West Seattle, Washington
Five years ago, when community members lobbied Metro to make sure RapidRide went all the way to Westwood instead of turning around at Fauntleroy, they didn’t envision what’s become a “wall of buses” alongside Roxhill Park. A new community council has since emerged, and park-safety concerns are high on its list. So today, Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council leaders took a group of visiting officials on what you might call a wall-to-wall tour.
It started and ended on the east side of Barton, alongside the park. This tour didn’t go into the park – though some of its challenges were well within view:
Liquor stolen from nearby stores – four places stock it in Westwood alone, plus Safeway on the other side of the park – is often consumed nearby, and the bus wall hides it from scrutiny. So WWRHAH suggests other places buses could lay over:
The tour around the outer perimeter of Westwood Village was led by WWRHAH chair Amanda Kay Helmick, above in purple, and secretary Joe Szilagyi, above in gray. Those who came along to see and hear about the situation included not only reps from Metro, but also from King County Councilmember Dow Constantine‘s staff, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s staff, the County Sheriff’s Office – which is responsible for Metro Transit Police – and Seattle Police, Seattle Parks, even state legislator Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (below at left), a frequent transit rider who told his stories of getting around Westwood:
One frequently noted problem, not enough light for people to get around safely at night, including at 25th and Trenton, near the bus holding/bus stop area on the east side of Westwood:
Pedestrian and driver safety is at stake too, with cars exiting onto 25th jutting out to see around the buses and other vehicles there:
At each stop, the WWRHAH leaders offered suggestions, as tour participants took notes. And each area offered its own challenge:
While that stretch along Barton has an official RapidRide area, it was noted that bus passengers also exit much further west along the block, in the layover zone, which is unlit. WWRHAH stressed that they’re not requesting lights for the entire park – but that stretch needs something; our photo below, taken December 4th, shows how dark it can get:
This tour was part of the followup to other exchanges WWRHAH has had with Metro and other agencies that have jurisdiction in the Westwood/Roxhill area; here’s a previous story with a detailed reply to WWRHAH from Metro’s GM Kevin Desmond. The council’s November meeting was centered on park concerns and potential solutions. No specific next steps were announced as this afternoon’s tour ended, but WWRHAH plans to continue pressing for action.
As first announced here last month, Avril is leading tonight’s Strikes for Kids “Live United/Bowl United” fundraiser for United Way of King County. And not only is it a great chance to celebrate and help the nonprofit, it’s also a celebration of Seahawks fever:
…old-school Seahawks fever, too:
Then, there’s just plain fun:
Big crowd tonight, which should be good news for United Way; whenever we get a fundraising tally, we’ll update the story.
Three West Seattle Crime Watch notes tonight. First, doublecheck before bedtime to make sure your doors are locked. That’s the message one West Seattleite is sharing, after someone broke into her mom’s house in North Admiral:
My mother in-law lives on Palm Ave SW and woke up at 3 am Sunday morning to a person standing in her living room. When confronted, they ran out the unlocked kitchen door in which they entered. Cash and a watch were stolen; no one was hurt, luckily. A reminder to lock all doors and windows; motion lights will now be installed at this residence.
Nighttime break-ins are actually more brazen than daytime burglaries, since there’s more of a chance the burglar(s) will be confronted.
We also have an update from a burglary reported here one week ago: The reader who first told us about the 13-year-old arrested in connection with at least two break-ins says she found something he left behind – somebody else’s laptop. She was trying over the weekend to reach police to get them to come take it.
Finally, a hit-run driver damaged a parked car and destroyed a fence early Sunday in Westwood. Two readers mentioned it to us that morning – and then we heard directly from the fence’s owner, Laura:
A car took out my fence at 36th Ave SW and Barton St.
The front end of the car in the photo was also smashed.
Laura says it was somebody else’s car; the hit-run car and driver both got away. The fence was to be fixed today.
Before, and unrelated to, today’s big electricity outage, two water problems affected West Seattle neighborhoods over the weekend; we asked Seattle Public Utilities about them today:
FRIDAY NIGHT, DELRIDGE/JUNEAU: (map) We heard from area residents awakened (or kept awake) by an SPU crew working on a pipe break 9 pm Friday-3 am Saturday. SPU spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin says an 8-inch pipe broke, but service was lost only temporarily to 17 customers and three hydrants. SPU tries to “limit noise and other disturbances, especially when working at night,” she said, adding, “We thank customers for their patience and understanding when we are required to work in a neighborhood on an emergency repair.” They don’t know yet why the pipe broke.
