day : 12/11/2015 13 results

Missed tonight’s Seattle 2035 meeting? 8 more days to comment

Over the course of tonight’s West Seattle open house for the city’s Comprehensive Plan update process – aka “Seattle 2035” – about sixty people stopped by, according to city reps. That leaves about 99,940 West Seattleites who didn’t. Maybe you’ve already commented on how you think the city should shape growth over the next 20 years. If you haven’t, you still have time – until November 20th, one week from tomorrow. Here’s what you’ll want to look at first:

*Open-house presentation slide deck
*Online illustrated doc explaining the process
*Overview document including the four options the city is suggesting for how growth could happen – scroll all the way to the end to review “Alternative 1: Continue Current Trends,” “Alternative 2: Guide growth to Urban Centers” (The Junction is our area’s Urban Center), “Alternative 3: Guide growth to Urban Villages near Light Rail,” and “Alternative 4: Guide growth to Urban Villages near Transit.”
*The full 394-page document is here

Last but not least, here’s how to comment.

FOLLOWUP: ‘The defendant’s criminal history is horrendous,’ prosecutors say as they charge Benjamin Laigo III in crime spree including West Seattle robbery

At right is a state photo of 48-year-old Benjamin Laigo III, taken three days before his release from Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in southeastern Washington two and a half weeks ago. Today, county prosecutors charged him with first-degree robbery and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle. They say he held up a West Seattle woman at 37th and Alaska (as reported here on Sunday, after her husband e-mailed us about the crime) and then took off in a stolen car, with police pursuing before long, until he crashed the car on Airport Way.

As reported here on Tuesday, Laigo has a lengthy record. He went to prison in 2006, sentenced to 14 years in connection with multiple robberies, including a holdup on Valentine’s Day 2006 at the Wells Fargo Bank in The Admiral District. Documents from the sentencing that year say he made off with more than $11,000. The 2006 robberies followed his release from prison – how closely, we don’t know – after 10 years in prison for five robbery convictions in 1996. Prosecutors say that because of those cases, this one will be his “third strike” if convicted, and that’s why they asked the judge to set bail at half a million dollars. A deputy prosecutor wrote in today’s documents, “The defendant’s criminal history is horrendous and shows a 20-year pattern of violent offenses following long periods of incarceration.” The charging papers say the woman Laigo is accused of robbing in West Seattle was knocked to the ground and was bleeding from her head and hands when people rushed to help her after he stole her purse and took off. Witnesses told police they saw the robber holding a black handgun.

The white Fiat witnesses say they saw the robber jump into was spotted on the eastbound bridge by an SPD officer who followed it onto northbound I-5, waiting for backup before activating lights and sirens. The car checked as having been stolen in an armed carjacking on lower Queen Anne Hill the night before. Officers started trying to stop it when the car exited at James Street downtown; they say it was being driven erratically for a few blocks before getting back onto I-5, southbound this time, going up to 75 mph in light rain, traveling about three miles until getting off the freeway at Airport Way, and eventually going the wrong way onto a ramp to get back onto I-5, stopping after crashing into another car whose driver was hurt, as was Laigo, who police say they found alone in the Fiat. He had his Department of Corrections ID card on him in the car. Retracing the path of the pursuit, police found the West Seattle robbery victim’s purse near 5th and Lander.

Laigo is not charged yet in connection with the carjacking. Its victim told police that the man who robbed her pointed a black handgun at her and said, “I need your car, look normal, no one will help me.” He took her keys and asked her how to use the key remote, but warned her not to look at him. Laigo is due back in court for arraignment – to answer the charges – the day before Thanksgiving.

P.S. We wondered while writing the previous story about the “time off for good behavior” law that apparently is what enabled Laigo to serve roughly two-thirds of his previous terms for multiple robberies. We found details of the policy here.

Where will marijuana stores be allowed? New city rules proposed

West Seattle has no state-licensed marijuana stores yet, but when it does, these new rules might govern where they can go. Here’s the announcement today from the mayor’s office:

Mayor Ed Murray today proposed new rules to accommodate the expected increased number of state licensed retail marijuana stores in Seattle. The proposal would adjust land use rules to allow the siting of state-licensed stores more equitably and fairly throughout Seattle while also limiting the possibility of clustering retail stores on a single city block.

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HAPPENING NOW: West Seattle Food Bank turkey drive at HomeStreet Bank

November 12, 2015 5:33 pm
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news

Until 7 pm, the West Seattle Food Bank would love to see you at HomeStreet Bank (WSB sponsor) at 41st SW and SW Alaska in The Junction, where they’re collecting donated frozen turkeys and cash/check donations ($15 will buy a turkey – prices are up this year). You probably recognize Blitz, the Seahawks’ mascot, in the photo – as noted in our previews, he was there for photo ops for the first hour (HomeStreet is the official bank of the Seahawks). If you can’t get to HomeStreet tonight, stay tuned for other WS Food Bank donation opportunities as Thanksgiving approaches – just two weeks from today.

