West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It’s been a question spanning many years and many plans – what will be built at High Point’s last big vacant corner, 35th and Graham?
The two-building mixed-use project Upton Flats at 6058 35th SW might be the one destined to happen. It won final Southwest Design Review Board approval tonight.
Four of the five board members were present along with the project’s assigned city planner Tami Garrett: Chair Tod Bronk, Matt Zinski, Alexandra Moravec, and Don Caffrey, to take one more look, and offer one more round of feedback on, the project with two 4-story buildings, about 100 residential units, 10,000 square feet of commercial space, and 100+ offstreet-parking spaces, now planned below grade.
Join us for this rare Seattle appearance by renowned whale researcher Bruce Mate. Bruce will demonstrate how his teams use satellite-monitored radio tags to identify critical habitats and migration routes of endangered whales to protect them. His talk will focus on western and ENP gray whales, right whales, and contemporary issues for blue whales during the last few years of warm water as examples.
Bruce Mate is the Director and Endowed Chair of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, and founder of Oregon’s Whale Watching Spoken Here program.
Bruce’s talk is hosted by The Whale Trail, and co-sponsored by Seal Sitters and the American Cetacean Society, Puget Sound Chapter. Celebrate Earth Day by learning about whales!
Tickets are $10 ($5 for kids under 12) – available now at brownpapertickets.com.
It’s been years in the making – in this WSB story from five years ago, for example, you’ll find a mention of sculptural art planned at what is now Junction 47, as part of the “public benefits” required for the City Council to grant an alley vacation for the two-building megaproject. Tonight, community advocates and neighbors gathered to celebrate what was eventually created and installed – prolific local artist Lezlie Jane‘s 10 panels telling West Seattle stories, including that of our area’s First People:
The Junction Neighborhood Organization and West Seattle Junction Association, both involved in advocacy throughout the planning of the development as well as its public benefits, co-hosted tonight’s gathering.
You can go see Jane’s artwork any time, on the southeast corner of California and Alaska – view and learn about each of the 39-inch-tall panels via this section of her website.
Seattle Public Utilities has a cleanup plan for Saturday that might affect traffic on Dumar Way:
SPU will perform routine ditch and culvert cleaning beginning on the 1700 block of Dumar Way SW [map] in West Seattle on Saturday, April 9 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Maintenance crews will be progressively cleaning along Dumar Way SW, with a single lane closure shifting in conjunction with their workflow. Traffic will be impacted in the area. SPU has scheduled this work on a weekend to reduce traffic congestion. Expect traffic and bus delays.
4:34 PM: That video just released by Seattle Police, 14 hours after the early-morning Highland Park Way crash that killed two people – including the driver of the stolen vehicle an officer was pursuing – shows the two minutes leading up to and including the crash.
Also new, via SPD Blotter, police say the driver of that car, a Honda taken at gunpoint in Beacon Hill about three hours earlier, was a 16-year-old boy. The update says that while a handgun was found in that car, detectives “do not yet know what role the 16-year-old played in this morning’s carjacking,” which happened on Beacon Hill.
Along with the video we have embedded above, SPD’s update also includes an audio clip from radio communication going back to the officer who first spotted the stolen vehicle near the Southwest Precinct.
The King County Medical Examiner did not release the teenager’s identity today but did identify the 21-year-old man killed in the westbound car he hit, a 1996 Honda Acura Integra, as Devin Francis. A dog found in the Acura was seriously hurt and rushed to an emergency vet but also died.
The SPD Blotter update quotes Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole as saying, “The collision that took the lives of two people this morning is devastating to the families of the deceased and the officers involved. My thoughts and prayers are with them all. SPD is conducting a thorough investigation around the circumstances that led to this event.”
SPD’s pursuit policy is online here.
ADDED 3:47 PM FRIDAY: The Medical Examiner has identified the 16-year-old who was killed as Kenneth Dion Williams, Jr.
Another business burglary overnight … this time at Meeples Games (WSB sponsor). Co-proprietor Laura Schneider shares the photo above from their surveillance camera, and a partial list of what the burglar stole:
This guy has been here before and knew exactly what he was doing so he may be identifiable by a reader. He’s small – a little over 5’ tall. He climbed around to the balcony and broke in the back.
Booster packs for Magic including OGW, BFZ, Origins, DTK, FRF, and KTK. Also YuGiOh! packs of Clash of Rebellions, Dimensions of Chaos, Breaker of Shadows and Dragons of Legend.
