West Seattle, Washington
We’ve been following the city Transportation Department‘s plan for a “parking review” in the greater Junction area (WSB coverage archived here) — and with active work on that review set to start soon, we thought you’d be interested in the latest development in another neighborhood whose “review” has just concluded: Despite outrage and outcry, the city announced today it’ll put pay stations in Fremont.
It’s a long series of meetings between the first announcement last week of proposed Seattle Public Schools closures and changes and the final vote scheduled for January 29th. But you never know when one of those meetings will yield some news — so we’ll be covering as many as we can. Tonight — a public “workshop” at district headquarters, first of two in this particular format. It began with Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson presenting the closure criteria and the latest on the district budget shortfall (last night, finance boss Don Kennedy presented grim new numbers to the board). She said she was presenting that information to create context for the budget problems the district faces, noting that closing buildings is just one way to make up for the financial shortfall and deal with the district’s excess capacity.Read More
At the end of tonight’s Fauntleroy Community Association–Morgan Community Association meeting about The Kenney’s $150 million redevelopment proposal (that report’s coming up later), FCA president Bruce Butterfield announced the date for another major meeting next month: A Washington State Ferries public hearing on proposed changes to the Fauntleroy dock and the future of the route it serves. We brought you first word of the proposals last month, in this report from FCA’s ferry-system liaison Gary Dawson, saying that WSF was no longer considering routing Southworth ferries to downtown, and instead wants to expand the Fauntleroy holding area and add overhead walkways for the passenger deck. It’s all in the proposed long-range plan (read it here); now FCA says a public hearing on that plan will be at 6 pm January 21st, The Hall at Fauntleroy.
(October 2008 photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli)
Used to be, the most common rumor to hit the WSB inbox — twice a week, at least — was the one about the mythical Trader Joe’s that may or may not materialize in West Seattle someday: “I heard it’s going (x)!” “I heard it’s going (y)!” Those have dramatically slowed – replaced instead by frequent e-mails saying, “I heard the Whole Foods project is dead!” WSB procedure for dealing with rumors is usually this: We get the e-mail or the call; we check it out with people directly involved with whatever project or other concern the rumor involves. If it’s true – we publish a WSB report about what we found out. If it’s not, we just e-mail the original sender (or call them back, if it was by phone), and let them know what we found out, usually no sense in publishing something in such cases. But tonight, it seems like time for an on-the-record debunking, since excavation at the site is done and there’s no active work right now. Last time we checked the “I heard Whole Foods was dead!” rumors with BlueStar‘s Fauntleroy Place (Whole Foods) project manager Easton Craft, he explained that there would be something of a lull in the construction until the next phase (which is when you’ll see the crane). So when BlueStar’s Eric Radovich answered our e-mail late today asking about the status, he wrote:
Whole Foods Market is still in the Fauntleroy Place project…The project is wrapping up Phase I and Phase II (as Easton mentioned) will start sometime after the first of the year.
We hadn’t checked directly with Whole Foods for a while, so we called and e-mailed them too. This is the response we got from Whole Foods’ Pacific Northwest spokesperson Vicki Foley late today:
We are very excited about the West Seattle store, and I can tell you that the development schedule is on track, although I don’t have a definite opening date yet.
Certainly, we can see why people would be concerned about Fauntleroy Place/Whole Foods, given the general development climate, and the fact WF has had much-publicized troubles (although it took a step this week that is considered to be positive, so far as we can tell, and still has 66 stores in development, according to its annual report). But as of tonight, and as of about the 100th time we’ve done rumor-check on this one, both major players, the developer and the tenant, say all’s on track.
Local government agencies are getting quicker all the time at posting important info online. Latest example – it only took a day for the comments from, and video of, last night’s downtown jail-site forum to make it onto the jail-site-search website. Not fast, but faster than most. Highland Park Action Committee had a delegation there, and you’ll see some of their comments in the transcribed materials. All the links to the info and video are here. (If you’re just catching up: The search for a new misdemeanor jail is now focused on six sites, with one in West Seattle at Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way, but since there was a public forum for that site last July, the new round only targets the sites just added to the list – last night’s gathering was about the site newly proposed next to the downtown jail, which neighborhood advocates say would be the best site IF a jail has to be built at all.)
