West Seattle, Washington
Here are tonight’s pandemic updates:
KING COUNTY’S NEWEST NUMBERS: We start with the cumulative totals from the Public Health daily-summary dashboard:
*74,562 people have tested positive, 348 more than yesterday’s total
*1,215 people have died, unchanged from yesterday’s total
*4,725 people have been hospitalized, 38 more than yesterday’s total
*813,111 people have been tested, 497 more than yesterday’s total
One week ago, the King County totals were 71,982/1,179/4,593/796,252.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 99.2 million cases and 2,129,000+ deaths, 419,000 of them in the U.S. – see the nation-by-nation breakdown here.
VIRUS VARIANT: One day after Snohomish County announced the state’s first two detected cases of the so-called “UK variant,” Pierce County announced it has one too. What do you need to know about the new variant? Here’s what Seattle-King County Public Health published this weekend.
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Two West Seattle Crime Watch reports tonight:
RIVERVIEW ROBBERY: Thanks for the tips about a sizable police response in Riverview just after 8 pm. It followed a report of an armed street robbery near 12th and Myrtle, one victim and two robbers. No other details except that no arrests are reported so far; we’ll follow up further tomorrow. (Added Monday): Here’s the SPD summary:
On 01-24-2021 at 2005 hours, two suspects known to a male victim contacted him because suspect 1 owed the victim $7.00. The victim told the suspects that he was driving to his girlfriend’s house. As they pulled up, the suspects were waiting in a vehicle. The suspects stepped out of the vehicle and spoke with the victim. Suspect 1 put a pistol to his head and stole the victim’s wallet. Both suspects then ran NB. The victim originally said that there wasn’t a vehicle before changing his story.
GOLD AK-47 FOUND IN CAR: A report of suspected gunfire this afternoon in North Delridge led police to seize a gun described as a “gold AK-47.” Someone called 911 around 1:30 pm to report hearing a shot in the 4800 block of 25th SW and seeing a black two-door car leaving the area northbound. Near 26th and Genesee, officers pulled over a vehicle fitting that description. They didn’t have probable cause to arrest the driver but did get his name before he walked away, leaving the car parked where police had pulled it over. Taking a closer look at the car, police spotted what the summary of the incident says “appeared to be a loaded rifle-type magazine.” That led them to have the vehicle impounded, and a search warrant obtained. Inside the car, they found – again quoting the summary – “a gold AK-47 (on) the backseat floorboard of the vehicle along with 7 rounds of AK-47 ammo and a pair of brass knuckles.” We’ll be following up on whether they tracked down the driver again after that.
ADDED MONDAY MORNING: Here are police-provided photos of the two weapons mentioned above:
Will the light-rail plan for West Seattle be delayed or even downsized? The Sound Transit board is planning to make that decision in July, along with deciding the future of other not-yet-under-construction projects. Right now, they’re in the process of deciding how to decide. The board spent three hours in a workshop Thursday centered on what one member described as “brainstorming.” Here’s the video:
The board was planning on realignment even before seeing those recent numbers that showed a sharp increase in cost estimates for upcoming projects including the West Seattle light-rail extension (which is currently projected to open in 2031, one year later than the original plan that voters approved in 2016). As with most if not all public entities, ST’s revenue is suffering from the COVID crunch, and that makes realignment mandatory. Discussion topics at the workshop included not just options for making up some of that lost funding, but also for cutting costs without slashing projects, as shown in the slide deck (below and here):
Potential options are many – reduce the scope, suspend, or even delete projects, or increase revenue via raising fares and fees, raising the car-rental tax or raising their debt capacity, although that would require voters’ approval. Board member Claudia Balducci, current chair of the King County Council, argued that it seems way too early in the process to start deliberating potential tax increases’ merits or lack of them. She suggested the board might be “rushing to a solution … when we haven’t defined the problem.” The idea of possibly dropping projects got strong voices of opposition, as the board’s vice chair, King County Executive Dow Constantine, noted the “overwhelming” voter support for the full plan. He also noted that ST has reason to hope for more federal funding, given that a pro-transit administration has just taken over the White House. And board member Jenny Durkan, mayor of Seattle, urged her colleagues to keep their eyes on how our region will look 10, 20 years from now, as ST continues working to deliver “the entire network.”
