ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:07 PM THURSDAY: City parks will be no-smoking zones if the Board of Park Commissioners‘ recommendation becomes final. That’s according to our partners at The Seattle Times, who report that the board voted tonight to back the ban. As we noted when the proposed ban came to light in March, it’s been five years since Seattle Parks mulled a ban and then decided on restrictions instead. What commissioners voted for tonight is a revised plan explained in this briefing paper – no citation or fine for violators, who would instead be “educated” and warned.
1:58 PM: Parks has announced that Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams decided today to implement the ban, which will take effect in a month. Here’s the news release:
Click to read the rest of UPDATE: Smoking ban for city parks, after board approval. No fine, though….
Thanks to Alicia for the photo – finally, sunny, warm weather, on the sixth day of the 2015 season at Highland Park Spraypark, open 11 am-8 pm daily at 1100 SW Cloverdale until summer’s end.
(UPDATED WEDNESDAY MORNING with police report details)
8:15 PM: If you’re noticing Seattle Police heading toward/into Lincoln Park, here’s what’s happening, according to what we’ve heard via scanner so far: Someone called 911 to report a man tried to grab her in the park. The description made public so far is a “Hispanic male, about 18 … white T-shirt, blue gym shorts.” (added) Also: “Thin, about 5’6″, no facial hair.” If you saw anything or have any information, call 911.
8:59 PM: A parkgoer says in comments that the victim told her it happened “on the trail going up from the beach near the pool.”
ADDED 9:34 AM WEDNESDAY: Just obtained from SPD, the narrative from the report, with the victim’s name redacted by SPD (replaced by us with “she” or “her” or “the victim”):
At 2017 hours I responded to a report of an assault with a sexual motive at … Lincoln Park. (The victim) had called 911 to report that an unknown male had grabbed her “butt” while she was walking through the park.
I made contact with (her) on the western side of the park which runs along the Puget Sound. The park has two levels. The lower western side of the park runs along the Puget Sound; the higher eastern side of the park is accessible through several sets of trails and staircases along the interior of the park.
(She) said that she comes to the park every other day to exercise. Tonight,(she) entered the park near the southernmost parking lot. She began running and walking along the trails on the higher, eastern side of the park. (She) said that she had been alternating between running and walking along the trail near the ridge that separates the lower half of the park from the upper.
While (she) was walking along the trail an unknown male approached her from behind and grabbed her “butt” with his right hand. (She) said that she had never seen the male before today. She described the male as approximately 18 years old, Hispanic or possibly Pacific Islander. She said that he was wearing a white t-shirt and dark gym shorts. (She) said the suspect was thin, around 5’6″ in height. He did not have any facial hair that she could recall.
After the suspect grabbed her butt, (she) recoiled away from him. (She) said the suspect then apologized, saying something like, “Sorry, I’ve only got a month to live, I just had to do that”. (She) felt that the suspect did not understand what he did was wrong. She said that the suspect did not leave the area when she asked him what he was doing. After (she) told the suspect that she was going to call the police, he reiterated his apology.
(She) then tried to get a passerby to lend her a cell phone. She stopped a couple who was walking through the area and asked to borrow their phone to call 911. The couple refused and told (her) that she should just leave the area, and that she should not travel alone. (She) said that during this time the suspect left the area but she did not see which direction he went. (She) then walked down the hill into the lower section of the park. She was able to find someone who let her use her cell phone to call 911.
(She) was not certain but said that she might have seen the suspect in the park before he assaulted her. (The victim) believed that he might have been sitting on a bench along the path. (She) believed that he may have been following her through the park but she was not certain.
Multiple units responded to the park and searched the area in vehicles and on foot. King County Metro was notified with a description of the suspect but no one was located. Because (she) did not see the suspect enter or exit the park, his mode of transportation was not known. I provided (her) with an SPD business card with my name, serial number, and this incident number. I asked her to contact the department if she recalled any other details about the incident. I also provided (her) with a victim’s brochure and talked with her about counseling services available.
