day : 05/11/2014 10 results

The Whale Trail’s Orca Talks: Southern Resident Killer Whales’ status next time; protection-zone proposal last time

November 5, 2014 10:26 pm
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 |   Environment | West Seattle news | Wildlife

(2012 photo by Rick Rasmussen)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Ten years after they were formally listed as endangered, what do we really know about Puget Sound’s endangered orcas, formally known as the Southern Resident Killer Whales?

Next Tuesday (November 11th), you’ll hear answers from Northwest Fisheries Science Center researcher Dawn Soren, during The Whale Trail‘s next Orca Talk in West Seattle.

One of the focal points of her research is how boat traffic affects the whales. And that was at the heart of The Whale Trail’s first Orca Talk of the season, last Thursday at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor).

During that event, Bruce Stedman of Orca Relief talked about his organization’s proposal of a zone in the San Juans where boats would have to keep a greater distance from whales than they do now. He said it’s not the only action that’s needed to help them – but it’s the one that could make a difference the quickest. Pointedly, he noted that the recovery plan originally envisioned up to 115 Southern Resident Killer Whales by 2015, but that is at this point beyond impossible … that’s three dozen more than the current population, which has had only one birth in the past two years, the calf that is now missing and presumed dead.

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West Seattle holidays: Free community Thanksgiving dinner again this year @ Hall at Fauntleroy

(WSB photo from Thanksgiving 2013)
Only three weeks from Thanksgiving, and holiday-related event announcements are coming in, including this one, announced by Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes, which caters this gift to the community every year:

16th annual Free Community Thanksgiving Meal
at The Hall at Fauntleroy
9131 California Ave SW
Thursday, November 27 from 12 Noon to 3 PM
All are welcome
Questions – 206-932-1059

We are again accepting donation of desserts and also warm blankets, throws, hats, scarves, and gloves – new or very gently used (clean) please.

T&T always stresses, this isn’t just for people in need – anyone and everyone is welcome to come enjoy the holiday meal together.

P.S.: If your business, organization, school, etc., has one or more winter-holiday-season events planned, open to the community, and you HAVEN’T already sent us the announcement – please do, as soon as you can! Don’t worry about including posters, flyers, logos, “press releases”; just a few simple lines of information, and a website link IF you have one, will do. We’re adding them to the calendar as they arrive – – thanks!

West Seattle weather: Alert for possibly ‘blustery’ Thursday

November 5, 2014 5:18 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle weather

Given what happened last time it got windy – we’re sharing this heads-up for possibly blustery conditions tomorrow. (Charge everything!) The National Weather Service has posted a “special weather statement” (caps are theirs):

Blustery winds are likely on Thursday … A vigorous cold front will sweep through Western Washington on Thursday. It will likely be windy in many areas. This weather system might be strong enough for wind advisories in some areas. A High Wind Watch is in effect for the coast, where strong and damaging winds are possible. This weather system will develop overnight, so stay tuned to updated forecasts.

Next update is expected around 9 pm; we’ll update if and when the alert changes.

Election 2014: Transit taxes passing – what will your money buy?

(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand)
West Seattle Metro riders will get more buses with the money from Transportation Benefit District Prop 1, which got 59 percent of the first round of the November 4th vote. That’s according to the “framework of an agreement on transit funding and service delivery between Seattle and King County,” as distributed at today’s post-election briefing downtown, with city and county leaders including Mayor Ed Murray, County Executive Dow Constantine, and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, plus local transit advocates. We recorded it all on video (added, 3:05 pm):

Here are the West Seattle highlights, as promised in a 2-page doc distributed today (see it here):

*A list of “neighborhoods that will get more buses” includes Admiral, Alaska Junction, Alki, Arbor Heights, Delridge, Fauntleroy, Gatewood, Morgan Junction, Pigeon Point, Roxhill, Westwood Village

*”More buses on … chronically overcrowded routes” including RapidRide C Line, starting next June

*”Revised schedules on … chronically unreliable” routes including RapidRide C Line, 21X, 21, 37, 55, 56, also to start next June

*”Better frequency with more trips per hour on at least 28 high-demand routes” including RapidRide C Line and 125; this is to be “phased in between June and September 2015”

Also promised: An “expanded network of frequent transit,” defined as every 15 minutes or better.

So how will you be sure you’re getting something for your money? Another handout sheet (see it here) promises:

The agreement will:

-Require robust ridership and performance data reporting by Metro
-Allow for regular financial reviews and independent third-party audits of Metro finances and performance data
-Reduce city responsibility for county administrative overhead
-Credit Seattle for higher farebox revenue roduced on city trolleybus routes
-Pay only the annual share of new buses required for increased service
-Protect against supplanting

Constantine reiterated at today’s event that the extra funding is only a “bridge” until the Legislature fixes transportation funding someday.

