West Seattle, Washington
Tonight’s pandemic updates :
KING COUNTY’S NEWEST NUMBERS: Here are the cumulative totals from the Public Health daily-summary dashboard:
*68,472 people have tested positive, up 527 from yesterday’s total
*1,140 people have died, unchanged from yesterday
*4,447 people have been hospitalized, up 50 from yesterday’s total
*773,510 people have been tested, up 2,307 from yesterday’s total
One week ago, the King County totals were 64,578/1,091/4,249/755,666.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 90.2 million cases and 1,934,000+ deaths, 374,000 of them in the U.S. – see the nation-by-nation breakdown here.
NEW REOPENING PLAN STARTS TOMORROW: Even though the entire state will be in Phase 1 of the new “Healthy Washington” plan as it begins tomorrow, that still means some changes – as shown on this graphic from the governor’s office:
As we’ve done throughout the pandemic, we’ll be publishing notes from businesses that are reopening – send info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONFUSED ABOUT WHEN YOU’LL BE VACCINE-ELIGIBLE? While vaccination in our state is still in the earliest stage of Phase 1, health officials announced the outline of who’s in the next subphases. That’s led to questions – so in case you’ve been wondering too, here’s the document with more details. It also includes the tentative outline of who’ll be in subsequent phases. P.S. If you wondered about the “comorbidities” mentioned for some eligibility in the announcement, the full-details document points to the CDC’s list.
GROCERY BAGS: Another local store is allowing personal reusable bags again – Metropolitan Market. (Trader Joe’s now allows them too. Any others? Let us know! – ADDED 12:54 AM: Thanks to the reader who just emailed to point out that PCC allows them too – and, this page points out, has for almost 7 months.)
GOT SOMETHING TO REPORT? email@example.com or 206-293-6302, text/voice – thank you!
In case you need one more reminder, tomorrow (Monday, January 11th) is the first day that the city is scheduled to start using automated cameras to enforce restrictions on the West Seattle low bridge between 5 am and 9 pm, seven days a week. Vehicles cqught on camera violating the rules will get a $75 ticket sent to the registered owner’s address. Here’s a refresher on the current rules (from SDOT‘s announcement two weeks ago):
Who Can Use the Low Bridge
-Transit vehicles (King County Metro buses and school buses)
-People walking, rolling, using a scooter, or biking
-All Personal vehicles at night (from 9 pm to 5 am daily)
Who Cannot Use the Low Bridge
Taxis and ride-hail app vehicles like Uber and Lyft (from 5 am to 9 pm daily)
Personal vehicles, including motorcycles, during the day (from 5 am to 9 pm daily)
Regarding the “pre-authorized vehicles,” SDOT says:
Pre-authorized use is currently limited to select maritime/industrial vehicles proximate to Harbor Island, International Longshore and Warehouse Union vehicles, and West Seattle business vehicles. If you believe you are eligible for pre-authorized use based on the description above, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-400-7511.
SDOT had been working with West Seattle’s two major business organizations, the Junction Association and Chamber of Commerce, to determine who had access. Before the cameras, they had a limited number of placards they loaned out to members who had to make business trips across the river.
SDOT has said that the traffic patterns following the activation of camera enforcement will be studied to see if changes in low-bridge access policy are merited. The policy is one of the topics on the agenda for this Wednesday’s meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force (noon January 13th – watch here).
Thanks to Dan Kearney for the photo. West Seattle artist Desmond Hansen painted that signal box at 35th/Henderson, just north of Southwest Library, this weekend. He wrote on Instagram that the box is dedicated “to children living with disabilities and special needs” – read his full explanation here.
If you’re up early – Wednesday through Friday, the pre-dawn high tides will be the last “king tides” of this winter – 12.8 feet at 6:03 am Wednesday and 6:40 am Thursday, 12.7 feet at 7:15 am Friday. (Here’s the chart.) Too soon to tell if the weather will be stormy enough to push the tides past predicted levels, as happened last Monday.
SDOT says this coming week will likely finally see some major work it’s been warning about for a while, as the repaving/utilities project preparing for the RapidRide H Line continues. Top of the list: The SW Thistle closure between Delridge and 20th; crews started working on the west side of Delridge/Thistle last week (as seen above) and are scheduled to move across the street as soon as tomorrow. That’s also the potential start date for the installation of vehicle-detecting looping at Delridge/Oregon. SDOT’s weekly bulletin says, “Traffic will be split around the planned roadway median during this work.” Other plans include paving at the bus stop on the west side of Delridge/SW Andover, the start of demolition between Puget Blvd SW and SW Brandon, the completion of paving between SW Willow and Croft Place SW, and the start of paving on the west side of Delridge between SW Henderson and 20th SW. See the full weekly preview by going here.
