West Seattle, Washington
Almost two years after a deadly trench collapse at a West Seattle worksite, the owner of the company that employed the victim has been charged with criminal manslaughter. The announcement late today from the state Department of Labor and Industries says this is “the first time a Washington employer has faced felony charges for a workplace fatality.” 36-year-old Harold Felton was killed January 26, 2016, when the dirt walls of a trench collapsed during side-sewer work at a house in the 3000 block of 36th SW. Seven months later, the state cited Alki Construction LLC for seven violations, as reported here. And now, the company’s owner, 40-year-old Phillip Numrich, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. The announcement quotes L&I director Joel Sacks as saying, “There are times when a monetary penalty isn’t enough. This company knew what the safety risks and requirements were, and ignored them. The felony charges show that employers can be held criminally accountable when the tragedy of a preventable workplace death or injury occurs.” We’ve looked up the court documents, which were not included in the L&I news release; Numrich has been charged with two counts, second-degree manslaughter and “violation of labor safety regulation with death resulting.” The documents note that he and the victim not only had an employer-employee relationship, they were longtime friends. Mr. Felton was the first person killed in a trenching incident in our state in more than seven years.
The union representing First Student school-bus drivers who transport Seattle Public Schools students warns that “a protracted strike by the group of over 400 drivers is all but imminent” after they rejected the bus company’s latest offer. That’s from the Teamsters Local 174 website report on the Saturday meeting in which First Student’s offer was turned down by drivers. While the drivers accepted the company’s pay offer sometime back, they have continued to be in dispute over health care and retirement; the union website says, “The group was extremely dissatisfied that the Company’s proposal did not include any affordable healthcare coverage for spouses or families, and that there was no pension included in the offer.” The drivers went on strike for one day back in late November. The school district – which does not employ the drivers directly, but contracts with First Student to provide services – posted an update tonight saying:
… After the vote, the drivers’ union indicated First Student drivers could strike again. The district does not know when or if a strike will happen. However, we will continue to closely monitor. …
The district’s update also includes its FAQ reminding parents that if there is another bus-driver strike, schools will remain open, as they did for the one-day walkout in November.
As previewed in our West Seattle Monday highlights list: You’re invited to stop by Tap Station (southeast corner of 35th/Kenyon) before 8 pm for an open house/celebration of new beginnings for the founders and new owners of Swedish Automotive across the street and West Seattle Autoworks a few blocks north on 35th (both WSB sponsors). As we reported the week after Christmas, Swedish Automotive founders Dave Winters and Sandra Wanstall are retiring:
They have sold their business to Todd Ainsworth and Chris Christensen, who founded WS Autoworks in 2010 in the space Swedish vacated to move to its then-new, bigger, greener location (right across 35th from the site of tonight’s celebration). Chris will continue to co-own WS Autoworks, but now with its lead tech Nathen Huie, who has long worked with Chris and Todd. Everyone’s welcome to stop by and join tonight’s open-house-style celebration.
5:42 PM: Thanks for all the tips on this. A police and SFD response at Delridge/Holden is wrapping up, but so far we’re told that it involved some kind of fight, no major injuries. A private ambulance was called to check out one person who was hurt.
5:54 PM: We went to the (nearby) precinct to seek more details. Police there confirm this was a “fistfight,” involving two men, spotted by a witness at Delridge/Holden who went to the precinct – a block north – to report it.
The last two stolen vehicles reported in West Seattle Crime Watch were both found by readers – maybe this will be three in a row. Ivana reports a 1999 Ducati Monster Cromo 900 motorcycle was “stolen from the driveway next to the apartment building at 9011 35th Avenue SW [map] between approximately 10:00 PM on 01/04/2018 and 07:45 on 01/05.” Black frame, chrome tank, carbon fiber fairing, Brembo brakes, round mirrors, low mileage. WA license plate 4C7676. Call 911 if you see it – SPD incident # 18-5224.
(WSB file photo)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Thanks for all the tips about this – a brand-new real-estate listing that startled a lot of West Seattleites when it went up this morning: 5612 California SW, site of the century-old Craftsman house that is the home of C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), has been put up for sale in a listing describing the parcel as “a terrific development opportunity.”
The coffeehouse is far more than a place to get your latte – it’s a beloved community center and hangout, a place that hosts music and meetings, bazaars and bake sales, donation drives, and one-on-one conversations that no doubt have changed some lives.
The building is NOT owned by C & P Coffee’s proprietors Cameron and Pete Moores (shown at right in WSB photo from C & P’s 10th anniversary in 2013) – they are longtime tenants. We talked with Pete minutes ago. They are “scrambling to try to figure out some way to not only save the building but also save our business too,” he told us. Their landlord just told them days ago about the plan to put the site up for sale – and it “hit us like a ton of bricks” – but they were still “staggered” when the $1,250,000 listing went up this morning.
“We still have a lease that gets us through 2020 – so it’s two years-plus before they can boot us out,” Pete said, but that’s not much consolation. The business he and Cameron have built for 15 years – opened on Valentine’s Day 2003 – “has become more than a coffee shop in the neighborhood, it’s become an important part of our community and we want to save that. So we’re reaching out to everybody we know, looking for somebody who might want to partner with us to buy the property.”
