West Seattle, Washington
For the second consecutive night, a big announcement from the governor leads the roundup:
GET BACK IN THE CLASSROOM, SAYS GOVERNOR: By mid-April, “every student” must have the option of some in-person learning, by order of the governor. Seattle Public Schools says it’s waiting until the governor puts this all in writing to “analyze” it; no official reaction yet from the Seattle Education Association yet, either. Side note: Oregon’s governor announced a similar order today.
KING COUNTY NUMBERS: Here are the latest stats from the Public Health daily-summary page, cumulative totals:
*83,806 people have tested positive, 153 more than yesterday’s total
*1,435 people have died, 6 more than yesterday’s total
*5,166 people have been hospitalized, 7 more than yesterday’s total
*926,928 people have been tested, 1,867 more than yesterday’s total
Now, our weekly check of key numbers on the COVID Vaccination Among King County Residents dashboard:
*459,191 people have received one dose
*260,713 people have received both doses
*714,115 doses have been allocated to King County
One week ago, the first four totals were 82,818/1,412/5,125/913,804, and the vaccination totals were 393.154/218,184/622,155.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 119 million cases, 2,639,000+ deaths – see the nation-by-nation numbers here.
STATEWIDE SITUATION REPORT: The newest one was released tonight. Key points:
-Case counts have increased slightly in western Washington and plateaued in eastern Washington as of late February.
-Most counties have seen declines in case counts since the first week of January, but cases have flattened in several counties and are starting to increase again in others.
=Cases are increasing among younger adults aged 20-29 and 30-39. This has previously been an early warning sign of larger surges in the general population.
-We are seeing sharp declines in hospital admission rates among people 70 and older, possibly because those groups are among the first to get vaccinated.
-COVID-19 transmission is continuing at about the same level after declines through January and February.
-The estimated prevalence (percentage of people with active COVID-19 infections) began to plateau in early February after declines in January.
COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER’S BRIEFING: In his weekly briefing, Dr. Jeff Duchin said “The forecast is partly sunny with a chance of rain.’
VACCINATION SITUATION: Dr. Duchin and the county continue warning that supply is far behind demand, and that’s even before the eligibility expansion that kicks in next week. If you’re seeking vaccine:
If you’re eligible now, here are places to look:
*For the city-run West Seattle and Rainier Beach sites and Lumen Field Event Center hub – get on the notification list here; check for West Seattle appointments available in the next few days by going here
*Your health-care provider (particularly bigger ones like UW Medicine, CHI Franciscan, Swedish, Kaiser Permanente, etc.)
*covidwa.com (volunteer-run aggregator)
*Pharmacy chains big and small – Safeway, Rite Aid, QFC, Pharmaca (a reader reports they opened up appointments tonight), Costco
*Sea Mar clinics
IF YOU NEED TESTING SATURDAY: The city’s West Seattle test site (2801 SW Thistle) continues to be open on Saturdays.
GOT INFO OR PHOTOS? email@example.com or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!
From the WSB inbox, two more tales of welcome surprises:
MYSTERY MUG: The photo and report are from Robin:
About two weeks ago, this completely fantastic mug was left on the hood of my truck outside my home between 4 and 10 PM. I questioned friends and neighbors, but no one has yet fessed up to leaving it for me, so I wanted to thank whoever did. I live right on the Duwamish bike trail, so maybe it was someone traveling by the house who happen to see my unicorn sticker on the truck and thought I would enjoy it? I do, and I wanted to thank to thank my Anonymous secret Santa!
THESE ROCKS ROCK: The photos and report are from JD:
Someone is leaving beautiful hand-painted rocks in random flowerbeds around West Seattle. These were spotted in beds on Alki Ave. What a sweet surprise!
In the early weeks of the pandemic, we received so many reports of neighborhood joy – bears in windows, chalk art on sidewalk, signs in yards – glad to see it’s still happening a year later!
Thanks to JayDee for the photo – tonight brought the second-to-last sunset of Standard Time, with Daylight Saving Time arriving tomorrow night (technically Sunday morning, 2 am “springs forward” to 3 am). More sunshine is in the forecast for tomorrow, and another high near 60 – today hit 57.
4:55 PM: Police including SWAT officers are at Camp Second Chance, the tiny-house encampment on Myers Way in southeast West Seattle, right now. So far, all that police are saying is that it started as an attempt to make a felony warrant arrest. The suspect is holed up in one of the tiny houses and might be armed – which is why the SWAT team is there. No report of injuries. We’ll update when more information is available.
