day : 10/03/2015 10 results

West Seattle biznote: Admiral Benbow’s owners say they’re closing

Just shy of a year after the owner of the then-Heartland Café announced he’d sold it, the owners who then resurrected its former identity as the Admiral Benbow say they’re closing it. Announced on Facebook tonight by co-proprietor Allison Hill:

It is with great sadness that Ian Hill and I are announcing the closure of The Admiral Benbow. We made a great run at it and love it dearly, but some things just aren’t meant to be. We want to thank all the friends, fans, pirates, scallywags, bands and everyone else who helped make this dream of ours come true, even though it was only a short period of time. Our last day will be Sunday, March 22nd. So come down and see us over the next 12 days and help us go out with a blast! We’re still open until then so come get your drink on or catch a show. Help us send this place off the right way! Thank you all again. We love you and can’t thank you enough.

The Hills had applied the Benbow brand to the entire operation at 4210 SW Admiral Way – restaurant, bar, and entertainment venue – in a nod to its long-ago fame as the Admiral Benbow Inn.

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: 35th SW safety project ‘design alternatives’ unveiled, both lowering speed limit to 30 mph

6:53 PM: We’re at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center as SDOT’s Jim Curtin gets ready to unveil the “design alternatives” for “making 35th SW safer for everyone.” First, he’s recapping background about how we got to this point – including more than 1,000 crashes, 412 injuries, five deaths in the past decade on 35th SW between Roxbury and Alaska. The slide decks are up on the project page – this is the one with the alternatives:

Even before Curtin gets to those, he’s been asked questions such as “which of the deaths were the pedestrians’ fault?” None, he says. When countered with “but wasn’t one mid-block?” he explains that it’s legal to cross at midblock.

The background is in this slide deck (added – midway through the meeting, it’s clear that this deck also includes much elaboration on the proposed alternatives, intersection by intersection, so take some time to go through this one):

Curtin touches on enforcement and says SPD has obtained a grant to step that up. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske couldn’t be here tonight but will be at the Thursday afternoon version of this meeting to talk about that, Curtin says. (With him at this meeting, by the way, is another high-profile SDOT employee, traffic engineer Dongho Chang.) He’s been asked about specific types of data and promises that will be made available; he also says that 35th will be monitored basically “forever.”

Somebody brings up rechannelized Fauntleroy Way and claims that it crawls at 15 MPH at certain times. Curtin says SDOT recently studied Fauntleroy and that more than 80 percent of the drivers are going 33 mph (two miles below the speed limit).

7:10 PM: Curtin has just declared that the speed limit on 35th will be cut to 30 mph, and the room erupts in cheers/applause, except for one participant who has already spoken out multiple times and claimed that higher speeds are safer. Curtin agreed that the speed limit alone won’t do it – that the road design must be made safer too. Shortly thereafter, he notes that Fauntleroy Way will be reduced to 30 mph this year too (as had been inferred in the Vision Zero plan announced recently).

What else will be done? he’s asked. The slide says “turn signals at some locations, signal optimization, reflective materials for most signals.” Also, “lane-line markers (buttons) throughout the corridor.”

Regarding bicycles, while “protected bicycle lanes are envisioned long-term for 35th,” Curtin says bicyclists have suggested that other routes be focused on first, so “that’s what we’re going to do.” A Neighborhood Greenway is planned for 34th SW, one block east, for 2017 implementation.

Now he gets to Design Alternative A, which will add 3 to 4 minutes delay during am/pm rush hours, he says. It would rechannelize 35th SW from Roxbury to Edmunds – one lane each way and a center turn lane.

Design Alternative B, projected to add 3 minutes’ delay in rush hours, would rechannelize between Roxbury and Raymond, but not north of Raymond, which instead would have peak-hour parking restrictions to create an extra lane only during those times. SDOT is still modeling this, Curtin explains, and the boundaries on this one might change.

