West Seattle, Washington
If you own property in King County, you can go online now to look at this year’s tax details. For those who pay their taxes directly to the county rather than through a mortgage lender, postal-mail bills usually go out about now too but the county sent an advisory today saying they’ll “be a little later than normal this year” because a “routine quality-control check revealed a validation error before the (~350,000) statements were printed and mailed.” We asked county spokesperson Cameron Satterfield to elaborate on the “validation error” – here’s the explanation: “After the property-tax roll is prepared by the Assessor’s Office, it’s sent to King County Treasury to be cross-checked as part of a joint quality assurance process. During that process, Treasury noted a discrepancy in the calculation for the recently renewed Best Starts for Kids levy, specifically the levy exemption for seniors and people with disabilities. The Assessor’s Office made the correction and sent an updated roll to Treasury. However, the recalculation, recertification, and QA process put tax statement printing and mailing about two weeks behind schedule.” Whether you pay by mail or online, the first-half payment is due this year on May 2nd. Got questions? 206-263-2890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
7:14 PM: A semi-rare treat – a wintertime full moon NOT hidden by clouds. Tonight, it’s the Full Snow Moon. Above, Jan Pendergrass caught the moonrise from Harbor Avenue; below, a different view from Jerry Simmons:
Moonset will be just after 8 am Friday.
9:30 PM: A later view, from Robert Spears:
As more workers return to offices, downtown traffic will continue increasing, so the city will start turning on its new enforcement cameras. Here’s the SDOT map of their locations:
Today’s announcement says activation will start in March – first, the five cameras that will monitor bus lanes; then the four that will watch busy intersections where drivers tend to “block the box.” The locations were originally announced last November, and signs about them were installed, SDOT says. When they start ticketing, it’ll be a $75 fine, as with the cameras on the West Seattle low bridge. These, like those, were authorized by the State Legislature. More information on the plan, and what the revenue goes toward, is on the city website.
Can you spare some time to help a student read better? One West Seattle school has an “very high need,” according to Reading Partners, which sent this request:
Volunteers needed at Sanislo Elementary (1812 SW Myrtle St)! Reading Partners is an education nonprofit that partners with schools and communities to provide elementary-aged students with the foundational literacy skills they need to read at grade level by the fourth grade. We currently have a very high need for volunteer tutors to work one-on-one with students.
Reading Partners tutors work one-on-one with the same K-4th grade student for a minimum of one hour per week until June. More than simply reading with a child, our volunteers follow a proven, structured curriculum to help students learn specific skills necessary to become proficient readers. It’s simple, and it works. Each lesson comes with step-by-step instructions and materials. A trained program coordinator is always available to answer questions, assist with the materials, and solve problems.
We offer flexible Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday volunteer times between 8 AM-2:30 PM. No experience is required, as we provide volunteers with a structured curriculum, training, and ongoing support to help you and your student succeed. Online tutoring opportunities are available, but our highest current need is for in-person volunteers. Want to learn more and sign up? Visit our website here, or contact volunteerSEA@readingpartners.org or 206-992-4484.
As noted in our morning preview, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell planned to announce a change in the vaccine-verification policy this afternoon. From the announcement (which you can read in full here):
The vaccine verification policy in King County will no longer be in effect as of March 1. Businesses will no longer be required to check customers’ proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test, to enter restaurants and bars, indoor recreational events and establishments, or outdoor events.
With new COVID-19 cases and hospitalization decreasing, and over 87% of King County residents over age 12 fully vaccinated, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Public Health – Seattle & King County is lifting the local health order requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry into indoor recreational settings, or outdoor events. The vaccination verification policy will no longer be in effect as of March 1. Businesses and organizations may continue to implement their own vaccination verification rules for their establishments. Additionally, King County and the City of Seattle announced their remote employees would begin returning to offices in March.
“From the beginning of this pandemic, our aim has been to protect the health of our community and save lives. Our public health experts believe that now is the appropriate time to lift vaccine verification, based on high rates of vaccine coverage and the decrease in new cases and hospitalizations across the county. We are moving in the right direction, and can continue taking additional steps toward recovery,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “King County businesses and community members have been instrumental in encouraging nation-leading vaccination verification rates, and I’m grateful for the extra effort to keep our community safe over these last several months.”
“The steady decline in positive cases is much needed positive news. Seattle will continue to follow public health guidance and adopt strategies that best keep our communities safe,” said Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. “These steps forward show we are moving in the right direction and reflect that our region’s strong COVID response is the result of a united team effort. With City employees who had previously been working from home beginning to return to office in mid-March, I look forward to keeping up this collaborative spirit as we drive forward an equitable, community-focused recovery.”
“We announced the vaccination verification policy in anticipation of a fall and winter surge in cases. The intent was to reduce COVID-19 transmission in high-risk indoor settings and thereby reduce the burden on our hospitals, while providing time for more people to get fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Following the record-breaking Omicron surge, we’re have seen a steady reduction in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and hospital capacity is improving. In addition, since this policy was adopted, over one-quarter of a million King County residents have gotten vaccinated, meaning nearly 80% of King County residents are now fully vaccinated and 92% of those eligible have started the vaccination series.”
