Park project updates, policing, politics, more @ Morgan Community Association

Toplines from tonight’s quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting, just wrapped up at The Kenney (WSB sponsor).

MORGAN JUNCTION PARK EXPANSION: Karen O’Connor from Seattle Parks followed up on the presentation of park design concepts at last month’s Morgan Junction Community Festival.

(WSB photo from park project booth @ June festival)

As mentioned here last week, a survey is now open on the city website. The survey is expected to stay open until next Monday. Other updates: SDOT will give up jurisdiction of the street end that’s between the current park and the expansion site; A schematic design will soon go to the Design Commission and then to another community meeting. Asked about soil mitigation that will have to be done at the site (which previously held businesses including a dry cleaner), O’Connor said that likely will be discussed at the community meeting (which will probably be held in September).

LOWMAN BEACH SEAWALL: Barker read a late-breaking update from Seattle Parks’ David Graves. They’re now at 60 percent design. Plans will be up online by the start of next week. He said the city has received Aquatic Lands Enhancement grant from the state, so the project is fully funded. He also wrote that the West Seattle Tennis group headed by Lisa Corbin is looking at a replacement for the tennis court that’ll be removed because of the project. Construction is expected next year. He’ll bring updated designs and more info to MoCA’s next quarterly meeting October 16th.

MORGAN MINUTES: These are turbo-updates. First, Tamsen Spengler, who represents MoCA on the Southwest District Council, recapped the SWDC’s most-recent meeting, which included presentations on bias crimes, recruiting for a “rapid-response network” to help victims of them, plus a recent city audit. SWDC’s next meeting is September 4th and will include a rep from Seattle Parks

She also reported on the District 1 Community Network, which has defined its mission: “To unite together and strengthen the District 1 community for the benefit of all.” D1CN’s next meeting is next Tuesday (July 23rd); the group also is planning District 1 City Council forums September 14 and 28.

Phil Tavel reprsents MoCA on the Southwest Precinct Advisory Council. The big message: Call 911, call 911, call 911, call 911. If they don’t hear about it, not only can they not respond, the crime stats won’t be accurate.

MoCA president Deb Barker briefed attendees on the July 27th Sesame Street event that’s coming to Lincoln Park, as the organizers notified MoCA (as well as the Fauntleroy Community Association) about it. (Here’s our previous coverage.)

Barker also said the group is working on reviving its website but need help.

COUNCIL CANDIDATES: MoCA VP Tavel put on his candidate hat to speak to the group. He said that change is needed, that none of the issues he recalls discussing in the 2015 campaign (when he finished third in the primary) had “gotten better.” He said some people have told him they’re embarrassed now when people come to visit. He has long worked as a public defender and talked about a better way to use the criminal justice system as “a safety net.” He also decried SPD’s staffing level being the same as 1968. He said that while it’s important to support police, it’s also important to hold them accountable. He said he thinks the City Council should “listen to everybody,” should have a fulltime district office, should understand the budget, and should “work collaboratively … stop the divisive politics, stop the anger.”

Later in the meeting, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold spoke. She said she’s been listening to people around the community talking about what’s important to them, and that she has fulfilled campaign promises from 2015 regarding stepping up constituent services and worker protection. She said that it’s important to help police “get out from under the consent decree” and that will help improve morale, which has been cited as a factor for police hiring “falling behind.” She explained her concerns that the contract passed by the council would lead to the department being found “out of compliance” (because of changed accountability). She said budget-increase votes are what she can do as a councilmember to show support for SPD. She was asked, among other things, why the city is allowing more new construction to have less offstreet parking; she noted that she tried to amend the policy to allow “parking mitigation” to be required if parking in a project’s area is at 85 percent capacity. But she didn’t have enough support from her colleagues.

(The third candidate, Brendan Kolding, spoke to MoCA at its April meeting.)

