West Seattle, Washington
“We’re gonna let the neighbors know it’s New Year’s Eve!” With that promise from Highland Park Action Committee chair Dan Mullins, this year’s Not-So-Silent-Night Parade strolled across SW Holden and onto a winding mile-long loop route. Not quite the same route as the first-ever version last year – not the same weather as last year, either; it was rainy then, but this time, clear and cold, with ice patches like this one in the street (luckily everybody kept to the sidewalks):
Neighbors along the way called out “Happy New Year!” to greet the parade:
And at the end, like 2009 – after Mullins exhorted everyone to “give yourselves a hand!” – a brief fire ceremony offered a chance to tell the old year goodbye:
What burned? Neighborhood greenery, predominantly rosemary like last year, “maybe some thyme,” we heard somebody say. And then, the 60-plus participants were invited inside for cookies, cider, and a jovial 4-plus-hour start on 2011.
If you knew Matt Durham at all – even a bit – he seemed like the last guy who could be felled by a terminal illness. Strong, active, positive outlook …
But cancer plays no favorites.
The West Seattle photojournalist (whose work in the past few years included WSB contributions), whose main job was as a Woodinville firefighter, is dead of melanoma, at just 45 years old.
Matt died yesterday. While his wife Elaine Durham announced it on their Facebook pages last night, they are not public, and we wanted to wait until she gave her approval, which she did late today, to share the news. She and their sons, 9 and 11, had just spent Christmas Eve/Day with Matt at Swedish Medical Center. If you were among their Facebook friends, you have probably followed along with their brave story for the past few months, since Matt himself announced the diagnosis on his page in September.
As it was a private matter, we hadn’t written about it before, but earlier this week, with Elaine’s permission, we had a story in the works regarding a benefit planned by Matt’s fellow firefighters in the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District (which gave us permission to use their photo of Matt) on January 13th, after this Woodinville Weekly article appeared, and after a flyer about it started circulating in West Seattle.
We never got to publish that story before Matt lost his fight against the metastatized melanoma discovered less than four months ago. He will be missed by many throughout West Seattle, Woodinville, and beyond. You can see some of his photos on his photography site at mattdurhamphotography.com. Once we have word on memorial-service plans, we will publish an update.
ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: The Woodinville department says it is classifying Matt’s death as line-of-duty; that drew regional media attention, including this KING 5 report late Friday night.
Tonight we have details from police about an incident in Fauntleroy this morning (thanks to the two WSB’ers who e-mailed us to ask about it): Police were called about trouble involving two dogs, and shot one of them, according to Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Smith. He says officers were called to the 9600 block of 48th SW (map) just before 7:30 this morning. The caller said two “aggressive pit bull dogs not known to (the) complainant” were on the porch. According to Lt. Smith, here’s what happened when officers arrived:
The dogs quickly approached a responding officer who was standing on the street. The officer backed away and attempted to place a garbage can as a barrier between him and the dogs, but one of the dogs lunged at him. The officer discharged his duty handgun, striking the dog in the face/head area. The dog fell back, rolled on the ground, then both dogs fled northbound on 48th Av SW. Officers were unable to locate either dog.
(Photos by Ellen Cedergreen for WSB)
On New Year’s Eve, every new hour brings the new year somewhere in the world. At Providence Mount St. Vincent this afternoon, residents, staffers, and volunteers were probably the first in West Seattle to ring in 2011; they did it on Parisian time – 3 pm Seattle time. The party included a prize wheel, and the winners included resident Melly (top photo). Another big feature – karaoke, with volunteer Mike Fox belting out a lively version of the French song “Louise“:
Other popular numbers included “Dust in the Wind” and “Hallelujah“:
While continuing to put together the WSB take on 2010’s top 10 stories (coming up later), we came across three that seemed to deserve a retrospective all their own – the three offbeat stories covered here in 2010. Read More
It went out as “fire in building,” which means a big response for starters; then arriving crews determined it was a “food on stove” fire, and most units were canceled. However, one building resident tells us via Facebook that the sprinklers activated by the fire have caused some water woes, which means the trucks will be there for a while.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
This autumn’s been a tough one for operators of historic local theaters, and their fans.
