West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Fauntleroy Community Association‘s always-popular annual membership meeting – known as the Food Fest – is days away. And that was one of several major discussion items at last night’s FCA board meeting – as well as an unexpected announcement.
FAUNTLEROY FOOD FEST: The annual FCA membership meeting is set for 6 pm Tuesday, March 20th, at The Hall at Fauntleroy. So far, eight confirmed food vendors and a multitude of community groups. The bites are free but the big point of this gathering is for Fauntleroy residents, businesses, etc., to renew their annual memberships, and to vote for officers. FCA will also be collecting non-perishable food donations, so bring something for the White Center Food Bank (which serves West Seattle from SW Myrtle southward). The Seattle Police Mobile Precinct is scheduled to be there too for visitors to tour. And Gary Dawson, Fauntleroy’s longtime liaison with Washington State Ferries, says Jon Vezina from WSF will be the first WSF rep at the Food Fest in years. Stop by, ask questions about the forthcoming dock replacement, or anything else. They’re also considering having a HALA upzoning info table too.
JOSLIN BUILDING UPDATE: FCA continues to closely monitor the potential redevelopment of the 9250 45th SW site in the Endolyne business district (first reported here last October).
Congratulations to longtime WSB sponsor West Seattle Thriftway for achieving a milestone – 30 years in business! In our photo above are owner/co-founder Paul Kapioski (right) and assistant manager Brian Bixenman. When we stopped by the store for photos today – the first day of a two-week celebration – the first gift was given away! The independently owned store is randomly giving away free groceries 30 times, to 30 customers, in 14 days, during its #wst30for30 celebration. As explained by marketing manager Michele Grasso:
From March 14th through March 27th the store plans to randomly select a checkstand number twice a day, and 4 times on March 18th – its actual anniversary date. If you are in a transaction in the checkstand chosen, whether it be $5 or $500, the store will pick up your tab. We appreciate our community and customers so much and know we wouldn’t be here without them. Since only 2004, we’ve donated over $772K to local area schools and non-profits. In honor of our 30th anniversary we wanted a fun way to celebrate and give back directly to our customers at the same time!
While we were there – customer Mina became the first free-groceries winner:
Who’s next? Maybe you! West Seattle Thriftway is on the southeast corner of California SW and Fauntleroy Way SW in Morgan Junction.
On the same day City Councilmembers were scheduled to have their first official discussion about the newest move toward a “head tax” (backstory here), more than 300 businesses around the city – including 50+ from West Seattle (our count of the names we recognized) – have signed a letter expressing concern. Here’s the letter and those who signed it (note that while it is dated March 9th, to our knowledge it is just being circulated today, March 14th):
The letter is similar to one circulated to West Seattle Chamber of Commerce members yesterday, in the name of the city’s Small Business Advisory Council, with an invitation for signatures. The new proposal is from a task force co-chaired by West Seattle’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold and WS-residing at-large Councilmember Lorena González. It is not yet in the form of proposed legislation – that is expected later in the year. We weren’t able to monitor today’s council committee discussion but hope to link it here when the archived video appears on the Seattle Channel website.
FIRST REPORT, 4:18 PM: After-school activities like athletics were in shelter-in-place mode for a while at the Chief Sealth International High School/Denny International Middle School campus but it’s just ended. Police were searching in that area of Westwood, they tell us, because of a secondhand report that someone might have been seen in the area with a gun. Nobody found, and again, the shelter-in-place is over.
UPDATE, 7:35 PM: We’ve just received from Denny principal Jeff Clark the letter that he and Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer sent to families about the incident:
At approximately 3:30 pm today, two hours after Denny scholars had been released and one hour after Chief Sealth scholars had been released, we had a report of someone driving erratically on 27 Ave SW. School staff went up the hill to assess the situation. As a part of this disturbance, a car had hit a parked car. The police quickly arrived. As the police investigated, a report was made that someone had possibly seen a gun. As a safety precaution, the schools went into a shelter-in-place, securing the exterior doors and bringing in scholars who were still in the area. The shelter-in-place was lifted after the police had searched the neighborhood and deemed that the situation was now safe. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Two items in West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon:
SOUTH DELRIDGE POLICE SEARCH: A man was stabbed in the hand in the 8800 block of Delridge Way SW this past hour and police say they know who they are looking for. The victim originally declined medical assistance, so what was briefly dispatched as an “assault with weapons” response quickly closed, while the search proceeded. No description info.
STOLEN PICKUP TRUCK: Barbara reports, “Our 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Megacab was stolen out of our driveway in upper Fauntleroy probably early this morning. Think we heard it drive away at 5:00 a.m.” Here’s an image of it as shown on Google Maps:
If you see it, call 911. (added Sunday) The owner is “also offering a reward in the amount of $250 for information leading to the recovery of our truck.”
