month : 09/2012 340 results

Roxhill Park playground renovations: ‘Community build’ postponed

While work has begun at the Roxhill Skatespot/Playground site, there’s now a change in plan for when community volunteers will be at the site building the new “castle” play structure. Here’s what Mat McBride, who has been coordinating the project, has announced to those already signed up to help:

We just learned from the Seattle Parks Department and playground contractor that the build dates have been moved back due to certain materials being unavailable. We are working with Seattle Parks right now to identify a new build schedule. We are still building a park, but we will not be working October 17-21. The sign-up sheet will be closed and those of you who had the opportunity to confirm your shifts (thank you!) should receive additional notification.

McBride says he’ll have an update when more information is available about new dates, and you can watch the community website at We’ll be checking with Parks on Monday for more specifics on the situation.

West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival: Last call for activities!

Exactly one month till the first-ever West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival – combining the traditional business-district trick-or-treating with a close-down-the-streets dose of FREE family festival fun, AND a special California SW edition of the West Seattle Farmers’ Market. One big component of the festival (10 am-2 pm October 28th) is an array of activities sponsored and presented by local groups, schools, and businesses. Susan Melrose from the WS Junction Association is putting out one last call for ANYONE interested in organizing and presenting an activity for the festival. Here’s what’s planned already:

Sustainable West Seattle – Cider Pressing
Westside Baby – Face Painting
Delridge Food Coop – Pumpkin Walk
Hope Lutheran Church and School – Games
Community School of West Seattle – Mini Farm and Games
West Seattle Christian School and Hotwire Coffee – Cut-out wood frame photo booth (take your own), photo frame craft project
Guide Dogs For The Blind – Puppy Origami
American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 160 – Fishing for rubber duckies
Young at Art – Art Project
WS Blog/WS Bowl/WS Baby (WSB x 3) – Pumpkin Bowling
City Mouse Studio – Kooky Spooky Costume Comp’
West Seattle Eagles Hall – Fishing for fun in kiddie pool
Fitness Revolution with Jill – Win a treat for doing a fitness activity
West Seattle Music Studio – Music Listening activity (by students)
West Seattle Montessori School – Make your own bookmarks

Any other organizations/businesses/schools interested in offering a fun activity to make the first-ever edition of this festival unforgettable? E-mail Susan ASAP at

West Seattle High School: ‘Big gains’ in test scores, and more, revealed @ PTSA meeting

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Tonight is West Seattle High School‘s homecoming game – and it caps off a big week that included the first 2012-2013 PTSA meeting.

“It’s the first meeting of the year and we are really revving to go. I’m excited to be here because I think West Seattle High School is really turning a corner” – especially in terms of parental involvement -began the new PTSA president, Tracy Burrows. “Now, we’re just building on the foundation … of the last couple of years.”

The theme of moving forward and upward recurred throughout the meeting. Principal Ruth Medsker shared promising academic news; PTSA leadership spoke about goals for the year.

Read More

If you wondered why those Seattle Police motorcycles went by…

A procession of Seattle Police motorcycle officers through the Admiral District drew some attention this morning, and brought in several inquiries.

(7/21/2012 photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
We’ve confirmed it was one final sendoff for the former leader of the SPD Motorcycle Drill Team, Officer John Bernasconi, retiring after 43 years with SPD. We covered the ceremony honoring him (above) during this past summer’s West Seattle Grand Parade – he chose the WS Parade for his final ride (instead of Seafair Torchlight) because he’s a native West Seattleite. SPD explains that this was Officer Bernasconi’s last official workday; in appreciation for his service and camaraderie, his now-former co-workers escorted him home after he turned in his equipment, motorcycle included.

Arbor Heights water-main work: October 8th set as starting date

September 28, 2012 11:21 am
|    Comments Off on Arbor Heights water-main work: October 8th set as starting date
 |   Arbor Heights | Utilities | West Seattle news

(August 2011 photo – what the water-main improvements are meant to prevent)
If you’re in the Arbor Heights areas where the city will be replacing water mains and adding fire hydrants as part of the project sparked by the August 2011 house fire – watch your mailbox. Seattle Public Utilities is sending you this one-sheet, now that the date has been set for work to start on October 8th. They’ll move from south to north, starting on SW 105th between 37th and 39th; Award Construction is the contractor, and the city says crews will work Mondays through Thursdays, completing construction by mid-December, with road restoration to follow. As the flyer says: “When completed, these water-system improvements will increase firefighting capabilities, resulting in all properties in Arbor Heights being within 1,000 feet of a 1,000 gallon-per-minute fire hydrant.”

