day : 21/04/2020 11 results

CORONAVIRUS: Tuesday 4/21 roundup

Though the governor annoonced his “recovery plan” tonight, it was devoid of dates. That tops tonight’s roundup:

‘A SAFE RETURN TO PUBLIC LIFE’: That seems to be the subtitle for what Gov. Inslee discussed in tonight’s short speech; our coverage, with video, is here, including notes from the non-streamed media Q&A shortly afterward. His office has since published a “policy brief” including this visual explanation:

NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Seattle-King County Public Health data dashboard:

*5,379 people have tested positive, up 86 from yesterday

*372 people have died, up 12 from yesterday

One week ago, those totals were 4,620 and 303.

STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them here.

WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: Find them here.

BUDGET HIT: The city estimates COVID-19 will take $210 million to $300 million from its coffers. This news release explains some of what’s being done about that.

CO2 SHORTAGE? Reader Lara called our attention to this report in The Guardian, suggesting a pandemic-related carbon-dioxide supply shortage,might affect water treatment. She hadn’t seen anything about it in local media. So we asked the city about it. The response:

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) was made aware of a supply chain issue involving CO2 in early April 2020. We quickly worked to find solutions to the potential issue, including identifying back-up chemical suppliers and sourcing options.

After detailed discussions with the vendor and other utilities, SPU determined that its vendor can meet the Utility’s CO2 supply needs. The vendor considers SPU an essential customer, a designation which gives highest priority for deliveries. To date, there has not been any interruption in CO2 delivery.

SPU will continue to closely monitor its chemical storage levels, future chemical needs and vendor supplies.

SPU has identified backup treatment options if future CO2 supplies become limited. Even if there was a shortage of carbon dioxide in the future, water delivery from the treatment plant would not be compromised.

SPU uses CO2 “for pH adjustment at the Tolt Treatment Plant,” which supplies about 30 percent of Seattle water. (More background on city water, by the way, is in this WSB story from 2016.)

SCAM ALERT: Scammers are continuing to try to take advantage of people worried about COVID-19. Here’s the latest warning.

QUARANTINE REINDEER: In last night’s roundup, we featured another cheer-providing display, an inflatable dragon. Tonight – Diane‘s photo of Rudolph‘s springtime return.

She spotted Rudolph east west of Westwood Village.

GOT INFO? or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!

UPDATE: SFD response on Avalon Way

7:38 PM: SFD is checking out a possible fire in a 6-story building in the 3200 block of SW Avalon Way. Updates to come.

(Added: Photo by Jason Harbison)

7:40 PM: SFD says the fire, in one unit, is out, “extinguished by tge sprinkler system.” No injuries.

7:55 PM: Most units have been dismissed, but Avalon traffic is still a bit bollixed (photo added).

VIDEO: Governor outlines ‘recovery plan’ but still no dates

4:59 PM: That’s the TVW livestream of Gov. Inslee announcing his plan for the state’s recovery. We’ll be adding coverage notes of both his speech and a media Q&A scheduled at 5:45 pm.

“The spread of COVID-19 is likely declining in Washington,” the governor says he’s been told. He acknowledges that people are eager to get back to work and reopen businesses. He says reopening will be “more like turning a dial than flipping a switch.” But “we will not be able to lift many of the restrictions by May 4th.”

He says it will be a “strategic” recovery plan that “begins with widely available testing for individuals who may have had COVID-19” and contact tracing that he says 1,500 people will be working on “by the second week of May.” But the state is lacking in testing supplies – it has “more lab capacity than test kits,” he says. About 4,000 tests are being processed per day and that should be more like 20,000, he says.

Workplaces “are going to look much different” until there’s a vaccine, he says. “We’re going to provide guidance to let industries know when and how they can reopen. … We’re going to have to steel ourselves against this virus … for many months.” He says many innovations will be needed for “life in the era of COVID-19.” He will be appointing “three groups consisting of key community leaders” soon, focused on reopening as well as social services.

He concludes his speech at 5:10 pm with no mention of dates. We’ll pick up the coverage again when his media Q&A, scheduled for 5:45 pm, begins.

5:45 PM: The video window above now shows the governor’s speech, archived. We are listening to the media briefing via phone. The governor’s chief of staff David Postman reiterates what the governor mentioned as three areas that will likely see relaxed restrictions in the “near term” – elective surgery, residential construction, and outdoor recreation.

