Something missing in ‘Transportation Levy to Move Seattle,’ say West Seattle advocates: Stairways

April 5, 2015 at 11:59 am | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 4 Comments

After we reported Friday night on SDOT‘s plan to use goats to clear weeds/brush from the SW Holden stairway between 20th and Delridge, our area’s best-known stairway users/advocates pointed out two things: For one, this isn’t the only stairway that needs TLC, note Jake and Cathy Jaramillo, the West Seattleites who wrote “Seattle Stairway Walks.” For two, a stairway plan is missing in the draft Transportation Levy to Move Seattle. With a city survey about the levy open right now, they say it’s an opportunity to fix that:

An Open Letter To Our Stairway Friends:

The mayor’s proposed Transportation Levy has a lot of things going for it, but it completely misses one of Seattle’s most important everyday modes of transportation: our stairway network.

West Seattle is particularly blessed with numerous stairways that play an important role in the everyday life of our community. Some of them are sadly deteriorating, and all of them need ongoing TLC!

Seattle possesses a historic built legacy of more than 650 publicly accessible stairways. Many of them are more than one hundred years old, yet even today they still connect our citizens to transit, parks and everyday neighborhood businesses.

Stairways provide scenic byways in the city for exploration and outdoor exercise. They’re a “third place” for neighbors to meet casually. In short, our stairway network remains incredibly relevant to our city’s function and quality of life.

Back in 2011 the city’s budget for stairway maintenance was only about $1.1 million. This inadequate level of funding shows, despite the hard work done by SDOT rehab and replacement crews (see picture below).

Roughly forty percent of this amount will be lost when the current Bridging the Gap levy expires, leaving a yawning gap in the funds needed to keep up our stairway network.

We’re appealing for concerned residents to do two simple things, right away:

1) Please take a moment to give your feedback to Mayor Murray and the city, using the brief SDOT online survey, at

There’s a key juncture where the survey asks: “Are there other transportation investments you feel should be a top priority for funding through this levy?” Adding a quick note here, such as “To make walking easier and safer, the levy must add specific funding for our deteriorating public stairways” can go a long way to putting stairways on the city’s radar – provided enough of us speak up.

2) Please forward this message to your own networks, to get others to amplify your voice!

See you on the stairs,

Jake and Cathy Jaramillo
Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-and-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods

While stairways were mentioned when Mayor Murray announced his overall transportation vision in early March, they did not get a specific shoutout when the draft levy to fund part of that plan was made public a few weeks later.

Sally Clark leaving City Council early after getting UW job

April 2, 2015 at 12:01 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 15 Comments

(CM Clark in West Seattle last month, speaking to Southwest District Council)
12:01 PM: City Councilmember Sally Clark already had announced she wouldn’t run for re-election – and now, she’s leaving early. She’s resigning in two weeks to take a new job with the University of Washington, described here by the UW. Council President Tim Burgess is expected to talk later today about the process of appointing someone to fill the remaining months of Clark’s term.

2:16 PM UPDATE: The timeline and details of that process have now been announced – from an open application period starting tomorrow, to an appointment on April 27th. Read about it here.

AS-IT-HAPPENED: Find out about proposed ‘Transportation Levy to Move Seattle’ @ WSHS

March 31, 2015 at 6:18 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 4 Comments

6:18 PM: We’re in the commons at >West Seattle High School tonight, for the first official West Seattle meeting on the “Transportation Levy to Move Seattle,” proposed as a successor to the expiring Bridging The Gap levy. The presentation is scheduled to start around 6:30, so you have time to get here if you’re interested; until then, people are circulating around info-boards, writing sticky notes with ideas and comments, etc. You can even set up your idea of an ideal road:

More to come.

6:39 PM: After a 4-minute introductory video, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen stepped to the microphone.

He says the council will have “our own meetings and public hearings” after the mayor sends them his final proposed levy. Estimating about 40 people here. Rasmussen hands the microphone to SDOT director Scott Kubly, who says they want to hear what’s “missing” in the levy, “anything you’d like to see less of, anything you’d like to see more of.” He says city staffers are here to circulate to ask people if they have questions or comments, and he talks about the boards around the room.

Kubly mentions that the mayor announced the “Move Seattle” overview before the draft levy. He then describes this as a “renewal” though it’s $900 million over 9 years compared to BTG’s $365 million in the same period. The slide deck behind him notes that “safe, affordable, interconnected, vibrant” are the values around which this is organized. Toward the first value, he mentions the new “Vision Zero” plan, which among other things will cut speed limits on many streets, including some of West Seattle’s arterials (shoutout from Kubly to 35th and Roxbury – the plan for the latter will be unveiled at next Tuesday’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting). Toward the second value, he mentions road maintenance – it’s cheaper to fix it than to rebuild it, so this plans to “maintain and modernize 250 lane miles” of arterials. For “interconnected,” he mentions better connections to light rail (none of which is in West Seattle yet), and “we’re going to make it a lot easier to walk and bike in the city.” And under “vibrant,” there’s a promise of improving “mobility for freight and delivery vehicles,” and investment in Neighborhood Street Fund projects.

Here he brings up the Lander Street Overpass, mentioning coal and oil trains on the rise, and the need to get buses up over those tracks in SODO, plus South Park drainage improvements in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities.

Now before sending people off to look at the boards and write down comments and notes, he says they’ll also be having coffees around the city. Here’s the timeline:

*End of May – Mayor submits proposal to Council
*’Possible City Council action’ from mid-July to mid-August
*Send measure to King County in August, for November ballot

6:55 PM: This has broken back up into an open house after word that a mural artist is standing by on the side of the room. If people have questions, Kubly says, they can talk to him one on one, or anybody else around the room. There was no call for general Q/A while attendees remained seated as an audience, but this is supposed to continue until 8 pm if you’re interested in stopping by with something to say and/or ask. We’re going to circulate and see what people are asking/saying.

9:22 PM: Photos added above and below. We spotted three City Council District 1 candidates at the meeting:

From left, Tom Koch, Amanda Kay Helmick, Chas Redmond. Taking a look at the sticky-notes and other written comments left on boards and the future mural, we noted the prevalence of requests for light rail, and even a wistful wish for a monorail:

Missed tonight? Bring comments and questions to tomorrow night’s Southwest District Council meeting (6:30 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle, Wednesday, April 1st). And remember the online survey.

City Council passes final plan for up to 3 more encampments

March 30, 2015 at 10:44 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 18 Comments

Exactly two months after our first report on a city proposal meant to facilitate three more encampments in Seattle, the final version of the plan won unanimous City Council approval today. Here’s the news release that followed:

City Council unanimously adopted legislation today allowing for new interim use permits for as many as three transitional homeless encampments on property owned by the City of Seattle, private parties, or educational major institutions in most of Seattle’s non-residential zones. The encampments will serve some of the 2,813 people homeless in Seattle, providing a safe and managed site for people to sleep and reside.

The encampment proposal originated from the Mayor’s Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness, which was based on a bill proposed by Councilmember Nick Licata in 2013.

Click to read the rest of City Council passes final plan for up to 3 more encampments…

Mayor Murray’s West Seattle visit, report #2: 1-on-1 questions

March 30, 2015 at 2:29 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 26 Comments

(WSB photo from Saturday’s mayoral visit)
As reported here in-depth on Saturday, Mayor Ed Murray spent about 2 1/2 hours in West Seattle that day, including a walking tour of The Junction and Triangle, and a “coffee chat” with about 20 in attendance. After all that, we had the opportunity to ask the mayor a few questions one-on-one. Ahead, our questions – inspired by recent reader comments and community-meeting discussions – and his replies:

Click to read the rest of Mayor Murray’s West Seattle visit, report #2: 1-on-1 questions…

Mayor Murray’s 2 1/2-plus-hour West Seattle visit, report #1: Roll call, walking tour, coffee chat

March 28, 2015 at 2:23 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 15 Comments

(WSB photo: David Groves of Seattle Logo Pro presents the mayor with a hometown T-shirt)
2:23 PM: Within the past half-hour, Mayor Ed Murray wrapped up more than two and a half hours in West Seattle – including second-watch roll call at the Southwest Precinct, a walking tour of The Junction and Triangle, and an open-to-all coffee chat that drew more than 20 people. Talking with WSB for a few minutes after all that (we were along for the walking tour and coffee chat), the mayor said he was inspired by the “positive, can-do attitude” of the people he talked with – the “most upbeat … neighborhood” he’d visited. We’ll be adding more photos and the full story over the next few hours.

