West Seattle, Washington
Story & photos by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
Last month, we brought you the story of a walking tour in South Park, organized by community advocate Jeff Hayes, who has been relentlessly working to get the city to help with SP trouble spots. Toward the start of the tour, he gathered those in attendance, including City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, outside a prime cluster of commercial buildings on the southwest corner of the busiest intersection in South Park – 14th Avenue South/South Cloverdale [map] – to point out that the storefronts were mostly empty and under ownership that wasn’t doing much to change things.
Turns out, that ownership was in the process of changing. And we have since heard from one of the new owners, a West Seattleite who already has bought and renovated property in two neighborhoods – Luna Park and Georgetown. John Bennett bought the South Park corner buildings in partnership with Scott Horrell, proprietor of nearby Loretta’s Northwesterner, and Hank Dufour, a construction-company proprietor.
Bennett invited us to come tour the buildings, which they have been cleaning out, and are seeking tenants for. Read More
Story by Tracy Record
Photos by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
The mural along the alley exhorted, “Love where you live.”
We saw it during a walking tour of the section of South Park where Jeff Hayes has lived for going on two decades. He organized the tour out of love for his community – but promised it would not be a pre-planned, pre-sanitized, city-sanctioned walk. Indeed, other sights along the same alley fulfilled his promise.
About a third of the two dozen or so walkers were from the city, including Councilmember Lisa Herbold and representatives from her staff and those of Councilmember Lorena González, Mayor Ed Murray, and the Department of Construction and Inspections. An hour before Monday night’s sunset, participants gathered at a South Park food store/eatery, Phoralé, for introductions, before heading out.
Important preface: This isn’t a story about how bad things are in South Park. There are all too many neighborhoods in Seattle where this kind of tour could be organized. It reminded us, in fact, of one we covered in North Delridge – also organized by a neighbor/community advocate, also with councilmembers and other city reps in attendance – almost eight years ago. Read More
6:30 AM: We’ve received several questions about a strong smell of smoke in West Seattle. No fire calls here but for the past couple hours, SFD has been battling what’s described as a trash fire inside the South Transfer Station on the west edge of South Park (several miles away), and that’s generated a lot of smoke, so we’re thinking that must be what people are noticing. Seattle Public Utilities operates the station and says it will be closed today because of the fire, so if you were planning a dump/recycling run, you’ll have to go elsewhere.
7:45 AM: Update from SFD via Twitter – this is the view INSIDE the transfer station:
Progress approx 70% contained. pic.twitter.com/PWCfqBUTR3
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) October 28, 2016
This has been a stubborn fire – the SFD log shows the first response goes back to 12:36 am.
9:23 AM: More details on the fire and the closure, from SPU:
Seattle Public Utilities’ South Transfer Station is closed today, while firefighters and utility workers deal with the aftermath of a fire on the station’s tipping floor.
The fire at the three-year-old station, in South Park, started around 12:45 this morning. The cause is unknown at this time. Transfer station fires are often caused by materials — such as marine flares or chemicals — that have been improperly disposed of.
For information on where to dispose of household hazardous waste, including station locations and hours, contact www.HazWasteHelp.org or (206) 296-4692.
At 8:10 this morning, the fire was 70 percent contained.
While the station is closed, SPU is asking self-haul customers to take their garbage to the utilities’ old transfer station, at 8100 2nd Ave. S., which is adjacent to the new station. Compost and recycling cannot be accepted at the old station today.
Director of Solid Waste Ken Snipes said fires occasionally occur at garbage transfer stations, and the new station is built to withstand them. Damage to the station—if any—has not yet been assessed.
We’ve learned that this crash near the South Transfer Station between West Seattle and South Park today resulted in a citation for the school-bus driver involved. Seattle Public Schools, which contracts with the bus company, didn’t have information on what the citation was for, but did confirm to WSB that the driver was cited. Seattle Fire reported that no one was hurt in the midday crash at West Marginal Way South and South Holden; the bus was carrying two preschoolers, and one child’s dad tells WSB they were being transported from a preschool program at Fairmount Park Elementary.
Photos by Leda Costa for West Seattle Blog
Saturday’s Fiestas Patrias parade and festival in South Park were a show of pride – pride in community, pride in heritage, pride in spirit. Hundreds lined SP streets to watch and cheer, as parade participants marched, danced, and rode toward the South Park Community Center.
