day : 09/04/2009 13 results

Design Review tonight: Avalon project advances, 42nd doesn’t

That’s the Transitional Resources project at 2922 SW Avalon, one of two projects examined by Southwest Design Review Board members tonight at Madison Middle School. This is intended to be an 16-unit residential project over 1200+ square feet of living space, part of the TR complex offering services, including residential units, to people living with mental illness. This was the project’s first time before the board, seeking “early design guidance” (see the full presentation here); members agreed to let it move on to the next phase, with a few recommendations, including open-space coordination and the courtyard entry. Next project did not have such smooth sailing:

That’s 4532 42nd SW (presentation here), which last went before the board 10 months ago (WSB coverage here). It’s already passed “early design guidance,” so it’s in the second phase of design review, but has to come back for at least one more meeting. Last June, board members said they wanted a closer look at what this mixed-use building (35 residential units over 3,000 sf commercial) will look like at street level; they got one tonight but aren’t happy yet with how the ground-level retail will look – saying it’s not inviting enough and looks distant and inaccessible, which could lead to business failure. So the first floor will be the topic of the next meeting – in hopes a revamp will make it less “vanilla” and “generic.” One more note from tonight’s meeting: new members Norma Tompkins and Robin Murphy joined the board.

One more 34th District Democrats report: The campaigning

When we interviewed County Councilmember Larry Phillips about his campaign for County Executive, he had a catch phrase including “uncommon courage.” Took a little courage to face the 34th District Democrats last night, since they had already endorsed County Council Chair Dow Constantine‘s candidacy last month. And he acknowledged it right out of the box: “I know you have a favorite son, who’s in the back of the room” — heads turned in time to see Constantine wave from the spot where he stood. Phillips, the first of several to campaign or advocate for campaigns during the meeting, reviewed his personal story, reiterated his willingness to “fight,” and stressed his Democratic credentials (though the job now is technically non-partisan). He also had something to say about the newest entrant in the race, former TV news anchor Susan Hutchison: “She’s masquerading as a moderate,” he declared, saying prominent Republican politicians are backing her. Phillips also answered several audience questions, including one about how big a budget bite is being taken by “law/safety/justice” — he said “a lot of people are in our detention facilities who aren’t threats to public safety and don’t need to be there.”

He was only the first of several candidates to speak last night to the 34th DDs, which took on a couple of election-related issues too – read on for the rest of our story and photos:Read More

Before The Kenney’s next design review, a community meeting

kenneycupola.jpgAs we reported earlier this week, the next Southwest Design Review Board meeting for The Kenney’s $150 million redevelopment proposal is set for May 14th. But first, a community meeting has just been announced for updates on major aspects of the project, including whether the iconic Seaview building can be saved. Here’s the latest, from Cindi Barker at Morgan Community Association:

The Morgan Community Association and Fauntleroy Community Association are hosting a second community meeting to have continued discussion on the Kenney redevelopment project. This meeting will be held Monday, May 4th, 7:30 p.m. at Fauntleroy Church, UCC (9140 California Ave SW).

This session will include not only Kevin McFeely, The Kenney CEO, but also a representative from the Kenney’s architects, AG Architecture. The idea and planning for this second meeting began after the last formal Early Design Guidance Review by the city’s Design Review Board on January 8th. The wait has proved fruitful, as the Kenney has received an estimate on moving the Seaview building in order to preserve it, and has found that saving the Seaview and moving it elsewhere on the property could be done. Consequently, the Kenney has requested a new site plan that 1) moves the Seaview to the northeast corner of the property to be used for administrative purposes and 2) lowers the perimeter building heights to step down more gracefully into the neighborhood and which would put the higher buildings towards the center of the property.

This meeting is intended to be a conversation between community members and the Kenney and the architects. During the formal Design Review meetings, it is not possible to have direct communication; this meeting would give neighbors an opportunity to preview the new design and talk with the architects.

We have a message out to Kenney CEO McFeely, seeking more comment on the possibility of saving the Seaview building (which, in previous discussions, had been deemed infeasible). And before the community meeting, this will be one of the topics on the agenda for MoCA’s quarterly public meeting next Wednesday, 7 pm, at The Kenney (along with items including updates on the Fauntleroy repaving/restriping and RapidRide, among other things).

