West Seattle, Washington
The clock’s ticking toward the previously proclaimed end-of-year decision deadline for the fate of the >Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s Central Waterfront section, and tonight’s open house at Fauntleroy Church is part of the latest phase of the winnowing-down-the-options process: The state’s doing environmental reviews, including a look at the eight options currently being reviewed (listed on The Viaduct website here, and shown in previous WSB coverage here). You have till September 30th to tell the state what you think; e-mail and phone options are both listed on this page (along with one more way to participate – attend the Stakeholders’ Advisory Committee meetings – next one’s 4 pm September 25th at Seattle City Hall).
That’s a bit of video from last week’s practice for the Thrill the World West Seattle team – second time they got together to work on the “Thriller” moves they’re going to do as part of the Thrill the World world-record attempt on October 25th. Starting tomorrow night, the weekly 8 pm Wednesday practices are in a new location: a bigger room at West Seattle Christian Church (SE corner of 42nd/Genesee, across the street from the previous location). And mastermind Lora Lewis of Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor) has a question for you: If you were going to pick someplace “West Seattle iconic” for the big zombie dance that day, where would you pick? Someplace obviously with room for a few dozen dancers, but otherwise … she’s interested in what you would suggest. Meantime, keep up with the Thrill the World West Seattle exploits on the official blog.
You might remember the Alki incident Sunday night — shots fired, nobody hit, somebody nabbed shortly thereafter. Tonight at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s monthly meeting at the Southwest Precinct, Sgt. Jeff Durden shared a few more details — Two suspects were arrested, “white males in their 20s” in a silver Lexus with Oregon plates, armed with a Glock; Sgt. Durden added that “five shell casings” were found near Spud, but reiterated nobody hit, no property damage either. (Two more reports still to come from tonight’s meeting – the amazing tale of how a laptop theft got solved, plus Gang Unit Sgt. Jim Dyment’s guest appearance.)
Starting preschool is enough of a milestone — but Cora, a West Seattle 4-year-old, happens to be doing it while undergoing chemotherapy. Shortly after her birthday this past June, she was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumor (explained here) in one of her kidneys. Friends and family say this is very rare – eight in a million US kids. One day after Cora was diagnosed, the tumor and kidney were taken out in a seven-hour operation. Her immune system is compromised because of the chemo but her family and friends are “praying for a healthy fall and winter so she can continue to attend (preschool).” To help in Cora’s fight, they are inviting you to join them anytime between 2:30-5:30 pm this Sunday at the Seattle Lutheran High School gym (4141 41st SW; here’s a map) for cupcakes, a silent auction, and a chance to buy Team Cora T-shirts. (If you can’t go, you can still help: Cora’s aunt Lori says, “Checks are payable to Ron and Chrissy Cardenas at any Wells Fargo branch to acct# 9713630631; if they would like to donate electronically they can use the Routing and transmittal #125008547.”
The list of participants has just been finalized for the next three West Seattle Art Walks — and organizer Lora Lewis from Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor) sent the roster, which totals a record-high 43 businesses/venues, from Delridge to Alki to The Junction (where the Art Walk originated) and points south. Have a look. Next Art Walk: October 9, 6-9 pm.
The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council is always on our list of must-attend meetings. We strongly urge you to be there too, if you have any kind of crime/safety concern in your neighborhood (that includes “nuisance properties”), since Southwest Precinct police leaders are always in attendance and you get the chance to bring up questions/concerns – and tonight features a special guest of timely interest, from the Seattle Police Gang Unit. See you at the SW Precinct meeting room, 7 pm (off Webster, just west of Delridge, parking lot’s on the south side of the building, steps away from the meeting room).
If you can spare two minutes, listen to former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle tell that story. At its heart, it’s about the work done by Southwest Youth and Family Services, the West Seattle-based nonprofit that’s headed by his brother Steve Daschle – but it’s also a reminder that problems can be solved creatively and sometimes more easily than we expect. Daschle spoke this morning at Salty’s on Alki, site of the annual SWYFS fundraising breakfast/silent auction. This has been a big month for SWYFS — just last week, Mayor Nickels announced it would play a key role in a new initiative to prevent youth violence in our area (and two other parts of the city, where two other agencies will lead the way).
ORIGINAL POST THIS MORNING: We’ve now received about half a dozen notes on this and we’re stymied, so we’re throwing it out in hopes someone can solve the mystery: A blue-and-white private jet that flew over West Seattle, repeatedly, yesterday (we saw it once while covering the boat collision) is back this morning. Any clues? Please post a comment (or e-mail us). UPDATE AT 12:32 PM WITH MYSTERY SOLVED: Thanks to Jerry for e-mailing us with the suggestion it might be an FAA test, based on something he recalled from years back. We called the regional FAA public-affairs office, where Mike Fergus made a quick inquiry and just got back to us with confirmation: That’s an FAA plane, doing testing that he says includes instrument-landing-system testing and flight procedure testing for runways including Sea-Tac’s new third runway. He says the jet will be up again in about two hours, and that the FAA has several jets like this – all based out of Oklahoma City – that go to airports around the country for testing like this.
