West Seattle, Washington
New information tonight in one of the ongoing criminal cases we updated in this Sunday night story: 48-year-old Michael J. Mullen is out of jail tonight, after his bail was halved to $25,000. Mullen had been in jail for three and a half months, after police arrested him for allegedly threatening his roommate. That case was dismissed but he stayed in jail because of the original case that brought him to public attention last June, involving a “heavily altered” shotgun he allegedly brandished in a Junction alley. Since the October arrest, he’s gone through an evaluation that led to him being ruled competent to stand trial. As part of his conditions for release on bail, he’s under orders to stay away from guns. His trial-readiness hearing is set for March 6th.
The Southwest Lacrosse Titans (WSB sponsor) have begun preseason practices! We stopped by as practice kicked off at Delridge Playfield under the lights Tuesday night.
The Titans tell us that registration is still open, and: “The biggest need is players for the K-2 and girls 3/4 (3rd and 4th grade) teams.” Questions? Lots of info on the Southwest Lacross website, even an FAQ page!
The West Seattle Food Bank would like to shout out a huge thank you to the students, parents & staff of Combat Arts Academy on Delridge & in Burien for the incredible results of their annual food drive – 6000 lbs. & $190!
It’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it and the two students in the pictures below, Alex & Calla, are a big part of these results. They have been collecting for these food drives since 2014!
You can help WSFB any time too – start here!
ORIGINAL WEDNESDAY REPORT: One woman was arrested after what police described as a robbery attempt that left an employee injured at West Seattle Optix in The Junction this afternoon. Police say the woman tried to grab merchandise from the shop and broke a window in an attempt to escape.
One employee suffered minor injuries from the broken glass. Police arrested a suspect and were taking her to the King County Jail.
ADDED THURSDAY MORNING: The suspect is 38 years old. In addition to this, she’s being held on a misdemeanor warrant issued two years ago after she failed to appear for a hearing in another shoplift-turned-violent case, not in West Seattle. That case, initiated n 2017, was her most-recent arrest, according to public records. She’ll likely have a bail hearing today and we’ll update when we have that information.
ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: The suspect remains in jail. We won’t have access to documents from the hearing until tomorrow, so look for a followup then.
(WSB photo of Water Taxi line at Seacrest, January 2019)
One month into the new year, a notable stat from the old year: Record ridership on the King County Water Taxi‘s two routes, including West Seattle to downtown, boosted of course by the Viaduct-to-Tunnel transition. Here’s the announcement sent this afternoon:
The King County Water Taxi celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2019 with a record-breaking year of connecting West Seattle and Vashon Island to downtown Seattle. In 2019, the West Seattle Water Taxi’s ridership was 443,993 and the Vashon Island route’s ridership was 257,615, for a grand total of 701,608 boardings.
In comparison, ridership for 2018 was 414,967 in West Seattle and 249,398 for the Vashon Island route. King County Water Taxi has carried 5.4 million riders since starting service for the King County Ferry District in 2009, and this year’s record-setting ridership represents a 115% increase over its humble beginnings.
“It’s no surprise that more and more people are catching on to all that the Water Taxi has to offer – scenic views, ample seating, fast sailings, and zero traffic,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We’re continually seeking innovative, expanded ways to help our region’s growing population get around, and the Water Taxi is a perfect example of that, providing a creative transportation solution to commuters, local explorers, and visitors alike.”
Though ridership has increased nearly every year, one notable variable contributed to the Water Taxi’s strong performance in 2019.
Throughout the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure in January, the Water Taxi provided a congestion-free alternative to the Seattle Squeeze. During the first Monday commute, 1,350 passengers boarded West Seattle Water Taxi compared to 350 on the same day in 2018. The route maintained double the ridership throughout the closure, up 142% compared to the same dates in 2018.
“From a persistent pilot project to 700,000 riders, the water taxi has proven an integral part of our transit system,” said King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. “During the viaduct closure, the West Seattle route was up 142% as people sought a fast and reliable commute downtown. As more people look for ways to get out of their cars, preserving and expanding water taxi service will be key to our region’s success.”
Annual ridership isn’t the only record broken by the Water Taxi. In December 2019, 6,575 people responded to a public survey on possible water taxi expansion, a record for any Metro survey. The survey was requested by the King County Council to consider potential future water taxi service to Ballard and Kenmore. Comprehensive survey results will be transmitted to council in July 2020.
Meet the new owners of what has been The Pacific Room on Alki since just last summer, but not for much longer
Jisun Jackson and Bobbie Robinson are the new owners of the restaurant/bar at 2808 Alki SW, which they plan to transform into The Avenue.
The changes are happening without a closure, so it’s still open for food, drink, and entertainment while the metamorphosis takes place. But they’re changing just about everything, bit by bit – the menu (with a new executive chef), the aesthetics, the decor (adding local art, for one).
