West Seattle, Washington
Children’s-clothing boutique Georgia Blu, on California next to KeyBank, has just announced it’s closing after 2 1/2 years. This is the third Junction closure announced in the past two weeks, after Swee Swee Paperie (announced July 9) and Ama Ama Oyster Bar and Grill (announced last Sunday). Thanks to Robin for sharing the note that went out to Georgia Blu’s mailing list late tonight:
It is with a mixture of sadness and relief that I send this email out to you all. Georgia Blu will be closing our doors in September. Now I know that you are all thinking that we too are just another casualty of our stressed economy. However to believe that would be a disservice to our extremely loyal customer base. It’s true that our business has slowed down, like most business right now; but thanks to many of you – we are really hanging in there. Your devotion to supporting us – even in these tough times – is something that will stay with me for a very long time.
Instead, there are really two other reasons we’re closing. The first one is that our lease is up in September. I’ve debated back and forth for quite a while about whether or not to renew our lease but ultimately have decided this is a good time to close the store. The second reason – and probably the more pressing reason we are closing is that as a business owner and a mother of three, I find it harder and harder to do both jobs well. I’m sure many other mothers and fathers out there can relate. When I started GB I had a 4 year old, and a 1 year old. I now have a 7 year old, a 4 year old and a 9 month old. I have found it to be an increasingly huge challenge finding the time to be the kind of mother I wish to be, as well as a devoted shop owner of an always changing business.
This was not an easy decision, nor was it free of some heartache. But I do feel that it is the right decision.
The announcement continues after the jump:Read More
(photos by Christopher Boffoli)
3 months after first word the Admiral Neighborhood Association was planning a concert series, tonight’s opening night of Summer Concerts at Hiawatha was a hit. Organizer Katy Walum “guesstimates” about 250 people on hand for the free performance by Alma Villegas on the east lawn at Hiawatha – first of six consecutive Thursday night shows this summer.
We asked Katy for her thoughts post-concert:
The Alma Villegas Quintet put on a wonderful performance – really engaging the people (the kids were out dancing like crazy – so fun to see!).
The PCC KidPicks van was really fun, with lots and lots of samples for everyone. They added a nice element for sure.
Christopher got a photo of that too – at left in this shot:
Katy adds that a face-painter is in the cards for two shows, probably next month, and also says:
I had many people come up to me and genuinely thank me for putting something like this together, they had really been wanting to see something like this in the neighborhood, etc. That felt so good. People in West Seattle have been so positive about this whole thing, and that’s what’s really made it work. They want to be out in the park, enjoying the summer weather, hanging out with family and friends and neighbors, watching their kids run around like lunatics, so free. This series just gives everyone a good reason to take time out together to enjoy the summertime.
She notes that next week’s concert features Tom Colwell and The Southbound Odyssey, “a local favorite with lots of fun old folk tunes that everyone can sing along to,” and concludes, “And thanks to everyone else for coming out tonight, and for truly bringing my vision to life. I am so, so proud of this neighborhood!” That’s 6:30 pm each of the next five Thursday nights, on the east lawn at Hiawatha, not far from the play equipment and wading pool, a big grassy space (bring your own chair/blanket) with room for hundreds more. Full schedule for the series (which is co-sponsored by WSB) is at admiralneighborhood.org.
After a cloudy day, the sun broke through just in time for several notable events tonight, including this one: The celebration of a new van for Providence Elizabeth House in High Point, donated by King County after it was “retired” from the van pool. That’s State Rep. Sharon Nelson smiling at left with the big ceremonial key to the van, which will be operated with money that Providence employees and Elizabeth House residents have raised over the past two years. (Elizabeth House has 74 one-bedroom units and is one of a dozen apartment buildings that Providence operates to offer independent living to elders and disabled people.)
