West Seattle, Washington
Bail is set at $150,000 for the 48-year-old man accused of robbing three businesses in three days, two of them in Morgan Junction, eerily echoing the triple robbery case that sent him to prison a decade ago. We received documents this evening from his bail hearing. Here’s what they allege:
He’s accused of starting the robbery spree on Saturday morning, when, police say, he arrived at the Capitol Hill QFC in a cab, went into the store and robbed a clerk, claiming he had a gun, then hopping back into the cab three minutes later with $1,100 in stolen money.
The robbery and getaway were caught on surveillance video; police found out the cab had then taken the robber to West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor), where he bought cigarettes and beer. He was gone by the time they arrived but store employees recalled that the man had been recognized and greeted by a customer they knew as a resident of Cal-Mor Circle across the street. Police, meantime, took images from the Thriftway surveillance camera and circulated them. A Department of Corrections community officer subsequently recognized the man as someone with whom they had dealt. Records showed the man’s last known address was his mother’s apartment at Cal-Mor Circle.
Then on Monday night, Thriftway was robbed by what surveillance video showed to be the same man; he demanded money from a clerk and got away with $320. Twelve hours later, the Washington Federal bank across Fauntleroy Way was robbed, and surveillance video showed another match.
After that, police caught up with the suspect’s mother and asked her to contact them if her son returned to the building. Later in the afternoon, she reported he had just arrived; when police got there, she and her son were waiting outside, and he was taken into custody without incident. The police report says he confessed to all three robberies and also made a point of saying he had never had a weapon and didn’t hurt anyone.
His criminal history in online records dates back almost 30 years; his most recent felony convictions were for another three-business-robbery spree in West Seattle and Capitol Hill, in May 2005 – at the former Video Vault store in Morgan Junction, at the Staples store in Westwood Village, and at a Safeway on Capitol Hill. Court documents from that case also show a cab used as a getaway car. He already had an “extensive criminal history,” as prosecutors described it, when sentenced to 11 1/2 years in prison for those holdups.
FIRST REPORT, 6:27 PM: Here are the boards/slides for SDOT‘s meeting tonight about Phase 2 of the 35th SW Road Safety Corridor Project. They start with stats that SDOT says prove “the roadway redesign is improving safety,” referring to the Roxbury to Holly rechannelization put into place last fall:
The slides continue on to what SDOT says is under consideration for Phase 2, including:
*Rechannelization between Edmunds and Juneau (one lane each way, center turn lane)
*Possible extension of rechannelization from Juneau to Graham
*Signal or turn restrictions/crossing at Juneau or Graham
*Crosswalk or signal at Dawson (a signal might require 4 traffic lanes, SDOT notes)
*Holly (north end of current rechannelization) to Graham, likely keeping “4 to 5 general-purpose lanes”
Whatever is decided for Phase 2 would not be put into place until next year, but some tweaks are planned in the meantime, including the crosswalk, with flashing beacons, at Kenyon, to be installed next month. More to come at the 7 pm meeting at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW).
7:02 PM: The meeting has just begun. Outside the front door to NHHPC, rechannelization opponents were handing out bumper stickers.
Inside the hallway, dozens of people were already gathered.
Before opening the doors, SDOT’s project manager Jim Curtin stuck his head out to explain the format – strictly open house, no presentation. When he mentioned that the information would include an update on Phase 1, somebody said loudly, “Sucks!” and laughter rippled around the crowd. When he said, “We want your feedback,” someone else was heard to say, “Do you really?” (Added – our video of Curtin’s announcement)
Yet another voice wondered aloud whether SDOT director Scott Kubly was present. (Doesn’t appear to be.) Boards from the document atop this story are on easels around the room, and there are a few tables set up for different forms of feedback.
We’re sitting near a staffer who is explaining the greenway concept (set for 2019 construction).
More to come.
