VIDEO: Columbia Street Transit Pathway’s pre-opening celebration

(WSB photos/video)

It was a ribbon-cutting without a ribbon. It did, however, have ribbons of red paint – newly marked bus lanes. The about-to-open Columbia Street 2-Way Transit Pathway were commemorated this afternoon with a round of celebratory speeches from elected and appointed officials who arrived via a RapidRide bus marked “SPECIAL.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan, County Executive Dow Constantine, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, Metro General Manager Rob Gannon, and Washington State Ferries boss Amy Scarton all took a spin at the microphone to hail the planned opening this Saturday (February 22) of the new corridor for buses to and from West Seattle and beyond.

No new information, but plenty of reminders that this will connect transportation modes more closely than before, with buses stopping conveniently close to the downtown dock where car and passenger ferries bring thousands each day. Here’s the map:

While this is the “permanent” route for the routes listed, there will be another big change when Alaskan Way is fully widened. That’s part of the city’s waterfront program, which the mayor hailed in her remarks, along with noting that there will be “many ribboncuttings we’re going to do down here” – which is when we realized, the event was more a ribbonless dedication than anything else. Here’s our video of everyone who took a turn at the microphone:

Since the mayor mentioned the extra bus hours paid for by the Transportation Benefit District taxes that are expiring this year, we asked about reports that a county version will be proposed. Constantine replied that discussions are under way with the county and its three-dozen-plus cities, and that we can expect a decision within a few weeks. But first – a new pathway for the buses that are funded now. Metro GM Gannon observed, “This doesn’t look like a transit hub, but it’s going to be.”

REAL ESTATE: The listing that answers a long-running Alki question

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)

The building at 2716-2718 Alki SW – formerly home to Phoenecia (closed in December 2018, reopened in The Junction) and Alki Cleaners (closed July 2018) – is for sale, listed at $1,220,000. The site, zoned NC1-40, is touted in the offering memo as having the potential for “Multiple Development Opportunities, Rehab for mixed use, Townhome, ‘A-pod-ments’, Etc” The storefronts have been vacant since the end of 2018, windows papered over, no hint of the building’s future until now.

LIGHTS OUT: Next round of Seattle City Light repairs beneath the West Seattle Bridge

Thanks to David for tipping us to this by sharing an email discussion he’s been having with Seattle City Light and others. As the utility continues to deal with increased wire theft – as noted by The Seattle Times recently – it’s working to fix the resulting lights-out situations on, under, and around the West Seattle Bridge (among other places). Part of David’s exchange with SCL included this reply from a utility employee:

On the West Seattle Bridge, the streetlight crew attempted to splice together the wire that is left in an attempt to restore power to the control cabinet. That attempt failed and the only option left is to replace the entire run. This would restore the two separate circuits that feed the control cabinet. This requires coordination with SDOT because they have some control wires in the same conduit which have also been cut.

In the meantime, we have a traffic control plan and a permit to make a repair to the undermount lights, this is scheduled for the overnight Wednesday, 2/19/2020. The bike path has three sections, east, Harbor Island, and west, that will be handled separately. The plan is to start on that after the bridge upper deck lighting is completed.

The update also noted that crews have been working “7 days a week since October to address theft-related outages.” We followed up with SCL spokesperson Julie Moore to find out more about what’s planned tonight. She tells us the main work is actually planned this weekend:

We’re working to energize the undermounts along the lower deck of the bridge, though may be able to energize some on the upper level as well. Work will generally occur between 26th Avenue Southwest and Delridge Way. We’re doing prep work over the next couple days, but the actual work and any necessary no parking/lane closures will occur between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

A wider look at the wire-theft problem is under way as part of a city-budget action last November by District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who wrote about it here.

ELECTION 2020: Your presidential-primary ballot is on the way

checkbox.jpgMarch 10th is the official Election Day but you can vote as soon as your ballot arrives. From King County Elections:

King County Elections mailed ballots today, February 19, to over 1.35 million registered voters for the March 10 Presidential Primary. Any voter who has not received their ballot by Monday, February 24 should call King County Elections at 206-296-VOTE (8683).