GATEWOOD HILL: We heard about this one very early this morning, when residents near 41st/Frontenac (map) noticed discolored water from their taps, and one told us she saw water running in the street. Goodwin says SPU got calls early today “about water coming up from cracks in the roadway. … A leak investigation is currently under way to find the source of the leak. It could be on the 8” water main or on one of the 1” plastic services, but we don’t know at this time. All customers in the area continue to have water services (no water shutdown has occurred). As soon as SPU determines the source of the leak, a repair will be made.”
Moving on with some other news now that the big power outage is mostly over:
A major real-estate deal in West Seattle has closed. Eastside-headquartered Aegis Living has completed its purchase of the former Life Care Center site at 47th/Admiral, for $3,650,000. We first reported almost two months ago that Aegis was the prospective buyer; then Aegis CEO Dwayne Clark talked with WSB just before Thanksgiving, saying they’re planning to tear down the old building and build a new complex with 72 to 80 units, some assisted living, some memory care. No city permit applications yet; Clark told us last month that they expected to finish design work within three months or so of closing the deal. His company has 30 senior-living complexes in three states.
(TOPLINE as of 10:15 pm – The last outage pocket in Seaview/north Morgan appears to be back on at last, per comments and tweets. The map below shows outage zone at its peak around 11 am:)
9:43 AM: We’re checking on the extent of the power outage that has just hit areas of West Seattle. Let us know if it’s out where you are. So far we’re hearing from Admiral and The Junction; here in Upper Fauntleroy, our power flickered but did NOT go out. More to come.
9:49 AM UPDATE: First word is that the outage affects more than 4,300 homes and businesses. City Light is estimating 1 pm restoration but PLEASE keep in mind that at this early stage, that is just their guesstimate – not a guarantee, could be earlier, could be later. We’re hearing from people in many more areas, including High Point, North Delridge, and Fairmount Springs – thanks for commenting with your location report; the City Light map wasn’t updated as of a few minutes ago.
9:56 AM UPDATE: City Light now says more than 11,000 homes and businesses are affected. There is no word yet on the cause. We’re now switching our request – let us know if you still HAVE power. (We still do, in Upper Fauntleroy.)
10:11 AM UPDATE: City Light still hasn’t announced what it believes to be the cause. If you see a truck in your area, let us know – 206-293-6302 text or voice. Meantime, please remember that if you have to drive and the light’s out, treat an intersection as a four-way stop!
10:18 AM UPDATE: Just added a screengrab of the outage map that City Light now has up. Also got a text from Katrina, who says SCL told her a transformer blew; the restoration guesstimate is now 1:30 pm, but again – could be earlier, could be later. We’re checking out some areas including The Junction, where one side of California is out, co-publisher Patrick says, and one is not. (California/Alaska photo added:)
10:29 AM UPDATE: Scanner indicates police are assigning traffic-control officers to some key intersections (among them, 35th and Avalon). Keep in mind that by our very rough count, 11,000 homes/businesses would be at least a fourth of every place on the peninsula! If your area is NOT shown in red on the City Light map we added atop this story, let us know – boundaries are often approximate.
10:38 AM UPDATE: Kent from Atomic Boys notes that the Admiral business district DOES have power. Note that these outages can be spotty – Patrick says the light at California/Lander is out.
11:03 AM UPDATE: Still don’t have official word on the cause; we’re still out chasing reports of City Light sightings. Meantime, more businesses are sending word of their status. For example, WSB sponsors Hotwire Coffee in The Junction and Zeek’s Pizza in Morgan say they have power. On Twitter, we’re retweeting updates from other businesses (see our stream at twitter.com/westseattleblog). Melissa at Barnes & Noble says Westwood Village appears to be “untouched by the outage.” We’ve also heard from Tammy at Alki Juice and Java near Seacrest, who says that area is OK. (Other businesses open – especially restaurants/coffee? – let us know. Update: Chaco Canyon Café, WSB sponsor, in The Triangle, has power. And there’s a coupon here too.)
11:11 AM UPDATE: If you are seeing TV helicopters, no, there are no additional incidents – they are just looking for any signs of outage-related trouble that they can see from the air. At least one has already been going around, and we hear via the scanner that another is headed this way.
11:27 AM UPDATE: Cause finally found – tree branch into wire:
Crews found the cause of the W. Seattle outage. A tree branch fell into power lines near SW Hanford and 46th Ave SW.
— Seattle City Light (@SEACityLight) December 30, 2013
We noticed a sudden wind gust shortly before the power flickered here and went out elsewhere. (By the way, if you can’t place 46th/Hanford, here’s a map.)
