West Seattle, Washington
We end the night with the latest on the pandemic:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Seattle-King County Public Health daily-summary dashboard, the cumulative totals:
*79,167 people have tested positive, 186 more than yesterday’s total
*1,305 people have died, 5 more than yesterday’s total
*4,942 people have been hospitalized, 23 more than yesterday’s total
*867,433 people have been tested, 4,167 more than yesterday’s total
One week ago, the four totals we track were 77,577/1,270/4,843/838,171.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them, county by county, on the state Department of Health page,.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: See them, nation by nation, here.
GOVERNOR SPEAKS TOMORROW: Gov. Inslee plans a 2:30 pm media briefing Thursday, announced as “an update on the the state’s response to the ongoing pandemic, including rental and business assistance, and vaccine distribution.” It’ll be streamed by TVW, but no direct link yet.
VACCINATION SITUATION: That was the main topic during today’s weekly briefing by state health officials. The state’s periodic update on the vaccination situation is here. Key excerpt: “As of Feb. 6, more than 940,000 doses of vaccine have been given across the state, which is nearly 80% of the 1,195,207 doses that have been delivered to our providers and long-term care programs. Washington is currently averaging 26,857 vaccine doses given each day.” Also:
Supply from the federal government continues to be our greatest challenge. This week our providers requested more than 440,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including 281,100 first doses and 165,750 second doses. In all, we received just over 200,000 doses from the federal government, which is less than half.
Although doses are not where we would like them to be right now, we are optimistic about the future. We have been told by the federal government that allocations for both Pfizer and Moderna will increase in the coming weeks and months.
They’re also hopeful the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will get authorization. And one last note – the state has for the first time “received a 3-week allocation forecast from the federal government” – which, even if doses are fewer than hoped for, will enable better planning. And they briefly mentioned some pharmacies in the state getting some vaccine as part of a separate federal allotment.
STORM PREPS: At a city briefing today looking ahead to the potential snowstorm(s), Mayor Durkan said that plowing plans include prioritizing COVID-19 testing sites.
SHELTER CASE: Also noted in our weather coverage, West Seattle is without an emergency shelter in the cold weather because a COVID case at the WS Veterans Center shelter has forced it to temporarily close.
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Two weeks ago, we reported on the PCC Community Markets CEO’s letter to the mayor opposing the new Seattle law that was about to take effect mandating $4/hour hazard pay for most grocery workers in the city. Then the day after the law took effect, PCC said it was negotiating with UFCW Local 21 to extend that pay to workers throughout its chain. Earlier this week, another city in which PCC operates, Burien, passed a hazard-pay mandate for $5/hour. Then tonight, PCC and the union have announced an agreement on the chain-wide $4/hour. From the union announcement, received via email:
PCC agrees to extend $4 per hour hazard pay to all PCC workers in all stores through June 5th, 2021, expanding on the Hazard Pay ordinances won by UFCW 21 workers in Seattle and Burien.
*We have a commitment from PCC to bargain over extending this agreement, including hazard pay, at least 30 days before it expires.
*The agreement provides for Quarantine Pay for workers who get diagnosed with COVID 19 as well as other safety provisions.
*PCC will begin a curbside pickup program that captures work for union members instead of giving it away to the gig economy.
*We also reviewed our continued commitment to discuss new technologies in the stores with the Union before implementation.
The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force continues meeting online monthly to hear and talk about the bridge and associated projects, and its next meeting is scheduled for 4-6 pm tomorrow (Thursday, February 11th). Here’s the agenda; it includes an update on progress toward repairs, a look at low-bridge access, and a review of the proposals for West Marginal Way SW north of the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse. That will include the attendees breaking into two discussion groups; the link for watching the meeting including group A is here, and the link for group B is here. If you can’t watch the meeting, but are interested in what’s happening with repair planning, SDOT published this update last week. They’re still projecting “mid-2022” for reopening, spokesperson Ethan Bergerson told WSB this week, “and we will be able to give a more certain schedule update once the contractor is selected and the project reaches a further stage in design.”
5:39 PM: No formal alert for our area so far, but the National Weather Service is still saying we’re likely to see snow in the days ahead – maybe flurries tonight, more likely an accumulation of up to half a foot starting Friday night. As usually happens when a forecast of serious snow is looming, the city held a media briefing, with regional transportation agencies, to talk about how they’re getting ready. The video above is from this afternoon’s briefing, led by Mayor Jenny Durkan, with department heads including SDOT, Human Services, and Emergency Management, as well as Metro, Sound Transit, and WSDOT. Of note: The mayor said snow routes have been updated to reflect the bridge closure. The citywide map is here, showing “gold” and “emerald” routes – the goal is to clear all travel lanes on the former, one lane each way on the latter. Here’s the West Seattle section:
After the snow starts, this map will show you where crews have been. The city also says it is ready to clear pedestrian paths and bike lanes as needed – but reminded residents and businesses that they are responsible for the sidewalks alongside their homes. (And if you have a disabled or elderly neighbor, lend a hand and clear their stretch of sidewalk.) If you encounter a road obstacle such as a fallen tree, report it to 206-684-ROAD
For bus riders, Metro’s storm info will be at metrowinter.com.
