West Seattle, Washington
(SSCC photos by Glenn Gauthier)
Big party at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) on Tuesday afternoon – the Fall Quarter Honor Roll Reception, with students inviting family and friends to help them celebrate their achievement. SSCC faculty and other staff joined the party too – SSCC president Gary Oertli (below, center) was part of a receiving line congratulating students at the reception’s end:
For fall quarter, 161 students were on the President’s list, 743 students on the Dean’s list.
Now that Metro Route 50 is running on SW Genesee, following the activation of the Genesee/Avalon stoplight, another change is in the works: SDOT has announced plans to remove some of the parking along Genesee on both sides of Avalon, after Metro told the city it needs more room on the road to operate safely. We talked today with Jonathan Dong from SDOT, who says the city sent notices a few days ago to Genesee property owners. The details are on this webpage (click on the link “SW Genesee St and SW Avalon Way Parking Removal” to reveal the text), including:
*Parking will be removed on the north side of SW Genesee Street between SW Avalon and Delridge Way SW
*Parking will be removed on the south side of SW Genesee Street between SW Avalon Street and 30th Avenue SW
Though the online text says it will take effect “February 2013,” Dong tells WSB the changes are not happening immediately; the city is getting the word out right now, including the notices and, he adds, a briefing at the next meeting of the North Delridge Neighborhood Council (March 11th, one week from Monday). Dong explains that the road is two feet too narrow to accommodate buses and parking – it’s 25 feet wide, but the minimum for buses and parking is 27 feet. The web page notes that you can reach him for comment at (206) 233-8564 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:14 PM: Word tonight from Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Smith that West Seattle officers have made a big bust that might solve numerous burglaries. Here’s what happened:
At a self-storage facility, victims confronted two suspects last Sunday who were reported to have “the (victims’) stolen items in another unit.” Those suspects “locked up and left” – but police had been called, and tracked down and arrested the suspects. Search warrants followed, for the suspects’ unit and a U-Haul van a block from their residence. The searches happened yesterday and “recovered massive amounts of stolen property from multiple crimes” – at least 119 line items of evidence, including boxes of recovered items worth thousands of dollars, even a safe.
Lt. Smith says the arrest and property recovery might solve “multiple commercial and residential burglaries.” We’re working to get more information – including the storage facility’s location.
8:16 PM UPDATE: Finally dug up the address to match to the case number, thanks to Tweets by Beat (which you can see on the WSB Crime Watch page any time – though take note, not all calls turn out to be the kind of violation they’re described as): 2900 block of SW Avalon Way, location of Public Storage.
(Recent aerial of Barton Pump Station and project area, by Long Bach Nguyen)
The King County Wastewater Treatment Division says things might be noisier than usual at Barton Pump Station next to the Fauntleroy ferry dock right now, because a power outage has required them to use a generator:
Power was unexpectedly lost at the Barton Pump Station around 3:45 pm today. No overflows were reported, and crews are currently investigating the cause. A generator will be running onsite until power can be restored to the station.
The Barton Pump Station Upgrade includes an onsite generator, which will be housed in an underground vault, for unexpected power loss such as today’s occurrence.
The pump station also had a power outage last June (WSB coverage here) – and that one DID lead to an overflow.
Two and a half months after Early Design Guidance approval for the 4755 Fauntleroy Way proposal – whose developers are calling it “the Whole Foods project” till it’s named – its next Design Review Board session has just been tentatively set for March 28. In addition to Whole Foods Market, the project includes a drugstore that a project spokesperson tells us they’re still not ready to announce, plus more than 370 apartments and almost 600 parking spaces, as well as some smaller retail spaces. While the design is being finalized, the city also is considering the alley vacation that the developers are requesting (here’s our February 12th story about the comment period on that). Meantime, online files include this document with some of the requests the city is making of the developers as the project proceeds. If the March 28th Design Review date holds, the meeting will be at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon).
(WSB reader photo taken under the building before the leak was fixed)
With warning signs still up on beaches south of Alki Point, we’re still getting questions about the status of the Harbor West condo-building sewage leak (3700 block of Beach Drive) blamed for the contamination, so we just followed up with Seattle Public Utilities. Spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin says they estimate the leak from pipes under the over-the-water building totaled “about 30,000 gallons over a nine-day period.” As for the status of repairs and contamination, she also tells WSB:
The repair was completed on Sunday, February 24, but bacteria levels at Cormorant Cove were slightly elevated on Monday. Therefore, the beach remains closed. SPU will continue to sample and work with Seattle King County Public Health to determine when the beaches can reopen. Per Seattle King County Public Health, we need two consecutive days of low bacteria levels to reopen the beach. We are hopeful that the beach can reopen by next week.
