West Seattle, Washington
Playing host to West Seattle’s biggest party tonight, that’s the team at HomeStreet Bank (WSB sponsor) in The Junction, led by (second from left) branch manager Melodie VanHouten. They played host to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s “After Hours” gathering, which rotates between Chamber members’ businesses. Besides the monthly “After Hours,” the Chamber also has a monthly lunch meeting – next one is a “speed-networking” event on March 10th. And nominations are still open for this year’s Westside Awards, as announced earlier this month – here’s how to suggest someone (you don’t have to be a Chamber member, nor does your nominee).
When the Huffington Post recently republished a list titled “15 Reasons Why You Should Move to Seattle Immediately, None of Which Involve the Space Needle” – it had a bit of West Seattle flavor. Niederberger Contracting (WSB sponsor) was surprised to find out a photo of its recent remodeling project was part of the list – illustrating “#13: You could live in this adorable Craftsman.”
(Photo by Aimee Chase, Vista Estate Imaging)
The house isn’t identified or labeled in the list, so apparently someone working on it just randomly found the photo. It’s in North Admiral, at 1729 41st SW, and currently listed for sale after being “re-built for modern living” – preserving its Craftsman charm, instead of tearing it down and building something else – by Niederberger Contracting’s proprietors, who are also the 1905 house’s current owners.
Other West Seattle-ish touches we noted: Right before the house, the list also includes: “#11: Your daily commute could include whale watching. (Water taxis!)” – very West Seattle, of course. No photo, but we have one with a Water Taxi view taken just this week:
And then there’s “#12: And you could see an active volcano from, like, your backyard.” More than a few West Seattle backyards have Mount Rainier views, and some get Mount Baker on clear days. Which, as the last item on the list points out, can be a bit scarce.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:34 PM: One quick topline from tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting: One of the WSDOT reps there to brief the WSTC on plans for the two-weeks-or-so tunneling-related Alaskan Way Viaduct shutdown had word of a shorter closure that’ll happen sooner. Chris Brown said the Viaduct will close on March 5th – one week from Saturday – for its next semi-annual structural inspection. As you’ll see on the Construction Lookahead, it’s listed as both days that weekend, but as Brown said, they usually hold the second day in reserve but generally don’t need it unless “there’s an issue.” But you can plan on no Viaduct 6 am-6 pm March 5th. As for the “big” closure – no date set yet but Brown said it won’t be a last-minute decision. Our full report will have details of the detour and bus-reroute plans, as well as video of tonight’s meeting.
P.S. As noted in comments, even if the inspection closure doesn’t go into Sunday, the Hot Chocolate run will close 99 north of the Battery Street Tunnel that morning.
ADDED FEBRUARY 29th: The official advisory from WSDOT:
Both directions of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will close between South Spokane Street and the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel. Drivers should plan ahead and be prepared for additional congestion as a result of this closure.
In addition to the inspection closure, the annual Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Run will require a closure of SR 99/Aurora Avenue North on Sunday morning.
6 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6
Alaskan Way Viaduct closed between South Spokane Street and the Battery Street Tunnel
6 a.m. to noon, Sunday, March 6
SR 99/Aurora Avenue North will close in both directions.
Northbound lanes will be closed between the Battery Street Tunnel and N. 47th Street.
Southbound lanes will be closed between the Battery Street Tunnel and N. 38th Street.
(WSB photo from previous Gathering of Neighbors, November 2014)
Just two weeks until the next edition of the Gathering of Neighbors. After months of mentions at local community meetings, the full lineup/schedule for the March 12th event is out tonight. Here’s the announcement:
On Saturday, March 12th, at 9:00 am at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, VieWS (Visualizing Increased Engagement West Seattle), Southwest Youth & Family Services, and the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association will present the 2016 edition of the Gathering of Neighbors.
Our theme is “Growing Pains” and will focus on the challenges facing West Seattle as we see rapid growth in populations, jobs, and housing and the benefits and drawbacks that growth brings to our neighborhoods.
This year’s event will feature opportunities to learn about the recommendations by the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Living Agenda (HALA) Committee, recent updates proposed for the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, plans to renew and double the Housing Levy, what a Sound Transit 3 package might look like for your vote in November, and the recent declaration of a Homeless State of Emergency by Mayor Ed Murray and County Executive Dow Constantine.
Learn from invited experts about what is happening with housing, zoning, community centers, parking, transportation, and much, much more and how all this change is both creating new opportunities for us and our loved ones while also stirring up fears of increased inequality, ongoing historical inequities, and permanent damage to the character of our neighborhoods.
As always, we will also offer breakout sessions where you can learn more about how you can get be part of shaping the impact all of these changes will have on our community and meet local leaders and organizations already involved in these issues.
