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FOLLOWUP: Grand opening next month for Hiawatha’s new outdoor workout zone

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Thanks to Mike for the tip that Hiawatha Community Center‘s new outdoor exercise equipment has been installed, by the east lawn. It’s not quite done – still fenced off – so we stopped by Hiawatha (a very busy place this summer – 20 day camps!) today to ask when it will be open to the public. Answer: The grand opening is exactly one month from today, currently planned for 11 am-1 pm Saturday, July 30th (you’ll see posters soon), and the celebration will include something for everyone, including a construction event (“like sandcastle-building, but with cardboard boxes,” we’re told). The Hiawatha installation is one of two announced for West Seattle last year, with the help of nonprofit partners – we’ll be checking on the status of the other one, at Delridge CC.

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West Seattle wading pools: First week of the season!

(WSB file photo, Lincoln Park Wading Pool)

Today’s forecast is for sunshine and a high around 80, so it’s perfect timing for the first full week of Seattle Parks‘ wading-pool season.

*Lincoln Park Wading Pool opened on Saturday and will be open 11 am-8 pm seven days a week (provided 70+-degree sunshine is in the forecast); it’s in the upper park, not far from the big parking lot.

*Delridge Wading Pool is scheduled to open today; it will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, noon-6:45 pm, same weather caveat, and you’ll find it in the park north of Delridge Community Center, south of the skatepark at Delridge/Genesee.

*Wednesday is the first day for the wading pools at EC Hughes Playground (28th/Holden) and Hiawatha (Walnut/Lander). Hours/days are in the citywide wading-pool brochure.

Other outdoor splashing opportunities:

*Highland Park Spraypark, which opened Memorial Day weekend, continues its 7-day-a-week, 11 am-8 pm schedule. It’s West Seattle’s only spraypark, and you’ll find it at 1100 SW Cloverdale.

*Colman Pool, midway along the shore path at Lincoln Park, is also now open 7 days a week – see its schedule here.

Another park fire: Schmitz Park staircase

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Heads up if you usually walk into and/or out of Schmitz Park via the staircase to Admiral Way – its wooden steps have fire damage. Thanks to Dannie for the photo and tip this morning: “The steps on the SW corner of the Schmitz Park reserve were burned, very recently. I came upon them when walking the trail this morning. Strong scent if burning… The whole middle section was destroyed.” Dannie called to report it and a Seattle Fire team was dispatched to investigate; they were gone before we arrived, so we don’t know what they determined, and won’t likely be able to get official information until Monday, but will follow up then.

More Seattle dog parks? See the city’s new draft Off-Leash Areas plan – ‘People, Dogs, and Parks’

(WSB file photo, Westcrest Off-Leash Area)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Months later than first promised, the draft plan for Seattle Parks‘ off-leash areas is finally out today. See it here.

The process leading to this has been under way for almost a year – we mentioned a survey last July, and several local community councils included discussions at their meetings earlier this year.

We’ve just taken a quick read through the draft plan, and here are some of the points:

*No specific new off-leash areas are proposed

*A process for adding new OLAs “gradually” is outlined

*In the meantime, the city proposes spending up to $1.3 million to improve the 14 existing OLAs, through funding from the voter-approved Park District

Here’s the outline of the process suggested for adding new OLAs:

For each proposed OLA, except those involving private developers, SPR will convene a committee including dog advocates, environmental advocates, a veterinarian or animal behaviorist, community members, and SPR staff to recommend to the Superintendent whether the proposed OLA should move forward.

1 Adding OLAs through new park/redevelopment processes. SPR will specifically include OLAs as an element
for consideration in the planning process when SPR embarks on the development or redevelopment process
for new and existing parks, along with any other suggested use that arises during the process.

2 As SPR develops land-banked park sites, SPR will examine their use for new OLAs as part of the park
development process.

3 SPR will continue to consider adding new OLAs by request of the community, whether through
Neighborhood Matching Fund processes or other community processes.

4 Support groups such as COLA in developing OLAs on non-park public land suitable for OLAs, by convening
the committee described above and assisting with design.

5 Encourage groups like COLA to work with private property owners to provide OLAs on unused property.

6 Encourage private developers, through the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection, to include
OLAs as part of prospective developments.

There will still remain the issue of development costs for any of these alternatives, but those can be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

The document says adding a one-acre off-leash area is estimated to cost just under $1 million.

