West Seattle, Washington
During Seattle Public Schools‘ current closure process, we’ve heard a lot about “design teams” — groups formed to talk through a project, with members drawn from a variety of groups with stakes in the process (district employees, school reps, community members). Tonight, one of those teams continued working through the process of designing what will happen on the current Denny Middle School site, once the new Denny is built and open. They’re close to a final design; three options were developed in the past few months, and recapped at the start of tonight’s meeting by Robert Evans, Denny-Sealth project manager. Landscape architect Jonathan Morley ran through a PowerPoint presentation (you can see it here either as a narrated clip, or drag the playbar along to fast-forward through the slides). As we’ve reported earlier in the process, the Denny site may eventually be home to a new elementary school, in addition to the tennis courts and softball team that are being installed as a replacement for what’s been torn out on the Chief Sealth site, so each of the three options was shown with and without a school building. Team members were asked to identify which features they liked most, so a “hybrid” drawing can be developed before the next meeting February 9th; the most popular ones included keeping existing trees, incorporating rain gardens and swales to keep rainwater onsite, and creating a terraced area for use as an amphitheater. Once a final proposal is developed, it will require School Board approval. You can find district background on the project on this website; our past coverage of the design-team meetings, newest to oldest, are part of our Denny-Sealth story archive.
Thanks to WSB Forums member Bunnypug for pointing out that, after almost a year and a half in business, Bubbles on Delridge has changed its name to Pearls. Like original namesake Bubbles on Alki, they serve bubble tea as well as espresso, and as you know if you’re a bubble-tea devotee, the “bubbles” are also known as “tapioca pearls.” We stopped in to inquire about the name change; no particular reason, we were told, and nothing else has changed about the shop – same people, same beverages and food, etc. This is the second West Seattle coffee shop to change its name recently – as noted here in late November, the Harbor Ave drive-through that used to be Sleepless is now West Bay.
As we first told you last Wednesday night, Metro plans a West Seattle open house next week for Route 50, which would include a Delridge-to-Junction leg (originally reported in this WSB story last October). The county has just officially announced that open house, and this afternoon’s announcement includes many more details on how you can provide feedback even if you can’t attend that event. See the announcement here.
Three items of West Seattle news related to next week’s inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States:
SHOE DRIVE: The WSB Forums shoe-collection drive has just kicked off. Read all about it here; collection boxes are now in place, including the one shown at left at Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor) in The Junction. Another one’s set up at Full Tilt Ice Cream in White Center. Please take new (or lightly used) shoes to one of those spots between now and Inauguration Day; they will all be donated to Soles4Soles (read about that organization here). If you have a question, here’s where it’s being discussed in the forums. And here’s the official flyer.
DAY OF SERVICE: One day before Inauguration Day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday 1/19, is a National Day of Service – and Laura calls our attention to a link where you can find West Seattle-area events and opportunities. We found five atop the list in this configuration; if you know of more West Seattle service opportunities that day or the preceding weekend, please add a comment here, or e-mail us (email@example.com) – thanks!
WEST SEATTLE LABRADOODLES: Dog lovers know the Obama family has been talking about bringing a new pet to their new home, and in an interview yesterday (see the video here), the President-elect revealed they’re considering either a labradoodle or a Portuguese water dog. Longtime WSB’er Amy Gates is a labradoodle breeder – here are two of hers:
Amy is the owner of Sound Labradoodles, breeding multigenerational labradoodles. She tells WSB, “This means our dogs breed true — we’re not just putting a poodle and a labrador together. Australian labradoodle breeders have refined the breed over the past 30 years, including infusing a few other breeds like Irish Water Spaniel into the breed.” She says the breed is appealing to the Obama family because of the allergy-friendly aspect (Malia Obama is allergic to most dogs): “Due to the breed refinement, our dogs are more reliably non-shedding and allergy friendly. A simple poodle-lab cross will not have a reliable result. It might shed, and it might cause allergies.” Amy also says Labradoodles are perfect for the kind of busy environment that’ll constitute life as First Dog: “Labradoodles are really people-focused. They were first bred as service dogs, and many labradoodles are still used as service dogs and therapy dogs. This means they can be trained to be very calm and patient with lots of people around, which is definitely a factor in the Obama household!” Amy’s website is at www.soundlabradoodles.com.
(12/18/08 photo by Raymond Overgaard)
Quick notes from this morning’s Seattle City Council briefing on snowstorm response, third one in one week (our coverage of the previous two: Monday 1/5 and Tuesday 1/6). Today, councilmembers heard from – and questioned – city Emergency Management director Barb Graff. Here’s what it all came down to: Who really had a handle on the big picture, the fact that the roads were in bad shape, buses weren’t running because of that, and more reinforcements needed to be called in? Read on for what was said, who said it, and what next:Read More
This just in from South Seattle Community College – an interim president has been chosen, now that Dr. Jill Wakefield is running the entire Seattle Community College system (as reported here last September). Gary Oertli (photo left) is a former Shoreline Community College president, and is a West Seattle native, according to the official news release, which you can read in full by clicking ahead:Read More
As everyone who drives The Bridge is more than well aware, it’s been without many of its lane markings since Snowstorm ’08. We checked back today with SDOT’s Rick Sheridan to ask about any update on when that problem might be fixed, and indeed, he just told WSB it now MIGHT be just a matter of days:
> As we need warm, dry weather to apply the lane markings, SDOT is closely monitoring the weather and pavement conditions. The paint will not adhere if it is raining and takes a long time to dry if too cold. The forecast for the upcoming week appears to have a break that will allow SDOT to restripe the West Seattle Bridge. We will keep a close eye on this high priority location and will perform the work as soon as the weather allows. A traffic advisory will announce the work before we start.