MIDNIGHT: Took longer than we had hoped. Here’s how it unfolded:

(Photo courtesy Mayor Murray’s office)
The mayor’s visit to the precinct wasn’t pre-announced to the media, unlike the walking tour, so we don’t know what was said – we heard about it from an officer we were talking to about something else, somewhere else, then asked mayoral communications director Viet Shelton if a photo were available. The walking tour started from Elliott Bay Brewing, where Murray checked out EB’s new reusable takeout containers:

Meeting up with the mayor there were four community advocates – René Commons of the Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO), Susan Melrose of the West Seattle Junction Association, Josh Sutton of the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor), and Vlad Oustimovitch.

Click to read the rest of Mayor Murray’s 2 1/2-plus-hour West Seattle visit, report #1: Roll call, walking tour, coffee chat…

Question for Mayor Murray? Come to The Triangle on Saturday

March 25, 2015 at 2:34 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 7 Comments

Announced by the Department of Neighborhoodsdistrict coordinators – Mayor Ed Murray is making a quick conversation stop in West Seattle on Saturday (March 28), his second visit this month (first one was at the 34th District Democrats‘ meeting – here’s our coverage, with video). It’s a public event, 12:30-1 pm at Chaco Canyon Organic Café, northeast corner of 38th/Alaska.

District 1 City Council race: Dave Montoure no longer running

March 24, 2015 at 2:18 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 31 Comments

2:18 PM: Thanks for the tips: West Seattle entrepreneur Dave Montoure has announced via Facebook that he is no longer running for the District 1 City Council position. That leaves 10 candidates. We are seeking comment; more to come.

3:01 PM: Via e-mail, Montoure confirms his withdrawal, and also gave us permission to republish the statement he posted on his personal FB page:

Friends, family and fellow small business owners. A little over six-weeks ago, I entered the campaign race for Seattle City Council District 1. It’s been a great experience and I have learned a lot from talking to old friends and new acquaintances. However, it is with regret that inform you that I have decided to withdraw from the campaign.

My passion for issues that affect small, independent businesses and the greater prosperity of West Seattle is strong as ever, and I have come to believe that right now, I’m a better advocate as a private citizen than as a politician. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work as simply, Dave.

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

3:37 PM: Added photo from Montoure’s original campaign announcement. And for the record, here’s where the District 1 race stands now:

CANDIDATES: David Ishii (back as of 3/9/2015), Pavel Goberman (declared 3/5/2015), Tom Koch (declared 2/19/15), Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

The next District 1 Candidates’ Forum is scheduled for the 34th District Democrats‘ meeting on April 8th (7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy).

UPDATE: Mayor proposes 9-year, $900 million transportation levy; March 31st meeting in West Seattle

March 18, 2015 at 12:10 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 64 Comments

12:10 PM: Mayor Murray‘s just gone public with his nine-year, $900 million Transportation Levy to Move Seattle ballot proposal, successor to “Bridging the Gap,” which expires this year. It’s proposed for the November ballot, but first, three meetings are scheduled around the city, including one at 6 pm Tuesday, March 31st, in the gym at West Seattle High School. And if you want to say something before then, you can use this online survey.

But first, here’s the brochure detailing the draft proposal, which the city says would cost the average homeowner (described now as a $450,000 home) $275 a year – a little more than double the $130 that Bridging the Gap had cost. (Here’s a slide-deck version, too.) The brochure’s named projects don’t include anything in West Seattle, but the Lander Street Overpass and East Marginal corridors are certainly of interest, and a variety of project markers are in the West Seattle area on this “investment map.” We’re still looking for the fine print detailing exactly what/where those markers represent – more to come.

3:56 PM UPDATE: Our request for the “what’s in it for West Seattle” details brought this list from SDOT communications director Rick Sheridan:

Bridge Replacement
- E Duwamish Waterway North Bridge Replacement

Bridge Seismic Retrofit
- Admiral Way North Bridge
- Admiral Way South Bridge
- Delridge Way Pedestrian Bridge
- SW Andover Pedestrian Bridge

Multimodal Corridor Project (including Bus Rapid Transit Investment)
- Delridge Way SW

Bicycle Master Plan Implementation
- 24th Ave SW Greenway
- 34th Ave SW Greenway
- 8th Ave S Protected Bike Lane
- 36th Ave SW Greenway
- Fauntleroy Way SW Protected Bike Lane
- SW Admiral Way Protected Bike Lane
- SW Brandon/SW Juneau St Greenway

Arterial Paving
- 35th Ave SW from Avalon to Roxbury
- SW Avalon from Spokane to 35th
- SW Roxbury St from 35th to 16th

Corridor Safety Project
- 35th Ave SW
- SW Roxbury St

In addition to the West Seattle-specific improvements listed above, the West Seattle area will see improvements from the following citywide investment categories:

- Safe Routes to School projects and education touching every public school
in Seattle
- Crosswalk repainting every four years
- Repairing damaged sidewalks
- Curb ramp and crossing improvements
- Paving spot improvements
- Bus speed and reliability spot improvements
- Optimized traffic signal timing on corridors
- Building new sidewalks on priority transit corridors
- Installing bicycle parking spots
- Freight mobility spot improvements
- Neighborhood priority projects implemented through the Neighborhood
Street Fund
- Tree planting
- Tree pruning rapid response

That list does *not* include a major project for West Seattle that’s been funded for design and was named in the mayor’s 10-year plan earlier this month, the Fauntleroy Boulevard plan. We’re checking with Councilmember Tom Rasmussen to see whether – or not – that means there’s an alternate plan.

5:24 PM: CM Rasmussen’s reply: ““The Fauntleroy Way SW project is important to many people in West Seattle. The project is listed in the Mayor’s Move Seattle vision plan, and the Council will be reviewing the levy proposal closely and making changes as necessary.”

How to pay for ‘Move Seattle’? Mayor announcing transportation levy tomorrow

March 17, 2015 at 3:31 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 8 Comments

When Mayor Murray announced the “Move Seattle” plan back on March 2nd (WSB coverage here), he said financing for its projects/goals would be announced later. Now, according to a media advisory we just received from the mayor’s office, “later” arrives tomorrow. The mayor will gather Wednesday morning southeast of downtown with councilmembers, SDOT director Scott Kubly, and unspecified-as-of-yet “community leaders” to announce a proposed transportation levy for the November ballot – successor to “Bridging the Gap,” which expires this year. We’ll be there too.

VIDEO + AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: City Council candidates’ forum presented by VIEWS at West Seattle Senior Center

March 14, 2015 at 10:05 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 38 Comments

(UPDATE: All video now added – at-large candidates’ pitches plus full District 1 candidates’ forum)

(District 1 participants, post-forum. From left: Helmick, Thomas, Redmond, Tavel, Capestany, Koch, Herbold, Braddock, Goberman)
10:04 AM: We’re at the morning’s second big West Seattle event (first one here) – the VIEWS-presented City Council candidates’ forum at the Senior Center of West Seattle. First, a short segment with at-large candidates before 10 of the 11 District 1 hopefuls are grilled.

(VIDEO CLIP ABOVE: Alex Tsimerman, followed by David Trotter)
At the microphone first, Alex Tsimerman, well-known for his appearances during public-comment periods at City Council meetings. He contends a “mafia” controls government and should be overthrown.