Overall “it’s not going to be a simple process” of restarting multiple industries, he says, “lot of work to be done on that.”

First question is about time frames. “Some of the things the governor mentioned could happen before May 4th.” What kind of a heads-up would other industries get? The state would want to “work with them so they are ready when it’s time.” How soon can the testing needs mentioned by the governor get ramped up? That’s unknown because of “supply chain issues.”

Then: What “modeling” was the governor referring to, that he hopes to see later this week for potential decision-making? One # is the infection rate – they’re looking for each infected person to be infecting fewer than one other.

Then: What does “outdoor recreation” refer to? Too soon to say. After that, another question trying to clarify time frames. “We have work to do between now and May 4th on” the aforementioned three things, the chief of staff says, but no elaboration beyond that.

6:05 PM: As for working toward reopening more businesses, the Commerce Department director says they want to hear from businesses – especially” “small and main-street businesses” about what they need to operate safely.

Then: What industries after medical and construction? “We don’t have that answer,” says Postman. Can cities/counties go rogue and reopen before the state gives its OK? They can be stricter, but not looser, than the state requires, he says. (Franklin County is going rogue and Postman says they are “preparing a letter” because “it’s not legal.” He adds that it’s important to hear from local officials who support the restrictions to speak up, too.)

6:24 PM: Another question about the frustration felt by people who think it’s time to reopen; Postman says the governor understands that, but protests like the one last weekend in Olympia are not going to change their “data-driven” course. “Nobody should think they are out of the woods on this,” he warns, even the counties that have not been hit hard. He also says he hopes people will be encouraged by some restrictions possibly lifting in the “days or week ahead.”

The Q&A ends at 6:26 pm.

8:14 PM: Here’s the governor’s office’s writeup, which in turn links to this “policy brief” (PDF).

BUSINESS UPDATES: Potter Construction; Westwood Village QFC

Two more business updates this afternoon:

POTTER CONSTRUCTION: Above are Gary Potter, proprietor of Potter Construction (a longtime WSB sponsor), and Renee Vo of Washington Federal. We photographed them this morning at the WF Morgan Junction branch, where Potter was receiving his check for a loan from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Though the program is already maxed out – awaiting an additional allotment from Congress – he told us he found out his company had been approved for a PPP loan the same day it was announced the program had run out of money. His company had several projects in progress when they shut down on governor’s orders a month ago; the funding will help him continue to retain his staff, who will resume those projects when construction businesses get the green light to resume work.

WESTWOOD VILLAGE QFC: We usually publish a grocery-store update on Saturdays but this is notable enough to get the word out now: The store just joined the list of those offering a pickup service. From the announcement sent to us:

This service is being rolled out at most QFC locations in response to the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, to offer more piece of mind for older and at-risk population, or anyone who doesn’t want to shop in store. Customers order online, we shop, you drive up and we put the groceries in your trunk,-all done. All our pickers have been trained to pick the best and freshest product on our shelves. If something ordered is out of product we are able to find appropriate substitutions and price match to original item. This service typically does have a service fee, but is waived during the stay-at-home order along with our bag fee.

We haven’t heard yet whether the chain’s Junction store has, or will have, this service too.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Tire store steers police to suspected car thief

2:58 PM: Good thing automotive businesses are considered “essential.” One here just helped police catch a crime suspect. SPD Blotter just posted the story:

Police recovered three stolen vehicles on Monday after a suspected car thief tried to buy new tires with a forged check.

A West Seattle tire store contacted police after a 41-year-old man brought in a Mercedes and asked to replace some of its tires. He later returned and tried to pay with a clearly forged check, and then asked to apply for a line of credit even though he was unable to provide ID.

Employees at the tire shop became suspicious and contacted police and officers arrested the man Monday after he arrived at the shop to pick up the Mercedes. When officers took him into custody, he was carrying a license plate from another vehicle, which had apparently been stolen hours earlier but not yet been reported to police. At the time of the arrest, he was also wearing a jacket for a valet company, which had reported the Mercedes stolen.

During the investigation, police recovered several key fobs for other expensive cars, stolen checks taken in a recent burglary at a business, and ID cards belonging to other people, as well as modified keys typically used by auto thieves.

Police booked the 41-year-old man into the King County Jail for investigation of auto theft and are requesting charges related to the stolen license plate, possession of auto theft tools and providing a fake name to police. Major Crimes Unit detectives continue to investigate.

