West Seattle, Washington
(Our “as-it-happened” first report on tonight’s South Park Bridge closure can be seen here)
At the end of our “as it happened” first report on tonight’s South Park Bridge shutdown and wake, we added a clip showing the bridge’s final few minutes, right around 8 pm – siren sounding, bells clanging, gates going down, drawbridge coming up, then a toast, and a song. Now, some other moments to share – first, the top clip, the chant that broke out after South Park’s Bill Pease, using the loudspeaker from a deputy’s car, suggested a moment of silence. (This was from the mildly defiant crowd that refused to move as far back as authorities asked them to – in the end, they “won,” and got to watch the drawbridge-opening from just behind the striped gates.) Meantime, the final vehicles to cross were long-retired buses, brought back out for the occasion – part of our team was at the south end of the bridge as the barricades were moved just long enough for one to head up:
Next, more of the sounds of farewell: Members of the Northwest Junior Pipe Band played toward the end, up near the bridge-tender tower on the west side:
Also performing as a tribute to the bridge … Duwamish Tribe drummers:
Still more to come – video and photos. Even if you don’t have any particular sentiment regarding the South Park Bridge, this was quite the spectacle.
Two reader reports to share tonight – first, an encounter near Solstice Park (we received this in e-mail but it’s since turned up in the WSB Forums, where some are wondering if it’s a person who’s been arrested in the area before – read it here); second, a door-to-door alert – read on:Read More
(Below are our updates as the South Park Bridge closure unfolded. Processing video/photos now for separate stories later)
ORIGINAL 6:23 PM REPORT: We’re on the South Park Bridge – which will be an impossible feat in less than an hour – and it’s quite the scene, on and around the bridge.
People are streaming up and down the bridge on its sidewalks – City Councilmember Sally Clark just walked by our spot alongside the bridge-tender tower:
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Across the way, there are decorations:
Right alongside the walkers, a just-as-steady stream of vehicles – some of which would pass this way anyway, some of which are clearly cruising for show (we’ve seen a few classic hot rods). Down on the brick path that a new bridge will – if all goes well – someday follow, there’s a group of tents. And in the street close to the south end of the bridge, there’s even a group of chairs, awaiting an audience for the bridge’s final “opening,” which also will be its closure. Every TV station in town is here too, of course, though they are vastly outnumbered by dozens, if not hundreds, of others with cameras large and small. Duwamish Tribe drummers are walking by, preparing for a ceremonial crossing. (Here’s Christopher Boffoli‘s photo of Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen with South Park resident Bill Owens, an organizer of tonight’s wake:)
Going the other way, toward the South Park end, Council President Richard Conlin, pushing his bicycle.
More to come; the crowd up here on the bridge continues to grow. Also here: newly nominated-to-be-permanent SPD Chief John Diaz.
6:47 PM: We’re going offline for a bit to cover these final minutes. The hooting and hollering is starting to build. Up here atop the bridge, it’s shoulder-to-shoulder, and then some.
7:33 PM: People are still thronging the bridge – some have pried off the round yellow lane markers – the final vehicles to cross, in both directions, were classic buses, both long gone, but we’re not sure yet how all the people will be cleared. See our Twitter feed for tons of photos, till the bridge is officially closed. Wait – we can hear some official-sounding calls to clear the bridge – looks like the moment is nigh.
8:04 PM: RIP South Park Bridge – after a spate of crowd resistance – the last few hundred on the bridge refused orders to move all the way down to the street, and held steady about 10 yards behind the bridge gates. So at right around 8 o’clock straight up, the sirens sounded one last time, and the bridge, decorated with pink tulle, opened one last time.
Some are still milling, and a Transit Police car is here just in case (it moved in to help convince the crowd to at least move behind the gates). After the bridge leaves finished rising, the crowd began to sing “Amazing Grace,” followed by a round of “South Park Bridge is falling down” (to the tune of London Bridge). More later. P.S. The Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) T-shirts were seen in force.
8:15 PM: Your editor here is the last person atop the bridge. Time to leave. Sounds of the celebration/wake are rising from the restaurants below.
