West Seattle, Washington
9:23 PM: Now that we’re in the final few hours of 2019, unless there’s big breaking news, we’re just going to open this running thread for updates. So far, the Space Needle fireworks are still ON – the wind (still in advisory mode until 4 am) hasn’t been too bad – and you have one more chance to catch the laser light show, 10 pm-10:10 pm. Meantime, just in from Highland Park:
— Kirk Bentley (@VeryBentley) January 1, 2020
10:10 PM: From the scanner, flurry of 911 callers thinking they hear shots. No – it’s fireworks.
10:53 PM: Good news – the NWS Wind Advisory has been dropped five hours before the original projected end. Bodes well for the fireworks. Speaking of the NWS, they’ve tweeted these decade-in-review stats:
Some requests for the Seattle stats for the last decade so here you go…
Warmest day…6/25/2017, 8/11/2014 & 8/15/2010 96°
Coldest day ( high temp )…11/23/2010 25°
Coldest day ( low temp )…11/24/2010 14°
Wettest day…12/20/2019 3.25"
Most snow…1/18/2012 6.8" #wawx
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) January 1, 2020
11:04 PM: Monitoring KING5, which broadcasts the fireworks. They say the call will be made at 11:50 pm.
11:51 PM: No fireworks:
Due to high winds, we are unable to proceed with the fireworks display. However, there will be a 12 minute musically-choreographed light show to help celebrate the arrival of 2020.
— Space Needle (@space_needle) January 1, 2020
11:57 PM: But if the winds calm, they’ll try the fireworks at 2 am.
12:22 AM: KING’s anchors just said the station WILL broadcast the fireworks at 2 am if they go off then.
1:12 AM: The Needle just tweeted a pessimistic forecast but didn’t say clearly whether the 2 am fireworks are still a possibility.
1:54 AM: No fireworks. Final word from the Needle:
Due to high winds, we are still unable to proceed with the fireworks display at 2:00am on January 1. Unfortunately, this calls for the cancellation of this year’s display.
— Space Needle (@space_needle) January 1, 2020
The photo is from Kersti Muul, who reports another dead California sea lion has washed up on a West Seattle beach. This one, like the one found a month ago and others earlier in the year, has what could be bullet wounds, she says, while also noting that it’s considerably decomposed. The carcass has been secured to a log south of Alki Point; we haven’t yet heard about necropsy plans but will be checking with Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which Kersti says is aware of this. As shown in her photo (pre-securing), the carcass is marked with green paint to show that it’s been noted.
New Year’s Eve brings a WSB tradition – listing the most-commented-on stories of the year. Going through the archives, what surprised us a bit is what the list is missing compared to a year earlier – we’ll point it out at the end if you haven’t figured it out by then! By the way, while this list is traditionally a “top 10,” this year it’s 13 stories long because there were three ties along the way. And our caveat – thsse are not necessarily the most-imoortant or most-read stories of the year, just the ones that generated the most comments. On with the countdown:
#10 – HERBOLD, TAVEL LEAD DISTRICT 1 VOTE
August 6, 2019 – 103 comments
First results in the 3-candidate primary race for the District 1 seat on the Seattle City Council.
#9 – WEST SEATTLE SNOW (Sunday pm updates)
February 10, 2019 – 106 comments
Remember all that February snow? On this afternoon/evening, several inches fell, and WSB commenters did what they do best, sharing info and observations.
#8 (tie) – CITY PLANS TO REDUCE SPEED LMITS
December 10, 2019 – 111 comments
City leaders announced they’ll reduce arterlal speed limits to 25 mph in hopes of reducing the number of crashes resulting in deaths and serious injuries.
#8 (tie) – NEW 99 BUS LANE ‘PROBLEM’ ACKNOWLEDGED
September 27, 2019 – 111 comments
A bus lane was added to a stretch of NB 99. Uproar ensued. This was one of our followups.
#7 – THE PLAN TO REDUCE PM COMMUTE SLUGGISHNESS
August 2, 2019 – 117 comments
The “Seattle Squeeze” put buses on 1st Avenue and that led to a clamor of complaints about how long it took to get home from downtown, so SDOT announced some tweaks.
