day : 22/07/2021 10 results

LIGHT RAIL: ‘Hybrid’ scenario arrives as Sound Transit realignment vote approaches

Originally the Sound Transit board was expected to vote today on a realignment plan, to deal with a multi-billion-dollar “affordability gap.” The board’s been talking about it for many months, but some said they wanted to hold off on making big changes because the affordability gap keeps shrinking as the revenue/funding outlook improves. One of the board members in that camp, King County Council chair Claudia Balducci, had been advocating for focusing on cost savings rather than schedule delays to close the gap; ST board chair Kent Keel had proposed a plan focused on the latter. At today’s meeting (here’s the video), a “hybrid” plan incorporating elements of both (highlights above or here; draft resolution here) was presented. Like Keel’s plan, it would push back West Seattle light rail one more year, to 2032, but the plan includes provisions for relatively frequent re-evaluation of schedules and costs system-wide. The board “is on the verge of a solution,” Keel declared at today’s meeting. The vote is now scheduled for a special meeting on August 5th – no time set yet. Got an opinion? emailtheboard@soundtransit.org is where to send it.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Neighbor’s 911 call leads police to suspected catalytic-converter thief, and 2 other notes

Three items in West Seattle Crime Watch:

ARREST AFTER CATALYTIC-CONVERTER THEFT: From the preliminary police report for an incident this afternoon in the 10400 block of 41st SW in Arbor Heights:

A witness called 911 to report an in-progress theft of a neighbor’s catalytic converter. The suspect and vehicle description were provided to 911. Further updates gave a last-known direction of travel as the suspect fled the scene. A responding officer located the possible suspect vehicle leaving the area, and the vehicle and driver matched the provided descriptions. The vehicle was stopped and the driver was detained. Officers contacted the witness for further details and located the victim vehicle. The catalytic converter had been cut out and was missing.

The suspect was arrested and booked into the King County Jail; police say his vehicle “contained evidence of the crime,” so it was impounded.

WARRANT ARREST: Late last night, police arrested someone described in the preliminary report as a “known catalytic-converter thief in the Southwest Precinct [jurisdiction].” The report says this started with surveillance that detectives were conducting on this suspect and someone else with that same description. The warrant was for “escaping” state Corrections Department custody (while we don’t have further details on this case yet, that seldom means “escape” in the classic sense, but more often, a failure to meet requirements of release. The suspect was booked into jail.

BURGLARY ATTEMPT: Reported by a reader:

There was an attempted burglary at our place (Wednesday) within a block of Fairmount Park at 4:10 pm in the afternoon.

Whoever it was tried to use a pry bar and kick the door down, before I even had a chance to get downstairs. Please warn people to keep their doors locked, even during the day!

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: USS Theodore Roosevelt

5:40 PM: Just got a tip that a Bremerton-bound aircraft carrier is coming into view. The Kitsap Sun reports it’s the USS Theodore Roosevelt. More to come – we’re headed downhill to see.

(WSB photo – those are cars on deck, belonging to the relocating sailors and families)

6:21 PM: The carrier’s turning into Rich Passage.

7:02 PM: Adding a photo, as seen from Constellation Park. The Sun’s Josh Farley reports the carrier has shifted homeports from San Diego to Bremerton for an extensive overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

BRIDGE MEETING FOLLOWUPS: See all 175 questions/comments. Plus: Where the mayor actually was

(West end of the West Seattle Bridge [technically the Fauntleroy Expressway] – photo by Jerry Simmons)

Two followups from last night’s West Seattle Bridge community meeting (here’s our as-it-happened coverage, with video):

ALL THE QUESTIONS: As noted here, questions submitted in writing via Zoom were only visible to the meeting panelists. 28 questions were read/asked and answered, but anyone wondering what else was asked was left wondering. SDOT promised an “FAQ” list would eventually be published, but we asked today if we could just get the list of all the questions asked. Here’s the document sent to us as a result, with all 175 of the questions/comments submitted via Zoom Q&A.

WHERE THE MAYOR ACTUALLY WAS: During introductions, SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe said Mayor Jenny Durkan – who has spoken at past bridge-related meetings – “couldn’t be here because she has been in the other Washington, D.C., working hard” to secure federal funding. But as it turns out (thanks to the reader who caught this via a Seattle Times photo gallery), she was actually already back in Seattle at the time of the meeting – attending the Kraken NHL team expansion-draft event at Gas Works Park. Her Twitter account featured this, seven minutes before the bridge meeting began:

Certainly a mayoral appearance was not a must for the bridge meeting. But since a point was made of her absence, we inquired with SDOT and the mayor’s office. First, from an SDOT spokesperson, “What Director Zimbabwe meant to say was 1) the Mayor had been in or was shortly traveling back from DC and 2) wasn’t able to make the meeting in part because of that. Any inference that she was in DC at the time was a miscommunication and we regret the error.” A spokesperson from the mayor, meantime, replied, “Yes, the Mayor was in DC the first half of this week until she flew in yesterday, shortly ahead of the Kraken draft, which you are correct that she attended. While in DC she met on several transportation priorities, including with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to secure additional resources for the West Seattle Bridge repair. Over the past 16 months since the West Seattle Bridge closed, the Mayor has attended many West Seattle virtual town halls and Community Task Force Meetings. As Mayor, she often has to balance competing priorities but remains wholly committed to getting West Seattle connected again.”

