month : 08/2006 52 results

Speaking of big old historic houses

Not long after I posted about the apparently doomed historic house at 4532 42nd SW (thanks to “WS Guy” for the comment on that post, enlightening me about its history — my copy of the wonderful “West Side Story” is in tatters and I need to find a “new” one), we were startled by this sight: The historic “Satterlee House” on Beach Drive is up for sale again, billed as a “$3 million fixer” with suggestions as to how some of its massive front-lawn space could be developed. It’s been five years since the slugfest over a plan to put cottages on that land; now the MLS listing suggests it could be used as “possible 3 building sites with completed short plat.” Whatever happened to the campaign to save the house and its site as is? Isn’t there any kazillionaire around here with a few spare bucks (I wish I did!) to preserve a little history? (or are they ALL on Lake Washington?)

The Junction’s second main street

Several of the projects already in the pipeline will make 42nd the “second Main Street of The Junction” more than ever. One wasn’t really on my radar till we walked along 42nd yesterday, from the north edge of the Junction down to Jefferson Square. This one saddens me a bit. At 4532 42nd, if you look behind and over the fencing and the overgrowth, there’s a huge old house with some style and flair (despite what must be, by now, years of neglect and disrepair). It almost looks like a Southern plantation house, with a huge balcony under the eaves on its top story. The golden-yellow land-use-ap sign in front has been there so long, somebody has tagged it; the online information doesn’t say a whole lot, though the architect who’s listed seems to be associated with the fabled Roger Newell — it’s just listed as another proposed “mixed-use” building. I know old houses come down all the time so the land can be cleared for condos, townhomes, “mixed use,” whatever, but few of them are as striking as this one. I’d bet it has a bit of history, too. (And in fact, Googling its address just before finishing this post, I found it on a document of “cultural and historical resources” that were “inventoried” at some point along the way in the monorail studies. Hmm. Might have to check with the Log House Museum people on this one.)

That’s entertainment

Several fun options around West Seattle tonight: “Grease” at Sidewalk Cinema next to Hotwire (we’ve been to these fun outdoor movies twice this summer and had a blast both times); “Once Upon a Mattress” in the West Seattle High School theater (billed as partly a fundraiser for the relatively new and lively Youngstown Cultural Arts Center); the last night of “Cabaret” at ArtsWest; and if you venture a little further southwest to White Center, sounds like one heck of a bash till 10 pm tonight at Pacific Rim Brewing Company, featuring more than half a dozen bands and the inimitable Rat City Rollergirls.

Soldier with WS ties killed in Iraq

August 12, 2006 9:01 am
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 |   West Seattle news

Regardless of what you think about this war, or any war, it is worthwhile to consider the unique humanity of everyone involved in it, on both sides, when you get the chance. Sadly, that sort of opportunity seldom presents itself aside from the death of a soldier, such as onetime Chief Sealth HS student Staff Sgt. Tracy Melvin, the latest local person killed in Iraq. His funeral is set for Friday in White Center; his life is outlined in Times and P-I stories this morning.

You say goodbye, I say hello

Turnover in Morgan Junction: The door at Manila Cafe (across from the future monorail site turned future park ‘n’ pub) is papered over, and a liquor-license ap is posted. Says the place is going to become “Kokoras Greek Grill.” The state site identifies the applicant as “Spiros Greek Island Enterprises.” Goodbye, adobo; hello, gyros!?

What goes up …

Two tales today of things going up:

-The Admiral Way Viewpoint’s new pole will be celebrated this afternoon. The P-I’s version of the story today is fairly vanilla; the WS Herald’s version (with photo) is spiced with the backstory of how the log used for the pole was “poached.”

