West Seattle, Washington
One more meeting from last night to tell you about – the open house for the SW Avalon Way rechannelization/repaving plan. No new information emerged – it was meant as a chance to comment on and ask questions about what SDOT recently revealed, the “30 percent design” version of the project.
Above center is Luna Park entrepreneur John Bennett, who is concerned about parking – while the proposal has changed from an early version that removed dozens of spaces uphill, where now a weekday 6-10 am transit lane is proposed, this one takes out a dozen spaces on the west side of Avalon, and Bennett fears The Shack coffee shop will be especially hard-hit. Councilmember Lisa Herbold has been working with SDOT to try to minimize the parking loss; above left is her legislative assistant Newell Aldrich (Herbold was at the HALA hearing a few miles away).
Also there, West Seattle Bike Connections‘ Don Brubeck (second from left above). The design incorporates protected bike lanes on what is a fairly busy route to and from the “low bridge” as well as Alki. Various concerns along the corridor included helping buses move more smoothly and dissuading drivers from using side streets. There were also requests for turn signals at the Avalon/Genesee light. Here’s an “aerial view” of what’s in the 30 percent plan, as previewed here last month:
WHAT’S NEXT: Project spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth says that after this open house for the 30 percent design, they hope to have the project up to 60 percent for another round of commenting in the fall. Construction is expected to happen next year, starting in the spring. Along with rechannelizing Avalon as shown here (PDF), the project will repave it all the way from the bridge to where it ends at Fauntleroy, along with 35th SW south of Avalon to Alaska – where reconstruction is needed due to water damage – and Alaska from 35th to 36th too. Beyond last night’s open house, here’s your chance to comment through June 24th – an online survey about the project.
8:51 PM: A Seattle Fire “full response” is headed to the 2200 block of Sunset Avenue SW [map] in North Admiral for a possible house fire. More to come.
8:55 PM: SFD says it’s a dryer fire and is canceling most of the responding units.
9:10 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli has confirmed that at the scene and says the remaining SFD crews are just helping clear out smoke.
As we reported at the end of last week, the Salmon in the Schools program has wrapped up this year’s releases into Fauntleroy Creek – but there are leftover fry, so you are invited to the creek on Saturday to experience what it’s like. If you haven’t already seen the announcement, Judy Pickens from the Fauntleroy Watershed Council explains what’s happening:
This spring more than 700 students in the Salmon in the Schools program entrusted their coho fry to Fauntleroy Creek, where they will grow until heading to saltwater next spring. Schools were especially successful this year in rearing their fish from eyed eggs, as was Jack Lawless, who rears fish for schools in the program that loose a lot or for preschools that don’t bring their own to release.
The Fauntleroy Watershed Council invites the community to put Jack’s remaining 200 fish in the water on Saturday, June 9, 1:00-3:00 pm at the big bridge in Fauntleroy Park. Volunteers will be on hand to keep everyone dry and answer questions about salmon, habitat, and the Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund.
Enter the park from the SW Barton Street kiosk and turn left at the trail T a few yards ahead. The bridge is about a three-minute walk east on a nearly flat, well-maintained trail. Expect to kneel on a rock at the water’s edge to release your fish; no boots are required. Dogs will need to be secured away from the water.
Can’t easily walk? The trail is suited to a walker or wheelchair. Can’t easily kneel? You’ll still be able to get up close and personal with your fish.
Here’s a map to the park.
We confirmed this afternoon with the DEA that a West Seattle raid early today was part of a regional “drug-trafficking ring takedown” by multiple agencies. A reader asked us about police near 20th and Holden in the 6 am hour; when we heard about the regional operation, we asked whether that location was part of it, and learned it was. We don’t know yet how many arrests – the reader reported seeing “several people in handcuffs” – but here’s the full news release about the regional operation:
In the fourth major drug trafficking ring takedown in as many months, federal, state and local law enforcement officers fanned out across King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit and Thurston Counties to execute search warrants and arrest more than 35 members of a drug trafficking organization, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. Today’s arrests are the fourth takedown in a series of cases aimed at reducing drug and gang violence in Seattle, South King and North Pierce Counties. Those taken into custody today (appeared this afternoon) in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
“Over the last four months, more than 80 drug dealing conspirators moving meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl have been taken off our streets where they preyed on destructive addictions and used gun crime to further their trade,” said U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes. “For more than a year, local police worked with federal partners to build these cases, with the goal of addressing the shifting crime problems in South Sound communities.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed U.S. Attorneys to deploy their resources to identify and address ‘hot spots’ of violent crime. Working with local law enforcement across the South Sound, federal law enforcement identified Seattle, the Rainier and Kent Valleys, and North Pierce County as an area of concern for drug and gun crime. Today’s takedown comes on the heels of three other law enforcement efforts involving wire-taps and surveillance to dismantle sophisticated drug trafficking rings linked to violence in those areas. The first takedown involved five defendants trafficking crack cocaine in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood; the second, in March resulted in twenty arrests of heroin and meth traffickers operating primarily in South King County and the Tacoma area; and in May, a third takedown dismantled two criminal groups trafficking methamphetamine in south King County.
