West Seattle, Washington
Eight years have passed since Seattle City Light declared its ex-substation at 16th/Holden to be surplus, along with several others in West Seattle, and proposed putting it up for sale. The site’s underlying zoning was for single-family housing, but community members counterproposed that commercial development might be better. It was rezoned for mixed use a few years later – as described during a Highland Park tour with then-Mayor Ed Murray in 2017 – but has continued to sit idle.
Now there are some possibilities in play, and HPAC heard about them at tonight’s meeting. City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who shepherded the rezoning years ago, first explained that City Light still owns the site and remains amenable to a no-cost transfer of the site to the city Office of Housing. So OH and Enterprise Community Partners have been evaluating the feasibility “to explore further what’s possible at the site.” She said they’re opening a dialogue to “get moving on a path forward.”
Enterprise Community Partners’ Jess Blanch explained her organization is national and works on affordable housing from policy to finance to development. “We cover it from end to end.” She directs the program Home and Hope – housing on publicly owned tax-exempt land, like this site. She says “a few issues are in play” – it’s zoned NC-40.”Given the site size [10,000 sf], it is really too small of a site for affordable rental housing, the way (that) is financed.” But affordable homeownership might be a possibility. It would have to be 100 percent “public benefit” for the land to be given for this purpose – that means low-income community members – making no more than 80 percent of the area mean income – would have to be served in its commercial space, such as a food bank or preschool. It could also be live-work space.
Erika Malone from the Office of Housing explained her department doesn’t develop, own, or manage projects so if the property is transferred to them, they would then put out a Request for Proposals. The site would have to be developed as “permanently affordable housing.”
Herbold said that “if there’s interest in a ground-level use that provides a public benefit, it makes it more possible to develop the property for affordable housing.” They wouldn’t be able to do a low- or no-cost transfer if it was going to be ground-floor retail and housing above it – they’d probably have to sell it to a for-profit developer.
HPAC co-chair Kay Kirkpatrick said having commercial space there would be a public benefit in its own way because Highland Park needs more walkable businesses; the guests said that wouldn’t meet the technical definition of public benefit. Kirkpatrick and attendees pointed out that an adjacent property is currently up for sale. But that site (about 5,000 sf) wouldn’t add enough land to make affordable rental housing “pencil out,” said Blanch.
Some brainstorming ensued; community ideas about ways to have a business that served low-income residents included a FareStart-type café, serving the public and training people emerging from homelessness.
So what’s the next step? Herbold said they want to know if HPAC would be OK with a potentially non-commercial ground-floor use. Then the Office of Housing would explore seeking a nonprofit homeownership organization – Community Land Trust, Habitat for Humanity, for example. “There are still a lot of iunknowns regarding what’s possible,” Malone said. Then discussions between oH and SCL would ensue; if they worked out how it could be transferred, Permanently affordable homeownership vs. development that would include bjusinesses – which would mean a for-profit developer.
Enterprise has worked up some concepts, Herbold said. Blanch said she didn’t want to share those publicly but said the site could hold 8 to 10 townhouses, for example. Since the site is adjacent to single-family homes, that puts “some constraints’ on the “developable envelope.” Or, “condo apartments” would be an option.
What kind of a timeline are they working on? Kirkpatrick asked. Enterprise has a contract with the city that’s being renewed at least through next year, Blanch said. So a decision on a direction can apparently wait until early next year (this was HPAC’s last scheduled meeting until January).
(We’ll report on the rest of tonight’s HPAC meeting – two discussions with SDOT – in a separate story Thursday.)
Maybe you’ve seen Alisha Timm out running in her orange shirt. She is in training for this year’s New York City Marathon, just a week and a half away, and wants to explain why:
Hi There! My name is Alisha Timm and I am a proud five-year West Seattle resident – I’m also the girl running around in the orange ‘Imagine a World Without Cancer’ shirt. It’s been so fun to run around all of the neighborhoods in West Seattle and fall even more in love with this beautiful community
Growing up I played competitive soccer and ran cross country, but after a terrible knee injury and a horrific car accident found myself being told I shouldn’t run any more. Well, twelve half-marathons later, I’ve found myself training for my first marathon, the 50th New York City Marathon. After being postponed last year, it is officially happening on November 7th this year.
When I started on the pursuit of completing the NYC Marathon, it was a check off the bucket list for me – but, I couldn’t bring myself to a place where I could imagine not taking the opportunity to raise awareness and do good for something bigger than myself. Joining Fred’s Team was a no-brainer for me as every single person in this world has been impacted by cancer; driving awareness and funding research is critical to making a change. Fred’s Team is affiliated with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY, the largest and oldest private cancer center in the world. As part of the team, you can select if you’d like to contribute to a certain type of cancer – I went with childhood.
