West Seattle, Washington
More words of warning from the governor, as we start tonight’s roundup:
ANOTHER STAY-HOME ORDER? Gov. Inslee says that’s a possibility if the growing outbreak doesn’t get under control: “We’re going in the wrong direction.” His words of warning were part of a media briefing with Secretary of Health John Wiesman this afternoon; you can watch the video here. he governor announced some new steps to take effect Monday – a reduced limit for gatherings in Phase 3 counties, and a statewide ban on live entertainment, outdoor as well as indoor.
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Public Health daily-summary dashboard, the cumulative totals:
*12,592 people have tested positive, up 239 from yesterday
*621 people have died, up 1 from yesterday
*1,750 people have been hospitalized, up 19 from yesterday
*227,182 people have been tested, up 5,428 from yesterday
One week ago, those totals were 11,486/602/1,662/198,710.
ANOTHER LOCAL CARE-FACILITY DEATH: The weekly update of the King County dashboard for long-term-care facilities says Providence Mount St. Vincent has had one more death, now 7 total. (We noted last night that the toll for that zip code, 98126, had risen by 1.)
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them, county by county, on the state Department of Health page,.
CAVEAT ON THOSE STATEWIDE NUMBERS: For those who watch closely – the DOH had this media advisory:
Today’s increase of 1,266 new cases includes a backlog of about 300 cases from Yakima County. Despite the backlog, this increase suggests that community spread is accelerating. DOH is also reporting an increase of 115 hospitalizations today. This reflects a backlog following the agency’s data migration from last weekend. The 7-day average counts indicate hospitalization numbers continue to increase as well.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: See them, nation by nation, here.
WEST SEATTLE TESTING TOMORROW: Weekly reminder – Friday is the weekly drive-up testing day in the north lot at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor), Note that we learned last week, thanks to a reader, that the originally announced time was wrong – it actually starts at 9:30 am and continues until 3 pm, and last week right at the start, they were filling up fast.
ALERT IF YOU’RE GETTING UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENTS: Another state advisory:
Additional $600 in federal benefit for unemployed workers set to end July 25. Unless Congress acts to extend or adjust it, the additional $600 per week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Program (FPUC) benefits, available under the federal CARES Act, will stop after next week. FPUC is entirely federally funded and available only at federal discretion.
GRILLBIRD UPDATE: The teriyaki restaurant that voluntarily closed last week after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 reports that everybody else has tested negative, but plans to wait a while longer to reopen “so we can finish up some improvements and reopen with 100% certainty.”
PERMANENT CLOSURE: Announced today by Kaiser Permanente:
Following the rapid adoption of, and increasing demand for, virtual care across Washington state as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaiser Permanente announced the permanent closure of CareClinic by Kaiser Permanente at Bartell Drugs locations, temporarily closed in March during the state-mandated stay-at-home orders.
The Jefferson Square Bartell Drugs had one of the clinics, until March.
PHOTOS? TIPS? email@example.com or 206-293-6302 – thank you!
9:40 PM: Thanks for the tips. Police are searching, with K9, in south Admiral, after what one neighbor tells us was gunfire, no known victim. They say it happened near 48th/Hanford and that a shell casing’s been found on the street. (Side note: We’ve heard a scanner mention of people standing around and watching. Be aware, that can get in the way of the K9’s suspect-tracking.)
9:54 PM: Still searching.
Sixth-grader-to-be Ian Scharks has just finished a marathon, one mile at a time. This afternoon, supporters showed up at Hiawatha as Ian walked the final mile-plus of his inequality-fighting fundraiser for Black Lives Matter (as featured here Thursday).
One spectator brought special recognition for Ian – West Seattle Runner (WSB co-sponsor) co-proprietor Tim McConnell, below with Ian’s mom Genya Scharks, brought him a WSR hat and T-shirt, and plans to talk with the Seattle Marathon about a finisher’s medal for Ian, declaring “he deserves something for the effort.”
