West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Alki Elementary principal Rena Deese told her students that this morning’s guest speaker was there to inspire: “She went to space, and you can do whatever your dream is!”
But Dr. Soyeon Yi – who made history as the first (and only, so far) South Korean in space – was entertaining, too, especially as she explained the particulars of, let’s just say, bodily functions in space.
Dr. Yi spent 11 days on the International Space Station in April 2008 after winning a competition – with more than 36,000 entrants! – to be South Korea’s first astronaut. As she told the Alki Elementary students, who sat rapt in the gym for her half-hour appearance, Korea had a “relationship” with Russia, so that’s where she trained. Hardest thing? Learning the Russian language, she said.
A favorite memory from that “relationship” – support from cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who in 1963 became the first woman to go into space. During Dr. Yi’s training, Tereshkova encouraged her in a sort of grandmotherly way, she told the students. And she was there for the launch. You can see the blastoff in this Science Channel report on Dr. Yi:
What she misses most about space, she told the Alki students, is the view of Earth – you can look at photos or videos of that view, she explained, but nothing matches seeing it with your own eyes.
While in space, she also did science experiments, meditated, and, she noted, had fun. In zero gravity, she observed, you can look like you’re flying, so you can pose as a superhero! She even sang in space, and played what she called “the evidence” – a recording of her singing “Fly Me to the Moon” aboard the ISS. On a more somber note, she said, all those who go into space are “ambassadors of a peaceful Earth,” showing a photo of herself holding the flag o the United Nations, whose secretary-general at the time was South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon.
After a few more space stories, such as the bodily-function discussion (takeaway: don’t forget to turn on the suction pump!), she talked to the students about gratitude – “remember you always have something to be grateful for.”
The Alki Elementary PTA, for one, was grateful for Dr. Yi’s visit, underwritten by money raised at their annual auction, including a private lunch with two families at recently opened Outer Space Seattle a few hours after her presentation:
Several years after her space trip, Dr. Yi moved to the U.S., and according to this online bio, now lives in Puyallup.
If you received Sound Transit‘s recent email update, that’s the newest map showing what potential routing/station options are being studied for West Seattle light rail. ST is still a year away from going public with a draft Environmental Impact Statement, and continues various types of studies as part of putting it together. Today ST spokesperson David Jackson sent word of what’s next, including “in-water” work:
There will be crews working beneath the West Seattle bridge along the Pigeon Point slope area over the next three days to analyze soil conditions.
The surface analysis on the Pigeon Point slopes will entail crews walking through the area to collect samples at several locations. Crews will be digging a series of hand dug test holes to evaluate the subsurface conditions. In addition to the hand dug test hole, steel probes may be used to measure the thickness of surface soils. Following the testing, the hand dug test holes will be back filled, soils tamped in-place and the ground surface smoothed.
Also in-water work in the Duwamish Waterway is set to begin next week. Please see the attached flyer.
3:44 PM: A texter points out that if you will be riding Metro back here from downtown this pm, this might affect you – road closures/bus reroutes because of a shooting involving SPD and KCSO at 3rd and Blanchard.
Transit Alert Update – Buses in downtown are being rerouted off 3 Av between Wall St/Virginia St, & off Blanchard St west if 5 Av due to emergency response.
— King County Metro ❄️🚏 🚌🚎⛴🚐 (@kcmetrobus) January 22, 2020
This shooting involved @SeattlePD and @kingcosoPIO. The suspect has been transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of non life-threatening injuries. No officers or deputies were injured during this encounter. Force Investigation Team detectives are responding.
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) January 22, 2020
5:28 PM: As noted by commenters, a second shooting incident has since happened downtown. This one is reported by SFD to involve “multiple patients,” near 3rd and Pine.
5:39 PM: Six patients, according to emergency-radio discussion. Meantime, from SDOT:
#Seattle If you can, avoid downtown streets and/or delay your commute if you're in the downtown district. Seeing high travel times due to multiple street closures in the area for investigations.
— SDOT Traffic (@SDOTtraffic) January 23, 2020
6:07 PM: A reader texted that photo of NB buses queued at 3rd/Seneca. No recent update from Metro.
6:10 PM: Metro has now sent an update: “Buses in downtown Seattle continue to be rerouted off 3 Av btwn Wall St/University St & off Blanchard St west of 5 Av.”
6:18 PM: Short media briefing from police chief and fire chief: As noted above, 6 victims. 1 dead. 5 in critical condition. No one in custody. … Back to the issue of getting out of downtown, one person on Twitter tells us the Water Taxi has been busier than usual. It has one more run from downtown to West Seattle tonight, at 6:45 pm.
7:05 PM: As mentioned in comments, the Water Taxi has added runs: “To help alleviate congestion in the downtown Seattle area, the West Seattle Water Taxi will be adding additional sailings from Pier 50 to Seacrest park in West Seattle tonight.” No further details but if you’re still stuck downtown, consider heading for the pier.
7:20 PM: Update from the Water Taxi, last run from downtown will be 7:30 pm.
9:35 PM: Buses are still detoured, Metro says. Meantime, SPD has just published a short summary of the first shooting this afternoon, the one involving officers and deputies.
10:13 PM: And now SPD has published this summary of the 3rd/Pine shooting, with 1 dead and six others injured.
THURSDAY MORNING NOTE: Metro says bus routing did return to normal early this am.
