day : 20/11/2013 10 results

Update: Seattle School Board approves ‘Growth Boundaries’ plan, capacity-management changes including Boren, Hughes

7:56 PM: In case you’re wondering, and not able to be there in person or monitor the cable TV live feed – the Seattle Public Schools board hasn’t yet gotten to the vote on proposed boundary changes; its meeting is running about an hour and a half behind schedule. Board members did approve an action item that is related to the recent expansion of “no extra charge” full-day kindergarten to some schools, and they have approved a new firearms policy. We’ll add live notes when they get to the boundaries item; the Seattle Schools Community Forum site has been reporting live for the entire meeting, if you’re looking for details on what happened earlier; here’s the final version of the agenda (now on business agenda item #3).

9 PM NOTE: Not there yet, but it’s the next item, #7; they’re currently close to the vote on #6.

9:09 PM: Now they are on to the Growth Boundaries item, and 13 proposed amendments, none of which involve West Seattle boundary changes; our area’s board rep Marty McLaren is co-sponsor of the final amendment on the list, proposing that the boundaries be reviewed each year.

9:40 PM: They’re on Amendment 4, but that’s a little deceiving in terms of tracking time; the three after this one apparently will be withdrawn. By the way, once the entire Growth Boundaries plan comes to a vote, the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan follows, with components including changing Boren’s status to permanent school, and Hughes’ status to emergency site once vacated. This plan also has amendments, none West Seattle specific, though many families here will be interested in the one proposing the district develop an Advanced Learning Master Plan.

10:40 PM: Now, voting time on the maps (West Seattle unchanged from the version in this agenda). Unanimously passed. No further discussion. Here’s what changes for NEXT school year in West Seattle, text taken from the agenda document:

Fairmount Park Elementary School (Area 45 from Lafayette to Fairmount Park, Area 55 from West Seattle to Fairmount Park, Area 61 from Gatewood to Fairmount Park, Area 65 from Alki to Fairmount Park, Area 71 from Schmitz Park to Fairmount Park) – Fairmount Park Elementary School will open for grades K-5 effective September 2014. New boundaries apply to incoming K students and new residents of the attendance area. Students currently in grades 1-5 who live in the new attendance area are grandfathered at their current school, but will be assigned to Fairmount Park if they apply during Open Enrollment through September 30.

Also related to Fairmount Park’s opening:

 APP will be offered as an option for eligible students at Fairmount Park in West Seattle beginning in 2014-15 (and subsequently at Madison). This will be a different service delivery model, which is why enrollment is optional. It is anticipated that this will serve students who live in West Seattle who may not have participated in APP previously because of the distance to their pathway schools.

Related to that, the document mentions that the district will “offer Spectrum at Fairmount Park in a blended model with APP.” Meantime, everything else you see in the packet of maps – as it relates to West Seattle – would be implemented at later dates.

And on, literally one minute later, to the Intermediate Capacity Management item, which has a few proposed amendments.

11:15 PM: Those amendments are still being gone through.

11:47 PM: The meeting is adjourned, a few minutes after unanimous approval for the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan.

THURSDAY NIGHT NOTES: Maps that take effect next year are now posted to the district site, specifically labeled as approved for next year. See them here; as of this writing, they include Lafayette, Schmitz Park, and the opening-next-fall Fairmount Park.

Happening now: West Seattle Food Bank turkey drive @ Easy Street

Go make sure the West Seattle Food Bank team isn’t standing out in the cold for vain! They’re collecting small (10-pounds-ish) frozen turkeys until 7 pm outside Easy Street Records in The Junction, and you can even just hand yours out the window for curbside collection on the southbound side of California just north of Alaska:

If you walk up, or walk by, you can also buy a raffle ticket and/or donate money – $10 will be enough for the Food Bank to buy a turkey. Help make it a happier Thanksgiving for neighbors in need.

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: One charge against man arrested near Sealth

Almost one month after a Highland Park man was arrested following a report he was masturbating in his van a block from Chief Sealth International High School, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has filed a charge against him. 34-year-old Danen Romine is charged with one count of indecent exposure. KCPAO spokesperson Dan Donohoe says that was the one and only case referred to them for consideration of charges. You might remember that Romine was originally facing a Seattle Municipal Court charge, but then the city realized it was not empowered to prosecute indecent-exposure cases until this month. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is asking for $30,000 bail in the case; Romine is scheduled for arraignment on November 27th.

Union-commissioned alternatives shown for 4755 Fauntleroy site

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Through the city’s half-dozen-plus public meetings related to the design of 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, to be anchored by a Whole Foods Market, members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 were a constant presence, voicing concerns, keeping watch on the project, often with a contingent of members/leaders in yellow logo-bearing T-shirts.