That’s Kelsey, who’s selling her glass ornaments at the holiday bazaar that’s under way till 8 pm tonight at Arbor Heights Elementary – and modeling the new fashion statement that you’ve seen in our photos from meetings in the past few weeks, with AH fighting a district proposal to close its “program” and relocate Pathfinder K-8 to the AH building. But this bazaar has been in the works a long time, long before the closure proposal started drawing on the community’s time and energy, and it’s a biggie – this is just one of two jampacked rooms full of merchandise, activities, and treats:
Some of the merchandise is kid-made, like Kelsey’s very professional painted-glass ornaments, but there are adult vendors here too – we were especially enchanted by these “presents” that are really crystal-clear sculpted plastic with lights inside:
Some whimsy, too – at this table, the “fish soap” looks from a distance like those little plastic bags of goldfish in water that we all brought home from carnivals a hundred years ago:
Again, the bazaar’s on till 8 o’clock tonight; if you live in north West Seattle, you may not even have been to Arbor Heights before (we lived on Beach Drive our first 2 years in WS and hadn’t ventured south of California/Fauntleroy till we were house-shopping!), but it’s worth the trip (here’s a map) – check the view we got after parking our car before walking to the bazaar pre-sunset:
West Seattle High School‘s got a lot more rhythm today, thanks to a surprise gift from the WSHS Foundation – here’s the announcement just out of the WSB inbox (and it includes a calendar date to mark for next year!):
On Tuesday, West Seattle High School music director Cathy “Coach” Rutherford stumbled across a surprise on the school’s auditorium stage — a stack of boxes containing brand new musical instruments. An hour later, she had opened and inventoried four Yamaha snare drums, with cases; two Yamaha Field Corps marching bass drums, with hardware and cases; and two sets of Zildjian marching cymbals.
“The drums and cymbals are the most recent gift from the West Seattle High School Foundation, which has dedicated many tens of thousands of dollars in musical instruments and visual arts equipment to our school,” said WSHS principal Bruce Bivins. “We are fortunate to have a caring community.”
The drums and cymbals will augment the school’s popular new Drum Line class, taught by Rutherford. Valued at $6,600, the Foundation’s gift resulted from donations at the Spring Dinner & Play last May, an annual event featuring a catered dinner and reserved seating at the school’s spring musical. In 2008, the school produced A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Mark your calendar for the Sixth Annual Dinner and Play to be held May 14, 2009.
“The Foundation also committed to adding a trombone and a Sousaphone this year,” said Bivins. “At $700 and $4,000, respectively, there’s no way we could accomplish that without their help.”
“Our board comprises a dozen members of the West Seattle community who are really committed to the arts,” said Foundation president and WSHS alum Christy Rowe. “We know what a difference visual and performing arts make to the overall quality of education. All of us remember the difference it made in our own high school experiences, our dedication to the school and to lifelong learning.”
The West Seattle High School Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, raises money to purchase necessary items left unfunded by the school and district. Larger gifts in recent years have included musical instruments, choir robes, audio/visual equipment, and electronic ‘smart’ boards. Donations are accepted throughout the year. For more information, call 206-252-0476, e-mail email@example.com or go to www.wshsfoundation.com on the Web.
A few West Seattle notes on the semiweekly Land Use Information Bulletin sent by the city (you can subscribe in the right sidebar here): The 3-story office-building project just north of PCC has officially applied for its land-use permit (notice here; here’s our report from its Design Review meeting last April). Also in today’s LUIB, a three-lot subdivision has been granted for 6739 25th SW (map); read the decision here – this is the Google Street View of the area:
The LUIB also includes the official notices of the Design Review Board meetings 12/18 for 4502 42nd SW (as reported here a week ago) and The Kenney‘s redevelopment project (which, as mentioned here earlier, is the subject of a community meeting at 7 pm tonight, Fauntleroy Church [WSB sponsor]). On the 18th, the DRB will meet at Madison Middle School; 4502 42nd will be discussed at 6:30, The Kenney at 8.
