West Seattle, Washington
After a 31-year-old man was shot and killed in the 1st/Spokane encampment early today, the city has just announced a plan for “gradual closure” of the camps that remain along the “Spokane corridor.” The announcement, in a post on the city’s blog-format website for homelessness-related information, says the timing is a coincidence:
… Prior to this morning’s shooting, we had established a four-week plan for addressing the camping along the Spokane Street corridor. The plan begins with notice to be posted tomorrow to alert all individuals on site that the Navigation Team will be conducting repeated outreach during the next several weeks prior to gradual closure beginning the week of Sept. 11. …
Beginning Monday, Aug. 28, the Navigation Team will be collaborating with additional service providers to conduct targeted outreach to individuals living along Spokane Street from Airport Way to First Avenue. During repeated engagement with individuals in this area over the last several months, the Navigation Team has identified a number of challenges within this population, including substance use disorder, mental health disorder, unemployment/under-employment, chronic medical conditions, legal issues/justice involvement and sex work. To provide a comprehensive response, the Navigation Team has reached out to numerous partners who can better meet the needs of some individuals.
The Navigation Team will be joined by the following partner agencies: DESC-HOST, REACH, LEAD, Metropolitan Improvement District (MID), University of Washington/Harborview, Pioneer Human Services, Real Escape from the Sex Trade (REST), Valley Cities, Seattle Central Colleges, YouthCare, Veteran’s Affairs, UGM, Salvation Army, Millionair Club.
Beginning at 10 a.m., collaborative, “need-specific” outreach will be deployed, so individuals will receive engagement from agencies that meet their specific needs. To those interested, service offers will be immediate and will include substance use recovery options, mental health treatment, coordinated entry housing assessment, relocation to appropriate alternative living arrangements, reconnection with family or other support systems, disruption of ongoing sex trade including exploitation of vulnerable individuals.
In addition to alternative spaces available to the City’s Navigation Team, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM) has set aside 10 men’s program beds and 10 shelter beds along with five women’s shelter beds and five program beds for Spokane Street area referrals. In addition, the Salvation Army has committed to holding all beds that become available for Spokane Street referrals.
As the city update goes on to note, it’s been four months since the RV encampment further west under the bridge was cleared after two motorhomes were gutted in a fire. Also noted: The Navigation Team is reported to have contacted “1,157 individuals” in the last six months, with “721 accept(ing) some sort of service, including 419 who relocated to alternative living arrangements.”
That century-old house at 3027 59th SW in the Alki area [map] will soon be demolished to make way for a three-townhouse building. First, the Seattle Fire Department plans to use the site for training exercises, with the owners’ permission. SFD says the training is scheduled for Sunday through Tuesday (August 20-22). The announcement adds, “This training will not include any live fire burning and every effort will be made to not impede traffic and/or access to the area. Observers are welcome! Areas will be marked off for safe viewing.”
South Park community advocate Jeff Hayes, whose efforts we have chronicled here, has been working with city leaders to set up a meeting about public-safety issues – and now the date is set. It was just announced in City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s weekly update:
The Department of Neighborhoods will be organizing a community meeting in South Park on Tuesday, August 29th from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the South Park Neighborhood Center @ 8201 10th Avenue South.
In response to community requests, especially after a number of nights with vandalism against businesses, I sent a letter to the Chief of Police requesting the Seattle Police Department hold a community meeting. The Department of Neighborhoods stepped in to organize the meeting, and bring in other City departments to address other ongoing issues in South Park.
We’ll also hear an update about the work of a Task Force of South Park residents that have been meeting to formulate and report to the Executive and Council future recommendations regarding the public safety and vitality of South Park, including strategies for a new model of neighborhood policing and strategies for a culturally and linguistically responsive data-driven approach to improving the City’s relations to and effectiveness with the South Park neighborhood.
Childcare, light refreshments, and interpretation (in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Amharic) will be provided.
Other topics in Councilmember Herbold’s update include more on the vacant-building legislation, which, as we reported earlier this week, is headed to a full-council vote next month.
