West Seattle, Washington
Three weeks after the first King County case of COVID-19 was announced, here are the toplines from a busy Friday:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From today’s Seattle-King County Public Health news release:
Public Health—Seattle & King County is reporting the following confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 p.m. on 3/19/20.
793 confirmed cases (up 100 from yesterday)
67 confirmed deaths (up 7 from yesterday)
These additional deaths include:
A man in his 80s, who died on 3/19
A woman in her 90s, who died on 3/17
A man in his 70s, who died on 3/18
A woman in her 80s. who died on 3/18
A woman in her 70s, whose date of death has not been confirmed
A man in his 70s, who died on 3/19 at Valley Medical Center
A woman in her 60s, who died on 3/19 at Harborview Medical Center
Of the 67 deaths reported, 35 are confirmed to be associated with Life Care Center of Kirkland.
One week ago tonight, it was 328 cases and 32 deaths in King County.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: 1,524 cases, 83 deaths; other state stats here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: See them – nation by nation – here.
GOVERNOR SAYS BEHAVE OR ELSE: Gov. Inslee had an announcement to make this afternoon, but – as covered here – it was NOT an order to “shelter in place.” But he said that’s still in his toolbox if need be, so he pleaded with people who aren’t obeying existing health orders to please stop that because lives are at risk. (The actual announcement was new protection for elevated-risk workers to be able to stay home without losing their jobs.)
MAYOR AND COUNTY EXEC ANNOUNCE PARK RESTRICTIONS: This went public right after the governor’s plea – no more playground or sport court use, among other things, say Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine. (But taking a walk is OK. Here are some places to explore.)
METRO WON’T CHARGE YOU: Even before those service cuts kick in Monday, Metro will stop collecting fares tomorrow, while also having almost everyone board through the rear doors. Water Taxi will be free too. Here are the details.
SOUND TRANSIT TOO: It’s also suspending fare collection on its buses and trains.
HOW FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS ARE COPING: King County Executive Dow Constantine hosted a media briefing today at which representatves of several faith traditions/cultural organizations spoke. (Our favorite quote, “Surely after difficulty comes ease.”) Here’s the video:
This weekend we’ll have another roundup of churches’ Sunday plans – let us know what yours is doing!
WAYS TO HELP: For more than a week, many people have been yearning to help. More ways to do that emerged today. Be a pen pal! Donate protective equipment! There was also a request for help sewing masks – but that filled up fast. Also – here’s a new umbrella site to help coordinate assistance.
SAFE BEEF: Seen outside Meat the Live Butcher in South Delridge:
SPEAKING OF FOOD: Still adding to our restaurant/beverage business “open for takeout and/or delivery” list – lots of updates to do tonight right after we publish this roundup. (We’re still updating our grocery-store-hours list, too.)
GOT NEWS? firstname.lastname@example.org or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!
If you have extra personal protection equipment to donate so those on the COVID-19 pandemic front lines can be adequately protected – coordinated collection events are under way. Thanks to the readers who were first to spot both of these sites where you can sign up !
CITY OF SEATTLE SURVEY: Sign up here if you have something to donate. The form asks about:
Basic Isolation Masks
As explained here, donors who sign up there will be contacted for coordination of pickup or dropoff. Questions? PPEdonations@seattle.gov
UNION-LED EFFORT: Unopened boxes of masks (preferably N95), gowns, eye protection, and gloves are sought by this drive (or other medical equipment that might be offered) – read more and sign up here.
While Governor Inslee is NOT issuing a “shelter in place” order, so far (as reported here earlier), there’s a brand-new city/county order to further restrict use of parks – just in:
To follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines established by Public Health—Seattle & King County and the Washington Department of Health, King County Parks and Seattle Parks and Recreations are closing sports courts, playground equipment, and other active recreation areas where it could be difficult to maintain recommended social distancing guidelines.
Ballfields and playfields are open for walking and other non-team activities.
The closure includes picnic shelters, basketball and tennis courts, ballfields, and other active recreation locations. Parks, natural lands, regional trails, backcountry trails, and beaches where social distancing can be maintained remain open.
Pick-up games, picnics, and other large gatherings will not be permitted.
Restrooms within parks will continue to be open to the public, and will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.
Read the rest of the announcement, including reminders about social distancing on trails, by going here.
P.S. This means what we wrote about this morning – finding less-crowded local parks with lots of room to wander – still applies. The city and county are NOT closing the parks – just specific parts/uses, like playgrounds and sports.
4:39 PM: In the live video above, Governor Inslee is briefing media on what was described in advance as an announcement “to lay out new protections for at-risk employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.” We’ll update as it goes; we’re also dialed into the media audio line in case the video falters.
