West Seattle, Washington
And now, in the final minutes of 2016, the one lookback we publish every year … the 10 most-commented-on WSB stories of the year. Like last year, this year it’s a Top 11 list because of a tie along the way:
#10 – LINCOLN PARK GEESE RELOCATED TO VASHON
September 9th – 122 comments
#9 – ILLEGAL TREE-CUTTING FOLLOWUP
March 30th – 123 comments
#8 – THE CITY’S HALA-AND-MORE OPEN HOUSE
December 7th – 128 comments
#7 – POLICE RELEASE DASH-CAM VIDEO FROM PURSUIT THAT PRECEDED DEADLY CRASH
April 7th – 136 comments
#6 (tie) – LAWSUITS FILED IN ILLEGAL TREE-CUTTING
September 20th – 145 comments
#6 (tie) – ‘RV SAFE LOT’ PLANNED AT EX-ENCAMPMENT SITE
January 19th – 145 comments
#5 – OUTRAGE OVER ILLEGAL TREE-CUTTING
March 26th – 152 comments
#4 – WSB’S FIRST TECHNICAL OVERHAUL IN 10 YEARS
January 15th – 154 comments
#3 – CITY COUNCIL’S PROPOSED ENCAMPMENT RULES FOR PUBLIC PROPERTY
October 7th – 214 comments
#2 – WSHS STUDENTS’ POST-ELECTION WALKOUT
November 9th – 216 comments
#1 – TREE-CUTTING INVESTIGATION FOLLOWUP
March 28th – 269 comments
West Seattle’s New Year’s Eve celebrating started early at Highland Park Improvement Club, with one of the biggest Not-So-Silent-Night Parades we can recall in the 8 years HPIC’s been organizing them. Around quarter past 6, ~80 people of all ages headed out of the historic HPIC building, with drums and horns and homemade noisemakers and even a Christmas-lights-decked trombone.
The parade headed east toward the nearby flashing-beacon-enhanced crosswalk on SW Holden, and onto neighborhood streets to the south.
The weather cooperated – chilly but not too cold, very light mist, wet ground but not icy. And after about half an hour of walking, noisemaking, and occasionally shouting “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”, paraders headed back toward HPIC:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) January 1, 2017
Inside, the New Year’s Eve edition of HPIC’s Corner Bar (which is otherwise a pop-up on the 1st Friday of each month) was already getting started, with lights, drinks, snacks, and activities for the younger partiers:
DJs Dr. Lehl and Evan were in the “costume party” theme spirit:
Their sets were to be interspersed through the evening with McTuff. Still time to head to HPIC and join them for the rest of the night – party’s on until 1 am.
After two texts about a big police response at Jefferson Square, we headed over to check it out. What we know so far is that they have recovered a stolen car after a 911 call about suspicious activity involving the car. One person is in custody.
The challenges of getting to, from, and around our peninsula make transportation a hot topic just about any time. So here’s our view of the top 10 transportation stories, for another 2016 lookback:
#10 – UNDER-THE-BRIDGE PROJECT WINS NEIGHBORHOOD STREET FUND
(May 2016 photo contributed by Chris, showing one traffic-choked morning at south section of the project zone)
In October, West Seattle Bike Connections found out that its proposal for the Harbor/Avalon/Manning/Spokane intersection, basically under the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, would be funded. This will help with safety and flow at an increasingly busy confluence of paths, roads, and bridge on-/off-ramps.
#9 – FAUNTLEROY EXPRESSWAY CUSHIONS RE-REPLACED
(WSB photo, June 2016)
674 quake-safety cushions under the deck of the Fauntleroy Expressway (southwest end of the West Seattle Bridge) had to be re-replaced because of a design flaw. The work started in May and, despite requiring more than a few bridge closures, proceeded fairly painlessly, traffic-wise, over the ensuing two months.
