West Seattle people – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 22 May 2018 04:35:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Cle Elum chimps get special gift from West Seattle seniors http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/cle-elum-chimps-get-special-gift-from-west-seattle-seniors/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/cle-elum-chimps-get-special-gift-from-west-seattle-seniors/#respond Tue, 22 May 2018 04:35:54 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=917364

The folks at Providence sent that photo, explaining that the quilt the result of “a service project over a year in the making.” Providence ElderPlace participants made it for Chimpanzees Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum. They heard about the sanctuary via NPR and formed a group about chimpanzees, reading about them and watching videos. Then they decided to make a quilt – with a square for each of the seven chimps living at the sanctuary. A volunteer from Providence Mount St. Vincent‘s sewing room helped with the final sewing after participants did all the pinning. The quilt’s creators are hoping to see their gift turn up on the sanctuary’s blog.

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West Seattle scene: Why there’s a line outside Hiawatha Community Center http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/west-seattle-scene-why-theres-a-line-outside-hiawatha-community-center/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/west-seattle-scene-why-theres-a-line-outside-hiawatha-community-center/#comments Tue, 08 May 2018 16:00:37 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=916006

Thanks to Amy for the photo. She explains that the guy in the foreground outside Hiawatha Community Center is her husband, “taking a vacation day from work to wait in line with many other working parents for a chance at a spot in Seattle Parks and Recreation’s after-care program!”

As verified by this post on Seattle Parks‘ blog-format website Parkways, today is indeed the first day to sign up for before- and after-school care offered next year. This one-sheet has specifics, including Hiawatha’s programs at not only the center itself, but also at Genesee Hill and Lafayette Elementaries, as well as the former Schmitz Park Elementary. In our area, Alki, Delridge, and High Point Community Centers have programs too.

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! 46 years for Bob and Fran Zickes http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/happy-anniversary-46-years-for-bob-and-fran-zickes/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/happy-anniversary-46-years-for-bob-and-fran-zickes/#comments Sun, 06 May 2018 19:17:30 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=915829 Congratulations to Bob and Fran Zickes for 46 years of marriage – and more, as their son Ben Zickes writes in this announcement to share with you:

My parents are my heroes. They are dedicated members of the West Seattle community and have been Seaview residents for over four decades. On this day, their 46th wedding anniversary, I hope to briefly share their story, in honor of their service to our beloved neighborhood.

Bob and Fran Zickes were married May 6th, 1972 in Seattle at St Patrick’s on Capitol Hill. They share birthdays on consecutive days, May 7th (Mom, her 72nd) and May 8th (Dad, his 73rd).

Both have lived a life dedicated to service in the Seattle community and I could not be more proud.

Mom was a nanny to five local children in the 1980s and was a teacher’s assistant in the 1990s at Rainier Beach HS and later at Holy Rosary. She volunteered her time reading to kids at the public library in retirement. Today, she is an active member of the senior center and a volunteer at the Junction Stop N Shop, which supports the center. An enthusiastic walker and golfer (longtime member at West Seattle Golf Course), mom even has three career Hole-In-Ones! Legendary Sonics broadcaster Kevin Calabro once lovingly called her “a housewife from West Seattle who cleaned our clocks” when recalling a round they played together on KJR radio.

Dad is an old soul, fisherman, and gardener since birth. After graduating from Notre Dame, he served in the Air Force, which took him to Korea just after he met Mom. After the service and a return to Seattle, his 30-year career was spent in the Parks Department of King County, where he championed efforts like the pea patch program, the original “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” slogan of the early 1990s, and efforts to start composting residential yard waste. Near retirement, Dad served as a loaned executive from King County for the United Way campaign for multiple years. In retirement, Dad spent 10 years as a Left Field gate host for the Mariners. For as long as I can remember, Dad has donated his Wednesday mornings to the Meals on Wheels program in West Seattle. Dad too loves to golf, fish, and take daily walks with Mom around the neighborhood. You’ll find him tending to his garden most days (donating extras to the WS Food Bank), if he’s not busy bowling at Roxbury Lanes.

I think if my parents were to tell you their secrets to a long and happy partnership, a healthy dose of “daily walks” and a solid weekly “routine” would be right at the top of the list.

If you ever see them taking their walks around West Seattle, I invite you to say Hello! Congratulations, Mom and Dad!

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LIBRARIES FOR ALL: Books from West Seattle now on shelves in India http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/libraries-for-all-books-from-west-seattle-now-on-shelves-in-india/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/libraries-for-all-books-from-west-seattle-now-on-shelves-in-india/#comments Sat, 05 May 2018 22:54:39 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=915759 (Alina [seated] and Sheryl Guyon [right] with staff and children at New Vision’s preschool)

By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog

The red-light district in Kolkata, India, is a long way from home for Fauntleroy resident Alina Guyon but it’s where she and her mother, Sheryl Guyon, spent two weeks in April to create the second Libraries for All resource.

As reported here in August, Alina’s first venture was to plan, fund, ship, assemble, and stock a 200-sq. ft. library in an impoverished suburb of Kampala, Uganda, that has become a waystation for women and children fleeing violence in several African countries. With that one complete, she turned her attention to creating a safe learning place for the children of brothel workers in a different but equally challenging setting.

Using a grant from the Seattle-based All the Sky Foundation dedicated to gender equity, Alina collaborated with New Light, a non-profit working to break the cycle of prostitution by educating and housing scores of children and aiding their mothers. While there, Alina met with young children to broaden their understanding of the potential of girls and women.

New Light identified a space for the library, books were shipped, and travel plans made, only to have the space fall through and the container get held up in customs. As in Uganda where customs proved problematic, Alina and Sheryl had to do their best with what was at hand.


(Coloring pages designed by Washington artist Nina Hartman were the centerpiece of Alina’s lesson on gender equality)

They cleared a corner in one of the agency’s homes, put down a rug, installed shelves, and stocked them with 400 locally donated books in Bengali and English. Shortly after returning home, they learned the hundreds of books donated in West Seattle would soon be on the shelves, too.