The Secretary of State mailed voters’ pamphlets last week.

This Presidential Primary will mark the first time in the last four years that voters need to declare a party preference to participate. While Washington voters do not register by party, voters across the state will have to pick a party, check the box, and vote for one candidate from the party they selected. This party preference will remain on the voter rolls for 60 days before being expunged and is publicly disclosable information, per state law.

If you’re not registered, there’s still time – here’s how.

THE WHALE TRAIL: Midwinter gathering Thursday

(Calf J53 and mother J31, photographed by Mark Sears. permit 21348)

Amid the exhilaration of Southern Resident Killer Whale sighting in recent weeks, there’s been the crushin news of one more SRKW lost. What now? Be at The Whale Trail‘s midwinter gathering tomorrow night to hear/talk about it. Here’s the announcement:

“Whale Trail MidWinter Gathering featuring SRKW Updates”

When: Thursday February 20, 7:00 – 8:30
–Doors open at 6:30
Where: C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW
Cost: $5 suggested donation; kids free
Advance tickets: brownpapertickets.com
Presented by The Whale Trail

Join us for a midwinter gathering of marine mammal friends and fans in West Seattle. Whale Trail Director Donna Sandstrom will review the current status of the endangered southern resident orcas, and ongoing efforts to protect them.

With the loss of L41, the southern resident population has been reduced to just 72 individuals.
Despite the widespread attention on J, K, and L pods, why has so little progress been made?

Donna will also share the Whale Trail’s vision and priorities for 2020. Learn how you can help, and make a difference for the southern residents before it’s too late.The presentation will be followed by an informal gathering of Whale Trail friends and supporters. Everyone is welcome!

New ‘photo enforced’ sign – and this one’s real

Thanks to Heather for sending the photo of that new sign on Fauntleroy Way SW near Fairmount Park Elementary. Given the saga of the fake Arbor Heights sign, we checked with SDOT about this one. It’s real, confirms SDOT‘s Dawn Schellenberg:

SPD requested we install the signs so they can use their speed van at this location.

(Same thing as 35th SW near Our Lady of Guadalupe.) “Speed van” enforcement has been in use since 2008, pre-dating fixed school-zone speed-enforcement cameras. This year’s budget calls for more of those, so we asked where that process is at:

No new speed cameras have been installed . I understand we’ll be reviewing field evaluations and surveys at new potential camera sites in the next coming months to select locations where we’ll move forward on design and installation of speed cameras. We should have our locations selected this spring and are on target for the cameras being installed for Fall 2020.

Here’s the full citywide list of current fixed cameras, including the three in West Seattle.

6 for your West Seattle Wednesday!

The photo is from Steven Director, who explained, “The cormorant was diving and came up with an eel. The gull swooped in. trying to steal it. During the squabble with the gull, the cormorant dropped the eel, which was grabbed up by a merganser who got away with it. I guess sometimes the little guy wins.” Now on with the calendar highlights:

BABY STORY TIME: 11:30 am at High Point Library. Bring babies up to 12 months old! (3411 SW Raymond)

SSC CAMPUS TOUR: Visit South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) this afternoon 2-3 pm and find out about its people, programs, and services. (6000 16th SW)

NORTHWEST WINE ACADEMY: 2-5 pm tasting event at NWWA on the north side of the South Seattle College campus. (6000 16th SW)

TEEN TOURNAMENT: Super Smash Bros. Tournament at Southwest Library, 2:30 pm-4:30 pm, gaming on a classic Wii console. Prizes! (9010 35th SW)

EZRA FURMAN LIVE IN-STORE: Free acoustic performance at Easy Street Records, 7 pm. All ages. (California/Alaska)

PING PONG: 7 pm tournament at Admiral Pub. Cash prizes! 21+. (2306 California SW)

YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE … and your dollars! Time for spending suggestions

This year’s Your Voice, Your Choice cycle just got going. The city’s announcement explains:

Now’s your chance to share ideas for small-scale park and street improvements in your neighborhood during Your Voice, Your Choice 2020. Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is asking community members to democratically decide how to spend $2 million of the City’s budget on these improvements.