As the photo shows (looking north from 1st Ave. So – the west side of the closure is where you see all the SDOT workers), we saw the final barricades and signs go up at quarter till 11. This means the “Costco detour” is now in effect, and will be for at least two years, as the three-year project to widen the Spokane Street Viaduct (the West Seattle Bridge between Highway 99 and I-5) begins. Detour map and much more info on the city website here.
(photo added 9:20 am, thanks to David)
ORIGINAL REPORT: Trying to get to a “heavy rescue” 911 call at 11th/Spokane (map), Harbor Island vicinity, we are stuck in a mess near the Delridge approach to the low bridge, and we see police on the low bridge. Stay away at all costs, it’s gridblock, even to try to turn west back onto W Marginal. UPDATE: Just heard it’s an overturned semi (photo above, added 9:20 am), so that’s why the low bridge is blocked before you get to the scene. Trying to get west onto West Marginal or SW Spokane back toward the rest of WS – the problem is a huge amount of diverted semitruck traffic trying to get up onto the high bridge the other way. Gridlock as a result. This city camera has a partial view of the backup west of the crash, Marginal/Chelan. ADDED 9:31 AM: Two of our pics taken as we came off Delridge into the jammed intersection at Delridge/Marginal/Spokane – police officer at blocked west end of low bridge, followed by the truck-dominated traffic viewed facing north.
Odd irony that today is the start of the Spokane Street work we’ve been reminding you about – and in fact we were about to head to check out the start of the detour, just as we got word of this – but that’s happening about a mile east, and this crash had NOTHING to do with it. Just heard on the radio that this may not be cleared until about 10:15; we’ll post updates as we get them. (Admiral and Fauntleroy approaches are obviously your better bet to get on the high bridge but with the low bridge out of commission, they’re likely slower too.) 9:45 AM UPDATE: Got a note from Hawk, who’s on a Route 21 Metro bus “that was re-routed all the way down to the 1st avenue bridge” – a reminder that this is affecting buses too. 9:52 AM UPDATE: Bike commuter Simon sent the following photo looking back westward toward the wreck scene, and notes that bicyclists/pedestrians are being allowed across the low bridge.
10:13 AM UPDATE: In comments, another West Seattle bike commuter, Aaron, says he saw the truck topple: “I watched this all go down, it was surreal. Not sure what caused the truck to lose balance, but as I was coming over the lower level bridge on my bike, the truck appeared to drop down off the curb, sway, and then ease over on its side. Driver was able to climb out and appeared unharmed.” 10:36 AM UPDATE: Just confirmed this with a drive through the area – the low bridge has reopened and the gridlock near the West Seattle-side approach has cleared.
That’s Stu Hennessey from Alki Bike and Board (in the Admiral District), giving bike-maintenance tips to members of Sustainable West Seattle last night at Camp Long (he offers bike-upkeep lessons by appointment; contact info’s on the ABB website). on what you can do. Transportation sustainability was the heart of last night’s SWS agenda — two-footed transportation as well as two-wheeled. Chas Redmond provided walkability updates, including the latest on the city’s Pedestrian Master Plan, and the 10 am October 18th meeting to plan the next stage of the West Seattle Walking Trails network (mentioned here yesterday, plus Chas has posted a call for volunteers in the WSB Forum to help keep the free WSWT maps stocked around WS). One more transportation-related agenda item: Phil Mitchell from Climate Action Labs briefed SWS on his organization, which helps educate people on how to get involved with transportation-related public policy. Mitchell noted that too often, people get fired up and want to get involved, then can’t figure out where to go or what to do when they’re ready to do SOMETHING. Find out more about CAL here; find out more about Sustainable West Seattle here – SWS meets on the third Monday of each month at Camp Long (next meeting, October 20).
MORNING: SDOT says the two-year-long closure of eastbound lower Spokane Street between 1st So. and 5th So. will start around 9 o’clock this morning, to kick off utility work as a prelude to the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project. Read our latest preview here.
Just back from the scene of a house fire in the 6700 block of 15th SW (here’s a map; that’s just a few blocks from South Seattle Community College). The Fire Department says all 8 people in the house got out safely even before firefighters arrived; the flames started in a back bedroom and spread a bit further into the house before it was “quickly extinguished.” Firefighters were already in mopup mode when we arrived; they’re not sure yet what started the fire, but they confirm nobody is hurt. This video shows some scorching on the front of the house and some smoke damage visible through the front door:
The Red Cross was reported to be on the way to help the family. We’ll add an update here later when the Fire Department has information on what started the fire. 10:05 AM UPDATE: According to Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Dana Vander Houwen, investigators say an “unattended candle” caused the fire. Damage to the house totals $150,000.