Second, David Trotter (above), who begins by saying the minimum-wage law “codifies poverty … by exempting most of the businesses in the city.” He, like Tsimerman, has filed for at-large Position 8. (Note: Trotter is a West Seattle resident.)

(VIDEO CLIP ABOVE: Jon Grant, followed by John Persak and Tim Burgess)
Up third, Jon Grant (above), who also is running in Position 8. He is a tenants-rights activist who accuses city leadership of giving “utmost deference to developers.” He says candidates need a “level playing field” if democracy is to be preserved.

4th Position 8 candidate, John Persak (above), who also speaks of development concerns, and then goes on to transportation, “a huge issue for West Seattle … we have to figure out ways to give incentives for people to take other means of transportation, not to force them out of their cars, but to give incentives.”

And the 5th candidate for Position 8, current City Council president Tim Burgess (above), says he wants to “keep doing this work” because he wants to “keep getting good things done.” First thing he touts is the transit-funding measure.

(VIDEO CLIP ABOVE: Bill Bradburd, followed by Lorena González)
10:20 AM: On to at-large Position 9. Bill Bradburd, who says he got involved when a “big box shopping mall (was planned) for Little Saigon,” is speaking, and development is his big issue – “I want to bring back a community voice to the neighborhood-planning process.” He draws the first audience applause of the morning by saying that the city should be charging impact fees.

Second and final Position 9 candidate here, also the first woman to speak, Lorena González. She talks about her advocacy background and “progressive values” and commitment to fighting for gender/racial/economic equity. (Note: González is a West Seattle resident.)

10:29 AM: Emcee Michael Taylor-Judd from VIEWS says 10 of the 11 District 1 candidates RSVP’d, though one is not here (David Ishii) so far. Pete Spalding from VIEWS reads a brief statement from Dave Montoure, the one candidate who said he couldn’t be here, because of a “long-planned family vacation,” per VIEWS. Taylor-Judd then explains the organization, which has been around to some degree for six years, but is now trying to ramp up into a peninsula-wide community-building group.

Each candidate will be asked for a quick one-minute introduction involving their community work (present/past). First, Amanda Kay Helmick, a Westwood resident, co-chair of WW-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, co-founder of West Seattle Transportation Coalition. Second, Brianna Thomas, a Junction resident, who lists her boards as Working Washington, Washington Bus, 34th District Democrats, Church Council. Third, Chas Redmond, a Gatewood resident, whose volunteer work includes the Junction Association’s upcoming historical survey, plus producing Alki, Delridge, Morgan festivals. Fourth, George Capestany, who lists his fabled goat feeder on Jacobsen Road as his most-recent community work, as well as work he’s done with children with autism (including one of his own). Fifth, Lisa Herbold, a Highland Park resident, who notes she has worked as assistant to Councilmember Nick Licata for 17+ years and also was on the Neighborhood House board. Sixth, Pavel Goberman, who says he immigrated from the USSR, and is in the health/fitness business. Seventh, Phillip Tavel, a Morgan Junction resident, who says he’s working on the Morgan Junction Community Festival and has long done Wednesday night trivia at Talarico’s, where a fundraiser for the Y is coming up next week. Eighth, Shannon Braddock, an Admiral resident, who is and has been on the WestSide Baby, West Seattle Food Bank, and Lafayette Elementary PTSA boards, and is chief of staff for County Councilmember Joe McDermott. Ninth, Tom Koch, who mentions that he helped with the Admiral District Adopt-A-Street cleanup last weekend.

10:43 AM: Question for each: What form of transportation do you primarily use, and what WS transportation issue would you work on first? The answers:

Thomas – Bus/walk. Increasing access to some of the WS bus routes – like the hourly 22, and Alki, with no service in the evening.

Redmond – Bus/walk. Would work with SDOT to add lane to the offramp to 99 from the West Seattle Bridge.

Tavel – Car. Increasing access to bus routes – mentions the 37 and “other underutilized areas of WS.”

Herbold – Bus (Route 131). Making sure Bridging the Gap renewal has more money for sidewalks, pedestrian improvements, Fauntleroy Boulevard project.

Goberman – Transit because, he says, he can’t get a driver license due to problems in Oregon that affect him here. That seems also to be the problem he’d work on.

Tavel – Car. Increasing bus access to West Seattle so it’s “not 90 minutes to Fremont” – “for our bus system to work, you have to be able to get anywhere.”

Braddock – Car/bus. Renewal and expansion of Bridging the Gap levy and would continue to fight to make sure state is providing viaduct-mitigation money for extra bus service; also mentions expanding Route 120 service.

Koch – Walk/drive. Get development projects to “pay their fair share” so there would be more money for expanding transit. (He says $200 million “left on table” without development fees. Draws applause.)

Helmick – Walk/bus/drive. West Seattle Corridor Project; would like to see a busway to get buses moving from WS to downtown, plus rapid transit for WS.

10:52 AM: First lightning-round question: Are patrol boundaries for SW Precinct too large?

No – Helmick, Redmond, Tavel,
Waffle – Koch, Braddock
Yes – Others (except Goberman, who doesn’t raise his)

Second lightning-round question: Do you support the new homeless encampment ordinance?
Waffle – Helmick
No – Capestany, Tavel
Yes – Everyone else

Ever testified at a City Council meeting?
Thomas Capestany Herbold Goberman Tavel – no
Others – yes

Support city advocating for legislation enabling rent control?
Helmick Capestany Tavel – no
Braddock – waffle
Others – Yes

Do you support renewal of Bridging the Gap levy?
All – Yes

Should Seattle develop its own broadband utility?
Herbold – Waffle
Capestany – No
Other seven – Yes

Non-lightning round, with Dorsol Plants of VIEWS taking the podium: What’s the most common crime in D-1 and what would your priority crime problem to work on be?

Redmond – Property crime; would work with police on Block Watch programs
Capestany – Breaking and entering; agrees with Redmond, and work on community spirit, mentions “diligent” older neighbors
Herbold – Home and car break-ins; restore community-service officer program that SPD had before the recession
Goberman – Break-ins; need more punishment to reduce crime
Tavel – Property crimes but most disturbing thing is rise in robberies; get more police out there, walking, bicycling beats, patroling
Braddock – Property crimes; need more police officers and need officers to be out of their cars, on the streets; also educating neighbors and getting them more involved with each other
Koch – Agrees with Tavel, property crimes BUT robberies most disturbance; applauds increases in police budget but not breakdown in trust between police and community, so will hold SPD accountable
Helmick – Property theft; police-hiring system needs work to screen for people who don’t just look at community as enemy/suspicious/doing something wrong
Thomas – Property crimes; better use of technology to look at what’s happening and who are we stopping/where/why, also wants to look at the concerns about the depolicing of South Park

Next question: How do we protect the history and character of West Seattle while still protecting business and enabling affordable housing for future generations?

Capestany – Fan of development to some degree but keep in mind that what works in other neighborhoods doesn’t necessarily work here.
Herbold – Growth goals have come with an unfulfilled promise; supports impact fees and linkage fees so development pays its fair share; opposes Director’s Rule on redefining parking requirements.
Goberman – Worried about money taken by politicians, has a plan to create jobs but doesn’t want to see environment destroyed.
Tavel – Growth is going to happen, but has to be responsible, intelligent, sensitive to community, whose interests should get more weight in this. Developers can get a weekend retreat with politicians but citizens get 2 minutes’ access only.
Braddock – Supports impact/linkage fees, thinks developers need to be brought to table in community talking about what we want to see, be “cooperative.”
Koch – Wouldn’t be running if city had done decent job on development issue. Has built affordable housing without public subsidy, has built public schools. “We’re doing everything the wrong way here … community is not listened to … the process is broken.” Says city has had right to impose impact fees for 25 years but “hasn’t gotten around to doing it.”
Helmick – Interested in preservation districts like Pike-Pine. Need to build more buildings because if we don’t, prices will keep going up. But doesn’t have to be “canyons,” can be townhomes like in Westwood.
Thomas – Agrees with most of what’s been said. Diversity of housing stock important – needs to be ‘accessible and affordable,’ and while Amazon’s economic engine is important, some cultural challenges are “leaking into our neighborhoods .. that we need to address.” Families need “someplace to grow into.”
Redmond – Transit-Oriented Development doesn’t work, need the transportation to go along with the development. Working directly with developers can make a difference, as has been done in Morgan Junction (where he’s been on the neighborhood council).

