Neighborhoods – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Sun, 18 Mar 2018 09:02:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 VIDEO: Sub Pop party discussion #2, plus HALA upzoning appeal, @ Alki Community Council Sat, 17 Mar 2018 04:44:01 +0000 Two big topics on the agenda for last night’s Alki Community Council meeting, and we have video of both. First – the week’s second discussion of Sub Pop Records‘ August 11th Alki Beach 30th-anniversary megaparty:

“We’re really excited,” declared Sub Pop CEO Megan Jasper as she led the briefing and discussion, as she had at the Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting two nights earlier. Most of the details were the same – as reported in WSB coverage that night – but we heard a few other details, as well as Alki residents’ questions:

The event’s fundraising component will benefit the Alki-based Southwest Seattle Historical Society (whose executive director Jeff McCord was present, as he was at ANA on Tuesday night) and a to-be-announced nonprofit “serving the homeless communities.”

As noted earlier, Alki Avenue will be closed between 57th SW and 63rd SW (you might remember that closure footprint from some of the “car-free day” events in past years). There will be four stages – one on each side of Alki Bathhouse, one by Blue Moon Burgers (57th), and one focused on family/kid entertainment on Alki Playfield. Two acts have been announced already for that stage – The Not-Its and the West Seattle School of Rock. The party’s full lineup will be announced May 29th, Sub Pop said in Admiral on Tuesday. The final band, Jasper promised last night, will be a “wonderful band and not crazy-crazy loud.”

Jasper again recounted Sub Pop’s 25th anniversary party success in Georgetown – which had three stages, closed Airport Way, and drew 30,000 people. “It went very, very well.” They also got feedback afterward that it had “lifted the community” and introduced attendees to Georgetown businesses that are still feeling the boost five years later. (SWSHS’s McCord confirmed that a major supporter of his organization, West Seattle and Georgetown property owner/entrepreneur John Bennett, vouches for the success of the party five years ago.)

A full third of Sub Pop’s staff (including Jasper herself) are West Seattleites, she reiterated: “We show our faces here, we’re proud to live here, we want this to be positive for everybody.” That includes being sure that local residents will be able to get to and from their homes.

Planning has been under way for months already (even before the party was publicly announced in January) and Sub Pop is focusing on every detail possible: “We will have toilets everywhere, trash containers everywhere, volunteers” … and that includes an extra post-event cleanup on Monday, August 13th, partnering with Puget Soundkeeper. “Our goal is to leave the space better than we found it.”

They’re working on transportation, from bikeshares to buses and beyond. And Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith, in attendance at ACC as usual, confirmed they are meeting with police to plan as well – he said the SPD Traffic Section is already planning to have all-hands-on-deck that day and night.

Discussion/question touched on a wide range of topics, including the need to work more closely with Seattle Parks given how much of the public space in Alki is under its auspices, and attention to details such as tides (event day is a new moon with a 12-foot high tide at 6:33 pm, we note from the tide chart).

One attendee suggested that road closures go beyond the 57th/63rd extent listed, and Lt. Smith confirmed they’re looking at a “soft closure” that could go as far as California/Harbor. Another wanted to be sure all groups that regularly use Alki are fully informed of this – the Alki Volleyball Association, for example.

Alki Playfield will be the location of one of the three planned beer gardens. What if park property is damaged? asked one attendee. “We have good insurance,” Jasper replied. And in response to a safety question a few minutes later, she said they plan to have many additional security staffers, in addition to the police who plan to work the event.

Again, you can listen to the 43-minute unedited video above to hear the entire briefing/Q&A session. Sub Pop offered to come back to each monthly ACC meeting before the event, promising “continued conversation.”

HALA UPZONING AND THE APPEAL: The City Council continues its consideration of the proposed legislation for upzoning in urban villages and multifamily/commercial property citywide, for the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda‘s Mandatory Housing Affordability component. Meantime, the appeal filed by a coalition of community groups around the city is also proceeding, challenging the Final Environmental Impact Statement for HALA MHA as insufficient in addressing neighborhoods’ unique components, among other things. One of the local groups involved in the coalition, and pursuing its own appeal, is the Junction Neighborhood Organization; Christy Tobin-Presser from its Land Use Committee talked to the ACC about where things stand, from her perspective as a volunteer neighborhood advocate:

Following Tobin-Presser’s presentation, the ACC talked about whether to join the appeal coalition, which would require a $750 buy-in. After a somewhat extensive discussion, they decided to table the motion and pick it up again, likely next month unless the board considers it between monthly meetings. Tobin-Presser reiterated what appeal participants have said previously – they are not seeking to stop HALA MHA, but to get environmental-impact studies for each neighborhood, so unique factors are addressed. In Q&A, when asked where new Mayor Jenny Durkan stands, Tobin-Presser said they believe she’s “open to compromise” but that she might not have been if an appeal wasn’t being pursued.

The hearing before the city’s Hearing Examiner, by the way, is now scheduled for June. Other next steps, along with City Council meetings/hearings, include open houses and hearings in City Council districts – the ones for West Seattle/South Park, aka District 1, are set for May 9th and June 5th (details here).

The Alki Community Council meets on third Thursdays most months, 7 pm at Alki UCC (6115 SW Hinds).

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FAUNTLEROY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: From Food Fest to farewell Thu, 15 Mar 2018 05:37:14 +0000 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The Fauntleroy Community Association‘s always-popular annual membership meeting – known as the Food Fest – is days away. And that was one of several major discussion items at last night’s FCA board meeting – as well as an unexpected announcement.

FAUNTLEROY FOOD FEST: The annual FCA membership meeting is set for 6 pm Tuesday, March 20th, at The Hall at Fauntleroy. So far, eight confirmed food vendors and a multitude of community groups. The bites are free but the big point of this gathering is for Fauntleroy residents, businesses, etc., to renew their annual memberships, and to vote for officers. FCA will also be collecting non-perishable food donations, so bring something for the White Center Food Bank (which serves West Seattle from SW Myrtle southward). The Seattle Police Mobile Precinct is scheduled to be there too for visitors to tour. And Gary Dawson, Fauntleroy’s longtime liaison with Washington State Ferries, says Jon Vezina from WSF will be the first WSF rep at the Food Fest in years. Stop by, ask questions about the forthcoming dock replacement, or anything else. They’re also considering having a HALA upzoning info table too.

JOSLIN BUILDING UPDATE: FCA continues to closely monitor the potential redevelopment of the 9250 45th SW site in the Endolyne business district (first reported here last October).

Board member Alexis Zolner provided a briefing on the newest documents made publicly available – including minutes of a meeting between the city and project reps. (Find the latest docs here.)

(WSB photo from November 2017)

She honed in on details such as City Light saying poles need to be 14 feet from the building, and the need for an on-site vault if the number of units hits a certain level. SDOT was there too and said they might accept extending curbs – narrowing 45th SW – which could take care of the pole-spacing issue. Curb extensions and parking changes might be considered for SW Brace Point Drive too. Zolner said they have a land-use expert involved in helping them review the proposal, which is likely to be a “contract rezone,” and with HALA upzoning, could eventually wind up as NC3-65, double the current height (and more). NC3 would mean big enough to have space for multiple retailers “to allow for comparison shopping,” which seems to outstrip the current status/size of the commercial district there.