“DEA is in a race to save lives,” said Keith Weis, the Special Agent in Charge for the Pacific Northwest. “These strategic operations have stopped some of the most violent criminal groups operating throughout the Puget Sound Region from pushing dangerous drugs onto our communities most vulnerable members facing life or death struggles against addiction.”
“The FBI is committed to holding violent gang members accountable for their actions,” said Special Agent in Charge Jay S. Tabb Jr., of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office. “The level of violence committed by these individuals has been detrimental to the South Sound community for years. Today’s arrests mark a major step toward addressing this problem.”
According to records filed in the case, conspirators trafficked cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, illegal marijuana and fentanyl. Associates of some of the traffickers arrested today were shot and some killed in various shooting incidents in both Seattle and south King County. On the wiretap law enforcement heard conspirators talk about various shootings after they occurred, including the September 4, 2017 shooting outside a Renton hookah lounge. Among other things, conspirators discussed getting firearms after being shot at by rival gangs.
Taken together, these four operations resulted in the seizure of 75 guns, more than 95 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 32 pounds of heroin, more than 7 pounds of cocaine (both crack and powder) as well as ecstasy and fentanyl. More than $327,000 in cash and 22 vehicles also were seized.
In addition, today alone law enforcement seized 12 pounds of heroin, more than 2 kilos of cocaine, a pound of methamphetamine, 124 pounds of marijuana, 41 firearms and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.
“Today, hundreds of law enforcement professionals came together to make our neighborhoods safer, taking criminals and drugs off the street and possibly saving lives,” said Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. “As a former Narcotics commander, I recognize the tireless work that goes into these investigations. Together with our federal and local partners, we have orchestrated one of the largest investigations in recent memory. A special thanks to the FBI, DEA and the US Attorney’s Office. This level of collaboration is unprecedented.”
“The U.S. Marshals have always believed in the power of collaboration, and the effectiveness of combining the resources and expertise of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners for the common good. Today, that tradition of collaboration continues and we are proud to be a part of it”, said Acting U.S. Marshal Jacob Green.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The defendants in these cases face a variety of drug and gun charges. The penalties range from five years in prison to a maximum of life in prison depending on the pertinent charge.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. This investigation was led by the Seattle Police Department Gang and Narcotics Units, FBI Seattle Safe Streets Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Other agencies providing investigative assistance include ATF, USMS, and the U.S Bureau of Prisons.
Today’s searches and arrests involved agents and officers from: DEA, FBI, ATF, HSI, USMS, SPD, Auburn Police Department, Bellevue Police Department, Bothell Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Des Moines Police Department, Everett Police Department, Fife Police Department, Kent Police Department, King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), Kirkland Police Department, Lakewood Police Department, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Marysville Police Department, Monroe Police Department, Mount Vernon Police Department, Mukilteo Police Department, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), Renton Police Department, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Snohomish County Drug and Gang Task Force, Tacoma Police Department, Thurston County Narcotics Task Force, Tukwila Police Department, U.S Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Washington Department of Corrections, Washington State Patrol, and the Yakima Police Department, and the following regional SWAT teams, SPD SWAT, Valley SWAT, North Sound Metro SWAT, Region 1 SWAT, Pierce County Metro SWAT, King County Sheriff’s Office TAC-30, Washington State Patrol SWAT, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office SWAT, and Bellevue SWAT.
In addition, the operations were conducted with the support of the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) and SWAT teams from the FBI’s Salt Lake City, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Denver field offices. DEA’s Special Response Team’s (SRT) from Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, and San Diego assisted in today’s operations. This investigation was supported by Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and the Special Operations Division (SOD).
The DEA also told us warrants were served at three White Center locations – in the 9700 block of 9th Place SW, 10600 block of 4th Avenue SW, and 1400 block of SW 116th.
