West Seattle, Washington
Tonight’s virus-crisis update:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: The Public Health daily-summary dashboard did not post a 12/31 daily update, so we don’t have the week-ago numbers, only today’s cumulative totals:
*66,486 people have tested positive, 855 more than yesterday’s total
*1,132 people have died, 15 more than yesterday’s total
*4,377 people have been hospitalized, 37 more than yesterday’s total
*765,546 people have been tested, 2,240 more than yesterday’s total
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them, county by county, on the state Department of Health page.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 88 million cases worldwide, 21.5 million of them in the U.S. See the nation-by-nation breakout here.
HOW THE PANDEMIC HAS CHANGED LIVES: King County has published results of a survey done lqte in the summer.
NEED FOOD? 2-5 pm tomorrow at Food Lifeline (815 S. 96th) HQ, emergency food boxes are available.
GOT PHOTOS/TIPS? 206-293-6302, text or voice, or email@example.com – thank you!
When we reported last month that West Seattle Natural Medicine Clinic (3256 California SW) planned to close after 37 years, we noted that owner Dr. Katherine Oldfield was hoping to find a buyer. Tonight, she announced she has, and so the clinic will continue:
It is with great joy that I am able to announce that West Seattle Natural Medicine Clinic is not closing! Dr. Krystal Richardson, a friend and colleague, has bought the clinic, thus providing the stability and energy that we needed after a tumultuous 2020. … I first met Dr. Richardson many years ago when she was doing her residency with my friend Dr. Tamara Cullen Evans. She went on to purchase that practice from Dr. Evans. I can’t imagine a person better suited to take over the helm of WSNMC as she is an excellent clinician and a trusted business owner.
The new WSNMC owner has clinics downtown and in Fremont. You can read more about the change on WSNMC’s website, which says Dr. Richardson’s first day there is next Monday (January 11th). Dr. Oldfield had owned the clinic since 2002.
Even as Sound Transit figures out how to deal with a revenue shortfall, it’s warning that future projects such as West Seattle to Ballard light rail will cost a lot more than originally expected. The ST Board’s Executive Committee was told today about what board chair Kent Keel described as “unprecedented cost increases”: Among them, the cost estimate for the West Seattle-Ballard light-rail extension have risen by more than 50 percent – it’s now estimated to cost more than $12 billion, up from $7 billion when the ST3 ballot measure went to voters. The numbers were part of a presentation to the committee about revised estimates for multiple projects. Here’s the slide deck:
The West Seattle-Ballard project overall is becoming “more complex,” ST’s Don Billen told the board; his part of the presentation starts 49 minutes into the meeting video. (You can read the accompanying memo to the board here.) These are still rough estimates, since the project remains relatively early in the planning process, but the increase is attributed mostly to the increased cost of property acquisition – since development has continued on the potentially needed parcels – and construction.
As an example of the former, the presentation cited the potential need for right-of-way on the Fauntleroy/Alaska corner, including the site of the two-building Legacy Partners project that’s now under construction, if that site were chosen for the Junction station (sites further west drew more attention during the public-comment process). The cost of that site, if needed, was previously estimated at $76 million – and now estimated at $252 million. (Board member Dow Constantine, the West Seattle-residing King County Executive, inferred underground development may look more attractive as a result of numbers like that.)
“While these numbers are sobering, they’re not catastrophic,” said CEO Peter Rogoff, promising that ST is still committed to all the projects. But overall, the increased cost estimate for West Seattle-Ballard (which includes a new downtown tunnel) and other ST projects is so dramatic that ST plans to hire a consultant for an “independent cost review” to be complete before April – as ST continues its “realignment” process, to decide how projects’ schedules will have to change because of the funding gap. (The West Seattle completion date already has been pushed back one year to 2031.) Board members are expected to get a closer look at the “affordability gap” when they meet for a workshop on realignment two weeks from today (January 21st). In the meantime, ST is still working on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the West Seattle-Ballard project, due out later this year.
Kaari Higgins died 10 years ago today, the victim of one of West Seattle’s unsolved murders.
One of her two children, now a grown woman, continues trying to find justice for her mom. Lindsay Higgins asked that we publish her plea:
Kaari Higgins was found brutally beaten in her Fauntlee Hills home on December 31st, 2010, and succumbed to her injuries one week later on January 7th, 2011. The attack occurred sometime between 6 am and noon on that New Year’s Eve. On the 10th anniversary of her death, I want to remind the West Seattle community of this unsolved homicide. I was 12 at the time, and now that I am older I still hope to find answers.
Unfortunately, my mom’s case was not widely covered in the media, but there were a few articles published. This Seattle PI story most accurately reported the key details surrounding the case:
It was a few minutes past noon on New Year’s Eve 2010 when a medic dispatcher received a call about a woman unresponsive in West Seattle.
