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OPEN LETTER: ‘A community turned toward one another … is more safe than a community pulled away from one another in fear & hate’

This is a letter for you, from Sarah, a neighbor whose husband was among those first on the scene when a murderer shot and killed 25-year-old Edixon Velasquez this past week.

To My Dear West Seattle Community,

My husband ushered our children into the back bedroom to finish their movie, unaware in their innocence, as the gunshots cut the air of our neighborhood. A quiet street I’ve only ever known to be full of dog walkers, joggers, and the occasional driver going a tad too quickly down a residential street, now filled with flashing blue lights, yellow tape, and chalk.

Our front window, which still looks out at a row of adorable houses that remind me of a rainbow, now also looks out on the memorial of a young man, our new friend, killed just steps from our front door.

It has been a hard week for us. And here, in West Seattle, as I go to my kids’ school, to work, and talk to our neighbors and friends, it sounds like it’s been a harder season for us as a community in general. We’re growing a lot, so many new people, so much less space, so many more cars.

And it seems as if it the growth is coming with more stories like the one that unfolded outside my dining room window as a life flowed out into a storm drain in the street while the kids obliviously sang along to “let it go.”

There are more stories of people hurt, hurting one another, kids discouraged from walking to school without a grownup – our ideals of safety threatened and somehow suddenly fleeting.

People seem more afraid and it’s coming out as anger; I get honked at more, glared at more, and if I’m honest, I’m honking more, snarkier with the person taking too long (in my opinion) in the checkout line, defenses automatically up when I walk out the door. It just seems we’re all more on edge. The tensions of our world, our city, and our community, stuffed down into raincoats with zippers increasingly too short to hold all the pain and wondering in, and so there are quick glances away if our eyes meet a stranger’s. Friend or foe? We don’t know, and we’re too heart-tired to find out.

But in the wake of the events this week, I’ve thought of our West Seattle community a lot, and I had a few very simple things I wanted to share with you. So, here it goes…

I think a lot about fear. If I’m honest, I can feel a lot of it on a daily basis. I’ve learned over the years how to use it as a catalyst for good, how to be grateful for my constant vigilance, seeing the many ways it has benefited my family, my community, the things I am involved with. Fear is like a yellow light – it’s not a directive to stop or to go, it’s just a sign it’s time to make a decision. And the more information I have about my trajectory, goals, and physical realities, the more likely I am to make a wise choice in response to that yellow light.

My favorite yellow lights are the ones accompanied by an accurate pedestrian crosswalk – that number countdown to the yellow light is what all lights should be, and what I wish life provided: adequate time to know what to expect and how to prepare.

But in real life, which has come way too close to home for us this week, it doesn’t work that way. While the yellow light of fear happens frequently enough, it is very rarely preceded by a gentle warning: “fear is coming soon – just wanted you to have a bit of time to prepare and plan your response.”

Here is what I have learned about fear: if we do not choose how we will respond when it inevitably comes, then in the face of fear what flows out of us is our worst, not our best.

Fear tells us there is a threat, and in the absence of an intentional response to fear, our instinct tells us to turn away, to pull in, to put up higher fences, install bigger security systems, and fortify our defenses. And we do. I do.

But, here is another thing I have learned, having grown up in a city where the literal fences were high, topped with barbed wire, and monitored by dogs and armed guards.  The put-up, pull-in, back-off mentality does not bring a greater sense of safety, nor does it diminish an actual threat of risk. Perhaps it does for a moment, but not for long. It is fleeting, and our belief in our own ability to singularly control our individual outcome in the world is like a drug: we need bigger doses of heavier substances to retain our feelings of control.

We are a culture that prides itself on self-reliance and individualism, and a city where politeness is paramount but our internal walls are high and we more easily turn away than towards. Uncomfortably, especially for us, this truth remains: the anecdote to fear is not an exertion of power or a reinforcing of our own walls. The anecdote to fear is togetherness.

This week has been incredibly hard for me and for our neighborhood, but it has been so softened by the fact we already knew our neighbors – even the ones who were the victims in this senseless tragedy. There was instant comfort in knowing that even in the midst of real fear we were surrounded by people who knew us, knew our kids, had us watch their pets, and came over for drinks or bbqs.

We didn’t know our neighbors on accident; there was no roster passed out when we moved onto the block several years back. There was a lovely bottle of wine dropped off, and a couple phone numbers swapped at a Neighbors Night Out. The rest has been slow building. It has meant going on evening walks as a family and stopping to say hi to anyone we see out and about, including getting into or out of their cars (and yes, it’s always awkward, and yes, it’s always met with eventual warmth). We introduce ourselves, say where we live, offer to swap numbers and remind people “we’re close by if you ever need anything.”

