West Seattle, Washington
1:42 PM: Thanks to Mark for the tip: A power outage on Alki is affecting 146 customers, according to the Seattle City Light outage map – all residential, given the area that’s shown as affected. The outage is attributed to “bird/animal”; Mark reports that “a crow shorted out high-voltage wire, according to a contractor.” SCL currently estimates the power will return around 3:13 pm, but as always, keep in mind that’s just an estimate – could be sooner or later.
2:37 PM: The SCL map shows the power’s back. If yours isn’t, be sure to call to let them know – 206-684-3000.
If this water-service shutdown tomorrow affects you, Seattle Public Utilities says, you should already have been notified via a door-hanger. But just in case, here’s the full announcement:
About 103 customers in West Seattle will be without water for about 11 hours (Thursday, July 27th) while SPU performs water-meter replacement work. The shutdown is expected to last from approximately 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Affected customers have been notified of the shutdown by door hanger. The sections of main to be shut down are indicated below:
1. The 24 inch main in SW KENYON ST from 9TH AVE SW to 5TH AVE SW
2. The 8 inch main in SW CLOVERDALE ST from EAST TO THE END OF THE MAIN to
3. The 3-8 inch main in STUBS AT SW KENYON ST from NORTH TO END OF MAIN to
4. The 24 inch main in 5TH AVE SW from SW KENYON to GATEHOUSE ASSET NUMBER 7377
5. The 4/6 inch main in 4TH AVE SW from SW THISTLE ST to TO THE END OF THE MAIN NORTH OF SW ELMGROVE
6. The 8 inch main in SW Thistle ST from 4th Ave SW to 5th Ave SW
7. The 8 inch main in SW Elmgrove st from 4th Ave SW to 5th Ave SW
8. The 8 inch main in 5th Ave SW from SW Kenyon st to SW Thistle St
9. The 8 inch main with PRV on it SW Kenyon to the West
10. The 8/2 inch main in SW Kenyon st to the East
Sorry, no SPU map to accompany this – looking at Google Maps, the areas mentioned are north of Westcrest Park – but hopefully the SPU list above will help.
2:42 PM: Thanks to CJ for the tip – 81 homes/businesses are out of power in the Morgan Junction/west Gatewood area, as shown on the Seattle City Light map. No word yet on cause or estimated restoration time.
3:43 PM: The restoration estimate – keep in mind, this is not scientific, and it could come back much sooner or much later – is 7:28 pm. We’re told the problem involves a utility pole (City Light lists it as “equipment failure”) and have a crew in the area working to find out more. West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) tells us they’re not affected. But just to the south, the Shell station is – its pumps are currently taped off – as are the neighboring business New Teriyaki & Wok and Domino’s. McDonald’s has power, as do the businesses on the west side of California.
7:27 PM Three-fourths of those affected are reconnected – 21 still out.
12:51 AM: And those 21 are still out, with restoration now estimated around 4 am. Via comments and e-mail, we’ve learned more about what happened. The next two photos are from David Newell:
Another neighbor told us that City Light crews explained that the outage was “related to a rotten power pole that broke off while a Comcast crew was pulling new lines. The pole came crashing down in the alley and across the patio areas of the condos behind the strip mall housing Domino’s and the mini mart. So lucky no one was injured. The electrical hookup for one the condo buildings was severely damaged.” We’ll be following up with City Light later this morning.
7 AM NOTE: The rest of the customers did get their power back in the early-morning hours.
If you’ll be out late Friday night/early Saturday morning, and possibly Saturday into Sunday, you’ll want to avoid the east half of the West Seattle Bridge (aka the Spokane Street Viaduct). Here’s the alert:
Seattle City Light crews plan to improve electrical system reliability by pulling new wire over the top of the Spokane Street Viaduct near 2nd Avenue South.
To work safely, traffic will be reduced to one lane and the speed limit dropped to 25 mph in both the east and west bound directions of the Spokane Street Viaduct between 1st Avenue South and 6th Avenue South. See the work zone map below. Work will occur on Friday, July 14, and, if necessary, Saturday, July 15.
Drivers should expect slowdowns during this time.
Lane reduction details:
The nights of Friday, July 14 and Saturday, July 15 (if needed)
· Traffic will be reduced to one lane and speed limits dropped to 25 mph in both directions from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
· Washington State Patrol and extra City Light equipment will be positioned in the work zone to promote safety.
