West Seattle, Washington
Every day this week, Seattle Public Schools has closed at least one school somewhere in the district because of a staffing shortage. So far, none have been in West Seattle. That’s changing for tomorrow (Friday, January 14th), when Chief Sealth International High School will be closed – no remote learning, just a full closure. Before the announcement – which attributes the closure to a “surge in staff sick-leave requests” – we received a letter that teachers say they sent the administration earlier in the day about what the teacher who forwarded it referred to as a planned “sickout”:
RE: COVID Conditions Collective Action
At a membership meeting on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, educators met to discuss safety concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19/Omicron in our school and community.
As a result of the meeting, members agreed the following conditions are necessary to maintain a safe, in-person learning environment:
1. N95 or KN95 masks required and made available for all staff and students
2. Mandatory weekly, on-site testing for staff and students
3. Resolve staffing shortages so staff are not asked to cover unfilled positions during their planning periods
4. District-wide mental health resources, or the funding thereof, will be made available for students, staff, and the community
If the resources are not available for these conditions to be met, we propose a shift to remote learning until those conditions can be established or until the current surge is resolved.
Chief Sealth teachers say the plan received 75 percent approval at their meeting. We had asked the district for comment on the demands, but haven’t received a reply as of this evening. We also checked with the Seattle Education Association, which says it hasn’t been organizing a district-wide action – these are school-by-school actions. SEA says it is still talking with the district about further COVID-19 safety measures; spokesperson Julie Popper tells WSB, “SEA is in ongoing discussions with SPS about safety in the buildings, both for COVID safety and for staffing safety.”
ADDED 11:40 PM: One of the Sealth teachers we’ve heard from elaborates, “We sympathize with the challenges that this presents families and students but this was the only way that we, as a staff, felt that the district would listen to our concerns regarding safety. We did not take this action lightly but felt we had little recourse.” So far as of late tonight, this is the only closure announced in our area; elsewhere in the district, outside West Seattle/South Park, SPS has announced one other closure (Cleveland HS) and four schools going all-remote (Broadview-Thomson K-8, Olympic Hills Elementary, Mercer International MS, Meany MS) as of Friday.
All lanes are now open again on the Highland Park Way hill between West Marginal and SW Holden, two days after the latest landslide. Last night we reported on the SDOT/Seattle Parks plan for erosion control to deter recurrences. Today we asked SDOT about what was done after the February 2017 slide that closed the hill for two days.
Five months after that slide, we reported on City Council funding for a planned “rock buttress” in the area. We don’t have a record of what happened after that, so we asked SDOT. Spokesperson Ethan Bergerson confirmed that the pre-existing concrete blocks south of the recent slides are part of the measures taken after the 2017 slide:
The landslides this past week have occurred at another location to the north of the 2017 landslide. Because Highland Park Way travels alongside about half a mile of the West (Duwamish) Greenbelt without connecting to any other roads, both landslides resulted in the same stretch of road being closed even though they occurred on different slopes.
In 2017, there was a large landslide to the south of where the landslides occurred this past week, which resulted in Highland Park Way SW being closed for multiple days. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) worked together on erosion control measures in this location. Parks crews installed permanent erosion controls and planted native plants on this part of the slope in spring 2017, and SDOT crews returned in the summer to install a concrete block wall with a rock buttress to stabilize the base of the slope (the rocks are behind the concrete blocks and can’t be seen from the street). The steep slope in this location has been stable since then.
This week, SDOT crews installed over 60 feet of concrete blocks as a temporary measure. Parks is also planning to perform additional temporary erosion control measures, and both agencies are planning to return in the spring to install more permanent measures which can only be done when the ground is not so saturated with water.
The area has long been slide-prone; the 2000 Seattle Landslide Study has multiple references.
Chris Baumgarten is a new guest artist at Fogue Gallery on the north edge of The Junction (4130 California SW; WSB sponsor), one of your potential stops on tonight’s West Seattle Art Walk. The artist is debuting a collection titled “Numbers” at Fogue, where you’ll find a variety of work. Stop by before 8 pm to meet her and browse everything on display. This month’s venue list/map is in the preview we published earlier this afternoon. Many venues – like Fogue, of course – show art all month, so the monthly Art Walk post is also a guide to where you can enjoy art in the days and weeks ahead, too.
SW 106th east of 35th SW is one of the stretches of road we’ve featured in this week’s post-storm pothole alerts as part of our first-thing-in-the-morning traffic watches. Good news for those who use that road – SDOT has announced plans to repave two blocks this weekend – here’s the alert:
On Saturday and Sunday, we will be repaving two blocks of SW 106th St between Seola Beach Drive and 32nd Ave SW. [map] We’ll begin this work as early as 7 AM and expect to be done by 3 PM. If you are driving on SW 106th St during this work, impacts include single lane reductions. Please anticipate traffic delays. We do not expect impacts for people walking and biking in the area.
We’ll have other weekend alerts in the Friday morning traffic watch.
This Saturday (January 15th), everyone is welcome at a socially distanced health event at Highland Park Elementary (1012 SW Trenton). HPES says it’s open to all ages. They’re offering COVID-19 vaccinations – 1st, 2nd, or booster shots – plus health screenings (glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI) and mammograms (call 800-756-5437 for an appointment). The health event also offers resources such as ORCA Lift cards and health-insurance signup help. A free food truck will be on site too. The event is scheduled for 11 am-3 pm Saturday; here’s the flyer.