Ian’s BLM fundraiser (find it here) is well past his $10,000 goal, with more than $14,000 as of this writing.
The photo and report are from Jim:
A hit-and-run driver in a distinctive red van clipped a bunch of cars down by Lowman Beach this morning shortly after 11:00 a.m.The van pulled over momentarily. Driver got out, looked at the damage, and decided to take off. While the van was pulled over, my neighbor took … pictures. She describes him as a thin man wearing a baseball cap, possibly in his 30s. The van has a solar panel on top, and will likely have some body damage. (Possibly an) early ’90s Chevy cargo van.
Jim says the driver hit at least three cars.
P.S. We’ll add the police-report number when we get it.
ADDED FRIDAY: It’s 20-214915.
Twp business notes to share …
EASY STREET RECORDS: You can now shop by appointment at Easy Street Records (California/Alaska):
Each shopping appointment is for 30 minutes. There is a max of 2 people allowed in the loft at a time. Appointments are available from 10 am to 4 pm [Daily] To make your appointment, please call 206-938-3279.
Mask required! Easy Street also offers curbside pickup – more on that, and the café, here.
COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE PROJECT: Also by appointment in The Junction – the Community Acupuncture Project of West Seattle has reopened. It’s at 4545 44th SW, and you can reach CAP via phone at 206-933-7891 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that he’s had two weeks to settle in, new Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman is making the rounds of community meetings. This past Tuesday night, he introduced himself to the Fauntleroy Community Association.
After sharing some of his background – which we reported here last month – he outlined his three top priorities for the precinct:
1. Violent crime (though he acknowledged it’s relatively low in West Seattle). That includes pre-emptive action – he said he tells his officers, if you can legally take a gun from someone who shouldn’t have it, do that. He also promised that shots-fired calls will be investigated thoroughly.
2. Auto theft – the city is in the top 25 nationwide for this crime, and though local numbers aren’t horrible, he wants to reduce them, as it’s a “very impactful” crime. He has a crime-analysis detective mapping for preventive action.
3. Burglaries – Also not high here but this is another “impactful” crime. So if there are hot spots, he wants to get resources on top of that..
West Seattle’s crime trends right now: Overall, 16 percent down from this time last year, “no other part of the city is looking as good as West Seattle right now” – and of course he acknowledges COVID-19 and the bridge closure are major factors. Violent crime is down 15 percent, auto theft down 5 percent, burglaries are down 22 percent. For Fauntleroy in particular, violent crime is almost non-existent, burglaries are down 38 percent, but auto theft is up 18 percent over this time last year.
In Q&A, he was asked who’s doing all the car-stealing. Mostly people who use the cars to commit other crimes, such as mail theft. He was also asked about the current political battle between the mayor and council over “defunding” SPD (the council discussed this further at its Wednesday budget meeting but has not yet voted on anything). He said he has spent several days reassuring officers at roll calls who are “wondering if they’re going to get a pink slip any day now,” while also hearing older officers wondering “how soon can I get out.” He’s hoping “the rhetoric calms down a bit” – he agrees that there’s an overreliance on 911 to solve our society’s problems, and acknowledges that police have traditionally ben asked to do a lot of things they shouldn’t do. “There’s room for a bigger conversation about what police should be doing, shouldn’t be doing.” but he hopes there’s room for a rational conversation, though he says 50 percent would be too big a cut – “a cut like that would be devastating and would seriously affect the level of service we would provide.” As for specific types of change, Grossman offered support for the CAHOOTS model. “That would take a lot of work away from us – that’s all right, but that’s not in place yet. … Would probably save the city a bunch of money and might turn out better than some of our calls.”
One other question – about the whereabouts of Steve Strand, since Grossman has a new second-in-command, Operations Lt. Sina Ebinger (the position Strand previously held). He noted that Strand has been promoted to captain and is now one of three citywide night captains.
Capt. Grossman is scheduled to be a guest at tonight’s Alki Community Council meeting, as noted in our morning preview.