Until March 18, community members age 11 and up (13 and up to participate online) who live, work, go to school, receive services, or participate in activities in Seattle can submit their idea online or in-person at any Seattle Public Library branch. Projects could include park benches, trail improvements, marked crosswalks, and sidewalk repair, to name a few. The only criteria are the project ideas focus on physical improvements to Seattle’s parks or streets, benefit the public, and cost $150,000 or less.

Once ideas are submitted, volunteers are recruited to turn the ideas into 8 – 10 proposals per council district. Then this summer, everyone will have the opportunity to vote for the top projects within their district. Of the $2 million budget, approximately $185,000 is allocated to each council district. The remaining funds are allocated to projects in underrepresented communities or Equity and Environment Initiative (EEI) Focus Areas.

Share your ideas today! You can learn more about the YVYC process and how to get involved on our webpage. For questions, email shaquan.smith@seattle.gov or call 206-256-5944.

In last year’s cycle, here’s what was proposed in District 1, here’s what was voted on, and here’s what won.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday watch

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

7:25 AM: Good morning! We just checked around – no incidents/alerts reported in our area right now. Looking ahead:

NEW TRANSIT PATHWAY STARTING SATURDAY: The new pathway into downtown for most West Seattle bus routes opens Saturday, as announced earlier this month. See the official service advisory here (PDF). We’re going downtown for a media briefing today and will take along any lingering questions.

1ST AVENUE S. BRIDGE CLOSURES: Friday and Saturday nights, the northbound 1st Avenue S. Bridge is scheduled to close, 9 pm-8 am, Friday into Saturday and Saturday into Sunday.

BASKETBALL: West Seattle HS boys’ heartbreaker loss

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

10:11 PM: We’re at Ingraham High School, where the West Seattle HS boys’ district-playoff game against top-seeded Garfield just ended with a 71-58 loss that doesn’t reflect how most of the game went – the Wildcats were ahead at the end of the 1st and 3rd quarters. They have at least one more game – Friday night vs. Bellevue at Bellevue College, 6:30 pm. Photos, video, and details when we get back to HQ.

12:37 AM: That exhilarating 3-pointer by WSHS #13 Vlad Salaridze is what ended the third quarter on a high note, putting the Wildcats ahead 43-40 after they clawed back from a nine-point halftime deficit, 32-23.

Though they fell behind in the second quarter, the first was a thriller, with #24, freshman Chase Clifton, nabbing six of the first nine WSHS points, punctuated by Salaridze’s first 3-pointer. Adding in strong rebounding and defense, the Wildcats led 17-10 when the first quarter ended.

Cold shooting hurt them in the second quarter. What hurt more in the fourth was that the Bulldogs simply seemed to decide to intensify, mowing through and leaping over their opponents in ways they didn’t deploy much in the first three quarters. While the end result was a disappointment, that couldn’t erase West Seattle’s overall strong performances. After Salaridze’s 19 points, #12, sophomore Isaiah Watts, had 16:

And #3, senior Sage Nelson, totaled 12:

Head coach Dan Kriley and the Wildcats must win Friday’s game to stay alive in the postseason.

Bellevue is 11-13 for the season while WSHS is 13-11.

Police briefing @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council

We could only stay for the first half-hour of tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting because we had to move on to the basketball playoffs – here’s what we heard:

Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis reiterated that auto theft is up as the year begins – that and shoplifting are two big issues the local police are working to address, Auto theft is “29 or 30 incidents up over this time last year.” No especially hard-hit area – thefts are literally all over the map. But they’re making arrests, like the one we reported Monday afternoon.

A tactic in both categories: Capt. Davis says they’re “bird-dogging … prolific offenders.” The precinct gave away Club anti-theft devices recently, and they’re hoping to order more for another giveaway. Regarding shoplifting, they’re working with various stores’ corporate headquarters as part of a multipronged attack on the problem.

