West Seattle, Washington
Two more West Seattle Crime Watch notes:
SEAVIEW PROWLERS: Just got a call on our 24/7 line (206-293-6302) from a Seaview resident who says two prowlers were in and around his neighbors’ garage, between 47th and 48th and Raymond and Graham, about an hour ago, and took off running when they saw him – descriptive information included white males, beards, hoodies, dark clothing, flashlights. (His neighbors weren’t home at the time but are back now and have been informed, as have police, who he said were in the area looking around.)
MAIL THEFT: Via text, a Westwood-area resident reported: “At 6:45 am on my way to work I noticed mail along 26th SW and 25th SW by SW Thistle. Looks like someone made a spree in opening mailboxes and getting mail and I even saw a few packages open.” The texter was planning to file a police report, last we heard.
Shorewood-on-the-Sound author Sonja Anderson is the star next Friday night (February 5th) at Westwood Village Barnes & Noble, 5-7 pm. Her book is “Sophie’s Quest,” for ages 8-12, in which a mouse and an owl find themselves together aboard a ship headed for the Holy Land. Drop in this Friday night to meet Sonja and see and hear her read from “Sophie’s Quest.” (Purchases made that night, and for five days after, will see part of the proceeds going to SWSHS.)
They’re next door … yet currently, they are officially treated as if they are a world apart: The Westwood/Highland Park Urban Village (WWHPUV) in the city, and White Center in unincorporated King County. This Tuesday night, city and county reps will join the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council to talk about it all together, including the potential of WC annexation and the Seattle 2035 “comprehensive plan.” If you’re interested in either or both sides of the line, be in the upstairs meeting room at Southwest Library, 6:15 pm Tuesday (February 2nd).
As reported here earlier this week, the play structure at Roxhill Park is now fenced off as Seattle Parks gets going on work to enable to return of the custom-crafted turret originally installed with the rebuilt playground in 2013 and removed for safety concerns in 2014. We checked with Parks to find out how long it was likely to take and a few other details. From spokesperson David Takami:
Our crews, specifically, the Concrete Crew, is indeed starting the work to reinforce the section of the Roxhilll Park play area that supports the turret. The unexpected heaviness of the turret had caused it to lean and the underlying structure to slightly sink. The work involves lifting the underlying structure, pouring a new concrete foundation at that location, and reinforcing the recycled plastic structure supporting the turret. Once that is done, the crew will reinstall the turret. Staff will monitor the turret in the weeks and months after the repair work. I’m not sure of the cost but it will be absorbed as part of our annual maintenance budget. The work is expected to take 2 to 3 weeks.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Tending a community garden requires more than planting, weeding, harvesting.
This week, members of the Barton P-Patch community gathered to talk about problems and solutions.
The meeting was mediated by neighborhood district coordinator Kerry Wade of the city Department of Neighborhoods, which runs the P-Patch Community Garden Program and worked with local gardeners to turn this site from dream to reality four-plus years ago. It’s full of special touches, not the least of which is its community pizza oven, which has been at the heart of neighborhood events.
4:58 PM: Thanks to everyone who called/messaged to ask about an incident at 35th and Barton this past hour. Seattle Fire Engine 37 had already closed out of the call before we could get there, but SFD spokesperson Corey Orvold says it was dispatched as a motorcycle crash. The rider was hurt, but not badly enough to require an SFD medic unit. We are checking to see if the aftermath of the crash is affecting traffic.
5:01 PM: Our crew says the scene is already completely clear.
2:44 PM: It’s reported to be in a detached garage on an alley, and under control.
2:50 PM: Firefighters had to break through a door to get into the garage. We don’t know yet what in there was burning. No report of any injuries.
3 PM: One car is in the garage; firefighters have had to ventilate the roof too, and smoke is still coming out.
We don’t know yet how the fire started.
3:18 PM: The response at the scene is beginning to be downsized. Meantime, our crew is back and we’re adding/substituting photos above.
