West Seattle, Washington
(Photos courtesy Isa Sorensen)
Since we report so often about marine mammals here on WSB, we’re mentioning this even though it’s south of our coverage area, after getting a call from someone who wanted to make sure we knew about it: A fin whale has washed up on the beach at Seahurst Park in Burien; KIRO TV quotes experts as saying they believe it died after being hit by a vessel. Isa Sorensen gave us permission to share some of his photos.
Coincidentally, tomorrow will mark exactly three years to the day since a gray whale stranded and died off southwesternmost West Seattle, in The Arroyos. That’s less than four miles from Seahurst, if you were going by water. KIRO says Cascadia Research Collective will do the necropsy; it has researched other such cases in years past (including one in Tacoma in 2009). Fin whales, by the way, are rare in Puget Sound – so rare, they’re not even on The Whale Trail’s list of commonly sighted species;
2:17 AM: Almost a year and a half after former West Seattleite Amanda Knox‘s return home – an Italian court has just revived the case, by throwing out the verdict. Here’s the latest from the AP via our partners at The Seattle Times. This all comes a month before her book “Waiting to be Heard” is due out, and with it at least one network TV interview.
3:08 AM: Knox has issued a statement, the AP reports (added to the same link as above), in which she declares this development “painful.” (added) ITV has published her statement in full.
Nine turbulent months after leaving Harbor Island’s Vigor Shipyards, the Shell drilling rigs Kulluk and Noble Discoverer have both been loaded onto giant Chinese ships to be taken to Asian shipyards. They both were set to head back here late last year when trouble struck in a variety of ways, including the Kulluk running aground on an Alaskan island. The video above, from Earthjustice, shows Kulluk being loaded onto the Xiang Rui Kou at Dutch Harbor, Alaska (still there as of this writing, per MarineTraffic.com). Shell is quoted as saying it’ll be heading to Singapore. Kulluk was here more than a year before departing last June; the Noble Discoverer, which spent less time here (though they left the same day), was loaded aboard an identical Chinese “dry tow” ship, the Xiang Yun Kou, earlier this month, headed for Korea (here are photos and backstory on its previous trouble). Alaskan news organizations quote Shell as saying it won’t try again to drill in the Arctic before next year.
5:06 PM: Seattle Fire units are helping North Highline with a big apartment fire in the 12300 block of Ambaum, not far south of White Center. More to come.
5:24 PM: We are in the area. TV choppers overhead. Traffic is now getting through both ways on Ambaum but slowly so avoid if you are headed this way.
6:03 PM: No injuries reported, according to our friends at KING 5. We’ve left the area after the situation seemed to ease – we saw three Seattle fire vehicles leaving, and several from other departments, including Renton and Tukwila, were waiting two blocks south just in case they were needed.
6:21 PM: While the assisting firefighters were summoned to the 12300 block of Ambaum, regional-media reports note that the building’s actual address is 1224 124th, just west of Ambaum, a 24-unit four-story building that’s 47 years old.
11:02 PM: KIRO TV reports that a baseboard-heater problem is blamed for the fire.
In case you haven’t heard – the state is thinking about charging tolls on the I-90 bridge across Lake Washington, to help pay for the new 520 bridge; the old one on 520 is already charging tolls. WSDOT is trying to get the word out about three open houses this week as part of the “environmental assessment” of the plan, and a way to have a say online, to. The meetings are tomorrow on Mercer Island, Wednesday in Bellevue, and – the closest one – Thursday at Yesler Community Center – all from 4-7 pm. They’re drop-in format; if you want to read up on the proposal, various documents and presentations are here.
If you can’t make it to a meeting, there’s an online form through which you can comment through February 22nd – find it here. (Note; WSDOT is advertising on WSB and other news publications to get the word out about this comment period.)
P.S. Opponents of I-90 tolls have set up a website – see their side of the story here.