Just announced by SDOT:
Summer break is winding down, and next month Seattle’s youth head back to school. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is launching Operation TREE-IAGE (Triage) to make sure that the city’s Safe Routes to School locations are clear of overgrown vegetation so that students have a safe and clear walking path. This important safety project will prune trees and vegetation along school routes to improve safety as part of Vision Zero so that drivers have clear visibility of traffic control signs such as STOP, CROSSING and SPEED LIMIT. Crews will be targeting areas around Seattle’s 59 public elementary schools.
Beginning Monday August 14, through Friday August 18, 6 teams of SDOT inspectors began inspecting routes along Seattle School District elementary schools looking for areas where trees or other vegetation blocks the visibility of school zone signs, beacons, signals, and sidewalks.
Beginning Thursday August 17th, SDOT staff began notifying adjacent property owners if their sidewalk was partially blocked by vegetation.
On August 21 through September 1, SDOT and contractor crews will focus along these school routes to prune overgrowth before classes begin this fall to clear sidewalks for students who walk to school, and make sure all traffic control signs, signals and beacons are free of overgrowth so drivers can adjust their speeds accordingly.
All major tree pruning operations will be overseen by an ISA certified arborist (as required by City Ordinance). Most SDOT gardeners are ISA Certified Arborists and/or Certified Horticulturists. All pruning crews will include experienced Urban Forestry Gardeners to ensure the best outcomes.
SDOT will also be engaging Seattle residents to share information on tree trimming and vegetation maintenance requirements in the right-of-way. In addition, SDOT is working with Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection to educate residents of the City’s weeds and vegetation ordinance.
Questions? 206-684-TREE or Seattle.Trees@seattle.gov.
The repaving work that’s under way this week on the west section of SW Admiral Way has more of a history than most other “spot paving” projects SDOT announces shortly before they start. When Admiral Way rechannelization west of California SW was first brought up in 2015, calls for repaving resurfaced, but it wasn’t part of the project, and it wasn’t even part of the SDOT long-range plan (see this map). But the road has had persistent bumps, sinks, and other problems, especially near Schmitz Park, and some residents have been persistent about urging that SDOT get something done, including Tim Nelson, who shared the photos.
Last May, we reported on a sinkhole, thanks to a tip, and it was finally filled days later, but that’s continued to be a trouble spot – one of several revealed as SDOT ground off the old pavement yesterday:
Nelson says he has been trying to get something done about this section for a year and a half. He rides a motorcycle and has as a result been extra-aware of the bumps and holes. After getting nowhere with SDOT, he contacted City Councilmember Lisa Herbold; this is from a response she sent him in late June:
… in response to yours and my requests, Transportation Maintenance Division Director, Rodney Maxie, conducted several site visits in West Seattle last week, including this segment of Admiral. In response to my follow up questions last week, when several Admiral Way constituents visited me at my office hours on Friday, SDOT told me the following:
“Mr. Maxie, or one of his Pavement Maintenance leads will follow up with an assessment of Admiral Way. Depending on the ensuing assessment, Mr. Maxie may request a follow-up site visit with the residents who have sent in complaints about the pavement conditions on these blocks. While this street is not prioritized as an AAC project, Rodney will be looking to see whether it might be a good candidate for nearer term spot improvements.”
And then, last week, this week’s work was announced. Meantime, work is still ahead for nearby intersections, including the conversion of 59th/Admiral to an all-way stop; we are checking with SDOT on the newest timetable for that, since it had been announced as “before school starts.”
Remember the saga of that house in South Delridge, which stood for months after the third fire in five years? It was a reminder of city rules that make it difficult for nuisance houses to be dealt with – by the city and/or by their owners. Rule changes have been making their way through City Hall, and today, they won approval from the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee, after an extensive discussion and some amendments. In the Seattle Channel video below, it was the first item after a half-hour plus of public comment on various agenda items:
This has been an issue for many years – in 2009, North Delridge neighbors led a tour of problem properties, with City Councilmembers and department heads in attendance, and there was talk of changing the rules. No major changes ensued; at least one of the vacant houses featured in that tour is still standing, still vacant. The current proposal is summarized as:
Summary of the Proposal
Vacant Building Maintenance (SMC 22.206.200)
Strengthen the standards for securing the windows of vacant buildings to require slightly thicker
plywood and fastening with screws rather than nails, and add the option of using clear polycarbonate
panels or other approved materials instead of plywood.