Raising awareness for childhood cancer was my choice for several reasons, but the largest being that these kids have their whole life ahead of them and are starting out with this unfathomable battle, I cannot even begin to imagine being the child or family in that situation. Below are some statistics that really surprised me when I started digging in:
-#1 cause of death in children
-Only 4% of research dollars spent annually are on childhood cancer
-95% of survivors have significant health-related issues due to treatment options
-43 kids per day in the US are diagnosed with cancer
Statistics are based on US only; imagine adding in the rest of the world.
Should you decide to learn more, my page is here.
Thank you for your interest in reading about this, it means a ton and is such a large part of my life!
Want to get more closely involved in the West Seattle light-rail planning process as it approaches the next milestone? Sound Transit just announced it’s extending the deadline for people to apply to be on the Community Advisory Group for the West Seattle-Ballard extension. From the announcement:
We’re looking for people who:
-Live, work and/or volunteer along the project corridor.
-Are a part of, or have a deep understanding of, one or more of the communities along the corridor.
=Have knowledge and/or interest in public transportation, mobility and how transportation affects the lives of people in the region.
We ask that members be prepared to:
-Act as a community ambassador, willing to share information with community members and bring forth community values, concerns, and ideas.
-Consider the community as a whole and go beyond personal interests.
-Participate collaboratively with group members whose views may be different from their own.
-Attend approximately six monthly meetings from fall 2021 through early 2022, participating fully in the process. Members will receive a stipend for their participation.
You have until 5 pm next Monday (November 1st) to apply. Go here to find out more, including how to apply.
Now that we’re midway through Halloween week, time to review the local business-district trick-or-treating plans:
ADMIRAL DISTRICT: 3-6 pm Friday at participating businesses.
ALKI BEACH: 10 am-noon Saturday – check here for map updates.
WEST SEATTLE JUNCTION: 10 am-2 pm Sunday as part of Harvest Fest week – here’s the map to more than 20 “candy stations” you’ll see, in addition to merchants handing out treats:
The Harvest Fest and Trick or Treat page is updated here.
WHITE CENTER: Starting at 3 pm Sunday – see the latest list of participating businesses here.
(Westwood Village is not having a trick-or-treat event this year, according to merchants we’ve talked to.)
In addition to what’s above, we’ve heard from a few individual businesses/venues with additional plans:
BROCANTE BEACH HOUSE: Participating in the Alki Beach trick-or-treat and open special hours on Saturday beyond that, with special plans for shoppers too, 10 am-6 pm at 2622 Alki SW – details here.
LOG HOUSE MUSEUM: Trick or treat at the home of West Seattle’s history (61st/Stevens) on Saturday, noon-4 pm. Also spooky storytime and crafts, 1 and 3 pm.
YOUNGSTOWN COFFEE: The Morgan Junction coffee shop (6032 California SW) is offering candy and stickers all weekend, Saturday and Sunday.
PAPER BOAT BOOKSELLERS: The Morgan Junction shop (6040 California SW) will give out candy bags on Sunday (open 11 am-5 pm).
TAILS TO ASTONISH: It’s the first Halloween for the comic-book store just south of The Junction (4850 California SW) and they’ll be open noon-7 pm on Sunday with candy and comics for everyone in costume. Plus 10 percent off back issues, toys, and statues. And a costume contest at 6 pm – prize is $20 in store credit.
Lots of other Hallo-week fun (starting tonight) in our West Seattle Halloween Guide, and we’re still adding to it, so email us your event at firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
The state Transportation Commission, which has the final say in naming state highways, bridges, and ferries, has announced six finalists for naming the next new state ferry. They are:
The nominated names are explained here, which is also where you’ll see how to comment. The commission chose those six from what it says were 19 proposed names that met its requirements and guidelines. Their decision is due in mid-December. The name will be given to a 144-car hybrid-electric Olympic Class ferry that’ll be built starting next year on Harbor Island, at the Vigor shipyard, and launched in 2025.
Just in case you hadn’t heard: East Marginal Way south of the South Park Bridge reopened at mid-morning, three days after gusty wind brought down utility poles, power lines, and trees. But though the road is open both ways, the work isn’t quite done yet – the advisory says Seattle and Tukwila crews “continue to work together to restore permanent power connections to some traffic signals which are currently running on temporary generators.”
CITY BUDGET: Today’s the second of third days for the City Council to go through the nearly 200 amendments they’re proposing for next year’s budget. (We went through the agenda and didn’t see any West Seattle specifics of note, but you can review by going here (where you’ll also find viewing/listening info). After lunch break, they’ll resume at 2 pm.
FAMILY FUN: Family Harvest Festival at the Salvation Army Center in South Delridge (9050 16th SW), 5-7 pm.