MORGAN COMMUNITY FESTIVAL RECAP: Expenses including permits, fencing, and equipment totaled almost exactly what the income brought in (though the former was up 14 percent and the latter up 5 percent). Tables/chairs for vendors/activities will be an added expense next year – a local business has donated them in the past but won’t be able to do so next year. Set your calendar: June 20, 2020!

PERMANENT AFFORDABLE HOUSING: With the zoning changes, a Morgan group has been working on how to develop this concept; Cindi Barker provided an update. They have been talking with the city Office of Housing. The city says you need willing sellers; advocates agree that outreach and education will be needed, but they can sell the benefits of getting a tax break as part of a land trust. This all plays into the mayor’s new group looking into the “missing middle” housing and feel this initiative would be a perfect fit. They’ll be writing a paper to present to that group. The concept’s appeal includes that it could be a draw for “social investors,” too. “The need is humongous,” Cindi Barker said, referring to a conversation with a land-trust organization that has hundreds of people on a waiting list for affordable housing.

NEW BUSINESSES: Deb Barker said she’s excited about the new businesses in the area – starting with Thunder Road Guitars (WSB sponsor), which moved from The Junction to 6400 California SW. Proprietor Frank Gross was at the meeting, telling the group, “I’m a lifelong West Seattleite and I’m happy to be down here.” The store specializes in buying and selling vintage guitars. They offer lessons and repair too. … The other two new businesses are Youngstown Coffee Company (opened last month, as we reported) and Paper Boat Booksellers (opening soon).

MICROCOMMUNITY POLICING PLAN: As she’s been doing in neighborhoods around the peninsula, Southwest Precinct intern Taylor Lowery from Seattle University conducted a mini-focus group. She got an earful – one participant said they’ve given feedback every year, but they never get specific responses/updates back from SPD on how they’re responding to the community-specific concerns. Lowery said the plans do exist. Clarifying, community members said they want to hear about the execution of the plan and what that’s achieved – if car prowls are the top concern, for example, how is that category doing, and if they’re not easing, why not? Lowery will include that and other feedback in her report.

MoCA BOARD OPENING: The group needs a public-information officer.

The Morgan Community Association meets third Wednesdays in January, April, July, and October. Watch our calendar for updates – until their site is fixed!

8 Replies to "Park project updates, policing, politics, more @ Morgan Community Association"

  • Rick July 18, 2019 (9:35 am)

    I’ve often wondered about the garages that are accessible by that street only. Will they be compensated,given an easement for access or just plan taken by eminent domain?

    • Brian July 18, 2019 (1:18 pm)

      You will still be able to get to the alley via SW Graham Street as with any other alley way along this stretch of the ravine. All of the other streets with alleys only have one point of access (Graham) and this one alley is an outlier.   

  • Cindi July 18, 2019 (10:04 am)

    The alley on the west side of the property will remain, so their access would remain traveling up and down that alley, rather than having the current drive through configuration.

    • Tsurly July 18, 2019 (11:47 am)

      Per Rick’s usual approach, he will not take the 30 seconds required to look up the information to answer his question, just spew out an anti government rant.

  • Janet July 18, 2019 (10:07 am)

    Interesting, Herbold’s job as a City Councilmember is to gain support from her colleagues on amendments, laws, resolutions so they can be passed. Yet, she has only ever said how she has tried to get things done but is unable to get support from her colleagues……time for a new Councilmember 

    • old timer July 18, 2019 (12:12 pm)

      IMO, there is no guarantee that a different person would get any better results.  I think a big mistake was made when we changed voting for all council members to just  1 for our district, and a few “spares”.This arrangement basically puts folks under control of government that they can not vote out,

      • KM July 18, 2019 (1:13 pm)

        The challengers would likely have been spread out better. Every district has double the candidates, some triple, of D1. Rank-choice voting and eliminating the primary would be aces, if we’re asking for our dream elections scenarios here…

  • Rick July 18, 2019 (11:55 am)

    Thanks Cindi,I live on the next block south and walk by the park everyday and have often wondered.

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