West Seattle Blog... » Neighborhoods http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Fri, 27 Nov 2015 23:51:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 @ Junction Neighborhood Organization: Emergency hub; street lighting; crime-fighting plan; public-safety survey… http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/junction-neighborhood-organization-emergency-hub-street-lighting-crime-fighting-plan-public-safety-survey/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/junction-neighborhood-organization-emergency-hub-street-lighting-crime-fighting-plan-public-safety-survey/#comments Wed, 18 Nov 2015 23:57:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329585 Three notes from last night’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting:

EMERGENCY HUB: JuNO has been working on setting up another hub for the West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs, closer to the heart of The Junction, and its thousands of apartment residents. Ellen West from the JuNO board is working on the project. While they’ve obtained a city grant to help start and equip the hub, they’ll be looking for donations to cover the rest of the cost. West and JuNO director René Commons plan to talk to some of the new buildings’ managers/owners in hope they’ll want to chip in. West also will be talking with building managers about their emergency-response plans.

STREET LIGHTING: One of JuNO’s 2016 priorities, according to Commons, will be a followup on lighting concerns along the west side of 42nd SW. She’s had a walking tour with a Seattle City Light representative but hopes to keep up the pressure for improvements; JuNO had been working with Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and now will need to work with whomever is elected in the too-close-to-call District 1 City Council race.

CRIME STATS: In the first round of the city’s development of “micro-policing plans,” The Junction was lumped in with a few other neighborhoods, but Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith says that will change, and soon The Junction will be broken out into its own plan area – which also means its own distinct set of crime stats on the new SPD “Dashboard.”

PUBLIC-SAFETY SURVEY: Researcher Jennifer Burbridge, who’s been working with the Southwest Precinct on projects including the micro-policing plans, is circulating one more reminder: If you haven’t already answered the citywide Public Safety Survey, please take a few minutes to do it – start here.

To join the JuNO mailing list for updates on meetings and projects, e-mail wsjuno@yahoo.com.

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Not a solicitor, not a prowler – might just be someone from the King County Assessor’s Office http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/not-a-solicitor-not-a-prowler-might-just-be-someone-from-the-king-county-assessors-office/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/not-a-solicitor-not-a-prowler-might-just-be-someone-from-the-king-county-assessors-office/#comments Fri, 13 Nov 2015 19:07:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328657 If you live in east West Seattle, that unfamiliar person who looks to be checking out your residence might just be a King County Assessor’s Office appraiser doing her/his job. This announcement explains:

The Assessor’s Office annually values over 700,000 properties in King County, and physically inspects 1/6th of all properties.

Starting this fall and continuing into Spring of 2016, appraisers from the Assessor’s Office will be conducting physical inspections of properties (existing residences, residences under construction and vacant parcels) in East West Seattle, Georgetown, South Park. Appraisers generally conducts physical inspection from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM four days per week, Monday thru Thursday and are identifiable by their County ID badges.

This annual process allows appraisers to verify and update any property characteristic changes that might have occurred since the last physical inspection. For information on your property, please visit the Assessor’s eReal Property Search at www.kingcounty.gov/assessor

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Morgan Community Association, report #2: From police to politics, with housing and traffic calming along the way http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/morgan-community-association-report-2-from-police-to-politics-with-housing-and-traffic-calming-along-the-way/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/morgan-community-association-report-2-from-police-to-politics-with-housing-and-traffic-calming-along-the-way/#comments Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:23:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326735 We’ve already reported two of the many topics covered at the quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting this past week – but there was much more.

Those topics included the recent arsons – the most recent one had happened in Morgan Junction earlier that day, so everyone was on guard. Engine 37 firefighters came to share fire-deterring tips (as circulated here earlier in the week); Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis came with an update on the investigation (we recorded it on video and added it to the update we’d published a few hours earlier).

SPD was originally on the MoCA agenda to talk about the area’s “micropolicing plan” and the new citywide Public Safety Survey, both with Seattle University involved, so Seattle U research intern Jennifer Burbridge, who’s been working with the SW Precinct and neighborhood groups, joined the presentation.

Morgan’s key areas of concern:

*Property crime
*Problems in the parks
*Speeding and traffic issues
*Non-residential property crime (shoplifting, armed robberies)

Police are working on specific strategies for each of these issues. Also mentioned: SPD’s new Crime Data Dashboard, unveiled earlier in the day – you can look up month-by-month crime stats for many neighborhoods.

Capt. Davis echoed a lot of what he had said at the previous evening’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, including that police are working with prosecutors regarding how to keep repeat offenders behind bars for longer.

What can we do to help? one attendee asked. Another suggested that when you hear someone’s been arrested – let the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office know that you are concerned, show community concern, and maybe a plea bargain will be less likely.

Here’s what else happened:

MURAL RESTORATION: See our separate report on this.

DISTRICT 1 CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE PITCHES: Lisa Herbold spoke and answered questions toward the start.

She had to head out to the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting; Shannon Braddock was staying for the rest of the MoCA meeting, so she deferred the chance to speak until its end, which, to provide context for her much-shorter remarks, was running overtime by then:

Theirs is one of many races/issues on your November 3rd ballot.

GET TO KNOW YOUR CITY: MoCA has been featuring various city departments at its quarterly meetings, so people can “get to know” the departments and services. This time around, Todd Burley from the city Office of Housing explained what it’s about. They’re NOT the Seattle Housing Authority, he said – SHA handles about half the subsidized housing in the city, while his agency handles the other half, about 12,000 rent/income-restricted housing units that are “regulated for 50 years – long-term affordability” for much of a building’s lifespan.

This year, Housing had its “largest funding round ever, $43 million to be loaned to nonprofit groups” to build housing. They also have incentive programs for private developers, he said. He also mentioned the recently expanded Multi-Family Tax Exemption, which he says will create “more affordable units” from hereon out. Right now, 2,000 units are part of that project, and 2,000 more are “in the pipeline,” he said.

