Safety – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 21 Feb 2018 21:21:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chief Sealth IHS PTSA’s annual safety meeting tackles preparedness, policies, love, more Tue, 13 Feb 2018 06:56:34 +0000 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Every year, the Chief Sealth International High School PTSA devotes one of its monthly meetings to school safety – talking about procedures, answering questions.

This year, the meeting was held off-campus at Neighborhood House in High Point, where about two dozen people gathered last Wednesday night, including faculty, parents, district managers, and even elected officials with past and future Sealth students in their families.

Teacher Susie Clark organized the meeting and introduced Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer. Safety is about being “prepared to respond to the unthinkable crisis,” the principal said, and about being able to “react to unexpected events in ways that avoid panic and maintain an atmosphere of calmness.”

Ultimately, she added, everyone is accountable for safety – including Sealth’s 1,060 students, their parents/guardians, and community members. But for staff, it’s a continuous job, and she detailed their numbers:

Principal Fraser-Hammer showed the six courses of action in case of emergency – including “shelter in place” (stay put inside, limit/control ingress/egress) and “lockdown” (exterior and interior doors locked, limit visual contact, close windows, etc.). She said she’s aware it’s frightening for parents to hear the school’s in one of the above; lockdown means there is an “immediate and imminent threat to our students” – could be violence in the community, or even on the campus. SIP means the building is secured but they feel it’s safe inside so “business as usual” seems OK. “Teachers can continue to teach, lights can stay on,” etc.

How can parents help? “Don’t panic” and don’t come to the school, because you might “get in the way.”

At that point Fraser-Hammer was asked about the communication process. “We do have an alert system,” she said – you can sign up online for emergency alerts. News media also would have emergency information, as would the district’s Twitter feed (@seapubschools). Priority #1 is keeping students/staff safe; priority #2, “reunification” if necessary.

At that point, the police in attendance at the meeting had to leave to respond to the shooting of a 16-year-old boy in South Park; the discussion continued with staff and parents.

The principal was asked by a staff member how they handle staff getting information from students who trust them, as they try to help those students avoid doing “stupid things that can hurt them.” Fraser-Hammer acknowledged the importance of proactivity.

The person who asked talked about a security person from years ago working with youth in a position of mutual respect.

A longtime educator said that administrators make the most impact when they openly acknowledge problems rather than trying to “do PR” and “hush (problems) up.” He said four students had been removed from campus “as a result of recent incidents” and he hadn’t known about the emergency suspension of one of them, so when that student showed up, he wasn’t aware the student shouldn’t have. He voiced concern about whether the school has “a plan” to deal with potential future problems. And he expressed love for the students.

Fraser-Hammer said there were circumstances of which the educator might not be aware, and affirmed that “we all love those kids” – but that action had to be taken because the greater responsibility is to the many, not the few. In response to a later question, she said she could not go into specifics, but that the four students were “excluded,” not expelled. “An exclusion is an emergency (suspension)” when there’s a safety concern, she explained.

Another staff member requested more, clearer communication.

That also factored into the responses to the next questions, which involved before- and after-school athletics events and practices. One parent wondered about security for before- and after-school athletics, and what the policy would be if a student was dismissed from an athletic activity and sent home early without notification. Fraser-Hammer asked him to talk with her afterward. Another parent later asked about supervision policies if students are expected to be at school early. And yet another said that consistent communication from coaches is important.

What happens if students encounter a problem on the way to school or returning from lunch, as happened last October? – The policy is to call police as soon as a student tells them about something like that, Fraser-Hammer said: “We are very, very, very happy when students follow that practice.”

And parents reiterated that they want consistent contact if/when something is going on.

Jeff Clark, in his 13th year as principal of adjacent Denny International Middle School, was asked if he had anything to add. He said that Denny and Sealth have to be in “lockstep” regarding policies and happenings. He also said that Denny has MTSS – “multi-tiered systems of support” – to recognize different challenges that each student faces; some need more support than others. That also involves watching EWI – “early warning indicators” – which he said can show signs that might affect their success (attendance problems, for example) and lead them to create a plan. This is not always about kids who “may obviously need help,” he elaborated – some may be quietly facing challenges. A staffer who’s a member of Denny’s EWI team said they are “constantly reviewing … week by week,” including new information from teachers.

