West Seattle, Washington
Weather conditions gave this morning’s “king tide” a turbocharge – almost two feet higher than the predicted high tide. Thanks to everyone who sent images of the result – first, above and below, video from Nils von Veh at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza.
Holli Margell was at Alki too and sent these views:
Further east at Alki, Michelle Riggen-Ransom‘s photo shows the sea swamping the sand:
And Elizabeth Butler sent photos from the Fauntleroy shore:
Tomorrow’s high tide, expected to hit 12.5 feet just after 9:30 am, is likely to be closer to what’s predicted, since the weather has calmed.
MSC Monterey arrived today at Terminal 5 in West Seattle, the first international-cargo ship to call there since July 2014. The expansive terminal hasn’t been idle all those years – it’s seen controversy with oil-drilling rigs as well as more-routine use such as domestic cargo via Matson – but the biggest activity has been the first phase of the half-billion-dollar “modernization” project. Now that phase of work is done and the first berth is in service. The Northwest Seaport Alliance invited news media onto the dock this morning for a quick (and soggy) look.
Two of Terminal 5’s giant cranes – which arrived last June – are being used to unload MSC Monterey; terminal operator SSA Marine‘s T-5 manager Dana Brand explained the other two aren’t in use because the carrier wants to stay a few days, rather than a quick in-and-out. This ship isn’t utilizing all of the newly opened berth’s capacity in other ways, either – for one, it’s a 6,500-TEU (container equivalent) capacity ship; a much-bigger and newer ship – MSC Virgo, 15,000 TEUs – will be here in a few weeks. That ship will use shore power, unlike this one. Also of note, this ship’s containers are all going out by truck, not by rail, though the latter will be used later this month.
Trucks move quickly through an automated gate – potentially seconds for what used to take minutes, including the efficiency of a central control for all three active Seattle terminals – 5, 18, and 30. And the second phase of T-5 work includes moving the gate complex further into the terminal, so there’s more on-dock room for queueing, taking pressure off the roads leading in. For even more efficiency, negotiations are under way toward direct ship-to-train offloading – that would require ships to be loaded in a way that groups all the containers set for a particular destination, which isn’t the way it works now.
Today’s mini-tour included key maritime-industry reps made available for media interviews. We asked Rich Austin, president of ILWU Local 19, what T-5’s opening means for his union’s local workforce, which had dozens of people working at T-5 today.
Terminal 5 now has a second berth to be modernized, and SSA has to decide whether to lease that one too. We talked with SSA Marine executive Edward DeNike and NWSA CEO John Wolfe about what’s next:
Terminal 5’s opening will take some pressure off the supply-chain backlog, DeNike acknowledged, though right now the maritime backup isn’t too bad around here – DeNike said three ships are waiting in this area, compared to more than 140 in Southern California. Prior to the berth opening, T-5 has been in use for months as extra container storage; the number of extra containers there is now down to 3,000, from a peak of 11,000.
That was the scene on the high-bridge camera just after 4 pm, as crews working on the bridge repairs look ahead to a big job tomorrow – the first of two work platforms will be raised on Saturday morning. SDOT says the platform on the west side of the main span will be raised in two sections, one sometime after 8 am, the other a few hours later. SDOT says this is not expected to affect traffic, so no road closures are planned. The east-side platform-raising – at least a week away – might have some traffic effects, though. For more details on how the platforms work and why they’re needed, see our report on the briefing the project manager from contractor Kraemer NA gave to the bridge Community Task Force last year.
1:02 PM: Thanks for the tips. More than 3,200 customers lost power about 10 minutes ago in east West Seattle and South Park. No word yet on the cause.
1:06 PM: We’re just hearing about a tree down on wires along Highland Park Way – so that may be the cause. SFD and Seattle City Light are being dispatched. The tree also is reported to be blocking two lanes of traffic.
1:18 PM: Thanks to the reader who texted the pic of the tree. Police have told dispatch they’re blocking southbound lanes on Highland Park Way because of it – they’re also reporting more tree trouble as part of the hill slides. Readers say the outage has taken out the HP Way/West Marginal light too. Also, another reader tells us Sanislo Elementary is being dismissed early because of the outage.