Over the winter, Libraries for All became a non-profit through Visions Made Viable, an incubator for social visionaries and entrepreneurs. This alliance provides legal, fiscal, and administrative services so Alina can focus on the work itself.

Two awards recently recognized that work. In March, King County Red Cross gave Alina a Youth Spirit of Service award and, on May 3, Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson’s Why Not You Foundation honored her with its Washington Youth Leadership Award.

Next up could be a project very close to home to enhance library resources at the Mary’s Place shelter in White Center. Visit www.libraries4all.com to read more about these projects and subscribe to updates.

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MLK Medal for Bettie Williams-Watson: West Seattleite, founder of Multi-Communities, helping survivors where #MeToo has yet to reach http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/mlk-medal-for-bettie-williams-watson-west-seattleite-founder-of-multi-communities-helping-survivors-where-metoo-has-yet-to-reach/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/mlk-medal-for-bettie-williams-watson-west-seattleite-founder-of-multi-communities-helping-survivors-where-metoo-has-yet-to-reach/#comments Tue, 01 May 2018 06:00:51 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=906144 (Bettie Williams-Watson, photographed this afternoon at MLK Medal recipients’ reception by WSB’s Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Bettie Williams-Watson has been doing “the work” for more than 30 years.

Her work with sexual assault and abuse survivors might seem to resonate more in this time of #MeToo.

But in the communities where she helps survivors – “We’re not there yet.”

The West Seattle resident’s organization is called Multi-Communities. She works with “predominantly African American faith communities, where we are still trying to break the silence and shame that exists.” And her work just earned her another award – today the King County Council honored her with the MLK Medal of Distinguished Service.

She started with a simple hope: “If I could just help one survivor, one woman and her child or children, be able to heal from the impact of physical and sexual violence, that it was worthwhile … now it’s been my shopping cart to push around for the last 33-plus years … I’m a 33-year-plus overnight sensation.”

While the #MeToo movement has erupted in a big way in the entertainment industry, government, and other arenas, Williams-Watson says, in her arena, “it’s a whole different ballgame because people have a hard time naming their experiences still … we are not there yet … In communities of color, we’re still wrapping our brain around, yes indeed, I was sexually abused … yes indeed, someone in leadership who had more power over me (did something that) was wrong, and it violated me … it’s hard to wrap your brain around. … Someone that loves us wouldn’t hurt us, my God, not a family member .. not a trusted person you’ve had a relationship with for years and years … you have built up other parts of that relationship that are really impacting and powerful so you can’t wrap your brain around the fact that person could indeed hurt you, could violate you, could kill you…”

And the silence is double trouble in the communities she serves, because: “Face it, black and African American women have three to four times higher risk of being killed by a partner,” a rate surpassed, she says, only by Native/Indigenous women. “I sit with having to understand that we are still grappling with the language and the experience and what happened to us and keeping it quiet and not wanting to be identified as a victim of abuse …”

What she does with Multi-Communities includes “a lot of time educating, using teachable moments … Services don’t look the same as they do at a traditional mainstream agency. People want to tell stories … they have to feel safe in who they tell the story to that you’re not going to judge them, blame them or accuse them.”

And in helping those she works with, she says, she has “two very strong African American male colleagues who have worked with me … given me ideas, applauded ideas I’ve had …(and have) helped me model healthy relationship skills” – one, she had learned just before our conversation, was celebrating 44 years of marriage. “They help me to realize how important it is to have the man in the process at every level. Healthy men can hold other men accountable, and encourage (them) … not just for the short term but the long term.”

Working to connect generations and to break intergenerational cycles of violence is vital to her work as well: “Many different levels of people coming together around multiple approaches within faith communities to address, reverse, and change the tapestry of violence, to provide resources, education, awareness, and whatever is needed to bring about their healing process … It goes back to a very basic Biblical principle … helping people at the point of need.”

The point of contact is within a church – where people are aware of Williams-Watson and what she can offer, and might contact her as a third party, to explain what’s happening and see what she might be able to offer, or even if she could make a referral.

“I work with a different network of churches … they know my face … men as well as women, leaders as well as parishioners … sometimes the situation is that they have a co-worker that they are concerned about, and they want to know what they can do. (Or) another church member is concerned about someone in the congregation; they want to know what they should do to get that person to come to me.” That requires active listening, she says, and acknowledgment that people heal at their own time and pace. More than being an advocate with “a goal for a survivor,” she says, “we really need to remove ourselves … and listen to what their needs are.”

At a recent panel discussion, she was asked about her definition of success. “It might mean you were able to get out of bed this morning and deal with all you’re holding from the impact of that abuse …
… it’s the small steps that really count; those are the ones that speak to my heart.”

Sometimes when she gives a presentation, someone might suddenly “feel comfortable enough to speak their truth,” telling a story they have kept inside for years, decades.

Williams-Watson also knows what that is like, as a survivor herself. She speaks of a former husband who was a minister, “and he could stand in the pulpit, he could preach, he could pray, he had these invisible angel wings … when I went home, there was hell to pay.”

She says he was very controlling, over every aspect of her life, yet she felt she couldn’t leave “because I wanted my children to have a father.” So she endured the abuse. And she takes care to say that abuse is not always physical: “It doesn’t always start with somebody hitting you … they may hit you emotionally and devastate you psychologically, putting you down, accusing you of having affairs … isolation, interrogation, manipulation … they will use whatever will work.” She added that her “religious upbringing” also was a barrier to her leaving – “if you marry, you stay married for life … my parents told me, ‘you made your bed, you lie in it, he’s a nice guy’ … they didn’t see what he did behind closed doors … the people in church couldn’t see it … they didn’t believe me.” She blamed herself, and felt that if she changed herself, somehow the abuse would stop. But “I wasn’t aware at the time that abuse continues to increase … it kept getting worse … we would have that cycle of violence … tension building up … he’s going to hit me over something … but not knowing when … I would walk on eggshells … he would hit me or accuse me of wearing too much makeup … or of staying too long in the grocery store … Shelters were for abused women and I didn’t identify … I felt like going to a shelter would have been going to hell and back .. but the shelter (helped) save my life,” and her small children, after one incident in which she thought their lives were in danger. A shelter advocate “told me the steps to take to leave and get away … ‘pack what you can and get out’.”

