West Seattle, Washington
Hiawatha’s summertime spotlight as an outdoor-concert venue began tonight with the annual West Seattle Hi-Yu Concert in the Park, starring the West Seattle Big Band. You never know what you’ll hear – above, the theme from the TV show “Family Guy.” (Lots of families in the audience, so perhaps terribly appropriate.) As always, the event featured royalty, too:
Hi-Yu Senior and Junior Court members practiced their public-speaking skills and sold Hi-Yu-supporting buttons. Meantime, the Big Band featured a new vocalist, Sarah Ackers, who performs the Peggy Lee classic “Fever” in our clip below:
The WSBB’s next gig is at 2 pm Sunday (July 21st) at the Ballard Locks. As WSBB’s Jim Edwards explained to tonight’s crowd, the musicians donate their time – the band’s earnings are turned over into donations to school music programs.
NEXT AT HIAWATHA – CASPAR BABYPANTS: More music this Friday afternoon (July 19th) – as part of Hiawatha Fun Fest, the kids-music megastar, a hit at West Seattle Summer Fest last Saturday, will play live at noon.
EIGHT DAYS UNTIL SUMMER CONCERT SERIES: And then, starting one week from Thursday, on July 25th, the Admiral Neighborhood Association-presented Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series (co-sponsored by WSB) begins – lineup’s here.
Just as we were processing photos from tonight’s mesmerizing sunset – lightning and thunder made an appearance. No photos of that yet, but here are three sunset views – first, so vivid from Alki Avenue, even our iPhone photo caught layers of colors. Next, Don Brubeck shares the reflected view from downtown:
And from Greg, on the bluff over Beach Drive’s Weather Watch Park:
A chance of thunderstorms was indeed in tonight’s forecast.
We’re at the West Seattle Hi-Yu Concert in the Park, with the West Seattle Big Band serenading concertgoers on the east lawn at Hiawatha, and a few special guests – including Judy Pickens, above with WS Grand Parade co-coordinators Dave Vague (left) and Jim Edwards, who presented her with the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Community (named after Hi-Yu’s founder). We’ll add video
and another photo or two later (plus a separate story about the concert), but Judy’s key point was to urge people to find something “bigger than yourself.” Her many years of service have included helping kids with reading and with a salmon-raising program that benefits not only the youth but also local waterways – particularly Fauntleroy Creek, where she is a watershed steward. The crowd here gave her a couple good rounds of applause, but please show your support for community volunteerism and cheer Judy as she goes by toward the end of this Saturday’s Grand Parade (11 am start at California/Lander, heading south to California/Edmunds).
ADDED 11:19 PM: Listen in as Jim and Dave introduce Judy, and she offers words of thanks and wisdom:
Our parade countdown continues Wednesday!
6:13 PM: Fire crews have responded to a brush fire reported on the north end of Riverview Playfield. The scanner suggests arson is suspected and that someone was seen running away; the fire marshal has been called to investigate. No word of any injuries; we’re en route to check on damage. Also per the scanner, the fire is reported to have been in an area of roughly 6,100 square feet.
8:02 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Alan for the photo; he went over after the fire trucks left: “I hiked down to see where it was and took a picture. Sadly it appears to have been in a section that had recently been planted by Nature Consortium. You can see the melted grow tubes. Fortunately, it could have become much worse. The grass around it is tinder dry and we have a good breeze going.”
The latest round of coyote concern in West Seattle is NOT grounds for trapping and killing one (or more). We heard that today from a source that might surprise you – an agent of the federal Wildlife Services division who works in West Seattle. Last summer, we reported on his appearance in the Seola area, where neighbors were raising money for a four-digit “co-op” fee solicited for federal help; this year, Admiral residents seeking to do the same thing distributed flyers like this one. Then today, the agent called us out of the blue, to ask us to get the word out on what he advises people should do to minimize coyote conflict:
(NEWEST UPDATE BELOW: Response from regional Whole Foods exec, added 5:35 pm)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:58 AM: Mayor McGinn has told SDOT that he will not recommend City Council approval of the “alley vacation” request by the 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW (“Whole Foods”) megaproject. We’ve just obtained a copy of the memo from the mayor’s office – read it here or embedded here:
The memo’s ending summary:
… it is difficult to see how the alley vacation proposal meets our public benefit standards when it does not support equitable economic development as stated in our Comprehensive Plan, does not support community vibrancy and walkability, and does not support our local urban design plans. It is the position of the executive that because this project is not in the public interest, we will not forward a recommendation to approve this alley vacation request to the City Council at this time.”
The project just passed Design Review last week, and has also been approved by the Design Commission, which reviews projects that require alley or street vacations, as does this 370-apartment, 600-parking space proposal. But other reviews are ahead because of the alley-vacation request – in fact, they were part of a separate followup we were working on when this broke – including the city Transportation Commission. (P.S. Since we believe in credit where credit’s due, hat tip Slog.)
