West Seattle, Washington
Out of the WSB inbox, from Travis:
I don’t know how many of your readers are concerned with the space behind the Admiral Theater, but I just bought a townhouse here about 6 months ago. Everything was fine for almost 6 full months, and in the last 3 weeks there has been a significant spike in graffiti, likely gang related, and I was shocked to hear from my neighbor this morning that her car was broken into @ 5:30 am. These incidents have been reported to the police but their frequency and severity appear to be on the rise. A police watch placed on the alleyway for the last several weeks has not seemed to curb the offenses.
I for one am quite concerned as a new homeowner who paid high N. Admiral prices to live in a safe, clean, and friendly neighborhood.
From Arbor Heights, a cheerful display, 12000 block of 39th SW (map). Gratuitous reminder – Join us for the annual West Seattle Community Christmas Tree Lighting, 5 pm Saturday in The Junction (Farmers’ Market parking lot), with your WSB co-publishers helping emcee an all-star lineup for one hour of holiday fun — including the Endolyne Children’s Choir, “Plaid Tidings” cast members from ArtsWest, singalong holiday caroling, and the first drawings in The Junction’s $5,000 Holiday Giveaway (multiple chances to win gift certificates! – have you entered yet?). And in the meantime, please send us Christmas lights photos and/or addresses!
We’ve been looking for something like this in West Seattle — hoping to practice our creaky remembered-from-high-school choir alto line in “Hallelujah Chorus” — so thought we’d pass along what we just got from Seaview United Methodist Church music director Dell Gossett (it’ll be on the West Seattle Holiday Happenings calendar momentarily, too):
Seaview United Methodist Church is hosting the second “Messiah” Sing-along on December 14 at 2 pm. All who love to sing (or hear) this glorious musical expression are invited. Bring your own score if you have one, and if you don’t, we will have extras. Accompaniment will be with professional string players. If you think you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, we will even provide buckets!
Seaview UMC is at 46th SW and Graham (map).
We’re at school district HQ in Sodo, with a standing-room-only crowd here to speak out about the school-closure/changes plan at tonight’s School Board meeting – and half the room (photo above, taken moments ago) is dominated by Arbor Heights Elementary School families, fighting to keep their school “program” from being eliminated, because district management is proposing to move Pathfinder K-8 there. No decision will be made tonight, but this is the first official board meeting since the closure/change plan was announced eight nights ago. We’ll add updates as things develop – in addition to scheduled public comment (six AH reps are on the list, which is compiled from people who called and e-mailed starting first thing Monday morning), Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson is scheduled to present an update on the closure/change plan; you can watch the meeting live on cable channel 26. Side note: District HQ is formally named the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence; a few days ago, Nov. 28, marked 10 years since the passing of the legendary superintendent (taken by leukemia at age 60) after whom this facility is named.
6:36 PM UPDATE: The first four Arbor Heights parents to speak have just taken their turns. They are focusing on four alternative proposals: Wait for Denny Middle School to be vacated when it moves to a new building on the Chief Sealth campus; close Roxhill and move its students to Arbor Heights, Highland Park, and Gatewood; move Pathfinder to Cooper Elementary or West Seattle Elementary. Two more Arbor Heights parents are still on the speaking list, along with people speaking on behalf of other controversial closure/change proposals elsewhere in the city.
6:50 PM UPDATE: Eric Iwamoto, co-president of the Arbor Heights PTSA, spoke, focusing on “why isn’t a high school being closed?” – he says Franklin, Cleveland, or Rainier Beach (which has 1300 seats but barely a third of them filled) all have aspects that could qualify them for potential closure, and he says closing a high school would save the cost equivalent of closing two elementaries.
7:20 PM UPDATE: The public comment period of the meeting is over; the board is taking a brief break so the superintendent’s “update” on the school closure/change proposal can be technically set up for display on the big screen.
7:54 PM UPDATE: Before the school-closure briefing, a budget briefing from district financial boss Don Kennedy – district may be $37 million short next year, not just the $24 million already anticipated. Thanks to the SPS Community Blog at saveseattleschools.blogspot.com for noting that the superintendent’s presentation, including the closure update, is already posted online here. From that presentation, in a section that addresses some of the questions board members asked when the recommendations were presented last week:
Questions about locating Pathfinder at Arbor Heights or at Cooper
○ Response: At the work session on November 25 the School Board indicated that the option of altering the Student Assignment Plan to permit the location of Pathfinder at Cooper should be evaluated. Staff are evaluating this option.