We’re back at the Alaskan Way Viaduct project HQ in the Wells Fargo building downtown for another of what’s become nearly weekly briefings on more data from ongoing analysis of the options under study for replacement of the Viaduct’s “Central Waterfront” section. A final scenario is supposed to be settled on by year’s end. The data that’s coming out today involves analysis of “open space” created by the various scenarios, and economic impacts. We’re reviewing the material handed out in advance of the briefing – the “open space” information includes significant analysis of the “integrated elevated” option, Scenario E (above), that’s gained a lot of buzz (in no small part because of support from State House Speaker Frank Chopp) – the handout says that option “is the least desirable option from an urban design and open space standpoint and, in some respects, is worse than the existing Viaduct. While (it) has the most open space overall, it provides a lower quality of public space and compromises the historic identity of the waterfront and access to it from the downtown.” That’s just part of what we’ll hear about shortly, when state, city and county reps join us media types for the briefing. We’ll add any major points as it continues, as well as links to these presentations when they are up on the Viaduct project website (alaskanwayviaduct.org) – meantime, here’s the “open space” presentation, from the media disc that’s just been provided, and here’s the “economics” presentation. All this comes out in advance of the Stakeholders Advisory Committee meeting later today (4 pm, City Hall). UPDATE: The presentations are all on the Viaduct website now too – under Dec. 4 meeting materials – find them here. Here’s the news release summarizing what’s being presented today:Read More
Earlier this week, we mentioned the search for a man accused of stabbing his ex-wife to death in the Rainier Valley. One of the victim’s neighbors is Amber Campbell, who operates an independent neighborhood-news site, the Rainier Valley Post. Amber has just sent this out and we want to help spread the word:
Friends & neighbors,
Most of you already know that earlier this week, my neighbor Noemi Lopez – the mother of three beautiful children, 15-year old Karina, 13-year old Alandra and 6-year old Alex – was killed by her ex-husband. Angel has confessed to the murder and remains on the run. The children are staying with relatives but they have been unable to return to their home for clothes, school supplies, personal belongings, etc. Can you help them?
I am personally keeping in touch with the family on a regular basis to keep tabs on their needs and deliver the outpouring of sentiments, blessings and donations. So far neighbors have contributed money, clothing and a tree to plant in Noemi’s memory.
At this time we are focused on helping the children with clothing, school supplies and gifts for the holidays, as well as the crime scene clean-up costs that will range somewhere in the area of $1,000 – $5,000.
The Rainier Valley Post has established a fund specifically for the Lopez Children and we would all be very grateful for whatever you can spare to help these poor kids during the most horrible time of their lives. No amount is too small.
The “donate” button is atop the right sidebar on the RVP homepage; find it here. And as Amber has written in a different post – keep watch over your neighbors for signs of domestic violence, not just the other crimes we hear about almost every day. To this date, there has been only one murder in West Seattle this year … domestic violence … a woman killed by her husband, who then killed himself. Meantime, the Rainier Valley suspect remains on the run – his photo, and links to other info, are here.
The wreaths and ribbon on the lampposts were just the start. Right now, work crews are putting up garlands of greenery across the awnings and facades of Junction businesses – delivered literally by the truckload:
The finishing touches, bright-red bows:
All this, just in time for the first round of Hometown Holidays weekend festivities presented by the West Seattle Junction Association (WSB sponsor) – including the Tree Lighting at 5 pm Saturday (your WSB co-publishers are helping emcee, to present a jampacked one-hour lineup of everything from music to theater to the first drawings in the $5,000 Junction Giveaway, which you can enter for free at any time at any participating store), and the first big Sunday noon-4 pm slate of holiday fun – professionally photographed Santa pics at Cupcake Royale (donation suggested, to benefit WestSide Baby and other local nonprofits), draft-mule carriage rides, in-store events.
