West Seattle, Washington
Here’s our nightly roundup of the major local developments from the past 24 hours or so:
NEW KING COUNTY CASES/DEATHS: No King County briefing today, but the daily news release from Seattle-KC Public Health began:
This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in King County. All King County residents should follow Public Health recommendations. Together, we may potentially impact the spread of the disease in our community. Public Health – Seattle & King County announces today 20 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in King County residents. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 51, including 10 deaths.
The newly reported death was a previously reported case:
This new death was in a woman in her 90s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. She died on 3/3/20. With these 20 new results, the total number of cases in King County is 51. The total number of deaths is ten. As more laboratory capacity for testing comes online, more tests and results will be reported. We will no longer be routinely providing details about each case.
Later in the day, one particular case did get some more light in a separate announcement:
A part-time employee at CenturyLink Field who worked at the Feb. 22 Seattle Dragons game has tested positive for COVID-19, though risk to fans who attended is low, according to county health officials.
CANCELLATIONS/POSTPONEMENTS: Our West Seattle list continues to grow – see it here. We are also publishing major institutional/organizational announcements as we get them. Three of note today:
–Senior Center of West Seattle changes starting tomorrow
–Three local UCC churches cancel worship TFN
–Seattle Parks cancels senior (Lifelong Recreation) programs TFN
If your organization, business, school, group, etc. has cancellations, postponements, changes, please let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org or text/voice 206-293-6302.
WHY NOT CLOSE ALL SCHOOLS? That question keeps coming up, so here’s how SKCPH addressed it today:
Public Health is not currently recommending that schools proactively close unless they have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff member or student.
This guidance may have been confusing for some families and schools because schools bring together large groups of children. School closures have significant negative impacts on our community. We will be providing additional information to schools about how to stay open safely. The considerations we have taken in our decision not to currently recommend routine closure at schools include:
Children are not known to get seriously ill from COVID-19
Closing schools may not be effective because some children may congregate anyway, at other locations
Many parents, such as healthcare workers, need to be at work. If these critical workers stay home with children it causes significant impacts on the healthcare system and other institutions that are essential for our community to function
If schools close, some children might have to stay home with alternative caregivers, such as elders, who are more vulnerable
We don’t know how effective children are in spreading this disease
Some children and staff may be at higher risk for severe illness because of underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system. Public Health advises that those people consult with their healthcare provider to decide the best course of action.
Public Health also respects each individual school’s decisions about closures, postponement of activities, or other social distancing measures – as each school knows the needs of their community best.
Public Health is continually assessing our decision not to require the widespread closure of schools. We are continually evaluating information as it becomes available to better inform our decisions about proactive schools closure.
CITY BRIEFING: One day later than originally scheduled, the City Council heard from department heads this afternoon – here’s video of the 2-hour briefing:
SMALL BUSINESSES HURTING: During that briefing, District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold told a city Office of Economic Development rep that she had heard from a West Seattle small-business owner (who she did not identify) who had warned that they and others were seeing a 20 percent to 30 percent drop in business compared to this time last year, and just a few months of that could be catastrophic.
ADDED SHELTER/ENCAMPMENT SPACE: Mayor Durkan announced today that one tiny-house encampment will be expanded and one added; neither is in West Seattle. You can read her announcement here.
SCAM WARNING: State Attorney General Bob Ferguson warned that COVID-19-pegged scams are circulating.
STATE TOTALS: Want a wider look: The state Department of Health page is updated daily.
(added) VICE PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: Here’s video of Gov. Inslee and Vice President Pence speaking to/with reporters this evening:
(added) WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CONFIRMED/SUSPECTED COVID-19 OR FEAR YOU MIGHT: Just in late tonight from Seattle-King County Public Health, this advice.
WSB CONTINUING COVERAGE: Whatever we publish is categorized so that you can find it anytime at westseattleblog.com/category/coronavirus. We’re also using Twitter (@westseattleblog) for instant bursts.
(First-stage design packet for project)
The Southwest Design Review Board got its first look tonight at the ~126-unit apartment building proposed for 3417 Harbor Avenue SW.
They decided to approve advancing the project out of the first phase – Early Design Guidance.
Two community members showed up, in addition to four board members (chair Crystal Loya was absent so vice chair Matt Hutchins led the meeting), city planner Crystal Torres, and six members of the project team.
Here’s how the meeting unfolded:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
First thing Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre wanted to clarify before a packed room at Delridge Community Center on Monday night – the Seattle Park District does NOT go back to voters for renewal – it’s a permanent taxing authority.