The superintendent also is proposing another workshop (next Tuesday, apparently, will update when time/day/place is finalized) about the closure/change proposal, with these goals (from the presentation linked above):
□ Review of functional capacity numbers
□ Review of comments heard at December 4th and 6th
□ Review of questions/concerns raised after November 25
□ Review of potential final recommendations
“Functional capacity” is being evaluated now with walkthroughs at schools (it was mentioned last night that Arbor Heights had just gotten such a visit).
8:30 PM UPDATE: Board members have been asking more questions about the superintendent’s presentation. They’re saying they’re glad it’s obviously an “iterative” process.” Next events, a reminder – tomorrow night, a public “workshop” here at Stanford Center 6:30-8:30 pm; another one Saturday morning, Filipino Community Center, 5740 Martin Luther King Way, 9:30-11:30 am (map); that day, Saturday afternoon, Steve Sundquist will have another informal community gathering to discuss this (and other school issues) – 3-5 pm, Delridge Library.
8:50 PM UPDATE: The aforementioned work session, with lots of data etc., will be 4 pm next Tuesday here at district HQ “and we’ll go till we’re done,” says Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. She says feedback at any time can and should be sent to:
but mail also welcome at
firstname.lastname@example.org She just also mentioned an Arbor Heights-specific meeting for next Tuesday as well – checking on that.
9:24 PM NOTE: We have all of tonight’s Arbor Heights speakers on video and will upload those clips later tonight when we’re back at HQ – more pix too, like this:
ADDED 11:40 PM: Still working on the next report but in the meantime, here’s the info on the Tuesday meeting at Arbor Heights: 6 pm, per this district webpage. Concurrent with part of the aforementioned board workshop.
One way to look at it is, it’s like helping get the toys and clothes from Santa’s workshop, into the sleigh: WestSide Baby, which collects and distributes clothing, diapers, and toys for local families in need, is having a Sorting Party tomorrow night, and it’s a classic case of “many hands mean lighter work” — If you can spare all or part of two hours, 7-9 pm tomorrow (Thursday), you can help get items from shelves like the ones above, into family-tailored bags like the ones below (with “orders to fill” for almost 200 kids as of our visit this morning):
Two quick reminders about events that aren’t happening IN West Seattle tonight, but have potential for major effects ON West Seattle – Seattle School Board, 6 pm, district HQ in Sodo, with members of the public speaking about the school-closure proposal as well as an update expected from the superintendent; downtown forum for the proposed King County Jail-adjacent site for a new regional misdemeanor-offender jail (one of six sites now on the list), with Highland Park reps expected to be there to speak in support of a downtown site (the West Seattle site that’s still on the list is in HP, West Marginal/Highland Park Way), 6-9 pm at City Hall downtown (more info on the new jail-site-search website). ADDED 4:15 PM: The Save Arbor Heights blog reminds us that since this is a regularly scheduled school-board meeting (unlike the closure-announcement meeting last week), you can watch it live on cable TV: Channel 26. We will be at the meeting to cover it in person and will post periodic updates, but since it’s being broadcast live, we don’t plan to liveblog it like last week.
