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Life-saving information

December 18, 2006 7:01 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

If you know of non-English-speaking/reading families in still-powerless neighborhoods who might be in danger of carbon-monoxide poisoning, you might do some good by printing out and distributing one of the factsheets linked from here.

Some WS’ers going into night 5

December 18, 2006 6:47 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

Partial post-dusk survey so far: Lincoln Park Way (heading west along the north edge of the park) still out, as is the Lowman Beach area, and the southernmost stretch of Beach Drive, which now not only carries the “ROAD CLOSED” sign at Atlas (two blocks south of the tree blockage as shown in photo below) but also a LOCAL ACCESS ONLY sign at the three-way intersection by LB. Though our neighborhood and most around us over Lincoln Park have the power back, a stretch of Sullivan heading east from the south end of California remains dark. Heading out shortly to look for other pockets; let us know if you’re in one. Meantime, here’s the latest City Light bulletin of sorts. And if you haven’t already heard, those warnings about deadly carbon monoxide were on the mark; 4 people were found dead in a Burien home this afternoon.

The culprit

December 18, 2006 6:34 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm

North-side view of the tree that’s blocking Beach Drive:


We have a casualty

Sometime Friday night, after the power had been out 18 hours or so, we shone a flashlight into our fish tank. Its lone inhabitant, a big tough algae-eater of the variety collectively known as “pleco,” was pressed up against the glass next to the (nonworking of course) tank heater. We tried tapping the glass. No response. One member of the WSB Posse grew despondent. Another member offered a theory about cold-blooded creatures going dormant when temperatures dropped. So we decided not to declare The Fish dead until and unless we saw incontrovertible proof when the power came back on.

As of midday today, we have that proof. Seems The Fish had wedged itself between the heater and the tank wall as the water temperature fell, and as soon as we lifted the heater away, The Fish fell lifeless to the tank’s briny deep.

Tears and a backyard burial ensued. It was a tough fish, procured from Petco in The Junction about three years ago. It outlived more than a dozen aquarium-mates, for a variety of reasons (in some cases, we suspected homicide, er, fish-icide, and The Fish earned the nickname “Psycho Pleco”). If we venture into fish-caretaking again in the future, we will be sure to secure a backup power source for the tank, in case this sort of thing recurs. RIP, PP.

BREAKING NEWS! Unplugged no longer

December 18, 2006 10:46 am
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 |   December 2006 windstorm | West Seattle weather | WS breaking news

OK, sympathies to those of you (hopefully those FEW of you) who are still not back on. But as of just a few moments ago — 10:33 am to be precise, three minutes before we arrived home from our latest tour of the wi-fi “hot spots” — our power is back on. Hard to describe our neighborhood as anything but “upper Fauntleroy” — uphill from Lincoln Park. Now begins a day of trying to warm the house back up again, cleaning out the fridge (we’d already put most of the food out for trash pickup after taking photos in case we get to file an insurance claim). And dancing in the streets! More later …

Two important non-outage notes

December 18, 2006 9:48 am
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 |   Holidays | How to help | Transportation | WS miscellaneous

-Tonight is the 47th/Admiral pedestrian-safety meeting.

-The White Center Food Bank told us they appreciate all the pre-Thanksgiving help and would be happy to take donations as they get ready for a pre-Christmas distribution this Wednesday. More turkeys! Here’s where to find the WCFB.

Unplugged, morning 4

As we drove over Charlestown Hill this morning, headed to clean up at the home of a friend who only lost power till Saturday, we saw a rainbow over the Sound, just past West Point. A promise of power to come? Sure hope so. The challenges involved in restoring it are mentioned in a brief WS anecdote from the very end of this Times article today, and there’s a longer account, focusing on the Arbor Heights effort, in this P-I article. Radio reports this morning suggested City Light hopes to be down to 5,000 homes/businesses without power by tonight.