ADDED MONDAY AFTERNOON: We checked today with SFD spokesperson Corey Orvold regarding the cause. She says it was accidental, sparked by fireplace ashes “placed in the garage.”
Thanks to Jissy for the tip – the much-asked-about Westwood Village drive-up mailbox is back. Just last Friday, the USPS confirmed to WSB that it was done repairing the box that was damaged by fire in late August, and would bring it back “soon.” Its arrival is just one day after what was expected to be the busiest mailing day of the holiday season. The USPS had told us that the box couldn’t simply be replaced because it didn’t have a surplus mailbox of this type; this was the second time this year it needed repairs – first time was after a driver hit it in March.
(August 28th photo, courtesy Megan)
How long does it take to fix a fire-damaged mailbox?
More than three months, in the case of the Westwood Village Post Office’s drive-up mailbox, gone since a fire in late August. (Repairs took only a few days when the same box was hit by a driver back in March.)
When we followed up on its continued absence in September, US Postal Service regional spokesperson Ernie Swanson told WSB that no spare boxes of this type were available, so this one had to be fixed.
As prime holiday-mailing season approached, we started asking again about its whereabouts. Today, finally an answer. Swanson says, “Repairs to the damaged mail collection box have been completed and it should be re-installed at the PO soon.”
How soon? Too … soon … to say. Let us know if you see it before we do (206-293-6302, text or voice hotline, day or night, and yes, in this case, the mailbox’s return would qualify as breaking news).
Pier 1 Imports confirms to WSB that it’s closing its Westwood Village store, its last one within Seattle city limits. We inquired after two reader tips, including one pointing out a listing seeking a new tenant for the Westwood space. Here’s what company spokesperson Melissa Simon told us:
Pier 1 Imports will close our West Seattle location in late February 2016. Pier 1 Imports continually reviews new and existing store locations to make sure we’re operating as efficiently as possible. Where necessary, based on that review, we make the strategic business decision to close certain locations on a case-by-case basis. We care about our shoppers in Seattle and have enjoyed serving them over the years. We look forward serving them at our other area locations in East Bellevue and Tukwila on Southcenter Parkway.
The Texas-based company had said earlier this year that it would close about 100 stores, leaving it with around 1,000, but did not release a closure list at the time.
(WSB photo: Barton St. P-Patch)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The city’s P-Patch community garden program is maxed out for now and not expecting to grow in the near future – but not all P-Patches have waiting lists, contrary to popular belief.
That’s just some of what the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council learned Tuesday night from visiting city Department of Neighborhoods reps – including director Kathy Nyland – who came to answer questions and provide updates about some of the department’s programs.
First, as is often the case with neighborhood meetings, an update from police:
As the long holiday weekend ebbs, the everyday world gets ready to rev. So, we’re looking ahead: On Tuesday night (December 1st), the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council has assembled a lineup of guests that’ll be of interest regardless of whether you live/work in those neighborhoods or not. The meeting starts at 6:15 pm, and after some regular WWRHAH committee updates, here’s the main event, as announced by co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick:
6:35-7:45: Department of Neighborhoods (DoN): At our September brainstorm meeting, several residents requested information about P-Patches, grants, and painted crosswalks. We will have a whole team of DoN folks to answer your questions!
Tim Wolfe: Community Investments Division Director
Juan Martinez: Neighborhood Matching Fund Project Manager
Rich Macdonald: P-Patch Garden Program Supervisor OR
Bunly Yun: P-Patch Garden Program Coordinator
Kathy Nyland: Director
Howard Wu: Seattle Department of Transportation
Kerry Wade: Neighborhood District Coordinator
WWRHAH meets upstairs at Southwest Library (35th SW & SW Henderson).
