EV-charging lot, festival’s return, earthquake readiness, cleanup challenge, more @ Morgan Community Association

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

As always, the Morgan Community Association packed a long list of topics into its quarterly meeting, facilitated online last night by MoCA president Deb Barker.

ELECTRIC-VEHICLE CHARGING LOT: We first reported on this a month ago. Seattle City Light wants to convert the 4,520-square-foot former substation at 4118 SW Morgan into an 8-space fast-charger lot for electric vehicles. Coby Zeifman from SCL came to the MoCA meeting to make the first public presentation about the proposal, joined by Theo Gideon, also of SCL.

The site operated as a substation 1945-2002. It’s scheduled for soil cleanup “later this year.” For everyone who has suggested using the site as housing instead, Gideon noted that it would have to be declared as “no longer serving SCL’s current and future needs.” But SCL does not consider that to be the case:

Construction will last about three months and could start before the end of this year. The site would hold “fast chargers” that could bring a vehicle up to 80% charged within about half an hour, so, Zeifman said, it would not be a long-term-parking lot. He stressed that the roughed-out sketch is nowhere near an official design, and the eventual project could be configured quite differently.

Zeifman said the trees on the site must be removed because they “would not survive the cleanup process.” But they’ll each be replaced by two new trees.

In Q&A, Zeifman was asked, why couldn’t they use a nearby private parking lot for EV charging instead? That’s “not particularly relevant,” he replied, as City Light owns this property and plans to use its own property “to provide this benefit … to the community.” Why wouldn’t this site be considered as affordable housing? Because the site hasn’t been declared surplus property (unlike the one in Highland Park that is being considered for affordable housing, which was declared surplus years ago). What about Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design concepts for site design – lighting, graffiti prevention. etc.? “We haven’t begun the design phase yet but we can incorporate those (concepts) if that’s important to the community,” replied Zeifman. How will the site be maintained – who will weed it often enough and keep it from becoming an eyesore? Zeifman didn’t know; Gideon noted that SCL does have its own vegetation-management division. What’s the plan for it not becoming an encampment? Zeifman said another colleague at SCL should be able to address that. How has usage been at the SCL Junction charging station? Zeifman didn’t have that handy – they’ll provide a reply by email – but anecdotally said “it tends to be one of our better-used sites.” Also: How much noise will the transformer at the site generate? That info wasn’t available either but they’ll look into it; the transformer is quiet when no one’s charger, he said.

With so many questions unanswered, MoCA president Barker invited them back to the July meeting. Meantime, the survey about the plan runs through Friday – answer it here.

Other MoCA topics:

MORGAN JUNCTION COMMUNITY FESTIVAL: After the pandemic hiatus, this will be back – a smaller festival in Morgan Junction Park, 11 am-2 pm on Saturday, June 18th, with The Bubbleman and live music.

MORGAN MINUTE UPDATES: More quick updates:

Lowman Beach progress – MoCA’s Michael Brunner shared photos from the ongoing seawall-removal/shoreline-restoration project – first, of the daylighting of the creek

He also showed the restored shore:

And he noted an irrigation system has been installed, as well as concrete pads for benches:

Parks has not yet told MoCA whether there’ll be an event to celebrate its opening, which could happen by the end of May.

Morgan Junction Park Expansion – MoCA’s Alex Hagenah is organizing the committee that will be in contact with the city. He talked to Parks’ Kelly Goold, who told him the hazmat removal work is still in permitting but supposed to be done this summer, and will result in a space with “park elements” – Hagenah’s trying to get more details on that. The full design of the park-addition site (where a former store/cleaners building was demolished years ago) will be completed next year.

West Seattle Art Walk – MoCA is supporting local businesses’ participation in the WSAW, next one Thursday, May 12th.

JUNCTION-TO-JUNCTION CLEANUP: Lori Kothe from CleanupSEA was at the meeting to talk about this. On Sunday, May 1st, 10 am-1 pm, they’re organizing a “challenge” cleanup all along California SW, from Admiral to Morgan, with a spirited competition to see which junction can muster the most volunteers. They’ll supply the equipment, you choose where to participate – sign up here.

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Longtime preparedness volunteer/educator Cindi Barker, with the Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs, continued her series on this topic. The biggest threat to prepare for: Earthquakes.