8:59 AM: Today’s the day for the city’s first gun “buyback” – an invitation to citizens to turn over unwanted/unneeded firearms in exchange for compensation – in 20-plus years. It’s happening 9 am to 3 pm in a parking lot at 600 7th Avenue downtown [map], but could end earlier if they run out of the gift cards that are being offered. They’re also offering gift cards for “high-capacity magazines,” but only if turned in along with the weapon for which they were procured. The full FAQ about today’s event is here on the website of the Seattle Police Foundation. Among the sponsors/donors enabling today’s event is West Seattle’s Nucor, where the city says the guns will be melted down, to be turned into rebar.
3:27 PM: Big turnout, says SPD, though no total will be made public till a mayoral news briefing Monday.
Photojournalist Erika Schultz of The Seattle Times (WSB partner) has published a gallery of Friday night images from the final hours of Easy Street Records‘ Queen Anne store – see them here. The West Seattle store remains OPEN, but Queen Anne is now shut down, as announced by proprietor Matt Vaughan earlier this month. Its final hurrah will be an auction on Sunday; if you’re interested in some of the fixtures/memorabilia – even a banner signed by West Seattleite/rock icon Eddie Vedder – there’s an auction preview at the site 4-7 pm today (Saturday), and again 9 am Sunday until the live auction’s start at 11 am. (See lots of auction-item previews on the Easy Street website.)
(Bret Wiggins at Feedback Lounge El-Fest last August; photo by Nick Adams for WSB),
Love Elvis? Maybe so much that you are an ETA (Elvis Tribute Artist)? Or enough to offer your services as an ETA judge? In any or all of those categories, here’s your invitation to next Saturday’s 16th annual Seattle Invitationals, from Marlow Harris, who says West Seattleite’s Bret Wiggins (above) is expected back to defend his title. The event’s not here – it’s at the Experience Music Project‘s Sky Church, 8 pm next Saturday (January 12th) – but the invite’s gone out regionwide (and $15 advance tickets are on sale). The punk-rock Elvis band Graceland Five will start the night; El Vez “The Mexican Elvis” will MC. Here’s the call for help:
1. We are still looking for Elvi! Calling all Seattle-area Elvis Impersonators? Can you swivel and sway and belt out a song? Then contact us at email@example.com and we’ll send you all the details.
2. We are still looking for judges! Contact us if interested.
Thank you. Thankyouverymuch!
(From Thursday: U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter)
Before it’s decided if Shell’s grounded drilling rig Kulluk can and will resume its tow back here for offseason maintenance, an effort is afoot not just to tow it off the Alaskan island where it’s stuck, but to move it 30 miles to a “safe harbor” for inspection. The Kulluk, which spent almost a year at Harbor Island’s Vigor Shipyards, got into trouble in bad weather more than a week ago, while being towed back here. Finally, after problems with tow lines and its tow vessel Aiviq – which spent time here last year too – the Kulluk went adrift and grounded New Year’s Eve on Kodiak Island (map), carrying more than 100,000 gallons of fuel, none of which is believed to have spilled. A “unified command” has since been set up to manage the salvage operation, and the Anchorage Daily News has a report on its Saturday briefing, saying that if the attempt to move the Kulluk is successful, then they’ll decide whether to resume towing it here.
SIDE NOTES: Seattle weather analyst Cliff Mass says the decision to tow it through stormy weather and seas was “misguided” and explains why; the Dutch Harbor Fisherman, meantime, has reported that the motivation for trying to move the rig out of Alaska involved taxes. One other link: The “unified command” organized for the salvage operation has its own website at kullukresponse.com, with a variety of materials and documents, including a partial transcript of the Saturday briefing.
1:55 AM: The marker on the map is for Craig in southeastern Alaska, the reference point that authorities are using for a magnitude 7.6 earthquake that hit about an hour ago, around 60 miles west-southwest of Craig. Nearby areas of Alaska and B.C. had tsunami warnings; there was a tsunami advisory stretching as far south as the British Columbia-Washington border. See the warnings/advisories here. No word of any trouble so far. P.S. If you’re wondering how our area’s been doing with quake activity – we found this Pacific Northwest 2012 wrapup online.
2:02 AM: The USGS is now calling the quake 7.5.
2:37 AM: The tsunami advisory that had run south to the BC-Washington border is now canceled. Two months ago, there was a 7.7-magnitude quake in the Haidi Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlottes) region to the south of this quake’s location – we wrote about it here.
