FOLLOWUP: Lincoln Park encampments ‘swept’ today, police say

Earlier this week, a reader report about a frightening confrontation in Lincoln Park sparked a lot of discussion here. Hours later, we asked the Southwest Precinct‘s second-in-command, Lt. Ron Smith, about patrol plans there, and he indicated they would be stepped up now that Alki has calmed down. The next day, we asked City Councilmember Lisa Herbold if Lincoln Park issues were on her radar; she said she’d been hearing about the camper concerns and letting constituents know how to report them. Today, this is just in from WSB reader Chuck, who took his concerns to both Herbold and police – he received this from SW Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis:

Thank you for taking the time to convey your concerns regarding the homeless/camping issues in Lincoln Park and in other greenbelt areas of West Seattle. To date, our Community Policing Teams, The Southwest Bicycle Patrol squad and our district officers have conducted several patrols and social contacts with various individuals in the aforementioned areas.

This morning our officers along with representatives from the Seattle Parks Department conducted a sweep of Lincoln Park and removed several encampments and issued park exclusion notices to the involved subjects. This information was also passed along to our Navigation Team, who will assist us with further follow-up on the Park’s homeless issue.

This matches a bit of scanner discussion we heard this morning about police sweeping a park area (via a frequency that covers both West and South Seattle, and no mention of addresses, so we couldn’t tell which park).

UPDATE: Kitchen fire brings big, then downsized, Seattle Fire response to 7700 block 20th SW

2:05 PM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” to check out a potential house fire in the 7700 block of 20th SW [map]. Updates to come.

2:09 PM: First unit on scene reports via SFD radio that this appears to be a kitchen fire, and that as far as they know, everyone’s safely out of the house. They’re calling for a ventilation fan.

2:13 PM: The call is being downgraded and most of the responding units are being dismissed.

2:26 PM: SFD Lt. Harold Webb tells us at the scene that the fire extended to the kitchen cabinets but did not damage the structure, and it’s out now. Nobody hurt. The family should be able to go back into their house before too long.

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Junction post office’s outdoor mailbox might still be months from replacement

An update of sorts in the saga of the missing mailbox outside the US Post Office in The Junction, last seen in mid-January:

IMG_8241
(WSB photo: Damaged Junction mailbox just before it was removed in mid-January)

Reader Diana shared with us the response she got from a complaint made to USPS Customer Service, and the news isn’t good. First, she said, she met with a supervisor at the Westwood post office last Monday. She was referred to the consumer complaint hotline (253-214-1800), through which she filed a complaint on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, Diana received a phone call from USPS, and quotes them as telling her:

We are very aware of the problem and there have been a lot of complaints. A replacement was requested 6 months ago. We followed up with the manufacturer and it may be several more months before we receive a replacement. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do.

USPS had indeed told us in January that they’d ordered a replacement. So what’s the problem with the manufacturer? Don’t know, yet; don’t even know who the manufacturer is, despite spending some research time trying to find out.

P.S. Diana adds, “Just a note from me…please be courteous to the USPS employees. They are really out of the loop on this issue and their jobs seem pretty stressful as our city and community changes.”

FUN IN THE SUN: Highland Park Elementary Field Day


(WSB photos)

Students at Highland Park Elementary are getting an early start on beating the heat. Today – second-to-last day of school – is Field Day, and PE teacher Chellie LaFayette tells us that means bonus outdoor fun.

The younger students’ Field Day fun was earlier this morning, and the older kids will be out this afternoon.

P.S. Highland Park kids work hard in the classroom too, but as reported here last weekend, are facing the loss of a reading-tutor program – this Sunday brings a chance for you to help.

West Seattle Friday: From low-low tide to music, and more…


(Lincoln Park at dawn – photo by Brett)

Summer is really here! From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

LOW-LOW TIDE WITH BEACH NATURALISTS: Until 1 pm, Seattle Aquarium volunteer beach naturalists are back at Lincoln and Constellation Parks to assist while you explore at a very low tide: -3.2 feet at 10:52 am.

BLOOD DRIVE: Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood is hosting a blood drive today, 1-7 pm, with a break 3-4 pm. If you don’t have an appointment, check to see if walk-up spots are available. (39th SW/SW Thistle)

COUNCILMEMBER HERBOLD’S DISTRICT OFFICE HOURS: 2-5:30 pm today, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is at the South Park Community Center for in-district office hours – drop-ins welcome. (8319 8th Ave. S.)

