West Seattle, Washington
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1:43 PM: Just getting word of the first significant power outages in West Seattle so far this blustery day – west of The Junction, North Admiral, and the City Light map also shows two other outages – 117 customers near Lincoln Park and 72 customers in Highland Park. (If your outage is NOT on the map, please call SCL at 206-684-3000!)
UPDATED, 1:53 PM: Now the SCL map has updated. We’re adding a screengrab. “Tree” is the listed cause. More than 4,000 customers are out in West Seattle. Also, Seattle Fire is at 44th and Rose in Gatewood, where a tree fell into a transformer/power line – thanks for the texted photo:
(back to original report) All this follows hours of off-and-on gusty winds – we caught some on video a little while ago:
Wind tousling trees in Gateleroy. pic.twitter.com/ZcDSvsFW6Y
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) October 14, 2016
TIDE REMINDER, IF YOU MISSED IT: Busy news day so you might not have seen this, but high tides are coinciding with the strong wind because of tomorrow’s full moon.
(Texted photo added above – Beach Drive this afternoon. Thanks to Craig Joseph for sharing it!) Speaking of which …
NEED SANDBAGS? The Delridge Community Center is out of them but expecting more later today. If you need them urgently, try the South Park Community Center.
2:22 PM: A commenter says Delridge has sandbags now. Meantime, a father and 4-year-old son are being taken to the hospital after being hit by a falling tree branch near Fauntleroy Church (which abuts forested Fauntleroy Park). We got to the scene just as the child was about to be transported to Harborview; his father is still being evaluated.
Too soon for information on the circumstances – we will update when we find out more.
3:13 PM: SFD describes the child’s injuries as serious, the father’s injuries as minor.
(added Friday evening) Fauntleroy Church minister Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski sent this statement:
I was very sad today to learn about the father and son struck by a tree near Fauntleroy Church. As concerned community members, we will be working with the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department to better understand the incident, but our primary concern right now is for the family involved in this accident. They are YMCA patrons and neighbors, and our hearts go out to them.
As I was away from the church today, I also wish to say a big “thank you” to the church and Y staff and community members who quickly responded to offer help and care until emergency personnel could arrive.
(back to previous coverage) Meantime, regarding the power outage – we’re getting multiple reports that traffic signals are out in The Junction, though the outage is only affecting the west side of the street. We’re headed that way for an update.
3:46 PM: Thanks for the updates. About a third of those who were out now have their power back, Admiral/North according to the map. We’re still working our way to The Junction. Meantime, a falling branch seems to have played a role in a crash on eastbound Olson, blocking the turn to southbound Myers.
No injuries as far as we can tell – SFD was not called for medical assistance.
4:11 PM: We just stopped by The Junction. California/Alaska signal is indeed out. And businesses on the west side of the street are still without power, many with handwritten “closed/power out” signs.
Further north, a big problem hasn’t been fixed yet at Hinds/47th – this power-pole problem:
Thanks to everyone who sent photos earlier. This is near Madison Middle School, which has a fire-alarm call right now – don’t know if it’s related. We can hear the alarm from where we’re checking out the power pole situation.
ADDED 4:47 PM: If you’re just getting ready to leave for home .. it’s partly sunny over here, still breezy.
5:07 PM: Regarding the sirens and emergency vehicles – it’s for a possible rescue which we’re covering separately.
Also, tomorrow’s weather alert is now up to High Wind Warning status, 3 pm Saturday-2 am Sunday. We’ll get a separate evening weather story going after our coverage of the potential rescue.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Neighbors of the former Avalon substation building by the southwest end of the West Seattle Bridge say they were surprised to find out, after years of living nearby, that it is contaminated with mercury and set for demolition.
Wednesday afternoon, they gathered with Seattle City Light and Department of Construction and Inspections reps and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold to try to clarify what happened and what’s planned for the site after the building is torn down and the contamination cleanup. Read More
ORIGINAL REPORT, 4:35 PM: Thanks for the tips. As of less than 10 minutes ago, power has gone out for more than 4,200 customers (homes/businesses), mostly just south of West Seattle but including some WS pockets. More to come.
5:01 PM UPDATE: Seattle City Light‘s map also includes another 3,500+ out in parts of Burien. No word yet on the cause – SCL’s current “restoration estimate” is 11 pm, but as we always remind you during outages, that is a guesstimate at best, could be sooner, could be later.
5:28 PM UPDATE: The SCL map now blames “tree” for outage. Restoration guesstimate has updated to 11:25 pm.