And the hours; They’re planning to add lunch and weekend brunch.
Live music will stay – in fact, Jisun and Bobbie are both musicians themselves. But while The Pacific Room was focusing heavily on jazz, The Avenue will diversify, adding other genres of music, and some late-night DJs in summer. Plus a local favorite – CC from the Chelan Café – will perform every Monday. “That’s her piano!” Jisun pointed out during our conversation on Tuesday.
The Avenue’s atmosphere will be “classy but casual,” as described by Bobbie. “Accessible and inviting,” added Jisun, who says the intention is for customers to feel like the people at The Avenue are neighbors. “We want this to be a place where people feel comfortable.” All ages welcome (even the kids’ menu is getting overhauled). They’ve just added TVs at the bar, which means they’ll be able to offer sports-geared specials too. More local wines and beers will be part of the revamped beverage menu.
Once The Avenue is up to full speed, and you’ve tried it, they will be eager for your feedback, Jisun promised. If something’s not working, “I’ll want to change it.”
But in the meantime, they’re already appreciative of the warm welcome they’re getting. Jisun, who came to Seattle from Chicago, enthused, “Everybody’s been so friendly!”
Look for the name change and other changes over the next month or so.
After two days with two boats, the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route is back to all three. Washington State Ferries says M/V Issaquah is fixed and back in service, so the regular schedule has resumed.
West Seattle’s next big transportation project is moving forward. That was noted during a Move Seattle levy update during today’s City Council Transportation and Utilities Committee meeting. The project is the conversion of Metro Route 120 to the RapidRide H Line, a joint project of SOOT and Metro with components including extensive repaving of Delridge Way (north of the section that was repaved in 2013). During the levy briefing, which started 38:17 into the meeting (video above), SDOT reps said they expect the project to go out to bid later this month. Before then, they’ll provide a project-specific briefing to the council on what’s happened between 90 percent and 100 percent design. (We reported on the 90-percent stage back in November.)
P.S. Back to the Move Seattle status – here’s the overview slide deck presented during the meeting:
One other note of local interest – on page 7, the Lander Street Overpass project in SODO is mentioned, with a projected opening in “late 2020,” though the project website still says “summer 2020.” (We’re asking about the discrepancy.)
Our car was broken into some time Tuesday night/Wednesday morning between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am. We were parked in front of the Salvation Army White Center Corps on 16th Ave between Henderson & Barton. Our passenger-side window was smashed and a backpack was stolen containing various electronics worth over $400.
Highlights for the hours ahead:
JUNCTION RALLY: 5:30 pm, a pro-impeachment rally is planned in The Junction along with others across the country. (California/Alaska)
DANCE TIME WITH LAUREN PETRIE: Dance to live music at the Senior Center of West Seattle, 6-8 pm. (4217 SW Oregon)
HOT ROD: Live music at Parliament Tavern, 9 pm. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
LOTS MORE! See the full list on our complete calendar.
Just in from Seattle Public Schools:
On Thursday, February 6, 2020, The Creative Advantage will host the first of multiple regional arts festivals, starting in the southwest region of Seattle. The festival will take place at Chief Sealth High School from 5-8:00 p.m. and will feature visual and performing arts by elementary, middle, and high school students from the community.
From 5-6:00 p.m., there will be a free community dinner featuring African and Latin cuisine, along with visual and media arts displays, and community art activities, hosted by the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). At 6:00 p.m., student performances will begin in the Chief Sealth High School Performing Arts Center.
The Southwest Regional Arts Festival will be the first of three regional arts festivals, with others taking place in the southeast and the central regions of the city. Each regional festival will highlight arts learning in SPS schools and arts programs, and will feature student art and performances from all grade levels.
“We have incredible artists in Seattle Public Schools – creatives in dance, media arts, music, theatre,” said Gail Selhorst, SPS Manager of Visual and Performing Arts. “Regional Arts Festivals are a way to highlight this creativity with the broader community, and students have asked for more opportunities to showcase the arts in our district. Come see the show – all are welcome!”
The participating southwest region schools include Arbor Heights Elementary, Chief Sealth International High School, Concord International Elementary, Denny International Middle School, Gatewood Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, Interagency Southwest at Youngstown, Roxhill Elementary, Sanislo Elementary, and West Seattle Elementary.
The Creative Advantage, a citywide initiative to expand equitable access to arts learning for every SPS student, is a coordinated network that includes Seattle Public Schools, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, the Seattle Foundation, and more than 100 community arts partners. All of this is made possible through a generous grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
6:59 AM: Good morning. The only alert for our area so far this morning is that the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route is still on the 2-boat schedule.
7:23 AM: Of note for south-enders, from SDOT – “Traffic signals in flash on 4th Ave S & E Marginal Way S. Please treat as all-way stop sign.”