West Seattle, Washington
Last time the Admiral Neighborhood Association met, we brought you first word of plans for a summer outdoor-concert series at Hiawatha Community Center. Tonight, as ANA gathered for its monthly meeting at Admiral Church, concert series organizer Katy Walum provided updates – read on for what’s in the works, dates and times, and how you can help:Read More
By Kathy Mulady
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The Delridge Community Center playground-planning meeting (earlier update here) just ended, with a firm idea of the types of toys that will be included in the final design and the preferred colors – purple for the plastic parts, spring green for the poles and sunny yellow for other metal parts like bars and railing.
The playground will be built with the help of KaBoom, with lots of community donations and sweat.
The fun part of the meeting was picking out the equipment; the wish list includes a loopy whoop, whirligig, all kinds of slides, a play house or village shop, a super satellite, e-z digger, and something called “crazy bones.”
Next, the equipment will be arranged into three designs that will be presented at another community meeting in about two weeks.
That was the fun part. There is also a lot of work. All the playground building will happen on Friday, July 17. There will be two days of prep work, before the big build.
Several people volunteered to be team captains, and they would love some more help from the community: Overseeing recruitment is Chris Southam (firstname.lastname@example.org); public relations, Holli Margell (email@example.com); safety and maintenance, Benjamin Pulanco (firstname.lastname@example.org) and youth involvement, Lou Edwards (email@example.com)
There is also a green committee to make sure the build is environmentally friendly, a food committee, and a logistics committee that is charged with figuring out where all the volunteers will park on the big day.
KaBoom has built about 1,600 of these playgrounds across the country and has the details down. The slides and swings and climbers are made by Playworld.
A week and a half after West Seattle’s first Zeeks Pizza opened in Morgan Junction, its neon sign with the rotating “Z” is in place tonight. The process took much of the day, during which several people e-mailed us about it, so we thought some might like to see the finished installation. Racking brain – there’s a rotating sign at the Admiral/California dry cleaners – anyone else in West Seattle have a rotating sign?
(January 2009 photo by C. Simmons)
You just might be hearing from West Seattleite Megan Lingafelter tomorrow — she’s starting a quest for donations to enhance a benefit auction to help a local music producer recover from a devastating loss during that huge fire alongside the Spokane Street Viaduct 4 months ago. (The photo above shows part of the burned wreckage, which was centered at Pacific Sheet Metal.) Read on to see the letter Megan is circulating:Read More
We got a tip earlier today saying some teachers at West Seattle High School had received layoff notices today – this tip came after the end of the school day, so we checked with Seattle Public Schools‘ communications staff to see if this was a districtwide occurrence. While spokesperson Patti Spencer won’t confirm specifics about WSHS or any other school, she did just confirm to WSB that “Seattle Public Schools is implementing a reduction in force of certificated staff … we had very much hoped to avoid that; however, with the level of budget reductions from the state, we couldn’t. Individuals are being informed by principals – we can share total numbers and more details tomorrow.” 8:08 PM UPDATE: The Seattle teachers’ union tells seattlepi.com they expect up to 170 teachers will lose their jobs. 10:50 PM UPDATE: This comment was just added, from Laura Turner:
Ten teachers at WSHS got RIF’d (I’m one of them). Five of us are Language Arts teachers. That is over half the department. We are currently teaching all the 9th grade LA sections well as teaching other levels including 11th, 12th (senior project), 10th grade honors, College Prep Writing, and Pathways reading. I am the Yearbook adviser, another RIF’d teacher is the Newspaper adviser, and one is the department head. This RIF is devastating news for the LA department, in particular, and the entire school community at WSHS.
Right after posing for that photo moments ago at Delridge Community Center, those kids all got stickers certifying they are “Playground Designers” – the drawings they made in the preceding hour are proof of that, too. The kids’ portion of the meeting to design DCC’s future playground is over – a spaghetti dinner is about to start – but if you’re interested in the project, there’s still time to get here and join in the grownups’ meeting (with child care provided) starting around 5:30 pm. End result: A playground is to be built, with the help of KaBoom, to replace the unsafe, aged one that DCC has now, in a one-day session (followed by a week or so of curing) in mid-July; the project still needs volunteer help and some money donations too – betsy (at) hoffmeisters (dot) com is your contact if you can pitch in.
ORIGINAL 3:37 PM REPORT: We’re checking on reports of police activity in The Junction – one tipster says scanner traffic indicates a man was held up at gunpoint:
Just heard on scanner, citizen reported being held up at gun point in parking lot at Jefferson Square – he was getting out of his car when a man came up, pointed gun at him and robbed him of his cellphone and (I think) wallet.
Dispatcher reported suspect description: 5’10-6″, blue jeans, baseball cap, armed with small handgun. … Listening now to cop try to locate the caller/victim who might be inside the Safeway.
