West Seattle, Washington
11:58 PM: The wind started kicking up in a big way a short time ago, and now we’re getting the first power-outage reports. So far we’re hearing from the north part of the peninsula – Alki, north of The Junction, North Delridge, Fairmount …4,391 homes/businesses per the Seattle City Light map.
12:09 AM: Also an outage of more than 4,000 customers just to the south, including White Center. … A tree is reported down across both lanes of Marine View Drive near SW 104th. … Wires are reported down in an alley behind the 3800 block of 45th SW. …. We have not heard wind this ferocious in a long time. City Light says 49,000+ customers are out in its territory so far.
12:34 AM: To the south of us, the map shows two major outages with more than 10,000 customers out [updated map above]. Throughout SCL’s service area, 62,000+ are now affected by what’s mapped as 115 separate outages. The NWS, via Twitter, says, “The worst winds will be over the next few hours & then gradually decrease.”
12:47 AM: This is keeping firefighters busy as well as SCL crews – they’re responding to more reports of downed trees and/or wires. Right now active calls include the 2600 block of 49th SW and 1700 block of SW Austin. Reminder from the NWS, “You might want to venture outside to check for wind damage. But we don’t recommend it as the winds are still gusty and will be for the next hour or two.” It’s not just that this wind is strong enough to take down trees, but that all the recent rain may have destabilized some to start with. … 7900 block of 28th SW, firefighters are at another home where a tree’s toppled …
1:22 AM: At the aforementioned 49th SW block, firefighters are reporting multiple compromised utility poles. The wind is still howling. … Some encouraging news from NWS: “The worst of the winds have passed — but it will still remain gusty for the next few hours on the order of 30-45 mph.” Also via Twitter, KT says the wind blew out their picture window – the glass fell outward, not inward:
Trouble on the east side of the Duwamish River … per radio exchange, pole/wire trouble is closing East Marginal at Ellis, and the 4th Ave. Bridge is closed. … From the aforementioned 49th SW trouble spot, Margo comments below: “We have an entire massive tree that fell down onto our house in the backyard. Plenty of exterior structural damage to house and deck, but luckily didn’t come through into the house itself.”
1:43 AM: Now a report of a tree onto a house, with downed wires, near 32nd and 106th; SFD and SPD are on the way … Also in SW West Seattle – via email, Brandon reports a mudslide blocking Seola Beach Drive. … Here’s a list of highest gusts so far tonight; Seattle’s had multiple ~50 mph reports.
2:23 AM: The wind sounds a bit calmer, after 2 1/2 hours of fury. The new reports of trees/lines down have dwindled, too. But City Light has 70,000+ customers out area-wide, in 168 separate “events,” so if you’re out, it’s likely to be a while before you’re back. (Let us know with a comment or a text – 206-293-6302 – otherwise there’s no online note about restoration time, the outage just vanishes from the map.)
6:06 AM: City Light still has 57,000+ customers out, down from a peak of 72,000. We’re working on a separate trsffic watch but in the meantime, be aware of traffic-light outages and tree blockages – let us know if you encounter any of them (call or text AFTER you get where you’re going) – thank you.
6:42 AM: Our coverage continues here.
Here are the latest local pandemic toplines:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: First, the numbers, as shown in today’s daily summary from Seattle-King County Public Health – the cumulative totals:
*69,522 people have tested positive, 334 more than yesterday’s total
*1,148 people have died, 7 more than yesterday’s total
*4,488 people have been hospitalized, 22 more than yesterday’s total
*780.231 people have been tested, 2,448 more than yesterday’s total
One week ago, the totals were 65,144/1,110/4,327/760,782.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.
NATIONAL/WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 91.5 million cases worldwide, 22.8 million of them in the U.S. – see other nation-by-nation stats by going here.
VACCINATION TEAMS: The City of Seattle will set them up through SFD to go to small adult care homes and vaccinate residents and staff, starting Thursday. Here’s the announcement.