It has meant watching when the houses go up for sale, knocking on the doors of folks as they unpack their boxes, passing on the next bottle of wine, swapping numbers, and again saying, “we just live right there…so glad you moved in.” It has meant large group text chains telling neighbors about impromptu BBQs on the first warm Saturday of spring, asking for help managing our chickens while we travel, walking the mail incorrectly delivered to us over to its rightful owner a block away and choosing to knock on the door rather than stuff it in the mailbox.

Building community, which I recently heard described as common unity, does not happen through programs, or private groups. Neighborhood groups on social media help with the transfer of goods and information, but they are no substitute for a handshake, an eye-to-eye smile, or a knock on the door.

I’ve lived in a lot of places, I’ve been close to a lot of pain, and experienced it myself. I’ve had my sense of safety violated more than once, and know it will happen again. As much as some knee jerk part of me wants to do everything I can to gear up for battle, I’ve lived long enough to know the real war isn’t in the moment of fear, it’s in how I’ve prepared my heart, my family, and my community before it comes.

I’m a fighter, through and through; there is no flight in me. But I won’t fight fire with fire or violence with violence for one simple reason: love is much stronger than hate or fear. You see, hate and fear eat a soul alive while love self-repairs and grows stronger each time it’s shown. A community turned toward one another, intentionally woven together, is more safe than a community pulled away from one another in fear and hate.

It’s not up to me to decide what your block is like – that’s up to you. But here on this block, even after the week we’ve had, we’re going to keep turning in. We’re going to keep watching each other’s pets and kids, inviting each other over for warm pies, asking how the day was & waiting to hear the real answer. And the folks at the corner of the block are going to wrap this around the block and across the intersection, and I hope it spreads like the blackberries at EC Hughes until West Seattle is known as the part of town where folks know their neighbors, aren’t afraid of the ways our city is changing, and see the yellow light of fear as an anticipated reality that we get to respond to with choice.

I hope you’ve already planted your own blackberry patch of love and togetherness in your neighborhood. But if you haven’t, that’s ok, just consider this letter a starter clipping from mine. It’s all you need to get started, just drop it in the soil of a knock on a neighbor’s door, water it with a the swap of a phone number, and fertilize with a text when you’re running to Target and just wondered if anyone in the neighborhood needed anything while you were out.

Hate raised its head this week, and it will again, even today. But I’ll raise my head even higher, choose to look in your eyes a little bit longer, fighting for love a little bit fiercer. It’s the very best thing I know how to do, and I really, really hope you’ll join me.  

And you know, we live just down the block so if you ever need anything, just holler; and if you’re new, we’re so glad you’re here.

– Sarah

Parking ‘fact-finding mission,’ park plan, more @ Junction Neighborhood Organization

(SDOT map showing where they’re studying Junction-area parking)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When SDOT‘s last major review of West Seattle Junction parking resulted in this July 2009 announcement that it wouldn’t recommend metered parking, you could almost hear a huge collective sigh of relief.

That review had begun more than a year earlier, and months after the no-paid-street-parking news, ended with what we described at the time as “a relatively minor set of changes” – some tweaks to time limits.

But The Junction has had metered parking before – and the city’s new review has rekindled concerns that it will return. A lot has changed since the 2008-2009 review – primarily a dramatic amount of redevelopment adding hundreds of new apartments to the heart of The Junction – and some projects including fewer parking spaces than units, or even none, with the city changing its rules in 2012 to say that nearby “frequent transit” means parking might not be needed. (As reported here last week, those rules might be loosened even more.)

So with all that setting the stage, two SDOT reps were at last night’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting at the Senior Center/Sisson Building.. They weren’t the only speakers of interest – the next Junction park and a HALA update were part of the agenda too – but we start with the parking discussion:

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TUESDAY: Parking & park, @ Junction Neighborhood Organization

For the first time in almost a decade, SDOT is reviewing parking in The Junction. Department reps will talk about it at the Junction Neighborhood Organization‘s next meeting, tomorrow (Tuesday, September 19th). Here’s the “fact sheet” for the review, just added to the city website today:

(Click image for full-size PDF on city website)
Q&A is promised, too. (Whether or not you’ll be there, the city’s just opened this online survey as part of the review.)

Also on the JuNO agenda: Next steps for the future Junction park in the 4700 block of 40th SW, following the recent “open house” – Seattle Parks reps including project manager Karimah Edwards will be there. And with the final HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability Environmental Impact Statement and its proposed upzoning maps due soon, the JuNO Land Use Committee will present an update, too. All welcome at tomorrow night’s meeting, 6:30 pm, at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon).