What she didn’t know at the time: Women typically leave seven times before they are finally out of the relationship. She says her husband stalked her for years. She had to change day cares, had to change faith communities, to truly and finally get away. “So I tell women, just because you physically got away doesn’t mean they are going to stop. … The abuser doesn’t want to let go, doesn’t want to lose power and control; they still feel like ‘it’s not over until they say it’s over’ …

“This is what motivated me to help other women.” But not just women and children: “I soon learned that men deserve love and help and support in their journeys, to heal or to change violent behavior … even just to keep peace in the community, with other communities as well … that’s what I mean by multi-communities.” That also means how many issues are related – domestic abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, chemical dependency, homelessness, poverty … and more.

Williams-Watson says a sense of humor helps her cope. She encourages others to “take good care of themselves,” and does the same for herself. “I practice what I preach – I think that’s how I survive in doing the work that I love.”

And she credits so many for support and help – businesses, foundations, churches, organizations, and private donors. Getting operating funds “is a struggle,” but private funds can assist with projects, like adopting families at holiday time or something simple like a utility bill for someone experiencing a financial emergency. Earlier this year she was beginning to work with a group of individuals and organizations on a new violence-reduction program involving community peace teams, from within the faith community as well as from outside. Also on her agenda for this year, support groups for people at every level of involvement: “We’re concerned about every generation.”

One part of her work for and with a younger generation involves “writing a curriculum for traumatized boys, black and African American, to help them to heal from adverse childhood experiences – to build self-esteem, cultural appreciation, to build healthy relationship skills, in school and with family and the community.” This is for boys in third through fifth grades.

Preceding that, there was a Men’s Circle Journey group that Williams-Watson explains was “for black and East African young men between 18 and 24,” an 11-week series to break stereotypes, build healthy relationship skills, working with partners, peers, and families; it had city summer-program funding. She recalls a video of some participants’ stories, including a “men’s clothesline project” modeled after this project, painting T-shirts “with messages of the impact of abuse or encouragement for survivors. … We displayed them in several different libraries, and within church settings in predominantly African American faith communities – we still have those T-shirts and want to build on that.”

That building, she hopes, will lead to “circles of healing, support, and accountability … we hope to build a model (to help) other churches and community groups that want to know how to implement these models – prevention, education, to save lives.”

She sees success in bits and pieces. Asked on that recent panel how she found her place in the movement, “my answer was, I designed my own place, I didn’t find it, I made it what it needed to be …there are doors of opportunity; I’m going to look for the door of opportunity. I find a place where there needs to be something happening … I design a window and I go through a window.”

And Multi-Communities can always use more help so that those windows can be designed and opened. Even some technical assistance or at least funding to help update their website – the “donate” button’s been broken for months! (You can find contact info here.) And they appreciate simple donations like gift cards or gas cards for the emergency assistance some clients might need – or even a supermarket gift card to cover food for the free trainings she does.

More resources also help the word get out – the word that there’s help – the word, for victims and survivors, that they are not alone. This fictional “letter” Williams-Watson wrote more than a decade ago still resonates, and is circulated, she says. “There are victim-survivors who want help but they don’t know if it’s safe to get help – shouldn’t a church be a place of healing and support and encouragement as opposed to just a place of rituals and looking pious?”

(WSB photo: Bettie Williams-Watson with King County Council Chair Joe McDermott, also of West Seattle)

Today’s award is one of several that Williams-Watson has received several over the years. But, she says, “I feel like my award has been to put my heart and soul into the work that I love and have a passion for .. to help survivors.”

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VIDEO: New inspiration, new location, new ways to give @ WestSide Baby CommuniTea http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/video-new-inspiration-new-location-new-level-of-giving-westside-baby-communitea/ Mon, 23 Apr 2018 19:51:01 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914655 (WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“Today and every day, we have a choice to turn toward each other.”

That was the lesson and exhortation in a story told by WestSide Baby executive director Nancy Woodland at her organization’s biggest annual fundraiser, the CommuniTea, on Sunday afternoon.

The 600 people in attendance turned toward not only each other but also WS Baby in a big way, raising more than $362,000, much-needed money as the organization continues to grow and to serve more areas of King County, some far from its White Center headquarters.

This was the first year for the event at the downtown Sheraton, after six years at the Hilton near Sea-Tac Airport (this year’s take more than doubles the giving of its first year in that venue, 2012). The Sheraton’s Grand Ballroom was filled with supporters who made it there despite the area road closures that led to a rare Sunday afternoon traffic jam. We were a bit late and missed recording the performance of “Oh The Places We’ll Grow” by Carlynn Newhouse:

Newhouse, a poet, activist, actor/performer, and MC, had just the night before won the Youth Speaks Seattle Grand SlamMcInnis and Phineas:

Woodland’s remarks, wrapped around a short video showing how WS Baby operates, are all in this clip – centered on the recent travel encounter that reminded her we need to mindfully turn toward each other:

Kids are ready to grow, to be all they can be – but those being raised by struggling families need our help, she reminded everyone, in ways big and small.

Woodland’s message was cited as inspiration by the CommuniTea’s spotlight speaker, Sheila Capestany, whose work for King County includes overseeing the work enabled by proceeds from the Best Starts for Kids levy:

Capestany spoke of how vital it is that the work for and with children and families not only leads to an “absence of bad outcomes,” but creates good outcomes, via “prevention, early intervention, chang(ing) policies and systems.” She talked about how overwhelming parenting can be, even when you have support – which she, a mother of three, had plenty of, with 78 members in her immediate family alone. She referred to WestSide Baby as an “essential partner” in the county’s work, and closed with a quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “… love is (ultimately) the only answer to mankind’s problems.”