Also discussed at the FCA meeting – the recent Washington State Ferries online community meeting (here’s our report), the recent District 1 Community Network meeting (here’s our report), and planning for the next annual community survey to be conducted by FCA.
The Fauntleroy Community Association will next meet in September; watch fauntleroy.net for updates.
Thanks to Jim Borrow for the photo and tip. Four old houses at 65th/Admiral Way have been demolished to make way for new ones. Records show that the site at 65th SW/SW Admiral Way, sold last year to an entity of Blackwood Builders Group for $1.8 million, has six new houses on the way. Readers have noted that the site has history; for one, Jim recalls that it once held flower beds and greenhouses “started by the founder of Neilsen Florists at the corner of California Ave SW & SW Oregon (now Shadowland).” We’re told the old houses also had drawn some attention for their Modernist architecture –
We photographed that one last week after a tip that a backhoe had arrived:
11:02 AM: Two announcements from the city today, almost four months since the sudden shutdown of the West Seattle Bridge.
First – the mayor has finally officially declared the closure a city emergency, signing a proclamation today (see it here). That potentially paves the way for state/federal assistance with paying for repair/replacement (see that document here).
It’s been a long time coming; at least one community advocate – Morgan Junction’s Deb Barker, who’s a member of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, has been suggesting it since June (we followed up with the mayor after that and were told she was considering it). Barker said today, “The Mayoral Proclamation of Civil Emergency tells the rest of the City and the region that the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure is a life-impacting event of epic proportion for thousands of people, and that it is not business as usual in West Seattle until the bridge connection is restored.”
Whether that will be via repair or replacement won’t be determined until later this summer; that’s what SDOT communications director Michael Harold reiterated last night in a presentation to the Morgan Community Association (full report on that later). But today there’s another indication that repairs are possible – the Technical Advisory Panel has issued a new statement to that effect:
The TAP has not been presented with any information that indicates that a long-term repair is infeasible or economically unviable. We therefore recommend that this option be retained and fully explored.
In making this statement, we have relied on documents provided by SDOT in the WSHB Technical Advisory Panel file repository, as well as presentations, responses to formal questions, and technical discussions with SDOT and WSP. No original bridge calculations, shop drawings or field notes were available for TAP review as those records do not exist within SDOT records or City archives. It should be noted that aspects of the As-Built drawings have come under scrutiny by SDOT and WSP and that the TAP has been advised to consider these documents as only partially representative of the final configuration of the bridge at the time of construction. No current survey data, geotechnical assessment, or seismic vulnerability evaluation were provided for consideration. While photos inside the box girders were made available, the TAP did not perform any visual observation of bearings or the box girder structure.
This recommendation is predicated on SDOT’s acceptance that the bridge will not be brought up to current seismic standards if repaired. We note that there is currently uncertainty with respect to the capacity (number of travel lanes) that a repair option would provide.
We understand that WSP is currently analyzing a Phase 2 long-term repair option; no analysis or calculations for the proposed long-term repairs were reviewed to confirm adequacy of such repairs. If/as more information is provided to the TAP, we reserve the right to revise this statement accordingly.
This reinforces what SDOT’s Matt Donahue told the Community Task Force a month ago, as reported here. SDOT elaborated on that less than a week later, explaining that they’re also evaluating “how long repairs would take, how much they would cost, whether or not repairs would allow traffic to return to previous levels, and how long and in what capacity the bridge could remain open after potential repairs were completed so that we can tell whether or not fixing the bridge is a worthwhile investment.”
Regardless of which path is pursued, the bridge still has to be stabilized first, SDOT says, and that work is under way; the hoisting of a work platform up to the bridge is now set for early next week, Harold told MoCA last night.
