(7900 block of 30th SW)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Tonight, Sunrise Heights/Westwood residents are expected to find out if the county thinks the planting strips in front of their homes are the best prospective sites for raingardens to reduce sewer overflows miles away.
The plan has been two-plus years in the making, as the county’s preferred solution to the problem of Puget Sound overflows from the Barton Pump Station near the Fauntleroy ferry dock – but only now is it becoming less abstract, more real, as final decisions get closer. And that is worrying the people who live in the 7900 block of 30th SW, who have asked County Executive Dow Constantine to stop the project.
After the county announced two meetings for tonight and Saturday morning, resident Sabrina Urquhart sent a “media advisory” to make sure the meetings would be covered.
We asked if she and her neighbors would be willing to talk in advance about their concerns. So a small group gathered in her living room Monday evening – joining Sabrina were neighbors Heather, Jim, and Kevin.
(WSB photo of test site at 34th/Trenton, March 2011)
Fifteen months after announcing its plan for “green stormwater infrastructure” to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) at Barton Pump Station by the Fauntleroy ferry dock, the county has narrowed down the potential sites where it might place raingardens and swales to keep stormwater from overwhelming the system. (It’s been testing in the neighborhoods – with equipment like the truck above, as well as drill rigs – for the better part of a year.) Here’s the map showing which streets (in green) have been identified for closer study:
(Sorry, the streets weren’t named on that map, but you can see a larger version, along with the accompanying letter and “fact sheet,” by going here.) News of the map follows King County’s announcement of two meetings, March 28 and March 31, promising status updates. Read the announcement in full, ahead: Click to read the rest of Where will ‘green stormwater infrastructure’ go? County reveals potential sites…
Joey Genzale is excited about all the improvements at his Westwood produce megastand, Tony’s Market, which just reopened at 35th/Barton a few hours ago after its traditional post-Christmas break. It’s a later reopening than usual, and here’s why:
That’s just part of the new 24-foot refrigerated produce case lining the north wall – which means the produce stays fresher longer – “Perfect lettuce! Perfect mushrooms!” enthuses Joey – and that’s good for customers as well as for the store’s bottom line. There’s also a brand-new cooler up front by the checkout stand, for non-produce merchandise. And even on the south side, the non-refrigerated items – such as tree fruit – is arranged up against the wall, improving traffic flow inside the store.
Something else new:
Joey says he’s been working on improving his hand-lettering sills for the signs that have long been a trademark of the produce market, run by his dad Tony Genzale till his untimely passing in December 2010. He had some ready to go last night – and then the rain swept in and undid his work. “My dad’s getting even with me,” he laughed.
When we were there in the 1 o’clock hour, they were still finishing setup, but almost done, and definitely open – and Joey is asking everyone what they think of the improvements (which include some fresh interior paint): “After 16 years, it was time.”
Just in from King County – your next chance to get an update on plans to reduce sewer overflows into Puget Sound by building “green stormwater infrastructure” like rain gardens in neighborhoods feeding the Barton Pump Station:
People are invited to learn about King County’s progress on a project to control combined sewer overflows (CSOs) from the Barton Pump Station in West Seattle through green stormwater infrastructure.
A public meeting is planned on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Westside School, 7740 34th Ave. SW. from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
The announcement continues ahead: Click to read the rest of Community briefing February 8th for West Seattle ‘green stormwater infrastructure’ project…
Out of the WSB inbox, from Mary, who tried a simple tactic to stop would-be thieves:
About 2:00 (Tuesday afternoon) I heard a vehicle stop in the alley next to my home, (in the Westwood neighborhood) and looked out to see 2 men taking something heavy from my neighbors’ yard and loading it into their pickup truck. Just as I got outside and to the alley, they were driving off, but stopped when I spoke to them. I asked if they had permission to take “that thing.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As of yesterday, the city-owned facility at 2800 SW Thistle that was Southwest Community Center is officially Southwest Teen Life Center and the future Southwest Neighborhood Service Center.
Four months after the planned change was announced by city leaders during a West Seattle media briefing, the new budget mandating the changeover is officially in effect, so we asked the city about the transition process.
We’ve subsequently learned the dates and plans for closing the Delridge Neighborhood Service Center and opening its replacement at Southwest, and also some things you need to know about what’s NOT changing at the Southwest building:
If you’re following the progress of the two-part project to renovate the Roxhill Playground and build a Roxhill Skatespot: The city has just changed its plan for the final public reviews of the two design proposals, adding a new meeting to the calendar.
