FOLLOWUP: Bail set at $25,000 for suspect in Saturday house fire

October 6, 2015 at 9:40 am | In Crime, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, Westwood | 2 Comments

(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.

UPDATE: Fire at vacant Westwood house; firefighter injured

October 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, Westwood | 19 Comments

(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.

West Seattle coyotes: Just spotted, in the street

September 30, 2015 at 11:15 pm | In Coyotes, West Seattle news, Westwood, Wildlife | 3 Comments

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.

FOLLOWUP: About the missing, fire-damaged Westwood mailbox

September 22, 2015 at 11:14 am | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, Westwood | 3 Comments

(August 28th photo, courtesy Megan)
From the “in case you were wondering too” file: Three and a half weeks after the fire that destroyed mail and led to removal of the mailbox outside the Westwood post office, we asked USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson if it would be back any time soon. His response: “There is no spare mail collection box of this type available. So we are repairing the old one. The process is underway and we hope to have it ‘back in place’ in the not too distant future. I can’t give you a date for that just yet.” We’re still checking on the fire investigation, but we’ve been asked several times recently about the box’s status, so here’s that followup in the meantime. If you need an outdoor dropbox, the Junction post office (California between Genesee and Oregon) still has one.

HAPPENING NOW: Raingarden tours in Sunrise Heights and Westwood as King County marks completion of its first ‘green stormwater infrastructure’ project

September 20, 2015 at 1:44 pm | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 1 Comment

1:44 PM: Looking for something to do this afternoon? After King County Councilmember Joe McDermott and project manager Mary Wohleb ceremonially cut a big yellow ribbon, raingarden tours are under way in Sunrise Heights and Westwood until 4 pm – find the map here. It’s all to celebrate the completion of 91 roadside raingardens in planting strips spread across 15 blocks in those two neighborhoods, to keep stormwater out of the combined-sewer system and, in turn, keep untreated wastewater from overflowing into Puget Sound when the Barton Pump Station in Fauntleroy is overwhelmed. This is one of two King County Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) reduction projects in West Seattle that date back to early public meetings in 2009, and it was the county’s first-ever project of this type (the other project is the million-gallon Murray CSO storage tank being built across from Lowman Beach Park).

ADDED 3:24 PM: First, our video of the short round of speeches that began the event – Kristine Cramer from the KC Wastewater Treatment Division spoke first, then Councilmember McDermott and Wohleb.

As McDermott pointed out, “Neighbors spoke up, and the county listened.” That hinted at the pre-construction controversy for both West Seattle CSO projects. After early meetings dating back to 2007, three options for reducing the Barton basin (map) overflow were presented in 2010, and this was one of them; the other two involved stormwater-storage facilities on the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse back lot, or under upper Fauntleroy Way across from the ferry dock, which generated much opposition, given the historic unofficial park status of the area.

Once the “green stormwater infrastructure” plan was announced in late 2010, that too generated skepticism – the city had tried it in Ballard and that did not go well, to say the least. In 2011, the county tried to calm the most common concerns with a special meeting to address them.

Before today’s ceremony, we talked with project manager Wohleb, who said none of the fears had borne out, so far. No ponding, for example – if anything, she said, the bioswales are draining water more quickly than expected. While this coming fall/winter will be the first rainy season post-completion, some raingardens were done before last winter, so we asked if they have any data. Not so far, in part because the Barton Pump Station itself has been out of commission for construction, too, KCWTD says.

Wohleb also had words of praise for the entire project team, including the contractors >Goodfellow Brothers and designers SVR. Also mentioned today: The copious amount of communication with neighbors (look at all the block-by-block updates on this page, just as an example).

WHAT’S NEXT: If the county needs more stormwater to be taken out of the system, four more blocks could get raingardens – shown in the project map above as “delayed”; they were designed and permitted, just in case. If you’re in the project area and interested in a home raingarden or cistern, the rebate program through RainWise is funded through next year; check it out to see if you’re eligible.

And note that projects like this are in the works for Highland Park and South Park – here’s the county project page for that.

Something to say about the Barton CSO project? The county has set up an online survey – just go here.

SUNDAY: Celebrate completion of Barton CSO roadside-raingarden project in Sunrise Heights, Westwood

September 17, 2015 at 11:56 am | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | Comments Off

The rain falling right now reminds us of what’s coming up Sunday afternoon in the Sunrise Heights and Westwood neighborhoods – the King County Wastewater Treatment Division‘s celebration of the completion of the Barton Combined Sewer Overflow Control project. 15 blocks now have roadside raingardens after two seasons of construction; a ceremonial ribbon-cutting is planned at 1 pm Sunday at 32nd SW and SW Kenyon, and then from 1:30-4 pm, tours will be offered of “three recently planted blocks.” It’s also a chance to get updated information about the project, including the ongoing RainWise program, offering incentives for people in the target area to install rain gardens and/or cisterns. This project has been much-discussed, going all the way back to early meetings six years ago, so now that it’s done – whether you’re coming to the celebration or not – the county’s offering a survey for feedback – find it here.

@ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council: Updates on crime/safety, transportation, The Bog, more…

September 8, 2015 at 4:00 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | Comments Off

Before this week’s round of community meetings gets under way, we have one more to recap from last week – the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council‘s first meeting since June.

CRIME FOLLOWUP: As WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick pointed out, the June meeting (WSB coverage here) focused on crime, especially chronic problems in the South Delridge area. Some action had ensued – “some flare-ups, some diedowns.” And then Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores got up to speak. He’s one of two Southwest Precinct CPT officers right now – the team had been up to 4 just a few months ago, but, he said, one member has been promoted and another has been assigned to a technology project.

In this area in the past two months, he said, SPD has tallied:

-112 calls for suspicious activity/circumstances
-19 residential burglaries
-13 harassment/threat calls
-10 assaults
-6 car prowls
-2 armed robberies

After the June WWRHAH meeting, Officer Flores said, they were clear on what needed to be done in the South Delridge area – they met with several other city departments, got some CPTED principles applied to the area, but they are still working on some things, like graffiti-vandalism cleanup.

Click to read the rest of @ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council: Updates on crime/safety, transportation, The Bog, more……

UPDATE: SW Barton reopening after substance found on Metro bus turned out NOT to be a ‘hazardous material’

September 2, 2015 at 4:42 pm | In West Seattle news, Westwood, WS breaking news | 11 Comments

(WSB photo. Note: This is NOT the bus on which the substance was found – that’s a few buses down)

4:42 PM: Eastbound Barton is closed right now at 30th SW because of a Seattle Fire response at the bus stop across from Westwood Village. According to the scanner, a “white powder” of some kind was found on a bus, which subsequently was evacuated, and they’re treating it as a possible hazmat situation until otherwise determined. We’ve just arrived at the scene to find out more.

4:48 PM UPDATE: This appears to be happening aboard a C-Line bus – not the one in our photo, a short ways east on Barton, which is now blocked both ways.

4:55 PM UPDATE: We’ve confirmed with SFD at the scene that no one has needed medical treatment. The suspicious substance was called in by the bus driver. Barton remains blocked off between 30th and 26th. (And yes, that is a TV helicopter that just arrived over the scene.)

5:09 PM UPDATE: Crews are suiting up in hazmat gear.

5:25 PM UPDATE: They subsequently went into the bus. We’re waiting to hear/see what happens next. Again, Barton is blocked BOTH WAYS.

5:33 PM: The verdict: Cleaning supplies (photo added above).

Barton will reopen shortly.

Join in! Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meets Tuesday night, with crime/policing on the agenda

August 31, 2015 at 7:54 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | Comments Off

August is going out as blustery as if fall were here already … and September starts with community groups resuming their regular meeting schedules. As the leaves fall, consider turning over your own new leaf and getting involved, if you’re not already. Tomorrow night is the first Tuesday of the month, which means the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council invites you to the Southwest Library‘s upstairs meeting room, 6:15-7:45 pm. Here’s the agenda:

6:15-6:20: Introductions & Community News

6:20-6:45: Committee & Neighborhood Council Updates

6:45-7:15: Welcome Back and Updates: SPD Officers Jon Flores and Kevin McDaniel will be with us to give us an update on the micro-policing plans. And how things looked this summer

7:15-7:40: Topics for Next Meetings: Brainstorm ideas for meetings and things to touch base on with the City.

7:40-7:45: Wrap Up: Break down the room; library locks up promptly at 8 pm.

Even if you just want to sit in the corner and observe/listen, all are welcome. The library’s on the southeast corner of 35th SW and SW Henderson.

UPDATE: Fire destroys mail in drive-up box outside Westwood Post Office

August 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, Westwood | 25 Comments

5:11 PM: If you use the Westwood Post Office drive-up box, take note. From regional U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Ernie Swanson:

Mail deposited in a drive-up collection box outside the Westwood Post Office, 2721 SW Trenton St., Seattle WA 98126, was destroyed in a fire at about 4:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28.

Mail deposited in the box after about 5:30 p.m., Thursday, August 27th, was burned beyond recognition.
An investigation is being conducted into the possible cause of the fire. The Seattle Fire Department extinguished the fire.

We’re checking on the mailbox’s status.

ADDED 5:23 PM: Before we could even do that – we received the photo we’ve added above, from Megan (thank you!). Note the sign says you can’t use the burned mailbox – asking customers to take their mail inside. We’ll be checking on replacement plans, as well as the aforementioned investigation.

P.S. This is the same drive-up-mailbox location that was briefly out of service five and a half months ago after the box was hit by a car.