WEST SEATTLE SUMMER SHOWDOWN ’17: High-school boys’ basketball at West Seattle High School, all weekend, starting at 4:30 pm today – local team Seattle Lutheran plays Puyallup at 7:30 pm. (3000 California SW)

THE ALOHA SHREDDERS: Father and son duo perform at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)

ASANAS FOR ALZHEIMER’S: Fundraising yoga event, 7:30 pm at Park West Care Center. Details in our calendar listing, including how to RSVP. (1703 California SW)

(updated) ‘RAW, RUSTIC VERSE’: Live music at Parliament Tavern with The Spoils, and The Demon Rind, 9 pm. $5 cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

And a note in case you hear them:

FIREWORKS TONIGHTafter the Mariners’ game at Safeco Field. Sometimes the sound carries across the bay.

WEST SEATTLE WHALE-WATCHING: Humpback sighting reported

John e-mailed a few minutes ago to report a sighting of humpback whales headed south, south of Alki Point. Let us know if you see them!

TIME TO BEAUTIFY: Morgan Junction community cleanup Saturday


(Volunteers from May’s Morgan Junction cleanup – photo courtesy Jill Boone)

The weather will be beautiful … might as well beautify the neighborhood too. Tomorrow morning (Saturday, June 24th), you’re invited to join the next volunteer community cleanup in Morgan Junction, organized by Jill Boone. Meet by the ATM on the east side of California SW in the Teriyaki & Wok/Domino’s/gas-station lot for “a quick cleanup of California Ave and the Fauntleroy intersection and bus stops.” 9 am-10:30 am. The city’s providing litter grabbers and bags; Jill adds, “We also have a few kiddie grabbers this time and hopefully some small vests. Kids of all ages are welcome and leashed, friendly dogs. :) I will do a short safety talk at 9 AM so try to be on time. You might want to bring hand sanitizer and gloves too.” RSVP to litterleague@gmail.com with how many adults and how many kids will participate.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday updates

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

6:59 AM: The first weekend of summer is almost here. No incidents in/from our area so far.

SCHOOL’S ALMOST OUT: Today is the final full day of school for Seattle Public Schools; Monday is the last day of classes, with one-hour early dismissal.

WEEKEND EVENTS: Here’s the SDOT roundup of what’s happening around the city.

FERRY SCHEDULE CHANGE: Washington State Ferries‘ summer schedule starts Sunday.

WEATHER ADVISORY: You’ve heard it’s going to get hot this weekend. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for noon Saturday to 9 pm Sunday – with highs potentially into the 90s.

CONGRATULATIONS! 2 championships for West Seattle Baseball All-Star teams

Zach Jones shares the photos and a report about two championships for West Seattle Baseball All-Star teams last weekend. First, their 8U tournament at the Pee Wee Fields below Riverview:

We had 16 teams from around the area (Seattle, Silverdale, Bellevue, Maple Valley, Renton, etc) in our 8U Hardball Classic. It’s one of the biggest 8U tournaments around. The West Seattle All Stars took the championship in a great win over the Rain City Royals (Maple Valley). 12-4 was the final.

Players on the team are: Avery, Emery, Kingsley, Micah, Jackson, Nolan, Julian, Max, Will, Kaipo, Ivan, and Tate. Coaches: Jorge, Dave, Zach (me).

In addition, we held a mini-tournament Sunday for the 7U teams that entered. Our own West Seattle 7U All Stars won the championship against Puget Sound Powerhouse.

[Atop this story] is a picture of all of our WS kids celebrating the victory together. It was a great moment as the 8U teams stormed the field to celebrate with their 7U buddies!

VIDEO: 6 mayoral candidates @ West Seattle Democratic Women

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

With less than three weeks remaining until King County Elections mails your primary ballot, do you know which of the 21 mayoral candidates you’re voting for?

We’re covering all the West Seattle forums, including the latest one presented today by the West Seattle Democratic Women, during their monthly meeting in the WS Golf Course banquet room.