-Taller and wider than perhaps a thousand poles, yet another “mixed-use” project in the Junction (this is the one on ex-monorail land across from Jefferson Square) is advancing through the city pipeline. The latest Land Use Info Bulletin (a must-subscribe if you are interested in early word on what might be going up, and coming down, near you) announces an “early design review guidance” meeting in two weeks. Now the big question — in the two months since this P-I article spotlighted the dilemma to be posed by the loss of that parking lot, is there any progress toward a solution? (as was semi-promised in the following section of that article) The concerns are significant; I wound up parking in that lot last Sunday while trying to get to the Farmers’ Market, since everything on the west side of California (and beyond) was taken (except the “pay spaces,” which I suppose we’ll now see more of), and no, the bus wasn’t a good solution — the Sunday schedules are horrible. Anyway, here’s what was in that May P-I article. Love to hear what’s transpired regarding staying “in touch with the community”:

The company that catalyzed high-rise downtown living with Harbor Steps apartments has shifted its sights to close-in neighborhoods, snapping up a parking lot in the heart of West Seattle’s Alaska Junction.

It fits Harbor Properties’ criteria perfectly: good public transportation, a walkable business district and a neighborhood “with a soul,” said chief development officer Denny Onslow.

Though specifics for the roughly 100-unit development the company plans to build there are up on the air, it’s clear the building will supplant the parking lot behind Petco, which will be forced to move once those 40 spaces are gone, store officials say.

It’s also functioned as a free community lot where anyone dropping in for dance lessons, beers or kids’ art classes could usually poach a spot.

“In my opinion it’s going to be devastating to lose that as parking,” said Michael Hoffman, owner of Liberty Bell Printing. “We were trying to get it back for our merchants association … but there was no way we could compete.”

Harbor Properties, which bid $4.5 million, has already begun talking to the community and is well aware of the parking concerns, said development director Steve Orser.

The company is willing to work on those, he said. Junction businesses, though, should also benefit from an influx of new residents looking to walk to restaurants, shopping or yoga classes.

“Sometimes our parking is lower than what you might expect because we offer alternative transportation and we encourage that as part of our sustainable and green development,” he said. “But we’re going to do our best to be in touch with the community and see if there aren’t solutions.”

You don’t know how good you’ve got it …

August 10, 2006 9:12 pm
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 |   Seen around town

We’ve managed to renew our car tabs online the past few years, since the DOL upgraded its web offerings. However, this summer, we were baaaad … let our tabs expire … so a few days ago, we wound up having to go down to the DOL office south of The Junction in person to make things right.

So we had to stand in line for 20 minutes or so. Funniest thing, I can’t tell you how many people walked in, looked at the half-dozen or so of us standing in line, sighed loudly, and went back out again. Clearly none of them ever have lived in the other “western states that shall go nameless” that we have previously lived in, where instead of a nice neighborhood DOL office, you have a centralized “DMV” where you can count on spending AN ENTIRE DAY and possibly needing A SLEEPING BAG AND A TENT until you get close enough to possibly transact your business. Half a dozen people at the DOL office? Pshaw. Nothin’. And once we got up to the counter, it was a two-minute transaction. Trust me, here in WA, we got it good, in a variety of ways.

A reminder of impending fall

Hate to bum you out if you’d rather focus on the month left till school starts, three weeks left in August, etc., but the nice folks at High Point Community Center wrote to ask that we let you know they’re having an open house later this month to tell the world about their fall programs. Friday, August 25, 6-8 pm.

High Point has changed so much in recent years — if you’re a WS semi-old-timer like us, you may recall the days when High Point=trouble, but that’s really not the case any more. The community center (and elementary school) both have gone through beautiful remodels/rebuilds in recent years; there’s a brand new library branch; and the nearby development is a 180 from the old days of rundown housing. Venture over that way (if you live in other areas of WS) and you will likely be surprised.

We understand it quite well, thank you very much

Figured my anti-tagging rant last weekend would attract at least one person offering apologism for the criminals who do this, and it did (though it’s relatively mild apologism). Even as the hard-working folks who have put time and money into improving The Junction over the years found themselves forced to spend more of both this week cleaning up after vandals, somebody dared to suggest it’s no big deal. Not only is it a big deal, it’s a huge deal, and I would challenge our city leaders to get something really big going against it, like this (as opposed to this tame page). Graffiti vandalism, particularly the “tagging” variety, is no more artistic than throwing a brick through a window. If you want to use spray paint to commit something akin to peeing your initials in the snow, do it on your own house, your own car, someplace where it’s nobody’s concern BUT your own.

