TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday watch

(SDOT MAP with travel times/ Is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE/ West Seattle-relevant traffic cams HERE)

6:57 AM: Good morning! No incidents or transit alerts so far.

FERRIES: The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route is still down to 2 boats.

VIDEO: HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning finalized by City Council. What happens now?

If you just looked at the unanimous final vote, you’d never guess that the Housing and Livability Agenda‘s Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning had traveled a long and sometimes-bumpy path before final City Council approval late today. (The Seattle Channel video above shows the three-hour council meeting, including 46 minutes o public comment.)

It dates back to an advisory committee convened in 2014 that delivered its report to then-Mayor Ed Murray in 2015. What he announced at the time as Mandatory Inclusionary Housing with a promise of 20,000 “affordable homes” in 10 years morphed to Mandatory Housing Affordability with an expectation of 6,000 affordable units in 10 years. In exchange for the upzoning – which in most cases adds an extra floor – developers must create affordable units either as a specified percentage of what they build or by paying the city a fee to fund affordable-housing projects. Here’s how today’s post-vote city news release explains “affordability”:

People must income-qualify for affordable housing; for example, an individual earning less than $42,150 will pay no more than $1,128 for a one-bedroom unit, while a family of four earning less than $60,200 will pay no more than $1,353 for a two-bedroom unit.

The upzoning affects commercial and multifamily property citywide, and some single-family-zoned property in or adjacent to urban villages. You can look up how – or if – the changes would affect any specific part of the city by using this map (but be aware that it doesn’t reflect some changes that were made toward the end of the review).

Today’s votes followed speeches by most councilmembers; West Seattle/South Park’s Lisa Herbold said that while she supports MHA, she remains deeply concerned that it will cause displacement, and her separate proposal on that front is pending. Another who spoke at length was citywide Councilmember Lorena González, whose remarks included how much she enjoys living in The Junction as a dense neighborhood with good access to transit, businesses, and services.

Next step is for Mayor Jenny Durkan to sign the MHA legislation into law (the bills finalized today are linked in the council news release); she issued a statement late today saying she’ll do that before the week is out. The legislation would then become law a month later.

The citywide coalition of community groups (including five from West Seattle) that lost its appeal of MHA’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, SCALE, has issued a statement too. The group says it’s “considering appealing the inadequately considered impacts of the MHA legislation to the Growth Management Hearings Board.” (That state board is explained here.)

NEW AT HIAWATHA! Dance fitness for teens/adults, tumbling for toddlers/preschoolers

West Seattle’s historic Hiawatha Community Center wants you to know about new classes:

That’s Darja, who’s teaching a new COMMIT Dance Fitness class for ages 16 and up on Tuesday evenings – an 8-week class starting tomorrow night; call Hiawatha tomorrow to sign up, 206-684-7441. And in a couple weeks, Hiawatha’s Andrea Sisco tells us, they start tumbling classes for toddlers and preschoolers:

Tumbling (Ages 2-3) – Tuesdays, 10:00-10:45 am (Session 1: 4/2-5/7, Session 2: 5/14-6/18)

Tumbling (Ages 4-5) – Tuesdays, 11:00-10:45 am (Session 1: 4/2-5/7, Session 2: 5/14-6/18)

Let’s tumble! Come join our experience and encouraging teachers and learn how to roll, tumble, balance, and explore movement. Your child will improve their self-confidence, body awareness, and learn a few gymnastics skills while having fun in a safe, positive environment.

You can sign up online by going here.

SPRING EQUINOX: Celebrate the change of seasons Wednesday

(March 2018 photo by Leda Costa for WSB)

If the forecast holds, the sun might grace West Seattle’s most famous change-of-seasons tradition on Wednesday: Alice Enevoldsen‘s sunset watch. The spring-equinox moment is 2:58 pm our time Wednesday afternoon; four hours later, shortly after 7 pm, you can join Alice in watching the first sunset of spring at West Seattle’s Solstice Park (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW). This is Alice’s 40th change-of-seasons sunset watch, part of her community service as a volunteer NASA Solar System Ambassador. We’ve covered most of her events and no two have been the same – but you can always expect to at least learn a bit and laugh a bit. She’ll be there around 6:30 pm; the sunset is shortly after 7 pm. (Full moon, too, as noted in the astronomical info that accompanies Alice’s announcement.)