The process had started with an August meeting about both, continued with separate October meetings about each one (skatespot here, playground here), and then was supposed to conclude with a November 14th meeting about both. But according to a postcard just mailed by the Parks Department, they’re now going to have that meeting next Monday focus only on the skatespot design, while a November 30th meeting has been added, to focus only on the playground design.
Both meetings will be at 6 pm on their respective dates, at Southwest Library (35th/Henderson), same time/location as previous meetings.
Another round of business trick-or-treating is under way – this time at Westwood Village, where WSB sponsor Wyatt’s Jewelers‘ namesake Wyatt was handing out the treats when we stopped in (that’s dad/shop owner Kirk Keppler off to the right). Lots of kids out and about here too!
The new ownership of Westwood Village promised more candy this year; trick or treating continues till 7.
Giannoni’s Pizzeria on the south side of Westwood Village WILL be open on time at 11 this morning, owner Donna says – but that’s after some cleanup work they would rather have not had to do. What you’re looking at in our photo is a hole in the wall at Giannoni’s, cut by burglars who broke in and then went through the wall to get into Taco Del Mar next door. Donna tells us the burglars made off with quarters from the pizzeria’s Pac-Man video-game machine, among other things, so they’ve alerted the nearby QFC in case anyone turns up at Coinstar with an unusual amount of quarters. We’re checking with police for more details on the break-in, but in the meantime, Donna says the burglar(s) were apparently scared off while inside TDM, and it’s believed to have happened around 2:30 am, so please contact SPD if you were in the area and saw anything suspicious.
Now that Delridge Skatepark is up and running – the development spotlight turns to the next one in the wings, the “skatespot” (smaller version of a skatepark) at Roxhill Park, and concurrent playground improvements (the beloved castle, at right, is to be replaced). Here’s our report on the first public meeting; three more have just been announced (via postal-mail postcard from the Parks Department), all three at Southwest Library. The skatespot’s “schematic design” will be presented 6 pm October 12th; the playground’s “schematic design” will be presented 6 pm October 17th; and the final design presentations for both will be at one meeting, 6 pm November 14th. Project info’s here.
(Photo courtesy Barton Street P-Patch)
The “web” continues to take shape at West Seattle’s newest P-Patch (Barton/34th), but unlike spider webs, this is no solo effort – it takes a community of gardeners and helpers, and Terri Lindow sends word they’re looking for more assistance, even in simple ways:
The Barton Street PPatch is seeking more community to help build our community
garden! If you are interested in learning to build mortar and reclaimed chain link walls (a family-friendly “mud pie” activity), want to swing a sledgehammer, spend some quality time with a wheelbarrow and some wood chips, or would like to provide snacks for our workers, you are invited to stop by. Over the next 6 weeks we’ll be holding work parties Saturdays 9:30-3 pm and Sundays 11-3 pm. All are welcome!
1:16 PM: Seattle Fire has sent a “full response” – multiple engines and trucks, medic unit, etc. – to a fire reported in the 8600 block of 25th SW (map). The first crews to arrive saw smoke. We have a crew on the way.
1:21 PM: Via scanner, we’re hearing crews report they’re putting water on this fire through a hole they cut in the roof. The fire is just about two blocks south of the Chief Sealth International High School/Denny International Middle School campus. It doesn’t sound like a major fire, though – they’re canceling some of the units.
1:34 PM: Just talked with the incident commander on scene. This was a second-floor apartment, nobody home, no injuries. They’re still checking the extent of damage, and investigating the cause. (added) The fire was between the rafters and the roof, and SFD says the unit itself was the only one involved, and was not heavily damaged.
FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: We checked back with SFD re: the cause and damage, and spokesperson Kyle Moore provided this info: “A Seattle Fire Investigator determined the cause of the fire as an electrical short in the attic. The damage estimate is $14,000 to the structure and $1,000 to the contents.”
Both of King County’s West Seattle projects to reduce combined-sewer overflows (CSO) are proceeding, and we have updates tonight.
