West Seattle, Washington
(Camera installation across from Salty’s, on inland side of the street)
We promised we would publish this separately as soon as we confirmed the information: As noted during our live reporting on this afternoon’s City Council committee discussion of the Seattle Police-led, federally funded surveillance cameras, one of the key people on the project, SPD’s Det. Monty Moss, is coming to Alki for a meeting tomorrow night. We have confirmed with organizers that it’s the Alki Community Council‘s board meeting, 7 pm at Alki UCC (62nd/Hinds), and while it’s not an official public hearing, nor a town-hall meeting (SPD promises “big” meetings at some point in the future), the public is welcome.
Two updates from Beach Drive. First, the debris that once comprised a hand-built trimaran:
When we went by at midday today to find out the latest, we saw that boom around the wreckage. Bryan Flint from the state Department of Natural Resources tells WSB, “The containment boom was placed by the contractor to keep all the pieces in place. There is no petroleum leaking. The contractor was picking up the smaller pieces today and will be moving the bigger pieces tomorrow. If everything goes well they should have it all removed by tomorrow afternoon.” If you’re just tuning in to this saga, the debris are what’s left of a home-built trimaran that was given away at Shilshole; the man who took it wanted to tow it to Tacoma but got into trouble off West Seattle last week. The trimaran started breaking up in the water on the south side of the Harbor West Condos in the 3700 block of Beach Drive. After days of various travails, and with community help, the owner got his smaller power boat out of the water yesterday and towed it away on land (no sign of him, his van, or the small boat when we went by today), leaving behind the big-boat wreckage. The state says they always try to recover the costs of handling a mess like this, but they aren’t very hopeful, as the man’s reported lack of financial resources is partly what led to the problems in the first place.
Meantime, Cormorant Cove city-owned beach on the north side of Harbor West has another “CLOSED” sign up:
(Photo shared by Jodi)
That’s because of the building’s ongoing sewage leak, not believed to be related to the boat trouble (according to residents with whom we’ve spoken), but officially reported to the city over the weekend while all that was unfolding. Ingrid Goodwin from Seattle Public Utilities tells WSB, “SPU environmental compliance inspectors are investigating the leak to determine how much sewage may have leaked or is still leaking. Some of things they look at is how many breaks are in the line and how long the line may have been leaking. These are all questions we’ll need to work with the property owner to obtain answers, therefore it will take more time to determine the volume. Having said that, our main and immediate focus is working with the property owner to ensure that the broken line is repaired correctly as soon as possible. With a leak of this nature, we typical allow up to 10 days for the property owner to fix the problem, but that can vary depending on the case.”
Thanks to Jason, who just called our attention to the Facebook announcement that Car2Go is committing to West Seattle expansion. No date is mentioned; we’ll be contacting the company to ask, but in case you hadn’t seen it there, we’re noting it here, as its recent arrival in the city generated lots of buzz – and disappointment that West Seattle wasn’t part of the original plan.
SDOT says the forecast looks bad so they are postponing the Delridge-Trenton intersection repaving for the second consecutive weekend. (Last weekend, the forecast looked bad – but the weather didn’t live down to it.)
(2/13/13 WSB photo by Katie Meyer; scene of robbery that led to Willis’s arrest)
46-year-old Paul Eugene Willis – the man arrested in connection with six recent armed robberies in West Seattle, White Center, and vicinity – is now charged with three counts of first-degree robbery. Partner site White Center Now had first word of the robbery spree in January; then we learned the same suspect was also believed to be responsible for both recent holdups of the Smoke and Beverage Shop at 35th and Roxbury, the second of which led to his arrest, reported here last Friday (when we also reported that he served prison time for other holdups on Roxbury – including the same 76 station he allegedly recently robbed). The charging documents exhaustively detail the detective work that led to Willis’s arrest – from studying similarities in the robberies’ M.O., to discovering a certain vehicle on surveillance footage. We’ll summarize as soon as we can, but wanted to get word out about the charges. Willis remains in jail, with bail set at half a million dollars, and arraignment scheduled in early March. (Mug shot is from state Department of Corrections, taken in 2006; they tell us he’s been out since 2008 after serving time for those earlier robberies.)