FAUNTLEROY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: Toplines, from ferries to festival

A few notes from last night’s Fauntleroy Community Association board meeting at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse:

FERRY UPDATES: Gary Dawson, longtime Fauntleroy rep on the Ferry Advisory Committee and also a member of WSF’s Triangle Route Task Force, briefed the FCA board. He wasn’t at the most recent Task Force meeting, but caught up recently with other members. And he looked ahead to the next meeting of the Task Force, coming up tomorrow (Thursday), 4:30-7 pm (Fauntleroy Church, 9140 California SW), as well as the public meetings planned on Vashon (September 20th) and in Southworth, with people furious that boats continue to leave without being filled. He also noted that WSF has been short on boats due to unplanned maintenance issues. and had an update on turnover on the task force – especially among its Vashon membership; without Vashon representation, he thinks WSF should consider discontinuing the Task Force.

FAUNTLEROY FALL FESTIVAL: The popular annual event is coming up on Sunday, October 15th (details forthcoming). While the festival’s organizer couldn’t be at the meeting, she sent some updates: A falcon will be among the new attractions. New Fauntleroy business Wildwood Market will be a food vendor, with mac and cheese. The tamale vendor will be back. So will the cake walk, pumpkin painting, and birdhouse-making. They’re still looking for festival sponsors – and volunteers.

FAUNTLEROY TRIANGLE: 14 more planters are on the way to various areas in and around the newly reconfigured triangle in Fauntleroy’s Endolyne area. The planters and their dirt are to be provided by the city, while FCA is accountable for the cost of the plants. The owner of the building in the heart of the triangle has been donating the water to keep the plants hydrated in that area. FCA has a few other issues with how the area is working, but SDOT says other items are on hold because they are concentrating right now on “corridor” projects.

SURVEY: Every other year, the FCA surveys the community, both to find out what’s on residents and businesspeople’s minds, and to let those people know about FCA. It’s soon going to be survey time again, so they’re opening discussions about what they might ask and how they might get the survey out to the largest number of people. In the past, they’ve used postal mail as well as online.

MEMBERSHIP: A board business item included running through who had paid dues – FCA is one of the few local groups that collects them – and who had not. About a third of the membership on the rolls is behind. The bills should have arrived in spring with the newsletter. Also, a concern was raised about whether they’re reaching new prospective members who move into the area.

NEW BOARD MEMBER: Kris Ilgenfritz was introduced as the newest member of the FCA board.

NO CRIME BRIEFING: Though SPD had been on the agenda, they were not in attendance, so there was no update on local crime trends this month.

The Fauntleroy Community Association board meets most months on the second Tuesday, 7 pm, in the meeting room by the main entrance of the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse (9131 California SW). All welcome.

WESTWOOD-ROXHILL-ARBOR HEIGHTS CC: From police to politics

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The fall neighborhood-meeting season kicked off with the September session of what’s now the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition.

Kim Barnes and Jenny Rose Ryan are interim co-chairs of WWRHAH; Barnes led Tuesday night’s meeting at Southwest Library.

At the heart of this meeting was a “focus group”-style conversation about crime/safety issues in the area, to be sure its micro-community policing plan is up to date:

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TONIGHT: Crime, safety, transportation, election, more @ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition

No daily highlight list today because of the stabbing coverage, but crime and safety are at the center of one major event tonight we want to be sure you know about: The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meets at 6:15 pm at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW). Major agenda item: If you live/work in any of the WWRHAH neighborhoods, your feedback is needed in a fact-finding session about the local micropolicing planSouthwest Precinct research assistant Puao Savusa will be there to hear from you (see the questions here). Also expected, SW Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith with an update on area crime stats. WWRHAH also is scheduled to hear from City Council candidate (at-large position 9) Pat Murakami. And open-discussion items include the future RapidRide H Line as well as the recently announced cut to the Chief Sealth Walkway Improvements Project (our original report is here, and followup here), plus other area pedestrian safety/accessibility issues. See the full WWRHAH agenda here. (And see other listings for today/tonight on the frequently updated WSB West Seattle Event Calendar.)

LABOR DAY WEEKEND: Admiral cleanup Saturday

August 30, 2017 8:59 pm
|    Comments Off on LABOR DAY WEEKEND: Admiral cleanup Saturday
 |   How to help | Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

Put the “labor” in your Labor Day weekend – before you get down to relaxing – and join the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s quarterly Adopt-a-Street cleanup this Saturday. 9 am-noon (and if you can’t devote all that time, give what you can), with coffee and treats before, sack lunch after, meeting at Metropolitan Market (41st/42nd/Admiral; WSB sponsor). Just show up – tools and bags provided – all ages welcome.