Establish an expedited process for removing garbage, junk, or other debris from a vacant property if the owner does not respond to a notice of violation.
Demolition of Unfit Buildings (SMC 22.208.020)
Establish an expedited process for ordering the demolition of a vacant building that can be documented
Demolition of Housing (SMC 23.40.006)
In instances when a final redevelopment permit has not yet been issued, reduce the length of time that
rental housing must sit vacant before a demolition permit can be issued … and expand this provision to apply in commercial, industrial, and multifamily zones (in addition to single-family zones).
(That’s from the start of the Director’s Report document you’ll find, along with other documents related to the bill, by going here. Among the docs is the following map, showing vacant-building complaints around the city:)
One concern long voiced has been that making it too easy to tear down vacant houses will reduce available housing stock. West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold said it would be helpful to know more about the 200+ vacant buildings that are on the city’s radar, and which ones might be usable for housing. She also offered an amendment to try to toughen the scrutiny of demolition review for structures that might contain a “dwelling unit,” but it wasn’t approved.
Meantime, there was a compromise in a central provision of the new rules, reducing the waiting period required for demolition from 12 months after a building was last used for rental housing, to 6 months. (The original proposal was to cut it to four months; then there was a counterproposal for eight months; and six months was today’s compromise.)
After today’s committee approval, the rule changes move on to the full Council, likely in September, so if you have something to say about them before a final vote, there’s still time – you can start with Councilmember Herbold at firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or contact all councilmembers via the info you’ll find here.
ORIGINAL REPORT, TUESDAY: Earlier today, we mentioned in the morning traffic/transit report that closure signs were up – then removed – for Fairmount Avenue, through the ravine between Alki and Admiral, and that a reader had called us last night asking how best to report a tree concern. The reader, who comments here as Drahcir61, has since sent the photo shown above, with this report/alert:
I called 911 last night to report a 200-foot dead tree that is collapsing & now resting on another massive live tree. I heard several small popping/cracking of tree branches giving way. The dead tree is now at a 45-degree angle; the live tree is now leaning itself from the weight of the dead tree.
The police & SDOT responded early evening last night & put up warning tape & flashing beacons to alert anyone moving past this area overnight. One of the SDOT guys told me he also heard branches starting to crack & pop. The police returned this morning & closed off Fairmount while SDOT surveyed the site (see attached photo). Due to the proximity of power lines it appears SDOT has deferred to Seattle City Light. By 10 am this morning the police, SDOT & all warning cones/beacons have been removed.
I advise extreme caution if you are in this area, especially if you are walking or riding a bike. These are massive trees & if/when they fall there will be little warning to get out of the way.
We’re checking with SDOT and City Light to see if anything is planned. By the way, if you see what seems to be an imminent or current hazard – whether it’s a tree, road debris, etc. – the first call to make is always to 911.
THURSDAY UPDATE: Drahcir61 confirms that City Light crews did the work promised in this Wednesday comment from SCL’s Scott Thomsen. And SDOT’s Sue Romero just sent this reply to our original Tuesday inquiry:
The tree was growing in the side of a creek bank which may have contributed to its failure. As the tree leaned, it got hung up on another tree and began to encroach on both the road and nearby high voltage powerlines. Though the tree initially appeared somewhat stable, the City determined the tree needed to be removed quickly. SDOT, SCL and Parks coordinated efforts and determined an SCL contractor was best suited for the job as they access to a 70’ aerial lift. The tree was on Parks property. The road was closed for about 2 hours while the work was completed.