6:13 PM UPDATE: SCL now says via Twitter “crews have now determined that the cause was due to a broken utility pole crossarm near the Duwamish Substation.”
6:49 PM UPDATE: All but 588 customers are back on.
SUNDAY MORNING: According to the City Light map, everyone had power restored at some point very early this morning.
(Click map for full-size PDF version)
The second phase of Seattle Public Utilities‘ West Seattle water-main flushing is about to start; the map above shows where the water pipes already have been flushed, and where the utility is going to be flushing starting this Sunday night.
If you missed the run-up to phase 1, SPU reminds you that it “is performing this work to help maintain water quality and reduce the occurrence of discolored water that some West Seattle customers have been experiencing. Flushing won’t eliminate discolored water, but it will help decrease it.” The “sediment” that leads to discolored water, SPU explains, comes from a rust buildup. (We had first word of the flushing plan back in March; the work began in April.)
Phase 2, according to the SPU notice sent to residents in the work zone (see the entire notice here), will involve work Sundays through Thursdays, 10 pm-5 am, over the next four to six weeks. Signs will go up in advance at hydrants that will be opened as part of the flushing. (This WSB story shows how the process works and what’s done at the work zones.)
SPU also notes, “When crews are flushing nearby, customers will experience discolored water, which should clear quickly once crews are done flushing the water main. Running the cold water for a few minutes can also help clear the discoloration.” If you have discolored water that doesn’t clear quickly, or any other water-quality problem, SPU’s 24-hour emergency line is 206-386-1800.
P.S. Here’s a deeper dive into your water’s backstory.
7:20 AM: Thanks to the Atlas Place residents who texted to share the news of a water break in the south Beach Drive SW area. They woke up to no water, contacted Seattle Public Utilities, and were told about the break. We’ll be checking with SPU to find out about the extent of it and how long it might take to fix.
9:18 AM: Went to check it out firsthand – the water is coming up in the street in the 6700 block of Beach Drive, not far north of Lincoln Park, and an SPU crew (as shown in our photo above) is on scene.
9:26 AM: Just talked to an SPU spokesperson who says that traffic will be blocked for the repairs, which will likely take “three or four hours.” The break is in an 8-inch water main, likely just a failure of old infrastructure, and they believe it’s affecting water service to 25-30 customers (households, since this is a residential area). We’ll check back later in the day so we can update when the crew’s finished.
2:43 PM: An area resident says the water’s back and the crew is wrapping up:
That’s the pipe problem behind the break, the resident was told.
3:46 PM: Seattle City Light has just restored power to the Junction businesses/residences that have been out in the aftermath of this morning’s Junction construction-site crane-in-wires incident (WSB coverage here) that left two workers in critical condition. Some businesses had closed because of the outage, while we found at least three that were able to stay open. We had a crew in the area just before power came back on, and we’re heading back over momentarily for an update, and to check on whether SW Oregon has reopened.
4:41 PM: Yes, the road has reopened.
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.
1:21 PM: Thanks to the resident who texted to report a water outage in the 8100 block of 27th SW. We advised a call to the Seattle Public Utilities hotline (206-386-1800), and the resident reported back that SPU is working on a water-line break in the 27th SW/SW Kenyon vicinity. We’re checking with SPU to find out more.
2:07 PM: SPU spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin tells WSB that the break is on an 8-inch pipe at the location mentioned above [map]. “SPU crews have throttled the main, which means some customers are experiencing a reduction in pressure and while others may be out of water. This break is impacting about 25 homes and businesses in the area. At this time, I don’t have an estimated time when the repair will be complete and water restored.”
3:17 PM: Update from Goodwin: Repairs will take several hours, so the water will likely be back on between 7 and 9 pm.
(Map of outage area, from Seattle City Light website)
12:38 AM: Thanks for the texts: Seattle City Light‘s outage map says more than 3,500 homes/businesses have lost power, mostly in southeast West Seattle and White Center. No word yet on the cause.
12:53 AM: The map now has the “estimated restoration” time of 7 am, but we always add the reminder, that’s a guesstimate and it could be much sooner, or much later. SCL is still investigating the cause.
1:15 AM: Commenter SteveMG reports seeing SCL and emergency responders in the 8th/Roxbury vicinity.
1:18 AM: We’re getting some reports of power restored – mostly from South Delridge. No change in the outage-map total yet but sometimes it lags.
1:25 AM: Now the map’s caught up with the restoration reports – 294 customers (homes/businesses) still without power, in White Center. Here’s the updated map:
1:36 AM: Along with SteveMG, a commenter on our partner site White Center Now also mentions what seemed like an underground “explosion” at 8th/Roxbury. Here’s what SCL tweeted about the cause, without mentioning a specific location:
Crews have identified an equipment failure in an underground vault as the cause for the White Center-W. Seattle outage.
