West Seattle, Washington
Three West Seattle sightings:
Above, the portrait is by Desmond Hansen, on the northwest corner of Delridge/Roxbury (thanks to Mike for the tip). Below, a window memorial in Seaview (thanks to Emily for the photo):
And Sarah just tweeted this photo from the Admiral Way Bridge over Fairmount Ravine:
9:50 PM: Seattle Fire has sent a land and sea response to look for a possible kayaker in distress somewhere off Lincoln Park. They’re still looking. Updates to come.
9:55 PM: SFD reports via radio that they’re in contact – via yelling – with “multiple individuals” who are on boards or in kayaks, headed for shore, and they’re still trying to sort out what’s happening and whether someone is truly in trouble.
10:06 PM: Everyone is reported to be out of the water and getting evaluated – but they’re working to verify.
10:17 PM: Fire and police say they’ve confirmed, one person was in distress, two others rescued that person, and all three are safely on shore. An SFD unit will catch up with the victim somewhere around the park’s north shore or nearby Lowman Beach.
With all that’s happening, the virus crisis continues too – here are the local toplines in our nightly roundup:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Public Health daily-summary dashboard:
*8,235 people have tested positive, 50 more than yesterday
*560 people have died, 3 more than yesterday
One week ago, those totals were 7,896 and 544.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: Find them here.
MASKS ON THE JOB: From the state’s daily roundup of COVID-19-related news:
Which Mask for Which Task guidance was issued today by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health at the state’s Labor and Industries. Complete guidance for workers and businesses is found here. Beginning June 8, all employees will be required to wear a cloth facial covering, except when working alone in an office, vehicle, or at a job site, or when the job has no in-person interaction. Employers must provide cloth facial coverings to employees, unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under the Department of Labor and Industries’ safety and health rules and guidance. Employees may choose to wear their own facial coverings at work, provided it meets the minimum requirements.
HOW WILL SCHOOL RESUME? Before summer starts, schools/districts have to decide about fall. Here’s what’s under consderation for Seattle Public Schools.
AMAZING ART: During all these weeks of neighborhood walks, seeing sidewalk/window art has been heartening. Monibelle sent these photos of a sighting during one of her walks:
She reports that this was created by a 5th-grade Alki Elementary student named Stella.
GOT INFO? email@example.com or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!
By the time Seattle Public Schools‘ unexpectedly hybrid year ends on June 19th, it’ll announce how next school year will look. Today’s announcement says three scenarios are being considered:
Seattle Public Schools this week begins an intensive three-week project designed to create an adaptable plan for the 2020-21 school year and student re-entry this fall.
The project – “Learning Plan – Returning to School Fall 2020” – is comprised of four “engagement teams” which will consider a wide range of factors as they deliberate over seven meetings between June 4-16.
The teams will present their recommendations to the project leadership group, which will announce a decision on June 19, 2020. At that time, the decision will be communicated to staff, students and families.
Three scenarios will be explored by the engagement teams:
• Pre-kindergarten to 5th grade students attend school in-person full-time; students in grades 6-12 on an A/B schedule, receive part in-person learning and part remote learning;
• PK- 12th grade students on an A/B schedule, receive part in-person learning and part remote learning;
• 100% remote learning.
Engagement teams will be tasked with determining an adaptable plan that:
• Mitigates and minimizes the spread of coronavirus;
• Keeps students and staff safe;
• Prioritizes access to learning for students furthest from educational justice;
• Provides services through a racial equity lens;
• Enables staff and students to return to learning;
• Supports social-emotional well-being and safe environment interactions;
• Supports families through this transition.
The planning process will be guided by the tenets of Seattle Excellence, the district’s strategic plan, and will explore safety requirements, delivery of remote instruction to various student groups, and budget constraints. The process will include feedback gathered in recent staff, family, and leadership surveys.
Engagements teams will prioritize staff and student health and safety, following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and public health agencies, while continuing to focus on high quality teaching and learning.