WS Baby, teagoers were told, has received a Best Start for Kids grant for $375,000. Among the tea attendees, by the way, was the initiative’s champion (and West Seattleite) County Executive Dow Constantine, in our photo below with State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon:

Among the other elected officials at the CommuniTea, West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold:

Many attendees sported festive hats – here’s the table captained by, in the foreground, Amy Daly-Donovan:

Amid the levity were reminders that what WestSide Baby does is very serious business – and very hard work. Tens of thousands of children all around King County are served, and last week alone, Woodland said, 900 orders were filled – for diapers, clothing, equipment such as strollers and car seats, the basics needed to keep children safe, healthy, thriving. This short video included the story of one formerly homeless mom and how her family has been helped:

In struggling families, not having diapers for children can even mean that a parent doesn’t get to go to school or work – day care requires them.

The many other memorable moments of the afternoon ranged from emcee Ian Lindsay recalling how he had to leave last year’s CommuniTea early because his own child was about to be born, to the presentation of awards for dedicated volunteers/supporters, including Diana and Gary Chenkovich:

Here’s our video of the award announcements:

Along with what people donated to attend the tea, giving opportunities included buying $50 “baby cakes” creations by Avalon Glassworks, one of which was in a box with a necklace by Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) whose proprietors Kirk and Joni Keppler co-chaired this year’s tea. The necklace turned out to be in a box opened by the Kepplers’ son (and business namesake) Wyatt:

But the prize itself went to tablemate Michael. Then there were the “raise the paddle” donations:

Three people gave $10,000, two $5,000, twenty-nine $1,000, and on down the line, including a special $360 giving level, in recognition of a newborn baby needing 360 diapers in its first month of life. Each paddle bore the logo of longtime WS Baby supporter Ventana Construction (also a WSB sponsor), whose co-proprietor Anne Higuera was there with daughter Delilah:

Other WSB sponsors on the CommuniTea sponsor list include Budget Blinds and the YMCA; we were a media sponsor for the event. This year’s giving also included the opportunity to participate in a “tombola,” with prizes including a trip to Disneyland – though all in attendance would probably agree that the CommuniTea carried a priceless spirit of magic all its own.

WHAT’S NEXT: You can support WestSide Baby year-round (here’s how). Their upcoming events include the summertime Stuff the Bus diaper drive (watch for dates and locations) and this fall’s fundraising cocktail party on September 21st; WS Baby also is again a beneficiary of this year’s production of The Mama-logues,” May 18-19 at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in West Seattle.

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VIDEO: Questions, answers, numbers @ West Seattle Chamber of Commerce homelessness forum http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/homelessness-questions-answers-numbers-west-seattle-chamber-of-commerce-forum/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/homelessness-questions-answers-numbers-west-seattle-chamber-of-commerce-forum/#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:03:40 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914574

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“These are our neighbors.”

One of the participants in Saturday’s West Seattle Chamber of Commerce-presented forum on homelessness used that simple statement in the hope of debunking various myths about people experiencing it.

The almost-two-hours event also addressed frequently asked questions, such as where the city’s homelessness-related spending is going.

(L-R, Michael Maddux, Paul Lambros, Annie Blackledge, Sola Plumacher)

The speakers were, in order, Sola Plumacher from the city’s Human Services Department, which oversees its homelessness-related spending and initiatives; Michael Maddux, a local activist/advocate (who is also a City Council staffer but made it clear he was participating as a private citizen); Paul Lambros, executive director of nonprofit housing provider Plymouth Housing; Annie Blackledge, executive director of The Mockingbird Society, which is focused on ending youth homelessness and advocating for foster children. The Seattle Police Department was planning to send a speaker but canceled at the last minute. Introducing the forum was Chamber CEO Lynn Dennis; emceeing it, Chamber government-affairs chair Rik Keller. We recorded it all:

If you weren’t there and don’t have time to watch, here’s how it went:

Plumacher started by noting that her department is about to change leadership, as director Catherine Lester is leaving after next month. She explained the department’s priorities, including six “priority action items” from the Pathways Home discussion – starting with “commitment to families living unsheltered.” She had a side note, that the city is now trying to rebrand “sanctioned encampments” as “villages.”

Job loss, housing challenges, and alcohol/drug abuse are the main factors contributing to homelessness, she said, before noting that “for every $100 rent increase” – according to the Urban Institute – “there’s a 15 percent rise in homelessness.”

“It’s not true that every single person who’s homeless is a drug addict,” Plumacher said, but outreach teams estimate 80 percent of the people they encounter have substance-use disorders. She also showed the One Night Count (now Count Us In) numbers, saying 14,281 people in the most-recent count were experiencing homelessness.

To reach “functional zero” homelessness by 2020, 3,212 households would need to be housed each quarter, Plumacher said. The current rate is about a quarter of that.

93 percent of the people they surveyed “would move inside if it was safe and affordable.” (Note: We’re hoping to get a digital copy of her slide deck and will add it to the story when we do. MONDAY UPDATE: Here’s the full slide deck (PDF) shown by Plumacher. )

So what the city says it needs right now is “more and the right mix of housing options.” She also went through what the city is doing now, which includes the “six encampment villages” including Camp Second Chance on Myers Way in West Seattle, as well as the Navigation Team talking with people one-on-one who are “living in encampments throughout the city.” When there are sweeps, the city offers to store people’s belongings for up to 60 days. And she mentioned “cleaning the city” (though she didn’t specifically mention it, this would include operations such as the recent cleanup on Myers Way).

What they want to do next is “create a seamless system,” Plumacher said. And they need to improve results, according to this slide:

The most striking discrepancy between current and desired results – in 2016, less than 10 percent of people exited emergency shelter to permanent housing, and they want to increase that to “50 to 80 percent.”

