West Seattle, Washington
By Kathy Mulady
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
There were three times more city and county transportation officials than neighbors at Delridge Community Center tonight for the meeting about the new snow plan, but the many questions made up for the empty chairs.
The central Lincoln Park playground photo above – sent by Hillary – is the first one we’ve heard of (let us know if you’ve already seen one somewhere else). This comes one week after the city announced it would start putting up signs announcing the new rule banning guns at park facilities where children/youth are likely to be present, but the announcement (see it here) hadn’t specified a timetable, aside from the plan to have all affected facilities posted by December 1st. Hillary was surprised by the sign and added these comments in her e-mail to WSB:
I saw the sign for the first time today, and was very disturbed by both the content and the placement of the sign. We moved from the East Coast over a year ago, and settled near Lincoln Park because of the peaceful community ambience of the Fauntleroy/Arbor Heights area. Had I seen these signs in Seattle parks as a prospective home buyer, I would have chosen the ‘burbs, assuming there must be firearm problems if there have to be signs on playgrounds. (Which, now that I live here, know is not the case). Signs and laws don’t dissuade gang members from wielding their guns in any public location, unfortunately. As far as I’m concerned, the only things these signs accomplish are decreased property values and creating unnecessary fear in law-abiding citizens.
I had to respond to my 2 year-olds questions about “The sign with the gun on it” today…. Maybe they should also post “No Drugs” and “No Sex” signs at the park. I’d love to have to explain those things to him while he’s still in preschool. (I am, of course, angrily sarcastic).
You can expect to see dozens more signs like that around West Seattle, since the city announcement last week said the signs would be posted at:
* 26 community centers
* four environmental learning centers
* 10 pools
* 30 wading pools and water play areas
* two small craft centers
* two specialized facilities (tennis center, performing arts center)
* 139 playgrounds and play areas
* 213 ballfields
* six late night recreation sites
* three teen life centers
* 82 outdoor tennis and basketball courts
* two skateparks
* five golf courses
P.S. The mayoral candidates were asked about the park gun ban during tonight’s debate on KING5 – watch their answers, starting here.
ADDED 4:45 PM THURSDAY: Some commenters asked about the cost of the signs. We asked the Parks Department for the information, and Joelle Ligon replies:
So far, we have ordered 150 signs for a cost of $2,500. We anticipate ordering another (approximately) 350 signs for another $5,200. We will also order some replacement signs for ones that are vandalized or damaged in some other way, which we anticipate will cost in the $250 range. The grand total for the cost of fabricating all the signs is around $10,000.
The cost of installing them is included in the jobs of our installation maintenance crews, who do this type of work normally.
(digital version of the rendering substituted Thurs. morning for photo taken Wed. nite)
From the Fairmount Community Association meeting at The Mount tonight: Harbor Properties unveiled that updated rendering of its apartment/retail project Link, while announcing it’s obtained financing, with construction likely to start at the 38th/Alaska site by mid-November. Link includes 200 apartments and 14,000 square feet of retail; Harbor executive vice president Denny Onslow told the 30-plus Fairmount attendees that they haven’t signed up any retail tenants yet but are open to ideas; The north side of the building (left side of the rendering) suggests ground-floor cafe space; the building has some ground-floor housing on both the 38th SW and alley sides – “We want to put some activity into the alley,” says Onslow. He adds that construction should take about 17 months “and that’s really fast.” The contractor, Exxel Pacific, is the same one that built Harbor’s Mural (WSB sponsor), which Onslow says is now 95% rented. The financing is from U.S. Bank and an unnamed “private investor,” both of whom have worked with Harbor before, and according to Onslow, “this will be one of the few apartment buildlngs being built in Seattle right now.”
He says it was once envisioned that this and the so-called “Hole Foods” site would be built simultaneously, as “bookends” to the Triangle, but now that the latter is in limbo, they have stepped up the look of Link a bit, with a metallic finish on its north and south sides to provide reflectivity, and lighting. Also tonight, Harbor Properties confirmed to WSB that it is no longer pursuing a purchase of the 36th/Alaska motel property, though it does own some land north of that site on the same block, and it also owns the site at 37th/Alaska that’ll be used for construction staging (shown here) – slated to become more parking for Link when construction is done. (Also at the Fairmount meeting, crimefighting info from Southwest Precinct reps – that’ll be in a separate report.)