As for the nature of improvements/additions, the draft plan includes these recommendations:

Based on the potential for conflict between leashed and unleashed dogs and between dogs and other park activities, limited enforcement resources, and feedback from other jurisdictions, SPR recommends continuing to offer fenced OLAs only.

*Based on the potential for conflict between leashed and unleashed dogs and between dogs and other trail users, the associated need for more maintenance and enforcement and the potential for disturbing animal and bird habitat, SPR does not recommend designated leash-optional trails.

*Based on the protection of many of Seattle’s beaches by the Marine Reserves Rule and the potential for disturbing animal, marine and bird habitat, SPR recommends against establishing any more OLAs with beach access.

We’re still reading through the rest of the plan and will add anything else of note in the next hour or so (again, see the full draft plan here). Geographically, it notes that a “small area of (north West Seattle)” is one of the parts of the city that does NOT have an off-leash area within 2.5 miles; West Seattle’s one and only OLA is at Westcrest Park in Highland Park, opened in 1997 and described in the draft plan as the second-busiest off-leash area in the city.

The Westcrest analysis starts on page 145 of the report and recommends these improvements:

1. Reinstall ADA parking sign and ADA path in small and shy dog area.
2. Upgrade fencing to protect natural areas.
3. Replace woodchips with other surfacing and fill in ruts.
4. Restore eroded slope.
5. Pave service road from the north lot entrance to the inside dumpster.

WHAT’S NEXT: The process for commenting on the draft plan is outlined here. A public hearing is set for July 28th in Northgate (that same link has full details), and the Seattle Parks Board is scheduled to vote at its September 8th meeting. Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre has the final say on the plan.

West Seattle 4th of July: Colman Pool’s 75th-anniversary party

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(Fall 2012 photo of Lincoln Park & Colman Pool by Long Bach Nguyen; click image for larger view)

We’re putting together our annual West Seattle 4th of July page – what you need to know about the big day/night around here – and this is one of the events you’ll see: As announced by Seattle Parks, here are details of the 75th-anniversary party for Colman Pool on the shore at Lincoln Park:

Colman Pool, West Seattle’s outdoor pool and Seattle’s only heated saltwater pool, celebrates its 75th birthday this year, and Seattle Parks and Recreation is holding a celebration on July 4.

The celebration at the pool, 8603 Fauntleroy Way SW in Lincoln Park, will begin on the deck at 11 a.m. and include light refreshments and special entertainment. The celebration on the deck is free; regular fees apply for all swims, however the slide will be free all day. See swim schedule below.

The event will also include the unveiling of the restored entry mural, which was commissioned in 1941 when the pool was opened. The mural was restored with help from the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. A presentation by mural conservator Peter Malarkey will take place in the lobby at 10:15 a.m.

Swim schedule for July 4

Noon-1:30 p.m. — Lap and family swims
1:45-4:45 p.m. — Public swim (slide and diving board open)
5-7 p.m. — Lap and family swims

The mural restoration was done right after the end of last year’s Colman Pool season – here’s our feature about the project and the artist. Meantime, today is the second day of the 7-day-a-week season at the historic pool.

P.S. If your business or organization has a public event (or special hours, or closure, or …) on the 4th of July, please send info so we can include it on the upcoming WSB holiday page! editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks!

FOLLOWUP: Riverview Playfield fire was ‘set’

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(WSB photo, taken before fire debris were cleaned up Saturday)

Saturday’s 2 am fire in a restroom/storage building at Riverview Playfield was “a set fire,” SFD Lt. Sue Stangl confirmed to WSB today. She said the damage estimate is $70,000. What that breaks down to, and how the building will be repaired, has yet to be determined, according to Seattle Parks. Spokesperson Christina Hirsch told us today that “SPR staff have visited the site to take an initial look at the damage. Staff are planning on conducting a formal assessment this week. After that assessment is complete, we will have a better idea of damage estimates and repair plans.” The comfort-station building is only three years old. Meantime, with the park so busy this time of year, portable restrooms already have been brought in, Hirsch said.