It was reiterated that this proposal remains early-stage – no formal application yet. Zolner and several others went to the Southwest Design Review Board‘s most-recent meeting just to see how it works. They got to see the Early Design Guidance review of an Alki project that, she reported, did not go well and resulted in a decision that the project needs another EDG review. FCA will work to mobilize the community when it’s time for the Joslin Building site project to go to the board. (No date yet.) One attendee says it seems unlikely a rezone would be granted for two more stories on top of the one additional floor that HALA would enable.

A major FCA concern regarding the potential project includes the fact that it would not be required to have residential parking (since RapidRide provides what the city considers “frequent transit”). So they’re asking merchants in the area to survey their customers about what kind of transportation people use to get to the businesses. Zolner also said that she’s talked to people in the area who aren’t aware of this proposal but should be.

Ensuing discussion made it clear that FCA is not opposing redevelopment of the site – it’s the potentially massive increase in size that is of concern. “We don’t have to be shy about the fact we care about our neighborhood … when it’s this out of scale, I don’t think it’s a NIMBY thing,” said one attendee.

CRIME/SAFETY: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith had the year-to-date crime stats for Fauntleroy, compared to year-to-date last year: one incident of lewd conduct compared to a year earlier – property crime is down 19 percent overall, 5 burglaries, same as this time last year, theft/larceny is double last year at this time, car prowls are down 41 percent (11 fewer), auto theft double last year.

One recent arson incident, he mentioned – the vehicle set afire by Southwest Athletic Complex (new detail – an accelerant was used). Shots-fired incidents in all of the precinct (West Seattle/South Park), eight so far this year, West has 9, South has 11. “We’re starting to get some funding for quality-of-life issues, trying to increase staffing but struggling to maintain it – this is the generation where people are starting to retire. We still have a large list of officers that want to come to Southwest Precinct but the other precincts aren’t willing to let them leave.” FCA board member Vicki Schmitz Block asked about the woman who sleeps outdoors in The Junction; Lt. Smith said she continues to refuse services, and of course cannot be forced to accept them. A brief discussion of unauthorized camping in general ensued. Lt. Smith noted that when it comes to finding help for people struggling with substance abuse, for example, the city of Spokane has more beds than Seattle.

FCA WEBSITE: Semi-new board member Bill Wellington took this over a few months back and has made some updates and changes but wants the FCA overall, when it can, to determine “what (we) want the website to be,” and also whether other online forms of communication, such as Twitter, can play a role. His questions include, who’s the audience for the website – certainly it’s a place to concentrate information when there are hot topics like the Joslin Building rezone/redevelopment, but in quieter times, what’s its role? The consensus right now is to have a deeper discussion in a few months.

SURVEY: If you live/work in Fauntleroy, have you answered the FCA survey yet? 411 responses so far, reports FCA board member Shannon Ninburg, running ahead of last year already, but they would still love to have more – it’s a meaty survey with questions about hot issues including crime/safety and development, among other things. You have until the end of the month – go here.

PLANTERS: Watch the planters around the Endolyne Triangle area for spring flowers!

FAUNTLEROY/ROSE SIGNAL: FCA is focusing on advocating for this to be funded in the Your Voice, Your Choice process; the nearest project-review meeting is coming up on March 26th (5:30-7:30 pm, Southwest Library, 9010 35th SW). FCA board member Marty Westerman says 20,000 crossings happen there each year.

TRIANGLE ROUTE TASK FORCE: Gary Dawson noted that the group is now meeting every other month. He says Monday was the first day of changed procedures and task-force members were asked to observe (we’re following up with WSF about this). Their next meeting is 4:30-7 pm March 29th at Fauntleroy Church.

LEAVING THE BOARD: Dawson had a personal announcement – he said not only is he is completing his fourth term on the Ferry Advisory Committee for Fauntleroy and is not seeking a fifth, but he also will be leaving the FCA board after more than 20 years. He lauded the talent of new board members as well as veterans and said it’s time to make room for others. “We will miss your contributions immensely,” FCA president Mike Dey told him, and others echoed the warm words.

The Fauntleroy Community Association board meets most months, second Tuesdays, 7 pm, at the schoolhouse (9131 California SW), all welcome, but especially invites you to the aforementioned Food Fest next week. And you can check in between meetings at

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SUB POP’S ALKI PARTY: New details revealed at Admiral Neighborhood Association Wed, 14 Mar 2018 06:11:56 +0000

As previewed last week, Sub Pop Records is visiting two community councils in West Seattle this week to talk about its big 30th anniversary party at Alki on August 11th (first announced here in January).

First up – tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, where Sound Transit light rail and a for-sale greenbelt were discussed too, but Sub Pop’s party was the big story. Lots of new information:

Megan Jasper, CEO of Sub Pop, led the briefing. “We live here,” she said, noting that – as mentioned in the original announcement – many Sub Pop employees and managers live in West Seattle and want to do their best to make this an event their own neighborhood can be proud of.

The band lineup is currently planned to be unveiled May 29th. Now that we have that question answered, about the crowd estimate:

30,000? wondered some WSB commenters. That’s based on what they drew for their 25th birthday bash in Georgetown, Jasper (photo right) and other Sub Pop reps told ANA. Maybe this crowd will be smaller, but they want to be ready just in case.

Four stages are planned, with the main ones near Alki Bathhouse and by Blue Moon Burgers. There’ll be a kids-and-family zone with a separate stage on the Alki Elementary playfield. That one will close at 6 pm, others at 8 pm, and it’ll all be over by 10 pm. The final stage with the closing act will face west toward the water. Scheduling will be spaced so that one group at a time will be playing – you won’t have to make tough decisions.

Alki Avenue will be closed from 57th SW to 63rd SW. (The city is reported to have floated the idea of extending the closure zone, but so far that’s only an idea.) Sub Pop says the planning includes an emergency lane down the inland side of the street in that area. Lots of other questions about traffic – some attendees wondered about Bonair uphill and other back ways in/out of Alki, and Sub Pop said that will be included in their continuing conversations/planning.

About incoming traffic – Sub Pop is working to get the T-5 area across from the Harbor/Florida 7-11 open for parking and are working on shuttles from areas such as The Junction and Morgan Junction. They also are looking into setting aside a space where ride-share drivers (Uber, Lyft, etc.) can drop off and pick up eventgoers.

Also: They’re recruiting cleanup volunteers to ensure that this is a zero-waste area. They will not only work on festival day/night to be sure the event zone and nearby streets are clean, they’ll also be back afterward.

Another tidbit: Lil’ Woody’s (which has burger joints in White Center as well as other parts of Seattle) is working on the Alki beer gardens.

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is working with Sub Pop – it’s based at the beach after all, and this is about history! – and plans a Log House Museum exhibit on festival day reflecting West Seattle music history, including some of the famous musicians who live here.

Got questions? Want to hear the full briefing firsthand? Next one is at the Alki Community Council‘s meeting on Thursday night (March 15th), 7 pm at Alki UCC (6115 SW Hinds).

