West Seattle, Washington
By Jonathan Stumpf
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
About thirty people attended the Parks Levy open house at West Seattle Golf Course tonight. This function was the second of four events the city Parks and Recreation Department is hosting to explain what’s planned for the voter-approved levy money, and listen to concerns and ideas.
Tonight’s 20-minute presentation was followed by a 45-minute question-and-answer session, during which residents voiced concerns about myriad issues within the $146 million, 53-project, six-year levy, from maintenance issues to environmental concerns.
Remember that sunny scene when the renamed King County Water Taxi kicked off the 2009 season a month ago? Despite subsequent bouts of stormy weather, the West Seattle-to-downtown foot ferry carried 20,361 passengers during its first month, according to numbers made public today by King County Council/King County Ferry District Board Chair Dow Constantine, who said, “These numbers bode well for a successful move to year-round Water Taxi operation next year.” More numbers: 663 riders on the average weekday, 911 on the average Saturday, 1,406 on the average Sunday (including April 5, when 3,429 people took advantage of all-day freebies). This year’s season is scheduled to run through October, and Seacrest dock improvements — to facilitate year-round operation starting next year — are planned for the off-season after that.
We’ve received a few notes asking what caused the traffic trouble near Highway 509, just east of West Seattle/White Center, this afternoon. SPDBlotter has published a report about the pickup-vs.-car crash that closed the road; police say the pickup’s 52-year-old driver wasn’t hurt, but the car’s 16-year-old driver suffered major injuries.
1 AM UPDATE: From comments —
I am a family friend of the 16 yr old girl. I have spent the entire evening at the ER with the family & other friends. Doctors say she was thrown from her car. She is lucky to be alive! She was in surgery for many hours and in radiation, in hopes to stop all of the internal bleeding, for many hours. She has many holes in various organs, broken bones, & her pelvis was crushed open like a book, etc… She is under extremely close supervision. She has many surgeons on hand & she has a very difficult road ahead of her. They are watching for any brain damage & more internal bleeding very closely. She will have to go thru many more surgeries. There were/are a very large gathering of family and friends at the hospital for her who all love her very much! We are all praying for a successful recovery. We hope all surgeries go well & she will soon be able to walk again. She is a very beautiful & intelligent young lady! Please help us pray for a strong recovery!
Though the meeting was held at Delridge Library as usual, much of the attention at tonight’s North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting was focused north, on future projects at the Delridge Community Center playground and park grounds. First, the plan we’ve been telling you about to build a new playground there, with the help of KaBoom; the times are now set for the park-designing session that Betsy Hoffmeister announced Monday — 4 till 8:30 pm next Tuesday (May 12) at DCC. Child-care provided; the schedule is: Kids’ meeting 4-5 pm; spaghetti dinner 5-5:30 pm; adults’ meeting 5:30-8:30 pm. Betsy said at tonight’s meeting that she’s looking for volunteers to work on the playground July 17th; it would open the following week, after the cement cures. As also mentioned in our Monday report, $4,000 is needed to match money that KaBoom has put up, and some brainstorming went on tonight, including the idea of a plant sale at Delridge Day on May 30th. Also discussed tonight, the future Delridge Skatepark (planned for the northeast side of the park grounds), which as reported here two weeks ago, now may be in line for funding after all, since other city projects are coming in under budget. As a result of tonight’s discussion, Nancy Folsom is getting a letter of support from NDNC to take to next Monday night’s Skatepark Advisory Committee meeting, showing the city that the neighborhood supports the skatepark. It seems there’s some potential dissonance right now between what’s possible size-wise and maybe even big-picture-money-wise and what the city is looking at, according to this report by West Seattle skating advocate Matthew Lee Johnston at seattleskateparks.org.; he’s also planning to advocate for Delridge at Monday’s meeting, which is at 7 pm at Parks Department HQ downtown (map), public welcome.
Thanks to the Junction-area resident who sent that photo taken within the past half-hour or so – more traces of the WaMu/Chase bank change, in this case, outside the 44th/Edmunds drive-thru. Some signage has changed inside local branches, but till now, exterior signage hasn’t. Also happening tonight – three meetings we’re covering around West Seattle, including the Parks Levy presentation/discussion at the West Seattle Golf Course:
Good turnout, as you can see; thanks to Sharonn Meeks for sending the photo – reporter Jonathan Stumpf is there for WSB and we’ll have his full report later.
