MoCA President Deb Barker, SW District Council Representative Tamsen Spengler, volunteer Jim Guenther
Story and photo by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Board members present included President Deb Barker, Treasurer Michael Brunner, Secretary Natalie Williams, SW District Council Representative Tamsen Spengler, and Public Information officer Marianne Holsman. (Vice President Phil Tavel submitted notes before the meeting, according to Barker.)
First on the agenda, quick “Morgan Minute” updates:
- SW District Council: Tamsen Spengler reported that the group continues to meet monthly every first Wednesday. (WSB coverage of their early-January meeting is here). Spengler called out a particularly interesting recent presentation (here’s the PDF slide deck) by local community advocate Cindi Barker late last year (WSB coverage here) involving the Early Community Outreach for Design Review process. “It’s important to know about the design process so we can give opinions,” Spengler said. The group has also been actively discussing goals for 2019 and working with other neighborhood associations in a concerted effort to “be more action-oriented and coordinate our efforts.” Co-chair Amanda Sawyer is on maternity leave, but local super-volunteer Jim Guenther has agreed to serve as interim co-chair. The group also elected Ray Krueger as secretary.
- SW Precinct Advisory Committee: Deb Barker provided an update for Tavel, who attends the precinct meetings, which are intended to facilitate “frank conversations” and provide “a direct conduit between community and police,” according to Barker. The big reminder from the meeting was that if something happens or you notice strange activity, call 911, period. Regardless of what the incident is, the 911 call allows the police to log it and track the criminal activity with an incident number.
- ST3 West Seattle to Ballard Link Light Rail: Barker reported on the latest meeting (WSB coverage here) regarding the Sound Transit plans for light rail line to West Seattle and Ballard. Barker noted that things are moving forward toward “level 3 recommendations” that will be finalized this spring by the Sound Transit Board. Current possibilities include elevated and tunnel proposals. The Stakeholder Advisory Group – of which Barker is a member – next meets on January 30. Another round of community feedback is about to start it’s important for the community to make new and relevant comments because old comments aren’t being carried forward. Barker passed around some printouts of new Sound Transit plans for route options, including a new “yellow line” that prompted some surprise as it is slated to run through a current neighborhood. Natalie Williams encouraged attendees to visit the Sound Transit website and sign up for emails and updates.
LOWMAN BEACH SEAWALL: The meeting then shifted gears with an update from Seattle Parks’ David Graves regarding the seawall situation at Lowman Beach Park (WSB coverage here). Graves noted that the design team is again hard at work, after a relative hiatus from June-December caused by a transition between grant funding, with a goal of getting design to “30% complete” by mid-February, 60% by mid-April, then 90% as permits are filed with a goal of starting work in 2020 (the team’s “window of work” would likely be October-April because of wildlife concerns). There had been an original goal to have a design meeting in West Seattle in late January, but that’s being pushed to late February primarily to accommodate the effects of the Highway 99 viaduct-to-tunnel closure, and Graves promised to share details about the meeting as they come together. Graves noted that at the park, “the seawall continues to move around a little bit” and “isn’t tipping any further, but is sliding a bit.” At high tide around Christmastime, the water was “at the top of the seawall” and he encouraged residents to take pictures of the effects caused by next week’s king tides. Graves said there is nothing significantly new to report regarding the design plans, but he emphasized the likely benefits of being able to add additional material (sand and gravel) to the seawall that would benefit neighbors near Lowman Beach.
In response to a question about “what’s with the caution tape area?” Graves responded that it’s the spot where the wall moved in, with an 18-inch SPU pipe that is the remnants of Pelly Creek. This prompted a discussion about whether the creek could be “daylighted” and made open at some point, as part of the Lowman Park plan. Graves said there isn’t much water flowing, and the property upstream would need to be considered, but an open creek could end up being a nice feature, like similar creeks at Fauntleroy Creek by the ferry dock or at Golden Gardens.
EMERGENCY READINESS: Next up was Cindi Barker to talk about the Emergency Communication Hubs. Barker noted that “we will do our thing on June 1” in reference to participation in a broader test effort. She noted that a known problem for years has been the lack of a hospital on the peninsula, and made reference to a recent emergency-response pilot program in Enumclaw (which also has a lack of hospital resources) in which they worked on ideas for a triage hospital and having a plan to work with local police and fire responders. Such an approach could be a great exercise for West Seattle as well, Barker said, so she is looking for “12-15 volunteers for a steering committee to make the plan about engaging with medical professionals and keeping them involved.” She asked that if anyone knows doctors, dentists, veterinarians or other medical professionals (recent retirees who still are looking to serve could be a great resource) to put them in touch with her. In response to a question about whether “stockpiling medical supplies” is a worthwhile endeavor, Barker responded that the preferred approach for an emergency hub is to “bring it when we need it” because so many supplies, even gauze and bandages, have expiration dates and simply can’t sit for that long.