The Aviation Maintenance Technology program’s hangar at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) hosted a high-profile event today: Governor Jay Inslee and County Executive Dow Constantine were among the speakers at the presentation of a study about aerospace-manufacturing competitiveness. The study showed, the governor said our state is “the best place to make a new mid-market airplane.” That’s a reference to Boeing‘s impending decision on whether – and where – to design and build just such a plane, and the study is part of an effort to convince the company to do it in Washington. Our state’s advantages for the industry have been long known, Inslee added, but now a study proves it. The industry is worth $76 billion to our state’s economy, he noted, and as a result has an “aerospace-friendly ecosystem.” Here’s the study announcement; here’s the full report (PDF). And here’s TVW video of the media briefing at SSC:
Executive Constantine said SSC – which he described as “West Seattle’s own university” – was a great place for the announcement because of its role in training the next generation of workers for the industry. “We are working to preserve aerospace jobs and strengthen the state’s entire supply chain,” he declared. He and Inslee are both members of the state’s council leading a “multi-pronged, broad-based, statewide campaign to demonstrate Washington’s position as the site with the lowest risk and highest return on Boeing’s potential investment to design, produce, and assemble the new airplane.”
WOMAN INJURED BY MASKED ATTACKER WITH CONFETTI GUN: Thanks to Kim for the tip on this and the photo. We didn’t make it to Westwood Village while this was unfolding but obtained the police report today. A 35-year-old man is in King County Jail today after being arrested Tuesday afternoon for investigation of assault. Police say he was wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and “soccer shin plate armor (plastic), with other various plastic armor plating underneath everyday clothing,” while walking on the east side of Westwood Village shooting people with a confetti gun. Seattle Fire checked one woman for minor injuries after she reported being hit in the eye. This was the suspect’s fourth booking in less than a year.
SIGNATURE SQUABBLE: Sorry to say, SPD tells us no report resulted from another Tuesday afternoon incident we briefly, and popularly, mentioned on Twitter, after hearing about it on the scanner:
And now, scanner: "An (incident) that could only happen in West Seattle – two signature-gatherers are in a shoving match outside Trader Joe's" (Actual quote)
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) June 5, 2018
The few lines in the SPD system say that a “petitioner” – it was not specified which campaign they were gathering for – was arguing with people, and the manager called police, who said the person could be “trespassed” (required to leave, and stay off the premises) if the situation persisted. Officers left and a while later, there was another call, but the manager called back and canceled before they arrived.
Two reader reports:
PLAGUED BY PACKAGE THEFTS: Kelli at Zippy Dogs in north Morgan Junction writes:
We are located over in the 6000 block on California Ave between Graham and Raymond streets. Our townhomes and businesses are having packages stolen on a very regular basis. The pictures show their faces, body type, build. White male, 20’s, heavy tattoos, he wears beanies and cap, sometimes has backpack. White female, 20’s, longish brown hair, she seems to be the lookout and he grabs packages. She helps carry the loot.
(Monday) they were carrying 3 bags stuff full of packages and a Rite Aid rolling basket loaded with their packages. These two yahoos have been caught stealing packages on our security cameras and (Monday) we followed them down California Ave while they walked to McDonald’s; unfortunately, the cops were shorthanded and busy and never made it to the scene for an hour and a half. They were long gone. They hang out at the Juneau Market (California and Juneau) and McDonald’s (California and Holly). They are very active, and walk up California Ave and nearby alleys, side streets and through a lot of townhome complexes that are easy targets especially if they have access to alleyways.
They have provided all their photos and videos to police, whose report number from Monday is 18-202147.
VANDALISM: Received via text:
My name is D and I was getting ready to work when I found my car, a Honda Fit, vandalized on my carport behind Pagliacci Pizza.
The gas door and lid were torn off, heavy scratches on the rear quarter panel and flattened tire.
There’s blood spots around the tire; the person might be hurt.
WEDNESDAY, 12:45 PM: If you’re trying to call a business and having trouble getting through … it might be the Comcast business-phone outage that’s affecting our area and others in the country. Here’s the Comcast tweet about it:
We are aware that there is an issue with our Comcast Business Voice service and we apologize for the inconvenience. We appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
— Comcast Business (@comcastbusiness) June 6, 2018
So far we’ve heard from (updated) three West Seattle businesses affected.
THURSDAY, 9:39 AM: Two commenters just mentioned the trouble’s not resolved. And Comcast confirms that via Twitter:
Outage Update: Phone services for most customers have been restored. Unfortunately, a small group continue to see issues. We are working hard to restore services to all and apologize for this inconvenience. For further assistance: https://t.co/0jurMjmRaQ
— Comcast Business (@comcastbusiness) June 7, 2018
A busy summer ahead for road/trail/sidewalk projects in West Seattle. SDOT has just sent a sheaf of notices about more work that’s about to start. We’ll spotlight each of them, starting with the Harbor/Spokane Intersection Improvements, a community-initiated project via the Neighborhood Street Fund. The official pre-construction notice (see it here) explains:
As soon as Monday, June 11, we’ll start construction of safety improvements for people walking, biking, and driving at the intersection of Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St. Work will last approximately 6 weeks. During this work, crews will:
■ Install a bike-only signal at the northeast corner of Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St and bike-only crossing across to the southwest corner of the intersection
■ Add a curb bulb at the northeast corner of Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St intersection
■ Restripe the crosswalks at the intersection
■ Replace existing jersey barrier and vegetation along the Alki Trail approaching Harbor Ave SW
■ Install a bike ramp on SW Avalon Way at SW Spokane St
P.S. According to the city bidding website, the contractor will be C.A. Carey, which submitted the winning bid for a package of five projects in the south section of the city, including this one and the walkway project in Westwood (our next update!).
