West Seattle, Washington
10:09 PM: If you have to head eastbound sometime soon, you might consider the low bridge – there’s a multiple-car crash on the high bridge. No injuries, though, according to what we’ve heard via the scanner, so only one fire truck is staying on the call (along with police).
10:39 PM: Drove by about 10 minutes ago. It’s right at the top of the bridge. About half a dozen SPD cars, mostly for visibility/safety so far as we could see, as the scene wasn’t fully visible from a distance. Inside lanes. Tow truck summoned.
11:11 PM: Scene was completely clear when we were on the high bridge headed the other way at the top of the hour.
REVISED DESIGN FOR 3824 CALIFORNIA SW: The 14-townhouse/13-live-work-unit development on the ex-Charlestown Café site goes back to the Southwest Design Review Board next week (as noted here last week), at 6:30 pm Thursday (November 20th), Senior Center of West Seattle. And now, the “packet” showing the newest design proposal is online – see it here. This will be the fourth time the project goes before the board. It changed architects before the third meeting (WSB coverage here), and the new firm, Johnston Architects, remains at the helm.
ALSO GOING BACK TO DESIGN REVIEW, WITH A NEW COMPONENT: 4505 42nd SW, just across the alley from the Senior Center, now described as:
7-story structure containing 50 residential units, 6,900 sq. ft. of lodging use and 3,600 sq. ft. of ground floor retail use. Parking for 15 vehicles to be provided below grade.
No design packet yet; “lodging” was not part of the project in its previous reviews (most recently, seven months ago). It’s just been added to the schedule for the 8 pm December 4th SWDRB slot (following the 6:30 pm review of the assisted-living project at 4515 41st SW).
DELRIDGE SITE IN FOR ‘STREAMLINED DESIGN REVIEW’: 5206 Delridge Way is proposed for a “five-unit townhouse structure” that’s in for streamlined design review, which means no meeting.
7-LOT BEACH DRIVE SITE ON THE MARKET: Just spotted last night in an online listing, seven lots comprising 2 acres of potential homesites at 5606 Beach Drive, listed at $2,432,250.
TEARDOWNS: In the city permitting system, updated over the past week or so: Demolition permits issued or sought for 3810 California SW (aforementioned ex-café site that’s being developed as 3824 California); single-family house at 4035 36th SW (new house to be built); duplex and garage at 5003 Fauntleroy Way SW (7-unit rowhouse to be built); single-family house at 5269 California SW (West Seattle Nursery expansion site); 4500 40th SW (development plan reported here); single-family houses at 2835 and 2837 SW Adams (three-story, 6-unit rowhouse proposed to replace them).
P.S. – NEW WAY TO SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING WHERE: The city Department of Planning and Development home page has a map that will show you spots where projects are proposed. But someone outside city government has just come up with an even-better way to take a look at what’s happening where – at least, for now, the larger projects. It’s called Seattle In Progress. Ethan Phelps-Goodman explains it here.
(TOPLINE: Sentencing now over as of 2:50 pm; recommended 14-year sentence, top end of range, given by judge, but she says she could recommend to state Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board that he never get out)
1:59 PM: We’re at the King County Courthouse, Superior Court Judge Julie Spector‘s courtroom, for the sentencing of 25-year-old Christopher A. Brown.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
He pleaded guilty last month (as reported here) in the March rape/beating of a 58-year-old woman near 22nd/Roxbury – a crime so brutal that deputies went door to door in the area for weeks, scouring for clues. Finally, a DNA match led to Brown, arrested in June in Oklahoma. The victim’s daughter told WSB yesterday that her mother will speak at this hearing, as she and her 9-year-old daughter plan to do. We’ll update live as it goes.
The prosecutor opened by explaining that this was a plea agreement, with a sentence of 171 months recommended – 14 years and 3 months. “This is one of the more serious assaults and rapes that we encountered in this courtroom. … I think the facts in this case (mean) the high end is appropriate in this case.” She says 4 family members want to speak. The 9-year-old granddaughter speaks first. When I look at you all I see is a monster that hurt my grandma…. It is painful to know you would want to cause so much pain. … After you left her for dead, when she came home, her eyes were swollen, and her body was sore.” She speaks of her grandmother’s difficulty in eating. “What you did broke my heart … You are a monster. You will never amount to anything … (but) as a family, you have made us stronger.”