7:20 PM: The room is getting crowded. People are writing down comments to put in a box by the front of the room, and there are other feedback opportunities, including a table at the center of the room. It’s a little loud in here for effective Q/A, and somebody approaching the comment box just verbally commented to that effect. One man was heard standing at the greenway table nearby, demanding to know who he could vote against in the next election. We haven’t looked at the sign-in sheets for an estimate but we would guess at least 100 people have circulated through so far.
7:30 PM: We’re going to circulate and listen in, since it’s mostly just a dull roar where we currently are sitting. Also looking for a copy of the survey/comment form that people are filling out; one voice nearby suggests a reason for supporting safety improvements is “Because I’d like not to die.”
7:41 PM: Pending discovery of a PDF somewhere, here’s a photo of the “Phase 1 Comment Sheet”:
The crowd has thinned. Maybe 50 in here right now. The lights have gone on, finally. Nobody at the greenway table at the moment. Might be our chance to ask a few questions. West Seattle has two greenways already – one through North Delridge, one in Puget Ridge/Highland Park – and this one is supposed to be mostly parallel to 35th, but not scheduled for construction for at least three years.
8:10 PM: We’ve just roamed the room a bit to listen in. The board with the major Phase 2 proposals – another possible stretch of rechannelization, possible signals/crossings – is on the northeast end of the room. There, an SDOT employee cheerily corrected one man who asked about “the road diet” by saying, “It’s NOT a road diet.”
“Hey, I’m FOR the road diet,” replied the attendee (not in photo above). A woman standing at the other end of the board says she supported what’s been done so far. Down now to about 35 people; we’re taking a quick look at the sign-in sheets to see if that gives any sort of an attendance count (keeping in mind that not everyone will take the time to, or want to, sign in).
8:25 PM: The biggest crowd remains around project manager Jim Curtin, who is next to the board with the collision data from Phase I – the official full evaluation of the first year is due out in October, according to the project timeline. He’s listening to concerns including intersections where it’s become tougher to turn.
Meantime, even with far fewer people in the room, it’s still loud. If you prefer a quieter venue for questions/concerns, the “walking tour” planned for next Tuesday – 6 pm-7:30 pm August 9th, starting at 35th/Avalon and heading south – might be of interest. SDOT did this before Phase I and there was little turnout, meaning those who did drop in at various spots had no trouble engaging the SDOT reps in conversation.
8:32 PM: One woman leaving the room told the SDOT staffer at the check-in table, “Thanks for listening to all our gripes!” Staffer’s reply: “That’s what we’re here for.” We’re not quite down to 1-to-1 ratio SDOT to general public, but getting there. Quiet enough now that we can hear Curtin’s voice from around the room, reiterating what’s in the new documents, that travel times have not increased by much and that transit times have improved. Yes, but, one man says, he lives in The Arroyos and the 21X experiences delays. Curtin, who has said often publicly that he lives in Arbor Heights and uses 35th in multiple modes, says he rides the 21X too and can vouch for that. The attendee suggested Metro should have been here along with SDOT.
8:45 PM: Still a handful of people here. The greenway-table SDOT staffer is talking with a woman about Arbor Heights’ sidewalk shortage. We have a few questions to ask once this is about to wrap, and we’ll add the answers after we get them.
9:40 PM: After the last few attendees trickled out just past 9, we spent a while talking with project manager Curtin. First, we brought up the point made in comments, about comparing the crash and injury/death stats from the not-quite-a-year post-Phase 1 to the ten years ahead of time. He agreed that the real tale will be in the official report this fall, when they will use a 3-year period for comparison, and will “lay out everything we have.”
Second, we clarified that the stretch which might be rechannelized next is very much in flux – if SDOT decides new signals/crossings at Dawson and/or Graham are warranted (and this is tied into the greenway planning, so there would be a cutover to The Junction), that could reduce how much of the roadway would be eligible for lane reductions. But Curtin stressed that road redesign is vital to reduce speeding on the stretch north of Morgan.