All of our FNM and Buy a Box promo cards, all of our red, green, black and white singles. He left the blue and the lands. A box of about 400 full art lands. Various other singles we are working to name, but here are a few:
A judge foil Dark Confidant
2 full art game day promo Languish
the WotC holiday promo Goblin Sleighride
foil Blightsteel Collasus
2 expedition Eye of Ugin
8 Eye of Ugin
4 Eldrazi Temple
4 GP Goblin Guides
various other cards we are working to identify
If you recognize the burglar and/or have any other information, please contact police. The incident number is 16000119105.
12:37 PM: Thanks to those who tipped us to a collision reported to be blocking most of SW Admiral Way by Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor), between 41st and 42nd. We don’t know the circumstances yet – one man was reported to be down.
12:45 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli has just been at the scene and says it was an 89-year-old man crossing the street with groceries, hit by a car. Witnesses told Christopher the man was briefly unconscious but a registered nurse who was nearby stayed with him until medics arrived. The lanes have reopened but police are still there investigating, he says. The man was taken to Harborview Medical Center.
(ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Seattle Channel video of entire meeting)
10:12 AM: We’re at Seattle City Hall, where the City Council’s Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, and Waterfront Committee is tackling the topic of “tree stewardship” – including the much-discussed, recently revealed case of illegal cutting in the Duwamish Head Greenbelt.
Public comment started the meeting, and that included half a dozen people speaking in favor of tree stewardship, including two members of the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, which has its roots in West Seattle. We’ll add toplines of their remarks later.
The Seattle Channel feed is not embeddable, so you’ll have to follow this link to watch live.
The committee is chaired by Councilmember Debora Juarez; also here are its official members Sally Bagshaw and Bruce Harrell, and District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold. First, the slide deck goes through the background on why “trees are vital” (you can see the slide deck in our story from Tuesday).
10:20 AM: They’ve jumped on to questions about the incident, including how to find out about it earlier. Parks Supt. Jesús Aguirre says they rely heavily on tips from the public – in this case, “it was on the list,” he says, and they just didn’t get to it that quickly, because it wasn’t at “the top of the list.” SDOT’s Kubly says his department gets a few complaints a month about illegal cutting – it’s “Category 1” if public safety is involved, a downed tree, etc., “we respond to those as quickly as we can” – illegal cutting is only “Category 3.” They’ll “send an inspector out as quickly as we can” if they have information that it’s happening right now. “The e-mail came to us and didn’t give any indication of the severity, that the location was being clearcut,” he said; you’ll recall that the East Admiral cutting was reported to have been reported to SDOT in January, then eventually checked out by Parks in February.
Assistant City Attorney Joseph Groshong is asked about how his department pursues cases like this. The process “takes time” to be sure they have the right people, etc. “If there are people listening out there who participated and want to come forward … it would help us speed up the resolution,” he volunteered. “We have a cross-department effort to get to the bottom of this …” He noted that the “criminal side” of the case is in the hands of the Police Department (as we reported last week), while the City Attorney’s Office is pursuing civil and “regulatory.” “We can’t share the details of what we are doing because that might risk what we can recover for the people of Seattle,” he said.
Councilmember Juarez also noted that City Attorney Pete Holmes had spent an hour in his briefing with councilmembers earlier this week, saying the case could go to Superior Court as well.
Councilmember Bagshaw notes that the council recently discussed “encroachment” on parkland and declared this “the biggest encroachment of all.”
10:31 AM: Now they’re looking at photo/map images of where this happened, and Councilmember Juarez asked for an explanation of the question many had asked, “how could (this many) trees have been cut and nobody noticed?” Replied Supt. Aguirre, “It’s hard to see … (and) we don’t have folks from city staff out there actively looking at” the area.
“How many homes have better views now?” he’s asked. He mentions that half a dozen houses are directly adjacent to the area. Councilmember Herbold mentions what she had told us previously, the County Assessor’s office revisiting the area to be sure the view evaluation information is accurate for properties in the area. Herbold adds that she received a letter from a tribe offering trees to help restore the area.
Kubly says SDOT will work with Parks on a restoration plan and he believes it’s going to include a mix of conifers. He also said that one of his first questions when he heard about this was whether a retaining wall would need to be built to protect Admiral Way.