P.S. Added as per discussion in comments – here’s the flyer Sub Pop circulated at the meeting.

Also at tonight’s Admiral NA meeting:

SOUND TRANSIT LIGHT RAIL: ANA president Larry Wymer is also on the board of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition and led a discussion/presentation. He went through the Junction Neighborhood Organization‘s slide deck proposing a partly tunneled option – we went into it in detail when JuNO showed it to WSTC last month; here’s the slide deck again:

(Slide deck for JuNO tunnel proposal)

The tunnel idea was received favorably – the elevated plan could pose problems including noise and impediments to West Seattle’s prized views, attendees observed. Other points of discussion included how buses would get from the Admiral District to the planned light-rail stations in Delridge, Avalon/35th, and The Junction, given the depleted state of Admiral bus service in general currently.

Next up in light-rail planning, by the way, is tomorrow’s Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting (5-8 pm at Sound Transit’s Ruth Fisher Board Room in Union Station downtown, 401 S. Jackson).

COLLEGE STREET RAVINE: Elaine Ike from Seattle Green Spaces Coalition told attendees that the group has learned that an undeveloped greenbelt space in the ravine vicinity is for sale. They want a walkthrough with the city and the real-estate broker to determine where this privately owned land starts and where the public land begins, and they want ANA to be involved. Preserving the ravine as public greenspace goes back to the days of West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Charlie Chong, she noted.

SUMMER CONCERTS AT HIAWATHA: The lineup for this year’s series (which WSB is again co-sponsoring) should be ready to announce by the next ANA meeting in May.

SPEAKING OF THE NEXT MEETING: ANA now meets every other month, second Tuesdays, at 6:30 pm, The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd SW/SW Lander), so you’re invited to the next one, May 8th.

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Highland Park Action Committee: New meters and new leaders Mon, 05 Mar 2018 04:43:49 +0000 One more community-group update from this past week: Highland Park Action Committee, which elected a new chair and co-chair, as well as getting a briefing from Seattle City Light.

But first: Outgoing co-chair Gunner Scott said he’s going to keep Mayor Jenny Durkan to her promise to visit Highland Park. He extended the invitation at her West Seattle “town hall” last weekend:

And she accepted it. Scott says he hopes to have her visit for coffee, donuts, and a look at Highland Park’s infamous traffic trouble (the one for which a roundabout is being sought).

Speaking of city business – City Light’s new meters will be installed in West Seattle soon:

Scott Thomsen from SCL was at HPAC with the update. He says City Light has installed almost 100,000 meters north of downtown so far and that phase two will be the south side, including West Seattle starting this summer. Among the benefits of the new meters, Thomsen said, will be that you’ll be able to know your usage even before your bill arrives. You’ll also be able to set an alert, if you want, to be triggered when your monthly bill reaches a certain dollar amount. And the meters will provide the utility with instant notice of power outages – in some areas, there’s still a lag until SCL hears from customers who have lost power.

Here’s how the installation will roll out: About six weeks in advance, you’ll get a letter explaining the new meters. About a week before the installer shows up, you’ll get a postcard announcing when the crew will be in your neighborhood. Then one day in advance, you’ll get a robo-call about it. On installation day, the crew will knock on your door to provide advance warning that you’ll be out of power for a few minutes while the switch is made.

Now, meet the HPAC leaders present and past:

From left, new secretary James Tucker, new chair Charlie Omana, outgoing co-chairs Scott (who will now serve as vice chair) and Michele Witzki.

P.S. HPAC usually gets updated on what’s ahead at Highland Park Improvement Club, which hosts its meetings – upcoming events include not only Corner Bar, Art Lounge, and Movie Night, all of which happen just about every month, but also the Uncorked “wine event” coming up May 19th – more details soon.

Highland Park Action Committee meets fourth Wednesdays, 7 pm, at HP Improvement Club – check between meetings for updates.

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Check your mail! Maybe you got Amy’s envelope Mon, 26 Feb 2018 17:09:34 +0000 Case of theft, or delivery to the wrong address? Amy posted in the WSB Forums that she is hoping the manila envelope USPS says was delivered to her residence really turned up somewhere else instead, so if you by some chance haven’t looked at your Saturday postal mail … take a look when you can, and if you got her envelope, the post includes her contact info (or – in this case or any other time you get someone else’s mail – you can drop it back in a mailbox with a note attached “wrong address”).

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Light-rail impacts, the morphed Multi-Modal Corridor plan, and more @ Delridge Neighborhoods District Council Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:29:49 +0000 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Seems like Sound Transit West Seattle light rail is Topic A everywhere.

One night before Thursday’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition presentation/discussion, it was also a big part of the agenda at Wednesday’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting – including another potentially loud voice supporting tunneling along at least part of what’s been drafted as an all-elevated route.

So that’s where our report begins:

(From the draft map for Sound Transit’s West Seattle light rail)

CITY REP ON SOUND TRANSIT 3 LIGHT RAIL: Interested in some tunneling on the West Seattle light-rail line, now in the “early scoping” public-comment mode through March 5th? The city may be on your side. Lyle Bicknell came to speak with DNDC on behalf of the city’s interest in the ST3 planning process – he’s with the Office of Planning and Community Development – and talking about how to minimize the impacts of the upcoming light-rail project.

Bicknell discussed city observations about some aspects of the proposal – such as, the Delridge station (currently envisioned to be near Delridge/Andover) having a potential major role as a “transit intercept.” Bicknell’s remarks led to a table discussion about other aspects of the draft project (“representative alignment” as ST calls it) – acknowledging that “we are very keen in urging Sound Transit to explore a tunnel component” he said after attendees brought up the point. Bicknell said the city is concerned about the impacts of an elevated track in the area where it’s projected to be 150 feet high. And yes, he said, the city is aware that tunneling would cost more. But in response to some cynicism about whether a difference can be made now, Bicknell said that he’s seen it happen in other communities and “decisionmakers tend to see the light when they feel the heat.” And he stresses that now is the time to speak up – again, is one way, and e-mail/phone/postal mail info is all on the last page of that feedback site – by the upcoming March 5th deadline.

Also discussed: light rail only serving a fragment of the peninsula. Michael Taylor-Judd, who chairs the West Seattle Transportation Coalition as well as representing North Delridge on the district council, pointed out that pre-ST3, there was talk of the line running completely east of 35th SW, and that didn’t seem like it would have worked either. Bicknell pointed out that West Seattle’s major density is in The Junction. “But with (HALA) upzones,” Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Gunner Scott said, “that’s all going to change.”

“Given that this is a project that will affect our community for at a minimum 100 years,” said Bicknell, planning it thoughtfully is key.

DELRIDGE ACTION PLAN: This was a case of a city plan that morphed into something other than what it was intended to be, over the course of four years, and now is being tossed back in the lap of the community, which in turn is asking questions such as, what is this really intended to be/do?

