West Seattle, Washington
Though the announced-at-the-last-minute “West Seattle Town Hall” a few hours ago was not primarily about the bridge, that was a major topic, unsurprisingly. No new information, but SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe‘s part of the program offered some new framing of where things stand. We recorded video of the entire event, which we’ll publish in a separate report; here’s a clip with just his 10-minute segment:
We screengrabbed key slides to summarize his update. First, project priorities:
Then he went through a quick recap of the heart of the emergency plan whose key points were unveiled last week (WSB coverage here):
This next slide was the first time we’ve seen SDOT try to give a visual explanation of the dramatic loss in street capacity to and from West Seattle:
Then, what seemed tailored to those who are worried nothing’s being done:
This one, for those wondering why the bridge isn’t already being repaired or demolished:
And here’s another promise that they’re working on traffic management, with the stay-home order potentially lifting in less than three weeks:
Another slide along the way recapped how many meetings they’ve spoken at:
Earlier in the event, both Mayor Jenny Durkan and Councilmember Lisa Herbold included the bridge in their opening remarks. Durkan described the bridge as “a vital, vital piece of infrastructure … for our entire region.” She says she’s been discussing the situation with all levels of government – federal, state, county, regional. She also reaffirmed her support for current restrictions on the low bridge, saying it has its limit. But she promised the city will “do everything” it can “to increase mobility” (for West Seattle).
As she has before, Herbold declared the bridge closure a “crisis.” In counterpoint to the mayor, she said she will continue advocating for some changes in low-bridge restrictions, such as opening it to personal-car drivers during late-night/early-morning hours. (In subsequent Q&A, the mayor seemed to soften a bit on that, saying “all requests” would be considered.) Herbold also summarized recent developments such as the SFD announcement that another medic unit and ladder truck would be added to this side of the Duwamish River.
Again, we’ll recap the rest of the two-hour event – which featured more than half a dozen other city department heads – in a separate story.
No new COVID-19 deaths reported in today’s King County update – that leads our nightly roundup:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Public Health “daily summary” dashboard:
*7,307 people have tested positive, up 86 from yesterday
*514 people have died, no change from yesterday
One week ago, those totals were 6,863 and 480.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them, county by county, on the state Department of Health page,.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: More than 4.4 million cases – almost a third of them in the U.S. See the global outbreak breakout, nation by nation, here.
ANOTHER DASHBOARD: The county now has four of them – besides the daily summary, there’s also the long-term-care-facility dashboard, the race/ethnicity dashboard, and the syndromic-surveillance dashboard. Two charts on that last one show that emergency-room visits and hospitalizations for C-19 (or similar) peaked in late March.
GOVERNOR’S BUSINESS-FOCUSED BRIEFING: Gov. Inslee‘s media briefing this afternoon featured three reps from trade associations, talking about the rules for reopening. Our coverage includes video.
RECREATION CLARIFICATION: Today the governor’s office also ssued a memo with Phase 1 clarification for some forms of recreation, plus Phase 2 rules:
This memorandum applies to:
Staffed outdoor tennis facilities, public and private;
Guided ATV, paddle sports, horseback riding, and fishing;
Go-cart tracks, ORV/motocross facilities, and participant-only motorsports; and
All other activities substantially similar in operation and equally able to meet the requirements mandated by this memorandum.
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS-WASTE DROPOFF RESUMING: These dropoff sites closed in March but are now reopening. The one closest to us will be open Fridays and Saturdays starting tomorrow.
NEIGHBORHOOD SIGHTING: Thanks to Noodle for the photo:
GOT INFO? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us, text or voice, at 206-293-6302 – thank you!
With more retail stores allowed to start offering curbside pickup, the city has announced it’ll set up special parking for that, as was done for restaurants. From the announcement:
To support access to the Seattle businesses opening up for curbside delivery, we are rolling out new curbside priority pick-up zones.
The State of Washington’s phased approach to re-opening now allows retail stores to re-open for curbside pick-up. To support these businesses, we are installing temporary 15-minute loading zones to facilitate reliable customer access for pick-ups.
The 15-minute time limit gives people a chance to quickly and safely pick up purchases, while ensuring frequent parking turnover so the locations remain reliably available for use. …
… Interested in having a Curbside Priority Pick-Up Zone near your business? Here’s what you need to know:
*Businesses can call or email 206-684-ROAD to request a Curbside Priority Pick-Up Zone. They should provide business name, address and contact information.
*Staff will review requested locations to make sure a new zone will fit within the nearby curb regulations.
*Generally, we will install one new zone per block, so it may need to be located where it can serve several stores on the block.
