month : 09/2016 302 results

Landmark status sought for two West Seattle Junction buildings


(WSB photos taken the day of the March 2016 SWSHS announcement)

9:49 AM: Almost seven months after announcing that it would seek landmark status for two “iconic” buildings in the heart of the West Seattle Junction (WSB coverage here), the Southwest Seattle Historical Society has taken the next step in the process. Here’s the announcement just sent:

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society this week submitted its landmark nominations to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board for the two West Seattle Junction buildings that have been the focus of its “We Love The Junction” campaign since last March.

The nominations were submitted for two buildings at the intersection of California Avenue Southwest and Southwest Alaska Street:

— The Campbell Building (primary tenant Cupcake Royale), at the northeast corner.

— The Crescent-Hamm Building (primary tenant Easy Street Records), at the northwest corner. (The building is known as the Hamm Building but is identified in the nomination as the Crescent-Hamm Building.)

In the West Seattle Junction Historical Survey released last March, the two buildings were identified at the top of the list of potentially eligible Seattle landmarks in the Junction.

The complete nominations can be seen on the historical society’s website.

The nominations were prepared by consultants Flo Lentz and Sarah Martin, whose work was funded by a grant from 4Culture.

The Campbell Building nomination, at 59 pages, and the Crescent-Hamm Building nomination, at 54 pages, provide a detailed history of the two structures, including information that has not surfaced since they were constructed.

For instance, the Campbell Building, thought to have been built in 1918 based on previous research, actually was built in two parts in 1911 and 1920. (The Crescent-Hamm Building was built in 1926.)

Setting Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board hearings for the nominations may take a month or two, said Clay Eals, executive director. Whether the hearings take place in one meeting or two is yet to be determined by the city, he said.

The nominations were submitted on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. On the same day, the historical society notified representatives of the owners of the Campbell Building and the Crescent-Hamm Building that the nominations were submitted and provided the web link to the nominations.

For the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board to designate a building a city landmark, it must meet at least one of six criteria related to its association with a historical person or event, architectural style, designer or cultural heritage or status as an “easily identifiable visual feature” of its community.

In coming weeks, the “We Love The Junction” Task Force of the historical society will plan its approach to the nomination hearings. Anyone wishing to join the task force and assist in the campaign can contact Peder Nelson, task-force co-chair at

Agendas and other documentation related to Landmarks Board meetings can be found here, though, as mentioed in the SWSHS announcement above, nothing related to this is scheduled yet.

P.S. Wondering which West Seattle buildings are already official city landmarks? They’re all on this map.

ADDED 10:48 AM: Some are asking in comments, what about other Junction buildings? As mentioned briefly in the SWSHS announcement above, this was preceded by the release of the results of a historical survey of Junction buildings, including these, which were considered the most likely to qualify (here’s our March report on the survey). Curious about your favorite Junction building(s)? Here’s the section of the survey document that addressed each of dozens of buildings.

Where to find city information

You’re probably here because you appreciate being informed. You probably have other favorite stops around the web, too. And if you are in the “there’s no such thing as too much information” category … you might be interested in this city post we just happened onto by browsing It’s a long list of ways to get information from and about specific city departments, resulting from a recent “civic tech lunch hour” at which attendees were asked what kind of information they want from the city.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday updates & alerts

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)

6:45 AM: Good morning! No incidents reported in/from West Seattle so far. Autumn officially arrives at 7:21 am.

SUNDAY REMINDER: Don’t forget that the Seattle Summer Parkways event on Sunday will include parking/traffic changes on Harbor and Alki Avenues all day – here are the details.