11:12 AM: More lightning round. First question – Do you support the current body-cam pilot project with SPD?
Helmick is lone “no”

Would you support allowing police to not carry firearms while patrolling in West Seattle?
Helmick and Thomas are the only “yes”

Do you support construction of third stadium in SODO?
Only yes answers are Capestany and Herbold

Are you capable of communicating with voters in a language other than English?
Goberman, Redmond, Capestany, Koch say yes

Do you support SPD using Guardian One helicopter in WS?
All yes except Thomas says no

Would you work to help make sure dogs could use pools before public pools are closed for cleaning (which has been tried at some)?
All answer yes or waffle, with some quizzicality about the question itself (submitted by community, ViEWS explains)

11:17 AM: Not lightning round. “Inside District 1 is a neighborhood with lowest life-expectancy in the city. Name it and say what you would do to fix it.”

Herbold – South Park, continue fixing Duwamish problems
Goberman – not sure but would do his best for all citizens of West Seattle/South Park
Tavel – South Park, knows the air quality is even worse than the river quality, speeding up Duwamish cleanup and regulating industries would be most important
Braddock – Duwamish Corridor, continuing to restore public-health clinics is important
Koch – same community in his answer, city budget priorities are important, and collecting more money (development fees) could help with this problem too
Helmick – Delridge, because there’s no access to good fresh food; Delridge Grocery will be starting up and trying to bring fresh food to Delridge, also, improving walkability in area, bike lanes, must be done
Thomas – South Park, “children can’t breathe,” and Delridge, “kids can’t eat.” Need to fix those problems, city hasn’t been able to incentivize a grocery store on Delridge; also in SP, air-quality problem
Redmond – Both Delridge & SP have serious health problems. City could help with providing race/social-justice funding for Delridge Grocery as it does for other kinds of enterprises/activities. For SP, stronger pushback against EPA Record of Decision, remove more toxic material from the river before we cover it up.
Capestany – South Delridge. Get healthy food. He thinks the area should have three grocery stores.

(By the way, the correct answer to “lowest life-expectancy in the city” is – North Delridge. In the 60s.)

One more question: What plan do you have for the city’s own Myers wetland (Taylor-Judd mentions the “Save Myers Park” meeting happening simultaneously)?
Goberman – Not familiar with it
Tavel – Does need to be protected
Braddock – Agree with protecting it, but we’re having trouble with maintenance in other parks, need to study more
Koch – Protect it
Helmick – Very familiar with this area, wetlands protection important, once land is gone, it’s gone, for preserving it
Thomas – Not familiar with it
Redmond – Preserving wetlands very important, not much preservation in that area
Capestany – For preserving any wetland
Herbold – To preserve it, the city first has to look at not selling it.

(P.S. Read about the Myers Parcels here.)

11:28 AM: The event is now breaking into “speed-candi-dating” in small groups. We’ve recorded the preceding part of the event on video and will add here when it’s ready, later today/tonight.

11:59 PM: We’ve now added all of our video clips embedded inline above – three clips totaling all of the Position 8/9 candidates’ quick pitches, and the full hourlong unedited District 1 forum. As far as we know, your next chance to see the candidates together will be at the District 1 forum the 34th District Democrats‘ are planning for their next meeting, April 8th.

Also tonight: Mayor, council candidates at 34th District Democrats

March 11, 2015 at 2:06 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

Another one of those days where the news started early and we haven’t published the usual daily list of calendar highlights. From everything you’ll find on our Event Calendar page (continuously updated, so check any time), there are two big things happening tonight. One, the Police Chief’s visit, already mentioned in our just-updated-again coverage of today’s big SPD news. The other: Mayor Ed Murray is expected at tonight’s 34th District Democrats‘ meeting, which also will include “quick-draw questions” for District 1 City Council candidates. Here’s the agenda; the meeting’s at 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW).

Next City Council candidates’ forum in West Seattle on Saturday: New details

March 11, 2015 at 9:31 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 7 Comments

VIEWS, the West Seattle group organizing the second local City Council candidates’ forum of the season this Saturday (March 14th), has sent the final official announcement with details on how it’ll work:

Come meet and hear from your Seattle City Council District 1 & At-Large Candidates

10 of 11 District 1 candidates confirmed to attend along with Bradburd, Burgess and Gonzalez! (added) And Persak

VieWS has partnered with The West Seattle Senior Center on a weekend opportunity for friends and neighbors to learn what is happening on our Peninsula, and walk away more informed about upcoming elections!

9:00 – 10:00 Meet & Greet Candidates / Breakfast Available [by donation]
10:00 – 10:15 At-Large City Council Candidates address audience
10:15 – 10:30 Welcome from VieWS and Forum Agenda/Rules
10:30 – 11:45 City Council District 1 Candidates Forum
11:45 – Noon Wrap up with a brief bit of Speed Candi-dating!

After brief candidate introductions, moderators will ask questions on a variety of subjects covering Transportation, Quality of Life, Public Safety, and Human Services. We will also feature two “lightning round” opportunities for candidates to answer YES or NO to some high-profile issues that we are concerned about (e.g., Do you support the new homeless encampment ordinance? rent control?). Finally, we will wrap up with an opportunity for you to meet in groups with a couple of candidates in a “speed dating” opportunity for the folks at your table to ask your own questions of the candidates.

The forum is at the Senior Center of West Seattle (Oregon/California).

BACKSTORY: This is the second candidate forum of the season in West Seattle; we presented the first one on February 5th at Highland Park Improvement Club (WSB coverage, with video, here), and the number of candidates has since grown from 4 to 11. The filing deadline is in mid-May; the primary, which will reduce the field to 2, is on August 4th, with the general election following on November 3rd. West Seattle/South Park residents will vote on District 1 as well as at-large Positions 8 and 9; you can find the newest candidate list any time on the right side of this city webpage. Not registered to vote? Do it now!

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Port Commissioners being asked again to cancel Terminal 5 lease

March 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 17 Comments

(UPDATED WEDNESDAY MORNING with video of West Seattleite Aji Piper’s song for the commission)


-Terminal 5 lease was not formally on agenda but dominated Port Commission’s public-comment period
-78 speakers
-One commissioner proposed a motion (for vote at a later date) that would cap this lease at 2 years and set up a public process for potentially controversial leases in the future
-Port CEO said flatly that lease is signed, payments are coming in, it can’t be broken without legal exposure.

Here’s how it unfolded:


1:17 PM: We’re at the Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center, where regular Port Commission meetings don’t always attract a crowd the size of the one that’s here now. Opponents had promised to again use the public-comment portion of the meeting to ask commissioners to cancel the lease the port has signed for Foss to use a third of West Seattle’s Terminal 5 for the Shell Arctic-drilling fleet. We’ll be updating as it goes. You should be able to watch the meeting live here.

Another note: Though the conference center is not behind the security line at Sea-Tac, we had to go through a security check to get in – not SOP for most public meetings – when we asked the airport personnel doing the checking why that was happening, they said this was considered a “high-visibility” meeting. That, despite the fact the lease is not at this point officially on the agenda – the discussion will come up in the “public comment” section shortly after the meeting begins.