Next, the little girl’s mother speaks, saying most of her thoughts “would be inappropriate to say in front of children. … I want you to know that the forgiveness from anyone you know … is irrelevant. … The only forgiveness that matters aside from your God … is that of my family and my mother, who you harmed.” She speaks of being “on the floor, crying” after finding out what happened to her mother. Her little girl, she says, was at the kitchen door and heard everything. When she saw her badly injured mother, “never in my life have I seen such a condition” but she tried hard to be strong in front of her. “My mother is a survivor, and as broken as you left her, she survived … most of all, she survived to see this day, when you would be prosecuted, and not able to hurt anyone else.” She asks the judge to “remove him from society … my mother was a stranger in the night, just passing by .. please give us justice and security of him remaining in supervision.”
Another family member says she is disturbed that Brown will have a chance someday to offend again: “I am left with this taunting question: Who will protect us” when he gets out again? “He left the victim naked, left her to die, left her in need of surgery to repair her face … “we will always see what you did to her,” she says to Brown. “… The only thing I can hope is that … you will be given more than 14 years … if you can do this to a stranger walking down the street, with such evil in your heart … to do such acts of violence not just to a woman, but to a grandmother … a wife, a mom, a human being …” She and others have mentioned that apparently Brown is a father-to-be.
Now, the victim speaks.
(Added: Video of survivor speaking. Low audio level – we weren’t allowed to record from jury box)
“I am the woman who was polite when asked for a cigarette … I even gave him a light for his cigarette … he made comments … I let them roll off my back … It didn’t matter to you that it was a main street, you came up behind me, wrapped your arms around my neck, choked me … told me you would kill me … at that instant, I woke up unconscious on the ground, to you kicking me, you told me, ‘you’re not dead yet, I’m not through with you’.”
She speaks in a strong voice, a furious voice, as she addresses him. She says her family “wasn’t raised to run around and do stuff to people and you weren’t raised that way either.” She says she has trouble eating and when she yawns “I hear all this metal snapping in my ears.” Her grandchildren are afraid to kiss her. “But I want you to understand this is never going to be over … your children will know about this because every year on the anniversary of your attack on me, I’m calling Oklahoma, I’m calling the newspapers, I’m telling everyone what you did to me …” She says she has worked in health care, and as a school-bus driver, but can’t do that any more because of the disabilities she’s left with, saying “no one will hire me because of this … Are you going to support my family? Are you going to support me, because of what you did?”
She speaks of her family’s concern for her safety. “If I had my way when this was all finished, I’m changing the laws … you left me for dead, now I have to worry for the rest of my life. … Monsters are supposed to be for Halloween … who the parents say, ‘there’s nothing under your bed’ … but the monster you are, there’s no cure for … because you don’t care about women, even the mother of your children that you beat while she was pregnant. … A man doesn’t do that. Humans don’t do that.”
Brown tries to say something and is rebuked. “You’ve got NOTHING to say to me.” She says she will seek restitution relentlessly. “You will not enjoy life to the fullest … by coming back out at 39 years old. The streets are going to know what you are about. Nobody can stop me from plastering your photo all over the streets of the United States.” She then points out the young grandson who has been standing by the bench with her, saying she had taught him about enunciation but can’t speak that way any more.
She talks about how she survived that night, how the detectives don’t know how she did, but she again says every year she will make sure as many people as possible know what he did. “This is a hate crime against all women.” She derides him for believing it’s “OK to beat pregnant women and old ladies” and tells him he messed with the wrong family.
2:26 PM: The survivor’s oldest daughter speaks now, calling Brown “a monster who does not deserve another chance in life with anyone.” She speaks about how her sense of security was ruined, how she used to love helping people … “I was upset when they wanted to give out candy for Halloween. I didn’t want them to turn on the porch light. … I saw my mother at the hospital the night this happened, before they could even give her anything for pain, because she was so broken.” But – “My mother is still beautiful .. her spirit is broken and shattered but she has the strength of our family. We ask that you give him as much time as you can if not more so he understands …” She speaks of her mother praying for their safety when they were young, and now she is doing that to make sure she knows what your mother is doing 24/7 “because I know there can be other people like him.”