Seattle School Board president Leslie Harris, mom of a Sealth graduate, spoke at that point. She noted that staff have access to a tool that was funded and rolled out starting this year to help them with that kind of tracking. She also said the Wednesday afternoon teacher/staff collaborative time made possible by the regular early dismissals is important too. And she said principals are at district HQ monthly to get support and to talk about what’s working and what can be shared. “It makes no sense for 104 schools to be doing their own thing.” She said she has gone to sit in and listen to this work on occasion.

One of the staffers who had raised issues earlier said that they need help in dealing with real-world issues that spill into the classroom. Harris said that rather than overpaying consultants for one-off training, what they are doing now is “high-touch.” The staffer said they need to know, for example, “how to deal with gang(-related issues).” At that point, Denny principal Clark talked about restorative justice – “kids need to learn skills, work things out with each other … understanding impacts.” That could mean a talking circle after something happens. “That sounds really nice,” said the staffer, “but when you are dealing with certain things such as a gang issue … a huddle’s not going to work … kumbaya is not going to work.”

A parent who said she has a student at Sealth and another at Denny wanted to know what the biggest issues are. Fraser-Hammer said it’s social media – students might use it to insult each other, and/or brag. “Typical high-school stuff,” maybe. Rumors are usually worse than reality, another person noted.

Another parent despaired that the “community” might have the wrong impression about Sealth, dating back to trouble that’s long in the past, because of the occasional incidents, when in reality, there’s not really much going on.

“I don’t think anybody doesn’t feel safe,” the staffer acknowledged. “But there are things that can be prevented.”

“How can we keep our ears open, how can we get even more information,” said one staffer.

Another teacher spoke, saying the first thing she thinks about the school is great staff and great students. And yes, “some things happen within our communities that are concerning … and a lot has to do with relationships.” She noted how much pressure kids are under in any event: “Growing up is hard work.” The teachers “love your kids.”

That’s what the other staffer agreed. She just wants to be sure more can be done.

And yet another affirmed that it’s a very safe place – just a handful of students with “serious issues” out of more than 1,000. Those kids “are our kids,” he stressed. Including those who were excluded – there has to be a way for them to be “part of the solution. … I want to be able to see them contribute what they want to our community.”

Speaking next was the executive director of schools Sarah Pritchett, who spoke to the type of training that principals get. She also said they look at SPS policies that might be “barriers to our students, barriers to our community.” She said that she’s new to this area of the district, and is “encouraged by the conversation and dedication I have seen.” She also said she welcomes parental involvement to help troubleshoot, and said she wonders, “how do we authentically involve the community?” She also said the district used to be very top-down but is working to improve that.

Invited to speak for a moment was City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – who attends this meeting every year, and noted this time that she is a “Denny grandma” hoping soon to be a “Sealth grandma.” She said that she heard everyone striving for the same thing – more tactics for proactivity, “a tactic-based strategy.”

A couple PTSA notes from the start of the meeting.

PTSA NEEDS OFFICERS … for the next two years.

AUCTION RESULTS: More than $30,000 was raised at this year’s event, with proceeds split between three school organizations.

For Chief Sealth IHS PTSA updates, check

P.S. The school has two events on the calendar this Thursday – tours for incoming 8th graders and their families in the morning, the annual Multicultural Night in the evening, with all invited for performances and potluck.

Share This

]]> 4
FOLLOWUP: 2 Neighborhood Street Fund projects going out to bid Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:02:44 +0000 Almost a year and a half after they were chosen for funding, two Neighborhood Street Fund projects proposed by West Seattleites are going out to bid. A notice in today’s Daily Journal of Commerce announces that the city is seeking bids on a package of five NSF projects meant to improve walking and biking safety, two of which are in West Seattle – the Chief Sealth Walkway Improvements and the Harbor Ave. SW/SW Spokane St. Intersection Improvements Project. The notice says bids will be opened March 7th; we’ll be checking with SDOT on the anticipated construction schedule.

Share This

]]> 1
VIDEO: March for Peace spotlights hope and love for ‘the new South Park’ Sat, 10 Feb 2018 06:31:46 +0000

Tonight’s March for Peace in South Park was not a march to protest, complain, or oppose, organizers stressed as more than 100 people gathered outside the SP Library before it began. It was to envision what neighbors want South Park to be, to have.

The catalyzing event was what neighbors want South Park to NOT have … violence. Two nights ago, a 16-year-old boy was critically injured by a shooter who has yet to be caught. That was one week after a shooting that injured two men. The two incidents are unrelated, police told us, yet both left people in South Park determined not to go back to the way things were long ago. With that determination, hope, and love, “this is the new South Park,” organizers declared.