VIDEO: Community Involvement Commission launches after ‘long process’

(Meeting video, unedited. You’ll want to fast-forward through 1-on-1 conversation break, between 17 and 32 minutes)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

After thirteen months of gestation, the city’s Community Involvement Commission was born Thursday night.

It arrived on the second floor of City Hall, five floors below the conference room where Mayor Murray had announced the plan to create it by executive order.

“It’s been a long process,” acknowledged Department of Neighborhoods director Kathy Nyland, the highest-ranking city staffer in attendance at the commission’s first meeting. She said getting the right staffing in place was a major reason. Danielle Friedman is now on board as the program coordinator, and led most of the meeting – which you can see in its entirety in the unedited video above.

But first, Nyland offered the backstory.

The plan to create the Community Involvement Commission came in a surprise mayoral announcement we covered in July of 2016. The city’s 13 “neighborhood district councils” – groups of volunteers representing smaller community groups and organizations – knew the system was being reviewed, and were looking forward to a report on that review, when the mayor abruptly announced the system would be “replaced” by the new CIC. On elaboration – as Nyland again stressed last night – the councils were not disbanded or dissolved, but the nominal city funding they received (about $500 each per year, generally spent on meeting-room rental) was pulled, and the level of city-staff support was cut.

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3 West Seattle grants announced for city Neighborhood Matching Fund money

Just announced by the city – a round of Neighborhood Matching Fund grants that includes three projects in West Seattle:

$100,000 to Gatewood Elementary School PTA to rebuild the existing one-half acre grassy field area within the playground. Improvements are based upon the Master Plan and full construction documents created with community input. The physical improvements will occur this fall. (Community match: $78,185)

$60,000 to Delridge Neighborhood Development Association to organize the Delridge Neighborhoods Let’s Talk Race Series. The 12 events will use film, dialogue, restorative justice, and storytelling to transform the narrative around institutional and historic racism and build stronger relationships between community organizations, individuals, and groups. (Community match: $47,860)

$27,500 to Longfellow Creek Neighborhood Path for 24th Ave SW to create a more intentional Longfellow Creek Trail connection along 24th Ave SW between SW Willow St. and SW Graham St. This project will coordinate with a design project by the Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group to reduce flooding, improve drainage, and restore habitat along Longfellow Creek. (Community match: $27,047)

The grants are from what is now called the Community Partnership Fund, the larger of two NMF grants the city offers. Meantime, the fund’s citywide grants also included one for South Park:

$50,000 to Sea-Mar Community Health Center to produce Fiestas Patrias, a free 2-day cultural festival which provides opportunities for the community to come together to celebrate Latin American arts, culture and heritage through music, dance, food and more. (Community match: $29,500)

Fiestas Patrias includes a parade, festival, and health fair in South Park on Saturday, September 16th, and Sea-Mar is inviting parade participation – here’s their post in the WSB Forums.

THE WINNERS: Four West Seattle/South Park projects get enough votes to share Your Voice, Your Choice dollars

Just announced by the Department of Neighborhoods – the results of the Your Voice, Your Choice voting on how to spend city grant money for park and street projects. In District 1 – West Seattle and South Park – these are the four winners:

Delridge: Crossing Improvements at Delridge Way SW & SW Oregon St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 477)

Westwood/Highland Park: Bus Stop Improvements at Delridge Way SW & SW Barton St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 470)

High Point: Walkway Improvements on SW Orchard St between Delridge Way SW & Sylvan Way SW (Cost: $80,081, Total Votes: 425)

South Park: Crossing Improvements on S Cloverdale St (Cost: $85,700, Total Votes: 396)

If you paid attention to the process, which started with suggestions and continued through voting on finalists, you might notice that adds up to more than the $285,000 maximum per district that the city had said was available. The online announcement explains:

To provide some context to the results above, with $2 million to spend on park and street improvements, we allotted a maximum of $285,000 per City Council District. After the top projects in each district were selected by voters, there was $233,019 remaining in the budget. These dollars were used to fund one additional project in the three districts with the highest voter participation (Districts 1, 2, and 5).

You can read more about the winning projects (and the other finalists) in the District 1 Voter’s Guide that was circulated while voting was under way in June.

PHOTOS: Night Out 2017 parties around West Seattle

It’s Night Out 2017 around West Seattle – and around the U.S.!