Council President Harrell says that he hopes that even as the civil and criminal investigations proceed, that the restoration won’t have to wait – that there’ll be a plan sooner. “And somehow through all this madness, we’ll be better than we were on the new area.” He hopes that somehow “we can turn this into a positive thing” and “the community that has been devastated by this” will experience that.
Juarez says she wants to see a return to the committee “to report to us where you’re at … not only on the restoration plan but what we’re doing to address this.” She says the public wants to be reassured “that we’re taking this more than seriously.”
Herbold adds that “as policymakers” the council has been asked to take a look at existing laws and whether they need to be beefed up, and she “would like to take a deeper dive” into that.
Aguirre is now acknowledging the process by which homeowners have been allowed to seek permits for cutting city-owned trees in some spots and says there’s a “disconnect” between parts of his department, and wants to work on that.
Juarez suggests that homeowners who border greenbelts/parkland should have to know what their responsibilities are so they don’t just have something done and plead ignorance.
Kubly says, “We need one point of entry” for tree complaints, and again acknowledges the lack of followup to clarify the original report made to his department. He also says there should be a baseline followup time along the lines of the “72-hour” rule for potholes. He says SDOT is working on various things including a “Tree Capital Plan.”
10:55 AM: The discussion is wrapping up and so is the meeting. Bottom line: No new information about who did it and what will happen to them, but vows all around that this is being taken “very seriously” though the original complaint received in January was not taken particularly seriously – with illegal tree-cutting complaints considered low priority.
4:05 PM: Just added video of the entire meeting.
Busy day/night ahead in West Seattle, and here are some of the reasons why:
CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE TALKS TREE-CUTTING: As first reported here Tuesday, the City Council’s Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, & Waterfront Committee will talk this morning about the West Seattle illegal tree-cutting case during a discussion of “tree stewardship.” The meeting is at City Hall at 9:30 am and includes a public-comment period; it’ll be live on the Seattle Channel, cable 21 and seattlechannel.org. (500 4th Ave.)
OUR OCEAN & YOU: From Stacia Bell at Madison Middle School‘s library:
In preparation for Earth Day on April 22nd, underwater photographer and environmental speaker Annie Crawley will be visiting Madison Middle School on Thursday, April 7th to share some amazing underwater images with students and talk with them about the environmental challenges our planet faces from the impact of climate change and marine debris.
Through her stories and photographs, she hopes to teach students about the interdependence we have with the ocean and empower them to take action in protecting it. Grade-level assemblies will occur during 1st, 2nd and 4th period in the cafeteria and parents/guardians are welcome to join us. Contact Ms. Bell in the library if you have any questions.
(45th SW/SW Spokane)
TINKERLAB AT HIGH POINT LIBRARY: Earlier this week, we’re told, Tinkerlab‘s debut at Delridge Library was a hit.
4-6 pm today, you’ll find the all-ages STEM-activity program at High Point Library. (35th SW/SW Raymond)
DESIGN REVIEW FOR 6058 35TH SW: 6:30 pm at the Sisson Building/Senior Center, the Southwest Design Review Board takes another look at this two-building mixed-use project – details and the newest design packet are here. (California SW/SW Oregon)
LIVE/WORK IN/NEAR WHITE CENTER? 7 pm, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets at NH Fire District HQ. As previewed on our partner site White Center Now, the agenda includes education equity and septic systems. (1243 SW 112th)
‘ADDAMS FAMILY’ AT WSHS: 7:30 pm, your second-to-last chance to cheer the student performers and musicians putting on this musical version of “The Addams Family,” at the West Seattle High School Theater. Ticket info here. (3000 California SW)
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING ELSE? Check our complete calendar!
(LATE THURSDAY AFTERNOON: We’ve published a followup here)
2:21 AM: Now another big Seattle Fire response – this time for a crash in the 6800 block of Highland Park Way, at least one person reported to be trapped, and at least one person is reported to be undergoing CPR.
2:26 AM: Per scanner, two people are dead – “one in each car.” Original report suggested this might have started as pursuit of a stolen car. We’re headed to the scene.
2:54 AM: The crash is on “the hill” – which is blocked off at both ends, near Holden at the top, West Marginal Way SW on the bottom; the vehicles are closer to the latter, which is where we and the other media crews are being “staged,” out of camera range but our photographer reports it appears the vehicles are on the uphill side, past Pioneer Industries, one in the road and one in the shrubbery off the road. The Traffic Collision Investigation team is on the way, which means the closure will be for hours.
