West Seattle, Washington
11:57 PM: A crash on West Marginal Way SW, near Puget Way, has led to a “rescue extrication” callout and closed WMW both ways. More info as we get it.
12:33 AM: The road has reopened. The crash was described as one car, one occupant, who had to be cut out of the car and was taken to a hospital.
2:30 AM: Now there’s another “rescue extrication” callout for West Marginal, this time in the 6300 block.
2:35 AM: This time, it was quickly downsized. … Southbound lanes are reported to be blocked.
2:55 AM: Two people are reported hurt in this crash. There’s early word it’s being looked at as a hit-run.
11:32 AM: Checking on the victims’ conditions from both crashes and will add that update when we get it. Meantime, here’s the initial SPD summary from the second crash:
A silver sedan was southbound in the 6300 block of W Marginal Wy SW, when it left the roadway and collided with a red sedan in an adjacent driveway. The elderly couple in the red sedan sustained substantial injuries. The unknown driver of the silver sedan fled on foot.
The subsequent search, involving a K9 team, was unsuccessful.
11:45 AM: Here are the victim updates, from SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley, with all three of these people in stable condition when taken to the hospital: In the first crash, a man in his early 30s, transported by SFD medic unit; in the second crash, a woman in her early 60s and a man in his late 60s, transported by private ambulance.
Tonight’s pandemic toplines:
GOVERNOR EXTENDS RESTRICTIONS: The rules first ordered in mid-November, most recently set to expire January 4th, will now continue until at least January 11th. Governor Inslee made that announcement in a news release today rather than a briefing. The announcement added, “An updated reopening plan is currently being developed to provide a pathway for businesses and workers impacted by this order to reopen safely. The updated plan will be released next week.” Here’s the one-week-extension proclamation.
HEALTH OFFICIALS’ BRIEFING: Though the governor didn’t have a briefing today, key state health officials including new Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah did. While they stressed that the situation is “precarious,” they also spoke of some encouraging trends such as decreasing case counts. They also said they’re working on figuring out how to speed up the vaccination rate – a problem nationwide – with nearly 60,000 vaccinated so far but more doses available and even more on the way. The briefing video is here.
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: Now, from the Seattle-King County Public Health daily-summary dashboard, the cumulative totals:
*61,392 people have tested positive, 593 more than yesterday’s total
*1,082 people have died, 16 more than yesterday’s total
*4,116 people have been hospitalized, 16 more than yesterday’s total
*740,836 people have been tested, 895 more than yesterday’s total
One week ago, the four totals we track were 58,750/1,022/3,909/721,289.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them, county by county, on the state Department of Health page,.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: See them, nation by nation, here.
GOT INFO? Email us at email@example.com or phone us, text or voice, at 206-293-6302 – thank you!
Four West Seattle Crime Watch reports tonight:
STREET ROBBERIES: Right now police are investigating reports of two armed street robberies tonight – one near 16th/Barton, one near 30th/Thistle, both at gunpoint. No other details yet.
BURGLARY SUSPECTS SOUGHT: The Southwest Precinct is looking for help identifying the two people shown below, saying that on November 12th, they “burglarized an apartment complex, located at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, taking several bicycles, kayaks and paddle boards from the secured garage’s storage area. They were driving the pictured green Dodge pickup truck, with unknown plates, at the time the crime was committed.”
If you have tips, contact the Southwest Precinct at 206-733-9800 and refer to case 20-332739.
Now, two followups on incidents we covered Christmas Eve:
WALGREENS ROBBERY: On Thursday afternoon we reported on police arresting a suspect in a robbery at the High Point Walgreens after he found his way onto the roof of an apartment complex next door. Today a first-degree robbery charge was filed against 35-year-old Farah I. Yusuf. The documents say he stole a phone charger while brandishing a knife at a store employee who tried to stop him. Store staff told police he had robbed the store before, once with a rock, once with a broom handle. King County Jail records show this is his 11th booking this year, with jail stays from 2 days to 2 months on allegations including assault, harassment, and repeated violations of a domestic-violence court order. He remains in jail, bail set at $100,000.
STOLEN-PACKAGES CRASH: The 36-year-old man arrested Thursday morning after crashing into a North Admiral garage door, leading to police finding stolen packages in the vehicle, got out of jail yesterday after five days. Court records show he has not yet been charged.
Two more bicycles found by readers:
Above is the bicycle John found in The Junction: “Abandoned bicycle left in the street on 46th Ave SW between Alaska and Oregon. This one is pretty beat up, looks to be a ’70s Schwinn painted several times. Might be a White Bike (white paint on frame and rims).” If it might be yours, let us know and we’ll connect you. Below is a bike Theo spotted:
Says Theo: “Not sure if it’s that a child forgot their bike or it was stolen/abandoned, but it seems like someone would care about missing this bike. At Lafayette playground near the west gate.” Again, since bicycles are less likely to be simply lost/misplaced than stolen/dumped, we publish these reports here in the main news stream, but most other lost/found items are posted here.