Four commissioners are here – Courtney Gregoire is absent. Co-president Stephanie Bowman is asking the crowd to “be respectful” and she is asking anyone interested in singing (apparently she got advance word of this) to do it as a group. She has her rubber chicken again, which will be used as a signal if things need to get back into control. Really.

1:17 PM: The non-related public comment has concluded and Commissioner Bill Bryant has asked to make a statement before people start speaking about the T-5 issue. He says he has six clarifications. See our Twitter account for the six. One is the contention that port signed with Foss, not Shell, and the first speaker says that’s “splitting hairs … You are recklessly hurtling us into destruction, and that is a fact.” She also says asking people to speak at a 1 pm weekday meeting not even in Seattle doesn’t exactly solicit maximum public opinion. Second speaker says the commission’s decision was “courageous” and “has to do with competing in the 21st century. … This is an economically sensible 2-year solution to keep the port vibrant …” Third speaker says she’s against the lease and calls it a “death warrant … knowing the dangers and destruction that will ultimately happen. Please do the right thing … please break this lease.”

Fourth speaker says he’s with Coalition for Port Accountability, “a new grass-roots group,” delivering a letter. He reads from it and calls the decision “a reckless mistake” running counter to port’s mission “of environmental stewardship.” He also asks them to “rescind the decision and (revoke) the lease with Foss … soon.” Fifth speaker, Mark Powell from the Washington Environmental Council, says, “The port has done some good things. This lease is not one of them. … This is not ‘where a sustainable world is headed.’” He says the lease “undermines the progress on restoration” of Puget Sound. He says he is an outdoor swimmer and plans a swim down the Duwamish/Green Rivers, hoping he won’t find “new and unexpected hazards” when he does, because of this.

Sixth speaker is Eric Schinfeld, who says he wants to clarify “what this lease is really about” and thinks people should keep in mind that Foss and the Port “have been leaders in environmental sustainability.” He was followed by five Raging Grannies who sang (we’ll add video later) against the lease. Eighth speaker is an opponent calling the lease “a decision made poorly.” She says she supports the idea of not letting T-5 sit idle while it awaits modernization, but has questions for the commission, starting with: “Of the 40 opportunities that were potential lessees, why was the one with Foss the only one that fit – what happened with the others?” She concludes, “What we say and what we do here matter globally and locally.”

Alison Fujino is ninth and also asks the port, “listen to the citizens and cancel the lease for T-5.”

1:38 PM: Tenth, John Lockwood from Vigor says that “more than 60 new family-wage jobs have been created for this single project” already, including three dozen at their Tacoma shipyard building related items.

“I work at a shipyard that’s been an icon in Seattle for 99 years. We are the job creators. … We applaud you standing tall to keep the maritime industry strong in Seattle.” Eleventh, Rev. Dr. Marilyn Cornwell says she asks “as a person of faith and a scientist, that the Port rescind the lease with Foss Maritime,” saying it threatens “sustainable prosperity for all.” She asks for a show of hands of those in the room who agree with her, and many hands go up.

“What will it profit us if we do things that make money at the expense of our very lives and the lives of others?” she asks.

Click to read the rest of AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Port Commissioners being asked again to cancel Terminal 5 lease…

Election 2015: David Ishii switches back to District 1 City Council race, which now numbers 11

March 10, 2015 at 2:49 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 3 Comments

The list of candidates vying for your vote in the first-ever District 1 City Council race is now up to 11. But the newest name isn’t entirely new – last fall, David Ishii appeared on the list of candidates, then in December moved to an at-large race, and then on Monday called to tell us he was awaiting word on whether he could move back to the D-1 lineup. The city website shows he has done just that. His website describes Ishii as a “Vietnam-era vet, political activist, artist, sculptor, poet.” He’s run for council before.

IN THE DISTRICT 1 RACE NOW: David Ishii (back as of 3/9/2015), Pavel Goberman (declared 3/5/2015), Tom Koch (declared 2/19/15), Dave Montoure (declared 2/17/15), Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

CANDIDATES’ FORUM THIS SATURDAY: The field has almost tripled since we hosted its first formal forum a month ago. The second one is next Saturday morning (March 14th), presented by VIEWS at the Senior Center of West Seattle, starting with an optional benefit breakfast at 9 am (VIEWS is nonprofit); the forum is set to start around 10:15 am. Updated information on the forum is centralized on this Facebook event page, including which candidates have RSVP’d.

Arctic-drilling fleet at West Seattle’s Terminal 5? Mayor/council ask DPD to review; opponents promise bigger turnout at Port Commission meeting tomorrow

March 9, 2015 at 2:42 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 25 Comments

(WSB photo from February, looking at Terminal 5 from east Admiral)
Two developments today in the ongoing controversy over the Port of Seattle signing a lease for Foss Maritime to use a third of closed-for-modernization Terminal 5 in West Seattle to host Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet:

*MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL JUMP IN: The Department of Planning and Development is now under orders to review the plan to see if it complies with existing permits, as the port contends. This started with Councilmember Mike O’Brien drafting a letter and ask council colleagues this morning to sign on; by early afternoon, it morphed into this announcement:

Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council announced today that Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will review, investigate and determine whether the plans at Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 to host Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet are allowed under the current Shoreline Substantial Development Permit granted to Terminal 5.

Reports indicate that Shell Oil would moor vessels that are returning from drilling in the Arctic. In the past, Shell’s drilling fleet has needed extensive repairs, maintenance and conversions after returning from a season of drilling. These activities may substantially change Terminal 5’s use and require new, different permits than the one currently granted by DPD which could require additional environmental review if the Port wishes to move forward with the lease.

“Any project of this apparent significance to our industrial lands must go through the appropriate review. It’s important that the public and surrounding businesses are informed of all the possible impacts of this lease – both economic and environmental – and that these impacts are sufficiently disclosed and evaluated,” Murray said. “This is why I’m directing DPD to conduct a thorough review of the Terminal 5 proposal and determine if the anticipated activities at the terminal involving the Shell drilling fleet require new permits before it can proceed.”

“I have grave concerns about Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet coming to Puget Sound in a damaged state, discharging oil and other toxic pollutants along our shorelines during transport and repair, jeopardizing the local ecosystem and undoing decades of work to clean up the Sound,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “Shell’s track record with the Noble Discoverer in the Arctic includes eight felony offenses relating to environmental and maritime crimes, such as discharging oil-contaminated water directly overboard, which is simply unacceptable.”

“For years the Port and the City have worked together to develop rational solutions and develop alternative treatment technologies to reduce pollution in the Duwamish and Elliott Bay,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “While the immediate value of a lease to repair Arctic drilling equipment may appear to be high, we believe this agreement is shortsighted and ignores the long-term costs to our economy and environment.”

The current permit, called a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, designated Terminal 5 as a “cargo terminal” – usually meaning goods are stored and ultimately transferred from this terminal to other carriers or locations. But if the Arctic drilling fleet is actually being moored and repaired at Terminal 5, there could be significant and adverse impacts on the surrounding environment. As part of DPD’s investigation and fact-finding, the Department will begin working with the Port of Seattle to clarify all of the activities anticipated at Terminal 5, including, but not limited to, the types of vessels to be moored and the maintenance and repairs to be conducted.

*PORT COMMISSION MEETING TOMORROW: A spokesperson for the environmental coalition that filed a lawsuit last week to try to get the lease canceled says they’re expecting a big turnout at tomorrow’s Port Commission meeting. As they did at the February 24th commission meeting, they plan to again ask commissioners to cancel the lease. As quoted here last week, a port spokesperson said they believe they’ve complied with the environmental and permit regulations. The lease is not officially on the agenda for tomorrow’s commission meeting (1 pm, Sea-Tac Airport conference room), but an open-public-comment period is.