As always, there was an opportunity for Q&A and community concerns, but there were none. One reminder – Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner reminded everyone that another Women’s Personal Safety Class – actually open to everyone, not just women, and recommended for ages 14 and up. It’s a “mental” class, not a “physical” class, as Danner explained it. 6 pm March 3rd, free – our calendar listing has more info and the RSVP link.

COUNTDOWN: WestSide Baby ‘Community in Bloom’ brunch approaches

Join hundreds of neighbors in supporting thousands of local kids and their families – WestSide Baby’s Community in Bloom brunch is approaching, and this is prime time for tickets:

We are about one month away from WestSide Baby’s signature fundraising event with a new, fresh twist – BRUNCH!

Community in Bloom – A Brunch to Benefit WestSide Baby!

Table of 10: $750
Single tickets: $75

Sunday, March 22, 2020 – Sheraton Grand Seattle

Social Hour begins at 12:15 pm with Program and brunch served at 1:00 pm

We are inviting our community to gather around tables with a common goal – ensuring children have their most basic needs met! These tables can be hosted by YOU and will be filled with delicious food, refreshing beverages and inspiring connections. Plus, enjoy a VIP experience for all with mimosas, tea, coffee and delicious brunch fare to celebrate and support WestSide Baby.

Get your tickets here.

VIDEO: Student-led rally at Kennedy Catholic High School calls for ‘change’ and for rehiring 2 gay teachers who suddenly ‘resigned’

‘Rehire! Rehire!’ That’s one of the chants heard at this afternoon’s student-led rally at Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, four days after the school community was roiled by the announcement of two gay teachers’ sudden “voluntary resignation.” West Seattle families with kennedy students called our attention to the controversy over the weekend, and it has drawn national as well as regional attention.

Even before students walked out at 1 pm (video above) in support of teachers Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie, South 140th Street in front of the school was filled with hundreds of people of all ages, many hoisting signs of support and rainbow flags.

The rally began with the Lord’s Prayer. From there, students took turns at the microphone, voicing both their support for the teachers, displeasure with school leadership and the Archdiocese of Seattle – believed to have masterminded the move – and their calls for change.

One adult took the microphone to huge cheers – Danforth’s fiancé Sean Nyberg.

He also spoke to reporters before the rally (video added).:

He said Danforth misses the students. And Nyberg said he wanted to be there to stress love and support for LGBTQ teens. Also present in support but not speaking, Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta and Councilmember Cydney Moore.

Multiple student speakers both demanded and promised change.”This wasn’t the first time (something like this has happened), but it will be the last,” said one. Another, describing herself as “heartbroken (and) disgusted,” asked, “Why can’t the Catholic Church get on the train? Change has been happening for thousands of years.” Students standing in support included soccer players – Beattie was their coach:

Another promised the rally was “just the beginning.” There was a demand for an all-school meeting so that the situation can be fully aired. One speaker said “the silence (of school leadership) is deafening.”

Though there were rumors of a counterprotest, none was seen, A King County Sheriff’s Office deputy told us about 10 people showed up but quickly departed. KCSO – with which Burien contracts for police services – had bicycle officers there, but the rally remained peaceful.

As 2 pm approached, the crowd started to dwindle; students told us they would remain outside the school until the official end of the day around 2:30, and continued sporadic chants, such as “We want change,” “I believe that love will win,” and “Gay rights are human rights.” Even the school’s namesake got a shout-out:

The school’s current enrollment is 851, according to a KCHS webpage that also notes, one FAQ later, that “Inclusiveness is a priority at Kennedy Catholic.”

-Report by Tracy Record, images by Patrick Sand, WSB co-publishers

NEW LEADER: Executive director chosen by Southwest Seattle Historical Society

Just announced by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has appointed a new Executive Director, Michael King.

