West Seattle, Washington
(WSB photo from January 2014)
Seems the Southwest Precinct is a place you just don’t leave forever. Its next commander, like two of its past three commanders, will be a Seattle Police leader who has spent time at the precinct before. That’s according to what the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network heard tonight from Operations Lt. Ron Smith, who told them his predecessor in that role, Capt. Pierre Davis, will return from the East Precinct to take over the SW Precinct in the aftermath of Steve Wilske‘s promotion to Assistant Chief.
Capt. Davis was SW Precinct operations lieutenant (second in command) for more than three years, and then served briefly in early 2014 as acting SW Precinct commander before Wilske’s arrival, which in turn followed Capt. Joe Kessler‘s second stint here, following 2 1/2 years at the helm for Capt. Steve Paulsen. … A formal citywide announcement of changes is pending. Lt. Smith told the Block Watch Captains it was fitting they be among the first to find out, given their volunteer service in keeping local neighborhoods safe. Their meeting also included a briefing on the new SW Precinct bicycle unit and tips on staying safe from cybercrime – we’ll write up that part of the meeting later.
(SOUTHBOUND 99 IS OPEN AGAIN AS OF 11:40 PM)
All lanes of the southbound Alaskan Way Viaduct at Atlantic Street are closed for a collision. Use alternate routes pic.twitter.com/Fzu0tQYz3E
— seattledot (@seattledot) March 24, 2015
2:39 PM: All lanes of southbound Highway 99 are blocked by an overturned semi-truck in the stadium zone. More to come.
2:55 PM: The southbound Viaduct is now closed at the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel, so if you are headed that way from north of downtown, you’ll have to exit on Denny Way. Otherwise, to head south from downtown, you’ll need to take I-5 or surface streets such as 1st or 4th. We’ll keep updating this since we’re heading into the pm commute.
3:14 PM: This is affecting buses too:
Transit Alert – The SB Alaskan Way Viaduct and the stop on WB Columbia St are closed; use the stop on SB 3 Av north of Cherry St.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) March 24, 2015
3:22 PM: For those stuck on the Viaduct when this happened, here’s what’s being done:
SPD turning traffic stuck on SB SR 99/viaduct around and directing drivers off at Columbia & Elliott. pic.twitter.com/bkfg0xdC4d
— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) March 24, 2015
We have another view of that courtesy of Chi Krneta:
3:43 PM: Still closed. And southbound I-5, we’re told, has a stall on the south side of downtown. Another alternative for getting back to West Seattle: The Water Taxi. Its afternoon schedule is just now starting up:
@westseattleblog water taxi has lots of room for first sailing of the afternoon
— axleyjc (@axleyjc) March 24, 2015
Here’s the schedule. Meantime:
Here's another look at the overturned semi blocking all lanes of SB SR 99 at Atlantic. **Avoid SB 99 in Seattle** pic.twitter.com/34ydE2x3cF
— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) March 24, 2015
And a view texted to us:
We’re still trying to find out if there’s any ETA for this being cleared. For now, just assume it’ll be hours, and plot your homeward alternative (or don’t leave until you hear it’s clear).
4:07 PM: SPD says a tow truck’s on the case – but that still doesn’t mean it’ll clear fast:
Tow truck working to clear SR-99 after overturned semi blocks all southbound lanes. More updates as we get them.
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) March 24, 2015
4:19 PM: Keep in mind that there’s a domino/spillover effect in many other places. For example, if you click around on the live video cameras in the general downtown area accessible via the SDOT Travelers’ Map (lower right) – you’ll see scenes such as vehicles STILL clearing off the Viaduct backward – right now at the Columbia onramp, a bus can be seen backing toward 1st, and someone is directing traffic. Also, via Twitter, SDOT says they’re hoping to have at least one lane open within a half-hour or so.
5:40 PM: SPD now says two tow trucks are on scene.
5:45 PM: And the problem has finally been explained – “a very large load of fish” is what the semi was carrying.
6:11 PM: The Sounders FC/Club Tijuana match has been pushed back to 7:23 pm. And SPD has an update on the semitruck’s driver:
Driver of overturned fish-filled #SR99 semi taken to HMC w/non-life-threatening injuries. SPD investigating for any violations or citations
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) March 25, 2015
6:33 PM: Latest tweet from the scene – “Responders have separated the tractor from the overturned trailer and are attempting to put the trailer back on its wheels again now.”