P.S. In case you missed it – one month ago, we researched and published a one-year-later followup on the fire and these planned improvements; see it here.

Fun event in West Seattle on October 6th – IF a venue is found!

Heard about the Caine’s Arcade Cardboard Challenge (inspired by the now-famous video above)? West Seattleite Marie, who publishes Make and Takes, is hosting one as part of the worldwide event on Saturday, October 6th, but needs to find a venue! She says:

The location would need to be indoors and large enough to host up to 30-40 people with room for cardboard creations, multiple tables preferred. Children, and adults, will bring in their pre-made cardboard creations to display and for others to play with, cardboard-arcade style. This event is also in need of cardboard, scissors and tape donations as well, for those who want to create while they are there. If you have any information that would help, please e-mail Marie at

If she gets a place set up for 10/6, we’ll add a followup with where you can go to be part of it!

West Seattle Friday: WSHS Homecoming, and more

(From Dan Murphy: The sunrise, from a bus, through a fence, over WS Stadium. Plus: Rainbow photos here!)
It’s a turbo preview today – much news in the works, even before we see what else the day brings – so for the COMPLETE roundup of what’s up today/tonight, we point you to the WSB West Seattle Events Calendar. For a preview of what’s behind each line, mouse over its right side and click the “plus” sign; then, to see the full entry, click “READ MORE” and the page will open, usually including a map. Here’s the big event for tonight:

WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL HOMECOMING: Barbecue at 6 pm, game at 7 pm, vs. Rainier Beach, at Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle). WSHS fans are asked to wear white. Details in the brand-new edition of the Westside Weekly newsletter.

Much more – from gardening to music, and beyond – on the calendar.

Video: SPD ‘here to listen’ at Safe Communities gathering in West Seattle

What do West Seattle and South Park residents want from their police? That was one of the key questions as the first Safe Communities Initiative gathering brought more than 100 people to Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in North Delridge last night. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen told those gathered, “We’re here to listen.” While much of the meeting was held in small-group conversations – like the one in our top photo – Capt. Paulsen and Mayor McGinn spoke for a few minutes at the start, and we recorded that on video:

Among the police there to listen – out of uniform – was Community Police Team Officer Jonathan Kiehn, at left:

Each group recorded its requests and ideas, and the pages of notes were collected after about an hour. Here’s one representative page:

If you couldn’t get to the meeting – scroll down this page for a form you can use to tell SPD your top safety concern. That same page lists the “Safe Communities” meetings to be held in SPD’s other four precinct areas later this fall.

P.S. The mayor’s office also points out that SPD is still offering “Living Room Conversations” if you’d like to get your neighbors together for a face-to-face with local police – we covered one in Arbor Heights last spring.

P.P.S. The Vicious Puppies Crew – local breakdancers – performed at the event, and we recorded that too:

West Seattle weather: Rainbows to start the day

7:23 AM: Thanks to Don Brubeck for sharing the photo – rainbows to start the day, and a shower!

7:38 AM: Thanks also to everyone else who has sent photos! Jason Axley says he “caught this on my way to the bus”:

This one’s from Kari:

The forecast calls for high clouds, and then another chance of showers tonight.

ADDED 10:03 AM: Click ahead for more photos shared by WSB’ers: Read More

West Seattle Crime Watch: Shooting update; stolen car found; theft reports…

We start West Seattle Crime Watch tonight with a report that there’s been a major break in connection with the drive-by shooting September 10th at 26th and Hudson. No one was hurt, but it was a close call for one driver, who wound up with a bullet hole in his windshield, as our photo shows. The announcement was made by Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen at tonight’s Safe Communities meeting (separate meeting report to come); we hope to get more details tomorrow. (Update: The big break is that police have found a car linked to the incident – no arrest yet, but progress.)