(Reader video of March 2019 tree/wire fire, from Betsy)
#6 (tie) – BIG POWER OUTAGE
March 20, 2019 – 118 comments
6,200+ customers lost power after a line went down and set a tree on fire near a City Light facility in North Delridge.
#6 (tie) – FIRST POST-VIADUCT WEEKDAY COMMUTE
January 14, 2019 – 118 comments
We tracked how the morning commute went on the first day after the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct for the tunnel transition.
#5 – DISTRICT 1 VOTE-COUNTING CONTINUES
November 8, 2019 – 122 comments
The fourth count post-general election locked in the re-election of Councilmember Lisa Herbold, as her lead over Phil Tavel was larger than the number of votes left to count.
#4 (tie) – SLUSHY
February 12, 2019 – 132 comments
First the snow, then the melt.”
#4 (tie) – SNOW STARTS
February 8, 2019 – 132 comments
A “wall of snow” moved in. Here’s how things shook out.
#3 – WINDSTORM TAKES OUT POWER
January 6, 2019 – 141 commments
Windy weather cut the electricity to about 8,000 customers.
#2 – WHITE NATIONALIST GROUP’S FLYERS STREWN IN WEST SEATTLE
January 6, 2019 – 142 comments
Multiple West Seattle neighborhoods were littered with weighted bags containing literature for a white-nationalist group.
#1 – GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS, NIGHT 1
November 5, 2019 – 156 comments
When the first vote count was announced on Election Night, incumbent Herbold led challenger Tavel for City Council District 1.
PREVIOUS YEARS: Here are our most-commented-stories lists, going back to 2011:
WHAT’S NOT IN THIS YEAR’S TOP 10: No crime stories made the most-commented list this year, first year with that distinction since 2015.
One more stolen vehicle to add to the list: Araceli‘s black 2015 Nissan Altima, plates BAE1041, taken in White Center on Monday. (As there’s a lot of cross-city/county-border vehicle dumping, we’ll report WC thefts when we hear about them too.) Looks like this stock photo. Call 911 if you see it.
11:54 AM: From the “in case you wondered too” file – we hadn’t received official word yet from SDOT on this weekend’s “tentative” plan for a second 35th/Alaska intersection closure, so we asked. SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergeson responded, “The work is scheduled to occur this weekend, weather permitting.” (The current weekend forecast is for intermittent rain, but that didn’t stop the first closure.) This time, as announced a week and a half ago, it’s an early start, 9 am Friday. Watch for an update on Thursday.
2:23 PM: SDOT has reiterated the plan on its blog – you can read the post here for a refresher on the detour plan and other details (the map is above).
11:22 AM: The biggest West Seattle party on New Year’s Eve is usually a multi-location event – people gathering on north-facing shores and overlooks to watch the midnight Space Needle fireworks. Tonight, as we’ve reported, the National Weather Service expects strong winds, so you might wonder what that means for the show. The Seattle Times reports that the Needle’s laser light show will go on, regardless, but the fireworks could be canceled or postponed depending on the late-night wind speed. The light show runs earlier in the evening, by the way, according to the Needle website:
7 PM – 7:10 PM
8 PM – 8:10 PM
9 PM – 9:10 PM
10 PM – 10:10 PM
We’ll be monitoring late tonight and will publish an update if the fireworks are no-go. As for what else is up – we have bar parties, restaurant toasts, the Highland Park Improvement Club Not-So-Silent Night Parade and Corner Bar, plus Emerald City Wanderers‘ walks, all listed in the final version of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide. (No “who’s open/closed” lists for this holiday – we’ve found over the years that closures are far fewer for New Year’s than for Thanksgiving/Christmas.)
3:35 PM: One cancellation for tonight: West Seattle Yuletide was going to run its light show through tomorrow night but decided the wind was too much of a threat to some of the setup so it’s done for the year.
