City Council District 1 race: Next candidates’ forum announced for May 27, first one to be held in South ParkApril 30, 2015 at 10:32 am | In South Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off
The next candidates’ forum for City Council District 1 will be the first one in South Park. Just announced on the SP community mailing list, a 7 pm forum on Wednesday, May 27th, at the South Park Neighborhood Center (8201 10th Ave. S.). Organizers promise an “exciting and interactive event” with unique features including Spanish-language interpretation, voter registration, on-site child care, pizza, and a visit from a fire engine. It’s being organized by a committee of South Park community volunteers. This will be a week and a half after the filing deadline, so the final slate of candidates for the August 4th primary will be set.
P.S. Anyone else have a forum coming up in West Seattle/South Park? This is the only one we’ve heard of, but if others are set/planned, we want to get them into the calendar ASAP! firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks.
P.P.S. WSB coverage links from the three forums held so far, all in West Seattle (all of which we recorded on video):
–April 8th, presented by the 34th District Democrats @ The Hall at Fauntleroy
–March 14th, presented by VIEWS @ Senior Center of West Seattle
–February 5th, presented by WSB @ Highland Park Improvement Club
Plan ahead! South Park Bridge overnight closures ahead; plus, details of upcoming Alaskan Way Viaduct inspection closureMarch 12, 2015 at 1:47 pm | In South Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | Comments Off
From SDOT‘s weekly “lookahead,” just out:
SOUTH PARK BRIDGE OVERNIGHT SURFACE-TRAFFIC CLOSURES: Thanks to the tipster who let us know this morning that a mobile sign had gone up on the South Park Bridge with news of upcoming overnight closures. That put us on the lookout for the details that are in the “lookahead” – Monday through Friday nights (technically Tuesday-Saturday mornings, March 17-21) next week, the bridge will be closed to surface traffic 12:01 am-5 am. The closures are scheduled to repeat a week later, same times, March 24-28. (added) As explained by the county: “The closure will be confined to the overnight hours and will allow the contractor to complete bridge painting and finishing work in areas accessible only when the bridge is partially open. While work is underway, the waterway will remain open to recreational vessels that don’t require full openings to clear the bridge. Because the work will be performed overnight, traffic impacts should be minimal.”
ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT INSPECTION CLOSURE: When first word of the March 28-29 closure emerged last Monday, WSDOT wasn’t able to tell us whether it would be a full weekend closure or “all day Saturday plus all day Sunday.” Looks like it’s the latter; the “lookahead” lists the closure as 6 am-6 pm each day, Saturday 3/28 and Sunday 3/29, at least for the stretch between the West Seattle Bridge and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel. However, it also mentions that both directions of 99 will be closed between the north end of the tunnel and Valley Street from 10 pm Friday 3/27 to 5 am Monday 3/30 for utility work.
Two Crime Watch notes this afternoon:
STUDENT APPROACHED: This happened in South Park, but the student attends Pathfinder K-8 in West Seattle, and the alert is being circulated among parents in both communities, so we were asked to share it:
My 14 year old daughter was approached by a man on Trenton Street while she walked to her school bus stop this morning. This guy obviously had no good intentions! My daughter describes him as Hispanic, thin with dark hair. His car was a gray 4-door sedan of an older (1990s) model. She believes that he was using or on some sort of substance.
His intent was to get her into his car!!! She avoided his questions, got to her bus stop and called the police. She has since given a statement to police (at her school) and her school has been made aware of what happened this morning.
I want to be clear: My daughter felt threatened by this man and that he was very intent on getting her alone. Please help keep an eye out for this person and help keep our kids safe!!!
CAR PROWL: Two car prowls are on the police log so far this morning. One was reported in the 7300 block of Delridge Way, and we learned of the other one in this reader report from David:
My car was broken into in the Gatewood area just west of 35th sometime between 1100 PM and 0700 AM. A window was broken and some items removed. It has been reported to the police.
SPD shared car-prowl-prevention/deterrence advice a month ago; we published it then but it bears sharing again:
(What’s shown above is the newest image from the SDOT camera in South Park – refresh this page for an update)
10:57 AM: The South Park Bridge remains “stuck in the open position,” according to both SDOT via Twitter and a check of the 14th Ave. S/Cloverdale traffic cameras (including the one above). No ETA for repairs so far. So if you have to get across the Duwamish River, use the West Seattle bridges or 1st Avenue South Bridge. We’ll update when it’s fixed.
(P.S. Refresh this story/page for the newest image – what you see above is pulled directly from what’s on the SDOT site.)
1:52 PM UPDATE: SDOT now says the bridge might be closed “until Tuesday.” As you can see in the image above, there are now barricades to keep surface traffic entirely off the bridge.
3:47 PM UPDATE: From King County Roads, which operates the bridge:
South Park Bridge update: Problem narrowed to faulty pump under warranty. Identifying how to lower bridge for vehicles.
— King County Roads (@kcroads) February 21, 2015
6:23 PM: Another update from KC Roads:
King County has determined that the cause of this morning’s South Park Bridge mechanical malfunction was a faulty transmission pump that will need to be rebuilt or replaced under warranty. Replacement parts are expected to arrive Tuesday. In the meantime, the county is evaluating whether the bridge spans can be safely lowered to allow for vehicle traffic.
Until the bridge reopens, motorists should use the 1st Avenue South Bridge as a detour. The county understands how important the bridge is to the community and motorists – every effort is being made to get the bridge reopened to both vehicle and marine traffic as quickly as possible.
The new bridge has been in use for eight months.
2:38 AM SUNDAY: Now King County reports the bridge is back in service, and KING 5 confirms it, though the repairs haven’t made yet, so we’ll keep close watch on this.
(WSB photo, taken Saturday)
We noticed those sandbags at Alki Bathhouse over the weekend, apparently awaiting the next round of “king tides,” the very-high high tides that happen a few times in winter. They’re coming up later this week; according to our favorite tide chart (aside from the short-range one on the WSB Weather page, that is), they are:
* 12.8 feet, 5:54 am Wednesday, January 21
* 13.0 feet, 6:31 am Thursday, January 22
* 13.2 feet, 7:10 am Friday, January 23
* 13.2 feet, 7:50 am Saturday, January 24
* 13.0 feet, 8:32 am Sunday, January 25
The Alki/Beach Drive/Harbor Avenue shores are classic places to go see the high water in West Seattle; you can also see the tides’ effects on the Duwamish River by joining either or both of two events, Friday and Saturday mornings – details are on our partner site The South Park News. Right now, the forecast is rainy, but not windy, so you’re not likely to see anything too dramatic, certainly not like last November!
Forecast promises sunshine returning tomorrow (and continuing through the weekend). We’ve just found out from the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition that there’s room for more to join tomorrow night’s Community Kayak Tour of our city’s only river – what a way to enjoy the evening. This time, the tour leaves from Duwamish Waterway Park in South Park (7900 10th Avenue South), just minutes east of West Seattle, 6 pm Thursday (bring your picnic dinner!). You don’t have to have your own kayak, or even experience; everything is provided, through DRCC’s tour partner, West Seattle’s own Alki Kayak Tours, $45/person. But you do need to RSVP ASAP – email@example.com is the best way. If you DO have your own kayak, you’re welcome to join the tour too, by donation. Find out what all the buzz is about, with ongoing campaigns like riverforall.org and the newly announced city/county coordination
Big turnout for the Duwamish River Festival, on until 4 pm at Duwamish Waterway Park in South Park! It’s a chance to learn about what’s happening on, in, and near the river …
… and to experience the river!
(Kayaks courtesy of West Seattle’s own Alki Kayak Tours/Mountain to Sound Outfitters.) There’s live entertainment too (see the schedule here) – during our visit, the Sounders FC band Sound Wave was performing:
The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition organizes the festival; many organizations and businesses sponsor it (including WSB and partner site The South Park News). Check it out until 4 pm at 7900 10th Avenue South.