(Highland Park Spraypark, WSB file photo)
The forecast right now isn’t looking much like warm sunshine tomorrow – but it’s still the first day of the year for Colman Pool at Lincoln Park and for West Seattle’s only spraypark, at Highland Park. We mentioned this a week and a half ago in a roundup of start dates for Seattle Parks‘ outdoor water facilities in West Seattle; for a citywide perspective, check out this recent update on the city’s Parkways website. To get specific: Colman Pool’s first pre-season swim session starts at noon tomorrow (full schedule here); Highland Park Spraypark will be open daily starting tomorrow, 11 am-8 pm (per the citywide schedule that also includes wading pools, which don’t start opening until late June).
Announced late today by Seattle Parks: Outdoor gyms called Fitness Zones® are set for installation in the parks adjacent to Delridge and Hiawatha Community Centers, and meetings are scheduled so you can find out more and offer your opinion. Parks’ announcement (read it here in its entirety) says, “Each Fitness Zone, due to be installed in the next eighteen months, will be equipped with top-quality, durable exercise equipment appropriate for teens and adults of all levels of fitness.” Parks says it has three project partners: The Trust for Public Land, The Seattle Parks Foundation, and MOMentum. The Delridge meeting is set for 6:30 pm Tuesday, June 2nd, at Delridge CC (4501 Delridge Way SW), while the Hiawatha meeting is set for 6:30 pm Thursday, June 4th, at Hiawatha CC (2700 California SW). 7 parks in the city already have Fitness Zones.
‘Free’ Seattle Parks programs on school-closure day Tuesday not free for all: Preschool families lose a day, no refund/makeupMay 15, 2015 at 2:16 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle schools | 11 Comments
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After the city announced Tuesday that Seattle Parks would offer “free” drop-in programs for school-age kids during Seattle Public Schools‘ teacher-walkout closure day next Tuesday, one group of Parks clients learned it will come with a cost to them:
Families with children in Parks-facilities preschools have been told their programs are canceled for that day, and that there will be no refund and no makeup date.
May 19th Seattle Public Schools closure: City-run community centers offering free programs for kids that dayMay 12, 2015 at 11:29 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 10 Comments
ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:29 AM: As announced a week ago, Seattle Public Schools will close one week from today – Tuesday, May 19th – because of teachers’ one-day protest walkout. The city says today that it’s planning to help out families by offering free programs at its community centers, including all of its West Seattle/South Park centers. IMPORTANT: You need to register ASAP if interested. Here’s the announcement:
Seattle Parks and Recreation has announced it will open and staff drop-in activities at 21 designated community centers for Seattle Public School students from kindergarten to 8th grade in response to the May 19 teacher walk-out. The free program will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19 and will include supervised recreation activities, with an anticipated supervision ratio of 20 children to 1 adult leader.
“We’re willing to open Seattle’s community centers for parents needing daycare on May 19,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Our programs for school-age kids offer educational and fun options during the summer and school vacations. It just makes sense for Parks for to step up during this exceptional circumstance.”
Due to space limitations, eligible students will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. All students must have a completed registration form. Registration forms can be obtained at open community centers, at the community centers the day of the drop-in service, or printed from http://www.seattle.gov/parks/. To hold a spot at a center, register in advance; please go online at class.seattle.gov/parks/Start/Start.asp. A registration form still must be brought to the community center on the 19th.
Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Associated Recreation Council will staff these sites. Parents are asked to drop off eligible children by 9:00 a.m. Spaces for parents who have pre-registered will not be held past 9:00 a.m. Once signed in, children will only be released to the authorized contacts listed on the registration form (identification is required).
Parents are asked to send a sack lunch with their child. Snacks will be provided to all students, and lunch will be provided to those students who are unable to bring their own.
The drop-in activities will be available at (editor’s note: we’re just listing the local centers, full citywide list here):
Alki, 5817 SW Stevens St.
Delridge, 4501 Delridge Way SW
Hiawatha, 2700 California Ave. SW
High Point, 6920 34th Ave. SW
South Park, 8319 8th Ave. S.
Parks’ Teen Centers [including Southwest, 2801 SW Thistle] will be open 2:30-8:00 p.m. in order to provide some daytime drop-in activities for teens.
ADDED: As noted in comments (including the comment we procured from Parks), this will mean some originally scheduled programming at the centers is in turn canceled that day.
Not as summery today as it was over the weekend but we just checked the pool schedules because of this picture:
Jim Edwards sent the photo from Colman Pool on the Lincoln Park shore, where he says they’re “putting the finishing touches and doing the laser alignment on the pumps.” Less than two weeks now until Colman Pool’s first pre-season opening – May 23rd, which is also when Highland Park Spraypark opens. The wading pools open later (in West Seattle, June 27th for Lincoln Park, June 29th for Delridge, July 1st for E.C. Hughes and Hiawatha). Here’s the citywide wading-pool schedule (PDF, including the pools’ addresses); here’s the Colman Pool 2015 schedule (also a PDF).
With construction winding down at Spruce, the mixed-use project that filled what for years was “The Hole,” the sidewalk along 39th SW is open and that provides a view of the plaza on what is actually a bit of city parkland along the corner where Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th meet. At the heart of the plaza, art by Lezlie Jane, the West Seattle artist whose creations grace other spots including Constellation, Cormorant Cove, Weather Watch, and Dakota Place Parks.
We first reported her role in this project when the “public benefit” package for Spruce – required because it includes an “alley vacation” – went to the Seattle Design Commission in December 2012. You can see the concept for the “medallion” in our coverage of the meeting, and how it’s turning out, above, and below in our quick walkaround captured in a 15-second Instagram video clip (we focused on the wording around its perimeter, which includes an explanation of the bear, if you don’t know that part of West Seattle history on sight):
Our visit to the site this afternoon was inspired by the announcement of next Tuesday’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting – JuNO director René Commons mentioned it while saying the group will talk about the mini-park’s future, as well as other public/green space issues, at 6:30 pm Tuesday, at the Senior Center of West Seattle.
Pet owners thinking about flouting the laws in city parks might want to think twice. Seattle Animal Shelter says it’s back up to full staff and so, as director Don Jordan puts it, “folks not only in Lincoln Park but around the city will see a more-concerted effort back in the parks again to (encourage) off-leash compliance and compliance with our licensing law.”
We contacted Jordan because of Jeannie‘s post in the WSB Forums, saying she’d heard from an officer who said Lincoln Park is now being patrolled. Concerns about off-leash dogs have been a frequent topic in the forums; we also published a report in March after hearing from a student researcher who’s been studying how off-leash, off-trail dogs have affected park restoration efforts.
Jordan says what’s happened is, “We’re finally back up to full staff” – 13 officers, after two years in which various staffing challenges dropped levels to barely half that, as low as seven officers. (If you’re cited for a violation, here’s the list of fees.)
Even more than off-leash violators, though, he wanted to talk about the importance of licensing. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said, pointing out, repeatedly, that licensing revenue supports SAS, and that it has other benefits. It’s estimated, Jordan said, that only about 30 percent of dogs and 15 percent of cats are licensed here (he cited a formula by the American Veterinary Medicine Association for that), “so we know there’s a great opportunity out there for pet owners to help us out.”
For one – if your pet is lost (a circumstance that touches our work via the WSB Lost/Found Pets page), a license provides a way for you to be found, once they’re found, without putting all your personal contact info on their tags.
Jordan says licenseholders also can contact SAS when they’re going on vacation, for example, to provide information on who’s watching your pet, in case it gets loose. Find out more about pet licensing here – and keep in mind there’s a $125 fine if you’re caught without it.
Back to the staffing; Jordan says SAS has “been able to recruit some really stellar staff members with a tremendous variety of backgrounds … vet technicians to wildlife experts to folks who have worked in large animal veterinary practices, a wide array of officers. Best crew I’ve had in the past 25 years I’ve been here.”
