West Seattle, Washington
Two reader reports received this past hour, both of which include items big and small you might be able to help find:
STOLEN ELEMENT: The photo and report are from Kanti:
Stolen 2004 Black Honda Element WA AWN9996 from our home at 30th and Henderson. Vehicle has rocket box that carried supplies to Standing Rock, homemade Bernie 2016 sticker for WA delegate to the DNC in Philly and many many other heroic events. May we find her soon and continue our journey in sacred activism.
SPD incident number: 17-458428.
CAR BREAK-IN DURING SCHOOL CONCERT: From Jennifer:
Tonight while we were attending our son’s 6th grade band concert at the Chief Sealth auditorium, someone broke the back window of our car and stole several items inside. Most notable are a blue & white striped 150 ft arborist rope in a blue canvas bag, a battery-powered lantern, and two brand new pairs of Nike cleats we purchased today to give our son for Christmas. I’m hoping maybe these things will be discarded by the thieves and end up somewhere else in West Seattle – especially the cleats. They are size 5 and 5.5, one indoor pair (black/white) and one outdoor (gray/pink). This happened between 6 8:30 pm on the side of the school and we have reported it to Seattle Police. If anyone finds the items, I’d be happy to come pick them up!
We’ll add the incident # when we get it.
In the continuing saga of West Seattle’s drive-up/ride-up mailboxes … Carey sent the photo tonight with word that the Westwood Village Post Office‘s outdoor mailbox is out of service. So you’ll either need to walk your mail into the lobby, or use the box outside the West Seattle Junction Post Office (4412 California SW).
Quick toplines from this past Tuesday night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meeting at Southwest Library:
CRIME TRENDS: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith said a major problem in the area – shoplifting at Westwood Village – is down significantly, after months of emphasis patrols. (More on that in our upcoming Southwest District Council report.) SPD’s work at Westwood will soon be enhanced by an observation station.
SAFETY: WWRHAH member Earl Lee reported that the long-awaited lighting of the bus stop across Barton from WW Village is up and working:
HALA UPZONING APPEAL: As reported previously, WWRHAH is participating in the citywide coalition that is appealing the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed upzoning in the city’s HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability plan. The coalition is now awaiting hearing dates, planning to go door to door to talk with neighbors, and raising money for legal help.
NO GENERAL MEETING IN JANUARY, BUT … Since the first Tuesday is the day after New Year’s, no general WWRHAH meeting until February. But watch wwrhah.org for TBA details of a January 9th meeting about Roxhill Park.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Outside of 911 calls when there’s trouble – what resources can police offer you to address chronic crime/safety problems?
A primer of sorts was presented at Tuesday night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meeting, led by co-chair Kim Barnes.
The discussion started with Joe Everett, who is the (relatively) new City Attorney’s Office liaison to the Southwest Precinct. He explained that the position is meant to “address chronic problems as they are emerging … before they turn into really big incidents.”
That’s Riky‘s daughter. Riky sent the photo with this Crime Watch report:
I know a wagon isn’t the same as a car or something more significant but my daughter’s Radio Flyer Wagon was stolen from our porch yesterday and I’m so upset over it. She loves it and we use it constantly. Any tips on its location are greatly appreciated.
(As we replied, yes, a wagon IS significant!) This happened near 28th SW and SW Roxbury, and a police report has been filed; meantime, if you see a wagon like this abandoned somewhere in that area, let us know.
Never mind waiting for a developer to maybe have to be responsible for a walkway along 25th SW – the city has decided to build it after all:
We just got word from SDOT that the community-requested Chief Sealth Walkway Improvement Project is back to the original plan, along 25th SW as well as 26th SW, three months after the announcement the project would be halved.
In August, we announced that we’d be removing from our plans the paving of the walkway on 25th Ave SW between SW Trenton and SW Cloverdale streets. After further evaluation and feedback from the community, we’re happy to report that plans to pave the 25th Ave SW walkway are back on. The walkway on 26th Ave SW will also be improved, as has been the case throughout design. We’ll be finalizing the design soon and expect construction to start in mid-2018. Please see the project website to view the updated project design.
This announcement comes just a few hours before this month’s meeting of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition, which had been pushing back against the city’s decision to cut the project. Since the city’s announcement the project would be cut, the unimproved 25th SW walkway has been the scene of incidents involving students, including this one last month.
