West Seattle, Washington
10:26 PM: Just getting word of a deadly motorcycle crash that Seattle Police say has closed northbound 99/Viaduct. Via Twitter, SPD says the motorcyclist “went off the Viaduct and landed on Railroad Avenue.” A section of 1st Avenue South is also closed. Looks like this is by CenturyLink Field. The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is arriving at the scene, which suggests this will be closed for some hours as they work to find out how it happened.
2:30 AM: WSDOT has sent an e-mail alert saying northbound 99 is now open again. No update from investigators yet, but one is likely in the hours ahead.
8:55 AM: Here’s the short update on SPD Blotter, saying the rider was ejected off his Triumph motorcycle after hitting the east guardrail, adding: “Speed may have been a factor in this collision.”
THURSDAY, 10:09 PM: The Medical Examiner identifies the rider as 30-year-old Nathaniel Hammer.
Thanks to Steve for the tip: When Caspar Babypants (himself a West Seattleite, as you probably know) performs live on KEXP radio tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 9 am, he’ll have special guests – Turtle Clan kindergarteners from Pathfinder K-8 in Pigeon Point will be singing with him sometime before 9:30 am (maybe as early as 8:45, we’re told). We haven’t found the whole story behind this yet, but we hear it has to do with a contest; Steve sends props to their teacher, Jennifer Niemann. KEXP is at 90.3 FM and live online at kexp.org.
We start tonight’s West Seattle Crime Watch with statistics you might have missed, since we compiled them during a discussion in the comment section of a story earlier this week. Every month, Seattle Police publish crime statistics, precinct by precinct, sector by sector, for the previous month; the August statistics are online now, and here’s what we found for the Southwest Precinct (West Seattle and South Park), compared to August of last year – robberies and burglaries sharply up, assaults and thefts down:
0 homicides, 0 rapes, SAME as August 2012
13 robberies, UP from 7 in August 2012
61 assaults, DOWN from 70 in August 2012
97 burglaries, UP from 65 in August 2012
124 larcenies (thefts), DOWN from 215 in August 2012
33 auto thefts, DOWN from 43 in August 2012
To compare the entire year-to-date 2013 with a year earlier will take a longer round of number-crunching, but we will do that for an upcoming WS Crime Watch. Now to the newest reader reports, starting with Robyn‘s burglary:
I always appreciate the alerts from neighbors about recent crime incidents in WS so I thought I should share our story so others can be in the know. Our home was burglarized yesterday afternoon (we’re on 38th between Raymond and Juneau). It happened between 1:30 pm and 3:15 pm when I ran out to do a few errands real quick (I was working from home). They came in/out through the front (we come and go through the back alley). We’re pretty sure I interrupted them when I got home as a few things were dropped on the way out, but they were mainly after small electronics (laptops, iPads, etc.) and jewelry. The only slight lead we have is some possible fingerprints on items they moved as well as a suspicious car in front of our house that morning. Our neighbor across the street said a strange blue SUV with a Baby on Board sticker was writing info down and looking up at our house yesterday morning when she was leaving to take her son to school. When she made eye contact they sped away. The police have all that info and more.
Ahead – another burglary, a burglary attempt, and a warning for dog owners (added 9:36 pm, yet another burglary report that just came in via the WSB Forum):
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The lively launch meeting of the West Seattle Transit Coalition was as much an attempt to map a route as anything else – almost one year after changes and cuts in Metro service pushed bus concerns further into the peninsula spotlight than ever before.
Many of the 30-plus people in attendance at High Point Center were neighborhood activists from around the peninsula (and from White Center/North Highline too).
Two elected officials, State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and City Councilmember Richard Conlin, also showed up – to listen, not to talk, though both did the latter briefly on request.
Metro/county reps were there listening as well, including Chris Arkills, the West Seattleite who is County Executive Dow Constantine‘s transportation adviser.
As organizers had hoped, the loudest voices were those of the West Seattleites who say this is the time for a peninsula-wide effort to advocate for our growing population’s transit needs. “We’re all underserved” was a declaration early on that resounded.
As was sharply pointed out by some, including reps of the Transit Riders Union, advocacy efforts have not been in short supply – what has been missing, organizers contend, is a West Seattle-wide voice.
(There is no WS-wide general leadership group or individual, in part because the city handles West Seattle as two districts – Southwest and Delridge – so neighborhood-group reps meet in two groups, as two separate “district councils,” and also in part because the City Council is elected at large, not by districts.)