Regarding funding, Plumacher said the numbers on her slide weren’t up to date but the percentage still applies – half of it goes to emergency services (see slide atop this story).

Questions for Plumacher: First, what caused the dramatic recent increase in homelessness, as shown on the next slide, as opposed to no real change ’08-’14?

Plumacher said “people were able to hold on for a long time … I think there are some other factors this slide doesn’t go into such as the abysmal failure of our mental-health system …” and youth who experience homelessness having a higher percentage of it recurring in adulthood.

Other cities have higher success rates, the questioner observed. Plumacher said she was just back from a trip to the East Coast and that Seattle does look at other cities for ideas and inspiration. Also, “homelessness is the finest sieve in the safety net … when all other systems fail, homelessness picks up where people fall through all those cracks.”

Next question was “about affordable housing … and what is considered affordable housing when a studio goes for” the kind of high rents they go for now? At that point organizers decided to hold off on further attendee questions until all the speakers were done.

That brought housing advocate Michael Maddux to the stage, seeking to directly refute some common contentions.

Maddux said he had personally experienced homelessness. Most of the people experiencing homelessness have it happen because job loss or something else causes them to become unable to stay in their home, he said, and everything spirals from there. Yes, many on the street are drug users … self-medication, like “every day of your life is the worst day of your life,” multiplication of the way a housed person might go home from an unpleasant day and have a drink or a joint.

Some residents in encampments are working fulltime but can’t find someplace affordable to live, Maddux noted. He also talked about people choosing options for survival if going into a shelter would mean they’d have to leave loved ones or pets.

He also noted that 70 percent of local homeless people say they’re from King County. “These are our neighbors, these aren’t people moving people here to get our services … when I hear people talk about ‘Freattle,’ that’s not a real thing … our services are incredibly maxed out,” housing, health care, etc., and difficult to obtain. People need to know that, he said. And, they need simple things, like “being able to access a restroom. … It’s a basic thing that we all have to do … Nobody wants feces on the sidewalk; the best way (to ensure that) is for it to go somewhere else,” like a restroom accessible to anyone.

Maddux also lauded nonprofits such as the West Seattle Helpline for helping people avoid becoming homeless. He urged “advocacy for meaningful solutions” … “it’s a lot easier to have screaming matches … but that doesn’t get us anywhere.” He acknowledged that “everybody wants to feel safe in their neighborhood, everybody deserves to feel safe in their communities,” and that goes for unhoused people as well as housed. Overall, he said, “all of these numbers you are going to hear about … are people. … Anybody can become homeless.” But “with the support necessary, if we are willing to provide that, anybody can come out of” homelessness/extreme poverty.

Next speaker, Annie Blackledge from The Mockingbird Society, explained that her organization’s mission is to “improve foster care and end youth homelessness.” They are in Seattle, Everett, Spokane, Tacoma, Yakima, and Olympia, each headed by two youth “with lived experience” who are employees of the organization. Fifty percent of youth exiting foster care become homeless within 18 months, she said, “and we’re allowing them to exit state systems of care into homelessness.”

A recent trend: “Older adolescents aren’t coming into foster care the way they used to” – some simply become homeless. “Think about when you leave foster care and have to rent your own apartment” – former foster children “really, really struggle” with no parents to help them, among other things they don’t have. Getting driver licenses – especially important in low-transit areas – needed special advocacy. And the list went on. She also spoke about education being a “key factor in success” for young people, and needing access to scholarships.

For families – there is a “crisis” with young people “sleeping in motels because thee is not a foster home for them … These are children. They are our children. There are not enough people stepping up wanting to do foster care.” She acknowledged that foster parents need support because the children they care for may have behavioral problems stemming from the difficulties in their lives – so her organization has set up “respite care” for those who need it and other kinds of support. “Nobody can do this work alone – we need each other.” At that point, she disclosed that she grew up in foster care, and had spent time homeless: “There are so many things that go into surviving the foster care system and surviving poverty.” She urged people to not look at homeless/low-income people as “lazy” – she said the work it takes to worry, to find services, is hard work.

She also talked about students experiencing homelessness in our state – no permanent home- 73 percent of them are “doubled up,” 14 percent live in shelters, 7 percent are unsheltered, 6 percent live in hotel/motel situations. The concept of any children “without a roof over their head … kind of feels like a crime to me,” she said. Statewide, 3.5% of all students are “identified as experiencing homelessness” – a relatively equal distribution across grade levels until a sharp rise at 12th grade.

Next up, Paul Lambros, executive director of Plymouth Housing Group, which provides permanent supportive housing, more than 1,000 people in 14 buildings, in and around downtown. He’s been with the organization for 25 years, and has been on the One Night Count “for many, many years.” In the past five years, they’ve noticed many more car campers. “I’ve never seen so many car campers in my life, people who just dropped out of our rental system, people who are working” but can’t afford housing, he said.

He addressed the common criticism that the city is spending more and more on homelessness with little to show for it – that’s because the federal government has dropped what it’s spending (as Plumacher had shown). He also had warm words for Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who was in attendance, saying that if you care about the issue of homelessness, she’s the best councilmember on the issue.

Plymouth works with “men and women who have experienced chronic homelessness,” he continued, about 2,000 people in King County:

*Average income $8,400/year (mostly via some kind of disability payments)
*87 percent disabled
*56 percent mentally ill
*49 percent seniors
*51 percent addicts
*More than 150 of the 2,000 are veterans

Many of those statuses overlap, Lambros noted.

“Services lead to stability,” one of his slides was headlined. That includes “intensive support for the most vulnerable residents during their first 12 months in housing.” Their front desks are 24/7, and they have individualized support and on-site nursing. And he further explained “Housing First.”

He also talked about the “Familiar Faces Program,” which works with the county to “provide people who cycle in and out of the jail system – and also experience mental health or substance-use challenges – with a path out of homelessness.” This program utilizes space at the Pacific Apartments.

