West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“We have found The Hum.”
So began Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Carolyn Stauffer, opening tonight’s HPAC meeting – and drawing cheers.
(If you don’t know why she said that – read this story first.)
There also was applause for Jonathan Hall from Lafarge, as Carolyn reiterated that the previous evening’s “reconnaissance mission” clarified that the plant was not the source of the persistent noise. Kay Kirkpatrick, who had first sleuthed “The Hum” in early September and was part of last night’s “mission,” stood up and reiterated her appreciation for Lafarge’s interest in community cooperation.
After reconfirming this morning that the sound traces to a ship-offloading operation at the CalPortland dock on the Duwamish River, Carolyn said, she went there, young children in tow, in hopes of talking to them about what had been discovered.
“A really intensive shop-vac” is how she described the equipment that seems to be the noise, and “they do it 24/7 until the ship is emptied out.” She recapped reporting The Hum to the city weeks ago and getting unrealistic responses, then forgetting about it until WSB reports and comments earlier this month revealed how many people were being affected.
“We have sourced it – so the question is what do we do from here?” Carolyn said. She’s in contact with the city, and pointed out that Julie Schickling – who recorded it earlier this month (here’s the WSB story with her original audio clip) – got it at 62 decibels, from her home, at 4:30 this morning. 50 decibels, Carolyn said, is the limit for the industrial zone. However, she said, they’re having trouble getting the city to come record it since they only work morning to mid-afternoon.
Carolyn also sent a copy of the crowd-sourced Google Map created by a WSB reader to the CalPortland manager with whom she spoke. Co-chair Billy Stauffer then said they received a statement just before the meeting, saying CalPortland thanks the community for pointing out the problem, and “they will do everything they can to work with us.” Carolyn added, “The ball is rolling and it’s just a matter of time.” Here’s the statement, from CP’s Steve Penswick:
We learned for the first time today that our operation is a suspected source of the West Seattle Hum. We have begun investigating the situation to confirm these suspicions. We will cooperate with the community and local agencies to take appropriate steps to address the community’s concerns.
“So much for the fish,” somebody cracks from the audience, drawing laughter, as Carolyn removes the microphone that the KING 5 TV crew had asked her to wear.
Meantime, The Hum continued, audible right outside the building – Billy said they had relatives visiting and while the subject hadn’t come up, they stopped and said – “What is that NOISE?”
Several attendees told their stories too of being troubled by the sound, but expressed hope that tracing the source was a great first start.
Two other big topics at the meeting – coverage ahead, starting with Nickelsville, which HPAC has been talking about for months:
Marination‘s famous food truck was parked outside their new Marination ma kai bricks-and-mortar location at West Seattle’s Seacrest Boathouse – as Marination’s proprietors Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison hosted an invitation-only sneak peek inside the almost-ready-to-open eats-and-drinks place. Well, not just inside …
… the downtown-view patio was in use too. Ahead, more of the sneak peek, including the sample menus they circulated:
Just a few days till Metro launches RapidRide in West Seattle, implements changes on other routes, and ends the Ride-Free Zone downtown. Big changes for bus riders (as detailed here), and it was clear from WSB comment discussions that many had questions, so we asked Metro to participate in a Q/A, and they agreed. In case you haven’t seen it in the WSB Forums – where we invited people to post questions during a three-hour window yesterday – some of the answers are in. Metro included the original questions in the document with the responses, so we converted it all into a PDF, and you can see it here. (Once the remaining responses are in, we’ll put it into a bit more of a conventional story format.)
Just last night – as reported in our recap – the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network heard that mail theft seemed to be on the rise. Kathleen reports it happened in Highland Park just this morning, to a neighbor of hers around 12th and Kenyon:
Some jerk is going around RIGHT NOW stealing mail from flags-up outgoing mailboxes! My elderly neighbor just got hers taken.
We asked about a description, and received one this afternoon:
I finally got a possible description of the suspect: small-size pickup truck, light in color-maybe gray or cream, nicely dressed white male, slacks, shirt.
