West Seattle, Washington
11:54 PM: The new month might begin in blustery style. The National Weather Service has a wind advisory up for our area and vicinity, noon-10 pm Tuesday, with southerly winds that could gust up to 45 mph. Read the advisory here – and keep everything charged.
5:10 AM: Slight revision in the time frame – the NWS now has the advisory in effect from noon-9 pm.
Candice Lastimado from Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) in Admiral won the National Grocers Association’s “Best Bagger” title tonight – three years after another employee from the store, Andrew Borracchini, took the title. Here’s the announcement we just received:
West Seattle Courtesy Clerk Candice Lastimado Wins 2016 National “Best Bagger” Championship
Metropolitan Market Employee Takes Home $10,000 Prize
Candice Lastimado, an employee at the West Seattle Metropolitan Market, captured the championship trophy and a check for $10,000 in heated competition at the 30th Annual National Best Bagger Battle held tonight in Las Vegas, NV.
The 2016 national competition, sponsored by the National Grocers Association (NGA), drew contestants from 25 states. Contestants from Washington have won the NGA National Best Bagger championship in three of the last four years.
“Candice did an outstanding job in competition,” said Jan Gee, Washington Food Industry Association President and CEO. “Candice showed amazing poise and just got the job done in the face of stiff competition.”
Candice won the state title four months ago, setting up the trip to tonight’s finals. We hope to find out more tomorrow.
(From Fire Station 32 “schematic design” packet dated August 2013, by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson)
Last October, we reported on the latest twist in the years-delayed construction of a new Fire Station 32 in The Triangle – the city was sending it out to bid again, despite having been so close to construction that it had moved the crews into a temporary location half a year earlier.
Tonight, the city has announced that construction is finally about to begin, with the “notice to proceed” issued today, and demolition of the old station planned within a few weeks:
The new contractor Howard S. Wright – which, as noted in our December followup, built the Space Needle – will start staging this week, according to the notification letter (thanks to Anand for sharing a copy), and major work is expected to start by mid-March, projected to last about 14 months. The project is funded under the 2003 Fire Levy and was originally supposed to be complete in 2007 – instead, if everything stays on schedule now, it’ll be 2017.
A variety of factors played into the 10-year schedule slide; most recently, as the city’s Finance and Administrative Services Department explained for our story last year, the city and its original contractor had a “general contractor/construction manager” contract but couldn’t agree on “a negotiated cost that fit within the city budget,” so the city was cancelling the pre-construction contract and seeking a new contractor via a more traditional process.
The megaship wasn’t the only human-made marvel drawing attention in West Seattle today. It was photo-op time at the Aviation Maintenance Tech building of South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) this afternoon, as the college celebrated a big donation from Boeing – a Pratt and Whitney 777 engine (previewed here last Friday). SSC president Gary Oertli said the gift was a big reminder of the many partnerships that help fuel the school’s success:
On behalf of Boeing – which had never before donated an engine to a college – Robert Thayer from the propulsion unit spoke.
He had some warm words for SSC welding students who were there; they fixed the stand on which the donated engine sits.
After an hour-long open house, the celebration moved next door to another of SSC’s crown jewels, the Northwest Wine Academy. The Aviation Maintenance Tech program now has more than a dozen aircraft and 70 engines utilized for hands-on teaching of the 175 students served by the program each year, pursuing educational pathways from an Associate of Applied Science to an Aviation Powerplant Mechanic Certificate.
That’s a taste of what you’ll be able to listen and dance to this Friday night (March 4th) at the fourth annual Big Band Dinner Dance presented by the West Seattle High School Music Program. Along with the WSHS Jazz Ensemble, the West Seattle Big Band will play – that’s who’s in the clip, performing “Mack the Knife” during a recent event (thanks to WSBB director Jim Edwards for sharing the video – the WSBB is all about helping local students). Dinner will be prepared and served by WSHS’s culinary program ProStart. Here’s how the night will go:
Dinner served 6-7 pm
Group lessons in basic swing dancing steps 6:30-7 pm
WSHS Jazz Band perform 7-7:30 pm
Door prizes and raffle prize drawings at 7:30 pm
West Seattle Big Band perform 7:30-9 pm
Buy your ticket in advance for $15 – that includes dinner and a door-prize ticket – or $17 at the door. E-mail email@example.com – or ask any WSHS music student you might happen to know!
