West Seattle, Washington
Thanks for the texted tip about multiple locker-room thefts at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) on Tuesday. One of the victims reports:
At least half a dozen lockers (Men’s) were broken into between 10:45-11:15 am at the West Seattle YMCA. Only wallets were stolen. Cell phones and other valuables were not taken. This was discovered rather quickly and most of us were able to cancel or put a hold on our cards. Cards were attempted to (be used) at QFC and Safeway near Alaska Junction as well as the Walgreens and gas station near 35th & Morgan.
The thefts were all included in one police report, which we requested and obtained this afternoon. It says the police have obtained security video showing five “males” (no further description) arriving outside the Y in a “white 4-door sedan.” They went into the Y at 10:56 am. Two started talking to desk staff; the other three walked toward the locker room. Less than 15 minutes later, all five left. There were at least six victims; police obtained some broken-lock fragments as evidence. Some of the victims were already getting “fraudulent activity” alerts from their banks/credit-card companies, so police followed a trail including, as mentioned above, the 35th/Morgan gas station and Walgreens. The suspects tried to buy $500 gift cards at the latter, the police report says, but were unsuccessful. We also asked Y executive director Shalimar Gonzales about the thefts; she says they’re working with police and “in the meantime have increased staff visibility in those spaces and added signage. We’re encouraging everyone to keep valuables at home or use our lockers in the cardio center.”
We’ve continued to follow up on the “bus crawl” – as at least one commenter called it – that’s been slowing Metro riders’ trips home to West Seattle recently. SDOT says it’ll try tweaking signal timing; Metro is reluctant to reroute. One voice we hadn’t heard from yet is that of County Councilmember Joe McDermott, the West Seattleite who represents this area (and beyond). He’s a member of the council’s Mobility and Environment Committee, which has a portfolio including transit. So we asked what he’s doing about it:
I’m both hearing about the problem from constituents and experiencing it myself. By all conclusions, it’s awful.
In response, I’ve been talking to Metro closely to elevate the issue and push for solutions. I’ve also kept in touch with Councilmember Herbold’s office since many of the solutions are going to require cooperation from SDOT. As a result, Metro is looking at several improvements and you can read more about them on their blog here.
As it has been explained to me by Metro, they looked at a few options when planning for the removal of the viaduct and the “period of maximum constraint” that we are suffering through now. Every route has challenges and made finding a predictable and reliable route difficult – whether it be contending with stadium event traffic, using the lower bridge and then risking delays due to boat traffic, or the current route which was better than other options but has clearly proven impossible on Fridays and challenging otherwise. You might remember Metro using 4th and 6th Avenues during the February shut down of the viaduct and I brought this up with Metro. They pointed out that in order to use the high bridge they need to go down First. If they use 4th or 6th Avenues outbound to West Seattle, they use the lower bridge. This worked during the closure in February because they had a special agreement with the Coast Guard not to allow boat traffic during peak bus commuting hours. Now, they can’t be guaranteed boat traffic won’t significantly delay their buses. Of course, we get that they are seeing significant delays anyway so that is why we are encouraging them to take another look at the options. There is also conversation about adding service to the 50 so that people might avoid the situation by taking light rail and then transferring to the 50 at the SoDo station.
Metro has assured us they are working closely with SDOT on solutions that will help improve the temporary route. The permanent route will avoid First Avenue all together by using Alaskan Way and the newly rebuilt Columbia Street, but that permanent pathway is scheduled to open in early 2020.
We will continue to work with Metro and Councilmember Herbold’s office/SDOT. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions and feedback.
He’s at email@example.com.
Just in from Erin @ Southwest Pool:
Southwest Pool will be closed for repairs all day Friday, August 9th and Saturday morning August 10th. All group lessons, personal lessons, and drop in programs are cancelled. Lesson participants will receive full refunds. The pool will reopen for regular business at noon on Saturday, August 10th.
The pool was closed for two months of maintenance work earlier this year.
The second-day election results are out. The end results haven’t changed for anything in our area, but if you’re watching for percentages, here’s how the Seattle City Council District 1 race changed: Lisa Herbold now has 48.55 percent of the vote, up from 47.95% in the first round; Phil Tavel now has 33.62%, down from 33.83%; Brendan Kolding, 17.38%, down from 17.76%. The total number of votes counted so far is 19.537, which is 28.69% of the district’s 68,101 registered voters (today’s count added 4,218 ballots). Next count, tomorrow afternoon.
P.S. A little more history beyond what we noted last night: The August 2015 primary had 29.3% turnout from among the then-registered 60,474 voters; the November 2015 general election had 45.5% turnout.
We are saddened to report that three adult killer whales (orca) are missing and presumed dead as of July 1, 2019. These whales are from the extremely endangered Southern Resident killer whale population, that historically frequent the Salish Sea almost daily in summer months. Due to the scarcity of suitable Chinook salmon prey, this population of whales now rarely visit the core waters of its designated Critical Habitat: Puget Sound, Georgia Strait, and the inland reach of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The missing whales are J17, K25, and L84.
J17 is a 42-year-old J pod matriarch and mother of Tahlequah (J35), who carried her dead calf for an unprecedented 17 days last year. We reported that J17 was not in good body condition last winter, perhaps from stress. She is survived by two daughters and a son, J35, J53, and J44, respectively.
Also missing is 28-year-old, K25, an adult male in the prime of his life who was not in good body condition last winter. He is survived by two sisters and a brother, K20, K27, and K34, respectively.
And, lastly, 29-year-old male, L84, has been missing all summer in encounters conducted by our Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans colleagues along the west coast of Vancouver Island. L pod has not come into the Salish Sea yet this summer. L84 was the last of a matriline of eleven whales, ten of whom died previously.
