day : 26/01/2017 11 results

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: More burglary-ring charges; 2 reader reports

One followup and two reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:

CHARGES FILED: Prosecutors filed charges today against the two burglary-ring suspects arrested at an Alki house on Monday – 26-year-old Joseph F. Sims, below left, and 29-year-old Shon Shanell, below center. 25-year-old Alonzo Severson, below right, had already been charged, as we reported yesterday in our coverage of the media briefing about the case.

(Washington Department of Corrections photos)

The documents finally provide a little information about why Sims and Shanell were at the house in the 3200 block of 62nd SW where they were arrested by Bellevue Police on Monday. BPD had been trying to arrest Sims for several days and, according to the charges against Shanell, “received information that Sims was staying at a residence in (that area of Alki).” They staked out the house starting around 6 am. At 9:30 am, Shanell drove up in the matte-black Audi we photographed yesterday at BPD headquarters:

Sims walked out of the house, the documents say, and that’s when police arrested them both. They both were described as having thousands of dollars in cash in their possession, and both were said to be wearing diamonds – Shanell was wearing the watch stolen from Mariners star Felix Hernandez’s house in Clyde Hill.

The documents include a few more details, such as that Sims had been out of prison for less than a year before his alleged crime spree started. He’s described as “probably one of the most prolific and dangerous burglars in recent Seattle history.” And the charging documents show that much of the evidence involved cell-phone tracing; Sims allegedly would turn his off just before a burglary, and then on again afterward, and the documents mention a trace on January 1st in West Seattle, though none of the accusations involve any burglaries here.

Sims is charged with 11 crimes, including eight counts of residential burglary. He is being held without bail. Shanell, who got out of prison last October, is charged with possession of stolen property, and also has been charged in an unrelated case involving alleged eluding and animal cruelty. His bail is set at $175,000. And Severson’s bail is set at half a million dollars. Prosecutors say more charges are possible, given these barely scratch the surface of the 100-plus break-ins they believe were committed by the suspects. The documents also mention an alleged accomplice, a woman who allegedly assisted with some of the burglaries while dating one of the suspects. She is not charged.

Two reader reports via e-mail:


I was out for a walk this morning and found a pile of mail on the corner of SW Trenton and 17th Ave SW. The addresses were all from the 8800 block of 24th Ave SW. I called the USPS 800 # to report the theft and their reply was “put the mail in a bag and give it to your mailman.” I took it to the Westwood post office instead. This happened last year in January. Someone was stealing mail on 17th & 18th Ave SW between Elmgrove and Henderson. The thieves seemed to target houses that had mailboxes next to the sidewalk.

CAR PROWL: From Michelle: “Another car prowl. (Wednesday) morning a window in my husband’s car shattered when he closed the door. The car dealer said there was evidence of crowbar marks on the door. We are on 46th between Hill and Walker.”

Remembering Earl Cruzen, father of West Seattle’s murals (and more), 1920-2017

(2009 WSB photo)

Family, friends, and neighbors are mourning Earl Cruzen, 96, someone who worked long and hard – and well into his golden years – to make West Seattle a better place. A memorial is planned next month. Here’s a remembrance sent by Clay Eals, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

The father of the famed Murals of West Seattle has died.

Earl Cruzen, a lifelong resident and longtime business leader in West Seattle, died Jan. 23, 2017, at his Duwamish Head condominium overlooking Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. He was 96.

Earl was perhaps best known for conceiving and executing the art/history project called the Murals of West Seattle, centered in the West Seattle Junction.

On vacation trips with his wife, Virginia, and friends Moe and Bonnie Beerman, Earl encountered historical murals in Long Beach and Ilwaco, Washington, and Chemainus, B.C., and saw their potential for drawing tourists and bolstering local business.

Earl launched the Murals of West Seattle project in 1988, and over the next five summers 11 murals by world-renowned artists sprouted on the walls of business buildings in and around the Junction. The murals, depicting scenes from West Seattle history, were funded by local building owners and matching city and county grants. Nine of the murals remain to this day, with a 10th repainted in a new location.