6:57 PM: Making progress:
UPDATE: Almost back on its wheels. They have a tractor ready to haul it away, if the effort is successful. pic.twitter.com/YwuClVTnFw
— seattledot (@seattledot) March 25, 2015
7:12 PM: After 4 1/2 hours, the truck is right-side up again:
Truck is back on its wheels once more. We are getting closer to opening the roadway. pic.twitter.com/Xmnrd4Ki2O
— seattledot (@seattledot) March 25, 2015
7:47 PM: Now they’re moving on to cleanup.
8:19 PM: And that’s not so easy, tweets SDOT: “Trailer contents have shifted, making it unstable to transport. They will detach trailer from truck and pull it off roadway.”
9:30 PM: Now going on 7 hours since this happened. The trailer has to be unloaded before it can be moved. We asked via Twitter, just out of curiosity, what kind of fish? Answer: Salmon.
10:05 PM: Still closed while crews work with the trailer.
10:47 PM: According to discussion just monitored via scanner, the problem is that the trailer remains unstable. It’s about a third empty now and they might try to move it again once it’s half empty. We are now in hour 9 of the total southbound 99 closure from the Battery St. Tunnel southward.
11:34 PM: They’re about to start reopening southbound 99, now that the truck and trailer have been moved successfully. They’re reopening starting at Denny, and then from Columbia.
11:40 PM: Official confirmation, 9 hours after the closure began:
Thank you all for your patience. Contractors have cleared the semi and SR-99 has reopened for traffic.
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) March 25, 2015
That’s almost twice as long as the much-dissected 5-hour closure in June of last year following a head-on crash south of the West Seattle Bridge. Different circumstances here – no life-threatening injuries, but the wreckage posed a major challenge to clear. Some of what was promised in reports following the June incident (most notably this one) has been implemented, notably longer coverage hours in the city’s Traffic Management Center. We’ll be following up on this tomorrow, and certainly we won’t be the only ones.
11:16 AM WEDNESDAY: We did indeed inquire with SPD this morning. No direct response but they’ve published a long report on SPD Blotter which includes photos and tweets from yesterday (some of which we featured in real-time in this report) – we’re writing a separate story on this.
2:18 PM: Thanks for the tips: West Seattle entrepreneur Dave Montoure has announced via Facebook that he is no longer running for the District 1 City Council position. That leaves 10 candidates. We are seeking comment; more to come.
3:01 PM: Via e-mail, Montoure confirms his withdrawal, and also gave us permission to republish the statement he posted on his personal FB page:
Friends, family and fellow small business owners. A little over six-weeks ago, I entered the campaign race for Seattle City Council District 1. It’s been a great experience and I have learned a lot from talking to old friends and new acquaintances. However, it is with regret that inform you that I have decided to withdraw from the campaign.
My passion for issues that affect small, independent businesses and the greater prosperity of West Seattle is strong as ever, and I have come to believe that right now, I’m a better advocate as a private citizen than as a politician. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work as simply, Dave.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
3:37 PM: Added photo from Montoure’s original campaign announcement. And for the record, here’s where the District 1 race stands now:
CANDIDATES: David Ishii (back as of 3/9/2015), Pavel Goberman (declared 3/5/2015), Tom Koch (declared 2/19/15), 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.
1:16 PM: We’re back at the Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center for the Port of Seattle Commission‘s regular meeting. Nothing regular about the meetings lately, as the public-comment period two weeks ago ran more than 3 hours, with almost 80 people commenting about the port’s controversial lease with Foss to host part of Shell‘s Arctic-drilling fleet on part of West Seattle’s Terminal 5. The gallery is full again today – more regional media has shown up than two weeks ago, too – and we will chronicle as it goes.
