day : 19/01/2009 15 results

Charlestown Court update: Land-use permit; project status


This time last year, Charlestown Court — the oft-admired brick fourplex at 3811 California (map) — was soon to be reviewed for possible landmark status as a requirement before a proposal to tear it down could proceed; WSB closely covered the process, which ended in April with the city Landmarks Board deciding landmark status wasn’t merited. But instead of demolition equipment showing up – a new proposal materialized, and that’s what we have an update on tonight:


Two months after the non-landmark decision, West Seattle-based Nicholson Kovalchick Architects unveiled a new design that saved Charlestown Court’s distinctive “wings”; 2 days after revealing it at an Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, architect Michael Godfried presented it to the Southwest Design Review Board, which gave its approval. Now, the city has just granted a land-use permit for the project, while the construction-permit application is still under review. We asked Godfried about the project’s status; he replied, “The master-use permit is completed and the developers intend to build the project. Given the current economy the construction time frame is in question and we have not yet started building permit drawings. The developers also would like to complete the Dakota project on California before moving on to Charlestown.” (That refers to this condo complex at 4116 California, a teardown site that drew some interesting reminiscences here at demolition time.)

1 more Day of Service: Join a big West Seattle cleanup Saturday

January 19, 2009 10:49 pm
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 |   Delridge | How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

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Didn’t get a chance to join in the National Day of Service today? Or – you did, but you’re still ready to do more? This weekend, you are invited to join in a major cleanup along Delridge — the North Delridge Neighborhood Council is teaming with the Chief Sealth High School Parents-Teachers-Students Association (PTSA). Just show up at Delridge Community Center (map) or the Chief Sealth parking lot (at Boren; map) between 9:45 and 10 am Saturday to get supplies (plus coffee and muffins); they’re hoping for enough help to clean up Delridge from Andover all the way to Sylvan Way (see map above). Part of the plan is to clear storm drains along the way, to prevent flooding next time it rains. Students can get community-service credit, too. Here’s the official flyer, with e-mail addresses if you have questions for an organizer.

Inauguration Eve: 2 reports, more pix, from Carter and Dan in D.C.

(Preamble to the Constitution, signed by Carter, Dan and many others in DuPont Circle)

(The box from which the new President will view the Inaugural Parade)
To recap, we’re getting inauguration updates from two teams of West Seattleites in D.C. — we heard earlier from Stephanie and Hans, and now we have two reports – and more photos – to share from Carter and Dan:

DC is high gear. There are crowds everywhere the events are happening. Metro stop lines are a half to a full block long. Parade route has people parading. The National Mall is busy with activity. Everyone is in a great mood despite the crowds. Smiles abound and the random chatting up of strangers. “Where are you from?” is a question everyone asks.

We have a change of plans regarding how we are going to get there. As of this moment, we are going to attempt the 4:00AM Metro from Arlington to the National Mall. I’m voting for just walking the four miles. Everyone i’ve spoke with is going 4AM or before. They won’t even open the Mall until 7 or 8AM (depends on the source). The media here is warning, if there is 2 million people, you will have a personal space the size of a page of newspaper!

Attached photo is “Give Bush The Boot” game. It was a riot watching people vent with the hundreds of shoes. Ironically, while I was in front of the White House, the Police handcuffed and arrested a young guy for throwing a shoe on the White House lawn. They shut down the street which prevented me from going up to the fence.

Carter also sent a celebrity photo … and we have his report from earlier today, including the inaugural concert details — ahead:Read More

Door-to-door alert on 35th SW

From Brian – who’s wondering if the person who showed up at his door a couple hours ago was legit:Read More

Inauguration Eve updates: Latest from Stephanie & Hans in D.C.

January 19, 2009 7:10 pm
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 |   2009 Inauguration | West Seattle people

Both of our teams of inauguration correspondents — West Seattleites in D.C. for the big event who offered to share some of what they’re doing and seeing — have sent updates in the past few hours. The pix above are more souvenirs, photographed by Stephanie and Hans – here’s their quick update:

Following the plan, my brother and I headed to the nearest metro station to pick-up our train passes. The parking lot was full, so I jumped out to make it a quick run. How hard could it be?

Five lines, about 15 people deep and growing by the minute.

By what can only be termed a miracle, I managed to get in the “right” line at the right time. To my left, a metro worker was furiously attempting to restart one machine. The smart-trip cards were sold out further down. The cash lines were in a constant state of clamor — ironing and re-ironing crumpled bills. And everywhere, the sense that most of the people in line were not “regulars.” One perplexed fellow managed to buy 18 farecards, each $1.35. (Which, separately, won’t get him, um . . . anywhere.)

Despite all this, people were generally pretty upbeat and helpful. Which was a good thing. Because by the time I got to the front of my line, the machine had stopped taking debit cards. Mercy.

My sister-in-law (a veteran commuter) tells me that she’s never seen a line for a metro pass. Much less five at the same time. If that’s any indication of what tomorrow will be like, I can’t wait.