The unplugged chronicles, later Sun nite

Now at Caffe Ladro, closer to our outage zone, and it’s the only thing anyone in the place seems to be discussing. Meantime, in the 8 or so hours since we bought our wi-fi card, we’ve learned more about WS wi-fi than we ever expected to learn. Such as … wi-fi at Starbucks costs $ (you have to pay T-Mobile); just about everywhere else (Tully’s, Uptown, CL), it’s free, but look closely if you need to plug into an outlet … Carosello up on 35th, for example, has free wi-fi, but no plugs.

What else we have learned tonight: The radio stirred up a controversy over how fast crews are working to plug us back in. Some Seattle City Light crew members allegedly called this blogger turned talk-show host to say they were supposedly being sent home too soon. Then the top dog of SCL himself called in to refute it. He did say most crews would be resting midnight-7 tonight, before embarking on another 17-hour day. (Online, SCL has just posted an update time-stamped 10 pm tonight, even though it was only 9:21 pm when we checked it.)

Also on the radio … a lady from King County Public Health, who reminded us about the dangers of carbon monoxide, and also confirmed that pretty much everything in our fridge was toast by midday Friday. Sigh.

As for what else we’ve seen re: dark zones tonight: On the north side of the Beach Drive tree blockage, not much has changed since last night. Along Beach itself, everything is fine until Me-Kwa-Mooks, then it’s out till just past Beach Drive Terrace (including everything up along Jacobsen Road). Then from BD Terrace, all is warm and bright including the Menashe light display; right after that, it goes dark again, up till The Tree.

We also saw a few powerless pockets on Delridge, one around a dark stoplight at Brandon, and another area near Home Depot (though HD itself seems back to normal).

If you left home because of the outage and are wondering whether you’ve got juice again, e-mail us and we’ll be happy to look after dusk tomorrow. As for tonight, we’re headed back home to rally ’round the fireplace. Glad we insisted on one when we bought our old but sturdy house so long ago. Stay safe!

Sunday evening, so far

Still trouble on the southwest side of WS, our neighborhood included. Lincoln Park Way, from Fauntleroy all the way down to Beach, is out. So is Lowman Beach, where you can hear the deafening rumble of a city truck which we believe is supplying power to the underground pump station there. The south end of Beach Drive, heading north from Lowman, is out, and the street is still closed at Atlas, two blocks before you get to the fallen tree. We’re in The Junction now, where things are bright and busy, and heading north to see if there are any pockets of powerlessness. (Still the oddest pocket we’ve found today is the one little area west of Westwood, sandwiched between “normal” areas along 35th and at the shopping center.)

Sunday afternoon update

December 17, 2006 2:17 pm
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 |   December 2006 windstorm | West Seattle weather

Wireless connectivity achieved! So our updates may be a bit more frequent. Power at home NOT achieved, however. It seems to get closer by the hour — we recently saw some outdoor lights on, just a couple blocks away. (The city’s just posted a 2 pm update on the City Light home page; the information is somewhat murky, however, mentioning certain “isolated” areas may experience “extended outages” of up to 4 days – is that four MORE days, or four days counting back to 1 am Friday? The Times has a 1:20 pm update with info that’s not a whole lot clearer, except to confirm what many of us already knew — the WS outages are mostly in the “western part of West Seattle.”)

But enough about us. Westwood Village now seems to be entirely back up and running — we spun through there on the way to our current Morgan Junction-ish locale, and all seemed to be restored, though not necessarily all area homes — the stoplight about a block west of the shopping center, on Barton, was still dark.

We’ve also been to The Junction and noticed something mildly interesting — with all the folks out eating at restaurants, the dumpsters on the alley behind the west side of Cali Ave are overflowing. Boy, the trash crews are going to be busy tomorrow. (We might as well start tossing out what was in our fridge, I guess.)

Powerless, morning 3

Power is now back at Morgan Junction — the Starbucks, Tully’s, Thriftway, Caffe Ladro, everybody. However, further to the south, some neighborhoods … like ours … are still out. We heard a City Light person say on the radio that 16,000-ish “customers” (which could mean twice as many people, if not more) are still out of power, mostly on the “south” side. How come the north side got its power back first? Is this another north of the Ship Canal/south of the Ship Canal type thing? Oh well, no time for whining.

