The sign in the above-left photo is one of two that brought a lot of smiles and comments when we published photos sent by their creator, Jim Sander, a month ago. Tonight, Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding says the sign’s been stolen – along with most of the community signpost that held it (“after” photo, above right):
At some point during the day on Friday some low-life scumbag decided to vandalize one of our Pigeon Point neighborhood signposts. These signposts were donated by residents of the Pigeon Point neighborhood. These sign posts are normally used to notify residents of upcoming meetings and events that are taking place in our neighborhood. Now we will have to come up with the funds to replace this signpost and the Welcome to Pigeon Point sign that was attached to the crossbar on top. These signs have been in place for several years and we have had some occasional damage, but nothing on this scope. If anyone has any information about this vandalism please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ironically, the road closure/detour that inspired the signs is just a few days from wrapping up.
Two weeks into the North Delridge/Pigeon Point traffic re-routing/parking reduction required by a homebuilder putting in a sewer line along 23rd SW, new signs are up in PP, requesting detouring drivers’ consideration. Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council co-chair Jim Sander made the signs and sent the photos, taken by 6-year-old Tom Sander.
(Yes, Jim says, that second “Braveheart“-inspired sign is tongue-in-cheek.) The signposts are more often used to publicize upcoming neighborhood events such as PPNC meetings, but the slow-down reminders will be handy until the construction work is done, potentially another four weeks.
A quick followup on the Pigeon Point “shots fired?” reports from early Sunday morning: Southwest Precinct Lt. Norm James says that officers found “no evidence of gunshots” while investigating – in other words, no shell casings turned up anywhere. The hours-earlier Alki call turned out to be fireworks, according to nearby residents. That’s often the case with “shots fired?” calls, but you never know, so police would rather hear from you, just in case.
As noted here yesterday, Metro and SDOT worked together to make some changes lessening the Pigeon Point effects of the up-to-six-weeks closure of 23rd/22nd. Today, SDOT has sent an official news release summarizing the changes – read on: Click to read the rest of 23rd/22nd SW road-closure effects: Official city update on changes…
For almost two weeks now, we’ve been covering the saga of the 23rd/22nd SW construction-related road closure between North Delridge and Pigeon Point/Puget Ridge. The ripple effects included a bus re-route leading in turn to dozens of lost parking spaces for blocks around. While the homebuilder who has to close 23rd/22nd for sewer-line work had been working with the city for months on a “traffic plan,” and followed all the notification rules, it still all came down without advance neighborhood consultation, and that led to a flurry of action last weekend, including two visits from City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, one including an SDOT entourage. Some changes were made but now there’s word of a BIG change: Metro’s Linda Thielke tells WSB that as of the start of service tomorrow morning, Route 125 will “only use 20th SW southbound between Charlestown and Genesee; it will use 21st when northbound between Genesee and Andover.” That means “more than 50 percent of the parking on the east side of 20th will be restored.” Thielke says this wouldn’t be possible without SDOT agreeing to put in a temporary stop sign on 21st at Andover (photo above; here’s a map). She also says no bus stops wll be affected. We’re checking with SDOT to see if they have taken any other steps. Again, this is supposed to take effect tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.