(TOPLINE: Public discussion promised – starting with Alki Community Council board meeting Thursday night; scroll to end of story)
2:05 PM: We’re at City Hall for the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee briefing/discussion on the Seattle Police surveillance-camera/”wireless mesh” network first brought to light here three weeks ago (archived coverage here). In advance of the meeting, which is about to begin, two documents were added to the agenda today, one including more background detail on the federal-grant-funded $5 million project. Here’s here’s the background document; here’s the PowerPoint intended to illustrate a few of its points. The meeting is just getting under way. You can watch live here – or here:
(Editor’s note: The archived video from the meeting is now embedded above)
First – public comment. First up: A woman who says she wants to share “lessons we have learned” using security cameras in the International District. She says that the cameras installed there (part of a private network) have helped bolster safety and security in the area and provided evidence that will stand up in court. She says they only show the street in front of whatever building they’re installed at. The second speaker says she is a former Alki resident now living on Magnolia, and she is concerned about terrorist attacks via water. She is in favor of 24/7 surveillance and thinks “it’s a miracle” there hasn’t been a terrorist attack yet.
Third speaker from Stand Up America says that he is concerned about terrorists – “the terrorists sitting at (the council) table.” He accuses the government of terrorism and “ridiculous behavior.” He adds, basically shouting, “You guys are eroding our civil rights … don’t stand against the people, stand up for the people.” Councilmember Harrell has accused him of a “showboating tactic” after the speaker called him “a criminal.” Fourth speaker also has a red “Stand Up America” sign and identifies himself as an immigrant from the former Soviet Union who also is concerned about government oppression.
Fifth speaker – Jennifer Shaw, deputy director of the ACLU, which has already asked the city to reconsider these cameras, and makes it clear their concern is government surveillance – “government keeping track of the movements of individuals throughout our city.” She says the recent drone controversy was evidence that people in Seattle are not happy about having surveillance “thrust on them.” She refers to the fact that a city official (as noted in our early coverage) has been quoted as saying this is a potential step toward a citywide camera network, not just focused on waterways. Sixth speaker is Will Washington, who identifies himself as a Beach Drive resident. “This is a big issue for us,” he says, referring to conversations with neighbors in the Constellation Park area, where one of the cameras is installed. He says everyone is bothered by “the fact this was never brought to our attention … we never had a discussion about this.” He says the sentiment is that it’s a symptom of a growing “police state.” Seventh speaker says she is concerned about “be(ing) fearful of who I’m being watched by” as she is out walking her dog on Alki. She says she speaks for a friend who couldn’t be here but isn’t happy about being watched either. She says that if the cameras “were only meant for port security, they would only be facing the port.” She doesn’t want to feel like she’s being watched by somebody “for some reason or another … every time I walk out of my house.”
Eighth speaker is another Alki beachfront resident who says he lives just down the street from some of the cameras. He wants to talk about history. “Coming from a law enforcement family, I’m disappointed that a choice was made to purchase this technology that breeds complacency on the job.” He says this is the first time he’s spoken at a Council meeting. Ninth speaker is John Loftis, a former vice chair of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, and 20-year Alki resident. “It is not a high-crime area … One of the main reasons for this is that Alki is flanked by a high-density residential neighborhood. Most of us seldom close our blinds … and represent hundreds of sets of eyes at any one time.” He says that’s a very effective type of surveillance and “don’t need this type of camera to monitor the beach.” He thinks someone should be embarrassed that one of the cameras is across the street from a popular volleyball and sunbathing spot, and calls it Bikini Cam. “One of these women might have a bomb in her bikini top, I guess.” He says he just hopes his wife does not become “Miss Torso” to someone who can point and zoom the camera.
Tenth speaker is a woman who says she doesn’t want to be seen on camera because she doesn’t want the government “all in my business. … I’m calling you out because you’re wrong.” She says “I came down here to say you’re out of control.”
At 2:32 pm, the briefing begins as SPD and others introduce themselves. Councilmembers sit at a smaller table during committee meetings. Harrell and O’Brien still are the only members here. Councilmember Licata has not arrived (he is due at an unrelated West Seattle meeting tonight, though).