We’re following up to find out which shop, as well as the suspect’s status.

4:58 PM: The store was Les Schwab in The Triangle, according to the probable-cause document we have obtained. The suspect’s bail was set at $20,000 this afternoon. We’ll add more notes a bit later.

6:20 PM: The probable-cause document says the suspect “dropped off a blue 2020 Mercedes” at the shop last Thursday. He “returned several times over the course of the weekend and attempted to pay for services rendered to the vehicle using checks that either did not belong to him or were falsified (the business refused to accept these checks).” He “finally attempted to establish a line of credit through the business on 04/20/2020 but was unable to do so. At that time, the management at Les Schwab began to feel (he) was being suspicious and contacted SPD. In the process of reporting the incident to Dispatch, it was discovered that the Mercedes was a unverified stolen vehicle out of Seattle. At that time SPD officers responded to Les Schwab and management contacted (the suspect) to return to the store to pick up the vehicle.” He did, and was arrested. The report continues: “Inside the vehicle and upon search we located several shaved keys that are commonly used to steal vehicles.” The suspect gave various aliases, police say, but finally was identified; he has an extensive out-of-state record and was charged earlier this last year in another Seattle car-theft case – also involving a blue Mercedes.

REMINDER: Earth Day tomorrow – got a display planned?

Something to do on this gray afternoon, if you haven’t done it already – make your window/yard display for Earth Day – which is tomorrow! Last week, we published the call from the Care for Creation team (from Holy Rosary and Our Lady of Guadalupe parishes) to “place Earth-related photos or illustrations in windows or signs in yards to demonstrate solidarity with our planet.” Businesses are participating too – here’s the very first photo we received, from Cynthia at West Seattle Chiropractic, who says this is in the window at their (temporarily closed) clinic:

We’ll be showing more tomorrow – send a photo of YOUR display to – thank you!

TONIGHT: Governor to ‘lay out Washington’s plan for recovery’

Governor Inslee has just announced a 5 pm speech that he says will “lay out Washington’s plan for recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak.” This comes with two weeks to go until the current expiration of the stay-home order. It’ll be livestreamed via TVW; we’ll also carry it here, with as-it-happens notes, including coverage of a media briefing/Q&A he and other state officials are having at 5:45 pm.

ALSO WEDNESDAY: HPAC talks West Seattle Bridge detour traffic

(WSB photo of Highland Park Way/Holden traffic signal, rush-installed after bridge closure)

The West Seattle Bridge Town Hall is the first of two local online meetings tomorrow night focusing on the bridge closure and how it’s affecting peninsula mobility. At 7 pm Wednesday (April 22nd), the neighborhood group whose area is most affected by the detouring traffic, HPAC, is hosting its monthly meeting online – but please note the important disclaimer:

HPAC virtual meetings are limited to 100 participants (this is due to cost of the software and what HPAC has the budget for) and are intended for residents of Highland Park, South Delridge, and Riverview, if you are not a resident of one of these neighborhoods, we ask you kindly to step back from attending this one.

April Agenda:

7:00: Welcome and overview of attending a virtual meeting

7:10: Q & A with SDOT: Impact of West Seattle Bridge Closure on Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge.

A representative from SDOT will attend to answer questions about the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure and how it impacts our neighborhood, as well as provide an update on the intersection at Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden Street.

7:50: Outstanding Items/Closing

If you are in one of HPAC’s neighborhoods, you can find the meeting-access info here.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: How to RSVP for Wednesday’s Town Hall

(WSB photo, last week)

9:56 AM: As mentioned in our coverage of Monday’s council briefing about the West Seattle Bridge closure, Councilmember Lisa Herbold announced that she would host an “electronic Town Hall” Wednesday night. She has just sent details of how to be part of it:

West Seattle Bridge Digital Town Hall
Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Councilmember Pedersen and I will co-host a digital town hall with SDOT on the West Seattle Bridge and traffic management in West Seattle while the bridge is closed. The town hall will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 on Wednesday, April 22nd.

SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe will be presenting, and available for your questions.

You can sign up to participate here; you’ll receive the link to the meeting an hour or so before it begins.

(Councilmember Alex Pedersen chairs the Transportation Committee.)