3:10 AM: If you needed a jolt to work on preparedness – here is a link we haven’t mentioned since that last regional quake: West Seattle Be Prepared, laden with information including your nearest “emergency-communication hub.” Know it, just in case.
3:23 PM: The last warnings up in Alaska/BC are no longer in effect.
While announcing today that his Lower Queen Anne location is closing after 12 years, Easy Street Records owner Matt Vaughan reiterated that West Seattle is NOT going anywhere. The announcement about Queen Anne is on the Easy Street website, where Vaughan explained that the Queen Anne landlord wanted a longer-term lease than he was ready to commit to. However, as reported here in February of last year, Vaughan also noted in today’s announcement about Queen Anne that, here in West Seattle, he DID recently renew long-term:
We recently signed a new 15-year lease at our original store in West Seattle, where we will carry on the Easy Street tradition of great in-stores, yummy breakfasts, tasty vinyl, and overall, an excellent selection of music.
The Easy Street Queen Anne location’s last day of operation is January 18; Vaughan writes that a Chase Bank branch is moving in. (Before Easy Street, you might remember the Queen Anne storefront as having been home to Tower once upon a time – we do.)
The King County Sheriff’s Office is hoping someone can help solve a $2 million heist. From KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West:
More than 7,000 Wii game consoles were stolen from a distributing warehouse in SeaTac in the last 24 hours and detectives are asking for the public’s help in locating the van and trailers they were stolen in.
Employees at Seattle Air Cargo in the 19100 blk of Des Moines Memorial Dr said the theft occurred sometime between 9pm Saturday night and noon on Sunday. The suspects used forklifts on the premises to load up two 53’ trailers and a box van with at least 64 pallets of Wii game consoles.
Both Trailers are 53’ in length, white in color and have the name “McKinney” on the side:
The box van is a large International van with “Seattle Air Cargo” written on the doors. (Note: Seattle Air Cargo is NOT written on the side of the box, only the doors):
Trailer #1- California license plate 4HB3365 with a trailer number 533457
Trailer #2- California license plate 4EA5521 with trailer number 531841
Box Van- make “International” Washington license plate B40622K
Detectives believe the suspects drove two tractor trucks to the warehouse and used forklifts inside to load up the trailers and box van with the pallets of Wii games. Detectives estimate the value of property stolen including the vehicles is over $2 million.
If you have information about this crime please call the King County Sheriff’s Office at (206) 296-3311 or 911 if you see any of the vehicles.
(President Obama’s statement about the Connecticut massacre, added here 2 pm)
12:45 PM: We are working on various West Seattle stories for today, as always, but are having a tough time keeping our mind off the beyond-horrifying massacre at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. So before proceeding with today’s local news, a few notes:
*Federal leaders have called for flags to fly at half staff through December 18th.
*Governor Gregoire has issued a statement:
“Our hearts and unending prayers are with the community of Newtown and the people of Connecticut. This heartless act of violence is incomprehensible. All Washingtonians stand with me in expressing our profound sorrow and grief.”
*Via Facebook, King County Executive Dow Constantine has said this:
Columbine, Blacksburg, Newtown. It sounds like a litany of Civil War battlefields. But all the killing — the periodic massacres and the thousands of individual shootings between — the killing is about nothing: not slavery, or states’ rights, or nationhood. The killing is about nothing but mentally unstable people and our continued unwillingness to enact and enforce reasonable gun safety laws.
*Our friends at KING 5 have posted some links potentially helpful to families who find themselves needing to discuss it with their children. Here’s one – “Talking to Children About Violence.”
If we find out about anything locally related as the day goes on – prayer vigil, etc. – we will add it here.
ADDED 1:32 PM: St. James Cathedral downtown plans a community prayer service at 6:30 tonight. Also, Seattle Police say that though there are NO threats against local schools, they are stepping up patrols today anyway – per SPD Blotter.
ADDED 2:02 PM: Seattle Public Schools has shared with the media this letter from Superintendent José Banda:
We were deeply saddened to learn of the shooting that occurred this morning at an elementary school in Connecticut. In the aftermath of such tragic events, we want to share with you how we are working to make sure that our students’ needs are fully addressed.
