From earthquake readiness to orca history to local businesses, and beyond, @ Morgan Community Association’s January meeting

The Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meetings are always information-packed. Last night, MoCA’s online meeting spanned an especially wide range of topics:

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)

NEW BUILDING OWNER: MoCA invited Tim Overland, new owner of the Ivy Court mixed-use building (6525 California SW), to appear. He said his company owns and operates other buildings in the Northwest too. They bought Ivy Court in November (property records show it sold for $12.3 million). It was built 30 years ago by the family that once operated a drugstore where Starbucks is, about a block north at California/Fauntleroy. They plan to renovate Ivy Court – redo the roof, repaint the building, add a brick facade, remodel the apartments as tenants move. The vacant commercial space in the building has been leased to (updated) a fitness studio, moving up from Harbor Avenue. The building likely will be renamed.

EARTHQUAKE READINESS: For the next three meetings, this will be a spotlight topic for MoCA.

Longtime local community advocate Cindi Barker, who is with the Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs, led the presentation/discussion. She started by noting how preparedness advice has evolved from being ready to take care of yourself for a few days, to being ready for weeks of self-sufficiency, and to help other community members. (The latter is what the Hubs are all about – a place to gather and organize after a disaster. Morgan Junction Park is the area’s hub location – see other hub sites on this map.) “There aren’t going to be enough first responders – we are the first responders in the neighborhoods,” she emphasized.

She also – as she had in a December presentation to the District 1 Community Network – recommended watching the city’s recent series of webinars. Among other things, they show potential earthquake effects on city services and infrastructure. She also talked about the Seattle Hazard Explorer site, showing Morgan Junction’s potential tsunami zones and areas at landslide risk, as well as unreinforced-masonry buildings, at risk of full or partial collapse during an earthquake. She also showed maps that aren’t online but have been circulated by the city – potential building damage from three types of earthquakes.

A Seattle Fault quake would be most damaging to West Seattle. The city analysis looked at two types of damage – “yellow tag” where your residence is still inhabitable, “red tag” where damage is so severe that it’s not.

Here’s the conclusion and resource list – next presentation at MoCA’s April 20th meeting.

‘ORCA RESCUE’ AUTHOR: Morgan Junction resident Donna Sandstrom, founder and executive director of The Whale Trail, was there to talk about her new book. “This story has never been told – there have been other books about Springer, but never from the inside.”

She recapped what happened 20 years ago, when the orphaned orca showed up in local waters and was rescued, returned to her home waters in Canada. “This is a true story of hope, at a time when we really need one.” Twenty years ago this month, it all started when local orca researcher Mark Sears got a call about a young whale, all alone. As people came to try to figure out who this whale was and why sshe was there all alone, she “parked herself” between Vashon and West Seattle. Finally her call was identified as a whale from the north. Her mother had been lost, and somehow Springer found her way down Puget Sound. What to do? The community was consulted – even with a town hall at The Hall at Fauntleroy. Do nothing? Send her to an aquarium? Or rehab her in Puget Sound and then relocate her? The latter was chosen, and U.S. and Canadian authorities worked together. Donations were collected. Then on June 13, 2002, she was captured off Vashon and taken to a special pen near Manchester. “She turned out to be really resilient,” Sandstrom said. A month later, Springer was transported to a Canadian cove by boat. First Nations paddlers were among those there to welcome her. Less than a day later, her family showed up to get her – “sooner than anyone could have hoped.”

She kept coming back – and then in 2013 and 2017, with her new calves. Last fall, a researcher discovered Springer is pregnant again. It was “an unqualified success … and it happened right here in our backyard,” history as the first such successful orca rescue/rehabilitation. It continues to give Sandstrom hope that the Southern Resident Killer Whales can yet be saved. P.S. A “Springer Day” celebration is planned on the 20th anniversary, July 14th. And Sandstrom is open to giving presentations – schools? groups? Just contact her. “My life’s mission is to share this story,” she enthused.

