West Seattle, Washington
By Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
What started out four weeks ago with a meeting of concerned neighbors reacting to a hate crime in Pigeon Point has developed into a cohesive grass-roots group, determined to bring people together with the message of tolerance, inclusion, and community.
The core group met again, this time at Lisa Kauffman’s Puget Ridge home. Present were Rob Becker, Dave Gamrath, Stu Hennessey, Susan Lebow, Steve Richmond, and Pavan Vangipuram, all of whom have been with the group from the start (along with Rachel Glass, who was unable to attend).
Hennessey said he has spoken with the victim, Stephanie Endres. She wasn’t able to attend the meeting but said she’s aware of what’s being done by the group, called Hate-Free Delridge, as first reported here last month. Now, details for its official introduction and mission-kickoff event later this month have been firmed up: Read More
ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:35 PM THURSDAY: Thanks for the tips: SDOT crews have started marking the roadway for upcoming lane changes as part of the final design of the SW Admiral Way Safety Project. Our photo shows what we found in the 61st SW-62nd SW area when we went by this afternoon. SDOT project reps did not respond to our subsequent request for an update on the construction schedule; during the August 20th walk-and-talk meetings (WSB coverage here), they had promised to get that information out “soon.” The project page says only that work will be done in “late summer/early fall.” The final design was announced via e-mail on July 21st.
The first version of the plan was unveiled in April 2015 at an Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting. Much neighborhood criticism ensued, especially concern over the city underestimating how much Admiral Way parking is needed for residents and visitors; the city re-evaluated and then held a second and final community meeting in July of last year.
At the walking tours last month, the focus was on the possibility of added pedestrian improvements along the route, and the project webpage says tomorrow (September 2nd) is the deadline to make suggestions along that line – go there to see how.
ADDED 11:43 AM FRIDAY: Finally heard back from SDOT. This “preparatory work” will continue into next week, says spokesperson Norm Mah: “We are looking to start construction toward the end of the month and will provide a 3-week notice prior to beginning construction.”
Reader report, just received this afternoon:
I was out for a run early this morning and at around 6:15 AM a man ran up behind me really fast and grabbed my butt with both his hands. When I started to turn around he ran away in the opposite direction. I never saw his face but he was about 5’9 to 5’10 and was wearing a dark blue hoodie with the hood up and black jeans. This happened as I was running north on 44th Ave SW right before the Charlestown Ave SW intersection. I just want to get the word out to other women who may be out running or walking in the early morning.
This is the first incident of this type we recall hearing about in some time.
SIDE NOTES: First, before you ask: Yes, the man convicted in similar attacks (and more) early this decade is still in prison.
Second: The description, scant as it is, is reminiscent of this 2013 incident south of The Junction which, to our knowledge, has never been solved.
Seven months ago, at a jobsite in West Seattle, 36-year-old Harold Felton became the first person killed in a trenching-related incident in our state in seven years. Today, the state Department of Labor and Industries announced it has cited the contractor for whom he was working, and is seeking $51,500 in fines. Here’s the announcement:
A Seattle contractor is facing more than $50,000 in fines for safety violations that led to the death of a construction worker last January. Harold Felton was killed when the dirt walls of the trench he was working in collapsed and buried him. Rescuers were unable to dig him out in time to save his life.
The state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited Alki Construction LLC for one willful violation, five serious and one general in connection with the incident last January. The fines total $51,500.
The company had dug trenches next to a Seattle home to replace a sewer line. The trench where the worker died was seven-feet deep and just under two-feet wide. There was no system in place to prevent all sides from caving in.
Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction jobs. Cave-ins on these jobs kill two dozen or more workers each year in the U.S. One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car and dirt walls can collapse suddenly without any warning, burying the victims instantly.
Cave-ins are far from rare. On May 3 in Boise, Idaho, two workers were killed in a trench collapse while working on a sewer project. On May 5 in Portland, Ore., a worker was killed while installing a sewer line in an 11-foot trench. There have been similar incidents in other states this summer.
Employers must ensure that adequate protections are in place to prevent cave-ins, and workers should never enter an unprotected trench, even for a quick task.
Alki Construction was cited for a “willful” violation with a penalty of $35,000 for not ensuring that trenches and excavations four-feet deep or more had a protective system in place to prevent the dirt sides from caving in.
The company was also cited for five serious violations:
*Alki Construction did not have a formal accident prevention program tailored to the needs of the operation and the type of hazards involved in trenching and excavation work ($3,500).
*There was no ladder, ramp or other safe means of exiting the excavated trench ($3,500).
*Sidewalks and structures that were undermined were not supported to protect employees from possible collapse ($3,000).
*Excavated dirt and other materials were placed less than two feet from the edge of the unprotected trench, where they could fall into the trench where employees were working ($3,000).
*There were no daily inspections of the excavations to monitor changing soil conditions ($3,500).
One general violation was cited for not ensuring walk-around safety inspections were documented.
A willful violation is one where L&I finds evidence of plain indifference or an intentional disregard to a hazard or rule. A serious violation is one where there is a substantial probability that worker death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition.