He’s not issuing “legally binding orders,” he says, but could if people don’t act responsibly. “We remain concerned that some in our state” are not taking this seriously. “Everyone needs to change their behavior …. if we are to avoid significant loss of life. … And I mean EVERYONE. … If anyone is living a normal life today, we are not doing what we need to do to save lives in this state.” He is “pleading with you to stay home unless it is necessary for you to go out.” He says, “We have got to be serious about this virus. … We’ve got to change the way we do business and run our family life in this state.”
Inslee notes that workers over 65 and with other vulnerabilities should “have a legal right to leave the workplace to protect their life … and have the financial means to do that” and to be able to get their jobs back when it’s safe. So he’s working on a proclamation to make that possible. “Employers need to (be able to protect those workers) right now.” He says employers must make workplaces safe for ALL employees.
And if there’s “someone older” in your family, he continues, “call them tonight” and tell them not to go out any more unless they absolutely have to. “It’s just too dangerous right now.” He adds, “While it’s a time to minimize physical connectivity, it’s a time to maximize emotional connectivity.”
4:50 PM: He says it’s up to everyone in the state to be “a leader” in stopping the virus from spreading. He says what’s been done so far has “made some progress…. but we have not done enough.” He’s showing data/stats. First, traffic: The Highway 99 tunnel, for one, has steadily declined to 61 percent of normal, and “we need it to continue to go down.” But some other routes around Puget Sound, like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, are only down a quarter – or less.
He shows that 20,742 tests have been done – 7 percent positive, 93 percent negative, but he says “the risk of an enormous explosion of this virus remains real.”
Inslee also says the feds are sending masks, respirators, gowns, and gloves for health-care providers.
4:56 PM: Q&A – first question, will the April special election be postponed? The governor has not yet decided. Second – the governor has not ordered a statewide shelter in place, why not? He says, the closures already announced have accomplished a lot of what that would do, so they are evaluating day to day on whether more is necessary – he doesn’t want to completely shut down the supply chain, essential services, etc. “We are evaluating whether we think we can achieve the goal of avoiding massive loss of life” by doing what’s already been ordered. But it’s up to everyone to be “volunteers” in following existing orders. Those orders include the one he issued yesterday about postponing elective surgery and non-urgent procedures to help with the existing burden on the medical system.
But he gets back to the “behave or else” admonition: “If we’re not cutting the mustard, there could be further orders coming,” then specifically calling out “those folks at Alki Beach” (as we and others have shown, this week) and saying if they’re young people, their parents need to talk to them. What metrics would trigger a change of mind? he’asked. Reply: There’s not just one. Troubling stats include the aforementioned “mixed results” in traffic and an increase in ER admissions for people with respiratory symptoms. “This virus has thrown some curveballs,” he warns. What about Boeing and the workers who want the Everett plant to close? he is asked. His reply reiterates the protections for at-risk employees, but also an acknowledgment of the economic risk of doing something like that.
5:13 PM: It’s over. Again – ***NO*** shelter-in-place order … for now … the governor pleads with people to do what’s already been ordered. We’ll add the archived video above when it’s available.
4:21 PM: A quick interruption in the serious news … The West Seattle Turkey has headed south today! Above, David sent that photo from Gatewood, shortly after we got a call from Scott, in that same area, startled to find The Turkey outside his house. Earlier, a texter sent the next pic after TWST turned up outside Sound & Fog in The Junction:
When The Turkey first turned up in West Seattle eleven months ago, it headed north from Seola to Admiral, but most sightings since then have been on the east/south side of Admiral. Thanks as always for the sighting reports!
ADDED 6:07 PM: Ray sent this pic from Morgan Junction:
Three West Seattle Crime Watch notes this afternoon:
STOLEN CAR: From Will:
Earlier today I was leaving my apartment complex The Overlook At Westridge at 600 SW Kenyon st to go shopping for my parents when I realized someone had stolen my car from my apartments parking lot. I have contacted the police and was hoping to get any help I can spreading the word. I have attached a photo of the car; it is a black 1997 Subaru Legacy GT.
The license plate is BIU3459.
Call 911 if you see it.
VAPE STORE BURGLARY: Thanks to the texter who sent the photo and asked about the police response in the 9000 block of Delridge Way SW early today:
We followed up with SPD. The vape shop was broken into around 4 am. Witnesses saw four suspects, described only as wearing hoodies and backpacks, running away northbound on 21st SW. They dropped some items along the way and left a hammer inside the store, apparently after using it to break in. Officers searched the area but no one was found.