Going into more background for the alternatives, he points out that 35th has no turn lanes right now, so all vehicles stop behind someone trying to turn. He puts up 35th between Henderson and Barton, showing how design alternatives will reduce lane changes that buses have to make, keeping them from “hanging out” in traffic. Then he shows how 35th/Barton would be affected. Asked if Metro might see a bus bulb – Curtin and Chang say no.

Next, 35th/Holden – “bus lanes through the intersection” might be considered, says Curtin, pointing out the signals at this odd intersection are “already delayed.” 35th/Webster, 8 of 9 crashes during the recent study period are related to left turns, so adding a left-turn pocket here can help – left turns off 35th.

35th/Morgan might get right-turn pockets. At 35th/Juneau, Option A could have a crossing “with turn restrictions” in the longer term, says Curtin, noting that 35th/Graham has similar conditions. That would mean no left turns, only right turns, he said in response to a question. Option B might not rechannelize this area, so a traffic signal might be needed to facilitate a crossing.

Curtin is asked about the in-pavement flashing lights that some other jurisdictions use to call attention to crossings. He says there’s concern about how they would be affected in snow/rain weather. Chang picks up, saying that he worked in Everett, which used five of them, and their lights can burn out without pedestrians being aware, giving them a false sense of security – four of the five in Everett are not working right now, he notes.

Next, he draws applause by saying a crossing is proposed at 35th/Dawson, where the community has long requested one (this is near Camp Long). In the longer term, he says, that could bring in low-cost “treatments” such as signs, pavement markings, flashing beacons, maybe even a “refuge island” midway across.

He says that Seattle’s 40 rechannelizations generally have “remarkable” results. Fauntleroy Way is an example given – 31 percent drop in collisions, 1 percent drop in 85 percent of the speed, 13 percent drop in 10+ mph speeders, volume change up a third of a percentage. “When the ferry lets out, are you really driving 35 mph?” asks someone in the audience. “There’s the data,” somebody else points out. The first speaker clarifies that she actually favors the rechannelization because Fauntleroy can be crossed a little more safely since it. (It was done in connection with repaving in 2009.)

Before Q&A, Curtin notes that a June meeting will unveil the “final” plan and take one last round of comments; implementation would begin in late summer.

First question – did the Fauntleroy rechannelization push traffic elsewhere? “Absolutely not,” said Curtin. (The slide a few minutes earlier had shown that Fauntleroy volume is actually up a bit since then.)

Another person has more of a comment, saying that he’s glad this might make it possible for both sides of 35th to be part of the same neighborhood, instead of, given its current freeway-like conditions, being a separator. That leads to some applause.

How much would this cost? More than $100,000 a mile, replied Curtin, for rechannelization, so this would cost at least half a million, not counting additional stoplights, etc.

8 PM: The meeting is breaking up now into a chance for one-on-one discussion with Curtin and Chang. This meeting will be repeated on Thursday afternoon at Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson), starting at 3:15 pm; Curtin also noted that his e-mail address is on the project website, so if you have questions/comments, you can reach him that way – (which is also up on the board right now with his phone number, 206-684-8874).

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Port Commissioners being asked again to cancel Terminal 5 lease

(UPDATED WEDNESDAY MORNING with video of West Seattleite Aji Piper’s song for the commission)


-Terminal 5 lease was not formally on agenda but dominated Port Commission’s public-comment period
-78 speakers
-One commissioner proposed a motion (for vote at a later date) that would cap this lease at 2 years and set up a public process for potentially controversial leases in the future
-Port CEO said flatly that lease is signed, payments are coming in, it can’t be broken without legal exposure.

Here’s how it unfolded:


1:17 PM: We’re at the Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center, where regular Port Commission meetings don’t always attract a crowd the size of the one that’s here now. Opponents had promised to again use the public-comment portion of the meeting to ask commissioners to cancel the lease the port has signed for Foss to use a third of West Seattle’s Terminal 5 for the Shell Arctic-drilling fleet. We’ll be updating as it goes. You should be able to watch the meeting live here.

