Followup: New city jail in West Seattle? City website up now



As mentioned here last night, the city has narrowed its list of potential municipal jail sites to four, and two are on the eastern edge of West Seattle, as seen in city aerials above — Highland Park Way/W. Marginal Way (map) and 9501 Myers Way (map). For those seeking more information and opportunities for feedback, a new section is live on the city website (here’s the start page) with everything from the reason why the jail’s needed, to the rationale behind the site-selection process, to how to send in feedback (online form here). The timeline for the process (choose a site this year, open in 2013) is outlined here. As pointed out in this WSB Forum thread, the jail proposal may well come up at tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting (7 pm, President’s Board Room at SSCC) since Councilmember Tom Rasmussen will be there; we just checked with his staff and he doesn’t have an official position yet on where the jail should be built (the two non-WS options are Interbay and 11762 Aurora).

23 Replies to "Followup: New city jail in West Seattle? City website up now"

  • OP May 7, 2008 (2:36 pm)

    Of the 4 overall potential sites, the Myers Way site seems to be the furthest away from any residential neighborhood. (The site’s also located near the transfer station. How apropos.) The only thing I can see wrong with the site is that area seems pretty swampy to me and would require oodles of dredging, I imagine.

  • CM May 7, 2008 (3:05 pm)

    OK, help me out here. The Myers Way site is right south of the new fire training facility the city built by ignoring the Army Corps of Engineers orders and the city’s own building codes. They essentially paved over a wetlands.

    The West MArginal Way site, as OP mentioned, is a wetland.

    As far as I know, neither of these sites can be developed legally without massive restoration of the native wetlands.

    These are the only choices? What’s up with our City Government?

  • RobertSeattle May 7, 2008 (3:06 pm)

    Here’s an idea… I bet someone is trying to sell a “slightly damaged” barge… :-)

  • hopey May 7, 2008 (3:19 pm)

    How is the Highland Park/Marginal site a wetland?

    How is the Myers Way site “furthest away” from a residential neighborhood? Unlike the Highland Park/Marginal site, you can see HOMES immediately adjacent to the site boundary on the Myers Way site. What that map does not show is the senior housing which is about to be built on the corner of Myers Way and Olson Place SW. The lot was recently cleared; presumably construction will occur this summer.

    Frankly now that I’ve seen the site outlines, imho the Highland Park/Marginal site is better. It is in an industrial area, not immediately adjacent to any housing. The residential area is up a very steep hill from that site.

  • Aidan Hadley May 7, 2008 (3:22 pm)

    I can never understand why people are so concerned about having prisons near residential areas. If any of those guys break out do you think they’re gonna stick around the neighborhood?! They’re going to get as far away from there as they possible can. I’ve seen the Shawshank Redemption. I know what’s up.

  • d May 7, 2008 (3:51 pm)


    The Highland Park Way/West Marginal site is exactly 1.1 MILE FROM HIGHLAND PARK ELEMENTARY. Yes, of course, some of the released inmates will be picked up by nearby social services and go right into work release. And, I hope that their futures would be better for it.

    However, it is entirely possible that many will NOT get service intervention; and, because they will be released at the absolute edge of this industrial area, many without coins or busfare, they will climb the short hill that leads immediately to residential Highland Park Way OR, possibly, they will cross Marginal Way over to South Park. Surely somebody in South Park and the Southeast DIstrict people are paying attention as well. I think that this proposal area is considered a Shared District Council area. I could be wrong and it might be irrelevant at this juncture, but maybe not.

    FYI – the jail is NOT that close to the dump, even though the area is being dumped upon. But, it IS that close to the elementary school and about a bizillion neighborhood kids who play outside the townhouses and apartments that ARE less than 3/4 of a mile from the site. 3/4 of a mile! Kids hanging outside where released prisoners will likely be in transit.

    I don’t know what the ultimate answer is, but this seems TOO close for comfort to kids. It’s hard enough being safe around these neighborhoods, for God’s sake. You dump a friggin’ PRISON into the neighborhood “system” and it just makes it worse. Vicious, vicious cycle.

    Why oh WHY isn’t the City joining a coalition? Would that not increase acreage options to fulfill their site requirements and share the $$$$ burden? Why not a coalition?

    Now I’m saying this without having looked at the City’s site that TR linked for us….so, I’m gonna’ go do that…..

    to be continued.


  • OP May 7, 2008 (3:56 pm)

    CM–Thanks for confirming that it was a wetland area.

    Here’s a thought: Since the Sonics are leaving, could we, ya know, use a certain building with a Key on top of it? ;-)

  • Pete May 7, 2008 (4:39 pm)

    The entire site is not classified as wetlands. There would have to be some remediation to make that site work. Also, remember that this jail will only house persons arrested on misdemeanor charges. If it involves a felony that person would still be booked into the King county jail facility.

  • ToddinWestwood May 7, 2008 (5:01 pm)

    West Seattle should secede from Seattle propper.
    I think we will call it the W.S.L.F. West Seattle Liberation Front.

    see you at the secret meeting place.

    ixnay on the eetingmay laceplay.

  • nunya May 7, 2008 (6:03 pm)

    We already have an dis-proportional amount of low income housing with High Point and Park Lake homes. Our schools are far inferior to those north of the ship canal and now two of the four sites for a jail are in West Seattle. There should be some place in the SODO area that would be just as affordable and be much better suited, or even downtown proper where the courthouse is. Perhaps they could use Qwest Field or Safeco, just shift them between event dates. Although Key Arena would be great too, those luxury suites could finally get utilized to their potential.

