West Seattle, Washington
A note from Brendan reminded us that today marked 2 years since 26-year-old lifelong West Seattleite Steve Bushaw died, hours after being gunned down on California SW. If not for a last-minute twist, the trial of his accused killers would likely have been starting testimony about now – but, as reported here last month, two of the four suspects pleaded guilty just as the trial was about to begin, and gave statements that the other two suspects’ lawyers say completely changed the case, which has been described by prosecutors as a revenge plot related to a robbery for which the suspects blamed Bushaw, though police say they had no evidence he was involved. So now , as reported last week, the trial is delayed until June 1st. We just checked the case files; since the last official court proceedings last week, various motions have been filed by lawyers for one of the two remaining defendants, Bryce Huber, including one to grant him two public defenders, on the grounds that the case against him is so complicated he needs two. Nothing has changed in the case of the other defendant, Brandon Chaney. Meantime, the two defendants who struck plea bargains, Danny O’Neal and John Sylve, both are scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Lots of hot topics on the table, and 2 chances in the next week to bring them up directly with people elected to represent you: City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen will be at High Point Library (35th/Raymond) this Saturday (February 5), 11:30 am-1 pm, with “all topics on the table” for an informal conversation – here’s the full announcement. One week from today (Wednesday, February 9), School Board member Steve Sundquist will be at the Delridge Library (5423 Delridge Way) for one of his periodic community conversations, 11 am-12:30 pm.
From tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting – the monthly gathering (usually at South Seattle Community College) of reps from major community groups and organizations around what the city calls the Southwest District (basically western West Seattle) – first three presentations summarized at 8:23 pm, the rest added at 9:13 pm:Read More
(Screengrab from clickable online simulation of south-end construction, step by step)
We’re at the Sound Transit board room on the south side of downtown, where the Alaskan Way Viaduct South Portal Working Group has just wrapped up its first meeting in 3 1/2 months. This is the group charged with keeping updated on what’s planned for, and happening in, the SODO-to-West Seattle area, as the various components of the project continue. West Seattle members of the working group (full roster here) who were at today’s meeting included Jerome Cohen and Vlad Oustimovitch.
Most WS-relevant part of today’s discussion: Updates on the progress of the “south-end replacement” project – aka Holgate to King Street – which is well under way, and not dependent on what happens with the ongoing tunnel controversy. The project is headed by WSDOT’s Matt Preedy (a West Seattleite), who briefed the working group. Key points ahead: A frontage road to take pressure off 1st Avenue South will be open “in about a week”; between Atlantic and Holgate, foundations are being built for the new southbound bridge – the replacement will be side-by-side elevated sections, not the current doubledecker style – that’s why you’re seeing several large cranes; Preedy says they’ll be there for months.
Biggest of all: Over the Presidents Day weekend, according to Preedy, the first actual piece of Alaskan Way Viaduct to be demolished – the northbound 1st Avenue onramp to 99 – will come down. All lanes of 1st Avenue South will be closed between Royal Brougham and King for that work. Then up to six weeks of work are ahead while a new northbound onramp is connected. Before that, WSDOT is also working to realign the southbound offramp from 99 to the stadium area; that will be done over Valentine’s Day weekend, and when it’s complete – by the morning of Monday, Feb. 14th – you’ll exit onto Royal Brougham instead of 1st Avenue South.
Preedy also asked the working group if they have advice on whether information about the project is getting out efficiently and promptly. He mentioned one key tool – the weekly construction update (see it here if you haven’t seen it before). One group member said it might be helpful for a billboard to be up along the route with key dates; the project team noted that 99 will soon have the Intelligent Transportation Systems messaging that you’ve been seeing elsewhere (the lighted boards). West Seattle rep Oustimovitch mentioned that he’s concerned GPS systems aren’t keeping up with all the detouring and rerouting that’s just begun – he mentioned an out-of-town visitor “going in circles” trying to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B. 99 project leader Ron Paananen said a “highway advisory” radio station might be helpful. Summarized Oustimovitch – “You almost need a sign that says, ‘Ignore your GPS’!”
Back to the construction timetable – you can see the latest version by going here.
The second half of the meeting featured a presentation by the company that has won the contract to continue designing – and then, if environmental reviews are passed, to build – the deep-bore tunnel that is the state’s “preferred alternative” for replacing the central waterfront section of The Viaduct. It was mostly a recap of what’s happened in the months since the working group last happened; during Q/A, the state team was asked, what if one or both of the two anti-tunnel initiatives makes it to the ballot? WSDOT’s Paananen said he’s been tasked with proceeding with the project, and noted that, even if there is a vote in November, assuming the tunnel passes environment review and becomes the official plan in August, “We’ll be under construction by then.”
