West Seattle, Washington
Advance alert in case you or someone you know is interested: Once again this Thanksgiving season, Eastridge Church will give away 1,500 turkey-and-groceries packages at its West Seattle and Issaquah campuses. This year’s date is Saturday, November 22nd, starting at 9 am, and continuing as long as the supply lasts; they don’t ask for proof of need – anyone who shows up is eligible. In West Seattle, Eastridge is at 39th/Oregon (map) in the Junction/Triangle area. (WSB photo from 2012)
Following up on the West Coast port backup noted here on Monday (the union and terminal operators, still in contract talks, disagree on its cause): The number of cargo ships at anchor in this area has increased tonight. One of the ships that had been off Manchester for a few days, the Hyundai Force, moved on to Tacoma (as shown in Cheryl’s photo above) this afternoon. Two more arrived in that area, so tonight, MarineTraffic.com shows three ships off Manchester, two in Elliott Bay off northeast West Seattle/Harbor Island (the OOCL London, shown here Monday, and the YM March), and two off Magnolia.
(Added: Photo taken tonight by Don Brubeck)
Seattle’s terminals were closed today for the Veterans Day holiday.
(MIDNIGHT UPDATE: Right after our as-it-happened coverage of meeting #1, we have added the full unedited video of meeting #2)
Big turnout for 1st of 2 town halls today re: Senior Center's future. We will be chronicling live. pic.twitter.com/h2sB7z0R08
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) November 11, 2014
We’re at the Senior Center of West Seattle with about 100 people here to hear, and talk, about the center’s future. The issue first came to public light four months ago with the sudden ouster of the center’s longtime director Karen Sisson (as first reported here), who says she was fired over an e-mail (read it in this WSB report) expressing concern about the decision the center is reported to be facing – becoming a “program” of the citywide nonprofit Senior Services, or going independent. We’ll be reporting live as the meeting goes; there is a second session coming up at 5:30 pm for those who cannot be here this early.
Regarding the question “should we stay or should we go,” it’s just been stressed by independent facilitator Charlotte Stuart that “no decision will be made today.” She says they do not want those in attendance to speak about Sisson’s departure.
Her successor, interim center director Lyle Evans, is the first to make an opening statement. Second, board president David Robertson says the board has made a decision “to remain at this time under the current umbrella of Senior Services and to work with Senior Services to fulfill (its) mission … The Senior Center board of directors supports Lyle’s position as interim director” and will work with him.
Panel from the center and Senior Services pic.twitter.com/lvN87AdbQX
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) November 11, 2014
Senior Services CEO Paula Houston (who fired Sisson) speaks next. “We are very excited that the board has voted to remain with us and to work through the process that we are going to be putting in place.” That would seem to suggest that the first-announced point of the meeting is moot – the question “should we stay or should we go?” – although it came just minutes after the facilitator said “no decision would be made today.” Houston then goes on to say “nothing has been decided … we are just at the beginning of our decision-making process.” We’ll do what we can to get this clarified after the meeting.
One attendee asks Houston to define Senior Services and the center’s relationship with it. “We are a nonprofit … the largest one serving seniors in King County … we also operate (programs such as) Meals on Wheels, caregivers … enhanced fitness. Our relationship to this center is that we operate it under a memorandum of agreement – although the center is its own 501(c)(3) with its own governing body, Senior Services employs the staff, (provides some) funding, and (handles support services) such as IT, payroll …”
3:22 PM: The first member of the audience asks for clarification of that very point. Robertson says “That is not a permanent decision, that is a decision that at this time we are going to stay under the umbrella of Senior Services. There is a task force (that will) study the Memorandum of Agreement … to help develop (a new one). At this time we are staying under that umbrella – I am stressing those words, ‘at this time’. We are looking at a good 12 to 18 months before they have even done their research talking to the various centers and their staff.” (Senior Services runs six centers in the region.)
