VIDEO: West Seattle Chamber’s 2016 Westside Awards honor C & P Coffee, HomeStreet Bank, WS Helpline, Dave Montoure


By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

From celebratory words about community, to concerns about the current city leadership’s attitudes toward business, much was said at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s annual Westside Awards breakfast, held this morning at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) on the downtown-facing waterfront.

(Evening update: Video clips and photos added, below)

Board chair Elizabeth Pluhta opened by explaining how the Chamber works to support local organizations. She works at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), which with 1,000+ employees, she pointed out, is the largest employer in West Seattle. Attendees also heard from Chamber CEO Lynn Dennis.

Elected officials in attendance included City Councilmember Lisa Herbold and Port Commissioners Stephanie Bowman and John Creighton.

Those who were introduced started with the Business of the Year, C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), “sort of a landmark in West Seattle” as described by Nancy Woodland from WestSide Baby (which has a year-round diaper drive at C&P) in her introduction.


“Every single thing in West Seattle happens at C & P Coffee,” Woodland declared. “They have been bringing West Seattle together by providing the physical place for them to meet.” Co-proprietor Cameron Moores accepted the award. “(Husband) Peter and I are honored … I’m lucky that every day I get to know you people .. and find out about all the amazing things that you do every day. I’m not sure that we are deserving because we just stand there and watch you people go off and do those amazing things …”

Next, the Emerging Business of the Year, to the Junction branch of HomeStreet Bank (WSB sponsor), not a new business but a new presence in West Seattle. Woodland described HomeStreet as “participating actively in the community,” noting its branch manager/VP Melodie Van Houten is “there when you walk in … and everywhere.” The branch is the one in the chain that’s most often asked for sponsorships, another strong sign of community involvement, Woodland observed.


Van Houten, though, happened to be on a rare vacation, so John Babauta accepted it, saying they are so proud of it and grateful to be part of this community.

Then the West Seattle Helpline was honored as Nonprofit of the Year. “(It) often does work that is left undone,” said Pete Spalding in his introduction, listing the hundreds of ways in which Helpline helped people over the past year, including clothing through its Clothesline, for more than 2,000 people.


“The recognition is incredible (but) I’m standing in a room full of those neighbors (who, per the Helpline’s mission, are ‘neighbors helping neighbors’),” executive director Chris Langeler observed. He talked about a volunteer who’s received help from the Clothesline and now comes back to help others every single week. He also thanked sponsors of Helpline events such as the upcoming Taste of West Seattle. “It’s so special to be part of a community that is this connected, this caring.”

Final of the fourth awards was Westsider of the Year, given to Dave Montoure, West 5 co-proprietor and community advocate (including past service leading the Chamber board). Gardiner called Montoure someone who “put his heart and soul into the West Seattle community” and who always describes himself as “from West Seattle.”


Woodland talked about Montoure as a mentor and the “heart … he pours into everything West Seattle.” He got a standing ovation. He gave shoutouts to family members who were here, and then said he had “a little bit of a rant” (update: here’s the video, including introductions before he spoke):

“This neighborhood has changed a lot … we really had the neighborhood to ourselves a bit as young kids. … but it physically has changed, I see a lot of the development and growth going on around us and I’m not really disappointment but I wish our public investments had kept up with private investments … and sometimes the investments we see in West Seattle leave us scratching our heads … I would like our public officials to know that we keep a close eye on these things … But there seems to be a change in tone in city leadership, particularly as it pertains to the independent, the small entrepreneurs. The mayor recently invested $3.6 million into an Office of Labor Standards … This department will grow from nine to 22 individual city employees over the next year or two. The language I see coming out from them is talking about enforcement, talking about violations, talking about penalties on businesses. Those are pretty strong-toned words, and I’m concerned about the tone of that rhetoric … As a business owner, I prefer the words partnership, education … incentive … but I’m not hearing those words coming out of city government.”

He urges people to get involved – “you can make an impact, a big impact, our collective voice can be heard.” And he goes on to laud the “Chamber connections” – saying that looking around the room, he saw people he does business with. He also recalled having met his wife, Emi, when invited by former Chamber CEO Patti Mullen to meet with a company that was going to build a new West Seattle development years ago. That reference to “Chamber connections really do work” then brought warm laughter and applause as he wrapped up his acceptance speech.

Before the awards, former mayor Norm Rice (who held that position from January 1990 to January 1998) was the keynote speaker – but didn’t give a traditional speech, instead engaging in a Q&A with former Chamber chair Hamilton Gardiner.

Today is Rice’s 73rd birthday, and Gardiner quipped “this must be one of your biggest birthday parties.” Gardiner asked “How was your drive into West Seattle today?” Rice laughed, “It was easy.” Asked if he foresaw today’s economic boom, Rice said he was “always optimistic.” Any advice for current elected officials? Gardiner asked. No, Rice laughed, while going on to mention that he’s always been “collaborative,” saying he learned negotiation as the youngest of four children. “I really do believe in listening to people and showing them how what you heard can be put into action.”