Thanks to Frank for the tip – this is breaking in citywide news media right now. The formal announcement reportedly is to be made tomorrow. ADDED 12:08 PM: Added the graphic from the state’s original announcement of eight possible “scenarios” for replacement of the Viaduct’s Central Waterfront section. When the “final two” were announced several weeks ago, this was not among them, but was mentioned as a candidate for future study. Here’s a link to the informational handout that accompanied the graphic during the original “8 scenarios” announcement. Keep in mind, that’s just the deep-bore-tunnel version that was proposed during the original review; so far, there is no official report of exactly what configuration might be the focus in this new agreement – there’ve been sketches of a double-stack type of tunnel, rather than side-by-side. 2:34 PM NOTE: One of West Seattle’s two Stakeholders Advisory Committee members, Vlad Oustimovitch, tells WSB he’ll reserve comment until after the stakeholders are officially briefed on proposal details tomorrow morning. We meantime have received official word of the media briefing planned after that; the listed attendees are not only the three executives that have been involved in this all along — governor, mayor, and county executive – but also Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani. ADDED 3:21 PM: Statement from West Seattle’s King County Councilmember Dow Constantine:
The combination of a deep-bore tunnel and a surface boulevard is a very good compromise proposal to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This solution—combined with improvements to the Spokane Street Viaduct and the creation of a new stadium interchange for State Route 99—will maintain access for West Seattle and South King County residents to and through downtown Seattle. The removal of the old viaduct will help reconnect downtown to our historic waterfront. And, because the tunnel will not share the alignment of the old viaduct structure, we also have the opportunity to maintain traffic on the SR 99 corridor during construction.
The challenge to Seattle and King County is to provide the other surface and transit improvements needed to make local transportation work. We now must consider how this work will be funded, how quickly it can be implemented, and how we will be able to sustain the needed transit service in the future.
As of today, by the way, Councilmember Constantine is officially council chair. ADDED 7:30 PM: We’ve also been in contact with West Seattle’s other rep on the Stakeholders Advisory Committee, Pete Spalding, and while he too is reserving detailed comment until after tomorrow morning’s briefing (the stakeholders will be briefed at 7:30, before the media at 8:30), he says, “I think this is the best of all worlds for our West Seattle community.”
While WSB is all about West Seattle, on occasion we receive sponsorship inquiries from folks whose businesses and organizations are not based here, but do serve, and enthusiastically welcome, West Seattleites. That’s the case with a new WSB sponsor we’re welcoming today, Three Tree Montessori. The school is in Burien (just blocks from a Burien business that’s popular with West Seattleites – Trader Joe’s!). At left, a few of their elementary students; as with all new sponsors, we offered Three Tree Montessori a chance to tell you something about themselves: “Montessori is a time-tested, child-centered developmental education method that is focused on the individual child’s potential, giving the child hands-on experiences that nurture the love of learning. Montessori emphasizes collaboration, self-expression, and self-motivation in beautiful learning environments which foster respect, peace, and joy. Come meet the staff and see Three Tree Montessori‘s beautiful classrooms with outdoor extensions to garden and play areas for children ages 12 months through 12 years at our open house: Saturday, January 31st from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Immediate openings are available in our half-day Toddler and Elementary programs.” Three Tree Montessori is at 220 SW 160th in Burien (here’s a map), 206-242-5100, and online at threetree.org. WSB welcomes Three Tree Montessori to our sponsor team, whose current members are listed on this page, where you’ll also find information on how to join them!
Both councils are tackling Snowstorm ’08 followups this morning (in addition to other agenda items), and both meetings have now begun, live online and on cable TV – the Seattle City Council, seattlechannel.org or cable 21; King County Council, kingcounty.gov or cable 22. We’re monitoring both and will post here if anything major is revealed/announced, with wrapups later. City councilmembers, by the way, have a big meeting later today too, announcing their collective and individual priorities for 2009 at 2 pm, with public comment to follow.
The next two Tuesday nights, it’s sign-up time for West Seattle Little League. Cami e-mailed us the official announcement: “Grab your glove – It’s time to register for Little League! In-person registrations will be held on Tuesday, Jan 13th and Tuesday, Jan 20th – 7-9 pm at West Seattle High School, Rm. 212. West Seattle Little League teaches not only baseball, but lessons learned through teamwork, dedication and pride. Divisions include T-ball, Coach-Pitch, Minors, Majors, Juniors and Seniors. T-ball through Majors play most games at Bar-S Fields, at 6464 SW Admiral Way. For forms, payment and more information, go to westseattlelittleleague.com.” Registration also is under way now for West Seattle Pee Wee Baseball — details on that, coming up later.
Another reason to think about spring and summer here in the heart of winter: A request for your opinion on the type of art that could grace the West Seattle Wayfinding kiosks to be installed at key walkable points around West Seattle, thanks to a $100,000 city-matching-funds grant. Two workshops have been held in recent months to invite more community involvement with kiosk development; now the “pilot” kiosk is in progress near the Delridge Library, and project leaders want your thoughts on art concepts for the kiosks that will go up in other West Seattle neighborhoods, to provide information and direction for those on foot – read on:Read More