day : 26/02/2009 13 results

Proposals sought by Parks: West Seattle Stadium; Alki firewood


If you don’t frequent the city Parks Department‘s page for “requests for proposals” – you might have missed word that the city has finally published the official “request for proposals” to get a private operator for West Seattle Stadium. It’s one of two RFPs of West Seattle interest — the other seeks vendors to sell firewood at Alki (and Golden Gardens). More on that in a moment. First, the stadium proposal has been in the works a while (first covered here last fall), and still seeks an operator that will pay for improvements as well as run the stadium; the desired improvements are described in the RFP this way:

At minimum, the City has identified the North Grand Stand area, including the restrooms, locker room, walkways, and concession building as a focus for major renovation.

That appears to be a shorter wish list than the draft version of the RFP (9/08 WSB report here). Proposals have to be turned in by March 26; a decision is to be made, with applicants notified, by April 23. Now, about that firewood – the RFP for the vendor search is the last surviving remnant of last summer’s brief beach-fire-ban flap:

Interesting tidbit buried in this RFP – year 1, the vendor-sold firewood would be just an option for beach-fire fans, but if there’s a year 2, they would no longer be allowed to have the option to bring their own:

The Department is seeking proposals from operators to sell wood to the general public for beach fires at specific beach locations in these two parks, from May 1 2009 through April 2010. The Summer months which includes May through September and selected special events, such as the Christmas Ship event, would be the required and most-beneficial times to sell. (NOTE: Park Patrons are not required to purchase wood from this concession and are allowed to bring in their own wood during this first year. If the Department decides to extend or advertise again the following year, we will require that all Park Patrons must purchase the wood from the permitted vendor.)

The Department will select the concessionaire(s) that best demonstrates the ability to provide
innovative, affordable, safe and reliable services to park patrons while paying reasonable concession
fees to the Department. The price of the wood must be no higher than the average price of wood
sold in the Seattle metro area stores (ie Safeway, Albertsons, etc.) You are encouraged to offer
services and/or products that would be complimentary to the existing uses of the park. The
Department reserves the right to approve any proposed business activity.

If you want to seek that contract, March 11 is the deadline for your proposal. Forms and details for both RFPs are linked from this city page.

History-making ex-astronaut ready for liftoff at Madison tomorrow

At Madison Middle School in West Seattle, the stage is literally set tonight for a show tomorrow morning that will rock the cafeteria/auditorium space and the hundreds of students who will fill it. That’s where we caught up this afternoon with Dr. Bernard Harris (bio), a former astronaut who made history during one of his two space flights as the first African-American to walk in space. (What you see on stage to the right in the photo is one of two shuttle seats that also have been in space, and now are used as props during his presentation.) Madison is the first stop on this year’s DREAM Tour, meant to get students jazzed about math and science, and in no small part their practical applications – even to the level of discussing how those lines of work can become lucrative.

Based in Houston, Dr. Harris himself is an internist as well as a former astronaut, and now runs a venture-capital firm, Vesalius Ventures (named after legendary anatomist Andreas Vesalius) focused on telemedicine, as well as the Harris Foundation, to focus on the cause of advancing math-science education. Tomorrow morning’s presentation will include not just a speech by Dr. Harris but videos, with young scientists telling their stories, and even an audio/video surround-sound experience of a shuttle launch. He hopes the kids will leave “fired up” – and when they take their enthusiasm home, or to their friends’ houses, here’s what he hopes will happen:

But first, he says, it’s a matter of making it relevant: “I always ask them, do you enjoy cell phones, rap music, video games? They all exist because scientists or engineers developed the technology. We try to bring it down to earth, relate it to real life.” And the message: “If you want to have a career where you can take care of yourself and your family — math and science can be the key.” Expanding that realization is an urgent job, he adds, given how far behind our country is in producing new workers to join fields (medicine, engineering, and more) where those skills are vital.

He is doing everything he can to help make that happen, involved in an effort that provides scholarships, as well as in other core efforts from his Harris Foundation, such as Summer Science Camps. He revealed in our chat this afternoon that they’ll be announcing next Monday that they’re expanding to 30 locations nationwide this year. (The closest one is at Oregon State University.) But first, he was speaking at an education-themed event in downtown Seattle tonight; after he appears at Madison tomorrow, it’s on to Detroit, Chicago, and Minneapolis later this year – and students interested in staying involved with the project, he says, will find new features on its website soon.