The morning’s agenda will be packed:
· 9:00 am – Social/Refreshments
· 9:30 am – Open House & Informational Tables: What are the Challenges Facing West Seattle?
· 10:30 am – Welcoming Ceremonies
· 10:45 am – Expert Panel: What is Being Done about Growth in West Seattle?
Moderated by Brian Callanan, Seattle Channel
Featuring a City Staffer, Urbanist, Elected Official, West Seattle Organization Leader, and Homeless Advocate
· 11:40 am – Breakout Sessions: How Do I Get Involved in Shaping Our Community?
Ø North Delridge Action Plan update – David Goldberg (OPCD) & ACT Team members
Ø ST3 Planning – West Seattle Transportation Coalition + Rob Johnson, Seattle City Councilmember, District 4
Ø Land Use/Urban Village Growth – Cindi Barker and Deb Barker
Ø West Seattle Chamber conversation about business development
· 12:30 pm – Facilitated Discussion: Are We In a Homelessness State of Emergency?
Moderated by Lisa Herbold, Seattle City Councilmember, District 1
Ø Michael Maddux, 43rd District Democrats and former City Council candidate
Ø Hanna Brooks Olsen, Seattlish writer, Project Manager for Civic Ventures
Ø Mercedes Elizalde, Policy & Engagement Strategist for City Councilmember Debora Juarez
Youngstown is at 4408 Delridge Way SW.
The Port of Oakland recorded that time-lapse video this morning as the 1,300-foot-long CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin arrived. It’s gained a lot of attention as the biggest cargo ship ever to call in North America, and it’s due to arrive here next Monday morning (February 29th). After stopping in Long Beach – where it was inaugurated last Friday – the Benjamin Franklin arrived in Oakland this morning; Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw says it’s due at Terminal 18 on Harbor Island around 7 am Monday, and will leave the next day, Tuesday (March 1st), at 8 am. No public events are planned during its stay, but the media’s been invited to a ceremony including the mayor and port reps; we plan to be there.
P.S. Other stats – besides the ship being more than twice as long as the 605-foot Space Needle is tall – it’s 177 feet wide and 197 feet high (roughly equal to a 20-story building), with its tallest antenna topping out at 230 feet.
Just this morning, we were talking about illegal dumping. Since then, two cases to report:
RV DEBRIS: The RV in that photo, which Al says had been parked for weeks in the SW Marginal Place cul-de-sac under the West Seattle Bridge, is gone this afternoon. Al took the photo above last night, after noticing the sudden profusion of junk strewn outside it. He said it had been tagged and at one point even booted, though that, he said, was gone by last night. We went over for a look an hour and a half ago and discovered the RV was gone – but not the junk:
We have no idea whether the RV was towed, or moved by its owner. We can tell you the debris includes syringes and broken glass.
As our photo shows, the junk is nominally surrounded by a square of “POLICE LINE, DO NOT CROSS” tape, but it’s in the street, on the sidewalk, and blocking the end of a public stairway down from SW Charlestown on Pigeon Point, so we started making calls to find out what will be done to clean it up – it’s a health hazard at the very least. As noted in this morning’s (unrelated) story, Seattle Public Utilities is the city’s lead agency on illegal dumping. So our contact there is checking around to find out if this is on their radar. In the meantime, you’ll want to avoid the area – which is right along the bike path to and from the low bridge, among other things.
FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: SPU told us this was scheduled for cleanup today – so we went by around 11:30 and found it was gone. Separate update to come.
(back to original Thursday story) Also this afternoon:
ILLEGAL DUMPING IN ARBOR HEIGHTS: Also this afternoon, Jeff shared the photo and report:
On Tuesday evening this week, this load of construction debris was illegally dumped in our alley in Arbor Heights. It is blocking our alley now and will need to be removed. I called the city’s illegal dumping line and reported this issue. This alley lies between the following streets: SW 102nd St, SW 104th St, 37th Pl SW, and 37th Av SW. It’s interesting how the people who did this used the utility pole to anchor the debris load while they drove off.
Jeff told us a short time ago that since he sent that note and photo earlier this afternoon, a city crew has shown up to clean it up, he said. But that still doesn’t answer the question of who did it.
PACKAGE, LAWN ORNAMENTS STOLEN: Steph says:
Seems like we had a busy prowler on our street (40th Ave SW) yesterday as a package was stolen from our front porch (UPS said it was delivered around 10 am when we were at work) and my mother-in-law 4 houses down the street had two pricey lawn ornaments (a glass orb with stand and a glass birdbath) stolen from their yard overnight. My in-laws reported their issue to the police; we reported our stolen package to Nordstrom (where it came from). Also, if anyone sees a glass orb and its stand, we’d love it back – it’s got such huge sentimental value attached to it.