The WSTC meeting concluded with 11 people volunteering to serve on an interim board (listed at story’s end).
It began with slides prepared and presented by Joe Szilagyi from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Neighborhood Council, where the coalition idea sprouted, as transit issues emerged early in the new council’s life as a top priority, given past cuts, potential future cuts, and Westwood Village swelling into a major transportation hub, particularly starting with the launch of RapidRide C Line in fall 2012. Download the PowerPoint here via the WSTC site, or see the slides below via Scribd:
West Seattle Transit Coalition launch meeting slides
Exactly three months until Christmas! No, we’re not trying to rush things, but the clock IS ticking on the West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular contest announced a month ago – “Name That Snowman,” on behalf of the new emcee the synchronized-holiday-lights show will have this year, an 8-foot-tall talking, singing snowman. The contest details and rules are on the West Seattle Lights website; the winner gets to push the button and turn on the lights on opening night of this year’s show, 7 pm Saturday, November 30th (3908 SW Charlestown).
(WSB photo added: SFD Ladder 11 & Engine 11 outside Denny)
12:31 PM: A fire-alarm call at the Sealth/Denny campus is about an hour old, but several parents have e-mailed/texted us to say their kids at Denny reported to them there was some kind of actual fire. We’re checking on it but one crew member who passed by says the early dismissal ***appears to be proceeding as normal*** and there is NO external sign of anything wrong – we’re having trouble getting fire/school officials on the phone. (One person at the Denny office refused to comment.) More info as we get it.
12:44 PM: We have just spoken to firefighters at the school. They say someone started a fire in a bathroom trash can. No injuries or damage, but smoky.
12:54 PM: We also have heard back from SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore, who adds an extra detail: The fire alarm “failed to reset and continued to go back into alarm.” (That explains a detail we heard in texts from Denny and Sealth students, that it “just kept going off.”) Moore also confirms, no one hurt. SFD remains on scene, as we noted on our return trip (photo above, but note, hoses aren’t in use, another sign it was small).
2:20 PM: From Denny principal Jeff Clark via e-mail:
This afternoon at 11:30 we had a small fire in a garbage can in a 2nd floor bathroom. The resulting smoke caused the evacuation alarm to sound. As we were clearing the smoke, the evacuation alarm sounded several more times. Today is an early-release day for Seattle Public Schools — all students were released as planned at 12:10.
All students and staff are fine — there is no resulting damage to the building. Tomorrow will be a regular school day. All of our students did an outstanding job during our evacuation procedures.
A memorial service is planned this Saturday at Providence Mount St. Vincent for Hugh P. Wallace, whose family shares this remembrance:
Hugh Patrick Wallace passed away peacefully September 22, 2013, with his family by his side, at the age of 91.
He was born in Seattle January 29, 1922, to Michael Wallace and Bridget Curran. Hugh married the love of his life, Betty June Thorburn, January 30, 1943, and shortly thereafter joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in the 4th Division, where he fought in the Central and South Pacific and survived the Battle of Iwo Jima.
After serving his country, Hugh returned to Seattle, where he remained active with the American Legion and served as a Commander of American Legion Post 160 and VFW Post 2713. He worked in construction as a heavy-equipment operator until his retirement.
(Steller’s Jay, photographed by John Kieltyka)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
FREE CHINESE CONVERSATION/CULTURE CLASS: The new series of “Chinese Corner” classes starts at 4 pm today at the Seattle Chinese Garden on the campus of South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor). Pre-register ASAP – just go here. More info in our calendar listing. (6000 16th SW, north side of campus)
SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS’ ‘GROWTH BOUNDARIES’ MEETING: Eight days after proposed boundary/school-program changes (and more) were unveiled by Seattle Public Schools, you can hear about them firsthand – and offer your comments – at a district meeting tonight, 6:30 pm, West Seattle High School Commons (3000 California SW).
HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: Busy agenda, as outlined on HPAC’s website – from a new proposal for raingardens to lessen the load on sewer/drainage systems in Highland Park, to an update on Westcrest Park development, to the fate of the two Seattle City Light surplus sites in Highland Park, and more. 7 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club. (12th/Holden)
PURSE POKER: As previewed in our coverage of last week’s comedy showcase at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor), it’s launching Purse Poker on Wednesday nights, 7 pm. No money – just bring a purse full of items to bet, explained on the FL home page. (6451 California SW)
‘URBAN BESTIARY’ BOOK LAUNCH: West Seattle author Lyanda Lynn Haupt‘s official launch event for “The Urban Bestiary” is tonight, 7 pm, Elliott Bay Books on Capitol Hill. (1521 10th Ave.)
