Fire Station 29’s new temporary location: Triangle by church

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The city has changed its mind about where to move Fire Station 29 while the Admiral District station is undergoing renovations this year.

Instead of moving it to the same Harbor Avenue spot that housed Station 36 during its recent overhaul, they plan to put the temporary station on a vacant triangle of city-owned land just south of Admiral Congregational Church.

Since getting a tip about this possibility, we’ve been working to confirm it with the city, and that confirmation finally came today. From Cyndi Wilder:

During the construction period for the seismic upgrade at Fire Station 29, the interim station will be located on a City-owned parcel at 44th Avenue SW and SW Hill Street. While we are still going through the process to finalize this location, we are far enough along to be able to confirm and announce the site.

Before we could proceed with this location for the interim site, we needed confirmation from Seattle Public Utilities that its water testing equipment currently on-site could be relocated in the required timeframe. We now have that confirmation.

This afternoon, staff from the Seattle Fire Department and the Finance and Administrative Services Capital Development and Construction Management Division will be conducting door-to-door community outreach, as we do for other projects, informing neighbors of the interim site plans and the timeline for the seismic project.

The site was chosen because of its proximity to Fire Station 29, and keeping the engine and crew in the service area will allow fire crews to maintain their current emergency response times. We expect activity at the interim site as early as this month, with the temporary station active as early as February, and lasting for approximately 12 months.

Here’s the letter that is being distributed to neighbors:

This triangle of land is technically SDOT right-of-way, which came to light most prominently back in 2008 during the controversy over potential changes to nearby California Place Park, the grassy site by the California SW bus stop east of the church. At the time, it was suggested that Seattle Parks might take over management of this triangle.

The $1.8 million contract for the Station 29 renovation was recently awarded to Par-Tech Construction. It’s one of two West Seattle fire stations that will be in temporary locations soon. The other is Station 32, whose Triangle building will be demolished and replaced with a brand-new station; its interim site is future parkland on 40th SW, south of SW Alaska. Station 11 in Highland Park also is being upgraded, but its crew is staying on-site during the work.

46 Replies to "Fire Station 29's new temporary location: Triangle by church"

  • Michelle January 7, 2015 (5:00 pm)

    Thank you for the information. Since the land is city owned, any chance we could fence in the area and turn it into a small local dog park during the restoration of the temporary site? I can build the fence.

  • John Noonan January 7, 2015 (5:00 pm)

    This is so frustrating. They had a review meeting but they conveniently didn’t include this information?! The fireman that stopped by our house today said “12-16 months”. Families use that triangle daily as a park.

    At the least they would commit to making it an official park after the project.

    I’m furious. Just beyond furious.

  • JanS January 7, 2015 (5:11 pm)

    park? I go by there often, and it’s been a patch of dried grass and dirt for as long as I can remember. This is temporary. Life does have it’s challenges at times, but I see nothing wrong with this, greater good and all that. I appreciate the effort to keep Station 29 in the same approximate area, so the area can benefit by their services, instead of putting it somewhere else, and response times be greater.

  • John Noonan January 7, 2015 (5:17 pm)

    I don’t think a dog park serves the neighborhood effectively. Most of the usage that triangle gets is kids playing soccer, football, or playing catch with their parents.

  • M. January 7, 2015 (5:21 pm)


    I may be wrong, but pretty sure the Park right across the street will still be open. Seems to me the triangle property is a the best place for the temporary station.

  • Manolita January 7, 2015 (5:31 pm)

    @Michelle: it ain’t that smple
    @John: making it an official park is a loooong process.
    Trust me, we tried.

  • dsa January 7, 2015 (5:32 pm)

    Wow, those buildings temporary or not are planned to be *at* the curb line.
    I think I’ll buy some property and a trailer and park it on the planting strip and live there while I build me a house.

  • John Noonan January 7, 2015 (5:46 pm)

    You can complain about the quality of the grass all you want, kids play on it every. single. day. The real “park” across the street is tiny, doesn’t have room for playing catch or soccer, or any of the things that the kids use this triangle for now. It has a bus stop in the middle of it.

