West Seattle, Washington
4:07 PM: It’s on! The West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays Night Market is happening on one closed-to-traffic block of SW Alaska – between 42nd and California – until 8 pm; the “live” traffic-cam image above shows the vendors’ tents. This is meant to enhance the fun of the Junction Tree Lighting (4:45 pm-5:30 pm in Junction Plaza Park, above right). See the vendor list, and the lighting-ceremony lineup, here. More to come!
4:25 PM: Santa’s here too, by the way:
Merchants/vendors include David Groves of Seattle Logo Pro (whose shop is in Morgan Junction):
We’ll be checking with WSJA to see if they plan to do this again next year.
That’s Shandon Graybeal, proprietor of Alair (“Latin for ‘happy’,” she explains), which opened today at 3280 California SW (part of the ex-Curves space). It’s been just under two months since we reported on her plan for a “neighborhood gift shop“; late last night, she sent word the shop would open today. We took a quick look around and noted an eclectic lineup of merchandise – she calls it “girly” but we noted some things that you could give anyone – mugs, for example. Stop in and see for yourself; she’s open until 7 tonight – 10 am-7 pm will be her hours Tuesdays-Saturdays for starters, 11 am-6 pm on Sunday, closed Mondays, re-evaluating depending on how things go.
The National Weather Service is still staying relatively low-key about the possibility of snow heading our way. The current alert level is “Special Weather Statement” – read it here. Topline: Late Sunday night, early Monday, Monday night are possibilities … but that could change. The NWS updates its “forecast discussions” four times a day, so the next potentially revised outlook will be at mid-afternoon.
Haven’t had breakfast/brunch yet? Still time to get to the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle‘s 70th annual holiday-season Pancake Breakfast, on until 11 am in The Junction. The flapjacks are flying as fast as the volunteer chefs can cook them up:
It’s happening at the Masonic Center (40th SW/SW Edmunds), festively decorated for the occasion, with Scout Troop 284, Key Club, and Venture Crew 760 members volunteering…
Also – US Marines are accepting new unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots, and Santa Claus standing by for photo ops:
$10/door, kids under 10 eat free (with a paid adult), and breakfast includes juice and Husky Deli ham. (WSB is among the event’s co-sponsors.)
Long before dawn, Christmas arrived early for almost 100 local kids, thanks to about 200 volunteer Santas turning the annual Rotary Club of West Seattle Children’s Shopping Spree from plan to reality:
Cheers and high-fives as the first kids, from Arbor Heights Elem, arrive for Rotary Shopping Spree pic.twitter.com/XZITUuAXwF
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 3, 2016
First to arrive, kids from Arbor Heights Elementary, a few minutes before 7 am. The Rotarians had just finished a rousing briefing for volunteers before the first bus pulled up at Southcenter, where the Shopping Spree had to move starting in 2014, after the SODO Sears shut down.
Kids from five schools are participating this year – along with AHES, they are from Highland Park, Sanislo, and West Seattle Elementaries, and Louisa Boren STEM K-8. Each one is paired with a volunteer to share breakfast – this year, at BJ’s Restaurant – before the “spree,” which focuses on practical items like coats and shoes.
As the first group settled down to breakfast, the second arrived, from WSES, also to raucous cheers:
Second group, from West Seattle Elementary. Spree moved to Southcenter in 2014 after SODO Sears shut down. pic.twitter.com/JQz7BbuRPl
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 3, 2016
They were followed by Sanislo, STEM, and Highland Park, the last group to be greeted, as the sky just outside the mall entrance brightened to gray. Volunteers and students got to know each other as they paired off and headed to breakfast. “What grade are you in?” was the icebreaker question heard time and again.
Following breakfast, shopping time.
Here’s Arbor Heights principal Christy Collins helping supervise:
And just as that got going, we had a Santa Claus sighting:
Santa arrives at West Seattle Rotary Shopping Spree. pic.twitter.com/aqBULBk5w0
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 3, 2016
A chat and pic with St. Nick is part of the plan too:
West Seattle Rotary raises money for this each year through a variety of events including a benefit breakfast featuring a guest speaker (this year, weather analyst Cliff Mass). And the volunteer help, from within the club ranks as well as other groups around the region, is priceless. The groups/businesses participating today included:
The Shopping Spree continues on into the morning, with Santa visits and more, and memories that will last a long time – for the adults as well as the kids who are going home with much-needed gifts.