P.S. As asked in a comment – yes, it’s at the school (3000 California SW); here’s our calendar listing.
Just in from SDOT:
On Wednesday, March 2, the City of Seattle will conduct Bus-Only transit lane enforcement (eastbound) on the West Seattle Bridge from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Officers from the Seattle Police Department will be issuing warnings and citations to motorists traveling in violation of posted restrictions that the Bus-Only lane should be used a through corridor by buses.
This is an effort to educate and enforce traffic laws that support transit. With 45 percent of downtown commuters using transit, the enforcement work will help ensure the reliable and efficient movement of transit riders along Seattle’s important bus corridors, and improve safety for all travelers.
Driving in violation of posted restrictions is a violation of SMC 11.53.230 (traveling in a bus only or BAT lane) can result in a fine of $136.
P.S. A few years back, SPD used to send out what it called the Aggressive Driver Response Team and follow it up with stat roundups like this one.
As reported here on Saturday, Alki Elementary‘s principal sent a letter home to families (read it in our previous report here) about a suspected luring attempt. We’ve obtained the full report narrative from Seattle Police this afternoon, with more details than the letter had included:
[On February 26Lh, 2016 at 1500 hours, was picked up by his mother from AIki Elementary School; as school weather was clear but overcast they decided to walk home a short dístance away. (The child) was walking slower than his mom and sister as their distance extended a block ahead. (The child) explained that he was walking N/B on 59th Ave SW approaching SW Spokane Street when he stopped for a vehicle to drive by. As the vehicle slowly drove past, the passenger inside this vehicle looked at him and asked, “Do you want to get in?” (The child) stated he replied, “no thanks.” The vehicle drove off and made a turn and drove off in an unknown direction.
(He) describes the vehicle as a red pick-up truck with lifted suspension and a canopy. He stated two subjects were on board. The male passenger is described as a black male 18-25 with short hair and medium complexion. He wore a goatee and a dark brown jacket. He was smoking a cigarette during the encounter.
I asked (the boy) if he was fearful from the encounter. He stated,”No.”He really didn’t think too much of it. He reported the incident to his mom when he arrived home. (She) stated this incident caused her alarm and wanted to report the incident to law enforcement.
Two developments in the ongoing issue of whether the city should sell the undeveloped Myers Parcels in southeastern West Seattle or, as advocates have long urged, keep all or part of the 30+-acre site as open space:
First, as reported here three weeks ago, today was supposed to be the deadline for the latest round of comments on the land’s fate. But that’s changed. The deadline’s being extended until at least early April, Julie Moore from the city’s Finance and Administrative Services department confirmed to WSB:
We just determined … that we would reissue the notice in the interest of reaching a broader community. We expect to get it out in early March, and the comment period will be extended for 30 days past the date of mailing. … All comments received by the new deadline are certain to be represented in the preliminary recommendation report, but as with every property disposition process, we will continue to accept all comments up to the point a final decision is made by City Council. Also, all parties providing contact information will continue to receive updates through the evaluation process, including notices for future community meetings and/or public hearings, publication of reports and City Council actions.
Here’s how to comment: E-mail Daniel Bretzke at firstname.lastname@example.org or send postal-mail comments to him via City of Seattle FAS, P.O. Box 94689, Seattle 98124-4689.
Second: The Seattle Green Spaces Coalition has launched an online petition asking city leaders not to sell the land. You can sign it here.
When Mayor Murray first announced on January 19th that the city would open two “safe lots” for people living in RVs and other vehicles – one in Highland Park and one in Ballard – he said the city expected to have them open within 30 days.
While the one in Ballard made that timeline – opening February 19th – there’s been no sign of activity on the West Seattle site, a paved lot at W. Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way, aside from a canvas-covered chain-link fence around it. We’ve been asking city reps frequently for an update on the plan, and today there’s a new answer. From Katherine Jolly of the Human Services Department:
We are currently focused on getting the Ballard safe lot fully operational before we open the second lot. As you know, this is the first time the City has done this and we want to make sure we address many of the lessons learned in the first lot before we stand up a second one. I will keep you posted as we decide on a more specific timeline for the second Safe Lot.
