West Seattle, Washington
A West Seattle Crime Watch report tonight from Jacques:
Our white 1998 Isuzu Oasis van was stolen in the last 24 hours from the parking strip on the side of our house. The car is in very good shape for its age and had a black Yakima ski rack on top.
WA plate 687XKC. If you see it, call 911.
Five months after an eviction order permanently shuttered Vine & Spoon in The Junction, the restaurant space at 4706 California SW appears to have a prospective new tenant on the way. A liquor-license application just appeared in online files (and on the window) under the name West Seattle Harvest, bearing names including Brian Clevenger, the acclaimed chef who runs Raccolto on the north end of The Junction (and three other restaurants around the city). A spokesperson for Chef Clevenger – a West Seattle resident – responded to our inquiry tonight by saying she had no info to share “about how/if Brian might be involved in a potential new venture.”
If you missed one or both of the recent West Seattle shredding and recycling events – good news – the West Seattle Junction Association is presenting a recycle/reuse event, with shredding, on June 29th! Like the one last year, it’ll be in the Junction parking lot off 42nd SW south of SW Oregon. Just show up between 9 am and 1 pm – after consulting the list of what will and won’t be accepted.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 4:35 PM: Thanks for the tips! We’ve gotten several about northbound orcas passing west-facing West Seattle. Most recently, Kersti Muul – who says it’s the T65a transients – reports they’re passing Fauntleroy. Let us know if you see them!
ADDED 9:23 PM: Thanks for the photos! And also thanks to the commenters for the updates as they passed our shores.
Thanks to Krista for the photo and tip. A multi-vehicle collision at the Fauntleroy ferry dock has brought a police and fire response and, says WSF, is expected to lead to some delays. No report of serious injuries. (You can check the latest terminal conditions via webcams here.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Tonight, the Alki Homestead reopens as a restaurant, almost 10 1/2 years after a fire shut it down.
While the new restaurant, Il Nido, is in a bright spotlight because of its owner’s reputation and talent, we thought the moment shouldn’t pass without remembering the years of concern that the city-landmarked Homestead – 115 years old and originally known as the Fir Lodge – would never reopen and might not even be salvageable.
We also thought you might want to see inside, since you won’t get a chance without reservations to dine at the restaurant, already booked a month out. (Thanks to Chef Mike Easton for letting us visit briefly today to photograph the interior hours before his restaurant’s first night.)
First – the past decade of history (go here to look even further back). Old West Seattle’s collective hearts sank at news of the January 2009 fire, blamed on faulty Christmas lights. Then-owner Tom Lin had been in the process of selling the beloved home-style restaurant. Post-fire, he told WSB that it would likely take “more than six months” to repair and reopen.
No one likely could have imagined it would take a decade.
The sale did not go through. By March, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society expressed public concern about the landmark’s future. By May, the Homestead was on an annual “Endangered Properties” list. In September 2009, Lin briefed the Alki Community Council on possibilities for the Homestead’s future – maybe a restaurant, bar, spa, B&B.
Its future was still a question mark by July 4, 2010, when 150+ people gathered for that group photo outside the Homestead, declaring “This Place Matters.” The following January, on the two-year anniversary of the fire, preservation groups reiterated their concerns – “Somebody has to speak for the building.” Later that month, Lin and architects brought a new plan to a committee of the city Landmarks Preservation Board, and advocates declared they were “thrilled.” Questions lingered about whether, and how, the building could be salvaged, but proposals went through four public reviews in six months until things went quiet again.
Then in December 2013, almost five years post-fire, the Homestead was listed for sale. A prospective buyer emerged more than a year later, Dennis Schilling, a Mercer Island real-estate investor known locally for buying and restoring Alki’s Shoremont Apartments, once proposed for demolition and site redevelopment. That spring, it was announced triumphantly that Schilling was going ahead with the purchase. He promptly set about doing some of the restoration work himself.
(Dennis Schilling, Alki Homestead owner – May 2015 photo by Clay Eals)
In June 2015, another group photo outside the Homestead – this time celebratory:
(Photo by Jean Sherrard, courtesy SWSHS)
Students from Alki and Schmitz Park Elementary Schools gathered for what the SWSHS dubbed a “group hug.” But while the building had been saved, its future wasn’t yet clear. Its “rehabilitation plan” won city Landmarks Board approval in March 2016. Would it eventually reopen as a restaurant? The answer finally came last September, when Chef Easton announced the plan for Il Nido. A few days later, the Homestead’s famous neon sign returned from 2+ years of restoration:
Inside, the work of turning the Homestead back into a restaurant began. Easton told us at the time, “It initially seemed to be such a big project, just how much restoration needed to happen – I wrote it off as more than I wanted to do. But the building sort of has a haunting effect on you.” Now the work is done, and we visited for photos as final touches were readied for Il Nido’s opening.