    I’m not disputing that it may be a good relocation spot. But if it was, you think they might have mentioned it at their community review? It feels like they’re trying to get away with something. Why did they even bother to hold a review?

    Why are they telling residents “12-16 months” if their letter above says “no more than 12”?

    Why aren’t they committing to improving the park rather than just replanting the trees they’re killing (and pouring a couple feet of concrete). They’re spending 1.8M on the fire station and maybe a thousand bucks on the sidewalk fix up?

  • Gina January 7, 2015 (5:57 pm)

    Since there is no curb or sidewalk on that patch, I see it being used as a parking area most of the time.

  • Wsea January 7, 2015 (5:59 pm)

    can we ask for a basketball court or some other functional item after they leave? Heck, even a backstop or fence to prevent balls from getting away will be nice.

  • John Noonan January 7, 2015 (7:11 pm)

    @Gina The triangle is not used as a parking lot, people park on the street next to it. But it’s true that the edges are gravel and ratty.

    @Dsa its a fantastic point that they’re not following any standard building laws with regards to how close to the street they’re building.

    @Wsea you’re right, even a fence would be huge, we’re always chasing balls into the street.

    It’s the spirit of it that stings the most. We’re losing a park for 16 months, dealing with increased shift change parking and traffic, and it’s not even being left better than it was. We deserve better from our neighbors.

  • JanS January 7, 2015 (7:32 pm)

    4 new trees, some grass, some new sidewalks…the triangle is restored. Anything further than that after the 12 months+ would have to be worked out with the city of Seattle, since it’s Seattle property, I would think. Maybe the neighborhood could get together with the powers that be…make up a plan/request, and run with it.

  • dsa January 7, 2015 (8:16 pm)

    Actually sidewalks and more trees won’t be an improvement for the kids playing there. They will just make the space smaller. Think back. When I was a kid we had lots of empty lots to play one. There is almost nothing left now. There is nothing left except this.

  • Unamused January 7, 2015 (8:23 pm)

    Would you prefer the fire department to relocate to Burien or Ballard. I would much rather have them close. My work has had a few needs of our local fire houses (Call out to stations 26 and 27) I would much rather them close they saved a getting there quick. Live with the short term alleged inconvenience

  • John Noonan January 7, 2015 (8:29 pm)

    @JanS Yep! Plans would have to be made. I nominate the two project managers that are already working on this that we are paying for.

    Also, there is a door in this plan that literally swings out _into the street_. There’s no way this meets any building or safety codes whatsoever.

  • John Noonan January 7, 2015 (8:44 pm)

    @Unamused Thanks for volunteering your front yard.

  • M. January 7, 2015 (9:53 pm)

    No shortage of parks or school grounds available for recreation in the Admiral district within walking distance. Even more via a short bike ride. Seems a minor inconvenince if the triangle will be unavailable.

  • Diane January 8, 2015 (12:22 am)

    omg, does no one here remember the absolute hell that Manolita and Anne went through just trying to create a lovely little natural playspace there? when Manolita says “Trust me, we tried”; trust her, she really really really tried; if you don’t remember the saga of the most infamous project in WS in recent years, TR provided a link to one of the meetings; crazytown!!!

  • John Noonan January 8, 2015 (12:27 am)

    @M. Unfortunately for our family we were told today that they’re building a double-wide fire station on the parking strip directly across the street from our house. It’s far more than a minor inconvenience for us.

    It’s complex. We’re obviously impacted way more than most. #29 needs to stay close to those they protect. But telling us 3 weeks out with no due process or opportunity for feedback is gross. The least they could do is improve the triangle after they mess it up. We deserve better from our neighbors.

  • Jason January 8, 2015 (6:58 am)

    If anyone else wanted to remove existing trees for any type of project (temporary or otherwise, and especially on CITY property!!) it’d take an act of congress, even if you did promise to replace them.

    But it’s OK for the city to do it??

  • Watcher January 8, 2015 (7:25 am)

    Methinks this project may not have been actually “laid out” or physically verified – if I read right, the diagram says “28×66 modular residence” but if you look at the scale of the cars parked nearby, it looks like it’s really only about 12′ wide. Which makes then their garage building about 10 feet wide, scale-wise. They wouldn’t even be able to open the doors on the fire truck when it’s inside. Something is amiss here.