The two lots together were originally announced as expected to hold a total of 50 vehicles; the most recent estimate for the Highland Park lot was 12. We have a followup question out to Jolly to ask about the current count at the Ballard lot, which had four when we went by two days after it opened.
FIRST REPORT, 11:45 AM: It’s the most gawkable thing in our area today – the first-ever visit of the biggest cargo ship to call on North American ports, the CGA CGM Benjamin Franklin, whose arrival was watched at spots from sea level to skyscraper:
It’s at Terminal 18 on Harbor Island, and it just received a VIP welcome across the East Waterway at Terminal 25, fireboat and all.
The event was a chance for the port to show off, in an intensely competitive time up and down the West Coast, as well as the rest of the world. (updated) Here’s our video of the welcoming speeches:
If you don’t have time to watch – some highlights:
Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman emceed. She described herself as an unabashed champion of the working waterfront. “We want to see our working waterfront filled more with working cranes than ferris wheels,” says Bowman.
Next: Mayor Ed Murray, who used the word “incredible” to refer to the ship and our local economy. He echoed Bowman in saying it represents our future as well as our past. And he gave a shoutout to the Lander Street Overpass, vital not only for port traffic but as a surface link between West Seattle and SODO/Downtown.
Northwest Seaport Alliance (the Seattle/Tacoma joint venture) CEO John Wolfe told the crowd he rode in on the Benjamin Franklin.
“What an incredible sight to come into the harbor and see the sunrise over the Seattle skyline.” He says this is the result of the industry “work(ing) together.” He says that in his days as a terminal operator, a ship with a third the capacity of this one – 6,600 containers, compared to 18,000 – was considered big. He touts nearly a billion dollars in investment ahead for the port (that would include the Terminal 5 modernization planned for northeastern West Seattle).
Ed McCarthy, senior VP of the ship’s owner CMA CGM, said it took months of work to get ready for this. He hailed the other modes of transportation it takes “to handle vessels of this size” – including rail and trucks. “There is still some work to be done” here in Seattle, he notes. “This is really a trial right now – the reason we brought the vessel in is that (company leadership) wanted to bring the ship into ports all over the West Coast … There’s a lot of learning we’re gathering from bringing the vessel in, and we’re looking forward to sharing that information with stakeholders as we complete the study.”
Carrix, the parent company of SSA Marine – operator of Terminals 18 and 30 – also was represented, by CEO Knud Stubkjaer.
He said, “This is a moment we’ve been looking forward to, and we’ve been ready for a while.” He talked about the expansion work that has already been done at terminals including the one at which the event was being held, “to create what is a unique and competitive infrastructure for … our customers. … The future has arrived here today.” He also talked about the competition among West Coast ports, and the investment that others were making to fight for the business from megaships like the Benjamin Franklin.
Puget Sound Pilots‘ Capt. David Grobschmidt noted that his day started very early, as he and a team of pilots brought the Benjamin Franklin “successfully into Seattle,” starting alongside Port Angeles around 3 am. “We would really like to see this called her home port,” he concluded.
And president Rich Austin of ILWU Local 19 wrapped up, saying that on behalf of his union, they welcome the ship.
“There are many components to a successful port, and labor is as important as any of those components.” He noted that the ship represented “the future of the industry” and that a “new approach” identifies labor as “instrumental” in making this port “a shipper’s best option.”
Others here include not only port officials but also city and state elected officials. (added) Here’s the official port news release, including an infographic about the ship’s size and capacity.
3:01 PM UPDATE: We’ve added our video, above, of the entire 26 minutes of welcoming speeches. The ship is scheduled to be here until about 8 am Tuesday.