73 is just two above the population’s historic low, 71. And the numbers don’t represent the entire picture of their plight, as explained during The Whale Trail‘s April featured lecture in West Seattle.
Tomorrow night’s West Seattle Art Walk will have something extra – “The Art of Music”! Not that the Art Walk itself isn’t full of options – first, here’s the map/venue list:
New venues for summer mean the Art Walk now stretches from Alki to Gatewood! See who’s displaying there, and other highlights for tomorrow night, via this preview on the Art Walk website. Official Art Walk hours are “5 pm until late.”
You’ll find the biggest concentration of participants in The Junction, where you’ll also find the first “Art of Music” outdoor performance:
Starting at 6 pm, How Short will be performing on the southwest corner of California/Alaska – the duo is described as “happy swing and jazz with sweet harmonies, featuring Andy Short (guitar/vocals) and Josh Hou (accordion/vocals).”
Three West Seattle safety projects got Neighborhood Street Fund approval at last night’s meeting of the Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee. That’s a key decision near the end of the road that started with community project proposals and ends with decisions on which projects to fund, design, and build. West Seattle committee member Joe Laubach tells WSB that out of the five finalists (scroll down this page for the list) in District 1 (West Seattle/South Park), three got approval, including pedestrian improvements for the Westwood Village transit center (the area where a pedestrian was killed a month ago). Here’s the original proposal and previous feedback for that. The other two District 1 approvals are a pedestrian crossing in South Delridge (original proposal here) and a bicycle connection from the 26th SW greenway to the West Seattle Bridge Trail (original proposal here). Joe says the projects will be designed next year and built in 2021.
Highlights for the rest of your Wednesday:
WADING POOLS & SPRAYPARK OPEN TODAY: The city says it’s another “open” day for the pools since the sun’s expected later: Lincoln Park (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW) is open 11 am-8 pm, Hiawatha (Walnut/Lander) is open noon-6:30 pm, South Park (738 S. Sullivan) is open noon-7 pm. And the Highland Park Spraypark (1100 SW Cloverdale) is open 11 am-8 pm.
LIBRARYLAB: Drop in for Gizmos and Gadgets at Delridge Library, 1-3 pm. (5423 Delridge Way SW)
HIGH POINT MARKET GARDEN FARM STAND: Fifth week for this year’s weekly farm-stand sessions, selling fresh produce and flowers, all grown by nearby residents, at the mini-farm steps away from the stand. 4 pm-7 pm. (32nd SW/SW Juneau)
KAYAK THE DUWAMISH RIVER: 6 pm, from T-107 Park, with Alki Kayak Tours and the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. $49, or $20 if you bring your own kayak. Registration info in our calendar listing. (4500 W. Marginal Way SW)
DANCE TIME WITH LAUREN PETRIE: Go dancing at the Senior Center of West Seattle! 6-8 pm: “Live music, friendly people, and some darn good dancers. Dance your heart out or come and enjoy the music. All ages, abilities, and skill levels welcome.” More info in our calendar listing. (4217 SW Oregon)
‘WEST SEATTLE IN SOLIDARITY WITH EL PASO’: Rally at the Delridge/Oregon foot bridge (south of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center) at 6:30 pm to show support for El Paso in the wake of last weekend’s massacre and against white supremacy. Organized by West Seattle Mamas Mobilize as one of many events around the nation. (Delridge/Oregon)
GROUP RUN: Don’t run alone! Join the free Wednesday group run from West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor). Meet at the shop. (2743 California SW)
THE LOOSE HEELS: “Danceable country classics” at Parliament Tavern, 8:30 pm. 21+ only. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
SEE WHAT ELSE IS UP … by visiting our complete calendar.
The photo and report are from David Hutchinson of Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network:
Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network had a surprise visitor this week.
“Pearl,” an adult female harbor seal, who gave birth and nursed her pup for weeks along the West Seattle shoreline in 2018, returned with a new pup this season. She was identified by comparing new photos of the spots on her fur with similar photos taken last year. The 2018 pup was nicknamed “Jam”, as they were first spotted the day after the Alki Sub Pop concert. This year’s pup has been named “Minnie Pearl” in keeping with the entertainment theme – although you probably would have to be of a certain age to get the connection.
It is very unusual to have the opportunity to observe a nursing mom and pup in busy West Seattle. Newborn harbor seals rely exclusively on their mother’s milk, so it’s extremely important that Pearl not be frightened away and possibly abandon her pup. Pups remain with their mothers for only 4 – 6 weeks before having to survive on their own. Seals this young don’t have the strength to swim for extended periods or an adequate blubber thickness for warmth. They need every opportunity to haul out of the water to rest and warm up. Their first year mortality rate is approximately 50%.
All marine mammals are protected by federal law. Any observed violations are referred to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement for investigation. It’s now “pupping season” in south Puget Sound. If you come across Pearl & Minnie Pearl, or any other seal on the beach or on a nearby offshore rock, we’re asking you to give them plenty of space, keep others and pets away, and call the Seal Sitters’ Hotline at 206-905-7325. To learn more about harbor seals and other local marine mammals, please visit our website at www.sealsitters.org
6:59 AM: Good morning! One alert – a crash on NB I-5 just before I-90, blocking one lane. One reminder:
NO WATER TAXI SERVICE THIS WEEK: No service on the West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi routes this week because of the downtown dock move. The Route 773 and Route 775 shuttles are still running.
STADIUM ZONE: Mariners host the Padres at 3:40 pm.
7:18 AM: WSDOT says the NB I-5 crash scene has cleared.