LITTER LEAGUE: (WSB coverage here) Neighbors interested in helping with neighborhood cleanup in Morgan Junction are encouraged to contact Jill Boone (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. Barker said that Boone would like to work with MoCA and local businesses and neighbors to continue growing the effort, which could include pursuing matching grants to fund cleanups year-round.
MHA/HALA UPDATE: (WSB coverage here) Deb Barker gave a quick update on key upcoming (and just-past) dates:
- Jan 16: District 1 review by City Council MHA Committee
- Feb 8: Committee discussion on amendments
- Feb 21: Public hearing, 530pm at City Hall
- Feb 25: Committee discussion and possible vote
- Mar 18: City Council final MHA vote
Barker noted that the Morgan group has been involved with discussions and tracking these issues for quite a while, including mapping changes and affordable housing, and would continue to be involved.
2019 MORGAN JUNCTION COMMUNITY FESTIVAL: The date is set for Saturday, June 22, 2019 for the neighborhood’s big summer festival, featuring music and vendors and events. There is a planning meeting next week on January 22, and more details will be shared at MoCA’s next quarterly meeting in April. Cindi Barker commented that the need for volunteers is particularly urgent this year, because some longtime volunteers are scaling back their involvement.
NEW DISTRICT 1 COMMUNITY NETWORK: (WSB coverage here) Tamsen Spengler gave a summary of last week’s inaugural meeting of the new D1 Community Network, with involvement from neighborhood associations in South Park and West Seattle. The group is initially planning to meet monthly, focused on the theme of “doing better things for the peninsula,” and in the first meeting the group decided to focus on three projects: neighborhood engagement (including a survey), grant education, and budget education. More on the survey: Jim Guenther gave an overview of what the group hopes to accomplish, to get people involved and proactive with giving feedback. Their next meeting is Thursday, February 7 (location TBD). Spengler emphasized that this group is a companion to the SW District Council, and in no way “replaces” it.
MORGAN JUNCTION AGE-FRIENDLY SURVEY: Spengler then provided an overview of the Age-Friendly Seattle effort, specifically how Morgan Junction could get involved, potentially by collaborating with local groups who are already out walking and talking with neighbors, to do a “Morgan Junction Age-Friendly Survey” to see what the community’s needs and concerns are. Potential questions would be things like “are the sidewalks safe,” “are there curbs that aren’t friendly for strollers and wheelchairs,” and “which sidewalks do you use to get to the grocery store?”. Spengler will take the next steps to meet with neighborhood representatives.
PROJECT FUNDS: The group then discussed various programs that could provide funding for neighborhood projects, such as the Neighborhood Street Funds through SDOT (although there are no proposed projects in Morgan Junction, the next step for District 1 is an open house February 2 at 1030 am at the Youngstown Community Center), and Cindi Barker noted that Morgan has definitely benefited from the program in past years. Also discussed were the Neighborhood Matching Funds, and there will be a workshop about how to submit applications on February 2 at the 2100 building on 24th (outside WS). Spengler also noted that the Your Voice Your Choice “idea collection” phase is coming up January 28 through February 22 (two projects are in Westwood Village). In response to a question about whether any of these funds could help support projects such as weeding the “triangle” north of Thriftway, leaders answered that funding up to $5,000 could be available through the “Small Parks” fund via DoN. (side note: Deb Barker noted that the District 1 slot for the Community Involvement Commission is still open).
2019 BOARD ELECTIONS: At the association’s next meeting in April, a vote will be held regarding the proposed slate of officers for 2019:
President – Deb Barker
Vice President – Phil Tavel
Treasurer – Michael Brunner
Secretary – Natalie Williams
SW District Council Representative: Tamsen Spengler
Public Information – Marianne Holsman
Attendees asked if anyone had an update on the proposed expansion of Morgan Junction Park, and Deb Barker responded that it had originally been on the agenda for the meeting, but that there was no new information to share; she hopes some will be available for the next MoCA meeting.
The next MoCA quarterly meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 17 at 7 pm at The Kenney (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW).