month : 07/2008 331 results

They won their fight, and are now sharing their strategy


That’s a page from Google Earth, mounted and marked with push pins – each color denoting an attribute of a little bit of land in a certain Sunrise Heights neighborhood – a house with kids, a school, a playground. It was shown to us tonight at High Point Community Center, after a meeting that a weary but victorious group of neighbors decided to have even though the original reason for it had become a moot point. Those are the neighbors from the 32nd/Holden vicinity, who went into hyperdrive when a chance conversation with visiting strangers revealed that a house had been rented for likely use as a new home for up to five former “high-risk, high-need” inmates (original WSB story here). Read ahead to see what was said tonight and what they hope you might learn from their experience:Read More

“Night Out” next Tuesday: Be part of West Seattle history!

July 31, 2008 9:09 pm
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 |   Crime | Neighborhoods | Safety | West Seattle news

Talked with Southwest Precinct crime-prevention coordinator Benjamin Kinlow at tonight’s meeting nightout.jpgfor the neighborhood that almost had a Re-entry Housing Pilot Project house moving in (original WSB story here; last night’s followup here). We asked him how “Night Out” preparations were going; he said it looks like registrations have eclipsed the record set last year, around 200 so far. You’ve still got a full day to sign up your block party for next Tuesday night (which gets you the right to close off the street); here’s how to do it. And as we mentioned earlier today, if you wouldn’t mind WSB stopping by for a quick pic, please send us your block party’s address/time frame — we want to make sure our coverage next Tuesday night shows the world that West Seattle neighbors are serious about watching out for each other and staying safe. (Meantime, more on the aforementioned meeting, in a bit.)

Seafair tomorrow: Watching for free, plus “what if it’s cloudy?”

2007-ba_08.jpgNever mind the rain. Tomorrow’s what we refer to as Seafair Free Day” – you can go to Lake Washington and watch hydro trials and the Blue Angels’ “practice show” for free, on the same shores where you’ll pay admission to watch Saturday and/or Sunday (read more in our “Seafair Secrets” post from last year). So what if it’s still cloudy, you ask? Checking the WSB archives (where we’ve now set up a Blue Angels-only category), seems that Seafair Weekend last year was plagued with the same problem – on “Free Friday,” though the clouds mostly burned off by noontime, the Blue Angels did their “low show” anyway (here’s our coverage). For the next three days, by the way, the I-90 bridge will be closed 12:45-2:40 pm for the Blue Angels shows (which don’t last two hours, but WSDOT needs to set a wider window).

Junction development: Businesses ask for your help in alley fight


That’s the alley stretching south from Alaska, between 42nd and California (Rocksport on one side, Super Supplements on the other). The company that wants to build a two-building development on both sides of that alley has just filed its formal request for “vacation” of that alley, in order to build one underground parking garage (including land that’s under the alley surface) to serve both buildings. SDOT review and City Council approval are required, and this afternoon, representatives of several Junction businesses and the West Seattle Junction Association told WSB they want you to help them fight against approval of that request. If it’s granted, they say, the alley will be closed for at least a year – and they say that will kill the businesses that rely on alley access for deliveries. Read on to find out about the action they want you to take if you support their campaign — and to get more details on exactly what is happening here:Read More

Now, a break for the fun stuff: Saturday’s “Movie on the Wall”

July 31, 2008 1:41 pm
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 |   Fun stuff to do | WS culture/arts

That’s a scene (featuring Bob Hoskins, with Kathleen Turner voicing “Jessica Rabbit”) from the pioneering live-action/animation comedy “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” — celebrating its TWENTIETH anniversary (where did the time go?) this year. You can watch it on a big screen this Saturday night as West Seattle Movies on the Wall continues its summer series – this week, West Seattle’s only 24/7 news source (that’s us!) is the official presenter, in tandem with one of our sponsors, Click! Design That Fits. Come to the Hotwire Coffee (also a WSB sponsor) courtyard sometime before dusk to stake out your spot – the movie’s free, bring a nonperishable-food donation for the West Seattle Food Bank, which also is the beneficiary of nicely priced concessions offered by West Seattle Christian Church (yet another WSB sponsor). Also bring a few dollars for raffle tickets – co-publisher Patrick has been out lining up some COMPLETELY COOL West Seattle stuff (it’ll be a surprise!!!!) to raffle off; the nonprofit beneficiary will be the Nature Consortium, which with volunteer help works tirelessly to restore West Seattle’s amazing West Duwamish Greenbelt (and they’re sponsoring the Arts in Nature festival next month). California/Genesee, see you there Saturday night.