Some options for Mother’s Day in West Seattle:
SKILLET: In case you wondered what was up with the ongoing Skillet Street Food saga as the weekend approaches … such as, will they be back in the Seattle Lutheran High School parking lot for a second consecutive week? … first we checked Skillet’s website, and took note that it says Skillet’s looking for West Seattle locations (and hiring cooks, if you’re looking for work). However, upon subsequent check with Skillet proprietor Josh Henderson, he told us this morning: “We are on at SLHS for the next 4 weeks…and will view that as a trial period and review with (SLHS leadership, afterward).” 11 am-2 pm Sunday, this week’s menu here.
SKYLARK CAFE AND CLUB: This WSB sponsor will donate a portion of Mother’s Day brunch proceeds to the breast-cancer-fighting 3Day Walk, through Team Tracy, supporting West Seattle breast-cancer patient Tracy Dart (who says Skylark proprietor Jessie SK is on the team too). More about Skylark at skylarkcafe.com.
CAFE REVO: This WSB sponsor is opening an hour early for Mother’s Day (11 am), and taking reservations now; more about Cafe Revo is online at caferevo.com.
BLUE WILLOW: This Junction eatery and catering facility is offering high tea on Sunday; call 206-938-0988 to see what openings remain.
THE BOHEMIAN: It’s offering Mother’s Day tea the day before the big day – 2 pm-4 pm (maybe after shopping West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day with Mom?) – in conjunction with Tracy of Tea Gallery fame – 938-2646 is the number for mandatory reservations.
More to come!
One day after we first told you about the death of 27-year-old West Seattleite Jill St. Onge while vacationing in Thailand, an overseas newspaper says there is a new theory: Instead of possible food poisoning as reported yesterday, Ms. St. Onge’s fiance Ryan Kells is quoted as saying he suspects chemical fumes from a nearby water treatment plant; the Andaman Times also says a Norwegian news outlet reports cyanide was found in the body of a 22-year-old Norwegian woman who also died in the area, reportedly after having stayed at the same guest house as Ms. St. Onge. The Andaman Times also has editorialized that more coverage is needed of what happened to the two women; here’s their editorial, with additional photos of Ms. St. Onge. Back here in West Seattle, KIRO TV has picked up on the story (their live truck was sighted near Ms. St. Onge’s workplace, Shadow Land, which is where we took the photo at left, during Junction trick-or-treating last October) and tells us they’ll have a report tonight at 6; we’ll add the link here when their story’s online. 7:12 PM: Here’s the link to KIRO’s story.
If you haven’t seen this already on the Crime Watch page, which automatically picks up updates from the SPDBlotter site – Seattle Police arrested two 13-year-old suspects running from a burglary scene in Highland Park (1400 block of SW Trenton; here’s a map) this morning; here’s the police writeup.
We’re on the 9th floor of the Silver Cloud Inn by Safeco Field, where a new round of Alaskan Way Viaduct construction-related meetings is kicking off – one of three new “stakeholder”-type groups that will be involved in the next phase of The Viaduct’s evolution is meeting for the first time. Members include two West Seattle community leaders who were on the previous Stakeholders Advisory Group, Vlad Oustimovitch and Pete Spalding; there’s also a West Seattle Chamber of Commerce rep, Jerome Cohen, among the 22 total members of this “working group.” Executives from the four agencies involved in the process are starting the meeting — state, city, county, and Port of Seattle. We’ll add notes if/when anything big is announced, and a summary later. (The three groups’ meeting schedule can be found here.) 5:37 PM UPDATE: One West Seattle-relevant revelation: The Delridge RapidRide route that was written into many Viaduct scenario sketches is NOT likely to happen any time soon, per Ron Posthuma of King County Department of Transportation, responding to a question from Spalding: He says the money’s not there, not until “the economy comes back and the sales tax money starts flowing again.” The originally planned West Seattle RapidRide route, though, has been described here as fairly safe, despite Metro’s overall $ woes.
Just talked with King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. John Urquhart to get the latest on the case of a woman brought, dead, to the sidewalk outside Roxbury Safeway yesterday afternoon (original WSB story here). First: We don’t know her name, but we know the woman was 46 years old. Investigators have concluded that she was not brought from any sort of “homeless camp” after all – instead, it turns out, she had been in a trailer parked on the street nearby. She is believed to have been a transient, as are the two men who carried her to the store, one of whom stayed to wait for authorities, while, according to Sgt. Urquhart, the other one “ran off.” He says they specifically brought her to the area outside the store where there’s a pay phone, so they could call 911. There is no evidence of foul play, though the cause of death hasn’t been announced yet, pending autopsy results, so unless the autopsy reveals something unexpected, Sgt. Urquhart says, KCSO is not investigating further.