Oh, and I won’t even be sorry about the cash if we end up not using our passes . . . they’re just too cool. =)

Yes we can!

The latest from the other team in D.C. — Carter and Dan — with even more photos – coming up shortly. All our 2009 Inauguration coverage is archived here; our page of info about how/where to watch tomorrow, and who’s celebrating where afterward, can be found here.

Inauguration updates: 2 West Seattle schools get special chats

January 19, 2009 4:25 pm
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 |   2009 Inauguration | Gatewood | Highland Park | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson is in Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration, and the district has just announced that she’ll talk with two West Seattle elementary-school classes via phone tomorrow afternoon: Highland Park Elementary at 2:15 pm, Gatewood Elementary at 2:40 pm. Here are excerpts from the district’s media advisory, explaining which classes Dr. Goodloe-Johnson will talk with, and why:Read More

MLK Day: Roxhill Elementary kids perform teacher’s song

Thanks to Roxhill Elementary principal Carmela Dellino for pointing us to a KIRO Radio story about a song written by a Roxhill teacher, and performed by students, in honor of MLK Day. (Find it online here, including audio of the story, in which you hear the kids sing part of the song.) Carmen explains: “Chris Robert, one of our Kindergarten teachers, combined the importance of King as a civil rights leader with the significance of our upcoming inauguration of the first Black president of the United States by writing a song. He taught all the Kindergarteners the song and incorporated it into a lesson about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. I am extremely proud of his work and all our teachers at Roxhill.”

Day of Service in West Seattle: Families clean up Alki, Whale Tail

Thanks to Toddy Dyer for sharing that photo of the Curran-Walker Family, Spangler-Ellerbrook Family, Vuletic Family, and Dyer Family, who teamed up to clean up Alki Beach and Whale Tail Park (where the photo was taken) during today’s National Day of Service. Toddy tells WSB the kids in the photo range in age from 1 through 8. Congratulations, and thank you, to everyone who joined in today (other photos and reports welcome, too!

Inauguration updates: Send us your photo(s) tomorrow

January 19, 2009 2:11 pm
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 |   2009 Inauguration | West Seattle online | West Seattle people

Wherever you are tomorrow at 9 am and whoever you’re with, we would love to have a photo of your inauguration-watching group, so that we can post it tomorrow as part of the WSB “historical record.” Cameraphone, whatever. Names if possible, but not mandatory. Sorry we didn’t think of this sooner, but better late than never. Either send it to afterward – or if you upload to Flickr, Facebook, TwitPic, wherever, just let us know where to find it so we’ll know we have permission to use it. Thanks! (More local inauguration info is on our special page, here.)

West Seattle represents in CD-to-downtown King Day march

Today’s biggest MLK Day event in Seattle: A rally at Garfield High School in the Central District, with participants then marching to the Federal Building downtown. Thanks VERY MUCH to one of our fellow Seattle neighborhood-news-site operators, Scott from, for sharing these photos of West Seattle participants – West Seattle Neighbors for Peace and Justice in the top photo, and this contingent from Fauntleroy Church (where Rev. David Kratz reflected on Dr. King in this newsletter you can read online):

See more rally coverage at CD News.

West Seattle Weather Watch: Burn ban goes to Stage 2

January 19, 2009 11:56 am
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 |   Environment | West Seattle news | West Seattle weather

As of noon, the burn ban is up to Stage 2 – meaning your wood-burning fireplace/stove can’t be used unless it’s your ONLY “adequate source of heat.” Full details here.

Happening now: Day of Service – and you can help

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a National Day of Service and West Seattleites are doing their part. Till 8 pm, diapers are being collected at Jefferson Square Safeway for WestSide Baby as we wrote here after hearing from organizer Katy, they particularly need sizes 4-5-6 and training pants – so buy some and drop them off! WestSide Baby helps hundreds of families in West Seattle/White Center every week and the need keeps growing; they’re also getting some help today from folks meeting at Fauntleroy Church between now and 4 pm to make blankets. We’re heading out to get pix of what’s happening and will add when we come back. (If you’re involved with another Day of Service event in West Seattle today, let us know – – thanks!) ADDED 11:52 AM: That’s Katy and daughters Bailey (10) and Greta (7 1/2), photographed outside the east door of J-Square Safeway about half an hour ago. Katy’s lined up volunteers to handle other shifts all the way up till 8 pm as planned.

Alki Homestead fire update: Owner expects 6+-month closure

(Friday morning photo by David Hutchinson)
Three days after fire damaged Alki’s historic Homestead Restaurant, its owner has a clearer picture of the road ahead to getting it reopened. As we reported Friday morning, investigators say the $400,000 fire was an electrical accident – sparked by too many Christmas lights plugged into a single socket. Tom Lin, who bought the Homestead after longtime owner Doris Nelson passed away, provides this update on what’s happening now with the restaurant (an official Seattle landmark), its employees, and the prospective new owner he was in the process of selling it to when this happened:

The dust has finally settled after 3 chaotic days. I know many people are interested in knowing what is going on with Alki Homestead after the fire, and I will update as much as I can as we proceed with the cleanup.