The point that can’t be made enough: You have to be ready to help yourself and your neighbors in the aftermath of a big quake – authorities won’t be able to go everywhere to help everyone. You’ll likely survive, but damage could be massive – leaving you without shelter. Most buildings will be damaged. Here are the major impacts:

The Morgan area has several notable “unreinforced masonry” buildings:

Morgan has more than 5,000 seniors, children, and low-income residents, and many of them will be affected. She said they’re trying to make contact with buildings that have concentrations of those populations, particularly The Kenney and Cal-Mor Circle, to talk about preparedness. She noted schools and child-care centers in the area too. She recapped:

Her next presentation is in July (our coverage of her first one is in our January MoCA coverage). Q&A veered into discussion of personal-preparedness points – such as, stock gallons of water in a plastic garbage can in your home.

More quick notes:

GATEWOOD ELEMENTARY TREES: Deb Barker noted that the city Landmarks Board has approved the landscaping plan for adding more trees to the school grounds (the board’s approval was needed because the school is a city-designated landmark).

LIGHT RAIL REMINDER: One week from today – April 28th – is the deadline for comments on the Sound Transit West Seattle-and-beyond light-rail projecthere’s how to comment.

WHAT’S NEXT: MoCA meets quarterly, 7 pm third Wednesdays – next meeting will be July 20th.

11 Replies to "EV-charging lot, festival's return, earthquake readiness, cleanup challenge, more @ Morgan Community Association"

  • WSRes April 21, 2022 (1:05 pm)

    Comment on the EV charging lot. I drive a pickup truck and someday EV trucks will be the norm, but the charging stations they’re designing are not compatible with a truck in mind. Especially one towing a trailer. If you had your small RV in tow you can’t access this station. I’ve yet to see a station that wasn’t built for a small EV passenger car. 

    • Mando#2 April 21, 2022 (2:54 pm)

      Thanks, I had not considered the trend of tiny parking spaces.  Bummer! RV’s and trailers are valid considerations.

  • Mrs Myrtle April 21, 2022 (1:10 pm)

    I used to be really excited about the plans to expand the Morgan Junction park. However, I feel like the current state of the existing park has tempered my excitement. I’m seeing a lot more frequent trash and occupation of our non-sheltered community. I think the closing / boarding of the bank across the street has contributed to the area decline. 

  • Ant April 21, 2022 (2:27 pm)

    I understand the POV but it’s like saying every gas stations needs to sell diesel because a small percentage of vehicles are diesel. This design, while not perfect, does the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. As a homeowner (condo) in Morgan Junction I think SCL should definitely move forward with it.

    • JJ April 21, 2022 (9:08 pm)

      One third of the vehicles on the road are diesel. A much larger percentage than electric. Diesel fuel may or may not be at your nearest station, yet an entire station is being constructed for the electric vehicles.

      • Ron Swanson April 21, 2022 (11:30 pm)

        But you have to consider the percentage of diesel cars and trucks sold is steadily dropping as emissions regulations tighten.  EV sales in contrast are on an exponential upward curve.

  • Cindi B April 21, 2022 (2:28 pm)

    @WSRE, good input.  The design is not final, and the number of spaces is flexible, so please do submit this input in their survey.

  • Caveat Emptor April 21, 2022 (3:54 pm)

    Found this story on the company One Concern that produced the map.  The article is from 2019 so perhaps the software has some improvements since then.  https://www.fastcompany.com/90388924/this-celebrated-startup-vowed-to-save-lives-with-ai-now-its-a-cautionary-tale

    • Cindi Barker April 21, 2022 (9:43 pm)

      @ Caveat Emptor, thanks for sharing, very interesting!  We worked with One Concern in 2021 mostly, and their data people went over and over with us on how the data was created and modeled.  Several software updates took place during that time as well.  The biggest problem for us, looking at the demographics, is that the 2020 census info had not been released by the Census Bureau, and so we knew that data was 10 years old as well.  But if you can take the patterns of damage as indicators, then you can plan for areas of most impact and start to think about mitigation steps.  The City of Seattle did terminate their contact with One Concern  at the beginning of 2022, so we are waiting to see what gets rolled out next.

      • ACG April 22, 2022 (8:38 am)

        Does One Concern have similar maps available to view for other West Seattle neighborhoods?

        • Cindi Barker April 22, 2022 (9:15 am)

          @ACG, no, One Concern holds the technology and the City held the license to make the specific local maps, and I am sure they downloaded all the data they wanted.  The Hubs also did download our own set of maps, and I’ve offered to come to any West Seattle community group to talk over what other neighborhoods look like.  But just publishing the building damage maps is not really helpful, it the context and the preparedness conversation that is important.  However, you can get a lot of hazard information information at the City’s Seattle Hazard Explorer maps https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=0489a95dad4e42148dbef571076f9b5b 

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