DEVELOPMENT: 3084 SW Avalon Way, 2000-2050 SW Orchard designs

Two West Seattle projects that are going through Administrative Design Review – seeking your comments, but without board meetings – now have design packets available for viewing:

3084 SW AVALON WAY: This 35-microapartment, no-offstreet-parking project is going through a second round of the final (“recommendation”) phase of Administrative Design Review. Here’s the packet.

It notes that the design has been changed somewhat to respond to the townhouse project to the north, which the same design firm, Cone Architecture, is handling, as well as to a variety of critiques offered by city staff in previous phases. Some of those are focused on the transition between the project and the neighborhood behind it. If you have comments, email the assigned city planner at joseph.hurley@seattle.gov.

2000-2050 SW ORCHARD: This 18-townhouse, 18-offstreet-parking-space project is in the Early Design Guidance phase of Design Review. Rowhouse-style buildings are the “preferred alternative” of the size/shape options proposed by B9 Architects:

Here’s the packet for half of the site. The official review notice hasn’t been published yet so this is basically a preview. You can email comments to the assigned planner at sean.conrad@seattle.gov.

WEST SEATTLE SUMMER FEST 2019: Info session this week!


(West Seattle Summer Fest photo by Leda Costa for WSB, 2017)

With warm, sunny weather making a guest appearance, spring and summer are on many a mind. If you’re thinking as far ahead as West Seattle Summer Fest – only four months away – this Wednesday afternoon gathering might be of interest. Received from the West Seattle Junction Association, which presents Summer Fest:

If you’re an artist, crafter, interested in Vintage Alley, or have questions about vending at Summer Fest, we’re holding an info sesh on Wednesday, March 20th, 2 pm at the Junction Windermere. Join the Junction as we answer your vendor questions about the biggest festival of the year. If you’re new to festivals or would like additional information about Summer Fest, join us as we answer your top FAQ’s.

The meeting location is 4526 California Ave SW.

FOLLOWUP: Your earlier and later chances to swim at Colman Pool this season

Though the sign on the door says Memorial Day weekend, Colman Pool – West Seattle’s only city-run outdoor pool – will actually open two weeks earlier this year! You might recall our coverage last fall of local swimmers’ campaign to expand the pool’s all-too-short season. In the city-budget process, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold got the Seattle Parks budget to cover four extra weekends. After passing the pool while walking the Lincoln Park shoreline today, we checked to see if this year’s schedule indeed reflects that change – despite the sign on the door – and it does, with two extra weekends in the pre-season and two more in the post-season. As you can see here, the pool – which previously opened for pre-season weekends on Memorial Day weekend – will start operations the weekend of May 11-12 and end with the weekend of September 21-22. Its 7-day-a-week season is still just two and a half months (June 22-September 2 this year); here’s the full 2019 brochure (PDF), including information about fees, lessons, and rentals.

SCAM ALERT: 9 things you can do to avoid being taken at tax time

Four weeks to tax-return deadline, so this alert from Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner is timely:

Tax season is in full swing- and during this time we often see an increase in tax fraud and various forms of scams. In order to combat this, the SW Precinct would like to provide our community with some helpful prevention information about these scams, as well as the most effective way to report them! Certain subsets of the population are more vulnerable to these types of scams- but everyone can help protect themselves by keeping the following ten practical suggestions in mind, provided by the Federal Trade Commission:

1. Spot imposters- scammers will often try to disguise themselves as someone you trust (such as a government official, family member or charitable organization). Never send money or give our personal information in response to an unexpected request.

2. Do online searches- try typing in the company or product name into a search engine with key words like ‘review’, ‘complaint’ or ‘scam’. You can also look up phone numbers to check on their validity.

3. Do not believe caller ID and hang up on robocalls- technology makes it simple for scammers to fake a caller ID. If you receive a call asking for personal information or money, hang up. If you feel the caller is legitimate- try calling back a number, you know is genuine for that person or company. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report this to the Federal Trade Commission and/or to local police. These calls are illegal and are often fake. Do not follow prompts, just hang up.

4. Do not pay upfront for a promise- scammers may try to ask you to pay up front for debt relief, loan offers, mortgage assistance or a job (such as handy work or lawn maintenance).

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Man shot in bar bathroom

Thanks for the tip about an early-morning emergency response at the Tug Inn. We followed up with SPD and SFD and here’s what they tell us: SFD medics took a 59-year-old man to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition with a gunshot wound. The full report isn’t available yet but SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson says the early details show police were called to the bar just before 12:30 am after a gunshot was heard in a restroom. That’s where they found the victim. Officers found a shell casing in the bathroom but not the gun. They don’t have information about the circumstances except to say they believe someone else was in the restroom with the victim at the time but left before police arrived, and there’s no description.