Also tonight, we just got word that a stolen car reported here recently has been found – 12 blocks away from where it was taken. Karen says her CR-V was undamaged. But, she adds, “In the car I found what appears to be the remnants of stolen mail from 2 West Seattle residents.”

Another WSB’er named Karen was hit by scooter thieves – her black-and-purple Honda Elite scooter was stolen in Gatewood, 7100 block of 36th SW, yesterday or last night, license #951570.

Finally – in Sunrise Heights, HM is having a problem with what s/he calls “delivery snatchers”:

Just wanted to let neighbors know of two recent porch thefts in the Sunrise Heights neighborhood. On Friday we had two new leather dining room chairs delivered to our front porch (they were supposed to be held at the FedEx store, but there was a mixup) and they were taken off the front porch sometime that afternoon or evening. This morning we had groceries delivered and we know they arrived sometime between 3am – 6am, and when I went to the porch at 6:30am to get them all but a box of waffles had been taken.

Please be careful of what you have delivered to your house and be on the lookout for “delivery snatchers.”

4755 Fauntleroy’s first design review, report #1: Try again

After compiling a long list of concerns about the megaproject proposed for 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW – and because, in the words of Southwest Design Review Board member Layne Bennion, it’s a “humongous project” – the board decided tonight to ask the project team to come back for a second round of Early Design Guidance.

That means there will be at least two more meetings before this project clears Design Review. It was agreed that the only workable alternative was #4 – outlined in the rendering above – and the project team confirmed that was closest to what it hopes to have in the project – around 370 apartments, 570 parking spaces, a grocery store and drugstore (still unnamed) and other retail. Major concerns included what the key corner at Fauntleroy and Alaska would look like, and how the drive between the project’s two buildings would work. Much more in a separate report later; we estimate 50 or so people attended, and there were some thoughtful and thorough comments (from 13 of the attendees). We have all but five minutes of the two-and-a-half-hour meeting (camera change) on video and will upload it to include with the full-length story.

Next step: The project team goes back to the drawing board to address the issues brought up tonight, and when they’re ready, a date will be set for that second EDG meeting.

West Seattle ‘hum’ update: CalPortland ‘committed to finding a solution,’ says HPAC

With community advocates tracing the source of “The Hum” to a ship-unloading operation at CalPortland on the Duwamish River edge of West Seattle – as first reported here yesterday – the question became: So now what? We have an update from Carolyn and Billy Stauffer, co-chairs of Highland Park Action Committee, who had helped sleuth “The Hum” and led the discussion at last night’s HPAC meeting. They went back to CalPortland today/tonight and have just shared this update with WSB:

Here are the steps CalPortland is taking:

*They can’t just shut it down right now after learning about the problem, as the ship is on an international schedule and they’ve committed to having it unloaded by a certain date.

*They shut the vacuum pumps off for 6 hours today to change the direction of the discharge hoping that might help in the interim.

*They are adding soundproofing to the unit as we speak

*They have hired an outside noise consultant to help them find a solution

*Tomorrow afternoon the current shipment should be done, and they plan on dissambling the vacuums so they can inspect the mufflers and

*Noise abatement equipment within the unit

*Most importantly though- they are committed to finding a solution

We still have an inquiry out with the city to see where their investigation stands with the new discovery, but didn’t hear back before day’s end.

Fauntleroy Fall Festival 2012: Cakes and volunteers needed!

September 27, 2012 5:53 pm
|    Comments Off on Fauntleroy Fall Festival 2012: Cakes and volunteers needed!
 |   Fauntleroy | West Seattle festivals | West Seattle news

The Fauntleroy Fall Festival is a little more than two weeks away – and in addition to making plans to come enjoy it, there are a few ways you can help. From Kim Petram:

It’s back! The wildly popular cake walk is back. Handmade Fauntleroy Fall Festival chef hats will again be the prizes for best decorated cakes. The festival planning committee is asking for community members to donate cakes to the cake walk. Any homemade cake will do – you don’t have to be an expert decorator, just do your best.

Please bring all donated cakes to the festival on Sunday October 14th, dropoff starting at 11:00 a.m. at The Hall at Fauntleroy. This year’s festival runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the Fauntleroy triangle.