In the area of Sunrise Heights/Westwood where the map above is shaded – part of the “basin” feeding the Barton pump station north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock – the plan is to install “green stormwater infrastructure” including rain gardens, and another round of field work is imminent, according to spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson. She says residents in the affected area have been sent a letter (see it here), and will get more notification whenever something is happening on their block, but they wanted to get wider word out too. This is what will be happening, according to an online update about the project:
• Project team members conducting land and utility surveys, and looking at topography, stormwater and groundwater patterns, existing parking strip uses, trees, driveways, accessibility for residents with disabilities, and other physical features of the project area
• Geotechnical borings to better understand soil and groundwater conditions
• Infiltration testing to see how long it takes water to soak into the ground
• Parking and traffic pattern survey
• Potential installation of additional groundwater monitoring wells
• Examination of roof downspout connections/disconnections to the existing combined sewer system
All that will start over the next few weeks, Kolb-Nelson tells WSB. There’s also a map showing specific properties in the project area – you can see that here. The county says construction won’t start until 2013.
We also asked what’s new in the neighborhood that is going to be affected by the plan for the basin feeding the Murray pump station at Lowman Beach Park, where a separate pump-station maintenance project is under way right now. For Murray, you may recall, the county has decided to build a huge underground storage tank across the street from the park, which requires buying and demolishing the residential properties that are there now. Kolb-Nelson says, “We’re in contact with property owners and have begun making offers. We’re also notifying people about eligibility for relocation benefits.” She adds that community meetings are planned next month, but the dates aren’t set yet. This project also is set for construction in 2013; an aerial view is here.
(Photo of Roxhill Park play structure, from Seattle Parks website)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“What’s wrong with the play structure we have now?”
The plaintive question came from a man in attendance at Wednesday night’s community meeting about the two upcoming projects at Roxhill Park – $450,000 playground renovation and $600,000 “skatespot.”
The answer from Seattle Parks staffers in a moment, but first: This was the first of three community meetings on the Roxhill projects. Project manager Kelly Davidson opened the meeting, noting both are funded by money from the 2008 voter-approved Parks and Green Spaces Levy (whose Oversight Committee chair, Pigeon Point resident Pete Spalding, was in attendance).
Davidson briefly mentioned the Rob Dyrdek Foundation donation for the skatespot that led to a “no-cost design” contract with California Skateparks. She said the skatespot and playground projects are intended to be worked on simultaneously, in hopes that’ll enable both to be handled in one construction contract. Design is to be complete next January, with construction expected to take place February through September of next year. Besides the three public meetings, there will be an additional skatespot-design review with the city Skate Park Advisory Committee (open to the public).
The skatepark (technically a “skatespot”) will be in the northwest quadrant of the park, near the corner of 29th/Barton, north of the playground, which is envisioned at its current site. Here’s a roughed-out map shown at the meeting:
Though discussion of both projects kept happening throughout the meeting, it started with playground design, led by Parks’ landscape architects Frank Robinson and Shwu-jen Hwang.
Barton Street P-Patch volunteers are on duty on two sides of SW Barton south of 35th SW (map) right now – Top photo, the group we found at the fundraising bake sale outside the Tony’s Market produce stand, where they’re selling treats till 2 pm (including vegan baked goods, a P-Patcher assured a commenter on the WSB Facebook page). Below, another Saturday work party at the P-Patch site on the south side of the street – 2 1/2 months after groundbreaking, still lots of hard work to get the site ready for planting this fall:
Volunteers are having work parties every Saturday and Sunday TFN, and welcome more help. Best way to connect with what they’re up to is to join their Facebook group – go here.
Thanks to Dwight for e-mailing about a power outage affecting some stores at Westwood Village. It is NOT on the Seattle City Light map; we just went over to check and found that several businesses in the center of the mall – including Pier 1 Imports and Eats Market Café – have signs up saying they’re closed for the day because SCL is doing transformer work. Some stores on the east side of the mall that were reportedly out earlier have power now (including QFC), so bottom line, if you’re going to Westwood Village, you might want to check directly with the store first to see if it’s affected.
(Memorial in Roxhill Park paying tribute to murder victim Bernard Martin, September 2010)
The 22-year-old man jailed for beating another man to death in Roxhill Park last September has pleaded guilty. We discovered this on a routine check of court records this weekend. Chatri Thip was charged with killing 40-year-old Bernard Martin by jumping onto him and smashing a shopping cart against him. This past week in King County Superior Court, Thip pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, the original charge against him. His written statement blames an “aggression-laden environment” at the park the night it happened, starting, he claimed, after a group upset he had gotten his girlfriend pregnant – including her half-brothers – attacked him. The murder victim was not part of that attack, Thip wrote. The original charging documents had said Thip had six beers that night – stolen from the nearby Safeway – and told police he experiences rage when he drinks, and lashed out when Martin came up to him in the park and asked for a beer. Court documents indicate prosecutors will recommend the lower end of the standard sentencing range, 11 years and 2 months in prison (the high end is just under 20 years). Thip is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Susan Craighead at 1 pm September 23rd.
