West Seattle, Washington
He’s not only the only City Councilmember living in West Seattle, he also chairs the Transportation Committee, and that means lightning-rod issues galore. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen has been on a community-conversation tour around the city, and in case you hadn’t already heard (it’s in the WSB Events Calendar), an early reminder that he’s on home turf this Saturday afternoon, available to chat with anybody who wants to come by, West Seattle (Admiral District) branch of the Seattle Public Library, 2:30-4 pm. His website promises, “All topics are on the table.”
A once-big case we lost track of has resulted in a guilty plea, and the sentencing is set for tomorrow. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office reports that Stephen Hayes Kirk (left) – charged in the series of smash-and-grab burglaries that bedeviled local businesses last year – pleaded guilty in March to eight counts of 2nd-degree burglary and 1 count of 2nd-degree attempted burglary. We last reported on him in September, when he was charged with burglaries at Luciano’s Pizza and Delridge Uptown Espresso, added to previous charges in Burien cases, though he was suspected in others (here’s our coverage of the burglary wave last summer). His sentencing is set for tomorrow afternoon before King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman (1 pm, W-965), with a sentencing range of 51 to 68 months in prison.
We’re in South Park, where 45 minutes of speeches and presentations – ending with the opening of part of that 26-foot (horizontal) piñata – were only the beginning of the new-bridge-construction/Cinco del Mayo party. King County Executive Dow Constantine hosted the “official” celebration, with state, county, city, Port, and federal reps, plus a full regional-media contingent, and got a surprise toward the end – above, King County Councilmember Joe McDermott presents him with a photo of the South Park spot where Constantine signed his name on the now-demolished County Line building, promising a new bridge. More to come – we’ll put up video of the entire event (added – here it is):
And South Park invites you to come down and celebrate, as their restaurants are opening the doors for a late-lunch celebration right now (Muy Macho, Jalisco, and Napoli in particular), and other events are set to unfold as the afternoon and night go on. The schedule is here (and you can still see that big piñata – it was partly opened but not destroyed).
4:16 PM: Added a clip from the piñata chaos at the end. It’s not too long but watch till the end, when you see what Constantine picked up and brought over to the governor. A look beneath the piñata beforehand:
More photos – the devil dancers, also seen at last year’s old-bridge closing:
And the mariachi band Ayutla, performing in the business district after the speeches and piñata-phase-1:
And here’s the official county news release with the basics on where the project stands – the new bridge is projected to be open “in mid-2013.”
ADDED: 8 more photos after the jump, if you’re interested:Read More
The mayor, the acting parks superintendent, and a skateboarding star shared the podium at City Hall this morning, as the Rob Dyrdek Foundation‘s donation to the forthcoming Roxhill Park Skatespot was formally announced. Our video shows the entirety of today’s 10-minute announcement. As noted in our preview from yesterday, construction on the skatespot is planned for next spring. Dyrdek is in town for a show at KeyArena this weekend – as he explained at the announcement, some of the features from the skateboarding setup made for the show will be saved and used in the Roxhill construction.
Tonight, the West Seattle Triangle Advisory Group is scheduled for the second meeting in its Phase II – which is focusing on land use (zoning). The frame grab above is from the group’s first Phase II meeting last month, at the heart of the presentation you can see in full here: Should higher buildings be built in The Triangle (and the area spilling over the area to its west dominated by ex-car lots)? Here’s how that same presentation saw that area as it exists now:
Tonight’s meeting is at 6 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon). The public is welcome, and there’s a time for public comment, if you have anything to say about the area or the process. (Other documents, including renderings for possible “massing” of future development, are linked from this page on the city’s Triangle website.)
But what’s happening so far is not sitting well with the Southwest District Council, whose monthly meeting last night again included a discussion of discontent with the process. There was also some concern about how what’s been discussed at previous SWDC meetings has been conveyed – if at all – so for tonight, they were planning to prepare a statement to get those concerns on the record, including questions about whether the area’s key stakeholders have truly been included in the process (at most of the meetings, property owner/business owner participation has been fairly light), and whether the “concepts” are in line with the area’s longterm goals.
The council also discussed a report that a public-comment period will start later this month when draft streetscape proposals from the Phase I are made public, including the “Fauntleroy Boulevard” concept that has long been under discussion – and that proposal has reportedly undergone a dramatic revamp from the previous concept of a tree-lined boulevard, because bicycle lanes have been added, according to SWDC co-chair Susan Melrose of the West Seattle Junction Association. SWDC’s Morgan Community Association rep Chas Redmond called the reported bike-lane additions an “11th-hour move” that he says would not be in keeping with the city’s longstanding Bicycle Master Plan. The road proposal also is likely to come up at tonight’s meeting
Just in case you haven’t already seen this a hundred other places – and, since in the case of one company, it’s time-sensitive if you want to opt-out for this year – Seattle’s new system to “opt-out” of unwanted yellow-pages deliveries is now up and running. To sign up and opt-out, go here.