Also: Volunteers are still needed. Please contact the Fauntleroy Church, UCC office at 206-932-5600 if you can volunteer a few hours at the festival.

The “Fauntleroy triangle” where the festival is held includes the schoolhouse, church, and Y, 9131 California SW and 9140 California SW (with a crossing guard on duty for the duration).

Why there’s a helicopter over White Center/Westwood

5:47 PM: We’re en route to check out a report of a crash in White Center, and that’s apparently what’s brought the chopper that we’re getting questions about. More shortly.

5:58 PM UPDATE: Our original text tip had said the crash was at the 5-corners intersection at 16th/100th – but we’re not finding anything, yet.

West Seattle’s Co-op Preschools: Welcoming a new WSB sponsor

West Seattle’s Co-op Preschools are among our newest WSB sponsors, and here’s what they want you to know:

“Kindergarten readiness! School success!” is all over the news! Kindergarten teachers consistently comment that kids who come from the Co-op Preschools are so ready to succeed. Yes, our preschools have changed with the times to make them more relevant to today’s parents and to keep up with new advances in early childhood education. But the basic formula remains: Co-op kids explore a rich curriculum, learn to think and make wise choices, practice solving problems, learn to treat others with empathy and compassion. ABC’s, 1-2-3’s—literacy, math, and science—are woven into play so children learn to approach learning with enthusiasm. And the fun and learning starts in our Parent-Infant classes through Pre-K.

Our tuition is much lower than other preschools. We can keep the tuition low because we are a nonprofit organization run by parents. Some people have heard rumors that co-op is “work,” but each parent gets to choose how much and what kind of effort they put in. Parents enjoy having their voices heard. And they enjoy getting to know other parents, seeing how their child does at school, and watching their child develop friendships with other children. Our preschool teachers follow educational guidelines established by National Association for Education of Young Children and WA State Early Learning & Development Guidelines 2012.

South Seattle Community College‘s parent-education component offers the latest in child development and guidance—someone there to share the normal joys and challenges of raising kids. Parent discussions are geared to the child’s age and the parent’s interests. We offer talks on things like: No More Diapers, Using Logical Consequences, Parenting in the Media Age, Kitchen Science, Math In The Back Yard, No More No’s, Solving Dinnertime Meltdowns.
Because parents are all learning together and have similar parenting styles they develop a community of friendships that lasts for years. As one parent says:

Both of my children were lucky to spend the first five years of their lives in the coop program. Co-op is so much more than just preschool. It is a community where both teachers and parents work together to create an environment filled with kindness, compassion, creativity, fun, and learning.

West Seattle’s Co-op Preschools have neighborhood locations in the Admiral, Alki, Lincoln Park, Arbor Heights, and SSCC campus areas, with some openings this fall (mostly for 3 and under right now and a few spaces in our Pre-K classes). Contact Judy Hall at 206-938-2278 or And find out more at our website:

We thank the Co-op Preschools 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.

Demolition work under way at DESC’s Delridge site

Last time we checked in with DESC regarding status/timetable on the 66-unit Delridge Supportive Housing project, executive director Bill Hobson said construction was expected to start in the first half of November. However, we noticed there’s work on the site now – demolition crews (you can’t see the backhoe in our photo, but it’s there). So we checked back with Hobson, who explained via e-mail:

We are demolishing the buildings on the site under a separate demolition permit. We wanted to get this done during August just to get the site cleaned up, but the general contractor encountered significant amounts of asbestos that had to be abated per code and delayed the schedule. The demolition contractor mobilized on site Wednesday and has completed the prep work … and hopefully will have the buildings down and the site cleaned of in the next 10 work days. Actual construction will not begin until sometime between Nov 1st and 10th.

Things are very busy along that section of Delridge right now; SDOT is also doing sidewalk ramp work at the Delridge/Findlay intersection.