(Photo by Mark Ahlness, from the WSB Flickr group)
This is definitely one of those early-bird days! The fun starts early and lasts until late. First, from the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide:
PANCAKE BREAKFAST: 7-11 am, get your Saturday going with a hearty breakfast and a good time! Pancakes, Santa photos, and more at the West Seattle Kiwanis Club‘s annual Pancake Breakfast at the Masonic Center in The Junction – details here. (40th SW/SW Edmunds)
‘CAMPOUT FOR A CAUSE’ FOOD DRIVE: Continuing all day at the Hotwire Online Coffeehouse courtyard – details in our story from Friday night. Stop by with nonperishable food for the West Seattle Food Bank! (4410 California SW)
CAPERS times and dates are on our list.
OPEN HOUSE @ WYATT’S: Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) open house @ Westwood Village, 10 am-6 pm. “20 percent off your entire purchase at the event. Come for holiday cheer and desserts!” (2600 SW Barton)
FAUNTLEROY BAZAAR: Holiday Bazaar at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, 10 am-5 pm: “Come support the Historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse as well as more than a dozen local businesses and individuals. There will be face painting and other kid-friendly activities.” (9131 California SW)
CSWS BAZAAR: Holiday Bazaar at Community School of West Seattle, 11 am-4 pm, “features handmade gifts, treats, and toys from local artists and craftspeople.” (9450 22nd SW)
HOT CHOCOLATE SATURDAY: Open House at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse, 11 am-4 pm: “We will be playing holiday music all day. Enjoy hot chocolate or tea while sitting around our beautifully decorated tree. Still shopping? We have lots of choices under $25 & $15. Artist Katrina Lane is featured in the Art Gallery. Enjoy a walk along the Duwamish River …” (4705 W. Marginal Way SW)
ARBOR HEIGHTS BAZAAR: Arbor Heights Elementary is hosting a Winter Artisan Bazaar, 2 to 6 pm: “This will be a family-oriented community event, sure to have something for every member of the family.” (3701 SW 104th)
HOMETOWN HOLIDAYS TREE LIGHTING AND NIGHT MARKET: This is the big night in The Junction! Everyone’s invited to the West Seattle Junction Tree Lighting (4:45-5:30 pm) and Night Market (4-8 pm) at Junction Plaza Park. One block of SW Alaska will be closed between 42nd SW and California SW for the festivities. See the full lineup for both events in our preview. (42nd SW/SW Alaska)
IMPROV CELEBRATION: St. Johnʼs ‘Taproot Theater’ “Improv In a Pear Tree” Holiday Celebration at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church. “Please join us 4 pm to 7 pm in the Parish Hall. It will be a joy-full and fun evening, featuring the hilarious Taproot Theater, buffet hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer, sodas, plus the quilt raffle and a silent auction. $30/adults; $25 for seniors 70+. Raffle tickets for the beautiful quilt made by Johnnie Comeau are being sold for $1 each or 6 for $5.” (3050 California SW)
12 BARS OF CHRISTMAS Junction/Admiral pub crawl, starting at 4 pm at Elliott Bay Brewing Company and concluding at Parliament Tavern at 12:30 am – full details in our calendar listing. 21+. Here’s the lineup as of Saturday afternoon:
Stop 1: Elliott Bay Brewery Co. at 4pm
Stop 2: Beer Junction at 4:30pm
Stop 3: Puerto Vallarta at 5pm
Stop 4: Talarico’s at 5:30pm
Stop 5: Poggie Tavern 6:30pm
Stop 6: Pecado Bueno at 7:30pm
Stop 7: Maharaja at 8:00pm
Stop 8: West 5 at 9:00pm
Stop 9: Shadowland at 9:30pm
Stop 10: Prost at 10:30pm
Stop 11: Vidiot at 11:30pm
Stop 12: Parliament Tavern at 12:30am
Buy a wristband as you join the crawl – $ raised goes to local nonprofits.