2:15 PM: Added above, another view – sent by Stephanie – of the tree trouble on the Highland Park Way hill. Thanks for all the updates in comments, especially on the major lights that are out too. Also, traffic advice from readers: Avoid HP Way/Marginal entirely, with both the hill blocked and the signal out; also, a request: “Please put out the word to folks not to try to cut though on Austin St to get down Highland Park Way. You can’t get through.”
3 PM: Metro also has noted that Route 131 is routed off HP Way right now because of the blockage.
3:27 PM: SCL has reconnected the South Park side of the outage. 1,200+ customers still out on this side of the river. Here’s the area still out:
3:48 PM: And thanks to Arinna for this closer view of the fallen tree:
That photo is from just minutes ago, Arinna (who lives nearby) says, while also confirming that the hill is blocked to traffic both ways.
3:56 PM: Hundreds more just got their power back … total number still out is down to 960.
4:24 PM: And another hundred-plus are back on – down to 834 out. Reminder, Highland Park Way hill is still closed.
6:39 PM: SDOT says its crews are still working to clear the tree, as SCL works to restore power. The HP Way hill remains closed – here’s the nearest traffic camera (currently showing the barricades across the road at the bottom of the hill):
7:57 PM: Remaining power outage nearly halved – 441 customers now out.
8:14 PM: And now down to 77 customers. Craig, whose power was restored a short time ago, sent this photo of work continuing at the scene:
9:20 PM: Now everyone’s back on except for two customers. Also of note, the cause listed on the map – usually just a word or two – now says “landslide.”
11:59 PM: The Highland Park Way hill is still blocked off, 11 hours after the tree fell.
2:08 AM: As of a few minutes ago, the barricades were still up; now the camera at West Marginal/HP Way has just gone out of service.
8 AM SATURDAY: Camera’s back and shows the hill still blocked off.
10:40 AM: A reader talked with an SDOT worker in the area a short time ago and was told the road should reopen “in about 2 hours.”
2:32 PM: That obviously didn’t happen. We’ve since heard directly from SDOT and are publishing a followup shortly.
(Photo courtesy King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office)
12:30 PM: Next year, that window will have someone else’s name on it. King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg announced this morning that, after four terms, he will not seek re-election. He said, “I have 358 days left in my term. I am determined to finish well.” Satterberg has been with the office since joining as an intern in the mid-1980s. The KCPAO is responsible for prosecuting crimes defined in state law as felonies. From his announcement today:
When the pandemic started, we were the first in the state and one of the first offices in the nation to have a 100% remote domestic violence protection order service. That meant that people who were trapped at home with abusers no longer needed to physically come down to the courthouse to get court-ordered protection.
We were also one of the first in the state and one of the first in the nation to create a data dashboard – revealing in great detail our work, our priorities and the challenges that await. We make informed decisions based on this data. It’s right there on the front page of our office website for anyone to see.
We are also launching new and innovative community partnerships and diversion programs with trusted community non-profit organizations that are here to help victims of crime as well as the people who have caused the harm. I am encouraged by the support of the County Executive and County Council for our community-based diversion programs. We have the goals of interrupting violence, of decreasing crime, and creating community connections that are part of accountability.
We’ve done all of this while also filing roughly 25-30 cases felony every day. These are the most serious crimes that occur in King County – murders and assaults, armed robbery, residential burglaries, sexual assaults, child abuse, among many others. Most of our cases never make the news — but we’re in court every day, trying jury trials, filing serious violent cases and resolving cases. During the COVID period, things have slowed, but never stopped.
Satterberg was a Republican when elected in 2007 and announced in 2018 that he had changed parties. He has roots close to this area; he attended high school in Burien, and his father practiced law in White Center.
12:58 PM: The first candidate has just announced – Satterberg’s chief of staff, Leesa Manion, says she’s running.
If you’re wondering about a big police response happening at Westwood Village right now – it involves what was described as a man with a sword outside the Chase branch at the center’s southwest end. Radio exchanges between dispatch and officers indicate it’s resolving quickly, though – the man is reported to be in custody after dropping the sword.
We’re getting multiple reports of street flooding in South Park this morning – in the wake of the 9 am high tide and the (now finally easing) heavy rain. The video above from 5th Avenue South and South Holden is by Clay DeRooy; the photos below are from Curtis Allan:
We just heard a police dipatch for a vehicle stuck in the water at 5th/Holden so steer clear of the area for a while. Drainage issues have been a longstanding problem in South Park – there’s some work under way now to try to alleviate it.