(WSB file photo: ‘Wall of buses’ along Roxhill Park, across from Westwood Village)
Another “years in the making” project is about to get going. Even before the south side of SW Barton across from Westwood Village became a major transit hub, there was talk of more lighting – it’s mentioned in this WSB story from 2009. Four years later, the lack of lighting was still an issue when the then-new Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council led various government reps on a walking tour including the transit hub. In early 2015, Metro promised the lighting, and sidewalk improvements, would happen that year. Then the time-frame estimate shifted to mid-2016.
Now here we are in the second half of 2017 … and the work is apparently finally about to begin. Metro’s Paul Roybal responded to an inquiry from former WWRHAH leader Amanda Kay by saying, “Currently the construction work is scheduled to begin on August 28th, but subject to slight modifications (contractor is finishing up other work for Metro elsewhere, so the start date may be a few days later).” We subsequently checked with Metro spokesperson Scott Gutierrez about the planned scope of the work; he says it’s “to repair the sidewalk along the south side of SW Barton … and to add 4 pedestrian-scaled light fixtures to improve visibility and safety from the layover [area] to the existing RapidRide bus stop.”
After a stopdown of about two weeks, the sidewalk construction on the south side of SW Roxbury between 28th and 30th has resumed, we noticed this morning. The work was running ahead of schedule when it paused in late July; King County Roads spokesperson Brent Champaco told us at the time that the roadway panels already had all been replaced “and more than half of the sidewalk poured.” But then utility-related work had to be done, and as of last week they were “working with Seattle City Light to adjust the traffic signal equipment before the concrete panel work can resume.” Now that crews are back at work, we’re checking to see if they expect to finish up before school starts across the street at Roxhill Elementary. (When we first reported on the project back in February, it was expected to begin before the school year ended.)
(2014 US Army Corps of Engineers photo of failing seawall)
From City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s newest weekly update – a milestone for the Beach Drive seawall project that’s been years in the making. How many years? For one – the 475-foot stretch of seawall itself, at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook, is 90 years old. For two – it’s been three years since the official public-comment period that accompanied an announcement from the Army Corps of Engineers of its agreement with Seattle Parks, and even that followed years of consideration, Beach Drive Blog pointed out earlier in 2014. Now, Herbold writes (sixth item here), a vote this past week puts the project on the road to construction starting next year:
The Council passed an agreement between the City’s Parks Department and the US Army Corps of Engineers to replace the seawall at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook Park (along) Beach Drive. The seawall was originally built in 1927, and is nearing the end of its useful life; it has a 30% probability of failure during a storm event, and by 2025 will have a 60% probability of failure. It’s 500 feet long, and supports important infrastructure, including a sewer main, a PSE gas line, a storm sewer main, and a water main.
The estimated cost is $2.8 million; the agreement provides for 65% federal funding, and 35% from Parks (approximately $1 million). After detailed design and permitting are completed, construction is anticipated for Autumn of 2018, with completion by Spring 2019.
I asked whether the design accounts for climate change and sea level rise; the Project Management Plan notes that the new seawall “will be two feet higher than the existing structure “to account for increased storm wave heights and future sea-level rise.”
Earlier this month, the Office of Sustainability & Environment released a Preparing for Climate Change report, which noted this seawall as being at risk from sea level rise.
The report notes that sea level rise increases the potential for overtopping of seawalls, and notes that “newer seawalls and other structures have been designed to accommodate projected sea level rise.”
Seattle Public Utilities has a map showing areas in Seattle most likely to be affected by sea-level rise.
Thanks to Councilmember Juarez, Chair of the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Waterfront Committee, for shepherding the legislation through committee.
If you look back at our 2014 story (linked in the first paragraph), you’ll note the cost has gone up – still split two-to-one between federal and local funding, but it’s now estimated at $2.8 million, up from $2.3 million.
Thanks to Pete Spalding for the photos and report:
Parents from Pathfinder school and members of the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council did a repainting project today.
About two years ago this mural was painted in the intersection of 21st Ave SW & SW Genesee. Over the last two years the mural has faded with normal traffic wear and a nearby construction project a couple of months after it was first completed. So today it was “refreshed.”
We were fortunate that with the change in the weather the project was able to be completed.