SPU is still investigating to determine if any penalties will be assessed or cost recovered.
The leak was reported to the city around the same time as the trimaran trouble on the beach south of Harbor West, but residents told WSB it predated the boat incident.
It’s been a busy news day so our toplines are going to have to wait to be added later – but for starters, here’s the video of the hour-plus presentation by Seattle Police Officer Jon Kiehn and U.S. Postal Inspectors Matt Rintoul and Sumyra Duy, talking about mail theft/fraud at last night’s meeting of the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network. (There weren’t any revelatory visuals, so if you just want to play it back as background audio, that works too.) More than 40 people filled the room at the Southwest Precinct. Tips were shared, myths debunked, and helpful information offered – including how to report mail theft online: postalinspectors.uspis.gov.
ADDED: Some toplines – though we highly recommend listening to/watching the clip to get all the info.
OFFICER KIEHN’S POINTS: A couple were general – don’t ever call the precinct if you’re looking to get an officer dispatched; they are dispatched via 911. When you do call 911, realize that it’s not a call “for conversation” – the person you’re talking to is filling out a list, and it’s your job to help them fill out that list so that they get information and get you help. If you are reporting a suspicious vehicle, the license plate is the most important piece of information you can provide; make and model and color, etc., come after that. Overall, be aware of what’s going on around you – always.
POSTAL INSPECTORS: A few key points – right now, only four inspectors are working on mail theft in all of Western Washington, so your action to stop or prevent it is vital. “Target hardening,” for example – get a locking mailbox, or a private mailbox with either the USPS or a mailbox business. If you can’t do that, make sure your mail is picked up as soon as possible after it’s delivered; make arrangements with a neighbor, if you’re not there to do it yourself. And call police about any suspicious activity around a mailbox.
SCAMS THAT ARE STILL ‘BIG’: The “foreign lottery” – a claim that you’ve won a prize but have to pay to claim it. Usually, those who fall for this are warned not to tell their family; one area woman was bilked out of tens of thousands of dollars, and even after authorities got involved, refused to believe them: The inspectors say they intercepted $10,000 of her money “but she sent $8,000 right back!”
Especially if you have elderly, or otherwise vulnerable, family members, warn them about this – don’t just wait to discover they’ve come into contact with it.
Also, they warned about the “mystery shopper” scam, and other “work at home” schemes.
There’s a “scheme alert” page on the Postal Inspection Service website – see it here.
To contact the inspectors who spoke at the meeting:
A followup today on our report last week about Southwest Precinct Lt. Pierre Davis telling the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council that SPD would soon use Predictive Policing – a new way to use crime data to work on preventing crime, not just responding to it. This morning, the mayor and police chief announced its debut in the Southwest and East Precincts. Official announcement, with details on how it works, ahead:
ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:45 AM: Thanks to the WSB’er who just texted us (206-293-6302 any time) that picture of truck vs. car at/near the curve by 16th/Dawson (location and map updated). It’s causing traffic trouble for vehicles including at least one Metro bus, we’re told. No word of injuries so far (no fire/medic callout, either); we’re headed to the scene to find out more.
12:20 PM UPDATE: The bus has gotten through. But the scene isn’t clear yet and it may be a while. Added the photo above, by co-publisher Patrick Sand.
1:24 PM UPDATE: Route 125 is back to normal, Metro has texted.
(WSB photo from February 21st meeting at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center)
One week after interested residents gathered to hear firsthand about the plan for a Delridge Neighborhood Greenway – first one in West Seattle – the graphics and Q/A are all online, so you can see them and find out more about the greenway plan, even if you missed the meeting. The graphics show the planned route – from the north end of Delridge by the bridge, turning onto 26th from Andover, and heading south to Graham – while the Q/A document details how the greenway will work. For example: Stop signs on side streets that intersect with it; no bike lanes, but sharrows would be used (and on eastbound Andover, bicyclists will be routed onto the “wide sidewalk” to avoid truck traffic); no new sidewalks, but there’s a chance to designate set-aside pedestrian areas. This will be the first greenway in West Seattle, with completion expected before the year’s over; the area to be studied for a second one is expected to be further east, along 21st SW.