After the project’s design won final approvals in that process from the Southwest Design Review Board and the Seattle Design Commission, the union launched a campaign called Getting It Right for West Seattle, focused on the remaining approval needed by the project – the City Council’s blessing for the project’s requested “alley vacation,” in which the developer seeks approval to buy publicly owned alley land. The campaign scored an early victory with Mayor McGinn‘s July announcement that SDOT would be told to recommend the council reject the alley vacation, for concerns including worker wages.

While that part of the process rolls slowly along, UFCW Local 21 has paid for a University of Washington architecture professor to develop two “alternative designs” for the site. Monday night, those designs – one of which would potentially have room for a Whole Foods or other big chain store, one of which was not – were “offered up as food for thought,” as union organizer and West Seattle resident Elena Perez put it. She organized the presentation at Emeritus-West Seattle (WSB sponsor) with about two dozen people in attendance, not including the site’s developers/owners, Weingarten Realty and Lennar, to whom Perez said she’d given notice too late.

However, a member of the Huling family, which previously owned most of the site, was there and spoke up in a somewhat dramatic moment – more on that later.

Perez characterized their ongoing interest in the site – which she clarified is the focus of GIR4WS, not local development in general – as anchored in the “precedent” it would set, and reiterated that the advocates’ goal is what they stated it to be half a year ago – to obtain a Community Benefit Agreement “with local West Seattle stakeholders” as part of a deal with the city for the alley vacation, which would involve selling two sections of alley for fair-market value plus a public-benefit package (this slide deck from June details the public benefits approved by the Design Commission in that stage of the review).

The alternative designs by Dr. Sharon Sutton turned out to involve only the commercial level of the site, leaving the rest of it to imagination/speculation. Though Dr. Sutton herself was not in attendance, the designs were presented and described by West Seattleite Deb Barker, who served four years on the Southwest Design Review Board and is a retired land-use planner.

Barker made it clear she was speaking for herself as a private citizen, unrelated to other community-advocacy roles in which she currently serves. She extended the invitation for us to cover the meeting; GIR4WS had not sent announcements of previous meetings, either for news coverage or public-calendar postings.

After a condensed primer on the process through which the project already has gone, Barker reiterated that UFCW Local 21 had paid for Dr. Sutton’s work, which she compared and contrasted with selections from the design packet for one of the public meetings about the project’s official design by Fuller Sears Architects, the Seattle Design Commission session on June 20th, like this one:

Barker also explained the alley vacation process (here’s the city’s primer) and the “mid-block connector” currently designed into the project as a sort of replacement alley, the target of criticism at many official reviews because it would be used by trucks as well as pedestrians. “You’re going to get to play duck-dodge with a panel truck or semi-truck,” Barker contended. (The union had talked at previous city meetings, like this one in April, about its studies of a North Seattle Whole Foods store, with at least 4 semitrucks daily and up to 31 panel trucks making deliveries.)

Continuing to set the stage before showing the alternatives, she also zeroed in on the “gateway” corner of the development, the southwest corner of Fauntleroy/Alaska (roughly where the former gas station is being dismantled/dug up right now). Here’s what the official design includes:

(See the two alternatives below, one for each envisioned concept.) Barker explained that Dr. Sutton was just asked to deal “with the pedestrian experience” – not the residential floors of the project. The input she was given included a survey circulated online by Getting It Right for West Seattle (in response to a question later, Perez said 357 responses had been received, this past July and August) as well as two charrettes whose participants were described as “community activists and UFCW 21 representatives.”

The two concepts were labeled Alley and Market. Barker said she wasn’t sure which she liked better: “To me, these are breaths of fresh air, just imagining the possibilities.” Here is “Alley”:

The parking access would change, and any “large retail opportunity” would front Fauntleroy. Deliveries for that would be on the Fauntleroy/Edmunds corner. The midblock connector/pass-through “would be for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles only.” There would be second-floor roofs with raingardens.

The gateway area – Fauntleroy/Alaska – concept for the “alley” design was described as an “egg” because of its shape:

Next, the “market concept.” Barker referenced the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, the Reading Market in Philadelphia, Melrose Market on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, saying it was envisioned as including “a big place for small businesses, lots and lots and lots of small businesses, access onto streets,” with live-work units on the southeast side, facing Fauntleroy, “places for hanging out,” and a “huge internal space” on the north side, with doors opening to the streets on the west.

“From inside the market, you pour out into a stage area with outdoor seating and a performance area,” and sunshine from the southwest corner (though it should be noted a development is set for that side, too).