The four representative engagement teams are comprised of school leaders, parents, SEA members, partners, students, and central office staff. Each team will be comprised of approximately 18 members (details are still being finalized).
The project’s swift timeline is purposeful, in order to provide educators with as much time as possible to begin preparing. Staff will receive the final decision for re-entry plans before they depart for the summer.
This year’s last day of in-person SPS classes was March 11th.
5:41 PM: Will there be a curfew again tonight? That’s one of the questions we expect will be answered at the briefing that’s just begun with the mayor and chiefs. We’ll add notes as it goes.
The mayor opens by saying she wanted to be sure to acknowledge the reason for the gatherings and protests – the killing of George Floyd, the inequities in our country. “We must make real and durable change. .. from economic justice to civil justice to criminal justice … These protesters’ demands must be our demands.”
5:52 PM: The mayor is speaking at length about concerns regarding police use of force, and also talking about changing policies that have led to additional concerns – “mourning badges” covering badge numbers, body-worn cameras not being used during protests.
6:06 PM: The police chief now takes the microphone, also reminding everyone that this is all about “the murder of George Floyd.” She says 86 people have been arrested in the past few days, which she says have been “very different” events than what SPD has seen in the past. She also says officers’ response on Capitol Hill last night will be reviewed.
The chief says a 9 pm-5 am curfew will be in place through Saturday.
6:20 PM: They’re in Q&A. The mayor is asked if SPD will be targeted for cuts because of the COVID-19 budget crunch; she says “every department” has been asked to look for savings.
What’s the point of the curfew? they’re asked. The mayor said it was recommended by Chief Best, who says it’s part of “us(ing) every tool that we can …” and to have it as a “fallback if needed.”
The event wraps at 6:27 pm.
8:05 PM: Here’s the news release with curfew details and a link to the actual order:
– Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today signed an Emergency Order to place a temporary citywide curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., each night between Tuesday, June 2 through Saturday June 6. During these hours, residents and visitors should remain in their home to the extent possible and should refrain from traveling in and through the entire City of Seattle. The curfew is intended to prevent violence and widespread property damage, and to prevent the further community spread of COVID-19 through continued gathering. The City encourages all residents to sign up for Alert Seattle to receive notifications about the curfew directly to their mobile device.
“Speaking with protesters today and hearing the voices of community, demonstrations can and should safely continue to speak out against injustice. This conversation and social movement must continue,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “At the recommendation of Chief Carmen Best, a curfew is critical that we protect their ability to peacefully protest and we believe this new curfew time will allow us to keep these protesters and the community at large safe.”
“The right to free speech is something we all honor and cherish as Americans. Meeting with community members and demonstrators today who came together to express their grief, anger, frustration about the murder of George Floyd was a reminder of how important the first amendment is,” said Chief Carmen Best. “I do not take the implementation of a curfew lightly, but I believe it is necessary—it’s a tool that helps us ensure public safety. We ask that residents who want to gather, continue to do so peacefully.”
The Mayor implemented a citywide curfew on Saturday, May 30 as pockets of demonstrations quickly escalated downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods, and fires proliferated. The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) was temporarily unable to safely access multiple fire incidents. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has made zero arrests for curfew violation, and it will continue to be primarily used as a tool to encourage crowds to voluntarily disperse and keep streets and roads accessible for first responders to reach emergencies.
All residents should keep in mind impacts to roads and transit service could make it more difficult to get home. The City encourages residents to follow @kcmetrobus, @SoundTransit, @SDOTtraffic, and @wsdot_traffic on Twitter for updates on transit service and road closures. King County Metro and Sound Transit are both operating at reduced services because of COVID-19, so residents should check updated schedules regularly.
The City hopes that with additional notice, businesses and residents can plan accordingly for curfews over the next three days. The City is continuing to broadcast information about the curfew early and often, in multiple languages.
