West Seattle scene: Y fundraiser for Sounders/Seahawks ‘superfans’

May 20, 2015 at 8:59 am | In West Seattle news, WS & Sports | No Comments

(Photo courtesy West Seattle YMCA)
Thanks to Joleen at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) for the photo from last night’s “superfan” fundraiser – that’s Tom Hutyler (radio sports anchor, voice of the Mariners at Safeco Field, and West Seattleite) with Steven Hauschka from the Seahawks and Zach Scott from Sounders FC. To raise money for its upcoming expansion, the Y sold a limited number of tickets to “superfans” to meet the players and bid on donated items including signed jerseys.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday updates

May 20, 2015 at 7:37 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 9 Comments

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
SDOT reports some residual bridge backup from a non-injury crash this past half-hour, but says the scene itself, west of the 99 overpass, has already been cleared. Meantime, Seattle Public Schools are back in session today so volume is back to normal.

WALKING TOUR TONIGHT: Questions/comments about the SDOT plan for SW Roxbury? Join a walking tour tonight – all or part; it starts at 5:30 pm at 4th/Roxbury, and proceeds westward to end at 35th/Roxbury at 7:45. (For the specific stops inbetween, go here.)

ADMIRAL WAY PROJECT MEETING TOMORROW: SDOT has a meeting of note in our area tomorrow (Thursday) night too – regarding the proposed changes to Admiral Way west of California SW, as previously discussed at two community-group meetings. 6 pm Thursday at Alki Elementary, “open house” style with presentation at 6:30 pm.

9:33 AM: SPD is dispatching units to a crash on the eastbound bridge, midspan, three vehicles, said to be blocking the middle lane.

West Seattle food notes: Ripple Café & Chipotle updates, more

May 19, 2015 at 10:12 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants | 29 Comments

Quick bites of West Seattle restaurant news:

RIPPLE CAFE OPEN: The new café at 35th/Henderson, in the former JC’s Deli spot, mentioned here last month, is now open – check it out 10 am-6 pm tomorrow.

CHIPOTLE SIGN UP: For the first time since we reported in February that Chipotle Mexican Grill was coming to the retail space at 4730 California (WSB sponsor), a sign’s up:

We’ll be checking back with the company for any new estimate of when they’ll open; the permit to build out the space was just issued last week.

PATIO TIME: With spring heating up, La Rustica on Beach Drive tells us the patio’s open (and it’s not alone, as you’ve probably noticed at other establishments). The Pellegrini family is also proceeding with its new project at the former La Romanza in The Junction; they’ve applied for a liquor license under the name Pellegrini Restaurant, though the family says there’s still nothing to announce quite yet.

SPEAKING OF PATIOS: The Bridge has opened theirs too and says it’ll be open for brunch on Monday (Memorial Day), 9 am-2 pm, with the all-day menu starting after that. (Anywhere else with special holiday plans/hours Monday? Let us know – editor@westseattleblog.com)

West Seattle scene: Immigration workshop @ Denny IMS

May 19, 2015 at 9:19 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

Though classes were canceled for the protest walkout earlier today, some scheduled events did go on at Seattle Public Schools. Among them, an immigration workshop held tonight at Denny International Middle School. Principal Jeff Clark shared the photo and report:

This evening we were pleased to open our doors to our community for a workshop on immigration with information regarding new policies from President Obama’s administration. In addition to our featured guest speakers, we were pleased to have several organizations here as resources. Families enjoyed dinner and were appreciative of all of the information shared.

We would like to thank our guest speakers from Colectiva Legal, as well as all our partners including: 21 Progress; Pacific Northwest Regional Carpenters; the Denny, Roxhill, and Sealth PTSAs; Roxbury Safeway; City Year; and Community in Schools for all of their support! In addition, thank you to the following Denny staff for all of their efforts in making this possible: Ms. Clausen, Ms. Amaral, Ms. Olsen, Ms. Bowie, Mr. Carr, Mr. Blackman, Mr. Smith, Ms. Brown, Ms. Rangel, Mr. Baker, Ms. Nestor, Ms. Lehman, Mr. Mosser, Emma, Riley, Maryross, and Kevin! Go, Dolphins!

Softball postseason: West Seattle beats Bellevue in 1st district-tournament game

May 19, 2015 at 7:16 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

(WSB photos: WSHS’s Charli Elliott scoring the first run of the game)
At Southwest Athletic Complex, the West Seattle High School Wildcats softball team has just opened district tournament play with a victory over Bellevue HS, 7-2. Their next game is Thursday at 5 pm, same place they played today, Southwest Athletic Complex; the game to determine their opponent is just getting under way.

9:22 PM UPDATE: Lake Washington is who the Wildcats will play on Thursday – LWHS just beat Bishop Blanchet, 14-2. Meantime, we have a few more details and photos from the WSHS-Bellevue game.