More than three years after its first Design Review meeting, Golden Crest – the mixed-use (36 residential units over 4,000 square feet of retail) project at 4532 42nd SW, next to Capco Plaza – won final Southwest Design Review Board approval tonight. ADDED 2:11 AM: Some details from the review meeting – read on:Read More
(photo by Christopher Boffoli, added 9:47 pm)
8:27 PM: From WSB photojournalist Christopher Boffoli, who’s been at the “Nickelsville” homeless encampment at 2nd SW/Highland Park Way: While law enforcers could have moved in at 7 tonight to clear out the campers, they’ve been given till 9 tomorrow morning to move. Meantime, we talked this evening with State Rep. Sharon Nelson, who said she’d been in a meeting regarding the situation, and that she’s learned the Church Council of Greater Seattle has some possible new locations for the encampment.
(photo by Christopher Boffoli, added 9:52 pm)
8:50 PM UPDATE: One-line update just in from the encampment’s spokesperson, who says: “Nickelsville has relocated to Terminal 107 Park.” That’s still in West Seattle – 4700 West Marginal Way SW – and it’s property owned by the Port of Seattle. 9:25 PM UPDATE: At the new encampment site, we just talked with one organizer who indicated this is not a site for which they obtained permission in advance – they had to leave, she told us, so they packed up and headed “down the street.” They’re still unloading property moved from the 2nd SW/Highland Park Way site, and say they’ll be totally cleared away from there within a few hours. As for where exactly they’re setting up – it’s an open area south of the parking lot.
10:31 PM UPDATE: That’s video of one of the trucks pulling up to the Terminal 107 Park site just before dusk. However, they might not be there for long. KOMO reports that “Port of Seattle officials” already have gone there to tell them they can’t stay. We’ll be heading down a little later to get an update.
An Arbor Heights resident just sent in this report, saying a couple things raised his suspicions – read on:Read More
(cameraphone photo added 7:55 pm)
Crews are arriving at a house in the 9300 block of 31st Place SW (map) — reporting heavy smoke from multiple windows of the single-story home. Residents tell the firefighters, according to the scanner, that everybody’s out OK. 7:49 PM UPDATE: We’re on scene. They’re scaling back the size of the response. The fire was described as a kitchen fire spreading to the attic, and firefighters had to cut into the roof for ventilation.
(photo by Tony Bradley, added 8:33 pm)
The smoke has cleared and it appears to be in mopup phase.
(photo by Tony Bradley, added 8:37 pm)
8:37 PM UPDATE: Fire crews confirm nobody was hurt. They aren’t sure yet what started the fire; investigators were arriving to start working on figuring that out. ADDED: Cameraphone video shot from across the street by Conrad:
We’ll check Friday morning to see if investigators pinpointed the fire’s cause.
“Isn’t this terrific?” No answer needed when we heard that about half an hour ago from Lisa Keith, one of the Delridge volunteers who helped make the brand-new playground at Delridge Community Center a reality – not just by joining the one-day construction operation last Friday, but also through months of work that preceded it, even when she and others from the North Delridge Neighborhood Council were working to add toddler play equipment to Cottage Grove, an effort that had hit some roadblocks before the DCC opportunity arose thanks to KaBOOM! and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. If you’re in the area, go enjoy the early evening sunshine, plus refreshments and DJ-spun music, and the chance to chat with neighbors, continuing for another hour or so.
Saturday is the Water and Spirit Ride to raise money for Family Promise of Seattle, a West Seattle-based organization that helps homeless families – families who have few places to turn, as most homeless shelters are not able to accommodate keeping family members together. Here’s the announcement:
Join St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church for their Water & Spirit Bike Ride 2009, a 40-mile ride that includes three scenic ferry crossings and concludes with a party at Me Kwa Mooks Park. Riders are welcome to come with bikes ready for a road trip. Helmets are a must. Friends are welcome.
The ride is organized as a fun community event and to raise awareness and funds for Family Promise of Seattle, an emergency housing program for homeless families based here in West Seattle. FPS coordinates a network of 15 congregations and over 100 volunteers that provides fellowship and nightly shelter and food at local churches, while staff provides case management to help newly homeless families access the resources they need to regain self-sufficiency. FPS has served 12 families since opening a year ago this month.