Another note: Though the conference center is not behind the security line at Sea-Tac, we had to go through a security check to get in – not SOP for most public meetings – when we asked the airport personnel doing the checking why that was happening, they said this was considered a “high-visibility” meeting. That, despite the fact the lease is not at this point officially on the agenda – the discussion will come up in the “public comment” section shortly after the meeting begins.

Four commissioners are here – Courtney Gregoire is absent. Co-president Stephanie Bowman is asking the crowd to “be respectful” and she is asking anyone interested in singing (apparently she got advance word of this) to do it as a group. She has her rubber chicken again, which will be used as a signal if things need to get back into control. Really.

1:17 PM: The non-related public comment has concluded and Commissioner Bill Bryant has asked to make a statement before people start speaking about the T-5 issue. He says he has six clarifications. See our Twitter account for the six. One is the contention that port signed with Foss, not Shell, and the first speaker says that’s “splitting hairs … You are recklessly hurtling us into destruction, and that is a fact.” She also says asking people to speak at a 1 pm weekday meeting not even in Seattle doesn’t exactly solicit maximum public opinion. Second speaker says the commission’s decision was “courageous” and “has to do with competing in the 21st century. … This is an economically sensible 2-year solution to keep the port vibrant …” Third speaker says she’s against the lease and calls it a “death warrant … knowing the dangers and destruction that will ultimately happen. Please do the right thing … please break this lease.”

Fourth speaker says he’s with Coalition for Port Accountability, “a new grass-roots group,” delivering a letter. He reads from it and calls the decision “a reckless mistake” running counter to port’s mission “of environmental stewardship.” He also asks them to “rescind the decision and (revoke) the lease with Foss … soon.” Fifth speaker, Mark Powell from the Washington Environmental Council, says, “The port has done some good things. This lease is not one of them. … This is not ‘where a sustainable world is headed.'” He says the lease “undermines the progress on restoration” of Puget Sound. He says he is an outdoor swimmer and plans a swim down the Duwamish/Green Rivers, hoping he won’t find “new and unexpected hazards” when he does, because of this.

Sixth speaker is Eric Schinfeld, who says he wants to clarify “what this lease is really about” and thinks people should keep in mind that Foss and the Port “have been leaders in environmental sustainability.” He was followed by five Raging Grannies who sang (we’ll add video later) against the lease. Eighth speaker is an opponent calling the lease “a decision made poorly.” She says she supports the idea of not letting T-5 sit idle while it awaits modernization, but has questions for the commission, starting with: “Of the 40 opportunities that were potential lessees, why was the one with Foss the only one that fit – what happened with the others?” She concludes, “What we say and what we do here matter globally and locally.”

Alison Fujino is ninth and also asks the port, “listen to the citizens and cancel the lease for T-5.”

1:38 PM: Tenth, John Lockwood from Vigor says that “more than 60 new family-wage jobs have been created for this single project” already, including three dozen at their Tacoma shipyard building related items.

“I work at a shipyard that’s been an icon in Seattle for 99 years. We are the job creators. … We applaud you standing tall to keep the maritime industry strong in Seattle.” Eleventh, Rev. Dr. Marilyn Cornwell says she asks “as a person of faith and a scientist, that the Port rescind the lease with Foss Maritime,” saying it threatens “sustainable prosperity for all.” She asks for a show of hands of those in the room who agree with her, and many hands go up.

“What will it profit us if we do things that make money at the expense of our very lives and the lives of others?” she asks.

Read More

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: New SPD info in Westwood robbery/Morgan arrests

(WSB photo from Monday afternoon)
11:09 AM: We asked Seattle Police this morning for the full followup report on the Monday afternoon Westwood robbery/Morgan arrests case (original WSB report here). They’ve just published the details to SPD Blotter:

Police arrested five teens Monday in West Seattle for attacking a 55-year-old grocery store clerk, after he confronted them about an earlier shoplifting incident.

