day : 13/09/2021 7 results

ORCAS: 3 pregnant whales in J-Pod

Less than a week after Southern Resident Killer Whales in J-Pod came far enough south to be seen from West Seattle, there’s word the pod has three pregnancies in progress. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a news release today saying the evidence is in health-monitoring drone photography by SR3. As a result, WDFW has ordered boaters to stay at least half a nautical mile away from the three pregnant orcas and any group with which they’re believed to be traveling. The three are J36 (21 years old), J37 (20 years old), and J19 (42 years old). The SRKWs have a high rate of pregnancy loss, the emergency rule points out. So it’s hoped this order will help increase the odds of successful births.

FOLLOWUP: Alki Beach Park back to regular hours

While the days are getting shorter, at Alki, they’ve also just gotten longer. Tonight is the first night that Alki Beach Park‘s closing time is back to 11:30 pm, after two months of closing at 10 pm. The early closing time was ordered in early July – first as a holiday-weekend experiment, then as a two-month trial run – days after the shooting that killed 22-year-old Tilorae Shepherd. We confirmed with Seattle Parks this afternoon that there had been no last-minute decision to extend the early closing time. One note: Though the beach is open later now, the fire pits are supposed to be closed for the season as of tonight.

FOLLOWUP: Here’s how Seattle City Light explains Sunday’s power outages

As promised, we asked Seattle City Light today for details on what caused Sunday’s outages affecting more than 3,200 homes and businesses in West Seattle, from North Delridge to Harbor Avenue. First, to recap, as reported here yesterday afternoon/evening – 107 customers went out at 11:30 am, another 3,100 at 2 pm. Most of the second group had power back about an hour later, while for the rest, it took later. Here’s how SCL spokesperson Julie Moore explains it:

We saw a few pole fires yesterday, including the two that caused the outages in West Seattle. After a dry period, when there is a mist as opposed to a sustained rain, it is not uncommon for insulators to track (leak electrical current), which can cause a fire. The first one was a pole at 2833 SW Yancy St. This was on a lateral line that only impacted those customers fed from that line. The second one was a pole at 3022 SW Bradford St. For this one, we needed to shut down the feeder that feeds the lateral, which is why it initially impacted a greater number of customers. We were able to restore the bulk of the customers (all but 455 of the 3,000+) pretty quickly through switching. The rest were restored once we completed repairs.

The two pole-fire locations are just a few blocks apart.

CORONAVIRUS: Seattle Public Schools reports 117 cases, adds school-by-school numbers

Monday is when Seattle Public Schools updates its new COVID-19 dashboard (although last week included additional midweek updates). The cumulative districtwide case total is now 117 – 32 of those in the Southwest Region (West Seattle/South Park) – and the district has added school-by-school numbers and a map:

In our area, Chief Sealth International High School and Lafayette Elementary report 6 each, Denny International Middle School and Highland Park Elementary report 4 each, Gatewood and Roxhill Elementaries report 3 each, Pathfinder K-8 reports 2, and there’s 1 each at West Seattle High School, Louisa Boren STEM K-8, and Genesee Hill and Sanislo Elementaries. (The numbers are not broken out between students and staff, just by school.) None are reported at Madison Middle School, Alki Elementary, Arbor Heights Elementary, Concord International (Elementary), Fairmount Park Elementary, or West Seattle Elementary. The 32 total cases in this area is 20 more than were listed when the dashboard launched a week ago.

BIZNOTE: Owner of 35th North to open shop in West Seattle Junction

The former Verizon store on the ground floor of the Senior Center of West Seattle building has a new tenant. The owner of the Capitol Hill skate shop 35th North is taking over the space. Tony Croghan tells WSB that this shop will have a different name, TBA, as he wants each of his shops to have its own identity. It’s smaller than the Capitol Hill space but will carry much of the same merchandise – skating equipment, apparel, shoes, etc. He also hopes to include an “art wall” and will participate in the monthly West Seattle Art Walk. Expanding here wasn’t a long-held goal, but when he heard about the space opening, Croghan said, it just made sense. He is a former West Seattle resident, now living in Burien, but often visits because his family still lives on the peninsula. He’s hoping to open the West Seattle shop by December. (P.S. For more on what 35th North is like, here’s a story from our friends at Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.)

