West Seattle’s newest community-created playground is officially open. It’s at Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point, whose principal David Dockendorf wielded the ribbon-cutting scissors:
One of the parents who led the project through years of fundraising and volunteer work parties, Kelly Guenther, emceed the celebration:
Along with the play equipment, you’ll find a message here and there:
It was a true reason to celebrate, after more than a year and a half of work:
And now, it’s all about playtime.
See all the steps along the way via the playground project’s official website.
(WSB photo, August 2014)
That volunteer work party more than a year ago was one of many events along Pathfinder K-8‘s path to its new playground … which is now about to officially open. The Pathfinder PTSA has announced a community celebration for next Thursday afternoon:
Please join us in celebrating our community’s accomplishment and to show appreciation to those who helped make this project possible. Event includes accolades, ice cream and of course, kids demonstrating how to enjoy the new playground!
Thursday, October 8 – 3:30-4:30 pm
Questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The school is at 1901 SW Genesee. Much of the journey to making this a reality – volunteer work, construction, fundraising, sneak previews – is chronicled on the project website.
Thanks for the photos from Pigeon Point! First, more roadside safety work:
AT 21ST/GENESEE: Paula Bamburg sends the views of SDOT crews working on curb ramps at this intersection where community members “painted” a mural at the intersection earlier this year (WSB coverage here). She adds, “I’ve enjoyed watching the workers/artists doing their thing in the concrete medium. Fun to watch their teamwork, communication, timing and craft.”
The ramps and sidewalks are part of the Delridge-Highland Park Neighborhood Greenway, by the way. Not too far to the northwest:
NEW SIGN ON ANDOVER: Pigeon Point has another new signpost and shingle on the SW Andover hill. Thanks to Pete Spalding for sharing the photo:
P.S. This one got us to thinking about neighborhoods with their own signage, whether handmade or a little more official. The Alki rocks came to mind, as did signage for Fairmount Springs, Westwood, The Junction, Highland Park, Puget Ridge, The Arroyos … what/where are we missing?
“No Parking” signs are up in the Pigeon Point area already, to clear space for movement of a portable classroom scheduled to be delivered early tomorrow at Pathfinder K-8. Tom Redman from Seattle Public Schools sends word of the impending delivery; he had mentioned earlier this summer that Pathfinder was among the local schools that would get portables before the new school year. He didn’t have delivery-route specifics, but Pete Spalding from Pigeon Point tells WSB the signs are up “on Andover from Delridge to 21st Ave SW, then all along the west side of 21st to Genesee and then on both sides of Genesee to 19th.”
Something new on the street at the intersection of 21st and Genesee on Pigeon Point (map) – a mural, meant for safety more than beautification, though it certainly offers the latter. What you see above is the finished product (though our photo, taken in afternoon shadows, doesn’t do it justice); this morning, we stopped by while it was a work in progress:
That photo shows just a few of the neighbors who pitched in today to get it painted.
Toni Wells, current chair of the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council, led the charge along with Ned Sander, renowned for his neighborhood signage, and Alon Bassok. Neighbors had hoped for a traffic circle at the intersection, but that wouldn’t have worked for the school buses turning to head to Pathfinder K-8. So this was painted, with SDOT permission and community donations of time and money.
The mural incorporates elements inspired by the nearby greenbelt and Duwamish River, with the help of Native artist Roger Fernandes. The most important element: Neighborhood spirit, embodied in the chalk addition we spotted when checking back late this afternoon:
We heard police dispatch to a report of a purse theft on Pigeon Point tonight – didn’t hear the circumstances, but this reader report has since come in:
We (were) at Pathfinder School 8th grade graduation; my cousin had a emergency call to make, she left her purse on her seat, and she came back. it was gone – not even a few minutes. It’s a pink Michael Kors purse, has all her ID, passport, and all her important information. Today 6-8 pm. We didn’t see who took it; we called police, let the principal know; she had a sick family member (who) had a seizure and needed to take the call. If someone knows who took it, please return it – thanks.
Or, if you find it discarded somewhere – let police know.