Crime Watch reader report: In the yard? Lock the door

This just out of the WSB inbox, from Desiree:

I had a terrible thing happen to me yesterday and I want to share it with others so the same thing does not happen to them. I live in West Seattle at Southern St and 35th Ave SW. While I was mowing my lawn yesterday (Wednesday) a thief entered my home through the basement utility room. He stole my purse, jug of change ($80) and my mother’s engagement ring (not replaceable). After I finished mowing the front lawn I walked the lawn mower down the side of the home and into my driveway where there was a beat-up black BMX bike on the sidewalk at the end of my driveway. I though, gosh that’s a big bike for the kids to be riding and thought nothing more about it. After I put the lawn mower away and turned around I noticed the bike was gone. This was maybe a minute from when I had just walked by the bike.

When I realized my purse was missing I headed straight to the bank where I was told by the bank representative that already the thief had tested my debit card at the ARCO station. When the police arrived and learned of my situation they shared with me that this has been happening in the area from the south to the Admiral District. Mostly these “Opportunists” are looking for elderly people working in their yards, which is a good opportunity to enter the home, according to the police officer. A running lawn mower is an excellent indication for a thief to know of ones whereabouts. I really never thought I’d have to lock my door while I’m doing choirs around the home.

I spoke to the neighbors and the little boy saw a man arrive on his black bicycle with black clothing and dark skin. The boy saw him on my deck. Which was a very scary thing since you can only get on the deck from the upstairs kitchen door. The boy saw the man crawl over the deck…the boy thought it was my husband. With the boy witnessing the man’s actions, it helped me put together what really happened and how the thief entered and exited my home.

I think this information is very important so please post it as a reminder for neighbors to be alert to their surrounding and be safety-conscious.

A related reminder: The neighborhood crime-fighting-awareness event Night Out is next Tuesday, and tomorrow is your last day to register your block, which gets you official permission to close it to traffic that evening, so you can have a block party. Here’s how to register. (And if you’re having a Night Out event, and wouldn’t mind us dropping by to get a picture and say hi, please let us know where and when – this is the type of community event we love to celebrate in WSB coverage.)

Final plans shown for White Center cultural-center proposal

July 31, 2008 11:42 am
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 |   White Center

West Seattle’s neighbors to the south are working on a cultural center, and the final plans were shown and discussed at a meeting last night. Dina Johnson from Highland Park Action Committee was there and posted this report, with photos and the latest rendering for the center, at the HPAC site.

TV interview by West Seattle mom of Europe murder suspect

We haven’t closely followed the Amanda Knox case, though she’s from West Seattle and her mom still lives here, because there’s a preponderance of places where you CAN find every last little detail; our last mention was back in January. However, Cami from Alki just tipped us that Knox’s family, including her mom Edda Mellas from Arbor Heights, did a rare interview this morning, on the Today Show, and sent the link (click the picture on the right side of the page to launch the clip, which starts with an update on the case before the video of the on-set interview). No stunning revelations so far as we could tell from watching.

Crime Watch reader report: Someone scooted off with scooter


This is out of the WSB inbox, from a couple in the Seaview area, who attached the photo you see above:

On July 29, our beautiful beloved new Stella scooter was stolen sometime after 12:45 AM from the front of our home in West Seattle … around the 46th and Raymond/Juneau cross streets. If you have any information please contact the police dept at 206-733-9800 or 911 case# 08-279064 it would mean the world to us. We have attached a picture of what our bike looks like and the temporary license plate is 212099. …

Also, with the rise in Scooter ownership due to increasing gas prices, we felt it would be great to let others know the potential for theft. We only had her for a short while and are crushed about it.