· Access to 1st Avenue South and 4th Avenue South ramps will be maintained.
Once energized, the newly installed electrical wire will improve system reliability and add capacity to the South of Downtown (SODO) area.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:04 AM: Back in September 2015, we reported that Seattle Public Utilities wanted to turn the bus yard at 4500 West Marginal Way SW [map] into its future Drainage and Wastewater South Operations Center. At the time, the city was looking at leasing the land. We hadn’t heard anything more about the project since then, but a notice in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin shows the project has been proceeding. The notice includes this description of the project planned for the six-acre site:
The DWW South Operations Center Project would replace or upgrade the main building’s roof and exterior walls and mechanical systems, including heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems. Exterior space improvements are expected to include installation of new buried utilities, repairs to existing stormwater piping and sanitary sewer facilities on and off-site, retrofitting paved areas with stormwater bioretention areas, adding a 40-foot-tall radio tower adjacent to the main building for dispatch and emergency services, installing solar energy and rainwater harvest systems, constructing several lightly loaded structures that would be used primarily for storage and parking, and removing and replacing existing paved surfaces in areas to facilitate site and utility improvements. New structures would likely be supported with new shallow foundations. Additional site improvements would include enhancing safety at an existing railroad and bike path crossing at the site entrance, planting additional trees, and adding up to four electric vehicle charging stations. The completed DWW South Operations Center would operate seven days every week, would be completely fenced, and would be accessible only to those individuals having required authorization.
An online timeline says construction is expected in 2019. The notice published today advises that there’s been a Determination of Non-Significance for the project, meaning SPU believes an environmental-impact statement is not needed. The notice includes two deadlines for the public – comments on the DNS are due by July 24th, and if anyone wants to appeal it, that has to be filed by July 31st.
The notice points to a website for the project but it has few details, so we’re asking SPU for more, including the site’s purchase price and the project’s estimated cost, as well as the “environmental checklist” to which the notice refers, which isn’t on that site yet, though the notice says it should be. Meantime, you can see a bit more about the design on three pages of the SHKS Architects website.
6:24 PM: Since our morning report, the checklist link has been added to the project website – scroll down this page. Also, SPU says the property was purchased for $11,550,000, and that’s included in the project’s estimated cost of $54.2 million.
10:09 AM: Thanks to Diane for the tip – 33 homes are without power in southeast Admiral, centered around 37th SW/SW Hinds. The Seattle City Light outage map says it went out around 9:12 am and that they’re still investigating, hoping to have power back on by 12:30 pm or so. (And as we always note, could be sooner, could be later.)
10:34 AM: And – everybody’s back on, ahead of that prediction.
Several people have asked about this, and we found confirmation on the Seattle Public Utilities website: Yes, if you are a Tuesday customer, there WILL BE regular solid-waste pickup tomorrow. The South Transfer Station is open, too. (Not its counterpart in the north, though – too close to the all-day-and-night Gas Works Park event.) We’ve added this info to our West Seattle 4th of July infopage.
Thanks to the person who just called to let us know: She’s seeing brown water in Seaview (she’s near 45th SW/SW Juneau), and it’s because Seattle Fire crews are continuing to test hydrants. She’s already contacted Seattle Public Utilities (their hotline is 206-386-1800) to be sure they know too. (Yesterday, it was west of The Junction; the day before, Arbor Heights.)
That’s the photo an Arbor Heights resident sent earlier today, wondering why their tap water was discolored. First thing to do if this happens to you: Call the Seattle Public Utilities hotline at 206-386-1800. We suspected it might have been related to hydrant testing, since Seattle Fire had tweeted this back on Friday:
Station 37 firefighters are out testing fire hydrants along 35th Avenue SW today. Join in by checking your home smoke alarms today. pic.twitter.com/ZBvMvYUJSJ
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) June 23, 2017
And that indeed is what the resident was told. But there could be other causes, so they want to hear from you any time there’s something unusual with your water supply.
The city’s Utility Discount Program is expanding, adding help for more seniors, as announced by Mayor Ed Murray in a media briefing today at the Senior Center of West Seattle, with Councilmember Lisa Herbold and Seattle Public Utilities general manager Mami Hara.
This has to do with seniors receiving Social Security and being on Medicare – 3,000 are not getting “the help they need or the help they deserve,” because some benefits are being counted as income even though they’re not, so the city is changing eligibility rules to make sure they can get it. This can save more than $1,000 a year per household, “making their lives a little bit more affordable.”
