day : 08/09/2011 15 results

Photography workshop at the Seattle Chinese Garden in West Seattle

September 8, 2011 11:44 pm
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 |   Announcements

Just announced:

For all visual artists at the Seattle Chinese Garden
With Ray Pfortner, Educator & Photographer

Improve your camera and composition skills – no matter what your final medium – by photographing the Garden with exclusive early morning and evening access. Learn fromin-class and online critiques. Determine how to select, price and prepare your work for a juried, mixed-media exhibition.

For all visual artists with any camera and any level of experience, whether making photographs for artist’s reference to render later in watercolor, acrylics and woodcuts or for framing.

The workshop takes place over two weekends this fall:

Friday, Sept 30, 6:30-8:30pm, Sundays, Oct 2 &16, 7am-6pm
Tuition: $220 ($200 for Garden members) Materials: $20

Space is limited to 16. To register, contact the Garden at 206-934-5219 or

For more information about the workshop:

Also @ SW District Council: ‘Change By Us’; recycling contest

Two more notes from last night’s Southwest District Council meeting (the Fauntleroy Expressway Seismic Retrofit update, reported here earlier, was the first).

That’s a screenshot from, which has just gone “live,” as Code for America‘s Anna Bloom told SWDC reps. She and other Code for America fellows have been working on projects for Seattle (among other cities) off and on for months, as local community groups (with whom they’ve met, while listening to needs and vetting ideas) are well aware. The site is meant to be collaborative – if you have an idea, you can type it in the Post-It Note-like space on the Change By Us home page, and then it’ll take you into the site, where you have the option to hook up with any similar proposals already in the system, or to just go ahead and launch yours. Bloom explained that it offers options for sharing your idea, in order to get others involved, and other ways to get traction. Now that it’s live, in “beta” mode, you’re invited to give it a try.

Second note: Waste Management Northwest, which handles much of the trash/recycling pickup around here, came to SWDC because it’s in the final stages of planning “Neighborhood Recycling Rewards.” It’s a contest aimed at helping Seattle boost its recycling rate (relatively high as it is, there’s room for it to rise), and it’s going to be in the “neighborhood vs. neighborhood” mode. Whichever WM-served neighborhood “reduces the most waste through increased recycling and composting” during the six-month contest will get $50,000 to use for some kind of community improvement project.

WMNW came to the council with a couple of questions – whether SWDC could be the official WS community partner, including helping decide what the “prize” might be if this area wins. Also to be decided: How to define a neighborhood for this competition, since West Seattle includes three different pickup-day zones. Will the entire peninsula be counted as one neighborhood? Just so happened that Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair Mat McBride was at the meeting, and invited WM to to DNDC’s next gathering (7 pm September 21st, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center) to pitch there too. Once the contest is under way on September 30th, WM promises weekly online updates on neighborhood performance, and then an award ceremony next March.

West Seattle scenes: Three views of tonight’s sunset

That view of tonight’s sunset is courtesy of Barry in Gatewood. If you’re reading from the home page, click ahead to also see JayDee‘s view from Upper Alki, and WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand‘s view from Genesee Hill:Read More

West Seattle traffic: Driver’s 3 sign suggestions to improve it

(Looking at the Avalon/Admiral/Spokane on-ramp, from under The Bridge, 9 am today)
On a day when we heard from many – via e-mail, Web, Facebook, Twitter, and text – about a worse-than-usual outbound commute, WSB’er James cc’d us on this letter to Paul Elliott at SDOT. James has a few suggestions he thinks would be simple to implement, and a fast, vast improvement to bridge traffic. Agree? Disagree? Have your own ideas? Comments welcome, but first, here’s James:

This afternoon, I made a call to Mayor McGinn’s office admin, who forwarded me to you. In that call, we discussed the DOT’s lack of solutions for West Seattle commuters, especially those who commute to destinations north of downtown. The bottom line is that there is no innovation mandated in the traffic management considerations, and that’s specifically what I expect from Seattle DOT when state, county, or city DOT projects impact city residents. To be clear, I’m expecting Seattle DOT to own this innovation, regardless of the implementer.