Just got this note from Frank:
We are in the 37th Ave SW and Hanford (map) area and just had a really large decorative pumpkin stolen from our yard.
Thieves were driving a dark red/maroon colored newer pickup that has red plastic panels/rails that go from bed of truck up to cab. If seen call West Seattle police. Suspects are in their teens and wear baseball caps.
Tie down your lawn decorations so they hopefully make it to Halloween!
How busy is the West Seattle Food Bank these days? Tonight we have new information from Pete Spalding, president of the West Seattle Food Bank board, with numbers from last month, just compiled:
pounds of food distributed so far this year
increase in “unduplicated household visits”
increase in visits from children
increase in visits from infants
increase in visits from adults
increase from the same time a year earlier
increase in visits from seniors
Pete adds, “As you can see, our numbers continue to grow each month, and we have been very blessed that the West Seattle community has been so generous to those in need. Just wanted your readers to know that because of them we continue to be able to open our doors and have the resources to serve the clients that continue to come our way.” In addition to joining in fundraisers for the West Seattle Food Bank (like the Beer Church‘s Turkey Bowl on Nov. 21, which we’re co-sponsoring), you can also donate through their website – westseattlefoodbank.org.
SDOT is still sending ’em out, and we’re sharing them in case you miss the info elsewhere: In addition to the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure 6 am-5:30 pm Saturday and 6 am-6 pm Sunday, there are some other events with possible traffic effects around the city – read on:Read More
VOLLEYBALL: From West Seattle High School assistant volleyball coach Jim Hardy:
Westside’s Volleyball team will face Rainier Beach in the final home match on Thursday @ 7 pm at WSHS. This will be the Senior Night for 4 Senior players- Jaimi Tapia, Diana Goldberg and 2009 Captains Mariah Doll and Jess Harrison. West Seattle defeated Rainier Beach in 5 close games in their previous meeting. The Wildcats have clinched the #2 Seed for the Metro Tournament and a guaranteed spot in the District championship tournament.
SOCCER: Sandy reports, “The WSHS girls’ soccer team beat Nathan Hale (Tuesday) 4-2. If they win their next two games (against Sealth and Ingraham) they will play NH again for the Metro Sound Division title.”
FOOTBALL: Voting’s still open in KIRO’s Game of the Week competition. The West Seattle HS homecoming game vs. Chief Sealth, Friday night, 7 pm, WS Stadium, is in the running, as is the Seattle Lutheran match at Tacoma Baptist (7 pm Friday), so whichever WS high school you root for, you’ve got a reason to vote; go here.
Today, we continue our city-candidate closeups; we took a look at them all before the primary election, and this week, with the general election nearing, we’re checking back in with the finalists in five city races – mayor and council – one race (two candidates) per day. Since tonight, the Seattle Times (WSB partner) co-sponsors the next live TV debate in the mayor’s race – 7 pm, KING5 – we’re publishing our mayoral candidate interviews today. (Editor’s note – This was originally published early this morning along with the Mike McGinn interview, but our database ate it before most saw it.).
By Jack Mayne
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan wants a tunnel to replace the Central Waterfront section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, thinks the city budget can be trimmed to avoid new taxes and add 100 more police officers, and vows to be accountable to the voters for his stewardship of the city for the next four years.
What he did not say in an interview but was revealed in a financial filing last week was his campaign is in the hole by $95,000 and has outspent opponent Mike McGinn by over five-to-one.
Mallahan is a vice president for T-Mobile. “As a young man, I always planned on entering public service,” he says.
VIADUCT CLOSURE THIS WEEKEND: Looking ahead to this weekend’s Alaskan Way Viaduct inspection closure, WSDOT wants to give you a heads-up about two signs you may have seen: They’re not entirely accurate. Kristy Van Ness explains why:
We’ve placed two variable message signs as you head north from West Seattle toward downtown, alerting drivers of this weekend’s closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. But… there’s a character limit on those signs, so they state that the viaduct is closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. We are still going to open the Viaduct at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, so those heading to the Sounders game can use the structure if needed, but just couldn’t fit those extra characters on the sign!
(added 1:52 pm) By the way, a big ceremony is scheduled this Saturday morning for the signing of the tunnel agreement approved by the Seattle City Council earlier this week. The media invite hasn’t gone out yet but we got the tip from Chas Redmond, one of the West Seattleites who are on the “portal working groups” hashing out what will be happening AROUND the tunnel. WSDOT tells us those groups may not reconvene for another month or so.