The victim had been working at the Westwood QFC earlier in the day, when he witnessed the group of teens stealing shrimp, hot dogs and barbecue sauce from the store. After leaving work, around 4 PM, the man found himself standing next to the same group of suspects at a bus stop near the 2800 block of SW. Barton St. There, the man confronted the teens about the theft, and warned them not to come back to the store.

In response, a 19-year-old female in the group doused the victim in pepper spray, sending him tumbling to the ground. The rest of the teens punched and kicked the man as he lay on the concrete, and a 17-year-old male grabbed the victim’s iPhone before the group boarded a Metro bus.

Officers were able to track down the bus a short distance away and arrest the group of teens, who are all between 14 and 19 years old. Police booked three of the teens into the Youth Services Center, while the two others were booked into King County Jail.

The “short distance away,” as you know from our Monday report, was north of Morgan Junction.

1:14 PM: We’ve received the report from SPD. One key point that will answer some commenters’ questions: After the attack, the report says, “all involved parties fled south through Roxhill Park” – so apparently they did not immediately board bus(es).

35th SW’s future; Admiral, Fauntleroy neighborhood meetings; meditation; puppies! What’s up for your West Seattle Tuesday night

(Alki awakens: Monday morning photo by Don Brubeck)
What’s going on tonight? Seven highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

DINNER FUNDRAISER: 5-8 pm, it’s an all-you-can-eat taco-bar benefit for the West Seattle High School softball team at Pecado Bueno in The Junction, explained here. (4523 California SW)

35TH AVENUE SW SAFETY PROJECT: 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, see the design alternatives proposed to improve safety for all who use 35th SW, and be among the first to comment. Project website is here. (6400 Sylvan Way)

YOU CAN RAISE A GUIDE PUPPY! 6:30 pm at The Kenney (WSB sponsor), find out how. (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW)

MEDITATION GROUP’S HALF-IVERSARY: It’s been six months now for the West Seattle Shambhala Meditation Group, and you are invited tonight to help celebrate – details are in our calendar listing. 6:30 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. (4408 Delridge Way SW)

ADMIRAL NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: 7 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral, meet your neighbors, talk about what happens to the triangle at Ferry/44th/Hill AFTER its time as now-open interim Fire Station 29 , and hear from two District 1 City Council candidates, Shannon Braddock and Brianna Thomas (ANA says it will host candidates two at a time between now and the August primary) At The Sanctuary at Admiral. (42nd/Lander)

FAUNTLEROY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: All welcome to tonight’s FCA board meeting, 7 pm at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse. Topics will include the plan for next week’s Fauntleroy Food Fest annual membership meeting. (9131 California SW)

FAMILY STORY TIME: 7 pm tonight, free and fun at Delridge Branch Library. (5423 Delridge Way SW)

LOOK INTO THE FUTURE … by browsing the calendar here (use the “next events” button at top right to look past mid-April). And if you’re sending us an event to list, please do it as early as you can … at least a week, or better yet, as soon as you set the date! – thank you.

Followup: Westwood Village dropoff mailbox returning sooner rather than later

March 10, 2015 10:03 am
|    Comments Off on Followup: Westwood Village dropoff mailbox returning sooner rather than later
 |   West Seattle news | Westwood

TUESDAY MORNING: Quick followup to our Monday report answering questions about where the Westwood Village Post Office‘s drive-up/ride-up dropoff mailbox went: Regional USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson tells WSB this morning that instead of having to wait for a new one: “Our maintenance department will be able to repair the damaged collection box. We expect it to be back in place by this Wednesday, March 11.” Until then, you’ll have to go inside, or use the drive-up/ride-up box by the Junction PO (4412 California SW).