Now, the non-holiday highlights for today/tonight, from our year-round WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
NEW FOOD TRUCK: El Capulin Oaxaqueño is opening this weekend behind Red Cup Espresso: “The truck is a Oaxacan-style taco truck selling tamales Oaxaqueño, tacos, and breakfast burritos. We will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 4.” (4451 California SW)
WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL: 9 am-5 pm, the Seattle Jam wheelchair-basketball tournament is in action for the first of two days at the West Seattle High School Gym. (3000 California SW)
PRESCHOOL CLOSING SALE: 9 am-4 pm, “lots of beautiful wood toys. Magnatiles. Art supplies. Puzzles. All in excellent condition.” Church basement; enter via 47th SW. (4620 SW Graham)
EXPLORER WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: 10 am-11:30 am. Looking for a school for student(s) going into 6th, 7th, or 8th grade next year? Come visit Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) this morning! Details in our calendar listing. (10015 28th SW)
MEET BUTCH VIG: From Easy Street Records – this is happening at noon: “‘The Smart Studios Story’ is screening in Seattle at the Grand Illusion! In celebration, Smart Studios producer and Garbage drummer Butch Vig is in town for the events and will be at Easy Street for a meet and greet / Q&A on December 3rd at noon. Butch will be joined by Sub Pop’s Jonathan Poneman and the film’s director, Wendy Schneider. The Smart Studios Story is touring the country in support of the recent release of the film on DVD. Event is free and all-ages!” (California/Alaska)
ANNIVERSARY OPEN HOUSE: Belli Capelli Salon is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an Open House, 3:30 pm-6:30 pm: “We couldn’t have done it without you. Please stop by.” (3902 California SW)
WEST SEATTLE MEANINGFUL MOVIES: Doors open 6:30, screenings start at 7. Double feature – “Consumerism & the Limits to Imagination” plus “The Story of Stuff.” Meet your neighbors; have meaningful discussions. At Neighborhood House’s High Point Center; more info here. (6400 Sylvan Way)
AUTHOR/EDITOR EVENT: 7 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), a doubleheader about publishing: Author Anna Redsand reads from “To Drink From the Silver Cup: From Faith Through Exile and Beyond,” and then will be joined by Ann Przyzycki, editor of literary journal Isthmus, to talk about the challenges and practicalities of publishing. (5612 California SW)
EVEN MORE … on our full calendar page!
The plaque honoring Deputy Donald A. Armeni – for whom the West Seattle boat-ramp park is named – is one of 16 on a new memorial unveiled Friday at the King County Courthouse. It honors Deputy Armeni and 15 other law enforcers from the King County Sheriff’s Office who lost their lives in the line of deputy. We covered the downtown ceremony for our partner site White Center Now, as it included a tribute to Deputy Steve Cox, the WC deputy and community leader killed exactly 10 years ago. See the WCN coverage, with video, here.
That police car with rollers going on southbound California just north of Alaska tonight was there as part of a warrant-related police operation at the Corner Pocket bar. After getting a tip, we went there and found police at the bar’s basement door; a sergeant on scene told us it was one of two West Seattle locations at which they were “coordinating” service of a warrant he described as “drug-related.” The other location, we learned, was a residence northeast of Morgan Junction. Our research into warrant and court records has not yet yielded further details; we will be following up.
You’ve probably never seen a holiday-season food drive like this one! It’s “Campout for a Cause,” happening right now in the courtyard outside Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (4410 California SW). The tent’s set up, a fire’s going, and they’re listening to the UW-Colorado football game. But the most important part is that bin you see in the foreground, to collect nonperishable food donations for the West Seattle Food Bank. Organizers, along with Hotwire, are Owen Wright from Wright Innovations & Design and Glenn Leimbacher of PromoShop. Stop by any time tonight or tomorrow and say hi! We’ll be checking back in the morning.
(WSB photo from past West Seattle Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast)
One more advance mention for tomorrow – the place you’ll want to start your busy holiday-season Saturday – the place where you’ll find Santa Claus, U.S. Marines, Scouts, and the community volunteers of the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle – the club’s annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser (with WSB among the co-sponsors)! 7 am-11 am at the Masonic Center in The Junction, drop in for a hearty breakfast and the warm feeling you’re doing a good deed. Breakfast is $8 if you buy your ticket in advance online right now, $10 at the door, kids under 10 ****eat free****. P.S. Why the Marines, you ask? Toys for Tots – bring a new, unwrapped toy if you can! Santa, of course, is there for photos.