Midweek highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
PUGET RIDGE PLAYGROUND: The little playground known as the “tot lot” is one of the West Seattle playgrounds getting an overhaul, and if you visit the playground between 4 and 6 pm, you can see and comment on the final design. (6029 21st SW)
ART RECEPTION: 4-6 pm at Providence Mount St. Vincent, you’re invited to the annual reception for the art display with work by residents and students of The Mount’s intergenerational child-care program. (4831 35th SW)
ALKI ELEMENTARY PTA: Time change for tonight’s last meeting of the year – 6 pm. Students reading poetry, too! (3010 59th SW)
NUCOR, PORT AT SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: The Southwest District Council‘s monthly meeting at 6:30 pm at Senior Center of West Seattle continues the late-spring theme of sustainability/environmental discussion. Guests are expected from the port and Nucor. See the full agenda and guest list here. (4217 SW Oregon)
JIM PAGE @ C & P: Singer-songwriter performs at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
Got something for the calendar? firstname.lastname@example.org – just tell us what, when, where, who, with as much advance notice as possible – thank you!
By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The Washington State Transportation Commission held an open house and public input meeting at High Point Community Center last night, seeking public comment on tolling proposals for the Highway 99 tunnel.
It was the second of three Seattle meetings between the commission and residents. Commissioner Roy Jennings opened the meeting by reminding those in attendance that the decision to toll the tunnel had already been made and was no longer up for debate. The commission instead was seeking input on a trio of toll-rate options.
Though all three plans are projected to meet the project’s fiscal obligations by 2045, they differ in price fluctuations throughout the day, as well as how increases are scheduled.
Last night, we chronicled the City Council’s HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning public hearing in West Seattle as it happened – you can read toplines from all of the more than 50 speakers in that report here. This morning, our video of the 2+-hour hearing is ready to go, and we’re publishing it separately here since an unfixable technical glitch has cut off commenting on last night’s story.
In the video, you’ll see and hear city staffer Sara Maxana‘s presentation on toplines of the upzoning proposal, followed by each speaker stepping up to the microphone. City Councilmembers did not speak or vote – this was a chance purely for the public to speak. Four were present – District 1’s Lisa Herbold, citywide reps Lorena González (also a West Seattle resident) and Teresa Mosqueda, and Rob Johnson, who chairs the council’s land-use-related committees this year. No date is set yet for the council’s vote; the appeal of the HALA MHA Environmental Impact Statement filed by a citywide coalition of neighborhood groups is scheduled for hearings starting later this month.
Announced Tuesday night by the Rotary Club of West Seattle:
The Rotary Club of West Seattle awarded $19,200 in scholarships to six West Seattle students on June 5th. The monies came from two scholarship funds: Student of the Year and Gambriell.
The Student of the Year scholarship is available to students who have been Students of the Month in the immediately preceding academic year.
Students of the Month is a program which honors outstanding students in West Seattle high-school programs. Each month of the academic year, all five participating school programs name a student who is worthy of recognition.
Those students, along with a school counselor, family members, and others important in the student’s life, are invited to be guests at the noon luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of West Seattle held on the second Tuesday of the month at the Alki Masonic Center.
At that meeting, each student gives a short talk about his or her accomplishments and aspirations and receives a packet of information and gifts from the club. Students of the Month are encouraged to apply for Student of the Year scholarships.
The high-school programs responsible for the selection of the students are Chief Sealth International High School, Career Link/Alternative High Schools, Seattle Lutheran High School, West Seattle High School and Southwest Youth and Family Services.
Students of the Year for 2018 are Maria DiFores from Career Link, Emily Mills also from Career Link, Daniela Hernandez from Seattle Lutheran, and Garbriella Rackner.
The Gambriell Scholarship can be awarded to any student in Seattle, but preference is given to those who reside in West Seattle and those who would not be able to attend college or further their education without the scholarship. Variable amounts are awarded each year, depending on how many students apply.
Gambriell Scholarship recipients for 2018 are Marcus Evans from Chief Sealth, Emily Mills from Career Link and Suscha Walker, second-year student at the University of Washington.