Brown’s lawyer now speaks, saying if he had that kind of a family, “none of us would be here.” He says Brown was an abused child and was in prison early, and was a rape victim behind bars. After a few minutes, Brown speaks softly to say he apologizes for what he did.
Now, Judge Spector says the 171 months is the most she can sentence him to for the rape. She says that Brown’s family did not confirm his claims of growing up, abused, in a tough neighborhood, “so it’s unclear to the court where this behavior originates. There’s no excuse for it (regardless). … For your sake, I hope you ARE mentally ill, because it’s the only explanation for what you did to this family. It doesn’t justify it, it sort of explains it.”
She says she knows the area where it happened “very well” because she has a friend who lives in the area, “but it doesn’t really matter where it occurred … it occurred here, it affected those individuals, it was done by you and no one else.” She says she can’t give him any more time legally but she can recommend to the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board “that you never get out.”
She says the attack is “the nightmare of every woman,” an attack by a stranger as she walks down the street. “There’s no justification … I deal with people like you all the time. I am going to sentence you to the highest possible sentence … I wish it were longer … I wish it could be life … who wants to take a chance on somebody who’s (attacked) a pregnant woman and now … how many chances can (you get)? I think you’re done.” And she pronounces the 171-month sentence (for rape, with the assault/robbery sentences concurrent, and credit for the 162 days he has been in jail since his June arrest in Oklahoma). If he gets out, she says, he will be on community custody (probation) for life. And he will have to register as a sex offender, for the rest of his life.
FOOTNOTE: We’ll have to follow up with prosecutors regarding the mention of the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board. Reviewing its website, this seems to be what might apply.
The King County Sheriff’s Office has just announced that it’s arrested “a juvenile male … for burglary and possession of stolen property” and that he “may be related to other burglaries since November 2nd.” As reported here earlier this week, the businesses and other facilities hit by those burglaries include Dubsea Coffee, broken into at least three times. After a two-day closure, Dubsea reopened this morning, with supporters crowding inside:
Again, the Sheriff’s Office is cautioning that it’s not sure yet whether this suspect was involved in the Dubsea break-ins; spokesperson DB Gates tells us he is being held in connection with the White Center Heights Elementary break-in. (One of that school’s teachers was who contacted us to urge community support for Dubsea, by the way.) Meantime, Dubsea staff (proprietor Sibelle Nguyen wasn’t there when we stopped by this morning) confirmed that a security system is being installed today.
11:41 AM: The West Seattle school boundaries set to change next year have triggered major concern because of enrollment effects – especially at Schmitz Park Elementary, already beyond overcrowded, and now worried (as laid out here) that boundary changes for next fall, a year before their new Genesee Hill school opens, will further burst their seams. This morning, West Seattle’s school-board rep Marty McLaren just sent her mailing list a document contending that concerns about the boundary-change effects were based on projected enrollment for 2017, and that this fall’s enrollment changes are much smaller:
The boundary-change vote is set for next Wednesday’s school-board meeting (November 19th) at district HQ in SODO, 4 pm. As noted on the SPES PTA website, public-comment speaker signups start Monday morning.
ADDED 4 PM: Until this, we hadn’t heard an official announcement that Genesee Hill wouldn’t open until fall 2016 – it was originally supposed to be midyear 2015-2016 – but district spokesperson Tom Redman confirms to WSB, that is indeed the new plan.