Grab your umbrella, or pull up your rain hood, if needed and join in the last Admiral Neighborhood Association Adopt-a-Street Cleanup of the year tomorrow. ANA president Larry Wymer sends word that they’ll be out Saturday morning – meet at 9 am at Metropolitan Market (41st/42nd/Admiral; WSB sponsor) for treats and to get your (provided) tools/bags, then head on out. Afterward, you get a free sack lunch!
P.S. ANA’s next meeting is set for 7 pm Tuesday, December 13th, at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd SW/SW Lander). All welcome.
The photo is from Jeff McCord, a West Seattleite who has long worked for Nickel Bros., a company well-known for “rescuing” older houses by moving them to new locations. You probably recognize this house – 5458 California SW, headquarters of Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor), which has to move because its landlord plans to build six live-work units on the site.
After we first reported the redevelopment plan back in April, many wondered, couldn’t the 107-year-old house be saved? McCord was among those asking that question, so he investigated, and tells WSB today that his company has obtained permission to give it a try. They’re looking for someone with a lot in the West Seattle area; the price to buy it and get it moved is listed at $69,000. The house is 3 bedrooms, 1 bath – the process, McCord explains, involves moving it to an excavated site, where the buyer then puts in a foundation, and then Nickel Bros comes back and lowers the house onto it.
“It has been one of my favorite houses for a long, long time!” he adds. “We really hope to find a nearby local recipient who can ‘adopt’ the house for us to move to their lot.”
ADDED 8:59 PM: We talked tonight with Ventana co-proprietors Anne and Clarence Higuera; they are still seeking a new West Seattle location, but they still have some time, because their lease here goes through the end of July.
The list of what the city plans to show/answer questions about/take comments about at next Wednesday’s “open house” in The Junction just keeps getting longer.
After the city announced it’s expanding the December 7th event to two locations because of capacity concerns, we started collecting more information about topics beyond the biggest one, the “Mandatory Housing Affordability” rezoning we’ve been reporting on extensively lately. Here’s more on one of the newly revealed topics: The Fauntleroy Boulevard project.
When the mayor went public with his budget proposal in September, we reported that it included money to build this long-in-the-works project on Fauntleroy Way between the end of the bridge at 35th SW and the start of The Junction at SW Alaska, as also promised by the Move Seattle levy. Now that the budget has been finalized, SDOT has announced the “re-initiation” of the project, intended to “improve mobility and make the area more comfortable for people walking, biking, and driving on Fauntleroy Way SW, in addition to enhancing Fauntleroy as a gateway entrance to West Seattle.”
SDOT says the design is at 60 percent – see that plan as a PDF here – and likely to be finished next fall, with construction starting “in late 2017.” They promise “project materials” at Wednesday’s open house (5:30-7:30 pm at both Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery and Uptown Espresso, kitty-corner from each other at California/Edmunds). And project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey says SDOT plans “our own community briefings and other events specific to the project in 2017 in order to answer questions and share updates about the design.”
10:52 AM: Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail sends word of orcas in the area – southbound. More to come – we’re headed for the shore to see if anyone’s caught view of them here.
11:17 AM: Just found Donna on the west end of the Alki Beach Park promenade. She says they’re not in view yet.