Here’s our report on the original mural painting, in July 2015.
5:44 PM: Thanks to the person who texted about this: A tree limb fell on a car on the north end of Lincoln Park’s north parking lot; that entrance is closed right now.
A Seattle Parks rep at the scene told us no one was injured and that the car was not seriously damaged. He said it happened about an hour ago and that a crew is en route.
We don’t know if this is one of the ~90 Lincoln Park trees identified for pruning/removal, as reported here earlier this summer; that work is expected to start soon.
8:20 PM: Just went by the parking lot. A Parks crew is wrapping up removal of the downed limb. The north entrance to the north lot is open again.
When we published Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge‘s August newsletter last weekend, it included news that she would soon have free cable locks for firearm safety. Now, she tells us, they’re here:
Cable locks are now available!!! Just wanted to provide a quick update on the free firearm cable locks I discussed in my latest monthly newsletter. Late last week I received a generous donation of quite a few, and will receive my shipment of hundreds more in the next few weeks.
If you are interested in a free firearm cable lock- please email me directly at Jennifer.Burbridge@seattle.gov, and/or come visit my table at Delridge Day/SW Precinct Annual Picnic this Saturday, August 12th, from 11 am- 3 pm at the Delridge Community Center (4501 Delridge Way SW)! I would like to limit each household to two cable locks, but if you would like more than two – please email me and we can discuss this on a case-by-case basis.
As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to request my presence at a future meeting!
Nannette wanted to make sure others know about this:
I was playing with my kids at Lafayette (Elementary) playground at 10:30 AM today Wednesday, August 9 and discovered a large feces pile on one of the slides. There was also another pile of feces at the bottom of the slide. This is a sanitary issue.. We cleaned off the slide as best as we could. We will contact the school district for help and further cleaning of the slide. we wanted to get the word out to be careful about the slides being clean for children or anyone.
In response to our followup question, Nannette added, “We buried the pile as best as we could in the wood chips using our shoes to slide the chips over. But kids play in wood chips too so that isn’t great. There was only so much I could do while keeping my 22-month-old safe and making sure my 5-year-old was all right too.”
We have an inquiry out to the district.
The newest monthly newsletter from Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge focuses on firearm safety, and includes an offer of a free cable lock. Read it all below (or in PDF, here):
The locks are expected to be available by mid-month – SPD has some on order, and Jennifer says a private donation will make more available. Again, contact her directly if you are interested – email@example.com – that’s also how to reach her if you:
*Have questions, concerns, and/or want to request her presence at a future meeting.
*Request a presentation on firearm safety and violence prevention
You also can meet her at the Delridge Day festival, one week from today, 11 am-3 pm at Delridge Community Center park (4501 Delridge Way SW). Delridge Day will again this year include the SW Precinct’s annual “Picnic at the Precinct.”
Just heard from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary that they have room in a boating-safety class in West Seattle next weekend. Here’s the announcement:
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering a day-long About Boating Safely class on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the West Seattle Veterans Center, 3618 SW Alaska.
Topics to be covered include: boating “rules of the road,” safety equipment, how to avoid accidents, what to do in an emergency, fueling safety and more.
This course, taught by experienced boaters, is a great beginniner/intermediate course. SUP and kayak paddlers and personal watercraft boaters welcome! Families and couples are encouraged to attend together. This class satisfies the requirements for the Washington State Boater Education Card.
Course fee of $35. Second person sharing a course book: $20. Please pre-register by contacting instructor Mike Brough: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Charlie Anthe for that photo that’s more about what you don’t see than what you do – Charlie explains that view from the West Seattle Golf Course usually includes the downtown skyline, which by early afternoon was completely obscured. Up here over Lincoln Park, we’re noticing that even nearby Vashon is all but impossible to see. It’s still the wildfire smoke, mostly from British Columbia, which is having one of its worst fire seasons ever. And it’s led to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency calling a Stage 1 outdoor burn ban that takes effect right now, because of air quality (or, the lack of it) – here’s what that means:
STAGE 1 BURN BAN
No burning in uncertified wood stoves or inserts, or fireplaces. No outdoor burning. EPA certified devices and pellet stoves are allowed.
