day : 24/09/2012 11 results

Video: Who gets the levy money and when? BEX IV levy meeting in West Seattle

(UPDATED TUESDAY AFTERNOON with the completed text summary)

(WSB video of tonight’s meeting in its entirety, unedited)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

In West Seattle tonight, parents with a school that’s not mentioned in the BEX IV levy plan gave district officials almost as much of an earful as parents with a school that is.

Parents from the new K-5 STEM at Boren option elementary wanted to know what the plan is for their permanent home – district answer, in short: there still isn’t one – and also took the occasion to voice complaints about a lack of supplies and incomplete facilities, saying it will be difficult to believe promises the district makes for the future, if they are breaking other ones now.

But the biggest contingent was from Arbor Heights Elementary, most dressed in yellow, some holding signs, recounting health, safety, and climate-control challenges on the campus, and pleading for the promised rebuild to be moved up.

Right now, it’s not scheduled to be completed until fall 2019 – toward the end of the levy’s lifespan.

Before getting to Q/A and attendee comments, district managers went through multiple levels of background explanation, including why BEX IV is a levy and not a bond measure. (All the explanatory documents are linked here.) Unlike previous BEX IV-related meetings, this time they added information about the ballot measure that will also be on the February ballot.

District communications manager Tom Redman emceed the meeting; the presentation was led by assistant superintendent Pegi McEvoy, with district capital projects/planning director Lucy Morello also participating, and brief appearances later by interim assistant superintendent Bob Boesche and executive director of school operations Phil Brockman. Also pointed out, though they did not speak, were School Board members Marty McLaren (who represents West Seattle) and Sherry Carr, and this area’s executive director of schools Carmela Dellino (whose former school Roxhill Elementary was not mentioned at all, though it is in relatively bad shape).

The feedback from this meeting and two others around the city will be taken into account for one more draft of the levy, to be presented at a school-board work session next month. We have much more to add to the story of what happened tonight (check back by midmorning Tuesday) – but are publishing this short version first, along with video of the entire meeting (above).

ADDED 12:53 PM: The rest of the story, ahead: Read More

High-school sports: West Seattle-Chief Sealth volleyball showdown

(Photos by Nick Adams for WSB)
It wasn’t just a crosstown showdown, but also a match between unbeaten-in-conference rivals, when West Seattle High School visited Chief Sealth International HS for varsity volleyball tonight. (In the top photo, Sealth’s Zoe Haywood tapped the ball over West Seattle defenders, from left, Maddie Collins – who had 30 assists for WSHS – Devon Fox, and Eastyn Baleto.) The home crowd was intense…

… but WSHS came away with the win, 3-0; more photos and game info to be added later tonight!

5:26 AM: As promised, more scenes from the game, ahead:

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Update: West Seattleites again hear ‘The Hum’

(UPDATED TUESDAY with city response)

7:27 PM: For the first time since our reports on “The Hum” two weeks ago (here, here, and here), we are getting multiple reports that people are hearing it again – so far mostly from eastern West Seattle. Two things, while we check it out: 1. If it’s loud enough where you are, try to record it, and be sure to note the time and place. 2. Be sure to contact the city tomorrow, as per their request in our previous coverage (the phone numbers are at the bottom of this story) – or if they have voicemail, you can even try tonight.

1:05 AM: After continued reports through the evening, plus video/audio clips (see the comments), we set out to see what we could find. Here are the results:

–11:45, heard it in the distance from 30th/Holden. The same rising/falling, oscillating type of sound we heard on Julie’s clip from Highland Park earlier this month. From there, we headed toward Highland Park, since that’s where many reports are from.

–11:55, pulled over on Holden around 11th. Apartments on both sides; only thing we heard, some guys squabbling.

–12:02, while driving along the industrial stretch of West Marginal Way SW north of Highland Park Drive, we heard some industrial noise in the distance north of the parks, past the bus yard – more scraping than humming.

–12:08, pulled over on southbound West Marginal across from Lafarge. Something was definitely in operation. It was a steady noise, though, rather than the rising/falling/oscillating sound heard in the distance, and did not seem particularly overpowering; did not have a dB meter handy. We recorded it for about a minute (sorry about the ticking of our emergency flashers):

(Yes, there’s some aircraft noise mixed in toward the start, too.)

–12:15, pulled over alongside Riverview Playfield, 12th and Othello vicinity. We could hear it toward the east, and pulled out the camera again (no visuals showing because aiming it toward an unlit playfield revealed only darkness):

There, it seemed to have more of the coming-and-going quality heard in the distance. We’ll be checking back with the city later today, among others.