The letterboard in the window at longtime WSB sponsor Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW) often has amusing messages. This week, it’s just a simple one: After today, it’s winter break time. From the Click! announcement:
December 31 we’ll be open 11a – 4p for your last minute NYE hostess gifts and one last chance to select pieces from our jewelry invitational. Then we’ll take a short break, closed Jan 1 – 16 (holiday gift exchanges honored through Jan 31).
If you haven’t shopped Click! – its stock is an eclectic assortment of housewares, jewelry, art, and more local creations. (Local-branded, too … like our WEST SEATTLE glass, always full of water here at the editor’s desk.) You can shop online, too.
6:57 AM: Good morning! Welcome to the last day of 2019. Notes:
WIND ADVISORY: In effect 10 am today-4 am tomorrow.
FREE RIDES …on Metro buses (and a few other services) 7 pm tonight through 4 am tomorrow.
We noted back on Sunday that New Year’s Eve might be windy and rainy. Now the National Weather Service is going all in on that – the NWS has expanded its regional Wind Advisory to include Seattle, 10 am today to 4 am Wednesday, with wind expected out of the southwest at 20 to 35 mph, gusting up to 45 mph.
So whether you’re going out or staying in, charge everything ASAP!
Last Friday, a reader told us they’d heard that West Seattle Licenses – the longtime vehicle-licensing office at 5048 California SW – would close at year’s end. We went to the office to ask; they would not comment. Though you might think that these offices are part of the state Department of Licensing, they’re actually “sub-agents,” and their contracts are administered in this area by King County, so we contacted the county next, and were told Friday that negotiating were continuing with WS Licensing, and to check back this afternoon. We did – and tonight county spokesperson Cameron Satterfield replied with this statement:
The contract between King County and West Seattle Licensing Agency will terminate on December 31, and the agency will permanently close at the end of the business day. This only affects WSLA – other licensing subagents in King County have new contracts going into effect on January 1.
There is a process for selecting a new licensing subagent for the West Seattle area, outlined in state law. The timeline for that process is still to be determined. However, it will likely take at least couple of months to select a new subagent for West Seattle and for them to open to customers.
In the meantime, West Seattle residents can visit www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/ to renew tabs online or obtain other services. If customers prefer to do business in person, they can visit kingcounty.gov/vehicle to find another licensing location. Some nearby alternatives include:
– King County Administration Building in downtown Seattle
– Vashon Island
– Rainier Valley
The King County website has addresses and hours of operation for each location.
We don’t know yet why a new contract was not reached; Satterfield had told us last week that “some changes to the contracts [with all sub-agents were] coming into force” as of January 1st but did not elaborate. Note that this does NOT involve the driver-licensing office in Westwood – just the vehicle-licensing office south of The Junction. (Image: King County Assessor’s Office)
Thanks to the caller who just let us know about a water break west of Arbor Heights. She said it’s affecting their service in the West Beach Condos (10200 block of 47th SW) area, but Seattle Public Utilities told her it’s a few blocks west, on 51st SW, and they have a crew on the way, but service could be affected until after midnight.
Three West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports:
STOLEN GREEN JEEP CHEROKEE: From Mell:
My 1992 green Jeep Cherokee was stolen from my house at 11 am today. 6900 block of 23rd Ave SW. License plate #971ZOQ.
If you see it, call 911.
(ADDED 7:17 PM) ANOTHER VEHICLE THEFT: From K:
2001 Chevy Astro van, white, license plate BOS1964 stolen from 4500 block of 45th Ave SW on Saturday night the 28th or Sunday morning. A couple of distinctive features, cracked windshield and dented front bumper. If found, please call 206-276-8233, and the police stress that if you see someone driving it, don’t confront the driver, just call 911.
MORE LOCK-CUTTING: From David:
We are having a small addition put on our house (in the 4100 block of) 48th Ave SW between Genesee and Dakota to which our contractor has a small lockable trailer parked in front of our house. Last night someone cut one of the two locks but must have been thwarted by a car or a person, very upsetting to see this morning. If anyone has seen any suspicious activity or persons in the Genesee Hill area, it needs to be reported.
Notably, that’s only a few blocks from this lockbox-cutting burglary attempt last week.