The entertainment schedule is out for tomorrow afternoon’s 9th annual Duwamish River Festival in nearby South Park (with co-sponsors including WSB). For all four hours of the festival, 12-4 pm at Duwamish Waterway Park, you can check out kayaking/boating on the river as well as booths featuring community groups/organizations. If you want to time your visit depending on who’s onstage, here’s the info:
12:20 pm – 12:40 pm Âu Lạc Vovinam Lion Dance Team performance
12:45 pm – 1:05 pm Trio Dulces- Afro Latin Band
1:30 pm – 1:50 pm Seattle Sounders FC Band: Sound Wave
1:55 pm – 2:10 pm Tlaloktekuhtli – Aztec Dance
2:15 pm – 2:35 pm Zumba – Fitness class
3:00 pm – 3:50 pm Orquesta Cambalache
The park is alongside the river at 7900 10th Avenue South (map).
(WSB file photo)
The Duwamish River, along West Seattle’s eastern border (and beyond), is in the spotlight more than ever this year. Some cleanup is under way and plans for more are in the works. A high-profile awareness campaign by the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition has even brought a high-profile supporter, Seattle-based hip-hop superstar Macklemore (who wrote about it here).
But you don’t have to be a star to help the river. You can do something as simple as taking a tour. And DRCC has just announced this year’s series – every other Thursday night, 6-8:30 pm, starting this week (July 31st), through the end of September. Three tours leave from T-107 Park on the West Seattle side of the river – July 31st, August 14th, September 11th – while the other two leave from Duwamish Waterway Park in South Park – August 28th and September 25th. And they’re all in partnership with West Seattle-headquartered Alki Kayak Tours (with whom you need to RSVP – firstname.lastname@example.org – $45/person unless you’re bringing your own kayak, in which case, it’s by donation). Here’s the flyer with full details (PDF).
4 years ago, South Park chanted ‘We need a bridge’; now, the community and its neighbors have one againJune 30, 2014 at 6:14 am | In South Park, Transportation, West Seattle news | 6 Comments
(WSB video, 6 am today)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The new South Park Bridge is now officially in service, opened to regular traffic minutes ago.
(Motorcyclist Charles, center, was first in line; that’s bridge project manager Tim Lane at right)
This comes on the morning after an all-day-and-into-the-night celebration. And it comes exactly four years to the day following the closure of the bridge’s 80-year-old predecessor with a wake both boisterous and bitter.
On June 30, 2010, the crowd chanted, “We need a bridge”:
That night, June 30, 2010, it was by no means certain they would get another one. The bridge’s drawspan was raised one last time, and there it stood.
Sunday, there was no chanting. But there were fireworks:
(GALLERY ON THESOUTHPARKNEWS.COM: See it here. And report #2 is in the works for WSB)
— King County, WA (@kcnews) June 30, 2014
4:43 PM: The new South Park Bridge is officially open – if you’re on foot (vehicle traffic won’t be permitted until tomorrow morning at 6 am)!
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) June 29, 2014
This followed an epic dedication ceremony:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) June 29, 2014
We have it all on video and will have it in a separate story later (lots of photos too, of course). Most importantly, the street party is scheduled to run until about 9 pm, so you have time to get here, walk on the bridge, enjoy the Lucha Libre masked wrestling that starts around 6 pm …
2:05 PM NOTE: We’re heading back to SP for the heart of the party, but we visited in the noon hour and are already building a gallery on The South Park News.
Scroll down here on WSB, meantime, for helpful advance info if you’re planning to go. And watch the WSB Instagram feed between official updates.
And earlier still:
EARLIER, 10:57 AM: Few planned activities/events on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar today – the city’s biggest event is downtown, the Pride Parade, starting shortly (11 am). But in the “almost West Seattle” category, our neighbors in South Park are celebrating the new bridge today, on the eve of its official opening tomorrow, exactly 4 years after the old one was taken out of service.