WEDNESDAY MORNING NOTE: The installation was under way when we went by around 9:45 – we tweeted a photo:

ADDED THURSDAY: Just for the record, a photo:

Friday’s your chance to dine and dance at West Seattle High School

March 10, 2015 9:18 am
|    Comments Off on Friday’s your chance to dine and dance at West Seattle High School
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

If you haven’t seen this in our calendar, you still have three more days to get it on yours: Talented student musicians and chefs ready to entertain and serve you, plus a chance to get out on the floor and dance, with the West Seattle Big Band on hand as a bonus. It’s happening this Friday night (March 13th):

Come enjoy an evening of great music, dancing and a gourmet dinner at the West Seattle High School Big Band Dinner Dance, Friday Mar 13 from 6-9pm, held at West Seattle High School.

Fabulous big-band music from the West Seattle High School Jazz Ensemble and the West Seattle Big Band. Dinner prepared by students in West Seattle High School’s amazing Culinary Arts Program! Dinner served 6-7, Swing Dancing Music from 7-9. Swing dance instruction, door prizes, beverages, dinner & desserts all included!

Tickets purchased in advance are $15 each, or $17 at the door. Special deal for students only – $8 ticket purchased at the door for dancing only.

Tickets can be purchased online at

This event is a fundraiser, and West Seattle High School band, orchestra and jazz band students are raising money to pay for their performance and competition trips this spring. For more info – please email

(WSHS is at 3000 California SW.)

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday updates/alerts

March 10, 2015 6:39 am
|    Comments Off on TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday updates/alerts
 |   Alaskan Way Viaduct | West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning! We start the day with updates …

47TH/ADMIRAL SIGNAL WORK BEGINS: As noted here last night, SDOT says prep work for the 47th/Admiral signal (and new crosswalks and curb ramps) starts today.

99 LANE CLOSURES POSTPONED: If you missed the news at midday Monday, WSDOT heeded the suggestions that it postpone the Highway 99 lane closures that were supposed to start tomorrow and run for weeks north of downtown, since the work is for something that won’t even be needed until the tunnel is finished.

NEXT INSPECTION CLOSURE, MARCH 28-29: Same link as above – the morning briefing also included word that the next Viaduct inspection closure (the kind they’ve been doing twice a year dating way back before the tunnel project) is set for March 28-29. We’re still waiting for the hours – whether it’ll be an all-weekend closure or a “daytime only” as had been done recently.

Congratulations to West Seattle High School’s Unified Basketball Team – #2 in the state!

Belated congratulations to the West Seattle High School Unified Basketball Team! While covering the WSHS girls’ state-tournament run last week, we learned that the Unified Team had already been to state and finished at #2. (If you haven’t heard of Unified Sports – explained here – it’s a Special Olympics-led program; teams include players with and without intellectual disabilities.) West Seattle Coach Billy Edwards shared the top photo from the team’s win at districts; he tells WSB, “The team was 11-0 and District champs going into the state tournament. The team was short handed going into the state tournament due to illness and travel. The team still fought hard and earned 2nd place in state.”

Election 2015: David Ishii switches back to District 1 City Council race, which now numbers 11

The list of candidates vying for your vote in the first-ever District 1 City Council race is now up to 11. But the newest name isn’t entirely new – last fall, David Ishii appeared on the list of candidates, then in December moved to an at-large race, and then on Monday called to tell us he was awaiting word on whether he could move back to the D-1 lineup. The city website shows he has done just that. His website describes Ishii as a “Vietnam-era vet, political activist, artist, sculptor, poet.” He’s run for council before.

IN THE DISTRICT 1 RACE NOW: David Ishii (back as of 3/9/2015), Pavel Goberman (declared 3/5/2015), Tom Koch (declared 2/19/15), Dave Montoure (declared 2/17/15), Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

CANDIDATES’ FORUM THIS SATURDAY: The field has almost tripled since we hosted its first formal forum a month ago. The second one is next Saturday morning (March 14th), presented by VIEWS at the Senior Center of West Seattle, starting with an optional benefit breakfast at 9 am (VIEWS is nonprofit); the forum is set to start around 10:15 am. Updated information on the forum is centralized on this Facebook event page, including which candidates have RSVP’d.