Third, we asked what could and would be done to address some of the concerns brought up over and over again, especially people having difficulty making turns, either onto or off 35th, because there’s no break in the one-lane-each-way traffic. He said there WILL be changes in signal timing and he expects that will make a major difference – they will use a timing scheme they had in place before Phase 1 – and he promised it will happen before year’s end.
The last major point – he stressed that they are proceeding more slowly with this phase, that what was on the boards you see above (and/or saw at the meeting) are “concepts,” with more discussions coming up at the August 9th walking tour, at a community meeting before year’s end, and another one early in 2017.
We have some photos to add, before the night’s out.
Today’s updated vote count is in from the 7th Congressional District (which includes parts of King and Snohomish Counties). The top two candidates will advance to the November general election; while West Seattle’s Joe McDermott was in second place on election night, this is his second day in third place:
Pramila Jayapal 55,001 40.02%
Brady Piñero Walkinshaw 29,334 21.34%
Joe McDermott 28,112 20.45%
The photo shows a volunteer at the West Seattle Helpline with a full call sheet, working hard to help hotline callers who need short-term rent assistance. The Helpline’s executive director Chris Langeler says summer is usually a slow season for the nonprofit, which works to help prevent families in short-term financial crises – but not this year, so they’re hoping you can help:
With Seattle’s rents rising faster than anywhere in the country, West Seattle families with limited income are being hit the hardest. Households that were once financially stable are having their budgets squeezed as the rent eats up more of each paycheck — now they are living on the edge, one crisis away from dangerous consequences.
At the West Seattle Helpline, this means more calls on our Hotline asking for urgent help, larger overdue bills, threats of eviction, and higher stakes for families recovering from an unexpected hardship. In July 2015, the average amount needed for a rent assistance request was $609 per household. Last month (July 2016), that number was $939 –over 50% higher, and more than $300 extra needed per family to prevent an eviction.
In 2016, we have helped more local families per month than at any point in our history. However, just like our neighbors, we’re having a hard time keeping up with the unusually high need. We need to raise an additional $3,000 in the month of August to be able to provide assistance to families who need us. We do not want to turn a single family away.
We hope our wonderful West Seattle community can chip in and help us be there for all of our neighbors in need. Thank you to everyone for their support and for making West Seattle so special. Click here to help.
4:15 PM: We’re on our way for a look at another brush fire, this time in the Delridge/Myrtle area. Holli texted to report that northbound Delridge is blocked in the area, just north of Sylvan/Orchard/Dumar.
4:27 PM: Thanks to Ian for further description just as we got to the area – the fire is on the slope east of the northbound side of Delridge just north of the Shell station at that intersection. Northbound Delridge is still closed at that point. Added a photo we took while heading west through the intersection (it’s still open to WB/EB traffic).
4:36 PM: Another photo added above from our photographer, who walked into the scene.
4:44 PM: Firefighters were still checking on the cause, but warn that slopes like that (and the one along 509) are very dry right now. Meantime, NB Delridge should reopen in a few minutes, they told us.
[Seattle Fire Department photo via Twitter]
2:47 PM: Thanks to the texter who called our attention to this – Seattle Fire and North Highline Fire are on a big brush fire just east of West Seattle, along Highway 509 south of Cloverdale. SFD reports via Twitter that it’s about 5,000 square feet and is under control; we’re on our way for a look.
2:56 PM: The one thing we’ve seen so far, going over 509 on Cloverdale to look for it, is that southbound 509 is at a dead stop. Don’t even think about heading that way.
3:04 PM: The burned area is upslope on the west side of southbound 509. Some firefighting equipment is on the highway, and that’s the reason for the backup. Just tweeted by SFD:
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) August 4, 2016
3:29 PM: You can check this WSDOT cam to see whether the backup has cleared – still visible through the trees at lower right as of right now.
4:16 PM: Just went past the area again via northbound 509; the fire crews are gone and southbound is flowing normally.