If you haven’t gone to a candidate forum yet in the first-ever City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) race yet – maybe you don’t just want to sit down and listen to people answering questions from a table up at the front of the room – tomorrow night’s event in Pigeon Point might be for you. The Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council has invited the candidates over for a round of “candi-dating” – circulating from table to table, so you and your tablemates get to talk with one candidate at a time. That’s at 7 pm Monday (June 8th), Pathfinder K-8 cafeteria (1901 SW Genesee), all welcome. The primary election is August 4th, so the start of voting is only about six weeks away.
(Lou’s first lap – everybody takes off, then he finally joins)
Hundreds of people are running and walking the Pathfinder K-8 playfield right now with PE teacher Lou Cutler to raise money for Make-A-Wish.
(Lou starts 2nd lap, as volunteer marks it on the official easel)
It’s been a remarkable event every year – this is Lou’s 12th annual birthday run, one lap for every year he’s been alive, 64 laps this year – but it’s more emotional than ever right now, because this is the last one before Lou retires. Here’s what he said right before it all began at 9 am:
To help him celebrate, former students are here too – and it’s extra-festive because it’s “Fandom Day” at Pathfinder, with many kids wearing costumes or accessories in tribute to characters they’re fans of – superheroes, manga, you name it.
Today’s superhero, however, is Lou, who just finished lap #6 as we write, and got lots of warm greetings before the run:
You can donate in his honor to Make-A-Wish – an organization for which he volunteers aside from the annual run, too – by going here.
NOON UPDATE: Stopped by for a few minutes to see how it’s going:
Lou’s still going strong. As is everybody along for the run – including his longtime head cheerleader, Pathfinder teacher Andy Darring:
(That photo was from the early going.)
1:37 PM: He did it!
As of a short time ago, 64 laps, with most of the school coming back out to the playfield to join him for the last two, and everyone chanting (as you can hear in the video), “Lou! Lou! Lou!”
Run’s over but you can still donate.
Made a decision yet on who you’re voting for in the first-ever City Council District 1 race? Still lots of time to decide, with primary ballots due August 4th, and your next two chances to see and hear the candidates are coming up within the next two weeks:
MAY 27 (THIS WEDNESDAY): “South Park Shows Up!” is not your standard candidate forum, South Park community members promise. They are planning a pop quiz on South Park facts, in fact. But West Seattleites are invited too – and kids’ activities are promised as well as food. 7 pm Wednesday at the SP Neighborhood Center, 8201 10th Avenue S.
JUNE 8 (2 WEEKS FROM TONIGHT): Most local neighborhood councils have had visits from several City Council candidates. The Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council is planning a full-fledged forum, 7 pm June 8th at Pathfinder K-8 (1901 SW Genesee), all welcome.
Any other D-1 forum dates locked in? Please let us know – editor@ westseattleblog.com – thanks!
Next Friday, last ‘Laps With Lou’ before Pathfinder PE teacher & Make-A-Wish hero Lou Cutler retiresMay 22, 2015 at 3:39 pm | In How to help, Pigeon Point, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments
It’s been one of our favorite stories to cover every year we’ve done this – but next Friday will be our last chance to report on another round of “Laps With Lou“: Pathfinder K-8 PE teacher Lou Cutler is retiring. For 12 years now, on a day close to his birthday, he has been joined by students and other members of the Pathfinder community in running one lap for each year he’s been on the planet, with pledges for Make-A-Wish, the nonprofit for which he’s spent almost 20 years volunteering. This year, Lou and friends will run 64 laps around the field. You’re invited to cheer him on, one last time, starting at 8:45 am next Friday (May 29th) on the field at Pathfinder (1901 SW Genesee on Pigeon Point). You can pledge/donate in advance, too – just go here.
UPDATE: ‘Discarded smoking materials’ blamed for fire at Pigeon Point house; SFD says two pets did not surviveMay 13, 2015 at 6:12 am | In Pigeon Point, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 11 Comments
6:12 AM: Thanks to the neighbor who texted us about the Seattle Fire response at a house on Pigeon Point in the 4000 block of 23rd SW (map). They report firefighters put out a “visible porch fire.” No report of injuries.
