West Seattle, Washington
Sorry if this is old news, but we hadn’t heard it till a Metro rep mentioned it at tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting (full report to come) — There’s an open house at Youngstown Arts Center on January 21st (6:30-8:30 pm) about the possible Delridge-Junction bus route we first told you about back in October, Route 50. (The map above shows the West Seattle section – click it for a full look at the entire route.) Maybe word didn’t quite filter around because it’s listed on Metro’s calendar under the same confounding heading where news of this possible route was originally unearthed from the Metro site, “Southeast Seattle Transit Connections” — apparently because most of Route 50 is in Southeast Seattle. Anyway, important thing is, now you know. Here’s the Metro calendar with word of that West Seattle event.
Starting a new post for any developments overnight – in comments after our previous post, AlkiRD just reported that West Marginal Way has a foot of floodwater near Highland Park Way (map); Flipjack called attention to the fact the National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for areas including Seattle metro; and Karen says Longfellow Creek is running high. We just went over to check on the Longfellow section that flooded during the December 2007 rainfest (near Allstar) — no obvious trouble yet. 10:59 PM UPDATE: Mac also just e-mailed about the West Marginal water – he says it’s up to the curb and drivers are trying to get through but shouldn’t, as you’ll see in the text of tonight’s flood warning:
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SEATTLE HAS ISSUED A
* FLOOD WARNING FOR URBAN AREAS AND SMALL STREAMS IN THE FOLLOWING WESTERN WASHINGTON COUNTIES… KITSAP COUNTY… WESTERN KING COUNTY… SOUTHWESTERN SNOHOMISH COUNTY…
* UNTIL 830 AM PST THURSDAY.
* AT 834 PM PST RADAT AND OBSERVATIONS SHOW PRECIPITATION FALLING AT NEARLY ONE HALF INCH PER HOUR. HEAVY RAIN WILL CONTINUE THROUGH ABOUT 4 AM EARLY THURSDAY BEFORE DECREASING TO SHOWERS.
FLOODING IS EXPECTED IN NORMALLY LOW AND FLOOD PRONE AREAS…POORLY DRAINED UNDERPASSES…AND ALONG SMALL STREAMS.
A FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR HAS BEEN REPORTED.
EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE ELEVATED LEVELS ON SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS…AND PONDING OF WATER IN URBAN AREAS… HIGHWAYS…STREETS AND UNDERPASSES AS WELL AS OTHER POOR DRAINAGE AREAS AND LOW LYING SPOTS.
DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS SAFELY. MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND.
More as we get it. Let us know if there’s trouble where you are – firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
We bring you the crimefighting successes as well as the crime-alert stories, and here’s the latest – from Officer Brian Ballew at West Seattle’s Southwest Precinct:
In early December a parking garage condominium on SW Avalon was burglarized. The victim had her bicycle stolen. The victim located the bike on Craig’s List and met the seller in the Downtown area. The victim took the bike for a test drive, verified it was hers by the serial number and kept the bike.
On 01/03 the victim notified SW Detectives that the same seller was selling another bike on Craig’s List. Detectives called the seller as a potential buyer and met the seller in the downtown area. When detectives met the seller, the victim was with detectives in a nearby vehicle and positively identified the seller as the same person who tried to sell her, her stolen bike. The seller was arrested and booked for trafficking stolen property.
6:23 PM: Sage K reports that Delridge is closed northbound between Trenton and Cloverdale (map) with police diverting traffic. Nothing on 911 for this either – we’ll check to see what’s up.
6:39 PM: Though we don’t know if that incident is weather-related, we’re going to use this post for weather/traffic notes throughout this stormy night, and invite you to do the same. First one isn’t West Seattle but might affect you: Amtrak service between Portland and Seattle is suspended. I-5 also has closed for a 20-mile stretch in Lewis County.
6:06 PM: The meeting has just begun. Looks like not much “conventional media” here – no TV in evidence so far, anyway – likely because crews are out covering the flooding emergencies around other areas of Western Washington. Board president Michael DeBell opened the meeting by mentioning that Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson and her husband will be attending the inauguration in Washington, D.C., week after next. We’ll add more notes here as the closure-plan-related news (or anything else major) happens. 6:24 PM UPDATE: So far the public comments have focused on opposition to the proposed African American Academy closure and the proposed split of the APP top-level-gifted program (currently at one elementary for the whole city, one middle for the whole city, but the new proposal calls for two each). Several opponents of the proposed Summit K-12 closure are speaking too. No one has spoken yet regarding the West Seattle section of the closure proposal, but Cooper teacher Cori Jaeger is on the list of speakers coming up. While we are just updating West Seattle-related highlights, you can read in-progress updates on the entire meeting at saveseattleschools.blogspot.com (or watch the meeting live on cable TV). 6:58 PM UPDATE: Jaeger yielded her time to Shelly Williams, who asked, among other things, why the district was willing to change the assignment plan so that the Cooper program could be discontinued, but not “to support us” (by expanding the “reference area” so there are more potential students from which Cooper could draw).