UPDATE: Seattle Parks says it will bring back Orlando condolence banner removed from Alki Statue of Liberty after ‘complaints’

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(WSB photo, Sunday afternoon)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 4:07 PM: Less than 24 hours after West Seattleite Sam Samaniego and her wife put up that banner at the Alki Statue of Liberty expressing condolences for the Orlando massacre and inviting people to sign it – as reported here on Sunday afternoon – it’s gone:

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We went by at midday and thought maybe Sam had removed it – but she said it wasn’t her. So we asked Seattle Parks if their crew had for some reason removed it – as has happened on occasion in the past (though, in this 2013 incident, with warning). Spokesperson Dewey Potter just responded to say yes: “The crew removed it after receiving complaints.” She added that Sam would be able to retrieve it.

6:01 PM UPDATE: Parks has just tweeted that “removing the banner was an error and it will be replaced in the AM.”

8:33 AM TUESDAY: Heather tweeted this photo showing the signature section of the banner is back, but not the sash:


We were just about to head down to Alki to follow up, and were already planning to check with Parks.

FOLLOWUP: Parks, parents plan talks to resolve Ercolini Park toy trouble

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(WSB photo, 3:20 pm today)

One day after a Seattle Parks crew hauled away a truckload of toys meant for sharing at Ercolini Park, the resulting parental petition drive (original WSB coverage here) is past 1,000 signers, and Parks has responded with an offer to negotiate:

We know the park is well-loved and much used by the many parents of small children who live in the neighborhood, and that the littlest of them love the supplemental toys the parents bring. We have no desire to substitute our judgment for theirs, but we do need to respond to the complaints we receive.

In today’s world of social media, people can raise an issue fast, as happened with the community’s online petition. In turn, we at Parks and Recreation are responding fast. Our Interim Parks Division Director has reached out to the author of the petition and offered to meet her at the park …

Our goal is to forge a compromise that involves establishing a protocol for what wear or breakage warrants the removal of toys, and involves the community in assessing the condition of the toys.

We hope to have a full resolution within the next day.

Petition author Amanda confirmed she was scheduled to talk today with a Parks rep to set up a meeting.

TOY TAKEAWAY: Ercolini Park toy roundup brings plea from parents

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(Photo from Change.org petition page)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Ercolini Park at 48th/Alaska was dedicated eight years ago as a triumph of community collaboration – grants, donatios, volunteer labor, passion.

Since its opening, a community tradition has grown – toys kept at the park for young visitors to share.

This afternoon, all but a few of those toys are gone.

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A Seattle Parks crew gathered them up and took them away. One local mom said it was the second roundup and so she took action, launching a petition on Change.org, with this plea:

Attention: Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesus Aguirre, Superintendent Christopher Williams, Deputy Superintendent

In the last month, there has been a mass exodus of toys from West Seattle’s Ercolini Park – two pick-ups in the last two weeks! We’re heartbroken and our children miss their toys!

After the first removal, parents rallied and donated toys for the use of hundreds of toddlers and children in our community. The large majority of them were taken by the City this morning. All of the push carts are gone. We’re left with a few tricycles and other toys that the littlest community members aren’t old enough to play with. We’re told a neighbor has filed a complaint, leading the Department of Parks and Recreation to take action. With no means through which to negotiate with the neighbor, we’re asking you to please also take into account the wishes of the larger community.

Wasn’t Ercolini gifted to the city for precisely this reason? Ercolini is special BECAUSE of the toys. Without them, it’s every other park in Seattle. Our children have learned to walk at Ercolini, ride bikes, share with other children, discover empathy, and experience true community. For the parents, we have a place to take them, meet other parents, it’s a space that encourages outdoor time and interaction in a way that other parks can’t. Ercolini is unique and should be kept that way.

We ask the following:

– Please limit the frequency of toy removal to a more cyclical time frame. Families have donated toys to replenish the loss and those toys should have a reasonable life span for the children’s use, and/or;

– Only take the broken toys and/or set up an area for parents to deposit broken toys for the City to pick up rather than taking all or most of them. We’re happy to partner with the City on this, and/or;

– Please arrange an opportunity for us to work with the neighbors requesting removal so we can reach a mutually beneficial agreement; and/or

– Suggest an alternative to removing the toys. Many thanks in advance for considering our requests.

-West Seattle Parents Who Care

As of the moment we’re hitting “publish” on this story, that online petition has more than 430 signers.

