West Seattle, Washington
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7:01 AM: Good morning! No incidents in/from West Seattle reported so far. Weather-wise, it’s even colder this morning – low 20s right now in Seattle, and the colder-than-normal (but dry) weather will continue at least through tomorrow.
ROAD CLOSURE ALERTS: Four closures coming up in the days/nights ahead, as published here last night – two closures of northbound Highway 99, Friday night into Saturday morning and Saturday night into Sunday morning, and then two involving part of the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, Sunday night into Monday morning and Monday night into Tuesday morning. Full details of both sets are here.
8:59 AM: Per scanner, police are responding to a crash reported in the West Seattle HS area (3000 block of California). No one hurt, no traffic-blocking, but the emergency response could change that, so we’re mentioning it.
10 AM: If you’re heading toward the Viaduct downtown, avoid the 1st/Columbia entrance – there is an incident there reported to involve vehicles and a seriously injured pedestrian.
9:20 PM: Police and fire have responded. More to come.
9:30 PM: We have just talked to police. A woman showed up in the coffee shop claiming she was stabbed, but turned out not to be injured at all. She is “in crisis,” however, and is being taken to the hospital by private ambulance for an evaluation.
8:38 PM: SW Roxbury is blocked right now at 9th SW because of a one-car crash. The driver is reported to have hit a pole; the car was in the middle of the westbound lanes by the time we arrived. The driver walked away, possibly dazed from a head injury, but turned up a block away, and medics were called. The scene should be clear before too long – a sergeant at the scene told us a tow truck was on the way.
10:20 PM: We finally were able to go back to verify that the road’s clear – it is.
Quick update from the city Landmark Preservation Board meeting downtown: Minutes ago, the board gave its approval to the first stage of the process that could result in city-landmark designation for the Hamm Building on the northwest corner of California/Alaska in The Junction.
Their unanimous approval tonight means they support the nomination of the 1926 building – next step, they will consider whether to designate it a landmark. Full report on the meeting tomorrow, including not only the show of community support but also a member of the family that has long owned the building telling the board that the nomination “blindsided” them. No date yet for the next hearing.
Two development notes tonight:
DESIGN REVIEW DOUBLEHEADER TOMORROW: If you’re interested in either of the projects that go before the Southwest Design Review Board tomorrow (Thursday) night, you’ll want to review the “packets” first.
Here’s the one for the 6:30 pm review, nine 3-story live-work units at the former Church of Christ site in Arbor Heights, 4220 SW 100th. Though the packet by Lemons Architecture contains the shown-above concept for the Claremont Partners LLC-owned site, this is the first phase of review, Early Design Guidance, and so the discussion will largely center on massing – size and shape.
Nicholson Kovalchick is the architecture firm; Union Street Investments is the owner/developer. We covered the first review back in February; this is now in the Recommendation phase, which means this could be the final meeting about the project.
COMMENT TIME FOR 2222 SW BARTON: The application is in for the 4-story apartment building proposed at 2222 SW Barton, southeast of Westwood Village, currently described as “containing 27 small efficiency dwelling units and 39 apartment units,” replacing a small apartment building. This notice opens an official comment period. Here’s the notice from the latest edition of the city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin. You can comment until January 16th – here’s how.
5 PM: We spotted the signage for these closures while heading over the bridge a little while ago to cover an event downtown – they have not yet been announced otherwise, but we’ve just obtained the details from WSDOT:
Drivers headed into downtown Seattle on Friday and Saturday nights should prepare for a full closure of northbound State Route 99 near the stadiums. Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will use the closure to repair damaged pavement.
Friday, Jan. 6 to the morning of Saturday, Jan. 7
From 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. the following morning crews will close all lanes of northbound SR 99 between South Spokane Street and South Royal Brougham Way.
Saturday, Jan. 7 to the morning of Sunday, Jan. 8
From 10:30 p.m. until 8 a.m. the following morning crews will close all lanes of northbound SR 99 between South Spokane Street and South Royal Brougham Way.
During the closures all northbound SR 99 traffic must exit at East Marginal Way.
Eastbound West Seattle Freeway ramp to northbound SR 99 will be closed.
This weekend’s work is weather-dependent and could be rescheduled in the event of heavy rain or snow.
ADDED 6:12 PM: SDOT has announced some closures too, to fix the street lights toward the west end of the bridge:
The Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle City Light will be working on the Fauntleroy Expressway over two nights next week to make repairs to the street lights.