6:40 PM: Just went to Westwood for a firsthand look, and the burned mailbox has been removed.

8:04 PM: We’ve also heard back from USPS’s Swanson, who says the box *will* be replaced, no timetable yet.

Why police, medical examiner were at Roxhill Park/Westwood bus stop

August 20, 2015 at 6:43 pm | In West Seattle news, Westwood | 34 Comments

(WSB photo)

Thanks to everyone who messaged us to ask about police and the medical examiner at the Roxhill Park/Westwood Village bus stop. Here’s what we found out at the scene: Somebody died on a RapidRide C Line bus. The bus driver was going to go take a break when he discovered that a passenger who wasn’t getting off the bus, couldn’t – he was dead. It’s not being investigated as a crime, as there’s no evidence suggesting foul play. All we know at this point is that the dead person is a man, no age estimate.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Close-up ‘flasher’ at Westwood Village

August 1, 2015 at 12:08 am | In Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 3 Comments

Just found out about this via a late-night note from the victim, who is an 18-year-old employee at a Westwood Village business. She says this happened outside the WWV Starbucks:

While I was on a 10-minute break, having a cigarette, a man who was also smoking slowly approached me and sat down on the bench I was sitting on. He made small talk, i.e. how are you, “it’s smoke:30 huh?”. I responded politely and then looked away from him and paid attention to my phone. I was sitting there for about 5 minutes when he leaned down, put out his cigarette, turned to me and said, “Have a nice day.” I turned to respond to him and immediately saw that he was holding his completely exposed penis in his hand. He then got up and walked away immediately while adjusting himself. I went inside and the incident was reported to both Westwood security and the SPD.

The man was probably in his 30s, a white male with short brown hair of average height and build – probably around 5’9″ or so. He had been wearing a yellow button-up shirt and shorts; his eyes were covered by dark sunglasses. I had never seen him before and am obviously in the area often. I assume he had planned this out due to his clothing and sunglasses.

I just want to get the word out because there are many young people who spend time in Westwood Village and I don’t doubt that this man would do this again.

She didn’t say what time this happened so we’re following up to ask, and will add that information when we have it. SPD’s Tweets by Beat (which you can browse on our Crime Watch page) show a lewd-conduct report in the area, time-stamped 10:45 pm, but that might only indicate the time the report was processed.

7:27 AM UPDATE: It happened around 7:30 pm Friday.

Retired Marine’s ‘Valor Run’ to stop in West Seattle on Saturday

July 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, Westwood | 1 Comment

Tomorrow morning, retired U.S. Marine Corps Major Bridget Guerrero starts a four-day, 160-mile run around Puget Sound, and it will include a stop Saturday at Westwood Village, according to a notice circulated to merchants there. (Thanks to Donna at Giannoni’s Pizza for the tip.) The photo is courtesy of our friends at, who wrote last weekend about Maj. Guerrero’s plan, part of Valor Run, an organization honoring military women lost in Iraq and Afghanistan; 160 have died since 9/11, so Guerrero’s run will include one mile for each. According to the webpage about her run – where you can make a donation – “Bridget’s goal is to raise $5,000, which will be split between Valor Run, Inc. and the USMC Scholarship Foundation for a scholarship given in the name of USMC MAJ Megan McClung.”

Guerrero starts running tomorrow morning on Whidbey Island and will conclude her run Sunday in Dupont, southeast of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Her full route can be seen here, and you are invited to run with her at any point along the way. She is expected to arrive at Westwood Village sometime between 12:30 pm and 3 pm on Saturday. An “honor station” will be set up for the occasion in the center of WWV across from Carter’s, according to the notice circulated to merchants, which says it will be supported by Warrior Pointe as well as by a local family, relatives of U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jarod Newlove, killed in Afghanistan five years ago.

Celebrating West Seattle salmon and stewardship, at streetside as well as creekside: Troop 40255′s project

July 12, 2015 at 7:08 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, Westwood, WS culture/arts | 1 Comment

A ribbon-cutting today celebrated West Seattle’s newest public art – created by Brownie Girl Scout Troop 40255 at the bus-stop shelter on northbound 35th SW at Cloverdale. It tells the story of salmon, and shows our state’s terrain.

From left in the photo are Molly Gazewood, Marley Strackhouse Parks, Alana Bass, Tannée Heinen, Natalie Aguilar Fox. While inviting us to the event, Marcia Strackhouse explained that it was both a celebration of the art itself and of the people who inspired it:

Most of these young people have grown up along the Fauntleroy Creek Watershed, and in their schools, preschools and day care centers, Judy Pickens (and husband Phil Sweetland) have been there to ensure our youth understood their impact on the environment and our salmon. … As Troop Leaders, we were so impressed with their knowledge at ages 8 and 9. They know the cycle of Salmon, understand the importance of maintaining and
keeping our creeks, rivers, and ocean clean, as do many of our West Seattle youth. They have become environmental stewards.