After hearing about this – thanks for all the tips! – we asked Parks about the toy takeaway, and spokesperson Dewey Potter replied: “The Park Code has a section that prohibits leaving things in a park. We know that some people like to bring supplemental toys to play areas, and we have tried to walk a middle ground. The toys the crew removed this morning were either old or broken, and there are still many left at the playground. The crew has had complaints from people who had tripped or nearly tripped, so they did post signs in the park. People apparently are not paying attention to the signs, so the crew tries to walk that middle ground by going by once a week to remove any toys that are worn or broken or could present an obstacle or a hazard. Ercolini Park has an unusually large number of toys that are left behind — the crew chief once counted four dozen. We would encourage people to leave only toys that are in good repair.”

Meantime, what happened to the toys taken away by Parks crews – are they somewhere awaiting pickup, or did they just get dumped? We’re waiting for the answer to that.

ADDED WEDNESDAY EVENING: That response, also from Parks spokesperson Potter: “The toys from previous pickups are gone. The crew chief took a quick look at the toys that came in today. She saw signs of wear on the toys on the top of the load and asked the staff about their condition. Their guideline was that they removed toys with damage of any kind. The toys are in the packer truck and cannot be retrieved.”

Highland Park Spraypark: Working today!

Just in case you were wondering – after a breakdown yesterday, the Highland Park Spraypark is back up and running today, in time for what’s expected to be an even hotter afternoon/evening than yesterday. We just went over to check firsthand, and that’s what we found. (We won’t be able to find out from Seattle Parks what caused yesterday’s problem until tomorrow.)

Highland Park Spraypark out of service

3:58 PM: We’ve received two reader reports that Highland Park Spraypark is out of service so we’re sharing the news here before anyone else heads that way and is disappointed. We’re trying to find an after-hours number for Seattle Parks to see if we can find out whether help is on the way; we’ll check at the park shortly, too, and will update when we get word it’s working again.

5:15 PM: Not fixed yet.

SATURDAY NIGHT NOTE: We never did get word on its status before official closing time but will check as close as we can to 11 am opening time on Sunday.

ALERT: Partial closure ahead for Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint handrail work

May 27, 2016 3:29 pm
|    Comments Off on ALERT: Partial closure ahead for Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint handrail work
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle parks

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(WSB photo)

Just announced by Seattle Parks, a big project ahead – starting right after Memorial Day – at Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint in the 3500 block of Beach Drive, just south of Alki Point:

Starting on Tuesday, May 31, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) will close a section of Charles Richey, Sr. Viewpoint, 3521 Beach Dr. SW, so that a crew can replace an old, rusty handrail.

The work involves cutting the old handrail into pieces, core drilling 47 holes in the supporting concrete, and setting the new handrail and mortar in place.

The crew estimates the work will take eight to 10 working days. While there will be no access to the viewpoint once the work begins, there will be street parking available at the site evenings and weekends.

SPR regrets any inconvenience to park users, looks forward to providing a new, safe handrail in time for summer, and hopes park visitors will enjoy nearby Me Kwa Mooks, Schmitz, and Whale Tail parks while the work is under way.

We asked Parks, after receiving this, which specific section of Richey Viewpoint/Constellation Park will be affected; spokesperson Christina Hirsch said she expects it’ll be “most of” that stretch, because of the vehicles and equipment that will be involved.

Another West Seattle spring cleanup: Dakota Place Park

May 23, 2016 4:32 am
|    Comments Off on Another West Seattle spring cleanup: Dakota Place Park
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle parks

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Thanks to KB for sharing photos and words of gratitude for those who helped out on Sunday at Dakota Place Park north of The Junction:

Many hands make light work, as demonstrated by the folks who turned out today in record numbers for the Dakota Place Park Spring Cleanup.

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A HUGE THANK-YOU to all of you who volunteered! Your effort and positivity made the cleanup highly productive and fun.

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Special thanks to all the Tilden students who volunteered today and who volunteer during school hours — you’re never too young to positively impact your community!

UPDATE: About the police response at Roxhill Park

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4:53 PM: In case you’re noticing a big police response at Roxhill Park right now: Police converged on the park after a report of someone seen with a gun. They are now talking with a group of at least half a dozen people. We have a crew in the area; not sure how much we will be able to find out, but in case you saw all this, that’s what’s happening. No gunfire reported.

5:01 PM: Just talked with police at the park: “Very realistic-looking pellet gun” is what caught the eye of the person who called 911. The group, most if not all teenagers, was questioned and released.