With bicycle officers riding alongside, and police at every cross-street, marchers walked on eastbound Cloverdale and southbound 14th.

They carried signs, some made outside the library minutes before the march began.

And when their silence was finally broken, as the march ended at the service station near the scene of Wednesday’s shooting at 14th/Trenton, first it was by music, some softly singing along to “Lean on Me”:

Then, there were words of support, urging the youth in the crowd to know everyone was there to support them – and there were many young participants there to hear the message:

Also there, dignitaries who took care not to hold the spotlight for long, if at all. Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best had a few words before the march began.

City Councilmember Lisa Herbold did not take the microphone

Nor did Councilmember Lorena González:

Both councilmembers have worked to advocate for increased safety resources for South Park; Herbold wrote about it again in her weekly online update hours before the march. But first – a young man remains in the hospital, and before the gathering ended, organizers requested prayers and thoughts for his recovery.

Share This

]]> 3
PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: See what the city has scheduled for West Seattle in next 5 years Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:14:57 +0000

Often, city projects that seem to appear out of the blue were actually in the works for years, contained in voluminous city Master Plans. So we thought you might be interested in a plan that was presented to a City Council committee this afternoon – the Implementation Plan for the recently updated Pedestrian Master Plan. It contains lists of specific evaluations and projects planned for specific intersections and streets around the city, so we broke out what’s on the lists for West Seattle, and when (for the full citywide lists, see the document, embedded above or here in PDF):


35th Ave SW & SW Graham St – New Signal
SW Roxbury St & 32nd Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
SW Roxbury St & 28th Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
SW Roxbury St & 23rd Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
SW Roxbury St & 21st Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
35th Ave SW & SW Snoqualmie St – Evaluate for Signal
29th Ave SW & SW Barton St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
62nd Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
Delridge Way SW & SW Webster St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

California Ave SW & SW Brandon St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
24th Ave SW & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
28th Ave SW & SW Thistle St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
23rd Ave SW & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
Delridge Way SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
26th Ave SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
8th Ave SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

Olson Pl SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Signal
18th Ave SW & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
21st Ave SW Turn Road & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
60th Ave SW & Alki Ave SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
9th Ave SW & SW Cloverdale St = Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
Garlough Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
16th Ave SW & SW Orchard St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
48th Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
9th Ave SW & SW Trenton St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

3rd Ave SW & Olson Pl SW – Evaluate for Signal
California Ave SW & SW Findlay St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
25th Ave SW & SW Barton St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
10th Ave SW & SW Henderson St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
51st Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade


35th Ave SW between SW 100th St and SW 106th St – 6 blocks


SW Orchard St between SW Myrtle St and Dumar Way SW – half-block

24th Ave SW between SW Thistle St and SW Barton St – 4 blocks


SW Edmunds St between Cottage Pl SW and 23rd Ave SW – stairs

SW Kenyon St between Delridge Way SW and 24th Ave SW – walkway

The implementation plan also mentions the new RapidRide corridors around the city – including the scheduled-for-2020 H Line on Delridge – as providing “potential crossing improvements and curb ramps,” and mentions Delridge, Fauntleroy, and 35th SW as “Vision Zero corridors.” No specifics on what’s next for 35th SW, which is running behind previously announced timelines for Phase 1 updates and Phase 2 plans. As for the Implementation Plan itself, SDOT says it will be updated each year. Committee members voted in favor of the resolution that formally adopts this plan, though that doesn’t mean everything in it will become reality – scheduling, funding, and other details would be separate.

ADDED TUESDAY NIGHT: Seattle Channel video from today’s meeting:

Share This

]]> 18
PROTECT YOURSELF: Southwest Precinct fraud-prevention advice as tax season gets going Tue, 06 Feb 2018 03:41:33 +0000 Scams and fraud aren’t always as obvious as you might think. Here’s more advice about how to protect yourself, sentby Southwest Precinct crime-prevention coordinator Jennifer Danner:

As we head into tax season, we often see an increase in tax fraud and various forms of scams.

In order to combat this, the SW Precinct would like to provide our community with some helpful prevention information about these scams, as well as the most effective way to report them! Subsets of the population are more vulnerable to these types of scams- but everyone can help protect themselves by keeping the following ten practical suggestions in mind, provided by the Federal Trade Commission:

Spot imposters – scammers will often try to disguise themselves as someone you trust (such as a government official, family member or charitable organization). Never send money or give our personal information in response to an unexpected request.