P.S. One of the West Seattle Herald’s sister newspapers has an interesting story about some graffiti vandalism in the north end (although the editor should have cut out the irrelevant reference to the vandals’ speculated ethnic origins).

The neighbors we don’t talk about

This story makes me feel a bit better about not completely freaking when we see a rat/mouse/whatever skittering along the back fence. At least they’re not in the living room. Yet.

And in the batter’s box …

Thanks to the e-mail tipster who told us about the latest “coming soon” sign to sprout in The Junction — the former West Seattle Books space just east of Cupcake Royale is about to become “Swee Swee Paperie.” All I can find out about it so far online (aside from a city business license listing that merely affirms the address as that of “Swee Swee Paperie and Studio LLC”) is this blurb that came up after a long semi-bloggish entry about gift wrapping, on a site with party tips:

Ann Conway, a clothing designer in the fashion industry for over 15 years, is preparing for the Fall 2006 opening of her gift-wrapping and contemporary stationery store – Swee Swee Paperie, in Seattle, Washington.

More exciting than those six blue planes we spent the weekend with …

… is the fact that a fellow blogger is actually claiming to be excited to be “scooping” WSB. And more exciting STILL is what “Robla” has posted — a link to the Westwood Village website (scroll down the directory on the right) revealing that PIZZA IS COMING TO WV!!!!! (oh yeah, and Taco del Mar, too, but we’ve already got that in Jefferson Square)

Now the big question — does anyone have any idea what a “Gionnoni’s Pizza” is? Google draws a big fat blank (aside from the aforementioned Westwood Village link). What is this dastardly trend of places opening without websites where we can find out more about them? (like Talarico’s, which finally advertised a website in the Hi-Yu Festival booklet but as of this writing, that website is still “under construction”)

Anyway, thanks, “Robla”! We had news about a new Junction biz (thanks to a tipster) but now it’ll have to wait till later …

In case you are keeping score

Transportation votes we’re facing in November:

Tax to fix up roads (Fauntleroy didn’t make the Dirty Dozen but would THIS smooth it out?)

Tax for more-frequent buses

–Tunnel vs. no tunnel, unless council members decide to just be the deciders, which is what today’s P-I recommends

The first and third ones might be a nearly moot point, though, given that driving is getting less affordable by the second. Perhaps time for Councilguy Dow to propose keeping the Water Taxi in service TFN, instead of sailing on toward the usual September shutdown. (Not like Elliott Bay freezes over or anything, though the dock at Seacrest could use a little salt at times.)

Ex-AA now B-Gone

August 7, 2006 7:14 pm
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 |   Seen around town | Triangle

Just noticed the big banner across the closed gate of Hertz Equipment Rental, previously AA Rentals, on Fauntleroy. Marquee says it’s moved to Sodo. So what’s next for that spot? Another Huling expansion? Or perhaps … another condo/grocery combo? Nah, guess we’ve got enough of those on the way.

Starbucks in The Junction

Hotwire, In-Out, Capers, Coffee to a Tea, Easy Street, Cupcake Royale, Bikes & Brew, Infinity, Uptown (who are we forgetting?) have a new fellow member in the Junction coffee club: Starbucks. Didn’t know the franchise-mad mermaid had swum into that zone until we took an e-mail tipster’s advice and wandered into the newly remodeled Jefferson Square Safeway — and there, we found a Starbucks kiosk, just like the ones in the Roxbury Safeway and the Westwood Village QFC (which is just steps from the standalone WV Starbucks). At the very least, this is a reminder — as more grocery stores prepare to move into The Junction — that they’re more than grocery stores these days; most include banks and coffee stands, both already in abundant supply in the neighborhood.

Like pulling teeth

August 5, 2006 11:57 pm
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 |   WS culture/arts

You’ve never really heard a section of a movie audience crack up till you’ve watched Steve Martin’s scenes at a showing of “Little Shop of Horrors” sponsored by dentists

Blue Angels @ MOF, day 3

August 5, 2006 5:42 pm
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 |   Blue Angels | Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway

Just one thing marred an otherwise lovely afternoon …

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TAGGING IS EVIL. How do we stop it?