Judy was there for the ribbon-cutting celebration, and accepted a bouquet:

Judy and Phil have kept the Salmon in the Schools program going locally, from egg deliveries to the creekside events at which fry are released each year.

UPDATE: 3-car crash at 32nd and Thistle in Westwood

June 17, 2015 at 10:27 pm | In West Seattle news, Westwood, WS breaking news | 3 Comments

(WSB photos)
10:27 PM: Police are blocking off SW Thistle at 34th because of a crash just to the east, at 32nd and Thistle. Multiple cars involved; our crew is still trying to find out more at the scene.

10:33 PM: At least two people are hurt; one is being taken to the hospital, and the other is still being evaluated at the scene. Three cars are involved.

10:37 PM: Police at the scene tell us TCIS is not being called out – no life-threatening injuries – so this scene will clear after tow trucks arrive to move the vehicles. SFD has tweeted that it’s taking a 33-year-old man “in stable condition” to Harborview Medical Center.

11:59 PM: Just got a chance to go check the area to be sure the scene is clear … it is.

Student safety: How SPD followed up after chief’s Denny visit

June 17, 2015 at 4:05 pm | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle police, West Seattle schools, Westwood | 2 Comments

(WSB photo from June 1st @ Denny)
Two weeks after Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole visited Denny International Middle School and heard students request more help from police in staying safe (WSB coverage here), members of her department followed up to start making good on that promise. Southwest/South Precincts Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon shares these notes of what happened when they visited the Denny/Sealth campus this past Monday, one day before the last day of school, particularly to lay the groundwork for a safer start next fall:

* SPD Reps met up with students and staff at 12:40 at classroom

* Walked SW Kenyon Street between 2600 Block and Delridge SW

* Walked from Kenyon & Delridge to Holden & Delridge; observed Holden Stairs; returned to Denny via same route

* Mark drove routes between Denny/Sealth Campus and Westwood Village to observe areas about which students expressed concerns.

* SPD Officers spoke with students about ways to minimize their chances for victimization (Robbery/Assault)

* Discussed the possibility of SPD officers getting together with students at the beginning of the school year to discuss safety measures; being proactive and focus on prevention vs. being reactionary.

Measures in Progress

* Mark will work with Youth Ambassadors and Denny Staff through the summer to engage surrounding neighbors to form Block Watch groups with have Denny/Sealth student safety as a prime focus.

* Mark will facilitate communication between the Youth Ambassadors Program and The Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative regarding the Safe Passages Program (a group of adult volunteers who provide a presence in the Rainier Beach community between the 1400-1800 hrs on school days to deter youth violence and disorder). The goal is to try to implement this program for the Denny/Sealth campus area by the fall of 2015.


* Raise tree canopy on SW Kenyon Street Between 2400 – 2600 Blocks. Tree canopy should be no lower than 8′ to ensure good lines of sight for pedestrians transiting SW Kenyon ST.

* Request SDOT conduct additional vegetation clearing at dead end of SW Kenyon ST & 24th Ave SW.

* Request SDOT conduct vegetation clearing along trail/walkway/bridge over creek between Delridge WY SW & 24th Ave SW along SW Kenyon Street (Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail).

* Request additional vegetation clearing be done on the Holden Stairs, between Delridge WY SY & 20th Ave SW. (possible return of the goat herd?)

* Request vegetation clearing along the non-through streets of 26th Ave SW, 25th Ave SW and the North/South Alley that runs parallel between those two streets, between SW Thistle Street and SW Trenton ST. Students use these corridors to transit anyway; let’s open them up to reduce cover and concealment.

* SPD conduct student safety assembly at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.

VIDEO: Congratulations, Chief Sealth International High School Class of 2015!

June 13, 2015 at 9:58 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, Westwood | 4 Comments

(Sealth staff & students’ procession at start of this afternoon’s ceremony)

Story by Tracy Record
Photos/video by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers


You probably know that’s short for “You Only Live Once.” It started and ended what language-arts teacher Breanna Whited told the Chief Sealth International High School Class of 2015 at its graduation ceremony this afternoon. (More on her speech later.)

Though commencement is considered to be the start of the rest of graduates’ lives, as Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer detailed, the 267 graduating seniors already have achieved quite bit. She went through a long list of achievements including more than 20,000 hours in community service and $1.2 million in college scholarships.

The principal noted some of the class’s “bold” accomplishments – from a World Water Week focus on the unglamorous but life-saving topic of toilets, to Hafid Yassin‘s dunk seen ’round the world.

The first student to speak was Timothy Wo, who observed that “we’re all thinking right now … ‘it’s over’.” (That’s him in the frame grab below, but the video is of the entirety of the rest of the ceremony, beginning with the principal’s speech.)

