West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Three weeks ago, we reported on the sudden ouster of the longtime director of the Senior Center of West Seattle, Karen Sisson, news that shocked and saddened many community members – one of whom even picketed.
While the center owns its own building and has its own board of directors, its staff/administration is through the citywide nonprofit Senior Services, which would not comment on the reason for Sisson’s dismissal. Less than a week after her termination, the West Seattle board declared it had voted full confidence in her leadership, and its president Dave Robertson stressed that they were pressing for answers.
We’ve been asked what’s happened since then. Here’s what Robertson told WSB today:
As board President of the West Seattle Senior Center, I would like to thank the West Seattle community for its support to the Senior Center and to Karen Sisson. The Board of Directors of West Seattle Senior Center is hopeful that it will be able to amicably resolve issues with Senior Services, and in the meantime, the Senior Center does not want to lose Karen’s talents and experience in helping seniors in West Seattle.
The Senior Center has been an integral part of the West Seattle community for 40 years, and Karen has been Center Director for more than 25 of those years. Karen’s dedication to seniors and to the Center is without question. Her work is phenomenal. As we continue to work on this issue, we thank you for your support and patience.
Since our last followup, we also made contact with Karen Sisson, who had her own words of thanks:
I have so appreciated the support from the community, it is overwhelming to me.
I am also overwhelmed with the loss of my job, working to better the world of seniors in West Seattle. I have always loved my work, the connection to the community and with the seniors individually. It is so rewarding to see what staff can do to change the course of their world.
Above all, I would ask that the community continue to support the Center and its staff during this transition period. Your support of the Center is the only reason it has been so successful. The West Seattle board is strong and has strong leadership under David Robertson, and Nancy Sorensen who actually used to be president of the SS board. They have some very hard decisions to make and i wish them well in that process.
In the meantime, I will volunteer for Aylene the Stop n’ Shop manager, and assist the board should they request.
While neither Senior Services nor Sisson elaborated on the reason given for letting her go, Robertson said in his first public statement that it had to do with an e-mail.
That Gatewood home is scheduled for demolition – but not to be replaced by new development. You might call it “un-development.”
For the past few months, a small sign in front of it has been the only clue it’s set to become a pocket park, aside from this webpage. Seattle Parks owns it because its owner made a “reserved life estate donation” for that purpose. The sign has long promised an upcoming public meeting for neighbors, and now the date is set – 10 am Saturday, August 16th, at the site known as the Watton property after the donating family, 3823 SW Willow. It’s scheduled for demolition a month later, in mid-September; George Watton, who died last January at age 94, bequeathed the money for that, too. He and wife DeLayne Watton (who died in 2007) had lived there since building the house after he returned from World War II in the late ’40s. After demolition, the city will work on site restoration and turf establishment, and promises it “will work with the contractor to minimize the impact to the neighborhood.”
Long before today’s announcement, we had done some research after getting a tip about the site. Donald Harris with Seattle Parks told us that George Watton had said, dating back to 1992, that he was interested in donating his property to the city after he died. The city won’t accept “just any property,” but this one appealed, Harris explained, because “you can see how it could be this great little overlook for the neighborhood.” Mr. Watton’s health went downhill after he took a fall late last year; he had to leave his beloved home and move in with family in southwestern Washington. According to Harris, they said they wanted to start the process of transferring the site, and there was some hope it might be transformed into a park before he died, but that didn’t work out. Mr. Watton did stay engaged with the planning process for a long time, Parks says. His monetary donation to cover demolition and some park development totaled about $60,000, and because of the special type of account it went into, it grew over time. The demolition won’t be simple, but eventually, Harris said, people will be able to go up onto the site and sit and enjoy it.
3:22 PM: The “heavy rescue” call at 4th Ave. South/South Spokane St. right now is described by Seattle Fire as a rescue involving a “bicyclist trapped underneath a semitruck.” That’s all we know right now – avoid the area; updates as we get them.
3:35 PM: The bicyclist has been extricated from under the truck, according to the scanner, and is described as a 26-year-old man, conscious with injuries including significant “abrasions” after being dragged for a distance. Medics are rushing him to Harborview Medical Center.
4:24 PM: Couldn’t figure out from other sources how traffic was being affected, so we’re now here at the scene. Westbound Spokane is closed at 4th – this happened on Spokane, under the bridge, just west of Spokane. Southbound 4th is closed at Spokane but just as we arrived, scanner discussion suggested they hope to reopen that section at least part of the way soon. Northbound 4th and eastbound Spokane are unaffected – that includes the ramp from the eastbound bridge.
4:38 PM: Traffic Collision Investigation Squad investigators (photo above) are on scene, so that one section of road, westbound Spokane west of 4th, is likely to be closed a while. Though southbound 4th has reopened, police are still on the right side, and it’s moving slowly right now, so we would still advise an alternate route. We’re on 1st now and it is moving at a normal pace.
6:55 PM: SDOT tweets that the intersection is open again in all directions. SPD’s early summary of the collision says the rider was in stable condition when hospitalized.