Here’s what the U.S. Postal Service says about preventing, and reporting, mail theft.
Two quick followups, shared by community members:
That’s the brand-new slide at Sanislo Elementary, in a photo shared by Lynette Jeung from the Sanislo PTA. Vandals blew up the left side on the 4th of July, as we reported the next day; the district metal shop confirmed to the PTA about three weeks later that it would make a replacement, and Lynette tells WSB, “Needless to say, the kids are enjoying having their slide back. We appreciate everyone’s support and concern during this time.”
Next, a police car on Delridge means good news for the new opened K-5 STEM at Boren:
As reported here earlier this month, there are “School Zone 20 mph” signs along Delridge Way SW by the school, but no flashing “school zone” beacons, and parents have been standing out in front of the school with signs of their own to try to convince passing drivers to slow down. So today, according to April, who shared the photo, the Aggressive Driver Response Team came out to add some extra muscle.
Seattle Police calls it “a police scanner without the static.” Not exactly, but it does provide newer incident information than they have been previously providing: Automated Twitter accounts with incident types and street name/block numbers for each patrol “beat” around the city. The area served by the Southwest Precinct, West Seattle/South Park, has six: William 1, William 2, William 3, Frank 1, Frank 2, and Frank 3. Here’s a map; the W’s are basically west West Seattle; the F’s are basically east West Seattle. Here’s the announcement; here are the direct links:
Note SPD’s explanation about the information you’ll find on the feeds, and what you won’t:
There are a few caveats: in order to protect crime victims, officers, and the integrity of crime scenes, calls will appear on the Twitter feeds one hour after a dispatcher sends the call to an officer. The feeds also do not include information about domestic violence calls, sexual assaults, and other certain types of crimes.
In case you don’t want to check Twitter (you CAN use those links even without an account), we’ll incorporate these into the West Seattle Crime Watch page, among other potential uses here on WSB, as soon as possible. We’ll also watch the feeds too – but, especially since this is NOT real time and NOT all-encompassing, we will continue to appreciate your tips about what you see and hear and/or are wondering about – 206-293-6302, text or voice, 24/7 (other ways to reach us are here).
Right now, there is one West Seattle resident on the Seattle City Council – Tom Rasmussen. However, he, like each of the other 8 councilmembers, represents the entire city – since they all are elected “at large.” Every so often, a proposal to change that comes up, and a new one is to be unveiled tomorrow: Seattle Districts Now plans a media event Thursday morning in the U-District to formally announce its campaign, which it says already has the support of 90 “community leaders” citywide. Its proposed city-charter amendment – which would require about 31,000 signatures to get before voters next year – would create seven districts, each electing one representative, and two at-large members. Our partners at The Seattle Times have drawn up a map of the proposed districts; all of West Seattle would comprise one district.
Just north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock, work at the Barton Pump Station upgrade project is about to intensify – with what project spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson calls some “pretty major equipment” arriving starting tomorrow. It’s equipment needed for “jet grouting,” which this project is using instead of pile driving “because it’s quieter and better for working around other underground utilities,” she says. The work over the next few months will affect the ferry dock, too, with some lane closures. Full details are on this flyer. Kolb-Nelson reminds those concerned that “people with questions or concerns during business hours can contact Kristine Cramer directly at 206-263-3184 or e-mail email@example.com. We also have a 24-hour project hotline, which is 206-296-2999.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
A late-night round of sleuthing may help settle the question of what’s behind “The Hum,” which returned Monday night after two-plus weeks – at least, the latest version of it.
If you’ve heard it – listen to see if this is what you are hearing, and note the ship stack visible as we zoom in toward the end:
We shot that video (most useful for audio purposes) from West Marginal Way SW last night, not far south of Highland Park Way, after a late-night round of sleuthing involving Highland Park community advocates plus managers/staffers from a different company – NOT where the video/audio came from – who were trying to determine for once or for all if their operations were to blame.