First, if you’d like to watch/listen, here’s our unedited video of the entire hour-and-a-third forum featuring six candidates:

Ahead, text highlights of what they were asked and how they replied, as voting time approaches:

Read More

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Talking light-rail routing with West Seattle Transportation Coalition

6:17 PM: If you haven’t headed out for the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s light-rail-routing workshop at The Hall at Fauntleroy (9140 California SW) – you’re not too late. While the official start time was 6 pm, people are still milling about at tables with maps, talking about possibilities. Very informal – just drop in; there’ll be a presentation at some point, but otherwise, it’s not a major “sit down and listen” type event, definitely meant to be interactive. The goal: Gather community thoughts about station siting, routing, etc., before Sound Transit officially launches its work on the West Seattle project this fall – 13 years before the service is scheduled to start. Sound Transit reps are here, by the way, if you have questions for them, but this is a community-led meeting, so they’re here to observe and support rather than to present. We’ll be updating as the night goes.

6:25 PM: WSTC chair Michael Taylor-Judd has given the workshop intro, reminding people that this is a community group, not the ultimate decisionmakers. He’s one of two speakers before everybody will head to breakout tables to talk about routing and stations – the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure proposed three West Seattle lines for the 2030 spur from SODO. Here’s a ST document that WSTC provided, from 2016, showing “representational alignment” – sort of a draft version of where the stations might be:

There’s one table per station, as well as one for “the kitchen sink,” any related issues you want to bring up. He says WSTC will “collect and collate” notes made on maps at the tables, as well as whatever people write on paper comment forms that are available here. It’ll be provided to Sound Transit and SDOT as well as used for guidance in what WSTC does in the months and years ahead.

Taylor-Judd says Metro is represented here too, as the Sound Transit West Seattle line will affect future bus routes/service, too. He wraps his introduction by noting that WSTC is a volunteer community group (launched almost four years ago, originally the WS Transit Coalition) that doesn’t collect dues, so he’s circulating a basket if anyone wants to contribute (totally voluntary) toward the costs of renting this room and related expenses.

6:33 PM: He’s followed by former Transportation Coalition board member Tom Linde, who’s giving a sort of Light Rail 101 presentation – not what it is so much as how it’s planned.

This early stage of the West Seattle planning is “generating options,” e.g. the “representational alignment” shown in the embedded document above (or see it here, PDF). “Somewhere along the line there’ll be a preferred alignment generated by Sound Transit,” Linde continues. Options include at grade (surface), elevated, subway (underground), and Linde is detailing the pros/cons of each. (Since light rail has to cross the Duwamish, a separate bridge is expected, so far.)

After an explanation of those three routing possibilities, Linde walked through “what we know now” – the “representational alignment” (very early-stage) – likely an elevated station at the north end of Delridge, with the train continuing down Delridge, turning toward Genesee, up and across Avalon, then bending toward Fauntleroy, with an elevated station somewhere around 35th/Avalon; the train would continue along Fauntleroy, turning westward onto Alaska, and ending with an elevated station in The Junction. And he’s advising people to head on over to the tables and think about the challenges and opportunities: “As you ponder what (it) would look like – it’s a substantial change to our environment, if it ends up as something elevated or at grade – it will affect the functionality of West Seattle for 100 years.” He exhorts everyone to “build your own argument for your idea” and then head over.

In Q/A, someone brings up the Fauntleroy Boulevard project – “doesn’t make sense … to spend $14, $15 million and then tear it up again.” (That’s been brought up multiple times at discussions of light rail and of the Fauntleroy project, like this one last month at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce meeting.) At that point, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold says she has been trying for more than a month to get that question answered; she was told the mayor and ST had a meeting today and she is hoping for an answer soon.

6:58 PM: Q&A continues. Marci Carpenter, a West Seattleite who’s on the city’s Transit Advisory Board, has just come forward to say she’s here to listen and observe tonight. The board meets 6 pm 4th Wednesdays at City Hall. Linde fields one last question – what do stations look and sound like? announcements? noise? – he said he spent hours at the Angle Lake ST station in recent weeks and the trains are quiet, “surprisingly pleasant experience.” Just after 7 pm, everyone is off to breakout tables; we will circulate to listen in. (About 50 people are here.)

7:42 PM: Seen at the tables:

What’s immediately above is a representation of what elevated track heading through The Junction might be like. Meantime, here’s our short walkthrough of the table zone:

Soon, everyone will regroup to “report out” on highlights from the tables.