Affordable housing equals paying 30 percent for your housing and utilities, he said. That’s harder to find, he said, because rent has gone up 29 percent in the past few years for a 1-bedroom apartment, for new construction; 14 percent for existing construction. $1800 is the average rent for a new 1-bedroom. “It’s bad, we all know that, I probably didn’t have to say that.” 45,000 households in the city spend more than half their income on housing, he said, with a side note: If you’re qualified for the utility discount program and not signed up, you’re wasting money – 60 percent off your utility bill if you qualify.

He mentioned the much-discussed Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) recommendations briefly, and also the Housing Levy, which expires next year and so will be proposed for renewal – doubled – “under $300 million.” He said they leverage state and federal dollars with what they raise, so taxpayers’ dollars go farther. “We do a good job, we’re a pretty lean machine.”

SPEAKING OF HALA: MoCA’s Cindi Barker, who was a member of the HALA advisory committee, briefed the group on some key points . She talked about how the committee had thought its recommendations would come out, get digested, and then the mayor would say what he supported. Instead, he announced his “action plan” simultaneously with the HALA recommendations. While the number 65 has been bandied about in terms of how many recommendations it contains, the report really contains more like 145, she said. HALA now has a program manager and an outreach manager, and they’ll be invited to MoCA’s January meeting, she said. Also, the City Council has now published its “work plan” for the recommendations; the mayor has made his priorities public; but what will other departments pick up on? The “urban village boundary” is one possible effect that Cindi Barker listed – possibly leading to “adjustments” in single-family zoning that remains within urban-village boundaries. Some changes might be removing the limit on how many unrelated people can live in “a unit” (currently it’s eight).

She also mentioned the much-touted “Grand Bargain” component of HALA, involving developers and affordable-housing advocates, saying that it actually happened outside the business that HALA was conducting. She said they’re still trying to figure out what the GB will result in – whether a 30-foot zone will actually wind up with 7 floors enabled, if some of it is affordable housing. Since Morgan is an urban village, it’s going to get more people – “our cut will be maybe 3,000,” she guesstimates, and then urged everyone to go to the upcoming Seattle 2035 comprehensive-plan meeting at the Senior Center of West Seattle, November 12th at 6 pm.

FRIENDS OF MORGAN JUNCTION PARKS: Barry White updated the group on the group‘s worth with not only Morgan Junction Park but also smaller public spaces around the area – November 14th at 2 pm is the pre-winter two-hour work party, tools provided, to help get the parks ready for the winter. All welcome.

49TH AND GRAHAM: A resident spoke to MoCa about the quest for traffic calming at 49th and Graham, on behalf of about three dozen neighbors, several of whom joined her at the meeting. She said she’s lived there 20 years and has “heard the neighborhood complain about the intersection the entire time” – but residents were “galvanized” by last month’s on-its-side car crash, the type of crash that neighbors considered “a matter of not when, but if.”

(WSB photo, September 2nd)
They surveyed 113 houses in the area; 33 surveys were returned, all in favor of “some type of safety improvement.” Stop signs, traffic circle, and a painted intersection mural were the preferred options, in that order. The first two might not be feasible, she said, because the first aren’t supported for “uncontrolled intersections” – of which the city has thousands – and the traffic circle would need more crashes to qualify, with such a long queue. So they’re going to try for a “painted mural” and are hoping for MoCA’s support. “Our goal is to prevent future accidents.”

An attendee mentioned a successful attempt to get a traffic circle at 38th and Graham. But the 49th/Graham neighbor said that even if they collected signatures and raised all the money, they still couldn’t get a circle, because SDOT has too many in line ahead of them. Further discussion ensued that stop signs are no panacea. They said they could make the mural happen within the next six months but they still want to campaign for a traffic circle over the next several years.

MoCA MINUTES: These quick mentions included:

*Contract rezone for the townhouses on Church of Nazarene-owned land just south of 42nd/Juneau is advancing – the City Council approved comprehensive-plan changes including this one on October 12th. The townhouse project now will move toward Streamlined Design Review.
*Contract rezone mentioned as in the works for 6921 California SW project (first reported here back in August).
*All nine business-district bicycle racks are in; some concrete was set recently for the final two.
*Sidewalk project – As the city has since announced, it’s now set to start November 5th.
*Neighborhood-plan update? The city’s not going to do them, so if Morgan (or any other neighborhood) wants one, they’ll have to take it on themselves.
*Convening Morgan businesspeople – Eldon Olson is working on this and hoping to set up a networking event in spring.
*Planning for next year’s Morgan Junction Community Festival – that’ll start “right after Christmas.”

NEW BOARD MEMBERS NEEDED: VP Jason Wax moved out of Morgan Junction, and Southwest District Council rep Tod Rodman relinquished that position. No one still on hand by this point of the meeting, after 9 pm, volunteered, so it’ll be brought up again next time.

MoCA meets quarterly, usually on a third Wednesday; watch for info between and before meetings at morganjunction.org.

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@ Admiral Neighborhood Association: Revised Admiral Way plan; changes for Hamilton Viewpoint Park http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/admiral-neighborhood-association-revised-admiral-way-plan-changes-for-hamilton-viewpoint-park/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/admiral-neighborhood-association-revised-admiral-way-plan-changes-for-hamilton-viewpoint-park/#comments Thu, 10 Sep 2015 02:52:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=322205 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two hot topics brought a big turnout to last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting – about 50 people at the start.

SW ADMIRAL WAY SAFETY PROJECT: As shown here earlier in the day, SDOT has revised its plan for rechannelizing SW Admiral Way west of California SW. The original proposal, introduced at April’s ANA meeting and discussed at an at-times-raucous “open house” in May, included removal of more than 200 parking spaces, and drawn howls of protest from some who live along the stretch, not just because of the reduction, but because it would have left some stretches with parking only on one side. The new configuration would remove the center turn lane in spots instead.