  • Concerned January 8, 2015 (7:43 am)

    Glad I don’t live near the triangle. This is going to have a severe impact on all the neighbors for at least a year. No parking, lots of extra noise 24/7, ugly tents and trailers in your front yard….if I lived there I would be livid.

    And here is why. The SFD had multiple other locations nearby to choose from that had no impact on neighbors. Of all the choices they had, this location poses the most hardship on the neighborhood.
    And who is paying for this? Oh, yeah….the neighbors who are getting a clandestine fire station in their front yard.

  • Kim January 8, 2015 (7:49 am)

    At least a couple of the trees on the triangle were unwanted trees that were rescued from other yards and replanted in the triangle by a neighbor. (No they didn’t ask permission. They just took it upon themselves to improve our green canopy.) Mentioning that in case someone wants to, you know, save those trees.

  • neighbor January 8, 2015 (8:17 am)

    The open house and all the information provided about this project was about using station 36 as the temporary location. Now, without notice, or cost details there’s a plan to build a temporary structure while we build the actual structure….oh and btw…we are starting in 3 weeks. Seems funny a community project can make plans without community involvment….what else are we not being told about this project? Does building a temporary structure to build a permanent structure make sense?? I don’t see this concept often…how much does the temp structure cost?

  • Me January 8, 2015 (8:40 am)

    @dsa…. I agree! That’s the first thing I noticed. What happened to the setback regulations that all the rest of us have to follow? It looks like the City is building right up to the property line.
    And something tells me it’ll be permanent.

  • KJ January 8, 2015 (9:43 am)

    Let them do what they need to continue doing their job. I live very nearby and am very happy to have the fire department as a neighbor, regardless of the occasional inconvenience. It is true that families use the triangle as a play field. I am sure that BOTH of those families are bothered by the plan.

  • John Noonan January 8, 2015 (10:19 am)

    The firefighters don’t want to live in a mobile home for a year anymore than we want them to live there.

    The city blew a years worth of lease on the temporary #36 station while it sat empty, we have no guarantee that this won’t sit empty for a year after they’re done with it either. Learned this morning that this wasn’t even the third choice for relocation, so let’s not pretend this is the only option.

  • GlacierK January 8, 2015 (10:54 am)

    Really? This conversation baffles me. You think they are going to leave the structure there permanently? The temporary fire station is going to be negative for property values? While I am not 100% supportive of many of our City’s decisions. This seems like a non-issue to me. It is an empty piece of land. With literally nothing on it and no determined use except for the free piece of land that neighbors are considering part of their yard. Clearly they need somewhere to put the 5 fire fighters and fire engine who work there on a daily basis. Station 36 is not in the neighborhood and the next closest station is in the Junction. The fire station needs to be in the neighborhood to provide adequate response. Remember, this station serves the Alki Area as well. It is moving approximately 1 block away from it’s current location. I would think that the “noise and inconvenience” to the neighborhood is approximately the same. I could only imagine what the uproar would be if there were a major fire or medical response in the Admiral District and services were delayed because they decided to move the station out because people will miss their “park” land for 12-16 months until they move back into the station. Will it be different? Yes. The end of the world? No.

  • JanS January 8, 2015 (11:34 am)

    Neighborhoods get inconvenienced from time to time. Imagine ours on my street when they decided to redo the Admiral Safeway, and build apartments across the street from where I live. Imagine day after day of huge vehicles hauling debris out,dirt out, building, hammering, and on and on. And it was longer than 12 months. Did we have a say?We got to go to meetings…but in the end, it was not up to us how things were done.

    I’m sorry the few children who play in that triangle area will be inconvenienced by having to play on their own property. I’m sorry for the inconvenience of 5 firefighters parking near people. I’m sorry for the noise that will come from the engine in an emergency. But I’m not sorry that this emergency service will remain in our neighborhood. First world problems, for sure. Check your privilege at the door.