The South End Working Group’s next meeting will be sometime this spring; you can watch this page in the next few days for materials from today’s meeting.
Just in from Delridge Skatepark project manager Kelly Davidson – the 2nd round of bids have just been opened, and the “apparent low bidder” is the team associated with Grindline, the West Seattle firm that designed the park. That’s who local skatepark activists have been rooting for. They came in second in the first round of bidding, which was discarded – backstory in our report from last month’s Skatepark Advisory Committee meeting. More to come, and you can also watch Seattle Skateparks for details.
4:09 PM UPDATE: Grindline’s bid was $483,000, according to Davidson. And here’s what Seattle Skateparks’ Matthew Lee Johnston, a West Seattleite, who’s on the Skatepark Advisory Committee, has to say about it.
West Seattle High School PTSA is sending reminders this afternoon that the second annual WSHS Spirit Dinner and Auction is just two weeks away – Thursday, Feb. 17, at The Hall at Fauntleroy, 5:30 pm. Tickets are $35 WSHS staff, $45 individual, $75 patron, $360 table of 8. You can buy tickets by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 206-252-0476.
If it were just 30 degrees warmer, all that sunshine would feel just like summer. Something else that might put you in the mood: Looking ahead to summer outdoor fun. Two notes:
WEST SEATTLE SUMMER FEST: Checking the WSSF website, you’ll see the West Seattle Junction Association is already taking applications for vendors and exhibitors at this year’s festival (July 8-9-10) – the applications are linked here. And applications for musicians and other performers are promised next Monday (February 7th). But another big summer event is taking musician applications already …
SUMMER CONCERTS AT HIAWATHA: The Admiral Neighborhood Association has extended the deadline for musicians to apply to be part of this year’s series on the east lawn of Hiawatha Community Center – a free series that drew thousands last year. The dates run from late July through early September; ANA hopes to have the slate set by April. You can get full details on applying by going here.
Two notes from Chief Sealth International High School this afternoon: First, the school’s new sign along SW Thistle is finally complete. Its illuminated top section was activated some weeks back, but the section beneath it didn’t get the school name back until today – Steve Wiseman of American Marketing is in our photo, helping finish the job.
Second story: You might remember the saga of student Molly Freed and teacher Noah Zeichner, traveling to Aspen for the Ideas Festival last year – the photo at right is from the WSB story about their trip. Molly was required to follow up by creating her own Ideas Festival at CSIHS – and now it’s set. Her teacher has sent word of the first annual World Water Week at Sealth, March 21-25, which they are organizing in collaboration with 50 other CSIHS students and teachers: “World Water Week will promote understanding of the relationship between members of our local community with water here and around the world, with the emphasis on improving that relationship through conservation and local action addressing equal access for all global citizens.” Here’s the official website. Five days of speakers and workshops for students, teachers, and community members are planned, including a big public event on the first day, with keynote speaker Robert Glennon, author of “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It.” They’re also expecting participation from U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee and a blessing from the Duwamish Tribe. The week will culminate on Friday 3/25 with no regular classes – instead, students will participate in activities including a water-carrying walk; Zeichner explains, “We will be simulating what over a billion people do every day to gather fresh water for their families” – also tied to a monthlong fundraiser for Water 1st International.
If you saw police in the Lincoln Park area yesterday afternoon – here’s what it was about. Just out of the WSB inbox:
Yesterday about 3:30 PM, I (woman, late fifties, in good shape) was stalked by a white male, early 30’s, 5’11”, about 175, fairly attractive, with broad shoulders and about a 29 pant size – athletic. He had on a black ski hat, and I believe it had an orange stripe around it, a navy jacket with the collar up around his jaw, and light gray sweat pants.
I was walking from the south going north to the bluff trail, and just past the children’s zip-line ride towards the bluff trail. This man just appeared out of nowhere, and was heading for me, having to circle bushes that were too thick to walk through, but short enough to see over. He was looking straight into my eyes. As soon as he got around the bushes, about 8 feet from me, he noticed I had two dogs, so he made a U-turn and started walking next to me heading for the bluff trail. We were secluded and had not come to the trail yet. The park has bunch of little trails right there, and I was on the main trail. I don’t know where he came from.
My intuition, and the events with attackers at the park, put me on high alert, and I knew I didn’t want him behind me, so I stopped and told him to go ahead of me. He did, but as we walked, he kept slowing down, forcing me to slow down or get closer to him than I wanted to get. I knew there are benches along the bluff trail and we would come to one soon, so I waited him out and than stopped at the first view point with a bench. I did some stretching and must have waited about 10 minutes before I started back up the trail, thinking he had time to move along.