Do online searches – try typing in the company or product name into a search engine with key words like ‘review’, ‘complaint’ or ‘scam’. You can also look up phone numbers to check on their validity.

Do not believe caller ID and hang up on robocalls- technology makes it simple for scammers to fake a caller ID. If you receive a call asking for personal information or money, hang up. If you feel the caller is legitimate- try calling back a number, you know is genuine for that person or company. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report this to the Federal Trade Commission and/or to local police. These calls are illegal and are often fake. Do not follow prompts, just hang up.

Do not pay upfront for a promise- scammers may try to ask you to pay up front for debt relief, loan offers, mortgage assistance or a job (such as handy work or lawn maintenance).

Consider how you pay- most credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, while other payment methods (such as wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram) do not have these protections. Government offices and honest companies will not require you to use a risky payment method, keep this in mind when paying.

Talk to someone- scammers will often want you to make decisions in a hurry and may even threaten you.

Before you give money or personal information, slow down, check out the story, do an online search and maybe even talk to an expert or friend about the request.

Be skeptical about free trials online- some companies will use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you each month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, review the company’s cancelation policy and always check your monthly statements to review charges.

Don’t deposit a check and wire money back- banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but discovering a fraudulent check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be fake, you are responsible for repaying the bank.

Sign up for free scam alerts from the Federal Trade Commission at – get the latest tips and advice about scams directly to your email.

For the past two tax seasons, scammers have been running a successful W-2 email phishing scam operation that has tricked major companies. Here’s how this scam works: criminals pose as top company executives and send emails to payroll professionals asking for copies of W-2 forms for all employees. This exposes employees’ names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and withholding information. The scammers then file bogus tax returns or sell the information to other criminals.

Here’s how you can protect yourself during tax time:

Use a password-protected Wi-Fi connection when filing your taxes. Use a long and complex password, not just for your Wi-Fi but also for any accounts you’re using during the tax-filing process

Get your return via direct deposit. If you must receive a return check via mail, have it sent to a locked mailbox

Ask your tax preparer to use two-factor authentication to protect your documents and personal information

Use an encrypted USB drive to save sensitive tax documents

Never give information to anyone who contacts you by phone or online claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS will never contact you this way

Monitor your accounts and online identity for any signs that your identity has been stolen. For example, if you see a sudden, unexpected change in your credit scores, it could indicate your identity has been stolen

If you think you may be a victim of a scam, visit IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting

Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive a notice from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or learn from your tax professional that your identity has been compromised. If you receive a notice from the IRS and you suspect your identity has been used fraudulently, respond immediately by calling the number on the notice. If you did not receive a notice but believe you’ve been the victim of identity theft, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 right away so that they can take steps to secure your tax account and match your SSN or ITIN.

Questions? Need crime-prevention advice/help? Jennifer is at jennifer.danner@seattle.gov206-256-6820. And check out upcoming crime/safety meetings at the precinct (2300 SW Webster):

-West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, 7 pm Tuesday, February 20th
-West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network, 6:30 pm Tuesday, February 27th

Share This

]]> 1
TRAFFIC ALERT: SDOT crew to work on 6 West Seattle traffic signals tomorrow Mon, 05 Feb 2018 23:15:38 +0000 Just in from SDOT:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that work is being done at six intersections in West Seattle to install new traffic control components so that they are compatible with the latest traffic control operating system. The new equipment will allow improved system operations and updated pedestrian crossing times. This work is a part of collaboration with community feedback over pedestrian crossing times along SW Admiral Way and California Way SW. Work is scheduled for Tuesday, February 6.

What to expect:

Revised signal operation timings and updated pedestrian crossing cycle length during a.m. peak, p.m. peak, and off-peak hours. The locations are as follows:

41st Ave SW and SW Admiral Way
42nd Ave SW and SW Admiral Way
California Ave SW and SW Admiral Way
California Ave SW and SW Lander St
California Ave SW and SW Stevens St
California Ave SW and SW Hanford St

Share This

]]> 4
Multiple faces of the opioid crisis @ West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network Thu, 25 Jan 2018 05:34:52 +0000 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

For the first time in three months, the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network reconvened at the Southwest Precinct last night – and most of the meeting could be summarized as the multiple faces of the opioid crisis:

First, a crime update from local police, who say much of the area’s property crime is tied to drugs, and people trying to get money for them; second, an emotion-stirring presentation from people who have been caught up in the crisis, mostly through family members, some of whom have lost their lives to it.

