(Click image for larger view)
What’s expected to be among the biggest stories in 2014 is the opening of the new South Park Bridge, almost four years after King County shut down the old one out of safety concerns. West Seattle photographer/pilot Long B. Nguyen has just sent three new views of the bridge project, looking toward the east/southeast. The bridge’s control towers, which are wrapped in these views, are the focus of the county’s December update.
(Click image for larger view)
If you’re viewing this from the WSB home page, click ahead for another, even-more-all-encompassing view (and some backstory):
So much happening in West Seattle today/tonight (as listed here earlier), there are few reasons to leave – but this just might be one of them: The increasingly legendary Art Under $100 sale, on at South Park Community Center until 9 tonight. Above, the neon art is by Koko Jamison. You’ll find West Seattleites there too, not just artists but volunteers – we found Bob Anderton emceeing, Tonya Hennen selling raffle tickets:
Tonya’s husband Bill Reiswig is on the artist roster. Meantime, our eye was caught by Liam, Keely, and the picture of Mojo Jojo:
SPCC isn’t far from West Seattle – head down Roxbury and over 509 to Cloverdale and turn left (north) on 8th; it’s at 8319 8th Avenue S.
We don’t know for sure whether this is the same American White Pelican spotted hanging around Lincoln Park/Lowman Beach two weeks ago (as seen here), but it’s the first report we’ve received since this stormy weekend, so we’re sharing it. Jon Anderson spotted it during one of today’s sunbreaks, in a pond near the South Transfer Station. Their usual range in our state is around the Columbia River.
(WSB photo: Crews mobilizing in South Park)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:39 PM: Just in from Puget Sound Energy:
A natural gas regulator is having some problems in the Highland Park area in West Seattle. More than 1000 customers are currently without natural gas service. There is no safety issue. Work is under way to fix the problem. Once the gas-system pressure is operating normally, PSE personnel will go door-to-door to inspect the meters and gain entry to re-light furnaces, water heaters and other gas equipment. Most of the customers affected are residential. This situation is not due to a natural gas leak. There is no escaping natural gas.
We’re hearing about some customers out in South Park, too, and are asking PSE about that.
3:06 PM UPDATE: PSE’s Ray Lane tells us the bulk of the outage IS in South Park, though some are affected in Highland Park too. Here’s his latest update:
Approximately 1,120 PSE customers in the South Park area are without natural gas service due to a suspected problem with the gas system pressure equipment.
This means there is not adequate gas pressure in the system to operate equipment, such as furnaces, water heaters and other appliances. The situation is not due to a natural gas leak.
PSE is on site to correct the problem. We have 28 technicians in the field and will be working to shut down gas service to impacted customers. This allows us to reintroduce gas into the system safely. We anticipate having all customers shut off by 8:00 p.m. Once we have tested and stabilized the system, PSE personnel will need to enter homes and businesses to relight equipment. This may not occur until late in the evening. Customers wanting gas restored overnight should leave a front exterior light on. Service crews will be available all night and through tomorrow morning until all customers are restored.
As in any situation, call PSE or 911 immediately if you smell leaking natural gas. For updates, follow us on Twitter.com/PSEtalk or call 888-225-5773. PSE representatives will also be able to answer customer questions at the South Park Playfield at 8th Ave S and South Sullivan Street.
Thanks to Scott Miller for the photo of the South Park Bridge‘s second drawspan leaf being lifted into place this afternoon. It’s been three weeks since the first one quietly arrived; this time, King County gave the community plenty of advance notice just in case anybody wanted to watch – and what a perfect sunny afternoon it was. The county says the bridge project remains on track to open next spring, which will be just under four years after its predecessor was closed for safety concerns. The new leaf will be maneuvered and bolted into place over the course of this weekend, as explained here, if you’re interested in a firsthand look (here’s a map).
Thanks to Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark for sharing the photo from South Park’s big event today. He reports: “The Denny International Middle School scholars did an outstanding job today marching in the Fiestas Patrias parade! I am so proud of our scholars, staff, and families for representing our school in such a dynamic way in this important community event. Go, Dolphins!”
The parade and accompanying community fiestas that followed comprise a combined celebration of independence for multiple Latin American countries; the South Park fiesta is on until 6 pm, the one at Seattle Center until 11 pm and again tomorrow – details here.
(ADDED SATURDAY: The burned boat, the “Silly Goose” from Craig, AK, out of the water)
If you’re in Highland Park and other points east, you might have noticed the Seattle Fire response headed eastbound for this – a boat caught fire at a marina in South Park this past hour; we’re there covering it for our partner site The South Park News – updates here.