First of all, I must thank the Fire Department and the Police Department for the prompt response time. I believe the phone call was made at 5:20 AM and they had the fire out by 5:40. I don’t think anyone can ask for more than that. It was such a blessing that fire started at 5 AM instead of 5 PM and no one got hurt.

At 6 AM, my longtime employee, Bonnie, who worked for Mrs. Nelson for 17 years and has worked for me for 3 years, showed up in tears wanting to talk to the Fire Chief. She had one request, she asked if anyone could get the reservation book so she could call all the customers who had reservation for the weekend. A “firewoman” went inside, grabbed the charred reservation book and handed to Bonnie.

After examining the damage, I think it will take longer than 6 months to reopen Alki Homestead. The damage is quite extensive. I believe the entire roof needs to be replaced. The middle part of the second floor will have to come down. There is a big hole in the ceiling of the first floor where the fire went up and that also punctured a hole in the roof.

This is our photo from Friday showing that damage:

Tom continues:

The ceiling of the main dining room is pretty much charred. The fireplace actually stopped the fire from spreading to the left side of the dining room. All the tables and chairs are gone. Luckily, the dining table that is over 100 years old is still standing. The King and Queen’s chairs are ok. The PI clock and the sideboards are charred. All the chandeliers are melted. I think we can salvage the pictures of the Barnards.

I will know more next week after we get the official damage report. I have already instructed the general manager, Chris Long, to supplement employees with their salary for at least 3 months. It is more than a job for most of them and we will not leave them on the street at any cost.

I know we have lots of gift certificates outstanding. We will try to get other restaurants in Alki to honor them or we will redeem the gift certificates with cash. I will post the details soon. If any restaurants would like to honor our gift certificates, please e-mail me.

I have spoken to the buyer of the restaurant business and he is still interested in taking over, except it will be on a later date. I will disclose the buyer’s identity later in the week after our meeting tomorrow. We will be renegotiating the terms of the sale and hopefully come to an agreement.

I bought Alki Homestead because I wanted to preserve the part of history that has been very important to this neighborhood. Some people may still want to treat me like an outsider, but I have as much at stake as anyone else who lives here. In any event, our goal is to restore the restaurant and hopefully make it better. We will get a better facility that will meet the ADA standards, from the bathrooms to the handicapped ramp. Hopefully wheelchair customers won’t have to go through the kitchen and hopefully the bathrooms will be big enough to accommodate wheelchairs with no steps going up and down. This may be our chance to update the restaurant, think positive. Both Alki Homestead and the pan-fried chicken will return.

So much for the thoughts tonight, hope to get some feedback soon. My e-mail is

Tom Lin

For those who’ve never been inside, this Wikimedia photo shows what a special place it’s been:

But just hours after the fire, so many of those interior fixtures, as Tom mentioned, were in a charred heap outside:

We will be following up with Tom for those future updates he mentioned.

Eerily, we can’t help but note that it’s just a few weeks till the first anniversary of the fire that closed another beloved West Seattle restaurant for months – the Charlestown Cafe fire in February 2008 – that one, too, an accident; the Charlestown finally reopened almost five months later.

West Seattle school-closure fight: 2 major events this week

January 19, 2009 2:00 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle school closure | West Seattle schools

This morning at 8 am, sign-ups open for the 20 always-coveted public-comment spots at the start of Wednesday’s Seattle School Board meeting (e-mail or call 206-252-0040). It’s the last regular meeting for board members before they vote a week from Thursday on school-closure recommendations that currently call for Cooper Elementary (photo left) on Pigeon Point to be disbanded so that its building can become the new home of Pathfinder K-8, which operates in the former Genesee Hill Elementary building that the district’s been trying to close for years. As even Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson (who by the way is in D.C. for the presidential inauguration) has said, the proposal — which includes several other changes around the city — could change before the final vote. The School Board meeting at 6 pm Wednesday isn’t the last chance to have a say, though; this Thursday, 6:30 pm at district HQ, it’s the final formal public hearing on the proposal; the 40 public-comment spots at this meeting already are spoken for (see the list here – three people are identified as speaking about Cooper, and we recognize at least one more Cooper-linked name elsewhere on the list). P.S. Before these two meetings, West Seattle School Board rep Steve Sundquist has another one of his coffee chats – 9 am Wednesday, Coffee to a Tea in The Junction. And the Cooper community continues to add to the information available on its anti-closure website,

Inauguration countdown: 2 more West Seattleites report from D.C.

The past two nights, we’ve brought you updates from Carter and Dan, Fauntleroy residents in D.C. for the inauguration (albeit without tickets). Right now, we have a report from West Seattle resident Stephanie, who’s also in D.C. along with husband Hans and their toddler – who’s going to spend Inauguration Day with area relatives while Mom and Dad join the crowd. Hans is tweeting at @p_delta (with photo links from their sightseeing), and Stephanie has sent a longer update – which explains (among other things) the photo you see above:Read More