The snowy Olympics were photographed earlier this week by David Hutchinson. Within a few days, we MIGHT see snow here at sea level. Right now, the National Weather Service doesn’t envision that any sooner than Sunday night – we’ll be tracking it all weekend, of course, here on your 24/7 local-news site. But first – the highlights for today/tonight. First, from the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide:
ART SALE/OPEN HOUSE… at Brace Point Pottery in Arbor Heights. 4-9 pm preview party tonight. (4208 SW 100th)
MENASHE FAMILY LIGHTS: Our photos are from last night,when the Menashe Family Lights – biggest and brightest display in West Seattle – went on for the season. They’re on nightly, starting around sunset (4:15-ish):
(5605 Beach Drive SW)
WEST SEATTLE LIGHTS + DONATION DRIVE: Music-synched West Seattle Lights, 5-10 pm tonight, is collecting cash donations through Sunday night for the family of the Tacoma police officer killed in the line of duty this week. (3908 SW Charlestown)
WEST SEATTLE YULETIDE: 5:30-10 pm, this music/light show is on too. (38th SW between Genesee and Dakota)
HUSKY DELI OPEN HOUSE: The wildly popular annual Husky Deli Holiday Open House is tonight, 6-9 pm. Taste catering items, meet vendors and taste what they have to offer. (4721 California SW)
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT AT OLG: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish & School invite you to “Light Up the Night,” with Christmas caroling, and of course, lights! Bring nonperishable food donations to fill the sleigh. 7 pm. (SW Myrtle just east of 35th SW)
DROP-IN SHOP: Drop-In Shop with Stella & Dot and Lularoe – sipping, shopping, and styling. 7 pm. Enter through the side and “follow the bling-bling lights.” (2932 Walnut SW)
And from our year-round WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
WORDS, WRITERS, WEST SEATTLE: Arleen Williams (“The Alki Trilogy”) is tonight’s featured author:
5-7 pm at Barnes and Noble/Westwood Village. (2600 SW Barton)
DENNY FUNDRAISER: Barnes & Noble/Westwood Village fundraiser continues for Denny International Middle School PTSA. Part of the proceeds will benefit Denny if you mention at checkstand – or buy via bn.com/bookfairs and enter (UPDATED NUMBER) Bookfair ID 12049292. In-store event at 5:30 pm tonight, featuring Denny’s orchestra. (2600 SW Barton)
HIGH-SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Chief Sealth International High School hosts Rainier Beach at 8:30 pm (2600 SW Thistle) … Seattle Lutheran High School is on the road, playing at Friday Harbor … West Seattle High School is on the road too, playing at Nathan Hale, 8:30 pm.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:52 AM: New trouble on the northbound 1st Avenue S. Bridge – half an hour after an early-morning crash cleared, a new one is partly blocking the right lane, according to WSDOT.
HOLIDAY EVENT REMINDERS: Tonight SW Myrtle will be closed for the block east of 35th SW during the Our Lady of Guadalupe “Light Up the Night” celebration, approximately 6-8 pm … Saturday night, the West Seattle Junction Tree Lighting and Night Market will close SW Alaska between California and 42nd SW approximately 3-9 pm (the market is 4-8 pm, tree lighting starts 4:30 pm). That means a reroute for RapidRide C Line – here’s the info from Metro.
7:09 AM: WSDOT says the 1st Avenue S. Bridge is clear again.
7:48 AM: After Kathleen pointed out on Twitter that the bus she had been waiting for never showed, Metro sent an after-the-fact alert & tweet:
Transit Alert – Rt 55 due to leave California Av SW & SW Atlantic St at 7:18 AM did not operate this morning.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) December 2, 2016
8:45 AM: No new trouble for today but a reminder that snow MIGHT be a factor for Monday’s commute, per the National Weather Service …we’ll be tracking it all weekend and if it does happen, coverage will start extra early.
The last major project on the drawing board right now in the heart of the West Seattle Junction passed its final test before the Southwest Design Review Board tonight.
The 6-story, 74-apartment mixed-use building at 4532 42nd SW is expected to be under construction starting next spring, according to the project team. Its site is between Capco Plaza (Altamira Apartments, QFC, Petco, etc.) and a single-family home; part of the site was cleared eight years ago, when a different project, under different ownership, was planned, then shelved.
Some of the final concerns voiced tonight included landscaping; some trees are to moved from the south end to the north end to enhance pedestrian safety and visibility. More visibility into the proposed retail was advised, as well as more space for sidewalk seating.
In the public-comment period, Cindi Barker called attention to the official design guidelines for the Junction area. Board members focused on a few components of those guidelines including the need for more lighting along the front of the building, and the requirements to which its signage will have to confirm. Currently the project team is looking at a blade sign around three stories in height but without interior lighting. (The project is as-yet-unnamed; what you see in the rendering above is a placeholder.) Board members requested that the sign’s colors stay consistent with the building’s look
They also were pleased to see how the north side of the building now responds to the house next door, including more of a buffer – previously a major point of contention – and more “blank wall” space facing toward it. And they suggested moving the building’s “amenities room” to the top floor to reduce noise.