View West Seattle road closure in a larger map
Many who live on Pigeon Point have had this top-of-mind all weekend, but for those who live elsewhere and drive 23rd/22nd SW between Pigeon Point/Puget Ridge/elsewhere and North Delridge – remember that tomorrow’s the day the road closes, along the route shown above (as first reported here February 10th), for up to six weeks. A few new developments today, according to Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding, one of the neighborhood leaders who’s been in close contact with the city and the developer whose project’s closing the road for sewer-line work: He says the no-parking zones have been reduced somewhat, but they’re hopeful of getting even more parking back by convincing Metro to run the Route 125 bus down 21st SW instead of the currently planned reroute. Any decision on that isn’t expected before tomorrow. Spalding says Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – who chairs the Transportation Committee – returned to the neighborhood for the second afternoon in a row, this time with five SDOT reps, who thought the revised bus re-route would make sense, and promised to request it. Spalding also met with developer Jon Riser this morning, and reports he’s “totally concerned” about the neighborhood impacts. As Riser told us in a conversation last night (last element in this story), he’s been working with the city since November on the “traffic plan” for the project – but city rules don’t require early notification, nor do they require community consultation, which is why no one knew about this until the signs went up a week and a half ago. Many hope this might lead to a change in the rules so that neighborhoods would get earlier warning, in order to participate in the planning process and avoid frantic last-minute maneuvering like this. NOTE: Channel 13 did a story on the situation last night – first TV story that we know of:
(Updated at 6:10 pm after a conversation with the developer whose project’s at the heart of this)
ORIGINAL 4:37 PM REPORT: In the bright jacket, that’s West Seattle-dwelling City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee. Rasmussen bicycled up to Pigeon Point this afternoon to listen to neighbors’ concerns about effects of the 6-week road closure that starts on Monday so that a developer can run a sewer line to new-home sites on 23rd SW. First reported here 10 days ago, the closure not only will close a major route between North Delridge and Pigeon Point/Puget Ridge, it also will reroute Metro’s 125 bus (details here), which in turn means parking restrictions on nearby streets that are not in the construction zone. Most galling to neighbors – as noted here last night, when the signs went up yesterday, they covered an even longer stretch of nearby streets than had been announced by SDOT – and that’s what has neighbors most concerned. Jim S wrote in a WSB comment last night:
It’s frustrating to say the least. It feels very much as if the city has sold out Pigeon Point for a developer’s utility upgrade to the arterial. I understand that Riser Homes are paying the full ride on the sewer and storm drains on 23rd and that cost is considerable, but this has affected a far wider swath of neighborhoods than the average street closure. Closing virtually all parking on two of the three major streets in the Pigeon Point neighborhood without consulting the neighborhood is very unfair. It is a thoughtless, cookie cutter fix to a problem that required a more measured equitable solution.
This afternoon, Rasmussen met with about a dozen residents, coordinated on short notice by Pete Spalding (at right, below, with Rasmussen at left – note the “no parking” signs lining the road in the background).
It’s not just a matter of nowhere to park and driving a detour route, neighbors say, it’s also a safety issue – as hundreds of drivers detour, there’s concern they may go racing down streets where there’s not usually heavy traffic. And there’s a big-picture issue here: Notification. Everyone agrees that the homebuilder did what was required – notifying neighbors in the immediate area – but, as discussed at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting last Wednesday, what’s required, may not be enough. In our video clip, you’ll hear Rasmussen wonder if there’s any way to hold off the project now, so that a meeting can be held with neighbors first:
There was no public word of the impending closure till signs went up on Delridge a week and a half ago; the signs seemed to suggest Delridge was closing for six weeks; a WSB’er named Pete (not Spalding) contacted us to ask what we knew. We checked with SDOT, which explained the developer’s plan – this Feb. 10th story resulted – and got him to add “23rd SW” lettering to the closure signs; the information about bus and parking restrictions followed, and Pigeon Point neighborhood leaders have been working round the clock to try to make sure residents are getting accurate information. They’re expecting SDOT reps to be in the area to monitor the situation on Monday morning, first commute period after the closure is scheduled to happen, if the plan doesn’t change in the meantime. (We also have e-mailed the developer to ask for comment.)
ADDED 6:10 PM: Got a fast response from Jon Riser, the aforementioned developer, who called after receiving our e-mail. He says, “This is a process that’s been going on for a long time. We submitted a traffic control plan back in November – it’s not a small, little, quick, throw-out-a-permit thing to close the road. It’s been a drawn-out (process) that’s involved Metro, city engineers, and my own traffic engineers. This is the plan they came up with that they felt was the safest.” He says he’s talked with Councilmember Rasmussen and that holding off construction isn’t an option – “I don’t see us not starting on Monday” — Riser says this phase of the project will be costing him $10,000 a day; “the contractor’s lined up and this all has been rolling for weeks.” But, he adds: “What I do want to do is, during the first initial closure, try to adjust some of this …” such as, seeing if buses can “turn directly onto 21st,” and adjusting some of the no-parking zone on 23rd for residents who face “some serious parking problems.” He adds, “Adding signs, removing signs … whatever we can do in the first day or so. … (And) we’re trying to get a couple police officers to be on site to help. … I’m trying to do what I can.”