WATER TAXI REMINDER: King County just sent out a short reminder that, as scheduled all along, the Water Taxi route between West Seattle and downtown is still scheduled to end its season on Halloween. (Just this week, the City Council gave its approval to the plan for dock work to be done in the offseason, looking ahead to planned year-round operation of the route; we’re checking to find out the timetable on that.)
At Westwood Village, Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) sends word its move to a new, more visible storefront is complete, right on schedule, done in time for the new location’s debut yesterday. They’re now open Tuesdays-Saturdays 10 am-6 pm in the spot you see above, next to Chico’s, which is in turn just north of Barnes and Noble, in the heart of WV. Meantime, in The Junction, KeyBank is done with its remodeling work:
Kevin McClintic took that photo back in August, as crews did late-night work on the bank’s big remodel. Now we have word that the months of work are over, and the branch plans a “grand opening” celebration next week, with refreshments and snacks for those who stop in. Here’s what changed, according to a KeyBank news release:
Inside the updated branch is a new teller line, a pair of flat TV screens featuring information of interest to clients and a community wall of photos depicting local scenes and landmarks. New offices and conference rooms accommodate client meetings requiring privacy, and a new, comfortable waiting area is complete with a coffee cart.
Key’s new “Teller 21” technology places better information in the hands of tellers quickly, freeing up time for them to advise and interact with clients. Behind the scenes, processing and handling time is significantly reduced: for example, a check brought to the branch would once have been handled up to 12 times by tellers, proof operators and others involved in the processing function. With Teller 21, that check is handled only once.
(added 1:08 pm) One more note – we checked with Allison Rich, new co-owner of Angelina’s, regarding their progress toward reopening after the remodel (here’s our last “sneak peek” story). She says they’re now hoping to be ready around the middle of next week.
No, that’s not a rerun of the video featured here after the media tour of Beacon Hill Reservoir last year – it’s a brand-new look at the work to cover (underground) West Seattle Reservoir adjacent to Westcrest Park (map). When it’s done next year and ready to hold water, the man who had the idea to cover the reservoirs won’t be mayor any more – so he came out today for a firsthand look at part of his legacy. During the tour, we asked Mayor Nickels, now that much of the reservoir-covering work he started is done at several sites around the city, what he thinks about the decision to change from “floating covers” that originally were in the works:
The city decided to cover half of the original reservoir site (the southern half), and leave the other half as open space. The other city reservoir in West Seattle has been covered – Myrtle; it’s much smaller, but the project has taken longer because the waterproofing needed to be replaced (here’s the story we broke three months ago, and our most recent followup) – lessons learned from that will ensure that the same part of the process does not encounter the same problem here. Meantime, last time we visited the Westcrest site, in May, the uncovered half looked like this:
Now it’s been hydroseeded, and Canada geese have taken up residence on the lush grass – take a look at the difference. Bill Duyungan from Seattle Public Utilities is the voice you hear in this clip talking about it:
The grass-covered side also has special drainage features – it’s something of a swale, SPU managers explained. Though the undergrounding structure work is almost done, the entire project is more like half complete. The project manager from Seattle Public Utilities, Stephanie Murphy, gave a quick rundown on the numbers –30 million gallons capacity for the covered reservoir, with the covering work to be complete by year’s end (more concrete will be poured tomorrow; the pour’s been under way intermittently since March) and filling scheduled for next summer. She was asked how it’ll be connected with the existing park:
We also got a look at the workings inside – including the electrical vault, with pumps and earthquake protection equipment – as explained when we toured the site in May, it’s got a special setup to make sure the reservoir stays half full even if a seismic event causes it to lose some water. The vault is accessible from a set of stairs leading down from part of the north edge of the cover. Here’s part of what’s inside:
The completion of the reservoir will create 21 new acres of park space that will connect to the existing Westcrest Park; $3 million from the Parks and Green Spaces Levy passed last year will be used to design and build the park’s features – the community-involvement process hasn’t officially begun yet, but the Highland Park Action Committee will be closely involved – its next meeting is a week from tonight, fourth Wednesday of the month (7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club building). As for the mayor – as much fun as it must be to come out and have a look at part of your legacy, a structure that will be in place for decades, he has an interesting rest of the week ahead; we asked what’s ahead for him in the next few days, and he mentioned that on Sunday, he plays host to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
While we were reporting recently on the opening of Shipwreck Tavern in the Admiral District, talk turned to the fate of the former Admiral Benbow Inn nearby. We have a few more details this morning directly from Jay Wergin, who’ll be opening a cafe there (as previously revealed here) – here’s his announcement:
Coming soon to West Seattle: The Heartland Cafe, a family-friendly restaurant with a focus on great, affordable Midwestern comfort food.