We are closely monitoring the situation and have asked our principals to be extra vigilant in their schools today. We have not heard of any threats in Seattle, and our Security department reports normal operations in schools throughout the District.
According to state law, schools must conduct at least one safety-related drill each month that school is in session. Every school has a safety plan that outlines procedures for prevention, mitigation, response and recovery in the event of a crisis. Please know that we take safety in our buildings very seriously; the well-being of our students is our top concern.
It is a struggle for adults and children alike to try to comprehend why and how such a senseless and shocking incident could occur. Excessive and repeated media viewing can create increased anxiety and therefore limiting ongoing exposure is recommended. We are coordinating with schools and school guidance counselors to provide emotional support for students next week. Additionally, talking about the incident can be a healthy way for families to process their feelings and reactions to an event of this nature.
How to help children cope:
• Listen to and accept children’s feelings.
• Give honest, simple, brief answers to their questions.
• Make sure they understand your answers and the meaning you intend.
• Use words or phrases that won’t confuse a child or make the world more frightening.
• Create opportunities for children to talk with each other about what happened and how they are feeling.
• Give your child an honest explanation. If you are feeling so upset you don’t want to talk about what happened, you may want to take “time out” and ask a trusted family friend to help.
• If children keep asking the same question over and over again it is because they are trying to understand; trying to make sense out of the disruption and confusion in their world. Younger children will not understand that death is permanent, so their repeated inquiries are because they expect everything to return to normal.
• If the child feels guilty, ask him or her to explain what happened. Listen carefully to whether he or she attaches a sense of responsibility to some part of the description. Explain the facts of the situation and emphasize that no one, least of all the child, could have prevented it.
• Let the school help. The child’s teacher can be sensitive to changes in the child’s behavior and will be able to respond in a helpful way.
• Even if you feel the world is an unsafe place, you can reassure your child by saying, “The event is over. Now we’ll do everything possible to stay safe, and together we can help get things back to normal.”
• Notice when children have questions and want to talk.
• Be especially loving and supportive; children need you even more at this time.
Today is a tragic day. Our thoughts and hearts go out to the students, staff and families at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
2:47 PM: A reader also have forwarded us a letter sent home by Hope Lutheran School‘s principal to her school’s families:
Hope School Families,
We are so sad to hear of the news today from the school in Connecticut. The news has already come up with our middle school students this morning, and we are praying for the families affected by this tragedy. We have asked our older students to keep the news to themselves so we can allow you as parents/guardians to decide how much to share or not share with our younger students, and so that you can help them process this sad news.
Our students are safe and sound, and so we just wanted to give you that reassurance as well.
Blessings to you today,
Mrs. Okabayashi, on behalf of the Hope staff
Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble
Also, from the governor’s office:
Governor Chris Gregoire has directed that flags at all Washington State agency facilities be lowered to half staff as per President Obama’s proclamation as a mark of respect for the victims of today’s tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut.
Flags should remain at half-staff until sunset/close of business on Tuesday, December 18.
Other government entities, citizens and businesses are encouraged to join this recognition.
5:30 PM: Mayor McGinn has issued a statement too – read it here.
ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: Here’s an agency in Newtown that’s accepting donations on behalf of those affected by the massacre. (Hat tip to West Seattle Fabric Company, which is donating part of its proceeds to the agency.)
Also: A fund set up by the local United Way (in Connecticut) – info here.
9:49 PM: There’s a lot of conflicting information circulating right now so just in case you are confused or worried – yes, there WAS a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in B.C. but NO, there is NO tsunami warning for our state, anywhere. Here is the actual warning, ONLY for areas from the northern tip of Vancouver Island northward – Vancouver itself is not even affected. The warnings unfortunately are confusingly written – but “information only” for our area means nothing more than “we thought you might want to know that this warning is in effect SOMEPLACE ELSE.” Also, note that while “tsunami” no doubt conjures images of the terrifying events in Japan, much more often, it is barely a ripple. That said, *IF* there is ever a tsunami alert for someplace you are, do NOT wait around to see if it’s a ripple – get inland! – but once again, NO WARNING AFFECTING OUR STATE TONIGHT. We will of course keep watch. And this is always a great reminder for preparedness. (More on that in a separate story later!)