Delridge skatepark meeting #1: Collaboration, not controversy


If the opinions voiced tonight at the first community meeting about the Delridge skatepark-to-be hold sway, that’s the spot where you’ll see skateboarders in the next year or two – the northeast corner of the park, at Delridge and Genesee, immediately north of the parking lot and wading pool (which made news earlier today). Less than two months after the sudden Parks Department decision to place a skatepark in Delridge, rather than High Point (briefly under consideration) or Myrtle Reservoir (not so briefly, but highly controversially, under consideration), the process is moving along with high hopes and seemingly abundant goodwill. Ahead, what tonight’s meeting was for, how much the skatepark project is expected to cost, and what happens next:Read More

Hotwire barista Blayne on “Project Runway,” week 3

No same-night spoilers on the home page, so click ahead if you want to know how Blayne did tonight, and/or what his Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor) boss Lora Lewis said about it afterward …Read More

Seafair tomorrow: Fleet tours and Blue Angels practices

July 30, 2008 9:26 pm
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 |   Blue Angels | Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway



Thanks to Mark Rhea for those photos of the Seafair fleet on “parade” in Elliott Bay this afternoon (first photo, a Navy and Coast Guard ship; second photo, two of the visiting Canadian ships; as we reported last night, the Coast Guard’s Local Notice to Mariners identifies the participating ships as USS Princeton, USS Germantown, USCGC Steadfast, and three Canadian ships – HMCS Yellowknife, HMCS Saskatoon, and HMCS Raven). You can tour them at Pier 90 tomorrow through Sunday; full details on the Seafair website. And tomorrow’s also the day you will start seeing the Blue Angels (who arrived on Monday; WSB video coverage here) practice, which also means I-90 bridge closures; tomorrow’s the one day with two separate closure periods, 9:45 am-noon and 1:15-2:30 pm – all closures are listed here. And we always put in a plug for the alternative way to enjoy the Blue Angels — by watching their takeoffs and landings at the Museum of Flight adjacent to Boeing Field (not that far from West Seattle) — explained in our “Seafair secrets” post from last year.

Reader report: Fence crash ends “Thriftway getaway”


A resident of the townhouses behind Thriftway in Morgan Junction came home to that scene a couple hours ago – and says it was reportedly related to a suspected shoplifting attempt at the nearby store. Police were questioning one person; two others reportedly ran after the truck crashed into the fence. No injuries.

“Ex-prisoners next door?” update: Neighbors say lease canceled

32ndholden.jpgJust out of the WSB inbox, an update from Bill, who had sent us first word of Sound Mental Health renting a house near 32nd/Holden for potential use in the Re-entry Housing Pilot Program for people released from jail/prison (original WSB story, with more than 70 comments, can be found here): Bill says SMH told neighbors it is pulling out of the lease, with the homeowner’s agreement. Bill adds, “Our neighborhood is relieved we won’t have to deal with this experiment but we are nonetheless saddened that this could be thrust upon another block in the community without any prior notice. The program has some serious flaws and needs further media, political and public scrutiny.”

From the precinct: Community Police Team’s temporary change

precinctsign1.jpgIt’s been a challenging summer for the Southwest Precinct, dealing with some officer injuries (like this one) that have affected staffing, and forced some difficult choices. The precinct leader we mention the most, Lt. Steve Paulsen — who’s in charge of precinct operations, which means logistics, scheduling, and other planning/execution to keep West Seattle (and South Park) safe — has just written with a message for you about one resulting short-term change:

For the next month to month and a half, we are going to pretty much shut down our Community Police Team office. I have made the tough decision to put our Community Police Team back into patrol to get us through the rest of the summer. Given this temporary situation, I believe it is more important that our citizens have the officers in the field. The CPT officers will be working the areas they normally serve so they can keep current with issues to their assigned neighborhoods. What they won’t be able to do is answer/monitor their office telephone calls from citizens in the Precinct.

The good part is that we will be in the field, enhancing our current ability to provide a responsive service. If our citizens have non-emergency neighborhood issues that requires our attention — please feel free to contact Crime Prevention Specialist Benjamin Kinlow at 206-684-7724. Any other concerns, please contact the Southwest Precinct at 206-733-9800.