9:40 PM: Until we move this into a separate story – video of the bridge’s final moments, followed by toasts, and a hymn:
After getting the word that Marination Mobile won’t be making its usual Saturday stops in West Seattle this weekend and next, we followed up with co-proprietor Kamala Saxton on something we had heard a while back – that the popular food truck was looking for a new West Seattle spot. Kamala replied it’s true, they need to move:
We have been granted an extension from the Seattle Housing Authority to stay at our current location until August, however, after that we will need to find a new WS location. … We are absolutely committed to remaining in W. Seattle on Saturdays and any leads you have would be greatly appreciated.
The 35th/Graham site (map) where they’ve been for a year has long been tabbed for a future development project – so we wondered if maybe the move mandate meant the project was starting up. We checked with Housing Authority media liaison Virginia Felton, and found out something a little different:
A long-planned cleanup is going to put the site out of commission, starting in September. “There’s pretty serious petroleum contamination on the site,” Felton explained, “but we finally got the money trickled down through EPA to the state to King County to do the cleanup.” Even after the cleanup, the site will be fenced, and “it’ll be a big pit for a while,” she said, adding that more specifics about the cleanup will be available by late summer. As for Marination Mobile – SHA hasn’t been able to find anything in High Point that’ll work, according to Felton; Saxton said her entreprise has examined some obvious possibilities like the remaining Huling sites in The Triangle, and Youngstown Arts Center, but nothing has clicked yet – so again, any suggestions, post them here (or contact them through marinationmobile.com). [Photo credits: Top picture courtesy of Daniel, from July 2009; center photo taken by us today]
(Photo courtesy Joe Follansbee – added Thursday)
Just got last-minute word that the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain are scheduled to sail in Elliott Bay, including along the central waterfront and past Duwamish Head, during the next hour and a half or so, as a detour on the way to a stay in Lake Union – read on for the official announcement:Read More
Three and a half hours left till the South Park Bridge‘s permanent closure; we went down for a look, and found the barricades awaiting placement at 7 pm – also spotted (too quick for us to get a shot) people photographing the bridge, before its leaves open – and stay that way – till they are dismantled. As for how long they will sit in the upright position, we asked King County Department of Transportation, whose spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok says that right now, it looks like “late summer” before the drawbridge sections will be removed. (Demolition of the rest of the bridge is further into the future.) As noted in our preview earlier, South Park invites one and all to its wake – here’s the schedule of events. And even if you are driving in the area BEFORE 7 pm, note that some changes have taken effect – as Jim pointed out in a comment on our earlier story, “Watch your driving through the area. SDOT has already changed lane assignments as of Noon. You are going to be down one right turn lane off of E Marginal Way southbound. Also the right lane on Cloverdale is no longer a left turn lane, it is right turn only. This seems a little premature, and is bound to screw up the afternoon commute.”
(WSB photo from July 2009)
Just circulated by the Seattle Housing Authority, word that the High Point Market Garden produce stand will open for the season a week from today – Wednesday, July 7th. It’s scheduled to be open 4-7 pm every Wednesday till September 29th, according to the announcement. The produce that’s sold at the stand is grown and harvested on site; the garden and stand are at 32nd/Juneau – here’s a map. (Hat tip: Delridge Neighborhood District Coordinator Ron Angeles‘s mailing list.)
They were a hit last year, and this summer, SDOT is sending weekend traffic alerts again. This coming weekend is particularly busy, so read on to see the full list (which we’ll also link to the WSB July 4th page), which includes mention of the Admiral 4th of July Kids’ Parade (all welcome to participate!):Read More
New WSB sponsors are offered the chance to let you know more about their business – and today, we welcome Sweet Pea Cottage Preschool of the Arts, opening in West Seattle this fall. Here’s what they would like you to know: Sweet Pea was founded by artist and educator Carmel Baird, who believes art is the window to learning, and ALL children should have access to an arts-based education. Carmel continues to touch the lives of young children at Sweet Pea Cottage on a daily basis in her role as Artistic Director. All of our teaching staff are also working artists in the Seattle community. We foster a lifelong appreciation of the arts through early exposure. We believe every child is an artist, and we encourage each child to connect with the artist within themselves. Families attending our program have often said that our program is unique and special because it incorporates the arts in every aspect of early childhood education, has amazingly talented teaching-artists, and fosters a sense of community among children and families. Most families seek us out because we have a reputation in the Seattle community for providing a top-notch early childhood arts education. There are hundreds of alumni families throughout the Seattle area that have a deep appreciation for the unique education their children experienced while at Sweet Pea, and we look forward to serving hundreds more! Sweet Pea Cottage Preschool of the Arts is online at sweetpeacottage.org, 206-217-9767, and other contact information here, if you’d like to find out more about their upcoming West Seattle location.