To get to “the promised land of graduation,” he said, he and his classmates “crossed the land of procrastination.” Whatever lies ahead for them in the immediate future, he expressed confidence they would “reap success, whatever it is, and make it into whatever it can be.”

Another student speaker, Monica Harris, urged her classmates to “stand tall – we have nothing to fear.”

And she celebrated the fact that “by persevering, we have proven we deserve to be here today.” The proud family and friends had proven that too, and they were saluted during the ceremony.

They of course exhibited plenty of exhilaration themselves:

Back to staff speaker Whited, introduced as “hilarious and beautiful.”

She spoke warmly and personally to her now-former students, saying she watched them while chaperoning the senior prom three weeks ago: “It was OK for me to cry there, which I did, because I had to be strong to speak to all of you today.”

Mentioning she was a 1985 high-school graduate, she said, “I am you in 30 years … and yes, you’ll still be this fabulous.” With the help, Whited continued, of three things to remember, starting with: “Apologize quickly, even when you are right – you will be loved and you will be happy. It’s better to be happy than to be right.”

The essence of her other advice: Shut down your “negative self-talk,” and “do what you love,” which she said she’s been doing for decades. And shortly thereafter, the Chief Sealth Class of 2015 was off to find a way to follow her advice.

OTHER NOTES: One of the valedictorians and the salutatorian, Sophia Boyd and Olivia Boyd, are sisters, and the daughters of former longtime CSIHS principal John Boyd. Samuel Orlin also is valedictorian. … SPS executive director of southwest schools Israel Vela had a stand-in, northwest ED Jon Halfaker, because he was at his son’s graduation in Kent … Last year, umbrellas were in use because of the threat of rain; this year, one was in view because of the sun:

West Seattle Crime Watch: 1980s-vintage bicycle stolen

June 1, 2015 at 7:27 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 6 Comments

In a West Seattle Crime Watch report earlier this afternoon, we mentioned that crime will be the focus of tomorrow night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting. Since then, the person who sent the announcement, co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick, has sent a Crime Watch reader report of her own:

I had my 1980s Panasonic ladies bike stolen from my porch last night. 10 speed with Schwinn cruiser handlebars. It has a rear fender and bike rack. A light and bell on the handlebars and a clip for a basket on the front. Lots of star stickers, a Proletariat Pizza sticker and an sticker too. It’s not worth a lot, but it’s My Bike! You know? I reported it to the police, and I’ve been driving around the ‘hood like a stalker…. the picture is from when I first got it almost 5 years ago. So BUMMED!

If you see it … let police know, and then consider commenting here as well.

RECENT BICYCLE CASES: None of these have been resolved so far as we know, so we’re mentioning them again (all three have photos too): 12-year-old boy’s silver Fuji Absolute stolen May 28th, also in Westwood; child- and adult-size bicycles found in Westwood and Highland Park respectively, published here May 20th – we suggested to the finders of the latter two that they be reported to police for pickup.

West Seattle coffee: Starbucks’ local epicenter adding 4th spot

May 25, 2015 at 10:38 am | In West Seattle news, Westwood, WS beverages | 31 Comments

You could call Westwood Village the epicenter of Starbucks in West Seattle, with a standalone shop, a stand inside the QFC supermarket, and Starbucks coffee featured in the Barnes & Noble bookstore café. If that isn’t enough for coffee-loving shoppers – city permit files show that another one is on the way: While digging through recent applications overnight, we found this project filing for 2800 SW Barton, carrying the notation: “Addition of a new Starbucks within existing food service footprint in existing Target store.” While that page doesn’t show an application date, the permit number suggests it was filed within the past week. Not a new concept, as the two chains have been working together for more than a decade, but we thought you’d want to know.

BY THE NUMBERS: This will boost the number of West Seattle Starbucks outlets, existing and planned, to 13, by our count: Along with the aforementioned four in Westwood, there’s Admiral Way, Admiral Safeway, Alki, Avalon, Jefferson Square Safeway, Junction QFC, Junction 47 (planned), Morgan Junction, Roxbury Safeway.

Reader reports: Recognize either of these ‘found’ bicycles?

May 20, 2015 at 9:13 am | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, Westwood | 2 Comments

Within minutes of each other late last night, two reader reports came in ( about bicycles found in West Seattle – stolen and dumped? or? – Above, Alicia spotted that child-size bicycle in the 8800 block of 30th SW, “lying out on the grass parking strip across the street from our house – for a few days now. It’s a newer bike and looks like it was ditched. Perhaps stolen.” Below, Alan spotted this bicycle “in a location where we have had multiple dumped stolen bikes (14th & Holly)”:

He added, “This one looks like someone may have found it in the woods and brought it out to the street. The tires are flat and the chain is rusted. Still, it looks like a bike that someone cared about at some point.” We’ve suggested to both that the bicycles be reported to police, but in the meantime, in case they look familiar, we’re sharing the photos and reports.