BIZNOTE: Happy 30th, Luna Park Café!

(Photo courtesy Luna Park Café)

Luna Park Café is celebrating its 30th anniversary today. Though the café says its “big bash” will be in the summertime, nonetheless it’s “happy to be a landmark business of West Seattle” and invites you to stop by and celebrate with specials including a Birthday Cake Shake that they’ll be offering for the rest of the month. The café’s announcement shared with WSB has words of gratitude for customers, too: “The local support throughout the years has been amazing!” If you’re new and haven’t been there yet, LPC is at 2918 SW Avalon Way, just south of the West Seattle Bridge. P.S. The building and area have even more decades of history, as the café website explains.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Last Monday of winter

(SDOT MAP with travel times/ Is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE/ West Seattle-relevant traffic cams HERE)

6:55 AM: Good morning! Spring arrives Wednesday, but spring-like weather is here ahead of schedule. Meantime, no incidents to report so far this morning.

FERRY ALERT: From Washington State Ferries:

The Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route will be reduced to 2-boat schedule to start the week due to unplanned vessel maintenance. Needed motor repairs to the Kaleetan, having one-third of the fleet undergoing maintenance, and the lack of a backup boat in the system necessitates leaving two vessels on the route. Crews are working to return a boat back to service as soon as possible, but the changes could remain in place until Saturday, March 23. The effects of the two-boat schedule should be lessened compared to two weeks ago. Two 124-vehicle capacity ferries will be on the route, versus having the smaller Sealth.

WATER-TAXI PARKING ALERT: Carolyn says at least 15 Harbor Avenue SW parking spots are off-limits with “no parking” signs this week.

Where should Delridge’s light-rail station be? Sound Transit ‘community workshop’ tackles the topic

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

First stop, Delridge.

When Sound Transit light rail arrives in West Seattle – projected start date, 2030 – after the trains cross the Duwamish River on a new bridge, that’s where the easternmost of three planned stations will be. And that was the topic of this past Tuesday’s “community workshop” at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, which might end up adjacent to the station if the southernmost proposed site is chosen.

As is standard for Sound Transit’s meetings, this one began with a lengthy slide-deck-accompanied presentation that plowed through the highlights of the yearlong planning process that is almost to a key destination – the decision about which route(s) and station locations will get full environmental study.

The ST board has the final say; one of its members, County Councilmember Joe McDermott of West Seattle, spoke briefly at the event’s start and underscored that “historic decisions” are ahead. He reminded the 100 or so attendees – including a sizable number of ST employees/consultants assigned as table-minders – that he and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, also there, had sent ST CEO Peter Rogoff a letter calling for a closer look at Delridge station concerns. Here’s the letter, dated late January; hosting this workshop was one response to it. McDermott says they want to be certain that light rail and its transit connections will “serve everybody in the Delridge Valley.”

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West Seattle weekend scene: Filthy FemCorps in The Junction

That’s the Filthy FemCorps at Easy Street Records this afternoon, guest conducted by Maurice the Leprechaun (who you might know from his Christmastime gig at ESR). We just happened onto all this – while driving through The Junction earlier this evening, we saw the FFC playing on the KeyBank corner. By the time we parked and walked over, they were just wrapping up (here’s our tweet with a short burst of video), but we followed them into ESR, where they posed with Maurice.

If you think you’ve heard/seen the FFC before, you might be flashing back on last year’s HONK! Fest West in White Center. Coincidentally, we learned at this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting (and reported on partner site White Center Now) that HONK! is returning to WC on June 1st. So mark your calendar. You just might see the Filthy FemCorps there.

Checking in with Westside School’s first-year leader Steve de Beer

The Grammy-winning Okee Dokee Brothers played at Westside School (WSB sponsor) this weekend, part of the independent school’s ongoing partnership with Town Hall Seattle. Opening its doors ever-wider as a community hub is one of the school’s goals under its first-year head of school Steve de Beer. We sat down to chat with him this week. While it’s his first year at Westside, the school is already in its fourth year on its Arbor Heights campus, remodeled from its previous incarnation as a church. Moving here last summer after seven years at Friends School in Boulder, Colorado, de Beer is leading Westside through continued growth. He notes that Westside has doubled the size of its middle-school math faculty, with math contests and robotics enhancing the curriculum, part of “being an excellent independent school” in his view. The school also has added its first full-time counselor. Students have a new turf field – added last year – to play on. And Westside is looking at the possibility of more space for preschool: The neighboring New Apostolic Church recently moved its congregation to a new “Puget Sound Metro” site in Federal Way, and approached Westside to see if they might be interested in renting the space. The discussion is in a very early stage, de Beer stressed, with exploratory filings on record with the city. Earlier this decade, Westside expanded to add middle school. Meantime, the next step in the school’s community-hub plans is on March 28th, when Westside will host the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s monthly After Hours gathering. “Lots of good energy” at the school, de Beer summarizes.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen baseball gear

