West Seattle, Washington
The Seattle Police Department is still losing more officers and hiring fewer than projected. So what if anything should/can be done about it? That question was at the heart of the latest SPD-staffing briefing, presented this morning to the City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee, chaired by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold.
Overall, the committee was told, “the trend is not particularly good.” Here are the numbers presented by analyst Greg Doss:
We first mentioned the report last Friday, when it was released; we noted that the Southwest Precinct, which covers West Seattle and South Park, had lost more sworn staff in the past year – both in number and in percentage – than other precincts. (Our questions sent immediately to SPD and Herbold remain unanswered.) The discussion at today’s meeting didn’t get that granular. The issue became what to do about the continued staffing drop – or whether to do anything at all. That was a sharp point of disagreement between some of the councilmembers. Citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (a West Seattle resident) emphasized that research has shown many of the calls handled by police could be handled by other types of responders. Yes, but, asked Councilmember Alex Pedersen, does the city have those alternative responders available today? “No,” replied Doss. Recently elected citywide Councilmember Sara Nelson, who is pushing to reinstate hiring incentives, asked, “Are we happy with the status quo? Are we fine with doing nothing? I am not.” In response to an observation that other cities are having hiring challenges too, Nelson wondered if any other cities are having trouble with departures as well as hiring.
Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz, also present at the online meeting, said the current staffing situation is causing “wear and tear” because almost every shift needs to be “augmented” with officers on overtime just to reach minimum levels. Response times continue rising, with “priority 2” calls up to half an hour, “priority 3” calls averaging a full hour, he said.
While Nelson is proposing a resolution expressing support for hiring bonuses/incentives, Herbold is proposing a bill to offer money to cover moving expenses for officers hired from outside Seattle – and for some other types of city employees; in the ongoing discussion of the SPD staffing challenges, she has countered that other departments face critical staffing challenges too. (This document from the meeting goes into both councilmembers’ proposals, as well as data including what other cities are offering.)
Nelson continued to advocate for hiring bonuses: “If we don’t do this, what else are we going to do? … I don’t see how we’re going to get to 98 new hires this year if we’ve only had 13 so far.” She wanted to extend the discussion, but Herbold cut it off, with the item having run more than an hour – twice the allotted time – and with two other items on the agenda, including another hot topic (the PayUp proposal for app-based workers). No votes had been scheduled for today, so the discussion is likely to continue when this committee reconvenes next month.
Two followups on West Seattle Crime Watch reports from last week:
BREAK-IN ATTEMPT: Last Thursday, we published this report of a burglary at Meeples Games. The shop says somebody then tried to break in the next day:
On Friday 4/22 at 5:00 am we had a second attempted break-in. These are the pictures of the Friday suspect. We are unsure if he is connected with the first two or not. Luckily he wasn’t able to get in. But he did completely destroy our door.
We want to thank everyone who has offered to donate money to fix the door. Right now, the best way to help is to stop in and buy some games, have dinner and hang out, and share the posts. We also think that the truck in the first break-in was a Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport with an access cab in a lighter color.
If you have tips for police, this attempt is under the same incident # – 22-099401.
STOLEN PICKUP FOUND: Also on Thursday, we published this report about Sean‘s stolen 1992 Nissan pickup. Somebody spotted it on Monday. We checked with Sean to see if he indeed got it back, and he confirmed that today, sending this photo:
I got a call from the police at around noon yesterday. They ran out of gas off the west Seattle Bridge heading south on Delridge. I jumped it. put gas in it, and I have it.
Side note – When we get word someone has their stolen vehicle back, we go back to the original report and add the update, just in case somebody spots it days or weeks later and doesn’t know its rightful owner has it back … and we’ll be doing that with this one too.
6:33 PM: Seattle Fire sent a few units to a report of something burning on the roof of a house in the 3200 block of Walnut SW [vicinity map], and the first crews on scene assessed it as a fire on an upper floor, so they’re upgrading it to a “full response.”
6:38 PM: The firefighters report finding fire in the attic of the 3-story house.
6:46 PM: Firefighters have told dispatch the fire is under control and they’re just looking for hot spots. No injuries reported so far.
7:01 PM: They’ve called the fire “tapped” (out). Our crew at the scene confirms everyone got out OK. … SFD’s investigator is there to try to figure out what sparked the fire.
ADDED: We followed up on the fire’s cause. SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo says it “was determined to be accidental. Likely caused by improperly discarded smoking materials. The estimated loss is $70,000.”