You can still comment on the project until it gets final city approval; that includes comments about what are considered “environmental” aspects such as traffic, noise, parking. The assigned city planner is Joshua Johnson – email@example.com.
P.S. The “packet” used for last night’s meeting, with renderings from various angles as well as other information on the project, can be seen here.
I live on Beach Drive and had two high-end bicycles stolen from an underground, gated/lock garage shared by 11 residents where I live . The bikes were locked with a thick steel cable lock to a bench. The cable was cut clean with cutters, very professional. The theft was committed over the Thanksgiving holiday. I just noticed the theft (Wednesday). I have contacted the police and have the incident record.
One bike is a road bike, a “Softride” ROCKET. It is distinctive in that there is no seat tube and has custom “Aero: bars, for comfort. There is not another one like at all, anywhere! Dark blue with Mavic Kryserium wheels, bladed spokes. Custom risers for the aero bars.
The other is a mountain bike. The brand is a “Niner”, a hard tail bike with fenders, carbon handlebars and seat tube. The wheel sets are from “Bontrager” E.M.O.-Color black with Bontrager RXL wheels, Shimano Deore XT crankset, Bontrager carbon handlebars and seat tube.
Needless to say, these are very expensive bikes and a great loss to me. I’m 67 and these bikes were totally dialed to me and my special needs.
If you see one or both – call 911 and refer to case 2016-431160.
Two events happening right now in The Junction:
JOHN L. SCOTT GRAND OPENING: Until 9 pm, it’s the grand-opening celebration for the John L. Scott Real Estate office that is now in the former JF Henry building at 4445 California SW:
In our photo with West Seattle JLS owner Tyler McKenzie (left) and wife Marguerite Carlson (right) are the Marine Corps’ Sgt. Adriana Perez and Corporal Takalee Pierce, on hand to collect new unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots.
CLICK! POP-UP SHOP: Until 8 pm at Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW; WSB sponsor), it’s a pop-up shop with Madi May Design:
In the photo shared by Click! are Madi and Quincy, with their handmade-in-Seattle waxed canvas bags.
P.S. The next three weeks, you’re invited to The Junction for Shop Late Thursdays as part of Hometown Holidays, with many shops open until 9 pm.
(UPDATED 6:30 PM with comment from City Councilmember Lisa Herbold)
4:44 PM: A month and a half ago, during the uproar about whether camping would be allowed in city parks, Mayor Murray promised to announce four new authorized encampment sites. Since then, city staff has been reviewing locations, and has just announced three sites – including one in southeast West Seattle, part of the city-owned Myers Way Parcels. Here’s the announcement just in:
Today, the Human Services Department announced the siting of three new temporary sanctioned encampments for individuals living unsheltered in Seattle. This action is part of the Bridging the Gap plan, announced in October, to better address the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness while the City fully implements its long-term plan, Pathways Home.
Together, the following three new sanctioned encampments will serve more than 200 people starting in early 2017:
1. 1000 S Myrtle Street will contain up to 50 tiny houses serving 60-70 people.
2. 8620 Nesbit Ave N. will contain up to 50 tiny houses serving 60-70 people.
3. 9701 Myers Way S will contain up to 50 tents serving 60-70 people.
“Today’s announcement recognizes our need to provide safer alternatives to the people living unsheltered on our streets as we work to implement Pathways Home,” said Catherine Lester, Director of the Human Services Department. “We remain committed to our long-term plan to transform our homeless services system and focus our investments on getting people off the streets and into housing. In the meantime, we will continue the work of increasing our outreach efforts, implementing a more compassionate set of protocols when cleanups are necessary and offering trash and needle pickup services.”
In October, Mayor Murray announced the Bridging the Gap plan, which recognizes that the City should not displace unauthorized encampments that do not pose an imminent health or safety risk or do not unlawfully obstruct a public use, unless the City can offer those living there a safer alternative place to live. The plan reflects the principles laid out by the Task Force on Unsheltered Cleanup Protocols.
That announcement came a month after Mayor Murray announced Pathways Home, Seattle’s plan to transform our homeless services system by focusing our investments on the goal of getting people into stable housing. The plan aims to eliminate barriers to better meet the individualized needs of those experiencing homelessness, shift investments where necessary to achieve the goal of moving people into housing, and increase accountability to this goal through performance-based contracting.