8:05 PM: Those reports begin. WSTC’s Deb Barker was at the Junction station table. “A lot of talk about undergrounding,” she said. “The other themes that were voiced were a proposal for the above-ground seems to be ruining/impacting different things that you might not have thought out before – shadows, driving under these structures in a very tight area …”

WSTC’s Larry Wymer spoke for the 35th/Avalon table. He said there were many concerns about the coordination of the Fauntleroy Boulevard project and the possibility that light rail will go down Fauntleroy, more Sound Transit/SDOT coordination, “maybe push off the Fauntleroy improvement project until we have a better handle on that.” An elevated station like Angle Lake could be 400 feet long, Sound Transit says, they noted. Also: Maybe look at using part of the golf course, or at least tunneling beneath that area. And: This is a major entrance/exit to/from West Seattle- what will the construction timing be like and how will access be handled? Someone also wondered if the Alki Lumber site might be appropriate for a station.

The Delridge table was represented by Josh, who said people are concerned about “crossing over neighborhoods and houses, and if we can minimize that at all, it’s great.” They also talked about going over the golf course, and they wondered why it diverges from the existing bridge and why an established path isn’t what would be followed. Also, if a new bridge is to be built over the Duwamish, what about building it sooner and opening it to bus rapid transit even before light rail is ready?

Speaking for the “bird’s-eye view” table, Peter said concerns included the siting of the Avalon station where homes are now, the possibility that the track would be 150 feet in the air, and what about consolidating three stations into two stations and dropping the Avalon plan? Maybe a future station could be by West Seattle Stadium. And people were asking what happens south of The Junction.

Finally, the “kitchen sink” table: WSTC vice chair Marty Westerman said “there’s a lot of concern about construction, where are commuters going to park … During construction, there’s concern about using Alaska for bike and vehicle traffic … Second concern, eminent domain or homeowners being priced out … Third, this is the wrong technology, it will be obsolete in relatively short order … and, a lot of concern about why don’t the agencies responsible for planning work together?”

NEXT STEPS: WSTC will aggregate the comments “into some kind of functional format,” said Linde. It’ll go to Sound Transit, to Metro, to City Councilmember Herbold. And at 8:17 pm, the event concluded.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Lions Club of West Seattle celebrates organization’s 100th with park-bench plaque

Next time you’re at Junction Plaza Park (42nd SW/SW Alaska), look for that plaque on the center bench on the west side. The Lions Club of West Seattle worked with the city to get it placed in honor of their parent organization’s centennial, and in a short ceremony this morning, club leaders were joined by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold to celebrate its placement:

The councilmember read a special proclamation in the club’s honor:

The Lions wanted to add a new bench to the park, not just a new plaque, but couldn’t get that worked out with the Parks Department in time. If you’re not familiar with the Lions, they’re a community-service organization that supports sight- and hearing-impaired people as well as students seeking scholarships – read more about their work here, and go here to find out about events at which you’re welcome to join them.

8 MORE DAYS TO VOTE: Which 3 local park/street projects should get city grant money?

Nine West Seattle/South Park projects to choose from, and eight days left to vote in Your Voice, Your Choice:

As shown in our June 3rd start-of-voting story, that’s the guide spotlighting the local projects. Three will be chosen in each district (ours is 1), so vote for your three favorites. As explained in this reminder on the city website, you can vote online (ages 13 and up) by going here, or on a paper ballot (ages 11 and up) available at city libraries and community centers. The voting deadline is June 30th; the projects were proposed by local residents – more than 200 suggestions in our district alone.

No ‘car-free day’ on Alki this year, says SDOT

cityscoop
(WSB photo, September 2016)

In case you wondered too – since we hadn’t heard anything about a “car-free day” on Alki this year, we checked with SDOT, and they tell us that there won’t be one. What began with a Car-Free Day” in September 2008 moved to May the next year and was renamed Seattle Summer Streets. That continued annually through 2014. Nothing in 2015; Then last year SDOT brought it back to September and called it Seattle Summer Parkways. This year, in response to our inquiry about whether there would be a car-free day this year, SDOT’s Sue Romero replied:

Summer Parkways is taking a break this summer, and will resume in Summer 2018. As we consider the direction of the program, we are finalizing plans for 2018 and will share them with you when complete.

Instead, she says, SDOT’s “car-free” program is focusing this year on 10 Pike People Streets days in July and August and could spread here:

Resulting from the piloting done on the People Street concept in Capitol Hill, we’re starting to get inquiries from other neighborhoods, including West Seattle, that are interested in establishing their own regular People Street events. We see this as another promising development in our overall public space activation strategy.

