West Seattle, Washington
Tonight’s two-part session of the Southwest Design Review Board meeting ran almost four hours. First project on the agenda, 4502 42nd SW, won final design-review approval unanimously; second project, the $150 million “reinvention” of The Kenney, got approval to move out of the “early design guidance” stage (after two rounds), but not without extensive discussion under high-level supervision, and there are still more meetings to come (at least one more round of design review, and City Council approval would be required if they do pursue some rezoning). More details to come in separate reports.
Thanks to Judy Pickens for calling our attention to this recent change: The Southwest Library branch is now open Sundays, which means — along with the West Seattle branch in Admiral — there are now two WS libraries you can go to on Sunday afternoons. Both are open noon-5.
West Seattle businesses are on alert tonight after two were burglarized overnight. WSB has confirmed with Circa in the Admiral District and Cupcake Royale in The Junction that both were broken into. At Circa, burglars stole the safe, but the restaurant tells WSB there wasn’t much money inside; they also took the restaurant’s official iPod, which was used to play music at Circa. At Cupcake Royale, we were told the burglars didn’t make off with the safe, but did get some money. The door through which they broke in had to be replaced – that work was just finishing when we went by to talk with them about what happened. We have an inquiry out with the Southwest Precinct seeking further details about these break-ins and about any progress toward arrests.
Always lots going on when the Southwest District Council meets. Its members include representatives from many neighborhood groups and other organizations based in the section of West Seattle that the city calls the Southwest District (the city calls the rest of WS the Delridge Neighborhoods District; here’s the map). Last night, its new co-chairs began their terms – Erica Karlovits, president of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, and Chas Redmond, from the Morgan Community Association (among many other groups). On the agenda: Three major aspects of how West Seattleites get around and will get around in the future — Metro’s forthcoming RapidRide, the Spokane Street Viaduct widening project, and the Alaskan Way Viaduct Central Waterfront decision-to-come – read on for the latest:Read More
Since West Seattle currently has the city’s only under-construction Whole Foods Market, and since the chain’s money woes continue to fuel chatter, we thought we would share this story about a major investment that pumped up its stock today. WF and local developers have continued to reiterate this project’s on track; here’s our most recent report.
Just one West Seattle item on today’s Land Use Information Bulletin from the city: Before final approval can be granted for the Hiawatha Playfield project (field and light changes), a public hearing must be held before a city committee; that’s set for the 9:30 am February 11th meeting of the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Neighborhoods Committee. Read the official notice here.
(photo by C. Simmons)
If not for the massive flooding in the northern and southern areas of Western Washington, the Spokane Street fire at Pacific Sheet Metal early today (WSB coverage here) would have been a huge story for citywide media. Since they’re preoccupied, we’ll post a few updates here: No word on the cause yet – the latest update from Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Dana Vander Houwen says firefighters are working to get “a large amount of water” out of the building and its surrounding area, and once that’s done, investigators will be able to go in. (added 12:51 pm — you can see the water in this photo sent by C. Simmons)
Also, Seattle Police have posted a side note to SPDBlotter — In addition to closing the Spokane Street Viaduct (the stretch between Highway 99 and I-5) during the height of the fire, they also had to stay with an unusual group of evacuees – residents and staff of the high-security sex-offender detention facility on the other side of the SSV had to be moved out for a few hours, and police stayed with that group until they were allowed to return to the building around 4:30 am. We’ll post another update here whenever the Fire Department has more investigation info (just saw a short TV update, finally, but it was the same info we posted nine hours ago). 12:32 PM UPDATE: City Light says it’s now restored power to all but one of the customers that have been without it since the fire.
(photo added 11:36 am – the car in the background is traveling NB on Fauntleroy)
ORIGINAL 11:24 AM POST: If you’ve heard this one somewhere else: A tree fell on 39th at Fauntleroy in the Fairmount Springs area. IT IS NOT BLOCKING FAUNTLEROY. It is briefly blocking the triangle area on the side where drivers get to Fauntleroy, northbound, from 39th, and it’s being cut up as we speak.