From the back of the room at that point: “Where’s Whole Foods?”

“Maybe not in this project,” Barker replied. She went on to show the imagined “gateway” for this configuration, “a very, very, very large space several stories tall, surrounded by windows,” enabling people to see into the “market space,” and out to the theoretically sun-dappled public park/performance area.”

She declared this to be a design that would be more of a “gateway,” more of a “true entry statement than the 4755 Fauntleroy design currently has.”

Sharonn Meeks, who had served on the Triangle Advisory Group whose work was part of a city zoning overhaul of the area – including this site, technically west of The Triangle – asked at that point: “This is one-sixth of the project; what are you doing with the rest?” She pointed out that this configuration would certainly include fewer residential units.

Barker reiterated that “Dr. Sutton wasn’t asked to get into (that).”

The next question asked again about what kind of supermarket could fit into the envisioned space. Barker thought a “two-story Whole Foods” might work. She also recalled a “three-story Home Depot in the middle of a dense Chicago neighborhood,” and noted that developers have choices.

Though project developers weren’t at this meeting, as noted earlier, this is where a member of the family that sold most of the site to the developers spoke up.

Grant Huling said he wanted to “offer himself as a resource,” including availability to talk with attendees post-meeting (which he did).

He expressed appreciation for people caring about development, but said it appeared to him that “UFCW has picked a fight with this one project” at a time that is “particularly late in the process … I think a lot of community energy is getting steered toward this project, when there are a number of mixed-use things happening and they all should have community fingerprints on them … ”

Another attendee asked, “So who’s going to see these proposals?”

Perez replied: “Well, you are, tonight …”

The questioner asked, “But, in terms of making changes” to the project …

Perez acknowledged, “It’s not that you’re going to vote tonight and say ‘yay’ and it’s magically going to happen.” But, she said, they believe Seattle is “hot,” a place developers want to be, but they don’t “think it’s good enough” for an “urban infill” project.

Then addressing Grant Huling, she defended UFCW 21’s “concern about jobs … we have thousands of members who live in West Seattle like myself who want an enjoyable development. … We’re not saying our vision is the correct one. One of these designs does have space for a large anchor tenant, that could be Whole Foods.”

The next comment from the audience suggested that the “safety issue” might be the “wedge” that could be taken to the city. (It has been – our coverage of the project’s reviews by the Seattle Design Commission includes this report from last April, at which time UFCW reps brought up the truck-traffic concerns.)

Two other attendees asked about coordination of major projects, and about the Junction and Triangle plans on file with the city. Barker explained that they can be found as documents in city files (here’s the 1999 West Seattle Junction Neighborhood Plan; here are documents containing results of the recent round of Triangle planning), noting that the midblock connector for this site was a concept in the Triangle plan, not something the developer pulled “out of mid-air.” Here’s how it’s shown in the plan (before this project was proposed):

Dr. Sutton is meeting with Councilmember Rasmussen and possibly others to discuss “from a professional standpoint why there are major concerns in the (developers’) proposal,” said Perez, adding that other “neighbors” are setting meetings with councilmembers too. “Our position is that this can be a win-win, a developer can have a very profitable development. If it ends up having a Whole Foods in it, so be it.”

At that point, Meeks, president of the nearby Fairmount Community Association – south of SW Alaska, uphill from The Triangle – noted that the Triangle Advisory Group had “worked for 14 months” and “worked on the concept of what we considered a true gateway into West Seattle – It’s not this project (site), it’s what was funded (by City Council earlier this week, as reported here), the (Fauntleroy) Green Boulevard. … My concern here is that this seems to be targeted toward a (certain) project, not a vetting of what the Triangle group came together to work on. I didn’t see you supporting (the Green Boulevard).”

That’s when Perez clarified, “Getting It Right for West Seattle is very specific to this project.”

Questions still persisted about what the alternative designs would be used for, what could still happen at this part of the process. That’s when Shawn Terjeson got up and explained how he got involved, and why he is currently making the rounds to meet with city councilmembers. “I got excited about the alley vacation,” he said. “They’re building a trench from Fauntleroy to California that’s only good for cars unless you’re going to Whole Foods or LA Fitness” (in Spruce, the former “Hole,” across the street) … “My goal is to have these people build us something that is livable, exciting, that will draw us into West Seattle. The Triangle plan is fantastic.”

An attendee asked, “What’s to stop them from building this is there is no alley vacation?” Barker replied that the “existing configuration of the alleyway limits the footprint of the building.”