Emily is hoping her son’s stolen baseball gear might turn up somewhere. Her report:

We had our car broken into last night while parked on 54th (off Genesee). Stolen was a pair of sunglasses and a black Northface jacket but the big loss was they stole my 10-year-old son’s baseball bag … If by chance the thief decided to toss the bag and gear, we would love for people to keep eyes open on Genesee while walking and if found, a reward will be given.

We asked Emily for details on the gear in the bag: “The bag was an Easton bag and it in were an Easton Ghost X bat, black batting helmet with a D logo on front, a Wilson size 12 mitt, some accessories and a team hoodie with (surname starting with G) on the back.” Still awaiting the SPD incident number; the temporary number provided with filing was T19003684.

West Seattle weekend scene: St. Patrick’s Day green stripe

Every year, we check on St. Patrick’s Day to see if the mysterious green stripe on 41st SW north of Admiral Way has been freshened … and today, there it was, with a few shamrocks/4-leaf clovers along the way, stretching a few blocks north.

YOU’RE INVITED: 6th annual Niksokowaaks Pow Wow in Highland Park

Everyone’s invited Friday (March 22nd) to Highland Park Elementary for the sixth annual community Niksokowaaks Pow Wow! Here’s the announcement sent by Asha:

This is a free public event, all are welcome. Grand entry will be at 7 pm. There will be food and craft vendors.

This Pow Wow began when we saw a need in the community to help support the Native youth. Many children in our area are Native foster children or “urban” Native children. Many of them not knowing their culture or feeling the need to connect further with it. This Pow Wow allows them to dance, sing and further connect with the Native traditions. It also brings our community together to share in this celebration!

Date: Friday, March 22nd
Time: 6-10 pm
Location: Highland Park Elementary
1012 SW Trenton

Head dancers: This year we are honored to be represented by nine-year-old jingle dancer Bria Calhoun (Chumash, Esselen-Rumsen) and ten-year-old chicken dancer Weston Sam (Upper Skagit, Blackfeet).

The name Niksokowaaks was given to this pow wow by Blackfeet elder Myna “Molly” Bullshoe six years ago. It means all my children, all my relatives.

The event flyer, shown above, is also available in PDF, here.

What’s up for your West Seattle Sunday!

(Surfbirds, photographed at Constellation Park by Mark Wangerin)

Welcome to an almost-spring Sunday! From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, here are the highlights:

VOLUNTEER ON PUGET PARK TRAILS: As previewed here, your help with these trails would be appreciated! Meet at 19th/Dawson, 9 am.

VOLUNTEER IN LINCOLN PARK’S FOREST: 9-noon, the “fabulous and fun” Friends of Lincoln Park welcome your help in forest restoration. Meet at the Fauntleroy/Rose kiosk. Full details here.

WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: 10 am-2 pm in the street in the heart of The Junction. (California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska)

LAST DAY FOR GIRL SCOUT COOKIES: This is it! Find your nearest cookie booth here. And if you are going to be anywhere near Burien, here’s a special place to stop noon-2 pm where you can support scouts from Mary’s Place.

JAMTIME: 1-4 pm music at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). No cover. All ages. (5612 California SW)

REDUCE HATE: Learn how to do that by being part of Anti-Hate Alaska Junction‘s Bystander Intervention Workshop, 2-4 pm at Admiral Congregational Church. (4320 SW Hill)

PRESERVING HISTORIC BUILDINGS: Learn how! 2-4 pm at West Seattle (Admiral) Library. (2306 42nd SW)

‘JOHN’ MATINEE: 3 pm curtain for the current play at ArtsWest – check here for tickets. (4711 California SW)

SKYLARK ART MART: Music and shopping at The Skylark, 3-7 pm. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

SEATTLE SWING DANCE CLUB: 4-9:30 pm at the Masonic Center in The Junction, lessons and social dancing with the Seattle Swing Dance Club – see the schedule here. (4736 40th SW)

DRUNKEN OWL THEATER: St. Patrick’s Day edition at Parliament Tavern, 7 pm. No cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

TRIANGULAR JAZZTET: Live music at The Alley, 7-9 pm. 21+. (4509 California SW)

AS USUAL,THERE’S MORE … on our complete calendar.