ADDED 12:19 PM: As one commenter has pointed out, “alley vacation” isn’t exactly an everyday phrase. Here’s our basic breakdown: If a developer wants to buy and include city-owned right of way – part of an alley, or a street, or a “street end” – in a project, that right-of-way has to be “vacated” by the city – as explained here. West Seattle projects for which alley vacations were approved include Admiral Safeway and Spruce (formerly Fauntleroy Place, aka “The Hole”); one was also approved for the not-yet-begun Equity Residential (formerly Conner Homes) two-building project at California/Alaska.
(added) Here’s the east-west alley, looking to Fauntleroy from 40th, that the developers are asking for, along with part of the north-south alley:
Further south on the site, their proposal includes a “midblock connector,” seen here in the west-to-east view:
ADDED 12:36 PM: If you haven’t already read the mayor’s memo – he specifically calls out the non-union Whole Foods Market as cause for concern:
We have a strong commitment to social and economic justice at the City of Seattle. One of our core economic development goals is to provide fair and livable wages and benefits for our residents. The Economic Development elements of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan contain clear language to this effect: “seeking a greater proportion of living wage jobs that will have greater benefits” and “support key sectors of Seattle’s economy to create jobs that pay wages that can support a family, provide necessary benefits, and contribute to the vitality of the City including, but not limited to, the industrial, manufacturing, service, hospitality and retail sectors.” The primary retail use in the proposed project is a 41,000 square foot Whole Foods Market. There are already seven large supermarkets within a mile and half of the site, at least six of which offer employer-paid, comprehensive affordable health benefits for full and part-time employees and their families, as well as family-supporting wage scales.
Family health benefits and employee wage scales offered by the proposed anchor tenant are
significantly lower than other similar businesses, particularly for the growing percentage of employees who work part-time. In addition, if the City is going to transfer its assets or otherwise help grocers build new facilities, we should encourage grocers willing to locate in underserved areas identified as having low food security and poor food access, consistent with the strategies identified in the City’s Food Action Plan.
Whole Foods remains the only signed commercial tenant for the project, confirmed its developers at last week’s Design Review meeting; they said they might lose the unsigned drugstore tenant because they pulled out the much-criticized drive-thru window that had been proposed. The Whole Foods (and supermarket-oversupply) arguments made by the mayor above have also been voiced at prior project meetings by representatives of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, which, as noted in our preview of last week’s Design Review meeting, is spearheading a campaign called “Getting It Right for West Seattle” seeking a “community benefits agreement” for this project.
1:50 PM UPDATE: More background: It’s been almost exactly one year since we broke the news this development was in the works. It spans everything along 40th and along Fauntleroy between Edmunds and Alaska *except* the Alki Masonic Temple and its parking lot. Here’s the Fauntleroy view, as photographed today:
Here’s our February report from when the alley-vacation application was announced. According to the city website, the next steps in the process would be the SDOT recommendation – which, as noted in the mayor’s memo, he says should be thumbs-down – and then a public hearing before the council’s Transportation Committee, which is chaired by West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, which in turn would make a recommendation to be considered by the full council.
ADDED 5:37 PM: We’re expecting comment from the development team, no later than tomorrow. In the meantime, we just received unsolicited comment from Whole Foods’ regional president Joe Rogoff:
I wanted to contact you directly because the information that Mayor McGinn shared in his letter regarding Whole Foods Market is factually inaccurate and it’s important for us to set the record straight. The vast majority – 70-80 percent, depending on the store – of Whole Foods Market’s team members work full time and that will be reflected in the team members we hire for our West Seattle location. That’s opposite of many other supermarkets, where part-time employees are the norm.
We do more than provide team members with fair and livable wages and benefits. We create a great place for our team members to build a career. We offer training, competitive benefits, stock options for all team members, gain-sharing and much more. Company benefits include a team member store discount of 20-30%, health care coverage for domestic partners and a health spending account to help cover health care expenses. Nearly all of our part-time workers can participate in our health care benefits. Our average wage for non-leadership Team Members in our Seattle stores is $16.15/hr. which is excellent for grocers.
In addition to our team members, we are also committed to the health and well-being of the communities where we do business. In every local community, we cultivate valued partnerships with a wide range of organizations – from school districts to non-profits to academic institutions. Programs like our Local Producer Loan Program and funds made available through the Whole Kids Foundation to add salad bars and school gardens are examples of this commitment to community. In addition, quarterly 5 Percent Days provide direct funding to local non-profit partners.
We’re proud to have been part of Seattle since 1999, and that our 6 metro stores now employ over 1400 Team Members. Many of those Team Members live in West Seattle, and they’re excited to work in their immediate community. We’re also looking forward to being part of this vibrant community as we are in so many others – socially and environmentally conscious citizens who contribute in many ways. This store will employ another 150 or so Team Members, most of whom will be local.
We’re reaching out in hopes to meet with Mayor McGinn very soon to share the facts and discuss how Whole Foods Market is absolutely in line with the City’s core economic goals.