Online memorial planned next week for Howard Martin, 1944-2021

Howard Martin will be remembered with a virtual memorial on September 22nd. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing with his community:

Howard Martin, 77, died on August 10, 2021 with his wife and daughter by his side, after living with the aftereffects of a stroke, including dementia, for 8 years.

Born in New York City, Howard moved many times before settling in Seattle, where he lived for the past 36 years. He studied Political Science at UCLA and received a MSW from USC. His work spanned teaching, counseling, acting, cab-driving, nonprofit management, political organizing, and retail until his retirement in 2013.

Howard moved to West Seattle in 1992, and embraced this community — especially his neighborhood, Blockwatch32 in the Luna Park/Avalon area. He served on the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association Board, worked for Neighborhood House in White Center, met up regularly with dog-park friends at Westcrest, and was among the first hires at the Home Depot on Delridge, where he worked preceding his stroke and eventual retirement. He participated in Providence Mt. St. Vincent’s Eldercare Program and enjoyed the attention and excellent care he received.

He is preceded in death by his parents Ruth and Peter, daughter Naomi, and stepfather Earl (longtime West Seattleite Earl Robinson). He is survived by wife Marcia, daughter Kata, brother Michael, and many family members and friends.

He will be remembered for his perennial wit, humor, and warmth, and by his online alias, HowieInSeattle. A virtual memorial will be held on 9/22 @ 3 pm — email for details.

Remembrances may be made to Delridge Neighborhood Development Association.

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

UPDATE: 3-alarm fire in downtown White Center

(Added: Video by @houndoomer on Twitter. Language caution)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 5:44 AM: Another big fire callout in downtown White Center, and Seattle Fire units from West Seattle are being sent to help. 16th SW is being blocked south of Roxbury. We’re on our way to find out more.

(WSB/WCN photos/video)

5:58 AM: As our first photo shows, the logged address is correct – the old Locker Room Tavern at 9633 16th SW, damaged by fire back in April.

6:10 AM: No word yet if anyone was injured, or if the adjacent businesses are damaged.

(Video added)
This is the third major commercial-building fire in White Center in a little over two months, after the July 5th fire that gutted seven businesses a bit further north on 16th SW (ruled arson) and the fire at the old Atlas Electric building on September 1st (still under investigation).

6:18 AM: The fire’s not out yet – still visible flames and smoke inside the building.

6:34 AM: Public-information officers on scene say this is a 3-alarm fire – they’ve called in the extra help because of the proximity of other businesses. (video added, briefing by PIO Pat Pawlak:)

They’re working to try to keep it from spreading to the adjacent businesses (Bizzarro Italian Café to the south, Huong Xua Deli to the north). No injuries reported.

8:07 AM: After a break to return to HQ to upload video, our crew is back at the fire scene. Some of the responding units have been dismissed. We talked to a Bizzarro Italian Café rep, who says they’re closed Mondays anyway so they’ll be evaluating any effects. Same goes for Full Tilt Ice Cream two doors down – owner Justin Cline tells us there’s some water damage but they’re also usually closed Mondays, so they have time to deal with it. 16th, meantime, is likely to stay closed another two hours or so.

9:04 AM: Lot of cleanup to be done inside Huong Xua (above). Meantime, more than three hours after the fire started, firefighters are still on scene:

12:08 PM: 16th SW has reopened.

12:35 PM: We just checked back with Fire District spokesperson Shauna Sheppard: No cause determined yet.

1:31 PM: Another update from Sheppard: Early indications are that the fire was NOT deliberately set, but the investigation continues.

8:56 PM: We went by tonight; Bizzarro (whose website says they’ll be closed “a few weeks”) and Huong Xua are both boarded up, and the Locker Room is simply rubble. A commenter posted this link to a crowdfunding page for the Locker Room’s proprietors, saying they were about to start rebuilding from the April fire damage.