FOLLOWUP: Revisiting East Admiral illegal-tree-cutting site

After Tuesday’s news of city lawsuits in the case of illegal tree-cutting on public land in East Admiral, some asked what the site looks like now. We don’t have September 2015 photos for a true comparison, so keep in mind that any area with deciduous trees will look dramatically different between the end of winter and the end of summer. But here are the closest “now and then” shots:


Above is our Wednesday afternoon view looking west/upslope after walking into the city land north of CityView/34th SW. You can barely pick out the tops of a couple of the residences (note the chimney) clearly visible in our March photo taken from that same trail:

(March WSB photo)

Looking the other way, this time, to the east:


That was the Wednesday afternoon view from an angle similar to, but from a higher perspective than, this one photographed in March:

(March 2016 WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)

Note that our photos involve what the city calls “Area C,” which is the subject of the “southern site” lawsuit against Kostas and Linda Kyrimis and “John and Jane Does.” The “northern site” lawsuit involves “Area A,” which is much less accessible, aside from a view looking downslope from the 35th SW street end, which is where we took this photo Tuesday afternoon:

(We haven’t found a photo with a March view from that spot.) Here’s the graphic from the lawsuit documentation, showing where Areas A and C are:


Meantime, we are watching court files to see what tentative scheduling will be set for these cases to proceed in court.

ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON: We did obtain the case numbers for the lawsuits today, and the online files verify that for starters, as with most if not all civil cases, these have tentative trial dates that are a year away. Along the way, however, motions and hearings pop up, and that’s what we’ll be watching for.

West Seattle scene: Last sunset of summer 2016


Thanks to JayDee for sharing the photo of summer’s last sunset. Fall arrives at 7:21 am our time tomorrow (Thursday); as previewed here last weekend, you can celebrate by joining Alice Enevoldsen for her 30th quarterly sunset watch at Solstice Park – sunset’s expected just before 7 pm, and Alice suggests you arrive around 6:35 pm. (The forecast sounds promising.)

REMINDER: Seattle Parks dog-plan hearing Thursday

One last reminder in case this is an issue about which you feel strongly: Tomorrow night is the public hearing for the draft citywide People, Dogs, and Parks Strategic Plan. The citywide Board of Park Commissioners is presiding over the public hearing, 6:30 pm at Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill (330 19th Ave. E.). Here are the details, as first published in August on the Parks Department’s Parkways website; we first wrote about the draft plan when it was made public back in June, including the improvements it recommends for West Seattle’s only off-leash park, Westcrest Park in Highland Park.

P.S. If you can’t make it to the public hearing, you can comment via e-mail – send your thoughts to Rachel.Acosta@Seattle.Gov by October 14th.

FOLLOWUP: 2nd historic-photo mural up at 35th/Avalon

On Tuesday, we showed you the first photo mural to go up on the north side of Aura on 35th SW south of Avalon. The management told us another one would be up today, so we just went over to look, and it is:


As noted in yesterday’s story and in a comment today by the SODO firm that treated the historic photos for installation, Grand Image, these 4-story-high installations are based on historic photos – the ferry West Seattle from 1907, and the trolley from 1930 – obtained via the Log House Museum.

Hate-Free Delridge: After Saturday gathering, set your calendar for October 15th vigil

With three days to go until the “party with a purpose” that officially kicks off the work of Hate-Free Delridge – born from community concern following the hate crime targeting a Pigeon Point family – the group has another announcement: A vigil next month. From Stu Hennessey on behalf of HFD:

Hate-Free Delridge is calling for a “Stand Against Hate/Candlelight Vigil” on October 15th at 6 pm. The vigil will take place at the Alki Statue of Liberty (Alki Ave. SW and 61st Ave. SW).

This is an opportunity for those who feel our local and national dynamics have drifted toward a pattern of hate as a rationalization for actions by government or citizens. Most do not feel they have a voice to reject that premise.

If you missed the earlier announcements about this Saturday’s event, it’s at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), doors open at 4, free dinner at 5, gathering continues until 8 pm, all welcome.

New #1 car-prowl hotspot, student bullying, and more, @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council:

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Toplines from last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the Southwest Precinct, first one since June:

Read More

UPDATE: Police searching Delridge/High Point for warrant suspect


12:23 PM: Thanks for the tips – if you’re seeing police in North Delridge (we’ve heard 26th SW/SW Graham and the 5900 block of Delridge Way, as well as points west), they’re looking for someone they were trying to arrest in connection with a warrant, not a current incident. Apparently the suspect fled as police were moving in. Helicopter involvement too, tipsters are telling us.