Interested in the proposed Southwest Indoor Tennis Center? Find out what’s next on Monday (August 8th), 7 pm, at the Fauntleroy Church Fellowship Hall (9140 California SW). Following up on a meeting two months ago at which the “feasibility analysis” was presented, this time the “market analysis” will be made public. The tennis center is a community-led proposal that’s been in the works for four years (this FAQ has more backstory); supporters envision building a structure over the tennis courts that are on Seattle Public Schools-owned land west of Southwest Pool. Questions? Contact Lisa Corbin – firstname.lastname@example.org – the community member who’s been leading the project.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:09 PM: In West Seattle Crime Watch today:
CAR THIEF, ARRESTED: We received a couple questions about police in Highland Park around 3 am. Just in from SPD Blotter, the details:
On August 4th, at approximately 2:00 am, Officer Bryan Grozav took a report of a stolen 2006 Subaru Legacy. As he was leaving the scene after taking the report, Grozav saw the stolen Subaru driving on South Roxbury Street. The officer attempted to follow the car, but it quickly drove off. About 10 minutes later, Sergeant Tamara Floyd saw the Subaru on Roxbury driving at a high rate of speed. The Subaru was emitting a strong odor, caused by the driver burning the clutch.
At about 2:40 am, Officer Sam Specht was in the area of 9th Avenue SW and SW Trenton Street when he noticed the strong odor of a vehicle’s burning clutch. The officer saw the stolen car drive into an alley near 11th Ave SW. The officer located the unoccupied stolen Subaru in the alley and requested a K9 team to respond and additional officers for containment.
K9 Officer Mark Wong and Police Dog Ziva responded and began to track from the stolen car. They tracked the suspect for several blocks until they reached a garage with an open door in the 1000 block of SW Portland Street. Officers entered the garage and found the suspect hiding behind the door. The suspect was arrested without incident.
The vehicle’s owner responded to the scene and took possession of his Subaru. The 37-year-old suspect was later booked into the King County Jail for investigation of auto theft.
(added) Just took a quick look at the suspect’s history; this is his fourth time in King County Jail in just under a year.
(back to original report) Our next report is also from Highland Park:
STOLEN CAR, FOUND: Trina shared photos of this Honda Accord, saying it “has clearly been stolen and dropped on my block”:
She continued, “The car looks like it’s been hotwired; the driver’s door has been cracked like they went for a joy ride and dropped and ran. The car is at the 7900 block of 5th Ave SW. It’s been there a couple days and no one on the block knows about it.” As soon as we saw the photos, we looked up the license plate via SPD’s @getyourcarback Twitter feed of Seattle stolen-car reports – and there it was, stolen July 31st. Whether stolen from West Seattle or elsewhere, we don’t know, as @getyourcarback still does not include any sort of location information (we’ve begged!), which is why reader reports are so important. Meantime, we asked Trina to let police know, if she hasn’t already … and if you know whose car this is, let them know it’s been found!
STOLEN VAN: Frank‘s 2000 gray/green Honda Odyssey van was stolen in The Junction last Sunday night/Monday morning. WA plate APT5575 – call 911 if you see it.
FOUND BIKE: Lori found this in her yard along an alley near 27th SW/SW Elmgrove:
ADDED 1:22 PM – BURGLARY: Just in from Cynthia:
I am in the 7800 block of 39th Ave SW – Gatewood; break-in, back door – broke glass in door; white male, plaid shorts and tool belt. Happened around 11:45am…. took off out back down the alley.
Police have been notified.
Good morning! Highlights for today/tonight:
WINGSTOP OPENS AT WESTWOOD VILLAGE: As first reported here Tuesday, this is the “soft-open” day for the Wingstop restaurant that’s been in the works at Westwood Village for more than a year. The company told us noon-ish, but we’ve also heard it could be earlier – regular hours will start daily at 11. (2800 SW Barton)
BLUE ANGELS PRACTICES AND I-90 CLOSURES: Today is the first of four days that the Blue Angels will be in the air for Seafair, and the I-90 bridge will be closed across Lake Washington, which usually means backups on northbound I-5. Today’s closure times are 9:45 am-noon and 1:15-2:40 pm. You can watch the jets take off and land from Boeing Field; they are based just south of the Museum of Flight during their stay here.