PAPER BOAT BOOKSELLERS: That segued to a brief appearance by the Morgan Junction bookstore‘s owners Desirae and Eric Judy, who noted that Sandstrom’s book was one of their top sellers of 2021. How’s the book business? asked MoCA president Deb Barker. Getting better every year, Eric said. The bridge and pandemic have kept people closer to home, Desirae said. West Seattle is “the secret to our success,” Eric added.

NEW(ER) BUSINESS: MoCA also heard from another married couple operating a Morgan Junction business – the owners of Floors Plus Northwest (6959 California SW), Liliana and Luis Morales, were introduced. They’re a few months short of the business’s first anniversary. They mentioned the recent vandalism, and the heartening neighborhood support they received afterward. Their showroom is small but “we chose the location because of how the community is,” Luis said. “We love being here, it’s one of the best decisions we ever made.”

MORGAN COMMUNITY FESTIVAL: June 18th is the date tentatively set for this year’s festival. Volunteers are needed. “We are very hopeful this is going to (be a) go,” said MoCA vice president Phil Tavel. “Please reach out and help … we’d like to see some new people.” Email to volunteer and/or ask questions.

LOWMAN BEACH: Michael Brunner showed photos of progress made in this project (including a couple reader photos seen on WSB).

Night work continues this week, as noted here.

PARK COMMITTEE: MoCA is forming a committee to keep watch on the work that’s coming up at the future park-addition site – a meeting is planned March 2nd. If you’re interested in participating, email

BEVERIDGE PLACE (STREET) UTILITY WORK: This project is over now; neighbors told MoCA the work to repair a sewer line in their street went relatively well. The line had partially collapsed. Maneuvering the heavy equipment through the narrow dead-end was a bit of a challenge, neighbors noted. They’ve seen some runoff at the street end, though, and are watching to ensure it doesn’t lead to trouble.

ART WALK: Morgan Junction continues to have businesses participating in the second-Thursday West Seattle Art Walk. The list of businesses is in fact getting longer – Peel & Press is the newest to join. February 10th is the next WSAW.

NEXT MoCA MEETING: April 20th.

9 Replies to "From earthquake readiness to orca history to local businesses, and beyond, @ Morgan Community Association's January meeting"

  • Jodie January 21, 2022 (9:17 am)

    Hi Tracy if I may the business that formally leased from Ivy Court was Pilates al Dente, formerly Pilates Westside (my business) which is also relocated at activspace. I know so many studios with so many similar names. Just an fyi. Thanks

    • WSB January 21, 2022 (9:35 am)

      Thanks, will fix. He said “West Seattle Pilates,” and Harbor Avenue, which checked out, so I had no reason to doubt … Good luck with the move. – TR

      • Pilates Fan January 21, 2022 (11:49 am)

        I think there may be a confusion.  Pilates al Dente may have formerly been there but I’m almost positive it is West Seattle Pilates (a WSB Sponsor) that is moving in to that space.  I’m currently taking lessons with Jenny at West Seattle Pilates and she has been discussing the move.  West Seattle Blog, you may want to confirm with her since that was the name given by the building owner too and since her business is one of your sponsors…

        • WSB January 21, 2022 (12:25 pm)

          OK, for now, I’m just changing it to a “fitness studio.”

          • WSB January 21, 2022 (1:47 pm)

            I have heard back from West Seattle Pilates and what I originally wrote is correct – that studio IS moving into the vacant commercial space in Ivy Court. So I’ll be restoring the original wording above – TR

    • M January 21, 2022 (10:24 am)

      Jodie, will you be offering group equipment classes in the new space?

  • Matt Gilmore January 21, 2022 (10:07 am)

    No new news on the Morgan Junction park? Or did I miss it somewhere?

    • WSB January 21, 2022 (10:21 am)

      Just a brief mention of the committee. I’m working on a separate update re: the status of the soil cleanup.

  • anonyme January 21, 2022 (1:23 pm)

    I’m glad they’ll be remodeling instead of just tearing it down and building something even bigger – and uglier.

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