As we urged Steph, please also report package/mail theft to police, even if only via the online form – otherwise official records won’t show an accurate picture of what’s happening.
PROWLER: Karleen shared this alert from North Delridge:
4700 Block 22nd /23rd SW – At 7:15 a.m. we heard a car alarm in our neighborhood at 7:30 a.m. Someone was in our back yard! We have locks on all of our gates. The dogs were in bed with me so no one barked! but my mom is visiting and she saw the person! My mom said he/she appeared to be a female or male Native American/Hispanic/Black mix 5’4′ 135 pounds athletic build wearing a military gray cap with hair tucked up under it. A gray tweed style coat. By the time I reacted, they were gone. Called the cops, traced the tracks and they were already in persuit of a car prowler, could be related. Whoever it is is brazen and casing houses as well; they went through my neighbor’s tool shed and our donation boxes in front of my car. Let this be a good reason I am at home sick today. If my puppies would have been outside, who knows what would have happened. I hope they get caught!
Six years ago, the issue of Metro bus-driver safety was raised here when a 56-year-old Alki woman was attacked while on the job as a driver in Tukwila. (Her teenage attacker was arrested and convicted.) Metro has since installed cameras in almost half its buses, and says the number of driver assaults is down by more than half since 2008 – 77 last year – but now after another high-profile attack (yesterday in Auburn), County Executive Dow Constantine is calling for more cameras. He announced this afternoon that he “will request funding in the supplemental budget to install cameras in 80 percent of Metro’s bus fleet by early 2019 and 100 percent by early 2021.” More details here.
More than a few people have asked us this: Why are multiple cargo ships visible at anchor across the Sound, off Manchester, almost continuously? It was a common sight during last year’s dispute at the Port of Seattle, but nothing like that is happening now. When we asked the Port, they pointed us to the U.S. Coast Guard, which manages the anchorages there. And with the help of the 13th District Public Affairs team, we have the answer.
Chief Petty Officer Randy Hale explains that the area is known as Yukon Harbor, and it was designated as an anchorage area in the 1970s; with Bainbridge to the north, Blake and Vashon Islands to the south, it has protection from our area’s sometimes-brutal windstorms. It wasn’t used much until the Port dispute a year-plus ago, but now, the reasons you’re seeing more ships there this winter are multiple: For one, CPO Hale says, “Smith Cove West anchorage [off Magnolia] is closed seasonally (winter months) – this reduced the amount of available anchorages in Elliott Bay.” That, CPO Hale says, is coupled with an increase in port activity overall (we’re checking back with the Port of Seattle about this – most of the anchored ships are waiting to get to Terminal 86). And finally, a side benefit: “On a good note, the utilization of Yukon Harbor Vessel Traffic Service Puget Sound has experienced a significant decrease in the amount of reported anchored vessels dragging anchor, reducing the risk of damage to our beautiful waters.” Overall, this is expected to continue: “It will likely be utilized more frequently than what residents are historically accustomed to seeing.”
When the Kitsap Sun answered a similar question in 2012, its story noted that it was rare to see more than one at a time. Lately, anecdotally, our checks have shown three there almost continuously – including right now, as shown on MarineTraffic.com.
If you’re looking across the Sound to this area, you might also see ships that are docked west of Yukon Harbor, at Manchester, which is a U.S. Navy fuel depot – such as this one we reported on in 2014.
11:11 AM: New information today about cases of chickenpox reported at Arbor Heights Elementary School. Letters sent to families at AHES and at co-housed Louisa Boren K-8 STEM said five cases had been verified at AHES, but today Seattle Public Schools tells WSB the number is actually four.
The letter sent to families said that the cases appear to have stemmed from exposure “around February 11th” and notes that, “Chickenpox is usually not a serious illness, but it can be severe when complicated by bacterial skin infections and is especially acute for children and adults with compromised immune systems (for example, from cancer chemotherapy, high-dose steroid therapy for asthma or HIV). Adolescents, adults, the elderly, and pregnant women are more at risk for complications from chicken pox.” The district says the four cases include one vaccinated child and three unvaccinated children; 90 percent of AHES students are vaccinated, according to the letter from principal Christy Collins.
The letter advises:
Children 12 months of age and older, adolescents, and adults who have not had chicken pox disease and have not received chicken pox vaccine should contact their health care provider to get immunized as soon as possible. Those with compromised immune systems should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss the best ways to protect themselves from chicken pox.
The King County Public Health website shares this general information about the disease. We asked KCPH spokesperson James Apa for any information available about current trends; he says that individual cases are “not reportable” so they don’t have trend information. He does say the last chickenpox-related death in the county was in 2011.