10:04 PM: To illustrate the above point, Canadian sources report a 44-centimeter-high wave at Langara Island in the
Queen Charlottes Haida Gwaii area. Here’s how far away that is from us (and Vancouver):
The newest version of the tsunami alert now includes an ADVISORY for the rest of the B.C. coast – still nothing for our state. Read it here, and watch for updates at tsunami.gov. (We will add that link to the WSB Weather page tonight so it’ll always be there for reference.)
11:12 PM UPDATE: A few more notes – while there is an *advisory* for Southern Oregon and Northern California (here’s the latest update, from half an hour ago), still nothing for any part of Washington. In B.C., they still haven’t seen anything higher than 50 centimeters (not even 2 feet high). As noted in comments, there’s an alert for Hawaii – here’s live coverage from a TV station there.
11:27 PM UPDATE: The alert for parts of B.C. and Alaska is downgraded to an advisory.
12:24 AM UPDATE: We’re continuing to listen to the Honolulu TV stream referenced above. Whatever they are going to get is expected to arrive in about an hour.
1:43 AM UPDATE: Still nothing of note in Hawaii, according to that TV stream. The warning is still in effect; the advisory for Alaska/BC has been canceled.
3:14 AM UPDATE: Hawaii still OK but no “all-clear” yet. No definitive word on how the remote areas near the epicenter fared, but we did hear via the Hawaii live stream a phone interview with a woman who was at a wedding in the area when the quake hit.
Just in from SDOT, the customary weekly list of what’s happening elsewhere in the city, which we share here so you won’t be surprised to suddenly happen onto a roadblock/crowd/traffic jam/etc.:
(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB unless credited otherwise)
Every year during the Blue Angels‘ visit, the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field becomes a virtual honorary West Seattle annex. Today, it’s even more so, not just because NASA‘s distinctive Super Guppy brought the crew-cabin section of the space-shuttle trainer that’s being assembled at MoF for display, but because it was piloted by a West Seattle High School alum, from the clas of 1972, astronaut Greg Johnson (cool onboard feature here).
Our partner The Seattle Times has more on the exhibit-in-the-works; today, you still have time to get over to be part of the festivities surrounding the arrival (till about 5 pm), which was delayed a bit from the original schedule. WSB contributor Christopher Boffoli is there for WSB and just sent this view as they begin to open the plane:
(Click photo for larger view)
And from JayDee – his view as it flew over the 4th Avenue Costco lot (a popular place for viewing Boeing Field-bound aircraft):
More later! We should also note that the Super Guppy is scheduled to stay at the MoF till Monday morning, so you can see it if you go there Sunday, too.
ADDED 11:20 PM: More views – and info – from Christopher Boffoli’s coverage at the MoF for WSB:
The Super Guppy is the only aircraft of its kind still flying, cruising at about 200 knots, with four Allison T-56 501-D22C engines like those that power C-130s such as the Blue Angels’ Fat Albert.
It was preceded by a T-38 Talon, the standard NASA chase plane you might remember from shuttle landings, and accompanied to Boeing Field by a Lear Jet chase plane, flying over the airport around 10 till noon.
Capt. Johnson (U.S. Navy, Retired) says they went up over the city, over the Ballard Locks and part of Lake Washington, then flew an approach to Paine Field in Snohomish County, before landing at Boeing Field, with a crowd there to watch:
The plane taxied in and then shut down just at the edge of the taxiway where a tug pulled it to an unloading area set up just off the back parking lot of the Museum of Flight. They loaded the plane with fuel and then opened the nose of the aircraft, which is hinged on its port side.
Then they brought in an Air Force “Tunner 60K loader.”
Its deck elevates from 3.25 feet to 18.5 feet and has a power conveyor built into the top. The Tunner is about 50 feet long, with a maximum payload of 60,000 pounds.
The cargo compartment is 25 feet tall and 111 feet long. The plane can carry a maximum payload of more than 26 tons. There is 39,000 cubic feet of usable volume within the aircraft.