Tradition melded with modern reality for some:
Jessica Ramos and Yesenia Gonzalez of the South Park Women’s Group wore handmade dresses that promote recycling. But before we get to more of the festival – photos of the parade! Read More
Along with what we’ve already previewed, here’s one more event for tonight. While it is happening in South Park, Duwamish River advocates tell us this event is potentially of interest to everyone concerned about the river and its watershed. It’s a Seattle City Light community meeting tonight to talk about its planned Technical Training Center. The center, with classrooms and an outdoor training yard, would be on Hamm Creek, on the north side of SCL’s Duwamish Substation. The plan would include “wetland mitigation … with approximately 4 acres of habitats similar to historic conditions on the Lower Duwamish River,” as well as a walking trail. Tonight’s meeting is scheduled for 6:15-7:45 pm at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S.).
If you can’t get to the meeting but are interested in commenting on the plan, SCL is taking comments through next Tuesday (September 20th) as part of its State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)-related review. Those comments can be sent to Margaret Duncan, SEPA Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by postal mail at 700 5th Avenue, Suite 3200, Seattle 98104.
9:21 AM: We’re at South Park Community Center, where Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre are about to announce what’s billed as “new investments to reduce barriers and increase access for residents to the City’s community center system … part of Mayor Murray’s proposed 2017 budget.”
It’s been five years now since Murray’s predecessor, Mike McGinn, came to High Point Community Center (WSB coverage here) to deliver news of big cuts and changes that left the community-center system reeling. Then in March 2014, Murray visited Hiawatha Community Center (WSB coverage here) to announce the Park District proposal, subsequently passed by voters. It included promises of funding for “Community Center rehabilitation and development.”
He begins, “I’m here to announce a series of proposals and changes that we will send to the City Council (as part of the budget process),” with funding from the Park District levy, “stabilizing our ability to fund our park system.” He says the proposals will add staff and/or hours to nine community centers, focused on “underserved” areas. Free programs and elimination of drop-in fees at certain centers will be part of the proposals. Here at South Park CC, “we propose to expand operating hour and explore innovative partnerships with the community … to develop culturally relevant programming … In the long term, Parks and Recreation will undertake a long-term planning process in 2017-2018 for the (entire system)” to find out how to “better serve” the people in the city. He also mentions performance measurement “so people can go online and be sure we are meeting the goals in the process.”
9:27 AM: The mayor then goes on to attack the “divisive rhetoric” heard from presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday and says that Trump’s proposals “would bring our state’s economy to a halt,” among other things, “if we turn away immigrants.” He then turns the podium over to Parks Superintendent Aguirre, who mentions that he himself is an immigrant. He says he has seen the need for what the mayor is proposing. And he has warm words for the 100+ employees who work in the community centers around the city each day. “This plan at its core is about equity,” Aguirre adds. He says the elimination of fees for some drop-in programs may not seem big to some, but for many families, it will be a huge improvement in accessibility. He talks about scholarships provided for the first time this year for adults as well as children, and about the importance of partnerships. “We know that every community in Seattle is going to be excited when they see this plan.” (We’re still awaiting the document with details.) He next introduces South Park community advocate Paulina Lopez, who expresses gratitude about what a difference this will make for the community.
In media Q/A, we asked about what this means in the context of the cuts made five years ago. The mayor’s reply: “Our hope is to get back to a level of service that we saw prior to the Great Recession – but that doesn’t mean the exact same programs – the question is what are the programs that this (fast-changing city) needs? We’re seeing two things that are different from a generation ago – an increasein children, and in people who are choosing to retire her. So given that we have stabilized funding, what is the best place to invest that funding? Superintendent Aguirre has spent a year evaluating how we need to reorganize our department and is now going to evaluate how we spend this additional new money.”
Superintendent Aguirre, asked what this change means for South Park CC, said “standardizing hours … (which will become) 10-8 daily Monday-Fridays, representing an increase from 40 to 65 hours that the center will be open weekly. “We’re also adding more staff – making some that’s part time, full time, and we’ve added an additional staff member.” And he said that staff will be working more closely with community members to be tuned in to their needs.
9:43 AM: The event has wrapped up. Though citywide media is here too, there’s no hard-copy news release so far, and the full list but we’ve obtained the full document to see which West Seattle-area centers are involved. No West Seattle centers are proposed for increased hours, but both Alki and Delridge are proposed for increased staffing. We’ll have a few more details as we go through the document.