4:08 AM: Police have confirmed that two people were killed, and that they were trying to stop one of the vehicles before the crash, but they are not going into details of whether it was a “pursuit.” They also tell us the investigation is likely to keep the Highland Park Way hill between Holden and W. Marginal closed for at least three hours.
5:17 AM: Metro has just sent an alert about Route 131 being routed off this section of Highland Park Way. This is the third major crash on the hill in a little over one month – on March 14th, two cars collided close to the same spot as this morning’s incident, and one flipped; that was just 10 days after the flipped-car crash that broke a natural-gas line and forced 150 nearby residents to evacuate.
5:53 AM: The Medical Examiner has arrived.
No information so far on the victims’ identities, not even ages/genders. Police have continued to keep media at the bottom of the hill. Also, no update on an estimated road-reopening time, but we’re still at the scene so we’ll be able to get the information directly as soon as there’s an update.
6:08 AM: Route 131 is using Highland Park Way again. We talked with the Metro rep on scene who says the buses are using the outside downhill lane, but otherwise the hill is NOT yet open to regular traffic. Seattle Fire Ladder 11 has been summoned, likely for scene cleanup before the road’s fully reopened. And if you’re in this area and seeing/hearing a helicopter, it’s TV (which otherwise has a full complement of ground crews).
6:25 AM: Buses are being rerouted again for a while; Ladder 11 has arrived.
Still no new information about the crash itself, not even which way the vehicles were traveling when they collided (they are both on the uphill/southwestbound side, but that doesn’t mean they started there).
7:49 AM: The Medical Examiner, Traffic Collision Investigation team, and Ladder 11 are all gone. We and other media have been allowed up the hill to photograph the wrecked cars.
But we’re told it still might be another hour-plus before the road reopens, because the vehicles must be towed and debris swept up.
8:26 AM: We finally had to leave the scene so this is via scanner: Eastbound (downhill) HP Way reopening. Westbound still awaiting some final cleanup.
8:39 AM: And it’s just been announced that the sweeper’s done and the road will be open both ways. Again, we have very little information about the crash itself and will be working to get more from police as the day goes on.
ADDED 10:15 AM: Published on SPD Blotter:
Traffic Collision detectives are investigating after a man in a carjacked vehicle fled from police early Thursday and crashed into another vehicle in the (Highland Park) neighborhood, killing both drivers.
The incident began with an armed carjacking shortly before 11 PM Wednesday in the 1500 block of South State Street, where three suspects stole a man’s 2002 Honda Accord at gunpoint and fled.
Around 2 AM, an officer on patrol in West Seattle saw the Honda, occupied by one man, near the Southwest Precinct and began following behind while radioing for additional units. When additional officers arrived, the officer activated her emergency lights in an attempt to pull over the Honda.
The suspect fled from police at high speed and collided with another vehicle in the 6800 block of Highland Park Way SW. The other car was driven by an adult male. The officers attempted to provide life-saving aid to both drivers of the two vehicles and called for Seattle Fire Department medics.
Unfortunately, both drivers died at the scene.
Detectives from SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad are processing the collision scene and have recovered a handgun from the carjacked vehicle. Robbery Unit detectives are also investigating the initial carjacking incident.
The department’s Pursuit Review Board will conduct a review of the incident following the completion of the investigation.
4:43 PM: We have just published a followup with dashcam video SPD has released from the pursuit that preceded the crash (ending as the officer arrives at the crash scene) and other new information. See it here.
If you heard the sirens in the past quarter-hour or so – a “fire in single-family residence” response was sent to a house in the 10600 block of 34th SW [map]. It turned out to be on the porch of a vacant house, according to emergency-radio traffic, and a neighbor put it out, so most of the response has been dismissed.
It’s the type of theft that thieves hope you won’t notice – taking one or both of your license plates. They might even leave a replacement behind. We heard from a plate-theft victim on Wednesday night:
We had the rear license plate of one of our cars stolen sometime (Tuesday) night. We have reported it to the police. L.P. is AZL3335. We are on 48th between Andover and Dakota. … The sad part is we had just, literally, put the plates on the car last night!
We had some interesting info on this crime category in this late-2014 Crime Watch report.