#8 – WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES VOWS TO FIX FAUNTLEROY-VASHON-SOUTHWORTH
After a summer of problems that made things miserable for many trying to get to and from Vashon – and for Morgan Junction/Fauntleroy drivers/riders trying to get around the traffic – WSF launched a process to gather comments and make an action plan, including an October open house. Next step, launching a task force – including ferry users.
#7 – ADMIRAL WAY RECHANNELIZATION
A year and a half after announcing a controversial plan to rechannelize Admiral Way between The Admiral District and Alki, SDOT finalized it, announced it in summer, and restriped the road in fall.
#6 – DOC MAYNARD BECOMES WEST SEATTLE’S WATER TAXI
What began with an Argosy Cruises vessel in the ’90s finally got its own brand-new vessel in 2016, as M/V Doc Maynard officially took over King County’s West Seattle to Downtown Seattle run in January (four months after its dedication).
This could start sticking soon. pic.twitter.com/tRCczhvcjI
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 31, 2016
(A few seconds of snowfall during one of the heavier showers)
12:37 PM: The newest forecast from the National Weather Service says, “A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW IN THE AFTERNOON. SNOW LEVEL NEAR 500 FEET.” We’re at about 350′, uphill from and east of Lincoln Park, and seeing a snow shower for the past 10 minutes or so. How about you?
1:20 PM: Seems to be lightening up, at least here. Hasn’t yet reached the point of sticking, not even on car tops.
1:30 PM: Hasn’t stopped yet. Gets lighter, gets heavier, gets lighter. By the way, here’s Cliff Mass‘s most-recent update – in short, he says it’s still hard to predict exactly how this is going to play out over the next 12 hours or so.
2:13 PM: Minutes ago, the National Weather Service added our area to the Winter Weather Advisory alert for tonight and tomorrow morning – it’ll be in effect 10 pm until 10 am. “Up to 2 inches [of snow] with locally higher amounts possible,” says the NWS.
4:56 PM: As night arrives, it’s NOT snowing. So far. But wear (or take along) shoes/boots with traction, in case that changes later.
We told you earlier this month about West Seattle Girl Scout Alina Guyon‘s Gold Award project to build a library in a Ugandan refugee camp. She asked for donations, and the community responded! She sent this update:
A big Thank You to VAIN hair salon and the West Seattle community for bringing in over 1000 books! The books are all in amazing condition and will help make the library very diverse in topics. The refugees in the camp will be so thrilled to see what was donated. If you didn’t already donate books, the book drive will continue for a few more days at VAIN in the West Seattle Junction!
VAIN (WSB sponsor) is at 4513 California SW.
Happy last day of 2016!
RESTAURANTS OPEN TODAY/TONIGHT: Here’s the list of those that confirmed to us they’re open New Year’s Eve and/or New Year’s Day. Restaurants that aren’t listed either are closed for both or didn’t answer our inquiries. It’s not too late for changes or additions – via text (206-293-6302) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) – thanks!
CELEBRATIONS TONIGHT: See the New Year’s Eve/Day section atop the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide for details on where and how you can celebrate – including two places with earlybird celebrations as 2017 arrives in East Coast time!
JUNCTION PARKING: Reminder that if you are celebrating in The Junction tonight, the four parking lots that are usually free for three hours of shopping/dining will suspend that limit between 7 pm tonight and 10 am tomorrow.
SPACE NEEDLE FIREWORKS: If you’re out at midnight, remember that parks and overlooks facing north are usually filled by then with people seeking a view of the Space Needle fireworks show. If you want to watch too, don’t wait until the last minute to find a spot.
WEATHER WATCH: The National Weather Service still has an alert up, warning of possible snow overnight – not expected, so far, to be major, but we’ll be watching closely for forecast updates throughout the day and night. Even if we don’t see snow, it will be cold, so don’t go out without a coat!
LAST NIGHT FOR WEST SEATTLE LIGHTS: The lights-and-music show at 3908 SW Charlestown is scheduled for 5-midnight tonight, and then it’s off until next holiday season. Bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank.