An offshoot, affectionately called the “12th mural” in reference to its original intent, was Phillip Levine’s “Walking on Logs” sculpture. Depicting children balancing atop driftwood, it is part of the West Seattle Gateway along the Fauntleroy Expressway and was dedicated in 1996. Earl led not only its development but also the hands-on maintenance of its hillside grounds for 12 years.

Several awards recognizing the Murals of West Seattle came Earl’s way, including, most recently, the 2014 Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Community. He typically credited his mentors and partners and promoted the value of service to others.

“It’s not what you are getting out of life,” he said when then-Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels proclaimed Sept. 13, 2008, as Earl Cruzen Day, “but what you are giving to the life in your community.”

The mural project capped a full life. He was born Earl Robert Cruzen on Sept. 9, 1920, and raised in what was called the Dumar area of the Highland Park neighborhood in the southeastern corner of West Seattle.

A 1939 graduate of West Seattle High School, where he was a newspaper columnist and editor of the annual, Earl attended the University of Washington for a year before joining the World War II effort by working at Boeing, testing airplanes before they were delivered to the Army Air Corps. Later during the war, he joined the Merchant Marines.

Earl started and grew his auto-parts distribution business, Cruzen Distributing Inc., near the Georgetown neighborhood, over the next four decades. He also served as chair of the Junction Development Committee, an umbrella group of the Junction Merchants Association, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and West Seattle Trusteed Properties.

After his retirement, Earl continued his community involvement for 20 years with a variety of organizations. He volunteered at S.C.O.R.E. as a financial counselor. Underscoring his passion to help students pursue further education, he served on the foundation board for South Seattle Community College, establishing endowed scholarships for automotive students and in the name of the West Seattle High School class of 1939.

His involvement extended to the Rotary Club (downtown and West Seattle), Fauntleroy Church, West Seattle and Fauntleroy YMCA, Horizon House, Southwest District Council, the People to People International program for educational travel and the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, for which he was an Advisory Council member.

Earl was married to his first wife, Virginia, from July 21, 1943, until her death on May 2, 1998. Earl married Adah Rhodes on his 80th birthday on Sept. 9, 2000, and they enjoyed the Alki waterfront for his next 16-1/2 years.

Besides Adah, he also is survived by a daughter, Carla Friehe (Berend); grandchildren Katharina Rainis (Michael), Derek Friehe (Amber), Phillip Friehe (Justine), and Stephanie Cumaravel (Collin); great grandchildren Sebastian Friehe, Emma Friehe, Caleb Rainis, and Ethan Rainis; Adah’s stepdaughter Sally Crouch and Sally’s sons Garth Crouch (Nickie) and Scott Crouch (Yana).

Cruzen was preceded in death by his parents, Wesley and Ora Mae Cruzen, and sisters Bernice Tonkin and Vivian Floyd.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at Fauntleroy Church, 9140 California Ave. SW. Arrangements are by Evergreen Washelli. Remembrances in lieu of flowers may go to South Seattle College, the Rotary Club of West Seattle, the West Seattle and Fauntleroy YMCAs, or the Mural Restoration and Maintenance Fund of the West Seattle Junction Association.

Earl would summon a phrase from Joshua Green and say about the Murals of West Seattle, “When these you see, remember me.”

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

TRANSIT ALERT: Trouble on 3rd Avenue downtown

A collision on 3rd Avenue downtown has blocked that major bus route, and we’re hearing about it from West Seattle-bound riders. Metro’s official advisory is: “Buses are rerouted off NB 3 Av between Spring/Union Sts. Use stops on 3 Av south of Spring St/north of Union St.”

Arbor Heights charter school Summit Atlas finalizes groundbreaking-ceremony plan

(WSB photo, December 2016)

Charter organization Summit Public Schools has just finalized its groundbreaking-ceremony plan for the future Summit Atlas campus at 35th/Roxbury in Arbor Heights: 5:30 pm Thursday, February 2nd.

