PHOTOS/VIDEO: West Seattle Junction fills with sea of protesters affirming ‘Black Lives Matter!’

Story by Tracy Record
Photos/video by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

One of the students who organized this afternoon’s massive protest in the West Seattle Junction told the crowd they weren’t sure anyone would show up.

Someone did. Four digits worth of someones.

(Aerial photo courtesy Paul Weatherman)
And they showed up early. Groups marched from Admiral and Morgan Junction, and by the time they arrived, a crowd was already filling Walk-All-Ways at California/Alaska, chanting and cheering. A cheer went up as the Admiral marchers arrived, hundreds strong:

Though there were speakers and even live music – with the roof of Easy Street Records proprietor Matt Vaughan‘s iconic black van turned into a stage – some of the most powerful moments were in the early going, as the crowd chanted – and filled the street with their prone bodies.

The most powerful speaker was the youngest – Louisa Boren STEM K-8 student Erica – with an impassioned poetry reading:

Earlier, the first speaker was entrepreneur Donald Watts, who spoke of family members – including his dad, Seattle SuperSonics legend Slick Watts, and his grandma in Mississippi, who he said would not believe today’s amazing turnout, so he took a photo to show her. He said it’s time for change, and he vowed that he would too, saying he had failed to speak out in the past when he was a target of racism, but would never let it go unchallenged again. “Figure out where your role is, to make a difference, put it in your heart, put it in action.”

Rain fell as Watts spoke; then the sun returned as he concluded, and the weather remained favorable for the rest of the event. Other speakers included Chris Porter, a longtime local activist and health-care professional. His theme: “Enough is enough,” as he called out a list of inequities.

He said he wants a world where “when my son leaves the house, I don’t have to hold my breath.” But, to remind everyone of what happened as George Floyd died in Minneapolis less than 2 weeks ago, he asked protesters to be silent and try holding their breath for 2 minutes – just a quarter of the time Mr. Floyd spent held down by a police officer. After half a minute or so, from scattered pockets of the crowd, people called out: “I can’t breathe … I can’t breathe.”

Another speaker drew some chants of dissent from around the crowd – King County Executive Dow Constantine, the only elected official to take the mic:

He spoke of reform, and led a round of “Say Their Names,” but voices could be heard yelling “No Youth Jail” – Constantine has been long criticized by activists opposed to the county’s new $200+ million juvenile-justice facility, which includes detention.

Another rebuke to the system: A short time later, as Ayron Jones played the Star-Spangled Banner on his guitar, the thousand-plus protesters dropped to their knees:

Before long, after more than two hours had elapsed since the early start, the protest ended – still peaceful, no confrontations (police were present at the perimeters, mostly to keep traffic away from the people-filled streets), as had been the case with the half-dozen smaller West Seattle demonstrations we have covered this past week.

So – what now?

Everyone will have to answer that in their own way, to back up their words with deeds. As for protests – so far we’ve heard of one more in West Seattle, a student-organized protest at WSHS at noon Monday.

P.S. Words of thanks from today’s organizers are here.

(This was our third and final report on today’s event. Earlier, we published as-it-happened notes and a look at some of the signs.)

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Food truck break-in

Thanks for the tips/photos. The El Camion food truck has been missing from its longtime spot in Fauntleroy for two nights, with this sign left in its place:

We’ll working to follow up both with the truck operators and police.

JUNCTION PROTEST: Report #2 – the signs

So many sentiments – from demands, declarations, and denunciations, to lamentations and affirmations – filled the hundreds of handmade signs waved at today’s huge protest in The Junction. Here’s a sample.

The next four photos were sent by Holli Margell:

The next two were sent by Vy Duong and Evan Hilgenberg:

Our detailed report on the full event, with video, is still in the works.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Two crashes on 35th SW

That’s one of two crashes this past half-hour on 35th SW – no major injuries reported in either. This one’s at 35th/Thistle, with a driver going up onto the sidewalk and damaging the pole on the northwest corner. A few blocks north, a 3-car collision at 35th/Holden was being addressed by police on the west (southbound) side of the street.