Late last night, after our last post, we drove around some more. Besides our neighborhood, much of the rest of the outage areas are “pockets.” In Arbor Heights, Shorewood, the area between White Center and Burien, we saw one block off/one block on/etc. We also were at Southcenter for a while — the entire mall was brightly lit and full of people, but as soon as you headed south, Toys R Us and beyond, pitch black.

Another place full of people last night (besides of course our beloved West Seattle Junction) — Downtown Seattle. We thought we’d pop down for some holiday cheer, while trying to stay away from our cold, dark house … couldn’t get a parking spot. Every lot, full. Should have taken a bus. Oh well, next time.

Hope you’re not having trouble with asthma … you’ve probably noticed how much smoke is hanging over the city, since so many people need to use wood for heat … not wishing for rain but when it does come back, at least it will clean out the air!

Back to the power thing for a moment … just noticed on the City Light site that they were promising to “leaflet” neighborhoods without power. Our area is not in the list of neighborhoods mentioned. Maybe it’s time to call and make sure they KNOW we’re out?

But I do have to say, it’s a blessing that we are able to travel a short distance and get food, warmth, Net service, etc. We have friends on the eastside who not only are without power at home, their business districts, gas stations, etc., are out, and Puget Sound Energy is making noises about some of that restoration taking a week or more.

More later … keep letting us know what’s going on where you are by posting comments or e-mailing us. We’re going to The Junction a bit later (we’re online outside WS at the moment) to check out whether Bakery Nouveau has really opened, among other things. (Almost forgot to mention – as of early this morning, power at Westwood Village was still spotty; Target is open on low power … will check other businesses later for the next update.)

Two shelters in West Seattle

Almost forgot to mention this before leaving our home away from home (thank God for Hotwire’s computers!) — The city has opened four shelters for people without power to “spend the night someplace warm,” and two of them are here in West Seattle, at the Delridge and Southwest Community Centers. Full info is on the same city page as all the updates on the power outages.

Saturday night update

In no particular order:

-Looks like the Beach Drive and Alki Point areas got their power back. However, Beach Drive is still blocked by a huge tree about two blocks north of Atlas. You can see the tree if you drive up to the blockage on the south side; on the north side, the street is roped off at Atlas, out of view range. (We don’t have upload capabilities at the moment, roving as we are, or we’d put up our photo.)

-Fauntleroy just west of California is finally open again, to let people use the usual path to the ferry dock and Lincoln Park. Today we saw what was left of the huge tree that apparently caused the blockage at Fauntleroy & Holly — two tree-service trucks had crews working to cut it up and chip it. (We’ll also have a picture of that when our power and upload capability come back.)

-There’s limited power in some Morgan Junction businesses now, but Starbucks, Tully’s, etc. are still closed. A little ways north on Cali Ave, the Rite Aid was open, but with low light.

-If you have any idea where Presto Logs can still be had, let us know. We went as far as McClendon’s in White Center, no luck. We’ve got firewood and no kindling.

-Speaking, sort of, of trees – the Christmas tree in The Junction is back up, with some concrete blocks to shore it up, and shining brightly for the massive crowds of folks who’ve flocked to The Junction amid this troubled time.

-Also in The Junction, Bakery Nouveau is apparently opening tomorrow (Sunday) — or so says the sign in its window. Remember that tomorrow also is the last Farmers’ Market of the year (back on 1/7 for the 10 am-1 pm “Winter Farmers’ Market”).

-If you go holiday shopping in The Junction, be sure to check out the thrift stores. Some incredible stuff to be had; we stopped in Backstage and Discovery today and found some neat buys.

Powerless, day 2

After finding a place to post last night, we toured part of WS. Noticed that Alki was OK until you got to Cactus — they were out, as was Alki Point, and then Beach Drive almost all the way to the Menashe Christmas light display (which wasn’t on, though) — a little further past that, Beach Drive was completely blocked by a downed tree, so we had to turn around, and head back to our neighborhood in the dark zone. (Spookiest sight in the dark … the entire Morgan Junction business district … Thriftway looked like it might have had some generator power; otherwise, Starbucks, Tully’s, Subway, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Teriyaki & Wok, Corner Inn, etc., all dark. Also looked like Beveridge Place Pub was trying to make a go of it in candlelight.)