Gabby Wenn again pitched a complete game for WSHS. It was a pitchers’ duel through four innings; then in #5, West Seattle scored 5 unanswered runs against Bellevue pitcher Dejah Rogers; the full WSHS order came to the plate before Bellevue could get three outs. After that, LWHS picked up two runs in the top of the sixth, but then the Wildcats added two more in the bottom, and that was it.

WSHS coached Trevor Leopold tells us his team is now guaranteed a spot in the state tournament in Lacey, . But first – they face the Kangs.

Outdoor gyms planned for parks at West Seattle’s Delridge, Hiawatha Community Centers

May 19, 2015 at 5:49 pm | In Health, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 1 Comment

Announced late today by Seattle Parks: Outdoor gyms called Fitness Zones® are set for installation in the parks adjacent to Delridge and Hiawatha Community Centers, and meetings are scheduled so you can find out more and offer your opinion. Parks’ announcement (read it here in its entirety) says, “Each Fitness Zone, due to be installed in the next eighteen months, will be equipped with top-quality, durable exercise equipment appropriate for teens and adults of all levels of fitness.” Parks says it has three project partners: The Trust for Public Land, The Seattle Parks Foundation, and MOMentum. The Delridge meeting is set for 6:30 pm Tuesday, June 2nd, at Delridge CC (4501 Delridge Way SW), while the Hiawatha meeting is set for 6:30 pm Thursday, June 4th, at Hiawatha CC (2700 California SW). 7 parks in the city already have Fitness Zones.

4730 California apartments: Welcoming a new WSB sponsor

May 19, 2015 at 4:41 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 22 Comments

Today we’re welcoming 4730 California, new apartments in the heart of the West Seattle Junction, as a new WSB sponsor. Here’s what they’d like you to know:

(Copyright: The Wolff Company / Doug Scott Photography)
Experience 4730 California apartments. Next to amazing restaurants, bars, shops, transit connections, yet mostly undiscovered by outsiders. 4730 California is the quintessential West Seattle address. It’s right smack dab in the heart of West Seattle. Yet at just 88 apartments, it is boutique enough to allow individual passions and living tastes to come through.

(WSB photo)
What ‘best in West’ means:

*Best Seattle is the sunset over the Olympics from your loveseat
*Best Seattle is sleeping in and grabbing a Low Rider at Easy Street
*Best Seattle is a stroll through Lincoln Park with Fido in tow
*Best Seattle is a year-round farmers’ market darn near in your back yard
*Best Seattle is Talarico’s New York-style slice as big as your head
*Best Seattle is a fat burger and beer from Elliott Bay Brewing

4730 California is available by appointment for tours Mondays-Fridays, 10 am-5 pm. The building is “very pet-friendly” and has special events such as wine tastings hosted by Bin 41 every third Thursday. And they’ve signed on as a major sponsor of this year’s West Seattle Summer Fest. Find out more at 4730ca.com.

We thank 4730 California apartments for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

You can help! West Seattle fundraiser for Nepal earthquake relief

May 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news | No Comments

This weekend, a silent auction and fundraising party is planned at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), to help quake survivors in Nepal. More than 8,000 people are dead, and millions of homes need to be rebuilt, along with hundreds of schools. Organizer Jilyan Perry says many of the homes are “in rural areas that have yet to receive aid, just before the country’s monsoon season begins.” Come to C & P to help, on Sunday (May 24th), 3-7 pm:

Money raised from the event will support ‘Changing Lives Nepal’, a nonprofit organization, entirely volunteer run. When the earthquake hit, ‘Changing Lives Nepal’ founder Deana Zabaldo and assistant leader, West Seattle resident Stewart Wolfe, were guiding their team to Everest Base Camp for West Seattle-based company Mountain Madness. The entire team is safe, and without injury. ‘Changing Lives Nepal’ has many programs to help the people of Nepal, which now includes the rebuilding and reconstruction of the homes and schools that need attention.

Come spend the evening with us, as we do our part to help make a difference. The auction items are rolling in from businesses such as Mountain to Sound Outfitters, Thunder Road Guitars, Alki Bike and Board, West Side Music Academy, 8 Bit Arcade, original artwork, and so much more! There will be live music, beer and wine, and some surprises!

Contact Jilyan with questions, donations, or if you would like to volunteer: Jilyan.Perry@yahoo.com

C & P is at 5612 California SW.