SCAM CALLS: Mike emailed to say, “Just thought I would mention that the scammers pretending to be from City Light are back. It deals with power being shut off if bill isn’t paid in 30 minutes. A reminder: Do not call the phone number they give, as it is not City Light’s number. And here I sit an hour later with all my lights on :)”
In fact, City Light tweeted something along those lines this morning:
Scammers are at it again! Remember, City Light will never:
❌Call demanding immediate payment
❌Call on the weekend
❌Shut off service without written warning in advance
— Seattle City Light (@SEACityLight) December 30, 2019
Continuing in the New Year – Sound Transit environmental studies for West Seattle light rail are expected to last all year, with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement due out in early 2021. As part of the studies, soil testing continues, and the flyer above announces the next site, near the southwest end of the West Seattle Bridge, expected to start next week. (If you can’t read it above, here’s the same flyer in PDF.)
12:42 PM: Just passed this on our way back from an off-peninsula errand – crash toward the west end of the westbound high bridge. One car hit the barrier. Police, fire, SDOT on scene. One lane is getting by.
1:17 PM: SDOT reports the scene is clear, and SFD has closed its response. We’re inquiring about injuries.
1:44 PM: SFD says this originally was reported as a 2-vehicle collision, and one driver – a 36-year-old woman – was taken to a hospital by private ambulance, assessed as being in stable condition.
The photo and report are from Doug: “This bike was dumped at 44th and Genesee last week, it was on the median for a couple of days so I brought it to my house hoping it could be re-united with its owner.” If it’s yours, let us know and we’ll connect you.
A big local high-school-basketball story as we head into the second week of winter break: The West Seattle HS boys, under first-year head coach Dan Kriley, are tied for the Metro League lead. They’re 7-2 overall, 5-0 in league play, exactly the same as Garfield HS – and that’s who the Wildcats play next, this Friday night (January 3rd) at home at 8:30 pm.
(Red-breasted Merganser, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
On this eve of New Year’s Eve,
LIBRARYLAB CIRCUITS CHALLENGE: 4-7 pm at Delridge Library, “learn about electronic components and basic principles of electronics with Snap Circuits.” (5423 Delridge Way SW)
3 TRIVIA/QUIZ NIGHTS: Here are your Monday night options:
*Best of Hands Barrelhouse (7500 35th SW; WSB sponsor), 7 pm, $2/person, 21+
*The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW), 7:30 pm, free, all ages
*Parliament Tavern (4210 SW Admiral Way), 8 pm, $2/person, 21+
7:15 AM: Good morning! No incidents or alerts reported in our area so far.
7:46 AM: We are headed out on an errand this morning. Just took 15 minutes to get from Upper Fauntleroy to I-5 via the eastbound bridge. 5 is a bit sluggish, though.
BUS STOP NOTE: A reader called to say the SB 35th SW bus stop at Avalon is literally trashed this morning; he’s reported it to Metro.
9:01 PM: According to emergency-radio communication, Highway 509 SB is closed right now as responders deal with a shooting victim in a car. Vehicles headed SB on 509 are being detoured off at Cloverdale; a NB ramp in the area is to be closed as well. No info yet on the shooting circumstances, nor on the shooting suspect(s); King County Sheriff’s Office deputies are investigating. (added) They’ve told dispatch that they’ve found two casings.
9:13 PM: Also per radio communication, the victim, a 20-year-old man, is being taken to Harborview. Access to NB 509 is limited, per WSDOT traffic alert.
10:25 PM: Southbound 509 and one NB lane remain closed. The State Patrol has taken over the investigation.
10:50 PM: WSP says the victim was driving when he was shot in the face.
5:08 AM: All lanes of 509 are open again.
7:56 AM: According to the State Patrol’s early-morning news release, the 20-year-old victim is from Federal Way. They believe he was shot by someone in another southbound vehicle, no description. After the shooting, he crashed into the jersey barrier. Another 20-year-old man in his car was unhurt.