Leading the briefing about the tunnel-project status, tunnel program leader David Sowers from WSDOT. “We have a big year ahead of us, and that’s an understatement. … The light at the end of the tunnel is upon us.”
“What do we need to do to open the tunnel?” Three bullet points: 1. Complete tunnel walls and roadway decks – the “final topping slabs” of the driving surface will be finished later this month, Sowers said. Second step, “commissioning” – installing and testing tunnel systems. Mid-August is when the contractor thinks those will all be done, Sowers said.
Then when the tunnel is verified as safe and ready to go, STP hands it off to WSDOT, and the Viaduct closure begins – “branded” as 17 days, but more like “about three weeks of time” to “reorient the existing corridor that now goes onto the Viaduct, into the tunnel,” says Sowers. He says there’ll be one big difference from past major closures – once the tunnel opens, post-closure, everyone will have to get used to the new connections from both ends.
Here’s his slide showing what happens on the south end during that closure time:
1:37 PM: Dearborn, in that slide, “is a street that doesn’t exist yet,” Sowers elaborates. He’s now on to explaining that the Viaduct demolition, Battery Street Tunnel decommissioning, and North surface street connections are being combined into one contract, and they’re expecting proposals from four contractors “in the middle of next month.” That contract will be worth about $100 million.
Next – Carl See, senior financial analyst for WSTC, leading the tolling-status section of the briefing. He’s focused on presenting results of a study that was requested about two months ago. He says some key factors have changed since the analysis began. Here’s the slide showing them:
Note “all requested toll rate scenarios maintain initial toll rates” in $1-$2.50 range, the former overnight and weekends, the latter during PM weekday commute, and other steps inbetween. Beyond the possible rates, there are a variety of scenarios the commission wanted to analyze, including how much tolls might rise over the years ahead. Most of the options performed similarly over the years ahead, See said. The analysis also included a look at whether traffic would be “ramping up” post-tunnel opening and a mention of the possibility that there might be a no-tolling period at the start for drivers to get used to the tunnel.
1:53 PM: Three tolling options came out “generally at or above preliminary coverage target” for debt service, See says – options 1a, 3a, 5a. Here are the two slides that explain (note that they are both variants of the $1-to-$2.50 assumption, which remains a proposal – no final decision for a few months):
A lot of what they’re analyzing involves not just how much money is generating but what kind of a “cushion”/reserves will be generated. That would be needed, one commissioner notes, in case toll revenue drops off at some point, so some other part of the state budget wouldn’t have to be dipped into, to cover for a shortfall. In response to a question, See says they still have time to analyze other options … but not much. The commission should “settle on key financing assumptions, and determine if other scenarios are needed” by next month. They need to get some updated information before making that decision – including “updated debt service requirements for $200 million capital funding from Office of State Treasurer.”
It’s pointed out from the commission side of the room that “everybody wants to keep it nimble … we’re going to have to keep it flexible” depending on what actually happens with traffic and resulting toll-paying once the tunnel opens.
Timeline for decisionmaking includes public meetings in late spring, according to what was just shown:
March-April, stakeholder discussions continue
April 17-18, commission meets, decides on finance assumptions and whether more analysis is needed
April-June, more stakeholder outreach and public input meetings – plus more toll-scenario requests IF needed
June 19-20, tolling subcommittee of WSTC will have recommended toll-scenario options for the full commission to review
June-July, more “stakeholder outreach and public input meetings”
July 17-18 meeting, proposed final toll plan approved by commission
July-September, more “stakeholder outreach and public input meetings”
Commission meeting September 11th – public hearing and final decision
And one commissioner stresses that even with a no-toll grace period at start of tunnel operations, the tunnel rates do need to be finalized before opening.
2:25 PM: The tunnel update is over. The financial analyst is now on to a somewhat-related item, status of a proposal to standardize exemptions across the state’s tolled facilities – tolls are the purview of the Transportation Commission, which is why the tunnel decision is in its hands. They’re also looking at systemwide fees and rates, which are charged in different ways (think about the difference between ferries and bridges, for example) – look for public-input meetings on all this later this year, too. So we’re wrapping up our coverage here.