7:19 PM UPDATE: The public-comment period has ended, and chief academic officer Carla Santorno (a West Seattleite) is going to update effects/components of the closure plan regarding special education, bilingual, and advanced learning.
8:04 PM UPDATE: No new WS information in that presentation; district budget boss Don Kennedy is presenting an update now, and says the money picture is still bad – $25 million shortfall projected, up one million from the projection as of last fall – but not as bad as it could have been (at one point before the governor’s budget was unveiled recently, there was concern the district deficit could have wound up as high as $37 million).
8:45 PM UPDATE: Meeting has resumed after a 15-minute break. The three motions that comprise the “final recommendations” for closures/changes are being officially introduced now (again, the final vote is not scheduled till a special meeting on 1/29).
9:07 PM UPDATE: Board members are asking questions and voicing comments. West Seattle’s rep Steve Sundquist said that while he has heard a lot of concerns about the process and how the recommendations have changed along the way, he feels the “open” process that’s ensued over the past month is “transparent” and better than “the alternative.” He also asked for data about the West Seattle elementary schools to which Cooper students would be reassigned if their program closure does happen — that would relate to concerns voiced about members of the Cooper community, that the students will be reassigned to schools with worse educational performance (such as West Seattle and Roxhill elementaries).
9:30 PM UPDATE: Board president DeBell also voiced concern about the fact that ending the Cooper “program” would break up a school that is making enrollment and academic progress, as the Cooper community has been pointing out. By the way, the second and third of the three items being “introduced,” together comprising the “final recommendations,” also include components of the Cooper-discontinuance proposal – one would change the Student Assignment Plan so that current Cooper students can get transportation to their “newly assigned” schools even if they’re “out of cluster”; the other would merge the Cooper and Sanislo “reference areas.”
While heading to Sodo for tonight’s school board meeting, we spotted the first West Seattle regular-gas prices to creep back past $2/gallon – both stations at Fauntleroy/Alaska (including the 76, seen at left). We haven’t done our regular Sunday night price surveys for a few weeks because of the weather woes, but hope to get back on track starting this weekend. (The F/A 76, for comparison’s sake, was at $1.89/regular when we last did a survey 12/8, but that wasn’t quite the bottom of the curve – we saw some $1.60s and $1.70s around WS before the new price rise began.)
That’s part of a citywide group of about a dozen protesters is keeping vigil outside district HQ right now, half an hour before the start of the first School Board meeting since Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson announced yesterday her final recommendations for which schools/programs to close. As we reported yesterday, those recommendations include ending the Cooper Elementary “program” and reassigning its students to other West Seattle schools, in order to move Pathfinder K-8 into Cooper’s building, before closing the Genesee Hill building that Pathfinder’s been at for more than a decade. The citywide closure-opposition group (Educators, Students, Parents, Alumni, Community Members Unite for a better Vision of Seattle Public Schools) has announced an anti-closure rally and march for 2 pm January 25 (starting at TT Minor at 1700 E. Union), four days before board members are scheduled to take a final vote. A different group calling itself Students Against School Closure is also distributing flyers here this evening, calling for a student walkout on the day of the final vote, January 29th, with its supporters asked to gather at Westlake Center at 3 pm for a march to district HQ followed by a 5 pm rally before the 6 pm board meeting. Back to tonight’s board meeting: The “final recommendations” are to be officially introduced, and as always the meeting will begin with a public-comment period; the list of speakers includes at least one person we know is affiliated with Cooper.
Not sure yet what’s up, but police cars are blocking the eastbound bridge entrance at 35th/Fauntleroy. Text message mentions accidents, but nothing on 9-1-1 yet. Also thanks to Todd in Westwood for word that scanner traffic around 4:30 indicated an eastbound crash that sent debris onto the westbound side. 5:21 PM UPDATE: Marco reports in comments that it’s reopened at Fauntleroy/35th.
Need something to look forward to, as this windy, rainy, post-snow, post-holidays first-full-week-of-the-year chugs on? How about — tomorrow night’s West Seattle Art Walk! Second Thursday of every month, 6-9 pm, and if you haven’t checked it out lately, you might not realize it’s spread far beyond its original Junction-area borders, with venues in Admiral, Alki, Delridge, Morgan Junction, and more – in fact, one of the newest participants is in Fauntleroy – The Kenney. The venues and artists are listed on the official West Seattle Art Walk blog, where you can get the walking map too.