1:40 PM: After reading the TAP statement while writing this story, we asked SDOT’s Michael Harold about the TAP note regarding documents, since we recalled Matt Donahue at one point mentioning the existence of a sizable amount of old documents. SDOT just sent this clarification:
We have provided the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) with all West Seattle High-Rise Bridge documents and information which we knowingly possess after performing a meticulous search for digital, physical and microfilm records in the records vaults and archives of several City departments and requesting records from the original bridge contractors. Nothing that the TAP has asked for which is knowingly in our possession has been withheld. We want the best possible outcome, and need to use the best possible data to make that happen. To clarify, the TAP is not implying that all of this information exists yet; for example we did not conduct new survey data because we determined that the exhaustive data provided by our daily inspections, intelligent monitoring system and non-destructive testing was both a sufficient and superior basis for our analysis. The TAP believes it is important to be explicit about what information they did or did not have to inform their conclusions, and we support that approach.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Many West Seattleites have become a lot more familiar with the First Avenue South Bridge in the almost four months since the West Seattle Bridge was suddenly shut down. With this week’s update on the West Seattle low bridge, some have asked about the condition of this bridge. As we’ve been previewing for weeks, it has some major work coming up: During 14 nights spread across three weeks, the northbound side will be closed for replacement of 14 of the bridge’s 96 deck panels.
The First Avenue South Bridge is actually two drawbridges – a little over half a mile long, built 40 years apart; northbound opened in 1956, southbound opened in 1996. And you should also keep in mind that it’s a state-owned-and-operated structure, so to find out more about the bridge itself, we talked with bridge-preservation engineer Evan Grimm at WSDOT (which has an FAQ page about the bridge here).
The state has ~3,000 bridges to maintain, and 40 inspectors who keep track of them – crawling under them, dangling off them, clipboards in hand. The bridges are routinely inspected every two years (that’s the federal standard, we’ve learned since the West Seattle Bridge closure). Bridges like this also get specialized inspections – underwater, for example, every five years. The state also has a full-time maintemance crew that Grimm says is “constantly out greasing gears, fixing broken wires,” etc., on bascule bridges. Even before the upcoming deck work, WSDOT was wrapping up a project upgrading mechanical and electrical equipment on the 1st Avenue South Bridge.
As for the project that starts this weekend to replace deck panels, Grimm says it’s necessary because some of the deteriorating panels are “giving us fits.” They’re trying to extend the life of the bridge – again, this is on the northbound side, now 64 years old, and Grimm notes that when it was built, they might have considered 75-80 years as a likely lifespan. “But as we look to the future, it might be a lot longer,” due in no small part to the cost of replacement.
Of those ~3,000 WSDOT bridges, by the way, only a handful are this type – primarily in Seattle and out in Aberdeen, Grimm noted. But he says with pride, this one is “a really cool bridge.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ... about the upcoming work on the 1st Avenue South Bridge:
-Starts Sunday night (July 19th)
–(corrected) 10 pm-5 am each night of work
-Northbound full closure – you won’t be able to get onto NB 509/99 from the West Seattle/South Park onramps
-Southbound remains open
-14 nights of work are planned, Sundays-Thursdays (no work on Fridays or Saturdays)
-West Seattle low bridge is open to all traffic during those hours, and you can cross the Duwamish River via the South Park Bridge, too
Four notes ahead for today/tonight so far:
STOP N SHOP: Scheduled to resume taking some donations, but no clothing. Open 11 am-2 pm at Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon).
MILE-A-DAY MARATHON: Sixth-grader Ian Scharks is finishing his mile-a-day BLM-benefit marathon at Hiawatha, 4 pm – read about it here.
DEMONSTRATION: 4-6 pm on the corners at Delridge/Orchard:
Come show support for BLM and ending systemic racism. Hold signs, meet neighbors and stand for racial justice. (Organized by) Scott at PR Cohousing, endorsed by Hate-Free Delridge. Signs available.
ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: Meeting via Zoom, 7 pm. Agenda includes meeting the new Southwest Precinct leadership. Here’s the meeting link; meeting ID: 938 2764 4239; password: 578986