Their program saves money – saves public dollars – and has a study to provide it – “in the 12 months before entering (a Plymouth building), 29 “high utilizers” of public services accrued nealy $2.4 million in public costs at the jail, hospital, sobering centers, and medical respite. In the 12 months after move-in, $585,000 in public costs.

Plymouth just opened its 14th and newest building on First Hill and has set aside 30 apartments in that building too – it’s near Harborview and they are partnering with the medical center to provide nursing care for those 30 residents as well as others in the building. He said his organization also has the Langdon & Anne Simons Senior Apartments, with 90+ seniors who have been homeless. Some of them, he said, had been homeless for more than 25 years before getting permanent housing.

They’re breaking ground soon on a new building at Rainier & King in the International District, with “105 permanent supportive housing studio apartments” and some commercial space. Another new project, a First Hill high-rise (up to 16 stories) site owned by Sound Transit – 300+ units working with Bellwether Housing, homeless senior units and “workforce housing.” Also on First Hill, at 12th and Spruce, they’ll be building 90 studio apartments for formerly homeless individuals.

According to Plymouth Housing’s most-recent annual report, almost half its annual revenue comes from “public grants.”

Q&A started with someone asking about animals in encampments. (We took this photo during the recent cleanup on the side of Myers Way where people are camping illegally:)

Plumacher said the city “knew this was going to be a challenge” so the Navigation Center – a city-funded shelter-and-more facility serving ~75 people – allows people to come in with “pets, partners, and possessions.” She said the Seattle Animal Shelter has had some pilot health-care programs, and also mentioned that the city-sanctioned encampments allow pets.

Aren’t developers required to provide afforable housing? asked someone. Lambros mentioned the forthcoming HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning proposal, and also the Multi-Family Tax Exemption program. (Here’s the 2017 report for the MFTE program, which gives participating owners/developers a 12-year break on paying taxes on the residential construction in their projects – not on the land itself or commercial space. The report includes a list of participating projects.)

Maddux said that MFTE requires setting aside some units for people making up to 80 percent of area median income – it’s not low-income housing. He mentioned several other programs, including the newly unveiled “head tax” proposal, with a spending plan that would allot 75 percent of the tax dollars to building affordable housing.

Lambros added, “The need’s great at every level.”

Also asked: How many people are transitioning out of this kind of housing and opening spaces for more people?

“For us,” Lambros said, “people are in permanent supportive housing for the long run.” Some of them can’t even get into nursing homes – but they did open a building for people to “graduate to” if they were not as much in need of services – 70 people, and that opened supportive-housing spots for people who needed more service. But overall, “there’s not enough of ANY time of housing right now,” he emphasized.

The Mockingbird Society person said everyone who’s been working with them is housed.

Plumacher said about a third of people are able to get into permanent supportive housing from emergency shelter. “It’s important to understand …the small amount of transitional housing we continue to have, and supportive housing … there are 12 units that become available on a monthly basis,” and the demand vastly outstrips the availability.

Maddux mentioned the stat that 25,000+ lower-income households are paying more than half their income for housing, and cited another stat: If the city could pay for housing to be built for everyone who needed it, that would be $5 billion to do it all at once.

Plumacher, in response to another question, talked about the authorized encampments and the current two-year limit. There are six encampments now (including C2C in West Seattle), a seventh is in the works (in North Seattle), two more are being pondered. Right now, the two-year limit still stands, she said (there’s been talk of changing that, as discussed at the most recent C2C Community Advisory Committee meeting). She said the “dispersion through the city has not been defined by the current administration … so there’s lots of consideration to be had about what this administration wants to see.” (We asked her for clarification after the event ended, and she confirmed that while there’s “talk” of changing the time-limit ordinance, it’s in a very early stage of discussion.)

Maddux said that two of the encampments – not including C2C – are on sites being looked at for permanent housing.

Another question: Is there anything specific being done regarding housing for youth experiencing homelessness? Maddux mentioned one on Capitol Hill and another in the U-District.

Last question, Rik Keller from the Chamber asked: What, as concerned citizens, can people do?

Plumacher: Take this message and share it with all your friends and family … volunteer with (an organization) or understand how to gather resources or items for (organizations). Also, “give an undesignated gift to any one of our nonprofit organizations.”

Blackledge: Speaking personally, not as Mockingbird’s head: “We have to talk about revenue in this state. … I think we need to re-evaluate our social contract with each other … People should not be sleeping in motel rooms with social workers. … Be willing to provide respite to a foster parent … there’s Treehouse, where you can donate things to their warehouse.” Mockingbird always appreciates volunteers, and accepts very little government money.

Lambros: Our state is almost at the bottom regarding mental-health funding – advocacy (to change that) is really important. Also: “Our current mayor and council members are really gung-ho about (the homelessness) issue,” so look for ways to support them.

Maddux: “The number one thing to remember is that we are talking about our neighbors, we are talking about people. … We are moving forward with providing revenue streams to provide services that we know work.” Regarding Seattle spending more, he repeated that the city spends more because the federal government and state goverment are spending less. He also said that this should be an issue in the upcoming local State Senate race (with 34th District Sen. Sharon Nelson not running for re-election). “What can you do in your own neighborhood? Make a contribution to an organization” that is helping with people who are homeless, or helping to prevent homelessness. Donate to WestSide Baby, West Seattle Food Bank, West Seattle Helpline, and be respectful of recipients – when you donate food, don’t donate expired food that you wouldn’t eat.

Blackledge: Our young people say people won’t look them in the eye … if you see someone on the street who is struggling, look them in the eye and say hello.

The forum was to wrap there – but one person said he had been waiting a while to ask something important:
He described himself as a retired teacher and a volunteer at Union Gospel Mission, and explained: “I have a new best friend, his name is Gary. He lives on Harbor Avenue in his van,” with his dog Princess. “He has no chemical dependency issues, he’s 57 years old, he lost his home through no fault of his own.” Gary wants to work – but needs to find training. “What would be your advice for helping find a job and housing?”