In December, we reported on a local case that went before the city Hearing Examiner, related to the upcoming Seattle Parks project that will close the Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area for an estimated six months of drainage work. Park neighbor Inge Anderson appealed the Parks decision that an environmental-impact study wasn’t needed, saying that among other impacts, it will affect many users of West Seattle’s only off-leash area because the planned temporary replacement OLA is small. Five weeks after Anderson and Parks manager David Graves argued their respective sides before Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil (WSB coverage here), his decision is in – read it here (PDF).
While Vancil reiterates points he noted during the December 16th hearing – such as, that appellants face a tough challenge because it’s on them to prove a city department made the wrong decision – he sided with Parks. He said Anderson “did not introduce evidence demonstrating any significant impacts that are reasonably likely to result from the proposal.” The key word there is “significant”; Vancil agreed that the plan would have some impacts, just not enough to require a full environmental study. His decision is the city’s final word on the matter, and any further challenges would have to be done in court; when we contacted Anderson to ask if she intends to do that, she said yes.
The photo is from Collin, who reports police are on the scene of that crash on the downhill side of Olson Place, as you head toward 509. No SFD dispatch so far, so apparently no serious injuriess.
12:24 PM: After none in 2019, West Seattle has its first homicide case of 2020. On January 10th, neighbors told us about a police response in the 4500 block of 40th SW. Police would only tell us that they were investigating a serious injury suffered by someone in the residence but weren’t sure if a crime was committed. We’ve been following up but received no new information, until today. SPD now says the victim died and her 25-year-old roommate has been arrested:
On January 10th, the 25-year-old man called 911 and said he had found his roommate, a 41-year-old woman, unresponsive at the bottom of a staircase in their shared home in the 4500 block of 40th Avenue SW.
Patrol officers, concerned about the circumstances of the incident, called for homicide detectives to respond to the scene. Medics transported the woman to Harborview Medical Center, where she died three days later.
Homicide detectives conducted an initial interview with the 25-year-old man, and then released him from the scene. The detectives continued to investigate and, after the woman’s death on January 13th, police interviewed the man once again, leading them to book him into the King County Jail for homicide.
The King County Jail roster shows the suspect is jailed in lieu of $2 million bail. We’ll be checking with prosecutors for bail-hearing documents and will add anything more we find out.
12:59 PM: Added a photo we had taken while checking with police on January 10th. Also just received the probable-cause document from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. It says the victim never regained consciousness and “had injuries on her neck that were inconsistent with a fall down the stairs”; the suspect had “what appeared to be fresh scratches/abrasioons to his arms and chest.” The document says that after the Medical Examiner determined the victim was killed by strangulation, the suspect told police he strangled her and “threw her down the stairs to make it look like an accident.”
When last we asked SDOT about an activation timeline for the 35th/Dawson signal – one of the last major features of the 35th SW Safety Project’s Phase 2, announced almost two years ago – the estimate was around Thanksgiving. But now Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s, and MLK Day have gone by too, and the stoplight hasn’t been activated yet. So here’s a new SDOT update:
We installed the poles for the 35th Ave SW and SW Dawson St signal in late October and have been working with Seattle City Light to power up the signal cabinet. Seattle City Light completed their electrical work last week and the SDOT contractor is now moving through the final phase of activating the signal which includes configuring, inspecting and finalizing the signal cabinet system. If the weather allows it, we anticipate to have the signal operational by the end of February. We also plan to return to this location when the weather warms up in late Spring to complete permanent striping, restore landscaping, and install any remaining signage.
When the plan for this signal was announced in 2018, it was described as something the community had long been requesting – at least a decade.
(Dark-eyed Junco, photographed by Robin Sinner, shared via WSB Flickr group)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, five options for tonight:
UNDERSTANDING MEDICARE: Free workshop, 6:15 pm at Southwest Library. Cookies! (9010 35th SW)
STUDENT VISUAL ARTS AND MUSIC NIGHT: Presented by Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) at the Chief Sealth IHS Auditorium. Free admission. (2600 SW Thistle)
WHAT ELSE IS UP? See all the listings on our complete calendar.
By Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Back in early December, we reported on the preliminary ideas for renovating the Cottage Grove Park playground (aka Puget Boulevard Commons Park) at 5206 26th SW, to make the play area more appealing and usable for younger children.
This week, Seattle Parks project manager Pam Kliment provided an email update to neighbors who attended that December forum: The team now has a detailed plan for the park layout (see the PDF here or below), as well as an end-of-April timeframe for completion (8 weeks to get the new play equipment, then a couple of weeks to install it).
Kliment noted that some work on the project has already been done, including the removal of problematic play equipment such as “the rocker,” which was cited by neighbors as being difficult and dangerous for younger children to use.
Questions about the Cottage Grove Park project can be sent to Pam Kliment at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-684-7556.
The photo was sent by James Craig, who reports that the Highline Soccer Association‘s 05 Highland Select team – with players from West Seattle, Burien, and Normandy Park – played for the championship in this past weekend’s PacNW premier Winter Classic tournament. “Unfortunately, the ladies lost the finals in a penalty kick as they they were tied 1-1 in regulation. Final score 2-1, good for 2nd place out of 16.”
7 AM: Good morning! One incident in our area right now, a crash that WSDOT says is blocking the center lane on NB SR 99 on the 1st Avenue S. Bridge.\
7:32 AM: Crash reported in the right lane of the eastbound West Seattle Bridge just before the exit to 99.
8:25 AM: The WS Bridge crash is cleared.
9:07 AM: This might be normal, but reporting anyway because we’ve been out on a story: At 9:05, the Avalon backup to get onto the bridge went all the way uphill past Yancy. Going the other way (which we were), getting through the Harbor/Avalon/Spokane intersection SB took 4 light cycles.