— Seattle City Light (@SEACityLight) August 31, 2016
6:27 AM: Power has since been fully restored.
Back when Seattle City Light started converting streetlights to LEDs, the conversion was initially planned for residential streets only.
Then, the utility decided in 2013 that it would be OK to convert arterial streetlights too, and while the subsequent work began in the north part of the city, this summer, that conversion has been moving full speed ahead in West Seattle.
This past week, we noticed a crew working late at night on the streetlights along the two arterials closest to WSB HQ, California SW and SW Thistle, which are now fully switched over in the Gatewood/Fauntleroy area. So we checked in with Seattle City Light on the conversion status, as well as the reason work was being done at night (while we’re still working at 11:45 pm, seemed a little noisy for residents who sleep more “normal” hours).
Spokesperson Scott Thomsen explained, “Crews have been working nights since June 1. This shift change was done mostly due to Metro trolley routes and to avoid disruption to busy arterial streets when they are most busy and for crew safety.” The night work is expected to end within the next month or so; in the meantime, he says, crews are reminded to be mindful of the noise, but while the “tool they use to loosen and tighten bolts does make a ‘ratcheting’ type noise” – this was the observation made in our note asing about it – “The crew will typically spend less than 10 minutes at any given light.”
Thomsen wasn’t sure how much longer the work, now in the service area south of SW Brandon, will be going on in West Seattle; though we do a fair amount of night driving around West Seattle, we haven’t seen the crews since the work close to our neighborhood around midweek. He says, “The scheduling estimates are not that specific since the crews work in rows across the service territory.”
Around the city: “A little more than 16,000 arterial lights have been converted to LED and our contractor will continue with conversions through December. In 2017, we should complete the arterial conversions.” Checking our archives, this appears to be an acceleration, as it was just last year that West Seattle arterial conversions weren’t expected to start BEFORE 2017.
Also from the archives: As this WSB story from 2010 shows, West Seattle was a test area when the city started planning the non-arterial streetlight conversions.
BACKSTORY: More background on the LED streetlight program can be found on this page of City Light’s site.)
10:24 AM: Thanks to Susan for the tip – power is out for what Seattle City Light says is 108 customers (homes/businesses) in The Arroyos and vicinity. The cause isn’t yet known, but the utility hopes to have power back by mid-afternoon, as of the latest guesstimate.
P.S. This is the same footprint and customer count as the outage this past May that lasted more than 24 hours.
11:21 AM: Scott Thomsen of City Light tells WSB that the outage has been traced to “equipment failure” and they’re now hoping to have the power back by 4:30 pm.
7:36 PM: As pointed out in comments, it’s not fixed yet and the restoration guesstimate is now past midnight. SCL says an underground cable is what failed.
11:05 PM: Still out, says the City Light outage-tracker map, now pushing the guesstimate to 4 am-ish.
6:35 AM: JL says in comments that the power returned at 5 am – that would have been after more than 20 hours.
If you live in the Hillcrest area, you should be getting – if you haven’t already – a notice from Seattle City Light about a project starting in early September, “to increase electrical reliability … by rebuilding parts of the underground electrical system.” Here’s where they’ll be working:
The city is circulating this flyer, and says its key points are:
· Three sections of the neighborhood, each one block or slightly longer, will have conduit and vaults installed. The work is the next phase in the refurbishment of the system.
· Trenching in the public right-of-way is planned from the first week of September through February 2017. Planned power outages may be required during this phase of the project. If required, customers will be notified in advance.
· Affected landscaping, sod, driveway aprons, and sidewalks will be restored to City standards.
Actual cable replacement will happen next year, according to the project webpage (see it here); no contact information there yet but SCL says customers with questions can take them to David Mannery, Electrical Service Representative, email@example.com or 206-386-4245.
We have a Seattle Public Utilities update on the repairs happening on 46th SW near Hudson, southwest of The Junction:
Part of this repair necessitates shutting off water for a small number of residents on 46th Ave. SW. The work will be finished tomorrow and those who are affected by the water outage have been notified. While we do not anticipate any impacts to other residents’ water, any time the water main is disturbed there is the chance of discolored water. If residents experience discolored water they should run their taps for two minutes before drinking. This water is perfectly safe to drink, however.