Dawn Schellenberg and Sam Woods from SDOT led the presentation about the revised version, going again through contextual information about collisions and bicycle use, with questions that had emerged before emerging again from attendees – how many collisions were the fault of drunk drivers, how many bicycle riders are using the road, etc. Numerous documents are now online – scroll down this page to find them.

The new plan includes a reduction of lane width – SDOT says wider lanes encourage speeding. Currently, between 63rd and 60th, the drive lanes are 12 feet wide, and will be narrowed to 11 feet. Between 60th and Stevens, there will be a “door zone” buffering drivers from the new bike lane (and vice versa) on the downhill side. Going uphill, the buffer will be between the bicycle rider and the driver. Between Stevens and Lander, the lanes are 11.5′ and will narrow to 10.5′; between Lander and 47th, “where we didn’t see a lot of parking no matter what time of year we studied it,” … and between 44th and 47th, standard bike lanes, and between 44th and California, no changes, to maintain the left-turn lane.

Additional safety features are now under study on the west end – maybe an all-ways stop at 59th/Admiral, which currently only has a pedestrian signal, leaving people to be confused about traveling in the non-controlled directions when someone is using the signal.

On first take, the revisions did not seem to be receiving rave reviews.

A couple of people voiced concerns that this will bring safety risks rather than solve safety problems. One wondered aloud if the city has a “hidden agenda.” Schellenberg declares there’s no “hidden agenda” but that the city wants to “add another travel option” to the stretch. Asked what that is – she says, “Bicycling.” Yet another attendee suggested that’s what she considered to be a “hidden agenda,” contending that Alki/Harbor Avenue should be sufficient for bicyclists in the area, describing Admiral lanes as “donating” a quarter of the street to riders.

Don Brubeck, a project-zone resident who is president of West Seattle Bike Connections and on the city’s Bicycle Advisory Board, tried to explain that bicycle riders need a safe route in that area, that Alki/Harbor won’t get them to stores and other destinations in central WS.

Things grew briefly acrimonious again, and then settled down, until a few last words from someone: “Please save the parking.”

SDOT is asking for comments on the revised plan through October 1st. One week from tomorrow, at Hiawatha Community Center at 6:15 pm September 17th, they’ll hold another “open house” – a meeting including a presentation as well as a chance to talk to project reps one-on-one. When it was pointed out that the date conflicted with the regular monthly meeting of the Alki Community Council, which represents part of the project zone, the city reps expressed surprise. Could they change the date? No, because the mailers had gone out.

HAMILTON VIEWPOINT PARK: The discussion of safety in the park was supposed to include Seattle Police as well as Seattle Parks, but those in attendance were told that SPD’s Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores had to cancel because of a family emergency. So three Seattle Parks managers took centerstage: South and Central East Park Resource Manager Robert Stowers, South Seattle park resources manager, West Seattle crew chief Carol Baker, and security supervisor Marlan Teeters.

In addition to general ongoing concerns about troublemakers in the park, recent incidents have raised the concern level higher, including the August incident that started as a robbery at Hamilton Viewpoint and led to a shooting in North Delridge (the suspect charged in the case is still in jail – we just checked) – and the Palm Avenue incident in which a man was confronted by gun-wielding youths in his driveway.

For starters, Stowers said, Parks is aware of what’s going on and it’s “going on in every neighborhood … but we always seek a solution.” He said they would do a few things right away, from vegetation reduction to different operating hours:

“Landscapers want to make it more visible so we’re going to be taking out some of the vegetation and making it more exposed to police as they drive by, so they have a sightline into the park – we’re doing this for a lot of our parks.” He also said a contractor will be accountable not just for locking the gate at a certain time but also going through the park and making sure everyone is out first. “Another thing we’re going to do is – we have a proposal out to the superintendent to change the hours at the park permanent, with a trial period first, then we’d go for permanent.” That drew applause even before Stowers said “6 am-10 pm” would be the new hours.

He said they talked about some features they could put in to try to deter people from hanging out but “that would interfere with the beauty of the park.” He also urged people to report problems – they looked at police reports to find support for making changes, and didn’t find very many incidents reported, despite people saying there were endless problems. Neighbors, though, said they call “all the time” and vowed to continue to call. The security rep said that the more calls there are, the more resources they will be able to dedicate. Another neighbor stressed the importance of calling 911, not the non-emergency number. Yet another one complained that people who are camping out on nearby parkland “come into our neighborhoods, break into our cars – how does Parks work with the police?”

Baker talked about how they post “no camping” alerts when they get word of an active camp via the Citizens Service Bureau: “We are bound to respond to any report – we haven’t had a lot of fresh ones, we have 1500 acres in West Seattle and cannot systematically go out and check everything,” but when they get a report, they check it out.

Baker mentioned that Hamilton Viewpoint “is a wedding venue,” so they are trying to balance that status with clearing ways for neighbors and police to see in and be able to report if something is amiss. An attendee said he would like to see police pass through a couple times per shift just to show “a presence” and to deter people loitering, speeding, etc. Stowers said they could ask Superintendent Jesús Aguirre to ask Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole about regular visits.

Another attendee mentioned seeing SPD tweets indicating police are at the park for “exclusion” all the time, but wondered if any arrests or other actions ensued.

Then came a question: When are trees going to be trimmed so that Hamilton Viewpoint Park will be a viewpoint again? Baker said action would be taken that would be “horticulturally correct” and would “open up view lines” but would maintain “sense of enclosure, which is a big part of the park.”

Back to the safety issue, “What if we called the mayor and the city council every day?” Stowers said, “You do what you have to do. Every neighborhood has problems. They’re writing letters, they’re talking to the superintendent … the Police Department is short-staffed, there’s an agreement with the Justice Department, there’s a lot of restraint. We do have an exclusion policy that people can be excluded from the park.” Teeters elaborated on that, saying those involve “trespass warnings” unless they are major crimes such as those involving weapons.