West Seattle Crime Watch: Another dead-end car prowl

From an anonymous Alki-area resident – second car-break-in report this week from someone who considered it unlikely on their quiet dead-end street – read on for the victim’s story, and what the thief DIDN’T take:Read More

Closed Fairmount Park Elementary is reopening (temporarily)

April 9, 2009 3:39 pm
|    Comments Off on Closed Fairmount Park Elementary is reopening (temporarily)
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle school closure | West Seattle schools

It’s been almost two years since we took the photo at left, with crews clearing out Fairmount Park Elementary School (map) in summer 2007, after the Seattle School Board voted to close the building and merge its “program” with the former High Point Elementary School (the two together, in the HP building, are now known as West Seattle Elementary School). Seattle Public Schools‘ communications team has confirmed to WSB something we got a tip about recently – the Fairmount Park building is being reopened for summer school this year. The district had confirmed last year that the building would be kept for “inventory” rather than being put up for sale any time soon. No details so far on exactly which dates, or for which programs, the building will be used. We asked district spokesperson David Tucker why a closed building like this is being reopened for this purpose – his reply:

Using the building for summer school means not disrupting an already existing classroom at another school and also reduces the risk of vandalism during the summer with the building now occupied. So it is not a matter of lack of available space, but keeping the building in operational condition while limiting impacts on other schools. It is the first time the building is being utilized since being closed two years ago.

New recycling/trash schedule, week 2: Everything OK for you?

Seattle Public Utilities says its first week and a half of recycling, yard/food waste, and trash pickup changes has gone relatively smoothly, with a half-percent miss rate for home customers and five percent for apartment/condo/commercial customers. It’s expanded the call-center hours so that if you’re missed or have some other problem, you can reach someone at 684-3000 7:30 am-7 pm weekdays, 9 am-1 pm Saturdays. SPU also says it has “inspectors” trailing crews to check for trouble. (Photo by Christopher Boffoli)

Update: Death investigation beneath the West Seattle Bridge

We’ve received several tips/inquiries about this: We just called Seattle Fire Department to find out about what started as a medic response to 11th SW/SW Spokane (map). Spokesperson Dana Vander Houwen confirms it was a fatal fall from the West Seattle Bridge. She says the person pronounced dead at the scene was female. It would be up to an investigation to determine whether this is confirmed as suicide; while we had three reports of bridge deaths in 2007, we had none (this is from our archives, not a check of official records) in 2008; one person died beneath the Admiral Way bridge over Fairmount Ravine in March of last year. As we’ve said before, suicide is an epidemic that needs to be addressed, not ignored as is the policy of some media, so we report about it here as well as homicide cases (which are outnumbered in King County by suicides). For those who have thought about it — the local Crisis Clinic is there to help: 206/461-3222. There’s a national hotline at 800/SUICIDE.

7:06 PM
: Wanted to repost a haunting comment just left by Lisa:

It must have been about 12 and I was heading home to West Seattle when I saw the woman as she leaned over the bridge edge, but I was two lanes away and called 911. By the time I reached Harbor Ave. the dispatcher was calling fire and police, when I got to the water taxi I heard them say there was a injured woman on Spokane and 11th and I knew we were too late. I saw her face, shining black hair in the sun, pink shirt……I am so sorry for those who loved her.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: The Medical Examiner’s Office confirms this was a case of suicide. The victim was a 52-year-old woman.

West Seattle jail-site fight: Conlin wants to reopen talks

April 9, 2009 12:54 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle jail-site fight: Conlin wants to reopen talks
 |   Highland Park | West Seattle jail sites | West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

This item was going to be part of our forthcoming wrapup of various campaign speeches at last night’s 34th District Democrats meeting, but we’ve just received a response to a followup question we sent City Council President Richard Conlin, so we’re breaking it out: During his campaign speech to the 34th DDs (photo left), he mentioned the jail issue – Seattle teaming up with several other cities to pursue a potential new municipal-misdemeanor jail, with the potential sites including West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way SW – and told the 34th DDs: “… siting a new jail … is a terrible idea; we should only have to do it if we absolutely have to do it. I’m encouraged by a significant decrease in the King County jail population (recently) … we’re going to be sending King County a letter asking to reopen discussions about accommodating misdemeanants, so that we won’t go ahead (with a jail) unless we are ABSOLUTELY SURE we have to.” In other words, Conlin intends to ask a question others have posed before: Can’t the county keep handling misdemeanor inmates, at least a while longer, since their jail population in general has been dropping? We e-mailed Conlin this morning for a followup, and he replied:

Councilmember Burgess and I have decided to send this letter, but not sure yet whether it will be just from us or from the whole Council. We just made the decision this week and have not drafted it yet, but expect to do so shortly.

(Councilmember Tim Burgess chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee.) Officially, as noted in our coverage of recent Highland Park Action Committee meetings, the jail-site search is in the environmental-review phase. (WSB coverage of this issue is archived here, newest to oldest.)