Public testimony is first on the agenda. #1 – A representative of the Building and Construction Trades says they support the lease because of the jobs it will provide and “the dreams of the future. … We would hope the port follows through with this lease so we can build for the future …” #2, Jordan Royer, representing the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, terminal operators and shipping lines. “This is important because it allows you to reinvest into the terminal, to be competitive on the world stage. … We lose the port, we lose manufacturing … My biggest concern is that if for some reason political winds take your eye off the ball and your core business, that it will be difficult to get other maritime businesses to look at this port as competitive.” #3, Emily Johnston from 350.org, refers to the taped comments by Commissioner Bill Bryant published by The Stranger: “‘You silly people,’ leave these decisions to the grownups – that is in effect what (supporters) are saying. … (But) the so-called grownups have failed us … Scientists have told us this is a catastrophic project and the regulatory bodies have failed to step in.” She mentions that the Obama Administration is likely to give permission for Arctic drilling, maybe even today. She says the lease is “supporting catastrophic climate change … You are all addicts, and this is your intervention. … All lives are on the line.” First applause of the meeting. #4, Cameron Williams, with ILWU Local 19, saying he represents about 3,000 dock workers. “I commend the commission for (moving forward with) the lease.”
#5, Paul Stevens, president/CEO of Foss, thanking the commissioners. He notes that 164 are “working to support our project at T-5,” including “101 at the facility,” a dozen of them Foss employees. “We have contributed $3 million in revenue to the port since signing the lease.” He mentions that they expect to bring non-Shell projects in, as well. And he says maritime competition is tough and faced by this area – and that the competitiveness is enhanced if there’s certainty that political pressure won’t affect deals. #6, a man identifying himself as an Edmonds resident. He says opposition to this and to drilling is “alarmism.” #7, Beth Smith of Foss says having local oversight of this project will make a difference. #8, a woman wearing a red T-shirt reading “The People vs. Shell.” She says Greenpeace has a ship in the Pacific “keeping an eye on Shell’s massive drilling ships as they head north” and promises to “shine a light on one of the most dangerous drilling projects in the world.” #9, Zarna, in the same T-shirt, saying she’s with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. She acknowledges that jobs matter, but “Shell and oil workers around the country are striking, and have been striking for 2 months, for health and safety reasons.” She says she has spoken to workers in Anacortes who told her about deaths on the job. “When you say this is about jobs, it’s not true – it’s about money” and says Commissioner John Creighton received campaign contributions from executives of Foss and its parent company Saltchuk. “How much money will it cost to buy you back?” she yells, and presents the commission with a symbolic “blank check.”
#10, another man in the same T-shirt. He says he apologizes to his brothers and sisters in labor, “but jobs go up and down, and particularly with wise leaders, we can increase jobs with good jobs, quality jobs, but the climate is on a descent straight down.” He says Commissioner Bryant’s remarks included ridiculing his kayak, and says he’s sorry that commissioners no longer seemed to be supporting the reasons he voted for them. “I have only a few more years to live. It’s not about me … (future generations) are going to live with (the results of this). We have a blessing here, and we’re destroying it for money – Shell profit. I like Foss, Foss has been around a long time, has done a good job, but Foss has sold their name to Shell.”
AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE CONTINUES AFTER THE JUMP:
(WSB photos/video by Patrick Sand)
Are West Seattle kids getting enough healthy food? Kevin Concannon, the USDA’s Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, visited this morning to find out. We caught up with him at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) Preschool (with him in the photo above is Emilia Holbik from the Y). They made a smoothie for him.
And here’s what he had to say about it:
The Y’s focus is on food as well as fitness, so they showcased this as an example of nutrition-focused activities in which their students regularly participate.
After his stop at the YMCA Preschool, Under Secretary Concannon was headed to West Seattle Elementary.
Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this one: Yes, there’s a film/video crew in West Seattle today. They’re working on a commercial, shooting at multiple Admiral spots, including West Seattle Coin Laundry and Shanti as well as the future home of Mioposto. We weren’t able to procure extensive details but did get an answer to the big question: A crew member said he was allowed to say it was a commercial for Virginia Mason.
P.S. We did subsequently contact VM’s marketing/media department to ask what they could tell us about it. Answer: Nothing right now; it’s top-secret. But they promised to let us know when they’re ready to tell the world.