From left, that’s Geoff Rowe and Greg Chelgren from Junction TrueValue, Pam Carter on behalf of the West Seattle High School cheer team, Jim Sansburn from John L. Scott,
Terry Gangon and Quang from State Farm Insurance, and Rich Bianchi from Keller Williams Realty. They visited the West Seattle Food Bank headquarters this morning to present the food bank’s share of proceeds from last Friday’s West Seattle Community Car Wash fundraiser – $2,020, a slight upward revision from the preliminary total reported back on Monday. Fran Yeatts from the Food Bank was on hand to greet them. Organizers also want to thank Michael Hoffman at Liberty Bell Printing for donating tickets and flyers, as well as Jack Miller from Husky Deli and community-group volunteers from Mars Hill Church, who showed up to help wash cars. The event also raised $577 for World Vision‘s Haiti-relief work.
With more than a month passing since the beating of a teenager in Highland Park came to light in startling TV-news stories, with claims of a racist motive, and no news of any arrests, people have continued to ask about the case’s status – we got another note just this morning. We’ve been checking with police periodically, and just talked again with Det. Mark Jamieson in the Seattle Police media unit. The short answer: It’s still an “active and ongoing investigation.” Longer answer: The DNA evidence is still being processed; the case files, Det. Jamieson told us, show that the detective who’s handling it has received an update that the lab is working on the analysis this week. He also says that the victim and his “custodial parent” – not the one who’s done media interviews along the way – have been getting updates from police, as is their primary responsibility as the investigation proceeds. Det. Jamieson says SPD understands community frustration and fears that there are dangerous people on the loose who might attack someone else, but all they can say for the record is that it’s “an ongoing investigation until it’s resolved.”
(Photo courtesy King County Department of Transportation)
Less than four months’ time has gone by since South Park residents — and others who use the 14th Avenue South Bridge — started getting major, repeated, public warnings that King County would close the deteriorating old bridge permanently at 7 pm June 30th. (Here’s our report from the 1st major public meeting back on March 9th.) June 30th is here, and much has changed – while some of the fury over the closure turned to acceptance, much of the energy also has channeled into two drives: First, to make sure money would be found for a new bridge (as of last Friday, $80 million has now been committed toward the $130 million needed); second, to make sure that South Park’s businesses do not wither and die during the bridgeless time. Tonight’s “wake,” 6-10 pm, is partly meant to make a statement along the latter lines, so South Park is hoping that many will come to not only mark the end of their bridge’s life, but to see what they are like as a community, and how they plan to survive and thrive during a tougher-than-usual time. There are ceremonial events (including a final walk on the bridge) planned before 7 pm, with live art (muralists painting the bridge), live music, and restaurant specials during the evening as well (here’s the schedule).
(Photo by Dale Rowe, from April demonstration on the South Park Bridge)
If you’ve never been to South Park, one way to get there is to take Roxbury all the way east, and keep following as the road curves around and over Highway 509, then becomes Cloverdale S., the main east-west route, which ends in the business district at 14th (the bridge is a left turn/northbound from there). And/or you can mark the occasion right here in West Seattle – Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) is planning a South Park Bridge Wake starting at 6 (details on the FL home page, where you also can read about the bridge memorial T-shirts the Feedback’s been selling, so popular that South Park residents have made runs up here to procure more).