Asked again at the end if the designs would be taken to the developer, Perez said she sent an invitation to the “community liaison for the developers on Saturday” but “they didn’t have enough time … we’ve been very open about wanting to sit down and work with them on this, but at this point all we can do is work through the public process – democracy isn’t always pretty.”

We asked a development team spokesperson for comment:

We have not met with the union on this topic. We are already more than two years into a design that is wholly consistent with the West Seattle Triangle Plan’s community-led vision for this property. Additionally, the existing design has been approved by the West Seattle Design Review Board and the Seattle Design Commission.

We are moving ahead with the City’s process for an alley vacation, which includes paying fair-market value for the alley, as well as providing more than $2M in additional on-site public benefit. The City process for an alley vacation does not include a community benefit agreement.

When a date is set for the next step in that process – likely going to the City Council’s Transportation Committee after the first of the year – we’ll let you know.

SIDE NOTE: For an example of a “Community Benefit Agreement” precedent, the one negotiated in 2008 for a Central District project is cited. (The project was canceled the following year, after recession hit.)

New leadership position for 34th District State Sen. Sharon Nelson

The state senator who represents our area, Sen. Sharon Nelson, has just been elected leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus, a position held by State Sen. Ed Murray, leaving after his election to be Seattle Mayor. Click ahead to read the news release:

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Congrats to West Seattle’s ZippyDogs, national award-winners!

(Photo courtesy Green Rubino)
West Seattle-based entrepreneurs Elise Lindborg and Kelli Henderson will be in “the other Washington” later this week to accept a national award. Here’s the news release we received about how the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce will be honoring them:

Elise Lindborg and Kelli Henderson, leaders of ZippyDogs, a Seattle-based supplier of Made in USA and eco-friendly promotional products, will travel to Washington, D.C. on November 22 to be honored at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) National Dinner. This black-tie gala is dedicated to celebrating leading LGBT business owners and entrepreneurs, corporations and supplier diversity advocates, as well as government and community leaders. From a competitive field of applicants, ZippyDogs was selected as LGBT Supplier of the Year.

The LGBT Supplier of the Year award recognizes an exemplary certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (LGBTBE®) for their outstanding achievement and contribution to the development of LGBT supplier diversity. ZippyDogs assists companies to market their business through the creative use of eco-friendly and Made in USA promotional products. Earlier this year, ZippyDogs customers responded with overwhelming satisfaction to a service survey and described the company as innovative, responsive, reliable, friendly, and “off the leash.” ZippyDogs is led by “Top Dog” Elise Lindborg and “Chili Dog” Kelli Henderson, who both attribute their company’s growth in part due to the NGLCC’s Supplier Diversity Initiative.

“The NGLCC has been pivotal to the success of ZippyDogs, and that makes this award extra special to us,” says Elise Lindborg. “Not only do we provide products that we are proud to sell to our clients, we take every opportunity to educate our customers about eco-friendly, Made in USA products, and supplier diversity. If we can help influence companies into this forward-thinking model of business, then we can wag our tails at the end of the day.” ZippyDogs has been in business since 2000; however, the last three years have seen sustained growth for ZippyDogs. Since purchasing their World Headquarters and becoming a LGBT certified business in 2010, they have hired two employees, won two government contracts, they are on par to make 2013 their best year in business yet.

The “World HQ” is in the north Morgan Junction area, as reported here when they celebrated its opening.

Memorial this Sunday for former School Board president Patt Sutton, 1927-2013

Family and friends will gather Sunday at The Hall at Fauntleroy to remember Patt Sutton, 86, who led a full life of community service, family-raising, and more, as her daughter Amy Sutton writes::

Mrs. Patt Sutton, two-term president of the Seattle School Board, tireless citizen advocate for equitable education, and mother of 12, left us peacefully in the early morning November 14, 2013. Patt was admired by many for her strong voice, her warmth, passion, humor and keen intellect, and above all, her unwavering commitment to social justice.

Patt was born September 12, 1927 in Oklahoma City to Ruth (Burdick) and Lawrence George Harries. As a child growing up in the Jim Crow south, she was acutely aware of the hypocrisy and unjustness of segregation. An independent thinker, she questioned inequities whenever she found them, prompting her early departure from high school, college and the Catholic Church.

Patt met her husband and life partner Dr. John William (Bill) Sutton while attending the University of Nevada. She was blessed to meet her match in a man who admired her strength and unconventionality, as well as their shared desire to “go for an even dozen.” Following their marriage in March 1949, they moved to Santa Barbara, where Bill taught chemistry at the University of California. The family relocated to Ohio in 1955 when Bill joined the faculty at Denison University. Patt supplemented their income by working as a secretary at the local inn.