(Photo by James Bratsanos – Olympic Mountains in the early-morning light)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, some of what’s up for the rest of today/tonight:
AUTHOR AT MADISON MS: Two assemblies today at Madison Middle School with best-selling young-adult author Marissa Meyer, as previewed here. First one was earlier but second one (families are welcome to attend too) is at 1:30 pm. (45th/Spokane)
PORT COMMISSION MEETING: 1 pm at Sea-Tac Airport, of local note because the Terminal 5 lease is expected to take centerstage in the public-comment period again. The agenda also includes a draft motion related to future decisions about the lease, and procedures regarding other future decisionmaking – see it here. (Conference Center at south end of Sea-Tac)
SCHOOL BENEFIT DINNERS: Two chances tonight to dine out while supporting local schools! 4-8 pm it’s Madison Middle School night at Marination Ma Kai (1660 Harbor SW); 5-8 pm, it’s a taco bar benefiting Hope Lutheran School at Pecado Bueno. (4523 California SW)
BLOCKWATCH CAPTAINS HEAR ABOUT BIKE PATROL, CYBERCRIME: 6:30 pm tonight at the Southwest Precinct, join the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network for the monthly meeting they’re previewing as follows:
1. Our special guest will be Sgt. Jim Britt who oversees the expanded SW Precinct Bike Patrol program, which will “roll” out any day now. He will talk about the program and what they hope to accomplish. He’ll also talk about which officers will be involved and which areas they will focus on. Bring your questions for him, as well as any issues you think the Bike Patrol might be able to help resolve.
2. Cybercrime is a growing issue for all of us and those we care about. Our second presentation will be about online safety by Community Police Team Officer Jon Kiehn. Learn about the latest crimes that are happening and how to stay safe online.
You don’t have to be a captain or even part of a Block Watch to attend – all are welcome. (Webster/Delridge)
GLOBAL READING CHALLENGE: Good luck tonight to the two local teams in the finals of the Seattle Public Library‘s Global Reading Challenge – the Reading Warriors from West Seattle Elementary in High Point and the Rad Radical Hyperactive Jellyfish from Lafayette Elementary in Admiral! You can cheer them on (but be warned, the seats fill fast) at 7 pm at the Central Library downtown. (1000 4th Ave.)
NIGHTLIFE … Tonight’s lineup includes the blues, karaoke x 2, and singer/songwriters – see the listings/venues here.
From egg hunts to religious services to brunch, the first draft of our annual page is live – you’ll see the link in our lineup of navigation tabs below the sunset header photo, or just go here. If you have any information to add – including restaurants for Easter brunch/dinner – please e-mail us so we can add it, email@example.com – thank you!
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:07 AM: The aftermath of a car-fire call at 35th/Fauntleroy, by the entrance to the bridge, is still causing a backup, we’re told via Twitter. The car-fire call itself is closed but if you’re heading to the bridge that way, you might wait a bit until the scene is completely clear.
Two advisories, meantime:
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC HOME GAME TONIGHT: 7 pm vs. Club Tijuana at CenturyLink Field, 39,000 people expected, so be aware of extra evening traffic/transit in the stadium zone.
VIADUCT/99 CLOSURES NEXT WEEKEND: Between the West Seattle Bridge and Battery Street Tunnel, the inspection closure is scheduled for 6 am-6 pm both days, Saturday and Sunday. But a stretch of 99 north of the tunnel will be closed around the clock late Friday to early Monday. Full details here.
7:20 AM UPDATE: What remains of the earlier incident is a car on the right shoulder of Fauntleroy just east of the entrance lane from northbound 35th, and a police car right behind it with its rollers going, so vehicles entering the bridge there are having to swerve a bit to the left to get around it, as shown on the live-video feed from the SDOT Travelers’ Map.
7:25 AM: Tow truck has arrived, so this should be clear shortly.
7:32 AM: All clear!
We now know at least three local students will be competing for the state Geography Bee championship this weekend:
Congratulations and good luck to Westside School (WSB sponsor) 6th grader Jean-Pierre Dufour. His dad Rene says this is Jean-Pierre’s second year in the competition! Read more about his achievement on the Westside website.
Also Bee-bound, Schmitz Park Elementary 5th-grader Aiden Houlette:
Congratulations and good luck to Aiden, who won the schoolwide competition at SP. Aiden’s mom Sarah says, “He has always had lots of questions about different regions of the world, been interested in maps, and enjoys his school’s ‘Passport’ program. For now he’s busy studying his geography books!”
Earlier, we featured Jack Crowley, a Madison student who’ll be competing at the state Geo Bee too. It’s happening this Friday (March 27th), 9 am-3 pm at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. The state champ will go to the national competition May 11-13 in Washington, D.C.