Tonight as our extended holiday-lights spotlight continues, we revisit the West Seattle Polar Bear Challenge. We first reported one month ago on this community-created combination of scavenger hunt, food drive, and local-business support. 67 homes and businesses are on the official Polar Bear Challenge map – including the one where you’ll find the polar bear above, 5700 block of SW Charlestown. That site, by the way, also has characters from the legendary Island of Misfit Toys:
Back to the Polar Bear Challenge. Its delighted organizers report that participants have collected many hundreds of pounds of food. And even if you don’t visit displays, you have one more chance to donate before the WSPBC wraps up on New Year’s Day:
On January 1, 2021, our Polar Bears and Polar Bear Team will be down on Alki, the famous location of the Polar Bear Plunge, for one final opportunity to contribute to the West Seattle Food Bank. We will be set up by the Alki Bathhouse between 9 am and 11 am, just look for the bears and do an easy drive-by food contribution. We will be giving away stuffed polar bears for food donations while supplies last.
With and without bears, we’ve featured more than three dozen displays this season – scroll through them all via our archive.
Of note since West Seattle is home to one of Seattle’s two Washington State Ferries terminals: WSF is getting a new leader. Washington State Department of Transportation announced leadership changes today, put into motion by the impending retirement of Deputy Transportation Secretary Keith Metcalf. He will be succeeded by Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton, who has led WSF since 2017. She in turn will be succeeded by Patty Rubstello (2019 WSB photo at left), who has been Assistant Secretary of Urban Mobility and Access. The announcement says Rubstello “created and led the Office of Urban Mobility & Access, which brings together tolling, regional transit coordination, and the management of mobility divisions to enhance operational and planning coordination in the greater Puget Sound area,” adding that she “has experience in design, construction, planning and traffic operations, and in 2015 served as the agency’s assistant secretary for Tolling.” The job moves start in January. Read the full announcement here.
When Seattle Public Schools leaders decided two weeks ago to resume in-person learning March 1st for PreK through 1st graders and some special-education students, they said a survey would go out to affected families in early January. This afternoon the district sent this announcement advising those families to watch their inboxes next Tuesday:
Seattle Public Schools will send an important survey next week to families with students in preschool, kindergarten, first grade and moderate to intensive special education service pathways in order to determine how many students from those groups will be returning to in-person learning in SPS schools in March 2021.
The survey, which will be sent to families on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, is the primary way for the district to ascertain how many families from the specific groups want to return to in-person learning.
The survey must be returned to SPS by Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. It will then be followed by direct communication from each student’s school. The response goal is 100 percent participation in the survey.
SPS is currently in the remote learning framework that the SPS Board of Directors approved prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
As previously announced by Superintendent Denise Juneau, SPS will resume in-person learning on March 1, 2021, for the following four groups of students:
• 1st Grade;
• Students enrolled in special education moderate to intensive service pathways. On Dec. 17, the school board approved the resolution to begin the phased in return of students.
The survey will be emailed, but families will also receive robocalls and texts. Among other things, survey responses will help SPS figure out:
• How many in-person teachers will be needed;
• How much classroom space will be needed;
• The appropriate amount of PPE for students and staff;
• Necessary bus and other modes of transportation needed for students;
• Necessary adjustments by SPS Nutrition Services to provide in-person meal service;
• How many remote teachers will be necessary for students choosing to remain remote for the rest of the school year.
The SPS website has more info on the in-person-learning plan.
3:13 PM: Thanks for the tips. A two-car crash at Fauntleroy/Oregon has sent one person to the hospital, and SPD says Traffic Collision Investigation detectives are responding, so this will be affecting traffic in the area for a few more hours. Right now, police say, southbound Fauntleroy and both directions of SW Oregon at Fauntleroy are closed. We’re checking on the injured person’s condition.
3:37 PM: Police tell us at the scene that they believe the white vehicle’s driver ran the light and hit the black vehicle, whose driver is the person taken to the hospital.
4:45 PM: SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley says the injured person is a woman in her 60s, in stable condition when transported. The victim’s daughter also has commented below.
5:15 PM: The scene has cleared.
Governor Inslee has extended the latest statewide restrictions – such as no indoor dining, fitness, movies, and capacity limits for many businesses – one more week, until January 11th.
By that time, the restrictions will have been in place for almost two months. Inslee issued the extension proclamation today without an accompanying briefing, but state health officials did have their weekly briefing earlier this afternoon. Toplines included a vaccination update – so far, almost 60,000 people have been vaccinated. This week, another 100,000 doses of the two U.S.-approved vaccines are due to arrive in the state. New state Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah described the pandemic response overall as at “halftime” – no time to let up. He and his team also described some encouraging trends – while key stats such as case counts and hospitalizations remain higher than ever, some are starting to move downward. But, Dr. Shah warned, “We’re not out of the woods yet.” You can watch the full briefing here.
