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FOLLOWUP: Opening day for Brass Knuckle Bistro – with a free sample

Elvis would love the opening-day samples at Brass Knuckle Bistro, the White Center restaurant just opened by a West Seattle family (we first introduced you to them back in August). As noted here a week and a half ago, today is indeed the first official day for the sandwiches/salads/sides eatery at 9602 16th SW, open until 8 pm. See more photos on our partner site White Center Now.

CRIME WATCH: White Center double-murder suspect in jail

8:39 PM: Our routine check of the King County Jail roster tonight shows the current list of inmates includes Merle Buchanan, who’s been wanted for weeks in connection with the double murder in White Center two months ago. The King County Sheriff’s Office announced on January 25th that they were looking for him, almost three weeks after the shooting deaths. He was booked on Friday afternoon, according to the jail register, with bail set at $1.1 million – including $100,000 for a domestic-violence-related warrant. Court records show he is not yet charged in the shooting deaths.

11:18 PM: We asked KCSO’s public-information officer Sgt. Ryan Abbott for more details. He says Buchanan turned himself in to Seattle Police. He is expecting more information on Monday, which is also when we’ll be checking with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to follow the case through the courts.

BIZNOTE: Brass Knuckle Bistro sets the opening date

Almost six months ago, we told you about a West Seattle family’s plan to open Brass Knuckle Bistro in the former 3.14 Bakery space on the north end of downtown White Center (9602 16th SW). Now they’ve announced that March 6th will be the opening date. BKB will focus on sandwiches – see the menu online. (Thanks to Gill for the tip!)

THE WHEEL THING: Rainier Roller Girls’ next bout rolls into Southgate on Saturday

(Photo by Steve Messerer)

Southgate Roller Rink – right next door in White Center – has made our area a hotspot for roller derby, for all ages, not just spectators, but skaters. It’s where the Rainier Roller Girls‘ new season is under way, with monthly “high-energy, all-ages-themed bouts” at Southgate. And they want to make sure you know what they’re all about. Rainier Roller Girls “are an all-female flat-track roller-derby league … a small competitive travel team made of 20-plus active skaters, retired skaters, and volunteers. We believe all is possible with a little elbow grease, an amazing support system, and loyal fans.” They launched in 2011 and are a “skater-owned league” that’s focused “on fitness, mental game, and fun for both the skaters and fans.”

(Courtesy THM Photo)

This year’s lineup of bouts continues Saturday (February 17th) with “Flashback to the ’80s,” continuing March 24th with “Mortal Kom-bout,” April 21st with “Heathers vs. Mean Girls,” May 19th with “Superheroes vs. Villains,” and June 15th with “Adults-only Rocky Horror.” They add: “Spectators are strongly encouraged to dress for the theme!” You can buy your ticket in advance here. And bring $ for the bake sale! P.S. – Rainier Roller Girls are recruiting, too:

Are you a veteran skater thinking about moving leagues, or a newer skater ready to league up? A referee or non-skating official looking for more experience or to share your love of derby? Rainier Roller Girls is always looking for new skaters, refs, and officials to join our ranks. Email info@rainierrollergirls.com to get in touch with us and for more information.

UPDATE: Helicopter, ground search after woman stabbed in White Center

8:11 PM: Thanks for the tips about Guardian One over White Center/South Delridge. We have a crew on the ground talking with deputies. So far, we’re told they are investigating an assault in WC. Will add other details when we get them.

8:28 PM: Just talked with KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West. She says a woman who works for a veterinary clinic in the 9800 block of 15th SW was stabbed and they were looking for her attacker. She apparently was attacked when she went out behind the clinic after thinking she heard someone crying. The attacker is described only as white, female, “skinny,” and possibly a transient. No one in custody so far.

9:25 PM:
Sgt. West told us the victim was injured in the abdomen and arm but was in stable condition when taken to the hospital and is expected to fully recover.