(Hint of summer – illuminated Colman Pool entrance on a wet Lincoln Park day, photographed by Theresa Arbow-O’Connor)
Notes for your Friday, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar and inbox:
VACCINE CLINIC REOPENS: The city-run COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW) reopens today post-holiday break, 11 am-7 pm, now serving all (eligible) ages. Check here for appointments.
PANDEMIC BRIEFING: King County Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin‘s briefing at noon today will be livestreamed here (and available later at publichealthinsider.com).
LOG HOUSE MUSEUM REOPENS: After a winter break, the home of West Seattle’s history (61st SW/SW Stevens) is scheduled to reopen today, noon-4 pm.
SOUTHWEST POOL: Open for 3 lanes of adult swim, noon-2:30 pm. (2801 SW Thistle)
LAST CALL FOR HPIC SURVEY: Today’s the last day to answer this survey to help Highland Park Improvement Club plan its post-fire rebuilding.
Something for our calendar? Send info to email@example.com – thank you!
Family and friends are remembering Brent Curtis, and sharing this with his community:
Brent Curtis (January 2, 1967 – December 1, 2021), died in ICU with his wife Katie at his side, five days after suffering a massive stroke.
Brent was a loving and devoted husband, father, and community builder. One of his compatriots at Delridge Grocery Coop said of him: “Brent is the reason I came to start volunteering at the DGC and he was the continued inspiration that kept me going — his positivity, his love for his kids and his wife Katie, and his easy laugh even in the face of obstacles. I will miss his partnership and camaraderie within our Co-op, and the times our families gather will feel far emptier. But I will keep his inspiration close to my heart in the years to come.”
Brent co-wrote and helped make several films with a dear friend. He also wrote prolifically, self-publishing two of his novels. He, Katie, and several other artists cofounded Secluded Alley Works art coop and gallery in 2000-2001. He remained passionate about the arts, working tirelessly to build out rented space next to their home into a community performance and gallery space as part of the family’s garden consulting business.
Had he lived, he would have retired in April from his job of 30 years at the University of Washington as a manager in Transportation Services to manage full time the business he and Katie founded together, Weary Stone Farm. If you ever went to a Huskies game, he and his staff were the ones keeping game traffic moving and Montlake from becoming a parking lot. One of his colleagues of many years said of him: “He was a treasured individual here: Uniquely generous, intelligent, compassionate, and funny. He gave so much of himself to those around him. He changed the culture here at work and made our work lives better. I hope he was proud of that.”
This was the ethic by which Brent lived his entire life: Make every place you are in better than before you arrived. Be with all the people you encounter in the best way you can. Listen, learn, and help each person in the way that person needs, rather than in the way you might imagine they need. He and Katie would have celebrated their 20th anniversary in September of 2022. In addition to Katie, Brent leaves behind their two children, 11 and 15, his mother, brother, and countless people in all the communities of which he was a part.
The family will hold a celebration of life in Seattle, sometime in spring or summer of 2022, when we can all be together safely outdoors and remember Brent how he wished to be remembered: With music, fun, and joy.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
8:58 AM: There’s word of a possible power line down near West Marginal/Highland Park Way.
6:03 AM Good morning!
Wind and rain are forecast to continue into this morning, with some easing before the day’s out. A bit of snow is possible tonight.
WHAT’S AHEAD, INCLUDING WEEKEND ALERTS
-Today, the first cargo ship calls at Terminal 5‘s first modernized berth (watch for coverage here later).
-Saturday, work at the 5-way. Here’s the advisory from SDOT:
We will have signal crews working to replace overhead signs on Chelan Ave SW (in front of the Chelan Café). The work is anticipated to begin Saturday as soon as 5 am and conclude as soon as 5 pm. Traffic impacts include lane closures below the signs as they work to make updates. Please navigate the area with caution.
-Sunday is the first of four Sundays this month with low-bridge closures for pre-repair testing.
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES
West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi routes are on their regular schedules.
Metro is on its regular weekday schedule. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of trip cancellations.
Ferries: WSF continues a two-boat schedule on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. Check here for alerts/updates.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
654th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Traffic cams are working again:
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.)
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):
Are movable bridges opening for vessels? The @SDOTBridges Twitter feed can tell you; 1st Ave. S. Bridge openings are also 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.
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