Alki will of course be the scene of other events this summer, including the Seafair Pirates Landing on July 8th and the Alki Art Fair July 22-23, but the street stays open to all modes for those events, which are centered on the beach and/or boardwalk.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Bicycle, tools, more stolen in Genesee Hill garage burglary; Crime Prevention Coordinator’s newsletter

First, from Adam:

Our garage (on the alley bounded by 46th, 47th, Genesee, and Dakota) was burglarized last night and a number of things were stolen. The most valuable was a black and green Specialized Rumor FSR Comp Mountain Bike (S/N WSBC601045128I). I attached our best picture of it.

The list of stolen items, as best we can tell:

Specialized Rumor FSR Comp Mountain Bike, black with green accents
Sierra Bike Helmet, black and pink
A bike pump, tool kit, and water bottle (attached to the bike)
A pair of skis and bindings (yellow, can be seen behind the bike in the photo)
A cordless DeWalt drill and reciprocating saw in a black plastic case and several associated drill bits and blades.
A pneumatic nail gun, also in a black plastic case
A DeWalt orbital sander in a small fabric tote
An assorted set of tools in a gray plastic case (sockets and drivers, screwdrivers, Allen keys, fixed and adjustable wrenches, pliers, wire cutters, a tape measure, bit drivers, etc.)

No police incident # yet – Adam was still awaiting an officer at last report.

BICYCLE-THEFT DETERRENCE: Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge just happens to have focused her next newsletter on advice for bicycle owners:

If you can’t read it embedded above, here’s the PDF version.

Thousands more seniors can get help via the city’s Utility Discount Program, as announced in West Seattle


(WSB photo)

The city’s Utility Discount Program is expanding, adding help for more seniors, as announced by Mayor Ed Murray in a media briefing today at the Senior Center of West Seattle, with Councilmember Lisa Herbold and Seattle Public Utilities general manager Mami Hara.

This has to do with seniors receiving Social Security and being on Medicare – 3,000 are not getting “the help they need or the help they deserve,” because some benefits are being counted as income even though they’re not, so the city is changing eligibility rules to make sure they can get it. This can save more than $1,000 a year per household, “making their lives a little bit more affordable.”

The city already had a push under way to make sure more people eligible for the program took advantage of it, and participation has more than doubled in the past three years.

Herbold – who chairs the committee that oversees SPU – said she first heard about this eligibility problem last fall, and is glad it’s been fixed. “Another change we made was for folks to qualify for time payments when they have past-due bills” – more people can get some time to do that. She says it’s a matter of “connecting problems that constituents face on a day-to-day basis with the policy work we do in the office.”

Hara said that SPU bills can be discounted 50 percent under the discount program, and for City Light bills, it’s 60 percent. The utilities are working to be “responsive,” she said. And those who sign up for this program only need to renew their registration every three years. Signing up also gets you free passes for transfer-station use, worth up to $145 a year, and free backyard collection of trash and compost for those who can’t get theirs to the curb because of mobility issues.

You can find out more about the Utility Discount Program by going here. Councilmember Herbold also said that the city will be retroactively reviewing those who have been turned down for the program to see if they’re now eligible.

SIDE NOTE: And if you’re a senior with other resource problems/questions – or have someone in your family who is – West Seattleite Irene Stewart from the Age-Friendly Seattle program tells us you can call the free Community Living Connections hotline, 844-348-5464.

WEST SEATTLE ROADS: The case of the crumbling cul-de-sac

Andy Cote and his neighbors on SW Portland Court [map] call it “The Hole.”

It’s not anything close to the size of the West Seattle development excavation that held that title for years. But they’re having trouble understanding why it hasn’t been fixed. The city claims that it addresses road holes quickly. Andy says he’s been reporting this one for three years. But it’s not shown on the city’s pothole map – either as fixed or as pending.

We talked with him and his neighbors this morning, as the return of summer sunshine showed it in all its glory.

This one isn’t a deep hole. The problem is that it’s a spot in the road where the pavement has literally eroded away.

Among the handful of homes on their cul-de-sac, two residents require wheelchairs, and they have a problem too – no curb cuts.

What curbs they do have, are also crumbling. They wonder if development just to the east, with a retaining wall built five years ago, is to blame. Whatever it is, they say, it’s nothing they have any control over, and since the city owns the road and sidewalks, they’re looking for a little help.