Live, work, study, shop in Westwood, Roxhill, and/or Arbor Heights? Be one of the neighbors making things happen via the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition, which gathers Tuesday night, 6:15 pm at Southwest Library. Neighborhood safety is a big topic for tomorrow night, with guest speakers Community Police Team Officer John O’Neil and Southwest Precinct city-attorney liaison Joe Everett, who will talk with you about “empowering the community and leveraging city resources to deal with chronic neighborhood issues” such as abandoned houses (with or without squatters) and problem houses. Also from SPD, Operations Lt. Ron Smith will have the area’s newest crime trends/stats. And lots of “quick discussion items” (see them all in our calendar listing – and bring your own!). Just go to the upstairs meeting room at the library, which is at 9010 35th SW.
The days are getting shorter, and lighting matters more than ever – especially at transit stops. But the very-long-awaited lighting improvements for the area along the north side of Roxhill Park aren’t in place yet, even though the other part of the project – an upgraded sidewalk – is complete. Community advocate Amanda Kay, who fought for the improvements as a founder and co-chair of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition, asked Metro why. The explanation arrived this week: The four “pedestrian-scale” lights that were to be installed were damaged during shipping. So they’re now awaiting replacements. They’re hoping to have the lights in place before the end of the month, along the stretch between the layover area and the passenger waiting area.
Staffers from the Westwood Village QFC and executives from parent corporation Kroger cut a ribbon this morning to celebrate the completion of its $2.8 million remodel. The party also included gifts for the day’s first customers, and cake:
Among the remodeling work: All-new fixtures, some exterior refreshes, as well as changes to the meat/dairy sections.
Got word today from QFC that it’s planning an event Wednesday morning to celebrate the completion of its $2.8 million Westwood Village remodeling project. At 8 am, they will hand out gift bags to the first 200 customers, with “a coupon for a ‘free breakfast’ (a dozen eggs, package of bacon, muffins, and carton of orange juice) as well as a QFC gift card. The gift cards will be for $5, with one for $300 mixed in.” The celebration also will feature free cake and coffee, with a ribboncutting at 8:30 am.
One year ago, goats took on the 22nd SW/SW Henderson slope – “before” photo above, “after” photo below:
Next Saturday (October 21st), volunteers of all ages – with community-service credit available for students – are invited to a followup cleanup. The photos and announcement are from Sara Dominguez:
REMEMBER THE GOATS?
Last year, through a neighborhood grant from the city, about 50 goats from Vashon came over to clear out blackberry and ivy from an overgrown area by the stairs at 22nd and SW Henderson St. Then community members worked to clear out the trash, lay down geotextile, and spread mulch to deter future overgrowth and negative activity that seems to increase with it. It is time to finish the laying of the textile on part two and mulching with donated mulch from the city.
WE NEED YOU (and your toes protected in sturdy shoes and hands protected by gloves if possible) to help lay the textile and spread the mulch. We’re hoping to get most of it done in one day and have a tool trailer with shovels and wheel barrows for the day. Please come on by from 10-4 to make it happen.
A certified Seattle Public School Teacher will be on hand to help students earn their community service hours and sign forms if they are in need of fulfilling their 60 hours. Come one, Come all.
When: Saturday, October 21st, 2017 10 am-4 pm
Location: Stairs leading up from 22nd and Henderson
Clothing required: Closed toed shoes, heavy pants (jeans better than leggings), raincoat/pants for the weather, and gloves would be helpful
For students – “six possible service Hours to be earned (and followup dates if you would like to continue with the project and earn more.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Last year’s goat-enhanced cleanup was a followup to the Westwood/Roxhill Find It, Fix It Walk (WSB coverage here) two months earlier.
FIRST REPORT, 2:28 PM: A “brush fire” call that’s been open since late morning in the Roxhill Park area is actually an underground peat fire, according to Seattle Parks, which says it’s under control but has claimed a few trees. Parks also says part of the park will be closed TFN because of the fire. We’ll be heading over to find out more. The peat bog in the park was restored years ago but has gone dry because of a variety of problems that the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition has long been trying to get the city to address. More to come.
3:04 PM UPDATE: We are at the park now. SFD and Parks are working together to dig into the peat to try to get to a not-burned area so they can cut off the fire. They have had to tear out some trees to get to it.
(And yes, that’s a TV helicopter.) What looks like smoke in our photos, we are told, is ash. Peat fires can burn for days, weeks, even months, so SFD is hoping this hasn’t extended too far. It’s at the southeast corner of the park.
3:56 PM UPDATE: Back at HQ now, and adding more images.
