West Seattle, Washington
9:50 PM: Big SFD callout to the 4730 California SW apartments in The Junction. They’re reporting “light smoke in the hallway” on the third floor. They’re downsizing the response – calling it a small kitchen fire.
10:01 PM: The incident log shows five units still on scene, a third of the number originally dispatched, so you’ll want to avoid that block of California (between Alaska and Edmunds) for a while. No report of injuries (we’ll verify that with SFD).
10:26 PM: The remaining units have been dismissed and the call is closed.
Eight months ago, the city’s Inspector General sent interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz a letter asking him to “partner with OIG to find ways to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce the practice of conducting traffic stops for civil violations or low-level, non-dangerous moving violations.” Inspector General Lisa Judge – whose duty is to “help ensure the fairness and integrity of the police system” – voiced concern about such stops resulting in “use of force or tragedy” and having “broader implications for public trust. Judge added that “a new framework is needed to address the historical inequities and inherent dangers in traffic stops. Without drilling down to underlying issues and root causes, police and community are
destined to continue the same cycle of traffic stops gone wrong.”
Working-group conversations ensued, as outlined in this followup Inspector Judge sent earlier this week, released this evening after Chief Diaz went public with his official reply, spelling out what SPD will “deprioritize.” Here’s the chief’s full letter; from SPD Blotter, an excerpt:
… the Seattle Police Department will no longer treat the following violations as primary reasons to engage in a traffic stop:
-Expired or missing vehicle registration. License tabs expired. (Title: License and plates required) – SMC 11.22.070
-Issues with the display of registration plates. No front license plate, a vehicle must have a rear license plate. (Title: Vehicle license plates displayed) – SMC II.22.080
-Technical violations of SMC 11 .84.140, such as items hanging from the rear-view mirror and cracks in the windshield. Actual visual obstruction, such as snow, fog, non-transparent material, or shattered windshields, will be enforced. (Title: Windshield obstruction) – SMC 11.84.140
-Bicycle helmet violations (KCHC 9.10)
(That rule is a King County matter, and a possible repeal remains under discussion.) In the response, Diaz notes that these violations can still be enforced – they just won’t be a sole reason for a traffic stop. He adds, “The group also recommended ceasing primary enforcement for all equipment violations. I support this recommendation in principle, but only if there are viable options to address the equipment violation. For pedestrian and driver safety, we cannot allow vehicles with safety equipment issues to just remain in that status. SPD is working with others to identify a way for individuals to get safety equipment issues fixed, even when they cannot afford to do so.”
Three reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
BUILDING BURGLARY: Brandon reports another condo-building break-in, this time in the 3200 block of Harbor Avenue SW reporting that a man first broke a door to get into the building, then broke into a car in a secure garage, and tried to burglarize other areas of the building. Plus: “Around the same time, someone (perhaps the same person) attempted to break into an office suite that provides mental health therapy to the community in the same building. Brandon says there’s video from the break-in; we’ve requested an image and will add it if we get it. Police incident # is 22-010698.
CATALYTIC-CONVERTER THEFT: We just got word this week of one that happened December 29th. Paul reports, “The catalytic converter was sawed off my Honda Element on December 28th. I was parked outside the Chelan while eating lunch. I was one space from the bar door. … We sure could use some political action to stop buyers from abetting this crime.” We checked the Washington State Legislature database and so far for this year’s session, four bills have been introduced related to catalytic-converter theft, including one co-sponsored by West Seattle-residing State House Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, HB1815, which would establish a “pilot project” and task force focusing on ways to make it easier to track stolen catalytic converters, including a free ID-etching program.
WARRANT ARREST: We got a tip Thursday afternoon about a large police presence at 24th/Holden. Police were gone when we arrived, but we learned today that it was a warrant arrest. 20-year-old Kevon J. Givens was arrested on warrants from two 2020 cases in which he had been charged, second-degree robbery in a backpack theft at a Kirkland youth-activities center, attempted first-degree robbery in a backpack theft in South Seattle. The jail roster shows he is also under investigation for an alleged firearms violation. Court documents from the 2020 cases list Givens as a Beacon Hill resident.
Family and friends are remembering William (Bill) Ward, and sharing this remembrance with the community:
William D. Ward, age 95, a longtime resident of West Seattle, died peacefully on January 4 in Chehalis, where he resided for the last year and a half.
