West Seattle, Washington
It’s a West Seattle tradition for the changing of seasons – an equinox or solstice sunset watch at Solstice Park with Alice Enevoldsen. Even if she’s going to be out of town on the actual equinox or solstice date, which is why she was there tonight to educate a small but hardy group. And yes, there was some sunset color!
Even though equinoxes/solstice moments seldom coincide with the sunset time (though Saturday’s 6:54 pm arrival of autumn will be close), the sunset is the star of Alice’s events because Solstice Park is set up with markers and paths aligning with the sunset on those distinctive dates. Tonight, by the way, she had two assistants – her daughters:
Explaining the relationship between earth and sun at the seasonal change is one of the things you learn at Alice’s events. So if you couldn’t be there tonight, stand by for the winter-solstice edition, just three months away!
Toplines from last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, which turned out to have a featured guest after all:
CAPTAIN’S UPDATE: Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis spoke about Myers Way and says the city’s Navigation Team is “ready and willing” to remove the unsanctioned camp in the woods on the east side – outreach is under way now, posting is next, and “hopefully by the end of October that (area) will be cleaned and repurposed.” (Operations Lt. Steve Strand had said at another recent meeting – as we reported – that a big cleanup was coming up.) They have been trying for two years to get to this point, Davis said, adding that they have a small window of opportunity coming up before rainy weather and muddy conditions make it unsafe for heavy equipment. He said they’ve made the case by talking with SPD/city brass about the items found there and who’s been arrested there. Davis said, also, “the state is on board” with clearing and repurposing that area – much of which is state-owned.
Regarding area crime problems in general, Capt. Davis singled out auto theft, saying it continues to run high (you can check crime stats here). Since it’s a regional problem, not just within city limits, Davis said they’re partnering with other law-enforcement agencies to get detectives involved and tie cases together “and we go after either the ring or the individual” – and he repeated something he has said time and time again, once repeat offenders are behind bars, there’s a big dent in crime.
Capt. Davis was asked by WSCPC president Richard Miller about staffing status. He and Lt. Strand have been making their case about shorthandedness to top department leaders, and they say the reply is always that everyone is shorthanded. SPD recruiters are even working in other states to recruit officers for “lateral” – department to department – moves. They’re still working just to “catch up to attrition,” Davis said. The SW Precinct, whose jurisdiction includes West Seattle and South Park, is assigned 85 officers, he said, while wishing he could have 95. As always, he also credited watchful community members for helping solve crimes.
First community question – How has the summer gone, patroling Alki, noise enforcement?
Capt. Davis: This year “we spent a little bit of extra money and besides our walking officers …we put together a team focused specifically on traffic … I know we wrote a lot of tickets (and) a lot of parking tickets … a lot of people who came here to act up got their cars towed (and/or ticketed) … an arrest or two too. It was all good. Community members loved it. We’re going to try to do the same next year, and enhance it.” Regarding noise, he mentioned the new ordinance enhancement is “a tool” that they “haven’t used to its fullest yet” but “next summer” they hope to.
Next, a comment – a person said she was at Westwood Village about six months ago and encountered a person who was behaving erratically and aggressively, so she found police who were there on patrol, and they dealt with him, which she appreciated.
After that, another comment of gratitude, from a person said she came to thank the precinct for intervening in a drug/camping problem at the Delridge P-Patch. “We’d been picking up so much drug paraphernalia, I was just so happy” that something was done. Lt. Strand said Community Police Team Acting Sgt. John O’Neil had been marshaling that over the past week or so. The resident said there were up to 15 people camping there at one point; Lt. Strand said that there had been some connection with the camping on the slope behind Louisa Boren STEM K-8. The woman said she volunteers at Camp Second Chance and there’s a “real difference” between those living at that clean/sober sanctioned encampment and the camping they found at the P-Patch.
The police recommended Find It, Fix It as a good way to report problems/concerns from illegal camping to graffiti vandalism.
GUEST SPEAKER: School Emphasis Officer Tre Smith, who started in the Explorer program, talked about what he does at Washington Middle School – one of four middle schools in the city (including, in West Seattle, Denny International Middle School) that have these officers. The program has evolved with the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative – they are not there to enforce (unless a serious crime occurs) – school security will handle everything from drugs to fighting. His job is to pinpoint kids who are at risk, connect them with resources, get them into programs with rewards for success. Maybe 10 to 15 kids at higher risk are eligible for incentivizing like that.
When the bell rings, Officer Smith is in the hallway connecting with kids. He even does some teaching (“just got done teaching constitutional rights to 6th graders”). The SEOs are assigned to middle schools – focusing on the formative years when kids “are deciding who they are, who they want to be … becoming young adults.” He works with school counselors to be sure that the kids who need services get them. And he’s mostly there as a resource – “as a human being, to have a conversation.” He said many students refuse to believe he’s a full-fledged police officer (he is, and he’s 25 years old) but think he instead is a security guard. (The school has one of those, too, he said.)