6:20 AM: Adding photos texted by the same neighbor (thank you!). SFD’s fire investigator has been sent to the scene. One person was home, according to SFD, and got out OK.
8:55 AM: SFD was just leaving when we went over for a look about an hour ago; they’ve now announced the fire’s cause, damage estimate, and that two pets did not survive:
Fire Investigators determined a basement fire in a 2-story home was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials under the porch of the house. The damage estimate is $50,000 to the building and $20,000 to the contents.
The 911 call came in at 5:46 a.m. reporting smoke coming from the back of a home located in the 4000 block of 23rd Avenue SW. When firefighter arrived they found the lone occupant of the house outside. The crews searched the house and did not find anyone else inside. It took fire crews 20 minutes to control the flames and 40 minutes to completely extinguish the fire.
There were no injuries. The occupant evacuated with one of his 2 dogs. His other dog and a cat did not survive the fire.
4 weeks to go until Pathfinder K-8‘s big annual auction fundraiser, and tickets are still available, as are donation opportunities. Here’s the update we were asked to share:
Calling all Pathfinder families and alumni! Pathfinder K-8 will be celebrating our 21th Annual Auction, “Starry Night,” on Saturday, March 21 (5:00 pm) at The Hall at Fauntleroy. All money raised will go directly to the unique programs at Pathfinder that support our expeditionary learning, like our Earth Project, tutoring, camping trips and environmental education. Pathfinder educates students to become passionate, lifelong learners, respecting themselves, others and the environment.
We have received several generous donations from West Seattle businesses and Pathfinder supporters. Our students and families are also creating original works of art and gift baskets for our auction. Donations are being accepted until March 2. It will definitely be an exciting evening of giving and community building.
Tickets are on sale at: http://pathfinderk8ptsa.org/auction/ which is also where you’ll find contact information if you would like to donate something.
5:41 PM: The hilly stretch of SW Andover east of Delridge is closed right now because of a crash – for a while only half the road was blocked, but fluid from the crash has apparently caused vehicles to slide on the other side, so police have closed the entire hill. No word yet on how long cleanup will take; no major injuries reported from the crash.
8:07 PM UPDATE: Just went by – the hill is clear and open.
The photo is courtesy of Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding, who explains:
One of the issues the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council has been looking for ways to address has been the ongoing issue of folks letting their dogs run loose at the fields at Pathfinder School. One of the ideas discussed at our last meeting was putting up a sign. Here is the sign.
West Seattle’s official off-leash area is at Westcrest Park (map and info here).
(Photo by Holli Margell)
Glass art as a holiday gift? That’s one way to support the playground project that Pathfinder K-8 has embarked on. Organizers explain: “Having been awarded significant grants from both the City and County, we are working to raise $50,000 in cash from our school families and broader community. We have a lovely donor recognition program that will be a lasting symbol and legacy of your gift to our community. Please see the giving levels” here. Hint – the glass tiles are part of it; you can fund one (or more) with an inscription to forever be part of the new playground; see the design here.
Another back-to-school event announcement to share:
The Pathfinder Back-to-School BBQ is August 28 from 5-7 pm. The PTSA invites the Pathfinder K-8 school community and Pigeon Point neighbors to celebrate the new playground paint and kick-off our 2014-2015 school year. Food and drink provided. Details about this and other events can be found at our new PTSA website. pathfinderk8ptsa.org
P.S. Thanks to ALL the parents, PTA leaders, volunteers, staffers (and sometimes students) who share announcements/news here so we can help get the word out too – here’s how
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
As the new playground for Pathfinder K-8 and its Pigeon Point neighbors gets closer to reality, today’s the “paint party” announced in the most recent project update. Until mid-afternoon, more than 100 visiting volunteers are at the school to help the PF community, courtesy of a grant from Capital One. Their projects include, above, the “braided river” that’s part of the new-playground plan; below, a map:
Even curbs are getting TLC:
More photos later! P.S. Here’s the full-size design rendering for the new playground.
(Click image for larger view)
What you see above is a major step in volunteers’ quest to get a better playground for Pathfinder K-8 and its Pigeon Point neighbors (along with anyone else in West Seattle who’ll want to come play there): The design by Johnson Southerland debuted at a meeting Monday night. It’s the result of a community-participatory process, and dozens of people were there to get a look:
The meeting also was an ice-cream social, popular with the youngest participants as well as the parent volunteers.
