West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is very personal for some people here in West Seattle.
16-year-old Rada Myroshnychenko is one of them. She is from Mykolayiv in southern Ukraine [map] – 5,700 miles away – and has been here about half a year as an exchange student at Chief Sealth International High School.
After hearing about Rada from her host family, we asked if we could interview her. She answered our questions via email.
What’s it like trying to stay in touch with your family when your home country is under attack? “I’m texting my mom every day because I’m worrying so much about them, every time I’m checking the news I’m texting my family back there right away to make sure if they’re okay. It’s really scary to hear the sirens or sometimes even shooting noises in the background of her voice messages that she’s sending me and of course they’re scared as well. They’re trying to convince me that everything is pretty much alright so I will not worry so much and as I know they’re doing everything possible to be safe in there.”
What should people here know about what’s happening? “What the Ukrainian nation values the most is freedom, that’s why our country is fighting for so many years with those who want to take this freedom away from us.” Rada also thinks it’s important for you to grasp the “scale” of what’s happening: “To understand the scale of what is happening: Imagine it being like 9/11 every day for 11 days straight in every city of every state – that is what is happening in Ukraine right now.”
She is heartened by the support for Ukraine here in the USA and around the world – including a downtown rally this past weekend.
“I actually really like to see all the support from other countries, no matter what it is. I already saw a lot of Ukrainian flags around the West Seattle area and Seattle in general and I also am really thankful to my host family, friends, and just to everyone who went to the rally on Saturday. Everything that the government and the people of each country are doing for Ukraine is what I appreciate to see the most these days. I like that people from different countries are interested in what is happening in Ukraine and trying to help as much as they can, I like that people understand how valuable the freedom and safety for our country is and that they’re trying to help us protect it.”
So if someone wants to help, we asked, what’s the best way, in Rada’s view? “The best thing right now is to donate to our medical centers and hospitals who are saving those who already suffered from the war, also you can donate to our army and volunteer defenders who are protecting our land.” She suggested these two links: Army – uahelp.monobank.ua and Red Cross – icrc.org/en/donate/ukraine
Will the war affect Rada’s plans to return home? She’s not sure yet – her exchange program is still in wait-and-see mode. She “always wanted people to get to know my country – Ukraine … how beautiful our culture, traditions, language, nature, and cities are.” She is sad that while her homeland is a subject of intense interest right now, “all you see … is ruins, fire, bombs, and people who are hiding from the war.” She hopes for a happy homecoming: “I really want to see all my favorite streets in Ukraine when I come back home, I want to meet with my family and friends in the places we love in safe and happy Ukraine – as it was before all of that started. I just want all that aggression to stop, and your donation and support is the best thing that can help us!”
7:14 PM MONDAY: The Chief Sealth International High School community is mourning an educator who also served as the school’s tennis coach. 37-year-old Steadman Mathis died after an early-morning fire at his home in White Center on Sunday. Firefighters responded to the house in the 400 block of SW 108th [map] around 3:45 am on Sunday (March 6th). They quickly pulled Mr. Mathis out of the house, says Fire Chief Mike Marrs, but it was too late to save him – the King County Medical Examiner’s Office says he died of smoke inhalation. Two children in the house were rescued as well and they survived. Marrs says the fire was ruled accidental. CSIHS athletic director Ernest Policarpio remembers Mr. Mathis as “a good man.”
ADDED TUESDAY MORNING: Chief Sealth principal Ray Morales sent families a note about Mr. Mathis, and we’ve obtained it from the district. From that note:
It is with profound sadness that I am sharing news of the death of a staff member from our community. Steadman Mathis tragically passed away in a house fire early Sunday morning. He supported our community in many ways, both formally and informally. He was an Instructional Assistant in the Access Program and was Chief Sealth’s Tennis Coach. He was not just an educator and a colleague but a father, a brother, a son, a nephew and more. …
… We are a community because we care about each other. In this time of sadness, our hearts and thoughts go out to Mr. Mathis’s family. As we learn of more ways to support them, we will let you know. If you have any questions, please contact the school.
The full letter also includes resources for coping with loss.
Light rail is currently scheduled to arrive in West Seattle in 2032, two years later than the original plan when voters passed ST3 in 2016. Would you support paying extra to speed that up? A bill enabling that option is headed to Gov. Jay Inslee‘s desk after final passage in the Legislature today, as reported when the City Council got a legislative briefing this afternoon. Here’s how the transit-advocacy group Seattle Subway summarized the legislation, Senate Bill 5528:
The bill allows a city, subarea, county, or combination thereof to have the option to create an “Enhanced Service Zone” to target the investments their voters care about most. SB 5528 allows the Sound Transit Board to give voters the opportunity to fund faster construction timelines on existing projects and/or fund new transit improvements and services for individual cities and sub-areas within the Sound Transit district. The funding mechanisms included in the bill are a motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) not to exceed 1.5%, and a commercial parking tax. If authorized for public vote by the Sound Transit Board, voters still must register a majority in favor for the funding mechanisms to go into effect.