ADDED 2:42 PM: More from Apa at KCPH: Four cases is considered a “cluster”; while he cautions that his agency might not always hear about clusters, they have heard about one other so far this year – a preschool – and also, three other reports of 1 or 2 cases of chickenpox in schools or daycares around King County.
(Anna’s Hummingbird at Jack Block Park, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
Here are highlights of what’s ahead for today/tonight, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
STORY TIMES: You can always consult our calendar for what’s ahead at local libraries. Today, it’s Preschool Story Time 10:30-11 am at Southwest Library (35th SW/SW Henderson) and Toddler Story Time 11:30 am-noon at High Point Library (35th SW/SW Raymond).
SHOREWOOD FUNDRAISER AT ZIPPY’S: A portion of proceeds today at Zippy’s Burgers in White Center will benefit the Shorewood Christian School yearbook fund. (9614 14th SW)
HCC PATHWAY AT MADISON MS: It started with Fairmount Park Elementary, and next year, Highly Capable Cohort students will also be served at Madison Middle School, creating an HCC Pathway in West Seattle. 7 pm tonight in the Madison library, families are invited to find out more about how this will work. (3429 45th SW)
‘SCREENAGERS’: In our glued-to-the-screens world, what should parents do about their kids’ screen time? This new film explores the issue. Come see it for free and talk with the filmmaker afterward, tonight at Fauntleroy Church‘s Fellowship Hall. Please RSVP if you haven’t already – our preview explains how. (9140 California SW)
WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, WSTC gets briefed on the ~2-week Alaskan Way Viaduct closure that’s expected when the Highway 99 tunnel machine goes under the AWV, including how Metro is planning for it. (6400 Sylvan Way)
FIVE BUCK BAND: Relax with live music tonight at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
AS ALWAYS, THERE’S MORE … on our complete calendar.
Illegal dumping is a big problem – our check of WSB archives underscores that, turning up a pile of reports. Just how big? District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has stats in her latest e-mail update, sent this morning – and reveals that Seattle Public Utilities has a new approach for handling the problem:
Since 2014, the number of illegal dumping service requests to SPU has jumped from about 5,000 to an astonishing 11,500 in 2015. As a result, unfortunately, the average response time went from 21 days to 28 days. To address this SPU decided they needed to find a way to both 1. Reduce the current service request backlog and 2. Improve future response times.
In order to do that, last week SPU assigned temporary staff to consolidate the backlog of service requests. As of February 18th they had 100% of the backlogged requests reviewed and found that approximately 25% were duplicate requests. This clearly demonstrated a need to address the issue of illegal dumping differently. In other words, SPU shifted from an enforcement model that only responded to complaints, to an enforcement model that also includes proactively clean up illegal dumping in areas where it happens frequently.
SPU is now preparing “clean sweep” maps and routes for cleanup crews where they will drive each street to pick up both reported and unreported items – especially in those locations that have frequent illegal dumping activity, so that pick-up opportunities are maximized, the complaint backlog reduced, and response time improved.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:43 AM: Another morning off to a relatively quiet start – no incidents in or from West Seattle.
TRANSPORTATION COALITION TALKS VIADUCT CLOSURE TONIGHT: Now that Highway 99 tunneling has resumed, planning continues for an Alaskan Way Viaduct closure once the tunnel machine goes beneath that structure. The West Seattle Transportation Coalition gets briefed tonight – all welcome; bring your questions. 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way).
SATURDAY NIGHT/SUNDAY MORNING I-5 LANE CLOSURES: Repair work will close up to 4 lanes of NB I-5 between Highway 599 and I-90, 10:30 pm Saturday to 5 am Sunday.
8:24 AM: Seattle Fire units have just been dispatched to a crash on northbound I-5 at I-90, so that could affect the exit from the eastbound bridge to I-5.
8:36 AM: This crash is now reported to be blocking three lanes. So if you’re headed northbound, you’ll want to either wait, or plan an alternative to I-5 for now.
8:50 AM: The lanes have reopened, but the NB I-5 backup is reported to be five miles – which will take a while to clear.
Five years after becoming co-chairs of the Highland Park Action Committee, Carolyn and Billy Stauffer have stepped down, and their successors were chosen at Wednesday night’s meeting. Afterward, they sent the photo and announcement:
Pleased to introduce our new leaders! Shown left to right in the attached photo are:
Craig Rankin – vice-chair
Beth Andrisevic – secretary
Michelle Glassley – treasurer
Michele Witzki – speaker liaison
Gunner Scott – chair
Thank you to Highland Park and Riverview for these new awesome voices for our community!