As a result of the violations, Alki Construction LLC has been identified as a severe violator and is subject to follow-up inspections to determine if the conditions still exist.
The employer has 15 working days to appeal. Penalty money paid in connection with a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.
Visit L&I’s Trenching & Excavation topic page to learn more about trenching safety.
As reported here on January 26th, a major rescue response was called to the scene in the 3000 block of 36th SW before 11 am that day. By 11:30, though, it had shifted from a rescue attempt to a recovery operation. As we reported at the time, the contractor had no previous record of violations.
P.S. Following up with L&I, we’ve learned that although the news release about the citation was published (and is dated) today, the department actually issued the citation in July and delivered it August 20th, so the deadline for an appeal is September 12th.
(WSB file photo)
Summer-ish fun isn’t all over yet – some big events are yet to come, and today brings the official announcement of one of them: WestFest, 6-10 pm Friday, September 16th, and 10 am-10 pm Saturday, September 17th:
Please be a part of West Seattle’s ‘Carnival of Community’, brought to you by Holy Rosary School! Come experience great local music, eat delicious food, race up, around, or down the inatable rides, climb the rock wall, or spin until you’re dizzy! There is so much to do and see, including bingo, a cake walk with scrumptious prizes, a kids’ talent show and carnival-style games galore. There’s a beer garden for adults too — there is truly something for everyone at WestFest!
BLOW-OUT FUN WRISTBANDS
Take unlimited turns on our wide selection of rollicking rides on Friday (9/16) and Saturday (9/17) with an activity wristband.
Back by demand… Toddler Time from 10 am-12 pm on Saturday (9/17), where kids 4 and under get exclusive access to 3 rides for a reduced price, when purchasing a wristband.
Discount-priced wristbands will be available in advance at Holy Rosary’s Pancake Breakfast starting at 8 am on Sunday, September 11th. The prices (advance and day-of) are on the festival flyer. The festival is held on the school grounds, on 42nd SW north of SW Genesee.
Meet Erika Norris. The accomplished Seattle-residing swimmer is going to try this Sunday to become the second person to swim from Bremerton to Alki Point Lighthouse. Word of her plan comes from another area open-water swimmer, Andrew Malinak, who says the first person to do it was Amy Hiland in 1959. Erika, like Andrew, is a regular Alki Beach swimmer, “and is very familiar with the challenges posed by the cold water, weather, and currents in this part of Puget Sound,” he says, adding in his announcement that the plan for her attempt at the 10.4-mile crossing should go like this:
Erika will begin in Bremerton around 10 am, and expects to land at the low tide near 2 pm. She will be supported by two boats and a crew of four as she traverses the ferry lanes in Rich Passage and the main shipping channel off Alki Point. The swim will be sanctioned and recorded by the Northwest Open Water Swimming Association (NOWSA), a 501c3 non-profit promoting the sport of marathon swim in the Northwest.
9:21 AM: We’re at South Park Community Center, where Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre are about to announce what’s billed as “new investments to reduce barriers and increase access for residents to the City’s community center system … part of Mayor Murray’s proposed 2017 budget.”
It’s been five years now since Murray’s predecessor, Mike McGinn, came to High Point Community Center (WSB coverage here) to deliver news of big cuts and changes that left the community-center system reeling. Then in March 2014, Murray visited Hiawatha Community Center (WSB coverage here) to announce the Park District proposal, subsequently passed by voters. It included promises of funding for “Community Center rehabilitation and development.”
He begins, “I’m here to announce a series of proposals and changes that we will send to the City Council (as part of the budget process),” with funding from the Park District levy, “stabilizing our ability to fund our park system.” He says the proposals will add staff and/or hours to nine community centers, focused on “underserved” areas. Free programs and elimination of drop-in fees at certain centers will be part of the proposals. Here at South Park CC, “we propose to expand operating hour and explore innovative partnerships with the community … to develop culturally relevant programming … In the long term, Parks and Recreation will undertake a long-term planning process in 2017-2018 for the (entire system)” to find out how to “better serve” the people in the city. He also mentions performance measurement “so people can go online and be sure we are meeting the goals in the process.”
9:27 AM: The mayor then goes on to attack the “divisive rhetoric” heard from presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday and says that Trump’s proposals “would bring our state’s economy to a halt,” among other things, “if we turn away immigrants.” He then turns the podium over to Parks Superintendent Aguirre, who mentions that he himself is an immigrant. He says he has seen the need for what the mayor is proposing. And he has warm words for the 100+ employees who work in the community centers around the city each day. “This plan at its core is about equity,” Aguirre adds. He says the elimination of fees for some drop-in programs may not seem big to some, but for many families, it will be a huge improvement in accessibility. He talks about scholarships provided for the first time this year for adults as well as children, and about the importance of partnerships. “We know that every community in Seattle is going to be excited when they see this plan.” (We’re still awaiting the document with details.) He next introduces South Park community advocate Paulina Lopez, who expresses gratitude about what a difference this will make for the community.
