West Seattle, Washington
9:35 PM: Big response on the way by land and sea to Jim Clark Marina under the West Seattle Bridge for a boat fire. Updates to come.
9:38 PM: Per emergency radio, this is described as two boathouses, “well-involved.” Crews on scene have reported “explosions,” and are going to pull back to fight this “defensively.”
9:46 PM: At least one fireboat is about to arrive; shore crews report having access challenges. The fire is reported to be spreading.
(Video by Bryan Vlok)
9:57 PM: Thanks to everyone who’s sending photos and video. SFD is calling for more engines.
10:08 PM: SPD says the West Seattle low bridge is closed because of the smoke. Meantime, firefighters have been searching the marina to look for anyone who might have been trapped aboard boats.
10:30 PM: So far, nobody found. The fire has just been declared “under control.”
11:01 PM: The low bridge has reopened, SDOT says.
11:13 PM: So far, no injuries reported.
ADDED 1:30 PM SATURDAY: We checked with SFD – no cause or damage estimate yet. We’ll publish a separate followup when that info is available. Meantime, thanks to Jim Edwards for getting this screengrab from the bridge traffic camera pointed down at the marina:
Ending the week, and the second full day of the “stay-home order,” exactly four weeks after the first King County COVID-19 case was announced, here are the day’s developments:
KING COUNTY’S NEWEST NUMBERS: From today’s Seattle-King County Public Health news release:
1,828 confirmed positive cases (up 251 from yesterday)
125 confirmed deaths (up 16 from yesterday)
DATA DASHBOARD’S BACK: It now shows 14,140 people have test results so far in King County. Among them, in the zip codes that are wholly or partly in West Seattle:
98106 – 141 tested, 13 positive, 0 deaths
98116 – 171 tested, 13 positive, 0 deaths
98126 – 180 tested, 17 positive, 1 death
98136 – 103 tested, 8 positive, 1 death
98146 – 133 tested, 14 positve, 0 deaths
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: 3,723 confirmed cases, 175 deaths; see other state stats here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: Find them – nation by nation – here.
MORE TESTING: Today’s county news release also has this note:
Testing capacity for COVID-19 continues to expand throughout the community through the University of Washington lab, commercial laboratories, and large health care systems. Large health care systems and community clinics are increasingly offering testing for people who are symptomatic. Residents should call ahead to providers to confirm availability and testing appointments/processes.
NEED FOOD? The city has a new interactive map showing places/times that it’s available to those who need it, including the Seattle Public Schools lunch sites, food banks, and senior centers.
NEW ‘HYGIENE CENTER‘: On the heels of the city’s announcement of shelter expansion -including room for up to 50 people at Southwest Teen Life Center – they’re also sending portable restrooms and hand-washing stations to six city parks including Westcrest Park in southeast West Seattle.
ANOTHER SLOGAN: “Keep A Lid on It, Seattle.” Here’s what that’s about.
RESTAURANTS/BEVERAGE BUSINESSES: Every day we’re getting updates for our West Seattle (and part of White Center) list – if you can get takeout this weekend and help support some of these local businesses, check it out!
MEMORABLE MARQUEE: One local restaurant – Boss Drive-In in South Delridge – has a message with which we agree wholeheartedly:
Thanks to the texter who sent that!
GOT INFO? firstname.lastname@example.org or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!
As noted here earlier today, the City Council will get a briefing Monday morning on what’s newly dubbed the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Safety Project – to address the cracking problem that led to the bridge’s sudden closure four days ago. Tonight, we have a preview, via the slide deck published on the city website:
(Or see it here in PDF.) Among the new information the slide deck reveals:
-Further details on the monitoring of cracks dating back to 2013
-One month ago, “Engineering consultant recommends reducing traffic load” so SDOT began “preparing for discussions with City leaders and community outreach”
-After an inspection on Monday morning, “Public and private sector engineers agreed that the bridge was no longer reasonably safe for ordinary travel” so the closure decision was made and announced “within hours”
No repair plan timeline or estimate, but it DOES appear they think it can be fixed. The presentation includes:
• Seek interim repairs with a goal of restoring some traffic
• Accelerate major maintenance/repair to extend bridge life by 10+ years
Also revealed: The low bridge needs some work: it’s described as the “deteriorating primary alternate
route” to the high bridge, with the recommendations:
• Continue weekly inspection and monitoring
• Complete load rating project
• Complete ped gate replacement
• Complete controls upgrade project
• Complete rehabilitation of the Pier
6 and Pier 7 lift cylinders
The slide deck also has an org chart of key members of the project team. West Seattle-residing Heather Marx, who most recently has served as “downtown mobility director” amid a construction crush, is listed as the project chief. (That wasn’t mentioned during our phone interview with her for this Wednesday night followup.) And the presentation’s last page, listing “next steps,” includes this one: “Conduct study to determine the structure’s remaining useful life (start fall 2020).”