JULIAN CASABLANCAS & THE VOIDZ: 4 pm at Easy Street Records, Julian Casablancas – also known as lead singer of The Strokes – will sign copies of his new album with The Voidz, “Tyranny.” Full details on the ESR website. (California/Alaska)
(Thursday night sunset glow from Alki, by John Hinkey)
TONIGHT’S MUSIC: Dave Holo Trio, 5 pm at Salty’s on Alki; Laura Bermes, 7 pm at C & P Coffee; Michele d’Amour & The Love Dealers, 9 pm at Feedback Lounge (that & prior 2 venues are WSB sponsors); W Lovers, Sightseer, In Cahoots, 9 pm at Benbow Room. (Addresses/maps in individual calendar listings)
MOVIE NIGHT AT HIGHLAND PARK ELEMENTARY: First movie night of the year, “The Lego Movie.” Doors open 6, movie at 6:30 – free, with concessions available for purchase. (1012 SW Trenton)
JAZZ CONCERT AT SEALTH: After a day of workshops with nationally renowned jazz educators Ron and Bryan Carter, at 7:30 pm, they will perform with the jazz bands from Chief Sealth International HS, Interlake HS, and Denny International Middle School, in the CSIHS Auditorium. (2600 SW Thistle)
‘CURIOUS SAVAGE’ AT SLHS: 7:30 pm, the first of two performances of the Seattle Lutheran High School Drama Club presentation of “The Curious Savage,” in the school gym – details in our calendar listing. (4100 SW Genesee)
FINAL PERFORMANCE OF ‘ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN’ AT WSHS: 7:30 pm, the West Seattle High School Drama Club‘s two-weekend run of Tom Stoppard‘s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” concludes, in the school theater – details in our calendar listing. (3000 California SW)
‘DOGFIGHT’ AT ARTSWEST: 7:30 pm, this “romantic and heartbreaking story,” a musical based on a 1991 film, continues at ArtsWest (WSB sponsor) in The Junction. (4711 California SW)
GATEWOOD BURGLARY, AND WHAT PRECEDED IT: Our screengrab above from the SPD crime-reports map shows 15 burglaries reported in West Seattle this past week. (To get the specific locations/dates/times, access the “live” map here, and mouse over any icon to bring up the information about it.) The most recent, last night, happened to Greg in Gatewood, who e-mailed to report:
Tonight while we were out for dinner (between 6-8 pm), someone threw a brick through our back-door window and stole a few electronics. Needless to say we’re a bit freaked out, but wanted to alert our neighbors of this. 39th/Othello.
P.S. We’ll have a followup on the Dubsea Coffee break-in – which is in King County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, but popular with West Seattleites – a bit later. The shop reopened this morning.
STOLEN WHILE WARMING UP: We mentioned this in the morning traffic watch – per scanner, this is reported to have happened after the vehicle’s engine was left running to warm up. Once police confirmed the theft, this info was broadcast and posted to Twitter:
BLUE 1996 TOYOTA RAV4 4DR SUV 637YWZ WA ***DO NOT MAKE CONTACT CALL 911***
— Seattle Police (@getyourcarback) November 14, 2014
P.S. The next crime-trends update is expected at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting next Tuesday, 7 pm, SW Precinct (Webster/Delridge).
(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:37 AM: Just got a call reporting a stalled vehicle on the eastbound bridge. Checking for more info.
6:57 AM: Not seeing anything more on that. Overall, the regional picture has been looking pretty good. Regional note for the weekend: Highway 520 bridge will be closed, tonight through Monday morning.
7:28 AM: From the scanner – dispatchers are sending police to check out a reported “3-car blocking” incident on the eastbound bridge,
west of 99. The SDOT camera that would normally point that way is still out of service, and sun glare dominates the other one, but if you happen to see it from a bus or another *passenger* situation, updates appreciated. ***Update*** – closer to the 4th Avenue exit.
7:36 AM: Emergency personnel arriving on scene. Tweeted by SDOT:
On the Spokane St Viaduct EB, just west of 4th Ave S there is a collision blocking the left lane. Expect delays. pic.twitter.com/iUL3jnMvGh
— seattledot (@seattledot) November 14, 2014
7:42 AM: SDOT says the two left lanes are blocked there. A texter who just went through the area confirms it’s 3 vehicles.
7:51 AM: As SDOT puts it on Twitter, the crash scene has “consolidated.” Now blocking 1 lane between 1st and 4th Ave. exits. Meantime, police are investigating a car theft in High Point – the car reportedly was left running to warm up. Every year, police warn against doing that. (P.S. While car theft is reported to be up in the city, most recent WS-specific update showed a year-to-year drop. But any theft is too many.)
8:25 AM: Scanner: Police just called for a city crew to clean up a fluid spill at the crash scene.
8:42 AM: SDOT confirms the scene is clear and all lanes are open.
9:36 AM: Thanks to Tom for the photo of what’s backing up the northbound Alaskan Way Viaduct now:
— Tom Satwicz (@tomsatwicz) November 14, 2014
(See comments for more details.)
11:13 AM NOTE: Neglected to update but that *did* clear about 45 minutes after we mentioned it.