The ride begins with registration at St. John’s 6:15-8:00 AM in order to take 7:35 or 8:45 AM ferry crossings to Bremerton. Registration fee for adults $30, $20 for youth 18 and under, and includes ferry passes, a T-shirt, and picnic on the beach. Riders are encouraged to solicit sponsorships. Please visit http://www.saintjohnonline.org/article.php?id=29 to download rider registration and sponsor pledge forms.
St. John’s is next to West Seattle High School; here’s a map.
One note of interest, following up on this afternoon’s bulletin that the city is NOT considering pay stations for street parking in The Junction, because the statistics just don’t show a need. (See our 1:02 pm bulletin here.) Knowing that the city had originally said it would do parking reviews in Morgan Junction next year, Admiral in 2011, and Alki in 2012, we asked if those timetables had slid, since this review has taken a year and a half. Here’s the reply from SDOT spokesperson Rick Sheridan:
The Morgan Junction is the only West Seattle area on the near term schedule for a review of parking. This community parking project is tentatively planned for 2010, but that may change due to staffing availability. We still plan to work with the Admiral and Alki/Harbor Drive neighborhoods, but that will occur much further down the road.
Before last week’s one-day build of the new Delridge Community Center playground, we brought you photos and information courtesy of the ARC Digital Darkroom Teen Interns from DCC. We didn’t get a chance to fully explain the program or introduce them. But before tonight’s grand opening of the playground (coming up at 6:30 pm), we wanted to share their reflections, with photos, from construction day last Friday, and share the introductory information. Go here to read what the program’s about, how it’s funded, and how a few community donations are needed. Above, you see a photo we took of the team when they stopped by to say hi at West Seattle Summer Fest, followed by their self-intro, and their latest work:
We are ten individual teens (working) at the Delridge Community Center for a seven weeks photography and Digital Darkroom internship. When we complete this program, we will receive a stipend of $599.00 and 15 hours of community service hours. We started out with a job interview at the Delridge Community Center RecTech Computer Lab with Leslie, our Program Director. One of the questions we were asked at the interview was “why do you want to be part of this internship?” and “What do you want to get out of this internship?” After the interview, we all waited with anticipation for a week. We finally got a call and were told we could start at 1:30 on July 6. We were glad to be selected out of the 25 to 30 applicants who applied. We found out that we work from 1:30 to 5:30 Monday through Thursday and in addition, we may occasionally work a few hours on a weekend if there is an event we’d like to cover.
We were all nervous on the first day with so many new faces, but we started off right away taking photos and that helped us begin to relax. Our first photo warm-up was shooting a moving object, and our subject was one of our instructor’s dogs, a little poodle named Luke. We tried to get a good photo of him while he was both running and sitting out in the field. After our photography warm-up, we were introduced to Photoshop and figure out ways to make one of the photos we took look better or add effects. We all created individual blogs and posted our favorite photos. We then wrote and told a story about our photograph.
As all of us are new to photojournalism … we are all excited that the West Seattle community will be watching our progress as we learn to become better photographers and journalists.
SDOT has published the “draft findings” of the Junction Parking Review – one and a half years in the making (here’s our coverage archive) – on its new “blog.” Quote: “SDOT doesn’t think paid parking is the right approach for The Junction at this time.” More as we continue reading this. Excerpt:
The parking study examined how full the parking spaces were and how many people were staying longer than the allowed two hours. In the Junction’s commercial area, about 56 percent to 71 percent of parking spaces are generally full. When 75 percent or more of the spots in an area are full it gets hard to find a parking space. That’s our threshold for making significant changes to existing parking regulations, like the use of paid parking. Compliance with the two-hour time limit signs was also high, meaning that the signs are working well to create customer turnover and paid parking isn’t needed at this time.
ADDED 1:12 PM: Here’s the full document with the “preliminary findings” including the full chart of what was discovered during the study. It’s been 17 months since SDOT first announced it would study parking in The Junction (here’s our first report from February 2008) – other West Seattle neighborhoods are to be studied in the future, including Admiral, Alki and Morgan Junction. Today’s announcement doesn’t necessarily mean “no change” in The Junction – other possible “parking management” options have been discussed along the way – any such proposals will be in the final report later this year.
