month : 04/2022 307 results

WEST SEATTLE BIRDS: One dozen new views of our winged neighbors

Thanks for more awesome views of West Seattle birds! We start with birds you can see on the water – above, Harlequin Ducks photographed by Dan Ciske; below, Killdeer by Jerry Simmons:

A Wood Duck from Mark Dale:

Stewart L. photographed this Cormorant:

On to birds of prey – from James Tilley:

An Osprey from Danny McMillin:

From Laura Pavola, a Cooper’s Hawk:

An anonymously texted view of a Barred Owl:

Also hanging out with cherry blossoms, a Black-capped Chickadee, photographed by Finn Litton:

And Hummingbirds! A Rufous visited Trileigh Tucker:

And an Anna’s, from Matthew Olson:

One last bird for this gallery … a Golden-crowned Kinglet, photographed by Alex Gutierrez:

Thanks again to everyone who shares photos – from birds to breaking news!, unless it’s breaking – you can send that to our hotline, 206-293-6302.

READER REPORT: Tiny wildlife surprise at Alki Beach

April 24, 2022 4:06 pm
|    Comments Off on READER REPORT: Tiny wildlife surprise at Alki Beach
 |   West Seattle beaches | West Seattle news | Wildlife

(Photos by Jon McAllister)

The photos show Terri McAllister‘s surprise discovery at Alki. You have to look very closely to see what they really are! Terri emailed us to report:

Just a tip to wear shoes at the beach in spring. At Alki beach this morning, by the bathhouse, we came across some crab zoea. Tiny little spiny buggers managed to get our bare feet and hands whenever we touched the sand. It feels like glass or an itchy pinch. A bunch stuck to our beach blanket and we got some rad photos with a magnifying glass.

No wildlife authorities are available for us to consult today for further enlightenment on this sighting – but it’s an extra reminder to tread lightly on the shore!

West Seattle High School PTSA invites you to ‘LGBT Q & A’ parent-education event

April 24, 2022 2:29 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle High School PTSA invites you to ‘LGBT Q & A’ parent-education event
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Wednesday night (April 27th) online, the West Seattle High School PTSA welcomes community members to its next meeting, featuring a special parent-education presentation. Advance registration is required. Here’s the announcement:

West Seattle High School PTSA Presents a Parent Ed Event – “LGBT Q&A with Jo Langford” April 27th, 7-8:30 pm via Zoom

(Meeting Registration Link)

Language exists to clarify, but how familiar is the average American with LGBTQ+ terminology? How does the understanding of LGBTQ+ language like pansexuality, heteronormativity, and gender-neutral pronouns differ by generation, sexual orientation, or gender identity?

Jo Langford (author of “The Pride Guide”) will help us better understand the current sex, gender, identity, and expression vocabulary, concepts, and etiquette. This talk is for everyone that knows anyone and will offer a safe-space to start where you’re at.

FOLLOWUP: Rally planned Monday to urge city to save threatened tree

(WSB photo, earlier this month: The tree & the sidewalk, NE corner of Fauntleroy/Fontanelle)

We’ve been reporting on the possibility that a curb-ramp project just north of Solstice Park could lead to the removal of a big old chestnut tree. It’s on private property, but close enough to the sidewalk that its roots have spread out over time. As noted here last week, the city promises to assess it and try to save it, but Sara, who lives on the property that’s home to the tree, wants witnesses, and is organizing a rally:

The city is breaking ground at the foot of our ancient Horse Chestnut Tree in the morning of Monday, April 25th. We want to create a presence for the arborist, onsite workers, and city officials in order to show the community’s outcry for the tree’s preservation of life.

Sara adds:

We are gathering to advocate for the health of our environment! The removal of legacy trees such as this is severely reducing our city’s canopy tree cover, creating what are called “heat islands.” These heat islands are devastating to native plants and wildlife. Last summer, Seattle experienced a mass bird death in result of record-breaking temperature spikes due to climate change. One of the best actions we can take to help our habitat is preserve the lives of our ancient trees that provide shade, food, and refuge as our world grows hotter.

We are also here to express our support of the ramp! We want our friends on wheels to have ease of access to our lovely parks, and of course our lovely tree. We are here to emphasize that accessibility and sustainability are NOT mutually exclusive! Both accessibility and the preservation of wildlife and plant life are vital to our community’s health! Come join us!

Seating will be provided for those who cannot stand for long periods of time. [We have approximately 6 or 7 chairs.]

The gathering is planned to start at 10 am Monday on the lawn on the SW Fontanelle side of the Solstice Park tennis courts.