If you were planning on going to tonight’s meeting of the Southwest District Council (reps from community groups and other key local organizations), SW District neighborhood coordinator Stan Lock just sent word its location has changed; instead of the board room at South Seattle Community College, it’s in a conference room at Brockey Center on the south side of SSCC. 7 pm tonight, all welcome; the agenda includes updates on two key local transportation projects — Metro RapidRide and the widening/ramp reconfiguration of the Spokane Street Viaduct.
Caught the classic blustery-day-in-West-Seattle scene at Constellation Park about an hour ago — when high tide meets semi-high wind, the seawall show begins south of Alki Point. (High tide today was around noon.) Also while roaming around to check for any sign of West Seattle storm woes, happened onto a sight that some Fauntleroy and Westwood drivers – among others – will be happy to see:
Along Barton, west of 35th, contractors are picking up some of those huge steel plates that have been (bumpily) covering the street cuts from the gas-line-replacement work, and filling the holes beneath. Traffic is down to one lane controlled by multiple flaggers, so it’s slow going through there while this is under way. (Puget Sound Energy told us in November the work would be done by year’s end, but we’ll spot them a weather delay.)
We mentioned West Seattle Hi-Yu Summer Festival‘s quest for a “new” float trailer last fall. That’s still a work in progress, and now the float needs a home too. Can you help? Here’s the latest, from Hi-Yu treasurer Kelly Mitchell:
Planning is underway for the 2009 parade season, so what’s next? The engine repairs completed at the end of last season will make it possible to keep the float running for the next 2 years while we raise funds and build a new float platform. With a few repairs to the frame and an upgrade to the sound system, it will be ready for this year’s many parades. The theme for the 2009 float has been chosen; it’s West Seattle Hi-Yu 75 Years ‘How Sweet It Is’. [as reported here last month] That being said, there are two critical issues to resolve.
This year’s parade season depends on obtaining a covered car trailer for the float. Our existing flatbed trailer has become too demanding and dangerous for the volunteers. We are consistently the last crew to leave a parade. Getting the float on the trailer requires a carefully followed procedure for bracing the trailer, driving the float up steep ramps, and securing it. Then the unwieldy tarp must be pulled over the float and secured for freeway-speed winds. This whole process takes about 1 ½ to 2 hours on a sunny day. At midnight and/or in the rain, it can take substantially longer. Our peers with covered vehicle trailers, drive in the float, secure it with a built-in system, and shut the door & leave. Unless we happen to have volunteers with trucking or equipment hauling experience, people have to be trained each year. The unpleasant hours that volunteers spend at this reduces the hours that we have available for coordinating community events.
We are planning to buy a new trailer similar to the one that the Leavenworth Autumn Leaf Festival purchased this year. Photo shows the trailer at the Seafair Torchlight Parade:
This 30′ extra-height vehicle trailer will cost about $12,000 and should last at least 20 years. We believe that is an obtainable goal this fall and winter, in addition to the annual memberships that we depend on for the festival’s annual scholarships and events.
Additionally, Harbor Properties is beginning construction on the site where we have been storing the float. Hi-Yu thanks them for graciously providing us with this space. Since we now need to vacate we will once again need a storage location. A covered trailer will provide many more storage options in, or close to, West Seattle, but until then we are looking for a new home for the float. To store the float we would require space in the dimensions of 30′ x 15′ and a larger space would accommodate the work activities that go into building the new items for this year’s theme. We are very excited to get started on this year’s float but we need your help and quick! If you have a space or know of anyone who may be able to help us or you want to help with this year’s construction, please contact Kelly Mitchell at email@example.com or 206-932-0665.
Here’s the latest official release from Seattle Public Utilities – please note the number to call if you DO have a problem. Latest forecast says that while the city’s been in a bit of a “rain shadow” for some hours this morning, heavier rain is expected again soon.
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) flood crews remain on standby waiting for the rains and high waters that have so far missed the city, but which could yet arrive.
“Even though we have not yet received the anticipated rain our crews are ready to respond if necessary,” said Nick Pealy, deputy director, Field Operations and Maintenance.
SPU crews have cleared inlets of debris at locations where there have been past ponding and flooding calls during recent weather events. Crews have inspected and removed debris as needed from culverts, trash racks, overflows and weirs.
Sand & sandbags are still stockpiled at 3 locations for citizens and crew to fill as necessary:
— Meadowbrook Pond (N. entrance).
— South Park (7th Avenue S. dead end).
— Sand Point Way & NE 95th.
SPU is urging customers to make sure storm drains on their street and neighborhood are clear of debris and to call or report any flooding immediately.