12:33 PM: Our crew has arrived in the area and has confirmed the same thing – no info on what kind of warrant (except that it’s for a felony case). The ground search includes a K-9 team.

JUNCTION NOTES: Parking-lot work; one coffee shop sold, another for sale; more…

West Seattle Junction notes:

PARKING-LOT WORK: On an errand this morning, we discovered that the southwestern most free-parking lot is closed today for pavement work.


The work should be done tomorrow, according to Lora Swift, director of the West Seattle Junction Association. If you can’t tell from the photo, this is the lot on 44th SW just north of SW Edmunds.

(AFTERNOON UPDATE: WSJA says the work will be done by 5 pm today.)

COFFEE SHOP SOLD: By the way, Swift – whose position leading the WSJA just became permanent – is out of the coffee-shop business. She has sold Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (4410 California SW; WSB sponsor) after 16 years. You might know its new owners from their other business, Flying Apron, the vegan/gluten-free bakery whose goods have been among Hotwire’s offerings for 6+ years. The coffee-shop name is staying the same.

COFFEE SHOP FOR SALE: Meantime, across the street, Red Cup Espresso (4451 California SW) is up for sale. Co-proprietor Samir Baillie tells WSB, “I have recently accepted another job, and my wife Breanna wants to concentrate on her other growing business, so we are desiring to pass the torch on to another coffee enthusiast! They can contact us at: – please, no walk-in/phone inquiries!” Samir and Breanna bought Red Cup five years ago.

GLOW MEDISPA OPEN HOUSE: After moving to The Junction over the summer, Glow Medispa (4409 California SW) is having an open house tomorrow, 4-8 pm, to officially introduce itself to neighbors and other interested community members. More info here.

What’s up for your West Seattle Wednesday

(Barred owl, photographed in Lincoln Park by Mark Wangerin)

Lots on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar for today/tonight – here are some of the highlights:

PLAY AND LEARN: Ages 4 weeks to 5 years are welcome to join West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) staff at Lincoln Park, near the zipline, 12:30 pm-2:30 pm. Free! (8603 Fauntleroy Way SW)

COWORKING MEETUP: As previewed this morning – noon-1:15 pm at West Seattle Office Junction (WSB sponsor). Bring your lunch! (6040 California SW)

COOKBOOK SIGNING: 3:30-5:30 pm at Admiral Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor), meet Amy Pennington, showcasing her cookbook “Fresh Pantry.” (2320 42nd SW)

HIGH POINT MARKET GARDEN: Second-to-last chance for fresh-picked produce at the farm stand this year, 4-7 pm. (32nd SW/SW Juneau)

SOMALI STORYTIME: 5 pm at High Point Library. (35th SW/SW Raymond)

‘DOG DAYS’ AT ARBOR HEIGHTS SWIM & TENNIS CLUB: Second day for the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club to raise $ for its teams by inviting dogs to swim after the pool has closed its season for humans. 5-7 pm; details in our calendar listing. (11003 31st SW)

DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOODS DISTRICT COUNCIL: As previewed last night, the DNDC has invited City Councilmembers to talk with them about district councils’ future. Also on the agenda, ranking Neighborhood Street Fund projects now that SDOT has done its assessment of the community-generated proposals. 7 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. (4408 Delridge Way SW)

WORDSWEST LITERARY SERIES: 7-9 pm, WordsWest kicks off its new season at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) with “Library Lit: It Takes a Community,” featuring Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall & friends. More info in our calendar listing. (5612 California SW)

AMATEUR STANDUP AND STORYTELLING NIGHT: Also previewed here this morning, 7-10 pm at WS Office Junction, as part of Seattle Coworking Week. (6040 California SW)

MORE NIGHTLIFE and other listings on our complete calendar – find it here!

Seattle Coworking Week continues: What’s free/fun @ WS Office Junction

September 21, 2016 8:41 am
|    Comments Off on Seattle Coworking Week continues: What’s free/fun @ WS Office Junction
 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

(WSB photo: WSOJ co-proprietor Christine coworking with husband Marco)

Seattle Coworking Week continues, and so does the celebration at West Seattle’s only coworking center, Office Junction (WSB sponsor):

Free coworking continues 9 am-5 pm today, tomorrow, and Friday, just bring your laptop; drop in for an hour or two, or all day. Coworkers range from entrepreneurs to telecommuters – great way to skip the bridge!