The two-dozen-plus attendees, in around-the-room introductions, listed neighborhoods all around this area, from Beach Drive to Top Hat.

POLICE BRIEFING: First up, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis talked about property crime, still our area’s most pervasive crime problem.

Last year’s crime rate started off “rather high in our percentages” but the year ended up down eight percent from the year before, he said, with this precinct reporting the “lowest stats for the entire city” in property crime. And he recapped how crime spikes bring proactive analysis and strategies such as looking at “who’s in and who’s out of jail” among the repeat-offender ranks. He also said they “deal with the areas (repeat offenders) like to frequent” such as vacant houses; they use the trespass program to work with the owners of those houses and cut through red tape that can be a hindrance in clearing apparent squatters. Yes, unsheltered people are involved in some crime, but “it’s not against the law to be homeless,” he reminded attendees. “If they are committing crimes, we will deal with that.”

Without identifying the defendant, he mentioned someone who had been “the scourge of the neighborhood” and once police could link him to multiple crimes, they “presented the case to the prosecutor,” and “he is now behind bars.” Neighbors’ tips made a big difference. (We are working on a story about what we believe is the case to which he was referring.) Capt. Davis also noted the arrest of two suspects earlier in the evening, found to have theft tools on them. He stressed the importance of getting repeat offenders off the street – because they can be responsible for dozens of crimes; he mentioned the arrest of a suspect who admitted to “15 to 20 auto thefts in a night.” SPD crime-analysis experts are also communicating with their counterparts in other jurisdictions, he said.

In Q&A, an attendee asked about police’s traffic rerouting decisions, mentioning trouble in the 30th/Brandon vicinity during the snowy Christmastime weather, and family members getting detoured to 29th on the recommendation of police, though that was even worse. Capt. Davis said the snow-and-ice-route plan comes from SDOT each year, but he said he would look into where the breakdown happened. Operations Lt. Ron Smith also suggested calling the precinct if there’s a dangerous road that’s not blocked off.

Then, the guests:

NOT ONE MORE: President Ed Peterson from the Seattle chapter of Not One More opened by saying “we are all normal people, just like you … affected by the heroin epidemic.” He’s from Tacoma; he brought families from West Seattle and Brier. “Our goal is to try to make a difference.” Peterson said that while the crime related to the epidemic is bad – “if we can get them some treatment,” there’s hope. His group speaks of hope, and recovery, and wants to “educate our communities.” Among those with him, Kim Chilcott, who lost her son Thad at 22, and members of her family.

An educational video showed the ways that teens can be susceptible to addiction – and becomes a vicious cycle. It can’t just ruin lives – it can end them. Part of it can be the stress that youth deal with – helping them cope, listening to them, is vital. “Don’t assume they can self-correct.” And for the teens – they need to understand that “getting help is a strength,” not a weakness.

Another video told a family’s story, opening with a mother recalling the agony of chooing what to inscribe on her son’s headstone. She also talked of wishing that there had been a place for her son to use safely, to be told he was worthwhile, to get social services.

Peterson said that while this is a better place to get help than many areas of the country, 1,100 people in our state are dying each year – about 360 in King County. “It happens all the time, and we just want to get the word out, so that people (get help) younger.” He wanted to be sure the crowd, largely middle-aged-and-older adults, understood that this is a different world from the one in which they grew up. Reaching people younger will help them make better choices.

What can you look for to get a hint if anyone in your family is involved? Peterson had a slide about what to watch for, and what you can do – a user might have a kit including a “burner, holder, cotton, band, syringe.” (Later, aluminum foil was mentioned too, and soda cans, all used for cooking drugs.) He brought a sharps container and said that while he used to think he didn’t want to see that in a public restroom – it’s better than to just have the needles tossed in a trash can into which some unsuspecting child might stick a hand. He said gently that they hope people will get over their discomfort with such things as sharps containers and needle exchanges, in the interest of saving lives.

“If you ever see someone who has overdosed – do not be afraid to wake them up, to nudge them.” He also talked about Narcan, the overdose antidote that some emergency personnel – including police – carry. It works fast, though some users might have so much opiate in their system, two doses might be required. And yes, it’s available to the public to carry. “We want to be sure that (users) are alive” for that opportunity when they might get, and accept, help. Peterson talked about his son who is in active recovery with the help of two programs, including a drug that keeps him off opioids.

What they want you to push for: “Get social and behavioral skills type programs in primary and middle schools … When they get to high school, it’s too late.” Other points: Always have hope. Remove barriers (treatment needs to be readily available). Recovery is a battle that addicts fight each and every day. No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Help needs to be readily available.