9:04 PM: Pigeon Point residents say the “no parking” warning signs are up but are stretching beyond the areas described in previous communication from SDOT. Neighborhood leaders are working to sort this out, and also hope to talk with city crew members expected to be in the area to check on the situation Monday morning.
EARLIER (ORIGINALLY POSTED 3:18 PM): We’ve been covering this for a week now, but in case you missed it, here’s the official reminder from SDOT of the North Delridge/Pigeon Point/Puget Ridge road closure/detour situation starting Monday – read on: Click to read the rest of 2 updates on upcoming 23rd SW (etc.) closure…
People who live in, and travel through, North Delridge/Pigeon Point/Puget Ridge are still working to sort out how they’ll get around when a section of 23rd SW, just southeast of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, closes for up to six weeks starting next Monday, so a sewer line can be extended to new homes that are being built in the area. Yesterday, we published the Route 125 bus re-routing information from Metro; today, SDOT confirms the parking restrictions that will be put into place, with signs going up as soon as tomorrow. There’s a pedestrian advisory too. Read on for details: Click to read the rest of Upcoming 23rd SW closure: SDOT info on no-parking zones…
Quick followup to last week’s reports/discussion about the closure of a section of 23rd SW southeast of Youngstown Arts Center, starting next Monday, related to nearby homebuilding. Many people wondered about the rerouting plan for Metro’s Route 125. Today we’ve received it from King County’s Rochelle Ogershok – it’s way too complicated to cut and paste here, so take a look at the PDF. She adds, “We will also be sending out an alert to Route 125 subscribers when the details are posted online” (sign up here for alerts) – and suggests anyone affected check the Metro website a day or two ahead of time, in case of last-minute revisions.
To follow up on questions raised following our Wednesday afternoon report on the impending closure of a significant section of 23rd SW in North Delridge, we took them to SDOT‘s Marybeth Turner first thing this morning. She’s just replied with what you might call a fact sheet – read on to see it in its entirety (note the part about parking restrictions on other streets): Click to read the rest of Followup: More from SDOT on the 23rd SW road closure…
Got a note this morning from Pete M, who wondered about a sign (photo added 5:57 pm) he had seen while heading north on Delridge near SW Alaska (map) – he thought it suggested a big closure ahead, and wondered if we’d heard anything. We in turn checked with SDOT, whose Marybeth Turner has been investigating. She reports back that there IS a closure ahead, but not what the sign apparently implied:
A contractor for a private developer installed a misleading sign on Delridge Way SW. He is taking it down, and will replace it with a more accurate sign that indicates that SW Oregon Street (which turns into 23rd Ave SW) [map] will be closed. The developer is extending a sewer line for new homes.
Traffic going to South Seattle Community College coming from the north will be detoured to Delridge Way SW. The closure will start at approximately 9 a.m. on Feb 22 and is expected to reopen by Apr 5 (six weeks).
At Delridge, SW Oregon Street (which turns into 23rd SW) will be closed to all traffic. At the other end, 22nd SW (which turns into 23rd SW) will be closed to through traffic where 22nd SW meets 21st SW. 23rd will be closed to all traffic (including local) where it meets 22nd SW (this would be SW Alaska if Alaska cut through at this location).
Hope that all makes sense to area residents. She also included a word of thanks for the heads-up on the sign – so we’ve passed that on to Pete.