HPAC: The community council for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge has a big agenda tonight, online at 7 pm, including SDOT on 16th SW speed calming and the Delridge-Highland Park stretches of Stay Healthy Streets, plus a possibility for the long-idle Dumar Substation site at 16th/Holden. More info, and connection details, here.
GIMME SHELTER CONCERT: 7:30 pm online, the annual benefit for DESC – whose properties include the Delridge supportive-housing complex Cottage Grove Commons – features local fave Billy Joe and the Dusty 45s. Registration info is in our calendar listing.
‘ROCKY HORROR’: 8 pm at Admiral Pub (2306 California SW), watch “Rocky Horror Picture Show” with guest host Old Witch. “It’s time to do the Time Warp at the Admiral Pub.”
Two news bites from the Delridge Grocery Co-op (5444 Delridge Way SW):
DGC Annual Meeting on November 13, Special Dog Treat Pop-up on October 30
The Delridge Grocery Co-op annual meeting is going virtual again this year — taking place on Saturday, November 13 at 3 pm. Please consider spending some time with us that Saturday as we’ve got a lot of news to share about our volunteer-run, community-focused co-op. It’s open to everyone in our community — from owner-members who have paid their ownership share to West Seattle neighbors near and far.
We’ll be looking back on the last year, when we began to be open for limited market hours on weekends while continuing to offer our weekly Essentials produce box. We’ll also provide updates on some of our food access initiatives, including working with the West Seattle Food Bank on a new voucher program, our continuing partnership with Fresh Bucks Seattle, and our gifted produce box program (funded through kind donations from our community).
Turning our eyes to the next year, we’ll talk about the challenges and opportunities we have with opening the store more fully — from more volunteer staffing to funding for more equipment like refrigerators.
DGC owner-members who have paid a full $100 ownership share can also vote on up to three Board of Director positions.
Reserve your spot for the DGC’s annual meeting on Zoom by signing up on our Signup Genius page.
We’re also excited to start a series of pop-up events at our store, where we’ll be highlighting a variety of local producers and focusing on women- and BIPOC-owned businesses. Our first pop-up will bring Puddles Barkery to the DGC on Saturday, October 30, from 9:30–1:30. Head chef and owner Kari Kalway and her pup Kora will be showcasing her handmade, natural dog treats, including biscuit treats, pupcakes, and creamy doggy cannolis!
You can reserve your Puddles Barkery order to pick up next weekend (Oct. 30-31), or place an order for an Essentials produce box delivery and the dog treats will be included.
Happy 100th birthday to West Seattle’s newest centenarian! His family sent the announcement:
Rev. John Van Lierop is turning 100 today (born October 27, 1921 in Yakima) at The Kenney in West Seattle, where he has been a resident in Memory Care the last 7 years. His son John, Jr. is planning a small celebration party today.
Rev. Van Lierop is a retired Presbyterian minister, having served for 42 years pastoring 7 churches in 4 states. He retired from his last church in Sandy, Oregon, in 1986 and moved back with his wife to the Gatewood Hill home to live with his grown children. In 1987 he was asked to be the new Chaplain of The Kenney, where he served until 2004. Rev. Van Lierop returned to the Kenney Home as a resident of the Memory Care in 2014 following a fall that fractured his hip. A number of the present Kenney staff still remember him when he was chaplain and have fond memories of his working there.
Rev. Van Lierop’s hobby was collecting used books. At one time he had 20,000 books. His friends kidded him that he had enough to run a used book store. Even the owner of the famous Powell’s Book Store in Portland, Oregon, offered to buy Rev. Van Lierop’s entire library for a lump sum when he retired, but it was to no avail since he couldn’t part with his books. Rev. Van Lierop is the first of the Van Lierop clan to reach the milestone of 100. His son credits his longevity to clean living, since he lived what he preached!
6:04 AM: Good morning!
Rain is again in today’s forecast – but probably not much.
The South Park Bridge has reopened.
But East Marginal Way south of the bridge is not expected to reopen until sometime today.
OTHER BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
585th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here are 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 here 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):
The 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):
ROAD WORK – TODAY AND UPCOMING
26th SW – Ongoing closure between Roxbury and Barton for RapidRide H Line prep work, at least a few more weeks, the county says.
NEXT WEEK: More RapidRide-related work:
Starting as soon as November 1, crews will set up traffic control to begin construction at the 26th Ave SW and SW Roxbury Street intersections. Work will include demolishing the existing pavement, installing underground utilities, paving the roadway, and making improvements that will serve current Routes 113 and 120, and the future RapidRide H Line. This work is expected to last through mid-December.
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES
For ferries and Water Taxi: WSF is still on a two-boat schedule on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. Check here for alerts/updates. The Water Taxi remains on its new schedule (no weekend or off-peak shuttle buses).
Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.