West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Rather than starting with numbers and trends, this afternoon’s affordable-housing forum at the Senior Center of West Seattle cut directly to the heart of the crisis, with two women telling their stories.
They were introduced by the center’s social worker Holly McNeill: “I’ve had an incredible increase in the number of people coming to me each week telling me they’re homeless, or their apartments are being torn down, or they’re being priced out by the landlord or manager in order to upgrade the apartments and turn them around at twice the amount they’re currently being rented at … it’s just happening to so many people.”
Nancy got two months notice her studio was going up from 650 to 1590 a month. Had to leave. pic.twitter.com/4JdRIlLHF7
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) April 23, 2015
“I lived in a 9-unit mom-and-pop-type apartment complex.” She thought it would “be there forever.” They told her they were selling the building but “selling it to people just like us” – then, “the new owners who came in and bought the building raised the rents anywhere from 130 to 140 percent – “In a studio apartment, my rent went from $650 to $1500 a month” – the audience groans – “Each unit was going to be responsible for the common area utilities like electric and water,” which was another 93/month. They got two months’ notice. “My first reaction was to go into research mode – my kids always say, mom’s on a mission, get out of her way.” She worked to find out, “is this legal … what are our rights … to no avail, really.” She had had surgeries recently, ended up having to take early retirement. “I don’t really have wiggle room to go from $650 to $1590, that’s even more than I make per month.” So she started “an arduous process” to find someplace else to live – “day and night I was on the computer looking for a place to live.” She finally found somewhere, “not my ultimate, ‘isn’t this great,’ but I accomplished my goal. I had to be out on the 28th of February, or else pay $1590 on the first of March for rent. ”
They were going to make some changes, “lipstick on a pig,” she said, but not until the new rent kicked in. She found a two bedroom, one bath apartment with “some guy I don’t know” – she had “a pit in the bottom of my stomach … I took a leap of faith, and moved in, and I’ve been there two months and he decided this month not to pay his rent, and I just found that out two days ago, and I’m going to be homeless again …”
And now, the District 1 City Council race is down to nine candidates, three weeks from the filing deadline – Tom Koch has just sent word he’s withdrawing:
My decision is based on a number of factors including some personal considerations.
However, I am pleased to be able to look back at the past two months and see some good things that have come from this undertaking. First, I was lucky enough to meet a number of terrific people both via community organizations as well as during my doorbelling. Second, the thrust of my campaign has been pretty clear and I’ve been gratified to see many of the other candidates echo the feeling that impact fees must be adopted in order to more fairly fund public infrastructure.
Impact fees were Koch’s big issue during the two months he’s been campaigning since his February 19th candidacy announcement. So here’s who remains:
CURRENT D-1 CANDIDATES: David Ishii (back as of 3/9/2015), Pavel Goberman (declared 3/5/2015), , 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.
Also just in via SPD Blotter – a Highland Park burglary suspect caught by police in White Center while trying to sell what he allegedly stole. The story spanned multiple locations which we’ve just clarified with SPD’s Det. Drew Fowler, so we’re summarizing with added information, as well as quoting:
Police say the burglary happened in the 9400 block of 7th SW (map) around 7 pm last night – a resident saw a man go into his garage, steal an air compressor, and take it to a getaway car nearby. A plainclothes officer in the area went to Pawn Pros at 16th/102nd in White Center (map) and found a vehicle matching the description given to SPD. The officer checked the license plate and discovered it was a stolen car. A female passenger was inside, but the burglary suspect was nowhere in sight. Picking up the SPDB account:
Unbeknownst to officers at the time, the victim’s sister had the same suspicion and went to the same pawnshop. Inside the pawnshop the victim’s sister recognized the suspect and the air compressor. She took a cellphone picture of the man holding the air compressor, which prompted him to leave the store.
Officers saw the suspect exit the pawnshop still carrying the compressor which he loaded into the stolen car. Patrol officers attempted to stop the suspect, but he began driving recklessly, speeding through neighborhoods and stop signs alike.