The city rep for this item was David Goldberg, who noted that he had originally come to the community in spring 2014. He talked about how the project he was working on has changed – for example, what was the Delridge Multi-Modal Corridor Plan component (noted in this 2015 story) evolved into planning of the future RapidRide H Line. He was here to finalize the document and the work plan that has ultimately resulted from it, before it goes to the City Council.

What about neighborhood input on the final plan? asked Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding. Goldberg said there are no new meetings planned (his last discussion with community reps was more than a year ago, also at the Delridge District Council). What about including other areas of east West Seattle? he was asked. Goldberg said his work is on behalf of the mayor’s office and suggested talking with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold about expanding the coverage area. South Delridge’s Marianne McCord said it’s imperative that her area be considered, because it’s part of the corridor and going to ultimately be part of the urban village. “I agree with you in terms of the concept,” said Goldberg, “but … I did not have the ability to plan for this entire area, so we had to make an assessment about our capacity,” and it stopped where it stopped. The goal of putting this plan forward now is to get some focus on “community priorities,” he added. “Part of what I’m here today to do is to figure out what (the community) thinks are priorities in the next (few) years.”

He mentioned that economic development is one thing that’s being worked on already. Spalding in turn observed that the Delridge Multi-Modal Corridor Plan concept was one that seemed like it would have worked for the community, so couldn’t this go back to that – and what happened to the money? Goldberg said some had been spent. But overall, he said the Multi-Modal Corridor Plan concept was something the city was pursuing in five areas of the city – and then RapidRide came along and the plan changed. “We didn’t change the scope of the project we lobbied for,” Taylor-Judd noted. “Nor did we,” said Goldberg. “We spent years lobbying for that money, and for the corridor,” Taylor-Judd retorted, “by lobbying multiple SDOT directors and mayors – and this plan exists because (we) lobbied for years to get you money in your budget to do (some) neighborhood planning.” (The funding dated back to work that community leaders did with former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, longtime DNDC members mentioned multiple times.) Goldberg said he would advocate for the community’s concerns, but he also warned that part of the forthcoming report/document might be things the community “(don’t) agree with” or wouldn’t consider a priority. Spalding said it’s vital that community reps see the plan before it goes to the council so they could for example point out their concerns/priorities in advance to decisionmakers such as Councilmember Herbold.

As district-council reps/attendees leafed through copies of the plan’s latest version, its mention of the Delridge Grocery Co-op – not represented at the meeting – was spotlighted, while attendees voiced the perception that it appears to be no closer to opening a store than it’s been in its years of working toward that goal. Goldberg said the city still has an open offer of “technical assistance” but hasn’t had a recent request, and promised that the plan would address Delridge’s “food desert” problem somehow.

YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE PROJECT DEVELOPMENT MEETINGS: Yun Pitre, community engagement coordinator from the Department of Neighborhoods, reminded everyone of the schedule of meetings coming up to go through the community suggestions for park/street grants. (Here’s the list – first one is Monday.) Several of the people here who participated last year and offered suggestions for improving the process – which was new last year – expressed dismay that it hasn’t changed. While hundreds of ideas were submitted, only a few dozen people participated in reviewing ideas. South Delridge rep McCord added dismay that projects involving public safety are being forced to compete for what Pigeon Point’s Spalding called “an ever-shrinking pot of money.” That led to a brief question of whether some of the money that’s not going to be spent on the Fauntleroy Boulevard project – so far – might be spent instead on the grant-funding-denied Highland Park roundabout.

Other topics:

ROXHILL PARK COMMONS: Earl Lee from Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition brings up this idea now in discussion to get more community involvement with the park (with a kickoff meeting coming up next Tuesday).

DELRIDGE DAY: Spalding said the skating part of the festival will be expanded this year, and Nafasi Ferrell of DNDA is putting together cultural features, Chas Redmond is programming the music, the Precinct Picnic will be back and the bicycle officers will lead a bike ride through Delridge. Spalding said they are hoping that more community organizations, like neighborhood councils, will participate this year. Though it’s in North Delridge, it’s not the North Delridge Day Festival, pointed out Taylor-Judd. He pointed out there’s tons of free stuff – food, treats, backpacks, entertainment, activities. And he pointed out that sponsorships (we’ve been a sponsor each year) and other community support has meant the festival has raised money, thousands of dollars donated to local nonprofits.

BEE FESTIVAL: As always, it’s at High Point Commons Park, and this year’s date is May 19th, Deborah Vandermar from the High Point Open Spaces Association announced. It will begin with the parade as always.

DISTRICT COUNCIL COLLABORATION: There’s talk of having West Seattle’s two district councils formally collaborate for a “unified voice” on behalf of the peninsula. Spalding pointed out that the councils used to have an annual joint meeting. The concept, overall, is a work in progress.

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets on third Wednesdays most months, 7 pm, currently at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden).

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TUESDAY: New day, time, place for South Delridge Community Group Tue, 13 Feb 2018 03:10:44 +0000 Live/work in South Delridge? You’re invited to check out the South Delridge Community Group at 7 pm tomorrow night at 2 Fingers Social (9211 Delridge Way SW) – a new place, day, and time as the group resumes meetings. All ages are welcome at 2 Fingers until 8 pm, so you can bring your kid(s) to the meeting if you want/need to. Read more about the SDCG by going here.

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Crime drop, bog progress, park future @ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition Thu, 08 Feb 2018 23:24:54 +0000 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Some promising news emerged on multiple fronts at this month’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meeting.

CRIME DROP: WWRHAH was briefed by Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith. The area covered by this community group, he said, has had 56 incidents in tracked categories compared to 119 a year earlier. That includes one fewer robbery, one more aggravated assault, 7 crimes against persons compared to 5 – but property crime is down dramatically – one more burglary, one more commercial burglary (3 compared to 2), but larceny (much of it shoplifting) is down dramatically, about a fourth of what it was. Also: 15 car prowls compared to 17, 8 car thefts compared to 13. 49 property crimes in all – less than half it was at this point last year. Police continue working harder to get repeat offenders kept in jail – including for example making sure the “(law enforcement) objects to release” box is checked on reports.

The subject of the arrest of officer-assault suspect Jorge Cruz-Benitez two nights earlier came up; he was allegedly first spotted doing graffiti vandalism in the area (Delridge/Henderson). Lt. Smith echoed what we noted in a previous discussion, that not all tagging is gang-related. (This meeting was on Tuesday night; one night later, on Wednesday night, Cruz-Benitez was released from jail, according to the KC Jail Register.)

(Southwestern side of Roxhill Bog – WSB photo from 2014)

ROXHILL PARK AND BOG: WWRHAH has been pushing forever to get the bog water-flow fixed –
here’s an extensive report we published in 2014 – and is making progress. Your involvement can accelerate things. First:

Rory Denovan recapped a wetland tour on a rainy day a week and a half ago that included city reps from Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks, plus Duwamish Alive!, Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, and Councilmember Lisa Herbold. He said they took a look at areas of settlement and other problems such as camping and drug use. “We didn’t really get the chance to start talking about solutions,” he said, but a project plan has been drafted and the next steps are to apply for grants, so some proposals will be written for that. The city is pursuing green stormwater infrastructure on 29th SW just west of the park, but he feels that there needs to be a bigger-picture plan for the area first – more of the diverted stormwater could be channeled into the bog, for example.