In the dark, often-rainy heart of winter, a nonfunctioning/malfunctioning streetlight stands out. Right now, West Seattle has more than 20 of them. After a question from a reader, we looked into the current state of streetlight trouble-reporting and repairs. Above is a screengrab from the Seattle City Light streetlight-repair tracking map. Once a streetlight’s been reported, it gets categorized at one of three levels. The most-common type in our area currently, marked by red dots on the map, generally will take a while to fix, the map explains, because: “The streetlight is failing due to issues within the streetlight’s electrical system. … These repairs require engineers to assess and design a solution to fix the streetlight’s electrical system.” Since so many nonfunctioning West Seattle lights are shown in that category, we asked SCL spokesperson Julie Moore to elaborate on what those “issues” tend to include, and whether that means repairs will take months rather than weeks. Here’s her reply:
The most common “issue” is often related to old equipment that needs to be brought up to current standards. As the note on the streetlight tracker says, these kind of fixes require additional time and effort as engineers must assess and design a solution, then it must go through permitting, crew scheduling and construction within the City right-of-way. Another issue that can sometimes prompt this type of solution is wire theft; however, this has not been as prevalent an issue in 2020 as in recent years.
Yes, these “red ticket” repair jobs can take much longer to complete than simple fixes for the reasons described above. Please also be aware that City Light is experiencing significant resource challenges and a growing backlog for certain work, including streetlight repair and new service connections, at this time. Several factors combined created this situation, including a pause in work in response to Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order earlier this year, other COVID-related impacts to our operations staffing model and vacancies, as well as competing priority projects and unplanned essential work. Depending on the complexity of the project, we estimate timelines for completion are weeks or even months longer than in the pre-COVID world.
You may have noticed the pop-up note when you first visit the streetlight tracker site: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seattle City Light is prioritizing essential critical infrastructure work and doing work in a way that minimizes service disruptions to customers. Crew availability is limited to emergency streetlighting repairs, so we apologize if there is a delay with your request.
We will continue to prioritize emergency repairs to address public safety concerns. Our goal is to meet or exceed our customer expectations and it is disappointing when we do not. We are working on near- and long-term improvements to address the backlog and reduce project timelines.
Some repairs can be completed more quickly, so keep reporting nonfunctioning streetlights – check the map first to see if someone has already made a report – click on a dot to see the address and pole # to verify it’s the same one. There are multiple ways to report a problem – this online form, the Find It Fix It app, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 206-684-7056.
Earlier this year, we introduced you to Jessica, who was organizing a monthly volunteer cleanup at Alki. She’s renewing her call for volunteers as 2021 starts, with the first cleanup set for this Saturday (January 2nd):
ALKI BEACH AND NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUP
1st Saturday of every month, 10 AM to 2 PM
Pick sticks and buckets provided – RSVP to reserve one. Feel free to bring your own. Supervised kids welcome. Behaved dogs welcome off beach. We spread out to cover most surface. Stay as long as you desire; go as far as you would like. The goal is to collect the garbage before it enters the beach and ocean. We can gather after for a distancing coffee if time allows. We meet at 10 am outside, between Blue Moon Burgers and 56th on Alki Ave SW
If you can’t make it Saturdays, consider starting your own group that meets another day. Looking forward to meeting you.
To RSVP or ask a question, text Jessica at 206.769.6330.
From Nick & Paula:
We had a silver & blue 1997 Chevrolet Tahoe LS stolen from the Alaska Junction QFC parking garage. Stolen at 10 pm on 12/28. Plate: AYN6951
Police are also searching for a silver older-model Acura sedan, tinted windows, sunroof, front-end damage. This vehicle was seen on camera and is suspected to be involved in the theft. Please call 911 if either is seen. Incident #2020-355968
6:16 AM: It’s Wednesday, December 30th, the 282nd morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
ROAD (ETC.) WORK
Delridge project: Here’s the newest plan. No work Friday (New Year’s Day), SDOT says.
Metro – Regular schedule through Thursday (running a Sunday schedule on New Year’s Day).
Water Taxi – Regular schedule through Thursday (no service New Year’s Day).
CHECK TRAFFIC BEFORE YOU GO
West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way (if the camera angle is still bad, please report to SDOT, 206-684-ROAD):
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
Restricted-daytime-access (open to all 9 pm-5 am, with camera enforcement starting 1/11/21) low bridge:
The main detour route across the Duwamish River, the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) . Here are two cameras:
The other major bridge across the river – the South Park Bridge (map). Here’s the nearest camera:
Going through South Park? Don’t speed. (Same goes for the other detour-route neighborhoods, like Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge.)
To check for bridges’ marine-traffic openings, see the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed.
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.