Kim spoke of losing her son to a heroin overdose four years ago. (The photo at right is from the obituary published here on WSB.) Along with her family, “you as a community lost him.” He had only been using for six to seven months, she said, and he had gotten help – then relapsed, and died. She sought out Not One More and started the local chapter. She handed it to new leadership after a few years.

Then she introduced her daughter, who spoke about her brother Thad – for the first time, in public, she said.

She said she had read about losing a sibling – “you’re losing your past, your present, and your future.” She told attendees who her brother was – she talked about how “super pumped” she was at almost 5 years old, to become a big sister. They had younger siblings eventually, and Thad loved being a big brother. They lost a 14-year-old cousin to an overdose when Thad was 12 – and she saw that he was at risk. She asked Thad to promise not to touch “the hard stuff,” ever. He promised, she said. He was sensitive and emotional; everything was “more raw” for him. “He carried a deep sort of pain with him throughout his life, but had so much love in his heart.” School was a particular trouble spot. But he had a girlfriend from middle school into high school and beyond – they broke up when he was 20, “and that’s when things got tough.”

She also talked about the difficulty of having an addict in the family and not knowing where to get information – what to do, where to go. Then one day, he showed up at home, in trouble, and they did everything they could to get him help. “You can do everything they tell you to do … and you can still end up on the losing end of things, with your loved one. … My brother was not a junkie, he was not a criminal … he was a beautiful boy.” There are still days after 4 1/2 years when the idea that her brother is gone “makes no sense.”

She declares, “We can do better” – and that includes changing our views, the way we speak, about those struggling with addiction. And she asked everyone to think about those in their lives who may be in pain and not getting enough attention, encouragement, love.

One more speaker: A 31-year-old survivor of addiction. He said “there’s such a negative stigma” with drug addiction, that someone like him – a straight-A student – “I truly believe that any addict, even the ones committing crimes, start out as genuinely good people, good souls, and things happen, we make choices along the way … our paths take us down a dark road. I’m not a bad person, I’ve done bad things, I’ve stolen from my family … I have amends to make.” He started off hooked on Oxycodone and moved to heroin. He has been clean for 2 years and 9 months. “What I want people to understand is that we are sick people and we need help.”

How did you get involved in it? asked an attendee. He said the word disease breaks down to dis- and -ease, and he never felt comfortable in his own skin.

Peterson mentioned they’ll be advocating at the state Legislature this week. He challenged attendees to demand that schools deal with suicide, drug addiction, to try to turn the tide.

Deal with the root of the issue, not just the symptom (crime), Thad’s dad Howard Chilcott urged. “To solve the real problem, we have to address that.”

Education about drugs isn’t all that’s needed. “It’s about coping,” they stressed. That included in rehab, Peterson mentioned while answering a question about rehab programs.


Recovery Help Line, 866-789-1511 – will reach a live person, 24/7

Also at the meeting, which is always open to everyone, whether you’re part of a Block Watch or not:

ANNOUNCEMENTS: WSBWCN co-founders Karen Berge and Deb Greer also are involved with West Seattle Be Prepared, and in light of the big Alaska earthquake earlier in the day, reminded everyone of resources including the WS Emergency Communication Hubs and Alert SeattleLaura Jenkins from the Department of Neighborhoods brought flyers for Neighbor Day (February 10th) and Your Voice/Your Choice grant ideas (due in early February).

The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meets most fourth Tuesdays, 6:30 pm, Southwest Precinct – watch this website for updates.

Share This

]]> 3
Cottage Grove neighbors gather to brainstorm safety solutions Tue, 23 Jan 2018 19:35:54 +0000 A group of neighbors gathered last night to talk about what they could do to find solutions to recurring problems.

The area at issue is between 24th and 26th SW, and SW Hudson to SW Graham – part of the Cottage Grove area. Organizer Patrick Baer circulated an invitation saying:

The 5400 block of Delridge Way and surrounding community is having ongoing public safe issues including rampant drug activity, drinking in public, panhandling, and littering (needles). Despite the City of Seattle being fully aware of these issues, they are void of solutions or willingness to address them.

He made it clear at the start of the meeting at Delridge Library – which is in that area – that it wasn’t time to be spent listing complaints, but to brainstorm and plan action.