SEAFAIR SHIP TOURS: Not in West Seattle but not far! Tours of the Seafair fleet (which sailed past WS on Tuesday) continue today. Including the USS Somerset, which has a story behind what’s visible on its hangar door:
The Somerset, an amphibious transport dock that’s been in service for two years, is named for Somerset County, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed on 9/11, after its passengers decided to stop the hijackers from getting to their destination – “Let’s roll” is what passenger Todd Beamer said as they began. You can tour the Somerset at Pier 90 (Magnolia), the USS Gridley and USCGC Active at Pier 66, and HMSC Saskatoon from Canada at Pier 69 – see times and other info here.
GOODMED ANNIVERSARY OPEN HOUSE: 6-8 pm, GoodMed Direct Primary Care (WSB sponsor) in Morgan Junction invites you to stop by and celebrate the clinic’s first anniversary! “This is a great opportunity to socialize with neighbors, meet current members, get to know the doctors, and learn about the medical revolution called Direct Primary Care.” (6553 California SW)
VICCI MARTINEZ AT HIAWATHA: 6:30 pm on the east lawn at Hiawatha Community Center, you can see singer Vicci Martinez for free, thanks to the Admiral Neighborhood Association-presented Summer Concerts at Hiawatha (with co-sponsors including WSB). Bring your own blanket/chair and get ready for a great time. (Walnut/Lander)
DESIGN REVIEW x 2: Two projects on the Southwest Design Review Board‘s schedule tonight – 6:30 pm, 5458 California SW (six live-work units – design “packet” and more here); 8 pm, 4754 Fauntleroy Way SW (7-story mixed-use building including 108 apartments and 10 live-work units, design “packet” and more here). Both include public-comment periods; both are at the Sisson Building/Senior Center in The Junction. (California SW/SW Oregon)
35TH AVENUE SW – WHAT’S NEXT? 7 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, come find out about SDOT’s Phase 2 plan for 35th Avenue SW, north of Morgan, as well as the early-stage plan for the next West Seattle “greenway.”
FIND EVEN MORE FOR TODAY/TONIGHT … on the complete WSB West Seattle Event Calendar.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:56 AM: We start with a transit alert just texted/tweeted by Metro:
Transit Alert – Route 57 due to leave 44th Av SW and SW Alaska St at 7:06 AM will not operate this morning.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) August 4, 2016
BLUE ANGELS I-90 CLOSURES DAILY THROUGH SUNDAY: Today through Sunday, the annual I-90 closures during Blue Angels practices/shows. From WSDOT:
The mainlines of I-90 will be closed between I-5 in Seattle to Island Crest Way on Mercer Island:
Thursday, Aug. 4: 9:45 a.m. – noon; 1:15 – 2:40 p.m. (practice)
Friday, Aug. 5: 1:15 – 2:40 p.m. (practice)
Saturday, Aug. 6: 1:15 – 2:40 p.m. (Seafair Air Show)
Sunday, Aug. 7: 1:15 – 2:40 p.m. (Seafair Air Show)
35TH SW MEETING: 7 pm tonight, SDOT plans an “open house” meeting about what’s next in the 35th Avenue SW Road Safety Corridor Project – north of Morgan. The meeting is at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way).
8:41 AM: As David mentions in comments, there’s a crash on the eastbound bridge. Center lane and part of right lane blocked, per SDOT.
8:54 AM: SDOT says the right lane is clear but the center lane remains blocked.
9:10 AM: Per SDOT, the crash scene is now clear – though backups will take a little while to clear.
9:40 AM: Texter says a stalled vehicle on northbound 99 in the stadium zone is causing backups. Nothing from SDOT or WSDOT so far on this so we don’t know the status of anything in the works to clear it.