Again, thank you for your patience and support … We truly enjoy our partnership with our West Seattle community.

If you’re wondering “what’s the Community Police Team?” — these are officers assigned to certain sectors of the precinct’s area with primarily proactive, rather than reactive, duties — from working with community groups to address their concerns (we see CPT reps at many key meetings), to keeping close watch on potential trouble spots, even repeat visits to make themselves known. You can read about the CPT at this page on the SW Precinct website. Meantime, as Lt. Paulsen mentioned, it’s a “partnership” with you — and the next action you can take in this partnership is participating in Night Out, next Tuesday; it’s not too late to register your block (which gets you the right to close it down for the evening) – here’s the place to start.

Alki Car-Free Day report #2: Activity ideas, plus a city request

That video is from our chat with Abby Suplizio, who leads the West Seattle chapter of CoolMom — the group that got first word of the September 7th Alki “Car-Free Day” (as reported here last Friday). We talked about their potential ideas for the big day, right after it was officially announced today at a beachfront news conference along Alki. Our first report from this morning has full details, including a map of the Harbor/California Way-to-Alki/63rd closure zone (direct map link here). Suplizio’s group members are not the only ones now brainstorming plans for ways to make the six-hour event (noon-6 pm) special — so are Coastal owners Christy Pudduck and Sarah Steere; at the news conference, Steere said they’re hoping not only to see new customers, but to entice West Seattle locals to really come enjoy the beach area:

Coastal, in fact, had a sandbox event out front of its Alki store back on May 31st to celebrate the 5th anniversary of their business (WSB photos here). So what about the operational specifics of the fact that that the September 7th “Car-Free Day” will not be entirely “car-free” along Harbor/Alki? Just ahead, what SDOT director Grace Crunican — who, like the mayor, lives in West Seattle — told us, plus a city request for help:Read More

Demolition updates: Fauntleroy Place, California/Graham

On the sixth day of demolition, the old Schuck’s/Hancock building is finally all gone:


That’s the view from 40th, looking east toward Fauntleroy/Alaska; here’s the front view from 39th (note you can see straight through to Bank of America):


And the giant pile of wood debris has now morphed into this giant pile of wood chips:


One more demolition note, on a separate project – thanks to “Chuck and Sally’s Van Man” for the tip that the 6053 California (at Graham) demolition is actually proceeding from the alley side – couldn’t get close enough for a good look but the dumpster tells the tale (as does the sun dappling through the yellow paper covering the California-fronting windows):


You can see a rendering of the future 6053 California development here; you can see the latest design proposal for Fauntleroy Place (which goes to design review 8/14) here.

West Seattle jail-sites fight: “Low rise vs. high rise” study out

At last Saturday’s city-organized forum focused on the two southeastern West Seattle sites under consideration for a possible jail for Seattle’s misdemeanor offenders (WSB coverage here), city reps mentioned this study was about to be released – and now it’s out: Whether a high-rise jail would be more efficient and cost-effective than a low-rise jail (which is what the city has been pursuing, and why it’s been focused on 7-acre sites like the two in this area). We’ve just started reviewing it – but it appears the answer is “no” – a high-rise jail would cost more. Read the full study here. ADDED 1:05 PM: Here are the main points, excerpted from the report, followed by (added at 2:42 pm) a comment from the city on “what’s next”:Read More

Bulletin: East-west pool “divide” update – Delridge to open Sundays


Three weeks ago, we told you about Delridge residents’ concern that none of eastern West Seattle’s city-run wading pools are open on Sundays, including the one in their neighborhood (shown above on a sunny Sunday earlier this month); read the original WSB article here. They had talked with the city, and we followed up with the Parks Department as well, but it seemed no reconsideration would be in order until the schedule for next year was drawn up, and the concerned wading-pool users were in the process of planning their next steps. Now – we have just received word of a breakthrough. Parks Board commissioner and Alki resident Jackie Ramels just told WSB moments ago that the city is about to announce that the Delridge wading pool WILL open on Sundays after all, for the rest of this season, five more Sundays starting this week. Delridge Neighborhood Services Coordinator Ron Angeles had also been working on this issue; a note to him from parks deputy superintendent Christopher Williams says in part, “Next year we will re-examine the wading pool operating schedule across the system in order to plan for the best overall distribution and access to wading pools in our system.” (Our original report included a map of which wading pools around the city were open on Sundays and which were not; in West Seattle, Lincoln Park and Hiawatha had been the only ones open on Sundays.)