In this morning’s daily preview, we mentioned that today was the deadline for returning the survey Seattle Public Schools sent last week to families of students eligible for returning to in-person learning in March. The district announced this afternoon that it’s extended the deadline and now asks that the surveys be returned by noon Wednesday (January 13th). The eligible students are preschoolers, kindergarteners, first-graders, and special-education “intensive service pathways” students. The district says the survey is needed to help determine:
• 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.
If your circumstances change after you return the survey, the district says, there will be “an appeal process” for changing your choice of in-person or continued-remote learning.
That’s a Pine Siskin, photographed in West Seattle by Mark Wangerin in December 2019. At the time, he told WSB that they seemed to be showing up in larger numbers. That’s happening again this year, and it’s led to a health problem that has at least one wildlife-advocacy organization suggesting you temporarily take down your feeder(s) to save birds’ lives. Geoff M. emailed us to point out this alert on the PAWS website, which says in part:
We are currently witnessing one of the biggest reported irruption years of Pine Siskins in the United States. Irruptions are sudden, dramatic increases in the abundance of an animal, in this case caused by conifer cone shortages in northern North America. The large flocks we are seeing all over western Washington are incredible to witness. However, this event has caused pine siskins to gather in even larger numbers around bird feeders, which can increase the spread of Salmonella, a potentially fatal bacterium. PAWS has admitted 68 Pine Siskins in the last 60 days and the admissions staff are fielding multiple calls daily about sick siskins.
Usually, we recommend removing feeders for a few weeks when a sick bird is found nearby and cleaning the area thoroughly. However, the flocks are so large and cases so frequent right now, we recommend removing your feeders even before you detect a sick bird until the irruptive migrants move on. Learn more about how to combat salmonellosis here and check out our website for general recommendations about bird health in your yard.
Geoff says, “This is affecting West Seattle, and in the past few days we’ve noticed a few dozen sick and four dead siskins and have since taken down our feeders for the time being.”
Ever wonder how many stones cover the historic bungalow at 1123 Harbor SW? Now we know, as the first of four “Finding the Story Stones” events ends, and the others get new start dates. Here’s the announcement from Save The Stone Cottage, the volunteers working to save and relocate the little house:
Congratulations to Tanya Johnson from the Lake Stevens area, the winner of our first event ‘Count the Stones.’ Tanya’s guess was just 274 stones shy of the actual number of stones on the front facade of the Stone Cottage, which is 3,774. Tanya says, “I think it’s magical that you are working to save this cottage.” By completing the “Count The Stones” challenge, Tanya has unlocked the “Story of Eva,” the free spirit who built the Stone Cottage.
‘Count the Stones’ is the first of four events the “Save the Stone Cottage” committee is hosting, a series of educational, entertaining and inspiring events called “Finding the Story Stones,” to raise awareness about the GoFundMe Charities fundraising drive. A total of four fun activities will be held this month, in which individuals, virtual teams of friends, and families with children all can participate. Finding the four “Story Stones” will unlock elements of the unusual stories surrounding the Stone Cottage, Eva Falk, and the early history of Seattle and Alki.
Finding Story Stone #2: ‘Search for the Lost Stone’ launches January 16, 2021. This second contest is a clue-based Twitter search in which clues to the whereabouts of the second Story Stone will be tweeted out over six hours. Finding this Story Stone will unlock stories and secrets about the Stone Cottage itself.
We previewed all the contests a week and a half ago; the third one, “Walking in Eva’s Shoes,” now starts January 23rd, and the “Stone Cottage Karaoke Rock Concert” is set for January 30th. More details are on the this page of the Save The Stone Cottage website, where the newly unlocked “Story of Eva” will be posted this week, along with a photo of the “story stone.” Meantime, the crowdfunding campaign continues here, with $52,440 of the $110,000 needed for the move, as of this morning.
Notes for your Sunday:
TODAY’S ONLINE CHURCH SERVICES: Our list of more than 20 local churches’ Sunday online services (with a few also offering in-person options), with the latest links, is here.
SURVEY DEADLINE: If your household includes a student eligible for returning to Seattle Public Schools in-person learning, today’s the deadline for returning the survey about whether you plan to.
WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: 10 am-2 pm in The Junction, the market’s open. Scroll down the page at this link to find the vendor list and map for this week. (Enter at California/Alaska; pickups for online orders are at California/Oregon)
WEST SEATTLE TOOL LIBRARY: Open 11 am-4 pm – need a tool to fix or improve something? (4408 Delridge Way SW)
FREE TO-GO DINNER: White Center Community Dinner Church will serve to-go meals at 5 pm, outside, near the Bartell Drugs parking lot in White Center. (9600 15th Ave SW)
Got something for our calendar? email@example.com – thank you!