Become parkland, or remain beach house? County, city, community to decide fate of 8923 Fauntleroy Way SW

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(WSB photos)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Almost a year after the Barton Pump Station Upgrade Project north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock was finished, and adjacent Cove Park restored and reopened, a loose end dangles: The future of the little white beachfront house at 8923 Fauntleroy Way SW, immediately north of Cove Park.

King County bought it to use as a construction office during the three-year pump-station project.

Now, as was revealed in a discussion at last night’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting, there’s a chance its site could become a slice of city parkland – at little-to-no cost for the city. Sort of an expansion of Cove Park, though that is actually a community-maintained, SDOT-owned street end.

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Some neighbors are adamantly opposed to the idea, wanting the house to remain in use as a single-family residence, and were at the FCA meeting to say that directly to Chip Nevins, acquisition manager for Parks, who was there, he said, as early “due diligence” in determining the site’s fate.

Nevins explained that while Parks generally wouldn’t have an interest in acquiring Fauntleroy-area property, since the area is already “rich” in parkland – including Lincoln Park a short distance north – it would be hard to resist a chance to get something like this for free or near-free. If someone was told “do you want to make the park bigger and it won’t cost you any money, why wouldn’t you?” he asked.

Assessor’s records show the county bought the 2-bedroom, 1-bath, 1948-built house and its 35-foot-wide, one-third-acre lot (tidelands included) for $950,000 in 2008. Now, it’s considered surplus, and that status, as with most government agencies, triggers a disposition process. Nevins said the county has suggested a sort of swap might be possible – its pump station includes some land leased from SDOT that, like Cove Park, is technically part of the Barton street end, but if it could get possession of that land – through a street-vacation process – the city could wind up with 8923 Fauntleroy Way in return.

This would be something of a complicated process, not just because of the street vacation, but also because Parks would want to figure out if there is community interest in acquiring the beachfront site. So a public meeting will be organized, and some other means of feedback will be set up. City Councilmember Lisa Herbold was at last night’s meeting – to “observe” this item, she explained – and indicated she’d already been hearing from “both sides”; if a street vacation is involved, it ultimately would require approval from the City Council, so she and her colleagues also would be getting feedback.

If the site was accepted by Parks, what would be done with it? one attendee asked. Nevins suggested at one point that at the very least they would probably want the county to pay to have the house demolished, so that wouldn’t become the city’s responsibility. Beyond that – maybe open space? Or at least some plantings? One neighbor expressed concern that while the current administration might decide on that, someone down the line might decide to build a picnic shelter or other facilities that could attract more, and more problematic, usage.

Nevins reiterated that many questions remain to be answered – such as, has the city been making money in permit payments for the county’s usage of the pump station site, and would that be revenue lost in this prospective deal? (If we’ve found the correct city legislation, it appears the county pays the city $84,387 a year.)

And, he added, many layers of process remain to be gone through. The public meeting would likely happen before summer, though, so stay tuned; if the city and county moved forward with what in essence would be a “trade,” the process would likely take up to two more years.

VIDEO: Tree stewardship – including West Seattle cutting case – @ Seattle Council Parks (etc.) Committee

(ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Seattle Channel video of entire meeting)

10:12 AM: We’re at Seattle City Hall, where the City Council’s Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, and Waterfront Committee is tackling the topic of “tree stewardship” – including the much-discussed, recently revealed case of illegal cutting in the Duwamish Head Greenbelt.

Public comment started the meeting, and that included half a dozen people speaking in favor of tree stewardship, including two members of the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, which has its roots in West Seattle. We’ll add toplines of their remarks later.

The Seattle Channel feed is not embeddable, so you’ll have to follow this link to watch live.

The committee is chaired by Councilmember Debora Juarez; also here are its official members Sally Bagshaw and Bruce Harrell, and District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold. First, the slide deck goes through the background on why “trees are vital” (you can see the slide deck in our story from Tuesday).

10:20 AM: They’ve jumped on to questions about the incident, including how to find out about it earlier. Parks Supt. Jesús Aguirre says they rely heavily on tips from the public – in this case, “it was on the list,” he says, and they just didn’t get to it that quickly, because it wasn’t at “the top of the list.” SDOT’s Kubly says his department gets a few complaints a month about illegal cutting – it’s “Category 1” if public safety is involved, a downed tree, etc., “we respond to those as quickly as we can” – illegal cutting is only “Category 3.” They’ll “send an inspector out as quickly as we can” if they have information that it’s happening right now. “The e-mail came to us and didn’t give any indication of the severity, that the location was being clearcut,” he said; you’ll recall that the East Admiral cutting was reported to have been reported to SDOT in January, then eventually checked out by Parks in February.