UPDATE: Huge protest in The Junction, report #1

12:58 PM: As previewed earlier, two groups of marchers are headed along California SW to join the 2 pm protest in The Junction – one from Morgan (more than 100 in our estimation) and one from Admiral.

More coverage to come.

1:20 PM: Already hundreds here at Walk All Ways. Follow the WSB Twitter account for updates. California/Alaska is blocked with protesters kneeling and lying down.

1:30 PM: After the arrival of Admiral marchers, the streets are full. (Added – aerial view from Paul Weatherman:)

1:54 PM: It’s raining. The crowd is listening to Donald Watts speak:

2:11 PM: Chris Porter speaks now. He leads the crowd in an attempt to hold their breath for 2 minutes. “Enough is enough” is his theme.

2:44 PM: The streets are still full. Students have spoken. So has King County Executive Dow Constantine, saying he’s never seen anything like this.

2:51 PM: Speakers are done; now musician Ayron Jones is performing.

The crowd has shrunk a bit around the edges but is still filling the heart of The Junction. Totally peaceful, by the way. (Added, another side note: The “stage” is Easy Street proprietor Matt Vaughan‘s iconic van.)

3:01 PM: The crowd knelt as Jones played the anthem:

3:22 PM: Finally able to add a few visuals here, pending full coverage later. Protest just wrapping up. It’ll take a while for the street to clear,though. One final view – as we arrived, Desmond Hansen was painting this by Jefferson Square:

3:44 PM: Traffic cam at California/Alaska shows most have cleared:

MUCH more to come in report #2 – this was just a bare-bones series of notes.

VIDEO/PHOTOS: ‘Peace Peloton’ ride from Alki

12:56 PM: Thanks to Lynn Hall for the view from above – those are some of the Peace Peloton riders who left Alki a short time ago. More coverage later.

ADDED 6:15 PM: A few more photos:

Organizer Reginald “Doc” Wilson led the 15-mile ride to the Northwest African American Museum, “in protest of the injustices endured by black, brown, disenfranchised, and underrepresented populations in our city”:

He says he’ll organize other rides this summer. Hundreds showed up today to join this one:

We recorded video as they headed out and will add that when it’s ready. (Added -here it is:)

CELEBRATION: Rev. Sia Puloka’s former co-workers honor ‘ambassador of loving kindness’ with a parade

You might know Rev. Sia Puloka for her work at Seaview United Methodist Church. But she just retired from a 20+-year secular career – and co-workers had a car parade past her church today in her honor.

Sia Puloka worked for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, in front desk reception, where she was described as the office’s “ambassador of loving kindness.”

Chief deputy prosecutor Daniel Clark described her work in a farewell memo: “Sia’s service to the PAO has been extraordinary. She was hired in the Civil Division in 1996 and transferred to the front desk reception in the Criminal Division in 2006. Many people have done that job – with competence and grace. It is not easy. So many challenging people show up and the volume of work can be overwhelming. Sia took that front-line role and transformed it. She gave comfort to those who visited, strength and caring to her colleagues, and in every way made our office a more compassionate, loving place. And, after work she walked across the street and offered counseling and healing to the inmates in the King County Jail.”

About 30 cars were part of today’s parade past the church (46th/Graham). One of the gifts for her: A file box full of chocolate kisses, as co-workers expressed regret they weren’t able to offer real kisses and hugs in farewell.

She told her former co-workers that the office was like a family to her.

The memo announcing her retirement said that feeling was mutual: “Sia asked about your family members, held both of your hands to wish you well, and gave a hearty ‘RIGHT ON!’ to people passing by.” She got one of those in return today:

Also presented: Flowers and cards. Church members and relatives served her coffee and donuts, too. The farewell memo concluded, “She is a beautiful soul and presence that is going to be deeply missed.”

P.S. One more tribute to Rev. Puloka – an online donation drive to Food Lifeline, in her honor. Anybody can donate – go here.

West Seattle Transportation Coalition sails into discussion of ferries, Water Taxi role in bridge crisis

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

What role might boats play in the West Seattle Bridge crisis?