The city already had a push under way to make sure more people eligible for the program took advantage of it, and participation has more than doubled in the past three years.
Herbold – who chairs the committee that oversees SPU – said she first heard about this eligibility problem last fall, and is glad it’s been fixed. “Another change we made was for folks to qualify for time payments when they have past-due bills” – more people can get some time to do that. She says it’s a matter of “connecting problems that constituents face on a day-to-day basis with the policy work we do in the office.”
Hara said that SPU bills can be discounted 50 percent under the discount program, and for City Light bills, it’s 60 percent. The utilities are working to be “responsive,” she said. And those who sign up for this program only need to renew their registration every three years. Signing up also gets you free passes for transfer-station use, worth up to $145 a year, and free backyard collection of trash and compost for those who can’t get theirs to the curb because of mobility issues.
You can find out more about the Utility Discount Program by going here. Councilmember Herbold also said that the city will be retroactively reviewing those who have been turned down for the program to see if they’re now eligible.
SIDE NOTE: And if you’re a senior with other resource problems/questions – or have someone in your family who is – West Seattleite Irene Stewart from the Age-Friendly Seattle program tells us you can call the free Community Living Connections hotline, 844-348-5464.
The two buildings at Arrowhead Gardens that were without water after Monday’s pipe break will get it back this afternoon, if it’s not back already, according to a spokesperson for AG’s parent nonprofit Senior Housing Assistance Group (SHAG). We followed up after commenters raised concerns in the discussion following our original story. SHAG’s Karen Lucas tells WSB that water was expected to be back around 3:30 pm. While it was off, she says, those affected were able to use facilities in the two buildings that weren’t affected, and water and meals were provided. Eight units were evacuated and the Red Cross was brought in to help; Lucas says those who didn’t have relatives/friends to stay with were put up in hotels. Lucas confirms that the broken pipe is on their property so it’s their responsibility to fix, not Seattle Public Utilities (which is what SPU told us, too), and she said they’re still not sure why the pipe broke, flooding the underground parking area after, she was told, breaking through concrete like “a geyser.” She also wanted to thank the Seattle Fire and Red Cross crews who responded, for doing a “fabulous” job.
11:28 AM: Thanks for the tips – we heard from two people in Highland Park/Riverview before this big power outage even appeared on the Seattle City Light map. More than 2,000 customers (homes/businesses) are out.
11:37 AM: As the map shows, the outage also stretches into parts of White Center and South Park. The SCL map now has a restoration-time “guesstimate” of 2:31 pm – but keep in mind, could be sooner, could be later. We haven’t yet heard what caused it – if you’re seeing SCL trucks, please let us know, since that’s usually a clue. // And remember that dark traffic signals = all-way stops. Someone just messaged us to say there’s already been a crash at 8th/Roxbury.
12:07 PM: West Marginal/Highland Park Way is another major intersection with the lights out, and people “driving recklessly” as a dispatcher relayed a little while ago (monitored via scanner). SCL says a crash is what caused this and they’re still hopeful of having the power back on by 2:30ish.
12:38 PM: Added two photos from 8th/Roxbury – above, SPD is helping with traffic there (there’s a crash and a stalled vehicle); below, SDOT working with the signal box (and a generator).
12:43 PM: At least part of the area has the power back, per comment and texts, after about an hour and a half.
12:54 PM: The SCL map has updated and says the outage is about two-thirds of its original size – now 1,300+ customers, mostly south/east of West Seattle.
1:08 PM: Now down to 560+ customers out.
1:35 PM: And now just a handful.
Until noon, you’re invited to come tour the new Murray combined-sewer-overflow-control “Wet Weather Facility” across from Lowman Beach Park – where a million-gallon storage tank is underground (where the people in the top photo are standing), ready in case a big storm sends too much stormwater and sewage to the Murray Pump Station (named for Murray Avenue SW) across the street. The King County Wastewater Treatment Division built the facility and we’re about to hear from its director Mark Isaacson as well as project manager Marla Coles, King County Council Chair Joe McDermott, and Deputy County Executive Fred Jarrett.
There are treats, informational stations, and tours, right where 48th SW meets Lincoln Park Way and Beach Drive.
ADDED 4:34 PM: Here’s our video of the speakers, who voiced pride in the project and thanks to the neighbors for putting up with years of construction:
Still a bit more to add later!