Transit advocates who were there included West Seattleite Marci Carpenter:

(By the way, we learned today that Carpenter is now the president of the National Federation of the Blind-Washington – congratulations!)

P.S. In case you forgot the details of Proposition 1, here’s the heart of it, from the ballot:

To fund transit service in Seattle, the Seattle Transportation Benefit District seeks voter approval to impose an annual vehicle-license fee up to an additional $60 per vehicle, with a $20 rebate for low-income individuals, and an additional sales-and-use tax of no more than 0.1%. Each would expire no later than December 31, 2020. Combined, they would raise approximately $45,000,000 annually.

After administrative costs, including the rebate program, revenue will be used to fund: (1) Metro Transit service hours on routes with more than 80% of their stops within Seattle, with funding first being used to preserve existing routes and prevent Metro’s proposed service cuts and restructures scheduled to start in February 2015; (2) up to $3,000,000 annually, to support regional transit service on bus routes that enter or terminate service within the City of Seattle; and (3) up to $2,000,000 annually, to improve and to support access to transit service for low-income transit riders.

Any remaining revenues may be used to address overcrowding, reliability, and service frequency within the City of Seattle. Revenues will not supplant other funding for any routes partially or completely operating within Seattle that Metro would otherwise provide in accordance with the adopted Metro Transit Service Guidelines. More about this proposal can be found at:

West Seattle whale watch: Humpback travels past our shore

1:27 PM: Thanks to two tipsters who have mentioned a lone whale – believed to be a humpback – headed northbound, fairly close to West Seattle’s shore. By Me-Kwa-Mooks on Beach Drive, according to the phone call we just received. Let us know if you see it!

4:43 PM: As commenters noted, it traveled into Elliott Bay. Wade tweeted the photo we’ve added above.

THURSDAY MORNING: 7:30 am sighting near Seahurst in Burien, according to the Orca Network FB page.

Watching for updated election results? 2 sets tonight, beyond

November 5, 2014 12:29 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

Waiting to see what the second round of vote totals looks like? King County Elections just announced plans for TWO daily updates for the rest of the week:

King County Elections will post two sets of general election results reports today and for the rest of this week due to the volume of last-minute voters returning ballots. The Elections Department will issue a first set of results by 4:30 p.m. as planned, along with a second set of results by 8:00 p.m.

King County Elections has received about 518,000 ballots to date for the general election, not counting a substantial number of drop box returns yesterday. Ballots will continue to arrive, however, they must have valid postmarks indicating that they were mailed on or before election day in order for them to be processed and counted.

Each voter’s signature must be verified before a ballot is opened, inspected, scanned, and ultimately tabulated. Ballots that come in that are damaged, reflect write-in votes or were not voted consistent with the directions, require additional handling and time to process. On average, a ballot takes a little more than a day to process so it can be added to the results report.

You can use the King County Ballot Tracker to see if your ballot was received and signature verified. (Example: We dropped ours at one of the vans on Monday. Ballot Tracker shows they’ve been received.) And you’ll find the latest results update here.

West Seattle development: Whittaker, post-teardown; Avalon microhousing followup; assisted living to Design Review; more…

(Photo by Long Bach Nguyen)
CONSTRUCTION NEXT FOR THE WHITTAKER: As teardown concludes on the site of West Seattle’s biggest development (4755 Fauntleroy SW), the project team says official construction is a few weeks away. First, they’ll be hauling off the demolition debris, and they have started work on promised improvements for the parking lot next door at the Masonic Center. While that work is under way, the center has parking space on the east side of Fauntleroy Way, north of Edmunds. Newest estimate of project completion for The Whittaker (~400 apartments, ground-floor retail, ~600 underground parking spaces) is end of 2016.

P.S. In case you missed it – over the weekend, we published a last look at the last and biggest building to be demolished.

MICROHOUSING FOLLOWUP: Vigorous discussion ensued when we published this Sunday night update on three West Seattle microhousing projects – particularly the two that are moving ahead after responding to a city memo issued in September, based on a court decision. One of those projects, 3050 SW Avalon Way, responded by saying it would remove “sinks, refrigeration equipment, built-in cabinet and counters outside the bathrooms” from the rooms so that the future building would still qualify to count up to 8 “sleeping rooms” as a single dwelling unit. The file for the other project, 3268 SW Avalon Way – where demolition happened last week – didn’t show a similar response, but DPD spokesperson Bryan Stevens tells WSB its developers made the same decision:

For this proposal, the applicant elected to redesign the floor plans so that these rooms are clearly sleeping rooms and not individual apartments. The bedrooms were modified so that they no longer have separate sinks, counters or food preparation areas. Each bedroom now only has a separate bathroom with a shower, toilet, and sink. The permit is for 7 units total, each with 8 bedrooms, a large kitchen and lounge area. This change was in response to the Superior Court ruling on the Harvard proposal and is not related to the recently adopted legislation regarding SEDUs.