(Barred owl in Lincoln Park, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
Happy Wednesday! Today’s highlights from the WSB West Seattle Events Calendar:
VIADUCT CLOSURE TONIGHT: Southbound 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct, overnight, from 9 pm-5 am.
35TH SW ROAD WORK IN ARBOR HEIGHTS: Scheduled to start today, per SDOT. Here’s their reminder – traffic could be down to 1 lane at a time.
BABY IN THE HOUSE? CHECK OUT ‘EARLY DAYS’: Today’s the weekly session of a new drop-in support group, Early Days, meeting at Nurturing Expressions (WSB sponsor; 4746 44th SW) in The Junction, noon-2 pm. Details here.
EARLY DISMISSAL: Today is the school year’s first districtwide early-dismissal day (two hours early) for Seattle Public Schools.
PUMPKIN-PIE FUNDRAISER – ANOTHER CHANCE TO ORDER: As she’s been doing every Wednesday, Diane Niemi will be at the West Seattle Eagles‘ HQ in The Junction to take preorders for the “Heritage Pumpkin Pies” she’s making for Thanksgiving – raising money for Alzheimer’s/dementia research. Don’t wait till it’s too late – stop by 2-8 pm (more info here).
SOMALI STORY TIME: At the High Point Library (35th/Raymond), 5 pm.
PATHFINDER K-8 PTSA: First meeting of the year, 6:30 pm – details here.
‘THE HUM’ AND MORE AT HPAC: Highland Park Action Committee resumes its monthly meetings now that fall arrives, and you’re invited to the Highland Park Improvement Club at 12th/Holden, 7 pm (or come early for a potluck at 6:30). The agenda includes the city’s forthcoming project to reduce combined-sewer overflows in eastern West Seattle – possibly including “roadside raingardens” in South Delridge/Highland Park, as well as the newest information about “The Hum” (WSB followup in the works for later this morning, too) and Nickelsville.
COAL TRAINS: From Fauntleroy Church‘s Green Committee:
The environmental debate about coal trains moving through the Duwamish corridor comes to West Seattle Wednesday, Sept. 26, with a free 7 PM forum in Fellowship Hall at Fauntleroy Church. Panelists from Climate Solutions, the Sierra Club, and Earth Ministry. Details: www.fauntleroyucc.org.
These are just a few highlights – there’s more for today/tonight (and far beyond) on our calendar!
Like most community groups, the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network has reconvened, now that summer’s over, and had a fairly low-key meeting last night at the Southwest Precinct. Without a featured guest on the agenda, the spotlight was on members’ recaps of how the summer went. Relatively quiet, most agreed, aside from some car prowls and thefts including bicycles. SWP Operations Lt. Pierre Davis (standing, photo left) said that matched the official stats. One trend that some participants said seemed to be back on the rise is mail theft; WSBWCN leadership will consider bringing in a guest speaker to tackle the topic. Some also wondered if city grants might be available to bring locked mailboxes to areas where theft is a problem. Reminders of upcoming events: Thursday night, the Safe Communities city-facilitated conversation at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 7 pm (more info here), and Saturday, National Drug Take-Back Day – drop your expired/no-longer-needed medications off at the precinct, 10 am-2 pm (more info here).
West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network meets on 4th Tuesdays; watch for updates on their website, here.
Preparedness is for all ages – and that’s the lesson learned at Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) today. Students took to the field this morning for an earthquake simulation, complete with role-playing. Some students practiced first-aid, others practiced being patients, and John Zilke from the Burien Fire Department even came to help oversee (he’s at left in the photo below, with science teacher Kristin Moore):
For Explorer West, it was all hands on deck – in the field – including head of school Evan Hundley:
The drill is an EW tradition (here’s our report on the 2010 edition).
SIDE NOTE: The city has a variety of preparedness classes coming up in West Seattle – see the schedule here.