“There’s someone unconscious bleeding from the mouth, face down on the floor in the hallway,” a man said, directing medics to the 4000 block of Southwest Concord Street.
Homicide detectives were unaware of Higgins’ case until after her death – more than a week after her injuries were reported. It was only when her body was examined that investigators realized that it was unlikely her injuries came from a simple fall.
Police say Higgins had a split lip, two black eyes, a bruise on her lower left back, a bruise on her shoulders and a fractured bone. Investigators think she was beaten that New Year’s Eve – her 47th birthday.
I hope that somebody knows something, and that this post might trigger a memory. I urge anyone with possible information or tips on Kaari’s death to contact SPD’s Homicide Tip Line: 206-233-5000.
We reported on Ms. Higgins’s death in 2012, after SPD brought the case to light via a list of unsolved murders.
Three West Seattle Crime Watch reports:
WOMAN ARRESTED FOR UNINTENTIONALLY SHOOTING HUSBAND: SPD investigated a shooting late last night in southeast West Seattle. We heard some of the radio discussion, and SPD summarized it online this afternoon. A 911 call – with no one talking but a “disturbance in the background” – brought officers to a house in the 9000 block of 3rd SW. On arrival, officers saw blood on a car. They eventually determined that a woman in the house had fired a gun, hitting a man in the hand. The SPD Blotter report says the suspect is the victim’s wife, and that it happened after they argued with a man “who ended up pepper spraying the couple. They said the woman then took out a handgun and fired a ‘warning shot,’ which struck her husband in the hand. The couple said they then chased the known man out of their home and the wife fired three additional rounds.” She was arrested; the gun (SPD photo at right) was recovered.
STABBING SUSPECT CHARGED: We reported last Sunday that one man was stabbed and a suspect arrested after an incident at Transitional Resources in the 2900 block of SW Avalon Way. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged the suspect, 34-year-old Harrison Washington, with second-degree assault. Charging documents say he does not have a criminal history and that the two have known each other for several years; the victim told police he was stabbed without provocation after asking Washington for a cigarette and being told he could get one in the suspect’s apartment, then finding none. Washington is in jail, bail set at $250,000.
ALERT FOR RUNNERS: Received from a reader who asked only to be identified as a “solo female runner”:
At 6:15 AM this morning (Thursday, Jan 7), I was running on Marine View Drive near the curve towards Seola Greenbelt Park /35th Ave SW with my headlight and reflective vest on for visibility. I had seen a late model gray Toyota truck traveling the opposite direction, but then noticed it was driving my direction slowly behind me a distance away, never passing me. I became concerned since I was quickly approaching the park open space, away from homes. I decided to cross the street and run up a driveway to the side of a house out of sight and turn off my light. I could hear the truck stop and it did not continue traveling my direction. Once I no longer heard the truck, I quickly made my way home on side streets without my light off. I didn’t have a cell phone on me to report to Seattle PD for investigation, but did call later to report the incident. I just want any early-morning runners to be aware of this incident for safety reasons.
Two bridge-related notes today:
COMMUNITY TASK FORCE MEETING NEXT WEEK: During last night’s District 1 Community Network meeting, West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force member Deb Barker broke the news that the WSBCTF will meet next Wednesday (January 13th). SDOT confirms to WSB that the meeting is set for noon Wednesday; no link or agenda yet. Though the WSBCTF, which is an all-volunteer group, decided to keep meeting, the other advisory group assembled and convened last spring – the Technical Advisory Panel – ended its work last month (as reported here last week).
FRIDAY UPDATE: The meeting viewing link has been added to this page along with a note that agenda items will include low-bridge access policy and Reconnect West Seattle.
LOW BRIDGE CAMERA-TICKETING REMINDER: We reconfirmed with SDOT today that the low-bridge enforcement cameras remain on schedule for activation next Monday (January 11th). Between 5 am and 9 pm, 7 days a week, the cameras will photograph plates (but not drivers) of vehicles crossing the bridge, and the owners of vehicles that aren’t authorized to be using the bridge at the time will get $75 citations. Need a refresher on the current rules? Go here.
The former mini-market at 7789 Highland Park Way SW is going to be a corner store again.
Highland Park Corner Store, to be specific.
Back in October, we reported that the property had been bought, and was being renovated, by West Seattle preservationist/entrepreneur John Bennett. Our story noted that he was seeking a tenant.
One of the people who saw that story was Meaghan Haas, a Highland Park resident who tells WSB she had been “looking for ways to be more involved in the local community.” That fit right in with Bennett’s stated hope of finding “a business that will make the neighborhood a better place.”