Washington State Ferries will reduce service on some routes – including Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth – starting Sunday, and continuing for at least a month. WSF says the “Triangle Route” will reduce sailings by about a third, moving to a two-boat schedule. WSF says the temporary schedule will also suspend these early-morning sailings:.
· 1:25 a.m. Vashon to Fauntleroy
· 1:45 a.m. Southworth to Fauntleroy
· 2:20 a.m. Fauntleroy to Vashon
· 2:45 a.m. Vashon to Southworth
These service reductions and the earlier announced extension of the winter sailing schedule prepares WSF for the ongoing effects of COVID-19 disrupting service, including:
· A continued decrease in ridership due to public health recommendations
· Availability of sufficient crew personnel to meet federal requirements
In the announcement, WSF head Amy Scarton is quoted as waning, “Further suspensions and adjustments are possible depending on ridership trends.” Systemwide ridership is down 60 percent compared to a month ago – 80+ percent fewer walk-ons, almost 50 percent fewer vehicles.
6:12 PM: SPD’s Twitter log indicates the call was in the 10400 block of Maplewood Place.
4:32 PM: Thanks to the tipster who called to let us know about a traffic tie-up at Highland Park Way/Holden because of work crews. This is where SDOT told us on Wednesday that a temporary traffic signal would be installed because the high-rise West Seattle Bridge’s closure has put added stress on the already-busy intersection. We just got here to check and SDOT is in the southbound lane of HP Way on both sides of Holden. Avoid the area.
5:29 PM: We checked with SDOT regarding status. Spokesperson Ethan Bergerson replied, “We started work for the signal installation yesterday and are continuing today. We expect to be done sometime next week depending on weather. To give you a better sense of the timing, we began electrical work yesterday and are working on striping today.”
Another community update from Seattle Police Southwest Precinct operations ccommander Lt. Steve Strand:
The Southwest Precinct is fully staffed and has not had any positive COVID-19 cases in our work force. We are deployed around the clock, every day of the week, just as we have always been.
As a data-driven department, we are constantly looking at our crime trends to determine where to place our resources. We are currently focusing high-visibility patrols on vacant businesses, schools, and residences.
We are taking additional precautions in our response by donning the appropriate PPE level for the situation. We encourage everybody to maintain their social distancing when they must leave their residence for groceries, essential work, or fresh air.
The West Seattle bridge being closed has not seemed to impact us significantly at this time but only time will tell. There are a variety of ways you are able to report crimes, concerns, and suspicious behavior that you can look up online.
Remain vigilant with your neighbors and take care of yourself and your loved ones.
We also got an update from Lt. Strand last week – see that here.
Last night we briefly mentioned a reported stabbing in the 9200 block of 17th SW. No other details were available at the time but today we’ve obtained the police report. According to the report, it started with a 911 call about “people fighting with knives.” Arriving officers found a man with what the report describes as a deep, 3-inch long wound on his upper left rib cage. He told them he was awakened by his roommate reporting someone was “attacking” his car, parked near 17th/Cambridge. The victim said he went out to check and found someone kicking the car, so he grabbed a small rock and confronted the person, who then pulled out a “7- to 8-inch-long knife” and “started swinging it.” The victim ran back to his apartment, where he discovered he was wounded. Before medics took him to Harborview, he told police he recognized the suspect from social media, though that didn’t pan out. Meantime, a witness told officers that the stabbing suspect had been doing driving stunts – speeding and then slamming on the brakes – in a black SUV, before getting out to key and kick the victim’s car. He was described as Hispanic, about 50 years old, wearing a red T-shirt, blue jeans, and a hat.
