West Seattle, Washington
9:25 PM: If you’re thinking of taking a piece of mail over to the Westwood Village U.S. Post Office sometime soon – don’t bother, you won’t get anywhere close. Police have it blocked off. They confirm they’re dealing with a “suspicious package,” though we don’t have details on why it raised suspicions. The rest of Westwood Village is open – as long as you enter from any other side, NOT Trenton, which is blocked too.
9:39 PM: According to scanner discussion, this will be handled by postal authorities, so at least some of the police will clear the scene. We’ll go over to check on access in a little while.
FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: The police did indeed clear shortly after that update. We talked to them this morning to seek information about what raised suspicions in the first place; SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson says someone “flagged down” police in the center to tell them that a package had been left outside the lobby doors of the post office. It was sealed and had a local address on it; they tried to find out who it belonged to, no luck, so they took precautions until the postal inspector took over the situation (with access to an X-ray machine).
We got a quick promotional sneak peek earlier this week at the trio of local entertainers who are performing as “The Vaud Squad” – as in a vaudeville-style variety show – at Admiral Theater this Saturday night. Mentalist Lance Campbell – who notes that he reads thoughts, not minds – will perform, as will magician Joe Black and juggler/comedian Matt Baker. The latter two are West Seattleites; Campbell is from Kirkland – and all three tour (separately) nationally, but are joining forces for one big fun show here. 7 pm Saturday, family-friendly fun, get your tickets online now. (P.S. Baker will be juggling in more ways than one – he’s making a cameo as the pre-show entertainment for West Seattle Outdoor Movies the same night!)
Google Street View is still making the rounds in West Seattle. Above, we caught it on camera as it passed WSB HQ back on Tuesday; today, we’ve had reports from Alki and Admiral. If you don’t use Google Maps, the Street View car has special camera technology to capture a 360-plus view of everything it passes – which is then immortalized into the mapping system, at least until the next time they send a crew into the area (could be a few years).
(Added 11:33 pm: Unedited WSB video of the hour-and-a-half-long forum)
6 PM: Seattle Referendum 1 – which a court fight shaved down to two sentences out of 140 pages of city legislation – may turn out to be the only actual ballot measure related to the tunnel that’s proposed to replace the central-waterfront section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. If you’re not sure how you’ll vote August 16th – or if you’re not sure what you’re voting on – or what it all means – or even if you are deeply versed on the subject, come on down to the West Seattle High School Theater, where two reps each from the main pro- and anti-tunnel organizations are at centerstage in a 6-7:30 forum presented by the WS Chamber of Commerce. Your WSB editor is moderating; the final half-hour is scheduled for audience Q/A.
7:56 PM: Forum over – thanks to the 20 or so folks who were there, and to the panelists, Gary Manca and Jeff Upthegrove on behalf of anti-tunnel Protect Seattle Now and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and Vlad Oustimovitch on behalf of Let’s Move Forward. We have it all on video and will put it up, unedited, when it’s done uploading later tonight.
11:33 PM: Video now up.
As Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) continues its 40th anniversary celebration, it seems fitting that this afternoon, the Admiral store is hosting a celebrity guest who’s been going strong as long as they have (and then some) – Graham Kerr, who, if you are 45+ or so, you might remember from his frenetically personable “Galloping Gourmet” TV series long ago and far away – but he’s gone on to do a lot since then, and right now he’s promoting his new book – “Growing at the Speed of Life,” about growing a kitchen garden – which he’s signing at the store till 6 pm.
Two closure advisories for you this afternoon. First, just in from SDOT, the new dates for the westbound closures of the Spokane Street Viaduct (the bridge between I-5 and Highway 99) as part of the ongoing SSV Widening Project work:
The westbound lanes of the Spokane Street Viaduct will be closed overnight for four nights beginning Tuesday, July 26. Each night work will begin at 10 p.m. and conclude by 5 a.m. the next morning, except for Friday night. On July 29 work will start at 11 pm and end at 7 am.
Meanwhile, the work requiring recent overnight closures of First Avenue South wrapped up early with no closure planned tonight. The 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. closure at S Spokane Street was due to run through the morning of July 23. …
And a reminder, the westbound Spokane Street Viaduct closures will mean that the exits to the West Seattle Bridge from I-5 will be closed at that time. Meantime, the next Alaskan Way Viaduct closure is approaching – this one is a two-parter: On Saturday night, July 30th, the northbound Viaduct will close 5:30-8:30 pm for the Seafair Torchlight Run. Then, just before midnight that same night, the southbound Alaskan Way Viaduct will close, and remain closed till 5 am the following Monday morning (August 1st).