We promised more biznotes – here are four West Seattle businesses inviting you to weekend celebrations:
WEND AND MOLLY’S TURN ONE: It’s first-anniversary-party time at neighboring WEND Jewelry and Molly’s Bottle Shop (3278 California SW). WEND proprietor Wendy says, “West Seattle has been a wonderful community to open a shop in during a global pandemic with no bridge, and we want to say THANK YOU to our neighbors! Celebrate our first year with us.” 4-8 pm Saturday (April 30th) they’re having a party with music, treats, tastings, and at WEND, discounts and raffles. Neighbor Inkberry Tattoo (which opened 9 months ago) is joining the party too. P.S. WEND has class openings right now too – more on that here.
INDIE BOOKSTORE DAY @ PAPER BOAT BOOKSELLERS: This Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day, and Paper Boat Booksellers (6040 California SW) has a big day planned. The store opens at 10 am; shoppers have a chance at raffles and will get to “spin the wheel.” You can also get a passport to start a 10-day journey to all 24 independent bookstores around the Seattle area – visit them all and win discount coupons for all the stores! (More on this at seattlebookstoreday.com.) Then at 11 am, three local authors lead a special Family Reading Time a few doors north at HeartBeet Event Space.
HIGHLAND PARK CORNER STORE: 4 pm-7 pm Sunday (May 1st), Highland Park Corner Store invites you to come enjoy mariachi, tacos, and beer.
The award-winning store’s owner Meaghan says, “To celebrate spring and with a nod to Cinco de Mayo, we’ve invited CocinaMX 32 back, this time they’re making tacos! Enjoy your tacos with a draft beer while listening to mariachi from Mariachi Alma Nueva (featuring one of our staff on violin!).” The store is at 7789 Highland Park Way SW.
Another West Seattle neighborhood is dealing with discolored water – this time, Pigeon Point. Thanks to Matt for the report. No water breaks in that area reported currently, so there are various possible causes – the discoloration is usually from “sediment” getting stirred up in the line, most often rust. If it happens to you, report it to the Seattle Public Utilities round-the-clock hotline at 206-386-1800.
The Rotary Club of West Seattle just welcomed four new members – and is now having “hybrid” weekly meetings, so you can attend in person or online. Here’s an update from the club:
Come Join Us! West Seattle Rotary is now offering a hybrid option for our weekly meetings. We are meeting in person on Tuesdays at the Alki Masonic Hall (4736 40th SW) from 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and have a Zoom Link option here to join virtually. Upcoming May programs:
Tuesday, May 3, 12:00 noon
Susan Carroll, Managing Director, Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center
Celebrating 20 Years of the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center
Presentation: As we reach our 20th anniversary as one of the Rotary Peace Fellowship Program’s Centers, now is a good moment to react on how the program and the ‑eld of peacebuilding have changed over these past two decades.
Tuesday, May 10, 12:00 noon
Greg Dirks, Jim and Michelle Edwards, The West Seattle Big Band
Introducing The West Seattle Big Band
Presentation: A community-based 18 piece music ensemble that plays Big Band swing and jazz standards at events throughout the greater Seattle and Puget Sound.
Tuesday, May 17, 12:00 noon
Presentation: A grassroots NGO in West Africa battles hunger and climate change by planting trees along roads, schools and beaches.
Tuesday, May 24, 12:00 noon
Elizabeth Cruft-Anderson, CFRE, Senior Major Gifts Officer
Promoting Peace through Rotary International
Presentation: Rotary’s strength is our ability to join together the right people, united in common goals to create projects in our local communities and around the globe.
We formally inducted our four newest members at our meeting last week. In photo above: Acting Membership Chairman Martha Sidlo, new members Kristy Haro with John L. Scott, Tom Nychay is the owner of Gany Nychay Architecture, Greg Dirks is a long-time West Seattle resident and is retired, and Travis Hartman with State Farm Insurance, and President Alan Mitchell.
One more reminder as West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day (Saturday, May 14th) gets closer – if you’re planning a sale and haven’t registered yet, tomorrow night (Wednesday, April 27th, 11:30 pm) is the deadline! The list is now up to 270 sales, all over the peninsula, all sizes – block sales, business sales, nonprofit-fundraiser sales, alley sales, more. We’ve gone through about two-thirds of the registrations so far and we’re tracking zip codes – 98116 is in the lead with the most sales, 98136 isn’t too far behind. Soon as registration ends on Wednesday night, we get to work on the map – which will assign each sale a number – and list, so those can be available one week in advance to give shoppers time to read through and plan. Thanks to everyone who’s helping revive the WSCGSD tradition! If you’re ready to register a sale, go here to sign up.
Lots of biznotes to report today – we’ll start with these three (with three more later this afternoon):
TACONTAINER’S FUTURE: When Victor closed the unique taco truck on Alki two months ago (aside from occasional openings), he said someone was preparing to take it over. That fell through. So it’s available – here’s his pitch:
Available for lease right away and up until March 2023. It may be possible to extend, but that is uncertain as the container might need to be moved to a different location in spring of 2023. Water, electrical and sewer is connected. All equipment and kitchen supplies included. Everything is up to code, licensed, permitted and last inspected by Seattle Public Health in March 2022. Self ordering kiosk and the kitchen display system for automated orders can be included as well. For lease amount and terms please contact Victor at 808-352-1779 or TACOntainerSeattle@gmail.com.