The issue at hand is the near exponential increase in travel time. My personal 11 minute commute to Fremont now takes upward of 45 minutes on average, and has been as long as 2.5 hours, even prior to 7AM. This is unacceptable, and I believe that the solution is as simple as innovating beyond the poor signage along the route.

My suggestion is comprised by the following 3 signage changes:

Read More

West Seattle businesses: New ownership, name for Viking Bank

Seattle-based Viking Bank (WSB sponsor), which has one branch in West Seattle, is getting new ownership and a new name. Spokane-based AmericanWest Bank has just announced it’s buying Viking’s parent company, and will merge Viking Bank into AmericanWest. Here’s the official news release; here’s a letter from Viking Bank to its customers, saying “you can count on working with the same professional staff as always at our seven locations.” The merger is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, according to this list of FAQs.

Fauntleroy Expressway retrofit: Closures, detours ahead, Southwest District Council told

Though the $2.4 million Fauntleroy Expressway Seismic Retrofit Project is already under way – that’s what you seein our photo, taken this morning along eastbound Spokane Street under The Bridge – the biggest effects on West Seattle’s already-beleaguered drivers/bus riders/bikers are yet to come. SDOT consultant Josh Stepherson was at last night’s Southwest District Council meeting at South Seattle Community College to deliver the latest words of warning.

We’ve reported on this project before. But in case you’ve missed it, a quick definition: The Fauntleroy Expressway is the half-mile-long section of the high-rise bridge between Delridge and Avalon/Harbor. It was built in 1963, and it needs to be reinforced in case of earthquake. Stepherson called it the “weakest link in the corridor for (potential) structural failure during an earthquake.” (Some work was done in 1994, as explained here, so it’s not completely unreinforced.)

The work under way right now is around three of its support columns. But the really big part of the project will involve lifting sections of the “expressway” to replace its weight-bearing pads – and when that happens, there will be closures and detours.

Read More

The other project in The Triangle: Les Schwab Tires update

Though it’s not as hot a topic as the West Seattle Trader Joe’s project nearby (see yesterday’s update?), we know there are folks awaiting the opening of the new Les Schwab Tires on the southwest corner of 38th/Alaska, so we checked to see how that’s going. This one’s taking a bit longer, too; when we talked with a spokesperson in June, they were hoping to open this month. But that spokesperson tells WSB today that the new estimate for opening is mid-October.

Need an emergency-preparedness kit, but can’t afford one?

(THURSDAY NIGHT NOTE: We’re told event registration has maxed out now and is closed – sorry!)
This is National Preparedness Month – another chance to make sure you are ready for anything, even the things we all hope never will happen. In case you are having trouble with the cost of putting together an emergency kit, the Seattle Police Department and Target are joining forces for an event here in West Seattle later this month – but you have to sign up for it, ASAP. Here’s the announcement:

The Seattle Police Department’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is joining with Target to make that step easier for families in Seattle. Target has generously donated $10,000 to help families build emergency kits. Each participating family will receive a $100 gift card that they can use to build their own emergency kits. Seattle Police Department will be on hand to help people identify basic items for an emergency kit, as well as help them customize their kit to meet their specific needs. Participants must sign up for the event to be eligible. The event will be held at the West Seattle Target on September 29, 2011 at 9:00 AM. They will be given a map of the store with locations where items for emergency kits can be found highlighted and the gift card to make their purchases. Families with children are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

The number of available kits is limited so if you are interested in participating in this one of a kind event please e-mail the Seattle Office of Emergency Management at or call us at 206-233-5076.

If you’re OK building a kit without financial assistance – but just need advice on what it should contain – find it here. And remember the incredible West Seattle-specific preparedness resources offered by West Seattle Be Prepared, particularly the neighborhood communication hubs – know yours and be ready to go there in case disaster strikes.

Update: Port of Seattle says terminals ‘normal’ again

FIRST THURSDAY REPORT, 12:25 PM: If you’ve noticed anything unusual today at the port facilities in and near West Seattle: Reports are circulating that longshore workers in Seattle and elsewhere are off the job today in relation to a dispute that turned violent in Longview. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is quoted as saying it’s “investigating” those reports; the Port of Seattle has issued a statement acknowledging “work is not occurring at our terminals today”:

The Port of Seattle is aware that work is not occurring at our terminals today, as longshore workers are not present. Port of Seattle terminals are leased to terminal operators who work directly with ILWU for staffing. We do not know when work will resume. We will send an update at 3:00 pm today.