Next step for the playground committee and its helpers – fundraising to get the playground built!
It could cost up to $100,000; grant money (beyond what was obtained to make the design happen) is being sought to cover at least part of that, with more fundraising details to come. It’s hoped that ground can be broken next year. Watch pathfinderplayground14.wordpress.com for more on the design and the project!
The big moment is almost here: The Pathfinder K-8 PTA invites you to be there Monday night as its playground design is revealed:
Pathfinder K-8 and our neighbors are very excited about next Monday’s unveiling of the playground design that was created through a community process funded through a Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple Grant. The design took pieces from three distinct concepts and integrated comments from many. Once this playground concept is built, it will truly be a resource for not only our school, but a destination for all of West Seattle. To that end, everyone is welcome to join the design unveiling on Monday, June 16th at 5:30 at Pathfinder K-8 School in the Pigeon Point neighborhood. Ice cream social to follow immediately! For project details, please visit our blog (here).
Pathfinder is at 1901 SW Genesee.
9:09 AM: The sun’s out and they’re off – Pathfinder K-8 PE teacher Lou Cutler and hundreds of students, as Lou’s annual Make-A-Wish birthday run began minutes ago on Pigeon Point. He runs a lap for every year of his life – and he’s about to celebrate his 63rd birthday, so it’ll be 63 laps this year.
Students from the school join him throughout the morning, and were the first ones out of the gate (short video clip here, if you can’t see it below):
They started the run before 9 am to inspirational songs including Macklemore‘s “Can’t Hold Us” and “Gonna Fly Now” (the “Rocky” theme).
Even if you can’t go cheer on Lou and friends in person (every lap, he stops at an easel on the sidelines to mark it off, as shown in the photo above), you can donate online. We’ll be checking back!
12:26 PM: He’s still going – about a mile’s worth of laps to go. (The entire 63-lap distance this year comprises more than 10 miles, Lou said toward the start.)
1 PM: He did it!
ADDED: The group photo is a post-run tradition:
Lou’s way in the back. The blue slips show how many laps were run by each participant – up to 63.
ADDED: Pathfinder parent and photographer Holli Margell shares two photos – first, one that shows how much the kids stake in their support of Lou – her son Cooper, exuberant over 27 laps:
And Lou with Teacher Andy, not only a one-man cheer squad but also emcee of the event, with his bullhorn:
A (relatively) short but scary drama played out Friday afternoon on Pigeon Point – a search for two children who got lost. We did not have enough information to report on it until now, with the details that accompanied the photo:
Yesterday afternoon a large amount of SPD officers converged on the greenbelt behind Pathfinder (K-8) in search of two missing girls (ages 3 & 9). The younger one had run into the woods and her older sister followed to find her. They couldn’t find their way out and were missing for 2+ hours. Officers spent a long time searching the greenbelt for the children. Thankfully, they were found by Officer Nicholson. They were barefoot, soaking wet, and shivering. She carried them both out and returned them home. The girls were very cold and scared but safe.
I wanted to share this picture with your blog readers. All of the officers who searched for these children exude the professionalism and compassion that makes the Southwest Precinct truly outstanding.
Officer Jenifer Eshom
(Art by Pathfinder parent Shannon)
Our area’s latest community-fueled school-playground project – for Pathfinder K-8 School on Pigeon Point – is proceeding, and welcoming more help! Outreach co-chairs Holli Margell and Toni Wells share this update:
We have chosen a design company that has the skills to translate our needs and dreams into reality: Johnson Southerland. Their designs can be played on at Seward Park, Salmon Bay, and Concord Elementary.
Mark your calendars for our first community meeting on April 30th, 5:30-7 pm at Pathfinder K-8 School. Please come, and bring your kids. Your participation at this meeting counts not only toward shaping our playground design, but also toward volunteer hours required for our next grant application (the big one that will help us actually build it).