11:56 AM UPDATE: On Twitter, we’re hearing about some who have lost their cable/Internet services – not 100 percent sure it’s related but anecdotally, seems to happen with major outages. Meantime, co-publisher Patrick is back from the outage epicenter at 46th/47th/Hanford; adding photos above and below this line.
Let us know when your power is BACK! However, we’d still caution that the 1 pm estimate is JUST an estimate – identifying the cause doesn’t mean the fix is simple.
12:36 PM UPDATE: Some power is back in some areas – see comments. Restoring it can be complicated too, with multiple “feeders” involved, so that doesn’t mean everyone will be back immediately – let us know when you are, though! So far, we’ve heard from parts of Junction, Admiral, North Delridge, (added) Alki areas, and (added) Junction businesses, Camp Long area (35th/Dawson) …
12:45 PM UPDATE: Some are reporting Comcast-service restoration too. Thanks, meantime, to EVERYONE who has been sharing information – in the early moments, for reasons as simple as that it meant we knew this was a very big outage, long before City Light information revealed the numbers. Also thanks for photos and info from what turned out to be the origin of the outage in 46th/47th/Hanford area – Kate Kaemerle just sent several photos including this one of the crew installing new poles:
Kate also sent this photo of neighbor Richard Rohde, who she says is holding the apparent culprit branch here:
More reports have come in of areas with restoration, including High Point and Fairmount Park.
1:17 PM UPDATE: Yet more areas continue to get power back. Mark suggested we remind people about food-safety issues caused by the refrigerator being without power for hours – here’s the official government advice.
2:07 PM UPDATE: According to City Light’s map, about 750 homes and businesses are still out – though the map does NOT show some people north of Morgan Junction who say they are too.
2:49 PM UPDATE: City Light just told someone in that general area via Twitter that the estimate remains 3:30 pm for those still out.
3 PM UPDATE: Subsequently, Colleen says in comments that she got an estimate of 9 pm for the California/Juneau pocket. Meanwhile, we asked SCL spokesperson Scott Thomsen to answer the question that many have asked – how can one tree branch leave 11,000 homes/businesses/etc. without power? His reply:
The branch that fell hit a pole carrying two feeder lines (large power lines that carry electricity for about 3,500 customers each).
When it crossed the lines and created a short circuit, the power surge not only tripped the breakers for those two lines, but also tripped the breakers back at the Delridge Substation for the entire feeder bus — a series of connections for five feeder lines. (Imagine a giant power strip where the main plug is the substation, the strip is the bus and each outlet connects to a feeder.)
When all five feeders dropped off, we had about 11,000 customers without power.
4:57 PM UPDATE: Some people just north of Morgan Junction are still out. City Light tells us that if you are, keep calling to be sure they know (and to get the latest on restoration prospects).
7:41 PM UPDATE: Ten hours into the outage, commenters in a few areas – north side of Morgan Junction, west side of High Point, among them – say they’re still out and it’s going to be a while. City Light’s map is not precise, since the utility does not have direct connectivity with all its customers (that “smart meter” system is still in the pipeline).
10:04 PM UPDATE: While City Light declared more than an hour ago that the outage was over, the Morgan Junction-area pocket remained out – until just now.
(Thanks to Vanessa for the photo from Sunday sunset at Lincoln Park!)
Looking for something to do in West Seattle on this quiet between-holidays Monday?
EXTRA SWIM SESSIONS AT SOUTHWEST POOL: With school still out and many others on holiday vacation, Southwest Pool has two bonus swim sessions again today – lap swim from 3-4 pm, public swim 4-5:30 pm. (2801 SW Thistle)
SEAHAWKS STAR HOSTS BOWLING BENEFIT: At West Seattle Bowl, tonight’s the night for the United Way benefit first mentioned here last month – hosted by Cliff Avril of the Seahawks. Some of his teammates are expected to be part of it. Looks like the bowling lanes are sold out for the two sessions, 5-7:30 pm and 8-10 pm, but spectator tickets are still available. (39th/Oregon)
FAMILY STORY TIME: High Point Branch Library hosts it tonight – bring the kids, all ages, free! 7:30 pm. (35th/Raymond)
LOW-LOW TIDE: -2.4 at 9:10 pm tonight, if you’re up for a late-night low-tide walk. (New Year’s Eve, it’ll be even lower!)
(Latest bridge and Viaduct views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Transit reminder again today – if you ride Metro, remember that the regular schedules don’t resume until AFTER the New Year’s holiday; today is again the “Reduced Weekday/No UW” schedule. Same thing tomorrow; then Wednesday (New Year’s Day), it’s a Sunday schedule (and no Water Taxi). Hoping for another quiet semi-holiday commute today, but we’re on watch just in case.