West Seattle weekend scene: Barton P-Patch welcomes spring

May 16, 2015 at 7:01 pm | In Gardening, West Seattle news, Westwood | 2 Comments

In Westwood today, a spring ritual for the Barton Street P-Patch – the wood-burning masonry oven was fired up for a round of community bagel-baking.

The garden is in its fourth full growing season, and some of what’s grown is donated, too:

It’s one of eight community P-Patches in West Seattle, according to this city-created map.

@ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council: CSO projects, AH microsurfacing

May 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | Comments Off

Our toplines from last night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting:

CSO PROJECTS: It’s been about three months since Seattle Public Utilities started working on improvements to its two combined-sewer-overflow storage-tank sites in eastern West Seattle, one a few blocks east of Westwood Village, one on the east side of the Delridge/Orchard/Dumar intersection. Project manager Tara Wong-Esteban came to WWRHAH with updates. Both projects will be done by year’s end, she says. The one that’s in WWRHAH’s area of interest, CSO #3 at 22nd/Henderson, is is the midst of major work right now, including a diversion facility at Barton St./Barton Place. Soon an access path for city trucks’ maintenance access will be built; it will include paving stones surrounded by grass. The landscaping overall will make the area more open, she said. Here’s the design concept:

The project also is getting an art installation, as part of the Municipal Art Plan; artist Rebecca Cummins was introduced at the meeting. She’s going to use water valves like those found in CSOs to make cameras obscuras – you can see an image on this city webpage (scroll down to the bottom and click the image for a closer look). Two will be installed along the Barton side of the project, the smaller one intended for kids walking by.

ARBOR HEIGHTS MICROSURFACING UPDATE: As he had at last month’s Southwest District Council meeting, SDOT’s Art Brochet provided an update on this summer’s plan for more microsurfacing in AH.

Compared to chip seal, microsurfacing needs time to set and dry, once it’s put down. They’re still trying to work out logistics for the roads going into the Arroyos in southwesternmost West Seattle; the project is out to bid and the contractor’s not chosen yet, Brochet said, so that’ll be worked out once those details are finalized. He was asked about some other pavement issues in WWRHAH’s area, including the Westwood Village area, and promised to pass those along. WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick noted at that point that issues had arisen during the recent multi-agency walking tour around WWV (WSB coverage here) and they hadn’t received updates from the city reps who had participated, so she said she’d take Brochet up on his offer to help them find out where things stand.

WWRHAH meets on first Tuesdays, 6:15 pm, Southwest Library.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen truck; swapped plates; bicycles found/sighted; mail theft

April 27, 2015 at 3:42 pm | In Crime, Highland Park, Luna Park, West Seattle news, Westwood | 1 Comment

West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports to share:

LUNA PARK TRUCK THEFT: Bob discovered this morning that someone had taken his white Chevy Blazer from what’s supposed to be a secure garage at City View Apartments in the Luna Park area. License plate 105YGD – call 911 if you see it.


This morning I discovered someone had swapped my back license plate on my car with someone else’s. I have reported them as stolen, so if anyone sees plates ASU6665 call the police. The ones they put on the car were ANK8876, and the officer said he recognized them from a call this morning. I live on Trenton & Delridge [map] if anyone saw anything.

This happens more often than you might think, so it’s always worth a quick glance at your plates every time you go out to your vehicle, if it’s parked outside.

POSSIBLE STOLEN BICYCLES: Two posts in the WSB Forums regarding bicycles -
**Vintage Puch bicycle found in a Westwood/Roxhill-area backyard
**Redline bicycle frame spotted in Admiral in unusual circumstances

HIGHLAND PARK MAIL THEFT: In the 9400 block of 10th SW (map), Fran A spotted several mailboxes open this morning, with mail littered on the street, including an envelope that was supposed to contain her husband’s new driver’s license.

BIZNOTE: Tony’s Market in Westwood will open this Friday

April 27, 2015 at 1:14 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news, Westwood | 6 Comments

We finally have an answer to the question we’ve been asked most often these past several weeks: “When is the Tony’s Market produce stand at 35th and Barton opening for the season?” Since photographing the new tent almost three weeks ago, we’ve gone by every day, but no one’s been there. We finally spotted proprietor Joey Genzale outside the stand while driving by about an hour ago, so we changed course and stopped to ask him what’s up. First, the opening date: This Friday, May 1st. Second, why the delay? In addition to putting up the new tent, the parking lot needed some work. So if you’re a Tony’s fan, now you know.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Man grabs girl @ Westwood Village; safety volunteers needed

April 21, 2015 at 12:02 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 21 Comments

(UPDATED 2:11 pm with letter sent home by Denny/Sealth prinicipals)

Just in, from Seattle Police:

Police are investigating after a 15-year-old girl was grabbed while walking through Westwood Village Tuesday morning.