They’re seeing less gang affiliation in middle school; he said his presence has helped cut through the fake-tough veneer that some kids put up – “hey, this guy kind of cares about me.” A lot of them have reduced adult involvement in their lives because their parent(s) are working two jobs just to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.
Asked about school violence, Officer Smith said they are always watchful about students who might need help, might have shown warning signs.
So what’s the danger time at school? asked Miller. Varies kid by kid, said Officer Smith – depends on whether the child faced trouble as their day began at home, or if trouble built during the day at school. He keeps close tabs on “20 to 30” kids, knowing that “if we get them off to a good start in the morning, they can have a good day.” It’s important that kids “feel they can tell an adult anything, and they’re not going to face retribution for it.”
The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets at 7 pm third Tuesdays most months, at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster). Watch the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar for agenda info once it’s announced.
At right is Penny Scott, a Routes 125/128 bus driver who is one of three Metro drivers honored today as Operators of the Year. This was the first three-way tie since Metro started presenting the award in 1979. From the announcement:
Penny drives Route 125 between Downtown Seattle and West Seattle and Route 128 from West Seattle to White Center and Tukwila. She was hired as a part-time transit operator in July 1995 and went full-time in March 2001. She has earned a 22-year Safe-Driving Award and received several commendations. She was named Operator of the Month in October 2017. Penny was born and raised in Seattle, and graduated from Garfield High School in 1991. Penny is known around the base as “The Five-Star General” … because of the safety pins she proudly displays on her Metro jacket. Penny has two grown sons, Johnathan and Dorian. In her spare time, Penny enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends.
Read about her two co-Operators of the Year, Ricardo Diaz and Robert Leyse (who drive non-WS routes), in the full announcement here. Metro says all three got the news “at a surprise ceremony today at Atlantic-Central Base.”
Thanks to Jim Borrow for the photo of the historic schooner Adventuress, which caught attention off Alki this afternoon. Adventuress is 105 years old; you can read its history here. It’s been a National Historic Landmark since 1989, and is operated by the educational nonprofit Sound Experience.
Upton Flats – the High Point mixed-use development at 35th SW/SW Graham – “isn’t as close to complete as you might think.” That’s what Seattle Housing Authority spokesperson Kerry Coughlin told us when we checked in after receiving multiple recent e-mails wondering about its status. Coughlin explained, “The developer is facing the same issues that a lot of construction projects are right now. It’s difficult to get certain subcontractors, which creates delays.” Most of those e-mailing us to ask about the project’s status were particularly curious about its commercial space. As we’ve reported previously, most of it will become offices for SHA; Coughlin says that will total about 5,300 square feet, and they’re now expecting to move into that space next summer. No tenant yet for the retail space, about 1,200 square feet. In addition to those spaces and the ~100 apartments, which Coughlin says are still under construction, Upton Flats will include a “nearly 3,000-sf community room with kitchen and restrooms.” (If you’re interested in more information about the 6058 35th SW project, here’s our report from its final Southwest Design Review Board meeting in 2016.)
The 4709 California SW storefront that Great Harvest Bread Co. is vacating (as reported here Tuesday) won’t be vacant for long. This morning, we spoke with one of the West Seattleites who own Flying Apron and plan to open their third bakery/café in that space.
Angela Cough and husband Jeff Silva already have two West Seattle businesses – Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (4410 California SW) and Shack Coffeehouse (2920 SW Avalon Way) – but their first business, Flying Apron, is in Fremont and Redmond. Now, they’re expanding it close to home, and Angela tells WSB they’re “very excited.” If you’re not familiar with Flying Apron, it’s a gluten-free, vegan bakery and café – sweet and savory items. Angela says they had long been looking for a West Seattle location and discovered the Great Harvest proprietors were looking for someone to take over the space. The Flying Apron café will be “casual dining,” counter-ordering with seating or takeout. They’ll offer soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, lasagna, etc. – all “100 percent gluten-free and vegan” – and when Flying Apron is up to full speed in West Seattle, they hope to have an “even more robust” variety of bread offerings. Custom cakes, too, even wedding cakes. “Our goal is food access … giving (people who have food sensitivities) the opportunity to enjoy things they loved” even before they changed their diet. Full-service coffee, too, “similar to what you’d find at Hotwire and The Shack.”
Once they open – no later than January, Angela says, though they hope to at least have part of the operation going during the holiday season (it will likely take them a little extra time to convert the space because it needs to be thoroughly cleaned for the transition away from wheat and other ingredients Flying Apron doesn’t use) – their hours will likely be similar to their current Flying Apron cafés, in the 8 am-7 pm vicinity. And they’re glad to be able to keep the Junction space in local hands: “I was born and raised here – really, never left – so for me (especially) it’s a big deal. We’re very well-rooted in this community – our kids go to Genesee Hill Elementary,” and they support local nonprofits.