West Seattle Crime Watch: ‘Flasher’ reported near local school

May 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

(UPDATED WEDNESDAY MORNING with additional description information)

2:07 PM: Thanks to the Holy Rosary School parent who forwarded this message just sent to families:

I hate to have to report to you that a “Flasher” came by the school today at around 12:30. They did not make themselves known in the usual area, which is the play toy section of the playground. He appeared in a white car on 41st and jumped out of the car at the gates that open on the driveway into the school. The gates were closed, as they always are. He then jumped back into the car and drove away. One girl saw the activity and her parents were notified. The police were notified and showed up within minutes.

The most-recent “flasher” reports near a local school in our archives were by Chief Sealth IHS in February and in January. The last one we have on record near Holy Rosary was last September; the vehicle in that one was described as a silver minivan. We’re checking with police to see if they have any more information about what was reported today.

2:18 PM: Just talked to Det. Patrick Michaud in SPD media relations – they don’t have any additional information so far.

8:51 PM: We asked Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis about this during tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting. Nothing new, he said – one challenge was elapsed time between the incident and the time it was reported, so police will renew efforts to help schools teach about fast reporting and detailed descriptions.

ADDED 11:30 AM WEDNESDAY: As per the comment discussion, we have checked back with police yet again to see if any description information is available. Now that the written report is in, here’s what they have: “White male w/ long brown hair wearing a hat. A white 4-door car.”

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Alki armed robberies

May 19, 2015 at 1:58 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

Following up on the two Alki street robberies early Saturday and early Sunday, we now have the full narratives from the police reports. The one clear thing both have in common: They happened at/near Whale Tail Park, 59th/Lander, in the early-morning hours.

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Alki armed robberies…

5 things for the rest of your West Seattle Tuesday, + 3 geese

May 19, 2015 at 12:09 pm | In West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | 13 Comments

We often feature bird photos atop the daily calendar preview – and this time, it’s what now appears to have become a trio of white geese at Lincoln Park, where parkgoers long have noted two. Thanks to the person who texted us the photo!

Speaking of the beach – that’s where we start our short list of calendar highlights:

LOW TIDE AT 12:23 PM: The daytime low tides of summer are here! Today, tide is out to -2.5 feet at 12:23 pm. It’s season-debut day for Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists, who you’ll find at Constellation Park and Lincoln Park (near Colman Pool) until 1:30 pm.

SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS: District tournament play tonight for West Seattle High School, which took 2nd in the Metro League tournament – 5 pm game against Bellevue HS at SW Athletic Complex. (2801 SW Thistle)

WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct; bring your neighborhood concerns/questions, hear about crime trends/stats, plus – wonder what the truth is about gangs? Tonight’s featured guests are billed as a panel of former gang members. (Webster/Delridge)

THE HELIO SEQUENCE AT EASY STREET: Free Easy Street Records in-store performance at 7 pm tonight in honor of The Helio Sequence‘s album release. (California/Alaska)

DINE OUT FOR HIGHLAND PARK ELEMENTARY: Until 9 pm, dine at Zippy’s Giant Burgers in White Center and a percentage of the proceeds benefits the Highland Park Elementary PTA. (9614 14th SW)

Shell @ Terminal 5: City issues ‘notice of violation’ telling Foss, Port, Shell to move Polar Pioneer or get a new permit for it

May 19, 2015 at 11:12 am | In Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 29 Comments

The protests are over for now, but the bureaucratic and legal fight over Shell drilling rigs mooring at the Port of Seattle‘s Terminal 5 is not. The latest move, five days after the arrival of the Polar Pioneer drilling platform, is in the document above that we just obtained from the city Department of Planning and Development – its “notice of violation” issued to the Port of Seattle, interim leaseholder Foss Maritime, and “occupant” Shell Oil, contending that the current “use (is) not established by permit.” The notice gives the entities until June 4th to correct the alleged violation by either moving the Polar Pioneer and the Shell icecutter/tug Aiviq from T-5, or get a new permit allowing them.

(Friday photo by Paul Weatherman: Aiviq and Polar Pioneer @ T-5)
You’ll recall that this started with a city “interpretation” saying that the established permitted use of Terminal 5 does not allow for this; both the Port and Foss have filed appeals to that contention – the one filed at the end of last week by the Port calls it “irrational” and suggests that, taken to its logical conclusion, it would bar a variety of other types of vessels from using Port docks. (No date yet on the Hearing Examiner’s calendar for the appeal hearing.) We’ll be seeking comment from all three recipients.

VIDEO: Local educators start walkout day with roadside demonstrations

May 19, 2015 at 9:12 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 5 Comments

As Seattle educators start their one-day walkout to protest the state of education funding, the promised picketing at local high schools gave way to lively demonstrations at busy intersections nearby. We are just back from two locations: First, two quick video clips we first published to social media: Above, many of those who gathered at Chief Sealth IHS are on the corners at Delridge/Thistle; below, many of those who gathered at West Seattle HS are on the corners at Admiral/California.

