West Seattle, Washington
Tonight’s pandemic toplines:
PHASE PAUSE: With King County’s cases and hospitalizations being over the maximums for staying in Phase 3, many considered it inevitable that Gov. Inslee would announce a rollback today. But he didn’t. Instead, he announced a two-week “pause” on any counties changing phases, saying the newest numbers suggested the “fourth wave” was plateauing.
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: So here’s where’re we’re at tonight, per the today’s daily summary from Seattle-King County Public Health – the cumulative totals:
*99,420 people have tested positive, 203 more than yesterday’s total
*1,527 people have died, 1 more than yesterday’s total
*5,897 people have been hospitalized, 17 more than yesterday’s total
*1,047,286 people have been tested, 2,401 more than yesterday’s total
One week ago, the totals were 96,744/1,505/5,742/1,032,976.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.
NATIONAL/WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 154.3 million cases worldwide, 32.5 million of them in the U.S. – see other nation-by-nation stats by going here.
HEALTH OFFICIALS’ BRIEFING: At 8:15 am tomorrow online, state health officials will present their weekly briefing and media Q&A. Watch the livestream here.
VACCINATION PROGRESS: 66.1 percent of King County residents 16+ have had at least one shot.
GETTING VACCINATED: The city’s still operating its sites, including the West Seattle hub (2801 SW Thistle), on a “no appointment needed” status (you can make one, though), and starting tomorrow, it’s supposed to have all three authorized vaccines on hand. Tomorrow is also the trial run for evening hours – the WS site will be open until 7:30 pm. … Next new idea from the city: Neighborhood pop-ups. First one is in the U-District; we checked with the West Seattle Junction Association, which says it’s heard from the city about the idea, but no date set yet.
\GOT SOMETHING TO REPORT? email@example.com or 206-293-6302, text/voice – thank you!
9:55 PM: So far we have two reports of that sight in the sky around 9:15 pm. The person who sent the photo described it as “A very long bar moving west to east.” A meteor shower is expected tonight, but not until the early-morning hours. Via Twitter, we’re hearing it might be the Starlink satellites launched earlier today. Checking on that!
10:02 PM: This story from April explains why these satellites would lead to this kind of sighting.
10:35 PM: Thanks to Ben Evans for the video:
He says they might be visible again at 10:54 pm (we’re still looking for the source on that).
11:15 PM: Thanks to the commenters sharing links for satellite tracking!
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
New speed humps are popping up all over Highland Park, South Delridge, and Riverview. SDOT is building up to six a day, and sent reps to HPAC‘s monthly meeting to talk about Home Zone progress and other Reconnect West Seattle projects meant to tackle bridge-detour cut-through traffic.
SDOT’s Sara Zora and David Burgesser began by announcing the RWS project dashboard – centered on a map – has been updated.
A quarterly report is now out, too – here are the key points:
If you saw or heard a sizable police response in Gatewood this afternoon, here’s what was happening: Police were called to a potential person-in-crisis situation near 37th/Rose after 3 pm and say they ended up arresting a woman for allegedly assaulting a family member and two officers. None of the victims were hurt badly enough to require hospital care, police say. The 52-year-old suspect was booked into King County Jail.
Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, which has become a day to celebrate Mexican culture in the U.S. For many, that includes dining and/or drinking at Mexican restaurants/bars. One in West Seattle, Mission Cantina in The Admiral District (2325 California SW; WSB sponsor) has a special plan for the day. Co-proprietor Tina Padilla tells WSB, “We are bringing back our annual pig roast this year at Mission Cantina. We’re opening early and expanding our outdoor seating to make dining-in responsible and safe, and the pig roast carnitas can be taken to-go as well.” Mission will be open 2-9 pm on Cinco de Mayo, featuring the pig roast, street corn, and special cocktails. If you want to call ahead for takeout, 206-937-6220.