While most of the CenturyLink outage reports we covered here recently involved fiber internet access, some involved TV – and that caught the attention of a city division you might not have heard of: The Office of Cable Communications, part of the Information Technology department. We heard today from Jim Loter, a spokesperson for that division, which he explains “is responsible for regulating the cable television providers that offer services in Seattle.” He had seen the WSB reports and wanted to make sure you know about “customer rights during cable TV outages,” and pointed us to a new item on the city website Tech Talk which details those rights, including a pointer to the webpage for the Cable Customer Bill of Rights. Again, this is just for TV, not internet, but if you’ve had trouble with an unresponsive provider – it might help.
10:57 AM: For the third time in a week, we’re hearing from multiple West Seattle CenturyLink customers – via e-mail, Twitter, and comments – that their fiber Internet service has gone out again this morning. Locations mentioned in the messages we’ve received this morning include Admiral, Genesee Hill, North Delridge, and Beach Drive – sharing your general location in a comment, or message to us, helps, since otherwise there’s no mapping available along the lines of, say, a power outage. Some customers say CL has told them to expect service to return “sometime over the weekend.” Our previous reports are here (some were out all of last weekend) and here (an outage on Wednesday). We have a message out to CL’s media department again and will update when we hear back.
11:54 AM: Some customers are reporting they’re back up.
12:02 PM: A CenturyLink spokesperson replied to our inquiry:
CenturyLink has isolated the outage in West Seattle and continues to monitor the system to assure service availability. If customers are continuing to experience interruption to their high-speed internet or Prism TV services they should contact customer service 877-837-5738 and submit a trouble ticket.
They didn’t answer our question about what’s causing the outages, so we’ve asked it again.
5:36 PM: CL says “a hardware failure” is to blame.
It’s been four months since we first told you about Seattle Public Utilities‘ plan for a large-scale flush of West Seattle water pipes, to tackle a persistent problem with “brown water.” Crews have been out many nights over those four months, methodically conducting flushing operations, and they’ll be out again tonight – which, SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin tells WSB, will be of particular note:
SPU is approaching a major milestone with the West Seattle flushing project. After tonight’s flushing, we will have completed unidirectional flushing for the entire area shaded in purple on the [above] map. This amounts to 21 miles of water pipes in West Seattle that have been flushed to remove sediment and build-up and minimize the occurrence of discolored water for many West Seattle customers.
Next week we will start reviewing and evaluating all of the data from this first phase of unidirectional flushing in West Seattle. This will help us determine our next steps and focus areas for other neighborhoods in West Seattle that might benefit from flushing.
We are also looking into utilizing some new technology that will allow us to flush certain parts of the water system discharging a minimal amount of water.
Tonight’s flushing is happening at three locations in Admiral. This May followup includes photos from a flushing site we visited late one night, to show you how the process works.
6:18 PM WEDNESDAY: Just days after the CenturyLink fiber Internet outage that lasted all weekend for some West Seattle customers, we’re getting word of another one. The company doesn’t make official outage announcements, but starting around 4 pm – via comments on our previous item, and via e-mail – we started hearing about this. If it’s affecting you too, let us know, and please include your neighborhood.
10:01 AM THURSDAY: We sent an inquiry last night to local CenturyLink media liaisons. Here’s the reply just in from Caitlin Birkenbuel: “On August 10, CenturyLink experienced an outage in a West Seattle neighborhood, which impacted high-speed internet and Prism TV customers. The outage lasted 2.5 hours and was resolved at 7:05pm yesterday evening. We apologize for the inconvenience and would like to thank our customers for their patience during the service delay.”
FRIDAY NIGHT, 11:34 PM: No way to know how many are or have been affected, but we’ve been hearing from some West Seattle CenturyLink users who say their fiber Internet has been out since Friday morning. One is Scott in the 2700 block of 46th SW, who says he first reported the outage around 10 am, was told it should be fixed by 7 pm, then called again two hours later and got a recording with a projected repair time around 11 am Saturday.
Phillip told us via Twitter that his service has been out about that long, and via e-mail earlier in the evening, Nick said CL told him he was one of a triple-digit customer count with an all-day-into-the-night outage. Anyone else?
SATURDAY MORNING, 11:24 AM: Thanks for the comments. Via Twitter, @CenturyLinkHelp, rep Aaron just replied, “There are still a few customers down, but for the most part they should be back up from what I am seeing.”
SATURDAY AFTERNOON, 2:05 PM: … but people in comments and via Twitter are saying they’re still down.
SUNDAY NIGHT, 6:46 PM: See comments for updates from CenturyLink customers who say they’re STILL out. We will be checking with their media/public-affairs department first thing in the morning to try to find out what’s been going on.
