West Seattle, Washington
It’s been exactly 24 hours now since the Highland Park crash that ruptured a gas line and forced more than 150 people to evacuate early Friday.
We’ve been following up on three aspects of the incident and here’s what we have found out so far:
THE GAS LINE: Late Friday morning, Puget Sound Energy crews were back at the scene, and you could clearly see the piping in the area where the car had flipped, not only sending gas flowing into the air but also triggering a high-pitched noise until the gas was turned off.
We asked PSE spokesperson Ray Lane for a little more about what was hit: “The car hit what’s called a ‘district regulator’ – it’s an important piece of equipment which helps set the pressure for natural gas moving through the system and into neighborhoods and customers’ homes. That explains the sound you heard at the scene. We were notified of a problem at 12:19 a, with repairs made at 1:45 a. I believe the crews were checking on the equipment again in the daylight hours. Customer service was not impacted.”
THE INTERSECTION: SW Holden/Highland Park Way is notorious for crashes and traffic backups. The community and city have partnered on exploring possible solutions, such as a roundabout, or traffic signal. And that’s still where things stand, a year-plus later, SDOT‘s Jim Curtin told us when we asked for an update on Friday: “We’re working with nearby residents to develop a Neighborhood Street Fund proposal for this location but we do not have any official projects planned at this time.”
THE DRIVER: We weren’t able to learn anything more Friday about the driver who was taken to the hospital after flipping his car, but we know SPD classified the case as a DUI investigation.
Two reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch. First, from Alex:
Just wanted to let the blog know that there was an attempted home burglary at 48th and Graham this afternoon around 12:30. The suspects were 3 Caucasian men who were scared away before the police showed up. … They were seen on my parents’ deck by our neighbors, trying to open windows and our deck door.
And Melissa reports a “suspicious trespasser”:
We wanted to give a heads up to anyone in the area of Spokane/Manning/Admiral of a man in his late 20s/early 30s with chin-length hair, a beanie, jeans, and a dark hoodie, carrying a plastic bag, who at 5 am this morning trespassed onto our property and attempted to look in our garage and in our windows and then came to our front door but was deterred by our motion detector light. Not sure if he was looking to enter or for something easy to steal. We reported the incident to the police along with a photo of the man but wanted the neighborhood to be on the lookout as well.
Once you’ve called police, share the alert here … firstname.lastname@example.org, or 206-293-6302 (text or voice) if it’s urgent.
It’s a WSB tradition – a page listing Easter (etc.) events including egg hunts, church services, brunches … we include them in our year-round West Seattle Event Calendar, too, but for convenient reference, we create a separate page. So if your business, organization, church, etc., has plans this year but hasn’t sent us the info yet, please do, as soon as you can! No need for flyers/posters or anything else special – just plain text in the body of your e-mail, sent to email@example.com – thank you!
From Troop 45172, our photo features Elizabeth, Addison, and Melissa, at the Girl Scouts‘ cookie “booth” outside West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) in Morgan Junction late today. Theirs is one of many troops selling cookies around West Seattle (not to mention the rest of the region) starting tonight and continuing for two-plus weeks, through Sunday, March 20th. Here are the seven varieties on sale this year, $4 per box; here’s the lookup tool to find where and when local Scouts are selling cookies (or use the individual zip-code links in our preview from earlier this week). Sales tonight go until 8 pm.
Forecast says tomorrow’s weather will be better in the morning than in the afternoon. That’s good news for the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s quarterly Adopt-A-Street cleanup – which welcomes your help. New ANA president Larry Wymer sends the invite details:
WHERE: Metropolitan Market (2320 42nd Ave) — Meet at the outdoor awning area across from the floral department
WHEN: Meet up between 8:45-9:00 am; clean up 9 am-noon
GOODIES FOR YOU: Coffee, doughnuts, brown-bag lunch (all provided by Metropolitan Market)
SUPPLIES FOR YOU: Garbage bags, gloves, grabber tools, safety vests, etc.
All you have to do is show up, and wear/bring clothing/gear for wet weather just in case.