4:01 PM TUESDAY: PCC Community Markets just announced the results of its membership vote on 3 board positions – a higher-profile vote than usual with two PCC employees running. They both were elected, according to PCC’s message to members, along with a third newcomer; all three getting more votes than the two current board members who were running for re-election. The new members are Laurae McIntyre, who works at the Fremont PCC; Donna Rasmussen, from the View Ridge PCC; and Rodney Hines, CEO of Metier Brewing Company The board members who did not win re-election were Catherine Walker, the board’s current chair, and Brad Brown, who served as PCC’s interim CEO for half of last year. PCC’s current CEO, Suzy Monford, drew ire for arguing against the city’s proposal to mandate hazard pay for most grocery workers, as reported here in January; two weeks later, the chain and its workers’ union UFCW Local 21 agreed on implementing it after all. The union supported the campaign of the two workers just elected to the board, including paid advertising on sites including WSB.
ADDED 10:20 AM WEDNESDAY: The vote totals are now online:
Hines – 9,397 votes
Rasmussen – 7,051 votes
McIntyre – 6,661 votes
Walker – 5,692 votes
Brown – 4,520 votes
The latest local troop to complete a Scouting for Food door-to-door donation drive is BSA Troop 284. The troop’s Scouting for Food coordinator Jennifer Dempsey – who sent the photo – reports that their collection last weekend totaled more than 1,600 pounds for the West Seattle Food Bank! They had put out flyers the week before in an area bounded by 27th SW, 34th SW, SW Myrtle, and SW Henderson, and then returned to collect. (Even if you weren’t part of it, you can help the WSFB any time – here’s how.)
If you can spare an hour Thursday afternoon, the parent/community coalition Highland Park Plays would love to hear what you think about three design concepts for the next stage of HP Elementary playground improvements, aimed at adding more play equipment and more play opportunities. It’s an online meeting at 4 pm Thursday (May 6th). You can register, and get more background on the project, by going here.
11:06 AM: Just under way and viewable above (or here), Governor Inslee‘s media briefing, at which he is expected to announce the latest evaluation of which counties are eligible for which reopening phases. (King County has been in Phase 3 since March 22nd.) We’ll update as it goes.
He starts by saying the plan is on “pause” for at least two weeks, so King County stays in Phase 3 for now. He says the newest data suggests the situation is “plateauing” statewide – maybe even a slight decline.
He notes that the death rate “has gone down dramatically” though hospitalizations are up, and he cites “vaccination progress” for that. If this progress continues, he says, “sometime in the summer we could potentially have much more normal activities in the state.” He urges that people continue to get vaccinated to ensure the progress. Don’t take them for granted, he says – “these vaccines are desperately wanted across the planet, and we have them right here in Washington state.”
11:14 AM: King County’s public-health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin says the county has indeed “leveled off,” and the two-week pause “provides time to see more reliably” where we’re at and where we’re heading, “and whether we’re turning the corner on the ‘fourth wave,’ which we may be. … I think this s a good and difficult decision by the governor.” He adds, “Vaccination is our ticket to a more stable, more normal lifestyle.”
And, adds Inslee, safety protocols remain vital.
State Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah reiterates that the two-week “pause” will be a chance to see if things are getting better or worse. He notes that it’s been less than three weeks since vaccine eligibility opened to everyone.
11:24 AM: Now on to media Q&A. First one: Why not just give counties the authorization to make their own reopening decisions? The governor says the state-led approach has saved thousands of lives. Dr. Duchin adds that the state’s had one of the nation’s lowest case and death rates for most of the pandemic because of the unified approach.
Next question: Might the plan change so that businesses can have some predictability/certainty? Inslee says “this pandemic has been so rapidly changing and so unpredictable” that a “flexible” plan has been important to have – and in this case, the flexibility involves pausing the plan. “We will look at this for the next two weeks … we are hopeful these trends will continue to go down … we have to figure out which pitch this virus is throwing at us.”
Then: What level of vaccination is the governor looking for, to enable “more normal” activities? Inslee says it’s not yet known what level of vaccine is needed to complement whatever level of natural immunity is out there, but “every single time somebody gets vaccinated” it’s closer.
Q: Couldn’t a pause help counties get a handle on hospital capacity? The governor replied that he hasn’t heard of any major problems aside from Ferry County, which has decided on its own to move back. (During the reply, he mentioned again that the pause is also intended to avoid “disruption to the economy.”)
Q: What more can be done to convince people to get vaccinated? The governor declares, “We’re doing everything humanly possible to give people multiple avenues … We just need people to do this.” Drs. Shah and Duchin acknowledged that some people may not feel much at risk – but need to get vaccinated to help protect others in the community.