That made us wonder how West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater is doing, two and a half years after its last management change. So we arranged a chat with the woman who runs it, Dinah Brein. She was on duty last night, helping run the night’s films, and getting ready for a special New Year’s Eve-themed holiday double bill tonight: “Holiday” at 7, “When Harry Met Sally” at 9.
Just as we headed her way, Dinah sent a link to another theater-closure story that had just appeared online, this time the Orchard Theater in Port Orchard. And with a close-to-home twist – it’s part of the Far Away Entertainment theater group run by her brother Jeff Brein, which also includes The Admiral.
No, they’re NOT throwing in the towel here too. But some of what was on that theater’s wish list remains on The Admiral’s wish list too.
Two images to remember this chilly last day of 2010 by … Robin Lindsey of Seal Sitters was out early this morning as always, checking the beaches, and caught the top image of paddleboarders, with the Olympic Mountains’ famous peaks The Brothers as a backdrop. Robin says it was so cold her fingers almost fell off! Next, Max shares a unique view, explaining, “We woke up to this delightful window decoration.”
The noon temperature at Sea-Tac and Boeing Field, by the way, was 32 degrees – up from the early 20s in both locations at 6 this morning.
Over the course of today/tonight, we’re looking back at West Seattle’s 2010 in a few ways. Here’s the first. Christopher Boffoli photographed dozens of notable stories for WSB again this year; he went through his archives via Flickr and created this montage of memorable scenes. It’s not in order of importance – you’ll see a number of breaking-news scenes since Christopher is often first to arrive, but also wildlife, parade participants, sights at sea and in the sky … a great visual retrospective. Just click the “play” button and the images will automatically advance as you watch. Coming up later, our “top stories of the year” list, as well as year-end thanks. (But we’ll be here as usual covering today’s news all day, too!)
A few more updates this morning from the in-foreclosure commercial building at 16th/Holden: One day after confirming she would close once her current inventory ran out, which she thought might be early next week, JoJo’s Fine Espresso owner Jodi Robbins has closed the stand. This morning, reader Erik had sent a photo of a “pay rent or vacate” note he saw on the stand this morning; WSB contributor Deanie Schwarz says it’s gone now. Robbins confirmed the back-rent notice in a note to us and also just added a comment to our story from yesterday, noting the closure, saying she’s “being forced to shut the doors,” and concluding with well-wishes for Zippy’s Giant Burgers – now the last business open at what until one week ago was a three-business spot.
Deanie, meantime, has spoken again with Zippy’s owners, who say they are continuing to explore the possibility of financing to purchase the site. Yesterday, Deanie reports, reps from UniBank* including an assistant vice president, Alex Ko, were at the now-shuttered SeaMart – whose owners had also owned the building pre-foreclosure – and they put up this note on the store’s door:
The bank told Deanie they’ve already had bidders and that the building was appraised for $825,000 this fall.
*FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE: We have corrected the name of the bank in the story – it’s UniBank, not Union.
Most government offices are closed today; city libraries close at 6 pm. Metro remains on a “reduced weekday” schedule. Trash (etc.) pickup is on a regular schedule today, but not tomorrow. Mail is delivered today but not tomorrow. Banks are open today but not tomorrow.
Been outside tonight? All we can say is, brrrr. It’s in the 20s and the car tops were icing over by 9 pm. On the other hand, great stargazing. And according to the National Weather Service, this is what you can expect tomorrow night, too – so if you’ll be outside watching the Space Needle fireworks from West Seattle shores, or anyplace else outdoors, make sure your NYE fashion choice includes major insulation. (And if you’re still looking around to see what’s happening, remember our list – ranging from bar parties to church services.)
ADDED 12:15 AM: Our partners at the Seattle Times have published a preview with some behind-the-scenes info about the eight-minute Needle fireworks.
Corporate headquarters told us the new 7-11 store/gas station at 35th/Barton in Westwood would be open December 31st “or sooner.” Turned out to be “sooner”; it opened today. Thanks to MargL for the first report, in the WSB Forums. This is West Seattle’s
sixth eighth 7-11; it replaces an Exxon station/mini-mart that shut down 14 months ago.
6:05 PM: On our way to check out the call in Gatewood, 6900 block of 40th SW (map), “assault with weapons.” Fire and police crews are there. Scanner says a victim’s being taken to Harborview Medical Center.