You can read the Legislature’s report on the final version of the bill here. Speeding up construction is just one of the possible uses of extra funding it spells out.
One of West Seattle’s long-closed park play structures has a new date for replacement. Seattle Parks closed the Westcrest Park play structure in May of last year for safety concerns and said it would be replaced as part of the drainage-improvement project at the park’s off-leash area. That work has been under way for months now, but no word of the play area’s status until today, when the city announced the work would happen “this summer” and be complete “this fall.”
P.S. Before you ask – yes, we’re asking about the status of the Westcrest drainage project and also asking about the longest-closed park play area in West Seattle, the Lincoln Park South Play Area, closed for almost five years, with the newest online update saying the much-delayed replacement is now scheduled to go to bid “in late spring.”
Metro says it’s back up to “about 96% of (its) service” with more than 160 bus routes are operating each day, and some of them will see changes on March 19th, the next “service change” date. Those are detailed systemwide on this Metro webpage. Metro’s highlight list include these changes for routes including West Seattle service; we’ve linked each affected route number to its new timetable:
Routes 37 and 116 continue to be indefinitely suspended, as does Saturday service on Route 125. Metro’s next service change will be in September, which is when Route 120 is planned for conversion to the RapidRide H Line.
Police confirmed gunfire on Harbor Avenue early Sunday, according to a preliminary summary report. It says they were called about 1:35 am Sunday about possible gunfire in the 1300 block of Harbor (the Don Armeni Boat Ramp vicinity). As officers headed that way, they got an update that, the summary says, “multiple vehicles were involved and actively shooting as they fled the area southbound.” On arrival, they “located a sprawling scene that stretched from the 1300 to the 2300 block.” They found “evidence of a shooting … along this stretch of road,” which generally means casings, but “no victims (and) no property damage,” nor did they find anyone who could tell them more than that “three vehicles were likely involved.”
Highlights for the rest of today/tonight:
OPEN D&D: Play 6:30 pm-10 pm Mondays at Meeples Games (3727 California SW).
Do you have something for our calendar/daily previews? email@example.com – thank you!
Family and friends are remembering Dr. Allen Watts, and sharing this remembrance with his community:
Dr. Allen Watts
November 17, 1923 – March 4, 2022
Few people have touched as many lives in West Seattle as Allen J. Watts. “Al” to his friends. “Doc Watts” to his generations of dental patients. Born in 1923 in rural Minnesota, he grew up without electricity or running water, and was instilled with a work ethic that he carried throughout his 98 years.
When he was 5 years old, Al started helping his father milk their 14 cows twice a day. They relied on their horses for plowing their field because they couldn’t afford a tractor, and they fed their family all year long with what they raised on their land.
He recalled one time when they couldn’t afford to pay their full property tax bill and his father borrowed $8 from the bank to make up the difference.
After serving in the Navy during World War Two, he graduated from dental school and decided to settle in Seattle. He began his practice in White Center and then opened his own dental office in West Seattle where he served the community for 39 years. The brick office he built near the VFW Hall on Alaska Street is still in use today.
Al Watts also left his mark with considerable community service, starting as a volunteer at the nearby YMCA and later as a board member and chairman of the building committee for 18 years. He led the $5 million effort to build the structure that currently houses the West Seattle Y. And Dr. Watts was often the one who quietly did the repairs on the building.
He was one of the founders of the West Seattle Helpline, which continues to offer emergency aid to the needy. Al was also a Boy Scout leader in West Seattle for many years, acting as Scoutmaster to as many as 74 boys at a time. Another one of his passions was the West Seattle Lions Club, where he served in every leadership role for many decades. In every one of these selfless roles, he was the driving force to get things done and make a difference in other people’s lives.
In 1963 Al and his wife bought property on Maury Island and called it Appleyard Farm. He raised chickens and exotic birds that won prizes at shows all over the country. Some of the species were nearly extinct when he started breeding them and he took great joy in seeing their offspring at shows in the subsequent years. He also had a donkey named Rosie and a pet llama, which were big hits with the neighborhood kids.
Over the years Al raised many varieties of apples, pears, berries, rhododendrons, Japanese maples, sunflowers, prize-wining pumpkins, and corn. One of his other great joys was sharing that bounty with others.
He is survived by his wife of more than 65 years, Muriel, their children Brad, Tim, and Leanne, 7 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren who will never forget him.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
6:03 AM: Good morning! Welcome to Monday, March 7th – the last Monday in Pacific Standard Time, since Daylight Saving Time arrives early next Sunday.
Some clouds, some sun today, and we could see a high in the mid-50s.
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES TODAY
Metro is on its regular weekday schedule. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of reroutes/cancellations.
Water Taxi‘s on its regular schedule.
Ferries: WSF continues the two-boat schedule for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth. Check here for alerts/updates.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
713th 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.)
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.