They promise a community “launch party” when the West Seattle Flying Apron is ready to go. “We’re going to do our best to open as fast as possible.”
11:07 AM: A large police/fire response along the Duwamish River this morning followed the discovery of a body in the water. A Seattle Police spokesperson tells WSB they got word from Port of Seattle PD, and a search/recovery operation ensued. We went to the area south of Herring’s House Park after tips from passersby who noticed the sizable police presence. SFD and SPD teamed up for the recovery operation. We have no information yet about the person who was found – not even gender/age, nor how they died, which will be up to the King County Medical Examiner to determine.
12:08 PM: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Steve Strand has one additional detail – he tells us the person who died was an “adult male.”
Thanks to Evan for the tip via Twitter – another West Seattle business closure, The Daily Dose coffee shop (5214 Delridge Way SW). We don’t know when it happened, but Evan was the first to mention it to us, after spotting that sign in the window this morning, and we went over to confirm.
Highlights for the rest of your Wednesday:
ROXHILL PARK WALK: Walk with Sound Steps at 3 pm: “Join your neighbors for a walk on the Longfellow Creek Trail, through Roxhill Park on a .5 mile loop – stop there or continue on for another loop for 1 mile total. Meet at the trail entrance on Barton.”
HIGH POINT MARKET GARDEN FARMSTAND: Weekly farmstand open for you to buy organic produce grown where it’s sold, 4 pm-7 pm. (32nd SW & SW Juneau)
PUPS IN THE POOL: Today’s the second session of the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club‘s annual Dog Days of Summer. The pool has closed for the human-swimming season – so now it’s open to dogs for swimming, as a fundraiser. 5-7 pm. (11003 31st SW)
INJURY NIGHT: Free individual injury assessments at West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor) with Dr. Nate Moore, starting at 6 pm. Plus – a medical-device demonstration that’ll be of interest – details in our calendar listing. (2743 California SW)
SEARCH AND RESCUE CLASS: Still room in this free 6 pm class at the Joint Training Facility:
When a large disaster happens, first responders and other city services may be overwhelmed. Transportation may be disrupted and communication may be difficult. It is vital that city residents are prepared to be self-sufficient during these times. Having knowledge of some key disaster skills is a crucial part of that preparedness effort. This training provides an overview of light search and rescue skills and basic rescuer safety. When first responders are overwhelmed, residents may apply some of these techniques to help those around them in need.
This Workshop covers the following topics:
-Basic search techniques
-Basic rescue techniques (lifts, carries, cribbing).
Register here. (9401 Myers Way S.)
DENNY IMS PTSA 6:30 pm in the school library, it’s the first meeting this school year for the Denny International Middle School PTSA. (2601 SW Kenyon)
EARLY AUTUMN-EQUINOX SUNSET WATCH 6:30 pm at Solstice Park, join Alice Enevoldsen for an early edition of the fall-equinox sunset watch! Sunset’s around 6:55 pm. (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW)
WORDSWEST LITERARY SERIES 7 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), tonight’s WordsWest event is “New Beginnings: School Shoes, Firewood, and Falling Leaves” with Greg November and Joannie Stangeland. More info here. Admission free! (5612 California SW)
THAT’S JUST THE START … there’s more on our complete calendar.
A mayoral visit that’s been months in the planning is now one week away – Mayor Jenny Durkan, hosted by the Highland Park Action Committee. You’re invited. HPAC chair Charlie Omana has just sent the agenda for the September 26th event, with word that the city’s Human Services Director will be there too:
6:15 Doors open
6:30 Calling meeting to order
6:35 Guest Speaker – Mayor Jenny Durkan
6:50 – 7:00 Q&A with Mayor
7:10 – Conversation with Randy Wiger, Recreation Program Coordinator, Parks Department, about programming in HP parks
7:30 Guest – Jason Johnson, Interim Director, Department of Human Services: Open conversation about City of Seattle policies on homelessness
8:00 close meeting
7:10 AM: Good morning. No incidents currently reported in/from West Seattle; a stalled vehicle reported on the bridge last hour has cleared.
EARLY RELEASE: A reminder since the school year is still new, Wednesdays are early-release days for Seattle Public Schools again this year.
HIGHWAY 99 CLOSURE: As we reported yesterday, NB 99 will close this weekend – specifics here.
TRANSIT NOTE: Just for the record … Metro said the 6:41 am Route 55 didn’t run today.
(added) STADIUM EVENT: Sounders FC plays at CenturyLink Field, 8 pm tonight vs. Union.