Assistant City Attorney Joseph Groshong is asked about how his department pursues cases like this. The process “takes time” to be sure they have the right people, etc. “If there are people listening out there who participated and want to come forward … it would help us speed up the resolution,” he volunteered. “We have a cross-department effort to get to the bottom of this …” He noted that the “criminal side” of the case is in the hands of the Police Department (as we reported last week), while the City Attorney’s Office is pursuing civil and “regulatory.” “We can’t share the details of what we are doing because that might risk what we can recover for the people of Seattle,” he said.

Councilmember Juarez also noted that City Attorney Pete Holmes had spent an hour in his briefing with councilmembers earlier this week, saying the case could go to Superior Court as well.

Councilmember Bagshaw notes that the council recently discussed “encroachment” on parkland and declared this “the biggest encroachment of all.”

10:31 AM: Now they’re looking at photo/map images of where this happened, and Councilmember Juarez asked for an explanation of the question many had asked, “how could (this many) trees have been cut and nobody noticed?” Replied Supt. Aguirre, “It’s hard to see … (and) we don’t have folks from city staff out there actively looking at” the area.

“How many homes have better views now?” he’s asked. He mentions that half a dozen houses are directly adjacent to the area. Councilmember Herbold mentions what she had told us previously, the County Assessor’s office revisiting the area to be sure the view evaluation information is accurate for properties in the area. Herbold adds that she received a letter from a tribe offering trees to help restore the area.

Kubly says SDOT will work with Parks on a restoration plan and he believes it’s going to include a mix of conifers. He also said that one of his first questions when he heard about this was whether a retaining wall would need to be built to protect Admiral Way.

Council President Harrell says that he hopes that even as the civil and criminal investigations proceed, that the restoration won’t have to wait – that there’ll be a plan sooner. “And somehow through all this madness, we’ll be better than we were on the new area.” He hopes that somehow “we can turn this into a positive thing” and “the community that has been devastated by this” will experience that.

Juarez says she wants to see a return to the committee “to report to us where you’re at … not only on the restoration plan but what we’re doing to address this.” She says the public wants to be reassured “that we’re taking this more than seriously.”

Herbold adds that “as policymakers” the council has been asked to take a look at existing laws and whether they need to be beefed up, and she “would like to take a deeper dive” into that.

Aguirre is now acknowledging the process by which homeowners have been allowed to seek permits for cutting city-owned trees in some spots and says there’s a “disconnect” between parts of his department, and wants to work on that.

Juarez suggests that homeowners who border greenbelts/parkland should have to know what their responsibilities are so they don’t just have something done and plead ignorance.

Kubly says, “We need one point of entry” for tree complaints, and again acknowledges the lack of followup to clarify the original report made to his department. He also says there should be a baseline followup time along the lines of the “72-hour” rule for potholes. He says SDOT is working on various things including a “Tree Capital Plan.”

10:55 AM: The discussion is wrapping up and so is the meeting. Bottom line: No new information about who did it and what will happen to them, but vows all around that this is being taken “very seriously” though the original complaint received in January was not taken particularly seriously – with illegal tree-cutting complaints considered low priority.

4:05 PM: Just added video of the entire meeting.

Reader report: If you find a flower like this, please leave it alone

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The photo (which was accompanied by a similar one, except the flower is white) is from Jeremy Puma in Sunrise Heights, who writes:

My son and I found these beautiful trillium flowers growing in the woods at Lincoln Park (Saturday). Wonder if you would be open to reminding your readers that these ephemeral beauties are threatened natives, and picking the flowers will kill the plant?

Some trilliums are threatened or endangered; It’s best to enjoy the flowers with eyes and/or a camera.

That’s an excellent reminder to tread lightly in general in our natural areas.

BIZNOTE: Short Stop about to close and move, vacating building at Morgan Junction Park expansion site

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Thanks to Sam for the tip – we just stopped by the Short Stop convenience store in Morgan Junction and confirmed that tomorrow is its final day of operation. It’s found a new location – in the Pierce County town of Milton.