*Curbside Priority Pick-Up Zone signs are not assigned to specific businesses, and can be used among several businesses along the block
Approved signs should be installed within a few days of a request. If a new zone cannot be installed, SDOT staff will follow up with businesses to consider alternatives.
SDOT says it’s “installed over 700 3-minute temporary Food Priority Pick-Up Zones at over 400 restaurants” since mid-March.
As reported here last Friday, Councilmember Lisa Herbold announced SDOT planned to repave two blocks of SW Roxbury, the badly rutted section between 16th SW and 18th SW. We subsequently asked SDOT about the timeline, and today the department confirmed the work will be done before the end of the month, and once it starts, will last up to a week. They also sent this flyer that will be mailed to nearby homes and businesses this week:
(You can also see it here in PDF.)
3:36 PM: All week, the governor has been releasing new business rules, mostly for industries that will be allowed to resume some in-person service in Phase 2 (our area is in Phase 1). Reps of trade associations for hospitality and retail are joining him for this afternoon’s media briefing. We’ll add notes as it goes.
First, the governor says, “There is no economic recovery without a recovery of our health in the long term.”
The Washington Retail Association‘s president Renee Sunde speaks first, noting that “curbside retall” opened in Phase 1, in time for Mother’s Day. “Retailers have risen to the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis to serve customers across the state.” As announced earlier this week, Phase 2 will allow some in-store retail. She says retailers big and small are ready to “safely serve” customers.
Next speaker is the president of the Washington Auto Dealers Association, Jennifer Moran. She’s followed by Anthony Anton of the Washington Hospitality Association. “We’re really confident in our ability to open safely,” he says. He talks about some of the new requirements – distance between tables, between waiting guests, Plexiglas between booths, and more. “We’re all in this together … we’re ready to serve.”
Asked by the governor if the new rules are “slowing down” retailers, Sunde acknowledges there’s been a learning curve, but they have to be sure customers are confident they’ll be safe. Answering a similar question, Anton says some menu items developed in the takeout/delivery-only phase – family-style meals, for example – may be keepers. He adds there’s been a lot of learning about things not previously imaginable, such as the right way to wear masks.
Moran also says some of the changes necessitated by new health rules – more online car-buying – will likely remain because they’re going over well with customers.
And Anton says customers can “help save our small businesses” by “being safe in the next few weeks.” The governor notes that June 1 isn’t a sure thing for Phase 2 in many areas but echoes that the state’s residents can help bring reopening sooner rather than later through behaving safely. (He reiterated that later in Q&A, too.)
4 PM: The governor moves to Q&A. First is about the criteria or ongoing reopening. “I think there’s a misperception about the status of the virus in our state.” (At this point, we lost the feed for a few minutes.) He says there’s some cause for optimism but also some causes for concern. Avoiding unnecessary contact with others is a “kind of heroism,” he says, where you’re saving someone but you may never know who.
Next question is about jobs coming back. He says he’s hopeful some are returning now but we’re still a long way – “longer than we would like” – before getting back to normal.
Are hospitals and dentists still “on target” for resuming service next week? he’s asked. No clear answer. Next – he’s asked for an “update on testing.” Inslee replies, “Good news and bad news” – there’s capacity to analyze up to 20,000 tests a day, but “significantly short supply” is still a problem with test-related materials such as swaps and re-agent.
With salons still closed, how does the governor keep his hair short? His wife Trudi Inslee cuts it, he replied.
What about Memorial Day? Inslee says “there’s lots of ways to be outside without breathing on somebody.”
Shortly afterward, the governor wraps with his trademark closing line, “wash your hands,” and is seen on camera re-donning his face covering before the video feed ends.
We again opened Art Walk to all artists who wanted to join, so have a blend of business-coordinated and artist-led exhibits. Marvel at the wide and deep variety of media, formats, subjects and moods of our 46 artists, an Art Walk Record!!
As for any second Thursday, all art is available for sale. If you would like to purchase something from an artist coordinated by a business, please contact the business first. If you would like to purchase something from an artist exhibiting on their own, please reach out directly to them with the contact information listed.
The Art Walk usually begins – when an in-person event – at 5 pm, so the YT playlist isn’t final until then, but you can follow that link to get a preview of some of the art starting now.
Today, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan will host her third in a series of virtual town halls, connecting with residents in West Seattle about their specific needs during the COVID- 19 pandemic. Mayor Durkan will be joined by representatives from the Department of Neighborhoods, Department of Transportation, Human Services Department, Office for Civil Rights, Office of Arts and Culture, Office of Economic Development, Office of Housing, Office of Labor Standards, Seattle Public Utilities, and Seattle City Light.