DOUBLE-MURDER SUSPECT: Have you seen Merle ‘Chucky’ Buchanan?

11:44 AM: Just published on our partner site White Center Now: The King County Sheriff’s Office is looking for 26-year-old Merle “Chucky” Buchanan, suspected in the January 6th double murder in downtown White Center, and shared these photos, saying he is “known to frequent” Seattle, Burien, and Renton:

Buchanan is described as 5’9” and 195 pounds. He is also being sought in connection with violating a domestic-violence-related court order. If you see him, call 911.

1:11 PM: We checked with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and they tell us Buchanan is not yet formally charged in the murders.

RAPIDRIDE H LINE: What was shown in Burien tonight, and will be in White Center tomorrow

January 10, 2018 10:21 pm
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 |   Delridge | Transportation | West Seattle news | White Center

We stopped by the first RapidRide H Line drop-in meeting in Burien tonight to preview what you’ll see if you go to the White Center meeting tomorrow. It’s classic open-house format – informational boards around the room, staffers there so you can ask questions, maps on tables, comment forms to fill out if you choose to. They include explanations of how RapidRide works, as well as focusing in on specifics of this project, which is scheduled to convert Route 120 into the H Line in 2020.

While there’s a separate meeting coming up in Delridge one week from tonight to talk about the new options for that stretch of the route, those boards are available too – ask if you don’t see them.

It’s not a different route, we were told, but rather some possibilities for where the stops will be – which has been a major concern in previous community discussions. The new Delridge option – they started with two and now this is #3 – would include stations at Genesee, Andover, Hudson, Findlay in the north, for example. (Andover would eventually be a connection at/near the future Sound Transit Light Rail stop.) For those who have been advocating to have RapidRide H use the Delridge/Barton triangle stop, that’s still not considered an option; Metro’s Jenna Franklin told us their projections suggest the Westwood area will have many more jobs by 2025 and the connection needs to be closer. The proposals include more than just bus-stop locations, but also multi-modal right-of-way improvements, so take a good look and be ready to discuss, especially at the Delridge meeting on January 17th (Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW), which starts as a drop-in event and then is followed by a discussion with the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council starting at 7 pm. (We also are scheduled for a more in-depth briefing on the proposal, so watch for a followup.)

Also note that tonight’s Burien meeting had materials in multiple languages and you’ll find those in White Center Thursday night, too (5-8 pm, Mount View Elementary, 10811 12th SW). And whether you do or don’t get to an in-person meeting, the “online open house” is open now too, linked from this info-laden page about the RapidRide H Line project – if you need it translated, look for the SET LANGUAGE button at lower left, which brings up a list of dozens of languages.

ON WHITE CENTER NOW: From Drunky’s Two Shoes to Dottie’s Doublewide

Just after Christmas, we reported on partner site White Center Now that a new enterprise from the folks behind Drunky’s Two Shoes was on its way to the space vacated by short-lived Zanzibar: Dottie’s Doublewide. We’ve finally been able to talk to the Dottie’s team for the full story, and published it on WCN tonight.

From White Center Now: Shooting investigation closes 16th SW

January 6, 2018 2:39 am
|    Comments Off on From White Center Now: Shooting investigation closes 16th SW
 |   Crime | West Seattle news | White Center

16th SW is closed in White Center between 98th and 100th after a double shooting (update: one confirmed dead), in the same area where a man was shot and killed eight months ago. We’re updating on partner site White Center Now as information becomes available.

NEW DATES: RapidRide H Line open houses in January

Metro has just set the new dates for its RapidRide H Line open houses next month – one in White Center, one in Burien:

Wednesday, January 10th from 5-8 p.m.
Burien Community Center, Shorewood Room
14700 6th Ave SW, Burien

Thursday, January 11th from 5-8 p.m.
Mount View Elementary School, Cafeteria/Multi-purpose Room
10811 12th Ave SW, White Center

These are the open houses promised when Metro went public three weeks ago with a survey asking you to get specific about feedback as they plan the conversion of Route 120 into the H Line – that survey is still open if you haven’t taken it yet.