Since the fire isn’t out, SFD can’t say for sure how it started, but Deputy Chief Gene Zimmerman told us firefighters have been out a few times in recent days to extinguish “small warming fires” in that area of the park. We will check back in early evening but right now, this is NOT affecting the play area on the west side of the park, except that an SFD line is running to the fire area from a hydrant on 29th SW on the southwest side of the park. (added) This view of digging to fight the fire …
…is reminiscent of a view from the Seattle Municipal Archives, dated 1961, of peat being dug up in the area during road work (we’ve published this photo before):
FRIDAY NOTE: SFD closed out the call late Thursday night. We haven’t received a response yet to our question for them, whether the fire’s considered extinguished, but we went over at 5:30 pm for a look:
All that remains is a big muddy area, with chain-link fence around it. The paths to the east and to the north (toward the bus stop) are taped off, but nothing else in the park is affected. We’ll be checking with Seattle Parks, and again with SFD, next week.
For the second time this week, the principals of Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School have sent families a letter about an incident involving students walking near the campuses. Thanks to Denny principal Jeff Clark and several Sealth parents for forwarding it minutes ago:
Dear Denny/Sealth families:
It has been an exciting start to school, and with our scholars’ growing independence – particularly when they are out in the community – there may be situations that challenge their personal safety.
We want to take this opportunity to let you know that we are working with scholars to ensure they maximize their personal safety and their comfort with reporting potentially unsafe behavior. We also want to highlight an incident where students saw an inappropriate and disturbing behavior, and correctly reported it to school staff.
Today, two 11th-grade scholars were returning to Chief Sealth from Westwood Village. They were near the intersection of Cloverdale and 26th Avenue SW when they noticed an adult male exposing himself. The students immediately reported the situation to staff. Administration took immediate action and the Seattle Police Department were notified. We are very proud of how our students responded to this situation and want to encourage all our scholars to report appropriately.
At school, we continue to differentiate “reporting” from “tattle-telling.” Reporting is a responsibility when someone is hurt, in danger or in an unsafe situation. We are providing a link to some additional information that might be helpful during these discussions: http://www.seattle.gov/police/community-policing/youth-safety-tips
Please be assured that the safety and security of our students is a top priority at both Sealth International School and Denny International School. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The letter was signed by Clark and by Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer.
26th SW is the path along which the city still plans walkway improvements, while 25th SW – where students reported being approached inappropriately back on Monday – is the area where they’ve been canceled pending a future development.
2:11 PM: Just announced by Seattle Police, a second arrest in connection with last month’s deadly shooting of Edixon Velasquez outside his home on 31st SW in Westwood:
A 19-year-old male was arrested this afternoon in Auburn by the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force. The suspect will be booked into the King County Jail after he has been interviewed by detectives. This remains an active and on-going investigation.
The first suspect arrested, Velasquez’s 21-year-old ex-girlfriend Anna Kasparova, remains jailed in lieu of $1,000,000 bail, charged with first-degree murder and scheduled for arraignment later this week. More to come…
3:06 PM: The task force is associated with the US Marshal’s Office, whose regional spokesperson tells us that investigators learned that the suspect “was associated with” a resident of an Auburn mobile-home park, and found him with others in the mobile home, then arrested him “without incident.” Still working to find out more.
Thanks to the parents who just shared this:
Dear Denny and Chief Sealth Scholars and Families,
We want to share information with you regarding an incident that was reported this morning involving two of our 10th-grade scholars on their way to school. At 8 a.m. this morning, two 10th-graders, one boy and one girl, were walking to school on 25th Ave SW between Westwood Village and SW Thistle St., when they were approached by an adult stranger on foot. The man got close to the girl and made inappropriate suggestive comments to her. The man was wearing a black sweatshirt with his hood on. The two scholars did everything right — they attempted to ignore him, started walking more quickly to get away from him and went straight into the school to report it. Chief Sealth staff called the police, who responded quickly to take a statement. The police will be in the area, along with extra school staff, during dismissal and arrival times as they follow-up on this incident.
As a precaution, we are reminding our scholars about walking safety tips. We would appreciate your help by having a similar conversation at home. The walking safety advice includes:
• Pay close attention to your surroundings, avoid “automatic pilot.”
• Walk with a purpose; project an assertive, business-like image.
• Use common sense; plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
• Stick to well-lit areas.
• Develop a plan before you see trouble. Crossing a street or entering a store may get you out of a potentially bad situation.