By our rough count, at least 150 were at Delridge/Thistle, more than 100 at Admiral/California, and some others are also at 35th/Fauntleroy and 35th/Thistle. Both groups included educators from the respective high schools’ feeder schools as well as the high schools themselves. Andrea, below, teaches at Roxhill Elementary:

Around 10, they’re scheduled to head downtown and join others from around the city for a rally and march.

ADDED 9:31 AM: Adding photos. First one was texted to us:

Tiniest striker. Her name is Dixie Norris and she is supporting all the teachers, especially her mom Nicole Nichols who runs the autism program at Chief Sealth.

In the middle of the Admiral demonstrators, we found County Executive Dow Constantine:

Other messages were interspersed with the exhortations about education funding:

At both sites (as you can hear in our quick video clips above), lots of horn-honking from passing drivers.

Shared by Schmitz Park Elementary supporters – this video:


TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday updates; public schools closed

May 19, 2015 at 7:13 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 5 Comments

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:13 PM: No outbound challenges reported so far. The major reminder this morning is that Seattle Public Schools are closed for the day (here’s why). Educational pickets at local high schools are planned 8-10 am, and then a rally/march downtown. Route/time details are in the city’s weekly traffic-alert roundup.

7:38 AM: In comments, a report that the crossing arm is stuck down at Lander in SODO, blocking a Route 21 bus and other vehicles trying to cross.

7:46 AM: Moving again, says SeattleTimeBandit, after 45 minutes.

VIDEO: Seattle City Council District 1′s nine candidates share a stage for the first time

May 18, 2015 at 9:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 11 Comments

(WSB photo, from left – Phillip Tavel, Shannon Braddock, Jody Rushmer, Brianna Thomas, Karl Wirsing, Chas Redmond, Arturo Robles, Pavel Goberman, Lisa Herbold)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

In the first-ever City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) race, there’s been at least one candidates’ forum each month since February. The race has been fluid, and the participant lineup hasn’t been the same twice.

Tonight brought the first forum featuring all nine of the candidates that are in the running (as of the end of the official filing period last Friday).

About 60 people filled the seats in the Fellowship Hall at Fauntleroy UCC Church for the forum that the League of Women Voters of Seattle/King County co-presented with the Westside Interfaith Network; LWV’s Lucy Gaskill-Gaddis moderated, after an introduction by Boots Winterstein.

As we’ve done with all the previous forums, we recorded this one on video, and will add that here when it’s ready. (UPDATE – Here it is:)

Ahead, we did our best to summarize as it went:

Click to read the rest of VIDEO: Seattle City Council District 1′s nine candidates share a stage for the first time…

West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen baseball gear; hit-and-run

May 18, 2015 at 9:00 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

In West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:

BASEBALL GEAR STOLEN: Pauline hopes you’ll be on the lookout for what car prowler(s) took in Westwood:

Today 2 baseball bags were stolen out of The back of my SUV in the 8100 block of 32nd at Thistle: A large rolling baseball bag with black and orange youth catcher’s gear, a Rawlings catcher’s mitt and a Rawlings baseball glove; a black and orange catcher’s helmet and a black batter’s helmet and an Easton S 500 baseball bat, and a baseball backpack with a blue batters helmet in it.

This has been reported to police.

MULTIPLE CARS DAMAGED IN HIT-AND-RUN: Last night in the 2800 block of SW Morgan in High Point, at least four cars were damaged by a hit-and-run driver. Sasha shared photos of some of the damage:

No injuries were reported. Scanner traffic later in the evening indicated that police were investigating a possible suspect found elsewhere in High Point, asleep in a car and reportedly under the influence, but we haven’t yet been able to confirm whether that resulted in an arrest.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL TOMORROW: Tuesday night, 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct, come find out about the latest crime trends and stats in West Seattle and South Park, bring your neighborhood concerns/questions directly to local police leadership, and learn about gangs from a panel of former gang members. The precinct is off Webster just west of Delridge.

Free Seattle Public Library wi-fi – without being at a branch

May 18, 2015 at 4:58 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle online | 8 Comments

If you need broadband wi-fi at home or work or school … the library can help. Seattle Public Library unveiled SPL Hotspot today – a program through which you can check out a wi-fi hotspot and use it for up to three weeks. A grant from Google got the library system 150 of the mobile hotspots – you need your own computer to use them, but by midsummer, the system’s getting 75 hotspot-bundled laptops available for checkout too. Here’s how the program works.

UPDATE: Anti-Shell protest wraps up after Terminal 5 departure

May 18, 2015 at 1:57 pm | In Port of Seattle, West Seattle news | 39 Comments

1:57 PM: The anti-Shell protest at Terminal 5 is wrapping up; demonstrators are walking back toward the low bridge to cross it on the way back to this morning’s starting point.