Sunday night, January 8, the curb lane for eastbound traffic will be closed from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. Monday morning, January 9. The lane closure will extend eastbound from approximately where the roadway turns in and out of West Seattle to the Delridge Way onramp. The other eastbound travel lane will remain open; motorists are not likely to experience any delay.
On Monday night, January 9, the westbound exit at Admiral Way will be closed from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, January 10. Motorists who would use this exit are asked to instead consider taking the Harbor Avenue SW/Avalon Way SW exit.
After an almost-two-year investigation, LSG Sky Chefs, which has run an airline-catering facility in the West Seattle Triangle, has been found by the city to have violated the minimum-wage law. Here’s the announcement just sent out:
The Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) found that LSG Sky Chefs violated Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance, and has ordered the company to pay $210,213 in lost wages plus interest to 156 employees and $109,320 in liquidated damages. OLS also levied $15,500 in penalties for first time violations and failure to cooperate with its investigation. The total amount assessed was $335,033.
“This is a significant financial order,” said Dylan Orr, Director of OLS. “Many Sky Chefs workers can expect to receive the equivalent of two weeks’ pay as part of the final settlement, which will make a real difference in their lives. The City of Seattle is committed to holding large employers accountable to our labor standards laws, and ensuring that workers receive all of the money they have earned.”
Under terms of the final order, employees who were denied their full wages will receive shares of the $319,533 ordered based on their hours worked. Some employees will receive as much as $6,976; the mean amount will be approximately $1,936.
OLS also ordered Sky Chefs to pay 1.75 times the unpaid wages to employees for hours worked after January 16, 2016, when the City of Seattle increased the remedies and protections available to workers, including liquidated damages for up to twice the unpaid wages. OLS also assessed an additional $5,000 penalty against the company for impeding the investigation and approximately $100 per employee whose rights were violated on or after January 16, 2016.
The original complaint alleged that Sky Chefs failed to increase wages for its Seattle-based employees once the City’s new Minimum Wage Ordinance went into effect on April 1, 2015. OLS ordered the company to respond on April 23, 2015, but Sky Chefs chose to challenge the wage claim by arguing that it was exempt from Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance under a provision of the federal Railway Labor Act. A delay in the investigation resulted when the assigned case investigator went on maternity leave and OLS transferred the case to another investigator; a delay of 2-3 months occurred when Sky Chefs changed its legal counsel. The investigation was further delayed when Sky Chefs released weekly payroll records for 165 employees to OLS investigators in a non-alphabetized stack of 14,000 individual pieces of paper, resulting in investigators’ spending 201 hours to calculate individual employees’ wages, shift differentials and overtime payments over a period of 4 months.
“Employees of Sky Chefs have waited a long time to receive what they’re owed, and I thank them for their patience as we pursued this long, complex investigation,” said Orr.
The Stranger reported on the investigation last year and said Sky Chefs had about 55 West Seattle employees. The company’s website currently shows its “Seattle” location as a site in SeaTac, but has a business license in Seattle city files for the Triangle site (4600 37th SW).
We mentioned them a month ago – and now the “Democracy Vouchers” created by voter-approved Seattle Initiative 122 are arriving in the postal mail, if you’re a registered voter, or if you requested them. They’re a type of public campaign financing, property-tax-funded, that you’ll be able to use in three races that will be on this year’s city ballots – the two at-large City Council positions 8 and 9, and City Attorney. So far, two candidates have qualified for them, but others have until early June to qualify too. So how do you use them? The city website explains it all here. Answer to a particularly popular question: No, you can’t give yours to someone else.
For the first time since official word that the Salmon in the Schools program would continue this year, as reported here in October, volunteers are delivering eggs to participating local schools today.
Our photos were taken at Sanislo Elementary School on Puget Ridge, one of 10 schools where Judy Pickens and Phil Sweetland were stopping after picking up the eggs first thing in the morning at Soos Creek Hatchery. Three local preschools also were receiving eggs, with volunteer Jack Lawless making those rounds.
Last year, the state had warned that the eggs might not be available, for the first time in 25 years, because so few coho spawners had returned to the Sound the previous year. But this past fall’s returns were enough to convince the state to go ahead and provide eggs. The schools will rear them until they’re ready for release in Fauntleroy Creek this spring.