Highway 99 tunnel-machine update: Component testing under way; still hoping for pre-Christmas tunneling

The state is circulating an update on the Highway 99 tunnel project this afternoon, saying some components are being tested, and the contractor is still working toward restarting tunneling right before Christmas:

Seattle Tunnel Partners and manufacturer Hitachi Zosen have begun testing components of the SR 99 tunneling machine as they prepare to resume mining. A few initial tests were performed last week, and several others are slated to occur in the coming weeks.

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ELECTION UPDATE: Shannon Braddock now 18 votes ahead of Lisa Herbold in City Council District 1

The newest vote count is just in from King County Elections, nine days after the election, and the City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) race now has Shannon Braddock, who’s led since Election Night, 18 votes ahead of Lisa Herbold:

Shannon Braddock – 12,025 – 49.72%
Lisa Herbold – 12,007 – 49.64%

Braddock’s lead was six votes as of the previous count on Tuesday. Our math shows 1,078 more District 1 ballots were in today’s count, with fewer than 1,000 countable ballots remaining – the full-results list says 26,819 ballots have been counted, out of approximately 27,600 countable ballots received from District 1 voters (with about 400 more deemed not ready to count). Next results by 4:30 pm tomorrow.

VIDEO: 34th District Democrats review the election, preview the Legislature, and ‘Feel the Bern’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Voting past, present, and future was what last night’s 34th District Democrats meeting at the The Hall at Fauntleroy was all about.

The present? Some actual voting happened – a presidential straw poll (Democratic, obviously). The results showed a majority of those still in attendance by this stage of the meeting were “Feeling the Bern”:

Bernie Sanders, 39 votes
Hillary Clinton, 26 votes
Undecided, 4 votes
Martin O’Malley, 2 votes

And this segued into future voting, as the organization is already starting work on getting ready for next year’s caucuses. Ted Barker, first vice chair (in photo above with chair Marcee Stone-Vekich), is heading the committee that will choose locations, and said they’re hoping to finalize those by next month.

Now, to the past voting – election recaps, and victory speeches. Here’s our video, starting with King County Executive Dow Constantine:

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BRIDGE ALERT: ‘Rolling lane closures’ Saturday for camera upgrades

November 12, 2015 1:11 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

1:11 PM: Just in from SDOT:

Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation have been installing new, upgraded traffic cameras on the West Seattle Bridge and Spokane Street Viaduct between Southwest Avalon Way and I-5 and expect to complete the work this Saturday. Drivers can expect rolling lane closures both in eastbound and westbound lanes on Saturday from 5 a.m. until the work is completed, now estimated by midafternoon.

Once installed, the upgraded cameras will then need to be connected to the internet. Traffic engineers expect to have them up and operating by the middle of next week.

The public will be able to access both still and streaming images from the new cameras once they are operating. Links to the views will be available on SDOT’s Travelers Information web page.

We’re checking with SDOT on whether these are just replacement cameras or additions to the current bridge views (which you can see on the WSB Traffic page, when they’re working).

1:21 PM UPDATE: SDOT spokesperson Marybeth Turner replies that these are replacements for current cameras, not new views.

West Seattle restaurants: Ripple Café closes, cites rent increase

A local restaurant has closed suddenly, blaming a rent increase. Here’s the photo texted by a reader:

The Ripple Café was in the small multi-business building on 35th SW just south of SW Henderson, also home to West Seattle Fish House and Stuffed Cakes. It hadn’t even been open for six months. The King County Assessor‘s records show that the 86-year-old building changed hands this year for the first time in 19 years, sold to WD Group LLC in June for $600,000. While that LLC has a Seattle mailing address, one of its managers lists an address in San Francisco; we’re attempting to contact the owners for comment, and have also messaged the Ripple Café’s proprietor. The building recently underwent some external renovations; the site is zoned for up to four stories of potential mixed-use development, but a check of the online files shows no proposals on the record so far.

In case you’re wondering about the building’s other tenants, we went over a short time ago to verify the closure and while there, stopped in to check with Stuffed Cakes proprietor Donna Lawson. She confirms the change in landlords and a rent increase – which she expected, given the sale – but says her business is doing well and she’s staying. (She also mentioned that the San Francisco owner grew up in Seattle, so does have local ties.)

West Seattle Thursday: Huge afternoon/evening ahead! See why

(Tree near Madison Middle School, photographed by Don Brubeck)
This really is a big day/night. These are JUST the biggest events – see our calendar for many more that might interest you!