The girl told officers she was walking to school at 6:30 AM when a man approached her and asked where he could buy a phone charger. She answered his question and made her way to a nearby coffee shop. The girl said that when she exited the cafe, the man continued to follow her, at one point wrapping both of his arms around her. The girl broke free and ran the rest of the way to Denny International Middle School, where she reported the incident to administrators.

The victim described the man as in his early 30’s, black, wearing a black hoodie and sweat pants. If you have any information in this case please call 911 and speak with an officer.

This is the first walking-to/from-school incident reported against a Denny or Sealth student in more than a month – last one in our archives was in early March.

Reminder that, as mentioned earlier, the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets tonight, so if you have questions/concerns about this or anything else recently in WS, come hear from and talk to police, 7 pm @ the precinct (Delridge/Webster).

ADDED 2:11 PM: We asked Denny principal Jeff Clark to please share the letter that we expected would be sent home to parents. Here it is (it’s to be sent to Sealth families too) – please note that they still need volunteers for the safety effort we spotlighted here last month:

April 21, 2015
Dear Denny and Chief Sealth Scholars and Families,

We want to share with you information right away regarding an incident that was reported this morning involving one of our scholars on her way to school.

At approximately 6:20 am an eighth-grade female scholar was followed around Westwood Village by a man who persistently asked her questions. He was described as an East African man in his early 30’s, thin built with short curly hair and a goatee, who spoke with an accent. He continued to follow her through the parking lot and on the path from Westwood through the Southwest Athletic Center toward our campus. When she approached Thistle, he grabbed her. She broke free from his grasp and ran to school and reported the incident to school staff right away. Denny Staff notified the family and the Seattle Police Department, who are actively investigating.

The safety of our scholars is our top priority. We are continuing to coordinate with the SW Precinct Captain to discuss the safety and their increased policing efforts. We will continue to collaborate with the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security to help monitor the surrounding area. As a part of these efforts, we are recruiting a team of volunteers to be trained and posted around the neighborhood to serve as part of a “block watch” system as our scholars come to and from school. If you are interested in helping with this, please contact Jeff Clark at or 206-252-9000.

You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. Tips to discuss are:
• Walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times.
• Leaving for school at times where there are high levels of pedestrian traffic.
• Immediately reporting anything suspicious to trusted adults (school staff and family members).
• Keep earbuds off and expensive phones out of sight.

More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website:

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: SDOT unveils SW Roxbury plan at Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting

April 7, 2015 at 6:19 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, Westwood | 56 Comments

That’s the plan for SW Roxbury, which SDOT is about to unveil at the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council‘s April meeting, under way until about 7:30 pm at the Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson). An open house is also planned April 16th. First, WWRHAH is hearing briefly from City Council District 1 candidate Lisa Herbold (we’ll add details later on what she says, and other parts of the meeting that aren’t related to the Roxbury presentation).

6:27 PM: SDOT’s Jim Curtin begins his presentation, saying the details (which you can see in the slide deck above) aren’t much different from the previous discussion, and that implementation will start in mid-August. The package, he recaps, has short- and long-term “engineering solutions” for SW Roxbury from Olson on the east to 35th SW on the west. He also recaps the road’s conditions, which are at the start of the slide deck – 52 percent of what’s along Roxbury in that stretch is single-family residential housing. The traffic flow goes from an average of 13,000 vehicles a weekday at 35th to 25,000 vehicles each weekday at Olson. The roots of the project lie in the fact so many people speed – more than 5 mph over the speed limit, on much of the stretch – the average at 30th SW is 41 mph, “a big problem” in SDOT’s view. The stretch has seen 223 crashes with 112 injuries over just the past three years.

The changes are at 60 percent design, close to “ready to go,” Curtin said, and they are coordinating with partner agencies including Metro and King County Roads (though SDOT is accountable for the road from curb to curb). 100 percent design is expected in June, and that’s when they’ll mobilize their crews, in hopes of getting the work done by the first day of the 2015-2016 school year.

Just a few tweaks from the draft plan. From 17th to 35th SW, rechannelization is proposed, “which means we will eliminate a lane of traffic and bring Roxbury down to its surroundings, including parks and schools … while still maintaining travel times that are essentially unchanged for people who are driving. There will be short sections of bus lanes for the 120 and RapidRide; we are going to repave Roxbury from 17th to ’18th and a half’ … a really, really rough section of road.” The curb will be fixed and ADA-complaint curb ramps will be put in, 8 each at 17th and 18th SW.

300 new linear feet of sidewalk will go in, on the south (county) side of the street across from Roxhill Elementary (photo added above), past the auto-parts store and casino – “the last section of Roxbury without sidewalks,” Curtin said, adding that the city and county have secured a grant to pay for this.