Two more ways recycling is going beyond the bin out back


First: The demolition work at the ex-Hancock/Schuck’s/future Fauntleroy Place site at Alaska/39th/Fauntleroy is in its second week, and as we’ve mentioned, it’s proceeded more slowly than many such jobs because so much of the old building is being recycled. This morning, en route back to WSB HQ from the Alki Car-Free Day announcement (report #1 here; report #2 in the works), we caught that photo of a grinder helping take care of the biggest pile, the wood debris. Second: We have word from Amy Lee Derenthal at The Kenney that: “We’re the first retirement community to join the Seattle Climate Partnership — the city’s arm to help employers reduce pollution that harms the planet.” She sends this photo:


That’s The Kenney’s facilities director Daniel Casey with Eva Nieto from the Dining Services staff. Food-waste recycling is part of what The Kenney is doing as part of its “greening,” along with using paper towels made from recycled fiber, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, and implementing energy-conservation measures such as turning off computer equipment at night. Casey is using a special database to track The Kenney’s “carbon footprint”; he also says the facility is looking at possibly installing solar-power features on the roofs of new buildings in the redevelopment project that’s coming up within the next few years (potentially doubling residential capacity, which is now at 180).

West Seattle Crime Watch: Garage break-in

July 30, 2008 11:44 am
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 |   Crime | West Seattle news

Quick reader report from Justin:

I had wheels and tires stolen from my garage last night near 42nd and Brandon. It has been reported to the police.

Traffic alert: Northbound Alaskan Way Viaduct closed reopens

Thanks to Deborra for sending word. It’s also in the alerts you can find from the WSB Traffic page anytime – “Highway 99 – Past W. Seattle Brg – accident blocking all lanes – involving a hazmat situation; also blocking the on ramp from Spokane St.” 10:29 AM UPDATE: Note from this city traffic camera that the ramp off The Bridge is closed and things are already pretty jammed heading eastbound on The Bridge – see the “live” image (refresh the page for the latest) above. 10:39 AM UPDATE: Radio reports say the accident involves a gravel truck. We’re also checking to see if the “viaduct closed when flashing” lights are working, just out of curiosity. 10:45 AM UPDATE: The southernmost one on 35th is. 11 AM UPDATE: The “live” picture above shows that the ramp to The Viaduct just reopened, so all this should clear up in a while.

Report #1: Alki Car-Free Day confirmed for noon-6 Sept. 7th


What we reported here last Friday night is now officially confirmed: Alki’s “Car-Free Day” is set for noon-6 pm Sunday, September 7th. According to the official information handed out at the announcement event that just concluded at Alki/Bonair with Mayor Nickels and SDOT director Grace Crunican (pictured above) — both West Seattleites — plus City Councilmember Jan Drago and others, the closure will be from Harbor Ave/California Way SW to Alki Ave/63rd. Here’s a map (the hikers mark the western and eastern ends of the closure):

View Larger Map

Here’s video of the mayor explaining how he got into the spirit of the announcement while on the way there:

As we also had reported, the “Car-Free Day” won’t be entirely vehicle-free — there will be a lane for the Water Taxi shuttle and for residents who can’t get to Alki homes any other way; that’ll be the curb lane. Many more details and video to come in report #2; the mayor was joined at the announcement by West Seattleites including Christy Pudduck and Sarah Steere, the entrepreneurs who run Coastal on Alki — you’ll hear from them in report #2, along with Abby Suplizio, who leads the West Seattle chapter of CoolMom, the group that got first word of the impending announcement. Car-Free Days also were announced for Capitol Hill and Rainier Valley areas; read ahead for the official city news release:Read More