(County rendering of what the South Park end of the bridge will look like, right after the shutdown)
As for the practical aspects of the closure – at 7 pm, the barricades go up, and so do the bridge’s “leaves,” permanently. Demolition comes later. Three bus lines were rerouted as of 5 this morning. You can read about all that here. And on the emotional side – we wanted to share two links that have been brought to our attention: a South Park Bridge tender’s farewell, and memories from a couple who met on the bridge.
(August 2009 photo by Matt Durham)
#1 – BEACH BLAST BACK: Thanks to Christy from Coastal for the tip: The Sounders FC Soccer Beach Blast Tournament is coming back to Alki for a second year. Registration opens next Wednesday (though apparently teams from last year have been invited to pre-register); the tournament’s on August 22nd. Lots more info here.
#1 – WORLD CUP WATCHING: No more Team USA, but diehard soccer fans are still cheering FIFA World Cup Soccer as the tournament field narrows. Our original “where to watch” list is probably a little dated now that things have changed, but we did get an update from Beveridge Place Pub, about their schedule for the remaining games, including some early opens – click ahead to see it (and if you have a venue that’s still showing matches, let us know):Read More
Story and photos by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
“Get up, stand up” is the motto for stand-up paddle boarders.
As Adam Price of Alki Kayak Tours demonstrated Tuesday night, paddle boards are similar to surf boards but designed for flat water touring rather than catching waves, propelled by paddles rather than wave action. Unlike surfing, where you stand sideways on the board, for paddle-boarding, you stand with your feet squared facing the front of the board.
Stand-up Paddle Boarding, or SUP Boarding, originated in Hawaii in the 1960s — surfing instructors would stand on the boards to look for waves and increase their visibility while teaching. Realizing this was actually pretty fun, more people started standing on the boards to tour on the water, not just surf.
This activity has been making its way north up the west coast over the years, and Greg Whittaker, owner of Alki Kayak Tours, says they are taking this warm-water sport, adding wetsuits, and making it a cold-water sport.
Adam Price says they are “trying to build a paddling community,” so, to help promote the sport, Alki Kayak Tours host free SUP Boarding demonstrations and races every Tuesday evening. Demonstrations start at 5 pm and all ages are welcome, though boarders under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult or have a signed release form. Races start at 7 pm and go from Seacrest to Duwamish Head, around the channel marker and back to Seacrest — a distance of approximately 1.5 miles. Alki Kayak will provide all the equipment, including wetsuits, free of charge for the events.
Tuesday evenings aren’t the only time you can participate in SUP Boarding, Alki Kayak will rent boards and paddles for $15/hour and provide private classes for those who want to “stand up.” Adam Price adds: “This is a sport for all ages; it’s great exercise and a lot of fun.”
(From the WSB Flickr group: This year’s Hi-Yu Senior Court contenders, photographed by Rhonda)
A special night for the quintet of current West Seattle Hi-Yu Senior Court candidates, as well as Hi-Yu royalty past and present, as the Order of the White Rose reception filled Fauntleroy Church‘s fellowship hall. Beach Drive Blog was there. This year’s Senior Court coronation is coming up July 26; 10 days before then, the Junior Court is chosen, and there’s still time for interested girls to apply – July 12 is the application deadline, and the forms can be found here.
Just three days after the final design meeting for the new West Seattle Reservoir/Westcrest Park expansion, two updates tonight. First one goes with the video above, which was shared by Highland Park’s Deanie Schwarz, who explains:
At about four-thirty this morning, I was awakened by what sounded like giant chupacabra nails grating across a blackboard. I flew to my window, and what did I see? No chuppie, but the mammoth digger used for the deep pilings on the reservoir project.
The Mid-Mountain company, the behemoth’s owner, had till six AM to have the big digger out of the city limits. The trailer awaiting the big noisy tractor to sluggishly amble its way down a hill on Cloverdale was itself too lumbering and unwieldy to negotiate a loading location closer to the park. When the same trailer delivered the Big Digger to Westcrest two years ago to begin West Seattle’s own Big Dig, a bit of trouble ensued on that tiny hill wherein the trailer, to put it briefly, got kind of stuck. It was a problem the trailer driver and crew did not want to revisit, so today’s exit was on the flats of 9th Ave.