You’re invited to celebrate with us on February 2 as we add to our growing community and provide West Seattle, White Center and surrounding communities with additional public school options. Summit Atlas will open in August 2017 to our first class of 6th graders and 9th graders. Over the next four years, the school will grow to serve grades 6-12.

We first reported on the plan two years ago; the school’s opening was delayed a year because of the fight over public funding of charter schools. The remodeling of the former church/supermarket site at 9601 35th SW is expected to be done in two phases, as reported here last month and in August, with interior work to set the stage for this fall’s opening, and then an addition to make room for the grades to be added in stages.

Your Voice, Your Choice: How the city will ask you to help decide how to spend $2 million

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Another big change resulting from the mayor’s severing of ties with neighborhood-district councils is about to go public.

Those citizen groups had helped the city solicit and vet proposals for spending Neighborhood Park and Street Fund money.

This year, both the proposals and decisions are going to go through a citywide “participatory budgeting” process called “Your Voice, Your Choice.”

After hearing it mentioned at last week’s Morgan Community Association meeting, we arranged to talk with the Department of Neighborhoods point person, Jenny Frankl, to find out how it’s going to work.

To set the stage, here’s the list of Neighborhood Park and Street Fund projects chosen last year, through the 13 neighborhood districts (West Seattle has two, Delridge and Southwest). This year, it will include $2 million for projects in all seven City Council districts.

Frankl explained that suggesting, reviewing, and deciding on how to spend the money will be a four-phase process, and the first phase is expected to be announced next Monday. That phase will collect ideas from community members in a variety of ways. Frankl said some small-group invitation-only meetings already have been held, and an online survey-style form will be ready soon. Ideas also will be sought at various meetings involving city departments next month, so look for those opportunities. And in particular, they’re hoping to encourage youth to participate too.

In phase 2, city departments will review the ideas to see what’s possible and what’s not. The parameters this year will include a requirement that the proposals be capital projects, costing up to $90,000, to be built in a city street or park right-of-way.

Once lists of possible projects are grouped by council district, they will go to Project Development Teams, one for each district (West Seattle and South Park comprise District 1, as you probably know). These teams will be open to community participation, supported by city staff, and assisted by “neutral facilitators” assigned by the city. The teams will meet in the districts, and there also will be “an online component,” Frankl says, so you can participate in the reviews even if you can’t get to a face-to-face meeting.

Phase 3 will involve voting on proposed projects that will be on lists developed by the aforementioned teams. Each of the seven council districts will have a distinct ballot, Frankl says, and while she says there will be “voter authentication” – so it doesn’t become a popularity contest with one project possibly benefiting from an extensive campaign, for example – you can choose which district you want your vote to be in. Maybe you live here in District 1 but spend more of your time working/playing in another district, for example, and would prefer to cast your vote there.

Voting will be done in person as well as online, with ballots available at libraries and community centers, and with the chance for people to sign up to have a voting site – at a school, for example. Details are still being worked out, but the voting phase is likely to happen in June, before school gets out for summer.

Then phase four will be the final funding of winning projects, with each district having up to $285,000 to spend, as its share of the $2 million. The projects will be built in 2018.

“It’s exciting,” says Frankl, whose work expands on what she did with the Youth Voice, Youth Choice participatory budgeting project last year. And, she stresses, there’s “still a lot to figure out” – but this is the framework. For next year, she says, the process won’t be quite as compressed, and they’ll likely get going in September instead of next January. But first – watch for that upcoming announcement about the start of “idea collection,” soon.

Next Design Review Board meeting set for apartments/PCC project at 2749 California SW

So far, the Southwest Design Review Board has no project reviews set for February, but it’s set to start March with the next look at one of the biggest upcoming projects in West Seattle, 2749 California SW, the 4-story building with ~108 apartments and a new PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) store on the site of the current one. It’s already been to the SWDRB twice, most recently in September (WSB coverage here),and the next review – which could be the final one – is on the board’s schedule for 6:30 pm Thursday, March 2nd, at the usual venue, the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction. The “design packet” isn’t available online yet, but should be as the meeting gets closer.