For people experiencing homelessness, the city and county are opening some emergency spaces, but nothing in West Seattle was mentioned. We checked with the West Seattle Veterans’ Center in The Triangle; they can’t open their emergency shelter because they had a COVID case and had to move people to a county-operated quarantine site. So call 211 if you need help or need to help someone find it.
P.S. Here’s the city news release with full multidepartmental reports on what’s being done to get ready.
8:34 PM: Now there’s an alert for our area and beyond – a Winter Storm Watch (read it here), Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon.
This is the third week that the smaller M/V Spirit of Kingston has been filling in for West Seattle’s regular King County Water Taxi vessel Doc Maynard, which has been on the Vashon Island run while M/V Sally Fox has been undergoing work. King County Metro’s Torie Rynning tells WSB today, “We are now looking at Friday or Tuesday to restore the Doc Maynard to the West Seattle route. Cold weather delayed some of the painting [on Sally Fox] and there were also some delays in procuring some of the materials we needed for other repairs.” The Water Taxi won’t be running at all on Monday because of the Presidents Day holiday.
Two questions during the first of two Washington State Ferries community meetings dealt with a major WSF project that’s just a few years away in West Seattle – the Fauntleroy dock overhaul.
“We’re just starting to look at (it),” said WSF’s Nicole McIntosh. I-976 and COVID pushed back planning but “the 2025-2027 biennium” is when they expect construction, “but we have a lot of planning to get there.” Will WSF consider separating passenger and vehicle loading? McIntosh said they’ll be looking at a wide range of alternatives as they plan – those could include overhead loading, a larger dock, even relocating the dock. She promised the process would include “interacting with our customers and stakeholders.”
At the start of the meeting, Patty Rubstello, new WSDOT assistant secretary in charge of WSF, introduced herself. She said she spent most of her career – with an engineering background – “on the highways side of WSDOT.” She’s been in charge of the WSDOT toll program. She mentioned the recently reported ridership drop – 41 percent, lowest since 1975, first time since 1951 that the systems carried more vehicles than people. They’re still stressing travel “for essential trips only.”
In overall highlights, ferry-system electrification – spotlighted when Gov. Inslee visited Vigor on Harbor Island a year and a half ago – remains a priority. A new hybrid Olympic-class ferry starts construction later this year, to go into service in 2024. In Q&A, more details came up – one is funded, they could build four more. They’re expected to run on the Mukilteo-Clinton and Seattle-Bremerton routes. WSF’s Matt von Ruden said they’ve just completed preliminary design and haven’t yet negotiated the price.
WSF’s Stephanie Cirkovich reviewed service plans for this spring and summer, after a quick review of how service changed and was reduced because of the pandemic. It’s still too “unpredictable” to set service-change dates like in the past, so now they are focused on the “four pillars of service.” That’s why they are expecting to make a few changes on May 9th, including returning a third vessel to the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route, to operate “8 hours a day on weekends.”
More questions: Will WSF require vaccination for employees in customer-facing roles? No, replied McIntosh. But they’ll continue requiring masks for everyone.
When will galleys be reopened on the ferries? Their vendor is ready to get back up and running, said Cirkovich, but it’s not safe yet. When they do return to service, it’ll be gradual. “At this time we’re still telling people to stay in their cars,” for example.
Has the staffing shortage stabilized? Short answer, no. WSF’s Kim Monroe said training has been difficult during the pandemic which means hiring has been tough. They used to have 18 people per training class – now they’re limited to 5. And of course COVID has affected existing staff, too.
What’s the remaining lifespan on the Issaquah-class ferries (three of which usually serve Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth)? They’re just past midlife, said von Ruden. “They’re very good designs … the workhorse of the fleet.” No vessel-replacement plan for them yet.
Future changes? Cirkovich hopes they’ll be good ones but the pandemic is still unpredictable – hoping to get back eventually to something that resembles “normal, regular service.” No plan to restore late-night sailings any time soon since there aren’t events that would require them. Jon Vezina added that funding is uncertain too – since budget matters aren’t final and the legislature runs to April.