Michael comes to the Historical Society from the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum in Everett, where he managed the museum’s education and volunteer programs. Prior to working at FHCAM, he worked at the Nordic Museum in Seattle, serving in both the programs and development departments, during which time he built on the experience he gained at several heritage and cultural organizations including the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

He earned a Ph.D. in History and Culture from Drew University and holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in history from Lehigh University.

Originally from Tacoma, Michael is a dedicated advocate of local history and is eager to serve new and established audiences across the Duwamish Peninsula and beyond while leading the Historical Society’s programmatic, advocacy, and preservation efforts. The Board looks forward to working with Michael and is deeply appreciative of his enthusiasm for our mission.

It’s been more than a year since the previous SWSHS executive director, Jeff McCord, departed. The SWSHS is headquartered at the historic Log House Museum on Alki, which you can visit noon-4 pm Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Got questions about the new Columbia Street Transit Pathway?

With the new downtown routing for most West Seattle buses launching Saturday, city/county/state officials are planning a media event tomorrow. So if you have lingering questions in advance of buses switching to the Columbia Street Transit Pathway, let us know and we’ll do ou best to get answers. (westseattleblog@gmail.com if you don’t want to post in the comment section – thanks!)

DEVELOPMENT: Early Design Outreach meeting set for Avalon project

(Photos via King County Assessor’s Office)

Three months ago, we reported on an early-stage proposal to replace those houses at 3010 and 3014 SW Avalon Way wth an 8-story, 87-unit apartment building. Now the plan has a date set for an Early Community Outreach for Design Review meeting: 11 am Saturday, February 29th, at Delridge Community Center (4501 Delridge Way SW). If you can’t be there, AvalonWayProject@earlydroutreach.com is the email address for comments/questions.

What’s up for the rest of today/tonight, featuring #TurkeyTuesday

Thanks to Jonathan for sharing the photo of The West Seattle Turkey so we could proclaim this another #TurkeyTuesday; several readers worried aloud about lack of turkey sightings, so here’s your reasssurance that, going into Month 11, The Turkey’s still here. Meantime, highlights for the rest of today/tonight:

STATE OF THE CITY LIVESTREAM: Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s third State of the City address is coming up at 11:30 am; you can watch it live here.

KENNEDY CATHOLIC HS RALLY: For those following the controversy over two gay teachers’ sudden departure from Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, which has a significant number of West Seattleite students, a 1 pm rally is planned outside the school. (140 S. 140th)

GIRL SCOUT INFO NIGHT: 6 pm at West Seattle (Admiral) Library. “Come and learn more about different ways to volunteer, what girls do at Girl Scouts, schedules, cost and how to sign up the girl in your life!” More info here. (2306 42nd SW)

WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: 7 pm at Southwest Precinct, your chance to hear from and talk with local police, plus a special guest from the SPD Victim Support Team. (2300 SW Webster)

UNPLUGGED – A MUSICAL GATHERING! 7 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). All types of acoustic instrumentalists/musicians welcome. (5612 California SW)

BASKETBALL: 8:30 pm, the West Seattle High School boys have a district playoff game against Garfield HS, at Ingraham HS in North Seattle. (1819 N. 135th(

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Post-holiday 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! Remember, Seattle Public Schools are out all week.

Looking ahead:

NEW TRANSIT PATHWAY OPENS SATURDAY: New pathway into downtown for most West Seattle bus routes starting Saturday – here’s the original announcement.

1ST AVENUE S. BRIDGE CLOSURES: Friday and Saturday nights, the northbound 1st Avenue S. Bridge is scheduled to be closed, 9 pm-8 am Friday into Saturday and Saturday into Sunday.

BIZNOTE: Youngstown Coffee Company to close Delridge shop

Youngstown Coffee Company proprietor Zoe Kritzer says she’s closing her original shop, the one at 5214 Delridge Way SW, at month’s end. Here’s how she’s announcing it to customers this morning:

It is with a heavy heart and an overwhelming amount of gratitude for your support that I must share this deeply saddening news.

Youngstown Coffee Company on Delridge will officially close on Saturday, February 29th. It has been the greatest privilege to have met so many extraordinary humans and dogs over the last 14 months. I can’t thank you enough for welcoming us into the neighborhood with open arms and daily transformative and inspiring conversations.