Another multi-big-event night coming up – next Thursday, July 28th. That night brings the “Voice Your Views” West Seattle Candidates’ Forum … the first Summer Concerts at Hiawatha performance … and the next meeting of the Southwest Design Review Board, with, as first reported here a month ago, two projects on the schedule. The “packet” is now available online for one of those projects, 3247 Avalon Way, which is on the schedule for its “early design guidance” meeting. West Seattle-headquartered Nicholson Kovalchick is the architecture firm.
Their packet says this is proposed for 117 apartments and 117 parking places on five lots, four of which have single-family homes, one of which is vacant. The architects’ “preferred option” is a six-story H-shaped building, and though exterior design features aren’t required at an “early design guidance” session, the packet also includes their preferred option for that, which is the sketch we’re showing above. The “preferred option” would require so-called zoning “departures” including entering the building’s garage from two driveways on Avalon, rather than the alley behind the building, which has been the city’s preference for projects in recent years. The public meeting is at 6:30 pm next Thursday at the Senior Center of West Seattle, right before the 8 pm second design-review meeting for Harbor Properties‘ Nova (the “packet” for that isn’t online yet). Public comment will be taken on both projects.
We’ve talked about the West Seattle Grand Parade, the Alki Art Fair, West Seattle Outdoor Movies – but one event on Saturday in West Seattle that’s outside the category of “summer fun” is also expected to draw hundreds. “Speak Out for Good Jobs Now” is a rally organized by activist groups for noon-2 pm at South Seattle Community College‘s Brockey Center, during a daylong leadership conference, explained by organizers:
Congress has forgotten that good jobs are the driver of a stable and prosperous economy. We’re here to remind them. … The Progressive Congress Speak Out Tour is part of a [daylong] community leadership training conference organized by Washington CAN. Attendance is free, and language interpretation and child care are provided. The leadership conference includes sessions on the history of unions, holding big banks accountable, and structural racism.
The noon-2 pm “Good Jobs Now” event is scheduled to include U.S. Reps. Jim McDermott (D-Seattle) and Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), emceed by former Eastside congressional candidate Darcy Burner and Magdaleno Rose-Avila. If you use Twitter, the event has a hashtag: #CPCjobs. If you want to sign up for the full-day conference, go here.
New driver? Or — even if you’ve been driving a while — never had, or took, the time to learn how to check your car’s oil level or tire pressure, or recognize when it needs service (BEFORE a breakdown)? Got other questions about your car West Seattle Autoworks (WSB sponsor) is the latest local business to offer a free educational event – co-owner Todd Ainsworth just sent word of a “car clinic” they are going to launch, once a month for starters, with the first one set for Tuesday, August 2, at 6 pm. RSVP ASAP to get one of the 10 spots (Todd wants to make sure everyone has room to park!) – call 206-257-5344 or send a note through the online form at wsautoworks.com. West Seattle Autoworks is at 35th/Webster (map).
Thanks to Diane Nielsen for sharing photos from the ongoing demolition of the former Denny International Middle School, which, as she put it, is “rapidly disappearing.” Crews have now been tearing down its buildings since Wednesday of last week, according to River Steenson from contractor BNBuilders. Diane says she and her 3-year-old son “go out every evening to look at the latest destruction. He loves seeing the diggers too. Anyway, we see many cars and people passing by just to take a look, so I thought people might like to see it in the blog.” She included the next photo, wondering about the “strange fan-inflated bags poking out several of the windows of the part of the school that is still standing.”
(Our guess is, those are related to the asbestos-etc. abatement, but we’ll ask.) Once demolition is complete, the site will be turned into what Seattle Public Schools will treat as basically an extension of the nearby Southwest Athletic Complex (which it also owns), with a softball field and six tennis courts, to replace the ones removed for construction of the new Denny and renovation of Chief Sealth International High School nearby. A large grassy field will front 30th SW, where the main school building is now, and the district is holding that open for potential construction of a new elementary school in the future (no plan or funding at this point, so it’s NOT the near-future).
5:08 PM UPDATE: River Steenson from BNB confirms the window bag is related to abatement. He also says demolition of the Denny smokestack has been moved up to tomorrow. Sorry, no explosives – they’ll be using heavy equipment to munch away at it bit by bit.
After leaving from Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza just after 8 this morning, Don Wennerlind (front of photo) and more than a dozen friends are off on a 40-mile journey to a spot just south of Sumner in Pierce County.
Actually, 40 1/2 miles … 81 total round trip … which is important because today is Don’s 81st birthday, and for six years now, he tells us, he and a group of friends have celebrated by biking the number of miles equal to his age. The first birthday ride, “there were three of us,” he told us at Alki this morning; today, as you see in the top photo, the entourage is closer to five times that. They know each other from spinning classes at the West Seattle Family YMCA (WSB sponsor), one participant explained. We heard about this from Clemens Pera, who knows Don as “Coach” – no wonder, since, as he explained, Don taught athletics for many years and “is one of the founding fathers of the Special Olympics.” Oh, one more thing: “Last year, (Don’s) biking prowess included riding the STP, his birthday ride, and a senior race, which he won, all in a week and a half.”