9:25 PM: If you’re thinking of taking a piece of mail over to the Westwood Village U.S. Post Office sometime soon – don’t bother, you won’t get anywhere close. Police have it blocked off. They confirm they’re dealing with a “suspicious package,” though we don’t have details on why it raised suspicions. The rest of Westwood Village is open – as long as you enter from any other side, NOT Trenton, which is blocked too.
9:39 PM: According to scanner discussion, this will be handled by postal authorities, so at least some of the police will clear the scene. We’ll go over to check on access in a little while.
FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: The police did indeed clear shortly after that update. We talked to them this morning to seek information about what raised suspicions in the first place; SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson says someone “flagged down” police in the center to tell them that a package had been left outside the lobby doors of the post office. It was sealed and had a local address on it; they tried to find out who it belonged to, no luck, so they took precautions until the postal inspector took over the situation (with access to an X-ray machine).
5:11 PM: Police and medic response affecting traffic near SW Library, More shortly.
5:24 PM UPDATE: Police say this started as a fight between two people. One for some reason started jumping on nearby car roofs. That brought the police. Neither combatant, we are told, needed to be taken to the hospital. Street’s back open.
11:38 PM UPDATE: Commenters suggested circumstances different than what we initially heard from police on the scene. We followed up tonight with Southwest Precinct Lt. Alan Williams, who just shared information from the official report: “At about (4:45 pm), officers responded to a call to 911 reporting a very bloody male acting wildly and jumping on top of cars near 35/Henderson. Officers were able to take the individual, an adult male, into custody. He was treated by Seattle Fire at the scene, then transported to the hospital for further treatment and evaluation. In addition to the damage the suspect caused to the cars, he also apparently damaged the inside of a nearby apartment. The suspect was not a resident of the apartment, but is known to at least one of the apartment residents – who were not at home at the time. There is no indication at this time that the suspect sustained his injuries as the result of being assaulted.”
Five months after we first reported that Westwood Village Target would remodel and add a full in-store supermarket, the work is done and the shelves are stocked. Assistant store manager Shelby Palmer invited us over to take a look; she says this is the second day since the new fresh offerings – produce, meat, etc. – arrived, and stocking is continuing to ramp up, but it’ll all be complete by Sunday, which is the day they’ll celebrate the official grand opening. Produce is sold “by the unit” – notice the 24-cent bananas in the top photo. They’re carrying some local brands (Tim’s chips, for example) in both fresh and processed food, as well as Target house lines and other national brands. The dairy and other cooler cases now line almost the entire west end of the store, where electronics and hardware used to be, among other things.
This is one of hundreds of stores the company is remodeling to add supermarket sections. Shelby explained that Target has two levels of supermarket – this is the smaller, urban-style “P Fresh” model, not the “Super Target” you’d recognize from other regions, such as the Midwest. Meantime, Sunday’s grocery “grand opening” is fairly low key – no ribbon-cutting or other ceremony, but some giveaways are planned.
Our video includes part of the dog show that kicked off today’s Westwood Village Street Fair – continuing till 7 pm. It’s dry but still a bit cool, which isn’t stopping the steady stream of visitors, especially families with kids. Next to our booth, a face-painting artist has drawn a line (not TOO long) – with the resulting work on display on kids’ faces everywhere:
And throughout the fair zone (mostly in the parking area between Bed Bath Beyond and Pier 1), there are inflatable slides and obstacle courses. Live music is scheduled to start at 3. Here’s more of who and what else is here – it’s up, up and away on the climbing wall:
Next: Know where your Emergency Communication Hub is, in case of disaster? West Seattle Be Prepared can show you – they’re here too:
From left, that’s Cindi Barker, Karen Berge, and Dave Brown. Here’s the pendant from Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) that’s being raffled off:
3:18 PM: The live music hasn’t started quite yet, but once it does, Hondo II is scheduled to play first, followed by Gunn and the Damage Done (sometime after 4 pm), and then School of Rock.