(We’ll confess, even we were confused, so it was a welcome clarification.)
What he was there to kick off – in what was supposed to be the first of three regional meetings around the city, though the other two have just been canceled – was feedback and decisionmaking on what the tax money collected by the Park District will pay for over the next six years. Here’s the slide deck he used to outline it:
(Or, see it here in PDF.) Aguirre will be sending a proposed six-year spending plan to the mayor in May, and after a process including multiple public hearings, it’ll be finalized by the Park District Board – aka the City Council – in November. That will be concurrent with the overall Parks and Rec Department two-year budget plan.
As shown in the slide deck, the superintendent hit the highlights of what the Park District had paid for in the past five-plus years, including art and sports/fitness initiatives, some of the long-overdue maintenance that was cited as a major reason to create the district, scholarship funds to cover fees for those who can’t afford them, community events, programming for older adults … the list went on.
Along the way, Aguirre said, they learned community centers and pools needed even more maintenance than the new funding could handle. They also learned that “free programming was very successful,” and that the scholarship funds were in high demand.
The department also worked on a new strategic plan, highlighting the city’s explosive population growth – 105,000+ new residents since the Park District’s creation. And that’s been accompanied by another kind of growth – the wealth gap – so Parks has focused on equity.
Before making way for table talk, Aguirre threw out three questions, suggesting that each table address one of them:
1. How can Parks facilities serve more people?
2. How can Parks keep taking care of its system?
3, How can Parks build toward the city of the future?
He noted that the system has almost 500 individual buildings.
At the table we observed, Question #1 was addressed; one recurrent critique was that Parks needs to be much more proactive in getting the word out about its programs and services. One woman who was there primarily to advocate for more pickleball access wondered how people find out. One man suggested communicating by USPS mail could be “effective.”
Another participant suggested expanded hours; yet another, there to advocate for space for roller derby, said her organization needed earlier access to reserving space.
Could available hours be expanded by doing more off-peak maintenance/repairs? Is the city adequately tracking which facilities go unused, and when?
When the tables each reported back to the full group, it was clear other attendees had similar sentiments, plus a few others to add – such as, a need for restrooms – even if only portable ones – at more parks and playgrounds.
There was also a warning: Don’t use the Park District money to replace what would previously have been covered by the regular city budget – the commitment made 6 years ago for this to be above and beyond that, needs to be honored.
MISSED THE MEETING? You can still tell the Parks Department what you think the Park District $ should be spent on. Go here and scroll down to the survey link; an email address for comments is available too – PDplanning@seattle.gov. And if you are looking for more financial specifics – here’s 107 pages worth, as shown at an open house last month:
2:33 PM: Avoid the bridge for a while – a crash on the eastbound side at Highway 99 is affecting both directions, as shown in the traffic-cam screengrab above. (Thanks for the tips!)
2:51 PM: The westbound side is no longer obstructed but two lanes are blocked on the eastbound side right at the 99 exit.
3:02 PM: All lanes clear. (Thanks to Dan for that tip.) We’re checking with SFD re: injuries.
4:06 PM: No serious injuries, SFD tells us – no one needed to be taken to the hospital.
Just in, this joint announcement from West Seattle’s three UCC churches – NO illness cases, but they have decided on this response to Seattle-King County Public Health recommendations (as listed again in today’s update):
Church leadership at Admiral Congregational U.C.C., Alki U.C.C. and Fauntleroy U.C.C. have made the decision to cancel worship services and adapt operations for the next three weeks, given yesterday’s recommendations by King County. These recommendations included that those over the age of sixty or with underlying health conditions remain at home and that community gatherings of greater than ten people be cancelled.
The decision was made individually by all three churches with the utmost concern for both their own congregants and the wider community of Seattle. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the participants of the three churches at this time.
“As part of the wider community, we have the opportunity to potentially make a positive impact upon the spread of this coronavirus through our actions, our influence and our care,” Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski of Fauntleroy Church shared. “We are in conversation around how to best continue and possibly increase our ministry to congregants, to our friends at Camp Second Chance, and to the wider community in alternative manners during this crisis.”
“While we are called by our faith to live without fear, we are also called to care for our neighbors as ourselves,” said Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom from Admiral Church. “Our leadership believes that this choice, coupled with critical visitations and increased on-line education and worship resources, will provide that care to our community. We are grateful that we live in a time where alternative forms of connectivity are so readily available.”