Wondering what that Seattle Public Utilities crew in your neighborhood is up to? Might be this. SPU tells WSB that its crews will be around West Seattle for the next few months, doing “routine sewer cleanings and inspections”:
Seattle Public Utilities is cleaning and inspecting sewer pipes throughout your neighborhood. This work helps reduce sewer overflows and identify locations that need repairs or additional maintenance. Homes and businesses will continue to receive normal sewer services.
Crews will use water from fire hydrants to clean the pipes. Using fire hydrants can cause discolored water. Residents experiencing discolored water should run the water for two minutes before drinking.
Crews will be in one location for no more than 2 hours. Regular work hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Homes and businesses will continue to receive normal sewer services. However, you can expect:
Temporary lane closures
Temporary parking restrictions
Temporary street closures
Utility trucks and noise
Discolored water (Safe to drink)
This is *not* part of the ongoing pipe-flushing work, which also can lead to temporary discoloration – that’s for water lines, not sewer lines. And there can be other causes of discolored water, so if it does happen at your residence, let SPU know – 206-386-1800.
If you use the West Seattle Bridge east of 99 at night, it’s a landmark of sorts – Seattle City Light‘s big red neon sign. Soon, its neon will be gone. Here’s SCL’s announcement:
Seattle City Light has contracted with Seattle-based Western Neon Custom Sign Builders to replace the neon lights in the iconic City Light signs at its South Service Center at 4th Ave. S. and S. Spokane Street with LED rope lighting, beginning July 26.
The iconic signs will go dark during the project, which is expected to last up to two weeks. Once complete, the new lights will resemble the classic amber color of the original signs, which were built in the 1920s. The signs do not have Seattle landmark status, but they are the last remaining pair of full “CITY LIGHT” signs from that era. City Light historically had similar signs at its Yesler Substation and control center, the Cedar Falls powerhouse and the Lake Union steam plant.
“Historic signs give continuity to public spaces, becoming part of the community memory. They sometimes become landmarks in themselves, almost without regard for the building to which they are attached, or the property on which they stand,” said City Light Historic Resource Specialist and Architectural Historian Rebecca Ossa, quoting from the National Park Service’s Preservation Brief on Historic Signs. “This project allows City Light to preserve a bit of its early history while demonstrating energy efficient lighting for the thousands of people who pass by the sign every day.”
Replacement of the neon lights in the South Service Center signs is needed because they have outlived their expected life span and have become hard to maintain. Using LED lighting will save energy and save money while maintaining the historical look of the signs.
A team of employees from City Light’s Facilities and Customer Energy Solutions divisions and its Lighting Design Lab designed the changes. The last upgrade to the signs was in the late 1980s.
The City Light signs are actually 18 separate signs. Each letter is its own, separate sign. One set faces west and one set faces east toward Interstate 5.
If you live near any of these projects, we hope you’ve received the notification flyers already. Otherwise, you might have seen “no parking” signage and wondered – so we’re passing along the news from Seattle Public Utilities. Follow the “official notice” links for full details, including maps:
TODAY: In the 1600 block of Edgewood SW in North Admiral, SPU expects to start emergency repair work today on a broken sewer line and “roadway void.” Here’s the official notice.
THIS WEEK: On 46th SW north of Hudson, SPU expects to start sewer-repair work in two spots starting this week. Here’s the official notice.
NEXT WEEK:: One week from today, SPU expects to start work on mainline sewer repair along 50th SW between Spokane and Charlestown. Here’s the official notice.
FIRST REPORT, 3:33 AM: Just a few minutes ago, the power suddenly went out here on the Fauntleroy/Gatewood line. Anyone else? Not on the City Light outage map yet.
3:38 AM: Now it is. More than 3,770 customers (customer = home or business). Looks like roughly Brandon on the north, Henderson on the south.
3:51 AM: No word yet from City Light re: the cause, and we’re not hearing anything related on the scanner. SCL map now suggests a 10 am restoration time, but please keep in mind, that’s only a guesstimate – could be sooner, could be later.
4:05 AM: Though City Light’s Twitter feed is insisting on saying the outage is in Delridge, it’s not. No part of Delridge involved. High Point, Sunrise Heights, Upper Morgan, Gatewood, Fauntleroy, a bit of Westwood.
4:32 AM: Our power just came back on, in Upper Fauntleroy. (added) From comments, sounds like most other affected areas are back too, but the City Light map hasn’t caught up just yet.
4:40 AM: And now it has – outage over after a little more than an hour. Via Twitter, SCL says the outage was the result of “a bad cable.”