West Seattle, Washington
The first of at least two weekend-long 35th/Alaska intersection closures – as part of the Avalon/35th repaving-and-more project – is under way. With SDOT warning of a long detour, we checked out the perimeter tonight. Above, eastbound SW Alaska is blocked at 36th. Below, no turns from Avalon to 35th, either direction:
And if you are heading north on 35th, no photo, but there is indeed a big barricade and traffic-control officer there too, restricting use to “local access.” This is all an attempt to stave off major side-street cut-through driving. The SDOT detour map is here, in PDF.) If you are riding the bus, the info on Route 21 – including a shuttle bus – is here, in PDF. This is all scheduled to last until “early Monday,” but we will keep watch on Sunday in case of an early reopening. The next closure is set for next weekend.
We have a fondness for balcony Christmas lights, with childhood memories from apartment living. So we had to grab a photo of this one when we spotted it tonight – a charming configuration on a balcony in North Admiral, west side of California, just south of Atlantic. (Got lights to suggest, yours or someone else’s? firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!)
Another chance to shop late! VAIN West Seattle (4513 California SW; WSB sponsor) is open tonight, with a bonus in the boutique tonight – a pop-up with Mary Stone and her jewelry! She sells her unique necklace online as An Occasional Dream; tonight you can meet her and see her creations up close. It’s on until 9 pm, with treats too; besides jewelry, other items you’l find at VAIN range from sassy art to artsy glasses cases to soft scarves.
ORIGINAL FRIDAY REPORT: Thanks to Aaron for the photo! The long-promised left-turn signal lights are finally installed, though not yet activated, at 35th/Barton. They were promised when SDOT announced Phase 2 of the 35th SW Safety Project more than a year and a half ago. We will be checking Monday for the activation timeline.
SATURDAY NIGHT UPDATE: No need to check – just went through the intersection and the new turn lights are now working.
Charges are now filed in the arrest first reported here Wednesday night, that of a now-suspended West Seattle High School instructional assistant accused of arranging online to meet a 14-year-old girl and pay her for sex. 34-year-old Brennan M. Smith, a Ballard resident, remains free after posting bond on $20,000 bail. He is charged with one count of attempted commercial sexual abuse of a minor. As noted in our previous report, he was arrested Tuesday night at a motel in Seatac. King County Sheriff’s Office detectives say he showed up there after communicating by text message with a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl and agreeing to pay “her” $150 for “unprotected sex.” They say the contact was initiated when Smith responded to “an online advertisement … on an escort-service website.” The charging document also said he was found to be in possession of $100 cash and the phone that was used to send text messages to arrange the encounter. In post-arrest questioning, the documents say, Smith claimed he had arranged the encounter because he had “helped prostitutes in the past in an attempt to help them out of the lifestyle. … Detectives asked Smith why he didn’t contact police for assistance if he thought a juvenile was in trouble; his response was he didn’t know and he thought he could just help on his own.” The district has described Smith only as an “instructional assistant”; his now-deleted LinkedIn profile said he was a “special education paraprofessional.” The district declined to answer questions including whether he was working at other schools besides WSHS. His arraignment is scheduled for December 26th.
Santa hasn’t gone back to the North Pole just yet to get ready for Christmas – he has a busy weekend of appearances left in West Seattle, starting with this one at HomeStreet Bank (4022 SW Alaska; WSB sponsor) in The Junction. That’s branch manager Nam Le in our pic with Santa. Stop by for a free photo until 6 pm!
We haven’t heard much about the Dakota Homestead campaign, raising money to buy the ex-substation at 50th/Dakota (across from Genesee Hill Elementary), but it’s still alive, supporters say, and they’re inviting you to an informational event next week. It’s been three and a half years since the campaign launched; along the way, organizers have amassed some donations as well as grant money, but they have further to go to achieve their dream of buying the site to turn it into a neighborhood preserve and gathering space, a hub for urban gardening and environmental education. Board members of the Urban Homestead Foundation will host an informal meeting and Q&A session 6-7 pm Wednesday (December 18th) at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, 2306 42nd SW. Board member Rich Sheibley tells WSB, “We are also using this time to ask for volunteers to help us on this project, and provide an overview of where we plan to go from here.”