More advocacy is needed to solve the bog’s woes – and WWRHAH needs another point person to advocate and communicate as a liaison between the various agencies. Get involved and help make sure the progress continues! Contact WWRHAH if that resonates with you.

9201 DELRIDGE DESIGN REVIEW: As we’ve reported here, a storage building is proposed to replace the automotive business at 9201 Delridge Way SW, and its first Design Review Board meeting is coming up next week (see the design packet here). “Something’s wrong in orienting the building the way they have, where they don’t have eyes on Delridge,” WWRHAH co-chair Kim Barnes said. She plans to be at the hearing to share her concerns. Eyes on the street are vital in “a developing neighborhood,” she said. In ensuing discussion, it was noted that this area of Delridge is supposed to become pedestrian-friendly, with walkable businesses, as it densifies, and it’s unfortunate that this project – while allowed by current zoning – isn’t going to enhance that. The meeting is at 6:30 pm February 15th; more info here.

HALA APPEAL: WWRHAH is among the community groups involved in the appeal of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability, so Barnes updated the group on what was going on. “We have a really good case,” she believes, while saying she can’t elaborate. She also noted that, as has been discussed at other community meetings recently, the appeal hearing is expected to be delayed until June, because preparations will take longer. She also noted that the appeal coalition is continuing to raise money. WWRHAH and other participating groups want the city to address neighborhood-specific concerns in the Environmental Impact Statement, which has been alleged to have been published as a “one size fits all urban villages” type of plan instead.

ROXHILL PARK COMMONS: WWRHAH continues to be involved with the concept of getting Roxhill Park involved with the Parks Commons Program, “to help increase park usage and enrich the life of the neighborhood.” A kickoff meeting is planned 6:30 pm February 27th at Southwest Library – all welcome.

SOUTH DELRIDGE COMMUNITY GROUP: Home Depot to Roxbury, three blocks on either side, is the area for South Delridge Community Group, which is relaunching meetings – they will meet on second Tuesdays at 7 pm at Two Fingers Social (9211 Delridge Way SW), starting February 13th.

Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meets first Tuesdays most months, 6 pm, at Southwest Library. Watch for updates.

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FIRE STATION OPEN HOUSES: 4 open in West Seattle for Neighbor Day visits Mon, 05 Feb 2018 22:01:35 +0000 (WSB photo from Station 32’s open house last November)

This Saturday is Neighbor Day around the city – and one of the most popular aspects is the chance to visit local fire stations during Neighbor Day open houses. They’re not all open for the occasion but here are the ones on the list this time – 11 am-1 pm Saturday (February 10th) – in West Seattle:

-Fire Station 11 in Highland Park (16th/Holden)
-Fire Station 29 in North Admiral (2139 Ferry SW)
-Fire Station 32 in The Triangle (38th/Alaska)
-Fire Station 37 in Sunrise Heights (35th/Holden)

More about Neighbor Day as the week goes on!

P.S. Though the list on the city website does not include Station 32 right now, we doublechecked with SFD and they say the new station WILL have an open house too.

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Junction Neighborhood Organization focuses on HALA and Sound Transit, after pre-meeting Fauntleroy Boulevard news Fri, 02 Feb 2018 06:03:08 +0000 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When a meeting room at the Sisson Building/Senior Center filled to overflowing last night for the Junction Neighborhood Organization‘s quarterly meeting, the biggest news was already a couple hours old – SDOT‘s announcement that the Fauntleroy Boulevard project is on hold.

For those who hadn’t already heard, JuNO director Amanda Sawyer recapped it at the start of the meeting. (SDOT did not send reps to talk about it, as had been the original plan before the suspension was announced.) She and West Seattle Junction Association executive director Lora Swift both stressed that since SDOT is saying it will reallocate the project funds – last described as $15 million to $18 million – to other WS projects, feedback to Councilmember Lisa Herbold is important. (Send yours to

So that left the meeting devoted to two other big topics affecting The Junction – the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning proposal that has just gone into City Council review, and Sound Transit planning for West Seattle light rail, which is just starting its formal community-outreach process.

Christy Tobin Presser from the JuNO Land Use Committee talked about efforts to get the neighborhood a “collaborative process” with the city. Concerns include displacement, lack of affordable housing to be created in The Junction, lack of infrastructure to support increasing density. But the “collaborative process … hasn’t happened to date,” she said, noting that the Final Environmental Impact Statement made public in November – with maps for the city’s “preferred” upzoning plan – does not address specific neighborhoods’ conditions and concerns. That’s what led to the appeal of the Final EIS, filed by a coalition of neighborhood groups citywide including JuNO, which filed its own appeal too. As had been mentioned at the recent meeting of the Morgan Community Association – which also is involved in the appeals – the discovery process preceding the appeal hearings is expected to push back the date for those hearings, originally set for April, by two months if not more.

Tobin Presser also said that the citywide coalition is raising money to cover the legal assistance helping with the appeals. And she said it was important to realize that this isn’t a process seeking to throw out HALA MHA – a “win” would be requiring the Environmental Impact Statement to include the requested neighborhood collaboration. Along with contributing money, people interested in helping could also volunteer to assist with research, or with expertise – if you have it – on some of the issues. Being involved with the coalition “has become a second full-time job,” Tobin Presser said. “We all want affordable housing in our communities, we all like increased diversity in our communities,” but they don’t believe that what’s being proposed now “is the best way to get there.”

Sawyer said “the legal action is just a single tool in the toolbox,” so they also are continuing to work with Councilmember Herbold, “trying to find some nuance … in how we want to take on growth and density.” She also suggested going to the HALA MHA open houses in other districts, to see what’s being discussed and how – and by who – all of which will be held before the one set for our area (May 9th at Louisa Boren STEM K-8). Speaking at a public hearing “is worthwhile” too, said Sawyer, adding that she’s now done that three times this year – before which, she had never done it in her life. She also noted that, as was pointed out again in this week’s City Council committee overview, several other parts of the city have already had MHA plans passed – including Uptown (lower Queen Anne), Chinatown-International District, Downtown, South Lake Union, and the U-District – each with its own process, including its own EIS, unlike what’s happening now, with more than 20 neighborhoods around the city lumped into one. Sawyer showed highlights from one of those other plans that might offer precedent for what could be done in The Junction – the U-District, for example, addressed upcoming light rail, plans for specific open spaces, kept The Ave out of zoning changes altogether, and more. “We should be thinking of how to carve out resolutions that hold the city accountable,” Sawyer said. Perhaps what was done for The Ave could be replicated or adapted for addressing the West Seattle Junction and its small businesses, for example. She showed highlights of the Uptown plan, too, and said The Junction should work to get as much attention to details of the forthcoming light-rail station(s) as Uptown did. Uptown also had its Neighborhood Design Guidelines updated for the first time in 10+ years – that could be a goal for The Junction, too, she said.

“Didn’t the original neighborhood plan (from the 1990s) anticipate all this?” asked an attendee.