Another milestone for the new South Park Bridge – the south leaf of its drawspan was put into place this week, somewhat unnoticed until local community activist Bill Pease mentioned it on SP’s lively e-mail list. We went down at midday today to take a look on behalf of WSB and partner site The South Park News (more photos in our report there). In our photo above, you can still see part of the old bridge in the background; meantime, for context, here’s the rendering of what the finished bridge is supposed to look like:
Three years and three months have passed since King County closed the old bridge because of safety concerns; you might recall the farewell “wake” the night it was shut down for good. King County’s current estimate for bridge completion: Spring of next year.
(UPDATED Saturday evening: Scroll down for newest info)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It’s distribution day at the Providence Regina House food bank in South Park. Hundreds of families – about 2,000 people in all – will be fed with the food picked up today by food-bank clients waiting in a long line that, by opening time, was already wrapping around the corner that holds the South Park Neighborhood Center, where the food bank is a tenant.
But those families – many with young children, since today is also “Baby Day” at the food bank – won’t be getting meat. Somebody broke into the food bank’s walk-in freezer overnight and stole an estimated $4,000 of donated meat.
Paige Collins from Providence Regina House tells us that, adding insult to injury, the thief or thieves busted the locking/latching mechanism in a way that renders the freezer unusable until fixed. So even if someone donated replacement meat, they have no place to put it.
They’ve been hit by theft before, and there have been signs of attempts to get into the freezer, but never before has anyone actually succeeded, she says. The meat is donated over the course of each week by the QFC on Capitol Hill – it’s meat that is perfectly good but can’t be sold past its pull date.
The thieves were picky, Collins adds, taking “the good stuff” – which ranges all the way up to roasts – and leaving behind the lowest-grade items, like ground turkey. They also created a mess to get to it – a mess cleaned up by the time we visited, but one that took precious time from food bank staff/volunteers getting ready for their busy distribution hours.
We found out about the theft because Collins had sent a note to the South Park e-mail list, wondering if any neighbors had seen suspicious activity behind the SPNC building. West Seattleites should be on the lookout too. When we visited, another employee was walking surrounding blocks looking for evidence; the stolen meat would have been in banana boxes or in black bins like these:
Those are apparently unique to this food bank. The theft was reported to police early this morning, so if you have any information, call 911.
It’s too soon for Collins to know what they’ll do next; “I can replace the lock, but what if they just come do it again?” she wondered aloud. And they do have enough food to feed everyone today – it’ll just be less than they would have given out otherwise, and South Park is one of the most poverty-challenged areas in the city.
P.S. Collins’ contact information – and donation information for the Providence Regina House food bank, which runs a clothing bank too – is here.
EVENING UPDATE: Collins tells us they believe they know who did it, after getting word a suspect was out trying to hustle some of the stolen food on the street. They also have learned that some of it was seen at a local laundromat earlier today, and are hoping video surveillance might help identify a suspect.
‘Drug-trafficking conspiracy’ behind raids this morning in South Park, Highland Park, authorities saySeptember 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm | In Crime, South Park, West Seattle news | 23 Comments
(Photos by Scott, taken from inside a bus, showing law enforcers outside Juan Colorado’s [at right] in South Park)
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and Seattle Police have just gone public with more information on raids/arrests this morning. We received scattered tips of FBI/SPD sightings in Highland Park and South Park this morning, and the agencies said they would release information as soon as the raids were over – now, they’ve sent this:
In coordinated arrests this morning, the FBI, ATF, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Seattle Police Department took eight people into custody for a wide ranging drug trafficking conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. Members of the conspiracy maintained drug stash houses throughout the Pacific Northwest. Search warrants were served today in Vancouver, Covington, Puyallup, SeaTac, Tukwila, Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. Some of the drug traffickers conducted their deals at a Mexican restaurant in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle: the Juan Colorado.
The restaurant was closed today while law enforcement searched the premises. The defendants will make their initial appearances at 2:00 PM today in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
The coolest guy in a Mexican-wrestling mask at Duwamish Waterway Park last night wasn’t a wrestler – it was South Park community advocate Bill Pease, who thanked the community for rallying to make sure the Lucha Libre Mexican-style-masked-wrestling showcase could come back for a third year – so last night, it was an afterparty following up the afternoon-long Duwamish River Festival at the park.