Thanks to Randy Stratton for the photo of “curly icicles” seen along the Genesee Hill Elementary parking-lot stairway on Tuesday – since it’s still in the 20s as we write, we’d bet they’re still there. Meanwhile, here are calendar highlights for our clear-and-cold West Seattle Wednesday:
LANDMARK OR NOT? As previewed here again last week, the West Seattle Junction’s Hamm Building – home to businesses including Easy Street Records – is nominated for city-landmark designation, and the Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination – first of at least two required hearings – when it meets this afternoon in the Boards and Commissions Room at City Hall. The meeting starts at 3:30 pm but other items on the agenda are expected to take at least the first hour. There will be a public-comment period. (600 4th Ave.)
SEATTLE SCHOOL BOARD: 4:15 pm meeting at district HQ, with some items of local interest, as previewed here. (3rd Ave. S./S. Lander)
SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: It’s a brand-new year and a new world for local neighborhood-district councils, no longer officially tied to the city but charging forward just the same, including the Southwest District Council, which meets at the Senior Center/Sisson Building, 6:30-7:30 pm, with this agenda:
6:30 P.M. Welcome and Introductions
• Review and approval of previous meetings minutes and summary
• Brief Announcements
• Amendments and overview of the Meeting Agenda
6:45 P.M. Neighborhood Parks & Street Fund 2017 Timeline
6:50 P.M. Discussion on changes to SWDC By-laws
• By-law Review Committee work to date
• By-laws of other district councils
• Consideration for incorporating, and at-large membership
7:20 P.M. Southwest District Council Business
• CNC Update
• Other business
(4217 SW Oregon)
JIM PAGE, LIVE: See and hear the singer-songwriter at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
MORE FOR TONIGHT, TOMORROW, BEYOND … on our full calendar!
Visible from West Seattle this morning, in what’s known as the Yukon Harbor anchorage area, just off Manchester, north of Blake Island, a submarine joined the anchored cargo ships for more than an hour. Thanks to Tom Stoner for the photo (and to John for an earlier tip). An unusual sight – usually they’re just glimpsed while on the move – so we have a few calls out, but now it looks to be headed, with its tug escorts, into Rich Passage and toward Bremerton.
Looking for a preschool? The 8th annual West Seattle Preschool Fair is set for next Monday (January 9th), 5:30-7:30 pm at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church (3050 California SW). It’s presented by the West Seattle Preschool Association. The latest list of participating schools is here, and WSPA’s Renee Metty says there’s room for more (sign up here), adding: “The majority of programs are for 2.5-5 year olds, but some offer programs for under 2.5, as well as before- and after-school care.” The fair is free for families, and you’re welcome to bring your child(ren). WSPA requests an RSVP registration if you’re coming.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7:02 AM: Good morning – another sunny, cold day ahead, according to the forecast. Nothing unusual currently reported on the roads/paths in/from West Seattle.
8:12 AM: Still nothing out of the ordinary reported.
IslandWood is just around the corner for our fabulous fifth graders, but we are in real need of funding this year! I’ve created a GoFundMe to subsidize the cost for students, but we need help raising the money. Please consider donating and/or sending the link out to your networks. Every dollar matters!
Here’s the GoFundMe link you can use to help.
Another auto theft in North Admiral – Heather says it’s one of three crimes overnight near California SW and SW Hill:
This morning 2 cars in a apartment parking lot were ransacked. Nothing of value was stolen (that I’m aware of. I only know what was taken out of my car).
My boyfriend’s 1997 Honda Accord [photo above] was also stolen from the side street (Hill St). License #AGV3163.
If you see it, call 911.
It might take until next year before the City Council finalizes a rezoning plan for the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda. That’s what Councilmember Lisa Herbold told us during an interview about her first year in office (full story on that here tomorrow). Meantime, her office has confirmed that three more “community design workshops” are planned in West Seattle in connection with the rezoning proposals. We’re sharing the dates so you can at least set your calendar:
*For Morgan Junction – January 23rd, 6-9 pm, Gatewood Elementary (4320 SW Myrtle)
*For West Seattle Junction – January 26th, 6-9 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon; final location confirmation pending)
*For Admiral – February 11th, 9:30 am-12:30 pm, West Seattle High School (3000 California SW)
The fourth “urban village” in West Seattle, Westwood-Highland Park, had a workshop in November.
The workshops are organized by the office of Councilmember Rob Johnson, who chairs the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee, which is the lead on consideration of HALA-related items. Here’s how his office explains the design workshops:
The goal of this workshop is to help inform City Council about your community’s vision of how our Urban Villages should look, feel, and function in support of important citywide goals for increased affordability, design quality, and housing options in neighborhoods throughout the city.