ADDED 5:20 PM MONDAY: The State Patrol confirms the victim has died and sent this news release:
At approximately 8:40pm on December 29, 2019, Washington State Patrol (WSP) received a 911 call reporting a one car collision SB SR 509 near Cloverdale. Once troopers arrived it was evident that the driver of the vehicle had been shot in the face and CPR was initiated. The driver was transported to Harborview Medical Center and sadly died from his injuries earlier today.
The information that WSP detectives have at this point is that the victim vehicle was traveling SB SR 509 near Cloverdale when an individual in an unknown vehicle fired and struck the driver causing the vehicle to strike the barrier that divides the north and southbound lanes. The passenger in the vehicle was unable to provide a description of the vehicle that the shots came from.
Detectives were able to recover items of that were placed into evidence and are being analyzed at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.
Detectives are also working closely with our local and federal partners to further this investigation to bring the suspect in this horrible crime to justice.
WSP detectives are seeking anyone with information about this tragic incident significant or not to contact Detective Sergeant Stacy Moate at (425) 401-7745 or by email at Stacy.Moate@wsp.wa.gov.
This shooting incident unfortunately was not the only one that occurred in King County in the past few days. On December 26, 2019 at approximately 10:00pm, two vehicles were traveling SB I-5 near S.188th exchanging gunfire. One of these vehicles rear ended another vehicle not involved in the shooting. This vehicle along with the other vehicle that was exchanging gunfire fled the scene. The vehicle that caused the collision became disabled near S. 200th and the driver fled on foot but was apprehended a short time later. He was booked into the King County Jail on multiple charges. The vehicle he was driving was stolen and had switched plates.
On December 29, 2019 at approximately 1:55pm, Washington State Patrol received 911 calls that a vehicle was firing shots into the air SB I-5 near SR 516. One of the witnesses was able to obtain the license plate and a great description which led to troopers intercepting the vehicle SB I-5 near SR 18. There were total of four occupants in the vehicle. all of which were booked into the King County Jail for Reckless Endangerment along with the driver being booked for Investigation of Driving Under the Influence. No injuries were reported in this incident.’
The Washington State Patrol encourages anyone that observes any incidents like the ones detailed above to call 911 and provide as much information as possible. Working closely with our partners in law enforcement as well as information from the public has led to solving cases and will lead to solving the latest case.
Thanks to James Tilley for the photo – looking northeast from Harbor SW, Cascades peaks reflecting sunset glow. After a partly sunny Sunday, the forecast heads back toward clouds and rain, and on Tuesday night, New Year’s Eve could be downright stormy – south wind up to 30 mph as well as rain. Not too cold, though – low in the 40s.
Records indicate that 94-year-old house at 8447 Delridge Way SW has been vacant for a while. New today in the city’s online files, a plan to replace it with eight townhouses. The site plan shows two 4-unit buildings, with five offstreet-parking spaces on the alley behind them. The 6,700-square-foot property was sold earlier this month for $450,000.
One of the local Seattle Public Schools projects funded by the voter-approved BEX V levy is taking shape. A document recently filed with the city outlines the plan for overhauling the athletic field at Madison Middle School (3429 45th SW), replacing the grass with artificial turf, and adding lighting, to expand the field’s usability. Here’s the “project design narrative”:
(If you can’t read it above, here’s a direct link in PDF.) Toplines from the document: The early-stage plan would widen the field by six and a half feet, replacing 64,000 square feet of grass with 66,350 square feet of synthetic turf. It would also add lighting, via six 70-foot-high poles. The district estimated the cost earlier this year at %2.7 million; the new document says the district hopes to do the project in two phases – turf next summer, lighting next fall.
Thanks to Kim for the photo. She says Seal Sitters Marine Stranding Network volunteers were out this morning keeping watch over that harbor seal at Lincoln Park. Remember the number in case you ever spot marine mammals on the beach, or in the water but in distress – 206-905-SEAL.
SIDE NOTE: Checking the Seal Sitters’ Blubberblog to see if anything had been published about this sighting, we found this week-old post about a rescue we hadn’t heard of previously – a California sea lion in trouble off Harbor Island, saved via teamwork involving multiple organizations, agencies, and businesses.