West Seattle, Washington
Immediately south of the heart of the downtown White Center business district, 16th Avenue SW widens to four lanes, and it’s been precarious for pedestrians, with more than 20 injured over the past decade, and at least two killed. So King County is planning a rechannelization project for 16th SW between 100th and 107th, and brought early word of it to last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, which we covered for partner site White Center Now. This stretch is of extra interest to West Seattleites, as 107th is a much-used route between WS and WC. King County Roads has launched a survey asking for opinions on two options, both of which would narrow that stretch to one travel lane each way, while adding parking:
As shown above, one option adds parking on the east side and bike lanes, while the other adds parking on both sides. You can tell King County what you think via this survey. The project website has even more details – including, at the bottom, the project budget (about $1 million) and a construction timeline – 2024.
The CleanUpSEA coalition has an invitation for you, to start what’s expected to be a rainless weekend:
Join Jess at her monthly 10 am cleanup from Alki Beach to Constellation Park, and neighboring streets in between — the first Saturday of every month!
We’ll meet outside 2452 Alki Ave SW (brick apartment building across from new bathrooms on the beach) and spread out from there. We have pickup sticks & buckets you can use, or bring your own.
Friendly doggies and supervised children of all ages are welcome. Please, no dogs on the beach. Dress for the weather and bring gloves if you’d like your hands covered.
Early Riser? Meet Erik & Garet at 7 am every Saturday to clean up starting at the Statue of Liberty.
No RSVP needed – just show up!
One month after taking office, Mayor Bruce Harrell, his deputy mayors, and public-safety chiefs went before the media at midmorning today to promise action on violent crime that’s at its “highest level in 24 years.” You can watch the video above. For starters, Mayor Harrell said, he’s told Police Chief Adrian Diaz to “focus on those places where crime is concentrated, and on the relatively few individuals causing the most harm.” (He wouldn’t say exactly where “those places” are, at one point suggesting that locations could be deduced if you “read the blogs.”) He also acknowledged “inherit(ing) a depleted and demoralized police force,” now down 350 officers, and promised the remaining police he would support them providing they “perform (their) duties with honor and excellence.”
“We need more police,” declared Chief Diaz, also identifying gun violence as a particular problem. The mayor’s list of statistics included a 40 percent increase in shootings, with or without injuries. Chief Diaz said officers recovered 3,200+ shell casings recovered last year, in 600+ incidents.
That category of crime is affecting how firefighters do their work too, said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. His department responded to more than 400 “scenes of violence” (weapon-involved injuries, not only guns) calls last year, up a third from 2020. They’ve had to change their policy on weapons incidents – now wearing “ballistic vests and helmets,” and staging 4 blocks away until assured the scene is secure. He also talked about the increase in SFD responses to encampments – this month averaging five fire responses and 33 medical responses a day. That’s in the context of an increased number of all service calls – 94,000+ last year, up from 80,000+ in 2020.
Public safety isn’t just about SPD and SFD, cautioned Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell, promising a “holistic” approach. She was followed by Tiffany Washington, Deputy Mayor for homelessness/housing issues, who also made the point that “the issues of homelessness and public safety are not one and the same.”
So what exactly are they doing? “We are building systems right now,” said Mayor Harrell, who said he and his team are working “feverishly” toward solutions. He promised more specifics to come. West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, issued a statement of support afterward; you can see it here. In it, she also spotlights some of the public-safety alternatives the city is funding, which she detailed to the District 1 Community Network this week, as reported here.
Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes so far today:
ATTEMPTED LURING: The report is from Lynn:
I’ve been alerted that while my son was at the Whale Tail playground near Alki yesterday afternoon, a strange man beckoned to him and a three-year-old to “come over here”. My son ignored him and walked away toward his group of school friends and informed his teacher about it. I just want other parents to be on alert about this.
Lynn didn’t have a description, yet.
MYSTERY STABBING: From a preliminary police summary – a 911 call at 1 am today reported “a man in the road with red marks on his back” in the 3000 block of SW Avalon Way, but police didn’t find anyone. Half an hour later, the man called the AMR ambulance service to say he’d been stabbed. Officers went back and found him at the 35th/Avalon 7-11. The summary continues:
The victim shared no specific details that could assist in the investigation, location of scene, or suspect description. (He) had several small puncture wounds on his back.
SFD was called; they took him to the hospital for evaluation.