2:14 PM: The SDOT camera overlooking the low bridge showed the group as it crossed a few minutes ago:

TV helicopters are back overhead to capture the scene, but aren’t likely to stay nearly as long, since it’s not newscast time, unlike this morning.

2:47 PM: The bridge is open again and demonstrators are back at the starting point. We covered the morning march in our daily traffic watch; here are a few more photos from the day and video from the T-5 arrival:

As our images show, Seattle Police had a sizable presence at many spots along the way and near the demonstration; there’s been no word of any arrests. This was the line at the T-5 entrance just before the march arrived:

And here’s our video of their arrival:

This was the last of the major demonstrations/rallies announced before the Polar Pioneer‘s arrival last Thursday. At last report, it’s still scheduled to be joined at T-5 by Shell’s other drilling vessel, the drillship Noble Discoverer, which is docked in Everett. The city’s contention that the Port needs a different permit to host oil rigs, which has been formally appealed by both interim-leaseholder Foss Maritime and the port itself, remains unresolved.

Local teachers want you to know why they’ll be out tomorrow

May 18, 2015 at 1:43 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 3 Comments

Tomorrow, like today, will start with protesting – but this time it has nothing to do with offshore oil drilling. Tomorrow is the day Seattle Public Schools are closing because of their teachers’ one-day walkout.

We first reported the plan two weeks ago; we also reported the plan by Chief Sealth International High School teachers and other staffers to have an “informational” event outside the school 8 am-10 am tomorrow. Now we know that almost every high school in the city – including Sealth and West Seattle High School – will have informational picketing to start the day, with teachers from other schools joining in. Mandy Cook, a teacher at Schmitz Park Elementary, was first to tell us about this, saying she’ll be at WSHS: “As teachers, we want to inform our parents as to why we are not teaching their children that day.” She shared the flyer we’ve embedded above; as it notes, parents, students, and community members are welcome to join in. The morning events will be followed by a march and rally downtown.

P.S. WSHS special-education teacher Jennifer Hall shared her letter to the school’s PTSA board, explaining the walkout. Read it, ahead:

Click to read the rest of Local teachers want you to know why they’ll be out tomorrow…

Best-selling West Seattle author Lyanda Lynn Haupt reads Wednesday at next WordsWest

May 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm | In West Seattle books, West Seattle news | No Comments

The monthly WordsWest Literary Series has already highlighted many talented local writers – but this month’s edition really has something they can crow about: A rare West Seattle appearance by best-selling author Lyanda Lynn Haupt. She and poet Allen Braden are reading this Wednesday (May 20th) at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) in the next WordsWest event, as announced:

From backyard bestiaries to the farms of White Swan, nature slays us. From the intelligence of crows to the many chambers of a cow’s heart, we learn to look again at the commonplace life that surrounds us. For the May 20th, 2015 edition of WordsWest Literary Series, Washington poet Allen Braden and West Seattle naturalist Lyanda Lynn Haupt, will join us for a night of natural highs. This month WordsWest is again very grateful for a grant from Poets & Writers that allows us to pay our writers for their time and talent.

Allen Braden is the author of A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood (University of Georgia) and Elegy in the Passive Voice (University of Alaska/Fairbanks). His poems have been anthologized in The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Poetry: An Introduction, Best New Poets and Spreading the Word: Editors on Poetry. He teaches at Tacoma Community College.

Lyanda Lynn Haupt is a naturalist, eco-philosopher, and speaker whose writing is at the forefront of the movement to connect people with nature in their everyday lives. Her most recent book is The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild (Little, Brown 2013). Her previous books include Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (Little, Brown 2009), awarded the 2010 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award; Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds (Sasquatch 2001), winner of the 2002 Washington State Book Award; and Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin’s Lost Notebooks (Little, Brown 2006).

Every third Wednesday, 7 pm, at C & P Coffee Company, WordsWest hosts literary events that range from readings by published local and national authors, to craft discussions and guided writing explorations for every experience level. Each month a community member from a local, independent business shares his or her favorite poem as part of the Favorite Poem Project. On May 20th, we welcome Eric Jordan of The Office Junction. WordsWest is curated by West Seattle writers Katy E. Ellis, Susan Rich, and Harold Taw.

C & P is at 5612 California SW.

Highway 99 tunnel machine damage ‘more extensive’ than expected, WSDOT tells City Council

May 18, 2015 at 10:35 am | In Alaskan Way Viaduct, Transportation, West Seattle news | 20 Comments

(ADDED 12:11 PM: WSDOT slide deck as presented to City Council this morning)

10:35 AM: The damage to the Highway 99 tunneling machine is “more extensive” than expected, but not more extensive than they were expecting to fix. That’s how it was just announced by WSDOT’s Todd Trepanier during the scheduled periodic Highway 99/tunnel project briefing for the City Council. For as long as the briefing continues, we’ve embedded it above (click the “play” button to access the live Seattle Channel stream). Trepanier specifically mentions machine sealing that’s been “stripped away.” Trepanier says Seattle Tunnel Partners hasn’t said what caused it, and doesn’t have to, under terms of the design/build contract, but councilmembers are pressing the point.