4:29 PM UPDATE: Second fashion show of the day, before the bands began – here’s part of the show put on by Dress Barn:
The inflatables are scheduled to be here till 6; it’s a bit chillier and drizzlier than it was earlier, so there’s not much of a wait!
Even though the only sun in evidence right now is in that makebelieve scene on the back of one of the inflatables, the Westwood Village Street Fair is indeed on, set to start at 11 am. “Train” rides again this year too!
The “amateur dog show” is scheduled to start at 11; live entertainment is scheduled too (we don’t have the full schedule yet but will publish it as soon as we do). Community groups and businesses (us included) will be there with booths and tables. It’s all scheduled to run till 7 pm in the lot between Bed Bath Beyond and Pier 1. See you there!
There’s a fence around the big birch tree to protect it as work is about to begin to turn the big lot at 34th/Barton into West Seattle’s next P-Patch community-gardening area. After months of planning and preparation, the official “groundbreaking” is tomorrow – albeit a low-key one; the landscaping consultant will install “the official web marking post” at 9:30 am. That’s a reference to the final design chosen for the site after 3 community meetings – WSB coverage here – which resembles a web.
(Courtesy Barker Landscape Architects)
You’re invited to come celebrate and to sign up for work parties; sign-up sheets are available 9 am-11 am, and garden plots will be assigned “based on volunteer hours,” so if you want a garden, you’ll have to work for it! The city’s webpage for the project is here; on Facebook, there’s a Barton Street P-Patch group here. The project is funded through the Parks and Green Spaces Levy.
It hasn’t received as much attention as the now-under-construction Delridge Skatepark – but Roxhill Park (south of Westwood Village) is getting a skateboarding area too, technically a “skatespot” rather than a “skatepark.” $600,000 was set aside by the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, and now the project is full speed ahead – the city is just going out with the “request for qualifications” for design work for Roxhill. (The RFQ – see it here – says it’ll be 5,000 to 8,000 square feet of skating space, with construction to start next spring.) And tomorrow, Mayor McGinn plans to announce a donation for the Roxhill project (which also is to include a renovation for the park’s play area). We’re told it involves the people behind the big-name skateboarding event that’s at KeyArena this weekend.
3:45 PM P.S.: A mayor’s-office advisory confirms it’s a donation of “funding and equipment” to be announced by the Rob Dyrdek Foundation. Dyrdek is a pro skateboarder/promoter; his foundation sponsors the Safe Spot Skate Spot program to help with urban-skatepark projects like this one.
In West Seattle’s Westwood neighborhood, the Parks and Green Spaces Levy is already paying for a new P-Patch – but there’s also the potential for a new park somewhere in the area. This Saturday at 1 pm, the Westwood Neighborhood Council invites you to Southwest Community Center to talk about that possibility. The levy passed by voters in 2008 includes money for acquiring new park land in “underserved neighborhoods” – and Westwood is one of the neighborhoods identified as “underserved.” Parks’ Chip Nevins will be there – not just to talk, but to listen – so if you have an idea about what might make a good park, and/or where, be there on Saturday.
(From left, Jim Klossner, Keith Schiller, Matthew Flaph)
WSB contributor Bill Hutchison just discovered that another new tenant has opened an office in the former On Safari storefront in Westwood, at 9007 35th Ave SW. We reported earlier this month that a collectibles/gifts shop was moving into a third of the space, leaving two other vacancies, and now we know one has been taken by Green Home Renovations, a partner-owned business that began three years ago down in Portland. “Now we’ve set our sights on Seattle,” says president Keith Schiller, with whom Bill spoke along with partners Ryan Brooks and Matthew Flaph. They’re offering window replacement, siding, “living roofs,” and kitchen and bedroom remodeling, as what they call “green solutions” to boost homes’ energy-efficiency (among other factors).
(County map showing where the “green stormwater infrastructure” is proposed for the area feeding the Barton pump station; go here for larger version)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
There was a bit of myth-buster flavor to the first major community meeting since King County’s December announcement that it wants to solve the Barton Pump Station‘s overflow woes with “green stormwater infrastructure” in a 17-block area of Westwood and Sunrise Heights:
No, there won’t be a raingarden in front of every home in the area.
No, the raingardens aren’t expected to fill up and sit stagnant as mosquito-breeding ponds or child-drowning risks.
No, they won’t block you from getting between your street-parked car and your front door.
So – what will they do, and how?
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