10:14 AM: Here’s the full document titled “Community Center Strategic Plan.” We’re searching it for other references to West Seattle’s community centers. For one, it explains that while High Point CC might have been eligible for the equity pilot program that is proposed for South Park and four other (non-WS) centers, it wasn’t chosen because HPCC “is currently piloting other promising equity-focused initiatives, with partners such as the Seattle Housing Authority and the UW School of Public Health.” Another mention of note is Hiawatha Community Center, proposed for $1.2 million in maintenance/renovation work, following its previously announced evaluation (along with seven other centers around the city).
Folklore Guatemala at Duwamish River Festival. Performances, boat rides, info booths, until 6 – Duwamish Wtwy Park pic.twitter.com/4AuY4nitV7
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) August 20, 2016
Looking for a waterside spot to stay cool today? The Duwamish River Festival is on until 6 pm at South Park’s waterside Duwamish Waterway Park. Full slate of performances, as mentioned in our list of highlights for today/tonight – above, Folklore Guatemala; below, a Somali youth group that was a late addition to the schedule:
Also at Duwamish River Festival – Somali youth group performance: pic.twitter.com/0o06EZDmJC
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) August 20, 2016
They were followed by this Khmer group:
Performances continue through the lively Banda Vagos (we’ve seen them in West Seattle before) at 5 pm. You can browse a variety of booths representing nonprofits as well as government agencies. At the RainWise booth, you can meet up for a 3 pm tour of local raingardens:
At the King County Wastewater Treatment booth, find out about the big project in Georgetown, near the entrance to the 1st Avenue South Bridge – meant to help the Duwamish River be cleaner. Not far away, Metro is ready to answer your questions:
Kids’ activities are folded into informational booths:
And free boat and kayak tours are promised on the Duwamish River itself, in part thanks to West Seattle-based Alki Kayak Tours – none in sight during our stop, but the view of the river is cooling:
To talk about the Duwamish River itself, you can check in with Duwamish Alive! among others – and we even saw the West Seattle-based The Whale Trail. Duwamish Waterway Park is just over the hill from West Seattle, 7900 10th Avenue S.
One more weekend spectacle to show you – it’s become an annual tradition next door in South Park, the luchadores (masked, aerobatic Mexican-style wrestlers) of Lucha Libre Volcánica facing off in an outdoor ring.
The luchadores are students; Lucha Libre Volcánica has the only local school of lucha libre.
And as fierce as they all look in the ring, outside it, the wrestlers clearly love meeting their fans.
The show was sponsored by ECOSS – the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle. As it was wrapping up, the announcer mentioned that you can see the luchadores monthly at eVOLV Fitness (1317 Republican on Capitol Hill). Next event is next Saturday (July 30th), 8:30 pm.
9:20 PM: If you didn’t know Peder Nelson already, you might have met him at West Seattle Summer Fest last weekend – he’s vice president of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society board, and he was taking the 360-degree We Love The Junction photos (among other things, including conducting walking tours). In the SWSHS video clip above, he invites you to SWSHS’s next SouthWest Stories presentation – in honor of The Boeing Company‘s centennial (today!), you can find out about Boeing’s West Seattle roots. Be at the South Park Library (8604 8th Ave. S.) for his presentation at 2 pm Sunday (July 17th).
ADDED 12:30 AM: Unlike the aforementioned event, most of the official Boeing Centennial celebration is private. But here’s an iconic image captured along the way by West Seattle pilot/photographer Long Bach Nguyen:
Those nine jets spanned Boeing models from the 707 to 787.
The Duwamish rowers took on rowers from clubs in Lake Stevens and Renton.
Christopher was on the river for the second half of the four-hour racing session – a beautiful morning overall.
Find out more about the Duwamish Rowing Club here.
Rowing fans! You’re invited to watch and cheer as the Duwamish Rowing Club hosts its first-ever regatta on the Duwamish River, 8 am-noon on Saturday (July 9th). Mike Merta from DRC says:
The DRC Ospreys Youth and Adult crews will be competing against Lake Stevens Rowing Club and Renton Rowing Club. Bring a blanket and some snacks and plan for a morning picnic while watching the races. We will have some music playing in the park and there will be someone calling the races.
16 match-style races are planned. Best vantage points are along the shore in South Park, where DRC is based – Duwamish Waterway Park (7900 10th Ave. S.; map) or the finish line at the street-end park at 12th S. and Elmgrove (map).
P.S. See this comment for the course map.
(Photo by Brandon Sparks, via Twitter)
10:36 PM: Did you see and/or hear that burst of thunder/lightning? At least it held off until after Alice’s summer-solstice sunless-sunset watch!