After I began walking up the trail, I met a woman with a cute dog and we talked about dogs while our dogs played a bit. Next I came upon an older couple who pointed out an eagle in a tree to me, so I talked to them and watched the eagle for a while. The guy I had let pass me, the creep, had plenty of time to move up the trail.
On the trail is a workout station to do pullups, and at that station, I thought I would go into the woods and “relieve myself”. After all a woman in her late fifties has to pee all the time. Well thank God & Goddess that before I went into the woods, I stopped to check if anybody was around, and there was that guy! He was behind a tree and I could see his arm. As I moved closer to him to make sure what I was seeing, he moved around the tree hiding from me. He almost caught me with my pants down! A lesson for me!
After I finally realized he was hiding from me and I had better get out of there, I went back onto the trail and a young woman with headphones on was jogging down the trail. I stopped her, thinking she wouldn’t hear the guy come out behind her, and she & I walked out of the park together. We decided his behavior was too strange and we called 911.
By the time we got to the north parking lot, at the instruction of the 911 operator, the police were on their way, and took our statement in the parking lot. The police called me last night, telling me a total of four cars searched the park, and they did not find the guy.
All & all, it was a pretty scary afternoon and I am sure as I think about how that guy was staring hard into my eyes that he had ill intent for me or some other woman. This is not the first time my dogs have saved me from predator men. I grew up in Lincoln Park and have been going there my whole life, and am always careful to stay on main trails, but nonetheless, this guy found me at the most secluded juncture of my walk.
Please pass this along. I wish to remain anonymous.
There was some scanner traffic regarding this search yesterday – we had checked with police, who had nothing to report at the time, but we are checking again. While at this point there is no indication this had anything to do with the suspect arrested, charged, and released last week, Duane Starkenburg, we should note that part of the conditions of his release on bond was an order to stay out of Lincoln Park.
ADDED 11:25 AM: Responding to our followup e-mail, she says she was shown a photo of Starkenburg and “it was not him.”
Out of the WSB inbox early today, from C:
My husband and I live near the corner of 30th Ave SW and Brandon [map] in the Cottage Grove neighborhood. Being bordered by the Longfellow Creek Trail and Camp Long (along with a neighbor who leaves piles of food outside on the trash bins for wildlife)…I’m sure the coyotes have made themselves quite at home around here.
(Tuesday) I had my fourth sighting since November, but my first sighting while on foot. At 5pm I was walking our 90lb mastiff mix when I saw a coyote standing in the street on 29th, watching us head for the Longfellow Crk trailhead across from the Camp Long entrance.
I tried to scare it off up the hill, but it just backed off a bit. I decided to head down the trail anyways, got about 20 yards and the coyote was now flanking us in the bushes, coming within about 15 feet from us. Thoroughly pissed off and creeped out we turned around and went home.
Definitely not normal behavior for a wild coyote…and probably won’t lead to anything good.
Is someone going to have to get bit protecting their dog/cat or small child before they would get re-located?
We’ve included “coexisting with coyotes” links before – here’s “solving problems with coyotes.”
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli, taken Tuesday during an abundance of Seacrest cormorant sightings)
From the WSB West Seattle Events calendar: For Seattle Public Schools, it’s an “early-release day,” with students out two hours early, and that’s why High Point Library has a special gaming event this afternoon, 3-5 pm, including open play on the Wii, all ages welcome, free of charge, refreshments provided (35th and Raymond) … For entertainment tonight, ArtsWest begins the second week of “Emilie,” running through February 20th (tickets available online) … Want to help chart the course of Seattle city-run community centers’ future? New group starts meeting at 6:30 pm, Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill (330 19th Ave. E.) – details here) … Also outside West Seattle but of high relevance – the Viaduct South Portal Working Group meets at 4 pm, board room at Union Station (401 S. Jackson), with updates on south-end construction and a look at the central-waterfront tunnel proposal … And back here in WS tonight, Block Watch, the West Seattle Triangle planning process, and the downtown seawall-replacement project are all part of the agenda for the Southwest District Council, 7 pm in the South Seattle Community College board room (6000 16th SW).
P.S. Happy 6th anniversary to Mission! The party starts tonight at 6.
7:41 AM: Just got a call from Amy, who says she’s spotted orcas heading south, off Fauntleroy. Off to take a look!
8:12 AM: No luck from just south of Fauntleroy. Let us know if you see them (for quick reports – on anything that’s “happening now” – call/text 206-293-6302 any time)
9:10 AM: Just texted – orcas heading down EAST side of Vashon (update from a moment ago, the 2nd text we received corrected the 1st).
Tonight, the West Seattle High School and Chief Sealth International High School girls’ varsity basketball teams face off. Last night (Tuesday), the boys played. A look ahead, as we interview the Sealth girls’ coach, plus a look back at last night’s boys’ games – after the jump:Read More