Two months after the sudden shutdown of A Terrible Beauty, another Junction restaurant has closed. La Romanza Bistro proprietor Aimee Pellegrini confirmed to us via e-mail that her restaurant at 4521 California SW has shut down. We were checking on its status because of multiple reader e-mails pointing out that La Romanza did not open either day this weekend, and that it appeared some of its interior furnishings had been removed; we noted its website was down and that its phone was answered with a recorded message saying simply, “La Romanza is closed.” Then our e-mail inquiry was answered, confirming that the closure is permanent. The restaurant opened as the Tuscan Tea Room in fall 2010 as an adjunct to Pellegrini’s well-regarded Romanza Floral business, and then morphed in April 2012 into a full-service restaurant, offering Italian cuisine as well as the tea service and live music. No indication so far what’s next for the space.
Two reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon – first, from Kristy:
Saturday night (8/2) around 10:15 pm I was driving north bound on 35th Ave SW when, at the Roxbury intersection, a brown two-door older car blew through his red light heading west and t-boned my black toyota prius. If anyone has information, please contact police (incident #14-254719). He backed east on Roxbury after it happened and then took off. His car sustained front end damage and we did get a partial license plate thanks to a helpful witness (who thoughtfully stayed with me until police arrived).
Thanks so much, West Seattle!
Not far south, Fumiko in Arbor Heights says package thieves have hit:
My friend suggested that I contact the blog and let you know that I had one package stolen from my front door step on July 23rd (USPS confirmed delivery on that day) and also about 6 months ago I had another package stolen from the same location. I live on 35th near 100th.
BALLOT-DROPOFF VANS: Voted yet? Tomorrow is Election Night, so time’s running out; if you send your ballot back by mail, you need a stamp, but if you use a King County dropbox or van, you don’t. Two vans are in our area 10 am-5 pm today and 10 am-8 pm tomorrow – the West Seattle Stadium driveway (enter from northbound 35th just south of Avalon) and the 8th SW business area just south of Roxbury (parked on northbound 8th).
SW ROXBURY MEETING: 6 pm, it’s the second of two meetings for SDOT to outline its proposals for the SW Roxbury Safety Project. As reported here last Thursday night, the west end of the corridor – 17th to 35th – is proposed for “rechannelization,” but that’s just part of a package of plans for the crash-plagued street, all the way eastward to Olson/4th. Tonight’s meeting is at the Greenbridge YWCA. (9720 8th SW)
WEST SEATTLE HI-YU MEETING: As announced by the volunteers who make West Seattle Hi-Yu‘s events and parade float happen:
We look forward to seeing everyone at our next General Meeting, Monday, August 4th. St. John the Baptist Church Hall, corner of 42nd and Hanford, 7 pm. The last month has been a fun and busy one since our Grand Parade including Greenwood, Torchlight and Lake City. In August we will spend some time doing some fundraising and taking applications for the 2015 junior court before our next scheduled parade in September.
AND THERE’S MORE … on our calendar.
Live in The Junction? There’s a “block party” for you tomorrow night during Night Out. René Commons from the local community council, the Junction Neighborhood Organization, shares the announcement:
JuNO – The junction Neighborhood Organization is staging the First Annual JuNO Neighborhood Night Out Block party at Junction Plaza Park. The event is open to all and we are looking for talented musicians from the neighborhood to perform in the park. JuNO will be roasting hot dogs – kosher and vegan – and staging contests. This is a potluck and we are asking people to bring a side dish or dessert. We will have tents set up and will feature information on crime prevention and emergency preparedness.
Neighborhood Night Out at the Park welcomes all to show their neighborhood STYLE:
Best Dressed Dog
Best Kids costume
Best Decorated Bike (Yay! We have a bike corral in the Junction!)
Adult Balloon Toss
Kids Balloon Toss
Open call to all neighborhood musicians, dancers and magicians to perform; please contact event coordinators!!!
Looking for volunteers to help set up and stage games
Event Contact: Lilah Gael – firstname.lastname@example.org – & René Commons – email@example.com
The park is on the northwest corner of 42nd and Alaska. Any other neighborhoods having a party open to those beyond the immediate block, let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
(WS bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning. No major road work on the schedule so far for this week, so we have just one reminder for you: Tonight is the second of two SDOT meetings about the SW Roxbury Safety Project proposals; a “road diet” from 17th to 35th is one of the proposals unveiled at meeting #1 last Thursday (WSB coverage here). If you’re interested, be at Greenbridge YWCA at 6 pm tonight.
By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog
This edition of our periodic feature The WSBeat contains summaries written from reports on cases handled recently by Southwest Precinct officers – generally cases that (usually) have not already appeared here in breaking-news coverage or West Seattle Crime Watch reports, but that might at least answer the question “what WERE all those police doing on my block?” Or on the bridge, or the beach, or …
*In the 1500 block of SW Cambridge, a driver pulled over for talking on her cell phone was unable to provide the officer with her license or proof of insurance. What she *did* have were five felony warrants (totaling $65,000): Three for DUI and two for driving with a suspended license. She was booked into King County Jail.
*On Monday the 28th, the manager of an Alki coffee shop called 911 after checking the welfare of a patron who had been in the bathroom a long time. She opened the door, saw him with a belt around his arm and suspected he was injecting drugs. Officers arrived and questioned the man who, the previous day, had fallen asleep in the same bathroom. At the request of the manager, he was trespassed from the business. When a records check showed that he was wanted on a felony warrant by the King County Sheriff’s Office for residential burglary and trafficking stolen property ($50,075), he was booked into the King County Jail.