So, as the Highland Park neighborhood near Westcrest bid loud and amazing earthmovers adieu, the summer sun rose at dawn on a horizon, quiet, serene and awaiting a new era of a very lovely and much-improved park.
Speaking of said park …
NOTE #2: The newly unveiled design for the 20 added acres of parkland at the newly covered (and decreased-in-size) reservoir – shown in our story on Saturday’s community meeting – goes before the Seattle Design Commission this Thursday. The city-appointed, volunteer board reviews major projects like this, and is scheduled to hear at 10 am Thursday from project manager Susanne Friedman and landscape architect Mark Brands. The SDC meets in the Boards and Commissions Room at City Hall downtown (map), and the meeting is open to the public. P.S. We didn’t include this in Saturday’s report, but here’s the concept for the new parkland’s art project, unveiled by kinetic sculpture artist David Boyer at the meeting:
It wasn’t quite “it was a dark and stormy night” – we’d say it was even better. West Seattle author Molly Ringle came up with a real doozy (involving a kiss, a water bottle and a gerbil) to win this year’s nationwide contest for bad writing, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. The Seattle Times (WSB partner) writes about it here; you might recall having read about Molly here on WSB before – in April of last year, when her paperback novel “The Ghost Downstairs” went on sale. Molly’s website reveals she’s publishing another novel this year, “Summer Term.” And you can read her entire Bulwer-Lytton-winning passage here.
(The grassy west half of Junction Plaza Park, just before the dedication ceremony)
ORIGINAL 5:35 PM REPORT: Quite the crowd at the corner of 42nd and Alaska, and the event is about to start, ceremonial ribbon-cutting at all. Lots of Junction luminaries are here – and other parks supporters – plus City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Tom Rasmussen, present and past chairs of the council’s Parks Committee, deputy Parks Superintendent Eric Friedli, and Parks Board members including chair Jackie Ramels of Alki.
Todd Carden of Elliott Bay Brewery Pub is opening the ceremony, recalling how the vision dates back a decade, and how creating the park has been a true public-private partnership. 5:47 PM: Carden has just declared the park open – after the ribbon-cutting, and a series of short speeches – here’s our video of the ribboncutting:
With the big scissors, that’s Erica Karlovits, president of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, and Susan Melrose, executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association, who co-chaired the final push for park completion. (Karlovits and Melrose walked away from the stage cheering, “It’s dedicated!” Right about this time last year, they were still collecting donations – in jars and barrels at West Seattle Summer Fest.) The young helper in the video is Mia Presser, daughter of Junction-based TouchTech Systems proprietor Brian Presser.
6:01 PM: Just talked with Steve and Sharon Huling – there’s a plaque in the “performance area” on the north side of the park bearing the inscription “The Huling Family/2010” – it’s in this photo with the Hulings and son Grant:
And of course, we talked about the forthcoming Trader Joe’s on one of his sites in The Triangle – we’d spoken to him shortly after the company made the official announcement earlier this month. (Steve Huling also tells us that brother Tom Huling and Tom’s wife Lori wanted to be there too to celebrate the park’s opening, but they’re on vacation.)
Meantime, violinist Pasquale Santos is playing “Don’t Stop Believing,” and that is a fitting anthem for the West Seattleites who worked so long and hard to make this park a reality.
(6:48 pm note – Event’s over, but we’ll be adding more photos and video!)
It was all smiles for the ceremonial shovel-turning that concluded the kickoff event for the Alaskan Way Viaduct South End (Holgate to King) project this afternoon – but in the round of speeches that preceded it, some sharp words over the “next” AWV project, the one to replace the elevated structure along the central waterfront. The event included a long line of mostly elected officials on stage, with dozens of union-banner-displaying workers and a few sign-wielding tunnel opponents.