**EDITOR’S NOTE, POST MEETING – IF YOU ARE READING THIS FROM THE HOME PAGE TO GET THE REST OF OUR AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE AT THIS LINK: Read More
The photo is from Manuela Slye of Cometa Playschool, one of the local schools that responded to the “collect 100 food items by the 100th day of school” challenge from Arbor Heights Elementary teacher Marcia Ingerslev and her students. (First report was from Holy Rosary School, whose “100th day” arrived earlier. Anyone else with results to report today? Please let us know!)
By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog
As always, the WSBeat summaries are from reports on cases handled recently by Southwest Precinct officers that (usually) have not already appeared here in breaking-news coverage or West Seattle Crime Watch reports, but that might at least answer the question “what WERE all those police doing on my block?”:
*A Valentine’s Day low tide brought an artifact seeker to the banks of the Duwamish. In the muck, he came across what looked like a disintegrated steamer trunk. It contained pieces of gold-edged dishware and what appeared to be human remains — including a hip bone. Officers transported the items to the Medical Examiner’s office.
Five more summaries ahead:Read More
TODDLER INDOOR GYM: If your little one (or one you care for) has big energy to burn off, check out Delridge Community Center, 1-4 pm, for one of its thrice-weekly drop-in Toddler Indoor Gym sessions.
SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT SPD SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS? The City Council committee that in May 2012 approved the cameras – without discussion of their intended placement in recreational/residential areas like Alki – plans a briefing/discussion at 2 pm today at City Hall downtown. The meeting of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee starts with a public-comment period. (Here’s our archive of coverage since we first learned and reported January 29th what and whose they were.)
SOMALI STORY TIME: One of many library story time programs every week; this one is offered entirely in Somali; all welcome. 5 pm at the High Point Branch Library (35th/Raymond).
DISTRICT COUNCIL TALKS MARIJUANA ZONING, NEIGHBORHOOD GRANT PROJECTS: Big agenda for the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council tonight, and you are invited (as always). First up, City Council President Sally Clark and Councilmember Nick Licata will discuss the city’s proposal for marijuana zoning (part of what contributed to this unofficial map we showed you February 5). If you have questions, this is the time/place to ask. Second, the council has to decide which neighborhood-grant proposals it will support – here’s the list of presentations that community members will make:
1. Highland Park Playground— Matt Whitman/Rachel Wright
2. Cloverdale Dog Park Trail— Mike Shilley
3. Findlay St between Delridge Way SW and 25th Ave SW Curbing and Street Trees— Patrick Baer
4. 9th and Henderson Curb and Crossing Improvements—Craig Rankin
5. Trail improvement in Riverview Ball Fields—Craig Rankin
The meeting’s at 7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge).
NOT IN WEST SEATTLE, BUT … the Northwest Flower and Garden Show is sponsoring WSB right now to make sure you hear about it; this is day one, and it’s on through Sunday (February 24). Details in our calendar listing.
Another effect of the power outage covered here early this morning: The Murray Pump Station at Lowman Beach lost power, leading to an overflow, according to this news release from King County:
King County’s Murray Avenue Pump Station is operating normally after the system was disrupted by a power outage that hit the West Seattle area just before 2 a.m. Wednesday.
An estimated 18,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed for 20 minutes through an emergency outfall into Puget Sound near Lowman Beach Park, which prevented raw sewage backups and equipment damage. Wastewater Treatment Division utility crews responded quickly and deployed a portable emergency generator in the pump station as a source of temporary power.
Division employees notified health and regulatory agencies about the overflow. King County will install a permanent generator at the pump station as part of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project.
The Murray Avenue station pumps wastewater from West Seattle to the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood. West Point treats about 133 million gallons of wastewater daily, and up to 440 million gallons during rainy weather.
Construction of the CSO project is scheduled to start later this year; its main component is a million-gallon storage tank replacing a block of residential buildings across from Lowman Beach Park.
(“Live” cam looking at the eastbound West Seattle Bridge; more cams here)
Here’s hoping for an uneventful commute. And here’s another reminder about the two closures coming up this weekend – Delridge/Trenton intersection, and parts of Highway 99; details here.