10:42 AM: First among them is Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who wants to know the schedule and says he’s nervous every day the Alaskan Way Viaduct stays open. Trepanier says that the contractor has told them they’ll have a revised schedule next month. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen asks if there’s some deadline for this to get going again; Trepanier says they want the contractor to “take the time that (they) need” but adds on followup that the contract does include deadlines with monetary consequences. Those deadline dates are not close, though, Trepanier says. He tries to move along but O’Brien asks again, do they have any idea what went wrong? Trepanier replies no, that’s between the contractor and the machine’s manufacturer. He continues showing images of the damage (no slide deck provided yet). “If everything is going wrong like this right now, how do we know (it’s OK) before it gets back in the ground (and resumes tunneling)?” asks Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.

Next, it’s on to a report about ground settlement in the area. One report has reached the conclusion that the drawdown of an aquifer by the “dewatering” for the access pit caused November’s settlement. But that has stabilized, Trepanier goes on to say. “That type of settlement is no longer going to continue,” they believe. In all, he adds, three reports related to the settlement are out – and they don’t all agree with each other regarding other points. One specific area, he adds, is believed to be an area “where there’s always been a problem” predating the dewatering.

11:03 AM: Trepanier is showing charts with details of which engineering firm says what. This part of the briefing has lasted much longer than the one about the specific damage has been found in the tunnel machine. After a few minutes of details, he recaps that they disagree with the city over what’s to blame for the Pioneer Square water main that needs to be replaced – “it’s always been a problem” in their view, before the tunnel-project dewatering. He also says that they haven’t found noteworthy structural damage in the area. He also says the aquifer related to the dewatering should eventually have a “rebound effect … when the pump shutoff takes place.”

11:21 AM: WSDOT moves on to an update on what other work is being done while the tunnel machine is being fixed. On this side, the South Operations Building is taking shape, he notes. And WSDOT is writing its response to the city’s evaluation of the Viaduct, Trepanier adds.

11:29 AM: Briefing is over. We’re taking down the live-video window; we’re expecting the slide deck from WSDOT in a bit and will add that when it’s available.

11:43 AM: WSDOT has published its own summary, here.

12:11 PM: And now we’ve received the slide deck, and added it atop this story.

Election 2015: City Council District 1 candidates’ forum tonight; Helmick signature-challenge update

May 18, 2015 at 9:59 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 9 Comments

Two notes this morning in the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council race:

CANDIDATES’ FORUM TONIGHT: Be at Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW) tonight for the District 1 forum presented by Westside Interfaith Network and League of Women Voters-Seattle/King County. They describe the format as moderated with some opportunity for audience questions. Doors open at 6 pm, forum at 6:30 pm.

HELMICK SIGNATURES UPDATE: As reported here Friday night, seven months of campaigning might have come to a dead end for Amanda Kay Helmick, who was determined to get onto the ballot via gathering signatures. 1,200 valid signatures are required to make the ballot in lieu of that same number of dollars; Helmick was the only District 1 hopeful going that route. Hours after we covered her taking petitions to the King County Elections office in Renton at noontime Friday, she was notified she’d fallen short by 26. Helmick has since obtained a list of the 147 names that KC Elections had ruled invalid and as of late last night said she had “already found 10 people on the list that are completely unaware and shocked about their status. I have posted the list on my website in case others want to see their status and have it rectified. If someone’s name is on THIS LIST, King County Voter Services has challenged their right to vote. The names were found to be non-registered voters in District 1.” She has posted on her website’s home page what anyone who finds her/himself on that list is asked to do.

WHO’S IN: If anyone has withdrawn or anything else major has changed since filing closed on Friday afternoon, King County Elections will be updating this page at some time later today. But in the meantime, the District 1 race has nine candidates (listed this time in surname-reverse-alphabetical order): Karl Wirsing, Brianna Thomas, Phillip Tavel, Jody Rushmer, Arturo Robles, Chas Redmond, Lisa Herbold, Pavel Goberman, Shannon Braddock.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Monday updates, including protest at Terminal 5

May 18, 2015 at 6:03 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 31 Comments

(SCROLL DOWN for updates)

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:03 AM: We’re starting the morning with the usual traffic watch, including updates on how/whether the anti-drilling protest – previewed here – is affecting things, until/unless it becomes big enough to break out into a separate story. (It’s not scheduled to start until 7 am.) Updates to come.