Good food doesn’t have to be expensive: That’s one of the guiding principles for the Junction restaurant we are welcoming today as WSB’s newest sponsor, Ama Ama Oyster Bar and Grill. It’s been in business more than a year now but Ama Ama also has something new – someone new, to be precise – Chef Jared Wentworth, who recently joined Ama Ama:
Ama Ama notes that Jared “has worked his way west while honing his culinary skills in New York (Aureole, Park Avenue Cafe) and Chicago (Charlie Trotter’s, Atlantique, Tizi Melloul) and most recently in Seattle as Chef de Cuisine at Quinn’s on Capitol Hill. He has worked for acclaimed chefs such as David Burke, John Hogan, Keith Korn, Charlie Trotter, and David Bouley. Jared brings to Ama Ama extensive knowledge of French, Japanese, and Mediterranean cuisines, and more than 12 years of executive chef experience preparing cutting-edge food. While Jared has had many high-profile culinary experiences, his approach to cooking remains simple: Fresh, wholesome ingredients, dictated by the changing seasons. He also shares in our belief that creative, high-quality food doesn’t have to be expensive.” Speaking of “not expensive” — 7 days a week you have a chance to try Ama Ama‘s fabled oysters for a low price – they’re 75 cents each from 4 to 6 pm and 10-11 pm every day/night. If you’re looking for someplace to get a late bite to eat, oysters or not, Ama Ama serves till midnight every night of the week. You’ll find Ama Ama on the northeast corner of California and Edmunds (map) in The Junction; you can find its new fall menus online. We thank Ama Ama Oyster Bar and Grill for supporting 24/7 West Seattle news/information/discussion — for, and by, the community — by joining the WSB sponsor team; the current lineup is here, along with info on how to become part of it!
Just received that photo and the one below this post from Jeff Hogan, executive director of Killer Whale Tales, who was more closely involved than most people with the sightings we reported yesterday (anyone seen them today? we think we MAY have seen them in the distance, south of the Fauntleroy ferry dock, within the past hour, but our binoculars leave much to be desired). Jeff e-mailed:
I just wanted to let my new West Seattle neighbors know that we have members of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale Community in the area. Yesterday they spent most of the day off Alki Point and were easily visible for the better part of the afternoon. I am including two photos I took from the beach, one is picture of 13 year old J30 and the other has J8, a 75 year old female in the foreground and L7 a 47 year old female in the background. I spent most of the day on the water with a group of NOAA scientists, collecting fecal samples, (yes, poop) as well as scale samples from their prey. If anyone sees them on the water please give me a call at 206.660.0835 or call the Orca Network hotline at 1.866.672.2638.
Here’s the photo of J30:
Our coverage from yesterday is here (first report) and here (Orca Network sightings details, plus a link for more on the individual whales). For more information on Killer Whale Tales, here’s its website.
That photo shows some of the food and clothing collected so far for West Seattle Food Bank and West Seattle Helpline by the folks at Vending Solutions. Linda Jarvimaki wrote to tell us that VS — a “West Seattle-based, nationwide management company” — is having an office competition to liven up its campaign to support those in need, “the gals against the guys… The team with the most points wins a prize and the individual person who brings in the most points wins a prize, both prizes donated by management. Each week, there is a bonus point day – everything from goofy hat day to slipper day where teams can accumulate points if every team member complies with the bonus point day requirement and brings a one-point item (such as a can of food.)” Linda also shared a team photo from the aforementioned “goofy hat day”:
She adds, “We also had a salad bar day – everyone brought an item for the salad bar and then contributed a dollar to eat (and also had to wear an apron.) In addition, we are having an auction – several people donated their talents (photography, baking, crafts) and all monies collected will be donated to our community. Although our office is small, it’s amazing what can be accomplished. We want to make a difference and invite other businesses to do the same.” Linda and everybody at Vending Solutions also invites you to drop off donations at their office – they’ll deliver them for you! 5415 California SW (map), Monday-Friday, 8 am-4:30 pm. As listed on our West Seattle Holiday Happenings page, donation drives are also under way at other businesses including AAA Travel, Cafe Rozella, and C and P Coffee. If we’re missing yours, please e-mail to let us know (photos welcome too – when we heard from the Vending Solutions folks, we asked them if they had pix, and that’s why they sent these – so we could show you the places and faces making West Seattle better every day), so we can share the good news.
Thanks to those who e-mailed to ask about a loud boom near 16th/Kenyon (map) around 6:30 this morning, followed by “police” sightings. Ralph had the most vivid description of what he saw at a house he identifies as being in the 7900 block of 16th SW:
I heard a loud ka-boom and thought it was a bomb. (About a year or so ago, someone did pipe-bomb neighbor’s back yard.) I thought that I should call that one in.
But first I looked out the window, and everything was quiet. Then I looked out the other window and realized that I didn’t have to call this one in – the lights were already flashing. Then a floodlight illuminated the entire front of the house … And there were numerous SWAT (or whatever) team folks there, armed and wearing helmets. … Turns out it was King County sheriff – no SPD, which surprised me. The ka-boom must have been the flash-bang used by the assault team.