6:18 PM UPDATE: Scanner traffic indicates the medic unit is transporting a 45-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to the head. We have two people at the scene and they say police are looking around but there is no indication yet about the circumstances of the shooting.
6:44 PM UPDATE: While police are still at the scene, and won’t confirm officially that this is believed to be self-inflicted, they do say they are not seeking anyone else in connection with the shooting.
New information tonight about another change resulting from city budget cuts – how the city’s Neighborhood Service Centers and District Councils will be staffed. You might recall the mayor originally proposed closing the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center in The Junction. Outcry, led by the Southwest District Council, helped cancel that plan – but we now know that the district coordinator who’s been based there, Stan Lock, is moving elsewhere in the city, as the Department of Neighborhoods reorganizes the coordinators who remain after it cut three jobs elsewhere. Details ahead:Read More
(STORY UPDATED 7:15 PM, SCROLL TO END FOR PHOTO FROM CAFE’S PAST)
Story and photos by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Miranda Krone likes to think of her new restaurant as the next chapter in the longrunning story of a small dining spot. She has rented the former Jade West Café (6032 California SW) from owners Salina and Wah Wong and plans to open Meander’s, a breakfast and lunch café, in late January.
One month ago — nearly a year after a drunk driver hit and seriously injured her husband and son — Salina Wong had told WSB that the family was “looking for a chef capable of carrying on the legacy of Wah’s café,” a homey one-person operation. Looks like they found her.
As Miranda pulls up a short stool to sit on and props her feet onto one of the orange vinyl barstools, it’s clear she already feels at home in this cozy space. “It’s awesome about the kitchen (being a part of the dining area). I can interact with the customers while making food!” This, she says, is perfectly suited to her “tendency to mother people.”
With her 13-year-old daughter Chloe looking on, Miranda explains that this space was a perfect solution in many ways, “I’m in my neighborhood” — she lives four blocks away — “I can do what I love, take care of my daughter, and be with people I like.”
ORIGINAL 3:15 PM REPORT: Just spotted by WSB co-publisher Patrick, who was driving, solo, and unable to photograph, a coyote running down the middle of California SW, southbound, at SW Holden in Gatewood (map). (He reported it as more of a traffic alert – since more than a few drivers had to slow down.) We suspect it’s off the main route now, as we just looked in that direction from California/Thistle and no sign of anything four-footed but a dog out jogging with its person.
ADDED 5:24 PM: From Jake:
I was jogging tonight in Camp Long around dusk. After doing a few laps of the trails, I decided to cut through the woods to the outer path of the golf course. Once there, I noticed a coyote running right at me. I stopped, stomped, and yelled, and it backed off. A few moments later, it again ran toward me and I stopped it the same way. Eventually I scared it off, and continued running south toward Hudson street. As I turned left along the fence, I saw two coyotes running silently toward me across the grass. I quickly cut through the Arborvitae and hopped the fence onto Hudson street. Very scary!! I’ve run and hiked in wooded areas all my life, and come across wildlife often. This is the first time I’ve ever been pursued. Please warn your readers about this!
If we had time, we could create a collage with probably 100 photos this year of people helping the West Seattle Food Bank – from students to seniors to steelworkers, big donation drives and little ones. But just imagine it all as you read the message WS Food Bank executive director Fran Yeatts just asked us to share:
From all of us at the West Seattle Food Bank, we would like to offer a very sincere and heartfelt thank you to all who have helped us in our work to end hunger in this community. The demand for our services has been increasing and we are grateful that many neighbors in West Seattle have been there to help. Your support makes a big difference for many families, so especially on behalf of all the West Seattle Food Bank’s clients, thank you.
And of course you can help them out right now or any time – by going here.
The official “order of sale” is the newest development in the ongoing legal fight over “The Hole,” the two-years-excavated-and-idle site at 39th/Alaska/Fauntleroy that once held Schuck’s and Hancock Fabrics, demolished for a mixed-use project that was to include a Whole Foods Market and a new Hancock store before it all fell apart in legal/financial wrangling.