6:16 PM: Our first stop is in Seaview, where Ellis and friends “would like to tell the people of west Seattle that kids are holding a block party.” Ellis explained, “Me and my friends have been selling enough lemonade this summer raise $114,” and that’s how they funded it. Above, Ellis is at center, with Jaslynn and Zoe. Next stop, Jon‘s neighborhood southwest of The Junction (though Jon himself hadn’t arrived yet):

This one’s not a street-closing party, “just neighbors barbecuing and hanging out” – we are doing our best to get to the other parties that e-mailed to let us know it would be OK if we stopped by for a photo, and we also welcome a pic of your group – westseattleblog@gmail.com is the best address right now since we’re on the move, or via phone, to our 206-293-6302 round-the-clock hotline. Meantime, we’re seeing LOTS of blocks closed for parties – so, lots of neighborhood-strengthening going on tonight – 275 registered in West Seattle and South Park, SW Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge told us!

6:45 PM: Our photos above and below are from our stop at Sara‘s block party, west of The Junction. So organized – they have a planning committee for the Night Out party, and she’s on it!

They have a bouncy house for the neighborhood’s youngest residents, too.

6:56 PM: We weren’t planning another stop so close by, but we saw SW Precinct Lt. Steve Strand arriving at 47th/Edmunds – police and fire personnel are visiting some of tonight’s parties as usual – and we had something to ask about:

While we were there, of course, we took a group photo.

(P.S. The unrelated incident we asked about was one that led to several texts earlier, a person taken into custody at 35th/Findlay – we got there just as police were leaving. Lt. Strand says the person was in crisis and was out in the street dodging cars. The person was taken to the hospital for evaluation.)

Meanwhile, Karen just sent this photo from her block party in High Point:

7:11 PM: Now we’re on Alki Point near Bar-S Playfields, where Sherie let us know that her neighborhood was having its first-ever Night Out block party:

7:27 PM: We were heading to North Delridge when a house fire broke out in Gatewood, so we have to interrupt our Night Out tour for now, but will continue adding your photos! Like this one from SW Orchard, on the other side of Gatewood:

The photo was taken while Night Out attendees listened to a talk on Cooper’s Hawks, by Ed Deal. Meantime – imagine Seattle’s most-famous marching band rocking your block party:

(Update) Here’s video Nick shared from ACB at 45th/Dawson:

Apparently the All-City Band split into two groups tonight in lieu of rehearsing, and visited several block parties!

8:02 PM: The house-fire coverage is wrapped up and we’re back on the road, trying to get to a few more block parties. First, we’re in Highland Park, where Christie invited us to stop by:

Also from Highland Park – Marcia tweeted a photo:

Looks like it’s going to be an incredible sunset, too, through the wildfire smoke…

8:39 PM: Our last stop, 37th and Graham – thanks to Aaron for the invite:

Neighbors brought a couch out into the street for their Night Out party – that’s what the kids lined up in front are sitting on. And just after we left Aaron’s neighborhood, Michael sent this photo from just about a block away – 38th and Raymond:

And when we pulled up to HQ in Upper Fauntleroy, our neighborhood block party was still going, so we grabbed a photo:

8:53 PM: The official time period for parties is ending (though we’ve noted in 10 years of as-it-happened coverage, you don’t find many going past 8:30). Here are more of the photos you shared – thanks! First, from Max in East Admiral:

Our neighbors in South Park have a mini-golf-themed party every year, “South Park Putts Out,” and shared this photo:

From 18th and Brandon, where SFD made a visit:

At Walnut/Stevens in Admiral:

Next photo was taken at 48th/Dawson by Don Brubeck, who explains: “West Seattle Bike Connections had a bike tour of street parties instead of a meeting indoors. Get to see kids playing in safe streets and neighbors getting together.”

One of more than a few places with live music – 4000 block of 40th SW:

From Cinda on 42nd SW in Gatewood, a few of her neighbors around a table, talking – the best part of Night Out, catching up with the people who live nearby:

And from Tamsen’s block party in Upper Morgan:

It’s 11:50 pm and that’s our last addition, for now. Don’t let neighborhood solidarity be a once-a-year thing … in addition to Block Watches (find out more about those here), get together for the sake of preparedness (everybody know where, and what, your nearest Emergency Communication Hub is?), community cleanups … the possibilities are endless.

TONIGHT: 275+ local ‘Night Out’ block parties!

One more reminder – if you’re not already well aware – 6-9 pm tonight is officially Night Out (originally National Night Out Against Crime) coast to coast, with people gathering to celebrate and renew neighborhood solidarity, collaboration, preparedness, resiliency, and more. We just checked with Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge, who’s been coordinating the plans precinct-wide, and she tells WSB that the final total of registered block parties in West Seattle and South Park is 275:

The SW Precinct looks forward to visiting as many Night Out Against Crime block parties tonight as possible! Expect to see the Community Policing Team, the Crime Prevention Coordinator, the MCPP Research Analyst, precinct leadership, as well as patrol officers, out and about tonight!