This happened in White Center and Highland Park – finally, officers terminated the vehicle pursuit for safety concerns, and found the stolen car, empty, in the 11000 block of 18th SW in White Center. The burglary suspect and his female passenger were caught nearby. Police found drugs in his possession “as well as property taken in a recent car prowl,” they reported (that’s been returned to its owner). The 27-year-old suspect is jailed for “investigation of attempt to elude, auto theft, trafficking in stolen property, drug possession, and burglary.”
(MOST RECENT UPDATE 3:54 PM – scroll down)
2:35 PM: Another attack on a local student – this time in the Admiral area. From SPD Blotter:
Police are searching West Seattle for a man who groped a middle school student Thursday as she was on her way to school.
School officials called police around 11 AM after a student reported that a man had followed her off a bus near California Avenue and SW Stevens Street and grabbed her from behind.
The suspect is described as a black male, in his mid 20’s, with short dreadlocks, wearing a black sweatshirt and black jeans. He reportedly boarded a bus in the West Seattle Junction neighborhood after the incident. Seattle Police are working with King County Metro Police and school officials to identify the man and ensure the safety of students.
If you witnessed this incident or have any information about the suspect, please call 911.
This happened two days after an attack on a student at Westwood Village – here’s the report on that.
ADDED 2:51 PM: We’ve just obtained the letter sent home by the principal of Madison Middle School:
Dear Madison Middle School Families,
We want to share with you information right away regarding an incident that was reported this morning involving one of our scholars on her way to school.
At approximately 10:20am a female scholar was followed from the Metro bus stop at McDonalds and California west on Stevens by a man who approached her from behind and grabbed her. He was described as an African man in his early 20’s or 30’s, thin build, with short curly hair. Our scholar turned and yelled at him, and he ran back toward PCC on California. She proceeded to school and immediately reported the incident to school staff. Madison administration notified the family and the Seattle Police Department, who are actively investigating.
The safety of our scholars is our top priority. We are continuing to coordinate with the SW Precinct Captain to discuss the safety and their increased policing efforts. We will continue to collaborate with the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security to help monitor the surrounding area.
You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. Tips to discuss are:
Walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times.
Leaving for school at times where there are high levels of pedestrian traffic.
Immediately reporting anything suspicious to trusted adults (school staff and family members).
Keep earbuds off and expensive phones or other items out of sight.
More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website:
Dr. Robert Gary, Principal
Madison Middle School
3:55 PM UPDATE: Just talked to SPD spokesperson Det. Drew Fowler. No arrest so far. He says police are aware that the descriptions in this incident and the Tuesday Westwood Village incident are similar, and the same detective is handling both cases – so again, if you have any information, please call 911.
Community safety isn’t just about the police, or about Block Watches. It’s also about individual community members, of all ages. Youth leaders included. As part of the city’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, one of its partner agencies, West Seattle-based Southwest Youth and Family Services presented a gathering on Wednesday afternoon at High Point Community Center.
It involved ideas, and suggestions, and youth leaders – like 19-year-old Marquese Sykes, who told us in this short clip what the gathering was about:
What happened last night was just a start – committees were being set up, with participants invited to decide which ones they’d join, and what they wanted to do:
Before the night’s end, names were to be added to each of those committees – and then, the next round of work would begin.
Updates today from Seattle Public Utilities on two sewer/drainage projects under way along Delridge. First, the project at Delridge/Orchard:
The daytime westbound lane restriction on SW Orchard St. just east of Delridge Way SW will continue through mid-May as crews complete demolition, paving and landscaping work. Over the next couple of weeks, crews are also working on SW Myrtle at 24th Avenue SW, where they are installing a flow monitoring cabinet in the right-of-way. On Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30, between 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., the westbound lane on SW Myrtle St. at 24th Ave. SW will be closed to traffic. During the closure, all westbound traffic will be diverted to the eastbound lane with the assistance of a traffic flagger.
Work also continues at CSO 3, located at SW Henderson St. and 22nd Ave. SW. (map) Crews recently completed the underground diversion structure at SW Barton Place and SW Barton St. and are currently working on the CSO 3 facility.
Crews are on schedule to reach substantial completion of both projects in the fall of this year.
Questions/concerns about either project? SPU’s Emily Reardon also tells WSB they’ll be at the next Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Neighborhood Council meeting for a briefing (May 5, 6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library).