(UPDATED WEDNESDAY NIGHT: 13 schools represented below – Alki ES, Boren STEM K-8, Cascade MS, Chief Sealth IHS, Denny IMS, Evergreen HS, Fairmount Park ES, Gatewood ES, Hope Lutheran, Lafayette ES, Madison MS, Pathfinder K-8, West Seattle HS)
10:03 AM: Students at more than 3,000 schools around the country said they would be part of the #NationalStudentWalkout at 10 am local time today – advocating for gun-law reform, exactly one month after the high-school massacre that killed 17 people in Florida. Some of the local schools participating invited us to cover their walkouts. Our first photo above and video below are from Evergreen High School and Cascade Middle School in White Center. More to come.
17 seconds of silence. pic.twitter.com/RHESoZNjYC
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 14, 2018
ADDED 10:26 AM: The Evergreen and Cascade students headed back to class a few minutes ago. Over the next hour-plus, we’ll be adding photos and video, from there and elsewhere. Above, their 17 seconds of silence; they also had student speakers. Below, Alice Enevoldsen‘s video from West Seattle High School, as names of victims were read:
More to come from other local schools.
ADDED 11 AM: Above, students from Louisa Boren STEM K-8 lined up along Delridge Way outside the school. Below, Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School students gathered on the Southwest Athletic Complex field across SW Thistle:
Many held pieces of paper with photos of those killed in Florida.
Below, video of student Natalie Sailors speaking as the Sealth/Denny gathering began:
And the closing remarks from student Kameron Port:
He had sent us the Chief Sealth IHS United Cultural Coalition’s invitation to cover the walkout, saying, “We are pushing and advocating for more progressive and responsible firearm legislation in the wake of the recent events of Florida and other national tragedies. … It is important to let the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting know that we are walking out in solidarity, and standing with them in this fight. We will no longer deal with hearing about the change that this generation needs. We are the change! We will not let this happen again! We’re taking matters into our own hands, advocating for stricter gun-control laws and more mental-health resources for treating troubled peers.”
Elsewhere in West Seattle – also participating: Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point:
Hope Lutheran School in The Junction:
After a moment of silence outside the school, the Madison students formed a line and walked the sidewalk around the school, down the hill around back, and up to the front again.
ADDED 12:17 PM: While elementary schools weren’t planning full-scale walkouts, some parents had gatherings in solidarity with the walkout. This photo is from Linnea Westerlind, who says about 25 people associated with Gatewood Elementary, including a few students, gathered nearby:
And Erika Stromberg sent this photo of Lafayette Elementary students, parents, and grandparents walking along California SW for 17 minutes at 10 am:
Anyone else? firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
ADDED 8:43 PM: Thanks to Melissa Fenno for this photo from the playfield fence outside Fairmount Park Elementary:
In each cup, she says, was a candle – 17, one for each Florida victim.
ADDED 11:55 PM: Add Alki Elementary to the list – thanks for the photo of the march past the playfield:
(Red-Breasted Sapsucker, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
Looking ahead at your Wednesday morning, afternoon, and evening:
JOB FAIR: 10 am-1 pm at Neighborhood House High Point: “Employers will be on site and ready to hire. Come professionally dressed and prepared with your resume.” Child care and refreshments provided. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)
BABY STORY TIME: 11:30 am at High Point Library, bring your baby up to one year old for stories, songs, and rhymes. (35th SW/SW Raymond)
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON MATINEE: 1 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle, “Q Planes” is this week’s movie. $1 members/$2 nonmembers, free popcorn. (4217 SW Oregon)
LIGHT RAIL MEETING: The Stakeholder Advisory Group for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle (and Ballard) light rail project will meet 5-8 pm at Union Station downtown – agenda and supplementary documents here. Public is welcome, but note that there’s no spoken-comment period planned. (401 S. Jackson)
YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE: 5:30-7:30 pm at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, help review some of the proposals for a share of $3 million city park/street project grants. (2306 42nd SW)
RAPIDRIDE H LINE DISCUSSION: The future Delridge-and-beyond RapidRide H Line is one of the agenda items for tonight’s 6 pm meeting of the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board at City Hall downtown. (600 4th Ave.)
MORE ON THE CALENDAR … browse it here.
6:59 AM: Good morning. No incidents or traffic alerts in/from West Seattle so far.
STUDENT WALKOUTS: If you’re going to be near a middle/high school at 10 am, remember these are expected to happen, as previewed here. The only plan we’ve heard of that’s likely to affect traffic is at Chief Sealth IHS/Denny IMS, where participating students say they’ll be walking to Southwest Athletic Complex across SW Thistle.
ENCAMPMENT CLEANUP: The city and WSDOT are expected to be working on the slope over Highway 509, east of Myers Way, which could mean vehicles on the shoulder of the southbound side.
8:59 AM: Via scanner, police are on their way to check out a collision reported “eastbound, mid-span” on the West Seattle Bridge.
9:04 AM: One person is reported to be hurt.