We got two notes about this car theft but, before we could publish an item, a third note came in, saying the car had been found. Now, here’s the fourth note – tying up the story neatly (and neighbors may want to know a car thief’s at work nearby):
My wife and I thought we’d let you know her Honda Accord was stolen last night (we live on 37th Ave SW between Myrtle and Willow [map]) but thankfully recovered about a mile north of us on 32nd Ave SW. No serious damage but my wife’s phone charger was stolen (they left her $150 sunglasses, whew!). The thieves left the car turned on and the engine running – not long after we called the police the car was reported by neighbors who thought it odd a strange car would be left outside their house running all morning. It still had plenty of gas in it, though, and my wife happily drove off to work and we parted ways with the nice officers who responded quickly, Hope and Morales.
Wanted to get you advance reminders of three big things happening tomorrow night, starting with this: The photo is from one of the final rehearsals of “Merrily We Roll Along,” the West Seattle High School student musical that opens tomorrow night. Marketing manager Sumeet Chadha sends this info too:
West Seattle High School Drama Club has been hard at work over the past few months putting together an adaption of Merrily We Roll Along. This musical features a variety of talented students singing, dancing, and performing at their best. If you haven’t checked out a West Seattle High School Production, now is the time to be pleasantly surprised at what high school theater is capable of.
“Merrily We Roll Along” shows for the following two weekends: May 7, 8, 9, 15, 16 at 7:30
Special Benefit Performance: May 14th at 8:00
$5.00 with reservation, $10.00 at the door. For tickets call: 206-252-8834
WSHS Theater, 3000 California Ave SW
ALSO TOMORROW – SNAP IN FAUNTLEROY: 6:30 pm is the time, Fauntleroy Church is the place, find out how to be ready for anything, as the Fauntleroy Community Association presents a free preparedness workshop with Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare.
LAST BUT BY ABSOLUTELY NO MEANS LEAST – FIRE DEPARTMENT HONORS HEROES: Tomorrow night in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall downtown, the Seattle Fire Department holds its annual awards ceremony. Recipients include a West Seattle-residing firefighter/paramedic whose story we brought you earlier this spring, Dave Pedras (read that story here).
West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day, presented by WSB, is just three days away. So far (knock wood!) the forecast looks promising (last year we had some morning sprinkles but things improved fast). IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have an early copy of the map – it was called to our attention early today that the first map page, northern half of the peninsula, cut off a few number markers to the far west and the far east. The sales were all described in the listings, but the number markets couldn’t be seen on the first printed version of the map. So we have fixed it – DOWNLOAD THIS ONE (8-page PDF). The fixes only involves the second page of the map. No changes in the clickable (but not very printable unless you decide to make a customized version) Google Map (see it here), since the number markers have all been there all along. Meantime, we have more information to share about the biggest group sale site, the Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor)/Ginomai courtyard, from Hotwire’s Lora Lewis:
We will have stage costumes (ArtsWest) to hand blown glass to locally made tie dye. The Hotwire & Ginomai sales will have lots of fun items for sale:
2 racks of costumes and clothing and some arts and crafts supplies as well as some left over party supplies
Arts & crafts supplies
Huge selection of jewelry
Unique yard stuff
Wall accent mirrors
2 brand new IKEA Lersta Floor Reading Lamps
Tie dyes made right here in West Seattle
A variety of leather items rescued, repaired and revamped (bags and coats and purses) a variety of new laptop bags, camera bags and messenger bags.
Vintage fancy lady purses
Handmade leather journals
1000+ cds with a wide spectrum of music
Lots of garage sale-y items too! We will also be taking donations starting at 8am the day of the garage sale for Furry Faces Foundation, a non-profit animal rescue group here in West Seattle. Just bring your donated items to the Furry Faces space right next to Hotwire. You will receive a charitable donation slip and a coupon for a free latte or Americano.
We will also have hot dogs for sale (veggie too) with all the hotdog’ish condiments. All proceeds go to the Africa trip group at WSCC.