A small number of our fellow human beings do horrible things sometimes. Though there are far “worse” crimes, the offense that for some reason infuriates us more than almost anything is graffiti vandalism, aka “tagging.” This morning, our blood pressure is somewhere in the stratosphere because of what we just saw in the Junction.

First, there’s the tagging on the Hi-Yu parade mural on the side of the post office. An e-mail tipster told us about this a couple weeks ago, and we didn’t get around to checking it out immediately. Looking at it this morning, with the Saturday sun blazing against the beautiful mural and the hideous black scrawl across its lower left quadrant, we fumed.

Moments later, heading back down California, we saw an even fresher example of this type of brazen, pointless vandalism — tagging on several business signs on the west side of Cali Ave, including WaMu, Radio Shack, and Be’s Restaurant.

We’ve tried to figure out why tagging pisses us off worse than some of the more newsworthy crimes that involve blood, pain, and prison time. Perhaps it’s partly because the evidence is so public and flagrant — it takes time and money to arrange to have tagging/graffiti vandalism painted over, and until/unless you get that time and money, the crime scene just sits there, smirking at you. (Outside WS, a particularly galling recent example is a huge tag that appeared this week across the side of a classic brick building that’s highly visible to thousands of drivers daily as they drive northbound on the viaduct, into the Battery Street Tunnel. That type of vandalism can’t just be painted over, without ruining the beautiful old brick. Don’t even know if sandblasting will get rid of it.)

Anyway, the fact is, this morning the Junction is uglier, because of some idiot criminal(s) who decided to sneak onto business roofs, no doubt in the middle of the night, and deface signs. It feels like they’re spitting in the faces of the business owners and all those of us who live here and will have to look at it for who knows how long. (We volunteered for graffiti paintout patrols long ago and far away; do they still exist?)

Far from the first time, and we suppose it won’t be the last time. Is security too lax? Are the laws too loose? How do we stop this? We’ll be thinking hard about it. We hope you will too.

Lovely day by the lake

August 4, 2006 8:38 pm
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 |   Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway

Seafair is the only time we retract our statement, “Why do all those rich people choose to live on Lake Washington — if we had that many bucks, we’d buy a shoreline mansion on Beach Drive.” We spent about four hours today executing our annual plan to enjoy the Seafair Free Friday events — the Blue Angels, the “not Blue Angels” airshow, and hydro qualifying. Got our best waterfront “seat” yet …

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Weekend options

August 4, 2006 8:48 am
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 |   WS culture/arts

You don’t have to join us Seafair nuts in oohing and aahing over what’s on the water and what’s in the sky … here’s just a few of the kazillion weekend options in and around West Seattle:

-Another Sidewalk Cinema movie tomorrow night. “Little Shop of Horrors” this time. We had such a great time at Sidewalk Cinema (next to Hotwire Coffee) two weeks ago, we might go to this one even though we’re kind of meh on the movie.

-Take the Fauntleroy ferry over to Vashon for Earthfair.

-See what’s new at the Farmers’ Market 10 am-2 pm Sunday. (I recommend the lettuce from the produce booth close to the northwest corner … just a couple booths up from where Eats Market Cafe usually sets up.)

-Check out “Cabaret” at ArtsWest.

-Enjoy Colman Pool (and the view) … only one month left in the season (where DID the summer go?).

Our daily bread

August 3, 2006 11:42 pm
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 |   West Seattle restaurants

If you wanted to get bread daily from Great Harvest in The Junction, you’d have to skip Sundays — till now. Just passing thru a few hours ago, spotted a giant banner outside the store: OPEN SUNDAY. Funny they didn’t make the move sooner, given the size of the crowd that moves through the area for the Sunday Farmers’ Markets, for starters.

“Makes your tummy tickle, doesn’t it?”

So said a mom to a small child, watching (and feeling) four of the Blue Angels take off from Boeing Field/Museum of Flight for this morning’s practice. For those not interested in the BAs, we’ll jump the rest to another page …Read More