Plumacher suggested Recology – a heavy labor job, she warned – and UPS, both of whom she said are particularly interested in hiring people who are experiencing, or recently experienced, homelessness. Lambros said short-term work might be available via the Millionair Club in Belltown or at Fare Start, as well as day-labor work “cleaning the stadiums.”

The resource hotline 211 was mentioned, too.

MISSED THIS FORUM? ANOTHER ONE’S COMING UP: Fauntleroy Church is organizing a forum titled “Drilling Down on Homelessness” for May 3rd – details here.

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West Seattle HS seniors show award-winning app at #HouseOfCode in Washington, D.C. http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/west-seattle-hs-seniors-show-award-winning-app-at-houseofcode-in-washington-d-c/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/west-seattle-hs-seniors-show-award-winning-app-at-houseofcode-in-washington-d-c/#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2018 04:10:51 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913897 (Aidan Day and Will Rasmussen. Photos courtesy Laurie Rasmussen)

Lots of people take trips during spring break – but when West Seattle High School is back in session Monday, seniors Will Rasmussen and Aidan Day just might have the best travel story to tell. They were in Washington, D.C., for the House Of Code Summit, a gathering of students who won the 2017 Congressional App Challenge. Will and Aidan were the winners in the 7th Congressional District – as announced last December, they created an app aimed at saving teachers time, via functions “to make taking attendance quick and easy.” Here’s their demo video for the app, Roll Call:

The award gained them an invitation to the summit this week, including the #HouseOfCode Demo Day yesterday, at which students were to demonstrate their apps to lawmakers, “thus turning the House of Representatives into the #HouseOfCode.”

The event announcement added: “The annual gathering is quickly becoming the new National Science Fair, but focused specifically on computer science and technology entrepreneurship.” The summit overall also was intended to recognize the more than 200 winning students from 39 states and to give them a chance to “participate in career and STEM enrichment activities.” The competition had more than 4,100 participants nationwide, who submitted more than 1,270 original apps, almost double the number from a year earlier.

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! 1 year for West Seattle Linux User Group http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/happy-anniversary-1-year-for-west-seattle-linux-user-group/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 21:21:49 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913877 Congratulations to the West Seattle Linux User Group, now one year old. If you’re interested, you’re invited to its meeting tomorrow, which is also an anniversary breakfast. From co-founder Justin:

The West Seattle Linux User Group (WSeaLUG) is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month. It has been a great year getting to know fellow Linux enthusiasts in West Seattle and beyond. We have have average of 10 members show up every other Saturday morning to enjoy chatting and learning from each other about all things Linux. We have also had a few presentations about items such as ‘installing and configuring a web server,’ ‘LUKS & YubiKey,’ and ‘Linux Firewalls & IPTables,’ to name a few. We were also community sponsors of the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference last November.

If you are a Linux enthusiast or want to learn more about Linux, we hope you will join us.

Tomorrow morning’s meeting is at a different location than usual – Be’s Restaurant in The Junction, 9 am (4509 California SW). Otherwise, the club usually meets twice a month at the Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) – check here; we list the meetings in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, too. (If your club meets regularly and is open to interested members of the public, we’d be happy to list your meetings too – e-mail the info to editor@westseattleblog.com – thank you!)

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WEEKEND LISTENING, PLUS PIZZA: Local podcaster invites you to a taste test http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/weekend-listening-plus-pizza-local-podcaster-invites-you-to-a-taste-test/ Sun, 08 Apr 2018 03:18:37 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913436 Andrew Stuckey launched Podcast: West Seattle earlier this year, and is up to the third of his monthly installments – listen to it below:

This one bites into topics including West Seattle/White Center pizza, with a playoff of sorts. And he has an in-person event coming up, with an invitation for you – but a little bit about him first:

Andrew explains that his podcast isn’t a commercial enterprise:

I have lived in West Seattle for about 9 years (2005-2007 / 2012-Present). I taught high school English and Social Studies for 15 years, most recently at TAF Academy in Federal Way. I recently decided to change careers and go into audio production, and this podcast project is an excuse to go through the process of telling stories in the audio medium. Essentially the podcast is practice for a job I hope to have some day, and hopefully some of the segments will be portfolio-worthy. I created the format because it allows me to practice telling the types of stories I want to tell while satisfying some intellectual curiosity about the fascinating neighborhood we live in.

He adds, “You can subscribe on iTunes by searching for Podcast: West Seattle.” (You’ll find the first two on SoundCloud, too.)

Now, the in-person event (which is also on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar): 5-6 pm on Tuesday, April 17th, stop by Beveridge Place Pub (6413 California SW) to help decide the pizza-tournament winner. Listen to his podcast to see how the field of 16 got narrowed down!

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MISSING: Have you seen Kathleen? http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/missing-have-you-seen-kathleen/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/missing-have-you-seen-kathleen/#comments Sat, 31 Mar 2018 04:25:45 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=912749 FRIDAY, 9:25 PM: Friends and neighbors are trying to find out what happened to Kathleen, who they say hasn’t been seen at her Highland Park home for two weeks. Her disappearance is suspicious, explains her neighbor Grace, because Kathleen’s home appeared to have been ransacked and her dog left behind, with obvious signs of neglect. Grace says Kathleen “was considered our neighborhood vigilante,” in terms of watching out for crime and suspicious activity, and that she would never let a neighbor’s disappearance go unremarked on, so they’re trying to find out what happened to her. They say Kathleen worked at Home Depot but hadn’t been there for a few weeks. A police report has been filed, 2018-109928, so if you’ve seen Kathleen or have any information about the circumstances of her disappearance, her friends hope you will call 911 and refer to that incident number. (We are not publishing Kathleen’s full name, as we have not heard from relatives, nor, Grace says, have neighbors.)

ADDED MONDAY MORNING: We just talked with Det. Mark Jamieson at SPD media relations, who talked with the detective assigned to the case after we inquired. He confirms what a family member says in the comment section, that at this point there is no indication of foul play (criminal activity); she was reported missing about two weeks ago and the case remains open.