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle beach pollution from condo sewer problems not over after all

(WSB photo, last week)

Nine days after we first reported on warning signs south of Alki Point because of a sewer leak on private property, the problems aren’t over after all, Seattle Public Utilities confirms. Two days after that first report, SPU told us the leak had stopped, but bacteria levels were still high enough to keep nearby beaches closed to water activities. Then on Wednesday a reader tipped us that more signage had gone up east of Alki Point, including one seen at 64th/Alki. So we checked back with SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register, whose reply identifies the problem property for the first time:

Seattle Public Utilities staff continue to test water samples daily to determine when the beach can safely reopen to water activities. Since the July 13 discovery of the overflow caused by a broken side sewer at a multi-unit building at 3717 Beach Drive, samples have shown higher than acceptable levels of bacteria. Continued high readings of bacteria revealed additional sewer-related issues at the multi-unit building and prompted SPU’s Spill Response team to extend and expand the beach closure .

SPU property owners are responsible for maintaining their sewer lines and any discharges from unmaintained lines can result in fines. SPU will issue a notice of violation to the property owner.

Tide flows and the availability of contractors have impacted their repair schedule. Repairs are scheduled to begin (today). SPU staff will continue to work with the building owner and Public Health-Seattle & King County to determine when water activities along Beach Dr. can safely resume.

3717 Beach Drive is the Harbor West condo building, built on pilings over the water. The complex had a major sewer leak back in 2013.

Here’s what all that work at former Roxhill Elementary building is for

Lots of questions this morning about all the activity at the former Roxhill Elementary campus (29th/Roxbury) – it’s certainly eye-catching if you pass by, as we just did on our way to and from an unrelated event. We stopped for a few photos.

(WSB photos)

Back when Seattle Public Schools was drawing up the plan for the BEX V levy, there was talk of rebuilding on this site, since the old Roxhill building is so rundown – but it didn’t make the cut. However, the BEX IV levy passed by voters in 2013 did provide money for seismic (earthquake-safety) improvements here.

According to SPS, the work being done this summer will: “Lower the chimney [height], improve shear wall capacity in classrooms, (and) improve roof-to-wall connections in gymnasium, auditorium, and covered play area.” The chimney was the focus of work when we stopped by.

The contractor is MJ Takisaki, which has a contract for just under half a million dollars; the work is scheduled to be complete before the new school year begins in September. Previous seismic work on the 63-year-old building dates back to 2002, according to SPS. Though the Roxhill Elementary program moved to the former EC Hughes campus three years ago, the old Roxhill is not idle – it is home to programs including special education and part of the alternative high school Interagency.

SIDE NOTE: This is just one of several projects happening at local SPS campuses this summer.

DEVELOPMENT: 34 residential units planned for High Point church site

From today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin, a longstanding proposal for the High Point site of True Living Church has reached the official application stage, three years after the first preliminary “site plan” was filed. The project with an official address of 2900 SW Myrtle [map] is described as “17, 3-story, single-family dwelling units with attached accessory dwelling units. Parking for 34 vehicles proposed.” Much of the site is open space now; project documents include these notes from a meeting with city planners:

…The site is 115793 SF+/- and includes (Environmental Critical Area) Steep Slope Areas and Salmon Watershed. The arborist has also identified numerous exceptional trees and groves present on the property.

It is proposed to proceed with a Clustered Housing Planned Development Administrative Conditional Use Process by eliminating any development within the steep slope area and buffer. It is also proposed to retain exceptional trees and groves.

The notice explains how to comment; deadline is August 4th.

What’s happening – and not – on your West Seattle Thursday

(Steller’s Jay, photographed by Theresa Arbow-O’Connor)

Welcome to Thursday!

LOW-LOW TIDE: At 10:05 am, the tide’s out to -3.0 feet, as one final summer round of low-low tides begins.

SOUND TRANSIT BOARD: While the board has delayed its vote on realignment – potentially delaying light rail to West Seattle and elsewhere – to August 5th, its meeting at 1:30 pm today will include discussion of proposals and amendments. Public comment is part of the meeting – the agenda includes how to view/participate and how to comment.