Nancy Sorensen, a member of the West Seattle center’s board, stands to say she wrote the original contract, ~30 years ago, and offers more background: The center was incorporated in 1972, and bought the building – now owned free and clear – in 1986; the center also has about $200,000 in reserves, she says. She explains the board first voted to secede from Senior Services, then rescinded that decision and decided to gather more information, including talking with the community and looking at budget projections and “whether there is community support for independence or community support for being part of Senior Services.” She summarizes, “the board has decided to remain a part of Senior Services pending further study.”
Will another permanent director be hired? asks another attendee. That’s on hold while the future is determined, is the reply.
Next Q: You all know all about this memorandum – but we don’t – can we see it? Sorensen (photo above) explains that the contract included a statement that the center director could not be determined without consulting the board, and mentions Sisson’s firing (which was supposedly not to be mentioned) was done “in violation of that memorandum of agreement.” She says copies of the six-page memorandum “can be provided.”
Then Doug Garvey steps up and says, “if we choose to go with Senior Services instead of stay independent, what are you going to do for me?”
Audience member Doug Garvey says he 'doesn't trust' Senior Services. pic.twitter.com/QugeD2MvfD
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) November 11, 2014
Houston steps up to reply, “We are going to ensure that this senior center remains a senior center in perpetuity. We know how important this center is to the community.” “How are you going to do that?” someone calls out from the crowd. Garvey steps back up to the mike and says, “We own this building … I gotta say, I don’t trust you. I think we can handle it on our own, that we can be independent … we got a good base here, we got a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we have a lot of great people here who can continue this, and I’m all for that.” Some applause ensues.
Facilitator Stuart next reads a question that was submitted in writing, asking for the advantages and disadvantages of staying with Senior Services. …
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
On this chilly, breezy, sunny day, outdoor art is happening in The Junction. It’s the beautification project noted here when artist recruitment was under way last spring. West Seattle artist Kelda Martensen (below) was chosen, and today she and assistants are out installing her vinyl-wrap creations on five signal boxes in The Junction:
They started at California/Oregon (top photo). We then caught up with them again at California/Edmunds (where we photographed Martensen). The other three are going up at California/Alaska, 42nd/Alaska, and 39th/Alaska. You can see all five designs here.
A fifth candidate just announced he’s in the running for West Seattle’s new City Council District 1 seat next year: George Capestany. He’s made news here as owner of the well-known Jacobsen Road goats, and now he’s jumping into politics. As described in his official announcement, Capestany is also “a longtime West Seattle resident, active community volunteer, and US Navy Veteran” and “professional artist, teacher, a small business owner, … coach for Pony & Little League Baseball, West Seattle Soccer, and West Seattle Football.” The announcement notes that Capestany would be the first councilmember of Hispanic descent, as the “son of Hispanic immigrants forced to leave (Cuba) due to communist rule.” He says, “For a long time, West Seattle residents have been left out of virtually everything that goes on at City Hall. … I will work to ensure the unique needs of West Seattle are heard and addressed.” (Photo courtesy Capestany campaign)
Also in the running so far for District 1, which includes South Park as well as West Seattle, in order of their announcements/filings: Chas Redmond, David Ishii, Tom Rasmussen, and Amanda Kay Helmick. The filing deadline is May 1st of next year.
That short clip by Elizabeth Butler shows the first two coho spawners spotted this fall at the mouth of Fauntleroy Creek south of the ferry dock, back on October 25th. That’s how the volunteer salmon-watchers’ season started; now, after more than a week without sightings, it’s ended. Here’s the wrap-up report from Judy Pickens, including the visitor count as well as the fish count:
Salmon Watch 2014 on Fauntleroy Creek closed Nov. 7, a week after volunteers documented the last of 19 coho spawners to come into the creek.
Eleven volunteers watched for nearly three weeks, recording the first fish on Oct. 25, a day ahead of the annual salmon drumming. They noted spawning behavior at two locations and saw a third pair heading upstream at dusk with enough energy that they may also have left fertilized eggs. Spawning locations will be monitored in late January/early February to see if fry emerge to start feeding in the creek.