(WSB/The South Park News photo from 2012 Lucha Libre)
August 17th will be another one of those HUGE days. Here in West Seattle, the Delridge Day festival (presented by the North Delridge Neighborhood Council with co-sponsors including WSB) is happening 11 am-4 pm at Delridge Community Center/Park, with this year’s Picnic at the Precinct co-locating there the same day. Meantime, our neighbors in South Park host the Duwamish River Festival noon-4 pm that day, with THIS big just-confirmed fun – a third year of Lucha Libre, Mexican-style masked wrestling following at 6 pm – read on for the official announcement:
Click to read the rest of Big day of fun August 17th – including Lucha Libre in South Park…
One more option for tonight besides all the cool things we already previewed in our “West Seattle Saturday” roundup – the World Dance Party, held periodically around the area, is in nearby South Park, and WSB, along with our partner site The South Park News, is co-sponsoring. Here are the details:
The party of parties, the World Dance Party (WDP), is happening tonight! The WDP is a FREE multigenerational and multicultural potluck and dance party. I truly hope you can join us. Here is some more information:
World Dance Party is a fun, FREE event designed to get neighbors to interact and to celebrate each other’s culture and diversity. Everyone from all backgrounds and ages is welcome. It’s a potluck! Several multicultural dances are taught by volunteer instructors in 20-minute mini-lessons, then everyone dances. That’s it. There’s no other agenda. No fundraising. No lectures. Just food and dancing and community.
WHERE: South Park Community Center: 8319 8th Ave. South, Seattle,
WHEN: Saturday, March 23rd, 2013; 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm
WHO: Dance Instructor lineup at the World Dance Party 8 includes:
• West African Dance
• Hula Dancing
• Senior Sliders Line Dancing
• Harlem Shake
• Laotian Dancing
• Jarabe Tapatio/La Raspa
• Salsa Dancing
• And more
That’s one of two maps accompanying the last item on tomorrow morning’s Seattle City Council briefing agenda (9 am, City Hall downtown) – an update on possible annexations, as first reported on partner site White Center Now last week. Seattle leaders have a lot to talk about, since White Center and vicinity (“Area Y” on the map above) voters said no to Burien last November, and the Boundary Review Board rejected a bid for the Duwamish Triangle to be annexed by Tukwila. While it’s expected our city will pursue the Duwamish Triangle and the South Park “sliver by the river,” White Center and vicinity remains a wild card – the city has long had dibs on it but elected officials have repeatedly declared annexation unaffordable, and allowed Burien to pursue it first. There’s still an enticement dangling, but not for long – sales-tax credit to offset the cost of annexation, if it’s in the works by the start of 2015. Will the city pursue big, or small, or not at all? If you can’t be there tomorrow (note that it’s not a vote, just a briefing), you can watch live at 9 am via Seattle Channel (on-air or online).
The main west-east route in South Park, South Cloverdale, is closed right now at and around 10th Avenue South (map) because of a deadly crash. Seattle Police say one person was hit by two cars; Seattle Fire says the person has died. Details are on our partner site The South Park News.
Every so often, a thief makes off with a boat on a trailer. The one reported in South Park over the weekend is not your everyday stolen boat on a trailer. We just called Seattle Police to follow up on an over-the-air “be on the lookout” heard on Monday, and here’s what Det. Mark Jamieson told us: The “fast-attack prototype” boat was on a three-axle, 40-foot boat trailer with a red and white 1987 Freightliner cab, taken from a fenced area on the east side of a commercial building in the 1400 block of South Henderson (map). The report says it had been parked there since March of last year and was believed to have been stolen Sunday night; the gate lock had been cut. Asked if there were any other identifying features we could mention about the stolen boat, Det. Jamieson says the trailer was reported to say “Maaco” on the side, and the trailer “might have a white, yellow, orange, and blue cargo box on the back.” As with all stolen vehicles, if you think you’ve seen this, call 911.
Concord Elementary in South Park is part of the West Seattle region for Seattle Public Schools, and one of its fourth-grade classes is asking for your help in getting a $1,000 grant for technology: Marina Pita‘s class made a video to enter in the online vote at changemyschool.com – a quick, no-strings-attached, no-registration-required type of vote: Just go here (and take a minute to watch the video too)!
(Photos by Nick Adams for WSB)
That pile of presents awaits kids at a South Park Community Center celebration today – thanks in no small part to the work of two Chief Sealth International High School seniors. We first told you last month about the toy drive Clint Hewitt and Conrad Hill organized as their senior project, Holidays 4 Hope. On Friday, like Santa Claus, they delivered what they had collected:
That’s SPCC’s Carmen Martinez hugging Conrad as Clint unloads more of the 425 toys they collected, donated by West Seattleites, schoolchildren to shop patrons:
At the center, volunteers were wrapping the presents soon to be received by excited kids:
Decorations were going up too – below right, Maja Hansen was working with volunteers from the Health Perspectives group:
Clint and Conrad had donation bins at 3 local businesses and 2 schools while collecting the toys they just delivered.