If you or anyone you know is interested in making this magical shop yours and continuing the dream of a shop built on community, coffee, and connection, please email: wonderwallseattle@gmail.com

Five months after opening the Delridge shop, Zoe expanded to 6032 California SW in Morgan Junction. That shop, and its “kitchen” next door, will remain open.

Rescuing Roxhill Bog: Why it matters, and what’s happening now

(WSB photo, April 2019)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Call it Roxhill Bog, Roxhill Fen, Roxhill Wetland. Whatever you call it, it needs to be rescued, and the time is now.

Community advocates have sounded that alarm for many years. Now, it appears the wetland’s plight has the traction for something serous to finally get done.

That was the message at the “stakeholders’ meeting” that filled a room at Southwest Teen Life Center in Westwood last Tuesday night. The sign-in sheets showed a long list of organizations concerned with the health of the local environment.

“The bog is dry.” Opening the meeting, that’s how Rory Denovan – a West Seattleite who has long been involved wth the effort to help the bog – summarized the primary problem.

If that leads you to wonder “so what?” Denovan had answers for that right off the top. Three reasons why Roxhill is important:

Read More

See what’s up at West Seattle’s city-run community centers (and more) this spring/summer

West Seattle has four community centers, one teen center, and one indoor pool run by Seattle Parks, but you only have to browse one brochure to see the events, classes, and public sessions for spring/summer. Just before the holiday weekend, Parks announced the new brochure’s available – see it here (PDF). If you are interested in events/classes that require registration, here are the dates to know: Noon on March 3 is when spring registration starts; noon May 5 is whn summer signups begin.

BOWLING FOR FOOD! West Seattle second-grader’s challenge for you

From the West Seattle Food Bank, your invitation to this fun(draising) event:

Come out and support the West Seattle Food Bank

Friday, February 28th
At WEST SEATTLE BOWL
(6 to 8 pm)

Nathan Bowls for Food!

(Is your team better than a second-grader?)

Nathan Tavel is a second-grader at Arbor Heights Elementary School, and a pretty good bowler. He will bowl for one hour from 6 to 7 and one hour from 7 to 8. Your team can choose to bowl during one or both of those times. We will add up Nathan’s total pin count for each hour and each team will have their pin total for the hour compared to Nathan’s. If you beat him you get 3 free games, shoe rental and a pitcher of beer or soda. However, if Nathan beats your team, your team must donate a minimum of $100 to the West Seattle Food Bank.

– $20 per person gets you shoe rental and 1 hour of bowling.

– Teams of 2 to 8 people are welcome.

– There will be food and drink specials and a few raffle prizes as well.

– 6 to 8 PM on Friday, February 28th at West Seattle Bowl.

Come and bowl with us for a good cause!

To RSVP – Just email ptavel@gmail.com and let us know how many you have coming and how many lanes you need. Pay on the night of the event. Call 206-949-8680 with any questions.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Suspect in custody after Westwood search; from the ‘dumped/possibly stolen’ file – ski-gear sighting

Two West Seattle Crime Watch items:

WESTWOOD SEARCH: As we write this, police are searching for an auto-theft suspect near 26th/Barton. The stolen car was apparently found at Westwood Village; the suspect took off running toward the east side of Roxhill Park. The description we’ve heard via radio is a white man in his 20s/30s, blue ball cap, blue jacket, tan pants. (2:34 PM UPDATE) They have a suspect in custody. You might still see some searching – per radio exchange, they’re looking for items the suspect might have discarded.

Also:

STOLEN SKI GEAR? Lose your ski gear in a car prowl or burglary? Tessa might have found it: “Looks like someone lost their ski gear among other things on 35th and Findlay. Put the boot, goggles, helmet and poles at the 21 bus stop.”

P.S. When lost/found items seem more like simple “lost/found,” you can post in the Lost/Found (Non-Pets) section of the WSB Community Forums.