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West Seattle Chamber of Commerce announces forum on homelessness http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/west-seattle-chamber-of-commerce-announces-forum-on-homelessness/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/west-seattle-chamber-of-commerce-announces-forum-on-homelessness/#comments Sat, 31 Mar 2018 03:55:28 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=912719 While homelessness is much-discussed, community discussions tend to happen in relation to something specific – an encampment, a City Council action, etc. If you are interested in a more general discussion of the issue, you might want to RSVP for the forum just announced by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, 1 pm Saturday, April 21st, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW). The Chamber announcement says it’s meant to address questions including “How did this happen? What’s being done? What can you do?” Participants will be from the city Human Services Department, SPD’s Southwest Precinct, Plymouth Housing, and the Mockingbird Society, with a Q&A period promised for each speaker. No admission charge, but the Chamber says preregistration is required – you can do that here.

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FOLLOWUP: Surprise gifts for West Seattle girl who lost cherished keepsake to car prowler http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/followup-surprise-gifts-for-west-seattle-girl-who-lost-cherished-keepsake-to-car-prowler/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/followup-surprise-gifts-for-west-seattle-girl-who-lost-cherished-keepsake-to-car-prowler/#comments Mon, 26 Mar 2018 18:56:58 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=912367

The photo above is from an unexpected followup to a recent West Seattle Crime Watch reader report. At right is Yzzy, whose mom Alex reported a smash-and-grab during their regular Saturday morning Morgan Junction coffee run – taken from the wheel well was a special World War II aviation-themed bag that Yzzy cherished. At left in the photo is Deb, who had read the report and subsequently e-mailed to say:

I work at Vulcan (Paul Allen’s company) and we have a WWII museum, Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum in Everett. I reached out to our team there and they have come through with a gift bag for Alex’s daughter (see photo). We hope this gift bag, including 4 passes to the museum, will brighten her day and reaffirm there are good folks out here in the world!

So we connected them, and requested a followup report, which Alex sent after their Saturday morning meetup. If you recognize Yzzy, her mom explains why:

Yzzy was so happy with all the gifts from the Vulcan folks. Deb was wonderful – one of those people that really listen & talk with & connect with younger folks. It just filled my heart up to watch them chat. I made a connection with a West Side neighbor as well – something that is hard for me, as I’m not much of a people person.

Deb even recognized Yz from the Blog posts of bake sales for disaster relief over the years – and offered to help bake for the next fundraiser.

We talked about Yzzy’s love of WWII planes, her great-grandfather being part of the 82nd airborne & the Market Garden operation. (Ever see “A Bridge Too Far”?)

Deb told us about all the things Vulcan does and the WWII ship recently discovered by their endeavors (of course – Yzzy knew the name & that it had been part of the Midway operation).

We’re planning a family trip up to the Everett Flying Heritage Museum in a month or two & promised to take pics & let Deb know about that adventure.

The negative of the smash & grab turned around into such a positive! An affirmation of our wonderful West Seattle community. Thank you Deb. Thank you Vulcan. Thank you West Seattle Blog.

And a few words from Yzzy herself:

When I got my bag stolen, I was kind of in shock. Since I had never had that sort of thing happen to me before, I didn’t know how to react. When my mom told me about Deb & Vulcan, I couldn’t be happier!

Knowing that someone, and their co-workers, went out of their way to do this for me, makes me want to do this sort of thing when I grow up.

(As her mom mentioned – and as we have covered over the years – Yzzy’s giving nature already is in evidence.)

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VIDEO: Highland Park neighbors celebrate Martha Mallett’s milestone birthday http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/video-highland-park-neighbors-celebrate-martha-malletts-milestone-birthday/ Mon, 26 Mar 2018 03:46:06 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=912330 (WSB photos)

Big birthday party this afternoon at Highland Park Improvement Club for a longtime community mainstay – Martha Mallett celebrated her 90th birthday! After a few warm words for partygoers, led them in a cheer of sorts:

She’s been involved since the 1950s with the historic community center, which is getting close to its centennial.

Highland Park-residing City Councilmember Lisa Herbold was among those at HPIC to honor Martha.

The councilmember read a special city proclamation declaring today “Martha Mallett Day” and detailing Martha’s many accomplishments:

As the proclamation noted, Martha’s decades of involvement with HPIC date back into the 1950s! Memorabilia including photos were on display at the party:

She was also serenaded with “What a Wonderful World.”

P.S. Due in no small part to Martha’s efforts, collaborating with neighbors, HPIC remains a thriving community organization/center to this day, with a variety of weekly and monthly events you can browse here.

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MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: West Seattleites @ Saturday’s event http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/march-for-our-lives-west-seattleites-saturdays-event/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/march-for-our-lives-west-seattleites-saturdays-event/#comments Sun, 25 Mar 2018 07:21:07 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=912237

That’s a photo tweeted by Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best showing West Seattle resident Emilia Allard, co-coordinator of Saturday’s Seattle March For Our Lives, onstage at Cal Anderson Park. As you’ve probably heard, the march from Capitol Hill to Seattle Center was peaceful and uneventful. Other West Seattleites were there too – Kevin Callahan sent this photo:

Ebony Lee sent this photo of a group from Sanislo Elementary on Puget Ridge:

And this photo is from before she headed to the march, with a sign bearing a message many of the adult participants exhorted:

As for what the crowd was like, PNW Medium Format posted a time-lapse on YouTube, from video recorded at 4th and Pine; also via YT, aerial video from KING 5. The march in Seattle was one many coast to coast in support of the main march in Washington, D.C., which was led by students who survived last month’s massacre in Parkland, Florida; here’s a satellite photo of the D.C. event.

WHAT’S NEXT? The March 14 walkouts (WSB coverage here, with 13 local schools represented) and Saturday’s marches were the only events planned – now organizers and supporters vow to push for their legislative priorities, listed here.

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