8:14 AM UPDATE: Still more reports have come in via e-mail and the WSB Facebook page and Twitter feed, as well as comments here. We will be checking with the city later. Meantime, the Highland Park Action Committee has added “The Hum” to its agenda for tomorrow night’s monthly meeting – 7 pm Wednesday, HP Improvement Club, 12th/Holden.

5:25 PM UPDATE: We expect to have a longer followup later tonight, but, as discussed in comments, we talked with Lafarge management earlier today – they’re looking for help in providing for once and for all whether it is or isn’t them – and then we checked with the city, whose spokesperson Bryan Stevens replied:

On September 14 DPD inspected Lafarge both during the day, while all of their equipment was up and running, and in the evening around 10pm. Tests immediately across the street found the noise levels were in compliance with the noise ordinance.

Later in the evening hours that same day, an inspector also visited a dozen different sites in West Seattle and took noise measurements. The sites were located from Roxbury to Camp Long and California to 9th Ave SW. All of the noise readings were in compliance with the limits of the noise ordinance. The noise posted in the blog was not detected in any of these locations.

This morning we have received a few more complaints about noise heard last night. We’ll follow up on any leads, but the sporadic nature of the noise makes tracking the source very difficult.

4755 Fauntleroy Way development proposal: Design Review Thursday – see the ‘packet’ now

Just published to the city website this afternoon – the “packet” of graphics and information for this Thursday night’s first Southwest Design Review Board meeting reviewing the biggest West Seattle development proposal yet – 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, including the ex-Huling Chevrolet site between Alaska and Edmunds on Fauntleroy, the gas-station site to the north, and the funeral home and ex-used car lot facing Alaska to the west.

You can see the packet here (PDF).

It includes four proposed alternatives for the site. Three – #2, #3, #4 – split the commercial area into 60,000 to 65,000 square feet apportioned between a grocery store, a drug store, and other shops; each includes two buildings and would require an “alley vacation” – seeking City Council approval for a current alleyway to be built over. This one is Alternative 2:

Here’s Alternative Three:

And #4:

The apartment count, according to each alternative, could range from 400 to 600. The other one (Alternative 1) – the version that could be built if no alley vacations were allowed – would not be able to accommodate the grocery, so it would have three buildings, 662 apartments and 32,000 feet of retail:

(The project team reconfirms that the overview page’s mention of 105,000 sf of retail is an error; the four alternatives range from 32,000 to 65,000.) As is always stressed, this is a very early stage of design, meant to determine the size, shape, site coverage, and other factors – so take a look, and bring your opinions to the meeting, 6:30 pm Thursday, Senior Center of West Seattle.

5:53 PM NOTE: We’ve added the “massing” (height/shape) renderings for each of the four alternatives that are in the documents for Thursday’s meeting. Again, the “packet” includes details specific to each one, and a lot of other information regarding where entrances might be, among many other details, and the reason we’ve been watching closely for this to appear on the city website is so those interested can get as much time as possible to take a look before bringing comments to Thursday’s meeting. Page 20 has detailed summaries of the pros and cons – as the project team sees them – for each of the alternatives. (Pay attention to the list of “departures” – those are specific aspects that would require an exception from the zoning code’s rules.) Another interesting point, in case you read past it above – we had reported that developers confirmed they were talking with a grocer, but this also mentions a drugstore, and then miscellaneous shops. No potential tenants have been publicly identified yet.

West Seattle, Vashon water-taxi money in County Executive’s budget

County Executive Dow Constantine also unveiled his budget plan today – and the county Department of Transportation calls our attention to the fact it includes the previously announced funding for new water-taxi vessels:

The 2013-14 biennial budget submitted today by King County Executive Dow Constantine includes $12.5 million for the design and construction of two new water taxis, subject to approval by the King County Ferry District. Federal grants will cover 80 percent of the total cost of the vessels with the balance coming from Ferry District revenues.

The County’s Marine Division currently operates passenger-only ferry service from downtown Seattle to West Seattle and Vashon Island using two twenty-plus year-old leased vessels that require frequent maintenance. The new boats are expected to carry between 225 and 250 passengers each.

Following approval of the budget, a request for proposals focused on vessel performance specifications will be issued. The county will then evaluate the proposals to determine which shipyard will construct the boats. The Marine Division anticipates issuing an award for construction of both vessels in early 2013.

The Marine Division expects delivery of the first vessel in early to mid-2014 with delivery of the second vessel expected by mid 2014.