We asked if they’re working beats – is someone permanently assigned to Lincoln Park, for example? He would only say that they schedule in advance, and might have to “modify” when something comes up at the last minute – someone out sick, testifying in court, etc. They’re trying “to spread our efforts out, (especially) among the larger, heavily-used parks. Folks should know we’re here to help – call us if you have problems in the neighborhood. We’ll be deployed as much as we can with the leash law and licensing law this summer,” among other things. The SAS animal-control hotline is 206-386-7387 (that’s 386-PETS).
Jeff sent that photo on Monday, wondering why the new restroom building at Fairmount Playfield is still closed, though it’s looked complete for weeks. We took the question to Seattle Parks, whose Karen O’Connor replied:
We have a couple of punch list items for the Fairmount Playfield restroom building including locks and the installation of the electric meter. We are working with our shops and Seattle City Light to get this done. In the meantime, the temporary bathrooms will remain on site. … If the final inspection goes well – we anticipate the restrooms opening the weekend
of May 15.
Thanks to Barry for the report and photo:
Friends of Morgan Junction Parks held their first event of the year on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Morgan Junction Park. A nice turnout of volunteers performed pruning and transplanting projects, and weeding and mulching of all the plant beds. The park’s in great shape and ready for summer. Thanks to everyone who lent a hand from the Morgan Community Association, The Bridge and Beveridge Place Pub, and to the volunteers who work in all seasons to keep the park clean and vibrant.
The biggest event of the year at the park is just under two months away – the 10th annual Morgan Junction Community Festival, set for Saturday, June 20th.
Five years ago, Seattle Parks‘ then-Superintendent Tim Gallagher decided to ban smoking in all city parks. But instead, as recommended by the Parks Board, the system ended up with a rule banning tobacco use “within 25 feet of other park patrons and in play areas, beaches, or playgrounds.” Today, there’s a new proposal to ban smoking in parks – here’s the memo spelling it out. Mayor Murray has already issued a statement saying he’s for it. Next step: The Parks Board will have a public hearing at 6:30 pm April 16th at Parks HQ downtown. (WSB file photo: Container of cigarette butts found on beaches, shown at Alki last year)
(Photo courtesy Joe Paar)
The long-planned Little Free Library is now in place in Morgan Junction Park, reports Cindi Barker from the Morgan Community Association: “Thanks go to Joe Paar, Morgan resident; Tyler Jamison of Village Builders; Seattle Parks staff; and the Friends of Morgan Junction Park for getting this installed!” As shown in the photo, you can see it right next to the information kiosk at the park, which is at 6413 California SW. If you’re not familiar with the concept, as explained on the official LFL site, it’s “a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.”
With so much Seattle Parks land in West Seattle, it’s a city department of extra interest here. Now, we’re about to find out who Mayor Murray wants to have in charge of that department. Almost six months after he announced that Christopher Williams would end almost five years as acting superintendent, moving to the role of deputy superintendent, the mayor says he’ll announce his nominee tomorrow morning at 11. Williams, a former West Seattleite (Chief Sealth alum), took over after Tim Gallagher resigned in spring 2010.
What happens at your local community center(s) – a long list of activities, classes, and events, featured in the seasonal brochure – isn’t just the work of the city staffers who work there. A community-based advisory council is hard at work behind the scenes, too. The Alki Community Center Advisory Council is inviting new members, and center coordinator Marc Hoffman asked us to share the invitation for you to “support the community center staff’s efforts to meet our recreational needs – use your talents to better our community!” The council usually meets at the center on second Wednesdays. If you’re interested, contact Marc at 206-684-7430 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or council president Roberta Fowler, email@example.com.