BRIEFING TOMORROW: State health officials will present their weekly briefing at noon Wednesday – here’s the link.
GOT SOMETHING TO REPORT? firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-293-6302, text/voice – thank you!
9 PM: Thanks to @WestSeaWX for the tip – the National Weather Service decided tonight to issue a Wind Advisory alert, 10 pm tonight through 6 am tomorrow. The alert warns of “southwest winds 20 to 35 mph, with gusts 40 to 50 mph.” Charge everything!
P.S. This will overlap with another alert – a Coastal Flooding Advisory for “minor tidal overflow” as the stormy weather crosses paths with the “king tide” high tide, 12.8 feet just after 6 am tomorrow.
NOTE: The storm arrived just before midnight. We’re covering it here.
Three West Seattle Bridge notes tonight:
LOW BRIDGE CAMERA TICKETING: Two days into the city’s use of automated cameras to enforce low-bridge restrictions, no data yet – we asked SDOT how soon information would be available about citation numbers and traffic value, and the bottom line was, not soon, according to spokesperson Ethan Bergerson. “It will take us a little while to know how many citations have been issued because the photos need to be reviewed by SPD before a citation is issued. We will give updates about Low Bridge traffic and enforcement during future Community Task Force meetings, although it will be too soon to provide any data at tomorrow’s meeting.”
MEETING TOMORROW: The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meets online at noon Wednesday. A preview of the presentation shows an even busier agenda than you’d guess by looking at the lineup – timelines for work on both the high bridge and the low bridge, updates on traffic-mitigation projects under Reconnect West Seattle – including what’s being considered for West Marginal Way SW – and more. You cam watch via YouTube livestream here; you can comment via email at email@example.com.
BRIDGE MONEY: As mentioned by two city councilmembers during their Monday morning briefing, the Puget Sound Regional Council is considering routing $15 million in federal money to the city to help with the high-bridge repairs. That’s about a third of the very rough early estimate of the work’s cost. This is a topic on Thursday morning’s meeting of the PSRC’s Transportation Policy Board, 9:30 am online. The agenda includes information on how to watch and how to comment.
Some restriping work has already been done, and tomorrow, pay stations will be installed at the about-to-no-longer-be-free West Seattle Junction Association-operated parking lots. We first reported eight days ago that the change was on the way. At 12:01 am Friday, the lots are officially paid parking. So here’s what you need to know. First, here’s a map:
Medium blue marks the Junction lots that are changing from free to paid – off 44th SW just south of Oregon, off 42nd SW just south of Oregon, on the southeast corner of 44th and Alaska, and off 44th north of SW Edmunds. Dark blue marks lots that are already paid, but are not and have not been managed by WSJA.
Not shown on the map – parking that’s not affected and remains free – street parking as well as some parking spaces adjacent to businesses and marked for exclusive use of their customers, such as the spaces behind Chase Bank and Verity Credit Union (WSB sponsor), plus parts of some garages in the area. WSJA says the lots that are changing over include 228 spaces, a little less than a third of the 720 free and paid parking spaces throughout the business district.
From the WSJA FAQ on the parking change, here are the rates for the lots that are changing, not including taxes and credit-card fees (if any):
$2 for up to two hours
$4 for two to three hours
$6 for three to four hours
$10 for four to ten hours
The charges apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plans for an “early bird” special are on hold pending a review of the first few months of paid parking. (Some monthly parking is available – email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in information on that.)
You will be able to pay via either the pay stations or via CallToPark. Citations for running overtime or not paying will cost $49, and vehicles with multiple tickets are subject to towing. The first week – January 15th through January 22nd – parkers that go overtime will get warning notices; citations start after that.