Explore White Center, before you go:

With a thriving business district, White Center continues to draw visitors from this side of the city-limits line – and now you can check out what it has to offer, even before you go.

The White Center Chamber of Commerce‘s new website,, was officially announced today. (Here’s the news release, published on partner site White Center Now.) Its centerpiece is a business directory, which includes a White Center restaurant directory too. The site is designed by Noise Without Sound, led by Kathi “George” Wheeler.

SIDE NOTE: The rat did not make the final cut. But a mascot named Ratty lives on via the Rat City Business Association (WSB sponsor).

Happening now: City Council meeting with mayor’s budget speech, arena proposal, more

2:05 PM: Click “play” and you’ll see live video from City Hall, where Mayor McGinn is presenting his 2013 budget to the Seattle City Council. We’ll be reading the fine print as fast as we can and adding links and text highlights as we go.

2:15 PM: He is still presenting an overview, including touting the renewal in development: “When we took office, there were no cranes, and we see cranes again, dotting the skyline … (for) thousands of apartments,” the mayor said. That will mean new jobs at the Department of Planning and Development, according to a preview by our partners at The Seattle Times. We’re checking to be sure that this 763-page document linked from the city budget page is THE official proposal from the mayor.

2:24 PM: From that document, a note about park maintenance:

s. In response to 2011 budget reductions, Parks reduced the parks resources crews responsible for basic grounds maintenance activities such as litter control, mowing, trimming, and leaf removal in parks throughout the city. The reductions have made it challenging to maintain service levels, primarily during peak season. This additional funding will allow for a partial restoration of the grounds maintenance activities that were previously cut. The appearance, safety, and cleanliness of parks will improve with increased attention to litter control, mowing and trimming, and leaf removal.

Also of note from the Parks proposal, since West Seattle is home to two city pools:

The Department will increase swimming pool fees to generate additional revenues. Most of the fee increases are very modest. There are four categories of fees that will be increased, including: recreational swimming fees (family swim, lap swim, public swim, and adult swim); swim lesson fees (pre-registration group, Summer Swim League and personal instruction for all ages); fitness class fees (various water exercise classes and masters swimming); and pool rentals – swim team rental fees (ongoing rentals to teams serving youth and adults). The last swimming pool fee increase in these categories was in 2011.

(Later in the document, the fee increases are described: “Most of the fee increases are very modest, ranging from $.50 for recreational swimming, lessons, and fitness classes to $2 for private lessons. The biggest changes include a $10 increase on swimming lessons for summer swim leagues and a 20% increase on rentals.” The mayor had previously announced a plan to add 10 hours a week to community centers that serve at-risk youth, including Delridge and South Park.

2:35 PM: The mayor is talking about transportation improvements in certain corridors. Didn’t hear West Seattle mentioned. We’re still reading the full budget document linked above and will be checking the transportation section closely (excerpts so far, above, are from the Parks section). If you’d like to see PowerPoints and the speech draft, it’s all linked here.

2:47 PM: The mayor’s speech is over but the meeting continues – with public comment, focused on the upcoming sports-arena vote.

3:23 PM: The council is still discussing the arena proposal. Councilmember Richard Conlin says he’ll vote against it. (At 3:30 pm) Councilmember Nick Licata said he will too.

4:15 PM: The council meeting is over; the arena plan passed, as did the Morgan Junction parkland-related proposal we’ve been following. We’ll add the archived video in place of the previous “live” video box above, when it’s available.

Take a walk on the West (Seattle) side: 3 Feet First events

September 24, 2012 1:03 pm
|    Comments Off on Take a walk on the West (Seattle) side: 3 Feet First events
 |   Environment | Fun stuff to do | West Seattle news

As a new round of West Seattle In Motion – encouraging you to walk, bus, bike when you can if you’re not already doing any of the above – gets going, Feet First just announced three guided walks in WS “focused on the intersection between the built and natural environments,” led by Neighborhood Walking Ambassadors. 1 pm-3 pm Saturday, October 6th, Chas Redmond will lead you through the Fauntleroy Creek Watershed in 28-acre Fauntleroy Park (RSVP and get details here). 1-3 pm Saturday, October 13th, Bryan Fiedorczyk will take you on an urban hike through the Longfellow Creek Watershed – see everything from a beaver dam to large-scale public art (RSVP and get details here). And 1-3 pm Saturday, October 20th, “Seattle Stairway Walks” authors Cathy and Jake Jaramillo lead a stairway walk exploring “Alki From Above,” ending in Schmitz Park (RSVP and get details here). Feet First says all three of these walks are family-friendly – but space is limited, so use the links to RSVP ASAP if you’re interested.