Yet another car prowl at Lincoln Park. Today’s report is from Luna:
We had our car broken into between 8:15 and 8:50 this morning in the Lincoln Park south lot. There was nothing in the car for them to take. Everyone that stopped while we were cleaning up and getting someone to come and pick up our kiddo was so nice and surprised, it makes me glad to live in West Seattle even if this happens at our local park! We also chatted with a couple who were broken into in the same spot last week, so be careful, everyone! There really was almost nothing visible in our car and they didn’t take the kids Patagonia jacket that was on the floor, so it seems like they were definitely looking for a purse/wallet. Just wanted as many people as possible to be aware!
This is the third reader report we’ve received this week about Lincoln Park car prowls; we tried checking the police-reports map again for the latest tally, but it’s not working so well at the moment. We also have a message out to local police leadership to ask how they’re tackling this problem, and will add whatever we hear back.
Since the crash that damaged a Longfellow Creek footbridge three weeks ago, we’ve been checking with Seattle Parks about the status of repairs. This morning, Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad tells WSB the footbridge has reopened:
While working to make repairs to this bridge … we determined that the main structure is sound. We have re-opened the bridge and re-installed temporary fencing where the railing was damaged. The repairs/upgrades will take longer than expected but patrons, will be able to use the bridge while our carpentry staff order supplies and fabricate needed parts.
As reported here last week, the driver who crashed the pickup eastbound on SW Yancy, through the railing, and into the creek, 40-year-old Rossindo Ramos, is charged with DUI and reckless endangerment. He and his passenger escaped serious injury. We’re following up with Parks on what the repairs will cost and whether they’ll pursue restitution.
Lynne texted this photo taken in the south parking lot at Lincoln Park this afternoon:
She was parked next to that vehicle and reports that she returned to her car around noon, same time as the prowled vehicle’s owner. Police were called. As signs in the parking lot warn – and as is the case with many parks – Lincoln Park continues to be a hot spot for vehicle break-ins; Colleen has also e-mailed with a Crime Watch report, saying her car had been broken into twice in two weeks in the north parking lot, first on December 23rd, then again on yesterday. She said she had noticed “a large green truck with tinted windows pull up very close next to my car” yesterday before discovering her window had been smashed again. Both incidents, Colleen said, have been reported to police (who offer prevention advice here).
P.S. The police-reports map (which you can configure for date/type of crime) shows at least six car break-ins reported in Lincoln Park lots in the past month; that number could be low, as we know from e-mail exchanges that people don’t always report the prowls, especially if nothing was taken. (In another one-month check in mid-December, the map showed 11.) Do report it if it happens to you; you can even do so online.
The SW Yancy footbridge over Longfellow Creek in North Delridge is expected to remain closed for weeks. That’s the latest from Seattle Parks, ten days after an allegedly drunk driver crashed through the bridge’s wooden railing and into the creek. As we reported the night of the crash, neither the driver nor his passenger were seriously hurt. But the bridge was left with major damage. Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad tells WSB that there’s no firm date for repairs yet, but it’ll likely be a matter of weeks – well into January. “Until then we will keep an eye on this to make sure the barricades stay up, and would appreciate the cooperation from the public to stay off the bridge.” Meantime, we’re trying to find out the status of the case against the 40-year-old man arrested at the scene.
ADDED 3:24 PM: We’ve finally obtained the aforementioned information. According to Seattle Municipal Court online records, 40-year-old Rossindo Ramos of Highland Park is charged with DUI and reckless endangerment, and also was cited for a license violation and driving without insurance. He is not shown as having been jailed after this incident, but he is out on bail with stipulations including electronic home monitoring. He did spend four days in jail less than three weeks earlier, after an incident that resulted in a charge of property destruction, related to alleged domestic violence.
As promised, we went back to check on the footbridge over Longfellow Creek at SW Yancy in North Delridge (map), damaged when a driver went through the dead end, onto the bridge, through its railing, and into the creek early this morning (WSB coverage here). The “closed” sign was posted by Seattle Parks, which has responsibility for the area; we talked with regional manager Carol Baker, who tells us that Parks carpenters went out for a look at it earlier today but won’t be able to thoroughly assess the damage and plan for repairs until next week.