Q: A reporter says a restaurant owner has commented about the governor, “He just changed the rules again – how can we trust the process?” Inslee said, “I hope the restaurant owner is happy we just changed the rules again … I would think that’s a popular position with the restaurant industry … (but) he can stay at 25 percent if (he wants).”
Q: What about creating vaccinated sections for restaurants, as the state has now done for some events? Inslee says a lack of compliance with previous rules (in passing, he mentioned $7 million total fines) meant “we just don’t believe there’s a meaningful way” to do that; he also said the state asked the restaurant industry if they wanted that and they did not. As part of a related reply, he again says today’s decision “is not the governor throwing darts at a board,” it’s based on a recent change in trends.
NOON: The event’s offer with one last pitch from the governor saying, “Our destiny is in our hands and that means getting the vaccine.” Here’s the announcement from his website; the archived video should be viewable soon in the same window above.
West Seattle Karate Academy (35th/Roxbury) is closing. One student’s saddened parent told WSB that they got the news at classes on Monday. We contacted the academy’s owner/lead instructor Kris Wilder to confirm. Here’s the announcement:
After 25 years, the West Seattle Karate Academy is closing its dojo doors. Owner and head instructor Kris Wilder said, “A combination of events has put the dojo in the same situation many people and businesses have found themselves. It’s not unique, nor is the sting.”
Kris said, “For the last 25 or so years, I have taught karate in the West Seattle/White Center area. I have met fascinating people, colorful stories, and people with extraordinary potential, gifts, and stories.
“Karate brought us together. Without karate the chances of our crossing paths were low. That is one of the greatest values of Karate, and martial arts, in general, bring people together under one common goal – to better oneself. It has been my greatest pleasure to have been part of this most special community, to participate in your stories and lives. A simple, ‘Thank you.’ Thank you for everything.”
Kris is leaving Seattle, relocating to Eastern Washington. He will continue teaching and writing (he has 22 books) and traveling to teach at his international seminars.
Three years ago, he was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame. The parent who contacted us said West Seattle Karate Academy will be missed: “My son made many friends there, learned a great deal about dedication and focus, and really loved this sport.”
GIVEBIG: Donate to your favorite nonprofit(s) today! (If you don’t have a favorite, that site enables searching by zip code, among other things.)
NORTHW3ST SEAPORT ALLIANCE: Monthly meeting of Seattle and Tacoma Port Commissioners, 9 am online – agenda and viewing info here
GOVERNOR’S BRIEFING: It’s time for an update on reopening phases, and that’s what Gov. Inslee is expected to announce in an 11 am briefing. You can watch live at this link (we expect to carry the stream too).
WEST SEATTLE SKYLINK: Noon online, a presentation by the community group advocating for a gondola system instead of light rail between SODO and West Seattle. The connection info’s in our calendar listing.
DEMONSTRATION: The weekly announcement from organizer Scott:
Black Lives Matter sign-waving
Tuesday, May 4, 4 to 6 pm, corner of 16th SW and SW Holden
Thursday, May 6, 4 to 6 pm, corner of 16th SW and SW Holden
Come build awareness & stimulate actions to tear down the systems that have oppressed Black lives for over 400 years on this continent. Hold signs, meet neighbors and stand for racial justice. Scott at Puget Ridge Cohousing, endorsed by Hate-Free Delridge. Signs available.
6:03 AM: Good morning! Some sunshine expected later today.
ROAD WORK UPDATES
Delridge project – Delridge/Orchard work continues, plus repaving of Delridge Way’s north end.
35th/Graham – Work continues with Graham blocked on both sides of 35th.
SW Yancy east of Avalon – No word on reopening yet.
Home Zones – Speed-hump installation continues around the Highland Park, South Delridge, and Riverview areas.
The West Seattle Water Taxi is on its spring/summer schedule – all day, 7 days a week, plus Friday and Saturday evenings, which means the free 773 and 775 shuttles are running daily too.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
407th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here’s how it’s looking on other bridges and routes:
Low Bridge: 17th week for automated enforcement cameras; restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily – except weekends, when the bridge is now open to all until 8 am Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Access applications are now available for some categories of drivers.)
Here’s a low-bridge view:
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
And the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):
For the South Park Bridge (map), here’s the nearest camera:
Are bridges opening for boats or barges? Check 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.