P.S. What’s a greenway, you ask? An alternative route with safety features focused on walking and biking, as explained on the project page.
(Sunset, looking northwest over Harbor Island, by Don Brubeck)
Four highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar listings for today/tonight:
PRESCHOOL STORY TIME: 10:30 am at West Seattle (Admiral) Library – details and map here.
HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: Big agenda for HPAC, 7 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th/Holden), including Food Lifeline’s update on their plans for the site that hosts the encampment that calls itself Nickelsville, plus a Seattle Parks update on Westcrest Park; more details in our calendar listing.
POEMS AND STORYTELLING: The monthly reading at C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor) features Roberto Ascalon and Thaddeus Gunn at 7 pm, followed by open-mike readings (signups at 6:45 pm). Full details at poetrybridge.net.
(Photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:48 AM: Thanks to those who messaged us early this morning about a SWAT operation just after 6 am in the 7300 block of 16th SW (map). Neighbors heard loud noises – suspected to be the “flash-bang” type of devices often used in SWAT operations – and say they saw one person handcuffed. Only a Bellevue Police vehicle was visible when we arrived; Seattle Police say they were “assisting another agency.” We have a message out to Bellevue PD and will add anything more we find out.
9:40 AM UPDATE: Just talked to Bellevue PD spokesperson Officer Carla Iafrate. She says BPD’s Special Enforcement Team arrested five people – four men and a 15-year-old girl – in connection with an “ID-theft ring (that has) several victims from Bellevue.” Their investigation “led us to this house in West Seattle,” and SWAT was used to get into the house for searching and arresting because of “some intel about possible firearms or (about) one of the individuals,” requiring “extra safety.” Officer Iafrate adds that BPD “collected a lot of evidence at the house, and the detective and officers are going to be weeding through that.” She adds that the team at the scene was thanked by several neighbors – not an everyday occurrence, she notes – who had been aware something was going on there for some time.
12:15 PM UPDATE: Bellevue Police’s official news release is out. The only thing in it that we haven’t already reported is that there may be some non-Bellevue victims. Full text in this PDF.
5:13 PM UPDATE: This photo is courtesy of our friends at KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, who asked permission to use one of our photos from this morning and shared this in return:
That’s some of the evidence displayed by Bellevue PD, according to KIRO, which says it constitutes “close to 200 credit cards, some driver licenses, checks (some altered). Laptops and cell phones,” with “dozens of victims from Bellevue, Seattle, Bonney Lake, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, Tacoma, and Bainbridge.” And they tell us the 15-year-old girl who was taken into custody was a runaway wanted in connection with something unrelated, not the alleged ID-theft ring.
6:29 AM: Firefighters have responded to a house-fire call in the 8600 block of 9th SW. We’re on the way to find out what’s happening.
6:37 AM: The call has closed on the 911 log and no crews remain, so apparently nothing major.
9:14 AM: We checked with SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore, who explains: “It was an overheated potato in the microwave.” Smoke, but no fire.
P.S. Moore points out that cooking food, left unwatched, is the #1 cause of residential fires.
(Live view from the east-facing WS Bridge camera; see other cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
Second-to-last day of February – here’s a look at the West Seattle Bridge (above) and 99 (below) cams:
Thanks in advance for traffic updates if you encounter something your West Seattle neighbors should know about – 206-293-6302 if you are able to safely/legally text or call; Twitter works too – we’re at @westseattleblog.
CLOSURES AHEAD: Quick reminders – the Viaduct/99 is closed all day Saturday plus Sunday morning (but open Saturday night so you can get to and from the Sounders game) – details here; the Delridge/Trenton weekend intersection closure will be preceded by a block of Trenton closing Thursday – details here.
P.S. We almost forgot – one more closure this weekend; mentioned it last week but haven’t brought it up again this week. The ramp to southbound I-5 will be closed this weekend too, as part of the WSDOT repair project that’s been closing various ramps at the Spokane St. Interchange on various weekends.
The volunteer power helping with last night’s free Seattle Symphony concert at Chief Sealth International High School included members of the Key Club at Sealth. Second from right in the back row is Shari Sewell from the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle, which presented the concert; Key Club members’ responsibilities last night included assisting concert guests by distributing programs. They’re busy year-round with numerous service projects.