Without a partner, Pete says, $1,250,000 is way out of their range. “We’re just a little mom-and-pop business and it’s like we’re up against the big boys. … Our fingers are crossed that somebody can help us.” Or else, another of those “beautiful houses on California Avenue” is going away, Pete laments; the real-estate listing assesses the site simply as “Value in land – 50X150, level, paved alley.” (The 7,500-square-foot site is zoned Lowrise 3.)
If you – or someone you know – might be interested in/able to help them, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, Pete says, they’re just going to “work their asses off and try to figure it out.”
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) January 8, 2018
(WSB video substituted 11:14 am for originally published photo)
FIRST REPORT, 10:41 AM: Seven months after the West Seattle PCC Community Markets (WSB sponsor) closure at its once-and-future site – demolition is finally beginning. We just went to the site to confirm after a tip, and indeed, the demolition equipment is there and the crew confirmed they are about to get going. (First, they have to haul one last store fixture out.) Though there have been lots of rumors, when we last checked on the project three weeks ago, it was reiterated that they were just waiting for permits. PCC is a tenant at the site owned by Madison Development Group, which is building 100+ apartments as well as the new, larger store.
11:13 AM UPDATE: The building teardown is now under way. Video substituted atop the story.
3:33 PM: This video is from less than an hour ago, right after the two excavators now on site brought down the west wall:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) January 8, 2018
The new building will cover the site of the old store and the parking lot to the south of it, but not the southwest lot west of the alley – that has different zoning and is to be kept as surface parking, in addition to two levels of parking beneath the building.
(From Design Review in March 2017: California SW-facing side of the project; rendering by Hewitt Architects)
ADDED 4 PM: Aerial view from WSB’s Christopher Boffoli:
PCC told us last month that they’re expecting to open next year. (Construction of a project of this size typically takes a year to a year and a half.)
INAUGURATION CEREMONY: West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Lorena González is one of four citywide elected officials who will have an inauguration ceremony at City Hall at 2:15 pm this afternoon. The public’s invited. (600 4th Ave.)
OPEN HOUSE/FAREWELL CELEBRATION: 5-8 pm at Tap Station, stop in for a celebration of new beginnings for the founders and new owners of Swedish Automotive and West Seattle Autoworks (WSB sponsor) — backstory here. (35th SW/SW Kenyon)
WEST SEATTLE PRESCHOOL FAIR: 5:30 pm-7:30 pm tonight at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church. Participant list here – includes WSB sponsors Westside School, West Seattle Montessori, A Child Becomes, Our Lady of Guadalupe. (3050 California SW)
TILDEN SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: 6:30-8 pm, visit K-5 Tilden School (WSB sponsor) to “tour the classrooms, and chat with the teachers and specialists who make Tilden extraordinary.” Tilden is co-housed with, but not affiliated with, First Lutheran Church of West Seattle – “their back door is our front door.” (4105 California SW)
EVENING BOOK GROUPS: Two at 6:45 pm – at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW), “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” by Amy Tan is this month’s book; at West Seattle (Admiral) Library (2306 42nd SW), where this month’s book is “Sweet Tooth” by Ian McEwan. Everyone’s welcome at both groups.
WEST SEATTLE BOOSTER CLUB: 7 pm at the West Seattle High School library, all welcome: “Your support and involvement makes it possible for the Booster Club to support the students and coaches of the athletic programs, band, and cheerleaders at WSHS.” (3000 California SW)
‘PEERLESS’ FIRST LOOK: Free event at ArtsWest looking ahead to the next production, “Peerless.” 7:30 pm. Though it’s free, tickets are required – our calendar listing has the info. (4711 California SW)
AND THERE’S MORE … on our complete-calendar page! You’re also welcome to send listings – as far in advance as possible – email@example.com – thank you!
6:57 AM: Good morning! We’ve checked around and there are currently no incidents in/from West Seattle. Looking ahead:
WEATHER ALERT FOR THURSDAY: Early this morning, the National Weather Service issued a Special Weather Statement warning that “Very windy conditions are possible Thursday. The wind could be strong enough to cause local damage.”
VIADUCT BATTERY STREET TUNNEL CLOSURE SATURDAY MORNING: 6 am-10 am Saturday (January 13th), as previewed here, the Alaskan Way Viaduct is scheduled to be closed both ways between Seneca and Denny for an inspection primarily involving the Battery Street Tunnel. (Update: WSDOT tells us only the tunnel will be closed – you’ll be able to drive NB to Western during the closure.)
7:03 AM: There’s no SFD dispatch so far, but we’ve just heard on the scanner that SPD is checking out a crash in the 6700 block of West Marginal Way SW.
8:36 AM: Center lane blocked on eastbound WS Bridge by crash, SDOT reports.
8:45 AM: Already cleared!
9:13 AM: Crash on the ramp from the eastbound bridge to northbound I-5, and SFD’s being dispatched.