What would he advise West Seattleites – businesses and others – to do to deal with the current rapid change? “One of the things I see about West Seattle … the sense of community is strong … I think that spirit … helps to make sure that your voice is heard.” He said he has a strong affinity for WS because of past collaborators including another former mayor, Greg Nickels. Rice said he liked the at-large council system a little better. What were you proudest of as mayor? asked Gardiner. Rice, saying he’s currently writing a book, replied “downtown” as well as organizing the city’s first education summit (the second one was just last Saturday), and being “an honest broker for change.” Education was at the top of Rice’s mind – he also spoke, when asked about his forthcoming book, about trying to help bring healing to the city during divisiveness over busing.

With Ken Griffey Jr. about to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame – and the amazing 1995 playoff drive during Rice’s time as mayor – Gardiner asked his thoughts on that. “Unbelievable” is how Rice recalls that time. “It was fun – I was there in the Kingdome when that big hit was made, when Junior ran around those bases, ‘safe at home,’ safe at home meant a lot to us because we were able to keep the Mariners safe at home … gave everybody an esprit de corps we couldn’t capture any other way.”

In audience Q&A, Rice was asked about the affordability issue. “I really do believe the biggest issue facing this country is the equity issue – between wages and all – it’s not easy, and that’s why it’s so divisive – If you own a business and are trying to make a profit, and the biggest (challenges) are the costs of goods and labor – the balance is really important. You need good training … housing options …” And when pitched on levies, he suggested to potential voters, “don’t think of it as always about yourself” – don’t vote against it just because you don’t see the direct benefit to yourself.

The Chamber takes Westside Awards nominations from the community every year, and then the honorees are chosen by a Chamber committee that reviews the nominations. (We at WSB are proud to have been honored as Business of the Year in 2010.)

ONE MORE NOTE: As Chamber CEO Dennis listed the sponsors of the breakfast, she had a bit of news – The Whittaker‘s first units are expected to be available in September. (The development at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, which is to include a Whole Foods Market, recently dismantled one of its two tower cranes, and the one that remains is the only tower crane currently in West Seattle.)

9 Replies to "VIDEO: West Seattle Chamber's 2016 Westside Awards honor C & P Coffee, HomeStreet Bank, WS Helpline, Dave Montoure"

  • WS gal May 4, 2016 (1:09 pm)

    #MayorEdMurray- heard you no-showed because of traffic/viaduct and assume Lisa Herbold only stuck around for 10 Minutes of the program for likely the same reason. Sad that the viaduct is the white elephant in the room. For the one time of year that the WS business community gets together- it speaks volumes about your priorities of small business in your communities, especially after district elections. Thanks for speaking volumes with your actions. 

    • WS Resident May 4, 2016 (3:10 pm)

      The reason stated for the no-show by the Mayor was a “family emergency” which seemed dubious at best.    Lisa was there until after the keynote address as she walked right by me before leaving (I’d estimate half the program).  I’d give her the benefit of the doubt on this one considering she probably had to go sit in traffic for an hour to get on with her day (I did).

      • WSB May 4, 2016 (4:43 pm)

        For the record (I noticed her departure too since my spot to record video and take notes was directly behind her, so I later checked out of curiosity), CM Herbold had a committee meeting at 9:30 am – the committee of which she’s vice chair, Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance.

        Don’t know about the mayor except that we received a media advisory this afternoon from the consultant on the Housing Levy campaign saying he’ll be part of a kickoff for it somewhere tonight (not West Seattle so I glanced at it and moved on, certainly the issue is a citywide one and we’ll be covering it in general, but we generally wouldn’t be covering a non-WS campaign event for anything or anyone). – TR

  • WSGirl May 4, 2016 (1:45 pm)

    ^Well said. 

    I’m so proud of the small business owners in our community and all that they bring to our lives. And kudos to Dave Montoure for speaking up, no matter how controversial it may be in our politically correct, overly liberal town. He is absolutely correct!!! 

    • WSB May 4, 2016 (4:01 pm)

      Dave’s speech – and the introductions before he spoke – is the first clip we have added inline above, more to come.

  • WSGirl May 4, 2016 (3:17 pm)

    We would have been SO lucky if Dave hadn’t been forced to drop out of the Seattle City Council race, thanks to the liberal media. He could be the ONE person on that council with a voice of reason. 

  • WS gal May 4, 2016 (3:59 pm)

    WS GIrl- Dave dropped out for personal reasons related to family more than anything. Not liberal media- good heavens 

  • WSGirl May 4, 2016 (4:05 pm)

    The liberal media in our city (i.e. The Stranger) attacked his political views, specifically his anti-$15/hour stance (even though he has the happiest, most well taken care of restaurant employees I’ve ever seen) which threatened to damage the well-being of his business.

  • Pete May 4, 2016 (5:14 pm)

    Lisa Herbold sat next to me at the Chamber event this morning. She left to go to a committee meeting. And she took the Water Taxi to go downtown this morning. 

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