Volunteer power and donations are getting WestSide Baby through its current crisis requiring an emergency move … and helping keep its family-assisting work on track. We stopped by on Wednesday, when a round of Earth Day recycling was under way at the new donation/volunteer center WS Baby is moving into … car-seat recycling.
Volunteers including staffers from Titan 360 were helping break down no-longer-usable car seats turned in to WS Baby. Meantime, the organization is having to more or less break down its entire center for the move across 14th SW in White Center, two weeks after the fire that cut power to their current center:
To get ready for the move, executive director Nancy Woodland brought in a generator so they could at least run a few things.
Saturday’s the day for the big move, something that was in the plans anyway, just accelerated by the problem. That requires more volunteer power, which WS Baby can also use tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, 3-6 pm, to help with shelving. Other needs – donated time, materials, money – are in our story from earlier this week.
(Photo by Lynn Hall)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
HOUSING FORUM: 12:30-2:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle, hosted by City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – come hear and ask about housing issues including affordability and renters’ rights. The focus is on, but not limited to, seniors – all are welcome. (Oregon/California)
COMMUNITY ORCHARD OF WEST SEATTLE: 5-7 pm on the north end of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus, drop by, pitch in!
WEST SEATTLE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN: 6 pm, a night of political parody – check ASAP to see if any room remains. West Seattle Golf Course clubhouse. (4470 35th SW)
WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center, tonight’s agenda includes talking about West Seattle priorities for the transportation levy – what do you think should be in the letter WSTC writes about that? – and hearing from board candidates. (6400 Sylvan Way)
‘ANGRY HOUSEWIVES’ OPENING NIGHT: 7:30 pm at ArtsWest Playhouse (WSB sponsor), it’s back, 30 years after the first production, the show that is still in the books as having “the longest sold-out run of a musical in Seattle history.”
Another BIG West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day is in the works – more than 280 sales on the list/map now, and 24 hours left to register – the deadline is 11:55 pm tonight. If you’ve been mulling it over and think you want to give it a try, please sign up now so you don’t miss the cutoff – just go here. If you’re not selling, get ready to shop, shop, shop on Saturday, May 9th, 9 am-3 pm, all over West Seattle (the map will be ready for your perusal one week in advance – so watch for it May 2nd).
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:20 AM: Good morning! One issue in the area, as the commute gets going – a crash on NB 99 at the 1st Avenue South Bridge, blocking the carpool lane.
6:40 AM: WSDOT says the 1st Ave. S. Bridge problem “is clearing.”
(Saturday photo by Chuck Jacobs)
Six days after arriving in Port Angeles, the drilling platform Polar Pioneer is still there, being prepared for its tow to West Seattle’s Terminal 5. The Peninsula Daily News reports that it’s an economic boom to PA – both from the workers that are getting it ready for the trip, and from tourists who have come to gawk at it. It’s expected to start heading this way by early May. When it gets here – it’ll be a gawk magnet even here in the big city. Remember the SBX floating radar platform that was here in 2011?
(WSB photo, August 2011)
Polar Pioneer is 25 percent taller – 355 feet, compared to the SBX’s 280. Pending the Polar Pioneer’s arrival, the icebreaker Aiviq remains the lone Shell-related vessel at Terminal 5; the other drilling vessel, Noble Discoverer (derrick height 170′), is still crossing the North Pacific, headed this way.
Meantime, Arctic drilling opponents are still preparing for rallies here, even before the Shell drill rigs get here. The “Shell No” coalition sent this photo of banner-waving on the foot/bike bridge over the Fauntleroy approach to the bridge this past Monday evening:
They’re planning to rally at Myrtle Edwards Park at 2 pm this Sunday in addition to already-announced mid-May actions – that’s the rally announced during the “encouragement march” in West Seattle earlier this month. A kayak flotilla is also planned for May 16th, with ongoing training at Alki Kayak Tours in West Seattle – a session at 5 pm tonight is for would-be trainers.
And the Port of Seattle already has a webpage linking to its reminders and background about the T-5 situation, pending the start of protests and arrival of more vessels, including a link to the Coast Guard’s announcement of “safety zones” and a “voluntary free-speech zone.”