Toplines from Monday night’s Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council meeting: Though Andy Worline has stepped down after nine months as PPNC chair, new co-chairs have stepped up: Jim Sander and Theresa Ball. Former chair Pete Spalding ran tonight’s meeting, though. He’d invited David Dockendorf, principal of Pathfinder K-8, which as of this school year is housed in the Cooper School building where PPNC has long met. Dockendorf said about 470 students are now enrolled, with a kindergarten waiting list of about 20. In Q/A, he was asked about school-bus traffic, particularly why buses leave going different ways even though they all arrive along the same route; the principal promised to check. He says Pathfinder is continuing now-discontinued Cooper Elementary‘s tradition of working with the Nature Consortium in the adjacent West Duwamish Greenbelt. Speaking of parkland, PPNC also discussed the application that’s gone out for money to turn the old City Light substation at 21st and Andover (map) into a park, potentially with play equipment and benches.
Last weekend, we told you about Delridge and Pigeon Point volunteers spending a soggy, breezy Saturday morning making their neighborhood nicer (here’s our story). Tonight, two notes: First, Rose Feliciano (left) will be out raking up leaves again tomorrow morning around 9 am along the bike trail by the bridge. She mentioned this on the Pigeon Point e-mail list; we asked if we could mention it here in case anyone wanted to help out, and she said OK, adding “the way to access the bike path is the north end of 22nd Avenue SW.” (Here’s a map.) Meantime, the folks at Seattle Public Utilities asked if we would publish this public thank you to Rose and everyone else out working last weekend – PLUS all the other cleanup program volunteers peninsula-wide:
I’d like to thank Nancy Folsom, Rose Feliciano, the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council, the North Delridge Neighborhood Council-and all the other West Seattle volunteers who are making a difference in their neighborhoods by participating in Seattle’s Adopt-a-Drain and Adopt-a-Street programs. These volunteer programs continue to grow, showing that we all value the quality of life that Seattle offers. Adopting a street or a drain is a great way to get to know your neighbors. Please give me a call if you would like help getting involved: 684-7647.
Thanks again, folks!
Seattle Public Utilities
Story and photos by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Next rainy morning you commute – by car OR bike – those huge puddles may be a little less prevalent, thanks to the efforts of some of your West Seattle neighbors this morning: Before the wind and rain took a break, intrepid community members turned out in force in northeast West Seattle this morning to rake leaves from sidewalks and gutters, clear drains, and collect trash.
Rose Feliciano, who lives near the Pigeon Point portion of the bike trail, has been trying to keep it clear of leaves since her bicycling friends mentioned “the path is getting smaller!” Additionally, through the city’s Adopt-a-Drain program, Rose has been working to maintain a clear drain at Delridge and 23rd –the site of the West Seattle Bridge onramp. Unfortunately, she didn’t get out there quite soon enough yesterday morning to beat the BMW that drove through the deep puddle, stalling their engine. She notes: “It doesn’t take much for those drains to get clogged.”
After posting a request for help on the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council e-mail group asking for leaf-raking assistance on the bike path today, she was joined by three more volunteers including Andy and Andre (photo above). Rose will be continuing her efforts until the trees have finished dropping their leaves. And her group wasn’t the only one out in northeast West Seattle this morning:
The North Delridge Neighborhood Council not only meets monthly but also gathers four times a year for Adopt-a-Street street cleaning. In their efforts today, they’ve also joined the Adopt-a-Drain program and before the group set off with their bright yellow bags, leader of the Adopt-a-Street program Nancy Folsom asked volunteers to “Check for drains as you go.”
They are also focusing on clearing street gutters for bicyclists. As part of the Adopt-a-Drain and Adopt-a-Street programs, the city provides plastic bags to the volunteers, then sends out a truck to pick up the full bags. (For more info on Adopt-a-Drain, go here; for more on Adopt-a-Street, go here.)
COUNTY FURLOUGH DAY/COLUMBUS DAY CLOSURES: Another $-saving furlough day for King County, though courts are open; federal offices and banks are closed for Columbus Day, no mail either.