That was the major theme as the West Seattle Transportation Coalition met by teleconference and phone last week, with guests speaking on behalf of the two waterborne transportation systems that already serve West Seattle.

You can watch the archived video of the meeting here; below, our report:

WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES: Government-relations director John Vezina and communicator Hadley Rodero were the guests. They addressed some points that have come up repeatedly in West Seattle Bridge-related discussion:

*Does/did traffic from ferries help clog the bridge? This slide addressed that:

Read More

HAPPENING TODAY: Bike ride, marches, protest as West Seattle fights for justice, against racism

In the past week, we’ve covered seven peaceful protests in West Seattle, as people here join the call for a more just, equitable country, Today, there are more:

BICYCLE RIDE: Leaving from Alki Bathhouse (60th/Alki) at noon:

Rain or shine; more info here.

JUNCTION PROTEST, AND 2 WAYS TO MARCH TO IT: One group is gathering by Beveridge Place Pub (6413 California SW) at 12:30 pm to walk/march to the 2 pm protest, and another group is gathering at Anytime Fitness (California & College) at 12:30 pm to do the same thing. Or, you can go directly to California/Alaska to participate at 2 pm. The Junction protest is organized by local students:

All organizers remind those who choose to participate – wear your face covering and bring your hand sanitizer! Any other events today or beyond (our ongoing list also has a Monday protest), please let us know!

CORONAVIRUS: Friday 6/5 roundup

Some local businesses are reopening for in-person customer service, and that’s the big news as we start this roundup, exactly 14 weeks after news of King County’s first confirmed COVID-19 case:

‘MODIFIED PHASE 1’ BEGINS: At midmorning, King County announced the news that so many businesses – and customers – had been waiting to hear: The state had approved the application to move to “modified Phase 1,” just two days after it was filed. The changes took effect immediately, so businesses have been busy announcing they’re open – or deciding on their next step.

ALSO MOVING ON: Other decisions announced today included neighboring Pierce and Snohomish Counties moving into full-fledged Phase 2.

BUT REMEMBER … this key section from the “Safe Start” plan:

Until there is an efective vaccine, efective treatment or herd immunity, it is crucial to maintain some level of community interventions to suppress the spread of COVID-19 throughout all phases of recovery. This includes heightened protections for the health and safety of workers in essential sectors, people living and working in high-risk facilities (e.g., senior care facilities) and all other workers.

All Washingtonians have a responsibility to protect themselves and others. Each phase, while allowing for additional services to open and return to full capacity, is grounded in the following required basic practices:

Guidance for Individuals
All phases – Individuals should continue to:
• Engage in physical distancing, staying at least six feet away from other people
• Wear cloth face coverings in public places when not eating or drinking (cloth face coverings should not
be placed on children younger than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious,
incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance)
• Stay home if sick
• Avoid others who are sick
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water (use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available)
• Cover coughs and sneezes
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Disinfect surfaces and objects regularly

NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Public Health daily-summary dashboard:

*8,396 people have tested positive, up 63 from yesterday

*566 people have died, up 2 from yesterday

One week ago, those totals were 8,006 and 554.

STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.

WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: See them – nation by nation – here.

WASH BUT DON’T WASTE: After three months of frequent hand washing, has your water bill gone up? Seattle Public Utilities has conservation tips.

VIRTUAL ART SHOW: Art has helped many people cope with the uncertainty of the past few months – murals, windows, sidewalk chalk. Seattle Public Schools‘ annual Naramore art show had to be held virtually this year because of the virus crisis – you can see all the students’ work, and watch a video version, by going here.

GOT INFO? westseattleblog@gmail.com or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!