Even if you are not participating, please be aware that many non-arterial streets will be closed for those block parties, with neighbors of all ages talking, dining, and playing in the street, so be extra careful wherever you go.

And tonight will be our 10th year of WSB as-it-happens Night Out coverage (since 2008), stopping at some parties and adding photos sent by others (easiest way is sending from your phone to ours, 206-293-6302, same way you can reach us with breaking news and questions/tips 24/7). So check in here starting just after 6 pm!

GETTING READY: Emergency Communication Hubs’ latest drill

July 30, 2017 8:52 pm
|    Comments Off on GETTING READY: Emergency Communication Hubs’ latest drill
 |   Neighborhoods | Preparedness | West Seattle news

(WSB photos from Saturday morning. Above, EC Hughes hub)

Hundreds of volunteers all around the city spent their Saturday morning being sure they’re ready for something we all hope never happens – a disaster that takes out regular means of communications and forces Emergency Communication Hubs to set up and spring into action.

(Above, West Seattle Junction hub)

The scenario citywide was: Sixth day after a big earthquake. Three of West Seattle’s hubs were part of it. For the Sunrise Heights hub at EC Hughes Playground and the Junction hub behind Hope Lutheran Church, it was their first drill. We visited both. “If we can’t communicate, we can’t allocate,” observed Junction hub captain Delores Kannas. “Our big goal is to match resources with needs. … Different people will show up, and it will evolve.”

The mission of the hubs is to facilitate neighborhood resiliency, recognizing that after a massive disaster, official rescuers will be overwhelmed, and neighbors will have to figure out how to help each other, while also prioritizing any huge needs that might be able to draw outside help.

Besides tracking incoming requests, in ways as simple as notes on a fence, hub volunteers also communicate by radio, with each other and with city emergency officials, so volunteer amateur-radio operators are always a big part of drills.

An important part of your emergency preparedness is to know your nearest hub – here’s the updated map:

Click on the one that looks to be closest. You can also find the 13 hubs’ locations listed here (below that same map), on the West Seattle Be Prepared website, where you’ll find lots of other information to help you be ready, just in case.

@ Morgan Community Association: HALA upzoning comment deadline nears; Lowman Beach seawall timeline; community cleanup…

One week from tomorrow, August 7th, is the deadline for comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA)’s proposed Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) upzoning. That was one of the main topics at this quarter’s Morgan Community Association meeting, which also included a Lowman Beach Park seawall update and a preview of a community cleanup next weekend:

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FOLLOWUP: Voting results delayed in ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’

From the “in case you were wondering” file: The city Department of Neighborhoods had promised results by July 18th in the “Your Voice, Your Choice” voting for park/street projects – the first time it was trying “participatory budgeting.” The date came and went and the project website changed its languaging, unannounced, to a promise of August. Finally an explanation appeared this week on the department’s Front Porch blog-format website, saying “the delay is caused by more voter participation than expected”: 7,500 votes in all from around the city, with 2,000 of those on paper ballots. The online update did not mention that the project also had a personnel change – it was noted at a local community meeting earlier this month that Jenny Frankl, who had launched and evangelized it, was no longer with the department; the YVYC website now lists Kraig Cook as the project’s coordinator. DON now says it “hope(s) to announce the final vote results in each council district by early August.” Each district was allotted up to $285,000 to fund three park/street projects; we first reported on the plan last January.

P.S. The projects that were in the running in District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) are shown and described in the “voter’s guide.”

ONE WEEK UNTIL ‘NIGHT OUT’: Still time to plan and register your block party

Exactly one week away from Night Out – the first Tuesday in August, when neighbors around the U.S. organize block parties to celebrate community collaboration toward safety and crime prevention. We have another update from Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge:

As of today, the SW Precinct has 214 registered events!! 2nd-highest number of events of any precinct in the city of Seattle!

Be sure to get your event registered [scroll down this page] before registration closes on Monday, July 31st, at 5 pm!

During the registration process, it will ask if you would like visits from the Police Department, Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management and/or Elected Officials. Please make sure to pay attention to these boxes, as these questions give us helpful information when planning visits. However, due to the high volume of requests – we cannot promise a visit but we will do our best to visit as many events as possible through the evening!

If you have any questions about Night Out – please contact me, your SW Crime Prevention Coordinator, at Jennifer.Burbridge@seattle.gov.

Registering is most important so you can close your (non-arterial) street.

