West Seattle, Washington
Today is Earth Day, but observances continue into the weekend, mostly community cleanups. Above is art spotlighting the ongoing need for them – Highland Park artist Dina Johnson created her collage “Plastic Ocean” and installed it on her fenceto raise awareness about plastic pollution. She explains, “The elements were found near my home and White Center, and a few on the beach or Westcrest Park. They are common, non-degradable objects that are discarded with no thought, doing appalling damage to the environment and to wildlife. Yes, the foamcore board and waterproof paint are pollutants as well.”
Want to minimize the harm carelessly discarded items are doing? Your opportunities tomorrow include:
HIGHLAND PARK ELEMENTARY: The HPE PTA invites you: “Join us anytime from 9-noon Saturday for liter pick up, mulch spreading, planting, sweeping, and grounds improvements at Highland Park Elementary School. We will meet on the blacktop.” Free coffee, doughnuts, and pizza. The school is at 1012 SW Trenton.
ALSO IN HIGHLAND PARK: 10 am-noon Saturday, starting at award-winning Highland Park Corner Store (where you can pick up bags, grabbers, and gloves, 7789 Highland Park Way SW), community cleanup with Highland Park Improvement Club and HPAC.
ALKI BEACH: Join a student who’s organized a 10 am cleanup at the beach Saturday – info’s in our calendar listing.
ELECTRIC VEHICLE FAIR: 10 am-2 pm in the Greenbridge Library lot (9720 8th SW), see EVs or even show yours off – more info in our calendar listing.
Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes:
CATALYTIC-CONVERTER THEFT: Steve reports, “My 2004 Honda CR-V had the converter cut out sometime last night. It was parked in front of my house on 48th near Charlestown.”
CRISIS RESPONSE LEAVES OFFICER INJURED: We received multiple questions today about a sizable police response Thursday afternoon just north of Lincoln Park. So in case you wondered too – SPD says it started as a person-in-crisis call; while waiting for an ambulance to take the person to a hospital for evaluation, he “head-butted” and then kicked an officer – that’s why more backup was summoned. The officer was not seriously hurt.
The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners of this year’s Westside Awards, chosen from nominations sent by community members:
Westside Business of the Year: Circa
Westside Emerging Business of the Year: Highland Park Corner Store
Westside Not for Profit of the Year: Neighborhood House
Westsider of the Year: Keith Hughes
If you don’t know them already:
*Circa is a longtime Admiral District restaurant
*Highland Park Corner Store opened last year in a refurbished former mini-mart
*Neighborhood House is a regional nonprofit with a major services hub in High Point
*Keith Hughes is commander of American Legion Post 160 and hosts a severe-weather shelter there, among other community-leadership work
All will be honored at the West Seattle Chamber’s breakfast event at 7:30 am Tuesday, May 10th, at Brockey Center on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. Tickets are available at the early-bird rate through next Friday (April 29th) – go here. Past winners (including WSB in 2010) are listed here.
5:06 PM: Suzanne reports her water “suddenly turned brown” just after 4 pm and wanted to be sure others in the area were aware. She called it in to Seattle Public Utilities‘ 24/7 line – 206-386-1800 – and they’re investigating, but anyone else experiencing this should call it in too.
5:33 PM: Suzanne got a reply from SPU – they’re attributing it to hydrant testing. That stirs up “sediment” in the lines (mostly rust).
Next Tuesday morning, the City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee is scheduled to get its quarterly update on Seattle Police staffing. The numbers in the presentation document that’s now available with the agenda online show that SPD now expects to hire fewer new officers this year than originally projected, 98 instead of 125. And a year-to-year comparison shows the staffing shortage is hitting our area the hardest. The precinct-by-precinct numbers show that the Southwest Precinct, which covers West Seattle and South Park, has lost the most sworn staff, in number as well as percentages. We compared the table in the 2021 first-quarter report with the table from the same period in 2022. Here’s 2021:
And here’s 2022:
Two precincts actually gained sworn staff – East and West – while North lost only 1. But South lost 6 and Southwest lost 7 – down to 58 sergeants and officers in our area, from 65 in the same period last year. Precinct supervisors have mentioned multiple times at community meetings we’ve covered that staffing is precariously low at times – at HPAC in January, for example, the group was told the precinct has been as low as 3 officers some nights, when the minimum per shift is supposed to be more than three times that. So why is the staffing pain so uneven? We’re asking.
Meantime, next Tuesday morning’s 9:30 am meeting of the committee, which West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold chairs, includes a discussion of a proposal to bring back hiring incentives. The agenda includes information on how to watch, and comment at, the meeting.
Almost 200 sales are now registered for the return of West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day – Saturday, May 14th – just three weeks from tomorrow. Since we need to make the map/guide available one week before sale day, registration closes at 11:30 pm on Wednesday, April 27th. So if you’re having a sale but haven’t signed up yet, have your up-to-20-words listing ready, and go here! Official sale hours are 9 am-3 pm on May 14th; if you’re starting earlier and/or ending later hours and/or adding extra days, please include it in your listing. This will be the 16th WSCGSD – first one was in 2005; most-recent was 2019 – an excellent chance to meet more of your neighbors and do some person-to-person recycling.