JUNCTION LANDMARKS? Campbell Building nomination to be considered February 15th, same meeting as Hamm Building vote

(Campbell Building. Above, WSB photo, March 2016; below, undated photo from landmark-nomination document)


The February 15th meeting of the city Landmark Preservation Board has now become, in part, a West Seattle doubleheader, now that the 1918-built Campbell Building has been added to the agenda. From Clay Eals, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board hearing and vote on our nomination of the Campbell Building for landmark status has been scheduled for the board’s meeting at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, at Seattle City Hall.

This is the same meeting that the board has scheduled its hearing and vote on designation of the Hamm Building for landmark status. (The board voted unanimously in favor of our landmark nomination for Hamm at its meeting Jan. 4, 2017.)

At the Feb. 15 meeting, the Hamm designation hearing and vote likely will take place prior to the Campbell nomination hearing and vote.

In anticipation of the Feb. 15 meeting, we encourage supporters of landmarking the Hamm and Campbell buildings to take one or both of the following steps:

(1) Write messages or letters in support of Hamm designation and Campbell nomination to the board via e-mail to Erin Doherty, historic preservation coordinator for the board, or via a letter mailed to the board at PO Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649.

(2) Plan to attend the Hamm and Campbell hearings, which likely will begin in the late afternoon and could extend to early evening. About a week prior to the meeting, when the complete agenda is released, we will announce more specific times for each hearing as well as a plan to help guide people to the meeting from the West Seattle Junction transit center.

SWSHS officially submitted the landmark nominations last September. You can see the nomination documents for both buildings – which contain detailed background and historical photos, among other things – on the city website. The Campbell Building nomination is here; the Hamm Building nomination is here. (And here’s our coverage of the meeting at which the board advanced its nomination to be considered for landmark status.)

To see which West Seattle sites are already landmarks (and others around the city), check out this map.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! 10 years for Fitness Together West Seattle

(WSB photo: FTWS founder Bonnie Katz Sailors and director of trainers Duncan Sailors)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

What Bonnie Katz Sailors‘ business is all about can be measured, in part, with numbers – inches, pounds, repetitions.

This week, Fitness Together West Seattle is about one big number: Ten.

That’s how many years her personal-training studio at 4546 California SW (a WSB sponsor since 2008) in The Junction has been open, helping people get and stay fit.

Ten years is a massive milestone for any business, and Fitness Together West Seattle will celebrate with an open house this Saturday (January 28th).

Bonnie has been working in fitness and health for a long time. Before opening FT West Seattle in 2007, she was a personal trainer at an Eastside gym, and worked on a diabetes-research program at the University of Washington.

Personal training is what Fitness Together West Seattle offers. “All we do is one-on-one personal training,” Bonnie explains. And that means they can customize for every client. “We’re not locked into any (specific) type of training … we can do anything. That’s what I like about this – we can do crossfit-type workouts, physical-therapy exercises, train for specific events, or anything the client wants to work on.”

The setting is a point of differentiation, too. Since it’s a private setting, in a bright studio on the second floor, “we have some people who don’t like the gym, don’t want to work out in front of other people, people who want the more private, personal setting.”

They serve a wide range of ages, too. And along with getting fit, you can get some myths debunked – “Some people think they have to be in shape” to start working with a trainer, Bonnie says. “We really start people where they are – at ground zero.” You’ll be assessed for your strengths and weaknesses. You might need to work on basic joint mobility before you can do “real exercise.” Or, you might already be so fit, it’s just about fixing your form.

Squatting and pressing are among the “basic foundational things,” and they’re “functional things that everybody needs,” she explains – how to get up out of a chair, up the stairs.

The need for a healthy body that works well never changes. So what has changed for Fitness Together West Seattle in 10 years?

Communication methods, for one – text messages are more common than phone calls.

She has a staff of five trainers; the director of trainers is her husband Duncan Sailors, who was her second employee. They’re celebrating their third anniversary this week, in fact.