6:37 AM: We dropped off our crew about 15 minutes ago. No commute/low bridge effects so far. Only a few dozen people in view (and as expected, a full contingent of regional media). Police are at the gathering point and while headed eastbound, we saw bicycle officers heading from the Chelan Café vicinity northwest toward the T-5 entrance. Again, if you’re noticing helicopter(s), at this point it’s TV, related to this. Our crew, by the way, has learned the plan – subject to change – is to march over the low bridge toward T-5 starting around 7:30. (In our tweeted photo above, note the portable barricades; during the December 2011 Occupy protest there, police blocked the road with them at one point.)

7:02 AM: The aerial view just shown on KING matches what our crew reports from the ground – about 100 people so far. No other traffic trouble spots so far – sunny morning, so don’t forget your shades.

7:11 AM: Until/unless major traffic effects start, we’re just posting photos to our Twitter feed – go here if interested. Bicycle riders should note that this is having some effects on the path there.

7:20 AM: March is about to begin. From our crew at scene: Police plan to close WESTBOUND LOW BRIDGE while it proceeds so it can move more quickly. EASTBOUND LOW BRIDGE TO REMAIN OPEN. Per scanner, police estimate about 500 demonstrators.

7:27 AM: Entire bridge closed after all (LOW bridge) while protesters head for T-5. Will update when that changes. Here’s a “live” SDOT camera showing the low bridge:

7:43 AM: Per scanner, police are reopening the low bridge now that the protesters have all crossed. Again, this is not affecting the high bridge or other routes. You can check the Chelan/Marginal camera in our top grouping to see what’s happening at the west end of the low bridge.

7:51 AM: Protest march now at Terminal 5, which is NOT on a major traffic route. SDOT confirms low bridge is open again:

8 AM: No traffic effects currently unless you are trying to get onto T-5, which hasn’t been busy since it was officially closed last July.

8:06 AM: Adding photo of demonstrators milling at T-5.

What happens next, we don’t know yet – police are there, and also standing by in case the group decides to march back across the low bridge, though that was NOT in the plan published in advance – there had been an intent voiced to shut T-5 down all day if they could. Meantime, the commute overall remains normal – no incidents in/from this area.

8:21 AM: Looking ahead to tomorrow – remember that Seattle Public Schools will be closed Tuesday for the one-day teacher walkout to protest legislative lack of action on school funding. Teachers are planning morning gatherings at WSHS and Chief Sealth; more on all this in a separate story later.

9:20 AM: Back from picking up our crew and also checking out T-5 from a different angle:

No word of any arrests in connection with the protest but police remain deployed and alert; one drove over to check us out while we were peering through the barb-wire-topped T-5 fence at the end of the driveway into Jack Block Park. We’ll continue to monitor this through the day and will have a separate story later with some of the morning’s scenes, but otherwise, we’re on to other news.

Big gigs! West Seattle HS Band & Orchestra perform in SoCal

May 18, 2015 at 2:02 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS culture/arts | 1 Comment

Members of the West Seattle High School Band and Orchestra, directed by Ethan Thomas, are wrapping up an extended-weekend trip to California – thanks to Band Booster President Steve White for the report and photos:

Our first stop after arriving at LAX (on Friday) was at the LA Farmers’ Market – where both the orchestra and band (above) performed.

We (then were) on our way to a local college for a clinic and some music instruction, then a group dinner at Medieval Times.

Saturday was spent at Disneyland, with a recording session in the evening, where the students experienced recording a soundtrack for a movie clip.

Sunday there were performances in the park by both groups [orchestra above] and more free time at the park.

Monday morning, both groups will take a tour of Hollywood and the Dolby Theater, then spend the afternoon at the Santa Monica Pier before returning home.

Find out more about the WSHS music program on its website – where we see via the calendar that you’ll get the chance to hear the student musicians at their spring concert June 4th.

Monday morning reminder: Protest planned by low bridge

May 17, 2015 at 10:20 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 37 Comments

(Polar Pioneer at T-5, photographed from the West Seattle Water Taxi on Friday by JayDee)
Three full days after the arrival of the Polar Pioneer oil rig at Terminal 5, the next promised protest is Monday morning, so we’re publishing a reminder one more time that it might affect low-bridge travelers. The demonstration scheduled to start at 7 am Monday follows the Saturday “flotilla” protest; no citations or arrests were reported from that, but this could be different. As noted here on Thursday, groups opposed to Shell’s offshore-drilling plan for the Arctic say they will gather by the fishing bridge on Spokane St. just east of the low bridge. Today’s version of the media advisory says activists “will flood Terminal 5 and Harbor Island on Monday, stopping work on Shell’s Arctic drilling rig. Organizers with the sHell No! Action Council expect this to be the largest act of environmental civil disobedience Seattle has seen in recent years …” (Also mentioned in our Thursday report, the operators of Terminal 18, east of T-5, decided to be closed tomorrow just in case.)