Though Holidays 4 Hope’s toy drive is over, lots of West Seattle giving opportunities remain – some listed in the WSB Holidays Guide
One of the two teenagers killed in last Sunday night’s South Park crash has been laid to rest: After her viewing in White Center and funeral Mass at Holy Family, 13-year-old Lucie Hernandez was to be buried at a cemetery in Tukwila this afternoon. A funeral Mass is planned Monday at St. Mary’s in the Central District for 16-year-old Luis Martinez, who was a student at TEC High School on the Evergreen campus in White Center.
The two boys who survived the crash are also Evergreen campus students, according to Highline Public Schools, at TEC and at the Arts and Academics Academy, while the third survivor has been identified as Lucie’s sister Karla, a ninth-grader at Chief Sealth International High School.
We had previously reported an account to help Luis’s family with expenses, accessible via any BECU branch, in the name of Victor Herrera, account number 3579847581. Donations were accepted at this past Wednesday’s Denny/Sealth concert (WSB coverage here). And tonight, we have the announcement of a benefit next Monday night (November 19th) to assist both Luis and Lucie’s families:
The event will be at Mazatlan Mexican Restaurant in Renton from 5 pm-9 pm. There will be a $10 buffet fee and a chance to drop off additional donations. Radio Variedades radio host Mercedes Garcia will be hosting the event live on the radio and encouraging the community to come and support. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to spread the word.
The restaurant is at 540 Rainier Avenue South (map).
For our partner site The South Park News, we covered tonight’s SP meeting to follow up on the revelation earlier this month that the new bridge won’t be done until early 2014 – at least a few months later than projected. The meeting led by project reps from King County was lightly attended but went into detail explaining the setbacks and what’s ahead. You can see the full report here.
(May 2012 photo courtesy Hal Tangen)
Today, an answer to a question we’re asked increasingly often: When is the new South Transfer Station between West Seattle and South Park going to officially open?
The question is understandable, given that it’s now been almost half a year since the dedication ceremony for the $50 million state-of-the-art facility. Though there was a sizable media turnout for the ceremony, little coverage resulted, because starting literally minutes after the event on May 30th, the city was gripped by a crime rampage with ongoing reports filling newscasts, newspapers, and web pages (including ours): The murders of five people at Café Racer and a parking lot, a story that stretched from North Seattle to Downtown Seattle, then to West Seattle, where the killer committed suicide.
But ultimately, that had nothing to do with what has happened at the station, and not happened, in the months since. And even the official webpage for the project projected a summer opening – as in, weeks after the event. Since we’ve been getting questions about it, we just talked with Seattle Public Utilities for the latest update.
The short explanation, according to SPU spokesperson Andy Ryan: “We’re still working through the punch list.” Seems like a long time for a punch list, we suggested. Ryan elaborates, “A lot of little things just aren’t working perfectly, like the scales” – the automated chip readers that will be used with trucks are still not working reliably, and another issue is the sprinklers in the transfer station’s tunnel. “We’re behind schedule,” Ryan acknowledges, “but it’s more important that we get it right before we move into the next phase.”
That phase is scheduled to include a “shakedown” in January, when the city starts letting trucks in “to see how they do – there’ll be problems; we’ll fix them.” Then in early February, Ryan says, “we’ll let regular customers in, for limited hours” – that too will be more of a shakedown.
So when do they think it’ll be fully open for business? Ryan won’t get more specific than “first quarter” – sometime by the end of March, which will be 10 months after the dedication.
(Tribute to Lucie Hernandez; photo courtesy Denny International Middle School)
The two teenagers killed in Sunday night’s South Park crash were current and former Denny International Middle School students, confirms principal Jeff Clark, who also identifies one of the survivors as a student at adjacent Chief Sealth International High School. He is publicly sharing this letter sent home to Denny families today:
On Sunday evening there was a car crash in South Park. Tragically, the driver, Mario Luis Martinez Herrera, a former Denny student, was killed; four other teens were transported to Harborview Medical Center. One additional person died from injuries sustained in the accident at Harborview shortly after arriving.
We were deeply saddened to learn that the teen who passed away at Harborview was a Denny eighth-grader, Luciana “Lucie” Hernandez. Lucie’s older sister, Karla, a ninth-grader at Chief Sealth International High School, was also in the accident and is being treated for very serious injuries at Harborview. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to the family and friends of all three students.
Today at school we had a moment of silence, an eighth-grade class meeting, individual and group grief counseling, and a place for interested students to come together at lunchtime. Additionally, students had an opportunity to begin to create a tribute which will be displayed at school and then taken to the service to be given to Lucie’s family.