As Duncan joins the conversation, he and Bonnie enthusiastically point out that the idea of fitness has “transitioned from a body-part-focused idea to a movement-focused idea – the idea that the body is one piece and moves as one piece,” so the training they do has “transitioned into more-functional movements. … It’s not so much about working and building and getting sore.” And they look at other components of your physical fitness too, such as nutrition, which they point out is much more than “calories in/calories out.”

Duncan adds, “Machines put you in a box … we teach the skills of exercise, the proper form.”

So, about that party on Saturday:


It’s an open house, so you’re welcome to stop by, 4-6 pm. (They’re upstairs, with the entry on the alley.) “We’re going to honor some of our longtime clients,” too, and there’ll be raffles with prizes from other local businesses. Food will be from two West Seattle providers, Duos Catering and Nibbles, and dessert from Dolcetta Artisan Sweets (a FT client). They’ll have a “train the trainer” session with a client who won a holiday-season contest.

And if you’re not already a client, note that FT does have room for new clients; they’re open 6 am-9 pm Mondays-Fridays, 6 am-3 pm Saturdays, closed Sundays. If you want to give them a try, they have trial weeks, Bonnie says, and you can sign up for anything from one session to a year of sessions. You’re not paying for a membership to the space, Bonnie and Duncan point out – you’re paying for time with trainers. You can contact FTWS online (or phone – 206-938-7828).

West Seattle Thursday: HALA-rezoning Community Design Workshop in The Junction; SLHS open house; more…

(Hooded Mergansers, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

WEST SEATTLE CHAMBER ANNUAL MEETING: 11:30 am at The Sanctuary at Admiral. If you haven’t already RSVP’d, call to see if there’s still room – here’s how. (42nd SW/SW Lander)

HALA REZONING – WEST SEATTLE JUNCTION COMMUNITY DESIGN WORKSHOP: 6-9 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building, this is a city-organized meeting for people living and working in the Junction area to come hear and talk about proposed zoning changes related to Mandatory Housing Affordability and share their thoughts. The format is explained on the official city preview page; here’s our coverage of last week’s JuNO Land Use Committee community meeting looking ahead to it. (4217 SW Oregon)

‘WELCOME HOME’ EXHIBIT RECEPTION: Doors open at 6 pm at the Log House Museum, with a program at 6:30 pm, in honor of this new exhibit. From curator Lissa Kramer:

High-school students will revisit their experiences as middle-school oral historians at this reception. Honorees will include students and others who helped define ‘home’ for our current exhibit, ‘Welcome Home.’ A unique and exciting part of the program will be a short oral-history demonstration featuring the Kroll family, founders of the Kroll map company and four-generation residents of the same West Seattle homestead! Light refreshments will be served.

(61st SW/SW Stevens)

SEATTLE LUTHERAN HS OPEN HOUSE: 7-8:30 pm, prospective families are invited to visit Seattle Lutheran High School. (4100 SW Genesee)

TAP STATION TRIVIA NIGHT: Once a month, and tonight’s the night! 7-9 pm, all ages, free entry, prizes! (

PATRICK GALACTIC: Songwriter/performer live at Whisky West, 8 pm, no cover, 21+. (6451 California SW)

EVEN MORE NIGHTLIFE … on our complete calendar!


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

6:59 AM: Good morning. No incidents in/from West Seattle and vicinity. But the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route has some delays, related to last night’s Vashon problems. Check the WSF Vessel Watch to see where the vessels are.

9:21 AM: The situation mentioned in comments about half an hour ago – train blocking surface Spokane St. – is still happening, according to a caller.

FERRY ALERT: Vashon terminal back in service

Mechanical trouble has put Washington State Ferries’ Vashon terminal out of service:

A mechanical problem with the operating slip has caused us to be out of service at Vashon. Repair crews are en route and will make repairs as soon as they arrive. Service between Fauntleroy and Southworth is still available.

At this time of night, only a few remaining runs were scheduled to/from Vashon anyway, but the South Vashon (Tahlequah-Point Defiance) run is already done for the night, so there’s no alternative. Check here for updates.

2:05 AM: As of a few minutes ago, WSF says, repairs are done and the terminal is in service again.