West Seattle, Washington
48 weeks have now passed since the Friday night announcement of the first King County case of COVID-19. Here are tonight’s updates:
SITUATION REPORT: The state’s periodic “situation report” is out, and has some encouraging news. Here are its headlines:
*Declining COVID-19 transmission provides an opportunity to get case and hospitalization rates under control before the faster-spreading B.1.1.7 variant takes hold in the state.
*Case counts dropped sharply after the first week of January.
*Case rates are still high across the state but are moving in the right direction.
*Many counties saw sharp declines in case counts after the first week in January, returning to early to mid-November levels.
*Total hospital admissions flattened at a high level starting in late November, with a slight decline beginning in mid-January.
KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Public Health daily-summary page, cumulative totals:
*76,345 people have tested positive, 663 more than yesterday’s total
*1,249 people have died, 7 more than yesterday’s total
*4,771 people have been hospitalized, 7 more than yesterday’s total
*826,565 people have been tested, 3,755 more than yesterday’s total
And from the COVID Vaccination Among King County Residents dashboard, our weekly check:
*181,108 people have received one dose
*37,984 people have received both doses
*232,350 doses have been allocated to King County
One week ago, the first four totals were 73,801/1,214/4,683/810,109, and the vaccination totals were 126,474/21,910/214,425.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 102 million cases, 2,206,000+ deaths – see the nation-by-nation numbers here.
WEST SEATTLE VAX CLINIC – EVENTUALLY: In her weekly newsletter, West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold writes:
A couple weeks ago, I let you know that the Seattle Fire Department has begun COVID vaccinations starting with mobile teams that will vaccinate up to 1,000 residents and staff of adult family homes and some permanent supportive housing residences. I explained that the City has the infrastructure in place to quickly turn at least one of the existing COVID testing sites into a mass vaccination site – what we don’t have is access to the necessary vaccine supply. I’ve heard from many of you wanting to know what’s in store for West Seattle, given the closure of the West Seattle Bridge and ongoing restrictions on lower level bridge access and significant congestion on detour routes off of the peninsula.
This week, I received confirmation from the Mayor’s Office that the City is planning to stand up a West Seattle vaccination site as part of its overall testing strategy. I’ll meet with the Mayor’s Office next week to learn more about their plans. The timing is dependent upon when there is an adequate supply of vaccines; vaccines are in limited supply and the number and timing of doses that Seattle receives is determined by the state and federal government. I know there is a lot of interest in supporting West Seattle vaccination sites, and I will keep you updated about these plans as I learn more and continue to advocate for local vaccinations.
2 COUNTY CLINICS: King County is opening signups at 8 am Saturday for new vaccination clinics in Kent and Auburn but says they’re just for “residents of south King County who 1) are age 75 or older, OR 2) are age 50 or older and cannot live independently, or live with and care for kin, OR 3) are providing care (paid or unpaid) for someone age 50 or older who cannot live independently.”
VACCINATION CELEBRATION: Aegis Living-West Seattle says 95 percent of its residents and 75+ percent of staff are vaccinated. Most recently, the memory-care fac held a Cupid-themed clinic this past Tuesday. Aegis sent photos, including this one of resident Albertha Dorsey, quoting her as saying, “I feel blessed, and I feel protected. I look forward to the day when my children can feel as protected as I do.”
Awgis has two more clinics planned “to allow us to get closer to 100% for both populations.”
PCC OPPOSES HAZARD-PAY MANDATE: Vaccination should be the city’s focus rather than compensation, PCC‘s CEO said in a letter to the mayor, who says she’ll sign the $4/hour bill and that it’ll take effect next week.
COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER’S BRIEFING: Dr. Jeff Duchin provided his weekly video briefing – see it here.
GOT INFO OR PHOTOS? firstname.lastname@example.org or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!
Three days after a robbery rampage on the east side of The Junction, 35-year-old Lloyd C. Hill, Jr., is charged with three felonies – two counts of robbery, one count of hate crime. All three crimes happened outside The Whittaker at Fauntleroy/Alaska last Tuesday night, starting just before 8 pm, according to the charging documents, which say that first he held up two people leaving the building, then four people sitting in their car eating, and then waved his gun at a man using the ATM inside the BECU lobby. When a woman waiting in a car for that man got out, she told police, Hill said to her, “Go back to your country – I’m going to kill your husband.” She stepped back; he eventually walked away. By that time the first victims had called 911, and police found Hill by the Bank of America a block to the west.