Short answer, yes. “It was supposed to be a living plan,” noted Sawyer (while also noting she is a recent arrival and wasn’t part of that process). That also led to a mention of the competing Comprehensive Plan Amendments (basically, the city wants to overwrite its long-range plan to eliminate points in which it includes neighborhood-plan points such as protection of single-family neighborhoods, while JuNO and at least one other community council is trying to get its own amendment to underscore the pre-existing protections).

That other group – the mentioned-earlier Morgan Community Association – also is looking at other ideas for how to ensure that affordable entry-level family housing remains part of the area’s future, such as Community Land Trusts.

Second to speak, also from JuNO’s Land Use Committee, was Rich Koehler. His focus was on the Sound Transit plan for the area. He said hearing about the light-rail plan for this area – where he lives and is raising two kids – was exciting. He then jumped into involvement when he found out about HALA MHA. He in turn introduced some other volunteers: Kevin Freitas, who plans to be involved as a liaison with Sound Transit – he applied to join its Stakeholder Advisory Group (for which the new members have not yet been announced) – and the community member who nicknamed himself “Avalon Tom,” who made the unofficial elevated-rail renderings shown here last month, was introduced too.

Koehler offered a few points of background – even why The Junction is The Junction (a junction of two streetcar lines in 1920s) – and how “urban villages” got to be “urban villages.”

He also showed a map breaking out the distinct areas of The Junction, from commercial to apartments/condos, and pulled out other pages from the neighborhood plan showing what had been envisioned as pedestrian connectors, for example, such as California and Fauntleroy. And he pointed out that the now-on-hold Fauntleroy Boulevard project was a “descendant” of the designation of that street as a major pedestrian connector.

Then he moved to the unofficial renderings of Sound Transit’s draft plan for routing elevated transit through the area, with “Avalon Tom” contributing some elaboration from the back of the room. Koehler talked about the source of the information that was used to create them, his filing of a public-disclosure request to see how the city and ST had been coordinating or not – that’s how the “representative alignment” came to light. He showed that draft route, with the three stations envisioned – Delridge, Avalon, Junction – the first and third envisioned as connecting to other transportation. In response to questions, Koehler reiterated that this is the draft routing/alignment – the actual planning and outreach starts now and that’s why (as we’ve reported) involvement is vital.

He showed more of the renderings including the potential impacts on the California/Alaska intersection, and how the “representative alignment” shows tracks dead-ending over 44th/Alaska.

The discussion included an attendee question about the legislation that would reduce the amount of funding available to Sound Transit via car-tab taxe, and the conclusion is that no one yet knows how that might affect the West Seattle to Ballard light-rail project. Speaking of funding, the idea of tunneling through West Seattle instead of having the elevated rail came up again; the price tag was cited as $500 million more than what’s estimated now. WSJA’s Swift noted that the north section of the line already includes 7.1 miles of tunneling and that with “a collective voice,” some tunneling likely could be brought here so that all this elevated track “doesn’t destroy our neighborhood.” Also noted, the concept of saving money by dropping the Avalon station – closer to the Junction station than any two other stations in the system, Koehler said – to get tunneling money.

An attendee who said she’s been involved in South King County light-rail planning urged those interested to go take a look at the Angle Lake station.

After some more discussion, Koehler summarized, “This is all one big advertisement for you to get involved.”

Your next opportunity will be the official Sound Transit West Seattle open house – 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 13th, at the Masonic Hall in The Junction. (4736 40th SW).

Also noted at last night’s meeting:

SDOT PARKING STUDY: Will an RPZ be ahead for part of The Junction? The information is expected by the end of February, according to director Sawyer, who said that she’ll distribute it by e-mail when it’s available, and that SDOT’s team will come to JuNO’s next quarterly meeting in April for a followup discussion.

Get on the Junction Neighborhood Organization e-mail list for updates – scroll down to sign up.

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Highland Park Action Committee: Needle cleanup, natural drainage, neighborhood help… Sun, 28 Jan 2018 06:30:16 +0000

From the Highland Park Action Committee‘s January meeting:

‘I FOUND A NEEDLE, NOW WHAT?’ The Sharps Collection Pilot Program from Seattle Public Utilities gave a presentation. It was basically Needle 101 – where do discarded needles come from? Not just IV drug users – could be people with medical conditions that require injections, even pets that need shots, or allergy sufferers. In Seattle, it’s illegal to just throw needles in the trash, “for the safety of sanitation workers,” said the SPU presenters.

If you find a needle on public property:

-Don’t touch it
-Report via Find It Fix It
-Illegal dumping hotline: 206-684-7587

If you report it that way, “The city will come and clean up the needle for you!” the slide deck promised. Within 24 hours, the SPU reps added. But not if it’s on private property – in that case, you have to pick it up, but then you can bring it to a public disposal site. So – how to clean up on private property? That was the next section of the presentation. Be sure you have:

-Puncture-proof container

Never touch the needle with your hands – not even to re-cap it. (It’s not just a matter of getting poked – it’s any contact with a virus that might still be “alive,” for hours or even days.)

Place the puncture-proof container on a flat surface close to the needle; open it to prepare it. Use your tongs to pick it up – by the plunger, not by the needle. Hold it far away from your body and place the sharp end into the container first. Then put the cap back on your puncture-proof container and tape the top shut. Dispose of your gloves – wash your hands – deliver the container to a sharps bin near you. There’s a map on this page or scroll through it below:

As you can see, in our area, Roxhill Park has a large box, and Westcrest Park has a restroom with a smaller box, or you can take the container to the South Transfer Station.

The program is likely to expand a bit this year, the SPU team said, depending on usage and on what they hear in “outreach” events like this. They might “do a little rearranging, a little adding, a little subtracting,” and are open to location suggestions. HPAC co-chair Gunner Scott suggested Riverview Playfield. Other suggestions included the vicinity of 16th/Roxbury.

The SPU reps noted that they have only received three needle reports in this area recently. It was suggested, that might be because people aren’t that aware of the project. You can find out more about it here.

LONGFELLOW NATURAL-DRAINAGE SYSTEMS: A different presenter from Seattle Public Utilities brought an update on this project – they’ve identified potential blocks for installing “natural drainage” (raingardens, etc.) and most are NOT in Highland Park. See the map here. Along with feasibility, residents’ interest is part of how they’re deciding on siting; construction is set for 2019-2020.

HPIC UPDATE: Events ahead at Highland Park Improvement Club, where HPAC meets, include Punk Rock Aerobics, the new class that just started on Thursday nights. … The February first-Friday Corner Bar is coming up February 2nd … then there’s second-Friday Art Lounge on February 9th, and third-Friday Family Movie Night on February 16th … April 29th will be a work party to spruce up HPIC itself, May 19th is the 10th annual Uncorked wine-celebration fundraiser … Highland Park Elementary‘s fundraising auction is coming up February 3rd and a DeLorean car will be at HPIC for photos!

HPAC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE UPDATE: They’re taking nominations for leadership positions – co-chairs Scott and Michele Witzki would like to make way for new leaders. You can nominate yourself or someone else; voting is planned at next month’s meeting. … Some by-law tweaks were discussed (they are summarized and linked here) – a final vote is planned next month … There was discussion about how to get more community involvement, and also how to get more infrastructure for the neighborhood, especially with the roundabout project that has lost out on funding time and time again.