No route is shown from the gathering point, but getting to T-5 from the fishing pier would require crossing the low bridge. We’ll have a crew on the scene starting early and will have updates here – traffic coverage is a WSB emphasis every weekday morning, whatever’s happening on the roads and paths.

P.S. The regional media says they’ll be on this too, so don’t be surprised to see/hear helicopter(s).

West Seattle Crime Watch: 2nd Alki street robbery; Fairmount Park-area car prowl; possible stolen property

May 17, 2015 at 9:30 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

In West Seattle Crime Watch:

SECOND ALKI STREET ROBBERY: Someone was held up at gunpoint in the 2700 block of Alki SW after 4 am today, according to both this SPD auto-tweet and what we’ve since found out was heard on police radio at the time. We won’t be able to get the report until tomorrow, so we have no other details, but that would be the second street robbery of the weekend in the Alki area, after this one early Saturday.

CAR PROWL: Via the WSB Forums, Greg reports a car prowl early today near 42nd/Brandon, west of Fairmount Park, with a GPS and binoculars taken.

STOLEN? OR LOST? Amy found this case near 9th/Elmgrove in Highland Park:

She suspects it was stolen and dumped. Know anyone who’s missing something like this, whether by theft or some other means?

Two weeks from today: ‘Flipper Fest’ at Alki Bathhouse

May 17, 2015 at 7:02 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, Wildlife | No Comments

Just last night, a humpback whale surprised some lucky onlookers along the West Seattle shore. No photos, but we did get one when orcas made a similarly unexpected pass-by in the Wednesday mist. Just two reminders that marine mammals are all around us – and you can do a lot to help them survive their travels through these busy, also-much-used-by-humans waters. That’s the theme of a new event coming up two weeks from today, as announced by Seal Sitters, which is presenting it along with more than a dozen other organizations/groups:

Did you know that a record number of humpback and gray whales – at least 30 – were entangled in fishing gear, mostly for crabbing, in 2014?

Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network will host “Flipper Fest,” a free educational outreach event, on Sunday, May 31st, at the Alki Bathhouse (2701 Alki Ave SW) from 1-5 pm. Make sure to stop by and learn from the experts about the marine mammals of Washington – from tiny harbor-seal pups to giant humpback whales.

The event will feature 15 organizations with interactive exhibits on pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), and invertebrates (sea stars, sea snails, etc). Meet the biologists, researchers, educators, and volunteers who protect marine life.

Importantly, there will be displays on the devastating effects of marine debris and pollution in our waters. Did you know that a record number of humpback and gray whales – at least 30 – were entangled in fishing gear, mostly for crabbing, in 2014? Already, in 2015, we are on a tragic record-setting pace. As of April, at least 25 entanglements had been reported off California alone. The line securing crab traps to buoys cuts deep through a whale’s blubber, causing serious injury or death.

At Flipper Fest, you’ll learn how to secure your crab pot to lessen drifting, derelict pots that endanger whales and often entrap and kill other sea life. It’s just one of the many ways we can keep our waters safer for those who call Puget Sound home. Visit the “Marine Debris and Pollution” exhibits at Flipper Fest to find out how you can help. At the “Cetacean Station” exhibits, you can talk to Cascadia Research about their first-hand, dangerous – and, often, lifesaving – whale disentanglements over the past years. For a photo, go to our blubberblog post.

You’ll find out why you need to be extra careful exploring the beach rocks at low tide, so you don’t destroy habitat for invertebrates like hermit crabs – or accidentally scrunch them or their young. Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalists will be at the event all afternoon to answer your questions about this fascinating miniature world. You’ll leave knowing why it’s never a good idea to pick up or relocate these extraordinary critters.

Local businesses have donated some fantastic raffle prizes – everything from food to kayaking to area attractions. Whale-sized thanks to these businesses for their generosity! Tickets are $1 and will benefit Seal Sitters’ educational outreach and marine mammal stranding work. Drawings will be held at 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 (you need not be present to win). There will be a special free drawing for kids attending Flipper Fest, with a chance to win a “Share the Shore” t-shirt, seal boogie board or ocean backpack.

Kids will enjoy lots of art activities, including the creation of marine-themed artwork from plastic bottle caps collected by our volunteers. There will be a face painter and, weather permitting, a life-size inflatable orca on site.

We hope to see you and your friends there! Not only is there a lot to learn, we predict you’ll have some fun doing so and leave “Flipper Fest” empowered with ways you, too, can help protect marine life.

For more information, including a complete listing of participants, raffle prizes and weekly features on the upcoming event, visit Seal Sitters’ blubberblog.

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