ADDED 3:12 PM: Official reaction from West Seattle Junction Association executive director Susan Melrose: “Junction merchants will be thrilled with the results. We’re pleased to see that the city process worked here in The Junction … also it’s nice to know that the West Seattle community is using Junction parking in the way that we want it used – come in, shop for a couple hours, and move on … I think it represents a good relationship with the West Seattle community and Junction merchants, and it works both ways and that’s what we want in our little neighborhood of downtown West Seattle.” We also have a followup out to SDOT, asking if there’s been any change in the timetables for reviewing parking in the other neighborhoods, and will let you know what we hear back.
Nine months after its “early design guidance” Southwest Design Review Board meeting (WSB coverage here), the proposed development at 4106 Delridge has moved to a new stage, applying for a land-use permit, as noted in today’s edition of the city’s twice-weekly Land Use Information Bulletin. It’s currently described as 5 stories, 4,000 square feet of retail, 36 residential units, parking “within the structure” for 39 vehicles.
From the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s two-hour northbound lane closure during Saturday night’s Seafair Torchlight Run to games earlier that day at BOTH stadiums, and beyond, it’s going to be a mega-busy weekend. We just got the official citywide traffic advisory – read on:Read More
(photo added 12:15 pm)
According to this AP report on seattletimes.com, a federal judge is refusing to block the state from evicting the homeless encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” from its current site on the eastern edge of West Seattle. In an update on their website last night, organizers said that if they didn’t get a court order to stop eviction, they would start packing at 5 pm today. We are going over to the camp to see what’s happening right now. 12:03 PM UPDATE: Looks like they’ve already started breaking down the camp. No one at the site would officially comment, however. 12:30 PM UPDATE: Organizers just sent an official news release – they say they’ll sue, and that they expect state troopers to arrive right at the 7 pm deadline tonight that they were given to clear out – read on:Read More
(12:06 PM NOTE: Official news release on this can now be seen here.)
ORIGINAL 11 AM REPORT: We’re at King County’s Chinook building downtown (south end of 5th Avenue) for County Executive Kurt Triplett’s briefing on the Metro budget situation – there’ve been warnings throughout the year that it’s in dire straits and that service changes/cuts are likely to result. We’ll add announcements as soon as they are made. 11:01 AM UPDATE: We just got the news release. He’s proposing a 5.5 cent property tax (taxing authority granted recently by the Legislature) to “save RapidRide” among other things. Triplett says he will reduce other levies by an equal amount – including a 4 1/2 cent reduction in the King County Ferry District levy (we should find out what that means to the Water Taxi – Council Chair Dow Constantine is here as well). He also says he has no details yet today of what service cuts will be needed. He says he will dedicate part of the money to save the RapidRide plan (note that it was previously reported the West Seattle RapidRide “branding” would be delayed a year, to 2012 instead of 2011). Triplett says the budget problem is a 4-year problem, not a 2-year problem. 11:09 AM UPDATE: Reading ahead in the printed news release – while the Ferry District “demonstration route” plans outside West Seattle would be affected, the plan for “enhanced” West Seattle service and a new vessel will NOT be affected. Triplett calls the demonstration routes “a luxury we cannot afford when Metro ridership has gone up 20 percent yet is facing deep cuts” because of sales-tax revenue drops. 11:14 AM: Triplett says “this is not buses versus boats” but also acknowledges his office has no formal role in Ferry District budgeting so he is going to send a recommended budget alternative and hopes the Ferry District Board of Supervisors – the county council – will adopt it, using the one-cent tax that would remain if 4 1/2 cents are indeed taken off the Ferry District taxing. 11:18 AM: County Council Chair Dow Constantine has just spoken – he chairs the Ferry Board and the Regional Transit Committee as well. He said a fare increase may be required in the future instead of a tax increase. Now County Councilmember Larry Phillips, who like Constantine is running for County Executive, says he’s going to present a separate “action plan” for Metro at an event after this one. 11:20 AM: Triplett says that next week he will roll out a plan that will include service cuts as well as fare increases but wanted to address Ferry District and RapidRide separately. 