“Although our mandatory vaccine verification requirement is ending, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain elevated and layered COVID-19 prevention remains important. Everyone should continue to take steps to reduce COVID-19 risk, including getting vaccinated and boosted when eligible, using high quality, well-fitting face masks, improving indoor air quality through ventilation and filtration, and limiting time in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces. Businesses should continue to support employees in getting vaccinated and staying home when sick.”
“We are thrilled to hear that recent public health data has encouraged King County leaders to move our community and our businesses into the next phase of the pandemic and prepare for the sunset of vaccine verification,” said Rachel Smith, president and CEO of the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce. “This is our moment to celebrate the tremendous work the county, businesses, and customers did to make public health a priority – saving lives and keeping our economy moving. Vaccine verification was a win-win: our businesses got to keep their staff on payroll and keep their doors open, while prioritizing safety. Our top priority has been to support the King County business community as it navigated changes in regulations, and it can expect that same high level of support and resources from the Chamber to help ensure safety for our community moving forward.”
King County’s vaccination verification policy went into effect on October 25, 2021. The policy required either verification of full vaccination or a recent negative test to enter indoor entertainment and recreational events or establishments, indoor restaurants and bars, and outdoor events with 500 people or more.
The policy was announced in September 2021 as a temporary measure during the Delta variant surge and to prepare for a potential fall and winter surge. The intent of the policy was to give additional COVID-19 protection to employees and patrons in high-risk indoor settings while providing more time for people to get fully vaccinated. Modeling produced by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicted the vaccine verification could have a significant positive impact in reducing infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.
The policy was supported by healthcare organizations, business groups, and arts and culture organizations. Multiple King County business owners and major sports teams had already implemented their own vaccination verification policies. King County worked with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to gather business feedback to inform the policy and conduct outreach and technical assistance once the policy was in place.
Thanks to Rob Wright for the highlight reel from the West Seattle High School girls’ district-playoffs victory over Holy Names on Tuesday at Bellevue College, 50-40. Next up, the Wildcat girls face top-seeded Garfield for the third time in less than three weeks; that game is also at Bellevue College, 3:30 pm tomorrow (Thursday, February 17th).
Here’s what’s up for the rest of today/tonight:
MAYOR/EXECUTIVE ANNOUNCEMENT: Happening at 1 pm today:
King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, and Public Health – Seattle & King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin will hold a media availability today to discuss major updates to the County’s COVID-19 vaccination verification policy for restaurants and other public venues, first announced in September 2021 and in effect since October 2021. Executive Constantine and Mayor Harrell will also announce upcoming return to office plans for County and City employees as part of the ongoing pandemic recovery.
You’ll be able to watch live here.
DISCOVER SEATTLE COLLEGES: 5:30-6:30 pm tonight, online, learn about skilled-trades and technical training at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) and its sibling Seattle Colleges. Go here to get the link.
HPIC GENERAL MEETING: 7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club members are invited to a general membership meeting to talk about the ongoing post-fire rebuilding plan. You can join or renew here (members will get the meeting-attendance link).
SKYLARK OPEN MIC: 7:30 pm signups @ West Seattle’s longest-running open mic – no cover to watch. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
WEST SEATTLE BASEBALL: Today is the deadline for registration – details are in our original announcement.
Something for our calendar? Email info to email@example.com – thank you!
St. Patrick’s Day is one month from tomorrow. Since it’s on a Thursday this year, many celebrations will be held on the preceding weekend – like this one for which West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor) invites you to register now:
We are doing something cool and partnering with Good Society Brewing on Sunday, March 13th at 9 am!
Join us for Group Run to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Meet at West Seattle Runner for 5k route around the ‘hood. Finish at Good Society Brewing
We ask that you sign up to take part (so Good Society can plan; they are opening early for us! And so we can decide if we need to arrange waves and an outside gathering). Please note that you need to mask up in the shop. You will have the option to be outside or indoors at Good Society. And of course, the run takes place outdoors, so this can be something to participate in a COVID-safe way.
Sign up by stopping by West Seattle Runner [2743 California SW] and purchasing an entry for $1.The dollar is to hold your place (if you choose to not attend after registering, please let us know, so your spot can go to someone on the waitlist). Each dollar will be given to Good Society staff as a tip. Soon, we will post a link to purchase on our web store. But we want first dibs to go to our customers before the public can sign up remotely. There will be a cap on the number of participants.
Good Society will donate part of proceeds to The West Seattle Food Bank or Social Justice Fund.
Wear your green or risk being pinched! There will be a raffle drawing to boot!!
10:53 AM: If you’re heading toward I-5 via the 1st Avenue S. Bridge and its Michigan exit, note that a crash investigation at 6th/Michigan has narrowed lanes and is slowing things:
Thanks to Rose for the photo and tip.
6:03 AM: Good morning! It’s Wednesday.
In the forecast for today – some clouds, some fog, maybe some showers, high near 50.
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
694th 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:
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.