(Added 2:34 am: Screengrab from City Light map, at outage’s peak)
1:59 AM: Power went out a few minutes ago here at WSB HQ on the Upper Fauntleroy/Gatewood line. So far we have reports from further north in Gatewood and one in High Point. Nothing on the City Light map just yet (we’re calling). Anyone else?
2:07 AM UPDATE: Pending a drive around to check boundaries, so far via WSB, Facebook, and Twitter reports, Gatewood/Fauntleroy/High Point/Morgan Junction/Seaview are affected. We’ve looked south from outside the house and points south such as Arbor Heights look OK.
2:11 AM UPDATE: Just checked the City Light recording again – they say more than 3,100 homes and businesses are out of power. Estimated restoration time, which is always a guesstimate this early on: 8 am.
2:28 AM UPDATE: It’s on the City Light map now, and the total affected is past 3,200 homes/businesses (aka “customers”). The cause is listed as “investigating.” If you’re seeing a power crew in your area, let us know – the sudden sighting of repair work somewhere may be the first hint of what caused this.
3:06 AM UPDATE: High Point’ers say theirs is back. City Light has sent its first news release but there’s nothing in it we haven’t already reported – no word on the cause, still.
3:13 AM UPDATE: Lots of new information as we correspond with SCL’s John Gustafson – a thousand people have their power back; the cause has been determined as “failed main stem underground cable,” and he adds, “We should continue to see more customers restored in next half hour or so.”
3:20 AM UPDATE: We’re back after about an hour and a half. Thanks again for all the reports – text (206-293-6302 any time with breaking news), e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – that gave us all an idea on the boundaries long before SCL’s map came online.
3:47 AM UPDATE: Still more than 700 out, according to the City Light map.
POSTSCRIPT: All power was restored by 4:27 am, says SCL – 2 1/2 hours for the last ones to get service back. (Just for the record, though their news release cites a 2:07 am start, since we were in the outage zone, we can verify it was actually around 1:50 am; as the timestamp shows, we launched this coverage around 1:59.)
Two reader reports from one Avalon Way condo-building break-in top this round of West Seattle Crime Watch. First one came from Blair, whose building is in the 3200 block:
The intruder broke into the lower parking garage and stole things from a few storage units, including mine. There was a white specialized woman’s bike and a bunch of tools including a Bosch Saw. They broke out a piece in the garage door to get in and broke the locks off our units. The case # is 2013-54488.
Later we heard from H:
We had a break-in last Friday night (2/15/13) that I’d like to let you guys know about. It happened at about 10:50 pm and he was captured pretty clearly on our building’s security cameras. A single male dressed in baggy cargo pants and a camo-colored parka removed a metal grating panel in the door of one of our building’s two garages. He was able to climb through and spent quite a while in the garage, breaking in to several storage units, making off with a bicycle, tools, clothes, and other random stuff. He wasn’t able to get into the second garage or into any other parts of the building. The amazing thing is that at least three residents came into the garage while he was in there, but nobody noticed anything out of the ordinary. It’s a good reminder for those who live in multi-unit buildings to stay alert and know who your neighbors are. And don’t leave valuable stuff in your car, even if you’re in a secured garage! Police were contacted.
Jamie reports a package theft:
We’re missing a package – UPS has it listed as delivered and someone with the initials “MO” signed for it around 11:30 today. We weren’t home during that time. Unfortunately (neither) my initials, nor my husband’s are MO, and the neighbors didn’t sign for it. Ironically, our mail in our mailbox was left untouched. I’m in Highland Park near 14th and Trenton – please give the neighborhood notice.
And on a positive note – Jeff‘s stolen Subaru is back:
I’m happy to report our car has been recovered. It was found up on Capitol Hill by the Seattle Police. Other than a dead battery and a scattered glove box, it appears to be OK. Many thanks to the SPD, they were very helpful.
P.S. We’ll report later today on Tuesday night’s Crime Prevention Council meeting, which included an update on a recent burglary arrest of even more value than it seemed of the time, plus new crimefighting technology.