Stowers thought the new hours for Hamilton Viewpoint would take effect within a few weeks.

HIAWATHA CONCERT SERIES RECAP: Whiting delivered the update that we published here last week, and asked the attendees for any thoughts. “Outstanding bands!” one person declared.

The Admiral Neighborhood Association meets second Tuesdays, 7 pm, at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd SW & SW Lander).

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Reader reports: Alley-vandalism alert; greenbelt off-roading http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/reader-reports-alley-vandalism-alert-greenbelt-off-roading/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/reader-reports-alley-vandalism-alert-greenbelt-off-roading/#comments Tue, 08 Sep 2015 00:19:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=322080 Two reader reports to share:

ALLEY VANDALISM ALERT: A neighbor near this alley between the 3200 block of California SW and of 44th SW wanted to warn people about that knocked-over-by-vandals portable toilet, the contents of which subsequently spilled onto the alley. It’s a busy alley, the neighbor says, used by residents and their pets, but no cleanup yet.

ILLEGAL OFF-ROADING: From a Riverview resident, who’s asking neighbors to be watchful:

This afternoon, I was out walking when at least four young kids on dirt bikes rode down 12th Ave and into Riverview Playfield. As I walked, I noticed they were going up and down to the Pee-Wee fields. There were families in the park at the time. These are kids that are too young to have drivers licenses, on vehicles that are not licensed for street use, riding not only on the street but into parks and greenbelt where they are not allowed. One was carrying a shovel.

On the walk back, I saw two ride through the pee-wee fields and into the greenbelt, NE of 12th & Holly. I could also hear a shovel being used. I called 911 and reported it. They seemed responsive, but I don’t know if the kids will be there by the time the police get there. Also, they can easily scatter, so likely will get away. The thing to do would be to have a few police officers up in the Riverview Playfield parking lot waiting and then have an officer approach from the utility road off of West Marginal Way. The kids would ride back toward the parking lot and home.

I would like to encourage my neighbors and anyone using the park to call 911 if they see anyone going on dirt bikes into the greenbelt. You aren’t even supposed to be in the greenbelt on a bicycle, let alone a dirt bike. They were riding on crushed rock trails that Parks is working on, likely causing damage to them. Nature Consortium has had plantings destroyed by these kids on their bikes.

The forest in that area is part of the West Duwamish Greenbelt, which the NC works year-round to restore.

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TOMORROW: Hamilton Viewpoint Park safety, road-project update @ Admiral Neighborhood Association http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/tomorrow-hamilton-viewpoint-park-safety-road-project-update-admiral-neighborhood-association/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/tomorrow-hamilton-viewpoint-park-safety-road-project-update-admiral-neighborhood-association/#comments Mon, 07 Sep 2015 21:34:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=322039

Concerned about safety/crime prevention in Admiral, particularly at Hamilton Viewpoint Park, where a robbery three weeks ago led to a shooting miles away? Want to be among the first to find out how SDOT has changed the SW Admiral Way Safety Project plan in response to community feedback? Those are just two of the topics on the agenda for tomorrow night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, as you can see on the flyer embedded above. All are welcome at the 7 pm Tuesday (September 8th) meeting at The Sanctuary at Admiral (northeast corner of 42nd SW and SW Lander).

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VIDEO: Most-attended Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series, ever! Admiral Neighborhood Association shares highlights & thanks http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/video-most-attended-summer-concerts-at-hiawatha-series-ever-admiral-neighborhood-association-shares-highlights-thanks/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/video-most-attended-summer-concerts-at-hiawatha-series-ever-admiral-neighborhood-association-shares-highlights-thanks/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:51:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321755

One week ago tonight, the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series wrapped up this year’s six-show series – one that will go in the record books as its most-attended year yet! From ANA president David Whiting:

The Admiral Neighborhood Association would like to thank all of our sponsors that contributed to make the Hiawatha Summer Concerts possible. We especially want to acknowledge Metropolitan Market, who, in addition to their support, handed out treats at every one of the six concerts. A tip of our hats to Walter Harley and Christian Heilman, our sound engineers this summer, and Mark Jaroslaw, our videographer [concert highlights above]. These concerts simply wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of all of the following sponsors:

Metropolitan Market

Associated Recreation Council
The Johnson Team/Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Curious Kidstuff
Menchie’s Admiral
Seattle Parks and Recreation
Weitzel Construction
West Seattle Blog

Alki Mail and Dispatch
Brent Amacher State Farm Insurance
Bob and Dawn Brown
Custom Crating
Elliott Bay Brewery
Head to Toe Day Spa
Little Gym of West Seattle
Kayle Shulenberger, Speech Pathologist
Stuffed Cakes
Thunder Road Guitars
West Seattle Fit Moms
Wiseman Appliance

More than 4,300 people (our highest total audience count ever!) listened and danced to music at one or more of the six concerts. If you enjoy community activities like this, your community council needs to hear from you. Most of them take the month of August off, and reconvene their monthly meetings in September. West Seattle Blog announces all West Seattle community councils’ meetings and their activities. This Saturday at 9:00 am, ANA will conduct our quarterly Adopt-A-Street Cleanup, convening at Metropolitan Market, and our next meeting is 7:00 pm, Tuesday, September 8th, at The Sanctuary at Admiral.

We’re proud to have been a sponsor every year since ANA launched the series in 2009 – this was year seven!

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AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Night Out 2015 neighborliness, at block parties all around West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/happening-now-night-out-block-parties-all-around-west-seattle-beyond/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/happening-now-night-out-block-parties-all-around-west-seattle-beyond/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 01:14:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=318876 6:14 PM: It’s Night Out 2015 – which means dozens of side streets closed for block parties, with neighbors celebrating each other and intensifying their commitment to look out for each other. We’ll be stopping by some parties for photos; we’re also happy to receive yours and add it to the coverage. Different e-mail address than usual – westseattleblog@gmail.com – or you can share via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (you’ll find us at all three as /westseattleblog) so we can re-share here – thank you!