More seller info to come – we know everyone’s working hard to get ready – a couple of the mailing lists we monitor are for groups that are participating, even the Lincoln Park P-Patch! If you are a seller, with any size sale, your info packet from us will probably screech into the mailbox right at the wire tomorrow or Friday – if you don’t get it Friday, call us (206-293-6302) and we’ll personally drop off your “official participant” sign card, even if we have to drive around all night! And if there’s any extra info you want to post about YOUR individual sale, we invite you – yes, all 183 participants if you want – to post it in the WSB Forums‘ Freebies, Deals, Sales section – just make sure your subject line includes WSCGSD and your sale address – anything that turns up there, we’ll crosslink to westseattlegaragesale.com too.
A week and a half ago, a WSB’er tip pointed us to a fine-print public notice that Seattle Public Schools has scheduled a public hearing on a deal to sell part of the property it owns at Jefferson Square. As we noted in this April 27 report, the hearing had not been announced with a news release, nor could the notice (or any details of the deal) be found anywhere on the school district’s website, and as West Seattle’s school-board rep Steve Sundquist subsequently confirmed to WSB, the proposed deal itself hadn’t yet been discussed in an open meeting – only behind closed doors in an “executive session.” Nonetheless, it’s difficult to imagine a public hearing going well if the public has no advance information on what’s going to be discussed, so we pressed SPS for more details, to enable us to share them with you; it took a week, but we finally have those details, as forwarded by David Tucker from the SPS communications team:
The school was closed nearly 30 years ago. The District leased it for 99 years to a developer who built the existing complex on site.
In the year following the original lease, the developer asked for the lease to be split into two parts. One would be for the residential portion of the site and one for the commercial portion. All of the rental charges would apply to the commercial property, and we currently receive
over $200,000$173,226** annually.
The apartment building sits atop the commercial structure. Conceptually, the residential lease is for “air rights”, and not of the land itself. In addition, the residential tenant is entitled to “support” of the apartment structure.
The residential lease has been assigned several times, and is currently held by Jefferson Square LLC. The lease contains a provision that gives the tenant the right to purchase the residential area for $1. In 2007 the tenant sent the District a notice it was exercising the option.
Even though the lease still has 75 years to run, and the District will receive no rent for the residential portion during that time, the District refused to sell the property, believing the $1 amount to be inadequate compensation.
The tenant sued the District over the refusal to sell. In March 2009 the parties reached a tentative agreement to allow the sale to proceed, but at a price of $500,000. The agreement is subject to School Board approval, which has not yet been requested.
In accordance with state law, the District will hold a public hearing, which is scheduled for May 21. At that hearing the District will take public testimony on whether the sale should occur. The District must also obtain an appraisal of the fair market value of the property interest, which has been ordered but is not yet available.
Once these two items are completed, the proposed sale will be presented to the School Board for their consideration.
The May 21st hearing is at 5:30 pm in the cafeteria at Gatewood Elementary; if you’d like to sign up in advance to speak (the district says you also can sign up that night), call 206-252-0118. This would be one of two pending sales of district-owned property in West Seattle; the other is the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse deal (most recent WSB coverage here).
**12:49 PM UPDATE: SPS’s David Tucker sent a note updating the information he provided – he had said the rent was more than $200,000 but now says it’s actually $173,226. Also, we have found the original lawsuit, filed in 2007 as mentioned, online – it contains a copy of the original lease, for anyone interested – view the lawsuit here; the district’s original response can be viewed here. (Court documents do not include anything related to the proposed deal except a notice from late March asking that the case’s scheduled trial be put on hold because a settlement had been worked out and it was anticipated the School Board would approve it.)
Just got a news release from the University of Washington that reminds us, the space shuttle mission piloted by West Seattle High School Class of ’72 alum Gregory Johnson (here’s our August story) is scheduled to finally lift off next week (11 am our time Monday, per nasa.gov), if all goes as planned between now and then. The UW news release notes that Johnson graduated after studying engineering there, and that’s not the only UW link – read on!Read More
Here’s hoping you feel more like the osprey in Alkimac‘s photo today than the crow – unless you prefer to be the scrappy outsider! Anyway, once your great Wednesday is in the books, here are tonight’s highlights for how to make a difference in your neighborhood (and beyond):
SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: 7 pm, South Seattle Community College board room. Agenda includes a presentation on the changes ahead (reported here three weeks ago) in the Restricted Parking Zone program (here’s the city’s official page).
PARK LEVY $ AND HOW YOU THINK IT SHOULD BE SPENT: 7 pm, West Seattle Golf Course. Not all of the money in last fall’s Parks and Green Spaces Levy was earmarked for certain projects, so the city’s going into neighborhoods to talk about the possibilities (as well as the already-set projects).