The temporary curfew does not impact people who need to commute to work during these hours, people experiencing homelessness, people in a medical emergency or people in a dangerous situation, first responders, health care workers, and the news media. In addition, the curfew does not require businesses to close while it is in effect, though businesses may close at their choosing.
2:12 PM: That small, quiet gathering of people at California/Alaska is all that’s going on in The Junction right now. Rumors of something more turbulent were circulating on social media today but were unfounded.
2:22 PM: Our crew’s still there, as is the small group, walking across All-Ways with the signal (as did a group during the street-corner demonstrations on Saturday afternoon). For those who have asked, there have been many rumors of other protest times/places but so far we haven’t seen any credible actual announcements.
2:56 PM: A few more people have shown up, according to scanner traffic, estimating about two dozen people. We just looked at the live traffic camera – same group that we saw. Adding photos from our crew, including a passerby expressing appreciation:
3:40 PM: Still checking the camera. About a dozen people still walking back and forth across Walk All Ways.
4:02 PM: As we noted in comments, the mayor is speaking at 4:15 pm. We’ll cover that separately. (Added: That’s been delayed – 4:35 pm and it hasn’t started yet, but we’ll publish a separate story as soon as it does. … Update, mayor now delayed until 5:30 pm.)
6:02 PM: We’re covering the mayor’s remarks separately. Meantime, we’ve heard from students who are organizing a 2 pm protest in The Junction on Saturday (June 6), the next confirmed event we know of.
7:35 PM: We drove back through The Junction a few minutes ago; still several demonstrators in Walk All Ways.
10:27 AM: Just published on the city website this morning – a solicitation for potential bidders to design a replacement in case the city determines the West Seattle Bridge can’t be fixed. The solicitation suggests the design could cost $50 million to $150 million and could be a 10-year project. From the solicitation:
CITY OF SEATTLE
REQUEST FOR STATEMENT OF QUALIFICATIONS
Project: SDOT 20-018 West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Replacement Design
The City of Seattle, through Seattle Department of Transportation, requests Statements of Qualifications (SOQ) from qualified engineering firms for SDOT 20-018 West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Replacement Design .
This contract is estimated to be approximately $50 Million to $150 Million. This is anticipated to be a multi-year phased contract, for approximately ten years, as needed to deliver a partial or full replacement of the bridge. More detail to the schedule will be developed during the course of 2020 as scope direction is confirmed and, in an attempt, to accelerate the design and construction to the greatest extent practicable. It is anticipated that this contract will receive federal funds and therefore will proceed under this assumption.
On March 23, 2020, the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge was closed to vehicle traffic. This bridge is the City’s top arterial by volume, typically carrying an average of over 100,000 cars, trucks and buses every week. The bridge’s deterioration at an accelerated rate required a full closure for the safety of all users. Since that time, SDOT has continued to inspect and monitor the structure. There is a currently a design and construction team under contract working on the necessary steps to stabilize the structure and reduce the risk of failure. Next steps are to separately investigate a repair to the bridge for opening to traffic and to develop a replacement design. This solicitation is to obtain a comprehensive engineering team(s) to design a replacement of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge. Core functions include: Alternatives/Analysis/Planning, Structural Bridge, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Architecture, Marine Design, Environmental and Permitting including Army Corps of Engineer and Tribes, Right-of-Way services, Survey, Planning and Traffic Analysis, Geotechnical Engineering, Project Management, Communications, Grant Writing Services, Construction Phasing, Constructability and Real Property Services. This work will require extensive coordination and coordination with stakeholders, partners (such as the Sound Transit and the Port), and elected officials, including a project specific Technical Advisory Panel, and other consultants and contractors.
An online Pre-submittal meeting is planned for Tuesday, June 9th at 1:00 p.m. Additional meeting details to follow.
The solicitation sets the deadline for “statements of qualifications” to be received by the city by June 30th. SDOT tells us they’ll have more to say about this soon.