Seen off West Seattle: Headed home

Thanks to Jim Borrow for the photo. That’s the Zhen Hua 31 headed north in Puget Sound on Saturday evening. You might not recognize it without the high-profile cargo – it was last seen passing West Seattle (twice!) a week and a half ago, carrying four huge cranes bound for the Port of Tacoma. They were unloaded this past week and now the heavy-lift ship is headed back to China – in the Strait of Juan de Fuca headed for the open Pacific as we get ready to publish this early Sunday.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Mailbox prowler

Make sure nothing’s left in your mailbox overnight; Jay sent this porch-camera clip as a reminder: “Our doorbell camera caught this mail prowler at 6:30 this morning in the North Admiral area (California & Atlantic). Just thought I’d spread the word!”

BASKETBALL: All-West Seattle championship game for middle-school girls’ title

(WSB photos)

From 1990s Chief Sealth superstar Sheila Lambert to the 2010s West Seattle HS team that’s been to state three of the past four years, girls’ basketball is an ever-stronger sport on the peninsula. And today was the latest proof – an all-West Seattle championship game at the Seattle Public Schools middle-school girls’ playoffs. Madison Middle School took the trophy in a hard-fought game with the defending champions from Denny International Middle School, 30-22.

The Denny gym, where the playoffs lasted all day, saw a great turnout of proud parents on both sides for the big game late this afternoon.

Congratulations to both schools! Madison’s head coach is Mary Roper; Denny’s is Joe Espinoza. (And we noted coaches from the local high-school teams on hand, no doubt to observe potential future players in action!)

SUNDAY: Puget Park trails need you!

(File photo – trail in Puget Park)

Sunny and warm-ish weather is forecast for tomorrow. Here’s a great way to start your Sunday! The announcement was sent by Colin:

Come join us to improve the Puget Park trail, this Sunday, March 17th from 9-noon.

Community support is needed to continue Puget Park trail improvements. Several neighbors have come together to lead this Puget Ridge family-friendly community event. Please stop by and give whatever time you have, every little bits helps, even just swing by to say “thank you”. Our presence and participation at this event demonstrates to Seattle Parks that we care and appreciate improvements they are making to the parks in our neighborhood.

We plan to have a series of trails project throughout the spring and summer. Below is our work party calendar.

March 17th Spring kickoff
April 7th Volunteer days
May 5th Join hands day
June 1st National trail day This one is on Saturday
June 23rd Seattle work day
August 18th
September 15th
October 6th Fall Planting Party

Meet the group at the park entrance, 19th/Dawson.

FOLLOWUP: 28th/Andover RVs disappear, Harbor Avenue RVs reappear

A couple people have asked about the sudden absence of RVs on 28th SW and SW Andover in the West Seattle Health Club vicinity. We had been checking into that since seeing this on Thursday afternoon:

The RV was being towed westbound on Yancy, turning northbound on Avalon, one block west of the longtime parking area near WSHC. So we continued eastbound for a look: None on 28th, the area about which WSHC’s Dan Lehr had voiced the most concern when we talked with him a few weeks ago; one on SW Andover (whose owner is apparently a nearby housed resident, not using the vehicle as a residence). Just a few days ago, we had noted 10 in the area. The disappearance of RVs there led us to wonder about another area long popular for RV parking, Harbor Avenue; we subsequently found that stretch, where as few as three were parked in recent days, was up to 10.

Whether any of those were the same ones that had left 28th/Andover, we don’t know. But we wondered whether the Thursday tow had been part of an official “sweep,” so we took that question to Will Lemke, spokesperson for the city’s homelessness-response efforts. His reply:

It is my understanding an RV was towed in the area (Thursday), but it was not through the RV Remediation Pilot or an organized SPD event. SW CPT had tagged the area and the RV occupant ordered a private tow in order to comply with the 72hr law. I believe the vehicle did not run and was towed by the occupant to a repair shop.

SW CPT would be a reference to the Southwest Precinct Community Police Team. We went through both the 28th/Andover and Harbor Avenue areas again today before writing this and the numbers were the same in the respective areas as we’d noted on Thursday.