ROAD WORK ALERTS: Reminder, today’s the day SDOT starts rebuilding a small section of Beach Drive. Here’s our original alert. And the bike lane (etc.) work on Fauntleroy Way south of Morgan Junction continues too (here’s last week’s story on that).
SCHOOL NOTES: Got questions about the proposed attendance boundaries just made public as part of Seattle Public Schools’ assignment plan? Listen to what West Seattle’s school-board rep Steve Sundquist has to say in an appearance tonight at Schmitz Park Elementary, 6 pm, presented by the Schmitz Park, Lafayette and Alki PTAs. Meantime, a book fair with part of the proceeds benefiting Roxhill Elementary is happening tonight at Barnes and Noble-Westwood Village, 6 pm; use the voucher that you can download here.
COUNTY EXEC CANDIDATES’ ENVIRONMENTAL FACEOFF: Not in West Seattle but not far – King County Executive hopefuls Dow Constantine and Susan Hutchison are scheduled to focus on environmental issues at a forum at 6:30 pm tonight, Seattle Aquarium. (Here’s the original announcement.)
(added 8:59 am) CAMPAIGNING IN THE JUNCTION: With voting starting later this week (ballots are to be mailed at midweek), campaigning is intensifying – city attorney candidate Pete Holmes plans to be in The Junction at 11 am today, talking with supporters and reporters (and anyone else interested) – he’s starting near Talarico’s, according to his campaign.
(Pigeon Point Night Out party photos by Chris Wells)
The firefighters who visited Pigeon Point’s big Night Out party last night really sparked some fun. They even got into the spirit of one popular feature that neighbors had set up the party, which Pete Spalding explains in this update:
We had a visit from a fire engine from station 36 that is right by the bridge. We also had visits from Interim Police Chief John Diaz, Doug Carey from the Mayor’s office, a contingent from the Dept of Neighborhoods, our CPT officer Kevin McDaniel and then later we were visited by Capt Joe Kessler and Lt. Steve Paulsen from the SW Precinct.
We had 100+ neighbors that gathered with us at the corner of 20th Ave SW and SW Dakota [map]. One of the highlights was we brought in a bale of hay and then hid small toys, quarters and nickels in the hay and then the kids got to do a scavenger hunt to find all of the hidden gems.
Darkness (and bedtime for the kids) was the only reason folks went back home. It was a great turnout and we saw several new faces to our Pigeon Point neighborhood who came out to meet their neighbors.
Three more Pigeon Point pix – including one with the full fray over the straw, and one with a delighted Engine 26 visitor:
We’ve also received photos today from Shell Marr, whose party in the 2400 block of SW Holden (map) offered a game too – beanbag toss:
Canine participants were crowdpleasers as well:
Thanks again to everyone who shared photos and/or gave us clearance to drop by. Night Out is traditionally held on the first Tuesday in August, so you can just mark your calendar right now for August 3, 2010!
Story and photos by Kathy Mulady
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The sweet promise of summer vacation was tainted by tears Friday as students, teachers, parents and volunteers slowly and regretfully left Cooper Elementary School for the last time.
Students emerged from the building to walk through the “goodbye path” lined by teachers and tutors offering hugs, best wishes, and occasionally some final words of advice.
But as the kids headed for the sidewalks, jumped into parents’ cars, and as the last school bus drove away, teachers found it impossible to hold back their tears or their anger at Seattle Public Schools for ending the Cooper Elementary program.
High atop the heights of northeastern West Seattle, signs like that help get the word out about the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council‘s meetings – like the one we covered last night at Cooper School. The impending transition at that school was one of the topics – as was something a little further into the future, Night Out block parties (not that far away – August 4th is the date – and registration just opened) – and more immediate concerns about crime-fighting – plus the saga of the buried bunker! – read on for the highlights: Click to read the rest of Pigeon Point Council: Crime-fighting reminders, Night Out, more…
RESTRICTED PARKING ZONE VOTE: The proposed changes in Restricted Parking Zones come before the City Council for a vote during its meeting at 2 this afternoon; if you have anything to say, there’s a public comment period as the meeting begins.