ADDED MONDAY NIGHT: One more visual – just found this time-lapse, from-the-bridge video published to YouTube by another of the Puget Sound Pilots who brought the BF in, Capt. Ed Marmol:
We’ve been showered with rainbows these past few days – here’s our Sunday gallery, and now another rainbow sighting over the bay this morning – thanks to Kanit Cottrell for the photo above, from the 7:45 am Water Taxi. Now, on to four things from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar (go there to find even more):
777 ENGINE OPEN HOUSE/CELEBRATION: As mentioned here Friday, the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Aviation Maintenance Tech program has received a truly big donation – a Pratt and Whitney 777 engine, courtesy of Boeing, which SSC says has never before donated an engine to a college. An open house is planned (with ribbon-cutting) 1-2 pm, and a reception next door at the Northwest Wine Academy 2-3 pm. All welcome. North side of campus. (6000 16th SW)
PACIFIC NW BOARD GAME LEAGUE: Celebrate Leap Day by doing something new – if you haven’t been playing Monday nights at Meeples Games (WSB sponsor), this might be your chance to jump in. 6:30 pm – explained here. (3737 California SW)
LAST NIGHT FOR COMPANY BAR: As reported on our partner site White Center Now, popular WC bar Company is closing after tonight. DJ Plantkiller is expected tonight to play it out. (9608 16th SW)
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:30 AM: Welcome to the final day of February. A few notes to start:
VIADUCT CLOSURE REMINDER: This Saturday is the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s next inspection closure, 6 am-6 pm. Sunday only if needed, as WSDOT told the West Seattle Transportation Coalition last week.
WATER TAXI FARES RISE TOMORROW: March 1st brings a fare increase for the Water Taxi – see the West Seattle rates (new in blue) here.
7:07 AM: Car fire on NB I-5’s “collector-distributor” by Dearborn – could affect traffic north of the bridge. Meantime, the Benjamin Franklin is now in Elliott Bay. We just passed groups of shipwatchers at vantage points including Luna/Anchor Park. Separate story later, but for now, we’ll be updating here.
7:28 AM: It’s now southward, headed for Harbor Island. We’re watching from Jack Block. Check our Twitter feed for photos.
7:54 AM: And it’s now in the East Waterway, arriving at Harbor Island. Our last view from JB Park:
And into the East Waterway it goes. pic.twitter.com/30hnimvV6c
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) February 29, 2016
Meantime, rain’s returned.
8:24 AM: Motorcycle vs. semitruck crash reported on Harbor Island, 16th SW and SW Lander.
8:35 AM: Sounds like the motorcycle rider, a 31-year-old man, will be OK – hand and arm injuries, per scanner.
8:59 AM: One more note about the big boat – thanks for the photos! – we’ll be including a gallery with our coverage of the welcoming event that’s coming up at the Port later this morning.
Three West Seattle development notes tonight:
4122 36TH SW APPLIES FOR DEMOLITION PERMIT: The four-story, 20-unit microhousing (“small efficiency dwelling units” or SEDUs) project at 4122 36th SW, north of The Triangle, is advancing. A permit application has now been initiated for demolishing the house that’s on the site now; one was already in the works for building the project, which does not include offstreet parking, and isn’t required to because it’s in a “frequent transit” zone. We first reported the plan last July; the proposal has since gone through “streamlined design review,” which does not require a public meeting. At right in our photo is the house next door at 4126 36th SW, which has a sale “pending” according to online listings; its marketing materials described it as another potential site of 20-plus units.
5251 CALIFORNIA SW: Three and a half years after tenants (including “The Psychic Barber”) were cleared from 5247 California SW – with demolition a short time later – construction has finally commenced.
That’s the view behind the canvas-covered chain-link fence that replaced a frequently tagged/vandalized wooden fence at the scene. Records indicate it’s the same small mixed-use building described years ago, described only as three stories, commercial and residential.
FUTURE DEVELOPMENT? While there’s nothing on file yet, looks like something is brewing for the northeast corner of California/Hinds. the listing for a short-term lease at 3280 California SW, former home of West Seattle Curves, says it’s to be demolished for “new development” next year. The site is zoned NC2-40, part of the block-plus that was upzoned in 2010, and county records show it was sold last month for $770,000. Checking next door, we see the same previous owners also sold the parcel immediately north at the same time, for $1.1 million. And state records show that while the individual LLC names are different, the same owners now hold those two sites and the one north, totaling 12,000 square feet, all with the NC2-40 zoning that has enabled other redevelopment further north in the area, primarily Springline.