RAPIDRIDE H LINE: This planning-stages project, converting Metro Route 120 to the RapidRide H Line, was brought up by an attendee before meeting’s end. He said central Delridge in particular – the route area closest to Highland Park – is not getting much attention in the current discussions about stops and other aspects. (Here’s our most-recent coverage of what’s being proposed.) Co-chair Witzki urged people to take a look and interpret it “for themselves and how their neighborhoods might be affected.” Co-chair Scott mentioned that this is the type of topic for which committee creation would be optimal, and added that they could ask SDOT to come to HPAC’s February or March meeting.

DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS: Community-engagement coordinator Laura Jenkins reminded attendees that the Your Voice, Your Choice street/park-project-grant fund is in the idea-collection phase, through February 2nd – you can send in ideas online or on paper via libraries. One of the idea-reviewing meetings will be in east West Seattle, she said, either Highland Park or Puget Ridge. (Later in the meeting, HPAC concerns were voiced including what was happening with the projects that “won” last year (and a promised 11th/Henderson project that wasn’t on the official “winners” list), as well as ensuring that translated materials were available to community members for whom English is not a primary language). … Jenkins also noted that Neighbor Day is coming up February 10th.

APOLOGIES … that we arrived late (from the overlapping Lincoln Park Play Area meeting) and missed the first 20-plus minutes, including the update from Friends of Southwest Indoor Tennis.

The Highland Park Action Committee usually meets fourth Wednesdays – its next meeting is 7 pm February 28th at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden). Watch for updates.

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FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD PROJECT: Update next week at Junction Neighborhood Organization Fri, 26 Jan 2018 04:31:41 +0000

(Fauntleroy Boulevard ‘final design’ – click here to see full-size image on city website)

You might recall that the Fauntleroy Boulevard project was long described as likely to start in “early 2018,” according to SDOT. Early 2018 is here, and not only is construction not imminent, some key project points haven’t even been announced yet – such as, whether Fauntleroy Way will be one-way or two ways during construction. But new information might be days away – for the first time in eight months, SDOT is scheduled to present a public update next Wednesday (January 31st). It’s on the agenda for the next Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting.

Also planned for the 6:30 pm meeting at the Senior Center/Sisson Building, updates on the Avalon Substation site, HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning, what’s next for Sound Transit light-rail planning (including the speculative renderings first shown here earlier this month), and volunteering opportunities. The meeting is open to anyone and everyone who’s interested.

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Alki Community Council: 59th/Admiral; beach signage; more… Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:53:29 +0000 Toplines from last night’s Alki Community Council meeting:

(WSB photo, December 2017)

59TH/ADMIRAL: The ACC discussed the intersection as a followup to recent changes made by SDOT as part of the ongoing Admiral Way Safety Project, as well as advocacy by the Traffic Safety Task Force set up by parents at nearby Alki Elementary. A key point of discussion was getting a full traffic signal – which the parents want – versus keeping the pedestrian-activated light on Admiral and stop signs on 59th. ACC president Tony Fragada will ask that the SDOT project manager come to their next meeting; he’s also hoping to talk with West Seattle-residing at-large City Councilmember Lorena González, who chairs the committee that oversees safety.

NOISE ENFORCEMENT: Jesse Robbins, who initiated the project that eventually led to Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s survey showing a high level of vehicle-noise concerns in the area, was back to visit (backstory is in our coverage of November’s ACC meeting). As previously reported, he and colleagues are working on a potential technology solution to the challenges that police say get in the way of enforcing noise laws (needing to hear/record/prove the violation, for example). He said they’ll be testing at an Eastside park twice in the next two weeks. Meantime, as previously reported, SPD is under orders to report to the City Council in March about enforcement-related issues; Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith said those contributing to the report include the City Attorney’s Office, regarding the state of noise laws and how they could be amended, and financially focused personnel to look at how the issue might be addressed in the SPD budget. Robbins says they would like to run a test at Alki this summer, but that depends on how the SPD report turns out.

CRIME TRENDS: Nothing of note to report so far since the start of the year, Lt. Smith said, but 2017 did bring a bigger reduction in crime in the Southwest Precinct than other precincts in the city, he said. (You can crunch crime numbers from neighborhood level to citywide level any time by going here.)

MORE ALKI SIGNAGE? This was a community-member-led discussion on whether Alki might benefit from more signs, whether to remind people about the laws prohibiting dogs on the beach or to educate people about birds in the area (similar to The Whale Trail and Seal Sitters signage about marine mammals). Department of Neighborhoods rep Yun Pitre suggested this could be proposed for funding via the Your Voice, Your Choice process that’s under way now. The ACC will look into having a Seattle Parks rep come to a future meeting to discuss not only signage but also chronic issues with trash pickup at the beach.

The Alki Community Council meets on the third Thursday most months, 7 pm at Alki UCC (6115 SW Hinds).

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SUMMER CONCERTS AT HIAWATHA: Now seeking 2018 performers! Thu, 18 Jan 2018 20:51:39 +0000

(WSB file photo)

As mentioned in our coverage of the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s recent meeting, organizers of the ANA-presented Summer Concerts at Hiawatha are gearing up to plan this year’s series. This announcement is just in from Stephanie Jordan:

The Admiral Neighborhood Association (ANA) is now accepting performer submissions for our 2018 Summer Concert Series at Hiawatha Park!

The ANA Summer Concert Series at Hiawatha is a free, family-friendly outdoor concert event held outside the Hiawatha Community Center on Thursday evenings in the summer. The series is produced by the Admiral Neighborhood Association in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Associated Recreation Council, and through the generous sponsorship of community businesses. Last year’s lineup can be viewed on the ANA website.

We are seeking performers for the following dates: July 19th, July 26th, August 2nd, August 9th, and August 16th.

Interested artists should provide:

1. a brief description of your musical style
2. links to website/music/video or other resources that will help us know your music better
3. contact information, including email
4. your fee for a 90-minute set
5. preferred dates (and any dates you are unavailable)

Please send all information to . The committee will accept submissions through February 28th, 2018.

If you or your business is interested in sponsoring the 2018 ANA Summer Concert Series at Hiawatha Park, please contact Dave Weitzel at

We would also love to hear from community members! Tell us what you’d like to see more of, recommend your favorite performer or style of music, or just say hello!

You are welcome to comment below with recommendations, and/or e-mail the same address mentioned above – – to reach Stephanie and the committee. This will be the 10th year for the series, launched in 2009!

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Morgan Community Association: From HALA and mural money, to where Lowman Beach’s crumbling seawall stands Thu, 18 Jan 2018 05:41:17 +0000 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The lower-level meeting room at The Kenney was full for tonight’s Morgan Community Association meeting, and everybody there had the chance to vote on some big decisions – including spending thousands of dollars:

MORGAN NEIGHBORHOOD FUND: MoCA has no dues but does have this fund that resulted from the settlement of the neighborhood appeal of the project that became the Viridian Apartments. In settling the appeal, its developers agreed to donate $25,000 to MoCA, though the organization was not a party to the appeal. MoCA has never done anything with the money, but now has two applications for a share of it.