ALKI ART FAIR VENDOR SIGN-UPS: Last registration/site-selection event for next month’s popular artist showcase at the beach – 6:30-8 pm tonight at Alki Community Center.
You can’t have a farewell party without a cake. That’s one of two we saw this afternoon while stopping by two celebrations we had previewed – first, the one for Ingrid Olsen-Young, the popular veteran preschool teacher at South Seattle Community College Co-Op Preschool who’s leaving for Walla Walla. “Teacher Ingrid” agreed to take a quick break from mingling with well-wishers to pose with friend Janet Ko (thanks again to Janet for help with our preview story):
The party was, of course, at SSCC, Brockey Center to be precise; photos were shown on the big screen, and albums were out for perusal:
Now a bit northwest to Pigeon Point, where Cooper School‘s “closure celebration” opened the school to visitors this afternoon, 4 months after the School Board vote to end the Cooper Elementary “program”:
Outside, kids got the chance to bounce:
Cooper Elementary classes continue until Seattle Public Schools‘ last day of the year on June 19; between now and then, the legal challenge brought by closure opponents (first WSB story here, followup here) gets a hearing next Friday.
So asked Rich in the note he sent with the photo you see above:
This new looking “Bugaboo Gecko” stroller is sitting just off the road near the 4400 block of 21st Ave SW, right by the radio tower. There are various cloth grocery bags and an umbrella. This is not the usual trash that gets dumped in this field… I tried calling the police non emergency number, 206-625-5011, but was advised to call back later by an automated voice due to a large number calls.
I hate the fact that car thieves might be using my neighborhood as safe place to ransack stolen cars.
If the stroller is yours, Rich can reunite you with it – contact us and we’ll put you in touch with him – email@example.com. (P.S. A note if you live in Pigeon Point – tomorrow night’s the next meeting of the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council, 7 pm at Cooper School.)
As reported here earlier this week, there’s a key hearing next week in the legal challenge to the impending closure of Cooper Elementary School in Pigeon Point: The closure opponents have made a motion for “summary judgment” (read it here) and this week, Seattle Public Schools filed its document opposing the motion. The district provided us with a copy; you can read the entire 27-page document here. One of the main points of contention in the legal challenge is that there was not a formal “closure hearing” at and for Cooper, because the district considered it a “program” instead of a school; the district’s rebuttal to that includes:
Appellants claim that not treating a programmatic change as a school closure resulted in impacted persons not getting notice or the opportunity to be heard. What Appellants fail to acknowledge to the Court is that they all actually provided testimony at public hearings and School Board meetings related to the decisions they are challenging.
Appellants had not only ample notice and opportunity to be heard, they were actually heard. However, the elected School Board, after consideration of thousands of pages of documents and the input of hundred of citizens, made a choice that the Appellants dislike. That is not the proper basis for a legal challenge, particularly when considering the substantial deference that must be afforded to the School Board in making administrative and policy decisions.
…With respect to the recommendation to close the Genesee Hill building for instructional purposes, a site-specific hearing was held at the Genesee Hill building on December 16, 2008. … Numerous speakers at this hearing identified themselves as being affiliated with Cooper. … In fact, all three of the Appellants in this case, Shelly Williams, Charity Dumas, and Joy Anderson actually provided testimony at the December 16, 2008 hearing.
Their challenge also takes on board votes to change policies enabling both the relatively rapid adoption of the school-closure proposal last January and enabling Cooper to be considered for closure; the district’s document contends “legislative bodies like the School Board are always free to amend their own polic(i)es and procedures …” The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 am Friday, June 12, before Judge Greg Canova in King County Superior Court. Meantime, Cooper is having a “closing celebration” at the school at 2 pm this Sunday.