We welcome a lively interchange of ideas and opinions on the recently proposed zoning changes for your neighborhood, including where the boundary for urban villages should be drawn, what mix of zones best support the context and conditions of local areas, and how to encourage more housing options and elements of livability (including neighborhood amenities such as frequent and reliable transit, community-serving businesses, parks and schools). Our goal is to increase choices for more people of all incomes to benefit from working and living in urban villages across the city. More information on other methods to provide input one the proposed draft urban village boundary, draft zoning changes, and building types can be found at www.seattle.gov/hala/focus-groups.
We look forward to hearing from you. To RSVP, please e-mail Spencer.Williams@Seattle.Gov or call (206) 384-2709. Please inform us at that time if you require accommodations for accessibility or interpretation services.
While the rezoning proposals are mostly focused on the “urban villages” around the city, they also involve multifamily/commercial property everywhere. Check this citywide map to see if/how your neighborhood would change under the current draft proposals, for which the city is still taking comment at firstname.lastname@example.org and via this website.
P.S. If you are just catching up on all this – our coverage of a neighbors-helping-neighbors briefing a little over a month ago will probably be helpful. It includes all four West Seattle urban villages’ draft maps, with current and proposed zoning.
FIRST REPORT, 2:46 PM: It was only the middle of last summer – mid-July – when Shelby Varden and his parents cut the ribbon to officially open Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery at 4752 California SW in The Junction. Less than six months later, a sign on the door today announces that Shelby’s is closed. After a reader tip (thanks to Jason), we just went over but couldn’t find anyone there to speak with; nothing about the closure is on any of Shelby’s online channels yet. We’ve also left voice and e-mail messages, and will add anything more that we find out.
The corner spot has undergone a lot of turnover in the past decade. We had first reported on the plan for Shelby’s last April. That was five months after Westside Public House abruptly closed following a year in operation, preceded by three years of A Terrible Beauty, and before that, less than a year for Table 35 and less than two years for Ama Ama. Before that, Ovio Bistro had been in the space for almost five years.
ADDED 3:18 PM: We just received this news release:
Today, Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery regretfully announced they will be closing effective immediately. Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery, commonly referred to as “Shelby’s”, was opened by Shelby Varden on July 19, 2016 in the West Seattle Junction at 4752 California Ave SW. Shelby’s was a full-service sit down restaurant serving appetizers, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, entrees, and ice cream. Shelby’s patrons dined at the restaurant for the delicious food, cleanliness, friendly staff, and happy “feel good” environment. Many guests said it was a place that made them smile despite whatever else was going on in their lives.
In a statement provided by Shelby, he stated, “While we had some of the normal mishaps any new restaurant experiences, I am exceptionally proud of our achievements and the experiences we were able to provide our guests. We were recently recognized by the 2016 King5 Evening Best of Western Washington as the #1 Best New Restaurant in Seattle (#3 in Western Washington) and #5 Best Kids’ Menu in Western Washington. In addition, we received an average of a four star rating or above on all social media review platforms and had a loyal following of regular guests. I am especially proud of my incredible staff and thank them for all of their hard work, support and dedication.”
Shelby concluded by adding, “I would like to thank West Seattle and all of our guests for their patronage and fond memories. My staff and I will miss you! The restaurant’s controllable costs were all good although other expenses out of my control and lower sales for such a large space resulted in this regrettable closure. Despite that, I want to focus on the successes, our community contributions and holiday celebrations, school Dine Outs, thanking our wonderful regulars, and celebrate the many wonderful memories we created for those who visited or worked at Shelby’s.”
(UPDATED WEDNESDAY with suspected cause, damage estimate)
1:35 PM: SFD units have arrived and are assessing. They’re reporting “heavy smoke.”
1:44 PM: Our crew has just arrived. Also, per scanner, firefighters have rescued a dog from the house.
And if you see/hear a helicopter, it’s just a TV crew checking this out.
1:50 PM: SFD has declared the fire to be under control. Our crew at the scene tells us a cat also was rescued – photo added.
1:55 PM: SFD’s investigator has arrived to look into how this started. The people who live there were not home at the time but they have now arrived too, and SFD is starting to dismiss some of its units.
4:18 PM: No word yet on the cause.
WEDNESDAY, 11:29 AM: Here’s what SFD believes happened:
Fire Investigation Unit concluded that the fire was most likely caused by a natural gas-powered stove. The fire ignited surrounding combustibles and adjacent cabinets in the kitchen. The estimated damage and loss is $200,000.