GIGI’S CAFE: Chef Gino Williamson says his hopes of taking over the Super 24 building on Delridge didn’t work out, because he couldn’t work out the lease terms with the owner, so he’s still looking for somewhere to open a bricks-and-mortar restaurant (to be named Gigi’s Café, after his daughter). Meantime, his mobile food business TheHomeSkillit.com is continuing to rove – you might have seen him recently on Webster by The Home Depot and Southwest Precinct, and he is taking nightly call-in dinner orders online.
RUE THERAPEUTICS: Josie emailed the announcement of her new business:
Rue Therapeutics: Massage and Pilates open in the Morgan Street Junction!
Located in West Seattle Pilates (6521 California SW); Rue Therapeutics offers gentle myofascial and Swedish massage paired with private Pilates instruction.
10:10 AM: SFD has a large response on a “trench rescue” call in Schmitz Park. They’ve reported that the “patient is extricated.” SFD says the original report was of a “child stuck in a mud hole.” Updates to come.
10:27 AM: We’re told the child is OK – just took a fall during a field trip into the park.
11:01 AM: We have a lot of followup questions out on this and will add the answers as we get them.
11:37 AM: SFD spokesperson Hilton Almond summarizes what happened: “Firefighters rescued a four-year-old male from a mud hole. He was stuck up to his hips, which required a couple of firefighters to pull him out. He sustained no injuries and his mother picked him up.” She verifies in a comment that he’s OK. It was a learning experience for all:
12:26 PM: Seattle Parks spokesperson Rachel Schulkin tells us, “Staff are out there today evaluating if anything can be fixed or needs to be blocked off for a time.”
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: If you’re interested in attending the West Seattle Democratic Women’s meeting on Thursday, RSVP deadline is 5 pm today – info’s in our calendar listing.
CITY COUNCIL’S PUBLIC-SAFETY COMMITTEE: 9:30 am, with the agenda including an update on Seattle Police staffing issues (which as we reported Friday appear to be disproportionately affecting our area); you can watch via Seattle Channel.
PORT OF SEATTLE COMMISSION: Public meeting starts at noon, online and at Sea-Tac Airport – here’s the agenda, with info on viewing and commenting.
DEMONSTRATION FOR RACIAL JUSTICE: 4:30-6 pm at 16th/Holden, Scott leads this long-running weekly demonstration for racial justice. Signs available if you don’t have your own.
(added) SPORTS: Two games at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle) – in softball, West Seattle HS vs. Eastside Catholic, 4 pm; in baseball, West Seattle HS vs. Chief Sealth IHS, 7 pm.
BELLE OF THE BALLS BINGO: Play bingo with Cookie Couture at The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW), 8 pm. Free, all ages!
See more on our calendar – and if you have something to add for the future, please email us the info at email@example.com – thank you!
Be a neighborhood hero – be the person on your block or in your building who has amateur-radio skills just in case of catastrophe. It’s the communication mode that’s likely to keep working even if everything else goes out. First step: Take a class that’s coming up, so you can get a license. The West Seattle Amateur Radio Club has issued the invitation:
Ham radio is a great hobby and a great way to serve the community. One can communicate locally, around the world or even via satellite. It provides an excellent means of emergency communication. Your license never expires as long as you renew every 10 years (no need for another exam). This is to be a fun, low-key, learning experience; class participation and asking questions are encouraged. However, instructors will not call on individual students during class, so that you can feel free to participate at your comfort level. Conceptual materials will be presented during the first weekend so that you can study efficiently during the following week. Practical scenarios and demonstrations will be presented on the next Saturday. A review session will be offered on the final Sunday.
The classes are all day Saturday, May 7th, Sunday, May 8th, Saturday, May 14th, and then it’s exam day on Sunday, May 15th, all at the Salvation Army Center in South Delridge (9050 16th SW). The classes are free; the test carries a $15 fee. You can go here to register.
6:03 AM: Good morning. It’s Tuesday, April 26th.
Monday’s weather was nicer than predicted – maybe today’s will be too. Rain is in the forecast again, though.
*Alerts all week for some work under the bridge related to what’s happening on it – 7 pm tonight to 6 am Wednesday, a southbound WMW closure.
*Still awaiting the work at California/Myrtle and 8th/Roxbury.
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES
Metro is on its regular weekday schedule. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of reroutes/cancellations.
The West Seattle Water Taxi, which is operated by Metro, is 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.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
764th 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.