A city representative was there – Yun Pitre, this area’s community-engagement coordinator from the Department of Neighborhoods. She offered information on who to contact about several issues – including cleaning up the alley behind the library.
She also suggested researching whether the area could become an “alcohol-impact zone,” after some attendees mentioned problems with public inebriation that seemed to be linked to the convenience stores in the area.

Some of the public drinking was linked by attendees to residents at DESC’s Cottage Grove Commons supportive-housing complex, which has been open at 5444 Delridge Way SW since December 2013. They said a few people from the building seem to be frequent neighborhood troublemakers. Two DESC staffers were there – the building’s manager was unable to be present – and urged the neighbors to tell them about problems and to be specific about what and who they are seeing. Baer mentioned the “Good Neighbor” agreements that DESC had said its residents must sign, and asked about the status of those. The DESC representatives reiterated that it’s a matter of what gets reported – if no one calls about a problem, they won’t know.

Also discussed in terms of reporting problems: The city’s Find It, Fix It app, 206-684-CITY hotline, and e-mail use to get out the word when something’s happening. Neighbors being more visible and active in the neighborhood – something as simple as walking around more often – could make a difference, too.

Share This

]]> 14
WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Stolen silver Subaru Outback; street-robbery followup; WSBWCN tomorrow Mon, 22 Jan 2018 23:21:30 +0000 Two West Seattle Crime Watch items this afternoon, plus a reminder:

STOLEN CAR: From Jake:

Our silver 2013 Subaru Outback was stolen out of our driveway last night at the corner of Barton and Director st in the Fauntleroy neighborhood. Plate #BBY1565. It is our only vehicle and contained our car seats and garage door opener.

If you see it, call 911. Police report # is 2018-026262.

STREET ROBBERY FOLLOWUP: On Saturday night, we reported on a street robbery in Morgan Junction, at the northbound C Line stop on California north of Fauntleroy. At the time, we heard only that the victim’s phone had been taken; a friend who provided additional information said the victim’s wallet was taken too. We obtained the police-report narrative today, and it confirms that. The report says the two robbers demanded his phone and wallet – “no physical contact, no weapons seen” – and ran into the nearby parking lot (alongside Cal-Mor Circle). They were not found. The descriptions are close to the ones we published that night – “a white male, approximately 20-30 years old, 5’8″, wearing a gray hoodie with the hood up and covering his face, and red or plaid pajama type pants. The second suspect was described as a black male, 20-40 years old, approximately 6 ft tall, wearing an unknown colored golf style hat, (dark)-colored jacket, and blue jeans.” If you have any information, the police report # is 2018-024745.

REMINDER: Your next chance to hear, and ask, about crime trends in West Seattle is tomorrow night – 6:30 pm, WS Blockwatch Captains’ Network, at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster). You don’t have to be a captain – or even part of a block watch – to attend. This month’s meeting – as previewed here – also includes a panel discussion of the opioid epidemic, from people whose lives have been directly touched by it.

Share This

]]> 1
SEEP STOPPED: Action finally taken at chronic water-on-road spot at California/Orchard Sat, 20 Jan 2018 05:53:26 +0000

That long-running sight at California and Orchard in Gatewood – water (or ice, on the December day we photographed it) on the road, coming from the southeast corner – may finally be a thing of the past. It’s been a problem for some time – you can even see it in Google Street View from last fall. Some neighbors contended that it had to be a pipe break of some time, but Seattle Public Utilities investigated and was adamant that its tests showed it was groundwater. That assessment even wound up marked on the sidewalk at the corner:

SPU says it’s a “seep” like so many others around the city, from a water source in the ground – springs, for example. You’ve probably seen them in other spots around West Seattle; one that comes to mind is along California Way between Harbor SW and Hamilton Viewpoint. SPU told us they’ve identified more than 150 “surfacing groundwater” spots around the city, and shared this map:

SDOT and SPU have been collaborating to investigate trouble spots like these, though even once they’ve been identified, finding a way to fix it – and/or the money to do so – can be a challenge.

In the California/Orchard case, neighbors had been working with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, insisting something had to be done about the chronic water on the road, which also was leading to moss/algae growth on the sidewalk. Initially, the city said all it could do was be sure that SDOT salted/sanded the spot when it froze over. But then came a breakthrough, Herbold reported this week: “Drainage and Wastewater operations staff discovered an abandoned stormwater pipe. This allowed SPU to correct the problem of the water collection because they could use the abandoned stormwater pipe as a connection to newly route the water away from the street surface.” She added that, “The observations of residents in this area monitoring the occurrence of this accumulation of water was critical to the identification of a solution.”