As a young adult, Patt worked as a reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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West Seattle Elementary’s growth brings special recognition

West Seattle Elementary School now has a big new banner to tell the world about its progress. We recently published an update from WSES on continued test-score growth, and on Tuesday, principal Vicki Sacco and her staff welcomed visitors including Washington Education Association president Kim Mead (above left), Seattle Education Association president Jonathan Knapp (above right), and State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, and received a special recognition banner. Mead and Knapp are touring federal School Improvement Grant-receiving schools in the city, and WSES is one of the stops; WEA says our state’s grant recipients have outperformed those in every other state.

WSES students and staff are also proud of their anti-bullying campaign, shown off for the distinguished visitors:

Pink is the signature color for the no-bullying campaign (previously reported here last March). The hand-raising in our photo shows students/staff affirming the pledge to be kind to each other.

West Seattle Wednesday: WS Food Bank donation dropoffs; School Board boundaries vote; Delridge District Council…

Delridge Skatepark

(Before the leaves fell: Delridge Skatepark photo by Laura Goodrich, shared via the WSB Flickr group)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar and the just-launched Holiday Guide (new events/info added daily, and please remember to send us yours!):

LINCOLN PARK WORK PARTY: Time to spare on a weekday? Perfect! EarthCorps has a work party 10 am-2 pm today – details in our calendar listing.

ENTREPRENEUR/CO-WORKING MEETUP: Noon today at West Seattle Office Junction – details in our calendar listing. (5230 California SW)

SPECIAL DONATION DROPOFF FOR WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK: Want to help out the West Seattle Food Bank for Thanksgiving but don’t have time to get TO the food bank? 4-7 pm today in The Junction, WS Food Bank reps will be at Easy Street Records, hoping to collect hundreds of small (10-pound-ish) frozen turkeys – you can even bring one (or more) without getting out of your vehicle. Or, donate cash or a check. Here’s our original announcement about this. (California/Alaska)

SCHOOL BOARD VOTES ON BOUNDARIES (ETC.): 4:15 pm is the official start of tonight’s Seattle School Board meeting, including votes on the “Growth Boundaries” and capacity-management measures, but the key votes aren’t until 6 pm. Here’s the full agenda, including the list of people signed up to speak starting at 5 pm; the final version of the boundary maps are here; the plan for Arbor Heights to be housed at Boren with STEM during its two years of new-school construction is here (that’s also the document with the plan for EC Hughes, once vacated in 2015, to revert to a building for emergency/interim use). The School Board meets at district HQ in SODO. (3rd/Lander)

DELRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL: Reps from community councils and other key organizations around eastern West Seattle meet tonight at 7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, to discuss issues and receive briefings including one on the Barton Combined Sewer Overflow project. (4408 Delridge Way SW)

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday on the move

(East-facing camera on the West Seattle Bridge; see other cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:59 AM: Welcome to Wednesday. In case you missed this alert we added to yesterday’s traffic/transit tracker late in the day, after it was sent by SDOT, note some possible downtown delays this morning:

(The) Homeless Advocates March will get underway at 7:45 am after the participants spend the night at Westlake Park. A Seattle Police motorcycle escort will accompany the 100 participants in the street as they make their way east on Pine Street to Fifth Avenue, then southbound on Fifth to the City Hall at Cherry Street. The activists have a goal to “Get 1000 people off the streets by summer 2014.” They will occupy the Committee to End Homelessness in King County (CEHKC) Governing Board Meeting being held at 8:30 am in the Bertha Knight Landes Room of City Hall. Motorists can expect to encounter delays between 7:45 and 8:30 am as the marchers move along the downtown streets. Given the timing of the event, commuters may need to allow for extra time to get to work.

7:27 AM NOTE: It’s much colder this morning than yesterday, but still above freezing. However, forecasters say we’ll likely wake up to below-freezing temperatures tomorrow, so if that might mean windshield-scraping for you, find the scraper today.

9:16 AM: Speaking of frost – some is reported on the ramp from the southbound 99/Viaduct to the westbound West Seattle Bridge, per police radio – they’re calling for help in getting that handled. Also, a one-car crash has been reported on the westbound bridge at the Delridge exit. (Added for the archives: Photo of the crash by alextutu1821, shared via the WSB Flickr group)

Victim of black ice. On the off ramp from West Seattle bridge exiting to North Delridge.

10:59 AM: That’s all over, so far as we know. New note: If you have questions about the possible Metro cuts, look for an info-table at The Junction tomorrow (Thursday) morning, 6:30-9:30 am – details here.