6:30 PM: First photo in, above, is from Imelda‘s block party at 61st/Beach Drive – we’re hearing about lots of parties with live bands this year! We’re stopping at another one right now, 35th/105th in Arbor Heights – thanks to Darren for letting us know.

Pop-A-Shot (photo above) and Putt-Putt Golf are happening at the AH party, as are hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorns, and dozens of neighbors having a great time.

6:49 PM: We’re heading north now, just arriving in Gatewood, where Ellen‘s party is getting a visit from Reptile Man.

(WSB photo, substituted for the not-as-clear Instagram image originally posted)
Lucy the alligator is one of the friends he brought along. This party was near 41st/Rose.

6:59 PM: Just tweeted by Amanda:

We’re now arriving at the 37th/Raymond/Graham block party, invited by Aaron (thank you!) – these neighbors also are celebrating with a barbecue. Some party participants just paused to pose for us:

(Update – here’s our full-group photo from that party:)

Another block party’s youngest attendees are in these photos shared via Twitter:

Headed now to the Fairmount neighborhood south of The Triangle, where four streets of neighbors are gathering for Night Out. This seems to be the Year of the Band at Night Out, peninsula-wide:

Sharonn invited us to this party, which is bringing together neighbors from 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, as well as Edmunds itself. We’ll add the group photo later. (Added – here it is!)

7:20 PM: In High Point, the big party’s in Commons Park – that’s where Tim photographed Lucy dancing to the music near the bouncy house:

Many parties double as informational events; at the HP party, until about 8 pm, you can also talk with SDOT about the 35th SW Safety Project. From one HP to another – the next tweeted photo is courtesy of Marcia in Highland Park:

7:38 PM: Night Out and Election Night parties are about to overlap (22 minutes left to vote!) – but we’re still in Night Out mode, stopping now in the 3200 block of 36th SW, thanks to Andrea‘s invitation. This party has guinea pigs!

(Added: We learned via an Instagram comment that they are Oreo, Vanilla, and Marshmallow.)

8:05 PM: Still partying:

9:08 PM: Had to break away from Night Out coverage to report on the election results and talk to a few candidates. But we’re back at HQ, where we’ll add the photos we took, and we’re now adding several more photos e-mailed to us (thank you!). First, from the 6700 block of 38th SW:

From Sara in Belvidere:

Also from Sara – 24 kids at that same block party!

From Westwood – e-mailed by Michael:

He explained, “Our annual block party is still going strong but we wanted to share this awesome cake our neighbors Michael & Randi brought. We’re on 34th between Kenyon & Elmgrove, and we love our neighborhood!”

Next, from Chris at 15th and Trenton:

“Great turnout in our neighborhood!” Chris added. Next – Darryll‘s photo from 8800 block of 17th SW, when firefighters stopped by:

Max sent the next photo from the 2700 block of 36th SW:

From Long Bach Nguyen in Gatewood, the California/Portland block party:

Also in Gatewood – the 45th/Austin party – thanks to Kera for the photo:

On 36th SW between Findlay and Brandon, Jenny’s block-party neighbors gathered for a group pic:

At 45th and Edmunds on the southwest side of The Junction, a traffic-stopping street-closure sign:

Thanks to Michelle for that photo. Over at 16th/Trenton, Steve says his party got a little “goofy”:

He also reports, “We had an awesome time tonight. Engine 11, ping pong, basketball, bikes, soccer, hand-turned ice cream and tons of great neighbors.”

Earlier in the week, we showed you one of the Night Out signs on Pigeon Point. Here’s part of the party:

Thanks to Pete for the pic; Pigeon Point visitors included Southwest Precinct Captain Pierre Davis.

Near 48th/Morgan, Deb‘s party was visited by Matt from AlertSeattle:

That’s the new city service we mentioned on Tuesday morning – sign up for emergency alerts (and more). Finally, on 34th SW south of Camp Long, Susan says she and her neighbors had a “lovely evening” at their party:

“Close to 50-60 folks attended, enjoying great food, wonderful neighbors and awesome music from Hoo Doo Boogaloo” – featured in the video clip she shared:

One more time – THANK YOU to everyone who shared photos and/or invited us to come by (sorry the election overlap cut our travels short) – and congratulations on a neighborly night all over West Seattle.

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Night Out 2015 = tomorrow. Deadline to sign up your block party = today http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/night-out-2015-tomorrow-deadline-to-sign-up-your-block-party-today/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/night-out-2015-tomorrow-deadline-to-sign-up-your-block-party-today/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 16:00:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=318744

(One side of Pigeon Point’s Night Out sign; art by Jim Sander, photo from Pete Spalding)
Tomorrow night, hundreds of neighbors around West Seattle – among thousands citywide – will hang out together in their neighborhoods during the annual Night Out, which started with a focus on crime prevention and safety, and evolved to an all-around celebration of neighbors’ solidarity. If you want to close your (non-arterial) street for a Night Out party, you need to be sure it’s registered via Seattle Police by 5 pm today – go here to do that, and to find printable flyer/signage templates. Registered parties also have a chance for police or firefighters to stop by during the official 6-9 pm party timeframe.

P.S. If you’re photographing your Night Out gathering, we’d be thrilled to get a photo, to include in our as-it-happens coverage tomorrow night – editor@westseattleblog.com (or share via the WSB Facebook page, since we can download from there for website use) – thank you!

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Signed up your Night Out block party yet? Clock’s ticking http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/signed-up-your-night-out-block-party-yet-clocks-ticking/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/signed-up-your-night-out-block-party-yet-clocks-ticking/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:00:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=317800

(From 36th/Findlay/Brandon, one of the Night Out parties we visited last year)

Having a block party for Night Out this year? It’s only a week and a half away, and if you want to close your street, you need to make sure you’re signed up via Seattle Police – getting on the list also puts you in line for a potential police/fire visit during the festivities. Night Out originated as a celebration of neighborhood unity, safety, and preparedness, and while some parties are simply casual potlucks, we’ve covered some over the years with music, games, even bouncy houses. Tuesday, August 4th, is the night; 6-9 pm is the official time window (some start and/or end earlier); here’s how to sign up.