While we don’t usually spend much time looking back as each year wraps up, we do have a few reviews to share before 2016 makes its exit tomorrow night. First – our picks for the year’s top 5 West Seattle wildlife stories:
#5 – THE MYSTERY TURKEY(S)
Back in May, we started getting reports about, and photos of, a turkey ambling about West Seattle – from Pigeon Point to Lincoln Park to Alki. Then-Seattle Animal Shelter director Don Jordan (RIP) told WSB the sightings might have involved multiple turkeys. The mystery was never solved, but what might have been the same turkey turned up in North Seattle neighborhoods a few weeks later, we learned from commenters.
#4 – ‘WESTLEY’ THE DEER
Some found it hilarious that West Seattleites were so interested in a deer, given their proliferation in other areas as close as Vashon Island, just across the water. But the deer that appeared here in November, quickly nicknamed “Westley” in comments, was the first deer seen in West Seattle in a very long time. It was also observed that Westley seemed to be the same deer dubbed “Lefty” during sightings in Union Bay months earlier. While here, he crisscrossed the peninsula, and many worried he would come to an end via someone’s bumper – but instead, he headed south, and at last mention had been seen in Federal Way.
#3 – LINCOLN PARK GEESE PROCREATION, THEN RELOCATION
In June, hearts were warmed by news that the well-known white geese of Lincoln Park (and vicinity) had babies. But it wasn’t long before the sad news that two had been hit and killed. Then one of the adults vanished. And in a startling development in September – the surviving geese were captured and relocated to a Vashon Island sanctuary. Later in September, we published this report with followup information (and backstory on how the geese got to Fauntleroy in the first place), and that’s the last we’ve heard.
Just in from Washington State Ferries – final confirmation that Vashon Island will be back to two ferry routes as of first thing tomorrow:
Point Defiance dock repairs have been successfully completed and service on the Point Defiance/Tahlequah route will resume on Saturday morning 12/31, beginning with the 5:55 am departure from Point Defiance. Thank you for your patience throughout the unexpected terminal closure and please accept our apologies for the inconvenience this caused.
The dock was damaged while the ferry Chetzemoka‘s crew dealt with a Christmas Eve medical emergency involving its captain, who WSF says is expected to fully recover.
An alert from Lauren:
About 5:15 pm tonight we (myself, 1.5 yr old son, and large dog) were attacked by an owl on Marine View between SW 110 St and SW 108 St. [map] It divebombed at my son and I three times as we ran inside. Luckily it didn’t catch us. I think it was going after my son’s pom on his beanie.
They’ve seen it before in the area – brown, “couple feet wingspan,” possibly a barred owl. Here’s what the state Fish and Wildlife Department says about divebombing owls.
5:54 PM: Thanks to the texter who tipped us even before Seattle Fire‘s “heavy rescue” dispatch went out – they report a car is on its side in the middle of eastbound Fauntleroy Way in The Triangle. The SFD dispatch has SW Oregon as the cross-street. We’re on our way to find out more.
5:58 PM: Per scanner, all but three of the SFD units are being dismissed – the person feared trapped in the vehicle is out.
6:08 PM: No injuries, our crew has been told at the scene. Two vehicles involved; police are talking to the drivers, and awaiting tow trucks. Eastbound Fauntleroy is blocked between 38th SW and the YMCA annex at SW Oregon.
6:23 PM: It’s blurry, but this camera should show when eastbound Fauntleroy reopens, if SDOT doesn’t move it – you can see the closed stretch in the right foreground.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“We’re carefully watching the sort of direction that the new administration is going to take.”
That could be said by many. But for some agencies and organizations in our area, it’s not just a general sense of wariness as the Trump Administration heads for the White House in three weeks – it’s the need to be ready for what seem certain to be major changes.
The declaration was from Steve Daschle, executive director of North Delridge-headquartered Southwest Youth and Family Services. We talked to him recently as we began a process of finding out how local nonprofits – especially those who work with vulnerable populations such as immigrants and refugees – are getting ready.