West Seattle’s Westcrest Park is one of six sites where the city is planning “hygiene stations” to help unsheltered people stay healthy. From the announcement today:
Building on the 1,900 new sites across the City to help individuals experiencing homelessness, the City of Seattle announced the deployment and maintenance of six hygiene facilities throughout the City, which augment the more than 128 Seattle Parks comfort stations that remain open for hygiene needs. This expansion of resources is a continuation of ongoing work by the City and County to bring critically needed resources to those most in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning tomorrow, the City will deploy and maintain 14 toilets and 6 handwashing stations near City Hall Park, Lake City Community Center, Jefferson Park, Westcrest Park, Cal Anderson Park, and Benvenuto Viewpoint. All areas are in close proximity to individuals experiencing homelessness. This is in addition to the more than 128 locations in parks throughout the City, available to all residents, and are currently being serviced by Seattle Parks and Recreation. The new facilities will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days per week. Daily maintenance will be provided including sharps disposal, waste removal, and supplemental cleaning.
In addition to the portable toilets, the City expects to soon deploy at least four hygiene trailers with showers, toilets, and hand-washing stations. Currently under procurement, the trailer locations and staffing will be determined by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) in partnership outreach teams and other departments and Public Health – Seattle & King County.
The announcement – which you can read in its entirety here – also says:
SPU has partnered with HSD’s Navigation Team and local stakeholders to address public health and safety in unmanaged encampments. Increased litter and trash collection services will be delivered at unmanaged encampments over the next several weeks. In addition, the SPU encampment trash program that delivers trash bags and collects them, currently in 14 locations, will increase to 16 sites by March 31, 2020. SPU will also increase their pump-out services for RVs, expanding their initial pilot of two events per week.
We asked the city where exactly in Westcrest Park the hygiene station would be placed, since it’s a sprawling park; the reply was that it would be “installed on the SPR property across the street from 9063 Henderson Place SW.” That maps to one of the entrances on the west side of the park.
(WSB file photo of Jeff Hogan presenting Killer Whale Tales at a local school)
From Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales:
Hi Neighbors: My West Seattle-based non-profit, Killer Whale Tales, is offering free online classes for students learning at home. (In fact, if you have kids in the area’s schools, I may have already visited with them…) I am offering multiple classes for a limited number of students in each session until we all get back to school. Even if you don’t live in WS we would love to have any kids that you know join us for this science-based activity. Sign up at this link and check back for other classes coming soon.
And yes, we meet WA States Next Generation Science Standards!
One week after Metro buses went to a reduced schedule, more Sound Transit buses will be doing the same as of Monday (March 30th), including the West Seattle-serving Route 560. See the new timetable here (PDF).
(West Seattle Bridge cracks, from sdotblog.seattle.gov)
When the safety shutdown of the West Seattle Bridge was announced Monday, a City Council briefing was promised. As noted in our Wednesday followup, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold said it appeared that would happen next Monday (March 30th). Now the agenda is out and that’s confirmed – 9:30 am Monday, during the council’s regular “briefing” meeting, It’s billed as “Presentation on the Condition of the West Seattle Bridge,” with SDOT officials. The council meets by phone these days but it’ll still be live on Seattle Channel, online (we’ll carry the feed here too) or cable 21, or you can dial in to listen at 206-684-8566.
5:35 AM: For the fourth day, the high-level West Seattle Bridge is closed – here’s our latest report.
No timetable for repairs yet:
The low bridge is off-limits unless you’re transit, freight, emergency response, or working on Harbor Island. (SDOT requests voluntary compliance.)
A primary alternative across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) – that’s also how to get to I-5.
Or, the South Park Bridge (map).
Metro routes are affected, too – check yours here (and remember the new Reduced Schedule also applies). Taking the Water Taxi? Here’s the schedule (the WT, like Metro, is currently free). Let us know what you’re seeing on your alternate commute – comment, or text (not while at the wheel!) 206-293-6302.