Kick off the whole weekend with the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle‘s pancake breakfast, 7 am-11 am Saturday at the Masonic Hall on the east edge of The Junction; here’s a map – then wrap up the weekend with the Taproot Theater dessert-theater production of “It’s a Wonderful Improv Life” at West Seattle Christian Church [WSB sponsor], more info here.
We took that photo on November 22, as a block-long line waited for the 500-turkey giveaway at Eastridge Christian Assembly (across from West Seattle Bowl). Just got word from Eastridge that they’re doing it again on December 20th, another 500 turkeys (and groceries) to be given away, no questions asked, 9 am-noon (although Eastridge’s Lori Zwick points out that the turkeys were gone in less than two hours last time). Side note as always – if you’d like to extend holiday help to local families in need, you can do it any time through online $ donations to the West Seattle (click here) and White Center (click here) Food Banks.
New on the Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral website for the proposal to add a “natural playscape” to California Place Park: A report that eight firms have responded to the “Request For Qualifications” to design it (the part of the potential project for which the group received a city $15,000 matching-funds grant). The eight are listed here; next step, the group reviews their applications, schedules interviews, and chooses a landscape architect by mid-month – the RFQ says that architect will facilitate the next public meeting on the project, second week of January. FANNA, by the way, is sponsoring a family event at Hiawatha Community Center/Park on December 13th (details here).
ARBOR HEIGHTS BAZAAR: Long before they were rocked by the proposal to close their “program,” the Arbor Heights Elementary community had been getting ready for this big holiday event. Now, it packs extra punch. Go visit them and find everything from pizza to performances to presents, 4 pm-8 pm (full details here).
SCHOOL CLOSURES COMMUNITY MEETING: However they shake out, the closures/changes are on a fast track, and the district wants community suggestions ASAP. Tonight’s the next chance, 6:30-8:30 pm at Stanford Center (district HQ) in Sodo (more info here).
COMMUNITY MEETING ON THE KENNEY’S MEGAPROJECT: Morgan Community Association and Fauntleroy Community Association have joined forces to get questions answered regarding where the project stands and what happens next, Fauntleroy Church (WSB sponsor) fellowship hall, 7 pm (previous WSB coverage of the project is archived here; the next Design Review meeting is finally on the city website, 8 pm 12/18 at Madison Middle School)
GOT YOUR OWN PROJECT IN MIND? Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor) presents its next edition of the free “Building a Better Home: Remodeling and Custom Home Workshop” tonight at Ventana offices, 5458 California Ave SW, 6:30 pm. Call 206-932-3009 to make sure there’s still room.
LATE-NIGHT SHOPPING: Another WSB sponsor, Click! Design That Fits in Admiral, has the first of its Late-Night Thursdays holiday shopping events tonight, open till 9 with “rotating specials, snacks and libations from 6 to 9 pm” each of the next three Thursdays (this week’s special, 15% off all holiday decorations and cards during the event).
More on the frequently updated WSB West Seattle Events calendar, which runs well into next year.
(photo by Arbor Heights parent Craig Harrold)
We reported toplines from Wednesday night’s Seattle School Board meeting as they happened – now, we have video of all six Arbor Heights parents who spoke (after a concerted campaign to get onto the list when bookings opened Monday) about district staff’s recommendation to close their school “program” so the school “building” can become home to Pathfinder K-8, whose deteriorating Genesee Hill building would then be shut down. First, Arbor Heights PTSA co-president Suzette Riley laid out the four alternatives they are proposing:
“This proposal would close a popular, successful neighborhood school, and would also cost the district money,” Riley said (among other points). We also have video of each of the five other Arbor Heights speakers from the meeting, each uploaded in its entirety – click ahead to see any or all of them, and also to see what happens next:Read More