Before Ralph’s note came in, we had been checking with the Southwest Precinct, and indeed, it wasn’t an incident with which they were involved – so we moved on to King County Sheriff’s Office, where Sgt. John Urquhart tells us an arrest warrant was being served – no details on what the person was wanted for, but the person is in custody.
Just in from SDOT:
SDOT crews plan to work on the westbound approach to the lower Spokane Street Bridge to West Seattle on Friday, December 5, from 9 a.m. until no later than 12 p.m. Eastbound traffic will not be affected. Westbound traffic will be detoured around the work area by way of Southwest Klickitat Avenue before crossing the bridge. During this time, crews will place a shim on a sharp dip in the roadway.
Thanks to Chas Redmond for forwarding the city e-mail that’s apparently gone out to all 120-plus people who signed in at Monday night’s open house about the Fauntleroy “rechannelization” proposal (to be done during next year’s repaving). The e-mail, which is officially from SDOT’s Peter Lagerwey via email@example.com – the address to use, as we’ve mentioned, for feedback – promises answers next week to questions raised at the event (WSB coverage here):
We heard support for re-paving the street, reducing speeds, improving pedestrian crossings and installing new bicycle facilities. We also heard concerns about possible congestion, diversion of traffic and lack of enforcement. As soon as we compile comments, we will respond to questions in writing to the group. We will have this work completed by the end of next week, December 12.
All comments will be taken into account as we move forward on a lane configuration decision by the end of the year. We will provide an update once a decision has been made.
The project website mentioned on Monday night handouts still isn’t up; we’ll check today on a timeline for that. As mentioned that night, the timeline for the “rechannelization” would be during the May-October 2009 period set for the repaving. 2:07 PM UPDATE: As Allie points out in comments, the webpage is now live, with some basics about the repaving project but not much on the “rechannelization” proposal; there’s also a spot to subscribe to e-mail bulletins about SDOT paving projects.
One year ago today – there’s really no elegant way to put this – West Seattle and environs got dumped on. Tons of rain. Second-wettest day on record: almost 4″. That photo above, by Kristin, was taken on Juneau between Delridge and 26th, as she reported in a memorable quote, “The creek has burst free!” This gives us a chance to mention something we forgot to report before — a couple months ago, a county employee contacted us asking for permission to use that photo for the cover of the King County Flood District Opportunity Fund application packet. We e-mailed Kristin to see if she’d mind; she said “sure,” and this was the result:
By the way, if you want to look back at the soggy memories of the December (’07) Deluge, including many photos shared by WSB’ers (including the iconic Allstar Car), we put all the coverage (including followups) in this archive, newest to oldest.
First we told you December 15th was the night set for the city to hear comments on proposed gun restrictions on city-owned land. Now comes word the proposed tree-cutting restrictions also will be public-comment fodder that same night (trees at 5:30, guns at 6:30), summarized this way:
This council bill would provide interim controls including changes to existing exemptions to the tree ordinance, further restrict tree removal or topping of trees on lots of 5,000 square feet or more in single family zones and to all lots in Lowrise, Midrise and Commercial zones, further limit tree removal to no more than 3 trees of 6 inch caliper or greater in one year, and expand existing code enforcement authority.
Here’s the ordinance; 5:30 pm December 15th, City Hall, is the time and place for public comment (per this agenda – which includes information on how to comment by e-mail or postal mail till mid-January). Coincidentally, word of this came just hours after “A West Seattle Neighbor” e-mailed us a lament about Monday tree-cutting – read on:Read More
They’re not showing all their cards yet, but Arbor Heights Elementary families and other supporters are certainly assembling their hands. That much was clear at last night’s meeting in the school cafeteria, called primarily to discuss the school community’s coalesced campaign to fight Seattle Public Schools‘ proposal to close the program and turn the building into the long-overdue new home of Genesee Hill’s Pathfinder K-8. Above, PTSA secretary Dana Varon exhorts the crowd to make a strong show of support at tonight’s School Board meeting, the first since the closure/change proposals were announced at a special board “work session” one week ago. Read on for what else they’re planning:Read More