11:22 AM: We just asked whether the year-round Water Taxi plan and the Seacrest dock improvements would be affected. Harold Taniguchi from Metro says no – the brunt of the Ferry District cuts would be the demonstration routes (which were not going to involve West Seattle anyway). 11:36 AM: Briefing over. It’s clear that this is just a small piece of a puzzle that we won’t fully see till next week – Council Chair Constantine just came over to talk with us for a moment to further clarify. He says this boils down to an attempt to keep transit rolling as much as possible through the “trough of the current recession” until its funding source picks up. He also notes that regarding the Seacrest dock improvements, their final price tag is lower than originally proposed anyway (we have to track down the exact cost of that). We’re leaving the county building now and will digest this into a “bottom line – what it means to you” report in a bit. 2:25 PM: The news release for Phillips’ plan is now out. He is proposing repealing the King County Ferry District tax levy entirely, saying “Buses are … more important to our regional transportation system than water taxis.” Read on for the full text; we’ll be pursuing comment on whether he is seeking to cancel the King County Water Taxi program altogether (which runs the Seattle-Vashon foot ferry as well as West Seattle-downtown) or instead proposing it find some other source of funding:Read More
METRO BUDGET: We’ll be downtown at 11 am to hear County Executive Kurt Triplett discuss the latest on Metro’s budget troubles, so we can find out how that might affect transit service. Look for live updates here.
ENCAMPMENT EVICTION? We’re awaiting word of whether organizers of the 2nd SW/Highland Park Way camp that calls itself “Nickelsville” will get a court order holding off eviction from the state-owned land. If not, they say they’ll be packing up starting around 5 pm.
DELRIDGE PLAYGROUND’S GRAND OPENING: Six days after a volunteer army built it, tonight kids get to play on it, it opens tonight at 6:30. Look for a story later with our “Digital Darkroom” interns from Delridge Community Center taking one more look at the amazing playground-building day.
ADMIRAL OUTDOOR CONCERT SERIES KICKOFF: Summer Concerts at Hiawatha begin tonight – 6:30 pm, east lawn, Alma Villegas (find out about her music here), FREE, series presented by the Admiral Neighborhood Association and co-sponsored by local businesses including WSB. B/Y/O blanket/chair.
REMEMBERING TERESA BUTZ: 7:30 tonight in the grassy area between the parking lot and ballfields at South Park Community Center (map), a memorial for the woman stabbed to death in her South Park home last Sunday morning. More here.
We reported earlier this morning that a man wanted for a deadly shooting in Leschi last night had a West Seattle link. Police confirm they arrested him here this morning. The update’s at the end of this SPDBlotter report; he was arrested at a home near Delridge/Andover. ADDED 8:04 AM: Thanks to Steven for sending the photo above, taken by Rose Feliciano, showing a vehicle linked to the case being towed away. (It matches the description of the one mentioned in our early-early-morning report – “tan” minivan.) He says the arrest happened “without incident … no sirens, no confrontation …” and the only clue that something big had just happened was the appearance of one TV news crew (KIRO).
Sharonn Meeks from the Fairmount Community Association went to last night’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting to hit the point home: West Seattle neighborhoods need to represent in a big way at next Tuesday night’s “Neighborhood Plan Status Report” meeting at Delridge Community Center (where she’ll be a facilitator). Five West Seattle neighborhoods have Neighborhood Plans crafted a decade ago — The Junction, Admiral, Morgan Junction, Delridge, Highland Park/Westwood (all linked in the right sidebar here). Some have called for revisiting them in a big way – that’s not on the drawing board yet, but next Tuesday’s meeting is designed to revisit them all in a small way, with official “status reports” and gathering of residents’ opinions.
There’s no shortage of those opinions, as evidenced in discussions here on WSB and in the few public meetings that relate to planning processes, such as Design Review Board meetings. But if ever you’ve wanted to say something about the future of West Seattle – and its state right now – this meeting is the place.