As noted in our coverage, he was found with a “realistic”-looking airsoft pistol; charging documents also say he had about $48 in cash, close to the sum of what the first two victims handed over at gunpoint. Hill had just gotten out of jail three weeks earlier, after one week behind bars for a case in which he was charged with stabbing a man who tried to interrupt Hill’s assault on a woman outside a Kirkland bar. In that case, he got out after posting bond on $50,000 bail; in the West Seattle case, his bail is now set at %250,000. His record shows two threat cases – one for threatening to kill his girlfriend during an argument, the other for threatening to kill a police officer who was directing traffic downtown – both in 2013.
The city says that the new law requiring $4/hour “hazard pay” for most grocery-store workers will take effect next Wednesday (February 3rd). It mandates the extra pay for workers whose employers have at least 500 workers worldwide. That includes PCC Community Markets, whose 15 stores include one in West Seattle. The chain’s new CEO Suzy Monford has sent a letter to the mayor and city council arguing against the mandate. The letter is published on the PCC website and was called to our attention by several West Seattle store employees, one of whom wrote, “As we read the letter today, many of the staff felt betrayed and belittled by our CEO’s words.” In the letter, Monford writes:
… *Our collective focus should be on vaccination. Grocery workers need expanded access to vaccines to keep them protected from COVID both at home and at work. PCC Community Markets has had only 36 of our 1710 staff contract COVID since last February. No infections were determined to be contracted at work and 33 of those infections were determined to result from infection at home or outside of work. Our staff should be protected throughout their day – including at home – so that we can keep them on the job and healthy. PCC is offering a $25 gift card to our staff members who get vaccinated to move our workforce in that direction. …
*Washington grocery stores are safe places to work. It is safer to work in a grocery store than work in goods production or government. According to a Washington State Department of Labor and Industries report issued in November 2020 (see attached), only 5% of all non-health care COVID workplace outbreaks occurred in grocery stores, and grocery stores accounted for less than 2.8% of all workplace outbreaks. …
*Independent grocers are proactively acting to protect our staff members from COVID. The low outbreak rates reported by the State of Washington are due to grocers’ effort and should be acknowledged. When COVID hit, independent grocers began to meet and share safety best practices through the Washington Food Industry Association. We proactively instituted controls, in many cases, before they were released by local health officials. We deployed mask mandates, instituted extensive new cleaning protocols, increased air filtration in our stores and rolled out barriers between customers and staff prior to the availability of guidance from health departments. …
*Independent grocers have a slim profit margin. Large scale grocers may see a decent profit margin, but most independent grocers have less than a 0.5% profit margin, according to the Washington Food Industry Association. The cost of COVID response, including the safety controls that we have committed to in order to keep our staff safe and the additional pay, have cut our margins to the bone. A growing contingent of our customers (about 4% of all transactions and growing) use third-party online delivery services to whom we have to pay a significant percentage of each purchase for use of the service. This ordinance disproportionately harms local, independent grocers like PCC Community Markets, which in 2019 had $1.7M in net income. That may sound like a lot, but to put that in context, PCC spent $3M – or nearly 2X 2019 net income — in COVID-related expenses in 2020, including staff member appreciation pay, bonuses and in-store safety protocols, since the start of the pandemic. …
You can read the entire letter here. In conclusion, Monford tells the mayor, “We hope, given local business concerns, you’ll consider not signing the bill, or alternatively, modify it to exclude the smaller, local grocers who will be deeply damaged by this ordinance.” A PCC worker who emailed us counters, “We have been coming to work every day in the face of real threats to our health, and we just want to be fairly compensated for that risk.”
Side note: To the point of focusing on vaccination, the city announced today that the SFD Mobile Vaccination Teams will vaccinate 400 high-risk grocery workers “in the coming days.” The announcement doesn’t say where and when – only that it’s in partnership with UFCW Local 21, which represents 46,000+ grocery workers.
As the repaving-and-more Delridge project preparing for the RapidRide H Line continues, SDOT has sent the weekly update on upcoming work. First, the key points:
*SW Thistle St, SW Myrtle St, and 20th Ave SW at Delridge Way SW remain closed for demolition and paving activities
*Electrical upgrades beginning soon along the west side of SW Webster St to Sylvan Way. Restoration and paving to follow.