Haas has a background in the events industry – music, arts, and marketing, including time working at One Reel – known for big Seattle events like Bumbershoot – and the Vera Project. She plans to open the store in phases: “We’re planning to open with coffee service next month via a walk-up window, with deli service following a few months later. By the end of the year, we’re planning to open up the store with grocery staples, wine, and beer (including a few on tap), as well as a spot to sit down and enjoy a drink or a sandwich with friends and neighbors.”
In that first phase, Highland Park Corner Store will offer QED Coffee, Macrina Bakery pastries, and White Knuckle ready-made sandwiches; Haas is still finalizing other suppliers: “Overall, the goal is to source everything as locally as possible.” When she moves to the deli phase, that “will mean a limited menu of sandwiches and salads to start.”
But first, she’s just “looking forward to opening up and serving our neighbors – and the greater community of West Seattle.”
(Thanks to everyone who tipped us that the site had signs of a tenant!)
Ten months have passed since most in-person learning was suspended, and getting online – reliably and affordably – is still a challenge for some students. Help is on the way to hundreds more, thanks to HomeStreet Bank (WSB sponsor). More than 220 laptops that HomeStreet no longer needed have just been given to InterConnection, a Seattle nonprofit that will refurbish them for reuse.
After HomeStreet’s IT team extensively prepared the computers for the donation, InterConnection visited the bank’s operations center Wednesday morning to pick them up. (Here’s how their donation process works.) HomeStreet also gave InterConnection $1,000; that’ll help with InterConnection’s costs to prepare the laptops for their new owners.
From left in the photo above are HomeStreet’s Vicki Foege, Mickey Pierce and Abraham Mears from InterConnection, Bob Livingston from HomeStreet, InterConnection president Cheryl Roe, Caly Jellum and Jay Bhuller from HomeStreet, a Puget Sound-based bank whose branches include one in the West Seattle Junction (4022 SW Alaska).
The holiday season is over, but community needs – and giving opportunities – are not. Here’s a way you can help – the annual Combat Arts Academy donation drive for the West Seattle Food Bank and its Clothesline, which help thousands of your neighbors in need.
From the CAA announcement:
In the early years, CAA collected about 1,500 pounds of food each food drive; in 2020, we collected 6,000 lbs of food! In light of the pandemic and all of the challenges it has posed, we want to encourage donations of any kind, instead of setting a specific weight goal. Currently, financial contributions are highly encouraged by the WSFB due to the pandemic, but we (CAA) will collect any of the following items:
Clothesline – Gently used or new items for any age (infants, kids, teens, adults), including:
Underwear (New only)
Gloves, Coats, Scarves (think Seattle winter-wear)
Blankets, Sleeping Bags, Linens
Diapers & Formula
Visit https://westseattlefoodbank.org/clothesline/ to find more requested items.
WSFB – any non-perishable, canned, or packaged item is welcome
Juice (individual servings)
Canned Meals (soup, chili, Mac and Cheese, etc.)
Healthy snacks (granola bars, raisins, fruit leather, dried fruit, etc.)
Individual Snack packs (peanut butter, tuna, etc.)
Visit westseattlefoodbank.org/donate-food to find more requested food items.
– Drop off a check (made payable to the West Seattle Food Bank) at the front desk for the drive, or contribute online at westseattlefoodbank.org/donate-money. If you choose to contribute online, please add a note that it’s on behalf of the CAA Drive.
The amazing thing about the WSFB is how they strengthen the West Seattle community through the power of neighbors helping neighbors; their mission is so important in this current time of need.
Donations accepted at Combat Arts Academy (5050 Delridge Way SW), Monday-Friday 8 am-8 pm. For questions or comments, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-420-1834
6:07 AM: It’s Thursday, January 7th, the 290th morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
ROAD (ETC.) WORK
Delridge project – Here are the toplines for this week. (The Thistle closure hadn’t happened as of Wednesday midday, but lanes were reduced on the west side of the intersection.)
California and Myrtle – Lane closures and a big middle-of-street tank are part of a sewer-repair project.
Metro – On regular schedule
Water Taxi – On regular schedule
CHECK TRAFFIC BEFORE YOU GO
West Marginal Way (substitute camera since the one at Highland Park Way has been out of alignment):
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.
Before we let go of what seemed like an endless day – three photos we received (thank you!) – above, the sunset’s first splashes of color, photographed by Troy Sterk. Below, the setting sun’s reflection caught one particular pillar shown in Dan Ciske‘s photo:
And then, the pink peaked, as Jen Popp shows us:
Tonight, the sun will set at 4:35 pm – 18 minutes later than the earliest sunset of the season last month.