In media Q/A, we asked about what this means in the context of the cuts made five years ago. The mayor’s reply: “Our hope is to get back to a level of service that we saw prior to the Great Recession – but that doesn’t mean the exact same programs – the question is what are the programs that this (fast-changing city) needs? We’re seeing two things that are different from a generation ago – an increasein children, and in people who are choosing to retire her. So given that we have stabilized funding, what is the best place to invest that funding? Superintendent Aguirre has spent a year evaluating how we need to reorganize our department and is now going to evaluate how we spend this additional new money.”
Superintendent Aguirre, asked what this change means for South Park CC, said “standardizing hours … (which will become) 10-8 daily Monday-Fridays, representing an increase from 40 to 65 hours that the center will be open weekly. “We’re also adding more staff – making some that’s part time, full time, and we’ve added an additional staff member.” And he said that staff will be working more closely with community members to be tuned in to their needs.
9:43 AM: The event has wrapped up. Though citywide media is here too, there’s no hard-copy news release so far, and the full list but we’ve obtained the full document to see which West Seattle-area centers are involved. No West Seattle centers are proposed for increased hours, but both Alki and Delridge are proposed for increased staffing. We’ll have a few more details as we go through the document.
10:14 AM: Here’s the full document titled “Community Center Strategic Plan.” We’re searching it for other references to West Seattle’s community centers. For one, it explains that while High Point CC might have been eligible for the equity pilot program that is proposed for South Park and four other (non-WS) centers, it wasn’t chosen because HPCC “is currently piloting other promising equity-focused initiatives, with partners such as the Seattle Housing Authority and the UW School of Public Health.” Another mention of note is Hiawatha Community Center, proposed for $1.2 million in maintenance/renovation work, following its previously announced evaluation (along with seven other centers around the city).
Though you might not feel ready for fall until after next Monday’s holiday – the new month starts right out of the box with a return to some routines, including community meetings. Here are highlights for today and tonight:
FAMILY STORY TIME: 1 pm at High Point Library, bring the preschoolers and toddlers for stories, songs, and rhymes. (35th SW/SW Raymond)
DELRIDGE GROCERY FARMSTAND: Continuing through the end of September, it’s the 4-7 pm farmstand featuring fresh-grown produce and volunteers from the Delridge Grocery Coop, next to the Delridge P-Patch.
WEST SEATTLE POKEMON GO MEETUP: Seattle App Academy (WSB sponsor) “will be hosting a Pokemon Go meetup, in everyone’s favorite place to hunt Pokemon, Lincoln Park! We will throw down lures, and host a variety of activities, so bring your Pokemon cards and your phones! We will meet by Colman Pool, on the north side of the building. Today, 4-6 pm, open to grades 3-12. Feel free to drop in! Please Note: This is a family friendly meet up in a public park. Participants may come and go as they please. SAA volunteers will be available to lead free activities, however, children that require adult supervision must attend with a parent/guardian or responsible sibling.”
2ND DESIGN REVIEW FOR PCC-SITE PROJECT: 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction, the mixed-use project for the PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) site in Admiral, 2749 California SW, goes back before the Southwest Design Review Board. The proposal is for 112 apartments over a new PCC store. As previewed here last Sunday, you can see the new “design packet” here; our coverage of the first review in July is here. The meeting includes a public-comment period. (SW Oregon/California SW)
NORTH HIGHLINE UNINCORPORATED COUNCIL: If you are among our unincorporated-area readers in White Center, North Shorewood, Top Hat, and vicinity, your all-volunteer community council meets tonight at 7 pm at the North Highline Fire Station in WC. The North Highline UAC‘s agenda – including a discussion of what’s in the King County “comprehensive plan” – is on the group’s website. (1243 SW 112th)
DLO3: Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio brings a “unique ’60s and ’70s vintage-soul sound” to Parliament Tavern at 9 tonight. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7:06 AM: Good morning!
BACK-TO-SCHOOL REMINDERS: Today is the first day for Our Lady of Guadalupe, and also for Highline Public Schools in White Center and other points south. Already in session: Hope Lutheran School (42nd/Oregon), Holy Rosary, and Seattle Lutheran. Our full list of the “early” wave of school reopenings is here. … Seattle Public Schools start classes next Wednesday; school bus drivers are out this week rehearsing their routes.
LABOR DAY PREVIEW: Announced for next Monday – West Seattle Water Taxi will be on a Sunday schedule … Washington State Ferries’ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route will be on a Sunday schedule … Metro buses will be on Sunday schedules.
8:11 AM: In comments, Trickycoolj points out that the Highland Park Way SW repaving project was NOT done by day’s end yesterday as projected by SDOT, so be aware that it’s still a factor today. We’ll be checking the area around midmorning.
8:30 AM: Trouble on the 1st Avenue South Bridge, tweets SDOT:
— seattledot (@seattledot) September 1, 2016
9:17 AM: The 1st Avenue S. Bridge crash is clear, per SDOT.