Here’s the ILWU’s side of the story about what’s happening in Longview. The dispute has been simmering for a while, as chronicled on the union’s Facebook page.

THURSDAY 1:09 PM UPDATE: Labor Notes quotes ILWU as saying no action had been formally called, but “large numbers of individuals appear to have taken action on their own.”

EARLY FRIDAY MORNING: Our partners at the Seattle Times have updated the situation. No followup statement emerged from the Port of Seattle Thursday afternoon/evening; it remains to be seen if work will resume today.

8:25 AM FRIDAY MORNING: The Port has issued a short statement saying operations are back to “normal” today.

Stockbox Grocers to debut first mini-mini-market tomorrow

Inside that portable structure – more commonly used as a temporary office – is what you might call a mini-mini-market. Maybe a micro-market. It’s in a parking lot at Westhaven Apartments 24th/Holden). Tomorrow afternoon, it’s expected to open as the first of what the startup Stockbox Grocers hopes will be many such small stores (as they explained at last month’s North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting). Inside, the Stockbox team is busy getting it stocked – we dropped in late yesterday:

Yes, that’s packaged food behind Stockbox co-founder Jacqueline Gjurgevich, but they plan to carry produce too. They’re targeting so-called “food deserts” – places where groceries (beyond convenience-store fare) are hard to come by – and the Delridge area was a natural for their first test. Future stores, they say, are more likely to be in slightly larger quarters – recycled cargo-shipping containers.

Jacqueline tells WSB that for the Westhaven pilot project, they’re still planning on the hours they mentioned to NDNC – 3-8 pm weekdays, 8 am-8 pm weekends. (They’re chronicling their launch on Facebook, by the way, and they’re continuing to raise money via Kickstarter – you can watch an explanatory video on the Stockbox page there.)

Zoning changes for Triangle/east Junction? Official hearing set

We’ve been reporting for months on the city planning process that could result in zoning changes for The Triangle and the east side of The Junction, including a larger area where buildings up to 85 feet would be allowed, and changes in commercial zoning. Now, the date is set for an official hearing before a City Council committee, and if you have anything to say before these proposals become law, that’s your chance. Here’s the short description of the proposal:

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is proposing to amend Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 23.32, the Official Land Use Map, and Section 23.47A.013, and enact a new Section 23.47A.009, to rezone areas within the West Seattle Junction Hub Urban Village (West Seattle Triangle planning area).

The DPD proposal would: (1) rezone areas from Commercial 1 (C1) to Neighborhood Commercial 3 (NC3), (2) establish a pedestrian (P) designation along SW Alaska Street between 36th Avenue SW and 41st Avenue SW, (3) increase allowable heights to 85 feet in certain commercially-zoned areas west of 38th Avenue SW, (4) introduce new development standards in the proposed NC3 85 zone to control the bulk of new structures and increase pedestrian circulation, (5) apply incentive zoning provisions within the 85 foot zone, and (6) resolve “split-zoned” lots by rezoning a portion of three lots to NC3 65.

The hearing will be at 6 pm October 11th at the Senior Center of West Seattle (if you want to speak, signups will start at 5:30), California/Oregon in The Junction. If you absolutely can’t be there – you can e-mail your thoughts in advance (deadline 5 pm 10/11) to Councilmember Sally Clark, whose Committee on the Built Environment is holding the hearing, at

2:07 PM UPDATE: The Land Use Information Bulletin is out now with a city link to the notice. You can also read the proposed zoning-change (etc.) ordinance on the city’s Triangle-planning website – go here.