Working to verify. Another e-mail says at least one chopper, possibly a news helicopter, is overhead. Steph subsequently e-mailed to say her husband …
… just had a freakin’ foot cop jump in his car and ask him for a ride to track down some creep! The cop had his gun and badge out and (he) whipped him around and then the creep came out of some bushes and the cop says, “that’s the guy!” and (he) hits the brakes and the cop jumps out and takes the creep down! The cop jumped in his car around the shell station at Fauntleroy SW & SW Alaska. The cop instructed him to about 41st where he jumped out and met another cop chasing the creep too. Go West Seattlites!
We’ve just arrived in the Jefferson Square vicinity (and 41st, east of there) and are NOT seeing any current police activity. Checking with SPD now by phone to see if this is something that’s wrapped up.
4:48 PM UPDATE: Just talked to Detective Jeff Kappel in the SPD Media Unit. He says a man reported getting held up at gunpoint at Jefferson Square – then changed his mind about cooperating with police, saying he didn’t want to file a report and didn’t want help, so police at that point had no choice but to chalk it down as a “provided assistance” call.
(looking through the aquarium’s front hall, back at the crowd gathering to watch)
ORIGINAL 2 PM REPORT: We’re at the Seattle Aquarium along with a few hundred political, business and community leaders to watch Governor Gregoire sign the Alaskan Way Viaduct deep-bored tunnel bill into law. The event’s scheduled to start in a few minutes; West Seattle-residing political leaders scheduled to be here include King County Council Chair Dow Constantine (who we’ve already seen) and Mayor Nickels; political theater outside included anti-tunnel mayoral challenger Michael McGinn talking with reporters, calling this a multibillion-dollar boondoggle and saying it’s not too late for the city to pull out. More as it happens.
2:23 PM UPDATE: The speeches are under way before the actual signing. After the mayor spoke (iPhone photo above), the governor said it took “guts” for legislators to approve this. To those who say it can’t be done, she said bluntly — “Watch us.” She opened by declaring, the era of The Viaduct “is over.” For emphasis, she repeated it: “It’s over. It’s over.” And she went on to say it would have been hard to anticipate a year ago that this history-making day would arrive. She stood at a podium next to the aquarium’s fish-filled wall, with about 20 political leaders surrounding her, and acknowledged many others, including members of the Stakeholders’ Advisory Committee who reviewed options over more than a year (though ultimately, their process ended with a recommendation different than the one proceeding now, West Seattle’s SAC reps Vlad Oustimovitch and Pete Spalding both support the deep-bored tunnel).
(WSB video of the bill-signing, added 2:46 pm)
2:31 PM UPDATE: The governor just signed SB 5768 – the tunnel bill – into law. A long round of applause followed. Everyone here has just been invited to a champagne reception – as for us, we’re catching the 3:20 King County Water Taxi back to West Seattle. Looks like more bill signings are ensuing here at the Aquarium as well. Meantime, the state hopes to start building the tunnel next year – to finish it in 2015 – and to keep The Viaduct up, as long as it’s deemed safe, until after the tunnel opens, at which time it would be torn down.
3:02 PM UPDATE: Official statement from Council Chair Constantine, just e-mailed (note he’s in our video):
“I was honored to join Governor Chris Gregoire for today’s signing of Senate Bill 5768, the legislation to fund the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep-bore tunnel and surface roadway improvements.
“First, I think we have crafted a creative solution to a longstanding problem. A new elevated freeway would not have been an acceptable solution. I am glad we have moved beyond the antiquated practice of forcing freeways through cities. The Alaskan Way Viaduct has long been an ugly, noisy wall separating downtown from the waterfront. Its removal is a first, necessary step in reconnecting our central city.
“Secondly, I am proud to have been involved in helping to negotiate this solution. I made many trips to Olympia over the last year to meet with Governor Gregoire, former County Executive Ron Sims, Mayor Greg Nickels and legislative leaders as part of the Viaduct Oversight Committee. The deep-bore tunnel and a surface boulevard—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. And, critically, 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.
“I support this solution and will work to implement it.
“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.”
Adding one other clip from the event – the governor’s message to tunnel skeptics – may still be processing so please be patient:
One such skeptic, mayoral candidate Michael McGinn – we talked with him outside the event – will add that later.
Out of the WSB inbox, from Amber:
I just wanted to let you know about a hit & run near 16 th Avenue & SW Dawson St [map]. A drunk driver (assumedly) plowed into my father in law’s car that was parked in front of our house sometime early Monday morning (possibly around 4:00 or 5:00 am). The car is totaled and there were no skid marks on the street so they didn’t even try to stop. The police stated that they do not come out for a non-moving violation, just write up a report based on the call. It’s a long shot but if anyone knows anything it would really help. Thanks!
The non-emergency number, if you have any information, is 206-625-5011 (you can find that highlighted on the WSB Crime Watch page if you ever need to find it fast).