Weekly community meetup noon-1:15 pm today – tour WSOJ while you’re there

Amateur Standup and Storytelling Night 7-10 pm tonight: “Not entirely sure what to expect
from this one? Neither are we. Bring your standup routine, spoken-word-mind bender, funny story, or improv idea and let’s just see what happens! We will provide drinks and light snacks.”

Costume Pub Crawl in Morgan Junction Friday night, meet at Office Junction 7:30 pm “dressed up with your favorite funny hat, feather boa, Superhero suit, or just some animal ears.

West Seattle Office Junction is at 6040 California SW.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday updates & alerts

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)

6:57 AM: Good morning! No incidents in/from West Seattle right now.

STADIUM ZONE TODAY: The Mariners play a day game (12:40 pm vs. Toronto).

SUNDAY REMINDER: Seattle Summer Parkways event means parking/traffic changes on Harbor and Alki Avenues all day Sunday – we published the newest info here last night.

7:29 AM: Crash reported at Delridge and Genesee, but the SFD response cleared quickly, so no major injuries.

7:57 AM: No further word on that, nor any other incidents.

WEST SEATTLE GREENWAY SURVEY: If you have a few minutes, the city has a new survey. It was billed as being about helping choose a route for the next West Seattle greenway; we took a quick look and it includes a lot of other questions about transportation and how you use it. The survey starts here.

8:47 AM: Still “normal.” Another bit of transportation-related news:

ART FOR NEW DOWNTOWN WATER TAXI TERMINAL: When Colman Dock is overhauled, Pier 50 – where the West Seattle and Vashon water taxis dock – will be too. Just found this link via Twitter – an artist has been commissioned for a public-art project at the new dock.

Neighborhood District Councils’ future: City Council committee briefing Wednesday

Two months after Mayor Murray announced his plan to end city support for the 13 Neighborhood District Councils in Seattle and invent a new “engagement” strategy, a City Council committee will get a related briefing tomorrow.

This news comes tonight from the office of City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. She had requested the briefing, and, her office says, they just discovered it at the end of tomorrow’s seven-pages-long agenda for the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee, of which she is vice chair. (The meeting is set to start at 9:30 am; this item is expected around 11:30 am.)

The briefing, to be led by Department of Neighborhoods director Kathy Nyland, is specifically about her department’s response to the council’s request last year that the DoN review how the new City Council districts would interact with the longstanding 13 neighborhood districts. The mayor didn’t wait for the report to come out in mid-July (WSB coverage here) before making his surprise announcement about ending support for the Neighborhood District Councils.

His announcement set a September 26th deadline – less than a week away – to “develop a proposed City Council resolution with mayoral concurrence that memorializes the community outreach and engagement principles outlined in” (the mayor’s announcement), and that would officially cut off city support ($500/year for each all-volunteer district council’s expenses, plus some city staff time). The agenda for the committee meeting doesn’t include any such document, so we don’t know its status.

Later tomorrow, by the way, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council – whose members are from community councils and other organizations in eastern West Seattle – will have its monthly meeting (7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW), and the district councils’ future was already on the agenda, as previewed here. Along with Councilmember Herbold, Councilmembers Tim Burgess – who chairs the committee that’s hosting tomorrow’s briefing – Lorena González, and Mike O’Brien are likely to be there. You’re invited, too.

P.S. The district council for western West Seattle, Southwest DC, already had its September meeting (WSB coverage here), and voted to continue on as an organization even if city support is formally severed.

COUNTDOWN: What you need to know about Seattle Summer Parkways on Alki this Sunday

September 20, 2016 9:06 pm
|    Comments Off on COUNTDOWN: What you need to know about Seattle Summer Parkways on Alki this Sunday
 |   West Seattle festivals | West Seattle news


More details tonight as we look ahead to Sunday’s Seattle Summer Parkways – the latest incarnation of “car-free day,” though it’s not really “car-free” – on Alki . Official event time is 11 am-4 pm, but things get started earlier with hundreds of Orca Half (Marathon) runners leaving Don Armeni Boat Ramp, heading westbound, at 9:30 am.