ABANDONED BICYCLES: The photo is from Neil in North Admiral, who says they were dumped in his yard overnight:
Yours? Let us know and we will connect you.
1:37 PM: In addition to Metro schedule changes starting Saturday, another big change announced, starting tomorrow, for buses and the Water Taxi. Here’s the announcement:
Effective with the start of service Saturday, March 21, riders will not be required to pay fare when riding King County Metro services, including buses, water taxi and Access paratransit, until further notice.
Riders also will be directed to board and exit at the rear doors of buses, reserving front-door access for customers using mobility devices or who require use of the boarding ramp.
“As this crisis evolves, we are constantly reviewing all of our practices and policies to provide the best service while keeping people safe,” said Executive Constantine. “Changing how riders board and exit our bus fleet and also suspending all fares is part of that effort. It is essential to keep this community on the move, and I thank all the operators, mechanics, support staff, and riders who are helping us get through this, together.”
These moves acknowledge the direction of public health to take steps necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19 and we continue to call on riders to do all they can by avoiding traveling when sick, covering coughs and sneezes.
Metro is relaying these planned changes to our partners at Sound Transit and the City of Seattle as they consider changes to ST Express bus service, Link light rail and Streetcar.
Metro is communicating this upcoming change with transit operators today and working to develop and install signage directing customers to board and exit at the rear doors unless and that fare payment is not required starting March 21.
We’re on the media call about the schedule change right now – any updates on that (the actual schedules are due out tomorrow), we’ll add.
2:38 PM: Some notes from the call- we asked why the 125 was deemed disposable – Metro managers said that it’s certainly not disposable but it’s a route that connects to no others and some of it is replicated by the 120 – so they are going to watch the 120 closely. They don’t expect to be making day to day changes but will assess weekly to see about re-evaluation. They are not planning any layoffs, though this will reduce revenue (farebox and sales tax total are down about $6 million a week). They say the schedule cuts will reduce the need for drivers and coaches by about 25 percent – that means they will be OK even if more are out sick. So far, no COVID-19 cases at Metro, they said.
ADDED 6:22 PM: Sound Transit is going fare-free too.
More West Seattle business updates:
KID FRIENDLY FOOTWEAR @ AGAIN & AGAIN (4832 California SW; WSB sponsor): From proprietor Sarah:
Kid Friendly Footwear @ Again & Again is working hard to find ways in these trying times to continue our 25 year tradition of serving families in our West Seattle community & beyond.
Our commitment to provide best value new & used Gear For All Seasons for kids including sandals, shoes & boots, excellent customer service & expert fitting for quality footwear does not change.
Long time customers know that we are always Mean About Clean. In order to help slow Covid19 spread, some of the ways we operate will now be a little different.
· We are now offering shopping by appointment throughout the week at your convenience, plus- limited open hours on weekends only. It’s easy to email Hello@KidFriendlyFootwear.com 24/7, or call 206-933-2060 to let us know best days/times and number in your party. We can often accommodate immediate same day-within-the-hour requests.
· No more than 10 people including all ages will be allowed to gather inside our shop at once, so we ask you to avoid bringing extra friends & family with, and, limit time shopping as much as possible.
· We have a handy onsite hand washing station (aka restroom with baby changing table) for all to use- early and often!
· We will not be able to give hands on shoe measuring / foot fitting now, but, are happy to thoroughly guide that process from a distance of at least 6 feet away.
· We no longer require signature for credit card payments. The terminal & other surfaces that have been touched are disinfected per CDC guidelines.
· $4.99 flat rate shipping for online orders www.KidFriendlyFootwear.com or via phone.
· Free delivery can be arranged within a 5 mile radius of the shop in West Seattle
· Sorry no more play table toys for little fidgeters or outdoor ½ price rack for now ☹
We hope to see or hear from you soon and sincerely wish good health to all our families, friends & neighbors as well as for the Earth & all its creatures too. email@example.com 206-933-2060
MEEPLES GAMES (California/Charlestown): From co-proprietor Brian:
Meeples Games is open for retail with reduced business hours of 11:30 am-7:00 pm weekdays, 10:00-7:00 this weekend. The café and play space is closed until further notice, and we are limiting the number of customers in the store. Curb-side pickup is available for orders and card payments taken over the phone (206.535.7896). We have great stay-at-home activities including games, books, puzzles, and painting supplies. We’ve posted a link to our inventory at www.meeplesgames.com so customers can see what is available.
BED BATH & BEYOND (Westwood Village): The store is closed as of today, at least temporarily:
Got West Seattle business info? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!