To report flooding or blocked drains, please call (206) 386-1800.
We’re heading out shortly to survey for wind/water-related trouble – seen any? Also: If you have a road trip planned anywhere around the state – WSDOT is monitoring multiple trouble spots – the major mountain passes are all currently closed, and a new state update includes this warning: “Major rivers in Washington are rapidly rising including rivers adjacent to Interstate 5 in Lewis county. Forecasts indicate that portions of Interstate 5 could be underwater as early as this afternoon.”
City Council President Richard Conlin, once mentioned as a possible challenger to Mayor Nickels next year, has just sent a news release (read it here) announcing he’s running for re-election to the council. Meantime, a WSB Forums member recently launched a campaign … not for mayor, but to find a mayoral candidate. (The other three councilmembers whose terms are up this year: Jan Drago, Nick Licata, and Richard McIver, who previously indicated he wouldn’t run again.)
Just out of the WSB inbox from Lisa:
There’s a scam going on at Westwood Village this morning. A guy ‘recognized’ me as someone who had offered earlier to help him. The story is that he has a van with his 7 yr old sister and they’re trying to get back to Bellingham but they’ve run out of gas. There’s another ‘helpful person’ who has gas cans and is willing to drive this fellow to a gas station to get the gas, but doesn’t have money herself to buy it. When I offered to take him & his little sister to a gas station and buy both gas can and gas, he got huffy and found an excuse to break off the conversation. Both are caucasian, and possibly in their 30’s. He’s younger, and is tall & skinny with blemishes. She’s older and heavy-set and is in a white sedan. Just thought I’d pass a warning along. I also let the manager at Target know about the situation so that he could call the police to drive through the area.
You’ve probably seen this one a few times yourself, but if not, our favorite scam/urban legend site, Snopes.com, has a page about it.
Longtime WSBers know we are a bit Blue Angels-crazy here when Seafair rolls around at summertime. So we are sharing the news that one Blue Angels jet (#7) and two pilots (#7 and #8, Lt. Ben Walborn and Lt. Amy Tomlinson) are expected to land at Boeing Field sometime around 1 this afternoon (time may vary) for “winter briefing meetings.” This year’s Seafair air shows will be July 31-August 2. (P.S. Lt. Tomlinson may be the first Blue Angel we’ve found with a MySpace page; here’s her official bio. As #8, she serves as event coordinator, though as you’ll see in her bio, she’s a pilot with a distinguished resume. The Angels have not yet had a female pilot in the six-member main team; the USAF Thunderbirds have had at least two, as we side-noted in this story.)
Quick reminder that the latest images from traffic cams in and around West Seattle (including the I-5 ramp and the 1st Ave S bridge vicinity) are on the WSB Traffic page, where you can also find a couple links to see if anything’s going to get in your way (also, here’s a direct link to the full regional state-cam network, and if you’re heading way out east/rural, here are some county alerts). It’s been blowing 30-40 mph all night so watch out for tree limbs, too. (And if you encounter any major problems – please alert us so we can get the word out – phone 206-293-6302 if that’s quickest/safest, or put our e-mail address in your phone so you can text us, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tonight (Wednesday), the Seattle School Board will formally receive Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson‘s “final recommendations” for the next round of school closures.
As we first reported when she unveiled the plan Tuesday afternoon, the West Seattle components of the proposal haven’t changed from her previous update a month ago – the Cooper Elementary School “program” is slated for closure, so that Pathfinder K-8 can be moved into the Cooper building (left) once the Genesee Hill campus – which had been closed for years before Pathfinder was placed there 15 years ago — is shut down.
You’ll probably recall that Cooper wasn’t on the “preliminary” list, first announced back in November – Arbor Heights Elementary was instead recommended for program closure and Pathfinder relocation. The superintendent was asked at the Tuesday afternoon media briefing to elaborate on why Arbor Heights is now “off the list”:
That’s not the only recommendation that has changed along the way.Read More
The current Seattle Public Schools school-closure process has included prominent recent mentions of “design teams,” to be created — with participation from various school/community representatives — in hopes they’ll help the upcoming transitions succeed. That said, we wanted to note that a “design team” is continuing to work in West Seattle right now – the one that’s been helping the district plan what will be done with the Denny Middle School site after the school buildings close when the new Denny is done on the nearby Chief Sealth High School campus. That team will meet again next Monday night (1/12), 7 pm at the Denny library – and in the meantime, you can see what ideas are in the works, by viewing a video posted on the district website. As the video’s written introduction explains, few team members attended the last meeting December 15th because of the weather – so the district asked its landscape architect to record his presentation on video. You can see it here; other links related to the ongoing process are here (including photos and graphics from recent meetings – that’s your editor with the laptop in photo #1).