SOLSTICE PARK TENNIS PARTY: 6:30 pm-9 pm at the courts (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW):

Bring your racquet for some fun doubles games (all levels welcome) and your lawn chair to watch an exhibition match featuring local pros and college players. Hear the latest updates on our efforts to increase access to our favorite lifetime sport!

More info in our calendar listing.

NO DEMONSTRATION: The regular signwaving for racial justice at 16th/Holden is no longer happening on Thursdays, as of this week, but will continue on Tuesdays, 4:30-6 pm.

NO TRANSPORTATION COALITION: In case you missed the previous mention, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition isn’t meeting tonight – they’re skipping this month.

More on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar. Planning something? Email the info to westseattleblog@gmail.com – thank you!

Remembering Barbara G. Maurer, 1945-2021

Family and friends are remembering Barbara Glee Maurer and sharing this remembrance with her community:

Barbara Glee Maurer died on July 15, 2021, at the age of 76, in the comfort of her home overlooking Puget Sound, surrounded by friends and family. Her death was a culmination of a valiant battle against cancer.

Born on Whidbey Island to Dr. A.O. and Glee Brewer, Barbara spent her childhood exploring beaches, swimming in the ocean, and climbing azaleas near her home. At age 11, she was adopted by Roberta and James Lawrence, moved into their loving home in West Seattle, and joined in their many adventures across the Pacific Northwest and Mexico. She was a gifted harpist and practiced dance under the tutelage of an NYC ballerina.

Throughout her life, Barbara had a fierce passion for education. After attending both Whitman College, where she joined Kappa Kappa Gamma, and University of Idaho, she received her BA in Education, continuing on to the University of Washington for her M.Ed. She took her love for teaching to Gatewood Elementary, where she developed a program for high-achieving children of all backgrounds, which was nationally validated by the US Department of Education. She would continue these efforts at Highline Public Schools, expanding her gifted curriculum with colleague and friend Sue Wallace.

Outside of her career, Barbara served two terms as President of the Burien/White Center Rotary, having joined as soon as women were allowed. She also served as Assistant District Governor for Rotary District 5030. In 2018, she and husband Gerry launched and managed a Rotary International Foundation grant-funded water project in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, India. Barbara was also active in the Fauntleroy YMCA and assisted in establishing the Pelly Place Greenbelt.

Barbara loved caring for her beautiful garden, often giving gifts of lavender, pickled beans, and other fruits of her labor. She also enjoyed sailing, skiing, cooking big family dinners, and entertaining at their West Seattle home.

Barbara is survived by husband P. Gerry Maurer, sons Karl Norsen (Michelle), Curtis Norsen (Betsy), step-daughters Kristina Montague (Tom), Serena Maurer (Sam), and grandchildren Tao, Tabby, Harper, Chapin, Max, Ella, and Millie; sister Marti Lawrence-Grant, brother Don McKay, nieces Cheryl Ramon and Mary Cross, and nephew Don McKay Jr.

We are so grateful for the loving care and support offered by Home Care Assistance caregivers, Kline Galland Hospice, and Aging Wisdom, as well as the nurses, doctors, and staff at Virginia Mason.

In lieu of flowers we welcome donations to Susan G. Komen.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

ROAD WORK, TRAFFIC, WEATHER: What’s ahead for Thursday

6:04 AM: Good morning, Today’s forecast is for sunshine and a high in the 70s..

ROAD WORK

SW Genesee – Genesee continues down to one lane, alternating, between 26th and 30th, because of vehicles working on the nearby “pond.” As explained here, the work is expected 7 am-6 pm.

Delridge project – Southbound Delridge is still closed between Holden and Trenton. So is Henderson on the east side of Delridge; other closures are ahead, according to this week’s update.

Weekend reminder – Highland Park Way/West Marginal intersection: Here’s a preview, including new work hours and lane reductions for Saturday and Sunday.

TRANSIT

Buses are on their regular schedules – except for the Route 120 reroute because of the southbound Delridge Way work and the Route 128 reroute because of the SW Henderson closure east of Delridge. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of bus cancellations.

For ferries, regular schedule. Watch and @wsferries for updates.

BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES

486th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here are the views of other bridges and routes:

Low Bridge: Automated enforcement cameras remain in use; restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily – except weekends; the bridge is open to all until 8 am Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Access applications are available for some categories of drivers.)

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 draw/swing bridges opening for boats or barges? See the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed. (1st Ave. South Bridge openings also are tweeted on @wsdot_traffic.)

See all local traffic cams here; locally relevant cameras are also on this WSB page.

Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.