Hot dog stand in West Seattle – and summer’s nowhere in sight

Yes, that’s a hot-dog stand outside Beveridge Place Pub in Morgan Junction. Something new they’re trying for the next month, said April, when we called to check on what we thought we saw. Heading back down now for a photo. PHOTO AND INFO ADDED 5:35 PM: The cart’s from Hot Dog Joes, which has carts in other spots around the city. That’s Drew staffing the one outside Beveridge Place Pub tonight. He says they’re planning to be there Thursdays through Saturdays, setting up around mid-afternoon (3ish) and staying till late night (maybe as late as 11). Their suppliers include Bavarian Meat and Hebrew National; chicken and veggie dogs too. Prices start at $5.

Update: Prosecutor canceling West Seattle appearance tonight

February 26, 2009 4:41 pm
|    Comments Off on Update: Prosecutor canceling West Seattle appearance tonight
 |   Crime | Safety | West Seattle news | White Center

Just got an update from Dan Donohoe at the office of King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg: He says Satterberg has a family emergency and has to cancel his planned appearance at tonight’s South Delridge/White Center Community Safety Coalition meeting, but will reschedule. (However, the law/justice reps who are usually on hand at the meeting do include a prosecutor’s-office rep.) Everything else planned for the meeting, including updates on local crime trends and nuisance spots, is on as usual, 6 pm, St. James Place, 9421 18th SW.

West Seattle snow: Metro woes explained — “judgment call”

As mentioned earlier, we followed up further with King County Council Chair Dow Constantine‘s office to get beyond the statement issued earlier, which acknowledged bus problems and urged better performance/communication next time. There hasn’t been a statement on that directly from Metro yet, so our simple question – so what WAS the problem – has a simple answer, according to the Constantine team, which checked directly with Metro after receiving numerous complaints about late/no-show buses: It was a “judgment call.” Metro management told them that serious snow was NOT predicted in the info they had late last night, when they had to make the call about whether to spend the money to bring in the extra/overtime staff to chain buses and handle extra communications duties. (There was one short, heavy blast of snow/hail around quarter till midnight – as we showed you here – then it cleared out for several hours before the serious snow began in the 4/5 am vicinity.) So they weren’t ready for what happened with the weather.

South King County cities settle on Des Moines jail site

February 26, 2009 2:08 pm
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 |   Crime | West Seattle jail sites

Of interest since a West Seattle site is still in the running as the possible location of a municipal-misdemeanor jail for “north/east King County cities” including Seattle: A coalition of South King County cities has just announced it’s chosen a site in Des Moines, according to this P-I story just published, on port-owned property (map). As for the latest on the Seattle (etc.) site search, Becca Fong provided an update at this week’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting, noting the environment-impact “scoping” process has just finished, adding that HPAC brought up “as many environmental concerns as we could find, to broaden the ‘scope,’ hopefully making our Highland Park Way site a little less appealing.” Now, she said, the process is in a “holding pattern,” with the official environmental-impact statement due in about six months, triggering another process of public comment and review before the site is chosen next year.

West Seattle snow: Metro update; Constantine statement

Still awaiting answers on why information lagged this morning. However, this is what Metro says about the state of its system as of now, looking toward the pm commute – text of the official news release:

All Metro buses were back to their normal routes as of 10 a.m. today,
although some routes are still experiencing delays due to traffic
congestion and because chained buses must keep speeds below 35 mph.
Crews are currently out in the field removing chains from those buses,
and Metro staff anticipate a normal commute for Thursday afternoon.

Despite the clearing skies, Metro staff is continuing to monitor the
weather and travel conditions in case roads become icy overnight. If
there is ice on the roads – particularly the side streets – on Thursday
night or Friday morning, buses could be delayed again during those

Bus riders should keep an eye on local travel conditions as well. If the
roads are icy in your neighborhood or where you want to travel, expect
delays and possible reroutes away from hills and iced-over roads. Here
are some transit travel tips for snowy and icy weather:

* Head for bus stops on main arterials or at major transfer points such
as park-and-ride lots, transit centers, or shopping centers;

* Riders should wait at bus stops at the very top or very bottom of
hills, because buses are often unable to stop for passengers on

* Dress warmly for the walk to the bus stop, expect delays, and wear
appropriate footwear for the weather;

* Be patient. Buses are not always on schedule in snowy or icy
conditions. That is why it is hard to post real-time bus information on
the Metro website. And, increased
ridership during bad weather can result in crowded buses and a
longer-than-usual wait on the phone for the Customer Information Office
at (206) 553-3000.

