West Seattle, Washington
Although the Washington State Legislature doesn’t officially reconvene until January, committees are meeting next week, and legislators are starting to think about what’s ahead. The three who represent our area – State House Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon and State Sen. Joe Nguyen, all West Seattleites, though they represent a district that also stretches south including White Center and west including Vashon and Maury Islands – had a mini-town hall at Wednesday night’s 34th District Democrats meeting. Each was given some time to talk about what’ll be big this year. Here are highlights of what they said:
REP. JOE FITZGIBBON: The past session “made the most progress on climate change,” including the clean-fuel standard, steps toward phasing out a greenhouse gas, the Healthy Environment Act, phasing out plastic waste … “We got a lot done but we have a lot more to do.” De-carbonize building and water heating is a priority, with a package of bills “to accelerate the transition from gas and oil heating to electric” due next session. Methane, the second-most-impactful greenhouse gas, will be a target this session too, “particularly from landfills, the largest source of methane” in our state. He said there are also some clarifications and loose ends to be tackled. Also, he’s working on bills targeting appliance energy-efficiency standards, phasing out PCAS, addressing salmon recovery (riparian-area protection among other things). He also said they remain hopeful a transportation package will pass this year, including transit, ferry funding, and a contribution to West Seattle Bridge repair.
REP. EILEEN CODY: She reminded everyone “we’re going into a short session” – most of it by Zoom – so it’ll be intense and “problematic, we’re kind of concerned about what we’ll be able to push through this year. She’s focused on the health-care work force – which has suffered a pandemic-related toll. “We’re facing a huge nursing shortage … home health aides … mental health …” and shortages are worsening. To address it, they’re working with hospitals and the education system to increase the slots available – 50 percent of people who apply to nursing programs don’t get in. So they’re working on ways to increase that. Equity issues are a focus as well, such as trying to improve health care for undocumented people. Just this week her attention was called to another idea, that prescriptions are written in patients’ languages; Oregon passed a bill recently, so she’s working on one for Washington. Other focuses: Charity care – though she expects it to trigger a “huge fight,” as it has in the past. The insurance commissioner is working on a bill she’ll sponsor regarding “surprise billing.” Other consumer issues on her radar include a “co-pay accumulator” regarding medication and telehealth legislation involving removing certain fees for people paying out of pocket. The Long-Term Care Act is likely to see some changes, especially for people who are “clsoe to retirement and would not be vested.”
SEN. JOE NGUYEN: He’s looking at how the infrastructure and Build Back Better funds forthcoming from the feds will be allocated. Also: Housing affordability, investment in basic needs. He’s also hopeful that a transportation package will get passed; Rep. Steve Hobbs will no longer be chairing the Transportation Committee since he just got appointed Secretary of State. Nguyen expects “someone more progressive” will succeed him. Next week is Committee Week “to go over some initial thoughts for our legislative session.” Nguyen also noted that the state budget forecasts are looking better than expected.
QUESTIONS/ANSWERS: Rep. Cody was asked about the legislation “to stop corporate health-care takeovers.” Rep. Cody said that will be going through Judiciary, not Health Care (which she chairs). She said it doesn’t stop takeovers but would strengthen Attorney General ability to look at takeovers and ensure services aren’t lost. “It’s going to be a hard session for the hospital association.” She was also asked about the challenge to the Long-Term Care Act. She’s aware of it. For Rep. Fitzgibbon: “Has all #5 plastic been banned?” No. But three applications of Styrofoam are, starting in a couple years. For Rep. Cody: What can she do to promote universal health care/Medicare expansion? The latter, nothing, because it’s federal; the former, the state can’t afford unless they get federal funds. Another question for her: Why are half of all nursing applicants not getting accepted? Not enough room in the programs – not enough nursing educators, not enough clinical placements for trainees at hospitals. Pediatrics, mental health, OB/GYN are the ones particularly short in training space, she said. Another question for her: What will happen with the Universal Health Care Commission? It’ll start meeting next year. Next question: Any hope of funding to increase school counselors and other support staff? Rep. Fitzgibbon said it’s “something we want to do” but it’s “extremely expensive” so depends on how the revenue looks. 2021 had a lot of tax increases so 2022 is less likely to do, given it’s an election year, he added. For Sen. Nguyen, a question about money to reduce homelessness. He said it’ll be a priority “across the board.” When will the Legislature act on redistricting? Rep. Fitzgibbon said that’s not the Legislature’s action to take – it’s the Redistricting Commission. If they deadlock, it goes to the State Supreme Court, but “that’s never happened.” Rep. Cody clarified that legislators vote on it, but need a supermajority agreement for changing with the commission comes up with. Regarding possible changes to the 34th, Fitzgibbon said he doesn’t think the commissioners will substantially change the makeup of this district. He doesn’t favor the option that would remove Burien from the 34th.