Since the dry cleaner next store is already closed, this will clear the way for Seattle Parks to demolish the 6311 California SW building that’s on the site of the quarter-acre it purchased for $1.9 million in 2014 to expand Morgan Junction Park. But the demolition equipment won’t be showing up any time soon. Though the teardown permit was issued more than four months ago, there’s some other work to do first, we found out from Lise Ward with Seattle Parks. She tells WSB that once the building’s vacant, they’ll call in environmental specialists to test for hazardous materials and determine what kind of abatement will be required before teardown. They’ll also take steps to seal it off until demolition, Ward says, which they’ll do as soon as they can. She says they’re thankful to the community for their patience.

The original purchase was to “landbank” the site for future park development. Money to plan and design it is on the Seattle Park District levy’s funding list for this year.

Public land, unauthorized private use? City Council briefing tomorrow on ‘park-encroachment removal’

That’s the presentation that will be shown to the City Council’s Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries & Waterfront Committee tomorrow morning, as two Parks and Recreation managers brief councilmembers on what they’re doing about encroachment – people who live next to Parks property and are encroaching on it in myriad ways, maybe something as simple as throwing yard debris over the line, maybe something larger like having a fence or a hedge that’s all or part on city land.

With so much Parks property in West Seattle, this could be a major issue, so we checked with Donald Harris, one of the Parks managers who will be at tomorrow’s meeting. He says this is something they heard from citizens on the advisory committee that put together the Park District levy approved by voters in 2014 – appreciation for acquisition but also, concern that the city isn’t fully using/appreciating what it already owns, so the levy included “encroachment removal” funding.

You’ll notice if you go through the slide deck above (or here) that the only West Seattle park mentioned is Schmitz Preserve Park. We asked Harris if that means they’re focusing on something major involving that park; he said no, but they will be looking at its boundary to see what’s happening around it. “We’re pretty methodical – we go out and do a survey to be sure we know where the boundary is.”

Overall, he said, the department “is looking to be a little more diligent in protecting the boundaries of parks where there are neighbors who might not have understood where the line is and gone over it.” If you’re interested in the topic, the briefing is scheduled during the committee’s 9:30 am Thursday meeting at City Hall; it’ll be live on Seattle Channel, seattlechannel.org or cable channel 21.

West Seattle weather: Lincoln Park tree trouble

treeacrosspath
Thanks to Darlene Allen for the photo of a tree down on the north path at Lincoln Park. This is the first notable damage we’ve heard about from this morning’s windy, wavy weather (earlier coverage, including high-tide aftermath photos/video, is in our morning traffic/weather report) – but the wind advisory remains in effect until 4 pm, so please let us know if you see/hear about anything else – 206-293-6302, 24/7 – thank you!

Dogs in city parks: What the new plan might and might not include

The city’s moving toward a new proposal for dogs in Seattle parks – and this Thursday night, the Seattle Parks Board of Commissioners will hear how Parks leadership is leaning.

That briefing document prepared for the Parks Board hints at what might be in the proposed People, Dogs, and Parks Strategic Plan, due out soon for public comment. It’s been a subject of discussion in several community meetings we’ve covered recently, starting with the Delridge District Council‘s meeting last November.

For one, the document says Superintendent Jesús Aguirre is NOT expected to call for “unfenced, (certain) hours-only” offleash periods in parks. It also says he’ll recommend limiting the number of dogs that can be brought to a park to three per person. And he’ll recommend that development of additional off-leash areas go “through regular new park development and/or existing park redevelopment processes.”

One more note from the briefing paper: “Beginning this month, there will be a two-person team, one Animal Control staff and one Parks and
Recreation staff, patrolling parks with the sole purpose of enforcing leash and scoop laws.”

The draft plan is now expected to be made public next month, with public meetings in April and May, and a final plan in June. Meantime, the board meeting this Thursday starts at 6:30 pm at Parks HQ downtown (100 Dexter Ave. N.).

YOU CAN HELP! Presidents Day planting party

February 14, 2016 7:11 pm
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle parks

(Gina and Ryan, working at the site recently – photo courtesy Janice Nyman)

Looking for something to do on Presidents Day tomorrow? 12 fruit trees are awaiting helping hands during an all-day planting party planned at the Chilberg Link community project, says Janice Nyman. We reported on the project three weeks ago. Just stop by 10 am-4 pm; here’s a map. (They’re also collecting online as part of the ongoing matching-funds drive for art to include in the “link” they’re creating to Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook Park.)

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