WHITE CENTER: Advisory Council members sought for affordable-housing, family-resource project

We’re publishing this announcement both here and on partner site White Center Now because of the scope of the project:

The White Center Community Development Association (WCCDA), celebrating its 15th year serving White Center families with family/social services, small business/entrepreneurial development, school educational support, and family wellness, is partnering with Southwest Youth and Family Services (SWYFS), which provides critical health services to youth and families-at-risk, to create the White Center Neighborhood Advisory Council. This 20-person council, nominated from diverse segments of our White Center community, will meet twice a month, over five months in 2018, to assist us in the following;

*Review and plan for a Family Resource Center at the former White Center public health building site at 8th Ave. SW and SW 108th Ave, now temporarily used by Mary’s Place as transitional housing for homeless families.

*Develop a long-range affordable housing plan for White Center that helps keep White Center families living near each other, and incorporate the planning process findings into affordable housing at the former public health site

*Assist in ensuring that homeless transitional housing is considered as a continuing service in the affordable housing discussions for the site and elsewhere in White Center that will result.

The 20 members of this Council will receive $100 each in May of 2018, to compensate for their time serving on this council. The Nomination Form and Scope of Work for the Advisory Council can be found at the WCCDA website. All nominations are welcome, but we reserve the right to ensure that broad, diverse community perspectives are included through the nomination process as described in the Nomination Form and Scope of Work.

Nomination forms are due by December 12 at the CDA Open House meeting from 4-6 pm, that will be held at the WCCDA offices in the Technology Access Foundation building at 605 SW 108th Street. All nominees are encouraged to attend this meeting to meet staff, learn about the existing important work our staff do here in White Center, and eat good food. Child care will be provided.

Questions: Mark@WCCDA.ORG or call the WCCDA office at 206-694-1082

UPDATE: Deadly shooting in White Center; helicopter search

(WSB photos)

10:53 PM: For everyone asking about the helicopter – a shooting is reported near 15th and Roxbury in White Center. King County Sheriff’s deputies have asked SPD to assist with the investigation. We are on the way to find out more.

10:58 PM UPDATE: KCSO says one man has been shot and is undergoing CPR.

11:11 PM UPDATE: Just arrived at the scene. 15th SW is taped off about a block south of Roxbury. SPD is here as well as KCSO, and Guardian One is still overhead.

11:15 PM UPDATE: A sergeant at the scene tells us the victim has died. No arrest reported so far.

8:44 AM: New information in from King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Cindi West: The victim was a 27-year-old man from Burien: “Witnesses told police that a group of men were talking with the victim prior to the shooting. The suspect who was with the group of men fought with the victim. When the fight was over, the suspect pulled out a gun and shot the victim. The men fled the scene on foot. King County Guardian One and K-9 responded but were unable to locate the suspect or the men he was with. The only description obtained was that the suspect was wearing a red hoodie.” They’re hoping for tips, 206-296-3311.

CRIME WATCH: Package thieves, including a repeater; sign mystery

In West Seattle (and vicinity) Crime Watch:

WESTWOOD REPEAT PACKAGE THIEF: What you see in this security video isn’t the usual quick look at a theft. Toward the start, you see someone remove a package from the porch; then you see another delivery; then about 5:15 in, you see the same person back to remove that package. Stacey, who sent the link, explains:

Our family had the nice UPS driver come by last night around 8 pm to tell us that a thief was prowling the Westwood area stealing packages. You can see in this video clip a guy with an odd hat and puffy jacket grab a small package and later come back for our Old Navy package which was hidden in a milk box. The UPS man said he was chasing this guy down with over a dozen packages.

A very Good Samaritan brought us back our ripped open Old Navy bag. Keep an eye out for this guy. And anyone in the Westwood area, look to make sure you got your packages the last two days.