As the winter season winds to a close, Metro is already looking to next
season by pursuing additional steps that can be taken to keep riders
better informed of transit disruptions. Those actions include:
redesigning elements of the Metro Online website; beefing up emergency
event staffing plans for the Customer Information Office; adding
additional staff to track and post bus reroute and service disruptions
online; and exploring the use of emerging public communication tools to
help disseminate information.

ADDED 1:56 PM: We contacted County Council Chair Dow Constantine‘s office early on to ask them as well what they could find out about the Metro information lag. Here’s the statement they have just sent out – no explanation, though:

“This morning I received many reports that Metro buses were late, off their routes, or missing altogether during today’s morning commute.

“I immediately contacted Metro staff and urged them to move quickly to improve communications with the bus riding public. Many King County residents depend on Metro daily to deliver them to school, work, and other important appointments. During sudden storm events of this type they need to know what to expect so they can inform their families and employers.

“Given the increasing sophistication of modern phones and wireless internet providers, I encourage Metro to take immediate action to use instant messaging, Twitter, neighborhood blogs, and customer self-reporting systems to keep Metro operators and riders connected. I also urge Metro to continue to work with the roads departments of King County and our 39 cities to create a list of priority bus routes that will be cleared and operated first in any adverse weather event.

“All too often, as the weather warms, the urgency to fix the problems exposed by the winter storms melts with the snow. As the chair of the King County Council, I promise to remain focused throughout the year on working with Metro to improve their website and communications systems to give riders timely and useful information during winter storms and other emergency events. I am confident that Metro can do much better in the future.”

Groundbreaking ceremony at Chief Sealth HS campus postponed

Just got a call from David Tucker with the Seattle Public Schools communications team: The “groundbreaking ceremony” for the next stage of the Chief Sealth High School/Denny Middle School co-located campus project has been postponed. It originally was planned for March 12th, but the “master use permit” has not yet been granted by the city (here’s the city DPD page for the site), and Tucker says they want to be sure that permit’s in hand before they have a celebration. They won’t set a new date till the permit is officially granted. Other work has been under way at the site for months, but this phase will include some major construction, including the Commons to be shared by the two schools, according to the project team. Meantime, another school ceremony is coming up in our area: An event celebrating the international school designations for Denny MS and Concord Elementary (first reported here Feb. 11), 10 am next Tuesday at Concord (which is in South Park but is considered part of the West Seattle South elementary cluster).

From land-use land: New proposal for old Pegasus Pizza site

In August 2007, before Pegasus Pizza moved out of 2758 Alki and next door into the former Coyotes/Chez Million/Point/etc. space, there was a proposal for a new ground-floor restaurant/top-floor “offices” building to be built at that site (here’s our original report). Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin has just arrived with word of a different application for 2758 Alki (here’s the notice; here’s the project page) – this time, 3,000+ square feet of “retail” at ground level, two residential units above. There are a few more West Seattle projects in the LUIB (added 1:30 pm): 1111 SW Holden, 1 lot approved for subdivision into 4; 9028 18th SW, 1 lot approved for subdivision into 3; 5980 26th SW, application to subdivide 1 lot into 2.

West Seattle snow: Forecasters think it’s over

That’s what the just-published “forecast discussion” boils down to. (Our continuous updates from the morning-commute hours are here.) P.S. Here’s what Cliff Mass wrote a few hours ago – including a complaint about the same Metro online problem that WSB readers called attention to during our morning coverage.

Update: Another big change for Prudential Northwest Realty

ORIGINAL 9 AM REPORT: As reported here January 22, the two Prudential Northwest Realty locations in West Seattle recently consolidated operations at Jefferson Square, vacating the California SW branch. This morning, another big change is being announced at that firm: previous owner Mike Gain (12/07 WSB photo at left), long a major name in West Seattle real estate sharing the helm of Cayce and Gain, is taking over. We received word of this from two sources last night, and Gain answered our query this morning by saying he’ll send a news release with full details as soon as it’s available, so we’ll get more info a bit later. ADDED 11:52 AM: Here’s the news release in its entirety:

Prudential Northwest Realty Associates, a 7-office residential brokerage firm with 575 agents and a relocation firm headquartered in Bellevue, WA, has recently announced a management change. Mike Gain, the former owner of Prudential Northwest Realty Associates and Cayce & Gain Real Estate, and a 30-year veteran in the Greater Seattle real-estate industry, has assumed the management of the Puget Sound Company. Gain has assembled a leadership group to assist him in the firm’s ongoing operations. Roger Cayce, Michael Smith, and Al Lynch will make up that leadership team. Roger Cayce, Gain’s business partner for over 30 years, will assist and consult in operations activities. Michael Smith, former owner of Prudential Michael Smith Realtors, brings 36 years of real estate experience to the company, and will head up the firm’s eastside operations, including Business Development and Corporate Marketing Services. Al Lynch, former manager of the firm’s West Seattle/Jefferson Square office with over 20 years in real estate experience and an extensive background in business and finance, will serve as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer.

ADDED 1:41 PM: Reaction from one of the West Seattle-based Prudential realtors, Alice Kuder, who reports a “big turnout” for the official 9 am announcement today:

Many of the long time agents in this office worked for/with Mike during his previous ownership and they are VERY excited about his return. In fact, three different agents popped the corks on bottles of champagne to help celebrate the announcement. I’ve never heard anything but positive comments about Mike and his particular talent for positive leadership, so I’m very excited myself. I’ve been very happy here at Prudential, and now it seems as if the organization is getting even stronger! I’m a big believer/practitioner of the positive attitude overcoming all obstacles, so I’m thrilled to have another CEO who believes the same.

West Seattle snow: Thursday morning updates

(That’s the latest live image from The Bridge, looking east)
ORIGINAL 6:08 AM UPDATE: From Seattle Public Schools

February 26, 2009: All Seattle Public Schools will start two hours late today and buses will operate on snow routes. Due to weather concerns, all schools will start two hours late today. Buses will operate on snow routes. There will be no door-to-door service, no Head Start and pre-school, and no half day a.m. kindergarten or half day p.m. kindergarten. Full day kindergarten classes will be in session with a two-hour start delay. Before school breakfast service will not be available.

ADDED 6:15 AM: Holy Rosary will also have a two-hour delay. Highline Public Schools, also 2 hours late.

Posted on February 26, 2009: Because of the snow, school will open at 10AM today. BASE will be open on time.

6:30 AM UPDATE: The Vashon Island School District confirms the comment you saw earlier on this post.

Due to icy road conditions school will be two hours late. No morning preschool or kindergarten. Normal bus routes.

ADDED 6:39 AM: Metro says some buses are being affected by the weather, though its page doesn’t list any West Seattle routes at the moment. Here’s its list. And it’s snowing lightly again.

ADDED 6:55 AM: Chris confirms via Twitter that The Bridge is bare and wet (and you can check the latest live picture at the top of this post). Also via Twitter, from SDOT:

Plows dedicated to the West Seattle Bridge and Alaskan Way Viaduct. These roadway structures are in good condition. … Crews throughout city treating main roads, focusing on inbound commute routes. Roads have snow and ice in places but traffic is moving. …

You can check more West Seattle-relevant cameras on the WSB Traffic page. Another driving note via Twitter: Roads on Vashon are reported to be icy.

ADDED 7:09 AM: Superior and District Courts are all on a 2-hour delay, according to King County, which is adding other changes to a list on its home page. Also note that there are multiple reports of Metro delays/no-shows in West Seattle and elsewhere (one via Twitter from Ravenna Nation) that are not listed on the “adverse weather” page so far; we are checking with Metro to see what’s happening with that.

ADDED 7:20 AM: We’re also collecting road reports from Facebook (where you can “friend” WSB at “WS Blog“): Renee says, “Genesee hill by Pathfinder school wet, but not icy. Traffic moving as if it rained.” Colby says, “Highland Park hill down to 99 was clean at 6:15ish.” Lisa says, “2600 SW Holden is okay. I just drove up from Georgetown, up Roxbury to Delridge then Holden and it’s good. The main roads are clear and it’s not icy.”

ADDED 7:30 AM: Beware the breeze, which just kicked up for a moment and blew a serious wave of snow off the roof. Also, this photo doesn’t quite do it justice, but the Olympics’ peaks are snow-covered and currently visible, illuminated by a sunbreak beneath the clouds:

Thanks to Renee, who added to her Facebook report on Genesee Hill (as mentioned above) by e-mailing this photo, taken near Pathfinder K-8:

And thanks to everyone else who’s been sharing updates – we’re watching e-mail, FB, Twitter, the WSB Forums, among other places. (Hap just reported in the forums about spouse’s hourlong bus wait at Genesee and Avalon – the 21 finally showed at 7:09 am but was “jampacked.”)