While we are working to support students at school, you know your child better than anyone. You can help your child simply by talking and listening to her or him. If there is anything in particular we can do to support your child, please contact Assistant Principal, Ms. Rangel, at 252-9006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a community, we will be developing plans to support the impacted families. Current ideas will be discussed at our Family PTSA meeting tonight at 7:00 pm in the Denny library.
10:17 PM: If you’re in eastern West Seattle, you might have noticed the big emergency response headed toward South Park earlier tonight. A car carrying five people crashed into a pole there, killing the driver, sending the survivors to the hospital, and closing a stretch of 8th Avenue South for an investigation likely to take a few more hours. The full story’s on our partner site The South Park News.
10:49 PM UPDATE: SPD has tweeted that one of the survivors died at the hospital.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE, 7:46 AM: Everyone in the car was a teenager, according to an update on SPD Blotter this morning which says the driver was a 16-year-old boy; the passenger who died at the hospital is described as a girl, no age listed.
(Recent aerial view of bridge construction, by Long Bach Nguyen)
One week after first word that the South Park Bridge would not be complete until next year, King County has announced a meeting to update everyone who’s interested:
King County will host a community meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 to update residents on the status of South Park Bridge construction. The meeting will be held at the South Park Neighborhood Center, 8201 10th Ave. S., Seattle.
During the meeting, County engineers will review construction progress, including efforts to excavate new piers. The contractor, Kiewit Massman JV, has informed the County that this phase of work has taken longer than expected, which will shift the timeline for opening the bridge. The County and the contractor are now working on a revised construction schedule. The updated timeline for bridge completion should be announced in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, other elements of the project are moving forward. Major steel components for the new bridge have started arriving. Later this month demolition of portions of the old bridge will get underway.
During the meeting, engineers will provide more details about construction activities currently underway, share photos of recently completed excavation work and answer questions.
For more information about the meeting, contact Ashley DeForest, (206) 684-1154 or email her at email@example.com.
New information this afternoon, following up on a story we published last night on our partner site The South Park News: Construction of the new South Park Bridge has hit a snag, and completion will be delayed at least several months.
First word came from King County Roads’ Jay Osborne at last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, which we were covering for our other partner site, White Center Now; asked by NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin for an update on the bridge’s timeline, he said there had been some trouble with its foundation, and that “conversations” were under way to figure out how that would affect the schedule.
This afternoon, we talked with King County Department of Transportation spokesperson Jeff Switzer, who says the foundation work did indeed take longer than the contractor expected – particularly the sinking of the caissons through the hardest layer of riverbed – and that means instead of a fall 2013 completion, the bridge won’t be ready until sometime in 2014. The county is awaiting a revised construction schedule, and in the meantime is discussing how to financially help businesses and others affected by the extended period of bridgelessness. It’s already been two and a half years since the old bridge was taken out of service. In the meantime, Switzer says, demolition will start soon on what’s left of the old bridge.
(Superintendent José Banda listens as Concord Elementary principal Norma Zavala speaks)
Story and photos by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One month into his first school year as Seattle Public Schools superintendent, José Banda came to the city’s southwest sector last night for a “regional meeting.”
It happened at Concord International School in South Park, but it was intended for the West Seattle community too. And they turned out in force, including – as promised in this letter published here last week – Sanislo Elementary, which got some reassurance relating to its kindergarten-class-size concerns during the Q/A period, which also brought questions from Arbor Heights Elementary, K-5 STEM at Boren, and Schmitz Park Elementary parents.
After Superintendent Banda was introduced with a biographical outline, including his 30 years of work in education, he turned the floor over to Concord Principal Norma Zavala, who spoke to the crowd about the school and its programs. she described its highlight as being “a school that is truly truly diverse – linguistically, ethnic, geographical, gender orientation, everything … and that’s the beauty of being an international school – we’re working every single day to apply a global perspective to our problems, to our successes, as adults and as children.”
The superintendent acknowledged parents were wondering “what IS IT we’re focused on?” and “where are we going?”
Parade season’s not over yet, as the Denny International Middle School community knows! The first two photos from Saturday are courtesy of Denny principal Jeff Clark, who reports:
The Denny International Middle School scholars did a great job today celebrating Fiestas Patrias in the South Park parade. The band sounded terrific and the Dolphin pride was loud and clear. Thank you to all the students, families, and staff who joined in this fun and important community celebration!
It was a spectacular parade:
That photo is by contributing photojournalist Nick Adams, and we have 20 more of Nick’s photos – dancers, musicians, spectators, more – in a gallery published on our partner site The South Park News; see them here.
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