• If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
• Consider wearing clothing and shoes that you can move freely and quickly in, especially when walking or waiting for the bus.
• Carry minimal items; overloading yourself can make you appear vulnerable.
• Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings. Avoid shortcuts. Walk confidently. Scan your surroundings and make eye contact with people.
• Avoid walking alone at night. As much as possible, walk or travel with a friend, even during the daytime.
• Immediately report anything suspicious to trusted adults (school staff and family members).
As always, thank you for your help and partnership!
Jeff Clark, Principal, Denny International High School
Aida Fraser-Hammer, Principal, Chief Sealth International High School
That’s the same area where SDOT cut plans for pathway improvements, saying a developer will likely have to make them within “several years.” That will be discussed at tomorrow night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meeting, 6:15 pm Tuesday at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW).
PS: While processing this for publication, we also received a copy directly from the principals.
Friends of the Southwest Branch Library are your hosts during the Community Art Showcase‘s opening reception, continuing at the library until about 4 pm. Among the artists there, Steve and Lori Douglas:
Other art on display includes this guitar by Amanda Musclerat:
And Vera Sterling‘s “Best of Seattle”:
You have time to see the art show if you can’t get there by 4 – it’s on display at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW) for most of the rest of this month.
Catching up on some of the new businesses that are on the way … we start with two Westwood Village notes tonight. The space next to Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor), from which NK Nails moved to take the former Jamba Juice space on the east side of the center, will become a haircut shop called SportClip, according to notices posted on the door. It’s a chain geared toward men – in particular, men who like watching sports on TV, which SportClips promises will be “everywhere” in its shops. The notice on the door says they’re hoping “to open around end of October, beginning of November.” … And on the south side of the center, along Barton, another nationwide company is setting up shop – the long-vacant space that back in 2013 had a Panda Express penciled in is now becoming a branch of ATI Physical Therapy.
Westwood-area community advocates are ramping up their campaign to get the city to restore what it cut out of the Chief Sealth Walkways Improvement Project earlier this year. And they need your help.
As reported here in August, the city cut the community-proposed, grant-funded project in half because a development plan along 25th SW is expected and the developer would be expected to pay for similar improvements. The city acknowledged, though, that the improvements could be “several years” away, but in the meantime, they say, they’re only going to build the 26th SW path.
Community members say the idea of a developer maybe eventually building the 25th SW path is too uncertain and too far off, and want SDOT to recommit to the full project. They are concerned about safety of those who use the undeveloped path – not just nearby students – and the area’s status as a long-running eyesore (as noted on the Find It Fix It Walk last year).
The walkway-project status is on the agenda for next Tuesday’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meeting, and Marianne McCord – who shared the photos – says they are hoping for a show of support (6:15 pm October 3rd, Southwest Library, 9010 35th SW). If you can’t be there, e-mail NSFChiefSealthWalkway@seattle.gov – or, even if you can.
Now that it’s Thursday afternoon, it’s time to look ahead at some of the weekend highlights, in case you haven’t already seen them in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar. We start with the Lantern Festival and Competition in the Galleria at Chief Sealth International High School (2600 SW Thistle), featuring a chance to win prizes for handmade lanterns, and performances including a lion dance. The Van Lang Vietnamese Cultural and Language School is presenting the free event and hoping you’ll be there, 4:30-8:30 pm – all ages welcome! (Check our West Seattle Saturday lineup that morning for schedule specifics; it’ll wrap up with a lantern handout and night walk with lanterns starting at 8 pm).
12:42 PM: Seattle Parks reports that Southwest Pool – which would usually be in the middle of a lap-swimming session right now – is temporarily closed. There’s a problem with the HVAC system, and crews are on scene working to fix it. They hope to reopen later today; we’ll update when we get word of that.
3:40 PM: As of just before 3, the pool is open again.