P.S. If you’re planning a Night Out party, let us know if we can stop by for a photo (thanks to those we have heard from already) – editor@westseattleblog.com – thank you!

HALA REZONING: Junction Land Use Committee plans community workshop July 11

Two and a half weeks left to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the rezoning proposals in the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) component. If you’re in the Junction area and still sorting it out, a local community group invites you to a workshop next Tuesday:

Mark Your Calendar – HALA DEIS Workshop on July 11, 2017 at 6:30 p.m at the West Seattle Senior Center

The Junction Land Use Committee (JLUC) will present a summary of key portions of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement related to the proposed upzones on the Junction Urban Village. The workshop will also include a description of the impact of the upzones, actions you can take, and ways to help you identify additional areas on which you might wish to comment. Location: 4217 SW Oregon.

@ Highland Park Action Committee: From the city to Congress to campaigning for the roundabout…

(UPDATED FRIDAY AFTERNOON with letter-writing info for roundabout support)

Toplines from the Highland Park Action Committee‘s last meeting before summer break, Wednesday night at Highland Park Improvement Club:

DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS: Yun Pitre visited – she’s an 11-year city employee who was formerly a Neighborhood District Coordinator, now a Community Engagement Coordinator, one of four working with community groups around the city. She’s assigned to Districts 1 and 2. (That’s City Council districts, as in 7 of them, rather than the old not-numbered neighborhood districts, of which West Seattle had two.) “We’re still your liaisons to city government,” she affirmed, when asked what her role now means. HPAC co-chair Michele Witzki said she hopes the department will offer added resources. “One of the reasons they broke everything up was for equity – and now not only are we getting (fewer resources), but it seems we’re competing with some of the other (disadvantaged) neighborhoods that have (greater) needs.”

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TIME TO BEAUTIFY: Morgan Junction community cleanup Saturday


(Volunteers from May’s Morgan Junction cleanup – photo courtesy Jill Boone)

The weather will be beautiful … might as well beautify the neighborhood too. Tomorrow morning (Saturday, June 24th), you’re invited to join the next volunteer community cleanup in Morgan Junction, organized by Jill Boone. Meet by the ATM on the east side of California SW in the Teriyaki & Wok/Domino’s/gas-station lot for “a quick cleanup of California Ave and the Fauntleroy intersection and bus stops.” 9 am-10:30 am. The city’s providing litter grabbers and bags; Jill adds, “We also have a few kiddie grabbers this time and hopefully some small vests. Kids of all ages are welcome and leashed, friendly dogs. :) I will do a short safety talk at 9 AM so try to be on time. You might want to bring hand sanitizer and gloves too.” RSVP to litterleague@gmail.com with how many adults and how many kids will participate.

@ Alki Community Council: Crime; noise; Statue of Liberty Plaza…

The Alki Community Council met this week for the first time since last month’s deadly shooting.


(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli, May 23)

No arrest yet, Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Smith told the group on Thursday night.

Aside from that high-profile crime, the area’s main ongoing problems – like the rest of West Seattle – remain car prowls and auto thefts, both of which are up this year from the same time last year. “Crimes against persons,” such as assaults, are down 17 percent. Read More

@ Admiral Neighborhood Association: From concerts to cleanup

June 15, 2017 9:13 am
|    Comments Off on @ Admiral Neighborhood Association: From concerts to cleanup
 |   Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

The Admiral Neighborhood Association should be ready to announce the lineup for this year’s Summer Concerts at Hiawatha within a week or so.

That’s one of the toplines from the June ANA meeting this past Tuesday night at The Sanctuary @ Admiral.

(WSB file photo)

SUMMER CONCERTS AT HIAWATHA: As announced earlier this year, the ANA-presented free concert series is set for six Thursday nights as usual, starting July 20th, 6:30 pm on the east lawn of Hiawatha Community Center – this year new volunteer organizers, Stephanie Jordan and Josephine Davis, are planning it and they told the meeting they’re close to finalizing the lineup.

4TH OF JULY KIDS’ PARADE: While ANA doesn’t coordinate the West Seattle 4th of July Kids’ Parade in North Admiral, it supports the event and participates in the Hamilton Viewpoint Park event that follows, with concession sales, and that was discussed too. FIT4MOM is presenting the parade this year and as noted here last week, a crowdfunding campaign is on to cover the increasing costs of permits – you can donate here. As it does every year, the parade starts at 10 am July 4th (a Tuesday this year) from 44th SW/Sunset (map); no preregistration necessary – kids and their families can just show up and be part of it.