P.S. Those who took tours today got a look inside the building – if you missed that, here’s the story of our tour last Monday.
Stepping away from the scanner for a few minutes to run an errand late last night, we missed the news that many people had called in about a loud boom and flash, audible/visible from northeast West Seattle. The Seattle City Light map didn’t show any outages. But this morning via Twitter, SCL says it was indeed a power-line situation – across the Duwamish River – “a bird got into the wrong place” at East Marginal and Oregon. A one-customer outage resulted – not shown on the map, but SCL reminds us that a few areas of their service territory remain off-map – and was repaired within three hours.
8:44 PM: Thanks for the texted tip – 53 homes are without power in Gatewood, the Seattle City Light map confirms. No word yet what caused the outage; the estimated restoration time is after 2 am, but remember that those times are “guesstimates” at best – could be sooner, or later. (Let us know if you see a repair truck – text or call 206-293-6302, our 24/7 hotline – thanks!)
10:30 PM: The map is now updated to attribute the outage to “bird/animal” – which is in line with the first comment below. No change in the restoration guesstimate, though.
5:39 AM: Power was restored early this morning – see comments.
(WSB photo, January 2015)
Two and a half years ago, that was the view into the then-under-construction million-gallon combined-sewer-overflow-control tank at what’s now called the Murray “wet weather facility” across from Lowman Beach (named for Murray Avenue SW).
Today, that’s the view from atop the site – which we just toured with a delegation from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, which runs the facility, where you’re invited to a community celebration next Saturday (June 10th, 10 am-noon). The $47 million facility has been operational since last November – when it handled an overflow situation; now the exterior’s complete, too, and it’s party time. This has been eight years in the making, dating back to community meetings in 2009 to talk about options for reducing combined-sewer (the system that takes both stormwater and sewage) overflows into Puget Sound in two areas of central/south West Seattle, part of a wide-ranging court order. The Murray project – which replaced a block of residential buildings – ultimately was designed to include viewpoint, seating space, and art atop and alongside its support building. What looks like lawn, for example, is actually part of a green roof.
You might already have seen the exterior – people were there on this sunny morning doing yoga and walking the stairs. The tank itself is off-limits but we got a look at what’s inside the support building:
12:18 PM: Seattle Public Utilities tells WSB that a six-inch water main has broken on Prescott Avenue SW in northeast Admiral [map], and repairs will require shutting the water off for at least four hours. SPU’s Cornell Amaya says about 45 services (households, etc.) will be affected, on Prescott SW and Prescott Place. If you’re in that area, you might already be experiencing lower pressure and/or discolored water. He adds that the water mains in that area are “pretty old, and sometimes they just break.”
1:43 PM: Update from SPU – the crews worked so fast, the water’s already back on.
A couple times this week, we’ve heard from West Seattleites with discolored (“brown”) tap water. First Gatewood, today Arbor Heights (thanks for the report, and for the photo above). The potential causes are numerous; no water breaks in either case so far as we have heard, so we thought we would remind you of what to do if it happens to you – First thing, call Seattle Public Utilities at 206-386-1800. Usually it’ll turn out to be something simple like firefighters testing hydrants in your area. Here’s what you’ll usually be asked to do – but don’t wait to report it, even if you do suspect it’s something routine – SPU has told us over and over again that they want to know.
9:58 PM: Thanks for the tips/questions. We’re receiving reports that power briefly flickered around north West Seattle – The Junction, Genesee Hill, Admiral. So far no word of the cause, and no WS outage has shown up on the Seattle City Light map. (If you have completely lost power, please alert City Light, 206-684-3000 – and then let us know at 206-293-6302 – thanks!)
10:32 PM: We’ve also heard from Gatewood, High Point, and Alki – where one person says it’s been attributed to balloons getting tangled in a power line, and several report a loud noise preceding the flicker. We’re not likely to hear anything official tonight but will check with SCL in the morning.
6:33 PM: That’s the Seattle City Light map showing the extent of a power outage that started shortly after 6 pm in Brace Point and part of The Arroyos. SCL says 327 customers – homes/businesses – are affected, but no word yet on the outage’s cause. The estimated restoration time is ~9:28 pm but remember that’s just a guess – could be sooner, could be later. (Thanks for the tips, and let us know when the power’s back – 206-293-6302 text or voice – thanks!)