“Our biggest fear is that the Trump Administration and his selection for Health and Human Services Secretary have made it very clear that their Job 1 is to dismantle the Affordable Care Act,” Daschle said.
1:24 PM: Thanks for the texts – a crash at 35th and Avalon has been blocking part of the intersection for more than half an hour. The southbound lanes through the intersection just reopened a minute ago, but one lane remains blocked by one of the vehicles involved, as currently shown in the “live” SDOT webcam view above, so avoid the area for a while if you can.
1:40 PM: Tow trucks are on scene.
(American Robin, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, what’s happening for the rest of the final Friday of 2016:
GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE: Blood supplies tend to dwindle during the holiday season. If you can donate, consider doing it at Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood today, where a mobile blood drive is scheduled 1 pm-7 pm, with a 3-4 pm break. (39th SW/SW Thistle)
FRIDAY AFTERNOON AT THE MOVIES: “Some Like It Hot” (1959) is the 1 pm feature at the Senior Center of West Seattle today. (4217 SW Oregon)
STAR WARS @ MEEPLES: New “Star Wars” RPG campaign, open to new players, starting at Meeples Games (WSB sponsor) at 6:30 pm – here’s the Meetup page; see other Meeples events on the store’s calendar here. (3727 California SW)
3 BANDS @ SKYLARK: Magic Thread, Ol’ No. 7, The Johnstown Flood perform starting at 9 pm at The Skylark, $7 cover, 21+. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
To look ahead to New Year’s Eve & Day, see the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide!
Another Delridge Way SW redevelopment proposal has appeared in the city files today. Earlier this week, we featured one toward the south end of Delridge; this one is closer to the north end. The early-stage proposal would replace a 26-year-old single-family house at 4810 Delridge Way SW [map] with five townhouses. The 4,800-square-foot lot is zoned Lowrise 2; five open parking spots are planned between the townhouses and the alley behind the lot. The project will have to go through what the city calls Streamlined Design Review – which includes public comments, but no public meeting – so watch for the official comment period to eventually turn up on the twice-weekly Land Use Information Bulletin.
As we do for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we contact local restaurants to see whether they’ll be open New Year’s Eve and/or Day. Here’s what we have so far. If a restaurant isn’t listed, either it’s not open either of those days, or it hasn’t responded to our inquiry – we can still add/change, though, if the info is sent to email@example.com. This list also is linked in our Holiday Guide – where you’ll find other West Seattle New Year’s Eve/Day events – and on our year-round Event Calendar.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7:43 AM: Quiet Friday morning. Transit/transportation schedules are normal TODAY, but since New Year’s Day is on Sunday, as was Christmas, it will be “observed” on Monday, and here are the changes you’ll see then:
METRO: Sunday schedule on Monday.
WATER TAXI: The West Seattle and Vashon runs both will NOT be in service Monday.
SOUND TRANSIT: Route 560 (and light rail) will run Sunday schedules on Monday.
STREET PARKING: For the neighborhoods with city-operated pay stations, Monday will be a free-parking day.
8:10 AM: Still quiet. Two more notes:
–WSF says the South Vashon (Tahlequah-Point Defiance) route will return to service tomorrow (Saturday).
–The West Seattle Farmers’ Market is closed again this Sunday, so California SW in The Junction will be open to vehicle traffic between Oregon and Alaska instead of the usual closure.
In the three weeks since we last saw notable snow, the forecast has hinted repeatedly at more, but it hasn’t materialized. Now there’s word of possible snow, as well as subnormal temperatures, starting New Year’s Eve. The National Weather Service sent out an alert tonight (thanks to @westseawx for the heads-up):
… Confidence is fairly high about the large-scale weather setup, which shows cold Canadian air spreading south on Saturday night, nipping at the heels of exiting showers later Saturday night and on Sunday morning. So the main forecast issues to resolve will be knowing where showers will focus and be heaviest, when a transition from rain to snow will occur, and how soon showers exit the area.
Depending on these timing and coverage details, it appears most of the interior lowlands will get a Trace to 3 inches of snow.