In addition to the fish, volunteers welcomed at least 190 visitors to see the action and learn about salmon and the creek habitat.
This fall marked the 20th anniversary of coho spawners in Fauntleroy Creek. Restoration activity happened just in time for a pair of fish to come in at high tide in 1994 and spawn a few yards up the creek. Since then, the number of spawners has fluctuated wildly, from zero some years to the record-smashing 274 recorded in 2012.
Thanks to Judy and to Dennis Hinton for sharing information and photos during the watch (not to mention other times of the year, including spring, when volunteers host schoolchildren at creekside, releasing salmon fry raised by their classes).
Thanks to Mark Wangerin for sharing that photo in honor of Veterans Day, and all those who have served and are serving. He took it yesterday from West Seattle. We believe it’s a U.S. Navy vessel that itself is about to become a “veteran” – the USS Ingraham, which will be decommissioned tomorrow.
Meantime, looking ahead to today in West Seattle – we’ve included holiday notes in our daily traffic watch; no specific Veterans Day commemorations that we have word of, but here are major events that ARE happening:
SENIOR CENTER ‘SHOULD WE STAY OR SHOULD WE GO’ TOWN HALL MEETINGS: In two sessions (attend either one or both) at 3 and 5:30 pm today, the Senior Center of West Seattle‘s board is looking for community guidance on its future – become a “program” of the nonprofit Senior Services, or go independent. Backstory here if you haven’t been following developments as reported here on WSB in the past few months. (California/Oregon)
MARATHON INFO NIGHT, WITH DISCOUNTS: Interested in the Seattle Marathon/Half Marathon coming up November 30th? 6:30-8:30 pm, drop by West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor) for a special Information Night, including discounted registration, and in-store merchandise discounts for attendees. (California/Charlestown)
WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center, join the WSTC for a wide-ranging meeting including what’s next now that transit-funding Prop 1 has passed. Full agenda details on the WSTC website. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)
WEST SEATTLE SEE DOGS: Find out what it’s like to train a guide puppy, and consider volunteering to do it! First step, check out the next WSSD meeting tonight, 6:30 pm, The Kenney (WSB sponsor) – more in our calendar listing. (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW)
FAUNTLEROY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: 7 pm board meeting, at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse. Topics are likely to include the traffic/transportation forum (WSB coverage here) held last Thursday. (9131 California SW)
ORCAS’ FUTURE: 7 pm tonight at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), The Whale Trail‘s next Orca Talk features Dawn Noren on the Southern Resident Killer Whales’ status, as previewed in our report on TWT’s previous event. Tickets = $5 suggested donation – at door if there’s room, or online. (5612 California SW)
AQUARIUM-PLANT, FISH, ANIMAL AUCTION: Members of the Greater Seattle Aquarium Society will be auctioning plants, fish, and aquarium animals starting at 7 tonight (doors open at 6) in the West Seattle Christian Church Activity Center. Details on the GSAS website. (4400 42nd SW)
SEE WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING … blues, bingo, storytelling, meditation … by browsing our calendar!
(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
As we start the morning, here’s what might affect how you get around on this Veterans Day:
*Metro is on a reduced-weekday/no-UW schedule
*No Water Taxi service on either route
*Sound Transit: Regular schedule
*Washington State Ferries: Regular schedule
*Schools are closed today (as are other government-run facilities including libraries)
*In Seattle neighborhoods with street parking, it’s free today
WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION TONIGHT: The holiday is NOT pre-empting a full slate of community meetings, including the WSTC, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW) – see the agenda here.
7:25 AM: As noted in comments, some Battery St. Tunnel trouble, but no official word on its current status….
Dr. Keith McDonald and staff at A Kids Place Too! Dentistry for Children (WSB sponsor) are all smiles over the results of their first-ever “candy buyback” – 400 pounds of candy plus 200 letters of appreciation, all to be given to troops.
The candy and letters are going out via Operation Gratitude.