7:18 PM: About half those who originally lost power have it back – 159 are still out, per the map, which now attributes the outage to “equipment failure.”
12:11 AM: The map still shows those customers out after 6 hours, with the restoration estimate now moved back past 2 am. We’ll be asking City Light later today for more information on what failed.
5:30 AM: Around 3 am, the outage area on the SCL map reverted to the original 327 customers. There’s now a restoration estimate of ~8:26 am.
9:23 AM: Just talked to Tyson Lin of SCL. He says the problem is in an underground vault and it’s taking a long time because crews first had to be able to get into the vaults safely – which involved, among other things, pumping out water with vacuum trucks – and then had to test each cable individually to figure out where the problem is. They’re still in the testing phase, Lin says, which they hope to finish by 11 am, and then restoration and repair, assuming they are able to find the specific problem, could take until 3 pm. We also asked why the additional customers lost power again at 3 am; that was because a particular cable had to be deactivated so they could safely reach others for testing.
11:21 AM: Just checked the SCL map for the first time in about an hour and a half and it shows the outage has ended – if your power isn’t back, be sure to call 206-684-3000 to make sure they know.
Two more updates related to the Spokane Street cleanup, now that we’ve arrived at the end of the week. We had asked city spokesperson Julie Moore for some stats and “what’s next,” and here’s that information:
Over the two-day cleanup all along Spokane Street (trash pickup and encampment removal from near the bike trail), the City removed approximately 108 tons of trash and debris. As I described in my earlier email, the area along the bike trail where tents were removed on Wednesday will be an emphasis area and once posted, the City will remove new tents that may try to locate there.
While we are considering options for moving the RVs from that location, we do not have an immediate timeline for doing so. In general, the City is focusing efforts on working with individuals in tent encampments, especially the ones with the greatest public health and safety concerns for the individuals and the surrounding community. The Navigation Team is connecting with those individuals to find solutions that fit their needs and will help move them into safer living situations. Other City crews are addressing the trash related to encampments and illegal dumping in general around the city.
In the meantime, some of the individuals living in the RVs have been collecting trash in bags and setting it out for pickup. The City is amenable to working with them to continue the effort to manage their own trash as we work on a longer-term plan for moving people to alternative shelter or housing situations.
Our crews have repaired nine of the lights under the West Seattle Bridge. Six remain out. Repairing those requires creating clearance around ground vaults where RVs are currently parked. We’re working with Finance and Administrative Services on a plan for when and how that can be done. That work can be accomplished without moving all the RVs.
We’ve also been asking him about the lights that are out on the high bridge, since some commenters wondered about those – Thomsen’s update on that: “We continue to work with SDOT to restore the lights on top of the bridge; that work could be done in about a week.”
As reported here this morning, the promised cleanup is under way along Spokane Street, east of the low bridge, including the area where a bicyclist was attacked last week while riding home from West Seattle. She and others, including West Seattle Bike Connections, pointed out that lights were out on that stretch of the trail and had been out – and reported as out – for months; Seattle City Light said the cleanup, and the sweep of tents encroaching on the path, would facilitate repairs. Today we checked back with SCL spokesperson Scott Thomsen, who told us the lights should be working by week’s end:
We have had workers out there this week, making repairs to lights and wiring where they could work safely. We continue to coordinate our work with the City, which is cleaning up the site to allow our workers better access to the equipment they need to fix. We expect to complete repairs and have the lights back on before dark Friday night.
Meantime, the cleanup operation will continue tomorrow; we went back through the area about an hour ago and there’s clearly still work to do, with bags of trash remaining along the south side of westbound Spokane, just east of where a backhoe was clearing a large dumpsite under the elevated roadway during our visit this morning.
Thanks to Lisa at CAPERS in The Junction for the heads-up after getting a scam call:
I just had someone call saying they were from Seattle City Light and that if I didn’t pay my bill in 20 minutes they would shut off my service. They also asked for a credit card to satisfy the bill.
She didn’t fall for it because she knew that’s NOT how City Light works – this is a phone scam that’s been going on for years, but it’s worth another reminder, since they’re obviously still getting some victims, or else they wouldn’t keep trying. Here’s the City Light webpage dedicated to stopping the scammers – with this advice:
If you suspect a scam attack or have questions regarding your bill, call our Customer Care Center at 206.684.3000 as well as the Seattle Police Department at 206.625.5011.