The time you commit to volunteer will help us get the Large Neighborhood Matching Grant to build it. For example, attending each design meeting (3 x 2 hours) equals 6 pledged hours. We also need folks who can put up posters, help host our three community meetings, and make sure every family in the community knows about the project.
Save These Dates: April 30th, 5:30-7:00, May 20th, June 18th (there will be ice cream)!
Where: Pathfinder K8 School, 1901 SW Genesee
And, here’s a photo from a table top display of sorts that a parent, Shannon, made:
(Photo by Chris Wells)
Give Pathfinder K-8‘s playground project a boost – if you use the playground there now, or expect to in the years ahead, answer a quick survey. Here’s the backstory and the link:
Pathfinder K-8 is pleased to announce that we won a Neighborhood Matching Fund Small and Simple Grant to rebuild our playground! With $25,000 we can get started by hiring a designer, and recruiting volunteers to match the funds through donated time. Our plan includes hosting 3 public meetings to develop the playground in a way that best serves you, the school and community. A huge thank you to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods for helping our community work together to build a better playground.
Want to help us get started? We need your input! Anyone who uses the playground is encouraged to participate. Please tell us what matters to you at the Pathfinder K8 Playground by filling out our short online survey.
Holli Margell and Toni Wells
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
If you drove, walked, or rode past 21st/Andover in Pigeon Point on Friday, you might have noticed the crew working at the old Seattle City Light substation on the northwest corner. It’s one of the six West Seattle “surplus” sites that City Light is looking to unload.
A reader wondered if a decision about this site’s fate had already been made, considering that the tree work being done by the crew yesterday looked extensive. So we checked with City Light – and found out it’s more than tree work. SCL spokesperson Scott Thomsen tells WSB it’s part of a cleanup at the site, after soil sampling at the site turned up contamination beyond what’s considered acceptable for residential property.
Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point had about 300 special visitors for lunch today – it’s the annual day that grandparents/elders are invited to join Pathfinder students. Two of the grandparents we recognized in the crowd were busy community volunteers Sandy Adams and Jim Guenther, with grandson Chase, a Pathfinder second-grader:
The visiting elders/grandparents didn’t all arrive at once – lunchtime is in shifts, as it is in most schools.
Thanks to principal David Dockendorf for the invitation to stop by; he tells WSB it’s “one of our best school events.”
PATHFINDER SIDE NOTE: Today’s the last day to order pies in the school fundraiser, for pickup next week – go to the WSB Holiday Guide and scroll to the “Holiday Fundraisers, Donation Drives, Other Giving Opportunities” list.
After an early evening full of lightning, thunder, and pouring rain, the weather cleared just in time for Pathfinder K-8 students, families, and staff to conclude their pre-school year barbecue with a special ceremony: The dedication of a newly created mosaic sign at the school’s entry off SW Genesee. Students all collaborated with artist-in-residence Julie Maher, in the next photo, helping cut the ribbon with Pathfinder PTSA co-president Martin McGurl:
“The kids were my inspiration,” Maher said. “She took our idea for a design and really ran with it .. This could be in a museum,” mused principal David Dockendorf (at left in the photo above with McGurl and Maher), just before the ceremony concluded with a chance for everyone to come see the mosaic up close.
The principal also gave shoutouts to Pathfinder’s art teachers Marci Golden and Suzanne Wakefield. There’s so much detail in the mosaic, no photo could do it justice – you’ll have to go to Pigeon Point and take a look!
One of the most joyful annual fundraisers in West Seattle is happening right now on the playfield at Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point. Today marks the 10th time Pathfinder PE teacher Lou Cutler has, in honor of his upcoming birthday, run one lap for each year of his age.
Today, that means 62 laps with Lou, who does not run alone – Pathfinder students and staff join him on the field too, and track the laps (above); students track their own laps too:
This is a fundraiser for the regional branch of Make-A-Wish, for which Lou has volunteered more than a decade (we talked to him about it in-depth before his birthday run in 2011), helping make dreams come true for children living with life-threatening medical conditions. Lou started around 8:45 this morning and hit the halfway point while we were there an hour ago, so he likely has less than an hour to go. You can cheer him on, wherever you are, with an online pledge via his Make-A-Wish page.
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