New information today in the case of the 30-year-old man arrested at an Arbor Heights house Tuesday night on suspicion of robbing the Westwood Village Game Stop store earlier that night. His bail is set at $100,000 after his appearance in a jailhouse courtroom downtown this afternoon. And the probable-cause documents say police suspect him and a 39-year-old relative – who is not in custody – of committing this robbery, and are investigating them in connection with three other robberies/major thefts in the past six months:
Thanks to everyone who tipped us about a big police response at an Arbor Heights house last night. We have finally obtained Seattle Police confirmation that the arrest made there was linked to the robbery we covered earlier in the evening at the Westwood Village Game Stop store. A witness to the robbery tells WSB they saw a getaway vehicle and provided its description and license plate to police. Officers found the vehicle at a home near 35th and 104th in Arbor Heights and, with a warrant, searched the house and arrested a 30-year-old man who is now in the King County Jail; the vehicle was towed as evidence. We’re expecting a few more details from police this afternoon, and will add them when available, but after many inquiries today about the AH response, we wanted to publish this as soon as we had confirmation of the link.
Police are investigating a robbery this past hour at the Game Stop store in Westwood Village, right around closing time. We’re just back from talking with officers and the store clerk, who said the robber tried to pepper spray him, then took a swing at him, and eventually got away with some cash. No medical attention needed; no suspect descriptions. We had just left the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, where Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis had mentioned that robberies are a category of crime currently on the upswing citywide – full report to come.
A local restaurant has closed suddenly, blaming a rent increase. Here’s the photo texted by a reader:
The Ripple Café was in the small multi-business building on 35th SW just south of SW Henderson, also home to West Seattle Fish House and Stuffed Cakes. It hadn’t even been open for six months. The King County Assessor‘s records show that the 86-year-old building changed hands this year for the first time in 19 years, sold to WD Group LLC in June for $600,000. While that LLC has a Seattle mailing address, one of its managers lists an address in San Francisco; we’re attempting to contact the owners for comment, and have also messaged the Ripple Café’s proprietor. The building recently underwent some external renovations; the site is zoned for up to four stories of potential mixed-use development, but a check of the online files shows no proposals on the record so far.
In case you’re wondering about the building’s other tenants, we went over a short time ago to verify the closure and while there, stopped in to check with Stuffed Cakes proprietor Donna Lawson. She confirms the change in landlords and a rent increase – which she expected, given the sale – but says her business is doing well and she’s staying. (She also mentioned that the San Francisco owner grew up in Seattle, so does have local ties.)
(WSB file photo: ‘Wall of buses’ along Roxhill Park, across from Westwood Village)
It’s been two years since the Westwood-Roxhill Community Council started seeking safety improvements along the Roxhill Park section of the Westwood-area “transit center” – particularly lighting. We’ve covered walking tours of the area going back to the end of 2013, where WWRHAH leaders including co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick pointed out the safety issues. In January of this year, Metro told WWRHAH that they had procured a $170,000 county grant for lighting and ADA sidewalk upgrades to the area – but it hasn’t happened yet, so Helmick just followed up again, with various people in the loop, including King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s transportation adviser Chris Arkills, who investigated and then forwarded this update from Metro’s Paul Roybal:
Thank you for your inquiry about the status of King County Metro’s project to construct sidewalk and lighting improvements at the Westwood Village C Line Terminal. Over the past several months, Metro’s preliminary design work has included:
· coordination with the City of Seattle to address technical design issues,
· completion of federal environmental review requirements, and
· identification of City of Seattle permitting requirements.
Certain project elements, including the lighting improvements, trigger requirements of the City of Seattle Street Improvement Permit process. This process requires additional coordination with various City departments, and is typically completed in a three- to six-month time frame. Concurrently, Metro is actively working with the City of Seattle to identify options to reduce the construction duration once permitting is complete. Metro’s design team now estimates that construction will be complete in mid-2016.
Some of the other problems pointed out by WWRHAH in the 2013 walking tour have already been addressed.