2:42 PM: Just in from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: 21-year-old Anna V. Kasparova is charged with first-degree murder in Tuesday night’s West Seattle shooting death of her 25-year-old former boyfriend Edixon Velasquez, and prosecutors are asking that her bail be doubled to $1 million. We’re reading the charging documents now and will be adding details as we go. More…
2:57 PM: The details in the charging documents are largely the same as those in the probable-cause documents that we reported after Kasparova’s bail hearing Thursday afternoon, saying that she had messaged Mr. Velasquez saying she wanted to meet with him at his house but did not want to come inside, and that after he went out, ostensibly to help her park her car, a man walked up to it, pulled him out, and after that man ran away and Kasparova drove her car away, Mr. Velasquez was on the ground with two gunshot wounds. The account of what was shown on a neighbor’s surveillance video, however, has a few additional details:
This video shows a black sedan drive by Velasquez’s residence two times (driving off camera each time) and returning a third time. At this time, the black sedan, without trouble, pulls into a parking spot just across the street from the victim’s residence. It remains there for approximately 45 seconds, when it inexplicably moves out of that parking spot and back into the street. The black sedan then attempts to parallel park in front of Velasquez’s residence. This new parking spot is quite large (at least two car lengths long) yet the black sedan stops partially in the street. Approximately a minute later, Velasquez comes out of his residence and walks up to the driver’s side of the black sedan. A female gets out of the driver’s seat, and Velasquez gets into the driver’s seat and appears to help park the vehicle. The female curiously walks across the street and some yards away, appearing to take cover behind a parked vehicle. Simultaneously, a male in a hooded jacket or sweatshirt and blue jeans comes into camera view and walks right up to the driver’s door of the black sedan. The male appears to open the driver’s door and pull Velasquez out of the car. There appears to be barely a struggle, as Velasquez falls to the ground (and remains there until police arrive). The hooded male runs away on foot while the female appears to calmly walk back over towards Velasquez. The timing is such that the female and the hooded male actually cross paths, neither appearing to be startled or concerned by the other. The female walks right up to Velasquez’s body, making no attempt to help him or check on his well-being. Instead, she immediately gets back into the black sedan and drives away.
The charging document offers no further information about the possible identity of the other suspect, nor about a motive. But prosecutors summarize the information above in their document as, “the defendant appears to have set the victim up for this murder, luring him out of his home with a ruse.” They argue for the increased bail by saying, “The State believes that the violent and premeditated ambush in this case, coupled with the defendant’s utter lack of remorse, is strong evidence that the defendant poses a significant danger to the community.” She is scheduled to be arraigned – the hearing at which an initial plea is entered – on October 5th.
7:38 PM: The King County Jail roster listing for Kasparova indicates that the judge did indeed grant the request to double her bail, which is now listed there as $1,000,000. In addition, there’s an indication that police do know the identity of someone else being sought in the case – a name is listed as “accomplice” on the “superform” sent with the charging documents, but there are no details about that person, no information on what role they are believed to have played, nor are they listed on the jail roster, which we’re continuing to watch. Also, a commenter on an earlier story mentioned that this GoFundMe page is raising money for memorial expenses.
1:53 PM: Just in from SPD – a 21-year-old woman has been arrested and jailed in connection with last night’s murder in the 8100 block of 31st SW, and a second suspect is being sought – no name or description yet. They’re still seeking tips at 206-233-5000 – the case is by no means closed. The victim was shot to death in the street outside his home just before 7 pm last night; he has not yet been publicly identified. Police say today’s arrest was made in Burien, and that they do not believe the deadly shooting was random.
2:31 PM: The suspect is likely to appear in court tomorrow, at which time probable-cause documents will likely reveal more about the case. Meantime, we’ve checked her record, and, at least in this state, it has no felonies. She was arrested two and a half years ago on suspicion of 4th-degree domestic-violence assault but, documents say, the city of Burien – where she was reported to be living – declined to file charges.
7:01 PM: Emergency responders are arriving in the 8100 block of 31st SW [map], where someone is reported to have been shot, according to scanner traffic. Police are reported to be looking for a suspect. More to come.
7:14 PM: According to radio transmissions, a black Jetta might have taken someone away from the scene, headed south from 31st. The victim, a man around 25-30 years old, with at least two gunshot wounds, was said to be undergoing CPR.
7:27 PM: SFD confirms that the victim has been declared dead at the scene. That would make this the fourth homicide investigation of the year in West Seattle, less than two weeks after the third.
7:55 PM: Homicide Unit detectives have arrived, our crew reports, as has citywide media. Police say they are looking for one suspect, but no description has been made public.
9:15 PM: We are back at the scene, where Det. Mark Jamieson has just briefed media. No arrest, no description – the killer is believed to have fled on foot and then gotten into the aforementioned car. The victim was found in the street, and evidence – shell casing(s), we learned earlier – indicates he was shot there, but there’s no info about whether he lived in the area. Police are expected to be on scene at least a few more hours. 31st is blocked at Thistle on the south.
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: One suspect is in jail, another is being sought, police tell us. We’ve started a new story here.