Back on Monday, when WSDOT issued its two-week warning of the impending Big Squeeze on the Alaskan Way Viaduct between the West Seattle Bridge and the stadiums (our reports are here and here), Metro told us they would have info out by week’s end, regarding how this would affect Metro, Water Taxi, etc. And now it’s here. What follows the jump is the Metro news release, which is somewhat generalized, but we have followed it with West Seattle-specific tips provided courtesy of Linda Thielke at the King County Department of Transportation:Read More
For those following this project step by step: The land-use decisions for the West Seattle Trader Joe’s are indeed published today, as we reported the other day that they would be. Here’s the one for the main part of the project; here’s the one for additional parking spaces. Both include “determinations of non-significance” meaning no formal environmental review is needed. Both decisions (the docs with the fine print are linked from the notices our links point you to) have a 2-week window now for potential appeals; the construction permit also would have to be granted before work could begin, but permit-wise, they are two-thirds of the way there.
Quick reminder since we didn’t have the standard morning-preview roundup today: The celebrating starts at 1:30 pm in South Park, with ceremonial groundbreaking for the new bridge, and continues into the afternoon and evening. Here’s the preview we published yesterday; here’s information from allaboutsouthpark.com. It’s clear they would love a show of support from their West Seattle neighbors (and everywhere else!). We’ll have updates from SP this afternoon as it unfolds.
(Photo by Amy Converse)
Since this day got off to an unusual start with two breaking stories (which will be updated as the day goes on with any new information that’s available), we’ll be reminding you about the day’s notable events one-by-one rather than the usual roundup. First: The South Seattle Community College Garden Center opens today, and shared this announcement:
The Puget Ridge Garden Center at South Seattle Community College’s spring opening is (today) (May 5th) from 11am – 3pm. Hurry in for a great selection of perennials, edibles, annuals, trees, shrubs, and more! The Garden Center is a hands-on teaching facility for students of SSCC’s Landscape Horticulture (LHO) program and all sale proceeds help support the program. We’ll also be open May 7th, 19th, and 21st, plus June 2nd and 4th (all 11am – 3pm). You can also like us on Facebook (here)
or follow us on our blog at pugetridge.blogspot.com.
(WSB photo from 35th/Barton during the outage)
ORIGINAL 6:56 AM REPORT: No idea if it’s related to the chopper/police activity, but now we have a power outage. Reports include Arbor Heights, Fauntlee Hills, Westwood. Lights are out along 35th in Henderson/Barton vicinity.
7:05 AM UPDATE: The City Light status map says the outage is affecting about 3,000 homes and businesses. Cause not listed so far. The City Light map shows the same trajectory from which we are getting WSB’er reports – Sunrise Heights, south along 35th into Westwood, a bit of Gatewood, Fauntlee Hills, Arbor Heights. We’re driving the area – the Fauntleroy business district has power.
7:24 AM UPDATE: Lot of people asking about schools in the outage area. We have no direct info, will be trying to make calls, but if you have any firsthand info of a school’s status, please post it in comments, which we are monitoring while info-seeking. Still don’t know the outage’s cause.
7:34 AM: Denny and Sealth both appear normal – power on, people coming and going. En route to check area elementaries. Reader reports in comments say Gatewood Elementary and Our Lady of Guadalupe both have power. Westside School too.
7:41 AM: Widespread reports in comments, and on Twitter, that power has come back. (Let us know if you are still out.)
7:47 AM: At least part of Arbor Heights appears to still be affected. We’ve just arrived at AH Elementary and they appear to be out – we’re looking for someone to talk with.
7:53 AM: We found a teacher who wasn’t sure yet what their plans were for dealing with this. We’ll be checking back with them in a bit.
8:02 AM: City Light now says “fully restored.” Via Twitter, they blame a “cable failure” and say they are still working to finish repairs. (If you do NOT have your power back, let us know …)
8:18 AM: We went back to Arbor Heights and their power is on, all’s well.
8:57 AM: City Light’s Scott Thomsen kindly looked up the exact location of the failed underground cable for us, just in case you’re interested: “The cable failed along Roxbury Street between 30th Avenue SW and 34th Avenue SW.”
6:12 AM: At least one TV helicopter is hovering because of reported police activity. We’re working to find out what’s up. 6:44 AM UPDATE: Chopper left (its home base decided not to use its picture). We haven’t found the reported ground activity yet but have messages out to police.
7:26 AM UPDATE: For those still wondering, whatever it was happened fast. Sounds like classic early morning raid/warrant activity. Commenters saw in Gatewood and High Point. SPD media unit is working to gather info on whatever they can officially tell us news types, and we will update when that info is available. We have reported recently on raids in West Seattle also involving federal agents (there was a drug raid a week or so ago) – “ongoing investigation” was all that they could say back then – no indication yet on whether this was that type of thing.
10:01 AM UPDATE: Police say the 37th/Thistle vicinity activity (the one that initially drew the TV chopper) was a drug warrant. Then there was activity in High Point that some have mentioned; that was described by SPD as assisting the FBI – a commenter has shared information on that one which we are working to confirm with the federal authorities. As for Arbor Heights after that – SPD had no new incidents, so likely related to something from earlier. Thanks for the on-the-ground police sightings – in cases like that, that may be the most significant information we ever get.
On Alki Beach, you can sit and watch the sunset … or you can play and watch the sunset! WSB contributor Stephanie Chacharon shared a scene from the season’s first Wednesday night games involving teams from Underdog Sports Leagues (WSB sponsor), which has “early summer” Monday games too.