And what burns a bit – neighbor Hillairee says SDOT will “show up for something we haven’t bugged them about.” Like, if “sidewalk closed” signs related to work nearby nearby are moved. (Portland Court is just off 26th SW, which leads directly to Denny International Middle School and adjacent Chief Sealth International High School down the block to the south.)

So this week, they put out a call for help – to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, among others, and cc’d us. Andy explained in the note, “Our cul de sac is crumbling. I am assuming it was paved one time in the early 1950s. With the 8 houses on the cul de sac and the multiple deliveries coming and going every day with the changing retail environment, the pavement is gone in a spot. If that spot is not corrected soon, the entire bottom portion of the cul de sac will be gravel. Already there is a 6 foot square that can no longer be pavement.”

Not long after we stopped by this morning to talk with neighbors by The Hole, Andy e-mailed to say that they had received a reply from Herbold, who said she’s sorry he hasn’t heard from SDOT, and added:

By the way of this email, I am bringing this situation directly to the attention of Scott Kubly, Director of the Department of Transportation, as well as Elliot Helmbrecht, the Department of Transportation liaison to the Seattle City Council. Director Kubly and his staff are best equipped to address this problem.

Will they? We’ll be following up.

What’s up for your West Seattle Thursday

(Newly fledged female downy woodpecker, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

LOW-LOW TIDE, WITH BEACH NATURALISTS: Another round of low-low tides starts today, and Seattle Aquarium volunteer beach naturalists will be out at Constellation and Lincoln Parks 9 am-noon today. (Low tide is -2.4 feet at 10:06 am)

MAYORAL FORUM: The West Seattle Democratic Women are hosting a mayoral-candidates forum at 11:45 am at West Seattle Golf Course. Details in our calendar listing, including reservation information. (4470 35th SW)

COLMAN POOL REOPENS: Seattle Parks says the pool’s mechanical problem is fixed and the saltwater pool on the shore at Lincoln Park is ready to reopen – that means today is the belated start of its 7-day-a-week schedule for summer, noon-7 pm.

RESTAURANT SUCCESS ORIENTATION: 3-4:30 pm at Delridge Library, “learn about resources available for restaurant and mobile food business owners.” (5423 Delridge Way SW)

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL – WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE? Before the official Sound Transit work on the West Seattle light-rail line starts later this year, bring your thoughts on routing and stations to the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s community-led workshop tonight. 6-9 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy. (9140 California SW)

VESSELS AND WHALES: Presented by The Whale Trail at the Dakota Place Park Building, 7 pm – learn about the ECHO Program, working to reduce the impact of vessels on whales in our region’s waters. Full details here, including how to check if tickets remain for tonight’s talk. (California SW/SW Dakota)

ACOUSTIC SINGER-SONGWRITERS: 8 pm at Parliament Tavern, William Hall, Amanda Navares and Below Blackstar perform. No cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

THERE’S MORE … just check our complete-calendar page.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday updates

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

6:59 AM: Good morning! No incidents to report right now – a crash on NB I-5 just past the West Seattle Bridge has just been cleared, per WSDOT.

TONIGHT: Interested in our area’s future light rail? The West Seattle Transportation Coalition, an all-volunteer community group, invites you to a workshop to talk about stations and routing, collecting feedback before Sound Transit starts its work on the project later this year. Here’s our preview. 6-9 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy (9140 California SW).

8:18 AM: Incident-free so far. By the way, for Water Taxi riders – Brent Champaco at King County DOT says the vessel lineup should be back to normal this afternoon; Sally Fox has been out for minor repairs, so Spirit of Kingston‘s been on the West Seattle run, while Doc Maynard handles Vashon.

VIDEO: Congratulations, West Seattle High School Class of 2017!