As noted in our update on last night’s cannabis-store robbery, police said on of the suspects matched the description of a West Seattle carjacking 20 minutes earlier. We’ve obtained the police-report narrative on that incident. Police say an Uber Eats driver told them he was picking up an order at a restaurant in the 6500 block of 35th SW around 7:50 pm when two men approached him “walking toward his vehicle very fast.” One pulled out a “black Glock-style handgun and held it at waist level, aiming it directly at” the victim and telling him “give me your keys.” The keys were already in the car, which was running, so the victim gave the robbers his money clip. They got into the car and drove away southbound on 35th SW. Three things missing in the information we obtained: The report does not identify the restaurant (Grillbird is the only one in that area). The report also does not describe the car – we heard it mentioned on police radio as a white Acura – nor the robbers, aside from the possible link to the store holdup 20 minutes later. If you have any tips, the police incident # to refer to is 22-009805.
Art Walk participants include both venues with art and restaurants/bars with specials for Art Walk night. Times vary from site to site. Though The Junction remains a major hub, venues dot the peninsula, as previewed on the official WSAW website. On the north end, West Seattle Grounds (2141 California SW) will have painter Nida Ansari on hand tonight, 4-8 pm. Toward the south end, Viscon Cellars (5910 California SW; WSB sponsor) is hosting Priyanka Parmanand 5-9 pm. The artist explains, “I paint florals because they reinvigorate ‘Hope’, the fundamental belief for human existence. It is an expression of all that is different while unifying this diversity through a common denominator of human feelings. Plus, they are comforting, healing and bring smiles.” And on the north end of The Junction, you can visit Fogue Gallery (4130 California SW; WSB sponsor) 4-8 pm tonight to see a variety of artists’ work – new additions are featured here.
P.S. Before you head out to one or more of tonight’s Art Walk venues, check this version of the map/list for any word on late changes/cancellations.
10:19 AM: Thanks to everyone who’s emailed – the photo above is from Rose – to report a slide blocking the biking/walking trail that goes from the north end of Delridge Way to the low bridge. This is the same stretch where a tree fell in November. We’re told it’s being reported to SDOT (206-684-ROAD).
10:33 AM: Just got an update from Rose – she and neighbor Geo cleared a small opening on the west side of the trail so riders/walkers can get through.
12:58 PM: Another update from Rose – it’s been fully cleared.
Drop off your donations at the front desk of Mode Music Studios at 3805 Delridge Way SW until January 19th. All proceeds and donations requested below will go to the White Center Food Bank and Mary’s Place. Help us keep our community warm this winter by donating warm clothing, nonperishables, and toiletries!
The White Center Food Bank is taking:
Soup (pop-top), Canned Meat (pop-top), Rice Noodles, Spices, Peanut Butter, Canned Fruit (pop-top), Boxed Baking Mixes, Coffee, Non-Dairy Salad Dressing, Flour, Broth, Condiments, Sugar, Rice, Soy Sauce, Brown Sugar, Oats, Tamari Sauce, Oil, Spaghetti, and Ponzu Sauce
Canned goods are accepted within 18 months of the expiration date
Boxed cereals and pastas within 6 months
Drinks within 3 months
Dry Beans and Grains within 2 years
Mary’s Place is taking:
Winter Drive Items:
Winter Coats, Raincoats, Jackets, Sweatshirts, Hoodies, Fleece, Warm pajamas, Hats, Scarves, Gloves/Mittens, Blankets, and Hand Warmers
Shampoo/Conditioner, Toothpaste/Toothbrushes/Mouthwash, Deodorant, Feminine Hygiene products, body wash/body lotion, lip balm, brushes/combs, pain relievers, makeup, nail care
Diapers and Wipes with larger sizes needed (5, 6), and pull-ups (size 4t and 5t).
Clothing (new and like new):
All clothing for women, men, children and infants, bras and underwear, twin-sized blankets and sheets, towels of all sizes
Family and friends are sharing this remembrance of Joe Wenderoth:
Joseph P. Wenderoth passed away unexpectedly on December 13, 2021. Joe was born on March 9, 1961 to John and Barbara Wenderoth. He was the 5th of six siblings who grew up in White Center, graduating from Evergreen High School in 1979.
Joe was an explorer at heart. After graduating from high school, he moved to Southern California, where he began a lifelong career in the parking business. It was there that he met the love of his life, Lisa. They were married in 1984 and raised two beautiful children, Nick and Kalie.
Joe would tell you that he was never the smartest person in the room, but he was always the hardest-working one. It was that work ethic that propelled him as he steadily rose to leadership positions in the parking business. In 2012, he and Lisa made the risky decision to start their own company, Legacy Parking – a thriving business that will live on with his children.
Joe had many accomplishments in his life, but the one he was the most proud of was his family. His love for Lisa, Nick, and Kalie, along with his daughter-in-law Katie, knew no bounds. To say Joe will be missed is an understatement. He had cultivated an incredible group of friends and never missed an opportunity to include them in his adventures. Whether it was sailing in the Caribbean, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, or on Safari in Africa, Joe lived a good life, full of love and excitement.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents John and Barbara Wenderoth. He is survived by his wife Lisa, son Nick (Katie), daughter Kalie, siblings Mary (Tom), Mike, Chris (Janet), Cathy (Carl), and Carrie (Brian), and numerous nieces and nephews.
His family is heartbroken, Joe had a lot more life left to live and it is hard to imagine a world without him. To those who love him, Joe will always be with you. He will find a way to remind you of how much he loved you, and when he does it will surely leave you with a smile and just a hint of sadness.
(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)
6:03 AM Good morning!
Some rain, some sun, both in the forecast, with another high in the 50s.
HIGHLAND PARK WAY
The soonest the two closed lanes would reopen is later today, SDOT says.
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES
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
660th morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
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:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
We’ve been spotlighting them all week. The eastbound Fauntleroy Way potholes were still there as of this photo by Jerry Simmons:
Here’s how to report potholes. If you see the city’s Pothole Rangers in action, text us! Same number as road/path/water-travel tips and other breaking news – 206-293-6302.