2015 Election: 10th candidate for District 1 City Council, just announced – Pavel Goberman

March 5, 2015 at 1:57 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 25 Comments

1:57 PM: An 10th name has turned up on the city website as a candidate for the new District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council seat – Pavel Goberman. Though his website,, describes him as a “Portland fitness guru,” and he has run for offices in Oregon in the past, the Seattle candidacy declaration puts him at a Highland Park address.

IN THE DISTRICT 1 RACE NOW: Pavel Goberman (declared 3/5/2015), Tom Koch (declared 2/19/15), Dave Montoure (declared 2/17/15), Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

2:48 PM NOTE: Thanks to Diane for correcting us. Somehow we leapfrogged #10 and declared this to be the 11th – Goberman is candidate #10, and we have corrected that above.

New city rules for encampments: Public hearing downtown tonight

February 26, 2015 at 8:59 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 23 Comments

If you have something to say about the city’s proposed rule changes regarding encampments for homeless people, tonight’s the night to say it. 5:30 pm at City Hall, the council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee will listen to comments during an evening meeting devoted entirely to a public hearing on the proposal (here’s the agenda).

The goal of the rule changes as they’re written now – see the legislation here – is to enable up to three encampments, up to 100 residents each, at city- or privately owned sites no closer to each other than a mile.

Since we first reported on the proposal a month ago, it’s been discussed at multiple committee meetings, and at least one more is planned. We listened in on the most-recent one, last Friday. These maps – further clarifying sites that might qualify if the new rules pass (adding overlays such as the mandated human-services and transit-stop distances) – were part of the agenda:

Many of the questions at last Friday’s discussion involved how a proposed encampment would be proposed, reviewed, and approved, including questions such as, what if more than one potential provider wanted to use a specific city-owned site.

There also was discussion of whether other types of property could be made eligible – right now, the proposed rules specify city-owned or privately owned, but, it was asked, what about other government entities, for example? (The West Seattle sites used by the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” had included state- and port-owned sites over the years.) Also asked – if an encampment “is working well,” could the proposal’s one-year limit be modified for a renewal or extension? And one housing organization, LIHI, had sent a letter expressing concern about the proposal ruling out use of parks and parking lots. A city staffer said in response that they expected they wouldn’t have trouble finding “suitable opportunities” among other types of properties.

Whatever other issues arise at tonight’s public hearing – which is for public comment, not a vote – the PLUS committee plans to discuss the proposal again next Tuesday (March 3rd). Meantime, signups for the 5:30 pm hearing will start at 5 pm – here’s the official notice. It’s in the council chambers on the second floor at City Hall, 5th/Cherry/James.

Election 2015: Campaign kickoff at Easy Street for Dave Montoure’s City Council run

February 24, 2015 at 10:08 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 29 Comments

One week after announcing his run for the new District 1 City Council seat, West Seattle restaurateur Dave Montoure debuted his “stump speech” to a crowd of supporters at Easy Street Records.

He joked that he never expected he’d be doing an in-store performance someday at Easy Street, whose proprietor Matt Vaughan introduced him:

Here’s Montoure’s speech, hitting the themes he stressed in his campaign announcement last week:

His key points: Bringing “middle-class jobs to the peninsula,” especially by “reinvigorating … underutilized manufacturing and industrial land.” He mentioned repeatedly that he wants West Seattle to lead the city in “sustainable business practices” such as the food-composting program launched by businesses in 2008 when he led the Junction Association, and stepping up community-based policing, which he described as “a different shade of blue.” He dinged current city leadership for having no “game plan” for West Seattle’s transportation challenges, and for allowing public infrastructure to fall into disrepair while private investment such as development booms.

THE BIG PICTURE: Montoure is among 9 candidates so far for the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) seat. Filing deadline is in mid-May; the primary, from which two finalists will emerge, is August 4th, while the general election is November 3rd. In addition to enterprised campaign coverage, we also plan to cover as many open-to-the-public D-1 candidate speaking/Q-A appearances as we can, so that you’ll often see and hear from those vying for your vote in this first-ever election. Next one we know of is at tomorrow night’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting, 7 pm at HP Improvement Club, with candidate Amanda Kay Helmick on the agenda.

Followup: West Seattle project updates, Highway 99 lane closure concerns @ Transportation Committee

February 24, 2015 at 11:26 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 7 Comments

Just wrapped up at City Hall, SDOT director Scott Kubly‘s briefing for the City Council Transportation Committee, chaired by West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. We previewed it here last Friday when his written updates arrived along with the meeting agenda; some changes and additions in the briefing, monitored via Seattle Channel‘s live webcast (update: here’s the archived video):

99/AURORA LANE CLOSURES: WSDOT has been warning about weeks of lane closures on 99 just north of downtown, starting as soon as March 7th, because of foundation installation for future messaging signs; Kubly said it appears southbound traffic will be affected the most. City Councilmember Mike O’Brien expressed concern that RapidRide E Line will be caught in the delays and wondered if the project could be postponed until additional transit service starts in June. “(The signs) are for a tunnel that’s been delayed 2 years,” he pointed out. This might all be brought up at next Monday’s council briefing meeting.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: As previously reported here, design for the Fauntleroy Boulevard project between 35th and Alaska is paused at 60 percent until a decision is made about undergrounding utilities, which would add ~$6 million to the price tag.

Rasmussen told Kubly he’ll be meeting with City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco, including a tour of the area, and Kubly offered to join them.

35TH, ROXBURY SAFETY PROJECTS: The official dates for the next meetings on these West Seattle projects will likely be in mid-March, not the potential early March dates mentioned in Kubly’s written report; the announcements are expected within a few days. Speaking about citywide corridor safety projects in general, Kubly said the problem to be solved is that the city’s road network was designed in the ’50s and ’60s for just one transportation mode, the car. So what’s happening now is “not really a war on cars, (but) trying to (re)design our streets to reflect the diversity of ways people want to get around Seattle,” and increasing safety since the current road designs encourage speeding.

47TH/ADMIRAL SIGNAL: With construction starting soon, Rasmussen mentioned concerns about notification of how parking removal will affect Alki Mail and others in the area. Kubly said that notification had first gone out last August that parking would be removed within 50 feet of the intersection (as noted on the project page).

Earlier in the meeting:

TRANSIT BOARD: The committee voted on the resolution creating a new 11-member citywide Transit Advisory Board, which goes to the full council for final approval next week. One topic of discussion – how to ensure that it will have representatives from around the city? Geographic representation is “not mandatory, but aspirational,” observed Rasmussen. O’Brien suggested tweaking the resolution language to further encourage geographic diversity.

(Photo: Screengrab from this morning’s Seattle Channel webcast)

Admiral, 35th, Roxbury, Fauntleroy updates among West Seattle notes in SDOT director’s report to City Council

February 20, 2015 at 1:52 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 18 Comments

Toward the end of each week, the following week’s City Council meeting agendas go public, and they often yield interesting reading. This afternoon, we found several West Seattle notes in the agenda-attached report that SDOT director Scott Kubly will officially present to the council’s Transportation Committee next Tuesday:

47TH/ADMIRAL SIGNAL: Construction is approaching; Kubly’s report says “pre-construction” is planned for next Tuesday (February 24th), and the “notice to proceed” is expected the second week of March.

35TH SW CORRIDOR SAFETY PROJECT: Mark your calendars – proposed design alternatives will be shown within a few weeks, if this schedule is kept: “Dates for our second round of 35th meetings have been tentatively set for March 4 and 5.”

SW ROXBURY SAFETY PROJECT: Right after 35th, we’ll find out what’s in store here: “Staff aiming to release recommendations to the public on March 10 or 11 and highlight improvements aligning with Vision Zero.” (That’s the new city initiative that was much-discussed following our report last week.)