West Seattle street-sign snag: Name, readable. Signal, not.

We’ve heard about this now from Karen and Lela (who sent the photo) — when the latest round of street-sign-replacing work started sweeping through West Seattle recently (as noted here), at least one sign wound up causing an unintended side effect — this one on the northwest corner of California/Edmunds in The Junction (map) is blocking the view of the pedestrian signal. We’re checking with SDOT to see if a fix is in the works (and to make sure it’s being reported via the proper SDOT number).

1:53 PM UPDATE: Heard back from Rick Sheridan at SDOT, who says: “Calling 684-ROAD is the best option for this type of issue or any other roadway related problem. But I will talk to the sign replacement team about the northwest corner of California/Edmunds and we will correct the issue.”

3:25 PM UPDATE: And as noted in comments – the visibility problem is being taken care of, with a crew on scene within the past hour. Karen, one of our original tipsters, sent this photo (thanks!):

From the WSB Forums: Biodiesel “homebrewer” needs help

Just posted in the never-a-dull-moment WSB Forums – a request for used cooking oil from someone who wants to make their own biodiesel fuel. Can you help? Go here.

Land-use notes: 2743 California, 4133 25th SW

That’s one of two West Seattle projects with actions listed in today’s semiweekly Land Use Information Bulletin: the finalization of Design Review approval for a 3-story office building at 2743 California SW, the parcel immediately north of PCC (notice here). Note: The lines in the image above are NOT part of the design, but were from the markup on an image we pulled from the official January DR meeting for this project (see the full presentation here – warning, it’s a massive file, 67 MB). Also on today’s list, approval for subdividing 4133 25th SW (map) into two lots (see the notice here).

Happening tonight: Art Walk, Design Review, more

WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: As previewed here Wednesday, 40 venues are offering art, many with treats, all over West Seattle, 6-9 pm tonight. Get the map here.

DESIGN REVIEW: Two projects to be reviewed tonight at Madison Middle School: Transitional Resources‘ 2988 SW Avalon project at 6:30 pm, 4532 42nd SW at 8 pm.

EASTER/HOLY WEEK EVENT LIST REMINDER: Maundy Thursday services at some West Seattle churches today/tonight are part of what you’ll find on this special page we’ve put together (including all the egg hunts we could find – Saturday’s the biggest day).

FREE CONSTRUCTION WORKSHOP: Thinking about remodeling or building? Longtime WSB sponsor Ventana Construction has a few spots left for its free workshop tonight, 6:30 pm (outlined here); RSVP or questions, 932-3009.

NOT IN WEST SEATTLE, BUT WE’RE PART OF IT: If you’re interested in the ever-lively discussion of how the news-media world is evolving, we hope to see you downtown tonight for the second No News Is Bad News event, this one focusing on new types of online ventures – such as WSB (your editor here is on tonight’s panel, along with other journalist-entrepreneurs, including two former P-I employees involved with new ventures) — and how they figure into the evolving media landscape. 7 pm, Bertha Landes Room at City Hall , free but organizers would love to have you RSVP now to save a spot.

West Seattle Family YMCA celebrates Partners With Youth success

Congratulations to the West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) volunteers who just celebrated reaching their goal in the Partners With Youth campaign. Shown above, from left, are campaign chair Tish Hesse, board chair Walter Reese, executive director Josh Sutton, Volunteer of the Year Craig Anderson, and associate executive Samantha Bowes, photographed at this week’s YMCA of Greater Seattle annual meeting at Sodo Park (which is run by West Seattle-based Herban Feast). Josh reports:

Thanks to the generosity of over 2,000 individuals and businesses in our community, Tish Hesse announced the successful completion of our West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA’s Partners With Youth campaign. This has been a tough year for fundraising, but our volunteers and donors combined to make sure kids, teens and families in West Seattle have access to the programs and services they need. Our 160 volunteers raised $410,370 on a goal of $410,000! All of those funds stay in West Seattle, providing 4 full time YMCA staff in Sealth, West Seattle High & Madison Middle schools to help students achieve, scholarships for over a thousand families in child care and camp programs, and other essential services.

Our Annual Meeting also offered an opportunity to recognize our 2008 Volunteer of the Year, Craig Anderson of NUCOR Seattle. Craig spent hundreds of hours organizing, planning and running NUCOR’s Golf Tournament – a huge event last June with more than 140 golfers. He helped turn what had been a fun tournament for vendors & staff into a fundraiser for the Y, establishing a new $45,000 NUCOR Seattle YMCA Endowment to send low income kids & families from West Seattle to Y Camps for years to come.