12:12 PM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip: Transient orcas are back in the area, visible now from Alki (looking north) as they head southbound.
12:24 PM: Kersti says they’re now in Elliott Bay – see her comment below.
1:54 PM: Still in the area, now back out in the main channel – see Kersti’s updates below.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
West Seattle’s only parochial high school is closing after 44 years.
Seattle Lutheran High School, at 4100 SW Genesee on the north edge of The Junction, announced the closure to its community on Thursday, including an assembly for students.
“Lots of tears were shed,” says Hamilton Gardiner, an SLHS graduate who is president of its board of directors. We spoke with him this morning after receiving the school’s announcement, which says this wasn’t a decision made in haste:
The Board of Directors reached this decision at the end of a two-year effort with Hope Lutheran Church and School, focused on creating a viable pathway forward for the high school – a pathway leading to sustainable enrollment levels, appropriate compensation for faculty and staff, and the kind of educational experience that our students so much deserved. After considering all available information for the 2022 / 2023 academic year, including enrollment, financing, and recruitment and retention of key faculty and staff, we did not see a way forward that could safely and responsibly accomplish these objectives.
(Added) Current SLHS enrollment is 66, with 18 staff members.
Gardiner says a variety of factors contributed to the school’s situation – including the West Seattle Bridge closure, which made the school less of a draw for students from elsewhere in the city/elsewhere. A different challenge contributed as well – he says a change in the visa process for international students cost them some students starting in 2019. And of course the operational challenges of the COVID pandemic contributed as well.
One historical factor: The announcement notes that “Seattle Lutheran High School was chartered in 1976 by an association of over 30 Lutheran churches in greater Seattle and opened its doors on September 17, 1978.” Of those 30+ churches, Gardiner says, only five remain, including nearby Hope Lutheran, which has been managing SLHS since last year. That means not only far fewer “feeder” churches for the high school, but also far fewer churches donating to its operations.
SLHS won’t close until after the end of the school year, says the announcement:
Our immediate priority … is to our students and families – to finish off this year like any other, to graduate the 2022 senior class, and to assist the underclass students in transitioning to other schools. Some staff will remain employed over the next year to facilitate an orderly and thoughtful closure process.
As for what happens to the school’s 2/3-acre site, zoned for potential residential development, Gardiner says there are no plans for selling/redeveloping it. Its nonprofit ownership, the Lutheran High School Association, is tasked with utilizing the site “to further Christian education,” and he says the board will work over the next year to determine how that could be done post-SLHS. They also intend to continue to collaborate with Hope Lutheran.
SLHS isn’t just unique in being West Seattle’s only parochial high school. It’s offered innovative programs, too, such as J-Term, a period after the winter holidays in which students explore alternative learning opportunities, sometimes including travel (here’s WSB coverage from 2020).
But this year brings a lesson in loss. “This decision was incredibly, incredibly hard,” says Gardiner. Now families are looking for new schools for next year, and staff members are looking for new jobs. The last day of school at SLHS will be June 10th, with its final graduating class, the Class of 2022, closing a chapter of West Seattle education history as they accept their diplomas that night.
Accompanied by photos of Thursday’s rainbow show, here’s what’s ahead for the rest of your Friday:
MUSIC AT C & P: The Whateverly Brothers perform at C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. No cover.
SPORTS: The West Seattle HS baseball team (16-1) hosts Bishop Blanchet (12-4), 7 pm at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle).
MUSIC AT THE SKYLARK: The Jaydogs, The Drive Through, The Mortgage Lifters play Americana and swing pop, doors at 7 pm, music at 8 pm, 21+, $10 cover. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
Have something for our calendar/daily lists? Email email@example.com – thank you!
6:03 AM: Good morning. It’s Friday, April 22nd.
Today’s forecast: Partly sunny, high temperature possibly into the 60s.
President Biden stayed overnight in downtown Seattle and is scheduled for events in Seward Park and Auburn before flying out of Sea-Tac at mid-afternoon, so traffic effects are expected again today.
ROAD WORK, TODAY AND THIS WEEKEND
Today – Fifth day of the two-week WSDOT closure of the West Seattle Bridge/Spokane Street ramp to northbound 99 for pavement repair.
This weekend – As noted here on Thursday, SDOT crews will be working on curb ramps at 16th/Barton, the new crosswalk at 45th/Admiral, and pavement markings at 16th/Findlay and on Marine View Drive and West Marginal Way.
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES TODAY
Same mask policy for the West Seattle Water Taxi, which is operated by Metro. Now on the summer schedule – adding later evening runs on Fridays and Saturdays.
Ferries: WSF is still using the two-boat schedule for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth. Check here for alerts/updates. And note that WSF also has dropped its mask mandate, but also recommends you wear one.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
760th 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.