REOPENING SATURDAY: Thunder Road Guitars and The Bass Shop, expanded

Now that retailers have the go-ahead to let some customers shop in person, you’re invited to the expanded space of Thunder Road Guitars and The Bass Shop (6400 California SW) starting tomorrow (Saturday, June 6th). You might recall that TRG proprietor Frank Gross bought the building last year and planned to eventually expand into the entire space; now that work is done. This video made for TRG and TBS by Ryan Cory gives you a closer look:

More room to shop means more room to shop safely as they reopen – Frank says they’re excited for you to come see the shop! But wear your face covering -he’s all set with his:

Hours are 10 am-6 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays.

P.S. The Wash Dog, previous tenant on the north side of the building, is now at 10623 16th SW in White Center.

PROTESTS: Along West Seattle intersections this afternoon, and reminders about tomorrow

More peaceful West Seattle protests this afternoon along local streets – first, near Highland Park Improvement Club at 12th/Holden:

(First 5 photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)

Not far away, Hate-Free Delridge was also back a 16th/Holden for the second time in three days. And at 8th/Roxbury:

Many honks of support, but our photographer saw one driver yelling that the protestters should “go home.” Brandon said something similar happened at a gathering in Upper Fauntleroy:

Earlier today, health-care providers knelt outside local facilities for a demonstration dubbed “White Coats for Black Lives.”

SATURDAY: We’re continuing to update this list. There’s now a noon bicycle ride from Alki, and two separate marches from north and south at ~12:30 pm to join the 2 pm Junction protest. Anything else this weekend or beyond? Please let us know – thank you!

WEST SEATTLE RESTAURANTS: Reopening begins (beverage businesses too!)

As reported here this morning, King County is now in “modified Phase 1” and that means some businesses can reopen if they choose to – including restaurants, who can have some indoor and outdoor table service. Here’s who we’ve heard from/about so far:

LUNA PARK CAFE: Open! (2918 SW Avalon Way)

SEATTLE FISH COMPANY: Open! (4435 California SW)

BOX BAR: Planning to open Saturday: “The Box Bar will be open for indoor dining at 25% capacity (15 guests) starting tomorrow Sat 6/6 from 4 PM-10 PM. Hours moving forward are subject to change so please check the website boxbarseattle.com” (California/Brandon)

OUNCES: “We’ve reopened our outdoor. We are following phase 1.5 guidelines from the state: no indoor seating, operating at 50% outdoor capacity, wearing a mask requested when inside the taproom, seating is spaced 6ft apart, no more than 5 people per table…etc. We are also asking customers to practice social distancing and help us by sanitizing their space before and after use (spray bottle supplied). We will continue our pickup and delivery options, expanded hours, and our food truck schedule can be found on our website www.ounceswestseattle.com.” (3809 Delridge Way SW)

MIOPOSTO: Planning to open Wednesday (6/10), with this brand-new patio as well as indoor dining:

“Updated hours are 11:30 am-10 pm. Brunch and lunch are served daily until 3 pm. Daily happy hour 4 pm-6 pm (dine-in only). Guests can still order for curbside pickup via our online ordering website.” (2139 California SW)

ADDED SATURDAY

UPTOWN ESPRESSO: Both West Seattle locations (California/Edmunds, Delridge/Andover) reopened today, “for indoor seating at 25% and outdoor seating at 50%. Indoor seating will have an hour limit and 5 people MAX per table.”

CHACO CANYON CAFE: Open, 10 am-5 pm daily. (37th/Alaska)

LOCOL BARLEY AND VINE: Now “open 7 days a week from 4-8 now. Our patio is open, dine-in seating is available, and we still offer everything to go as well.” (35th/Kenyon)

We’ll keep adding as we hear more!

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Stolen red Subaru Legacy

From Rebecca in Gatewood: “Early this morning, a red 1995 Subaru Legacy wagon with roof rack, license plate number BFP-5944, was stolen. Parked on street in front of residence. No broken glass, so most likely a shaved key was used. Car owner had a club on the steering wheel but that did not deter thieves. This theft has been reported to the police. If you see it please contact the police – Case #20-181934.” (Call 911 if you see this or any other known stolen car.)

PROTESTS: West Seattle sign-making event, organized by students

(WSB photos)

Planning to participate in upcoming protests? You’re invited to join the group making signs at Walt Hundley Playfield (34th and Myrtle) right now, materials provided.