Former Youngstown director Randy Engstrom to lead city arts office

Just in from the city – Randy Engstrom, former director of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, will become interim director of the city Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. Read on for the city’s news release:Read More

Metro changes: New Route 50 has a reroute from the get-go

Saturday’s the day for big Metro changes, including the addition of Route 50. But the county has just sent word there’ll be a change from the original plan. North Delridge won’t get westbound service for a few months, it seems:

Beginning Saturday, September 29, Metro Transit will launch the new, much requested east/west bus Route 50 to connect West Seattle with southeast Seattle via North Delridge and SODO.

However, due to delays in the installation of a traffic signal at SW Genesee St and SW Avalon Way – required for Route 50 to make a left turn onto Avalon – westbound Route 50 heading toward Alki, will be temporarily rerouted via SW Spokane St and SW Avalon Way.

Heading toward West Seattle, Route 50 will serve existing bus stops on SW Spokane Street and SW Avalon Way, and will not serve the North Delridge area south of Spokane St.

Routes 120 and 125 from downtown Seattle will continue to serve southbound Delridge Way SW between SW Spokane St and SW Genesee St.

Route 50 heading toward SODO and Columbia City will follow its regular route via SW Genesee St and Delridge Way SW, and will serve its regularly posted stops along that routing.

The new traffic signal is scheduled to be installed by the end of the year.

Additionally, in the Admiral District, Route 50 heading toward SODO and Columbia City will be temporarily rerouted due to a turning radius issue from eastbound SW Admiral Way onto southbound California Av SW. There are no stops affected by this minor reroute.

P.S. There were some Route 50 questions in our reader questions/Metro answers Q/A – here’s the first installment (a few more answers still to come).

ADDED 2:16 PM: Here’s the reroute map.

Leapin’ lederhosen! ‘Authentic Oktoberfest’ in West Seattle

September 27, 2012 11:20 am
|    Comments Off on Leapin’ lederhosen! ‘Authentic Oktoberfest’ in West Seattle
 |   Fun stuff to do | West Seattle news

Last year, when we mentioned this annual event in our daily preview, turned out it had long been sold out. So here’s an advance alert about the most festive Oktoberfest you’ll find in West Seattle – and possibly beyond – this fall. From the Austria Club of Washington, which also shared the photo:

Looking for an authentic Oktoberfest experience, but don’t have time to fly to Munich? Then come the the Alki Masonic Hall on Friday, October 19 (4736 40th Ave SW).

The Austria Club of Washington is hosting its traditional Oktoberfest with a star attraction: the 40-piece Blaskapelle Tourchester Lich returns to Seattle to blow the wanna-be ‘fests’ away. This German band last played here a dozen years ago to great acclaim. During breaks, our Enzian Schuhplattler will entertain. German food and Paulaner beer, as well as Austrian wine and soft drinks at reasonable prices. The admission fee ($25 in advance) includes dinner. Table reservations for parties of 8, please. Tickets must be paid and reservations made by October 15. Mail check, made out to ‘Austria Club of WA” to Ardis Maine-Wittmann, 15902 70th Ave W, Edmonds, WA 98026. For info, call Ardis at 425-745-0654 or visit us at

West Seattle schools: Sanislo teacher’s letter to you

The issue of school crowding is a big one in West Seattle’s public schools right now. But it’s an issue at some schools that aren’t necessarily overcrowded overall – but dealing with issues in individual classes or grades. A Sanislo Elementary teacher has a message for you, and an invitation, in this letter about what’s happening at her school:

I have twenty-eight students in my kindergarten classroom at Sanislo Elementary.

As a veteran teacher I can say that I have faced numbers like this before, back in 1984-85. But with the education standards of 2012 is this an equitable start for these 28 young children, these eager to learn, clamoring to be seen and heard, and budding students? My team teaching partner faces 29 students on her side of the room. Yes, I said ROOM. We are 102 A and B at Sanislo Elementary. Our building is designed in the open concept style.

The contractual class size limit in Seattle Public Schools is 26. For the time being, Ernie Seevers, our principal, has done his best to provide more assistance in our classrooms by assigning tutors to help us throughout the day. The tutors are incredibly kind and understanding of young children and they are very good at carrying out our quick directions to work with students on writing, reading, or cutting and gluing. But tutors are a temporary measure. Twenty-six students are the contractual number, and in all honesty, that number should be even lower. We need another classroom teacher at Sanislo to provide adequate learning opportunity for our youngest students.