If you’ve walked past 4538 California SW in The Junction in the past few days, it’s clear that furniture store Village Woodworks has cleared out, after 25 years. Here’s the view through the front window:
We’ve been trying all week to get some details before publishing a story. Back on Sunday, while in The Junction, we found owner Brian Low continuing to clear out the space, but he declined comment at the time, saying they’d contact us by email in a day or two. We have yet to hear back via email or phone, so we still don’t know if this is simply a case of retirement, or whether there’s a new location elsewhere, or something else. But we did finally make contact with the building’s owners via email; they responded to our question about what’s next for the space:
Ownership is currently evaluating our options.
At this time there is no current tenant lined up to move in.
We are exploring our options including renting out the existing space or a redevelopment of the property.
Anything and everything is currently on the table.
(Some of the building’s history can be seen here.) As of this writing, the closure is not yet acknowledged on Village Woodworks’ online channels.
Three months after installation of the new play structure between Fairmount Park Elementary and Fairmount Playfield, it’s finally open. As reported here last week, Seattle Parks blamed issues such as wood-chip availability and the concrete strike for the most-recent holdups, but said they hoped to open it this week. We hadn’t checked since Wednesday afternoon, but today we went by after a tip from Kevin, and as shown above, it’s open and in use, just in time for the weekend. Planning for the play-structure replacement began in 2019 and it was originally projected to be complete two years ago.
A few reminders for the rest of your Friday:
WYATT’S JEWELERS EVENT: 4:30-7:30 pm wishlist event, as previewed here, at Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) in Westwood Village – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-937-9200 to see if there’s still room.
WINE: Taste, drink, buy wine @ the Viscon Cellars (WSB sponsor) tasting room, open 5-9 pm. (5910 California SW)
LIVESTREAMED SINGLE-RELEASE PARTY: As previewed last night, West Seattle musician Zoser has a free livestreamed 2-single-release party online at 6 pm tonight.
DJ NIGHT: 6-10 pm at The Spot West Seattle (2920 SW Avalon Way)
‘MONSTERS OF THE AMERICAN CINEMA’: The new world-premiere play at ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery (4711 California SW; WSB sponsor) continues its run at 7:30 tonight. Read about it here; buy your tickets here.
Something for our calendar? email@example.com – thank you!
The White Center Food Bank, which also serves south West Seattle, needs your help, if you can donate food. Here’s the announcement we received:
We are running low on the following items and need our community to help fill the shelves:
Soup (pop top)
Sugar (in a box)
Condiments (BBQ, mustard, mayo)
Coffee & Tea
Mac and Cheese
Donation hours at the food bank are 8 am-3:30 pm M-F, 10829 8th Ave SW.
Please get in touch with a staff member when you arrive and they can help load in.
If those hours or location are not convenient, we have donation barrels located at:
– BECU in Roxbury Safeway
– Moonshot Coffee (White Center)
– Good Day Donuts (White Center)
– Future Primitive Beer (White Center)
– White Center and Fauntleroy Starbucks locations
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
When you hear about “public-safety alternatives,” what does that really mean?
The spotlight topic at this month’s District 1 Community Network meeting, online Wednesday night, sought to answer that question.
Guests included both providers of those alternatives and a proponent of them, West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee again this year.
Herbold opened by acknowledging that crime in the city rose in 2021 crime, including categories such as gunfire and aggravated assaults, though homicides were down from 2020. Police Chief Adrian Diaz has said there’s no single cause; it has to be addressed with a public-health response, she said. The council has fully funded SPD’s hiring plan, she said, noting that SPD’s budget is down but $41 million of the cuts are because functions that used to be part of SPD are no longer part of the department – the 911 center, parking enforcement, emergency management. “The council has not made any cuts that have resulted in layoffs, but the staff is down because 350 officers have left.” Also, Herbold said, 170+ officers are on disability or extended leave in SPD, an “unusually large number” – many of them because of the vaccine mandate, many who may be “on their way out of the department.” 12 new officers were hired by year’s end but attrition is higher – in that same period, 13 more left. She supports a hiring incentive program but contends the city needs to continue developing alternatives to traditional policing.
Toward that, here’s the presentation into which she segued:
6:02 AM Good morning!
Today’s forecast is again breezy and potentially rainy, with a high in the 40s.
Tunnel closure – The 99 tunnel closes both ways tonight through Saturday morning, 10 pm-6 am, for regular maintenance.
West Marginal paving – As announced Friday, city crews will repave West Marginal both days this weekend, between 2nd SW and Highland Park Way, with work starting as early as 1 am each day and finishing by 1 pm, with only southbound traffic allowed on that stretch,
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES
Metro is on its regular weekday schedule. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of reroutes/cancellations.
West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi routes are on regular schedules.
Ferries: WSF continues the two-boat schedule for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth. Check here for alerts/updates.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
682nd morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
Low Bridge: Automated enforcement cameras are still 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:
South Park Bridge:
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
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.