Rev. Kelly Wadsworth also shared: “Alki UCC takes seriously our role in the common good and we seek to be a good neighbor to the Alki area during these COVID-19 times by reconfiguring the ways our spiritual community meets together and by offering flexible gathering space to the groups that regularly meet in the building.”
The Fauntleroy Y and Little Pilgrim Preschool at Fauntleroy UCC will remain open until further notice from leadership of those bodies. Other groups that utilize Fauntleroy Church’s space are being encouraged to consider County recommendations. A Child Becomes Preschool at Admiral Church will also remain open until further notice. The preschool director will be in communication with the families directly for updates. Recovery groups will continue at their own discretion. Kol-HaNeshamah (KHN), Alki UCC’s partner synagogue which shares Alki UCC’s building, has also announced cancellation of all gatherings through March 15, according to KHN Acting Executive Director, Connie Burk.
All three churches are individually making plans for how to adapt their ministries in continuing to best serve their respective communities. They encourage the community to visit their websites for updates in coming days and weeks: www.fauntleroyucc.org alkiucc.org and admiralchurch.org
P.S. Any other churches – as well as schools, organizations, groups, businesses, etc. – with changes/cancellations, please let us know! email@example.com or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you.
While NO cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been linked to West Seattle so far, many local organizations/insttutions are making operational changes to respond to Seattle-King County Public Health recommendations (here’s the newest list). We’ve just received this from Senior Center of West Seattle interim executive director Amy Lee Derenthal, and we’re publishing it separately because of the center’s major role in the community:
Thursday, March 5 – Business as usual.
Friday, March 6 – We will be closing the Senior Center as of Friday morning for all non-essential programs. We do not have a reopen date at this time due to the unusual circumstances.
These essential programs are continuing until further notice:
Tax Help Appointments – will take place on Friday, March 6 and TBD for the following week.
Community Dining – starting on Monday, March 9th we will be providing sack lunches to participants.
Tuesday, March 10th Food Bank Distribution – We will provide prepared bags of food for pick-up.
Stop and Shop: We will keep the Stop and Shop open as long as we have volunteer coverage. Communications will go out as we know more and if we have to close.
Staff will be communicating with instructors, volunteers and members about the closure. We do not know at this time how long we will be closed and will keep the community updated. Please check our website as well as (WSB) for updates.
We are now keeping, and updating, a cancellation/postponement list – if your organization/business/school/group/church is canceling, postponing, or changing an upcoming event, please let us know, firstname.lastname@example.org or text/voice 206-293-6302. We will note changes on our daily highlights list, as well as noting what IS happening, and we’ll update that daily list too if/when decisions about changes/cancellations come in post-publication. So far we have these highlights for today/tonight:
LOG HOUSE MUSEUM: Open noon-4 pm as usual. (61st/Stevens)
DINE-OUT FUNDRAISER FOR LOUISA BOREN STEM K-8: Go to Proletariat Pizza 4-9 pm, identify yourself as a STEM supporter, and part of the proceeds go to help students. (9622 16th SW)
(12:17 pm update – now postponed)
SIP IN SODO: The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce-presented wine-and-food event is on, 6-9 pm at SODO Urban Works. Details in our preview. (3901 1st Ave. S.)
DESIGN REVIEW FOR HARBOR AVE PROJECT: 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building, first review for the 126-unit apartment building planned at 3417 Harbor Avenue SW. See the design packet in our preview, which also includes info on how to comment via email. (4217 SW Oregon)
BILL DAVIE: Singer/songwriter at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. No cover, all ages. (5612 California SW)
THE BLACK TONES: 7 pm, free in-store concert at Easy Street Records. All ages. (California/Alaska)
WEST SEATTLE SOUL: 9 pm at Parliament Tavern. $10 cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
FREE TAX HELP: All United Way-King County free tax help sessions, including Wednesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays at the West Seattle Food Bank, are canceled TFN.
SIP IN SODO: As noted above, as of early Thursday afternoon, the WS Chamber has decided to postpone this to TBA date.
Black Nissan Pickup Truck with black canopy stolen last night between 10-6 on the 5900 block near California Ave., plate # B52477U.
Call 911 if you see it.
7:04 AM: Good morning. No alerts/incidents right now.
WEEKEND REMINDER: Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 am Sunday – “spring forward” one hour.
7:45 AM: Washington State Ferries website trouble: “Vessel Watch, route schedules and terminal conditions on WSF’s website are out of service until further notice.”