Next question: What about guaranteed basic income? Sen. Nguyen said he supports it; it’s being studied. Fitzgibbon and Cody voiced support too; she added, “Gotta figure out how to pay for it.” Last question: Could homelessness and pandemics be added to the Growth Management Act? Fitzgibbon said the former is addressed to some degree but he’s not sure how the latter would/could be addressed.
Got a question for the legislators? Here’s where to find their addresses.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“We’re all going to be OK.”
So said a neighbor toward the end of the second community meeting about Admiral Church‘s planned partnership with Operation Nightwatch to give 10 men a safe, warm, dry place to sleep each night. That neighbor was trying to reassure others who continued to voice concerns about the overnight-shelter plan.
Since the Sunday afternoon meeting, which included a chance for neighbors to question Nightwatch executive director Rev. Rick Reynolds, the church’s council has met to further discuss the plan. The church’s pastor, Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom, says the only update from the meeting is that the program won’t start this month after all – “it’ll probably take around a month or more before everything’s ready on Nightwatch’s end.”
A seagoing holiday tradition is setting sail again this year after skipping last year because of the pandemic. The Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship will make three West Seattle stops on its first two nights of the season. Two weeks from tomorrow – on Friday night, November 26th – it will anchor off Don Armeni Boat Ramp (1220 Harbor SW) for 20 minutes of holiday music at 5:35 pm. The next night – Saturday, November 27th – the Christmas Ship will stop outside Salty’s on Alki (1936 Harbor SW; WSB sponsor) at 5:35 pm, and at Alki Beach Park (usually near the Bathhouse) at 8:35 pm, with a bonfire at that stop. The singers for all three West Seattle performances will be The Dickens Carolers. That’s it for scheduled Christmas Ship stops in West Seattle this year; the usual Lowman Beach Park stop is not possible because much of the park is closed for the shore-restoration project. See this year’s full regional Christmas Ship schedule here.
P.S. We’ll be working on our annual West Seattle Holiday Guide in the days ahead, so if you have an event planned (including Thanksgiving food info), send it! email@example.com – thank you.
4:23 PM: That’s artist Reeve Washburn at Click! – where the Jewelry Invitational and Small Works show is on until 7 pm. As Click! describes this year’s event:
This year’s annual Jewelry Invitational is a special one, for multiple reasons. For one thing, we’re expanding the scope to include other “Small Works,” not just wearable ones. What’s more, some of our featured jewelry is by Click! co-founder Frances Smersh. Made over the course of her 30-year career and pulled from the archives for a retrospective exhibition at her memorial this year, many pieces are available for the first time in decades.
Other venues don’t get going until 5 pm – the map/list/preview can be found on the Art Walk website.
5:35 PM: Also in The Junction – Dave Mampel is at Verity Credit Union (4505 California SW; WSB sponsor) until 8 pm:
His show is “Iconic Seattle: Various stylized impressionistic pieces of iconic Seattle locations and a few Van Gogh-inspired pieces.” The painting in our photo is “Moving Stillness.”
6:03 PM: If you favor animal art, go see Sonya Rupnick‘s work at Fogue Gallery (4130 California SW; WSB sponsor) “until late”:
She says of her work, “These paintings are little stories from a world where animals live a cozy, rural life, but one which is also sometimes unexpected and surprising. I try to portray them as living real, interesting lives, which we only see a portion of in each vignette. Each one has its own secret backstory.”
6:12 PM: Now through 7:40 pm, The Art of Music brings live performances to two venues – drop in for a minute or an hour! – details here.
On our way back from breaking news in The Junction, we passed through Jefferson Square and discovered the See’s Candies store (previously mentioned here) is now open – this was the first day. Here are the posted hours through Christmas:
As you can see, it’s a bare-bones setup – they’re not finished painting – and while the person on duty (the manager wasn’t in) couldn’t tell us whether it’s a pop-up, the See’s website labels it a “seasonal shop.”
3:25 PM: Seattle Fire crews are on scene at the Alaska House apartment building (4545 42nd SW) for what was reported as a small fire contained to one apartment, but also has firefighters treating a reportedly seriously injured person. Updates to come.
3:48 PM: Firefighters told us at the scene that this was a kitchen fire and a person having a medical emergency, though we haven’t yet clarified whether the emergency preceded, or was a result of, the fire. The man is being taken to a hospital. Units should clear the scene (and street) within an hour.
5:44 PM: SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley says the man, in his mid-60s, did not survive – he “experienced a medical emergency while cooking, and was found slumped over the stove, triggering a fire response.” Medics were not able to save him. The Medical Examiner’s Office will determine his cause of death.
Seen in the West Seattle Junction this morning: The Easy Street Records marquee, a sign of gratitude for veterans’ service. And across the street, volunteers of all ages gathered to place the flags that line the heart of The Junction on certain holidays:
Among this year’s volunteers, Cub Scout Pack 282, including Felix, who collaborated with former Eagle Scout (and current journalist) Brian Callanan:
Brita, Avery, and Josie were also among the youngest volunteers:
Veterans were among the volunteers too – below right is Keith Hughes, commander of American Legion Post 160:
Volunteers will return later this afternoon to remove the flags. You can volunteer now to help with the flags next year – or other Junction events; go here.