ADDED 2:34 PM: We sent a few followup questions to Councilmember Herbold’s office; legislative assistant Newell Aldrich replied. How will participants be able to ask questions? The email you’ll get about an hour in advance, if you RSVP, will include the link for questions. You’ll also be able to ask during the event. They’re not yet sure what platform the event will use – they want to ensure they can handle all the participation (1,000 RSVPs already).

Remembering Irene A. Olson, 1944-2020

Family and friends are remembering Irene Anna Olson, 76, and sharing this remembrance with her community:

Irene Anna Olson passed away at her home in Seattle on April 14, 2020, from bile duct cancer.

She was born in Tukums, Latvia, on February 24, 1944, to Irene and Nikolajs Beleiciks. Her maternal grandparents were Aleksandra Michailovsky of Riga and Michael Dulimow, a Cossack officer from Kargalskaya. Her family fled Latvia while she was still an infant, and she grew up in a displaced-persons camp in the British sector of Germany. In 1950, she immigrated to the United States with her mother and two brothers. They settled in a housing project in White Center and were joined by her great-aunt Irene Michailovsky. Fluent in four languages (Latvian, Russian, German, and English), she attended Evergreen High School, where she was the valedictorian of her class despite spending six months in a tuberculosis sanatorium her junior year.

She went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from the University of Washington in 1967. After college, she taught Russian and German at Renton High School. A skilled pianist, singer, and dancer, Irene enjoyed performing with the Trejdeksnitis Latvian dance group. In 1968, she moved to Germany, where she taught in Frankfurt and worked as a translator. Her adventures in Europe included bicycling to Greece and visiting the Soviet Union. In 1971, she returned to Seattle and married Wallace S. Olson. They lived in a cottage on the beach near the Fauntleroy ferry terminal and enjoyed watching the sunset over the Olympic Mountains. Irene attended graduate school in Germanics while Wally worked as a printer for the Boeing Company. They later had three children and moved to a house near Madison Middle School. Irene was an active member of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the Seattle Latvian community for over sixty years, including serving as director of the Seattle Latvian School. Later in life, she sang for the Vashon Island Chorale.

In 1993, after her husband passed, Irene began a new career in elementary education while raising three children as a single parent. She accepted a position as librarian at Hazel Valley Elementary and doggedly pursued professional development. In 2000, she joined the Renton School District, serving for five years as Vice Principal of Bryn Mawr Elementary and twelve years as Principal of Tiffany Park Elementary before retiring in 2017. Under her leadership, Tiffany Park became one of the top-performing schools in the district. She was a regional leader in implementing positive behavioral interventions and support systems. Irene was particularly proud to work in a school with many immigrant families, since she fondly remembered the generosity of her own teachers when she first arrived in Seattle as a refugee.

Irene was an inspiration for countless friends, fellow educators, neighbors, and students. Her enthusiasm, loving heart, and sense of humor will be sorely missed. She is survived by two brothers, Igor Beleiciks of Seattle and George Beleiciks of Vancouver, Wash.; one daughter, Sonja Olson Feuerborn of Seattle; two sons, Alex Olson of Bowling Green, Ky., and Max Olson of Seattle; three grandchildren, Ocean, Skaista, and Igor; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She will be buried at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Seattle Latvian School or the Renton Regional Community Foundation’s Irene Olson Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship will provide $500 of college support for aspiring teachers. Any junior or senior attending a high school in the Renton School District will be eligible to apply. If you are interested in giving, click here and enter the name of the fund (Irene Olson Memorial Scholarship) where it asks for that information. Donations to the Seattle Latvian School can be sent by check to Seattle Latvian School, 2336 N 58th Street, Seattle, WA 98103.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT: Tuesday watch, 5th week of West Seattle Bridge closure

5:53 AM: 29th morning without the high-rise West Seattle Bridge. A City Council briefing on Monday mostly recapped what was announced last week, as well as reiterating low-bridge restrictions.

For general traffic, the main route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) – that’s also the main way to get to I-5, exiting at Michigan.

The other option is the South Park Bridge (map), which drops you onto East Marginal Way one mile south of the north end of the 1st Ave. South Bridge.

Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed to see if a bridge is opening for marine traffic.

ROAD WORK ALERT: Striping work continues this week in the 35th/Avalon/Alaska project zone.


Metro’s third round of service cuts is in effect – details here. The Water Taxi continues its reduced schedule.


SDOT’s traffic map
Our traffic-cams page

Let us know what you’re seeing – comment, or text (not if you’re at the wheel!) 206-293-6302.