(Added: WSB photo taken after today’s bridge party started at noon)
So here’s what you need to know if you’re planning on, or thinking about, going to the party. First, a map (the party’s on the south side of the bridge, on 14th Avenue South)! Now, today’s schedule, from the King County website:
12:00 – 3:00 p.m. — Street party: music & performances, info booths, self-guided tours of the bridge’s south tower, food & drink
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. — Dedication ceremony with elected officials & community leaders; fireworks
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. — Parade [you can walk on the bridge!]
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. — Lucha Libre; street party continues
Elected officials announced so far for the 3 pm event include U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Ed Murray, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott. Info about street closures, parking, and bus changes during today’s party is at the bottom of this page. We’ll be covering the events here and at TheSouthParkNews.com. If you’re just waiting for the chance to use that route across the Duwamish again, take note that the new bridge will NOT be open for regular use until 6 am tomorrow (Monday).
P.S. Browse our photo galleries previewing the new bridge – looking at its exterior (including the new raingarden in the footprint of the old bridge); peeking inside during a behind-the-scenes media tour.
Video/photos: Ups and downs of new South Park Bridge, in advance of Sunday’s party and Monday’s openingJune 25, 2014 at 10:53 am | In South Park, West Seattle news | 12 Comments
(ADDED TO END OF STORY: How Metro service will change when bridge opens Monday)
Ever been inside a drawbridge as it opens? That’s what our video shows, as recorded during the new South Park Bridge‘s behind-the-scenes media tour on Tuesday afternoon, looking ahead to its dedication on Sunday and opening on Monday, which will be four years to the day since the old bridge’s shutdown. While photographers were inside during the bridge opening, your editor here recorded the next clip from the top deck (much quieter!):
Engineers are proud of how fast the new drawbridge moves – as little as 6 1/2 minutes for a full opening/closing (of course, the time will be variable depending on the marine craft moving along the Duwamish below). It’s operated by two 75-horsepower motors:
But the story of the new bridge (located here) is also in what surrounds it, and in reused pieces of the old bridge, on and below the new one. Read ahead to find out about that and to see a dozen more photos (plus another video clip):
South Park Bridge to open on June 30th, 4-year anniversary of old bridge’s closure; big party on June 29thJune 4, 2014 at 11:40 am | In South Park, Transportation, West Seattle news | 11 Comments
(Photo by Long B. Nguyen)
Four days ago, showing that aerial of the almost-complete South Park Bridge, we mentioned it’s close to opening. And now, the date’s just been announced – June 30th, the four-year anniversary of the old bridge’s closure:
King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced that the newly constructed South Park Bridge will open June 30. The previous drawbridge, built in 1931, was closed and dismantled in mid-2010 due to safety concerns.
“I made a promise five years ago that we would build a new, safer bridge to connect our industrial heartland to the rest of King County — and we’re ready to deliver,” said Executive Constantine. “Not only will this help local manufacturers and family-owned businesses, it will reunite working communities in the Lower Duwamish area.”
The new bridge is expected to carry 20,000 vehicles and nearly 3,000 heavy-duty trucks each day. It will also carry an estimated 10 million tons of freight each year, including aerospace parts to local Boeing facilities.
ADDED 11:52 AM: The county has a gallery of images of the new bridge accompanying this announcement on its website, including this one:
(Photo by Ned Ahrens, King County DOT)
See the rest here.
3:20 PM UPDATE: While June 30th will be the official opening to traffic, information that’s come out in the past few hours clarifies that the big party will be on Sunday, June 29th, so mark your calendar for that.