PUBLIC SAFETY: Following up on concerns heightened since last month’s as-yet-unsolved deadly shooting at Alki, ANA and the Alki Community Council are looking at a joint public meeting about public-safety issues. Alex Clardy from Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office was at the meeting and offered to help coordinate, as Herbold had suggested a community meeting even before that flashpoint incident.

HALA REZONING: An early draft of an official ANA comment letter was circulated and discussed, but final action won’t be taken until next month’s meeting, which is still within the comment timeline for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that the city published a week ago. Also under consideration, an ANA-led walking tour of Admiral to point out key issues.

ADOPT-A-STREET CLEANUP: The rescheduled quarterly community cleanup is this Saturday (June 17th) – be at Metropolitan Market (41st/42nd/Admiral; WSB sponsor) at 9 am; snacks and equipment are provided.

The Admiral Neighborhood Association meets second Tuesdays most months, 7 pm at The Sanctuary; next meeting will be July 11th, then no meeting in August.

@ Junction Neighborhood Organization: First take on HALA rezoning Draft Environmental Impact Statement; Fauntleroy Boulevard ‘discussion over?’ and more…


(WSB photo: JuNO’s land-use chair Rich Koehler and new director Amanda Sawyer)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

This week, we’re getting community councils’ first public take on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement published for the rezoning that’s at the heart of the city Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda‘s Mandatory Housing Affordability component.

Tonight, the Junction Neighborhood Organization talked about it during the first meeting led by new JuNO director Amanda Sawyer, who has taken over for longtime director René Commons, now serving as an advisor for the group. More than 20 people were in attendance.

LAND USE COMMITTEE ON HALA MHA DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT: Five days after the debut of the document (here’s our first report), Rich Koehler from the JuNO Land Use Committee presented a briefing, saying he had read all 400+ pages of the HALA MHA DEIS.

Koehler noted first that some of the MHA-related changes would conflict with the Junction’s longstanding Neighborhood Plan, so JuNO submitted a proposed comprehensive-plan amendment seeking to resolve the conflicts by taking the single-family-zoned areas out of the rezoning proposal. They had almost 250 signatures of support. The Morgan Community Association has done something similar. The amendment’s fate is up to the City Council.

Regarding the Draft EIS itself, he explained that this type of document is intended to assess the impact of the potential zoning changes on environmental factors – not just ecological – including transportation, utilities, etc. In the HALA MHA DEIS, “two new maps” accompany the DEIS, beyond the proposed rezoning map first unveiled last October. One map is “slightly less intensive and aggressive than what was proposed in the past,” and the other is “significantly more aggressive.” One lens through which the alternatives are presented is trying to minimize potential displacement. Another is mitigation, “telling city decisionmakers, we studied this, and these are things you could do to mitigate the impact.” Read More

Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council toplines, from HALA to the Bog

June 6, 2017 11:40 pm
|    Comments Off on Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council toplines, from HALA to the Bog
 |   Arbor Heights | Neighborhoods | West Seattle news | Westwood

Toplines from tonight’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting:

HALA REZONING: The draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda is expected to be published Thursday. That’s what WWRHAH heard tonight from Morgan Community Association‘s Cindi Barker, who was on the original city-appointed HALA focus group and has been helping educate other community advocates about land-use issues including this one. With the draft EIS coming out this week, the comment period will continue into late June. She was asked if there’s talk of a District 1-wide response to HALA MHA, but so far individual groups are pursuing individual responses related to how it might affect their neighborhoods – MoCA for example is pursuing a comprehensive-plan amendment and is asking the city to engage in a full neighborhood-planning process, given the conflicts between MHA and the MJ neighborhood plan.

ROXHILL BOG: WWRHAH continues trying to get the city to address hydrology issues that have compromised the bog. Rory Denovan wrote to Seattle Parks but said the response so far wasn’t helpful. Meantime, a celebration of Roxhill Bog is planned 11 am-3 pm June 17th, with information and activities.

ROXBURY RECHANNELIZATION: As reported here earlier in the day, SDOT is floating further rechannelization options for SW Roxbury in connection with the 2019-or-so repaving between 16th SW and 35th SW. WWRHAH is concerned about the possibility that most of the center turn lane will be removed. They’re considering asking SDOT for data on the lane’s usage.

CRIME TRENDS: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith said car prowls in the WWRHAH-covered area are down by about 50 percent from this time last year. Residential burglaries are down too. Shoplifting is up, and that figures heavily into stats for the area, because of Westwood Village.

WHAT’S NEXT: While WWRHAH won’t have its regular first-Tuesday meeting in July, since that’s Independence Day this year, they’ll likely have a special meeting just before or after that to talk about a response to the forthcoming HALA draft EIS.

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