P.S. ANA’s next meeting is Tuesday (March 8th), 7 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd SW/SW Lander), with the agenda featuring neighborhood safety, featuring Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores. All welcome.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 4 PM: What’s happening right now at the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center is part of what was supposed to happen when the Seattle City Council changed to seven district-elected members and two at-large (citywide-elected) members – more local presence. District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is in the middle of her first office-hours day “in the district,” which started at noon and continues until 7 pm. She already had had five visitors when we stopped by in the second hour, and then a TV crew recorded a short interview before we took our pic and cleared out, making way for two more waiting constituents. Herbold, a Highland Park resident elected last November, says she expects to rotate between West Seattle and South Park locations for future office-hours days. But three hours remain today – no advance appointment needed – just stop by the SWNSC, which is in the same building as Southwest Pool and SW Teen Life Center, at 2801 SW Thistle, near the street-level front door.
ADDED 8:25 PM: Councilmember Herbold just posted a wrapup, including: “24 people came to meet with me during my first District 1 office hours! Issues ranged from Secure Scheduling to the 35th SW Road Rechannelization to homelessness to Pronto to property taxes to ArtsWest, to public safety, to shore power at Terminal 5, to pedestrian safety to senior employment services to drainage issues. Over the entire 7 hours there wasn’t more than 5 minutes when there wasn’t someone waiting to talk with me.”
Seattle Public Utilities says an average day could bring dozens of brown-water reports from around the city, for a variety of reasons. Again today, we’ve heard about a few, and here’s what we’ve found out. One report came from 44th SW between Charlestown and Andover, and in the area, we found the crew above, which told us they were doing sewer-pipe work. However, SPU’s Andy Ryan tells us that sewer work and water discoloration are NOT linked – the more likely cause is “a scheduled shutdown early this morning in the area, along California Avenue from SW Dakota to SW Charlestown. Anytime there is a shutdown, people in the area can experience brown water —even if they were not in the scheduled shutdown area.” Once again, if you have water trouble, SPU wants to hear from you – 206-386-1800. There’s also an SPU webpage with some general advice about dealing with water discoloration – find it here.
We’ve received some questions about a helicopter that’s been flying over West Seattle for a while, despite the drippy weather. Here’s what we’ve found out: Online flight trackers say it’s a Department of Homeland Security Eurocopter. Since the Coast Guard is part of Homeland Security, we checked with District 13 Public Affairs, but they don’t have any aircraft up around Seattle right now. That’s all we know so far but we did want to at least let anyone interested know that it’s not Guardian One and it’s not TV. More if we find out anything else.
Big outdoor-adventure fun tomorrow in West Seattle: In honor of Camp Long‘s 75th birthday, it’s a free day of activities, geared toward ages 10 to 20. Included are archery, a high-wire challenge course, rock climbing, rifle shooting, Dutch Oven cooking, orienteering, firebuilding, tomahawk throwing, geocaching, robotics, S’mores-making.
The Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Seattle Parks are among the organizers, and you’ll also find SPD and SFD there, with a police cruiser and fire engine available for tours, as well as the Highland Park-based SPD Mounted Patrol visiting (after noon). The event runs 10 am to 3 pm tomorrow (Saturday, March 5th), and coordinator Michael Grueter says the activities will be running continuously, so just stop by and find your fun. He adds that the weather should be best in the morning, so get there early! The entrance to Camp Long is at 5200 35th SW.
P.S. If you’re getting there by car, park at West Seattle Stadium a short distance north – shuttle buses will take you to and from Camp Long – that’s explained here, along with lots more info about what’s happening, what to bring, etc.
Thanks to Mike Jensen for the report from the state 1B boys-basketball tournament in Spokane: Final score, Seattle Lutheran High School 52, Shorewood Christian 47. SLHS plays for fourth place at 8 am tomorrow, vs. Garfield-Palouse.
Your weekend starts in a matter of hours. From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, here’s how it leaves the launch pad:
WEST SEATTLE ‘OFFICE HOURS’ FOR YOUR CITY COUNCILMEMBER: Noon-7 pm today, it’s the first round of “in the district” office hours promised by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. Just go to the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center, which is in the same building as Southwest Pool and Southwest Teen Life Center. More info in our calendar listing. (2801 SW Thistle)
GIRL SCOUT COOKIES: The “cookie booth” locations outside local stores (etc.) kick off this afternoon at 3 pm – see where to find your nearest one, in the links we put together here.