7:49 AM UPDATE: Latest from SDOT:

SDOT crews were on standby last night. The weather forecast at midnight predicted no “road snow,” but cautioned that the situation could easily change. Night crews patrolled for ice, and when it began to snow, around 4 a.m., standby crews were called in to assist the regular nightshift crews.

Between 4 and 6 a.m., snow dumped on Seattle streets, leaving approximately one and two inches, varying according to location. All available trucks with plows and sand treated major arterial streets throughout the city.

Crews were dedicated specifically to the West Seattle Bridge and the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and salt was applied to make sure they remained in good condition. Roadway Structures crews inspected bridges and overpasses to make sure walkways were passable and snow was not presenting a problem for opening and closing the moveable bridges. Trucks with plows and sanders were also directed to trouble spots in West Seattle and Southeast Seattle, called in by Seattle Police and King County Metro Transit.

By 7 a.m. air temperatures were rising and snow was turning to slush on many streets. Crews will continue plowing and sanding as long as they are needed.

7:57 AM UPDATE: Thanks to Sheila for calling (206-293-6302, 24/7) to report the 125 is “not going from (South Seattle Community College) down to Delridge – it’s backtracking.” And via Facebook from Talani at Stor-More (WSB sponsor) on Yancy at Avalon in the Luna Park business/residential district:

Cars are moving on Avalon and Yancy by the Stor-More Self Storage sign, but are covered with snow. There are slick spots, so be careful out there neighbors!

Talani also shared photos on FB, including this one:

8:07 AM UPDATE: Metro says EVERYONE should expect delays – here’s the newest update:

The weather is clearing, and snow has stopped falling in most areas of
King County. Still, the weather-related traffic conditions this morning
are causing problems for Metro Transit buses. As of 8 a.m., more than
two dozen routes were rerouted for a portion of their normal routes.
Others, had been rerouted for a very short period of time, but are back
to regular routing now.

While routing may be normal for the other routes, the travel times
aren’t due to the traffic. But that varies by location and by time. It’s
just the same as if you drive this morning. You might be able to go 60
mph for awhile, and then suddenly you’re at 15 mph for 10 miles, then
back up to speed. So, all bus riders should expect delays due to traffic
conditions this morning.

8:36 AM UPDATE: From Twitter, a report that a ferry worker told Vashon riders that Fauntleroy’s dock doesn’t have Metro service. We have NOT confirmed this but are passing along because we have been receiving in general the most updated/detailed info from riders themselves.

9:40 AM UPDATE: Excellent point from Mpento (echoed by others) in comments: Be sure to clean the snow off your car before driving. This was relatively fluffy, dry snow, and it is blowing off cars that take off without clearing it – that can blow back at you or others and cause a dangerous visibility problem. We just took a drive over to Westcrest Park and back (no road trouble at all, some light snow cover still on alleys) and noticed that challenge, compounded with the bright sunshine and the glare off the snow covering yards, parking strips, roofs. Just a few swipes with an ice scraper or squeegee will clear it fast since it’s not wet enough to stick to your car and even up here on a high-ish hill, it didn’t turn to windshield ice.

Happening today/tonight: Plants, pets, prosecutor, parks

February 26, 2009 5:31 am
|    Comments Off on Happening today/tonight: Plants, pets, prosecutor, parks
 |   Crime | Elliott Bay Water Taxi | Gardening | Pets

PLANT SALE: It’s happening at South Seattle Community College, 11 am – 3 pm. Nursery (North Lot entrance), promising “blowout prices.”

PET ADOPTIONS ON WHEELS: The big yellow MaxMobile is due back in West Seattle to offer mobile pet adoptions at Pet Pros in Westwood Village, noon-3 pm (more info here).

PROSECUTOR IN WEST SEATTLE: Got questions about what happens to criminals AFTER police arrest them? King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg is the scheduled guest at the South Delridge/White Center Community Safety Coalition at St. James Place tonight, 9421 18th SW (map), 6 pm (free dinner!).

PARK BRIEFINGS: The Seattle Parks Board hears a briefing on Seacrest dock improvements to facilitate year-round Elliott Bay Water Taxi service as well as briefing on possible changes to park operating hours, parks HQ downtown at 7 pm.