6:38 PM: Not resolved yet. Negotiators have been talking with the suspect by phone off and on.
6:45 PM: The suspect has emerged and is in custody.
9:09 PM: We’ve obtained the initial police summary of how this unfolded. The suspect, police say, was a former camp resident, kicked out for threatening other residents. Police were called when he showed back up at the camp, and after they arrived, he ran into his former tiny house. He refused to come out and threatened to try to provoke officers to kill him. Police “established probable cause for (his) arrest for investigation of Harassment, burglary, and a previously reported assault.” They called in negotiators to try to talk him out, and obtained a search warrant. He eventually surrendered and “was taken into custody without further issues.” He is 38 years old and currently in the King County Jail.
The agendas for next week’s City Council meetings have gone public, and there’s one item of extra interest – the Transportation and Utilities Committee meeting at 9:30 am Wednesday will include a West Seattle Bridge briefing. The slide deck is already available – most of it is information we reported earlier this week (bridge status here, low-bridge access discussion here), but there are a few more details on funding, for example:
(SDOT presentations are usually framed in blue, but this one appears to be green – with shamrocks – since the meeting’s happening on St. Patrick’s Day.) As with all City Council meetings, this one will be streamed live on Seattle Channel (cable 21 or online here).
The West Seattle space that Swedish is vacating at 3400 California SW will remain a health-care clinic. We’ve been covering the plan for Swedish to move into The Junction but didn’t know until today what would happen to the building it’s leaving. Here’s the announcement we received:
Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is announcing the opening of a new medical clinic in West Seattle this fall. This facility will expand options for new and existing patients in the community as the closure of the West Seattle Bridge creates a barrier for residents to access quality health services close to home.
The new facility will house primary care, internal medicine, laboratory and limited radiology services.
Specialty services will rotate weekly and will include:
In addition to the clinic, West Seattle patients will have integrated access to nearby St. Anne Hospital if needed, as well as on-site specialists from our network, including legacy Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan locations.
11:39 AM: Almost exactly one year after he ordered schools to close, the governor says he’s issuing an emergency proclamation to “give every K-12 student” the “option” of in-person learning. (Watch his briefing live above.) He says there’s “now undeniably a mental-health crisis” for youth and so it’s imperative that they have the opportunity to go back. He adds that “the order allows for staggering the re-introduction”:
*By April 5th, all elementary students must have the option of in-person learning
*By April 19th, all other students must have the option
He underscores that districts “are still required” to follow health/safety precautions. He says his order will require at least two in-person days a week. He acknowledges that returning to in-person learning won’t instantly solve the mental-health crisis, so other measures will be taken to address that.
11:47 AM: The governor turns the microphone over to state superintendent Chris Reykdal. He says about 50 percent of the state’s students are already getting some in-person learning. He expresses concerns such as a high absence rate in middle and high school, and an increase in F/incomplete grades for their work, with a 50 percent jump in students as a result not getting credit for coursework, so “this is the time for us to double down” – reopening “needs to be sped up significantly. … The science says we can open schools up safely.”
11:56 AM: Swedish‘s director of pediatrics Dr. Nwando Anyaoku is speaking now. She says they’ve seen a dramatic increase in children needing emergency attention for mental-health crises “and that’s just the tip of the iceberg … that’s something we can’t allow to continue.” She’s followed by Dr. Peter Asante, from the board of the Washington state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The “impact of school closures (is) now at epidemic proportions,” he says. Masking, screening, ventilation are among “simple strategies that work” to keep everyone safe – so far outbreaks at schools have been “highly uncommon.”
12:10 PM: They and the governor all reiterate that the pandemic has brought inequities into the light and work to remedy them will have to continue long term. Inslee now moves on to media Q&A. He’s asked what changed enabling him to make this kind of order, since he’d said before that he couldn’t, and what happens if unions/district defy it? “Look, this is a legally binding proclamation,” he replies. But “we’re not here today for threats, we’re here for success.” As for the authority, he cites the new information about the mental-health crisis: “We’re responding to the new science that we have. … The conditions changed. The scientific information changed. The authority did not change – the conditions did not exist in which (we could) use the authority.” He also says vaccination of educators should not be an issue, as “they have an almost exclusive” access through the federal pharmacy program, along with access via other channels.
Pressed again, what happens if a district says it can’t meet the new deadlines? “That’s not going to happen because we know they can,” Inslee insists. “… Schools are making it work in every imaginable (type of) district across the state of Washington.” He declares the situation a “win-win-win,” and also reiterates that this is an order to offer the option, not to require families to send their kids back to school if they’re not comfortable with it. (Still no reply to the question of what happens if the order is defied.)