First, here are the specific times and locations for parking and other vehicle restrictions on Sunday. As the map shows, the heart of Alki will be entirely closed to motorized-vehicle traffic, while from 56th to Don Armeni, one lane will be closed, one open:

-There will be no waterside parking along Alki Ave SW from 63rd Ave SW to Don Armeni Boat Ramp from 8 am to 5 pm on 09/25

-Parking will be allowed on the residential side of the street from 55th Ave SW to Don Armeni boat ramp

-Local access to vehicles will be maintained from 56th Ave SW to Don Armeni boat ramp via one lane

(ADDED WEDNESDAY) The Metro Route 50 reroute will be:

L 60 Av SW
R SW Hinds
R 63 Av SW
R SW Admiral Wy
S SW Admiral and 61 Av SW (temp terminal)

We’re still awaiting word on the Water Taxi shuttle route(s).

(BACK TO ORIGINAL REPORT) In addition to the long list of “partners” that’ll be providing activities/information/etc., mentioned on the SSP West Seattle page, the time-specific event schedules are now available, too:


9:30 AM – Orca Half Marathon begins at Don Armeni Boat Ramp.
11 AM – Kick off Summer Parkways with bike decorating & Kids’ Bike Parade from FamilyBike Seattle
11 AM-4 PM – Disaster Relief Trials begin at the Alki Bathhouse
12-3 PM – West Seattle Summer Walking Tour with Feet First. Meet at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. RSVP on Meetup.
1-2 PM – Behind the scenes bicycle tour of Summer Parkways with the event organizers. Meet at Don Armeni Boat Ramp, where free Pronto bike rentals will be available.
1-3 PM – Free ice cream at CityScoop near 61st SW & Alki Ave SW.

MAIN STAGE SCHEDULE (61st Ave SW and Alki Ave SW)

11:00 AM – Disaster Relief Bike Trials launch
11:15 AM – Mayor Murray, Scott Kubly, and others open the event
12:00 PM – Zumba Kids with Jeannette
1:00 PM – Ephrata takes the stage to play Dreamy Shoegaze
2:00 PM – Groove Powers provides music to dance for all

The Disaster Relief Bike Trials are still open for participation, and the folks at West Seattle Be Prepared tell us that four local “hubs” will be activated so this really serves as a preparedness exercise as well as a fun activity – read about it on their website here. And if you have any questions/points of confusion about Seattle Summer Parkways, please comment or otherwise let us know, as we’ll be publishing more updates before Sunday and will be happy to ask organizers more questions.

West Seattle Transportation Committee to talk 35th SW & more on Thursday

As September continues, so does the new season of community meetings – and the next group to resume its schedule is the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. The WSTC just announced what’s on its agenda this Thursday:

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition hopes you are refreshed after summer and ready to get back to work! Our first meeting after summer recess is this Thursday, September 22nd at 6:30 p.m. We meet at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.

Esteemed guests who will be joining us include Jim Curtin from SDOT to talk about the 35th Ave SW project and Angela Brady from the Office Of The Waterfront for a general talk about the post-Viaduct world. And undoubtedly we will also discuss ST3 and WSTC’s role (if any) in the initiative process.

We hope you can join us for what should be a fascinating meeting!

(It’s been a month and a half since the unveiling of options for Phase 2 of the 35th SW Corridor Safety Project – but the final plan hasn’t come out yet.) The meeting site is at 6400 Sylvan Way.

TRAFFIC ALERT UPDATE: Train-car crash scene cleared

September 20, 2016 5:28 pm
|    Comments Off on TRAFFIC ALERT UPDATE: Train-car crash scene cleared
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

5:28 PM: Thanks for all the texts – surface traffic between SODO and West Seattle is still being affected by a crash involving a Sounder train that happened at 3rd and Holgate about an hour ago. Holgate is still closed, according to SDOT, and will be TFN, and with a Mariners’ game tonight, that’s extra congestion, so don’t take the surface route.