12:14 PM: The Port of Seattle says the long-idle Matson cargo ship Lurline will soon be at West Seattle’s Terminal 5 – as one of its last stops. The 1973-built, 826-foot roll-on-roll-off vessel has been laid up for years, currently at Terminal 25, and now it’s set to be scrapped. But first, port spokesperson Peter McGraw tells WSB, it’ll be towed to T-5 today. The Lurline will remain at T-5 several weeks, McGraw says, before it’s towed away to “a scrap yard in the Gulf.” We’ll update later when the ship shows up here.
1:20 PM: The Lurline has just arrived at T-5. Photo added above.
The early bird gets the … grass. Sea-growing grasses are the preferred food of brant, the shy migratory geese seen along West Seattle shores this time of year. Thanks to Mark Wangerin for the photo! Now, on to our daily preview for the first non-holiday weekday of 2017:
BABY STORY TIMES: 10:30 am brings these free story times to two local libraries: Southwest Library (35th SW/SW Henderson) and West Seattle Library (2306 42nd SW). Recommended for babies up to one year old.
EARLY DAYS: Speaking of babies … the Early Days drop-in support groups have two days/locations in 2017. Today – and every Tuesday – 1-3 pm, you’ll find Early Days at Nurturing Expressions (WSB sponsor) in The Junction – details in our calendar listing. (4746 44th SW)
SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BUDGET GAP: Not in West Seattle, but not far, and the subject could affect every SPS-involved family in the district. 6:30 pm at Franklin High School, the third of three Seattle Council PTSA-sponsored community conversations about the district’s potential $74 million budget gap. What are YOUR priorities for the SPS budget, if cuts have to be made? Come hear and talk about it. (3013 S. Mt Baker Blvd.)
AND THERE’S MORE for today, tonight, and beyond, on our full calendar! (Something to add? Please send it as early as possible – at least a week before the event – with info in the body of your e-mail, not as an attachment – email@example.com – thank you!)
Now that government offices have reopened, you’ll be hearing a lot about what’s new for 2017. We took a look at the city’s news.seattle.gov portal, and this one caught our eye, from the Department of Construction and Inspections website:
On January 1, 2017, the updated Seattle Building Code takes effect. The updated code requires all applicants to complete a rat eradication program as a condition to getting a demolition permit. Only projects that apply under the 2015 Seattle Building Code will be subject to this new requirement.
The rat eradication program must be in place on the project site at least 15 days prior to the start of any demolition or any clearing or grading on the site. Applicants must provide proof to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections that a licensed pest control agent successfully completed the eradication. You can find licensed pest control operators at the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s website. (Search for commercial applicators with a CA endorsement of PCO General within King County.)
We are updating our demolition permit process and accompanying forms. During this transition, applicants can submit a letter from a certified pest control agent that includes the planned eradication method and a statement that they will continue eradication until the demolition begins.
Also spotlighted by SDCI: Street-use permit-fee changes and new rules for tree-protection signage on construction sites,
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:56 AM: Good morning! The holidays are over, school’s back in session, and it’s in the 20s this morning – watch out for ice, especially outside the major arterials; “Near- or sub-freezing temperatures will continue through Thursday,” the National Weather Service says. Traffic-wise, no incidents reported in/from West Seattle so far.
THANK YOU: As we all get back up to speed for the still-new year, we want to thank you in advance for your help during what’s now our 10th year of community-collaborative news coverage via WSB … if you see traffic/transportation trouble that your West Seattle neighbors should know about and we’re not already on it, please let us know *if and when you can do so safely/legally* … if you’re a passenger, or when you get to where you’re going. (We monitor many infostreams but some things just don’t show up in any of them.)
7:39 AM: Via Twitter, @dneidorff reports seeing a C Line bus being towed from the Westwood area.
So far, West Seattle is 2-for-2 in 2017 days with beautiful endings. Above, from Jim Clark, along Beach Dive; below, from Jonathan Shipley at Lincoln Park:
The moon and Venus were showing off high in the early-evening sky again tonight, Kanit Cottrell noticed from Gatewood:
The day began gorgeously, too:
Thanks to James Bratsanos for that early-morning view. And finally, a wildlife surprise:
Kersti Muul photographed the eagles by the California/Andover 76 station: “My boyfriend was pumping gas, I heard them and jumped out, such a strange place to hear an eagle. Perched on spruce, it looked me square in the eye.”
Thanks again for sharing photos – firstname.lastname@example.org or, if breaking news, text to 206-293-6302 – thank you!