Above are organizers Taylor and Celia, both high-school seniors. They’re expecting to be there until 6 pm – please wear a face covering and keep your distance!

P.S. Our ongoing list of local protests in the days ahead is here.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE NOW: Community coalition launches website, video

The advocacy group West Seattle Bridge Now – which we first told you about in April – has expanded its online presence. It now has a website at wsbridgenow.com, and it’s produced a short video to emphasize the bridge’s importance to the community:

The announcement is from WSBN’s Kevin Broveleit:

West Seattle Bridge Now is launching a website to keep the community connected to the latest information on solutions to the closure of the bridge. The group plans to grow the website into a comprehensive resource with project updates, event calendars and most importantly how to get involved and make your voice heard in the planning process. On the site you can sign up for email updates, and follow West Seattle Bridge Now on social media.

Broveleit tells WSB that among other things, the group is getting weekly briefings from SDOT’s bridge-project leader Heather Marx. WSBN also has representation on the city’s new Community Task Force, which will meet for the first time next Wednesday.

P.S. In case you’ve lost track with everything else that’s been happening, the most-recent major development is the city’s search for a design team in case the bridge needs to be replaced – here’s our report from Tuesday.

OPEN AGAIN: West Seattle Runner, with extra safety measures

The first of many reopening announcements, with this morning’s news that King County got the state OK to move immediately into “modified Phase 1” – the photo is from West Seattle Runner (2743 California SW; WSB sponsor), which is now open!

We are open now until 4 tonight. Tomorrow we will be open 10-5, and Sunday 11-4. Starting next week our hours will be 10-6 M-F, 10-5 Sat and 11-4 Sun until phase 4.

We have gone a little over the top to keep staff and customers safe and distanced. We’ve added barriers to keep shoppers and people checking out separated even in close confines.

Even before state orders in March required WSR and other retailers to close in-store service, they had implemented special protection, well before even “essential” businesses followed suit.

REOPENING: King County gets ‘modified Phase 1’ approval, effective immediately

10:44 AM: Just in – King County’s “modified Phase 1” approval from the state. Here’s the announcement:

With new state health officials’ approval today, restaurants and retailers will be allowed to serve customers in their establishments, in addition to other modified openings for a wide range of businesses and activities. Public Health – Seattle & King County will monitor transmission trends, medical capacity and other key indicators to help inform further reopening decisions.

A plan drafted by King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci, and King County Board of Health Chair Joe McDermott and approved today by state Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman immediately allows limited and modified openings for a wide range of businesses, recreation, and personal activities in King County.

Businesses are required to follow the state Department of Health’s specific guidance but must adjust their occupancy to the levels identified below. The State defines an establishment’s capacity as the fire code. The intent is to limit business operations to a level that allows for social distancing. Additionally, businesses in retail, professional services, and real estate must take steps to reduce indoor operations to thirty minutes. This is not meant to be timed to the second – no one is expected to have a stopwatch – but customers should be informed why it is important to limit close interactions.

Here is an overview of what’s happening in key sectors across King County:

Restaurants
• Outdoor dining activities is allowed at 50 percent of capacity with all tables and chairs maintaining 6 feet of distance, though additional seating will be allowed provided it follows Public Health – Seattle & King County’s best practices. Restaurants will also need to go through the normal process within their city – or King County if the establishment is located within unincorporated King County – to seek approval to expand outdoor seating.
• Indoor dining services may operate at 25 percent of capacity, provided such tables and chairs are more than 6 feet away from each other.

In-store retail
• All non-essential retail activities may operate but an establishment’s occupancy may not be not be higher than 15 percent of capacity.
• Businesses are directed to provide signage encouraging indoor visits to less than 30 minutes, with face-to-face interactions limited to 30 minutes.
• Essential retail activities may continue to operate according to the existing state regulations.