The first of the authorized encampments is scheduled to open in early January.
Additional information about the Mayor’s actions to address homelessness can be found here.
There’s already an unauthorized encampment – Camp Second Chance – on part of the Myers Way Parcels (it was slated for eviction four months ago but that was shelved indefinitely). We have asked the Human Services Department to clarify if that camp is included in this plan or not. (ADDED: Spokesperson Chelsea Kellogg says this is the same site CSC is on.)
BACKSTORY: At one point, the mayor planned to sell part of the Myers Way Parcels to raise money for homelessness-related programs. Then he announced in mid-July that most of it would be kept for open-space purposes, except for a section to be used to expand the Joint Training Facility that borders it to the north.
Related to that – and immediately preceding this announcement – local advocates had learned that the site had yet to be transferred to the Parks Department, as the mayor had indicated it would be, and instead remains in the portfolio of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, which remains accountable for its maintenance. Councilmember Lisa Herbold subsequently learned of this and asked Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre about it. His reply to her: “Although the property has been committed to and designated to be transferred to SPR’s inventory, the official transfer has not yet happened. Finally, since we do not have the funds to maintain the property, FAS has agreed to continue doing so. We will update our maps listing the land-banked sites to include the Myers Way site moving forward, with the caveat that there is not yet funding available for the development of the site.” (“Land-banked” refers to sites Parks owns – such as the Morgan Junction Park expansion site and the Charlestown and 40th SW sites in West Seattle – but has not yet developed with park facilities.) How, or whether, this relates to the encampment announcement is not yet clear.
The Myers Way Parcels have had other proposed uses in the past, including, in the late 2000s, consideration as a possible site for a new city jail that ultimately wasn’t built.
ADDED 6:30 PM: From Councilmember Herbold:
Because I know Highland Park residents have expressed concerns about equity with the rest of District, I asked what criteria HSD used to select the approximately 50 sites throughout Seattle that were deemed eligible for consideration. Here is what I was told:
Urgency: The primary review focused on city-owned parcels that could be activated quickly based on site conditions and current use of the property.
Geographic distribution: They primarily focused on parcels located in different areas of the city from the 3 existing authorized encampments.
Authorized Encampment Ordinance: They prioritized sites based on how they met the requirements of the authorized encampment ordinance, including location in non-residential zones, availability of transit, minimum lot size of 5000 sf, adjacent uses, etc.
Underlying Financing: As a budgetary consideration, they evaluated the underlying ownership/financing of sites to determine the amount of required compensation for the use of the site (e.g. utility ownership or gas tax financing).
Given these criteria, they evaluated about 50 possible sites for the new authorized encampments and of those sites, 5 were located in West Seattle. I’ve asked what the other 3 sites were. One of those was the old Nickelsville site. Specifically, I’d like to be able to explain to the community what made the other two sites in West Seattle less desirable.
The Mayor’s Office has told me that they will pledge to work closely with the surrounding communities to make the Myers Way site a good home for encampment occupants and a good neighbor to the surrounding communities.
We have additional followup questions we’ll be pursuing with the city tomorrow.
Thanks to Alan for the photo – an SDOT snowplow-equipped vehicle by Riverview Playfield today. Rehearsing, perhaps? The afternoon “forecast discussion” is out and the National Weather Service is talking a little more about possible snow:
There has been very good agreement in the models that it will be about as cold as it gets aloft Sunday and Monday in an upper trough. That means at 500mb, where nobody lives, it will be -38c. But at the surface, that means that as showers move through the area, the snow level will fall to near sea level. Looking at 850mb — at first wet snow showers would probably only stick to the grass, but as you get out into Monday and Tuesday as colder air comes down the Fraser — then colder weather and a hard freeze become likely. Of course it often happens that the moisture is gone by the time the coldest air arrives. For now the forecast is light on details and light on snowfall. By the time you get out to Wednesday, the GFS suggests an overrunning snowfall that turns to rain later in the day, but the Euro is slower–holding that off til Thursday.
Bottom line, too soon to say, but snow is a distinct possibility. So this is the perfect time for getting familiarized with SDOT wintry-weather resources – all collected in this recent post. Metro‘s snow/ice info is here. (If and when wintry weather arrives, of course, we’ll deploy those resources in our 24/7 coverage too.)