West Seattle Green Space Coalition forming to push for ‘balance’

A new West Seattle-wide effort to preserve and advocate for open space – as a balance to “high-density development” – is in its formative stage, we learned from Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council reps tabling outside the Farmers’ Market today.

The spark is the current Seattle City Light process to decide the fate of former substation sites, including six West Seattle properties. GSNC is advocating in particular for the open-space prospects of the one at 49th and Dakota. But they believe the entire multi-site process should be put on hold until the community has a chance to try to rally resources to keep at least some of the sites as open space. Today, they were collecting signatures on a petition asking City Light and the City Council to delay decisions until at least 2015. And they’re forming the West Seattle Green Space Coalition to advance this cause and related issues – here’s how it was explained atop the petition sheets:

There are two dates coming up soon that you’ll want to make note of, if you’re interested in fighting for green space:

-Next Saturday (September 28th), a formation meeting for the Green Space Coalition, 4:30 pm. (We’re verifying the location and will update the story with final word – update, High Point Branch Library, 35th/Raymond.)

-October 2nd, 6:30 pm at High Point Community Center, the official city public hearing on the ex-substation sites’ fate. (Here’s what GSNC wrote about this earlier.)

15 Replies to "West Seattle Green Space Coalition forming to push for 'balance'"

  • bbuddy September 22, 2013 (11:43 pm)

    Way to go! Thanks for doing this. I signed the petition and I hope others will too.

  • Mike September 23, 2013 (11:00 am)

    I understand this group has stated they are not saying that all the sites should try to be preserved, but I want to make it clear that some of these sites are in areas of WS that are in need of development or already have so much publicly owned open space that it is poorly maintained, if at all, and these public properties become illegal dumping locations or transient camps. So please, West Seattle Greenspace Coalition, don’t make any sweeping generalizations or demands of City Light or City Council unless you know the intimate details of the affected neighborhoods.

  • Karen Lyons September 23, 2013 (11:48 am)

    Mike, yes, we have talked to many local people at different sites. And we do understand that each substation site is different and it is up to the neighbors when it comes to use of the land. That is one of the reasons we are having meetings about the substations. But please realize we are only getting signatures and requesting that City Light give neighborhoods the time to voice their opinions. Please come to one of the meetings and voice your opinion!

  • let them swim September 23, 2013 (4:21 pm)

    @ Mike, What’s wrong with saving green space?

  • Mike September 23, 2013 (6:34 pm)

    I will do my best to attend your meeting Karen. Glad to hear you conversed with many of the people living near the different sites. They are all located in unique situations.

  • Mike September 23, 2013 (6:38 pm)

    let them swim – When you ‘save’ green space, it removes land from what might be better used to build homes or apartmens to house people. ‘Saving’ it also takes it off the tax rolls, and not every neighborhood needs or wants more greenspace as they might conclude that they have enough. At large, WS has A LOT of publicly owned green space, and much of it is completely neglected and underutilized because there is no money in the City budget to maintain it. Hence the ivy, blackberry and holly taking over and the illegal dumping that goes on unabated.

  • chubbs September 23, 2013 (8:57 pm)

    Mike — we do not need any more homes or apartments in West Seattle until the infrastructure is in place… have you been across the bridge lately? Insanity. Green space can always be developed but trying to do the reverse is almost impossible. Save it while you can.

  • Karen Lyons September 23, 2013 (9:15 pm)

    Mike, I understand what you are saying, but some of these sites have trees that are over 70 years old, once they are gone, they are probably gone, forever. Apartments will come and go, but these natural sites can never be replaced. Do you think allowing these sites to be destroyed for apartments is worth the cost to our future generations? Can we give value to at least some of these properties?

  • G September 23, 2013 (9:35 pm)

    I understand the problem getting in and out of West Seattle, but restricting the supply of housing will drive up the costs for everyone, buyers and renters alike.

    How are we deficient in green space when we have great parks and greenbelts everywhere; Me Kwa Mooks, Lincoln Park, Longfellow Creek, Alki Beach, Hiawatha, Hamilton Viewpoint, Schmitz Preserve, Duwamish greenbelt, Camp Long…?

  • trying! September 23, 2013 (10:33 pm)

    Most of the locations you have mentioned are south of us,
    I am with the GSNC and I was so surprised by our lack of support for green space! We wanted to have a picnic for our neighborhood, but we could not find one picnic bench. Me Kwa Mooks is cut off from us (we have tried to connect, a steep slope, but the neighborhood would not let us use the foot path to connect us to Me Kwa Mooks). Hiwatha is totally booked by the schools. Schmitz Preserve is just that, no part of Schmitz Park is available for public use. Despite all you have named as our parks, apparently you have not dove into our current condition?

  • Brian M. September 24, 2013 (9:39 am)

    While I am all for exploring using some of the sites as green space, I am not for delaying the process any further to “rally support”. The city has provided an adequate amount of time in both providing information (via signage at the sites, multiple mailings to my house) and providing a venue for feedback (via multiple meetings). To cause the city to drag their feet even longer is counterintuitive to progress, in whichever form it eventually takes.

  • anonyme September 24, 2013 (1:49 pm)

    We need fewer humans and fewer apartments – and LOTS more green space.

  • G September 24, 2013 (2:20 pm)


    No one is stopping you.

  • Mary September 27, 2013 (3:36 pm)

    Open, green space is vital to balance the high-density development going on throughout West Seattle.

    On Saturday, September 28, West Seattle Green Space Coalition is kicking-off by gathering neighborhood councils and environmental groups to form a Coalition with a mission of (1) stopping the sale of the green spaces for development and (2) working to secure funding for future green space/park/public uses of the properties.

    We wanot to hear ideas from all neighbors, realizing that each community surrounding a substation has different needs and ideas.

    The kick-off will be held on September 28 at High Point Library, 3411 SW Raymond St. from 4:30 to 5:45.

  • Craig September 28, 2013 (1:41 pm)

    I think taking more time on this is a good idea. Seattle City Light is selling off these properties as part of their strategy to keep our electric bills from escalating during times when their costs are high. While these actions may appear to be a responsible thing for SCL customers and look great from inside the offices of SCL, some of these properties may be better utilized for the greater good as green space or through alternative routes of development.

    For example, the sale of the 16th and Holden site is supported by HPIC as well as many in attendance at the HPAC meeting last week; however, these same people would like to see the zoning changed to commercial so that the area could become more walkable. In order for this to happen we need to appeal to City council members which will take time.

    Another great alternative route that was discussed at the meeting was the possible purchase of the “White Center” property on 9th by King County to be used in the Rainwise program as a raingarden. This would be a win win for all parties as SCL would get money for the sale of the property, Highland Park would see a neglected space currently stacked with abandon vehicles transformed into large green space, and the Duwamish river health would be enhanced by controlling storm runoff. This will most likely take more time than is alloted in the current timeline for the property sale. I feel that we need to take more time on these decisions to best serve our neigborhoods.


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