5:46 PM: Holgate has just reopened.

West Seattle art: Historic-photo murals going up on new 35th/Avalon building

Thanks to Eddie for the tip and the photo:


The first of two photo murals went up today on the north side of Aura, the new mixed-use building on 35th south of Avalon. This one is on the northwest side of the building, and the other one is scheduled for installation on the northeast side tomorrow, according to building management, with whom we inquired after receiving Eddie’s photo:

The images are historic photos which we received from the Log House Museum in West Seattle. Both depict historic transportation methods to and from West Seattle, which we felt was important for our location, directly adjacent to the RapidRide stop. The first image is the historic W. Seattle Ferry (photo circa 1907), and the second is the historic Spokane Street (trolley) (photo circa 1930). The digital artist who gave the images a modern twist with the “pixelation” at the corners was a group in SODO called Grand Image.

The aforementioned RapidRide stop was restored just last week.

‘We never give up’: Seattle Police announce West Seattle murder ‘cold case’ closed

Just published on SPD Blotter by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee – news that a West Seattle murder case dating back to 1984 is now closed. 36-year-old Michael Vanderpool was shot and killed in an alley in Highland Park. An SPD detective reviewing cold-case files this summer – who says, “We want to make it clear to suspects, we never give up” – tracked down witnesses and determined who the killer was. Read the whole story on SPD Blotter here.

UPDATE: Lawsuits filed in illegal West Seattle tree-cutting; criminal prosecution still possible, City Attorney says

(UPDATED 4:45 PM with comment from lawyer for two of the people the city is suing)

(April WSB photo – south end of area where trees were cut)

12:04 PM: Last week, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold told the 34th District Democrats that she’d learned the City Attorney’s Office would have something to say this week about last winter’s illegal tree-cutting in West Seattle’s Duwamish Head Greenbelt.

Here it is:

The Seattle Times just broke the news that the city has filed lawsuits “seeking more than $1.6 million in combined damages and fines.”

We’re following up with the City Attorney’s Office and checking court files.

12:15 PM: We’ve obtained City Attorney Pete Holmes‘s statement from his office:

City Attorney Pete Holmes: “Earlier this year, the City learned of unpermitted improper tree cutting on City property in West Seattle near the 3200 block of 35th Ave. SW. Today, the City filed two lawsuits, naming people the City believes were involved in the tree cutting. The property is in an environmentally critical area on a steep slope. Approximately 150 trees of varying sizes, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, were felled.

“My office has been involved in the City’s response. We launched an investigation to assess the extent of damage and identify the responsible parties. To that end, we retained a consulting arborist to assess the damage and prepare a comprehensive restoration plan.

“No one has yet come forward to give the City the full story of what happened despite SPD’s best efforts and extensive investigation. However, we are satisfied that we now know enough to proceed with civil lawsuits. We expect to learn that additional people, beyond those named in the lawsuits, were involved with the cutting as the suits progress. Between the lawsuits, the City seeks over $1.6 million in damages and fines. The City seeks relief on several grounds, including timber trespass, damage to land, trespass, negligence, environmentally critical areas violations, violations of the parks code and violations of the city’s tree and vegetation management in public places code.

“On its damages theories, the City generally alleges that the defendants and/or their agents cut down trees on City property without permission when they should have known better. The extensive tree cutting damaged the trees and the underlying land. On its code violation theories, because the cutting took place on City property and some occurred in City right of way, the cutters or their employers were required to obtain a number of permits before they cut any trees. No permits were issued to authorize the cutting and penalties and fines are therefore appropriate.

“The SPD criminal investigation of this matter is ongoing, and it is possible that SPD will refer this matter to the King County Prosecutor or my office in the future for potential criminal prosecution.”

We also have the court documents and are going through them for additional details. More to come …

12:27 PM: Two suits are filed. The first one, involving “the northern site” (off 35th), names Stanley Harrelson and Mary Harrelson, who are residents next to one of the cut zones, and Martin Riemer and Karrie Riemer, who live across the street to the east from the Harrelsons. That suit also names Forrest Bishop and John Russo, who the city alleges “were hired by the Harrelsons and Riemers to cut trees on city property located adjacent and/or across from (theirs).” The same suit also names “Defendants John and Jane Does 1-10 (who) may have retained Bishop, Russo, or others to cut trees on (two city parcels) or may themselves have cut trees on those parcels.”