(July 2012 Jubilee Days fireworks; White Center Now photo by Nick Adams)
Just want to make sure you know about two fireworks shows coming up in the area later this week – maybe you’ll want to go see one or both, or maybe you’ll just want the heads-up on what the “booms” are. Tomorrow night (Wednesday, July 17th), the White Center Jubilee Days fireworks start at dusk at Steve Cox Memorial Park (where the WCJD carnival begins at 3 pm and continues through Sunday, by the way).
Then Saturday night, it’s the fireworks show first mentioned here July 1st – at 10 pm that night (July 20th), about 10 minutes of fireworks will be fired from a barge off the 4500 block of Beach Drive, related to a private celebration on Genesee Hill (though it will of course be publicly visible).
Thanks to “Diver Laura” James for sharing that look at a California sea cucumber in local waters – “underwater dust mop” was her nickname for it, and if you view the video (which shows it, rough cut, in two speeds) you’ll see why. Meantime, a quick look at some of what’s up around West Seattle today/tonight, whatever speed you’re traveling at:
BABY STORY TIME: 11:30 am, Southwest Library – details here. (35th/Henderson)
LUNCH AND LEARN: At the Senior Center of West Seattle, today’s 11:45 am lunch presentation features Clay Eals from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society talking about the historic Belvedere totem pole that is being restored for display at the SWSHS’s Log House Museum. Call ASAP to see if you can still get a lunch reservation; number and other details here. (California/Oregon)
THIS MIGHT BUG YOU: A local collector will present an “Insect Safari,” showing more than 3,000 insect specimens from around the world at Delridge Library, 2 pm. (Delridge/Brandon)
HI-YU CONCERT IN THE PARK: See, hear, and dance to (if you feel so moved) the West Seattle Big Band tonight, free, 7 pm, on the east lawn at Hiawatha Community Center/Park. Buy a Hi-Yu button while you’re there! Here’s ours:
Bonus during a break around 7:30 pm: Applaud Judy Pickens for her outstanding community service, as she receives this year’s Orville Rummel Trophy from American Legion Post 160, to be followed up with a VIP ride in this Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade.
BELLYDANCING AND KARAOKE: That’s the double bill tonight at Skylark Café and Club, 7:30 for the Alauda bellydancing showcase, 9 pm for Baby Ketten Karaoke. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
Lots more nightlife on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar!
Throughout the summer, the work of getting ready for the next school year proceeds – and if you have some time to spare this Thursday, Roxhill Elementary could use the help:
Roxhill Elementary School is in need of a few volunteers to stamp and sort new books for our classrooms. We will be meeting at 12:00 on Thursday, July 18, at the main office. We will be done by 3:00 at the latest. Come in comfy clothes as the building does not have a/c. Contact Amanda Shutters, email@example.com (814) 335-6853 for more information. Service hours available!
(Live view from the east-facing WS Bridge camera; other cameras are on the WSB Traffic page)
6:55 AM: Another very warm day in the works! So far, all’s well with the morning commute.
8:24 AM UPDATE: Multiple reports say the approaches to the Fauntleroy end of the bridge are backed up worse than usual. No obvious reason why – possibly an earlier problem on eastbound I-90, near the I-5 exit, blocking a lane?
ALERT FOR THIS WEEKEND: Just in from Washington State Ferries:
Expect heavy traffic Friday, July 19-Sunday, July 21 due to Vashon Island’s popular annual Strawberry Festival. Please plan ahead and arrive at the terminal early in order to make your desired sailing.
West Seattle is full of baseball talent! Another team has won a regional championship – as announced by West Seattle Baseball:
On Sunday, West Seattle Baseball‘s 11u all-star team team defeated the Spokane all-stars twice to win the PONY Northwest Regional Championship. As champions, West Seattle will represent the Northwest Region at PONY’s West Zone tournament in Walnut California beginning on Thursday. Victory in California leads to the PONY World Series in Virginia in August.
Above, from left to right, are: Jackson Sullivan, Cristian Eastey-Toledo, Joe Sullivan, Kellen Carr, Dominic Pangelinan, Aidan McCann, Isaiah Running, Reuben Gut, Isaac Ajeto, Isaac Renz, Max Debiec, Tom Gut, Will Gard, Peter Eastey. Not pictured: Nuh’kosi Roberson, Brandon Lick.
West Seattle’s tournament run also included victories over all-star teams from North Seattle, Maltby, Enumclaw, and South Sound. West Seattle fought through the loser’s bracket after an early loss to South Sound, 5-3. The rematch on Saturday night was one of the best baseball games that many parents have seen, featuring a walk-off single in the bottom of the 7th inning by Isaac Ajeto to score Jackson Sullivan from second. Sullivan slid under the tag at the plate.
“It was hands-down the most exciting youth baseball game that I have seen,” said Marc McCann, parent and WS Baseball board member. “Of course, it helps to know each of these kids and to have watched them grow as people and players. It is a very special group.”
West Seattle Baseball was founded in 1958. It serves more than 500 players, ages 4-17, and their families each year. Programs include league play, all-star programs, summer developmental leagues, summer night sandlot games, winter training programs, and a variety of camps and clinics year-round. Follow the 11-y-o team in California on West Seattle Baseball’s Twitter feed: @westseabaseball.