10:44 AM: SDOT’s reply to our request for comment: “While we are making rapid progress on our efforts to stabilize and repair the bridge – an initial set of actions we must take no matter what, to preserve public safety – we need to have all pieces in place to quickly pivot if it becomes clear that fixing the bridge is no longer an option due to continued deterioration.” So today’s posting is “the start of our search for a team to design a potential replacement bridge while we simultaneously continue working towards a possible repair.”
11:25 AM: SDOT has now posted about this here. The post says in part:
… Eventually we will reach a critical decision point to repair or replace the bridge
We expect to complete our analysis on the structural stability of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge later this summer, thanks to all the systems put in place over the past few weeks and months to gather more information. This information is critical to understanding whether repairs to the bridge are still possible or if we must instead immediately pursue some method of replacement for the high-rise span of the West Seattle Bridge. … We will share more about upcoming decision points in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, planning for all trajectories simultaneously allows us to be nimble at every step of the way.
12:06 PM: The 10-year timeframe has grabbed the most attention, and SDOT offers this clarification: “The solicitation is not suggesting that it could take 10 years to replace the bridge. We just need to build in in flexibility since there is a scenario in which we repair the bridge to last up to a decade and then still need to design a replacement bridge in that timeframe.”
12:38 PM: We just talked by phone with Heather Marx from SDOT. Next thing to look for: She says that within a few days, they’ll release a timeline and a decision tree to explain what’s next, and within a few weeks they should have enough information from ongoing bridge monitoring to know whether the bridge is “strong enough to repair,” or whether they need to just move on to replacement planning.
Is the bridge still cracking? Yes, but still at a slower rate than before it was closed March 23rd.
Where would bridge-replacement money come from? They’ve been in discussions with the city budget office.
Other processes continue in parallel – traffic planning (within a few weeks they’ll be able to talk about low-bridge restriction changes), for example.
And as for various ways in which the bridge might be replaced – bridge with light rail, underwater tunnel, other suggestions – Marx says nothing’s been ruled out yet. (Regarding light rail, which is supposed to cross the Duwamish River on its own high-level bridge, SDOT has been asked to appear before a Sound Transit Board committee meeting later this week.)
When the District 1 Community Network met a month ago, participants agreed the West Seattle Bridge closure needed some kind of community advisory group. Since then, one’s been announced, and that’ll be part of the discussion at D1CN’s meeting this Wednesday night (June 3rd). The agenda includes an informal West Seattle Bridge Update, plus a discussion of the new Community Task Force, and then a city Department of Neighborhoods rep will present a preview of the Neighborhood Traffic Project Prioritization Process that’s scheduled to start next week. Wrapping up the bridge discussion, the group will hear briefly from Bob Ortblad, who suggests an “immersed-tube tunnel” if the bridge needs to be replaced. Other topics include the proposed West Seattle Sports Complex and an appeal of the 4508 California SW development plan.
You’re welcome to be part of the meeting at 7 pm Wednesday:
*Link is here
*Meeting ID: 222 985 415
*Password: 625318 (only needed if you manually enter the meeting number)
Phone number: 669-900-6833
Meeting ID: 222 985 415
5:53 AM: Good morning – the 71st morning without the high-rise West Seattle Bridge – the second morning after the expiration of the Stay Home/Stay Healthy order, although nothing major is changing yet. But if you’re headed out – here are the cameras for the 5-way intersection at West Marginal/Delridge/Spokane/Chelan, and the restricted-access low bridge:
The main detour route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) – here’s that camera:
The other major bridge across the river is the South Park Bridge (map) – this camera shows the SP-side approach:
Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed for info about any of those bridges opening for marine traffic.
Water Taxi – Reduced schedule continues
Sound Transit reminder – Link light rail and Sounder trains started charging fares again Monday
Trouble on the roads/paths? Let us know what you’re seeing – comment or text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.