports since that one. They also urge community members to continue to keep close watch, even to organize citizen walkthroughs if they’re so inclined (if you’re interested in talking more with them about that, their e-mail addresses are linked to their names above). Also a key group to get involved with if you are a Westcrest user, since these folks already are closely involved with taking care of the park, is the Westcrest Off-Leash Area group; find its Yahoo! e-mail group here, and park steward Steve McElhenney is reachable through the group, which we wrote about last year.
Some good news about the dog-poisoning concerns at Fauntleroy Park and Westcrest Park (background in previous WSB coverage here): Seattle Parks security supervisor Larry Campbell was at tonight’s West Seattle Community Safety Partnership meeting, and he says nothing more has been reported since the most widely publicized case, in which “Mo” the Katrina survivor (photo left) got sick after romping at Westcrest. However, he says, the Parks Department has put up flyers saying it’s keeping close watch on the parks, and asking that anyone who sees anything suspicious, or thinks their dog’s been poisoned, call 206/684-7457. Meantime, “Mo” continues to recover, and we just got word tonight of a fundraising party this weekend:Read More