  • d May 7, 2008 (6:25 pm)

    I’m on my way out the door to the meeting at So. Seattle Comm College but I would love to see a list of what is included in those misdemeanors. It would very edifying, don’t you think, to have it all laid out in detail here for folks. I do.

  • headache and a beer May 7, 2008 (7:30 pm)

    Let’s not forget the experience we had with the Sex Offender Unit King Co. stuck on Spokane St. at the last minute. The fact is that they want it here because the neighborhood will not object as loudly. The South end has been conditioned to just take it. That they included a joke site like the one in Magnolia (Can you imagine the folks on Magnolia and Queen Anne allowing such a blight on their doorstep?) makes me believe that they have already decided to dump it on us and want to play “let’s pretend there is a public process” for such things.

  • Kat May 7, 2008 (8:58 pm)

    A reminder Pete that “misdemeanor” charges include theft, prostitution, assault, vandalism, and public drunkenness. Just the folk I want wandering around about 1000 ft. (as a crow flies) from my toddler’s playground in Riverview and the Pee Wee baseball fields. A park that I am already concerned about. It seems I can’t go to the playground without finding empty drug distribution bags and broken beer bottles…
    I’m not worried about people breaking out. I’m worried about people making bail and entering our neighborhood. How can this be a good thing?

  • CB May 7, 2008 (9:09 pm)

    Nimby’s of the world unite! The same people who complain about crime don’t want a new jail. What’s more important?

    What’s next…. are we going to debate the merits of running water?

  • Kat May 7, 2008 (9:51 pm)

    I never said that I didn’t support a new jail. However, such a facility doesn’t belong in ANYONE’S backyard (so stop with the lame “nimby” talk). Such a facility belongs in an area such as SODO – on main public transit lines and far away from residences, schools, and children’s playgrounds.

  • Danno May 7, 2008 (10:36 pm)

    Yeah, the jail needs to be on a public mass transit line to get the perps out of the neighborhood and back to their dealers, etc.

    Can’t be WS as we only have the Monorail.

  • WestwoodWriter May 8, 2008 (12:38 am)

    Seattle’s city government has truly lost its mind! The Myer’s Way site is SURROUNDED by residential areas. Recently escaped and released convicts don’t tend to “hang around” in the neighborhood near the prison, but surrounding neighborhoods are an excellent source of quick money and fence-able property for the “trouble” of a broken window or a kicked-in back door. All White Center and West Seattle need is more of a criminal element! The Highland PARK Way site is (as the name implies) across the street from a MASSIVE greenbelt with LOTS of places to hide. Many trails in the greenbelt lead directly to residential areas, elementary schools, or South Seattle Community College. There are acres and acres of densely forested land with a system of contiguous trails which lead from the West Seattle Bridge to White Center. There’s also a river right across the street for easy pick-up of escapees by boat. That will definitely come in handy. Come ON! City government has become laughable on a daily basis. And, they really need to stop sticking it to West Seattle without giving us anything in return.

  • Concerned Parent May 8, 2008 (8:21 am)

    I can’t believe that 2 of the 4 sites is in West Seattle. We’re not a “dumnping ground” in fact this area (White Center/ Highland Park) is trying to clean up it’s reputation and striving to be a family friendly / safe neighborhood. Now a jail facility?? GREAT!!! Come and live in Highland Park… you’re close to everything..including a jail facility.

  • KatHP May 8, 2008 (10:07 am)

    My family and I live in the greenbelt off of Highland Park Way, only halfway up the Highland Park Way hill. How comforting.

    What I’d like to know is how much effort the city put into trying to locate a site that was in a LARGER industrial area, such as near Airport Way, etc. Yes, Highland Park Way/ W Marginal Way is on the boundary of an industrial district but also just on the boundary of residential areas, playfields, and just a little further up, both Highland Park and Sanislo elementary schools.

    We already have our hands full with people using our neighborhood as a dumping ground (literally) and dotting it with makeshift campsites. Now we get to roll out the mat for those coming out of the jail as well?

    I realize no site will be perfect for everyone, and there will always be people unhappy with whatever choice is made, but I really do feel that South and SW Seattle gets “dumped on.”

  • K May 8, 2008 (10:12 am)

    What about the Industrial Lands study the City commissioned and the Mayor’s recommendations that came out of that to preserve industrial lands for industrial purposes? It’s my understanding that the Highland Park/Marginal Way site is zoned Industrial. It seems like a jail facility would be more appropriate in a institution or commercial zone. This seems like a bad plan. Also, transit (bus service) in that area is horrible!

  • JenV May 8, 2008 (10:23 am)

    K- that was my first thought when I heard about the Highland Park/Marginal Way site- no transit service! So they’re just planning on letting criminals out with nowhere to go and miles from anything?

  • cc May 15, 2008 (2:50 pm)

    this is something we need to come together on there is a higland park action commitee mtg scheduled for monday may 19 at 7pm at the highland park improvement club. show up to have your voice heard

  • d May 25, 2008 (4:43 pm)

    A second meeting of the Highland Park Action Committee is scheduled. Nearly 100 concerned neighbors attended the first meeting. We anticipate many, many more will attend this second gathering of concerned and responsible people:

    Monday, June 2
    7:00 PM
    Highland Park Action Committee Meeting
    @ the Highland Park Improvement Club
    1116 SW Holden

    More information is available at

    Tell your neighbors and local businesses that this is their opportunity to gather the information they need to form their opinions.

    Hope to see you there.

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