  • Concerned January 8, 2015 (11:37 am)

    In fact, the number #1 choice for a relocation site was the least expensive for taxpayers, needed no tree removal, no well removal, had no sound or parking impact on neighbors, and required no site renovation when station remodel was completed.

    Clearly the city knew what the reaction to this planned site would be, which is why they sprang it on us at the last possible moment. Obviously they think very little of of their employer….the tax payers!

  • GlacierK January 8, 2015 (12:33 pm)

    And obviously you think very little of what the fire department’s job actually is. Responding to emergencies. Where a 5 minute lag in response time to your house or the restaurant on Alki that you are eating at could literally be the difference between life and death. If you or a loved one were in need of CPR, I think you would wish that fire station was 5 minutes closer. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  • Watcher January 8, 2015 (12:39 pm)

    Did a little research, and found out the “triangle” site has been under consideration for quite some time now. Did the city talk to anyone about it before their decision? No. Because it’s easier to escape criticism and complaints by not showing your hand until the last second when you can claim “Well, this has to be done in three weeks, so sorry!” to anyone who raises concerns. What a way to treat the neighborhood. If your average Joe Citizen tried to pull this stunt, there’d be 8 months of zoning and impact studies and announcements and hearings that would have to be held before a shovel was turned.
    An even bigger question is how much of the project budget was blown on paying the lease on the land and maintaining the vacant station down off Harbor Avenue for the last 9 months before they changed their mind about using it?
    These are our hard earned tax dollars, set aside by the improvement levy we voted on over a decade ago, that are going to waste because of ineptitude on the part of the project managers.
    It may be easy for some of you to say “What’s the big deal where it is – who cares?” but I could have used those wasted extra dollars in my wallet (by virtue of them asking for less tax $$$ in the first place) and you’re probably not one of the people who are affected by its location. Everyone in the city paid for this levy, no matter where they live.
    Like someone said, if it’s not a problem, volunteer the land and street in front of your house…

  • miws January 8, 2015 (12:53 pm)

    According to Google Maps, the temporary FS36, on Harbor Av, is 1.4 miles away, and a 5 minute drive, from the current FS29, the “triangle”, is 499 ft away.


    Nearly a mile and a half, and 5 additional minutes, is significant enough in a Fire/Medical emergency. Add to that, that there are basically two ways to get from the Harbor Av location, back up to 29’s designated neighborhood; the narrow/windy California Place, susceptible to road closing landslides that seem to occur every few years, or Ferry Avenue, a steep route with no sidewalks, so potential for interaction with pedestrians. I don’t see how a Fire Truck would be able to safely get “up the hill”, much quicker than that 5 minutes, even with whatever level of “speeding” they are allowed to do in an emergency. Add to that, the hazard of iciness on those roads this time of year.


    Yes, all of that is something 29 must deal with in reverse order, to a Call down along Alki, but 29 is a North Admiral Based location, NOT and Alki/Harbor Av based location.


    Even if I lived across the street from/next door to/behind the triangle, I certainly don’t think the disadvantages of the temporary location would have me singing the Hill Street Blues….



  • Watcher January 8, 2015 (1:06 pm)


    There were several other closer options other than the Harbor Avenue location. Agree with you that location was not ideal, which leads back to the question of why did they keep it there after station 36 moved out, if it wasn’t going to be used?
    I have no doubts that this temporary location is set and is here to stay. It’s the lack of notification to, and involvement with the neighborhood in its choice that bothers me. I think that’s why people are upset. Because it was slid in, under the table, so to speak, at the last minute.

  • John Noonan January 8, 2015 (1:07 pm)

    there were three other sites in the neighborhood that the firefighters _preferred_ because it wouldn’t impact response times AND would be a better situation for the community and their living situation, but the Dept of Finance & Administrative Services ignored them too.

    The harbor ave location is a straw man to make it seem like this is the only option.

    • WSB January 8, 2015 (2:23 pm)

      FWIW I won’t have a followup until tomorrow – the city is working on answers to my list of followup questions. If the person who said they found evidence this site had long been under consideration has paperwork or a URL showing that, I would be interested in seeing it – while trying to confirm this BEFORE yesterday, I scoured online in every way I know how and could not turn up anything, despite the search term or other parameters. I’m reachable any time at – TR

  • jwright January 8, 2015 (3:28 pm)

    It never ceases to amaze me what people get up in arms over.