P.S. Team WSB is always out on Night Out covering West Seattle block parties, so if you wouldn’t mind us stopping by for a photo or two, please e-mail us the location/time – editor@westseattleblog.com – thank you. (And extra thanks to the party point people who already sent word of theirs, even before we asked!) We also welcome YOUR photo, same address, during/after your party, to include in WSB coverage.

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VIDEO: At long last, a light – tonight’s 47th/Admiral ‘completion celebration’ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/at-long-last-a-light-tonights-47thadmiral-completion-celebration/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/at-long-last-a-light-tonights-47thadmiral-completion-celebration/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 03:22:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=316585

Eight years and eight months after 26-year-old Matthew Tatsuo Nakata was hit and killed at 47th and Admiral, the intersection finally has a signal – a safety improvement that some were seeking even before his death. The then-City Councilmember for whom Mr. Nakata worked at the time, David Della, joined community leaders and city reps tonight at an event commemorating the completion of the signal and crosswalks at the intersection. Among them: Past and present leaders of the Admiral Neighborhood Association had advocated tirelessly for the signal, including a rally in November 2011, close to the fifth anniversary of Mr. Nakata’s death:

Earlier that year, SDOT had again turned down ANA’s request for a signal, but they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Almost two years later, then-Mayor Mike McGinn proposed a “flashing beacon”; but Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and his council colleagues changed the budget to include funding for a full-fledged signal. Construction finally began this spring, and the light went into service last week. One more feature: RainWorks art by Peregrine Church :

It’s only revealed when the sidewalk is wet:

(ANA president David Whiting says they’ll be leaving a container of water nearby all week so you can test it for yourself.)

ADDED: Here’s our video showing what Whiting, Rasmussen, Della, and SDOT director Scott Kubly said, about 12 minutes followed by, in the last minute of the video, the water pour that “revealed” the art:

A corner on the north side of the intersection has another RainWorks creation with a similar theme:

Though Kubly acknowledged arriving at SDOT late in the process to get this project in place, he said it was one he heard about frequently:

The completion brought big smiles from Katy Walum and Don Wahl:

She was ANA president during the biggest push to make the signal reality; he has operated Alki Mail and Dispatch at the corner for many years and has seen and heard both crashes and close calls for too long.

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TOMORROW: 12+ items/issues @ Morgan Community Association http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/tomorrow-12-itemsissues-morgan-community-association/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/tomorrow-12-itemsissues-morgan-community-association/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 19:32:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=316550 It’s the busiest community-council meeting in West Seattle – once a quarter, lots of talk about – so here’s an advance agenda alert for the Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, July 15th), 7 pm, at The Kenney (WSB sponsor):

7:05: Special guest, Debbie Goetz from city Office of Emergency Management

7:25 MoCA Minute Updates
• 35th Ave SW Safety Design meeting July 16 at ** Library
• MoCA in the Hi-Yu Parade – July 18
• Morgan Bike Rack update
• Nazarene Church Rezone Update
• 2015 Morgan Junction Festival Wrap-up

7:30 Old Business
Murray CSO Briefing
Morgan cut-through traffic study
Morgan Junction Business Mixer
NPSF Morgan Junction Sidewalk Improvement Grant
Nazarene Church Comprehensive Plan Amendment status

8:10 New Business
SW Precinct Focus Group Interest
KAWS (Kulture and Arts on the West Side) Endorsement Request
Morgan Neighborhood Plan Update
SWDC Budget Recommendation
Land Use Updates
PICK A DATE Morgan Festival 2016: June 11 or 18 or 25

8:45 By Laws
Voting on Proposed By-Laws Changes

MoCA meets in the lower meeting-room area at The Kenney (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW), all welcome.

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Crime, lights, and art, at Tuesday night’s JuNO meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/crime-lights-and-art-at-tuesday-nights-juno-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/crime-lights-and-art-at-tuesday-nights-juno-meeting/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 21:32:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=316478 You’re invited to the next meeting of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, 6:30 pm Tuesday (July 14th) at the Senior Center of West Seattle. From JuNO director René Commons:

Please join us for this coming Tuesday night’s meeting at the West Seattle Senior Center – Nucor room, 6:30 pm.

Guest Speakers:

6:35: Kelly Enright, Customer Care Director, Seattle City Light
Topic: Improving Lighting in West Seattle
What is Seattle City Light doing to review and improve lighting in the West Seattle Junction Urban Hub village? Can the city be accountable to address much needed lighting improvements for public safety in our neighborhood

7:05 Jennifer Burbridge & Lt. Ron Smith, Seattle Police Department
Topic: SPD ‘Micro Community Policing Plans’
Jennifer & Lt. Smith will explain what MCPP is and lead us in ranking of priorities for improving safety in our Alaska Junction & Triangle neighborhoods. Can we ask for more boots on the ground? What are priorities for improvement?

7:20 Miguel Edwards – Sculptor Photographer
Equity / Junction 47 Selected artist
*Miguel will present initial concept for his art installation at the new Equity building in the columns at SW Alaska & 42nd Ave SW

All are welcome – the Senior Center is on the southeast corner of Oregon and California.