Vice president Phil Tavel presented the applications – one for restoring and protecting the mural behind the California/Fauntleroy Starbucks/Peel & Press/etc. building.

(WSB file photo)
P&P (WSB sponsor) proprietor Dan Austin has been exploring the project for 2+ years; the family that owns the building has committed some money, and told Austin they have no plans to sell the building. The family says it’ll contribute $3,000; the total cost, Austin says, would be about $10,000 – $8,500 with a discount the artist has offered – and he’s applied for $5,000 from the fund.

The other proposal to spend some of the money was for contributing to the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability Final Environmental Impact Statement citywide-coalition appeal, which MoCA and dozens of other community groups around the city are supporting. The coalition has raised about $15,000 so far; MoCA is proposing contributing $5,000 from the fund.

Tavel, a criminal lawyer, said he had been at a coalition meeting this morning and believes the coalition has excellent legal help. Asked about the ultimate goal (by an attendee who says she works on affordable housing), president Deb Barker said, “a neighborhood say.” Board member Cindi Barker said the EIS acknowledges impacts on neighborhoods but “did nothing on mitigation,” so that’s also a way that a redone EIS could improve things. Deb Barker underscored, “We agree that affordable housing is needed – our zoning is going to change – but (this) is to make sure that these impacts dumped on us – that there is mitigation.”

Tavel addressed criticism that “we’re just NIMBYs trying to save our single-family homes.” He said the appeal is entirely about the inadequacy of the EIS – “it should be exemplary, not crappy.”

Both funding proposals passed.

ALSO ABOUT THE HALA MHA APPEAL: This discussion came after the funding vote since it was “old business,” though MoCA leaders acknowledged they probably should have switched the order. They explained that MoCA’s board decided in November to join the citywide coalition appeal without having taken a vote of attendees – it was a decision that needed to be made quickly, Deb Barker explained. So now at this meeting they asked whether group participants support/validate that decision. As first published in our November coverage, here’s MoCA’s appeal, PDF here, or embedded below:

After a flurry of questions, and discussion of the Morgan-specific points of appeal – including a previously dropped pedestrian-zoning overlay resurfacing in the FEIS without outreach or explanation – a majority of those present voted to support proceeding with the appeal. Next step: The Hearing Examiner proceedings starting in mid-April, at which the appeals – coalition and individual groups – will be heard together.

Also on the MHA topic – Cindi Barker noted that more than half the acreage in the Morgan urban village is single-family zoning that will transform to multifamily under HALA MHA. That would dramatically change the land valuation, so Morgan is looking at “permanently affordable home ownership” so that the multifamily wouldn’t all be rentals, people who wanted to buy would still have options. So they’re forming a committee to work on how to achieve that. They’ve already talked with the Office of Housing, and have a lot of work to do to figure out how to proceed – possibly through tools such as Community Land Trusts.

Deb Barker reiterated, they know the urban village is changing. They want to figure out how the transformation will work. It might even set a “path forward” for the entire city, Cindi Barker said. “Be a trend-setter,” she added, exhorting people to join the committee. (Contact for MoCA is on its website,

LOWMAN BEACH SEAWALL: Seattle Parks‘ David Graves was back to talk about what’s next, now that a feasibility study is out for what could be done to remedy the failing seawall at Lowman Beach Park. If you haven’t seen it yet:

This comes half a year after a public meeting that went over the problem and potential solutions. The study offers the range of what’s “possible – not necessarily permittable.” The total project cost would be about $2 million. Just replacing the seawall isn’t likely to be the ideal option, Graves said, while adding that they do acknowledge shoreline changes in nearby waterfront properties, especially to the north of the park. “There is an opportunity depending on where we end up on the design to add additional material to the system to help our neighbors to the north” since the state of the shoreline has kept additional “material” from moving naturally. In response to a question, he explained that the problem is that, with an “armored shoreline,” wind and wave action has scoured out material and there’s no natural source in the system to replace it.

He said some “study work” needs to be done, especially checking for “cultural resources” – since this was a “creek mouth back in the day – it’s a logical spot with the potential to run into Native American artifacts,” so digging will be done (not large-scale – mostly with hand tools, Graves says). And there will be a recommendation to the superintendent – then comes the quest for money, grant dollars to be specific, since there’s nothing in the Parks budget right now.

Responding to a question, Graves said, “In a perfect world, we would just yank the seawall out and be done with it.” But they have to have some consideration for effects on the neighbors. Another question: Timelines on next step? Third quarter of this year for the grants they’re angling for, Graves replied. If they did get a grant, that would mean money in 2019, followed by design, and construction not likely before 2020. You’ll see the next round of investigatory work at the site in spring. He hopes to make a recommendation to the superintendent by March. In the meantime, they’re monitoring what’s left of the seawall in case of total failure. Shouldn’t there be a warning sign on the failing wall, to keep people away? That’ll be looked into.

One neighbor said he’d been told by an expert that the existing wall “could be saved for $100,000” and said that idea shouldn’t be discounted.

Graves was also asked about Pelly Creek uphill; most of its flow gets discharged offshore, and there’s just a bit that still comes through the Lowman seawall. He also mentioned that “trees will be a component of whatever we do.” Something to say/suggest/ask? You can reach him at – “I’m always accepting comments,” he promised. He’ll likely be back at MoCA with an update this summer.

BOARD CHANGES: Treasurer Eldon Olson and public-information officer Cindi Barker are departing after a decade on the board. Candidates have come forward to succeed them; elections are at the next quarterly meeting in April.

MORGAN MINUTES: Quick updates –

*Tamsen Spengler provided an update on the Southwest District Council‘s January meeting (WSB coverage here). She is now SWDC co-chair. She spoke of the plan to use SWDC as a “community forum” to bring forth issues and potential solutions. The February 7th meeting (6:30 pm, Senior Center/Sisson Building) will feature a rep from Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s office.

*Tavel reported on the Southwest Precinct Advisory Committee. Property crimes are “down a little,” he says, and police are continuing to run stings – following package-delivery trucks in hopes of catching thieves who are doing the same thing. SPD also exhorts everyone to report crimes, no matter how small (even for example a car prowl with nothing taken).

*West Seattle Church of the Nazarene townhouse project – the City Council did not waive the Mandatory Housing Affordability fee for the project (as reported here last month). The church told us at the time they plan to proceed anyway.

*California/Orchard water-on-road fix – separate update to come.

*Morgan Junction Community Festival – VP Tavel said the first meeting of the festival committee is just a few weeks away and would welcome additional volunteers to get involved in planning the June festival.

*Your Voice, Your Choice – Cindi Barker provided a reminder that it’s suggestion time for this year’s round of community-proposed, city-funded projects (as mentioned here two weeks ago).

HERBOLD POSTPONEMENT: City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, a late addition to the agenda, ended up postponing her appearance until the April MoCA meeting.

The Morgan Community Association meets in January, April, July, and October, on the third Wednesday, 7 pm at The Kenney (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW) – watch between meetings.

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