Uncertified Wood Stoves
Uncertified Wood Inserts
And the National Weather Service alert (Excessive Heat Warning) remains in effect through 9 pm Friday, with tomorrow expected to be hotter than today.
P.S. The NWS tweeted this view from above:
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) August 2, 2017
ADDED WEDNESDAY NIGHT: James Bratsanos sent this photo of the sunset, even redder than Tuesday night:
It’s Night Out 2017 around West Seattle – and around the U.S.!
6:16 PM: Our first stop is in Seaview, where Ellis and friends “would like to tell the people of west Seattle that kids are holding a block party.” Ellis explained, “Me and my friends have been selling enough lemonade this summer raise $114,” and that’s how they funded it. Above, Ellis is at center, with Jaslynn and Zoe. Next stop, Jon‘s neighborhood southwest of The Junction (though Jon himself hadn’t arrived yet):
This one’s not a street-closing party, “just neighbors barbecuing and hanging out” – we are doing our best to get to the other parties that e-mailed to let us know it would be OK if we stopped by for a photo, and we also welcome a pic of your group – email@example.com is the best address right now since we’re on the move, or via phone, to our 206-293-6302 round-the-clock hotline. Meantime, we’re seeing LOTS of blocks closed for parties – so, lots of neighborhood-strengthening going on tonight – 275 registered in West Seattle and South Park, SW Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge told us!
6:45 PM: Our photos above and below are from our stop at Sara‘s block party, west of The Junction. So organized – they have a planning committee for the Night Out party, and she’s on it!
They have a bouncy house for the neighborhood’s youngest residents, too.
6:56 PM: We weren’t planning another stop so close by, but we saw SW Precinct Lt. Steve Strand arriving at 47th/Edmunds – police and fire personnel are visiting some of tonight’s parties as usual – and we had something to ask about:
While we were there, of course, we took a group photo.
(P.S. The unrelated incident we asked about was one that led to several texts earlier, a person taken into custody at 35th/Findlay – we got there just as police were leaving. Lt. Strand says the person was in crisis and was out in the street dodging cars. The person was taken to the hospital for evaluation.)
Meanwhile, Karen just sent this photo from her block party in High Point:
7:11 PM: Now we’re on Alki Point near Bar-S Playfields, where Sherie let us know that her neighborhood was having its first-ever Night Out block party:
7:27 PM: We were heading to North Delridge when a house fire broke out in Gatewood, so we have to interrupt our Night Out tour for now, but will continue adding your photos! Like this one from SW Orchard, on the other side of Gatewood:
The photo was taken while Night Out attendees listened to a talk on Cooper’s Hawks, by Ed Deal. Meantime – imagine Seattle’s most-famous marching band rocking your block party:
— James (@SeattleDad) August 2, 2017
(Update) Here’s video Nick shared from ACB at 45th/Dawson:
Apparently the All-City Band split into two groups tonight in lieu of rehearsing, and visited several block parties!
8:02 PM: The house-fire coverage is wrapped up and we’re back on the road, trying to get to a few more block parties. First, we’re in Highland Park, where Christie invited us to stop by:
Also from Highland Park – Marcia tweeted a photo:
— Marcia Ventura (@marciaventura) August 2, 2017
Looks like it’s going to be an incredible sunset, too, through the wildfire smoke…
8:39 PM: Our last stop, 37th and Graham – thanks to Aaron for the invite:
Neighbors brought a couch out into the street for their Night Out party – that’s what the kids lined up in front are sitting on. And just after we left Aaron’s neighborhood, Michael sent this photo from just about a block away – 38th and Raymond:
And when we pulled up to HQ in Upper Fauntleroy, our neighborhood block party was still going, so we grabbed a photo:
8:53 PM: The official time period for parties is ending (though we’ve noted in 10 years of as-it-happened coverage, you don’t find many going past 8:30). Here are more of the photos you shared – thanks! First, from Max in East Admiral:
Our neighbors in South Park have a mini-golf-themed party every year, “South Park Putts Out,” and shared this photo:
From 18th and Brandon, where SFD made a visit:
At Walnut/Stevens in Admiral:
Next photo was taken at 48th/Dawson by Don Brubeck, who explains: “West Seattle Bike Connections had a bike tour of street parties instead of a meeting indoors. Get to see kids playing in safe streets and neighbors getting together.”