(2015 tunnel-machine-repair site photo by Long Bach Nguyen)
Six years ago, right about this time of year, the Highway 99 tunnel machine broke down, and tunneling was on hold for more than two years. The state sued the contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, seeking $57 million. Today, a jury in Thurston County ruled in favor of the state, saying STP indeed should pay that sum. As noted in this Seattle Times report, the state claimed the stall was STP’s fault, while STP claimed it was the state’s fault. WSDOT sent this statement from state Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar:
“WSDOT is committed to protecting taxpayer money. Knowing the risks associated with tunneling beneath downtown Seattle, we structured our contract with Seattle Tunnel Partners in a way that placed the risks of tunneling on the contractor. We have remained steadfast in our belief that Seattle Tunnel Partners was responsible for the costs of fixing the broken tunneling machine and paying damages for completing the tunnel three years late. We believe the jury got it right and we are grateful for their patience and dedication to ensuring a fair outcome to this case. Since an appeal is possible, we cannot yet say what will become of the damages awarded by the jury.”
If you’re interested in more backstory, here’s a WSDOT infosheet (PDF) also sent today.
That’s part of the pile of Toys for Tots donations dropped off at the office of Northwest Insurance Group (WSB sponsor) this season. John Moore sent the photo and these words of gratitude: “HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE IN OUR WEST SEATTLE NEIGHBORHOOD for their generous contributions to the toy drive. We were overwhelmed and thrilled to be able to deliver these toys to kids in need.”
P.S. Got a donation drive/giving tree/etc. still in progress? Let us know if it’s not already in our West Seattle Holiday Guide‘s “Giving Opportunities” list!
Big ho-ho-holiday weekend begins:
DUWAMISH NATIVE HOLIDAY GIFT FAIR RETURNS: Until 5 pm today and again 10 am-5 pm Saturday and Sunday, the Duwamish Longhouse Native Northwest Holiday Gift Fair is back with local vendors and Native artists “showcasing goods including wood carvings, beadwork, drums, prints, paintings, and more.” (4705 W. Marginal Way SW)
FREE SANTA PHOTOS: Visit Santa at HomeStreet Bank (WSB sponsor), 3-6 pm. (4022 SW Alaska)
NIGHT MARKET:West Seattle Winter Night Market, 5-9 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral. More than 20 local artists, makers, and bakers. (2656 42nd SW)
ART LOUNGE: Artists 21+ are invited to come to Highland Park Improvement Club, starting at 7 pm, for the chance to work on your project(s) with likeminded spirits. Bar’s open. (1116 SW Holden)
‘MIRACLE ON 34Th STREET’: Join Twelfth Night Productions for “Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Radio Play.” 7:30 pm curtain at Kenyon Hall. Buy your ticket(s) online at this Brown Paper Tickets link, or at the venue box office. (7904 35th SW)
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: 9 pm at Parliament Tavern with Runaway Satellites, Star Meets Sea, The Owl Heads. $5 cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
One of this weekend’s big events is the St. Nicholas Faire, a one-of-a-kind holiday shopping event and nonprofit benefit, with one major change this year: It’s happening on Sunday afternoon instead of evening. The Faire is at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, just north of The Junction at 4105 California SW, 1-4 pm Sunday (December 15th). Its central event is a silent auction of a huge variety of custom-made gift baskets with themes including:
Children’s Science Gear
Beer & Wine
U of W Gear
Tea & Coffee Items
Also gift certificates/cards for local businesses. The St. Nicholas Faire has a small admission fee that benefits local nonprofits, and it’s less if you bring nonperishable food for the West Seattle Food Bank. P.S. If you’ll be driving to get there, the church has a big parking lot in back.
7:15 AM: Good morning. No incidents or alerts for our area so far.
WEEKEND CLOSURE REMINDER: The 35th/Alaska intersection is scheduled to close all weekend for work, starting at 7 pm tonight.
RIDE2 SERVICE ENDING: As Metro announced Tuesday, the on-demand shuttle will end service one week from today.