Gardening at Genesee Hill School: Lend a hand this Saturday

September 8, 2011 9:56 am
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 |   Gardening | Genesee Hill | How to help | West Seattle news

(Photo courtesy Genesee Hill School Garden)
On this back-to-school week, neighbors of a closed West Seattle school are getting ready for the second-to-last garden-cleanup day of the year – and inviting you to join in. The Genesee Hill School Garden volunteers and Genesee Schmitz Neighborhood Council have been working hard along the northwest section of the shuttered school’s grounds. By late August, toward the end of their first growing season, the garden was alive with plants including sunflowers, corn, and tomatoes – and the Genesee Hill gardeners donated close to 100 pounds of produce to the food bank in August alone! As reported here previously, their project got off the ground – and into the ground! – with the help of a city Neighborhood Matching Fund grant, but volunteer labor makes all the difference, and they’re hoping for help this Saturday (September 10th) and two weeks later (September 24th). Both of those days, they’re asking for volunteers to meet them at the front of the school along SW Genesee (map) at 9 am – the tasks will include tending and weeding the beds, and taking steps to discourage invasives.

Weekend citywide traffic alerts: SDOT’s weekly roundup

If the reports we received are any indication, more than a few people are still stuck in this morning’s outbound-commute traffic, with bridge feeders like Avalon and Fauntleroy backed up more than usual, too. We’re checking with SDOT on whether anything in particular is to blame. In the meantime, here’s their weekly roundup of big events citywide that might affect traffic **this weekend** – read on:Read More

West Seattle Thursday: Schools; roads; WS Art Walk; more

In case you have just come back from an extra-long Labor Day weekend, all the major schools, public and private, are back in session now. Give us an “F” for not asking for first-day-of-school photos this year; Jennifer shared one just in case – that’s her son Theo starting first grade at Schmitz Park Elementary, where she reports everyone was “warm and welcoming.” Besides the school reminder, here are a few other notes for today/tonight:

ROAD WORK ALERTS: Today and tomorrow, city crews are scheduled to be out fixing cracked pavement in the bike lanes on the south end of 16th SW, as explained here … The westbound Spokane Street Viaduct is scheduled to be closed for construction work overnight; details here.

WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: Here’s an excuse to be out and about during another warm sunny evening – the monthly West Seattle Art Walk, 6 – 9 pm. Here’s our preview from last night, with a link to the list of venues/walking map (or just get it here); at left, one of the images you’ll see tonight at Seattle Real Estate Associates (WSB sponsor) on 44th north of Edmunds, with the work of Elana Winsberg.

WINE TASTING: Second Thursday of the month also means Wine Club at C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor) from 6-8 pm. 21+, bring an appetizer, $5 tasting fee or wines by the glass or bottle, 5612 California SW. … Extended hours for tonight’s tasting featuring Australian wines at West Seattle Cellars, 6026 California – 5:30 to 9 pm.

ARTSWEST’S NEW PRODUCTION CONTINUES: It’s the second night for “Amy’s View” at ArtsWest Playhouse in The Junction, 7:30 tonight, running Wednesday-Saturday nights and Sunday matinees through October 1st.

WATERSHED COUNCIL BACK IN SESSION: After a summer hiatus, regular meetings resume tonight for the Fauntleroy Watershed Council, 7 pm at Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW).

PILATES TEACHER TRAINING SIGNUPS: Early-registration deadline for Pilates instructor training by Beth Montanez, offering the first-ever Pilates teacher training course in West Seattle. It starts September 30th; full details are online, here.

West Seattle Garden Tour support grows, in giving & receiving

September 8, 2011 2:17 am
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 |   Gardening | How to help | West Seattle news

(WSB photo from West Seattle Garden Tour 2011)
The drippy doldrums of June and July seem a distant memory now – but even the 2011 West Seattle Garden Tour fell on a rainy day. Its popularity, however, was waterproof. 800 people toured this year’s ten showcased gardens, according to WSGT’s Jane Watson, and the total take from ticket sales, sponsorships (with co-sponsors including WSB), and miscellaneous day-of-tour sales was up almost 10 percent over a year earlier. That meant a commensurate increase in the proceeds awarded to the beneficiaries, almost $24,000.

To celebrate that success and generosity, WSGT organizers and supporters gathered last night at the Duwamish Longhouse to officially make those awards to the beneficiaries – eight local nonprofits (including a garden project at the Longhouse itself – note Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen on the left side of the ceremonial check):

Representatives of each project/organization got a moment during the actual ceremony to explain their work – we got it all on video:

As a volunteer-powered nonprofit, the Garden Tour needs lots of helping hands – so if you’re ready to dig in, you can find the contact information here.