12:41 PM: A big response for a crash at 16th/Roxbury – reported as a vehicle into a building – roads are being blocked; avoid the area.
12:57 PM: This is on 16th a short distance north of Roxbury – we’ve added a photo. Firefighters tell us at the scene that one female victim has been taken to the hospital.
1:08 PM: Another angle above, this time a photo from SFD. They say the victim is in serious condition.
11:44 AM: Multiple readers flagged us to this – the health-care organization Providence is asking for volunteers to agree to sew at least 100 masks each. They’re providing the materials, but you need your own machine. So far their only announced pickup location is in Renton, but you can sign up for notification when there’s something closer (considering that Providence does have facilities in West Seattle including The Mount). Interested? Sign up here.
2 PM: The list has since been filled up, readers report in comments below.
That’s the south side of Myrtle Reservoir Park – one of the West Seattle park/open space sites where you can go and enjoy the sun while keeping at a safe distance from your fellow parkgoers. After all the discussion about Alki crowds this week – and looking ahead at a rainless weekend – we thought spotlighting other spacious areas might be helpful. Myrtle, for example, has walkways and open fields, next to (and over) water-storage facilities. It’s at 35th/Myrtle – and as you can see on the map, Walt Hundley Playfield, one block east at 34th/Myrtle, is spacious too .
Further south, the Southwest Athletic Complex – which is actually a Seattle Public Schools facility – stretches from the stadium (2801 SW Thistle) westward to the big open field where Denny International Middle School used to be. If you want a north-facing water view, Jack Block Park (2130 Harbor SW) – which is a Port of Seattle site – has lots of walkways and overlooks – though some repair work might still be under way. The lodge at Camp Long (5200 35th SW) is closed but the park has trails and a big open field. Those are just a few of many alternatives to the most-popular spots. More recommendations? Please add yours below!
SIDE NOTE: The definitive guide to Seattle parks was written by one of your neighbors, West Seattleite Linnea Westerlind – we featured her book “Discovering Seattle Parks: A Local’s Guide” when it was published in 2017. She also has a website, Year of Seattle Parks. If you don’t already have her book, you might check with one of West Seattle’s independent booksellers – both selling books via pickup and delivery!
Here’s something kids can do – adults too – to help seniors, who are isolated more than ever in an attempt to keep them safe. Natalie from The Kenney sent this announcement:
Are you wanting to make a difference and brighten a senior’s day during this difficult time, without much effort or money? We are looking for volunteers to join The Kenney Pen Pal Program. You can connect with our community’s wonderful seniors, whether you’re young or old. You can bring joy and happiness to a resident, while keeping them safe in their apartment at The Kenney!
How to participate:
1. Start by writing a handwritten letter introducing yourself and asking the resident questions about themselves.
2. Mail letter to “My Future Pen Pal” at the address below:
7125 Fauntleroy Way SW
Seattle, WA 98136-2008
3. Please include an address for the resident to mail back their return letter.
4. The Kenney staff will assign each resident wanting to participate a pen pal and will help residents send their letters back out to their pen pals.
We’re building a West Seattle “how to help” list – if you have something for it, email@example.com – thank you!
Can’t stop the music – West Seattle’s Mode Music Studios (WSB sponsor) is taking its lessons online! You can support the arts and support local business, as Mode explains in the video above, and below:
Local musicians are suffering with venue closure and event and tour cancellations. We are doing our part to make sure our local musicians are employed throughout this time. Shows and service industry jobs have taken a major hit and this is a way you can show your support to the music community.
Mode Music Studios employs over 50 musicians and teaching artists in the local Seattle scene. Sign up now for private music lessons (piano, voice, ukulele, guitar, bass, drums, violin, viola, cello, trumpet, trombone, French horn, accordion, banjo and more) at modemusicstudios.com and support our local nonprofit Mode Music and Performing Arts with our group Theatre, Dance and Music enrichment programs at modemusicandperformingarts.org.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-659-4018.
7:29 AM: Good morning. The daily cameras are above, for those still commuting, or just interested in traffic volumes.
METRO CUTS AHEAD: Most routes will be on new reduced schedules Monday; Metro expects to post those schedules tomorrow. The 125 will be entirely dropped TFN.
Thanks for the photos!
First, two sunset scenes … above, from Robin Sinner; below, from Jan Pendergrass:
Next, from Gary Potter of longtime WSB sponsor Potter Construction, his neighborhood’s “6-foot happy hour” tonight:
And last but by no means least, from Richard Hill:
If you could use something to look forward to … the next change of seasons, the summer solstice, will be on June 20th.