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: This update has a list of bullet points, as follows:

*The project team met with two businesses last week to discuss the 60% design and impacts to their property frontage

*In addition, the project team met with SPU to discuss project drainage requirements

*One property owner has continually expressed his disagreement with the bicycle facility and reduction in left-turn access for small businesses

*The project manager is meeting with SCL to determine cost and scope of designing the civil improvements associated with the undergrounding of the power distribution

*The design is on hold until cost of SCL undergrounding is resolved

The SDOT director’s report also includes notes on construction projects’ effects on the right of way, including this one that’s just getting started in West Seattle:

3210 CALIFORNIA SW CONSTRUCTION: Demolition for this 134-apartment, block-long building is wrapping up – our photo is from the end of last week; this week, debris-clearing has been under way. We learned this week from the contractor that this project will NOT have a crane; Kubly’s report explains why, saying, “Contractor unable to obtain crane easement from neighbors – no flyover rights.” The report also notes that “sidewalk and parking lane (will be) closed the next 11 weeks.”

The Transportation Committee meeting during which this report will be presented also includes the resolution creating a Transit Advisory Board, among other items; it’s at 9:30 am Tuesday at City Hall, and will also be live online and on cable, via the Seattle Channel.

2015 Election: Tom Koch joins the District 1 City Council race

February 19, 2015 at 2:37 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 15 Comments

The list of contenders for the new District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council seat has just grown again: The ninth person now in the running is Tom Koch, who describes himself as a “land-use expert(,) former preschool teacher, and current small-business owner.”

In his announcement, Koch says, “Having worked on land use issues for 29 years, I can tell you there is much more we can be doing in our city to protect our neighborhoods. … No one currently in this race has the same level of ‘hands-on’ experience I would bring to the council when dealing with issues of affordability and development. I am not afraid to say that developers aren’t paying their fair share and we can do a better job promoting smart and fair growth in our city. … Currently, we subsidize developers through a combination of higher taxes and degraded services. We can’t afford more massive projects which refuse to pay their own way. Let’s do the right thing, use our authority to mandate development impact fees and end this absurd practice.” Koch says he also has worked for “both a democratic congressman and county supervisor” and “is a seven-time game show contestant including Jeopardy, Sale of the Century, and Wheel of Fortune.” Like the other eight candidates, he is a West Seattle resident.

IN THE DISTRICT 1 RACE NOW: Tom Koch (declared 2/19/15), Dave Montoure (declared 2/17/15), Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

They want to represent you on the City Council. So what did they think of mayor’s ‘State of the City’?

February 18, 2015 at 11:20 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 35 Comments

Mayor Murray presented his “State of the City” address on Tuesday afternoon. If you missed it, here are three links:

Mayor’s news release
Full text of the speech
Seattle Times (WSB partner)

The only scripted mention of West Seattle was this: “Sound Transit 3 is our path forward to build new light rail connections within the city, including to Ballard and West Seattle. These vital connections would link our growing light rail system to Puget Sound’s largest job centers.”

Of course, the speech overall was about the entire city, so most if not all of what was mentioned will potentially affect us all. Since West Seattle/South Park will have its first District 1 City Councilmember by the time the mayor gives his NEXT “State of the City” speech, we asked each of the eight current D-1 candidates for a one-paragraph review of the mayor’s speech. We didn’t make the request until early evening, a few hours after the speech, and gave them until this morning to respond. All 8 did. Read their mini-reviews ahead, in the order in which we received them (P.S. after the final one, we have two quick updates on the council race in general):


I like the Mayor’s presentation. I like and agree with the growth approach, particularly growing without displacing. I like and agree with the transportation integration and sustainability aproach. I like the emphasis on and agree with the improvements to infrastructure and particularly the focus on light rail to West Seattle and Ballard. I like and agree with the utility reduction approach and the gender equity approach. I like and agree with the housing affordability approach, especially the commitment of funds for a kick-start. I like and agree with the early learning and the youth employment. And, I like and agree with the business help and growth and the approach for the city to reach out and visit businesses and those normally not participating. I like and support the community policing and SPD reform and I am impressed and agree with the performance metrics tool page and the budget analysis tool page. Overall, I’d say Mayor Murray was moving the Executive branch in a direction I completely support and would help with as a Councilmember. The Mayor also knows how to thank and was very gracious in his words to Tom Rasmussen, Nick Licata and others. He’s very optimistic, and so am I, and I think he’s right on in most areas he covered.


Mayor Murray’s State of the City address spoke well of his goals to address income and opportunity inequality, fair distribution of public resources, affordability, job growth, mobility, and police accountability. The challenge with a speech like this, I think, is to be inclusive of the many the issues a diverse populace cares about while also proposing the means to move forward. 1) The Mayor acknowledged that infrastructure investments aren’t keeping pace with the needs caused by growth in our neighborhoods. Will he propose impact fees to insure development helps to pay for those sorely-needed investments? 2) Applying principals of equity and race and social justice to our 2035 Comprehensive Plan is a great objective. I would argue that those principals are included in some of our CompPlan policies already, but we haven’t had a commitment to self-correct when we don’t meet them. For instance the CompPlan policies that strive for preservation of existing housing and 25% affordable housing development as part of our overall new housing growth goals. We are succeeding at neither. What will be different under the 2035 Comp Plan? 3) Similarly, the Mayor’s commitment specifically to enhanced citizen oversight as part of police accountability; of the Community Police Commission’s recommendations for citizen oversight, what will he propose to the Council? 4) The area of housing affordability was an area that I most wished that the Mayor would have charted some clear direction. He referenced already existing housing development funds he’ll use implementing the HALA committee recommendations, but not all of the HALA’s work is devoted to building housing. A crucial portion of their work relates to the need for new laws to help renters and those to also require developers to pay their fair share. It would have been helpful for the Mayor to signal his explicit expectation that HALA recommendations also address these issues of social justice and equity.


As I watched the mayor give his state of the city speech today I was struck as much by what wasn’t said as what was. The mayor mentioned several neighborhoods, including West Seattle, but South Park was left out. The Mayor lauded transit improvements and increased service across the city, but unfortunately West Seattle is still underserved by our transit system. The mayor didn’t mention the biggest mega-project in Seattle, or address the public’s concerns about the tunnel’s cost, management and problems. The maritime and manufacturing industries were stressed as big parts of our planned economic growth, but the tech industry wasn’t. I agree that Seattle is a vibrant and innovative city, but I know that more can be done to harness our potential without leaving people behind.


I agree with Mayor Murray that Seattle is a great city and one of the fastest growing urban cities in the country. I understand this brings both opportunities and challenges. I however believe that it takes a whole united community to address many of the challenges the Mayor noted. I think that many of our community partners (non-profits; churches; organizations; schools) are better suited to deliver services underneath a community goal. I strongly believe the City of Seattle’s responsibility instead of growing government is to focus on the core issues upon with we were originally founded and that is to provide life; safety and infrastructure services for the people and businesses that live in our city. We have a lot of aging infrastructure that needs to be the focus of our attention. Accommodation of the growth the Mayor spoke of particularly here, in District 1 needs to be targeted and specific. It is plainly evident that something that works on Capitol Hill doesn’t necessarily work here, in West Seattle.


I appreciated several parts of the speech, especially the plan to do more for our public schools. However, I didn’t hear enough about affordability. West Seattle has long been a great middle-class community with affordable rents and housing prices. That’s starting to change and we need more aggressive timelines for action. HALA is moving in the right direction, but it still took four months to write a problem statement and we won’t have recommendations for another four months. That’s too long, we have the fastest rising rents of any city in the country. It’s getting too hard for many people who work here, to live here.