The National Weather Service’s short-term-forecast alert says “isolated thunderstorms” are possible until midnight.
(Added: Photo by Raynea Crittenden, shared via WSB Facebook page)
10:47 PM: Checking the City Light outage map, we see 106 customers in South Park are without electricity, and that it’s blamed on a lightning strike.
11:27 PM: Police and medics are headed for 26th and Barton, where a driver is reported to have hit a pedestrian.
11:32 PM: Emergency crews on scene are calling for a private ambulance, indicating the injuries are not major.
11:41 PM: That’s changed – now scanner traffic indicates the man has a fracture and will be taken to Harborview to be checked out.
11:55 PM: Westbound Barton had been closed but, per scanner, will be reopened shortly. Meantime, in case you’re reading this later and sleeping through the storm, it’s still raining fairly hard after more than an hour.
12:37 AM: And now … the rain has tapered off, at least here, east of Lincoln Park.
4:21 AM Texter says a tree is down across Fairmount Avenue in the 2200 block.
Hopes and dreams for Food Lifeline‘s new Hunger Solution Center in South Park (815 S. 96th) were written on a blackboard during last night’s celebration. The party of course included a ribboncutting, with FL CEO Linda Nageotte deploying the oversized scissors:
More after the jump: Read More
With three of Seattle Public Schools‘ “international schools” in this area, the program’s future is of great interest. The district has a task force studying it right now; its recent community meeting at Chief Sealth International High School wasn’t widely publicized, but another one has been scheduled, this time at Concord International (Elementary) in South Park, 6-7 pm June 20th (one week from tonight). This flyer has full details. The district says Mandarin, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese interpretation will be provided.
High Point and South Park are two of four neighborhoods whose Seattle Public Library branches will get Friday hours back as of July 1st. Here’s the SPL announcement:
Thanks to funds from the seven-year, 2012 voter-approved Library levy, The Seattle Public Library will restore Friday operating hours to four neighborhood branch libraries whose hours were reduced during recession-related budget cuts.
The High Point, International District/Chinatown, South Park, and University branches will all have restored Friday hours as of July 1.
“We are so glad to be able to restore hours at these four branches,” City Librarian Marcellus Turner said. “Expanding Library hours in neighborhoods that currently have limited access continues to be a priority.”
When the levy passed in August 2012, 15 of the Library’s 27 locations were closed on Fridays and Sundays. In 2013 the levy funded the restoration of Sunday hours at all locations and the expansion of the Columbia and Northgate branches into branches operating seven days a week, but patrons often tell the Library they wish more branches were open on Fridays.
Last year, the Library Board prioritized adding open hours at several branches when a limited amount of funds became available from inflation savings from the levy. The $378,000 in levy funds to restore Friday hours at the four branches were approved as part of the Library’s 2016 Operations Plan.
The branches were selected after an administrative review of traditional Library statistics, community demographics, income distribution, transportation links, key partnerships, internet and Wi-Fi sessions, and review by a Library staff team involved in the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and more.
The new open hours at the four branches will be: 1 pm-8 pm Monday and Tuesday, 11 am-6 pm Wednesday through Saturday, and 1 pm-5 pm Sunday. The HP and SP branches’ Friday closures started six years ago, this archived WSB story reminds us.
Our area’s only rowing club, based in nearby South Park, has an invitation for you this Saturday (April 30th):
Duwamish Rowing Club continues to grow. Last season we added 3 “new” racing shells. They are new to us but not totally brand new, although they are all very fine raceable boats. The funding for the new boats came through the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund grant. None of the new boats came with names and so it’s time to name them and have a dedication party.
We will be honoring several of our donors and supporters including Bob and Dagmar Cronn, and Pacific Medical Centers. The dedication ceremony will be held at the 12th and Elmgrove Park across from the DRC boathouse at 4 pm on Saturday, April 30th. Refreshment to follow.
We hope that you all can make it and help celebrate the new rowing season and DRC’s success, as well as help us thank some of the folks who have supported us. For additional information about the DRC, check our website, find us on Facebook or Instagram, or email us at email@example.com.
P.S. While the photo above features some of the DRC youth rowers, the club is for all ages.
Tonight we know the locations where King County Elections is proposing to add more than three dozen fixed ballot dropboxes, including West Seattle (where the last one was removed more than five years ago), White Center, and South Park. Each would get one dropbox before primary voting starts in mid-July, if this plan is approved. Read the full news release here.