CAGE THE ELEPHANT: Live, free in-store at Easy Street Records, in advance of their new album (out in less than 2 weeks). 7 pm. (California/Alaska)
TALARICO’S TRIVIA: Every Wednesday night for *years,* it’s Trivia Night at Talarico’s Pizzeria in The Junction, 8:30 pm – more in our calendar listing.
More nightlife, and daytime activities, on our calendar!
The former residences on the site of the future underground sewer-overflow-storage tank across from Lowman Beach Park have all now been demolished. Our photo is from last weekend, looking south into the site from the corner of Lincoln Park Way and Beach Drive (map). Today, King County Wastewater Treatment Division has sent an update, saying this phase of the work will wrap up this week:
King County’s contractor has cleared the structures from the Murray CSO Control Facility project site. Crews are now backfilling the foundations with soil and installing plastic along the site’s eastern slope to maintain the site’s stability. The site will then be seeded with grass to reduce runoff and dust prior to the start of facility construction later this year. The contractor expects to complete the major remaining work by Friday.
Parking on the east side of Beach Drive Southwest is expected to be restored for the weekend. Project fencing will be returned to the edge of the site, reopening the sidewalk on the east side of the roadway to pedestrians and bicyclists. Street and sidewalk cleaning activities could create temporary access issues to these areas, and could extend into early next week.
First coyote report in a few weeks, shared this morning by Diane:
Around 10:45 pm last night I was heading up my street (Garlough Ave SW) and saw two of them, heading south, about mid block, between Stevens and Hanford street (map). They then headed west into a neighbor’s yard, most likely one that has access to the back alley. We live close to a trail into Schmitz Park and I wasn’t surprised to see them. My neighbor has seen them in the back yard sometimes. The back yard is on the park boundary, near the trail leading into it.
Reminders are always good for those with pets – keep them inside at night!
Even if you’re not near a park or greenbelt, they might be in your area – browse the WSB archive of coyote reports (some with photos) to see. For expert advice on how to encourage them to keep their distance – most notably, scaring them away if you see one – go here and follow the “solutions to problems” link.
(Live view from the west-facing WS Bridge camera; other cameras are on the WSB Traffic page)
Nothing unusual in this vicinity so far today – but the roads are wet and overall, that means slower going. Meantime, two repaving projects are scheduled to continue: 6000 block of Beach Drive, one lane alternating directions with a flagger, and Delridge repaving between Henderson and Roxbury. (Added – as noted in comments – work is not complete on Orchard west of Delridge, as an offshoot of the paving project – it’s scheduled to continue through the week, with the westbound side listed as the current focus zone.)
WEST SEATTLE TRANSIT COALITION: Our report on its launch will be up later today. If you’re on the bus and ready to read about it now, the first round of notes from its organizers are here, and our video of the meeting (better suited for listening than watching due to camera challenges) is here.
NOTE FOR TOMORROW: Thanks to Tracy for the heads-up that the annual Microsoft meeting is tomorrow (Thursday, September 26) – at KeyArena this time, but events there can cause domino-effect congestion down the line, so consider yourself forewarned.
7:45 AM UPDATE: Crash at 35th/Fauntleroy – thanks to Jana and Kristen for the tips via Twitter. Here’s a view on the live camera:
Does not appear to be a major-injury situation, judging by the 911 dispatch.
8:06 AM UPDATE: Camera view shows the crash scene has cleared.
8:15 AM NOTE: As mentioned here last night, this is an “early dismissal” day for Seattle Public Schools, so you will see school buses out and about two hours earlier than usual.
1:13 PM NOTE: More on the Microsoft meeting tomorrow – the city has issued this alert:
Tomorrow, September 26, Microsoft will hold its Annual Company Meeting at the Key Arena from 10 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. Some 15,000 attendees, traveling via 200 buses and 4,000 private vehicles, are expected to begin arriving at 8:30 a.m. and start leaving at roughly 4 p.m. The Seattle Department of Transportation advises motorists driving in the area surrounding the Seattle Center to anticipate heavy congestion in the morning and afternoon and allow for extra travel time.
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