Bill grew up in Oakland, California and graduated from the University of Santa Clara with a degree in Civil Engineering. In 1952 he met and married Jeanne (Venen) Ward, his loving wife of 52 years. They moved to West Seattle and he joined a small engineering firm (at that time 13 employees) which became Skilling Ward Rogers Barkshire in 1987.
During Bill’s 40-year career, the firm grew into one of the largest structural engineering companies in the country, responsible for many prominent buildings on the Seattle skyline as well as engineering some of the country’s most notable structures, including the original World Trade Center in New York. After his retirement, Bill was a structural engineering consultant for The Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle.
One of his most enjoyable pastimes was fishing, both close to home on Puget Sound and on annual trips north with son Jim, a tradition which lasted almost 50 years. Still fishing at the age of 85, he caught his biggest fish ever, a 54-pound king salmon, in the Queen Charlotte Islands.
He loved road trips, including favorites such as Las Vegas and the surrounding national parks. And of course, he always loved ice cream!
Bill and his family were active members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. He is predeceased by his wife Jeanne, and survived by his son Jim (wife Patty) Ward of Chehalis, and daughter Terri Titcomb of Blue Hill, Maine, along with their families, 4 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
A private graveside service will be held at a later date.
(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)
Two months ago, SDOT said its contractor had about two months of earthquake-safety work left on the SW Andover walking/biking bridge over the west end of the West Seattle Bridge. So is it almost done? No. The department sent an update today saying completion is delayed because of the ongoing concrete strike:
This project, and several others, have had to pause concrete paving work until the strike is resolved. This is a challenge, and we support a fair resolution among the parties. In the meantime, we’re continuing other project work at the site and behind the scenes and will be sure to share more about the strike outcome and any impacts to this project as information becomes available. We remain hopeful that this issue will be resolved soon and that we can continue making even more progress delivering projects for our Seattle communities.
The concrete strike’s been under way for two months, so we asked SDOT how much time this project has lost, and which others are affected. We’re still waiting for those answers. The bridge has been closed since two months before the work began, after a sudden shutdown blamed on trespassing concerns.
That’s a harbor seal photographed during a visit to Alki (yes, with a long lens) by David Hutchinson with Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network. We asked him about other seal reports we’d heard this week, and he said a busier-than-usual season continues:
Every year is different, but traditionally the winter months see a tapering off in the number of Seal Sitters’ responses. Yesterday was an exception, with 4 calls to our Hotline about young harbor seal pups hauled out on West Seattle beaches.
The first was at Lincoln Park and after a period of time, it was decided to call in support from our partner, SR3 (Sealife Response, Rehabilitation and Research). Veterinary staff arrived, did a health assessment, and after consulting with Seal Sitters it was decided that the pup was in need of additional medical diagnostics and treatment. The pup was transported to their marine mammal hospital in Des Moines. SR3 responds at the request of marine mammal stranding network members, not from the general public, so if you come across a seal the first step is to call the Seal Sitters’ Hotline.
The other 3 calls concerned pups at different locations along Alki Ave, one of which was scared into the water by people and a dog coming too close while the reporting party was still talking with the Hotline. Harbor seals and other marine mammals are protected by federal law, and just a reminder that dogs are not allowed on Seattle Parks’ beaches. It is normal for these animals to rest on the beach, with young vulnerable pups not realizing the dangers of coming ashore in a dense urban area. The photo is of one of these Alki pups, where a protective perimeter was set up and staffed by volunteers who provided information to passersby.
If you come across a marine mammal, alive or dead on a West Seattle Beach, please keep back, ask others to do the same, and call the Seal Sitters’ Hotline at 206-905-7325.
If this helps you remember that number – it’s also 206-905-SEAL.
From the latest city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin, the townhouse project planned for 6314 41st SW [map] has advanced to the next major step in the planning process. We’ve been reporting on this HALA-upzoned site for two years – first, a larger project was planned; then, one year ago, the developers presented a revised plan to the Morgan Community Association. That’s what’s moving through the system now – three 4-story buildings with 34 units total, and 14 offstreet-parking spaces. Though the city website continues to label this an “apartment” project, the developers told MoCA last year that it’ll be a mix of small townhouses and flats that will be sold, not rented; the project is described on their website as “34 stacked townhomes in the heart of West Seattle.” They’ve given the project a name, too – Callie. The project is going through Administrative Design Review and passed the first phase, which is why it’s advanced to the application stage. That opens a new public-comment period; this notice explains how to comment. January 26th is the deadline.