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Location change for Admiral Neighborhood Association’s Tuesday meeting, after traffic-signal celebration http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/location-change-for-admiral-neighborhood-associations-tuesday-meeting-after-traffic-signal-celebration/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/location-change-for-admiral-neighborhood-associations-tuesday-meeting-after-traffic-signal-celebration/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 03:16:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=316236

As reported here Tuesday, a completion celebration is planned next Tuesday night for the newly completed and activated Admiral/47th/Waite traffic signal. That’s the same night the Admiral Neighborhood Association meets, so president David Whiting has announced the meeting will change locations for the occasion:

Our regular meeting this Tuesday, will have a change of venue to Alki Mail & Dispatch (4700 SW Admiral Way) because ANA will be co hosting a dedication for the new traffic signal at 47th Ave SW & Admiral Way, just before our meeting at 6:30 pm. Installation of the traffic signal was a long-term ANA effort and we should take a moment to celebrate the occasion and thank those who helped make it possible. We will also be revealing some public art.

In his announcement, Whiting also thanked volunteers who helped ANA handle concessions for the 4th of July Parade afterparty last Saturday, mentioned that the group will be part of the July 18th West Seattle Grand Parade, and noted that the Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series will start soon – six consecutive Thursday nights, starting July 23rd (with Carrie Akre up first).

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‘All we can promise you is effort’: Neighbors, police, other city reps talk South Delridge troubles @ WWRHAH http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/all-we-can-promise-you-is-effort-neighbors-police-other-city-reps-talk-south-delridge-troubles-wwrhah/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/all-we-can-promise-you-is-effort-neighbors-police-other-city-reps-talk-south-delridge-troubles-wwrhah/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 02:26:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=312179 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

It’s the neighborhood where West Seattle’s most-recent murder happened, the still-unsolved shooting death of Stephen Jeffries Jr. on New Year’s Eve 2013:

(WSB photo from April 2014 vigil)
It’s the neighborhood where drive-by gunfire hit at least one car during a rampage two months ago:

(WSB reader photo from April 2015)
And – as a result of those cases and more – South Delridge is a neighborhood where people are pleading for more police presence.

Residents from South Delridge made their case face-to-face with Southwest Precinct police on Tuesday night at this month’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting. While they’re not in the boundaries that semi-new council has been serving, that was part of the point – since they are not affiliated with an existing community group, their area doesn’t have its own “micro-policing plan” … yet, though WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick pointed out she had added it as a priority in theirs.

More than two dozen people were in the upstairs meeting room at Southwest Library as neighbors told their stories and heard what police and other city representatives can and can’t do.

(From left, CPT Officers Kiehn and Flores, City Attorney’s Office liaison York, CPT Officer Nicholson)
SPD had four reps, including Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis and three of his four Community Police Team members, Officers Jon Flores, Jonathan Kiehn, and Erin Nicholson. Also there: Matthew York, SW and South Precincts’ liaison from the City Attorney’s Office, plus a representative from the city Department of Planning and Development.

Helmick opened by introducing a resident who brought a list of eight properties that he described as problematic for the neighborhood, with problems from squatters to drug use, and worse.

Two were described as “burned out”; one was mentioned as recently demolished. “Serious drug problems, serious homeless issues,” and no arrests, he said. “We have multiple properties with visible and open drug dealing going on,” as well, he said, as prostitution, shootings, stabbings, and a night of drive-by gunfire within the past few months. “Not having that pop up on any micropolicing plan is a problem.”

Another neighborhood resident talked about a “significant squatting problem” in the house that has since been demolished. “Whenever something happens, we’re just individually calling police, calling landlords, trying to tackle episodes as they happen, so we’re feeling a lot of frustration on inconsistency in responses we get or didn’t get.” She spoke about someone having sat in a truck, in some kind of physical distress, “twitching,” for hours, outside their houses. “We were worried about her, and called the police, and asked for an ambulance.” She tried talking to the woman, who apparently was waiting for someone on a nearby work crew. Police eventually came, she said, but they determined the woman wasn’t a danger to herself or others, and there was nothing they could do. “That’s one of many people who have been cruising through our neighborhood – heavy foot traffic – they look really bad, covered with sores, (suspicious) behavior, we’ve seen drug dealing.”

A third resident said, “The 7-11 is a huge issue.” She said she felt endangered by someone outside the store once and couldn’t get the store to call police for her. She echoed that the empty houses were a magnet for squatters and troublemakers, she said; the recently torn down house once had “25 or 30 pacing around (a neighbor) and I as we were talking to each other.” She walks to her car with her children and “it’s very unsettling.”

Another attendee talked about walking to White Center to dine or shop and seeing people at the bus stop, relieving themselves in public, or calling out to the residents and taunting them. “It’s really intimidating.” The bus stop itself was the scene of a shooting we covered on a rainy night two and a half years ago:

As the neighbors began discussing the situation with each other online and in e-mail, another explained, they started to realize that the troublemakers are connected. “These problem houses seem to be a symptom of the dysfunction we have, with a lot of drug dealing on top of that … I’ve started feeling a lot more unsafe, especially after the drive-by shooting … me and my wife were walking our dogs a few minutes earlier by that corner. These people know we’re watching them; I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them are armed.”

Helmick expressed outrage that people would have to be afraid to speak in public for fear they’re being watched.

Pulling from the Westwood-Highland Park neighborhood plan written more than a decade ago, the man seated next to her read that the concerns ranged from “maintain police presence” to preserving single-family housing. “The top three to five are still our top three to five.” Especially, he said, maintaining police presence is their main concern. And he mentioned the area has many small children, “who have everything to gain by good things happening in our neighborhood.”

That’s when Jeff Hayes from South Park spoke up. He said, “We are having the exact same experience that you are having up here – I wouldn’t change a word of what you are saying.” Hayes has been a community advocate for more police presence in SP to combat nuisance houses, open drug problems, etc.; he also organized last week’s “South Park Shows Up” candidate forum. He said he’s sorry to hear that South Delridge is going through problems akin to what’s plaguing South Park.

The South Delridge neighbors summarized: No micropolicing plan is written to address their concerns, so they want to know what SPD is doing to address them.