Mayor Mike McGinn alluded to his tunnel concerns but went on to say he didn’t think this was the time and place to talk about them; nonetheless, those who took the podium right after him – including Tom Rasmussen, one of seven Seattle City Councilmembers onstage – promptly proclaimed their strong support for the tunnel. (Hear them both in this next clip, with state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond – filling in for Gov. Gregoire, who had a sudden trip to D.C. – inbetween:)
Shortly afterward, Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant (below) went so far as to say the process that resulted in the tunnel choice had included hundreds of meetings and thousands of public comments, so, he all but shouted, “Enough already! We cannot wait another day” to build the tunnel.
That project, however, is still at least a year-plus out; south end work starts now. More video and photos shortly; meantime, click ahead for the official news release sent by WSDOT afterward:Read More
(From left, Sean Miller, Kimberly Miller, Carlie Williams, Alexa Severtsen, and their assistant, Seamus)
Today, we welcome a new WSB sponsor: Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts, a massage school located at 2707 California Ave SW. Here’s what they’d like you to know about the school: Its director, Sean Miller, says, “The Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts has set the new standard for massage education in Seattle. As Seattle’s only independent massage school, Northwest Academy offers a personalized education that is unparalleled.” All faculty members have a minimum of five years clinical experience and hold advanced health-care-related degrees, all the way up to the doctorate level. Sean also says, “We offer the smallest class sizes in Washington State, allowing for an individualized classroom experience. Our comprehensive curriculum integrates the art and science of massage therapy with a well-rounded holistic approach to client care.” The academy’s programs are approved by the Washington State Board of Massage, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and the Academy is licensed as a vocational school by the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board. Sean adds, “We are dedicated to the success of our graduates. Therefore, we offer ongoing career services to all students and graduates to ensure professional fulfillment. Our career services department offers students and graduates support with career choices and assistance with job placement.” He said the one constant note of feedback he gets from his students is that the Northwest Academy offers a quality massage education as well as a supportive community. Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts is online at nw-academy.com; you can also call them at 206-932-5950.
(Photographed right after West Seattle’s new Jones Barbeque opened: Shyla Jones & Charelle Love)
ORIGINAL 12:30 PM REPORT: Just checked on Jones Barbeque in The Triangle – drove by and saw signs of impending business – they tell us they’ll be open in a few hours. Here’s our last update, from June 18th, mentioning their hopes for curbside service – we’ll ask about that once they’re open later today.
2:59 PM: Now open. Saw the sign while driving back from the Viaduct South End groundbreaking event (story on that, to come).
3:33 PM: Added a photo. Address is 4417 Fauntleroy, if you haven’t passed the storefront before. Couple notes: You can’t call in orders yet – the phone won’t be in until Thursday. Hours: 11 to 9 Monday through Thursday, 11-10 Friday and Saturday. They haven’t decided yet about Sundays (including the 4th of July) – we’ll check back in a few days. That curbside service WILL be offered, 11 am-4 pm and 6 pm-9 pm Mondays-Fridays, not during 4-6 because of peak traffic.
(Screengrab from the interactive simulation – be sure to note the upper-right area to choose perspectives)
In advance of this afternoon’s Alaskan Way Viaduct South End Replacement Project groundbreaking ceremony, we asked WSDOT for the newest images – some of which were shown at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce briefing we covered last week. Even better, we just received this link to share – it’s a new simulation you can use to walk through the next three years of south end construction (this is the mile SOUTH of the proposed tunnel), step by step. (Background info – and more “survive the construction work” links – can be found here.)
Just got a note from Kamala with Marination Mobile, the food truck that’s been a hit in the 35th/Graham lot for months now. Next month marks a year since it’s been making Saturday visits to West Seattle – but it’ll skip the next two Saturdays:
We just wanted to let our W. Seattle peeps know that we will be closed on July 3rd (so that folks can prepare for the 4th), and July 10th as Big Blue will be at the Mobile Chowdown at the Seattle Center. We are already missing West Seattle, but look forward to seeing you all on July 17th. Wow, the 17th already seems too long to be away from West Seattle…
(So, those 2 Saturdays, go try something new for lunch in The Junction, or Admiral, or … On the 10th, in fact, you’ll want to be in The Junction at West Seattle Summer Fest, anyway. But if you’re looking for ideas, we’ve got a West Seattle Food-specific board in the WSB Forums.)