THURSDAY REPORT: Last Friday, we reported on vandalism attacks at Fire Station 36 at the north end of Delridge, along with the station’s concerns about a nearby encampment that had been the scene of multiple fires. Late last night, one Seattle Fire engine was dispatched to another fire in the area. The emergency-radio exchanges at the time mentioned possible propane-tank involvement. We followed up this morning with SFD, whose spokesperson Kristin Tinsley tells us:
We responded to a fire at an encampment, located under the off-ramp. There appear to be a few tents that burned, and bicycles. Around 4-5 propane tanks exploded as part of the fire. SDOT was contacted to conduct an assessment of the underside of the off ramp, as the fire impinged on the structure. No reported injuries, awaiting information about cause.
We also asked about the status of the requests Station 36 made following the incident last week, including removal of nearby encampments. Tinsley said that information probably won’t be available until tomorrow because of the holiday. Same for SDOT, but we’re checking.
FRIDAY UPDATE: No new info on the safety measures, but here’s how SDOT answered our question about the requested “assessment”:
We conducted an initial visual inspection on Thursday morning and did not see any indications of major damage from the fire that could compromise the structural integrity of the bridge. We are planning to conduct an in-depth structural evaluation over the coming days to determine if any repairs are necessary. To note, the fire occurred under a ramp that is currently closed to traffic as part of the overall West Seattle Bridge closure, not the actual bridge itself.
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: That’s the venue list/map for tonight’s Art Walk, both places where you’ll see art/meet artists, and establishments offering food/drink specials for Art Walk’ers. For specifics on what you’ll find at venues all over the peninsula, here’s this month’s preview. Tonight you can also celebrate The Art of Music with live performances at venues in Admiral and The Junction, 6-7:40 pm – details here.
Also happening in the hours ahead:
DINE OUT FOR HIGHLAND PARK ELEMENTARY: 4-9 pm, Proletariat Pizza (9622 16th SW) in White Center is donating part of the proceeds to the Highland Park Elementary PTA – be sure to mention the school when you order.
HERDING CATS: Local band plays a free show at The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW) tonight, 8 pm. Go early, have dinner!
Are we missing anything for today/tonight? Text 206-293-6302 – for further in the future, please email firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
Family and friends will gather next week for two events to remember Patrick “Almy” Almquist, a year after his passing. They are sharing this remembrance with his community:
Patrick James Almquist (“Almy”)
Our fun-loving, big-hearted brother died suddenly of heart disease last year on November 16, 2020.
Patrick was living with his brother Steve at their West Seattle apartment at the time of his death at age 61.
Patrick, born August 10, 1959, was the youngest son of Dick and Delores Almquist, who were long-time residents of West Seattle. Pat attended Lafayette Elementary, Holy Rosary Grade School, and James Madison Middle School. Pat graduated from West Seattle High School in 1977.
Growing up, Pat played several sports, and could often be found with a basketball in his hand. Pat was a longtime member of Local 440 flaggers union. Injuries on the job and illness kept him from living a fully active life later in his adulthood. Pat was an avid sports fan, and he loved trivia. His witty sense of humor, amazing memory and story-telling were some of his greatest attributes.
Pat was also known as “St Patrick” in our family, as he lovingly donated his own bone marrow to his brother Michael for a life-saving transplant on St Patrick’s Day 1998.
Pat was preceded in death by his parents, Richard D. Almquist and Delores A. Almquist of Seattle. Pat is survived by his brother Michael Almquist (Sally), brother Stephen Almquist, sister Sheila Almquist of Santa Rosa, and favorite (and only) niece, Jianna (Jia).
Patrick was generous of spirit, with a hearty laugh and a joke to share. His family and friends meant the world to him. Patrick is dearly missed by many.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 10:00 am Friday, November 19th, 2021, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in West Seattle, preceded by recitation of the Rosary at 9:00 am. A Celebration of Patrick’s life will take place the following day, Saturday, November 20th, 2021, at West Seattle Senior Center, from 2-5 PM. Please bring a memory, and any photos you would like to share. We kindly request that attendees wear a mask.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
6:03 AM: Good morning.
Rain in the forecast, possibly heavy tonight.
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES
For ferries and Water Taxi: WSF continues a two-boat schedule on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. Check here for alerts/updates. The Water Taxi is NOT running today,
TWO MORE NOTES
*Street parking is free today in areas of the city with pay stations.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
598th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here are views of other bridges and routes:
Low Bridge: No new trouble reported over the weekend. 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.)
The 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):
South Park Bridge:
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
ROAD WORK REMINDERS
26th SW – Continuing southbound closure between Roxbury and Barton for RapidRide H Line prep work. Also, work at 26th/Roxbury. This flyer has details.
Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.