A few notes for a Friday off to a foggy start (thanks for the photos!):
LOG HOUSE MUSEUM CLOSED: Reminder that the museum on Alki – which otherwise would be open Friday/Saturday/Sunday afternoons – remains closed again this weekend because of the currently high community incidence of COVID-19.
SONGWRITERS’ SHOWCASE: 7-9 pm at C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor), “a monthly showcase from Songwriters In Seattle. A new lineup each month featuring four local singer-songwriters performing their original material. Anchored and hosted the second Friday of each month by West Seattle’s own Tom Humphreys. Each performer gets a 25-minute set in the showcase.” No cover.
AT THE SKYLARK: West Seattle’s premier live-music venue (3803 Delridge Way SW) features Dredge, War Puppy, and Kitty Junk at 8 pm, 21+. $10 cover.
Anything for our calendar? Email firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
Mode Music and Performing Arts in South Delridge has opened registration for winter classes – here’s the announcement:
Mode Music and Performing Arts is a nonprofit organization located in West Seattle that offers educational programs to all children. MMPA provides music, theatre, and dance classes to students of all backgrounds throughout the year. Winter Classes begin January 24th and are available for students to sign up now! These classes all help students to harness their creativity, expand their horizons, and learn something new about music and performing arts. As a COVID-19 safety measure, MMPA will only be accepting students who are fully vaccinated for enrollment at this time.
MMPA Drama Club (one day/time for grades K-3, one day/time for grades 4-6)
This new offering from MMPA is for students who are interested in learning more about the magic of theatre. Together, we will discover what goes on behind the scenes of a stage production, hone our skills as performers, and collaborate on an end-of-season showcase to share what we’ve learned with friends and family! Students will have the opportunity to break down scenes and songs from beloved plays and musicals and work together to write their own original pieces to perform.
Dungeons & Dragons Weekly Campaign (Ages 9-12)
Take a trip into the Forgotten Realms with this class, an introductory exploration of the world’s greatest roleplaying game: Dungeons & Dragons. Students will exercise their imaginations by creating Player Characters, developing their backstories, and navigating through a world of high fantasy and adventure to complete their mission. D&D teaches students valuable social and creative skills like teamwork, collaboration, problem solving, and the artistry of character building. Let the adventure begin!
Broadway Dance Party! (K-5)
Get ready to bust a move at the Broadway Dance Party! In this high-energy dance class, students will learn musical theatre dance routines set to music from hit Broadway shows like Newsies, Matilda, Frozen, and more! The class will learn proper warm-up techniques, important foundations for jazz, ballet, and theatre dance, and best practices for keeping your body healthy and strong while dancing — and we’ll have a great time while doing it! Students will prepare a number of routines to be performed for a limited audience of family and friends on the final day of camp.
MMPA is the nonprofit sibling of Mode Music Studios (WSB sponsor), both headquartered at the north end of Delridge Way SW. As noted on Thursday, both also have a dropoff donation drive happening right now for warm clothing, nonperishable food, and toiletries.
6:02 AM Good morning!
Clouds but no rain in the forecast, with a high near 50.
HIGHLAND PARK WAY
Fully reopened as of Thursday afternoon, after two landslide closures in less than a week.
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
Chief Sealth International High School is closed today because of a staff sickout over safety concerns. All schools are closed Monday for MLK Day.
-As reported Thursday, two blocks of SW 106th will be repaved Saturday and Sunday.
-Expect minor traffic impacts on SW Manning St and E Klickitat Ave (Harbor Island) the next two Saturdays related to bridge work platform rigging and hoisting:
People accessing Terminal 102 will be rerouted as a safety measure to avoid the work area. These traffic impacts will occur on Saturday, January 15 and Saturday, January 22. Those traveling east and westbound on SW Spokane St or on the pedestrian path will not be impacted. Detour signs will be in place for those traveling to and from Terminal 102.
-Replacement of Rapid Flashing Beacons: Work is planned near Michigan/Corson in Georgetown on Saturday, followed by Dumar and Orchard in West Seattle “for the remainder of the weekend,” 7 am-5 pm both days, but “minimal traffic impacts” are expected.
-Sunday, the low-bridge measurement/testing closures to prepare for repair work continue – up to half an hour each around 9 am, 1 pm, 5 pm.
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
661st 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):
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Text or call us (when you can do so safely) – 206-293-6302.