ADDED MONDAY: We finally have police confirmation of an arrest in connection with this – a 40-year-old man suspected of DUI. (The footbridge is still closed off – we’ll be checking on Tuesday to see if there’s a repair plan yet.)
If you use the off-leash area at Westcrest Park – West Seattle’s only official public off-leash area – can you spare a few minutes for a survey? It’s part of a project that’s just getting going with a $7,500 grant from King County Wastewater Treatment meant to help manage the off-leash area’s runoff problem, with water coming down the slope from the covered-reservoir area. A much-larger amount is being sought via grants, sponsorships, and private donations to pay for general improvements to the park, in partnership with Seattle Parks, King County, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Animal Shelter and COLA (Citizens for Off-Leash Areas). The survey is collecting opinions on what improvements you’d like to see at Westcrest. Answer ASAP; they’re planning to report results next month.
Mark your calendar before checking out for the holiday – if you’re interested in the Highland Park Opportunity Fund project, improving the play area at, and access into, the park at 1100 SW Cloverdale – next community meeting is set for January 13, 2015, at Highland Park Elementary School from 6:30 – 7:45 pm. Above is the presentation from the first meeting (last month); notes from that meeting are online too.
Thanks to West Seattleite Art Cazares for the quick clip and this report:
It has been one or two years since I last witnessed the birth of a new clutch “eaglets” at Lincoln Park, in West Seattle. I watched meticulously last time the Bald Eagles produced their clutch resulting in two chicks; one which died or fell out of the nest. Even more exciting, was to witness the successful raising on the one chick who grew into young adulthood and eventually flew away. Many at the park marveled each day and set up cameras and lawn chairs to witness the daily feedings and events.
Well, I’m pleased to report that the eagles have returned and once again; the warbled communication of their cries can be heard as they rebuild the nest that was partially destroyed by wind storms just a couple of months ago. I’ve included footage that i took just yesterday as the female returned to her nest with twigs and branches. It’s exciting to see that this mated pair might be planning for a new family next year. I’ve been to Lincoln Park 3 days in a row in the early morning to witness this rebuilding.
If you stand below the nest (which is about 100 feet up), you can see many branches sitting at the base of the trunk of the evergreen tree…auspiciously, the eagles have done some remodeling! :)
Cheers and best of luck to the “love birds!”
Just might be the same eagle photographed by Trileigh Tucker and shown here two weeks ago (or that eagle’s mate)! (She also documented, 2 years ago, the eaglet that Art mentions.) Read more about bald eagles here.
Patti McCall sent the photos, and tonight Karen sent a tip about it too, saying one side showed up yesterday, the other today. (Thank you both!) Backstory, anyone?
This isn’t the only house being demolished in West Seattle today, but we’re pretty sure it’s the only one with a backstory like this: It’s the house at 3823 SW Willow in Gatewood that was mentioned here three months ago, as Seattle Parks notified neighbors about the plans to turn it into a pocket park, thanks to a “reserved life estate donation” from George Watton, who lived there with wife DeLayne Watton for more than half a century. He built the house after returning home from World War II and had arranged the donation of the site, plus money to cover demolition, long before his death last year at age 95 (his wife died in 2007). Parks has said that after the site is cleared – today’s teardown follows a long period of more-gentle “deconstruction” – they will embark on site restoration and turf establishment, to be complete by next spring.
P.S. Thanks to Joseph for sharing the photo!
ADDED: And thanks to Ron for this view hours later, as the final wall of the house was brought down:
During today’s Green Seattle Day, Orchard Street Ravine got the TLC it was looking for. Cindi Barker shared photos and reports, “Over 30 people came, including 3 full families. All the plants got in the ground and are now well protected for the winter ahead.”
Cindi says that’s the youngest worker who showed up today, 6-year-old Evan, with his mom Jane. Here are the pots that held the plants now in the ground:
Thanks to everyone who volunteered somewhere today!
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