Whether or not you ever dine at Il Nido, you might want to see what’s happened inside the Homestead:
(For a kitchen view, here’s Easton’s own Instagram photo.) The grounds have been re-landscaped:
And we’re told they hope to open the back patio in July. But first – it’s opening night, as a new chapter in the Homestead/Fir Lodge’s history begins.
Just in from SDOT:
We’re happy to report that the protected bike signal at the Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St intersection has been activated today and the diagonal bike crossing is open.
This comes more than a year after completion of the rest of the improvements at the intersection – a community-initiated Neighborhood Street Fund project. SDOT had initially blamed the delay on “waiting on the arrival of a new programming chip.”
Memorial Day is next Monday and American Legion Post 160 has sent word of traditional observances you’re invited to be part of:
POPPIES: 9 am-3 pm Saturday and Sunday, Post 160 and Auxiliary Unit 160 will be outside West Seattle Thriftway (4201 SW Morgan; WSB sponsor) to distribute poppies “in honor of our fallen service members.” Donations are accepted and help local veterans.
JUNCTION FLAGS: You are welcome to help put up and/or take down the flags that fly along the heart of The Junction on Memorial Day. Meet on the NE corner of California and Alaska just before 9 am to help place them and/or just before 5 pm to help remove them. All ages welcome.
MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY: Local veterans’ groups join Forest Lawn (6701 30th SW; WSB sponsor) at 2 pm Monday for this annual event in remembrance of fallen service members. All welcome.
COOKOUT AT POST 160: Community members are welcome to enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs at Post 160’s headquarters, 3618 SW Alaska, starting around 3:15 pm.
Any other Memorial Day events you haven’t yet sent in for our calendar? Hurry! email@example.com
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
DINE OUT FOR SANISLO AND FAIRMOUNT PARK ELEMENTARIES: All day at Beer Star and 5-8 pm at Li’l Woody’s and Southside Pizza next door in downtown White Center, part of the proceeds go to support Sanislo and Fairmount Park Elementaries. (16th SW/SW 98th)
DINE OUT (OR ORDER IN) FOR MADISON MUSIC: 4-10 pm at Mioposto Admiral, a portion of the proceeds – whether you dine there or order for pickup or delivery – will go to the Madison Middle School music program. (2139 California SW)
PICKUP ULTIMATE: 6:30 pm at Fairmount Playfield, drop in to play with the West Seattle Ultimate Frisbee Family. “Invite your family and friends for casual ultimate.” (5400 Fauntleroy Way SW)
TALK WITH POLICE: Have a concern or question for Southwest Precinct police? Their briefing and Q&A are always a major part of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council community meeting, 7 pm at the precinct. Also featuring a special guest from the Seattle Fire Department, talking about the low-acuity-alarm program. (2300 SW Webster)
ArtiFishal is a film about people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them. It explores wild salmon’s slide toward extinction, threats posed by fish hatcheries and fish farms, and our continued loss of faith in nature.
Check with the shop to see if there’s room if you haven’t RSVP’d already. (4502 42nd SW)
UNPLUGGED, A MUSICAL GATHERING: Informal acoustic jam at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
JAZZ OPEN MIC: At The Skylark, 8-10 pm. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
PARLIAMENTALITY PRESENTS: 9 pm jam session at Parliament Tavern. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
AND MUCH MORE … all on our full calendar!
For your West Seattle summer bucket list – don’t miss the chance to tour historic Alki Point Lighthouse! Debra Alderman with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary just sent the photo and word that Sunday tours resume this weekend:
Alki Point Lighthouse Tours begin this Sunday!
Location: 3201 Alki Avenue SW
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary will again be leading free tours for the public at the Alki Point Lighthouse most Sunday afternoons Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. This year, no tours on Saturdays and we will be closed Sundays June 23rd and Aug. 4th.
Hours: 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. (last group enters site at 3:45 p.m.)
All ages welcome, but only those 6 and up may go to the very top of the lighthouse tower.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org