BEACH DRIVE PACKAGE THIEF: The photos and report are from Nina:

I live on the 5600 Block of Beach Drive. On 11/1 at 10:58 AM, this woman stole a package off our porch 4 minutes after it was dropped off.

She was following the delivery truck through the neighborhood. I have filed a police report but thought the neighbors in West Seattle should be warned. Police Case Number 2017-910072

SIGN MYSTERY: Do you know what happened to this sign at 4th SW and SW 108th? Vandalism? Crash?

Mark Ufkes, who led the White Center Chamber of Commerce when this and similar signs were installed, sent the photo and notes, “Wish we knew who did this, to help us make it right. The sign alone cost the Chamber over $2,000.”

CRIME WATCH: What led to 2 arrests at 17th/Roxbury

We took that photo in the parking lot on the southwest corner of 17th and Roxbury at midday today after tips about a big law-enforcement presence – primarily Seattle PD, though the lot is south of the city/county line. Police at the scene told us they were arresting at least one suspect for whom they had a warrant. Now, the details are in via SPD Blotter:

Seattle Police and King County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two men at a gang member’s funeral in White Center on Wednesday as part of an ongoing anti-violence emphasis effort in the Southwest Precinct.

Police and deputies were on hand at the funeral Wednesday following a shooting one night earlier outside a home on 12th Avenue and Donovan Street in South Park.

On Tuesday, associates of the deceased gang member had gathered at a home near 12th Avenue and Donovan Street for a viewing.

During the event, several attendees were targeted in a shooting outside the home, leaving a 20-year-old man with serious gunshot injuries.

In an effort to prevent any further violence, SPD officers and King County Sheriff’s Deputies maintained a presence outside the funeral in White Center on Wednesday. Following the services, officers recognized one man, who had a warrant for unlawful possession of a firearm and a department of corrections violation.

Deputies also arrested a second man, a convicted felon, who was found in possession of a pistol.

Detectives continue to investigate Tuesday’s shooting, and patrol officers are conducting emphasis patrols in the area.

SUNDAY: March in South Delridge and White Center to ‘raise awareness for those currently enslaved’

September 21, 2017 6:30 pm
|    Comments Off on SUNDAY: March in South Delridge and White Center to ‘raise awareness for those currently enslaved’
 |   Delridge | West Seattle news | White Center

The Salvation Army in South Delridge is inviting the community to join an awareness-raising march on Sunday (September 24th) afternoon. From Capt. Lisa Barnes:

The Salvation Army is hosting a march down 16th Ave this Sunday. We will be walking just 4 blocks each way as we raise awareness for those currently enslaved around the world.

We will start at The Salvation Army at 1:15 and be finished by 3:00 at the latest.

This is a free event and we will be providing materials for signs.

Organizers add, “This will be the kickoff event for a group of people who are justice minded, and ready to make a difference for trafficked people in our neighborhoods. … This is not a political march. This is a march for freedom, for unity, for awareness, and for community.” The Salvation Army is at 9050 16th SW; the march will be on sidewalks, not the street.

UPDATE: Truck fire in White Center; West Seattle crews assist

5:35 AM: Thanks for the tips. The helicopter you might have heard over White Center/South Delridge was TV, checking out a fire call on 16th in downtown WC, just south of Roxbury. West Seattle fire units were dispatched for mutual aid for a while. We have a crew checking it out.

5:52 AM: What caught fire was a refrigerated truck trailer parked by a building at 15th/SW 98th that firefighters also say sustained damage. No injuries. Power’s out because lines were involved. (The TV helicopter has long since moved on to something else elsewhere in the region.)

6:13 AM: Added photos. Metro says buses that use 15th SW in the area might be affected; fire trucks were still blocking that street when we left a few minutes ago – we’ll be going back after sunrise for a closer look.

9:58 AM: The investigation continues:

In the photo above, you can see the blackened area where the fire spread to the building by which the trailer was parked.

ROAD-WORK ALERT: SW 106th/107th reconfiguration work next week

If you use SW 106th/107th between Arbor Heights and White Center, you might have seen the signboard for road work coming up next week. We did, so we asked King County Roads for details; here’s what we just received from spokesperson Brent Champaco:

We are taking the road from two lanes to a three-lane configuration that will feature:

· Left –turn lanes at 26th Avenue SW
· Two-way, left-turn lanes around 25th Avenue SW
· Striped median in the S-curves between 22nd and 25th Avenues SW
· Two-way, left-turn lane between 17th and 22nd Avenues SW

The restriping work is scheduled to last 3-5 days, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. All lanes of traffic will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. At other times, at least one lane will remain open with flaggers directing traffic. No parking will be allowed along this part of the road during the project.

If you live/work near that stretch, you’ve probably already seen this flyer (or a similar door-hanger card), part of the outreach Champaco says was done for people in the area.

West Seattle family to open Brass Knuckle Bistro in White Center – but first, a ‘garage sale’

(UPDATED THURSDAY NIGHT with garage-sale dates/times, Saturday and Sunday 10-4)

By Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog & White Center Now

Case Justham says he doesn’t sleep very well, so he stays up and reads cookbooks all night. His mom Linda Justham says her son looks at the science of food, down to the molecular properties of a dish. Case is quick to point out that he’s not a scientist, but he likes to try non-traditional cooking methods.

Case (photo at right), a self-taught chef, is presently the sous chef and butcher at The Swinery in West Seattle. With mom Linda, sister Piper Carscadden, brother Drew Justham, and wife Amy Justham, they are partnering to open the family’s first restaurant, Brass Knuckle Bistro in White Center. Case will be the chef, Carscadden will work the front end and social media and Linda will do the books, eventually turning them over to Carscadden. The others will be mostly silent partners, although Drew has extensive front-end experience and will probably be present in the first few weeks.

The entire family lives in West Seattle but they chose what was until three months ago the location of 3.14 Bakery at 9602 16th SW, just south of Roxbury, for the bistro (and are having a “garage sale” there later this week Saturday and Sunday – more on that below).

Read More

BACK TO SCHOOL: West Seattle Montessori School & Academy expanding

(Photo courtesy West Seattle Montessori: Former library, new enrichment center)

Big news from West Seattle Montessori School & Academy (WSB sponsor) – it’s expanding in more ways than one! Here’s the announcement:

West Seattle Montessori School & Academy, a Pre-K through 8th grade school serving West Seattle, White Center, North Highline, and Burien families since 1985, is pleased to announce exciting changes this coming school year.

*A fifth pre-primary classroom (2½ – 6 year-olds) will be opening this fall.

*A new enrichment center will be opening this coming school year, located in the former White Center King County Library. This enrichment center will be home to a performance stage area, kids’ kitchen, and a student-run store, The Owl’s Nest. This new community-centered space will extend student learning and cultivate all-school connections.

West Seattle Montessori School & Academy strives to create an environment where students embrace differences and can connect on compassionate levels with others and the world around them. West Seattle Montessori School & Academy is still accepting applications for the 2017-2018 school year.

If you are already set for this school year but looking beyond, West Seattle Montessori’s open-house dates are already set for preschool through 8th grade – November 7th, 6 pm-7:30 pm; January 27 (2018), 1 pm-3 pm; March 7, 6-7:30 pm. The school is at 11215 15th SW.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Jubilee Days fireworks in White Center

July 17, 2017 10:08 pm
|    Comments Off on WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Jubilee Days fireworks in White Center
 |   West Seattle festivals | West Seattle news | White Center

Just a quick note so you’re not surprised about this time on Wednesday night (July 19th) – that’s when White Center’s Jubilee Days festival will launch its annual fireworks show. The show happens at Steve Cox Memorial Park, as does the carnival that also starts Wednesday night. One more early mention: This year the Saturday/Sunday (July 22nd-23rd) street fair that’s part of the festival will be on 16th SW between Roxbury and SW 98th – that’s the main street in downtown White Center, one block east of where the street fair’s been in previous years. Lots more info on the WCJD website, also all-new this year.

From White Center Now: Li’l Woody’s to open this week


(WCN photo from last week)

Another restaurant opening in White Center – the burger joint Li’l Woody’s opens its fourth location in White Center this Wednesday. Details are on our partner site White Center Now.

From White Center Now: Popeyes opens Wednesday

More than a year after we first reported via partner site White Center Now that Popeyes and Starbucks were taking over the old WC Chevron site, the first of the two is opening – Wednesday, says Popeyes. More on WCN.

#SeaHomeless: Revisiting Mary’s Place in White Center, the shelter that almost wasn’t

(EDITOR’S NOTE: WSB and WCN are participating in the multiple-media-outlet #SeaHomeless day of special coverage. For the occasion, we revisited what is the White Center/West Seattle area’s only fulltime shelter, which opened in late March.)


(Toys on a shelf in the ‘mini-mart’ at the Mary’s Place shelter in White Center)

By Tracy Record
Editor, West Seattle Blog and White Center Now

It’s the shelter that almost wasn’t.

At an acrimonious community meeting last September – when King County revealed it was weeks away from opening a shelter at its former Public Health clinic in White Center – some threatened legal action to stop it.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, community leaders and other residents formed a task force. They made a counter-proposal. Instead of the low-barrier, adults-only, overnight shelter that the county wanted the Salvation Army to operate, the counter-proposal was for a 24-hour family shelter to be operated by Mary’s Place, which specializes in helping homeless families.

The county agreed. Mary’s Place agreed. The followup community meeting in January had applause instead of shouting. And three months ago, the shelter opened at 8th SW/SW 108th. No lawsuits. No protests.

We toured on March 21st, just before the first families arrived. And that was the last time we visited the shelter – until this week, when we requested to drop in for a followup.

Our tour guide and interviewee was Liz McDaniel, family-shelter developer for Mary’s Place, who has been with the organization for eight years, dating back to when it was just the operator of a “day center” – now, it’s so much more. She understates her role: “I get to open all our new sites.” And in fact, she had opened a new one the night before our conversation, at the opposite end of King County, up in Shoreline.

But we were there to talk about White Center, the only fulltime shelter in the WC/West Seattle area. As of our Tuesday morning interview, 15 families were there, 55 people – 20 adults and 35 children. And there’s still room for more – official capacity is 70 people.

Another statistic: Since opening June 21st, the shelter “has served more than 3,400 bed nights.”

“Guests,” as Mary’s Place refers to the people it’s sheltering, are referred by the county program Coordinated Entry for All, which works with the 211 hotline.

And McDaniel says they are keeping “the promise that we made to the community, that we would prioritize families that are already in this neighborhood.”

Three months in, they are still completing renovations/additions that are needed so that the former clinic can truly serve as a livable space. One that catches our eye immediately upon entry fills a small atrium/courtyard:

The play area is the work of the Seattle University College of Engineering, we’re told. And like so many other things at the shelter, volunteers helped make it happen, including those who cleared the area of its weedy plantings.

Other work that is expected to be done by mid-July is adapting a restroom to make it accessible, and adding two showers in what was a storage area so the building has three – the Evergreen Aquatic Center, a mile away, has in the meantime been making its showers available to shelter families.

Crews also are converting another storage area into a laundry room:

In the meantime, all the laundry has to be sent offsite. And a “small kitchen” is being added as well, so some cooking can be done at the shelter.

So what happens during the course of a day at the shelter?

For the adults- “services that focus on housing and employment.” Throughout the open spaces in the shelter, there are signs, and set-aside areas, devoted to those focuses.