WHAT’S NEXT: At the board’s monthly meeting, 1:30 pm this Thursday, they’ll talk with the consultant who’s going to review the cost-increase estimates. The agenda includes information on how to watch/comment. Meantime, your role in the realignment decision is currently scheduled to happen in April, when ST will ask for public feedback.
Today’s donation drive – for food and other essentials – at Alki UCC wasn’t even over yet, when volunteers took that photo of a roomful of what they’d received! The church’s outreach and social justice leader Cinda Stenger calls it “magical and wonderful … an unprecedented response,” more than any of their previous one-day drives. She adds, “Alki UCC thanks our wonderful neighbors for being so caring. We provide mutual aid with the Westside Interfaith Network, partner with the WS Clothesline, and enjoy being a conduit for West Seattle people to give to others in an easy and accessible way. We really appreciate your support … Together we are all doing good in the world!”
If you were in The Junction early this afternoon, you might have seen members of West Seattle Neighbors for Peace and Justice at multiple corners of California/Alaska (including the two in our photo). They say not enough people know about the international nuclear-weapons ban that has just taken effect. They were handing out this explanation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The United Nations initiated the treaty in 2017, to take effect on January 22, 2021 – this past Friday – if more than 50 countries ratified it. So far, more than 80 countries have signed on, with 52 ratifying the treaty – but the U.S. and other nuclear-armed nations are not among them … so far.
Thanks to everyone continuing to share West Seattle bird photos with us so we can share them with you! Time for a weekend gallery. Above and below (with a shrimp snack), Mark MacDonald photographed Common Mergansers.
Here’s another seabird – a Cormorant drying itself, photographed by Stewart L.:
Two views of Anna’s Hummingbirds – first, from Jerry Simmons:
And from Gentle McGaughey:
Max Welliver shows us a Red-breasted Nuthatch:
From Mark Dale, a Cooper’s Hawk:
And here’s a tree full of Crows, photographed by Michael Burke:
If you catch a great view of a local bird, firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
(Spirit of Kingston – WSB file photo)
Just announced – the smaller M/V Spirit of Kingston will be on the West Seattle Water Taxi run for the next two weeks:
Starting Monday, January 25, the M/V Spirit of Kingston (physical distancing passenger capacity of 33) will be assigned to the West Seattle Water Taxi route for the next two weeks while the M/V Sally Fox goes to the shipyard for scheduled annual maintenance.
The M/V Doc Maynard (physical distancing passenger capacity of 86) typically serves the West Seattle route and will be operating on the Vashon Island route. The smaller vessel is assigned to West Seattle because the route has twice as many sailings as Vashon Island’s route and therefore more departure options for passengers.
Ridership on the West Seattle route has not exceeded 33 passengers since early November, although ridership has been fluctuating since the holidays. Please plan your commute accordingly.
The Water Taxi continues to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through regular cleaning and disinfecting between sailings. Masks are required for both passengers and crew.
Briefly sizable SFD callout at Arrowhead Gardens, the senior-living complex in southeast West Seattle [map]. The incident log shows all but two units were canceled within a few minutes of dispatch. (Added: This turned out to have been a small kitchen fire, aka “food on the stove.”)
Back during the holiday season, BAKED in Admiral raised money for the West Seattle Food Bank by donating part of the proceeds from what turned out to be a very popular gingerbread-house kit. Now BAKED has two Valentine’s Day offers, with 10 percent going to Mary’s Place, a nonprofit that works to get families out of homelessness (with a White Center shelter among its locations): A DIY cupcake-decorating kit, or a cupcake/cookie combo (in partnership with Jenn’s Cookie Jar). You can order now – before they sell out – and choose pickup on either February 12th or February 13th. BAKED is at 2604 California SW.
Here’s what’s happening on your Sunday:
TODAY’S ONLINE CHURCH SERVICES: Every week we update our list of more than 20 local churches’ Sunday online services (with a few also offering in-person options), with the latest links; find them here.
DONATION DRIVE: 10 am-3 pm, bring food and other items – see the list in our preview – to Alki UCC. (6115 SW Hinds)
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)
MISSION CANTINA BENEFIT FOR STUDENTS: The Genesee Hill Elementary PTA is partnering with Mission Cantina (2325 California SW; WSB sponsor) for a dine-out fundraiser today and tomorrow, with orders taken by phone starting at 11 am – details in our calendar listing.
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)
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