From the Seattle area on north to the Canadian border, there is a high likelihood of many places exceeding one inch of snow. The most likely time for snow near Bellingham is early Saturday evening, then later evening further south in the Seattle area. …
The New Year is set to start with at least a few days of highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s.
Almost exactly two years after we broke the news of West Seattle’s first charter school planned in an ex-church/ex-supermarket in Arbor Heights, site work is about to start. The middle/high school to be called Summit Atlas is planning to open with sixth- and ninth-grade classes in fall of 2017, one year later than originally planned, after charters lost and then regained state funding. James Heugas of Washington Charter School Development, which purchased the site in 2015 for $4.75 million, tells WSB that they expect to start work by mid-January on the first phase, interior remodeling for the first phase. They also have “submitted drawings” in the land-use-permit process for the second phase, which will involve a two-story addition – that’s why the new notification signs (including the one in our photo) are up. A formal city notice will likely be out soon, opening a comment period for that application. (See the “preliminary site plan” here.)
We asked what neighbors will see on the sprawling site once the remodeling work begins; Heugas says it depends on whether they will be able to keep the building’s existing roof, which they are currently discussing with the contractor. Because there’s so much room on the site, he expects that the crews and materials will be largely kept within its confines, minimizing disruption to neighbors. (For more on what’s planned at the Arbor Heights site, see our August report.)
Washington State Ferries says it’s now expecting the South Vashon-Tacoma (Tahlequah-Point Defiance) route to resume service on Saturday, after a weeklong shutdown:
Due to ongoing dock repairs at the Point Defiance terminal, the Point Defiance/Tahlequah route is now expected to remain out of service through Friday, December 30, and reopen Saturday, December 31. Our crews are working as quickly as possible to restore service, and we will provide updates as more information becomes available. In the meantime, please use alternate routes, Southworth and Fauntleroy, for travel to and from Vashon Island.
The Point Defiance dock was damaged while the crew was dealing with a medical emergency involving the captain of M/V Chetzemoka. Yesterday’s WSF update said the captain is expected to fully recover.
This year’s West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays (with sponsors including WSB) wrap up Saturday night with New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you are planning to celebrate in The Junction, and getting there via your own vehicle, the West Seattle Junction Association is covering overnight parking in its lots:
The West Seattle Junction merchants feel it’s important to stay safe while celebrating incoming 2017. On Saturday, December 31st, from 7 pm through Sunday, January 1st, 10 am, we invite you to leave your car overnight in one of our FREE Junction parking lots. Please pick up your car by 10 am, though, so we have plenty of parking for the January 1st brunch crowds. Happy New Year from the merchants!
Those are the lots marked “free 3-hour” on this page of The Junction’s website – at 44th/Oregon (southeast side of intersection), 44th/Alaska (southeast side of intersection), midblock on the east side of 44th between Alaska and Edmunds, and 42nd/Oregon (southwest side of intersection). WSJA also is spotlighting some of the Junction venues with special NYE events, here.
Earlier this month, someone called to say they had seen a driver going down Alki Avenue SW, stopping and spray-painting multiple no-parking signs. We advised calling 911 if they hadn’t already, and we mentioned it on Twitter, but we neglected to follow up until Ken sent the photo at right this week, asking if the painting had been done by SDOT to signal a change in parking policy. Short answer: No. After the holiday, we asked SDOT spokesperson Sue Romero if and when the city planned to clean or replace the vandalized signs (we counted 10), and today she tells us a crew was out this morning to replace them.
Here’s the official notice of a community meeting to talk about the proposal for Pecos Pit (WSB sponsor) to use the ex-substation lot next door as a parking lot. When community groups met with Councilmember Lisa Herbold and city-department reps in October – as reported here – to talk about issues with the site, primarily an upcoming cleanup, a question arose about what kind of land-use permit had been sought and obtained to use it for parking. A temporary permit is now in place and a longer-term one is being sought; that’s what the January 12th meeting is about. It’s at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction (4217 SW Oregon)