No rechannelization is planned east of 17th. At the White Center intersection – 15th/16th “funky five-way split,” as he described it – curb painting and audio pedestrian signals are part of the plan. Then from Olson to 15th SW, the speed limit will be reduced to 30 mph; two new radar speed signs will go in to support that; and other “spot signage” improvements are planned. That will include changes targeting the “persistent collision patterns” at 4th SW and 8th SW. For the latter, Curtin said, the patterns are rear-end crashes. The county has put in a “warning” beacon that isn’t making a difference. Engineers concluded, Curtin said, “we need people to slow down” – as is the case with the “spinout” crashes at 4th SW – and they believe that will make a difference. (Later, he said, they hope to take that “all the way down the hill” toward 509.)

Back to the west – A “shared bus lane” will go in near Roxhill because of operational requirements for Metro and school buses; a potential bus-layover zone is being considered by Roxhill. The Metro transit stop that’s currently right in front of Roxhill Elementary will be moved to the west of 30th (where it had once been). WWRHAH’s transportation chair Chris Stripinis asked if that would create a situation like the notorious C-Line stop at Fauntleroy/California – Curtin cited reasons why it won’t, including a “partial lane” that vehicles will be able to use to get around.

No bicycle lanes right now; bicycle facilities will be considered “later” – likely 2016 – said Curtin; right now, the curb and pavement are not in good-enough shape, and so the area that later will become bicycle lanes will for now be “buffers” between vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

For rechannelization doubters, Curtin hauled out a slide he acknowledged has been shown at many meetings lately – other rechannelized streets including Fauntleroy and (outside West Seattle) NE 75th have seen decreases in crashes even as traffic volume edged up a bit.

Beyond all this, he said, in the long term: If the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle passes, SDOT hopes to “completely rebuild” SW Roxbury, with repaving and even in some places “taking it down to the dirt” and redoing it. Also, a pedestrian signal at or near 12th SW would be a long-term priority, according to Curtin (it came up often at previous meetings). Anything else missing? he asked. WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick suggested a crosswalk at 24th and Roxbury. Between 35th and 30th, Stripinis suggested, some visual cue for crossers would be helpful, since because streets don’t connect from both sides, and drivers don’t tend to stop even for the implied crosswalks at corners.

WWRHAH secretary Joe Szilagyi asked about the parking spots along Roxbury by Taqueria Guaymas at 17th. They’re staying, said Curtin, adding, “Despite what you read … we actually like parking at SDOT,” for reasons including, “it slows people down.” Speaking of slowing down, though they’re not proposing rechannelization of the entire length of Roxbury now – even though it was frequently suggested, Curtin said, during the comment period – it might be looked at again in the future. Also for the wish list, Helmick added, a roundabout for the Olson end, and more mowing and vegetation clearing so people who are walking and biking can get through.

Though it’s technically beyond Roxbury, several people brought up the walking/biking dangers of going down the hill from Olson toward SW Cloverdale and South Park, as something that should eventually be examined.

Curtin then put up the engineering plans for Roxbury, starting with the 35th/Roxbury intersection, which he said “works remarkably well.” (A side discussion erupted regarding sidewalks on 35th, and Curtin reiterated that the city has some in the works all the way to 106th. Not part of the project in the spotlight tonight, but still of interest.) One stretch is still undecided – the eastbound side near Roxbury Safeway, where they had been looking at a bus lane but decided they don’t need it. Maybe a right turn lane? Right now, by the way, Curtin said, the 28th/Roxbury intersection “functions really well,” too. At 26th, there’ll be a right-turn-only lane heading southbound, and then it’ll be a bus-only lane on the outside, east of 28th, with a bus-and-turn lane on the westbound side, turning onto 26th and heading toward Westwood Village. This intersection’s design isn’t completely finalized, though, acknowledged Curtin – “we’re still kind of wrestling with (it).”

7:20 PM: Overall, he summarized, “this project is universally loved by everyone at SDOT,” where he says some wondered how the road ever had “so many lanes.” If you have comments, go to the Open House, and/or e-mail Curtin – – ASAP.

Rest of the meeting:
Click to read the rest of AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: SDOT unveils SW Roxbury plan at Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting…

West Seattle traffic alert: Bus-car collision by Westwood Village, 1 hurt

April 3, 2015 at 5:44 pm | In West Seattle news, Westwood, WS breaking news | 5 Comments

SW Barton is blocked between 25th and 26th on the southeast side of Westwood Village after a car and Metro bus collided. Our crew says the car’s driver is going to the hospital; no injuries on the bus, which had no passengers as it was en route back to the terminal. A tow truck is expected in half an hour or so to clear the scene.

ADDED: Thanks to Heath for this photo:

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