  • neighbor2 January 8, 2015 (3:37 pm)

    I live 1/2 block away from the triangle and don’t mind this terribly. It’s an inconvenience but not the end of the world.

  • Sonya Elliott January 9, 2015 (11:48 am)

    I have lived across the street for 20 years. The surrounding community PLANTED those trees and WATERED them with water from our houses for two years. I have watched the grass area be played on by dozens of families, including my own, for 20 years. I knew nothing of this plan until I opened my web browser to the West Seattle Blog yesterday. This does not seem right as it impacts my family and the surrounding community directly.

    I am all for the restoration of the firehose and it was my understanding that a temporary site for the firefighters at another unused station was the original plan, this new solution was not discussed with the community and directly affects neighborhood parking, safety and restoration issues to name a few.

    If it was the only and best solution I would agree, but how can it be better and less expensive to BUILD a temporary sight and then restore that site, when one already existed?

    I say NO to this temporary and spontaneous solution.

  • Admiral Troll January 9, 2015 (7:03 pm)

    I think the worry here is that once this site is used as a temporary home for the fire department, what next? Will it become a temporary site for other city related activities? Sewage treatment? Bus maintenance? Holding Cells?

  • Ann January 9, 2015 (9:43 pm)

    Seems like a reasonable and temporary solution for vital services. The fire station and fire fighters have been in the neighborhood for years and have always been mindful of those who live in the immediate area and hospitable neighbors. Sirens aren’t turned on until they’re on California, they regularly open their doors for neighborhood kids, collect toys for underprivileged kids in the community each holiday season and have responded in less than 5 minutes the two times that I’ve known neighbors in need of immediate medical assistance. Seems like a small and temporary inconvenience for what we get in return.

  • John Noonan January 10, 2015 (2:18 am)

    Everybody loves the firefighters of #29, which is why everybody should support the City giving them a reasonable place to live for the next year. This is not it. Multiple better, close by locations were identified.

    Finance & Administrative Services chose this location because it has the least red tape. Seattle Fire Department did NOT choose this location. They prefer 4700 Admiral Wy or directly in front of the current Fire Station.

    If you support the firefighters of #29, you also support FAS giving them a proper location to live for the next 12 months.

    Click my name below to see how dangerous this plan really is.

  • Concerned January 10, 2015 (11:14 am)

    Of the 16 firefighters stationed at FS 29, not a single one thinks this is a good idea. Not one. This option offers NO parking for anybody, neighbors or firefighters. It also forces the firefighters to back the fire engine into the parking tent at all hours of the day and night. I doubt the neighbors are going to be happy listening to a backing beeper at all hours of the night.
    If you really think this is a good idea, ask yourself one simple question…. Do you want a fire station in your front yard for a year?????
    Didn’t think so.

    • WSB January 10, 2015 (11:17 am)

      We’ll have a followup on this later today, after an informal meeting of neighbors, with Councilmember Tom Rasmussen in attendance, as well as incorporating some additional information, including what the city sent late yesterday in response to our questions. Should be up at least a couple hours before everyone turns their attention to the football game.
      (update) Publishing Sunday.

  • Safety Conscious January 10, 2015 (9:13 pm)

    I personally like the fire engine staying in our neighborhood. When any of us has a problem, we can be sure to get service right away. Let’s be honest, no one uses this postage stamp of grass, so why now all the furor over it. I walk past this site every day and have never seen anyone using it. West Seattleites need to think long term and not right now. We get a better piece of property out of it when they are done and our rescuers are on the same block.
    Incidentally, I too talked to the firefighters and whoever quoted as saying they don’t like this, is rubbish.

  • John Noonan January 11, 2015 (12:05 pm)

    @SafetyConscious If you are in favor of safety, you can’t be in favor of this plan. It creates insanely dangerous intersections that are shared with a preschool.
    NOBODY is arguing that the station should be moved outside the neighborhood
    If you’re going to call me and my neighbors and the firefighters liars, why are you hiding your name?

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