In the 9-23-12 Seattle Times there was an article titled: Why Washington Kids Aren’t Going to College. The last line of the article quotes State Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, saying “Our kids are not getting the bug for learning.” Isn’t kindergarten where that ‘bug’ should begin? If you are a Sanislo parent, alumnus, or the parents of alumni, please join us at the community meeting with Superintendent Jose Banda on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Concord International Elementary School, 723 S. Concord St. at 6:00 pm. The children can reach quite a volume in the classroom but they need you and I to make a din for them on the outside.

Teresa Goethe
Sanislo Kindergarten Teacher

West Seattle Thursday: ‘Safe Communities’ conversation; Design Review for 4755 Fauntleroy; WS Democratic Women; more

Thanks to Laura James for the seal-pup photo from Wednesday (it’s been a busy week for Seal Sitters, according to their website). On to today/tonight – from the WSB West Seattle Events Calendar:

TRAFFIC/WATER TAXI ALERT, HUSKIES’ GAME: The University of Washington plays at CenturyLink Field tonight, which means both extra traffic through SODO and extra West Seattle Water Taxi runs. (P.S. to WSU fans: The county is adding an extra late run on Saturday night for the Cougars/Ducks game.)

OTHER TRAFFIC ALERTS: In addition to the week’s final overnight closure of southbound 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct, SDOT crews plan repair work on the northbound Viaduct today: “They will close the northbound, right curb lane of the viaduct at Pike Street from approximately 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The crews will cut out a loose expansion joint.”

FIRST DESIGN REVIEW FOR 4755 FAUNTLEROY WAY: The biggest project yet to be proposed in West Seattle – first reported here in July – goes to the Southwest Design Review Board tonight at 6:30 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon). Public comment is welcome, focusing on the size/shape of the building and other early concerns in the design process. Here’s our Monday story previewing what will be presented regarding the project, which is expected to include more than 350 apartments as well as a grocery store, drug store, and other shops.

WEST SEATTLE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN: Evening program featuring dinner and the film “Not My Life,” 6:30-9 pm at West Seattle Golf Course; reservations required – go here to find out how to check if there’s still room.

ADVISORY GROUP MEETING FOR MURRAY COMBINED-SEWER-OVERFLOW PROJECT: The community advisory group reviewing plans for the project across from Lowman Beach meets 6:30 pm at Fauntleroy Church (9140 California) – details here.

WHAT CRIME/SAFETY CONCERNS DO YOU HAVE? Be part of a new city initiative to listen to citizens’ concerns in a big-picture way – come to Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW) 7 pm tonight. This won’t be an “open mike in front of everybody” situation, we’re told, but instead, a room full of smaller conversations. Details here.

WESTSIDE BURLESQUE REVIEW: 9 pm at Skylark Café and Clubdetails in the calendar listing.

More on the calendar!

West Seattle schools: Lafayette ‘fires it up’ for fundraiser

September 27, 2012 1:57 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle schools: Lafayette ‘fires it up’ for fundraiser
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

School-fundraiser season kicked off almost as soon as the school year did – and this week’s launches included the start of pledging for the October 19th Walk-A-Thon at West Seattle’s most populous elementary school, Lafayette in the Admiral District. The logo for this year’s Walk-A-Thon was unveiled at an assembly this week, along with the motto: “Fire It Up!” (Which keeps with the theme that debuted at the assembly we visited earlier this month, when new principal Shauna Heath entered aboard Seattle Fire Engine 29.) Lafayette’s goal this year is $65,000, to pay for student programs they would otherwise lose, and the goal will include community contributions as well as pledges collected by students. Just two more days to become a sponsor, according to Lafayette’s announcement:

This year as a courtesy to our local business’ we are doing a “one-ask” procurement process – which means we only approach a business once this school year. Business donations are due September 29th to ensure we recognize their sponsorship on our various pieces of media that will highlight their company’s involvement. For more info, contact Leslie at or visit

P.S. If you’re inviting the community to participate in YOUR school fundraiser too, let us know!

Highland Park Action Committee: ‘The Hum’ update; Nickelsville vow

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:

Read More