(added) This suit alleges that “55 trees 6 inches in caliper or greater were cut down on the Parcels in Exhibit 1 Area A (which) are located in an environmentally critical area that contains steep slopes and landslide-prone areas. None of Defendants sought permission from any City department to cut trees on the Parcels. The cutting of trees increased the likelihood of landslides on the Parcels, and thereby damaged the land itself.” It alleges six “causes of action”:

*Timber trespass
*Damage to land
*Violations of the Environmentally Critical Areas Code
*Unauthorized use of park property

The damages sought in this suit are listed as:

… a principal judgment against Defendants, jointly and severally, including treble damages of $678,180 on the City’s timber trespass claim or in such other amount as may be proven at trial; penalties in the amount of $275,000 for cutting down 55 trees of six inches or more in diameter and an additional $500 for each tree cut …

… as well as other costs including legal fees and “enforcement costs.”

The suit involving “the southern site” (off City View) names Kostas Kyrimis and Linda Kyrimis, as well as “defendants Jane and John Does 1-14 (who) resided at and owned property within a two-block radius of the intersection of 35th Ave SW and SW Hinds Street and had views that were previously impaired by trees … (and) Defendants Jane and John Does 15-20 (who) were hired by the Kyrimises and/or Jane and John Does 1-14 to cut trees on property owned by the City …”

(added) This suit alleges that “72 trees over 6 inches in caliper” were cut in the area involved and makes the same allegations as the other suit, that no permission was sought, and that damage included the increased likelihood of landslides on the steep slopes.

Along with the same six “causes” as the northern-area lawsuit (listed above), this one adds a seventh:

*Tree and vegetation management in public places

And the damages sought in this suit, along with various costs such as enforcement and attorneys’ fees:

… A principal judgment against Defendants, jointly and severally, including treble damages of $362,760 on the City’s timber trespass claim or in such other amount as may be proven at trial; penalties in the amount of $360,000 for cutting down 72 trees over six inches in caliper and an additional $500 for each tree cut pursuant to SMC 25.09.460.A; land restoration costs …

We’ll add any comment we get from those targeted in these two lawsuits.

1:32 PM: Councilmember Herbold’s statement:

“I thank the City Attorney’s Office for filing two civil lawsuits this morning to address the illegal cutting of 150 trees in West Seattle earlier this year. I appreciate the use of a full range of the legal remedies available for civil suits, including timber trespass, which allows for 3x damages.

“The $1.6 million total in damages and fines sought by the City speaks to the seriousness of the claims. The damages and penalties must be significant enough to deter this kind of activity in the future, so that those with financial means don’t see unauthorized tree cutting as a cost-effective way to increase their views and property values.

“These trees played an important role in maintaining soil stability in an environmentally critical area, and lessened the risk of landslides onto a major arterial, SW Admiral Way. They also helped maintain air quality by absorbing carbon—an important issue in West Seattle, which sits adjacent to SODO and the Duwamish industrial area.

“I understand the Seattle Police Department’s criminal investigation is ongoing. My hope is that the Department will eventually be able to establish probable cause for pursuing criminal charges. However, I appreciate the difficulty they face, given that persons believed to be involved are declining to cooperate with investigators, and the legal standard needed to establish probable cause for criminal charges and to prove those charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”

ADDED 4:45 PM: Just received a statement from Clayton Graham, lawyer for two of the people the city is suing:

We are disappointed by the City Attorney’s decision to file the lawsuit today. Our clients, Stan and Mary Harrelson, deeply regret the tree cutting which happened next to their property. At no point did our clients request, or condone, the extent of the work that was done by the contractor.