Share This

]]> 11
FOLLOWUP: What SDOT says about the recurring Admiral/California signal trouble Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:33:56 +0000

After the Admiral/California stoplight went into flashing-red mode again over the 3-day weekend – far from the first time – we promised to follow up today to see what SDOT is going to do about it. Here’s what SDOT spokesperson Karen Westing found out from the department’s Transportation Operations staff:

This signal you’re referring to is one of our older ones (circa 1980s), which explains why it’s been acting up recently. Our Transportation Operations team has been troubleshooting the problem and did a fix this weekend that they think will solve the issue. If it doesn’t hold, then we’ll replace the signal in the next few months.

If you do see a problem at this or any other signal, please report it as soon as you can. During regular business hours, SDOT has a hotline at 206-684-ROAD; the rest of the time, the 24-hour dispatch number for urgent problems is 206-386-1218.

Share This

]]> 4
FOLLOWUP: Nucor working ‘to mitigate the problem’ that’s caused recent booms Fri, 12 Jan 2018 00:06:10 +0000 Management at the Nucor steel mill in northeast West Seattle says they’re “working … to mitigate the problem” that’s caused startling booms in recent days. The one reported here on Saturday evening, after hearing from readers, was such a jolt, some said, they didn’t think it was from the plant because they’d never felt anything like it. We talked this afternoon with Nucor’s environmental manager Patrick Jablonski. He explained that this can happen “when we add wet scrap metal into our furnace … I think we are particularly vulnerable to it because of our climate; it happens more often in the wintertime.” He said Nucor is “certainly not happy” about this, and is trying to find out why it’s happened repeatedly in recent days, so they can work “to mitigate the problem.” Jablonski also told WSB, “We’ve worked over the years to minimize it … As far as I know, we are the only mill that built a large canopy to keep the rain off the scrap in our scrapyard … We’ve developed additional procedures over the years.” But that doesn’t get all the rain – or snow, if the scrap was brought over the mountain passes – off the steel, and when the wet scrap metal goes into the furnace (which is on the north side of the main building), the evaporation happens quickly and loudly. No one was hurt, he added. Some commenters asked about contacting the plant in case of an incident; you can call the general number, 206-933-2222, around the clock – if it’s after-hours, security can get in touch with someone to check into it, Jablonski said.

Share This

]]> 8
NEW YEAR, NEW SKILL: ‘Suddenly in Command’ boating class Sun, 31 Dec 2017 02:00:39 +0000 If your New Year’s resolutions include learning new skills – we’re spotlighting interesting classes coming up in early 2018. Including this one, announced by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary:

Suddenly In Command
Sunday, January 7, 2018, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

A class for the inexperienced boater to prepare you for an emergency situation on board and what to do if something were to happen to the “skipper.” Free and open to the public! Taught by volunteers from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Venue: West Seattle Library meeting room. 2306 42nd Ave SW. To sign up and for more information, go to our registration page or email

Share This

FOLLOWUP: One flipped car removed from Genesee double-crash scene Fri, 29 Dec 2017 21:16:17 +0000 (WSB photo from Wednesday)

If you were traveling along the SW Genesee hill between Avalon and Delridge earlier this week, you might have noticed that startling sight – two flipped cars alongside a residential building on the north side of the street. Several who missed our original coverage have asked what happened. We published this story late Christmas Eve about the first crash there, after several hours of snow; about two hours later, the second crash happened, as reported by commenters – including the second car’s driver. No injuries, so no SFD callout for the second crash; the owner of that car told us today that their insurance company arranged for its removal last night. As of less than an hour ago, though, the first car is still there.

Share This

]]> 16
SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS: SDOT crew installs flashing-beacon signs on 16th SW Sun, 24 Dec 2017 00:00:10 +0000 (WSB photo)

Thanks to Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Michele Witzki for the tip: SDOT crews have been out today finishing the installation of pedestrian-activated flashing-beacon signs for crosswalks on 16th SW – the one in our photo, at 16th/Trenton, as well as 16th/Thistle, 16th/Kenyon, and 16th/Webster. Along with the recently installed speed humps on Trenton, these are related to the Highland Park Greenway project, as detailed on this SDOT mailer, which includes a map of the project zone.

P.S. The beacons aren’t active yet – we learned while reporting on an unrelated project elsewhere in West Seattle recently that it takes a separate crew, with electrical specialists, to do that part of the work.

Share This

]]> 7