(That’s “small efficiency dwelling units,” the city’s official name for microhousing.)

DESIGN REVIEW FOR ASSISTED-LIVING FACILITY: We’ve reported before about the assisted-living facility proposed for 4515 41st SW. Just added to the Southwest Design Review Board‘s schedule, for 6:30 pm December 4th (at the Senior Center of West Seattle), is the first meeting to look at the plan, now described as:

4-story assisted-living facility containing 48 sleeping rooms (66 beds total). Parking for 11 vehicles to be provided below grade. Existing structures to be demolished.

Here’s the project page on the city website.

Finally, not far from there …

REDEVELOPMENT AT 40TH/OREGON: Thanks to Jeannette for the tip – an 84-year-old house at 40th/Oregon is scheduled for teardown and replacement.

The project has just evolved in city files, she points out, from a rowhouse to a combination of two single-family homes and a 2-unit townhouse building. County records show the house and its 4,600-square-foot lot were sold two weeks ago for $500,000.

West Seattle coyotes: Yes, they come out in the daytime

Here’s the latest proof of that:

That photo is from Scott, who says the coyote was “right in the front yard” at 39th and Graham, 8 am today. *Added – an 8:20 am photo from Jamie, same area*:

Another sighting this morning, via Twitter:

And Robyn saw one “run west up the sidewalk on Rose Street west of 35th” around 5 o’clock Tuesday evening.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE ONE? As the experts advise – do everything you can to scare it away. Yell, wave, throw rocks. That’s what experts urge, to encourage them to keep their distance. And remove every source of food you can (that includes outdoor pet food as well as small pets themselves, although experts say they more often eat small wild animals such as rats).

West Seattle Wednesday: Plant; network; sing; dance; talk transit…

(Photo by Mark Wangerin: ‘Intergrade’ Northern Flicker – characteristics of eastern, yellow shafted, & western, red-shafted varieties)
Just a few of your options for today/tonight!

FALL PLANTING AT CAMP LONG: Can you spare a few hours today? 10 am-2 pm, EarthCorps welcomes volunteer help for fall planting at Camp Long – details in our calendar listing. (5200 35th SW)

EARLY DAYS: Drop-in support group for parents of babies up to 1 year old meets today, Limber Yoga. (Same group featured in this WSB story yesterday – expanding and seeking help to cover training costs for volunteer facilitators helping new parents.) Noon-2 pm. (6019 California SW)

WORK AT HOME? Grab lunch and take a break for casual networking and support at the Home Office/Coworking Meetup at Office Junction (WSB sponsor), noon-1 pm. (6040 California SW)

RAPIDRIDE ON CALIFORNIA IN THE JUNCTION? That’s one of the items on the agenda for tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting. Also up: The proposed Neighborhood Matching Fund changes that already have drawn opposition from the SWDC’s counterparts in eastern West Seattle. All welcome. 6:30 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle. (Oregon/California)

KENNEDY HIGH SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: 6:30-8:30 pm, tour John F. Kennedy Catholic High School (WSB sponsor) in Burien. Details on the school’s website. (140 S. 140th)

WEST SEATTLE SOUL: 8 pm at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor), Rippin Chicken‘s onstage with a “free-form groove night full of insane amounts of groove and jams.” (6451 California SW)

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE: You get the spotlight at Skylark‘s weekly 21+ fully backlined open-microphone night – signups 7:30 pm, music starts 8:30 pm. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

AND … more events for today/tonight, recurring and one-time-only, are on our calendar.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Post-election Wednesday

(WS bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Another nothing-out-of-the-ordinary traffic morning for our area, so far. Looking ahead:

TRANSIT FUNDING PASSES – WHAT NEXT? At 11:30 this morning downtown, city and county leaders will meet the media to talk about the passage of the transit-funding measure on yesterday’s Seattle ballot. (It was ahead 59%-41% after the first and only election-night ballot count; next round of results this afternoon.)

RELOCATE RAPIDRIDE IN THE JUNCTION? Is the SDOT proposal to move RapidRide onto California SW in the heart of The Junction, first reported here in August, moving forward? An SDOT rep is scheduled to discuss it at tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (Oregon/California).

FAUNTLEROY MEETING TOMORROW: 7 pm tomorrow (Thursday) at The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW), city leaders including SDOT director Scott Kubly will meet with community members about traffic/transportation challenges from speeding to sidewalks and beyond, as first announced last month. All welcome.

Back to today’s getting-around watch …

7:52 AM: Low bridge is open for marine traffic. No advance-warning system yet but SDOT does continue to tweet bridge “openings” at @sdotbridges. (Added: If you’re keeping score, according to the tweets, the closure lasted about 11 minutes.)