If you happened to drive by 35th/Holden within the past hour and wondered why a fire station was on the lawn of the old house across from the Chevron station – Engine 37 was temporarily on special duty, making a visit to its future home, where ceremonial groundbreaking was celebrated for the new Fire Station 37, which will look something like this (photograph replaced Tuesday night with digital copy of rendering):
Not only was the Station 37 team on hand —
— so were Mayor Nickels, Fire Chief Gregory Dean, West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, and Brenda Bauer, who handles projects like this as director of Fleets and Facilities:
The mayor explained why this particular fire-station project is a special one for him personally:
Councilmember Rasmussen wondered if a somewhat secret feature of the old station would be moved to the new one:
The crowd also heard a few words from Pablo Lambinicio, chair of the Delridge District Council:
Other well-known West Seattleites in attendance included the peninsula’s two Neighborhood Services Coordinators, Ron Angeles (Delridge office) and Stan Lock (Junction office). We talked with project managers afterward; right now, the city’s evaluating bids for the construction but hasn’t awarded a contract yet, so don’t expect to see backhoes pulling up any day now. Once the new Station 37 is built and occupied (second half of next year), the city will sell the current 84-year-old Station 37, which must be preserved because it’s an official city landmark:
The new site is a few blocks south of the old one at 35th/Othello; the new station will be about 9,000 square feet, more than double the size of the old one, and the project cost has been estimated at about $6 million. ADDED 8 PM: The city tells us the top three bidders, whose bids are being reviewed right now, are Harmatta Construction Inc., Kirtley – Cole Associates, and OPUS.
One more reminder – today’s the day: Not only is this a rare chance to help design a playground (backstory here) – it’s a rare opportunity for children to be part of the process as well as grownups. 4 pm today marks the start of an all-ages afternoon and evening – with free dinner! — helping shape the new playground that Delridge Community Center will get this summer, thanks in no small part to KaBoom, which helps local communities get new playgrounds that — with volunteer help and community support – are built in a day. The design discussions start at 4 pm with a “kids’ meeting” for their ideas on what they want to see; 5 pm, spaghetti dinner; 5:30 pm, adults’ meeting (with child care provided!). North Delridge Neighborhood Council co-vice-chair Betsy Hoffmeister is hoping for a big turnout – the bigger the turnout, the more support for the new playground, and the more ideas for what it’ll be like, the merrier! Just show up at the community center and jump in.
That’s a photo we took outside Sanislo Elementary just before the morning bell today; at left is Jen Cole from the pedestrian-advocacy group Feet First, and at right, the man she describes as a “walking celebrity,” Mark Fenton from the PBS series “America’s Walking.” He joined a group of Sanislo families and Highland Park neighbors in a “walking school bus” this morning, traveling more than a mile from 11th/Thistle to Sanislo @ 21st/Myrtle, and then talked with students and parents outside the school. Along the route were a couple of crossings that have been high on local radar for safety improvements, including 12th/Holden in front of Highland Park Improvement Club – here’s our video as we crossed that busy route to and from eastern West Seattle:
While at that crossing, Highland Park Action Committee chair Dan Mullins, who was along for part of the walk, pointed out it’s one of the spots where HPAC’s new Traffic Committee (WSB story here) is working on safety improvements — that’s him on the left side of this next photo from the start of the walk:
You can see Fenton speak at Union Station downtown (map) tonight, 6 pm, during an event as part of the city’s Pedestrian Master Plan launch, spearheaded by SDOT (whose Jennifer Wieland joined this morning’s walk too).
The only Restricted Parking Zone in West Seattle right now is in Fauntleroy (here’s the map). Some Junction residents would like the next WS RPZ to be in their area (that discussion’s been under way more than a year), so the city’s current process of revising the rules is of intense interest – and that’s why it’s on the Junction Neighborhood Organization agenda tonight (6:30 pm, Ginomai, 42nd/Genesee). SDOT’s Mary Catherine Snyder told the Southwest District Council last week that comments on the proposed revisions will be accepted till this Friday, May 15th (more on how to comment, here). The SWDC expressed concern about many of the major changes that are proposed, particularly the ones that could preclude a Junction-area RPZ, including an increase in the minimum size of a proposed RPZ. Snyder told the SWDC that SDOT management will still have discretion about where to set up a zone — but council co-chair Chas Redmond said, “I’m really concerned about the City of Seattle moving to a one-size-fits-all solution when one size DOESN’T fit all.” While the SWDC drafts a letter to the city voicing its concerns, the voices of neighborhood groups like JuNO matter too, so be at tonight’s meeting to be part of what happens next. Also on tonight’s JuNO agenda: “View corridor setbacks” proposed for Junction development.
Photos to share from more of what West Seattle students (and their teachers!) are up to: That photo is from Pathfinder K-8, where PE teacher Lou Cutler has assembled a Performing Team — hula hoops, jump rope, juggling and more — to go entertain local audiences, with a special focus on seniors. That photo’s from the Senior Center of West Seattle stop; their next stop is Bridge Park in High Point this Friday. Meantime, Explorer West Middle School shared photos of its students joining with 4th graders from nearby Roxhill Elementary on a trip to Seola Creek for cleanup and rehab work:
Thanks to Explorer West science department chair Kristin Moore for sharing the photos. Besides cleanup and restoration, the students also got to hear from a Seattle Parks rep regarding native/non-native plants and the local ecosystem.