Middle College High School settles into new West Seattle home

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Ask someone to name our area’s public high schools, and they are likely to stop after listing West Seattle High School and Chief Sealth International High School.

They would be missing one.

The south campus of alternative Middle College High School has long been headquartered in West Seattle, for more than a decade at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor). This year, it’s in a new location, after SSCC said it needed the space back.

Teacher Alonzo Ybarra invited WSB to drop by the new High Point home of MCHS.

Read More

West Seattle Community Orchestras: New WSB sponsor! Rehearsals start tomorrow, new members welcome

September 24, 2012 10:06 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Community Orchestras: New WSB sponsor! Rehearsals start tomorrow, new members welcome
 |   West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

As the West Seattle Community Orchestras get ready to start their new season tomorrow, we welcome WSCO as the newest WSB sponsor. Here’s what they would like you to know about their organization and how to become part of it:

The first rehearsal of the West Seattle Community Orchestras‘ 2012-13 season is tomorrow (Tuesday, September 25). We welcome musicians of all ages and abilities to come together and make music. Thanks to a generous grant from the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs through the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, we also have professional musicians providing individual and group coaching during rehearsals.

No matter what your age and musical ability, you are likely to find that one of our orchestras is right for you. The West Seattle Debut Orchestra welcomes musicians who have played for one year or perhaps are returning to their instrument after an extended leave of absence. For those with a couple additional years of experience, the West Seattle Intermediate Orchestra offers the full symphonic experience for those that are not quite ready to play the standard symphonic repertoire of our Symphony Orchestra. Finally, the West Seattle Symphony Orchestra, our most advanced group, performs standard symphonic repertoire. All groups perform community concerts each season.

In addition to our Orchestras, we are expanding our West Seattle Adult Beginning Strings program to include a Winds and Percussion class. These classes are geared toward adults with little or no experience with a musical instrument and will lay the groundwork needed for beginning adults to move up to the Debut Orchestra.

Participation in the West Seattle Community Orchestras is offered without charge to students K-12. Please visit our website for more information at or e-mail Mariane at

We thank the West Seattle Community Orchestras for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

West Seattle Monday: College classes start; school-levy meeting; football; volleyball; nightlife…

September 24, 2012 6:30 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Monday: College classes start; school-levy meeting; football; volleyball; nightlife…
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

Tonight the Seahawks host the Packers for Monday Night Football – and the Seahawk spirit started burning bright and early at Hans VW Repair at 35th/Graham in High Point, owned by superfan Hans Loos. We photographed the GO SEAHAWKS light show late last night on the expanding north side of the shop. The game also plays into tonight’s transportation/traffic picture for West Seattle, as you’ll see in our highlights ahead:

TRAFFIC/TRANSPORTATION NOTES, INCLUDING THE SEAHAWKS GAME: If you travel through SODO, keep tonight’s game in mind. Kickoff is at 5:30 pm our time. Tonight, the West Seattle Water Taxi has added evening runs to help get fans home. Also tonight, from our weekly list of closures: Southbound Alaskan Way Viaduct/99 is closed overnight, 9 pm-5 am, between Battery Street Tunnel and West Seattle Bridge.

WATCHING THE GAME: A variety of venues are likely to be dominated by home-team fans, but if you are a Packers fan, the place to be is the Heartland Café in the Admiral District.

FALL QUARTER AT SSCC: School’s in session starting today at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor), where this is the start of the fall quarter.

CITY COUNCIL: Items of interest on their 2 pm agenda (see it here, with links to individual action items) include final votes on the towing-fee-limit proposal and authorization for acquiring the land north of Morgan Junction Park by eminent domain if necessary (here’s our previous report; the Parks and Neighborhoods Committee OK’d it last week).

SCHOOL-LEVY MEETING: Tonight may be the final public meeting in West Seattle before Seattle Public Schools finalizes the BEX 4 levy it will send to voters in February. 6:30 pm at Madison Middle School (45th and Spokane); details, agenda, links in our Sunday night preview.

CROSSTOWN SHOWDOWN: High-school volleyball tonight, with two unbeaten-in-conference-play teams – Chief Sealth and visiting West Seattle HS! 7 pm at Sealth.

NIGHTLIFE: Pub quiz night at Shadowland, 8 pm … Flat Earth Society at West 5 features Chris Martin spinning tonight (Ampbuzz, Kinski), 9 pm … that’s also when Karaoke Kelli is on hand at the Benbow Room.

… and yes, there’s lots more on the calendar, for today/tonight and beyond!