GET YOUR PIC WITH BLITZ @ EARLY TURKEY-DONATION DRIVE: Two birds – a Seahawk and a turkey – in one place, HomeStreet Bank (WSB sponsor) in The Junction. Bring a frozen turkey and/or $15 (the cost of turkeys is up this year!) for the West Seattle Food Bank, 4-7 pm. If you’re there 4-5 pm, you can take a pic with Seahawks mascot Blitz. (41st SW & SW Alaska)

WHAT SHOULD THE PORT’S ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW INCLUDE? Now that the Port of Seattle‘s doing an environmental review of its Terminal 5 modernization project in West Seattle, it’s required to find out what you want to see studied. 5:30-8:30 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy, tonight is the “scoping” meeting, to help determine the review’s scope. We asked the port for the meeting format:

Open House with stations: 5:30 – 6:00 pm
Presentation: 6:00 – 6:30 pm
Q&A (outside of comments) 6:30 – 6:45 pm
Public Comment: 6:45 – 8:00 pm – could go later if needed
Resume Open House: 8:00 – 8:30 pm

You can study up at, which continues its “online open house” until November 23rd. Also see what was discussed at this week’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting. (9131 California SW)

SENIOR CENTER BOARD: 5:30 pm, the Senior Center Board of Directors meets at the center in the Sisson Building, and we’re told the agenda includes a discussion of the center’s future. (California SW & SW Oregon)

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE IN 20 YEARS? Big discussions around the city laid the foundation for where things are now, whether you think the city’s going in the right direction or not – neighborhood plans, urban villages, etc. all came about because of meetings two decades ago, so this is the time to have your say, as the city looks to update its Comprehensive Plan. Tonight’s West Seattle-specific meeting is at the Sisson Building/Senior Center, 6 pm, with a presentation at 6:30 pm. Get prepared by checking out (California SW & SW Oregon)

WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: Early holiday shopping! Here’s the map/venue list:

(Click image to see larger version of the map/venue list)

Preview artists and venues at 6-9 pm, all over West Seattle. (Also see our full calendar for some of tonight’s spotlighted events.)

OPENING NIGHT FOR WSHS STUDENT PRODUCTION:The Dead Guy,” presented by West Seattle High School‘s Drama Club, 7:30 pm at the WSHS Theater. Info in our calendar listing. (3000 California SW)

Get your West Seattle Wildlife Calendar during tonight’s Art Walk, or 6 other ways

November 12, 2015 9:13 am
|    Comments Off on Get your West Seattle Wildlife Calendar during tonight’s Art Walk, or 6 other ways
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | Wildlife

Photographer Mark Wangerin has kindly shared dozens of West Seattle wildlife photos here again this year, often beautiful bird photos in which he invests an amazing amount of time and talent – you don’t just walk up to a spot in a park, see a bird on a branch, snap a photo, and walk away; sometimes it’s an hours-long stakeout. And again this year, he’s donated photos for the West Seattle Wildlife Calendar that’s being sold as a benefit for environmental programs at Chief Sealth International High School, where he taught for a decade. The printing run was expanded this year but the $14.99 calendars are still going fast; here’s how to get one, including a special event tonight:

*You can buy yours from Sealth students who will be at CAPERS in The Junction during tonight’s West Seattle Art Walk, 6-9 pm (4525 California SW).

*They’re also on sale while supplies last during regular business hours at West Seattle Thriftway (California/Fauntleroy, WSB sponsor); Emerald Water Anglers (42nd/Oregon, WSB sponsor); J.F. Henry (4445 California SW); and West Seattle Nursery (California/Brandon).

*If you know a Sealth 9th grader, ask about a calendar. If not, e-mail

*Last but by no means least, a few remain available for online purchase at

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Storm-on-the-way Thursday updates

November 12, 2015 7:04 am
|    Comments Off on TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Storm-on-the-way Thursday updates
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

(Six WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:04 AM: While the weather’s fairly calm now, if the alerts are accurate, it could be a different situation when you head home this afternoon/evening, so be prepared for wind and rain. One alert for tonight and the evenings ahead:

NIGHTTIME TRAFFIC ALERT: From the project team for The Whittaker (Fauntleroy/Alaska/40th/Edmunds):

We will be working on the Edmunds Street Crossing along Fauntleroy Way starting (tonight). During the night time work on Edmunds, 40th to Fauntleroy will be closed. Once the time is up for each night, then it will be plated for traffic during the day. This work is anticipated to take about 1 week and should be completed by Friday 11/20 next week weather permitting. There will likely be some additional restoration to do after next Friday, but that would be on the sidewalks, and not in the street.

This is expected to last approximately 7-10 pm nightly.

8:30 AM: Still a quiet commute in/from West Seattle.

The WSBeat: Seven summaries from the precinct files

By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog

The WSBeat is back from hiatus. These are summaries written from recent incident reports filed by Southwest Precinct officers – generally cases that (usually) have NOT already appeared here in breaking-news coverage or West Seattle Crime Watch reports; some are not crimes – police deal with many crisis cases – but might at least answer a lingering question such as “what WERE all those police doing on my block?” among other places …

*Officers driving near 30th and SW Hinds on October 28th got a “ping” on their car computer, indicating that a vehicle they had driven past was reported stolen — in this case, from Portland. They spoke with a man in a nearby home who claimed he had bought the car off Craigslist but couldn’t provide proof of ownership. Because he was wanted on a Seattle warrant for residential burglary, he was arrested and booked into King County Jail. The car was impounded.

*The same day, a female driver pulled over on Harbor Avenue to photograph the fall foliage. A man walking along the trail took advantage of the opportunity to approach the car and try to open the locked passenger door several times. She yelled at him and he walked off. The woman reported no injury and said that the suspect seemed “high” on something.

Five more summaries ahead:

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