Co-owner and longtime West Seattle resident Jay Wergin was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the classic dishes served at supper clubs, church picnics and back yard barbecues: bratwurst, Italian beef, chicken booyah, and of course, beer from Wisconsin, such as Leinenkugel and Milwaukee¹s Best. Together with Jeff Loren, a 25-year restaurant industry insider, who has run the show at Julia¹s and other prominent Seattle-area eateries, Wergin will open the Heartland Cafe in the heart of the Admiral District on the site of the former Benbow Inn. The iconic space is currently undergoing major renovations to restore the vintage pirate ship bar and transform the main dinner and banquet room into a family-friendly space. The Heartland Cafe is slated to open later this winter and will serve dinner during the week and breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a late-night menu on weekends. Stay tuned for updates … !
ADDED 2:02 PM: We asked Jay a few followup questions. For one, we’d heard of a “West Seattle Sausage Co.” coming to that vicinity – turns out that was an early working name for the project. For two, here’s a little more about the bar/restaurant delineation:
As for the layout of the place. A full service bar will be located in the pirate ship and will be identified as the ³Benbow Room² with the primary access to the bar (21 and older) from the alley entrance. The main restaurant and banquet room will be entered through the Admiral Street entrance (Next door to the Shipwreck).
He says the late-night all-ages dining will run to 3 am Friday and Saturday nights (of interest to us since your editor here has a 13-year-old fellow extreme night owl in the house).
(WSB photo from December 2008)
THINK SNOW – LONG BEFORE THE TEMPS DROP: Two weeks ago, the city rolled out its all-new snow plan (here’s our report; here’s the plan). Tonight, your chance to hear from, and ask, the experts, in person, 7-9 pm, Delridge Community Center. If you’re still not sure what’ll be different if we have a Snowpocalypse rerun, this is the place to launch your flurry of questions.
FAIRMOUNT COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: This group doesn’t meet often but when it does, there’s lots to talk about, as previewed here. Development (with Harbor Properties‘ update on Link) and crime are two major components of tonight’s agenda, 6:30 pm, The Mount.
(added 8:52 am) DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOODS DISTRICT COUNCIL: Thanks to Pete Spalding for one additional reminder – the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council also meets tonight, 7 pm at Youngstown Arts Center. Two city department heads will be there: Finance director Dwight Dively with a presentation on the mayor’s budget proposal; Neighborhoods director Stella Chao with a briefing on proposed changes to the Neighborhood Matching Fund.
Big group at Tuesday night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting – so big that president Dot Beard exclaimed not once, but twice, how great it was to see them all. No special guest on the agenda, just an hour-plus of information about crime trends, questions/answers about crime concerns, an update from the local State Liquor Control Board officer, and word that West Seattle’s police force is growing – highlights ahead:Read More
This morning, we continue our city-candidate closeups; we took a look at them all before the primary election, and this week, with the general election nearing, we’re checking back in with the finalists in five city races – mayor and council – one race (two candidates) per day. Since tonight (Wednesday), the Seattle Times (WSB partner) co-sponsors the next live TV debate in the mayor’s race – 7 pm, KING5 – we’re publishing our mayoral candidate interviews this morning. (Editor’s note, 9:31 am – The Mallahan interview that also was published early this morning has disappeared from our database but will be republished by afternoon.).
By Jack Mayne
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
One big issue has just taken a new turn in the race for Seattle Mayor: Mike McGinn had made a big deal out of his deep objection to a deep-bored tunnel to replace the Central Waterfront section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct – until Monday – when the City Council unanimously voted to authorize Mayor Greg Nickels to sign an agreement with the state committing Seattle to the tunnel plan.
“I disagree with the decision. I disagree with the timing,” McGinn wrote. “But the reality is, Mayor Nickels and the Council have entered into an agreement, and the city is now committed to the tunnel plan.”
He says that if he is elected, it will be his job to “uphold and execute this agreement” and not his job to “withhold the cooperation of city government in executing this agreement.” He makes it clear he will not quietly go along on the project. He says he will ask the “tough questions” because the city still does not know how much the project will cost.