Personal services: Cosmetologists, Hairstylists, Barbers, Estheticians, Master Estheticians, Manicurists, Nail Salon Workers, Electrologists, Permanent Makeup Artists, Tattoo Artists, Cosmetology Schools and Esthetics Schools
• All activities may operate but the number of clients served will be limited to no more than 25 percent of capacity or one person if it is a single bed/chair studio.

Professional services: Accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, financial advisors, information technologists, insurance agents, tax preparers, and other office-based occupations that are typically serving a client base
• All activities allowed but an establishment’s occupancy should not be higher than 25 percent of capacity.
• Businesses are directed to provide signage encouraging indoor visits to be less than 30 minutes, with face to face interactions limited to 30 minutes.

Construction
• All construction, including those activities for which social distancing may not be maintained and the start of new construction projects, is authorized to resume.

As we’ve done throughout the virus crisis, we’ll be publishing business updates as we get them – please let us know!

11:59 AM: Here’s the state Health Department announcement that King and 13 other counties are advancing. Meantime, everything King County requested is here.

PROTEST: ‘White Coats for Black Lives’ outside Providence Mount St. Vincent & Swedish West Seattle

(WSB photos)

10:39 AM: Brief but big – enough people to line the block outside Providence Mount St. Vincent joined in “White Coats for Black Lives” less than an hour ago, organized “to raise awareness of racial inequality and police brutality.”

(added) Reader video:

This is the first of several local demonstrations planned today and tomorrow – if you know of any not on our list, please let us know.

ADDED 6:35 PM: Caregivers and providers also participated outside Swedish West Seattle Primary Care:

Thanks to Stephanie Vogtzinn for those photos.

WEST SEATTLE BEACHES: Low-low tides today through Monday

(WSB photo, low-low tide last month)

Today is the first of four days that’ll bring very low tides (we like to call them “low-low tides”) to local shores – -3.0 feet at 11:14 am today, -3.4 at 11:56 am Saturday, -3.2 at 12:39 pm Sunday, and -2.8 at 1:23 pm Monday. If you go to the beach, tread lightly – the low-low tide leaves many creatures vulnerable. Best way to admire is from a distance – you can walk Alki and marvel at how far out the water recedes, for example.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday notes; 11th week of West Seattle Bridge closure

6:03 AM: Good morning – the 74th morning without the high-rise West Seattle Bridge. As usual, we start by checking the cameras for the 5-way intersection, and the restricted-access low bridge just east of it:

The main detour route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) – here’s that camera:

The other major bridge across the river is the South Park Bridge (map) – this camera shows the SP-side approach:

Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed for info about any of those bridges opening for marine traffic.

You can see all local traffic cams here; locally relevant cameras are also shown on this WSB page.

TRANSIT

Metro – Check the Twitter feed for any breaking service changes. Otherwise – still on the reduced schedule and reduced capacity; check here for next departure

Water TaxiReduced schedule continues

Trouble on the roads/paths? Let us know – comment or text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.

UPDATE: Fire on Harbor Avenue SW

(Added: Photo posted in comments, by Elizabeth)

1:40 AM: A Seattle Fire “full response” is headed to the 2400 block of Harbor Avenue SW for a possible fire in a business. Updates to come.

1:43 AM: First unit arriving reports “fully involved structure.” They’re closing Harbor.

1:46 AM: The address on the SFD log is not correct (yet) – the burning building is now described as appearing to be “derelict,” a small old house.

1:49 AM: One person is reported to have been inside when the fire started but is said to be unhurt.

2:12 AM: A witness who called it in says the building is on the water side.

2:37 AM: The fire is “knocked down,” says SFD. Some units are leaving.

ADDED 12:33 PM: We went by for that photo of the fire scene. SFD has since corrected the address to 2316 Harbor and tells us the cause was ruled accidental. County records show this is part of a site that sold to an investment entity for $3.5 million last November; a self-storage proposal has been working its way through the city permit system since last year.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Stolen white van

From Steve:

Someone stole my work van near 35th and SW Cambridge.

License C99091A, Chevrolet Express 2500.

White work/passenger van with audio equipment.

Resembles pic with some peeled paint.

SPD case 2020-181471

Call 911 if you see it.