The Harrelsons have acknowledged their role in this mistake but the City has been non-responsive to our attempts to reach a settlement in this matter. We believe the damages sought in the suit are excessive, given our clients’ limited role in the cutting that took place. While the lawsuit claims that none of the homeowners has come forward with the full story, our clients have fully cooperated with the City’s efforts since they, themselves, disclosed this work to the City early this year, and hired a former City of Seattle arborist to develop a restoration plan. The Harrelsons remain ready and willing to work with the City to remedy this matter.

We had published a statement from Graham in this March 28th story on behalf of his then-unidentified clients, saying they and also-then-unidentified neighbors had “hired a landscaping business to top and prune some trees to improve the view from their respective residences” and that his clients had come back from a trip to find out the landscapers had gone beyond their mandate.

UPDATE: Simultaneous fire alarms, but NO fires, at three West Seattle schools

11:31 AM: We’ve been checking on an odd situation from early today – automatic fire alarms going off simultaneously at three Seattle Public Schools buildings in West Seattle. Between 2:41 am and 2:45 am, the alarms went off, and Seattle Fire Department units were dispatched to, West Seattle High School, Madison Middle School, and Genesee Hill Elementary. After e-mailed questions from readers who either heard the alarms or noticed the three adjacent listings on the automated real-time 911 log, we followed up this morning with both SFD and SPD. SFD verified, first, that its crews found no sign of fire and no other obvious reason the alarms had gone off. SPS spokesperson Luke Duecy tells WSB, “According to maintenance, there was a pressure change in the city’s water system that triggered the fire alarms. It was investigated by security and maintenance and cleared. Systems are functioning.” (We’re now checking with Seattle Public Utilities about the pressure change, but in the meantime, wanted to share what we’d found out so far.)

4:25 PM: Andy Ryan from Seattle Public Utilities says they’re still investigating this: “It is true that a sudden change in water pressure can trigger a fire alarm. Some alarm systems interpret low pressure as high flow — indicating that a sprinkler system is going off. In the case of alarms sounding at West Seattle schools today, it is possible that the problem was caused when we switched pumps this morning at our Spokane Street Pump Station. Our system data shows outlet pressure from the pump station went from 162 pounds per square inch (PSI) down to a minimum of 126 PSI, and then settled out at 151 PSI within 15 minutes of the pump switchover. That pressure drop — not huge — might have caused the fire alarms to go off. However, other nearby school alarm systems did not sound. Lafayette Elementary is essentially across the street from West Seattle High School and its alarm didn’t go off. The alarms at Schmitz Park Elementary, a block away from Madison Middle, didn’t go off either.”

West Seattle Tuesday: Crime Prevention Council; ‘Dog Days’ swim #1; music; more…


Thanks to JayDee for the radiant view of last night’s sunset. Can’t guarantee anything that gorgeous again tonight, but if you want to watch in realtime, sunset’s just after 7. The WSB West Seattle Weather page has sunset/sunrise/moonset/moonrise times any time you want to check. Meanwhile, from our calendar (which you also can check 24/7/365 to see what’s coming up):

ENDOLYNE JOE’S, ORIGINAL BAKERY REOPEN: After a week-long closure because of roof work in their building, Endolyne Joe’s (WSB sponsor) and The Original Bakery are open again. (45th SW/Wildwood)

‘DOG DAYS’ SWIM SESSION #1: It’s postseason “pooches in the pool” time at the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club. This is the first of five days for the annual furry fundraiser – 5-7 pm today; details in our calendar listing. (11003 31st SW)

LIVE MUSIC @ SALTY’S: 5-8 pm, Justin Kausal-Hayes performs at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). (1936 Harbor SW)

WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct, bring your neighborhood crime/safety concerns to local police, who also will talk about current crime trends; plus, a special guest from Seattle Public Schools will talk about student-safety issues including bullying and harassment. (2300 SW Webster)

LIVE MUSIC @ WHISKY WEST: 7-9 pm, Siggie the Vintage Man performs at Whisky West in Morgan Junction. No cover; 21+. (6451 California SW)

LIVE MUSIC @ PARLIAMENT: 8-11 pm, South Sound Tug and Barge performs at Parliament Tavern in The Admiral District. No cover; 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

Something for our calendar? – text in the body of your e-mail, please, NOT in a doc or image – thank you!