This morning, we headed down 35th, and saw a few houses now propping up trees (or vice versa). We haven’t looked at the Thistle/Northrop sinkhole yet but the P-I has a complete story today and a picture. (If you live in upper Fauntleroy or even Westwood and have walked down to Lincoln Park, look closely at the photo — looks like the sinkhole is at “the top of the stairs” that go all the way down the hillside.)

The City Light info page says right now that more than 100,000 people in their service area who lost power now have it back. Just not tens of thousands of West Seattleites. Here’s more from the Times on the power-restoration efforts.

The Third Option down but not out

December 15, 2006 8:03 pm
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 |   Viaduct vote

Just when you’d think Guv Chris would have been out surveying the devastation, instead, she was making her viaduct pronouncement. Or, let’s say, nonpronouncement. Let us voters decide! Wow, what a novel concept! Weren’t we just going thru this … um … months ago? Lucky darn thing last night’s storm didn’t blow the AWV down. Anyway, it seems to be a crafty way to evade the Gregoire vs. Greg deathmatch — we’re not even going to get rock/paper/scissors out of this. But Ron, from his hospital bed, just might ride to The Third Option’s rescue.

The powerful and the powerless

Sat around the house for a few minutes, watching the fire flickering in the fireplace, and wondering why we weren’t out in the street with our neighbors, singing folk songs and playing the glockenspiel — isn’t that sort of bonding what is supposed to ensue when this kind of semi-catastrophe happens? Then another member of the WSB entourage decided we simply had to get down the hill to the powerful sector of town (aka The Junction) — there, we found the bonding. Every eatery in town is jammed. Folks are sharing power-outage stories. No wonder the home fires aren’t burning up on the hill. However, no one seems to have an answer to the one question that simmers in thousands of us at the moment … when the HELL will the power come back on?

No juice

More than 14 hours after Wind Wallop ’06, the West Seattle Blog World HQ is still out of power. Sneaking a moment of internet cafe access now, looking for another way to post some real updates shortly. We promise, we’ll get broadband wireless before the next one!

Quick, before the connection goes out again

The lights are flickering; the Internet connection is wavering … Sounds out there like This Is It — the wind wallop the weather experts warned about. The National Weather Service “current observations” say it’s gusting to 58 mph at Alki Point! (Look for “K91S” here, under the “GS” column for gusts, “SP” next to it for ongoing wind speed.) E-mail and online reports mention a variety of problems around WS already, including some sort of sinkhole at Northrop and Thistle, up the hill from Lincoln Park, and power outages in Westwood and at the Fauntleroy end of the WS Bridge. We might be too powerless to post later, so to speak, but please keep everyone updated by adding a comment to this post with a report from your ‘hood. (And if you want to know what’s up elsewhere, the RPIN appears to provide decent updates.)

Just in case

We’re sure you’ve heard by now that it could get insanely windy overnight, on the heels of all this pouring rain. In case you want to write it down or print it out before the power goes out, here’s the official City Light advice. Stay safe! And let us know about any trouble in your neighborhood.

Art walk night!

A dozen places in The Junction are participating in tonight’s Art Walk, 6-8 pm, starting at Divina, with beverages and hors d’oeuvres. We’ve got the complete list of participants and artists, thanks to Divina.Read More

The best and the brightest, part 2

December 14, 2006 7:06 am
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 |   Holidays

Since part 1 of our Christmas-lights search, our chances to keep scouring the streets have been limited by personal holiday activities (like getting a reasonably priced tree). But others have provided more info on WS lights for you to enjoy. For starters, one e-mail tipster mentioned that Fauntlee Hills is nicely lit as usual (here’s how to find that area), and it’s also written up in this region-wide Times roundup today (along with a few other WS spots). Yet another address is mentioned at the end of a touching letter-to-the-editor in this week’s Herald. We’ll be out searching again this weekend so please share your discoveries by e-mailing us.

More on Arbor Heights shooting

Not much more, but this short Times article this morning does identify the victim as Robert Samson.