I am glad to hear the Mayor is supportive of a Sound Transit 3 plan that includes West Seattle. West Seattle and South Park may not be an island, but the lack of innovative transportation solutions have made us feel like one. With the rapid increase of new housing, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition has been working with the city on a proposed West Seattle Transportation Corridor. This is a perfect place to start the implementation of the Move Seattle initiative. As a parent, I have always thought of West Seattle as an affordable and safe place to move when starting a family – I will do everything I can as a Councilmember to maintain that. I support the Mayor’s renewed emphasis on more equitable development. Innovative ideas like incentives to developers who add affordable family housing units, re-writing the failing Multi-Family Tax Exemption, and supporting more housing on city owned property is the direction Seattle needs to head. The need for more peace officers building community, and fewer officers following the protocols of a war zone are also critical. With the Seattle Police Department undergoing contract negotiations, the Mayor should look to make concrete changes in how officers are hired, disciplined, and held accountable for their actions. As your representative for District 1, I look forward to working with the Mayor on addressing Seattle’s needs.


I liked the Mayor’s recognition of our areas of great progress –priority hire, minimum wage rollout and universal pre-k for examples. I was also pleased to hear him acknowledge some our shortcomings – racial and income inequalities, lack of affordability for many in our communities and a need to find better ways to engage with everyone who lives here. I am raising my three kids in this community and they are attending our public schools. I want them to experience a community and a city that is economically vibrant, culturally diverse and supports working families. I will continue fighting for more access and connections to transit, public safety resources and education, affordable housing, technology access, and finding the balance to accommodate our growth and unique neighborhoods. District 1 is a community that makes change through our partnerships with non-profits and community groups. I believe that although we have many common issues throughout Seattle, we need strong neighborhood representation accessible to all people, and representation with the experience to work across boundaries and get things done for District 1. The districts system for council elections was not supported to further isolate and separate neighborhoods, but to strengthen the collective ideas and energy of our city and neighborhoods. I look forward to working with our community, other city councilmembers, and our mayor to fulfill the potential of West Seattle and South Park.


I appreciate that Mayor Murray addressed the need for a better coordinated approach to economic development in the City. I did not hear any specifics on how the Mayor plans to coordinate that effort but I would encourage the Mayor to include a seat at the table for our small and independent businesses that are the backbone of our local economy. I am thrilled that the Mayor acknowledged the critical need for light rail between West Seattle and Ballard. I look forward to hearing from the Mayor’s Housing Affordability Advisory Committee when their recommendations are presented in May.

Thanks to the candidates for responding! Two related notes:

CLARK NOT RUNNING: City Councilmember Sally Clark announced this morning that she is not going to run after all. That makes her the third current councilmember to announce that decision, after Tom Rasmussen and Nick Licata. Clark had declared for one of the two at-large seats, so she would have been on ballots in this area.

NEXT CHANCE TO SEE/HEAR THE CANDIDATES: Thanks again to everyone who attended and participated in our “First Look” candidates’ forum, featuring the 4 who were in the race as of the time (February 5th – Capestany, Helmick, Redmond, and Tavel). The next one, presented by VIEWS (Visualizing Increased Engagement in West Seattle), is now official – Saturday morning, March 14th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle. It will start with an optional breakfast to raise $ to cover costs (VIEWS is an all-volunteer group) at 9 am, followed by an introductory/mingle half-hour at 10, and the forum itself at 10:30. No webpage so far but here’s the Facebook event page.

2015 Election: Dave Montoure becomes 8th candidate to announce for West Seattle/South Park’s City Council District 1 seat

February 17, 2015 at 4:18 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 66 Comments

Another candidate has just joined the race for the new City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) seat – local entrepreneur Dave Montoure, co-owner of West 5 in The Junction. In his announcement, Montoure says, “We need to end the cycle of career politicians. The peninsula voted to have a districted City Council, signaling a desire to have a city representative who knows the local community from the ground-up. I grew up in West Seattle, live in West Seattle, own a small business in West Seattle, and have served my community in the peninsula.”

Montoure served three terms as chair of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce board, and as noted in his announcement, “has also served on several Boards including the West Seattle Trusteed Properties (retaining free parking in the Junction), the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and the Capital Campaign Committee of the West Seattle Family YMCA.” He says his first actions would be “to create needed commercial and office space for job growth in the peninsula,” to get West Seattle “a 24-7 emergency medical facility,” “to solve chronic transportation issues that negatively impact all users” as well as to “continue my fight with King County to preserve free parking in the Junction in support of our small, independent businesses.” He plans a campaign kickoff event at 6:30 pm February 24th at Easy Street Records/Café.

IN THE DISTRICT 1 RACE NOW: Dave Montoure (declared 2/17/15), Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

VIDEO: 34th District Democrats hear about housing, & hear from six District 1 candidates

February 12, 2015 at 2:21 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 1 Comment

(Video by Laura James for WSB)
Even if you’re not a member of the group – even if you’re not a member/supporter of the party – the central topic at Wednesday night’s 34th District Democrats meeting is one of intense interest: The housing-affordability crisis. The panelists were three guests with distinct viewpoints – Eliana Horn from the Tenants Union, Sharon Lee from the Low-Income Housing Institute, and Roger Valdez from Smart Growth Seattle. You can hear for yourself in our video of the meeting, starting as they are introduced at 21 minutes in.

Another meeting highlight: Informal appearances by 6 of the 7 candidates now in the running for the new West Seattle/South Park District 1 City Council seat. If you haven’t checked out our Wednesday coverage yet, the field of 4 who were in the race as of the First Look” forum we sponsored last Thursday (video here) grew by 3 in the 12 hours before the 34th DDs’ meeting. Starting at 1:51 into our video (or, click here), the people speaking during the meeting-ending “good of the order” open-microphone section included (in this order, interspersed with a few other speakers) candidates Amanda Kay Helmick, Lisa Herbold, Phillip Tavel, Shannon Braddock, Brianna Thomas, and Chas Redmond.

The 34th District Democrats meet on second Wednesdays, 7 pm, at The Hall at Fauntleroy, and are online at

2015 Election: Lisa Herbold now officially in District 1 City Council race

February 11, 2015 at 4:59 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 14 Comments

Before this morning, four candidates were in the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council race (and appeared in our forum last Thursday). Now, there are seven.

Third to announce today, Lisa Herbold, who was on record with the city about a week ago as exploring the possibility, but did not officially declare until this afternoon; she tells us she had to take the time to find out if she could raise the money for a serious run. She called us to make the announcement, so along with a news release, we have a bit of an interview. Herbold is a 15-year resident of Highland Park – which is almost as long as she’s worked for City Councilmember Nick Licata, who is not running again. Asked about the potential criticism that she’s an insider, after working at City Hall all those years, she said, “Anybody who knows Nick Licata knows he’s not an establishment politician … working for Nick for 16 years doesn’t make me a City Hall insider – we work on issues that are not insider issues, the hard issues like housing, paid sick leave, all very against the political grain.” She says the city’s move to district elections (for 7 of the council’s 9 positions) is the reason she wants to run – “I’m a community organizer by training – that’s my vision of governance; something that’s close to people.” Asked how she’ll start the campaign, she says she’ll be doorbelling her neighbors in Highland Park to let them know she’s running.

IN THE DISTRICT 1 RACE NOW: Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

2015 Election: Shannon Braddock joins District 1 City Council race

February 11, 2015 at 10:51 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 17 Comments

Second candidacy announcement of the day for the West Seattle/South Park City Council District 1 position: Shannon Braddock has joined the race. Braddock is a West Seattle resident (as are the five other declared-so-far candidates) who has been King County Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s chief of staff for the past four years.

In her official announcement, Braddock says, “After years of serving my neighbors as a PTA mom, volunteer and staff at the County, I am thrilled for this opportunity. We have unique challenges in our part of the city, starting with a need for improved transportation and transit access. We also have an affordable housing crisis for too many seniors, young families and our diverse, growing population. And we need to enhance the work being done to provide the safety and services every child needs to learn and grow.” She lists volunteer work including a current board position with WestSide Baby and previous positions on the West Seattle Food Bank board and the Legislative Committee of the Lafayette Elementary PTA.

IN THE DISTRICT 1 RACE NOW: Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), and Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. West Seattle/South Park also will join the rest of the city in voting on the two “at-large” races, Positions 8 and 9.

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