Court fight, in this case. At Delridge Day this past Saturday, our spot in the Youngstown Arts Center parking lot was a few tables over from the booth you see in the photo above – with the “Save Cooper” theme. You might wonder, as we did, what’s the “Save Cooper” theme now, since the Seattle School Board vote to close the Cooper Elementary School “program” and move Pathfinder K-8 into the Cooper building in Pigeon Point happened four months ago, and a Cooper closure event is scheduled for this Sunday. Turns out, they were raising money for a legal challenge that continues, with a potentially pivotal hearing scheduled next week, headed by Cooper parent and PTA member Joy Anderson, aided by longtime school-closure opponent Chris Jackins. We spoke with both Anderson and Jackins at the event; read on to see what the Cooper challenge is about, and what happens next: Click to read the rest of Cooper Elementary supporters not giving up without a fight…
One of the special programs at Cooper Elementary School is called The EARTH Project — and a garden on the south side of the school has been a centerpiece. Today is the last Earth Day that Cooper students and staffers will work in that garden, since the school “program” is being closed at the end of this year, with Pathfinder K-8 (which also has an “environmental focus”) moving in. AmeriCorps volunteers invited us to come share the occasion – that’s AmeriCorps’ Gina Barteletti at left with kindergarteners, planting kinnikinnick:
Assisting students in this next photo, Cooper parent Steve Ball with the group in the foreground, head teacher David Kipnis at right:
The kindergarteners got a quick briefing about how to plant before they donned gloves and went over to dig and plant. They also brought notes “thanking the plants” – they were instructed to tear up the notes and put them into the planting holes:
Hundreds of native plants, purchased by AmeriCorps with grant money, were to be placed in the garden before this round of planting ends. As the kindergarteners returned to their classrooms, they got to high-five a “fishy” visitor:
And then, the shovels were lined up and waiting for the next class, which was to take its turn right after lunch:
The Nature Consortium, which stewards and restores the West Duwamish Greenbelt – including the section that Cooper borders – also had representatives at today’s planting event. Another local school with an environmental emphasis, Gatewood Elementary, will be the new school for more than 100 Cooper students; Gatewood teacher Donna Rodenberg told us at last weekend’s Earth Festival at Cooper that they’re working on outreach to ease the transition, letting the incoming students know about Gatewood’s Project Earth Care.
With coordination from EarthCorps and the West Seattle-based Nature Consortium, hundreds of volunteers are working at 20+ sites in the West Duwamish Greenbelt section south and east of Pigeon Point’s Cooper School, just one of more than a dozen Duwamish Alive! events today in honor of Earth Day (which technically isn’t till Wednesday). In a clearing close to the school, numbers mark where each group’s supplies were gathered:
EarthCorps told us we were the first media visitors of the day; they were expecting a few high-profile political visitors too, including County Councilmember/Executive candidate Larry Phillips, who was there (at right in the photo below) during our stop (expected this afternoon, two West Seattleites: County Councilmember/Executive candidate Dow Constantine and Mayor Nickels):
The heart of the work: Tearing out, pulling out, pulling down the invasive plants that choke the life out of the forest and its native understory – this gentleman was doing battle with a thickly trunked Scotch broom:
Some invasive plants like Scotch broom and ivy are still sold for planting, but even if you think they’re great in your yard, birds can eat the seeds and distribute them far and wide, so think twice before using them in your landscaping. More on Duwamish Alive! after we go back for this afternoon’s community festival at Cooper, 2-5 pm (and you’re invited), and we’ll add some video later, including the musician serenading the volunteers in the meadow.
That’s just a slice of the 400-strong crowd at the Duwamish Alive! Earth Day mega-work party southeast of Cooper School last year – and a similar crowd is expected today (with at least three political leaders – Mayor Nickels and County Councilmembers/Executive candidates Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips – visiting along the way). It’s part of a HUGE slate of not just Earth Day events, but also fun fundraisers, live music performances, 2 big rummage/garage sales, and a lot more happening today – we’ll just point you directly to the Saturday section of the West Seattle Weekend Lineup – click here.
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