The change was inevitable. Backstory, as we explained in this report almost three years ago: The WSJA, a nonprofit Business Improvement Area organization, leases the lots from West Seattle Trusteed Properties, a consortium of local business/property owners. In addition to base rent, WSJA has to cover the cost of the property tax for the sites, which has risen sharply in recent years – tripling between 2016 and 2018 – as it’s all prime, developable land in the heart of one of Seattle’s “urban centers.” WSJA had tried various fundraising campaigns in recent years, but none provided a sizable-enough stream. This won’t cover all the costs either, but it’ll help.
As our year gets off to a soggy start – more than twice the normal rainfall as of early today – saturated soil has slid in at least two West Seattle spots:
That slope between the 2000 block of Bonair and the 1700 block of Alki had a slide last Wednesday, witnessed and photographed by Kevin Freitas. He alerted the city, which has since “yellow-tagged” one house on Bonair. Department of Construction and Inspections spokesperson Bryan Stevens told WSB, “The slide was approximately 15 feet wide as it ran down the slope and was contained within the boundaries of this property.”
Stevens continued, “We didn’t observe damage to the home itself (built on concrete piles), but the existing block retaining wall was damaged. Upon inspection, we posted a yellow tag, which allows occupancy of the home but notes the need to repair the wall and hillside. The owner was notified to obtain a Geotechnical Engineer to evaluate and stabilize the hillside.”
We also asked him about another reader report, a slide in the Eddy Street Ravine area northeast of Lowman Beach, north of the 6400 block of dead-end 49th SW: “A surface slide occurred at the top of the slope and deposited debris at the bottom of the unopened street end. We have relayed this to SDOT, and Seattle Public Utilities is taking lead on followup, given the potential impact to their infrastructure.”
If you are on or near a slope, landslide awareness is vital, especially in times like right now when there’s little time for the ground to dry out between storms. City advice on prevention, and what to do if a slide happens, is here.
Three biznotes about food:
LA RUSTICA VALENTINE’S DAY: First announcement we’ve received about Valentine’s Day – now only a month away. La Rustica (4100 Beach Drive SW) tells WSB, “La Rustica is now taking reservations for our outdoor, heated/covered patio for Valentine’s Day. Because space is limited, they will go fast. We are also taking a wait list for people to call should we move into Phase 2 of reopening and be allowed to seat customers inside.”
DICK’S TRUCK RETURNING: One month after drawing a crowd in The Junction, the Dick’s Drive-In burgers-and-shakes truck (no fries) is returning this Friday, 11 am-2 pm outside Easy Street Records (whose café DOES have fries).
MILKRUN: This Portland-founded “farm-to-table” food-delivery service wants you to know it’s now serving West Seattle. MilkRun offers weekly deliveries of produce, meat, and other products from regional growers/makers, as explained here.
As with other transit/transportation, Washington State Ferries has seen usage fall during the pandemic. Today WSF went public with its year-end report, showing just how much. Systemwide, 2020 ridership was down 41 percent from a year earlier. That includes 2020 becoming the first year ever – since WSF began operations in 1951 – that the system carried fewer passengers (6.4 million) than vehicles (7.6 million). The two routes serving downtown Seattle, from Bremerton and Bainbridge Island, saw the biggest drops. For Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth, WSF reports that total riders were down 39%, vehicles down 31% (of the three legs of the so-called Triangle Route, Fauntleroy-Southworth saw the biggest drops). The other route serving Vashon Island – Tahlequah-Point Defiance – was the route with the smallest drop. See the full 2020 report here. P.S. WSF says ridership has been rebounding, lately back to 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with vehicle usage at 70 percent of 2019 usage levels.