WINE TASTING: Visit the Viscon Cellars (WSB sponsor) tasting room 5-9 pm to enjoy community and premium wines. (5910 California SW)
‘HOW SEATTLE BECAME A BIG-LEAGUE SPORTS TOWN’: Hear author Dan Raley talk about that at this month’s Words, Writers, and West Seattle event. Here’s his video preview courtesy of the series-presenting Southwest Seattle Historical Society:
See Dan 5-7 pm at Barnes & Noble/Westwood Village, free. (2800 SW Barton)
BIG BAND DINNER DANCE AT WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL: 6-9 pm, fun(draiser) featuring dinner courtesy of ProStart culinary students, music with WSHS musicians, and the West Seattle Big Band! Tonight’s schedule is part of our preview; other details are in our calendar listing. (3000 California SW)
FREE EVENING OF FAMILY FUN AT THE Y: 6-8:25 pm at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor), from games to swimming – details here. All welcome, membership not required, no charge. Bring non-perishable food for the West Seattle Food Bank if you can. (4515 36th SW)
FISH FRIDAY FOR LENT: Second of three drop-in dinners presented by the Knights of Columbus in the Our Lady of Guadalupe gym. 6-8 pm, fish, fries, and slaw, adults $10, kids 12 and under $6. (35th SW/SW Myrtle)
CORNER BAR: Highland Park Improvement Club hosts the monthly pop-up, starting at 6 pm, with the Yadda Yadda Blues Band at 7:30 pm, all ages until 9 pm. Wide variety of non-alcoholic beverages too. (12th SW/SW Holden)
PREVIEW THE REST OF YOUR WEEKEND … via our complete calendar.
Starting this month, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meets on a new night – first Monday of the month. So that means Monday (March 7th) is its next meeting, and it’s your chance to hear from, and ask questions of, SDOT and Metro reps. Co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick just sent this note with agenda highlights including that part of the discussion:
Seattle Department of Transportation and Metro Transit: Bus Loop pavement conditions are causing rapid deterioration of the streets, houses on the loop are experiencing sizable shaking. We will also be discussing the Roxbury re-channel project. We will get an update on the addition of lighting at the bus hub as well and the addition of an Adaptive Street project at the Barton and Longfellow Creek crosswalk.
The meeting starts at 6:15 pm Monday, upstairs at Southwest Library, 35th SW and SW Henderson.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:52 AM: Good morning. No incidents in/from West Seattle right now. One more reminder about the Alaskan Way Viaduct/Highway 99 closures this weekend – the Viaduct closes 6 am-6 pm Saturday, and again 6 am-6 pm Sunday if needed, for its twice-a-year inspection; Highway 99 north of the Battery Street Tunnel closes 6 am-noon Sunday for the Hot Chocolate Run. Here are full details; and here’s the info about bus reroutes.
FIRST REPORT, 12:01 AM: Seattle Fire is sending a “heavy rescue” response to the 900 block of SW Holden, just west of Highland Park Way [map]. It’s described as a rollover crash, with a ruptured natural-gas line, which might mean evacuations of nearby apartments. We’re on our way.
(Photo tweeted by @cmosetick)
12:15 AM: We’ve just arrived a few blocks away in the Highland Park Improvement Club parking lot. The odor is strong in the air even here. According to the scanner, people are being evacuated within a block of the crash; one person was reported to be in the car, injuries apparently not major.
12:25 AM: Residents are being sent west. Our crew has been told that the car hit a meter near Holden/Highland Park Way. As you can imagine, we’re being kept a ways back for safety too.
12:30 AM: It’s an inch-and-three-quarters line, SFD says, and Puget Sound Energy (the gas utility) is reported to be here dealing with it. More SFD units are arriving, with sirens, too. From @bites via Twitter, here’s a Vine with the screeching sound of the ruptured line.
12:50 AM: Three Metro buses are being brought in for evacuees to get shelter. Here’s one, by 12th/Holden:
About 150 people are reported to have been evacuated. PSE has not yet been able to shut off the leak, according to the scanner, and has called for a “pressure team.”
1:34 AM: Lots more PSE people here now. So is SFD’s public-information officer Corey Orvold; we’re asking her if there’s an estimate of how much longer it might take before people can go back in. The rolled car is still in the bushes near Holden/HP Way; the driver, described only as “male,” is at Harborview. Police are still trying to sort out the circumstances.
1:52 AM: Per scanner, “PSE has got the gas shut down.”
2:01 AM: Most of the SFD units have been dismissed. They’re reopening Highland Park Way but keeping westbound Holden closed for now. We finally have a photo of the flipped car to add atop the story. Checking on the evacuation status.
2:13 AM: SFD has tweeted that evacuees have been allowed home.
2:29 AM: SFD’s Orvold confirms everyone’s been allowed back inside. A tow truck is here and they’re strategizing how to get the car out.
6:50 AM: Per Tweets by Beat, this is classified as a DUI investigation.