Eleven WSF managers were there to answer questions, so if you have one, tonight’s 6 pm meeting is an excellent chance to ask yours – register here to get attendance info. Or you can send questions any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we await the mid-afternoon forecast update to get the latest on snow probability, many are preparing, just in case. The West Seattle Tool Library wants you to know it has 12 snow shovels available for rent, first-come first-served, for just $1. The Tool Library is on the northeast side of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW. Executive director Eric Renn adds, “Also note that kindness is key in these challenging times, and if you’ve got neighbors that are elderly or unable, please help them out and shovel their sidewalks or vehicles.” The Tool Library is open 5 pm-8 pm today and its inventory is online at wstools.org.
Three biznotes this midday:
This weekend, The Good Society turns one! Our first year has been a crazy one. From a completely packed pub on opening day to being able to sell only crowlers a mere thirty days later to partially opening inside to setting up outdoor seating to upgrading the outdoor seating to upgrading the outdoor seating again to closing down inside again to opening partially inside again all while brewing some pretty good beer and making new friends with our community.
While we cannot have the party we had hoped we would when we opened a year ago, we still could not let this weekend pass without mention. So we lined up a few small things to celebrate one year.
Our mission has always been about togetherness and community. On Friday we will release our final numbers on how much we were able to donate to local causes last year. Make no mistake, we were able to do this because of the support you gave us. We will also unveil a new way for you to pick which cause your beer supports.
They’ve also restocked on merch; they’ll be offering dipping sauces for their famous pretzels; and then ….
Beer! What kind of brewery anniversary would it be without an anniversary beer? Nuclear Kitty Eyes, our first Double IPA, is a hoppier, more intense version of neighborhood favorite, Neon Kitty Eyes. And for added fun, we also brought back Neon Kitty Eyes! Both will be available on draft and in cans.
Anniversary-weekend hours are 3-9 pm Friday, noon-9 pm Saturday, noon-8 pm Sunday (“actual anniversary) and Monday.
CAPCO BEVERAGES’ FINAL DAY … FOR NOW: As we’ve reported previously, the liquor store at 4100 SW Alaska is making way for Swedish medical space, so today is the last day, but it’s expecting to reopen with new ownership and a new location at nearby Jefferson Square, according to manager Dolly, who says she’ll be back too.
MARINATION MA KAI’S VALENTINE TREAT: The restaurant at Seacrest (1660 Harbor SW) is offering pre-orders if you’d like a half-dozen or dozen guava-filled malasadas for Valentine’s Day – order yours by Friday afternoon, pick them up Sunday. They might have some available for walk-up sales that day, but it’ll be a two-per-person limit that day, first-come first-served.
Here’s what’s happening in the hours ahead:
STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS’ BRIEFING: The weekly COVID-19 briefing with state Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah and others is online at 1 pm; you can watch it here.
(added) WINTER WEATHER BRIEFING: The mayor, city department heads, and transportation executives (Metro, Sound Transit) will have a pre-storm briefing at 2 pm. You’ll be able to watch here.
SCHOOL TOUR: Roxhill Elementary is hosting a virtual kindergarten tour with staff available to talk about what students will be experiencing and learning about in the fall. 3:30 pm, click here to view (Meeting ID: 966067499#).
SCHOOL BOARD; The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors meets online, starting at 3:30 pm. The agenda includes viewing info.
FERRY SYSTEM’S COMMUNITY MEETING: Second of two meetings for Washington State Ferries, with system updates and time for Q&A. 6 pm online – registration required. (We covered the first meeting Tuesday morning – watch for that report here later today.)
ONLINE DROP-IN WRITING CIRCLE: This Hugo House-sponsored, Seattle Public Library-coordinated event at 6 pm would be happening at the branch in Admiral if we were back in pre-pandemic mode. But you can attend online – preregister here.
34TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS; Our area’s largest political organization meets online at 7 pm. Registration required for attendance.
Got something for our calendar? email@example.com – thank you!
The photo and report are from John:
9:22 AM: Work truck stolen from 56th Ave SW and Jacobsen Rd at 6:15 this AM – 2/10/21. Vehicle headed north on Beach Drive. The “follow” car was a black or dark Subaru Forester. If seen, please contact John at 206-795-9202 and/or contact Seattle police  and reference case #21-34370.
7:34 PM: John says the truck’s been found on Pigeon Point.
6:12 AM: Welcome to Wednesday, February 10th, the 324th morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
ROAD WORK & DOCK WORK
Delridge project – The SW Thistle closure continues between Delridge and 20th. Here’s this week’s full plan.
Fauntleroy ferry dock work – One-lane loading/unloading again today because of maintenance work, explained here.
CHECK TRAFFIC BEFORE YOU GO
Low Bridge: Fifth week for automated enforcement cameras, while restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily. (Here’s an update on how it’s going.) Here’s a bridge view:
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden – with a new left-turn signal for northbound HP Way, turning to westbound 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.