A webinar will immediately follow the town hall, providing residents the opportunity to hear directly from City departments about essential services, resources, and other support available to residents and businesses.
In previous weeks Mayor Durkan has virtually visited the Central District and North Seattle. Next week the town hall will move to South Seattle.
WHEN: Today, May 14, from 4:30 – 6:15 PM
WHERE: You can join the meeting from any PC or mobile device browser with this link.
Thanks to everyone who tipped us about a change at the Admiral Junction Mailing Center (3614 California SW) – its longtime owners Lee and Larry sold it and retired. This was big news for many longtime loyal patrons. We weren’t able to catch up wth Lee and Larry before the change but we asked their successors, via email, to tell their story:
We, Anastasia and Ben, moved to West Seattle in the spring of 2019. At that time we opened a mailbox at the mailing center and have gotten to know Lee and Larry over the course of the last year.
A few months back when Anastasia was checking mail one day Lee asked if she wanted a mailing center. Since Lee enjoys joking with his customers, she wasn’t sure at first whether he was serious or joking. It became clear over the course of the coming days and weeks that he was indeed serious. Lee turns 79 this year and they were both looking to retire but they also felt an obligation to ensure that their customers would be taken care of going forward. They had run the mailing center for 21 years and care very much about their customers. After discussion between ourselves and with Lee and Larry, we all decided to move forward with the plan for us to take on the business so they could start a well-deserved retirement.
Ben works for Alaska Airlines, but as you can imagine things are a bit slow there at the moment, so this ironically turns out to be a good time for him to dedicate time to a new business. Anastasia was planning to return to the workforce when Lee approached her about the business, so that timing was good as well. Anastasia had been spending quite a bit of her time volunteering at school running the book fairs and assisting in running the library. So her brain is basically a library catalog. We also have three children who you may see “helping” from time to time in the store.
It is indeed an interesting time to take on a new business and there have been challenges getting everything attended to since some companies and agencies are backed up or using alternate processes that are slower than normal but we seem to have slogged through them all and managed to get everything done in time to take over on May 1st. The mailing center has been quite busy as many people are working and shopping from home and we provide a location for them to send and receive packages that they might not otherwise have needed during more normal times. There are also many that need access to office equipment that they don’t have in their home like printers, copiers, and faxes or need a notary because they are not able to attend to something in person like they might usually do. We look forward to continuing to serve the needs of West Seattle as we face the challenges presented by the health pandemic and the added challenge of the closure of the West Seattle Bridge.
As an aside, when we took over we thought it would be nice to have coffee, tea and pastries available for sale. We have partnered with two local businesses, Little Prague Bakery and Mio Coffee, to offer their products daily in our store. We invite not just those needing our other service but our neighbors or those walking their dog to stop in and try them. We have treats for the dogs as well so they don’t feel left out.
We have a new website detailing our hours and services at ajmailingcenter.com.
P.S. If you missed the chance to say goodbye to Lee and Larry, Ben and Anastasia are happy to ensure they get any well-wishing notes or cards you drop off at the Mailing Center.
Happening tonight! From the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:
‘Words, Writers & SouthWest Stories,’ a historically based speaker series of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, is excited to announce that it is re-releasing a recorded presentation of Tom Reese and Eric Wagner (tonight). The presentation, titled “Once and Future River: Reclaiming the Duwamish,” was originally delivered by Reese and Wagner as part of the ‘Words, Writers & West Seattle’ series on July 8, 2016. The presentation will be made available at www.loghousemuseum.org and on Facebook at 6:00 PM Thursday, May 14. We hope you’ll join us from the comfort of your home!
Tom Reese is an independent photographer, editor and teacher in Seattle. He presents his work in print, at public events, in galleries, and teaches workshops on subjects including photojournalism, ethics, and environmental journalism. He was a career photojournalist at The Seattle Times. In addition to his book, Once and Future River: Reclaiming the Duwamish, recent books and projects focus on the complex relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world. Tom is currently at work on a documentary project involving Longfellow Creek, called “Our Liquid Mirror.” It explores global issues of clean water though the stories of this urban creek: Environment, culture, history, landscape and science, and its connections between humans and other living things.
Eric Wagner, journalist, is also from Seattle. He has a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Washington for work he did on Magellanic Penguins in Argentina. His essays and journalism have also appeared in Audubon, Smithsonian, and Earth Island Journal, among other places. His most recent book is entitled, After the Blast: The Ecological Recovery of Mount St. Helens and he is scheduled to present it for ‘Words, Writers & SouthWest Stories’ later this year.