As for the shuttle crew compartment that it carried, it is 28.75′ long and weighs about 28,000 pounds, almost half the 60,000 pound capacity of the SG.
It was cradled in a steel truss system adding weight to the cargo. The steel truss system will return to the Johnson Space Center in Houston inside the Superguppy when it departs on Monday morning. Once the crew cabin was out of the cargo bay, the Tunner lowered it down and then took it across East Marginal Way to the new Charles Simonyi Space Gallery.
Cranes lifted the crew compartment off the Tunner and rolled it into the gallery through an enormous door on the back wall.
The next part of the Shuttle Trainer to arrive will be the payload bay, in the second of three planned Super Guppy flights to bring the trainer components here. Museum officials said they hope to have the exhibit complete and open by this November.
Thursday is the traditional day for sharing SDOT‘s roundup of big weekend events around the city that might affect traffic – this time around, the events include the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, which will close the northbound Alaskan Way Viaduct/99 from 5 am-3:30 pm on Saturday. And while it’s not on the city’s list, don’t forget the Morgan Junction Community Festival, which will draw a crowd to and around Morgan Junction Park 10:30 am-7 pm in the 6400 block of California SW – we’ll have another festival preview later today. Read on for the citywide heads-up, which starts with an event in the stadium district today:Read More
Just got an e-mail tip that the Seattle Great Wheel – aka the Seattle ferris wheel – that’s been drawing so much attention across the bay was testing its full-color light show tonight. Our “tipster” didn’t have a camera handy but, searching Twitter and YouTube, we found this clip that someone posted. Vertical video, but wow! The wheel is scheduled to open June 28th, if you hadn’t yet heard.
ADDED MONDAY MORNING: “Mz Cher,” who published the YouTube video, notes in a YT comment that she had posted Instagram photos, too. Here’s one:
Just last Thursday, when City Council President Sally Clark was speaking to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, she was asked “Where did the (Seattle Great Wheel) come from?” since for some, its appearance was something of a surprise, with little advance publicity. Clark’s answer was not extensive, but as noted in comments here last night, the project did get city approval last November – here’s the written decision (which briefly mentions the prospective lights, though not as in “multi-colored display,” on page 10).
ADDED MONDAY AFTERNOON: KING 5 seems to have found some video from their tower cam – see it here.
SDOT‘s weekly list of what’s happening Friday/Saturday/Sunday has arrived – and it includes a reminder of WSDOT‘s all-weekend Alaskan Way Viaduct/Highway 99 closure (11 pm Friday-5 am Monday); note that the southbound Aurora Bridge is getting work done this weekend too. The roundup does NOT mention high-school graduations at Memorial Stadium, but there are several, including Chief Sealth International High School at 1 pm Saturday and West Seattle High School at 5 pm Saturday. To see what IS on the list, read on!Read More
Also from SDOT – the weekly spring/summer roundup of big events around the city that just might affect traffic. In particular, Saturday afternoon in SODO will be crowded, so if you are NOT either going to the UW commencement at CenturyLink Field or the Mariners’ game next door, you will likely want to keep your distance. Here’s the full lineup, Friday-Sunday:Read More
Summer weekend with lots of events – and that means SDOT has created a list of the events that are drawing crowds around the city and potentially affecting traffic. It’s just arrived; read on!Read More
(4:41 PM UPDATE: Amber Alert canceled, children found safe)
(Photo of car, provided by King County Sheriff’s Office, added 2:59 pm)
1:26 PM: Not far from here so we’re repeating the alert – King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West says they’re “working on an Amber Alert” – a man named Michael Riley III left the Burien Library, she says, with his 7-month-old and a 2-year-old who’s not his, “violating an order.” He’s said to be in a four-door 1994 green Lexus, WA 299UOM; call 911 if you see it.
— elisa hahn (@ElisaHahnK5) May 22, 2012
4:42 PM UPDATE: The Amber Alert is canceled; the children were found safe, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. Awaiting more info.
5:13 PM UPDATE: Sgt. West has this postscript via Twitter:
Suspect had loaded gun at feet in car anddrug paraphernalia. Children fine!Thanks to Lojak and airsupport for tracking vehicle.
— Cindi West (@kingcosoPIO) May 23, 2012