ADDED 11:43 AM: A reason to keep close watch on the trees around your home/apartment:
Hutch sent photos of the lilac that “decided to give it up” after Sunday’s heavy, wet snow, plus the past few days’ rain (and maybe the wind, too) … good reminder that there may be more than a few trees/large shrubs in weakened condition around the area.
New information about the Admiral 7-11 robbery attempt we covered last weekend, which was quickly followed by the arrest of three suspects who police believe were involved with a series of holdups, mostly at convenience stores, in West Seattle and White Center (among other areas) over the past month: First, to be clear, as we originally reported, court documents indicate it was a robbery attempt; no money was taken and the would-be robber fled when the clerk ran into the restroom and called police. Two charges are now filed against the suspect who authorities say actually tried to rob the store, 18-year-old Jose G. Torres: He is charged with first-degree attempted robbery and unlawful gun possession – charging papers say he had a 38-caliber handgun but shouldn’t have, since he was already a convicted felon. The following excerpt from charging papers tells the story of what happened early Sunday morning – including an explanation of how police made the arrests so quickly:Read More
KENNEY DESIGN REVIEW #2: Reminder that tonight is the Southwest Design Review Board meeting rescheduled from snowy 12/18. It’s at West Seattle Christian Church (WSB sponsor), SE corner of 42nd/Genesee (map); 6:30 pm, the board looks at 4502 42nd (previous coverage here); 8 pm, second “early design guidance” for The Kenney (archived coverage here). Presentation “packets” for both are linked from the meeting listing here.
WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: As previewed yesterday, it’s tonight, 6-9 pm at venues all over WS — including places you might never have been before like The Building (map) in Morgan Junction. Artist/venue info and map are here.
Three things this morning, following up on the school-closure-plan discussion at last night’s four-hour Seattle School Board meeting (see our running updates here). First, our video of the one Cooper Elementary advocate who spoke, Shelly Williams:
Members of the Cooper community held a meeting yesterday afternoon to plan next steps in their fight against the proposed closure. The Cooper School Works anti-closure website says the big nighttime meeting for the school community, postponed last month because of the snow, is rescheduled to next Tuesday, Jan. 13, 7 pm.
Second – If you want a chance to speak at the final public hearing on the citywide closure recommendations, you need to start calling/e-mailing at 8 am TODAY. The hearing is 6:30 pm January 22 at district HQ in Sodo; the number to call today starting at 6 am is 206-252-0042; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Third – Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson is participating in an online Q/A session today via the Times website, 11 am-noon; you can send in a question now by going here.
We tweeted about this a couple times earlier this morning – it’s not technically in West Seattle and we thought it would be over before anybody much was affected – but a couple notes have come in so we’d better post it here too. The eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct is closed off while firefighters battle what an SFD spokesperson calls “a 2-alarm fire” at a “metal-fabricating warehouse” on lower Spokane Street. We happened to be coming back from downtown after midnight when we saw the roadblock and the billowing smoke. Helen Fitzpatrick of SFD says flames were shooting from the 1-story warehouse’s roof at 111 S. Spokane St. (map) when fire crews arrived; one firefighter’s slightly hurt, nobody was in the building, no word yet on a cause. If you drive eastbound to I-5, you’re likely to see the fire scene smoldering to the south during your morning commute. Here’s the fire vicinity, in a Google Street View photo:
3 AM UPDATE: One new bit of information from the fire department since we first posted – the fire was under control as of 2:30 am. The investigation has not yet started, but fire crews will be there all night. Seattle City Light had to turn off power to the surrounding area and more than 400 “customers” are without power at the moment as a result.
Five seconds of video is all we could shoot before the light turned and we had to go through that BIG puddle – deeper than it looks (it always is) – at West Marginal and Highland Park Way (map). Deep water in all directions right there, in fact. Not the only early-morning trouble spot, either – an even more treacherous stretch of water swamped the street about half a mile north, across West Marginal. So until and unless you hear it’s OK in the am, we’d say “steer clear.” Meantime, as of this moment, the wind is suddenly rocking WSB HQ stronger than at any point last night. Sure hope the “calming down by tonight” forecast turns out to be right. (To see what’s up with road trouble in the rest of King County, check here; for stream-flow info in various areas [not WS], go here; for the WSB Traffic page, with cameras and “latest incidents” links, go here.)