Until 7 pm, author and longtime West Seattleite Shirley Enebrad is at Barnes & Noble/West Seattle for this month’s edition of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society-presented literary series Words, Writers, & West Seattle. She’s currently based in Honolulu but remains well-known here for her years not only as a neighbor but also as an entrepreneur – she co-owned The Good Book – and television producer. B&N is in the midst of a mini-Makers Faire so Shirley is talking tonight about the process of “making” writing, from TV to books to web, as well as speaking about her book “Over the Rainbow Bridge,” chronicling her 9-year-old son Cory‘s death from cancer. Shirley was introduced by series coordinator Dora-Faye Hendricks.
This year’s Community Art Showcase at Southwest Library featured 112 creations by 57 artists and musicians – and librarian Jane Gibson says that if you’re among them, tonight and tomorrow are your last chances to go get your work and bring it home! She shared the photo collage of participants; click the image for a larger version. The library at 35th SW & SW Henderson is open until 8 tonight and 10 am-8 pm tomorrow.
(Police and fire investigators at scene on Saturday)
An 18-year-old man is in jail, suspected of setting the fire that damaged a house in the 9200 block of 31st Place SW on Saturday afternoon. SFD confirmed on Monday that the fire had been ruled arson, but we weren’t able to confirm until this morning that a suspect is in custody. Court documents say he is the boyfriend of the 18-year-old woman who was found outside the house, “screaming and crying,” as it burned. She is reported to have told investigators the suspect lived inside the house, and that when they had argued earlier in the day, he had threatened to set it on fire. She also said the house, described by SFD and in an online complaint as “vacant,” had belonged to a relative of her boyfriend and that he had been staying there because he was otherwise homeless. A neighbor told police he had seen the man walking away from the house just before an “explosion” that preceded the fire. The suspect was found “on a pathway near the Roxhill Park entrance,” according to the probable-cause document, and recognized by officers “from prior contacts” (he does not, however, appear to have a criminal record, either felony or misdemeanor). He was booked into King County Jail on Saturday night; on Monday afternoon, a judge set his bail at $25,000. Prosecutors have until tomorrow to file charges.
(Added: Photo courtesy Conrad)
2:51 PM: Seattle Fire has a “full response” headed to a possible house fire in the 9200 block of 31st Place SW, which is in Westwood (map). More to come.
(Smoke was visible for blocks – photo courtesy Sebastian, looking SW over Westwood Village)
2:55 PM UPDATE: It’s a confirmed fire and SFD units have water on it.
(WSB photos from here down)
3 PM UPDATE: Now reported to be under control. One possible injury.
3:07 PM UPDATE: Via Twitter, SFD describes the house as “vacant.” That’s borne out by this DPD record for the address that SFD has logged for the fire – a complaint made and investigated less than a month ago.
3:20 PM UPDATE: Nobody hurt, we’ve confirmed with SFD. Fire investigators are en route to look into the cause. The fire is mostly out except for some smoldering in the walls. Neighbors tell us it’s been a problem house for a year or so.
3:35 PM UPDATE: Update – we’ve since been told a firefighter suffered a hand injury and has been taken to the hospital.
5:58 PM UPDATE: As mentioned in comments, fire and police investigators have been there; we went back over for photos.
Still no official word on the cause, but the police presence confirms they are investigating the possibility of arson.
MONDAY UPDATE: Lt. Sue Stangl from SFD says investigators determined that this fire was “set,” and so Seattle Police are investigating. Damage to the house is estimated at $100,000, and $5,000 to its contents.
Just in via text (206-293-6302, 24/7), our first coyote report of the fall:
Just spotted a large coyote in the street on SW Thistle, near the alley between 24th & 25th Ave. I slowed down thinking it was a stray dog, then watched it go into the walkways in between the apt buildings there. Just want to spread the word since it’s in a highly populated area.
As also noted in our exchange with the texter, that’s across the street from the stretch of Longfellow Creek that runs east of the Chief Sealth International High School/Denny International Middle School campus. But coyotes can turn up anywhere, whether a greenbelt is nearby or not – just browse our eight-plus-year archive of sighting reports for ample evidence of that. When you see one, do your best to scare it away – more for its good than yours – as explained here.