12:41 PM: The briefing is over. The archived video should be available in the same window above shortly. We’ll be updating as reaction comes in.
2:46 PM: Here’s the official statement we obtained from Seattle Public Schools:
Seattle Public Schools has been working to bring back our students, beginning with our most vulnerable, for in-person instruction: students receiving special education services and preschool students.
We are in active negotiations with the Seattle Education Association for a safe and successful return. We have a plan and have been on track in partnership with SEA to come to an agreement that would return these students beginning on March 29.
The governor’s proclamation and details will be released on Monday. We will need time to analyze the details of the proclamation and determine the impacts for our students, families, and staff.
3:26 PM: A spokesperson for the Seattle Education Association tells WSB that the union has no official comment yet.
7:15 PM: Here’s what SEA has sent to its membership, noting, “With our bargaining team in non-stop bargaining, we have not had time to fully process how this will impact the current negotiations.”
Toplines from the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s March board meeting ranged from ferries to police to a spring celebration:
WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES: WSF’s Hadley Rodero was there to talk about the kickoff of the planning process for the replacement of the circa-1950s Fauntleroy ferry terminal.
The current dock’s problems include deterioration and its low level. She memtioned next week’s public meetings (March 17-18, details here) and a process that will follow to recruit Community Advisory Group members for the project.
Three West Seattle food and drink notes this morning:
HOT FOOD @ FARMERS’ MARKET: The West Seattle Farmers’ Market management says it has Seattle/King County Public Health approval to bring back hot food, so vendors can again cook and serve at the market. But rules remain – for example, the announcement says:
Shoppers are not allowed to congregate in front of booths to wait for orders. When you arrive at market, check-in with your favorite prepared food vendor first thing. If it looks like your meal will take more than five minutes to prepare, do a lap, take care of your grocery shopping, then pick up your food on your way out. Each vendor will have their own method of managing wait times that best suit their business.
And once you have your food, it’s take-home time – no eating or drinking at the market. Plus – of course – masks are still required for all. The Farmers’ Market operates 10 am-2 pm Sundays on California SW between SW Alaska and SW Oregon.
FREE YOGURT: Ellenos, a Seattle-based company, is giving away cups of its new Milk and Fruit yogurt at Whole Foods West Seattle (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW) 9 am-12:30 pm Saturday. However, you can’t just show up – they’re asking you to sign up for a time slot here.
LIQUOR STORE: One month after Capco Beverages closed, the store’s new ownership has just filed for permits to overhaul the new space at 4712 42nd SW, the former Subway and Junction Fitness spots in outer Jefferson Square next to Nikko Teriyaki.
Got food/drink news? Let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
We often feature school-related fundraisers. Today, one with a twist: West Seattle High School students are asking you to join them in supporting a nonprofit. WSHS senior Lexi Reifel explains: “In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’ve teamed up with a local non-profit organization, Dress for Success Seattle … Women have been the hardest-hit employment group with the onset of Covid; that’s why now more than ever it’s critical we help our local unemployed and underemployed women!” Here’s the announcement:
Join the WSHS Feminist Club in supporting and amplifying Dress for Success Seattle, the local affiliate of the global non-profit that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, development tools, and professional attire to thrive in work and in life.
WSHS Feminist Club is raising awareness of Dress for Success Seattle’s programs, and raising funds. We’ve set the goal to raise $2,000 in the month of March for Women’s History Month, investing in DFS Seattle’s always-FREE programs in service to women achieving financial stability, please donate here to continue the vital work of empowering women in the Seattle community.
All proceeds net expenses will be held in trust by Seattle Public Schools until disbursed to Dress for Success Seattle, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
6:07 AM: Good morning! Another sunny day! Likely on our way to another glowing sunset like last night, photographed by Marc Milrod:
1st Avenue South Bridge – Southbound lane closures continue today:
*Through noon Monday (March 15th), two southbound lanes closed around the clock
*The entire southbound bridge is scheduled to close Sunday night (March 14th) and Monday night (March 15th), 9 pm-5 am both nights
West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway – As noted Monday, work has begun on Phase 2, including 42nd SW south of The Junction.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
354th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here’s how it’s looking on other bridges and routes:
Low Bridge: Ninth week for automated enforcement cameras, while restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily. 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):
And the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) – remember those southbound lane closures:
For the South Park Bridge (map), here’s the nearest camera:
To check for bridges’ marine-traffic openings, see the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed.
Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.