Meeks will facilitate one of the discussions at the session – each of the five neighborhoods will have its own discussion, and Georgetown will be part of this gathering too. Advance reading material, from the original plans to “status reports,” is now available on the city site – we’ll get to the direct links at the end of this story.
What Meeks told HPAC last night gets to the heart of why this meeting matters: She listened to what was discussed in the meeting before it was her turn, and she heard concerns about issues like traffic and safety. They all play into long-term planning, she stressed.
Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair Pablo Lambinicio (seen in the background of our photo, facing the camera) then spoke. He said he’d been part of the process 10 years ago as a Westwood resident. At the time, he noted, the “urban village” was the central idea and all neighborhood planning was to revolve around the “urban villages.” That idea didn’t really draw Highland Park residents into the process a decade ago, Lambinicio noted, but now it’s a chance to take a step toward building a plan from the ground up, rather than the top down.
Rory Denovan, former HPAC vice chair, said it’s vital for this to be handled at the neighborhood level, since the neighborhoods live with the consequences. He urged others to get involved and make sure Highland Park residents are at Tuesday’s meeting to be heard. HPAC’s current chair Dan Mullins said he plans to follow up by gathering members to try to arrange a meeting with City Councilmember Sally Clark, who chairs the Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee. He also offered to accept questions/concerns from anyone who cannot make next Tuesday’s meeting.
The city is taking online comments too – but it can’t be stressed enough, there’s no substitute for being there, if there’s any way you can spare 2 hours next Tuesday night. Even if you don’t live in one of the five neighborhood-plan zones, you have a stake in one or more of them – particularly The Junction, with another major new building about to open and more in the wings once the economic bumpiness is past.
Each group at Tuesday’s meeting – again, those groups are Admiral, The Junction, Westwood Village/Highland Park, Delridge and Morgan Junction – will tackle four questions:
1. Most of the neighborhood plans were adopted about 10 years ago and are in their mid-life. How has your neighborhood changed in the last decade since the plan was adopted, (or since you’ve been there)?
2. What changes or aspects of your neighborhood are you most pleased about? Most dissatisfied about?
3. How well are your Neighborhood Plan vision and key strategies being achieved? Are they still the priority?
4. The city is completing neighborhood plan status reports focusing on demographics, development patterns, housing affordability, public amenities and transportation networks. What should there be more focus on (or less focus on) as the neighborhood status reports are completed in the coming months? Are there any important gaps in the draft status report?
See the draft status report and other documents by following links from the “Status Reports” list at the bottom of this page – note that the West Seattle neighborhoods are woven in with others. The documents are at local libraries, too. Again, the meeting is 6-8 pm next Tuesday (7/28), Delridge Community Center (map). But if you absolutely cannot make it Tuesday (again, going in person sends a major message that you care about your neighborhood’s future) — participate online by going here. Then watch for word of followup meetings this fall.
Many churches offer Vacation Bible Camp (or School), but what’s happening at Hope Lutheran this week is evidence it can be a melding of faith and fun. This week’s camp at Hope Lutheran is “Son Rock Kids Camp”; Leighellen Landskov shared the photo above and says they’ve had more than 140 kids and 50 volunteers each day, with activities ranging from “silly songs” and “campy crafts” to nature learning and a daily “Mission Outreach” project – Tuesday, campers brought canned food for West Seattle Food Bank; Wednesday, they brought socks for Compass Center. Registration is still open through the end of the week – kids PK-4 through 5th grade, 9 am-noon daily (with dropoffs OK as early as 8:30), and the fee only $5 – you can call the church at 206-937-9330, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or Leighanne says, “simply show up around 8:30 at the main entrance to the church at 4456 42nd Ave SW.”
Our fellow neighborhood-news-service operators at Central District News are covering a shooting investigation right now, and they tell us there’s a possible West Seattle link – the suspect’s girlfriend is believed to live here. So we’re passing along the description information: “The suspect is described as an 18 year old white male, 6′ tall, muscular build, blonde hair, wearing a black tank top and shorts. He is possibly associated with a tan 2001 Chrysler Voyager minivan. Police consider the suspect to be armed and dangerous.” Read the ongoing coverage at CentralDistrictNews.com here.