*New traffic patterns in Zone B coming soon as we finish paving on the west side of the roadway
*Paving and roadway demolition happening on the west side of Delridge Way SW between SW Holden St and SW Kenyon St as we restore the roadway where duct bank installation took place
*Bus stop upgrades are happening in several places throughout Zone A
The full weekly preview is here.
Two reader reports today in West Seattle Crime Watch, about recurring problems:
CONDO BREAK-INS: From Larry:
City Lights on Harbor Condominiums, at 2349 Harbor Ave SW, has experienced multiple burglaries, which include 4 garage break-ins, and 3 instances of car prowls/break-ins. Property was ransacked and stolen. These happened over multiple days and evenings within the past two weeks. The case number is 2021-020761.
PARK CAR PROWLS: From Sue:
People have been getting their car windows smashed out for several months now at Westcrest in both the north and south parking lots. There was a suspect caught in the act (Wednesday) but was able to get away. The car the suspect was in is a Mercedes silver sedan, plate number BUZ6—. If you are parked at Westcrest and see this car, please call 911.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Shut down the busiest street in the city, and suddenly numerous other streets have to deal with unprecedented traffic trouble.
10 months after the West Seattle Bridge closure, SDOT is still working on ways to handle that – including the Home Zone program, a major topic at Wednesday night’s meeting of HPAC, the neighborhood coalition for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge. After community conversations and walking tours, draft plans have just debuted, and it’s time for your feedback, via a new survey.
Here’s a video recording of the meeting. First, what you need to know about what’s being proposed:
Advancing to Phase 2 in the state’s “Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery” plan means some businesses can reopen for limited capacity after two months of total closure. Among them, West Seattle Bowl. They’re planning to reopen the 39th SW/SW Oregon bowling center next Thursday (February 4th), 3 pm-9 pm, with the same hours on Friday (February 5th), then noon-8 pm on Saturday, February 6th, but they’ll be closed on Super Bowl Sunday, After that, says WS Bowl’s Jeff Swanson, “We will resume similar hours to what we were doing in September-November.” (Here’s our story from September.) The WS Bowl website should be updated soon with new info.
Thanks to Curtis for the photo from 8th Avenue South/South Chicago [map] in South Park, Per police-radio communication, a crane took out that pole, and it is affecting people beyond the immediate area – roads are closed for several blocks around, and the resulting power outage includes the light at West Marginal and South Holden, by a much-used ramp just south of the 1st Avenue South Bridge. No word of any injuries.
(Log House Museum, file photo)
The home of West Seattle’s history is offering a new virtual experience – here’s the announcement:
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is pleased to announce its first digital tour experience “Who Writes My History Books? Why Your Voice Matters In Living History.” Join us for an online tour to experience the enrichment that an in-person field trip experience affords, even while we can’t be together. This tour is open for student groups Grades 6 – 12, and any interested adult groups. Sign ups are required at least two weeks before your desired tour date. “Who Writes My History Books?” is a free experience. Tours will be available from 11 AM – 3 PM on Thursdays and Fridays on a first-come first-served basis. Tours will be capped at 25 for school groups and 12 for adult groups.
“Who Writes My History Books?” breaks down the historical process, and empowers students to document their thoughts and experiences as active witnesses of history. By the end of the tour, participants should:
-Understand why individual accounts of history matter (including yours!)
-Be familiar with the basic steps of the historical process
-Have practice asking questions to better understand historical documents
-Be exposed to the idea that history is constantly being rewritten. Our understanding of history can seem static, but how we interpret history changes all the time!
To register, please visit www.loghousemuseum.org, call 206-350-0999, or email email@example.com. Tours run for approximately one hour. Tour availability is based on docent availability and is subject to change.
6:16 AM: Welcome to Friday, January 29th, the 312th morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
ROAD (ETC.) WORK
Delridge project – The SW Thistle closure continues between Delridge and 20th. Here’s what else is happening this week.
California and Myrtle – The sewer-repair project continues – if driving/riding on California, be careful going over the bumps on the northbound side. Also, as we saw on Wednesday, you might occasionally have to detour around the site entirely.\
Fauntleroy Way work next week – Next Thursday (February 4th), about two weeks of utility work starts on Fauntleroy between Alaska and Edmunds, as previewed here.
CHECK TRAFFIC BEFORE YOU GO
Low Bridge: Third week for automated enforcement cameras, while restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily. (No stats yet.) Here’s a bridge view:
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
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):
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 all the other detour-route neighborhoods, both the arterials and neighborhood streets!)
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.