The opening date for the new South Park Bridge isn’t set yet, and King County isn’t offering an estimate (aside from “summer”), but it’s close to completion, as you can see in the two views shared this week by West Seattle photographer/pilot Long B. Nguyen:
The county Department of Transportation says it’s continuing electrical testing – 142 miles of wire in the project, according to an update earlier this spring. The old bridge was shut down in June 2010 after a raucous sendoff, and South Park community members are working right now to plan a grand-opening party they hope will eclipse it.
P.S. If you’re new to the area – here’s a map showing the bridge’s location.
9:49 AM: Over the weekend, we reported on a South Park cottage being moved off a little slice of Duwamish River shoreline to make way for a pocket park, pointing out that you might notice the 95-year-old house floating past West Seattle shores (on the river or the bay) as it’s taken to a new site in the San Juans. Crews from Nickel Bros. started work early this morning and already have the cottage on a barge, as our photo shows. We don’t yet know the timetable from here, but if you see it pass, now you know!
9:54 AM UPDATE: And literally two minutes after we published the first take of this story, the barge and house passed Duwamish Waterway Park, where we had been working in hopes of catching it as it goes by:
Tonight, that 980-square-foot cottage is on the South Park riverfront site where it’s sat for 95 years, at 12th Avenue South and South Elmgrove. In a few days, you might notice it as it floats past West Seattle’s eastern/northeastern shore. It’s up on blocks and wheels, preparing for a move that’s scheduled to start early Monday. The house will be loaded onto a barge by the house-moving specialists at Nickel Bros. (which had listed it here), and taken to its new home on Orcas Island in the San Juans. While the house’s new owner is paying for that, Seattle Public Utilities is the agency clearing the site for future use as a street-end pocket park. The park will fulfill SPU’s obligation to provide something in exchange for taking over a street end elsewhere in South Park to build a new pump station. County records show the city paid $180,000 six months ago for the house and its 2,000-square-foot riverside lot.
It’s just about wrapup time for the spring edition of Duwamish Alive! – a twice-yearly day of volunteer cleanup/restoration work to help the Duwamish River and its watershed/feeder waterways. One of the busiest sites this morning was on the South Park shoreline, at Duwamish Waterway Park. With the help of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and Alki Kayak Tours, volunteers were launching kayaks to head out and pick up shoreline debris. Park habitat and raingarden work was being done at the park, too. (Update: Via Facebook, Soundkeeper says volunteers removed 260 pounds of debris from the river.)
This was one of 11 Duwamish Alive! sites from West Seattle to Georgetown to South Park to Tukwila; the fall edition will be in October. (Any photos from other sites today? We’d love to add more to this story – email@example.com – and thanks to all who volunteered!)
ADDED 6:01 PM: From Rory Denovan:
Roxhill Bog had a dozen hardy volunteers for Duwamish Alive. We filled a dumpster full of non-native invasive plants and picked up almost as much litter.
Plans are in the works to head back out in a month or so for more weeding and mulching. We’re determined to get the Park in shape so people can see how really beautiful and diverse the native bog plants are.
If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new South Park Bridge, looks like the wait is going to be a bit longer. The projected opening timeframe for the bridge has been “spring 2014″ for a while … but today, the county’s detailed invitation to next week’s South Park slideshow presentation on bridge construction says it won’t open until sometime this summer, after extensive wiring work. A cached copy of the project webpage shows it displaying “Anticipated Opening: Spring 2014″ as recently as last Sunday.
The bridge originally was projected to open in fall 2013; as first reported on WSB and partner site The South Park News in fall 2012, that changed because foundation work took longer than planned. We have a request out to the county for comment on what has caused the latest change. The old bridge was closed June 30, 2010, after being deemed unsafe; funding for a replacement wasn’t certain by that point, but was eventually secured, and the new bridge’s groundbreaking was in May 2011.
4:09 PM UPDATE: County Transportation Department spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok says this isn’t the result of a new problem, but rather the re-evaluation of the timeline. Her response, ahead:
Click to read the rest of County now says South Park Bridge won’t be open until summer…
(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.
All contents copyright 2005-2015, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^