One of more than a few places with live music – 4000 block of 40th SW:
From Cinda on 42nd SW in Gatewood, a few of her neighbors around a table, talking – the best part of Night Out, catching up with the people who live nearby:
And from Tamsen’s block party in Upper Morgan:
It’s 11:50 pm and that’s our last addition, for now. Don’t let neighborhood solidarity be a once-a-year thing … in addition to Block Watches (find out more about those here), get together for the sake of preparedness (everybody know where, and what, your nearest Emergency Communication Hub is?), community cleanups … the possibilities are endless.
Looks like the south play area at Lincoln Park will NOT be reopening any time soon. Two weeks ago, we reported on its closure, with Seattle Parks citing safety reasons, but saying at the time that it would have to decide between repairs and rebuilding – which is what the signs still up at the site say:
We asked Parks spokesperson Rachel Schulkin for an update, and she told WSB today: “Planning staff are meeting soon to create a timeline for a rebuild.”
While the play equipment remains fenced off, the swing set to its north remains open, as does the recently rebuilt play area in the north area of the park, by the wading pool. We’ll continue to follow up.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 25, 2017
10:44 AM: If you’re anywhere near Alki and noticing the Guardian One helicopter over a Seattle Fire fireboat – it’s not a rescue, it’s a drill. This is part of a demonstration SFD has been putting on for us and the citywide media this past half-hour, showcasing the new SFD “rescue swimmer” program. Lots of photos, video, and info to come!
11:24 AM: The demonstration is over and we’re back at headquarters. SFD explains that this new program is meant to bridge the gap between a regular response and deployment of the Dive Team (which is based in SODO), but is not replacing any existing components or units – this is an addition, as explained by SFD Deputy Chief Ron Mondragon:
SFD says 38 firefighters are now trained as “rescue swimmers,” and the department’s goal is to have at least nine on duty in each 24-hour period, stationed around the city – not just deployed via certain stations. They’ve been in training, including with the help of partners such as West Pierce Fire and Rescue (south of Tacoma), and officially launched these new duties as of last Wednesday. Whenever there’s a water-rescue response, dispatchers will ensure that two rescue swimmers are part of the response. They can deploy from almost anywhere/anything – boats, beaches, piers, rocky shorelines, etc.
Their gear, which also was explained at the demonstration, includes a yellow “marker buoy” they can deploy to help divers that follow them into the water, if applicable.
This is a pilot program, SFD says, that will be evaluated after a year.
Meantime, besides emergencies, their planned upcoming assignments include Seafair weekend on Lake Washington, when four teams of two swimmers will be on duty.
From Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s newest e-mail update, word that the City Council is considering “supplemental budget” funding for landslide mitigation including three problem sites in West Seattle. One (above) is at the site of last February’s Highland Park Way-closing slide: $60,000 “to install a rock buttress between West Marginal Way SW and SW Holden Street.” Herbold’s update says this will “minimize longterm erosion and sloughing.” This was also discussed during the Highland Park Find It Fix It Walk back in May, which followed Herbold “rais(ing) questions about the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT’s) practices for managing landslide risks and whether SDOT should be doing more proactive work to minimize the risk of slides rather than responding with repair work after slides occur.” She continues:
What I found is that 17 years ago, in 2000, SDOT performed a risk assessment for slope hazards for landslides on arterial streets in the City. This evaluation was based on a set scoring matrix, and SDOT uses that ranking to prioritize our proactive landslide mitigation program.