That’s when Capt. Davis got up and started by saying the problems aren’t new, but how SPD is addressing them now is. He says they are using data to create the community policing plans, but the data doesn’t always correlate to what people are saying – while a certain address might be described as the source of repeated problems, the SPD logs might not show many calls having been made about it. But they need those calls and complaints to get a true picture of what’s happening: “We try to get real precise in what we’re doing, almost surgical, in getting down to the main individuals who are committing these crimes.” Once they find and arrest those people, they make a dent in what’s going on.

“Just because your area is not described as a neighborhood per se, doesn’t mean that you don’t get the same level of policing,” Capt. Davis continued. “We want to attack this not only as a police problem and a neighborhood problem, but as a team.” That means, for example, they could bring Metro Transit Police into the bus-stop situation.

He also said that they can’t publicly discuss everything they are doing, including commenting on unsolved murders. Regarding nuisance houses (here are the city policies), he said that they can track down their owners but if they’re bank-owned properties, that’s tougher to address. “Sometimes we pull OUR hair out in frustration, trying to figure out how we can rid the community of (a) problem. … It takes all of us to get this thing going.”

CPT Officer Kiehn said it was important to note that the neighborhood-policing plan was initiated to gather information first, and then push information out. He reiterated what Capt. Davis had said, that people are not treated differently depending on whether they are part of a neighborhood or not.

Then things turned specific: One property that came up is in the 9200 block of 17th SW. Officer Kiehn said it’s been the target of suspicion for a while but police didn’t get specific complaints; DPD did, so they started working with that department and the property manager. Earlier this week, while police were there having the manager secure the house, Officer Kiehn said he’d seen two people come down the driveway – remember, this is supposed to be an unoccupied property – and an hour later, they got a report of people matching the description, squatting about a mile away: “We flushed them out of one house and the same day, they’re in another property.”

The challenges of dealing with vacant properties was subsequently described in great detail, including by York from the City Attorney’s Office, explaining that the property owner must confirm that the person in question is not supposed to be there: “An officer going by an abandoned property can’t just pull over” and make an arrest. A lot of properties are in foreclosure, and that makes “not supposed to be there” authority even harder to get, he said, as the owner and bank are often still “arguing.”

Some hope has arrived via a pilot program in which SPD can obtain trespass authority for vacant properties. The SW Precinct is the second in the city to participate; Officer Kiehn said that as of this week, eight houses in West Seattle/South Park are part of it.

So in the meantime, an attendee asked, how do you get attention for nuisance houses? When reporting problems via the city app Find It/Fix It was mentioned, he said he’s sent things in and never even received an acknowledgment. Well, then, call us, said the DPD rep; in some cases, if it’s a vacant house and no one is inside, they can get it boarded up in short order. (The DPD complaint hotline is 206-615-0808, by the way.)

Said York: “All we can promise you is effort.”

Helmick asked, what about squatters who are mentally ill or otherwise in crisis? We want to help them. York brought up the Crisis Intervention Team. “When you call 911, mention that it’s a mental health problem,” he said. Kiehn then offered the reminder that people have just as many constitutional rights when in crisis as people reporting them do, and officers have to follow the law.

One man asked about SPD’s understaffing, saying he’s called about problems and nobody arrived. “We are constantly hiring,” said Davis, “but we could still hire 300 or 400 more officers and not be where we want to be.” (Mayor Murray has promised 100 more during his term.) Hiring “takes a while,” Davis explained, especially in finding “very good candidates.”

Kiehn also said that some of the houses on the list have had zero reports to police – that piggybacked on what Capt. Davis had said earlier.

“If you see someone in crisis, call 911,” said York. He said the effectiveness of LEAD is still in question. “So far we’ve had one success story.” He mentioned programs in the City Attorney’s Office, including Community Court. Drug offenses are always felonies, but don’t often get prosecuted, though there’s Drug Court, he added. And he stressed that people “have to witness something, or an officer has to witness something,” they can’t just respond to “people are going in and out of a house.” But, he stressed, you still want to call 911 because it generates statistics, which drives plans, enforcement, etc. “We need better communication in both directions.” York said that the non-emergency line can be used to report graffiti vandalism and that does generate a statistic. (At this point, there was a bit of back-and-forth about who handles graffiti; the DPD rep pointed to Seattle Public Utilities, which handles public-property problems with it.)

“I’m not as concerned about the graffiti as about the gangs that go with it – instead of a ‘welcome to Highland Park’ sign, I’m seeing a (specific gang) tag,” said the neighbor at the front of the room. “The gangs and the shootings and the drugs and the foot traffic, that’s all connected.”

CPT Officer Nicholson told him that SPD had plans to meet with Metro this week at the aforementioned Delridge/Barton bus stop, along with the city’s Urban Forestry division, for a CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) evaluation, to see if the city can get Metro to make changes.

CPT Officer Kiehn said the house they cleared out a day earlier was home to some of the people causing trouble at the bus stop. “What we’re doing in South Park and here is shuffling them … we start the process over again (when they take over another property)… it takes a month, month and a half” to get authority to clear out some sites. That’s why, York said, they are trying to get the trespass program going, because then they can go right in and arrest trespassers: “Hopefully we’ll shuffle them faster than they can run, and they’ll start to think West Seattle is not a place to be.”

“I hope you guys feel better,” said Helmick as the meeting wrapped up. She also mentioned to the audience that Roxhill Park is an ongoing high priority too.

The South Delridge situation took up almost the entire meeting, except for these two items:

COUNCIL CANDIDATE: In the ongoing series of City Council District 1 candidates visiting neighborhood councils, WWRHAH heard from Shannon Braddock. They also heard from Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council‘s Pete Spalding, inviting them all to PPNC’s D-1 forum next Monday (June 8th), 7 pm at Pathfinder K-8‘s cafeteria (1901 SW Genesee).

UPDATING NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING: Helmick and a neighborhood volunteer are working on the 2035 Comprehensive Plan update, particularly regarding the South Delridge area and its integration with the Westwood-Highland Park area that’s already in the city plans as an “urban village.”

The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meets first Tuesdays, 6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library, and is online at wwrhah.org.

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