‘Words, Writers & SouthWest Stories’ presentations are scheduled regularly for the Second Thursday of each month at 6:00 PM at the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library. The presentation for next month (scheduled for June 11th) will be announced at a later date, depending on our community’s ongoing efforts to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Family and friends are remembering Jacob R. Warbis, gone at 38, and sharing this remembrance with the community:
In Memory of Jacob Richard Warbis, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and best friend
June 22, 1981-May 3, 2020
Jacob was born and raised in Coos Bay, Oregon, where he loved working on fast cars, playing musical instruments, and his pets.
After graduating from Marshfield High School in 1999, he continued his passion with cars, and later apprenticed to be a heavy equipment operator and truck driver for the family business, Warbis Excavating. Known by all as a “gentle giant,” Jake was beloved by many. An incredible storyteller, karaoke singer, athlete, master of a chainsaw, dirtbike, and mechanic. He was always willing to help any friend in need, an incredible listener, and could make friends laugh until they cried! He was a hard worker, and loyal to the core. He loved deeply and gave of himself entirely. He was hard to not notice with his 6’4” body covered in tribal tattoos, and a shaved head – but his sparkling blue eyes and beaming smile couldn’t hide his kind soul.
He moved up from Oregon nearly two years ago with his beloved dog, Max. Jake continued to pursue a career in trucking until the opportunity to train to be a chef arose via Fare Start in Seattle. He excelled and finished the three-month program at the top of his class. He worked many extra hours at the homeless shelter downtown and felt giving back helped him heal. He was given the nickname “Jacoby” so it stood out on the line when his teammates were shouting orders. He was hired to work as a line cook at two local West Seattle restaurants and was quickly rising up the ranks. The family will forever remember him hosting 12 people for Thanksgiving this year, where he planned every single dish – and was filled with love and pride for his new path.
He is gone much too soon. His heart was simply too big for this world. He is survived by his mother, Sannie Warbis (Seattle); father, Jerry Warbis (Coos Bay, OR); sister, Nicole Klein (Seattle); and nephews Jason and Andrew Klein (Seattle). In lieu of flowers, Jake would have loved for his memory to be attached to helping the homeless. Either by donating directly to the Fare Start program, or your own time or donation to your local food bank or shelter. There are no words for how much he will be missed. Please share your favorite memories about him on this site, and what made him special and unforgettable, so we all can someday heal.
Arrangements entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Services – West Seattle
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
6:03 AM: Good morning – the 52nd morning without the high-rise West Seattle Bridge. If you are heading out – here are the cameras for the 5-way intersection and the restricted-access low bridge (where SPD enforcement continues):
Since the main detour route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map), we check it next, including the Michigan exit that takes you through Georgetown to I-5:
The other major bridge across the river is the South Park Bridge (map) – this camera shows you the approach:
Both bridges open for marine traffic; check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed for info about openings.
NEW CAMERAS: SDOT has added 6 more cameras, along 35th and Roxbury. Here are two of them:
You can see any and all local traffic cams, including the new ones in West Seattle, here.
Water Taxi – Reduced schedule continues
During the stay-home order, we’re not live-monitoring traffic, so please let us know what you’re seeing – comment or text (but not if you’re drivingl!) 206-293-6302.
As previewed here Monday, the Fauntleroy Community Association held its annual meeting online last night; it ran less than half an hour, as shown in the archived video above. Big change from last year, when 200 people attended the annual meeting (aka Fauntleroy Food Fest) at The Hall at Fauntleroy, but they expressed hope they’ll be able to return to that format next year. Tuesday night, they started by recapping the organization’s 2019 priorities and accomplishments, from events like the Fauntleroy Fall Festival to environmental achievements like the beach creosote cleanup.
Elected as officers – Mike Dey, President; Alexis Zolner, Treasurer; Frank Immel, Secretary; Kimberly Terry, Membership Secretary; Bill Wellington; Marty Westerman; Nils von Veh; Alan Grainger; Catherine Bailey; Susan Lantz-Dey; Sydney Hammerquist; Kris Ilgenfritz; David Haggerty; and Bruce Butterfield.
Mentioned along the way: The Endolyne Triangle planter project welcomes volunteers – firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE LETTER: One of the many issues mentioned briefly as a priority for FCA – as it is for just about every organization on the peninsula – was the West Seattle Bridge closure. Fauntleroy has a unique view, as the community through which traffic to/from Vashon Island and the Kitsap Peninsula flows via Washington State Ferries. FCA sent this letter to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold:
The FCA board has monthly business meetings, usually at 7 pm on second Tuesdays, so the next one will be June 9th. Watch fauntleroy.net for updates.