(One year ago today, pre-pandemic: We Sweat’s grand-opening party with teen band Okay-ish)
The pandemic has posed challenges to so many small businesses. We Sweat West Seattle, the infrared-sauna salon that opened in The Admiral District one year ago today, faced an extra challenge – less than two months in business before the first round of restrictions forced it to temporarily close. “What a year to start a new business!” recalls proprietor Athena Frederick. “During the shutdown, we decided to become an infrared sauna dealer for Clearlight Jacuzzi (R)” in addition to offering on-site services. So they’re celebrating the anniversary with a variety of offers: “Any new client can book a sauna session for FREE today only. Follow this link and in the comments write ‘anniversary’.” If you can’t try We Sweat today, or are a returning client, here’s a deal for future bookings: “We are also having a one-day-only sale, with single/double saunas for $21 and our 3/4 person saunas for $31. Follow this link.” We Sweat is at 2705 California SW.
MAYOR’S VACCINATION BRIEFING: Announced this morning – happening online at 12:15 pm:
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins, Dr. Michele Andrasik of Fred Hutch, and Councilmember Lisa Herbold will discuss the City of Seattle’s initial vaccination efforts. The City’s initial actions will focus on reaching residents and health care workers eligible to receive the vaccine in adult family homes not served by federal programs. Seattle Channel will live stream the press conference at seattlechannel.org/watch-live.
DEMONSTRATION FOR RACIAL JUSTICE: From organizer Scott:
Black Lives Matter sign-waving
Tuesday, January 12, 4 to 6 pm, corner of 16th SW and SW Holden
Thursday January 14, 4 to 6 pm, corner of 16th SW and SW Holden
Come show support for BLM and ending systemic racism. Hold signs, meet neighbors and stand for racial justice. Scott at PR Cohousing, endorsed by Hate-Free Delridge. Signs available.
WESTSIDE SCHOOL INFORMATIONAL EVENT: Online at 6 pm, learn about lower-school learning at Westside School (WSB sponsor), with applications for next year due later this week. Our calendar listing includes information on how to register to attend.
HOPE PRESCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: Online at 6 pm, Hope Lutheran School will have an open house for prospective preschool parents. The registration link, and more information, can be found in our calendar listing.
FAUNTLEROY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: Online at 7 pm, FCA’s monthly board meeting is open to community members. The agenda includes results of the recent every-two-years community survey. Go here to register to attend.
Friends and family are remembering Margaret Copher, and sharing this with the community:
Margaret Irene Copher passed on December 30, 2020.
She was born March 12th, 1947 to John Copher and Beulah McJunkins. Irene was a graduate of Lincoln High School in Seattle.
She was a lifelong resident of Seattle and was an active member of Philadelphia Church. Irene was a demolition-car driver in her early years, worked for Northwest Protective Service, and loved her last job as a school-bus driver.
She was a lifetime member of REACT International, and was actively involved as an amateur radio operator (KF7WUD) with Puget Sound Repeater Group and West Seattle Amateur Radio Club. At the time of her passing she was not married, and is survived by cousins and a large circle of friends who loved her.
A memorial service will be held later this summer and memorial donations can be made in her name to the Philadelphia Church, pcseattle.org.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
5:53 AM: It’s Tuesday, January 12th, the 295th morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
LOW-BRIDGE CAMERA ENFORCEMENT: Today is the second day the enforcement cameras on the low bridge are in use, photographing vehicles so that $75 tickets can be sent to owners of unauthorized vehicles crossing between 5 am and 9 pm.
Who’s authorized and who’s not? See our story from Sunday night.
ROAD (ETC.) WORK
Delridge project – SW Thistle is now closed between Delridge and 20th. Here’s what else is planned this week.
Arbor Heights project – Gas-line replacement work on SW 104th is scheduled to continue.
California and Myrtle – The sewer-repair project continues – if driving/riding on California, watch out for the bumps; a bicycle rider went to the hospital after hitting one of them Monday.
1st Avenue South Bridge – No specific dates yet, but the state now says those southbound lane closures for repair work won’t happen before February.
CHECK TRAFFIC BEFORE YOU GO
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way is back in alignment:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
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.
Water Taxi – On regular schedule (note the WT will not run next Monday, January 18th, for the King Day holiday)
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.