Toplines for our area:
In West Seattle, the location would be High Point Library (35th/Raymond); in White Center, it would be the White Center Library (the address listed in the county report is for the current one on 16th, though the new one on SW 107th is scheduled to open soon, so we’ll be doublechecking on that tomorrow). The South Park Library is proposed for a dropbox by the November general election. A 132-page report including how and why these locations (and the others around the county) were chosen – and why some other locations were not chosen – can be seen here.
The county says it will spend $239,695 to have the boxes made, wrapped, and installed. Assuming approval is received from the King County Council and all property owners, this would put 91.5% of the county’s population within three miles of a dropbox, the county says. A public hearing is planned before the County Council’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee at 9:30 am Tuesday, April 26th, in the council chambers downtown.
We would usually suggest something like this be posted as a “rave” in the WSB Forum‘s Rants and Raves section, but it’s nice to end the weekend here on the main page with a story of kindness, so here’s the one we received via e-mail tonight from a reader who didn’t want to be identified. Yes, it happened just over the WS line, but close enough to qualify:
I was at the South Transfer Station this afternoon and I saw an employee who went above and beyond and deserves to be recognized. I pulled in and saw another patron hung over the side of one of the metal bins. I thought it was a bit strange, but when I climbed up the small ladder, I noticed an employee digging around in the bottom.
I continued about my business and a while later I heard the guy who was hung over the edge give a huge sigh of relief. The employee (I think I heard say his name was “Alfonso”) dug in the bottom of that stinky dumpster for the guy’s wedding ring and found it! When he climbed out, I told him I thought that what he did was awesome, and he humbly replied, “I was at the end of my shift anyways, so I said a little prayer for him and hoped for the best.”
This story was breaking just before other news of the day took precedence, but we did want to make note of it in case you didn’t hear elsewhere – a lawsuit over pollution in the Duwamish River. Announced by the office of City Attorney Pete Holmes this morning:
The City of Seattle is suing three “Monsanto” corporations to make them pay to remove cancer-causing chemical compounds known as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) from the City’s drainage system and the Duwamish River. Monsanto was the sole producer of PCBs in the United States from 1935 to 1979.
PCBs — found globally in bays, oceans, rivers, streams, oil and air – are an equal opportunity toxic that destroys populations of fish, birds and other animal life as well as harming human immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems.
At issue in the complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle is PCB contamination in 20,000 acres that drain to the Lower Duwamish, a federal Superfund site, and in areas that drain to the East Waterway adjacent to Harbor Island, a separate federal Superfund site. PCBs were detected in “82 percent of samples of sediment in drainage pipes” and in “73 percent of samples collected from catch basins in street right-of-ways” in Lower Duwamish drainage basins.
Here’s the full lawsuit document, provided by the CAO:
The news release continues:
Chalk signs pointed the way when we stopped by to see how the pre-Thanksgiving “Lunches With Love” volunteers were doing this afternoon in South Park. Steps from that sign, a garage was already filling with an estimated 400 sack lunches:
Upstairs, in organizer Lashanna Williams‘s sun-splashed kitchen, the all-ages volunteer crew continued making sandwiches and filling bags to deliver around the Sound tonight:
This is the third year for this day and night of pre-holiday giving:
You can still help – lunch-making was scheduled to continue until 6 pm, and then delivery starts around 9 – see our preview for location and other info.
Thanks to Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark for sharing photos from today’s Fiestas Patrias parade in South Park – during which the Denny contingent celebrated a special anniversary for the academic-support program Proyecto Saber:
I am proud to share that the Denny Dolphins had a great time celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Proyecto Saber as we marched in our favorite parade, Fiestas Patrias in South Park!
A special thank you to our superstar Proyecto staff, Liz Olsen, Herman Garcia, and Diana Burga! Our Dolphin Scholars did an excellent job representing their school as a part of the special neighborhood celebration.
A big shout out to our friends at Concord International Elementary School, Ms. Nestor, Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Bautista from El Centro de la Raza, and Ms. Clausen, who danced in her Salvadorean attire.
Go Dolphins! Viva Proyecto!
The parade featured hundreds of participants – also including custom cars and horseback riders!
As explained online, the Fiestas Patrias parade and subsequent festival in South Park – along with a festival continuing downtown at Seattel Center tomorrow – celebrate “the Latin American countries that celebrate their independence throughout the month of September. Belizeans, Brazilians, Chileans, Costa Ricans, Salvadoreans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Mexicans, and Nicaraguans from all over the Pacific Northwest come to enjoy their beautiful cultures with great food, dance, music, and more.”