(Canoes on the shore of the Salish Sea, photographed just after 8 this morning)
From the WSB West Seattle Events calendar:
TRIBAL JOURNEY RESUMES: The canoes that landed at Alki Wednesday afternoon as part of this year’s Tribal Journey are set to head back out sometime between now and 10, according to a security guard we talked to at the beach this morning.
TUNNEL FORUM: Bring your questions/answers about Seattle Referendum 1 – the tunnel-related measure on the August 16 ballot – to the West Seattle High School Theater tonight, 6-7:30, for what may be the only forum in the city dedicated just to this issue. Presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and hosted by its board chair Dave Montoure, with 2 panelists from each side, discussion and audience Q/A moderated by WSB editor Tracy Record.
METRO’S FUTURE: Bring your comments about the proposed $20/year fee and/or the threatened service cuts to the last of three public hearings before King County Council members, 6 pm, Burien City Council chambers (4th and 152nd) – here’s our preview.
CAMP LONG ADVISORY COUNCIL: You’re invited to bring park concerns/questions to this meeting, park lodge, 7 pm (more info here)
‘THE TEMPEST,’ OUTDOORS: GreenStage’s 23rd Season of Shakespeare in the Park kicks off its West Seattle presence at Lincoln Park with “The Tempest”, directed by Michael D. Blum begins at 7 pm (both nights).
LIVE MUSIC: Gin Creek plays blues, rock, and Americana at The Poggie Tavern (4717 California SW), 9:30 – 11:30 pm. … Dvod, Olive Juice, and Werebearcat! at Skylark Café and Club (WSB sponsor, 3803 Delridge Way SW), starting at 9 pm ($5 cover) …
Both of West Seattle’s major community meetings on Wednesday night tackled the topic of Metro Transit‘s potential cuts. In our video above, County Councilmember Joe McDermott talked about it at the joint meeting of the Southwest and Delridge Neighborhoods District Councils in High Point, listing the West Seattle routes that Metro says are doomed if either the County Council or voters don’t agree to a $20/year fee to cover its budget gap. McDermott has said he’ll vote for the fee, but if five fellow councilmembers don’t do the same (so far, four have committed), it won’t take effect without voter approval.
Concurrently Wednesday night, at the Morgan Community Association meeting at The Kenney (WSB sponsor), a Metro rep who was there mostly to talk about West Seattle RapidRide – still scheduled to debut in September 2012 – began with a recap of the fee-or-cuts situation. The proposed fee is scheduled to go to a County Council vote next Monday, she said, but first, the last of three public hearings on Metro’s future is tonight (Thursday) at Burien City Council Chambers (4th SW/SW 152nd), and there’s some talk that it could draw hundreds, as did the previous hearing, last week at the County Council chambers downtown.
If you haven’t been to one of the hearings and can’t make it to this one, you can still officially send a comment on Metro’s future and what you would like to see – use this form on the county website.
Another round of reminders about big events this weekend (besides The Parade) …
Late-in-the-day rain canceled last weekend’s West Seattle Outdoor Movies opening night (“Ferris Bueller” is rescheduled for August 27th), but so far things look good for THIS Saturday, when “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” is planned for the courtyard screen next to Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor, 4410 California SW). Movie’s at dusk; free, but bring a few dollars for concessions and a raffle, both benefiting nonprofits, and of course bring your own blanket/chair. It’ll be a great followup to whatever you spend Saturday doing – maybe first the parade, then an afternoon at the beach, full of art and music:
That’s the MoodSwings Jazz Band, scheduled as the first of 29 music acts on the schedule for the two-day Alki Art Fair this Saturday and Sunday. Music starts at 10 o’clock both mornings, continuing till 8:30 pm on Saturday and 7:15 pm Sunday – two stages, so it’s pretty much nonstop. Other activities – besides admiring and buying art! – include a chance for kids to help create a composite mural, with Charley Danner (who facilitated a different round of painting with kids during a CoolMom event at Alki earlier this year) – Art Fair organizers say each participating child “will be given a space on the mural to create a painting.”
As an Alki Art Fair co-sponsor, we’d love to see you at the beach both days this weekend, but here’s something else we’re also co-sponsoring that’s worth taking a break to be part of on Sunday:
It’s WestSide Baby‘s big “Stuff the Bus” diaper-drive day this Sunday. Your diaper donation counts extra, because if WS Baby gets 50,000 diapers, that’ll mean 100,000 more donated by Huggies. Don’t forget that the location has changed – go to Viking Bank (40th/Alaska) on the east side of The Junction, 10 am-2 pm on Sunday, to drop off your diaper donation!
*** More weekend previews later today…***