Wednesday night’s second Class of 2017 commencement ceremony at Southwest Athletic Complex launched more than 220 West Seattle High School graduates into the world. The class adviser, Tom Burggraff, called them “this school’s finest graduating class ever.” He explained why, in his speech following the welcome by ASB president Sean McCabe, who starts this clip:

Burggraff also is the parent of a 2017 grad (Andrew Burggraff), and saluted other grads’ families and friends, who filled the stands and cheered throughout:

Valedictorian Michaela Coontz spoke of concluding “the busiest year of our lives” and urged her peers to be flexible, instead of worrying about deciding their futures immediately, or worrying that whatever path they were setting out on couldn’t be changed:

After the diploma presentation, one more student spoke, ASB vice president Nahom Kassaye. Like adviser Burggraff earlier, he also hailed the Class of 2017 as the school’s most-successful class, and “most impactful.” And then, musical reassurance from an ensemble of graduates (plus a guest from another school), a 40-year-old song by Bob Marley – “Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be All Right”:

Then it was off to the staff receiving line as the grads left the field. Among those there to wish them well, Ruth Medsker, at her last commencement ceremony as WSHS principal:

Before the ceremony, we saw her successor, Brian Vance, on the sidelines:

With new beginnings on the way for many – the Class of 2017 went off into the night.

VIDEO: Congratulations, Chief Sealth International High School Class of 2017!

“We did it – we made it!” So exulted featured much-honored Mahala Provost at tonight’s Chief Sealth International High School graduation, before her show-stopping musical performance.

The hour-and-a-half ceremony celebrated Provost and more than 230 other Class of 2017 graduates – who principal Aida Fraser-Hammer (below with district Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland) said she would remember warmly because their first year at Sealth was hers too.

Here’s our video of the Class of 2017 entering Southwest Athletic Complex as the ceremony began:

Their principal also hailed the grads’ achievements, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and shouted out to valedictorians Michelle Ly and Tommy Nguyen, and salutatorian Amy Ly. The program also listed 54 grads who made the National Honor Society (3.5 grade-point average or higher). Proud family and friends cheered loudly throughout the ceremony:

And the grads beamed:

Their featured speakers, Kaitlin Andrade and Sean Jenkins, shared memories, promising their classmates they’ll all be together again “at the reunion in 10 years”:

Staff speaker Matthew Schiavo honored the school’s international focus, greeting the grads in multiple languages, and exhorting them to “be your own #1 fan”:

And after the diploma pickups and the tassel-turning, it was time to move on, as the decorated caps showed in a multitude of ways:

They left the stadium through a receiving line of their now-former teachers and other Sealth staffers, perhaps with a memory of their principal’s declaration, “We are Seahawks – we are made to fly; we are made to soar.”

This was the first of two Wednesday night graduations at SWAC – our report on the second, West Seattle HS, is coming up.

FOLLOWUP: South Park trouble spot ‘abated,’ again

Six months ago, we covered a walking tour in South Park led by neighbor Jeff Hayes, showing ongoing trouble spots to a city delegation including Councilmember Lisa Herbold and representatives of various departments. It was illustrative not just for people in or interested in South Park, but anywhere in the city, West Seattle included, where there are trouble spots for which neighbors are trying to get city help. In Hayes’ neighborhood, some situations have improved – we reported in January about the new ownership for vacant commercial spaces – and some are still problems, like the one the city “abated” again today.

This house is next to Hayes, at 1037 South Cloverdale, and he says this is the third time in six months that crews have been sent in to clean up. Much of the work had been done before we got there this afternoon, but they were impounding a vehicle (top photo) and a pickup truck bed that had been turned into a trailer (photo above this paragraph)Southwest Precinct Community Police Team Officer Todd Wiebke told us at the scene that it had stolen tabs. He also told us two more houses in the area have abatement set for later this week.

We asked one of the agencies involved in the cleanup today, the city Department of Construction and Inspections, for details, and spokesperson Wendy Shark replied, before the cleanup: “We have an abatement order to remove outdoor junk and other miscellaneous items from this property … The conservation corps will be assisting us with the clean-up, Bio-Clean will assist us with the removal of any hazardous waste on the property and SPD will be there as well.” The line item on the SDCI website traces back to a complaint originally made in January, one of many involving this address over the years. (The backstory of the house and its owner was told in this radio report last year.)

@ WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: Gang briefing; crime trends

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Crime trends, community Q & A, and a briefing you might call “Gangs 101” were all part of last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the Southwest Precinct.

CRIME TRENDS: Capt. Pierre Davis opened the meeting with the latest, saying the precinct is “putting out as many resources” as it can, since “things get a little bit more boisterous” in the summer around here. That includes pulling SWAT officers for extra patrols, the precinct’s Anti-Crime Team, and the full-time bicycle squad, “able to patrol our hot-spot areas.”

One bright spot: Non-residential burglaries are down 2 percent – “we’re arresting a ton of people out there.”

No other stats were mentioned as attendees jumped right to community Q & A: Read More

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