West Seattle, Washington
Deb Schwartzkopf had cause to celebrate tonight. She was in the spotlight at a show with dozens of artists exhibiting at the future location of her Rain City Clay studios. It’s at 4208 SW 100th, the longtime Arbor Heights home of Brace Point Pottery, whose owner Loren Lukens is moving out of state. Schwarzkopf and friends, including many contributing artists, gathered tonight for a reception celebrating the start of the transition, which we first told you about back in September. It’s now just a month and a half until Schwartzkopf will “get the keys” on March 1st.
She plans to keep her current studio in White Center, Rat City Studios, as a location for artists to use, but Rain City Clay will be the hub for classes, workshops, and shows – like this one, featuring many students past and present, as well as other clay artists.
If you didn’t get to the show – titled “Introductions” – tonight, you can also see it next Saturday, when Brace Point Pottery is open 10 am-5 pm. (This is the last show Lukens is hosting there before his move next month.) Meantime, Schwartzkopf is continuing to crowdfund to help with improvements and added equipment to realize her community-building vision for Rain City Clay. The grand-opening celebration is planned for April 2nd.
Almost seven months after the fire that severely damaged the Highland Park Improvement Club building (12th/Holden), major decisions remain about its future – how much of it to rebuild, and what purpose the new building could serve. Those have been topics of two online “town halls” so far (WSB coverage here and here), and now it’s time for the third, Wednesday (January 19th) at 7 pm. As announced by HPIC, “Architect Matt Wittman and Landscape Architect Jody Estes of Wittman Estes will facilitate the meeting again. We will be discussing the results of the Community Priority Questionnaire and how this input relates to the building, with diagrams and sketches to help visualize.” Even if you haven’t participated in the process so far, you’re welcome to jump in now. Connection information for the meeting is on the HPIC website.
At the end of a socked-in day, we learned that somewhere in the fog, an aircraft carrier passed by … for the last time. The USS Kitty Hawk has been mothballed in Bremerton for more than a decade, and was towed away today, headed to be scrapped in Texas, as the Kitsap Sun‘s Josh Farley reports. We don’t have a photo of its passage in the fog today, but here’s a pic we published (courtesy of reader Gary) the day it arrived in Bremerton in September 2008:
Meantime, also on the water between here and Bremerton this murky day, a submarine:
We received that photo from Kelley Leigh, who was on a state ferry headed for downtown Seattle that passed the submarine arriving in Bremerton just before 3 pm today.
Washington State Ferries says its ridership continued rebounding last year from the 2020 pandemic low. This week, it released the year-end ridership report for 2021. The accompanying announcement included the overview on some of the trends:
For only the second time since it began operations in 1951, and the second year in a row, WSF carried more vehicles with a driver (8.9 million) than passengers (8.4 million) in 2021, as many continued to work from home or chose to drive on board because of the pandemic.
Current ridership trends
State ferry ridership in 2021 rose to roughly 72% of 2019 pre-COVID-19 numbers, with vehicles climbing to 85% and walk-on customers up to 42% of pre-pandemic levels. Ridership is expected to rebound further when COVID-19 eases and as WSF restores sailings closer to pre-pandemic levels.
“We’re in the process of planning our service restoration efforts as we continue to aggressively recruit, hire and train new employees,” said WSF Assistant Secretary Patty Rubstello. “Pandemic-related vessel crewing challenges and the temporary loss of one of our biggest ferries due to an engine room fire were two major service obstacles for us in 2021.”
2021 route-by-route ridership highlights
The greatest year-to-year increase came on the Seattle/Bainbridge Island route, where total ridership – vehicles and passengers combined – was up 44%. The boost lifts the run back into the top spot as the system’s busiest after dropping behind Mukilteo/Clinton and Edmonds/Kingston in 2020 for the first time in more than 40 years. The Anacortes/San Juan Islands route had the second largest growth at 36% with ridership on those runs reaching 95% of pre-pandemic levels. System highlights include:
Seattle/Bainbridge Island: Biggest year-to-year increase with total riders up 44%, led by a system-high rise in walk-on passengers of 54%; vehicles jumped a system high 32%.
Edmonds/Kingston: Total riders climbed 20%, vehicles grew 14%.
Mukilteo/Clinton: Total riders rose 14%, vehicles increased 11% to remain as busiest route for drivers.
Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth: Total riders up 13%, vehicles jumped 9%.
Anacortes/San Juan Islands: Total riders surged 36%, vehicles climbed 23%.
Seattle/Bremerton: Total riders grew 29%, vehicles rose 20%.
Point Defiance/Tahlequah: Total riders increased 18%, vehicles up 13%.
Port Townsend/Coupeville: Total riders jumped 22%, vehicles climbed 14%.
Anacortes/Friday Harbor/Sidney, British Columbia: The international route did not resume service in 2021 due to U.S.-Canada border restrictions and continued crewing and vessel availability challenges.
You can see annual ridership reports dating back to 2002 by going here. For a quick comparison, Fauntleroy-Vashon ridership in 2021, 1.4 million, was down from 1.8 million in 2019, while Fauntleroy-Southworth’s 2021 total, 554,000, was down from 2019’s 976,000.
As shown in that security video from early this morning, one minute is all it took for a burglar to enter Hotwire Coffee in The Junction, load a container with items, and leave. The video was sent by Hotwire’s general manager, Nicole, who says the burglar got away with their cash drawer, petty cash, and keys. It happened around 4:25 am and she’s hoping someone may have seen something or recognize the burglar. We don’t have the incident number yet but will add it when we do.
10:09 AM: Your phone might have just sounded an alarm saying King County is under a tsunami advisory because of the big volcanic eruption in the South Pacific that happened last night:
1.14.2021: Large volcanic eruption near Tonga (Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano) today as seen from outer space. Shown on visible imagery using the Himawari satellite. #hiwx #tsunami #earthquake pic.twitter.com/zOTj6Qu1Wv
— NWSHonolulu (@NWSHonolulu) January 15, 2022
It’s important to know this does NOT mean the stereotypical giant wave (which would be a possibility if the event were somewhere nearby). Even on the open ocean coast, the “tsunami” might be 1 to 3 feet – but do heed warnings if you happen to be visiting that area.
10:19 AM: Here’s a map of where the eruption happened.
3:14 PM: And if you’re still worried, note that the state Emergency Management department clarified that the advisory is not for areas like ours. Meantime, one commenter asked what to do if there WAS a serious tsunami threat – short answer is to head inland/uphill, much longer answer (and lots more info) is here.
5:20 PM: For the areas of our state’s ocean coast that WERE under an advisory, it’s been canceled.
Welcome to the weekend. Here’s what to know as it begins:
TRAFFIC ALERTS: Three of them today:
–Repaving work on SW 106th between 32nd and 106th all weekend
-If you’re going to/from Harbor Island, possible minor traffic impacts on SW Manning and E. Klickitat related to bridge work platform rigging and hoisting
-Rapid Flashing Beacon replacement work along Dumar/Orchard
FREE WEEKLY WRITERS’ GROUP: New participants welcome. 10:30 am – registration link and other details are in our calendar listing.
WINE TIME: Viscon Cellars‘ (5910 California SW; WSB sponsor) tasting room is open 1-6 pm.
ART RECEPTION: It’s time for “Introductions” as Rain City Clay takes over Brace Point Pottery in Arbor Heights, 6-8 pm reception tonight. (4208 SW 100th)
WEST SEATTLE DRAG SHOW: At the Admiral Pub (2306 California SW) with Dolly Madison, 9 pm.
Are we missing anything? Email email@example.com – thank you!