They get help working on applications, determining what are their barriers to housing, getting “tools to move forward.” The shelter has been open almost the exact length of an “average stay across all our locations” – 87 days. But three families already have moved out into housing, despite the challenge of rising rents, “harder and harder for families to afford, particularly if they’re a single-parent household – it’s challenging to find something to afford within Seattle. We spread the branches wide and look all over the place, White Center, Burien, Renton, Kent, places that families can afford.”

Mary’s Place also has launched a new “diversion program to help divert families from shelter directly into housing,” which requires “flexible funding,” so if you’re looking to donate money – that program could use it, she adds.

For employment, guests spend time filling out resumes, looking for openings, getting practice in “mock interviews.”

For the kids, there’s an immediate effort to be sure they are enrolled in school, and to arrange for transportation “within 48 hours of arriving.” This location is on school-bus routes, though at some of the other Mary’s Place sites in the region, they work with Metro, taxicabs, “whatever.” Now that school is out for the summer, the focus is on activities; McDaniel says they have been “working all year” on getting scholarships to day camps around the area, and kids are already out at camps ranging from art to environmental activities.

Health care also is available through the shelter, with a nurse on site part of the time.

Some aspects of shelter life involve clearing up misconceptions. McDaniel says some presume that shelters can be “a scary place – but we work hard to create a safe and welcoming community, where families can sit down and have a meal together, where kids can play appropriate to their age, where people feel welcomed as soon as they walk in the door … A lot of families are afraid they’ll lose their children when people find out they’re homeless. But your kids can’t be taken away simply (because of that).”

While Mary’s Place works on “a 90-day model … some families have more extended barriers” and it takes longer for them to get back onto their feet. Especially refugee families, McDaniel notes. Most of those who Mary’s Place is serving now are from East Africa, particularly Eritrea, though MP also has seen “our first few Syrian families,” as well as some from South Asia and Central America.

Wherever they are from, Mary’s Place emphasizes “the inherent belief that our families are good enough, and have the capability, to take care of their own families – they were housed at one point and they’ll be housed again. They have the tools to meet their own needs. There’s just a one-time gap – 97 percent of families experiencing homelessness will never experience it again. We help them navigate a really hard system at a traumatic time in their lives. We do it better together.”

Those working “together” at this shelter include about 20 staffers as well as the 55 guests, and volunteers. The guests have responsibilities beyond seeking housing and (if not already employed) work: They are assigned chores, for which points are awarded.

Those points can be spent at an on-site “store” with items such as clothing.

The youngest guests are able to earn points, too, and they have what the sign on the door dubs the “mini-mart” (top photo).

We asked McDaniel if the process of getting the shelter up to full speed has brought any surprises. “I think the biggest kind of joy and surprise has been the way the community has surrounded the space … we saw that in the work group and the process to get in. That has not waned. Between the schools and organizations already in the neighborhood” – she mentions White Center-headquartered WestSide Baby in particular – “(people) have stood alongside us and provided tools and resources to be sure this is a sustainable program in the community … White Center is such a strong community. People continued to bring in meals and donations and volunteer, and that excitement hasn’t gone away.”

A far cry from last September’s rancor.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: There’s a “daily need” for volunteers at the shelter – especially to help with the kids, “with outings, and during the school year with homework help,” McDaniel says. No prerequisites except to be “people who like people.” Information on volunteering is on the Mary’s Place website.

For donatable items – blankets and diapers remain their biggest need. (Yes, the kids at the shelter right now include babies.)

And the biggest need of all is space – this shelter is open, the aforementioned new one in Shoreline is open, but the need for more shelter space around the metro area continues. Despite that, this shelter is not intended to be permanent; the county and nonprofits are working on a long-range plan for a mixed-use project at the site that would include housing as well as headquarters for several nonprofits. That’ll be the topic of a separate followup.

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