(Aerial view of “The Hole,” looking westward, September 2010)
In case you missed it, the first trial regarding the site concluded last month with King County Superior Court Judge Susan Craighead ruling that construction companies Aero and Ledcor are first in line to get liens paid off with proceeds from a foreclosure sale of the site. Since the verdict, she has rejected a motion for a new trial, as we noted two weeks ago, and has since rejected a challenge to Aero’s motion asking her to order that sale. Result: As of this past Monday, she has ordered the sale to take place within 60 days. You can see the sale order here.
So now what? Orders like this are handled through the courts and the King County Sheriff’s Office, as explained here. We’re got inquiries out to find out if any further challenges are planned that could hold it up. The two construction-company liens alone, which are first in line for any sale proceeds, total almost $4 million (not counting interest dating back to December 2008). Earlier in the saga, the site’s would-be new owner, an entity related to Madison Development calling itself 3922 SW Alaska LLC (that’s the site’s address of record), had tried to get foreclosure ordered without the liens taking priority. As part of its challenge to the judge’s ruling, 3922 SW Alaska claimed it discovered post-trial that original developer BlueStar had been talking with Aero about resuming the project. BlueStar boss Steve Hartley had told WSB this past spring that he still hoped to find a way to finish it, even though by that time they no longer had any official involvement in the project.
P.S. If you don’t drive through this section of West Seattle often, it’s worth noting, though technically unrelated, that the future Trader Joe’s site (latest update here) is just east of “The Hole.” The newly installed city-permit-notification sign would be in the lower right of our “aerial” photo if we sought the same shot today.
Joan has been noticing some apparent “guerrilla art” around town and e-mailed us twice in the past few weeks about them. We made no progress in divining their source otherwise, so we’re asking you. Above is the photo she took yesterday of the latest artwork to appear, this one on a utility pole near 45th SW/Fauntleroy (map), but she says today it’s since disappeared, and the wires from which it hung appear to have been cut. Joan says it recently replaced a similar artwork with the word FISH on it, a lot like the one she pointed us to earlier this month at California/Brandon (map):
Joan sums up, “I am curious as to who is doing this interesting art installation? Any ideas?”
(Photo by Deanie Schwarz, added 12:58 pm)
Another business is closing on the Highland Park site that is in foreclosure at 16th/Holden. First it was SeaMart, as reported here one week ago; the mini-market’s owner lost the property to foreclosure and shut the store after Christmas Eve. The other two businesses on the site, Zippy’s Giant Burgers and JoJo’s FIne Espresso, have been grappling with what the property’s uncertain future means to their businesses. Yesterday, shortly after publishing a followup focused on Zippy’s, the Seattle Weekly reported separately that JoJo’s owner Jodi Robbins had decided to close. Her stand was closed for the day when we subsequently went over to seek more details, but she confirms it in an online reply this morning: “Yes, it is true, I will be closing shop.” After the jump, her full reply explaining why she’s made the decision, and what she’ll miss:Read More
(Refresh for the latest “live” views from both directions of the West Seattle Bridge)
Though there’d been fears of lows in the 20s and potential ice trouble on the roads, it’s still above freezing (37 at the official Boeing Field gauge) as we write this just after 3:30 am, so things might not be so bad out there after all. Forecast looks pretty good through New Year’s Eve, too. You can check a few more cameras, and latest-traffic-update links, on the WSB Traffic page. Hope you have a safe drive/ride/walk to work.
8:15 AM UPDATE: Trouble-free commute by all accounts.
Two arts businesses in West Seattle are about to celebrate milestones:
TWILIGHT ARTIST COLLECTIVE TELLS ITS STORY: January will mark six years for Twilight Artist Collective. It didn’t begin in West Seattle – but this is now its only home (next to Easy Street Records in The Junction). Twilight’s Mary Enslow decided to celebrate early by recounting the “strange and cool” story of how she and her co-proprietors met – a story that spans half the globe, from Rome to Pike Place Market. Click to read “How The TwAC Did We Get Here?”.
ALKI ARTS’ SIX-MONTH-IVERSARY SALE: Diane Venti is proud to proclaim that Alki Arts has made it six months, and will celebrate with a sale and party this Sunday (January 2nd), noon-7 pm. Everything’s 10 percent off, and they’ll have dessert and refreshments. If you haven’t been to Alki Arts – it’s at 2820 Alki SW, next to Cactus.