The assessment used eight design factors to determine the priority of 73 known potential landslide locations along arterial streets. The criteria were:
Hazard condition of slope
Street, pavement, and adjacent retaining facility condition
Street or sidewalk access impacts, including Metro, primary emergency routes, and ability to implement detours
Adjacent to community centers, schools, city utilities
Slope modification history that may decrease slope stability
Partnership opportunities with other planned projects to decrease costs
Adjacent to private facilities
Of the 73 locations, 24 were rated a high priority. Since 2000, SDOT has budgeted approximately $500K per year for landslide mitigation. With those funds we have been slowly moving through mitigation efforts for those locations. In 17 years, only seven of twenty-four high priority location have had proactive mitigation work done, because the majority of the allocated funds each year end up being needed for responding to slides after they have occurred in other lower priority locations.
The City Budget Office agreed with me that this a significant problem. I worked with SDOT and the City Budget Office to identify 2017 funds as well as a spending plan over the six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to complete the work. Longer-term funding will be addressed during the 2018 budget process beginning in September.
In the short term, the 2nd quarter supplemental budget proposed by the City Budget Office, and discussed by the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee this week, increases funding for addressing landslides by $1.37 million.
The aforementioned Highland Park site is one of three West Seattle sites; another is at Cambridge and California, $540,000 for a retaining wall at the site of a slide we covered back in January.
Herbold quotes SDOT:
This slide impacts access for thirteen homes along California Ave SW, north of SW Cambridge St. The slide also damaged two homes below. There is no alternative access point for the properties. SPU completed the initial stabilization and cleanup efforts, since there was also a water main break. We are currently monitoring the slide, and have limited the access to one lane only. If there is additional movement, we may need to eliminate vehicle access to the homes, and limit access to pedestrian only. The responsibility of the initial response and restoration is likely split between SPU and SDOT, since there was both a slide and water main break, and it is impossible to tell which caused which.
The current proposal for repair is to install a wall and pedestrian connection between Cambridge and California. There was an informal trail / path that existing prior to the slide.
And the third site is the 10200 block of 47th SW, where $350,000 would be spent to stabilize a slope hit by a slide. Herbold’s update quotes SDOT:
There continues to be soil movement undermining the roadway at this location. The current solution would be a 50′ long 8′ high permanent soldier pile wall consistent with the adjacent wall. If not completed we will likely need to close the roadway for safety and prevent access to approximately 20 residences. There is no alternative access point for the properties. The closure would affect 20 homes including those on Maplewood Place SW, with potential impact to the apartments block at 10203 47th Ave SW.
Outside West Seattle, the supplemental-budget item also proposes $400,000 for a slope along Rainier Avenue S. and $20,000 for a “rock buttress” along Perkins Lane W.
We’re counting down to this year’s Night Out with the help of Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge. She reminds us that we’re now exactly two weeks away from the national celebration of neighborhood safety and solidarity – Tuesday, August 1st:
As of today, the Southwest Precinct has 154 registered events!
Here is the Seattle Police Department website about National Night Out Against Crime. On this website, there’s online registration and downloadable materials – including an invitation in 11 languages and a Night Out event map!
Registration is open until 5 pm on Monday, July 31st!
Registering gets you the right to close off your non-arterial residential street. It also potentially puts you on the radar for some of the Night Out visits that local police and fire personnel will be making.
P.S. And if you’re having a party and wouldn’t mind us possibly stopping by to take a photo for WSB coverage, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the location and who to ask for – thanks!
New at the crosswalk on the south side of 35th and Fauntleroy: Orange safety flags, courtesy of Pecos Pit BBQ (WSB sponsor), which has “adopted” the crosswalk.
Pecos Pit executive Jeannie Hammock says they paid for the flag basket and flags because it’s the best they could do for now – they asked SDOT to restripe the faded crosswalk but it has to wait until the Fauntleroy Boulevard project (and even then, improvements there were late additions to the plan) next year.
She notes that the unofficial “adoption” of the nearby area also includes “the installation/maintenance of landscaping in the ‘triangle’ at the entrance of the WS Bridge in order to beautify the entrance.” (That’s the area just north of the restaurant, which opened a little over a year ago.)