Don’t need it? Don’t toss it! Recycle Roundup under way in Fauntleroy

(WSB photo)

Electronics are just part of what they’re taking this time around at Fauntleroy Church‘s Recycle Roundup, continuing until 3 this afternoon. We stopped by in the first hour, and the crews from 1 Green Planet were already busy. Here’s one more reminder of the will/won’t-take list:

It’s a free dropoff service in partnership with 1 Green Planet, but if you can make a monetary donation, the church’s Green Committee will accept it to help cover expenses. Again, this continues at 9140 California SW [map] until 3 pm – lots of time, so unless you truly can’t get there until the last minute, they ask that you go sooner rather than later.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Travel trailer stolen

Be on the lookout for Jane‘s stolen travel trailer:

A 2016 NuCamp T@B travel trailer was taken during the night on Friday, April 22nd near 45th and Findlay. It has been reported to the police. Plate # 38896AE.

ADDED MONDAY: Police incident # is 22-103099.

Recycle Roundup, Ride for Major Taylor, more for your West Seattle Sunday

(Saturday night sunset, photographed by HD)

Here’s what’s happening during the second half of the weekend, mostly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

RIDE FOR MAJOR TAYLOR: Cascade Bicycle Club‘s big ride to help youth programming starts and finishes at the White Center Bicycle Playground (11050 10th SW), with 26- and 63-mile routes; riders for the long route start leaving at 7 am, while the shorter-route riders start at 8:30 am. 26-mile riders have a rest stop at Alki Beach.

RECYCLE ROUNDUP: 9 am-3 pm, bring your recyclables to the Fauntleroy Church lot (9140 California SW) lot for free dropoff recycling – here’s the list of what they’re taking this time.

DONATION-ONLY YOGA CLASS: 9 am at Jet City Labs (4546 California SW) – details in our calendar listing.

CHURCHES WITH ONLINE SERVICES: We’re still listing these – see today’s list here.

WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: 10 am-2 pm, find fresh food – produce, meat, fish, cheese, beverages, baked goods, and prepared food – at the weekly WSFM. (California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska)

QUEER PERSPECTIVE ON DOUBTING THOMAS: 10 am at Tibbetts United Methodist Church (3940 41st SW), all welcome (online or in-person) for this special service explained in our calendar listing.

SHOW SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE: Noon at Alki UCC (6115 SW Hinds), make batik hearts to show support for Ukraine – details here.

BYSTANDER INTERVENTION TRAINING: 1-4 pm, learn how to do more to fight hate. Free workshop at Admiral Church (4320 SW Hill), pre-registration not required.

‘THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE’: Third show for Twelfth Night Production’s new musical, 3 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW). Get tickets here.

CLASSIC NOVELS (AND MOVIES) BOOK CLUB: 3 pm monthly meeting at C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor), talking this time about Edith Wharton‘s “The Age of Innocence.”

NEED FOOD? White Center Community Dinner Church serves a free meal (take-away available) at 5 pm Sundays at the Salvation Army Center in South Delridge (9050 16th SW).

KUNDALINI YOGA & MEDITATION: 7 pm at Inner Alchemy Studio (7356 35th SW) – details here.

SUNDAY NIGHT JAZZ: Triangular Jazztet at The Alley (4509 California SW), 8 pm and 9 pm sets.

SUNDAY NIGHT KARAOKE: 9 pm to 1:30 am at Admiral Pub (2306 California SW).

Have an event to list on our calendar? We’re adding more daily – email – thank you!

VIDEO: Fire near 1st Avenue South Bridge

Thanks to Nick for that video of a fire that briefly sent smoke and flames high into the sky near 2nd SW and Highland Park SW [map], just southwest of the 1st Avenue South Bridge. It was at first logged as a “rubbish fire” but the first engine on scene saw that it was more than that, including trees, so they sent more units. Firefighters are still on scene and have most recently told dispatch to reclassify it as an “encampment fire.” No one is reported to be hurt.

FOLLOWUP: ‘Driver report card’ signs, week 6

If SDOT sticks with the originally announced schedule, this could be the last update on the so-called “driver report card” signs in High Point, installed in hopes of raising awareness of the need to stop for pedestrians at intersections, whether they have marked crosswalks or not. Above, the 34th/Morgan marked crosswalk had a 26 percent stop rate in this week’s check, down 1 percent from last week. The unmarked crossing on Sylvan Way was up one percent:

We’ll be checking on Monday to see if the signs will indeed be moved elsewhere after this week. The original announcement suggested Rainier Beach would be next.

HELPING: Cleanup today, rummage sale and playground build ahead for Highland Park Elementary PTA

Volunteers of all ages started the weekend with Earth Day cleanups at various West Seattle sites. We stopped by one of them, Highland Park Elementary, where the HPE PTA has a lot going on. Volunteers are also working on a new Little Free Library at 11th/Cloverdale:

And they’re getting ready for a community playground-building day at HPE in July:

But first – a “give what you can, take what you need” rummage sale is planned next Saturday (April 30th), 10 am-2 pm. Not only are you invited to come shop at the sale, you’re also invited to donate if you have good-condition items you don’t need. Dropoffs will be accepted 9-10 am that day; here’s what they’re looking for. At the sale, everything will be offered free – monetary donations accepted.

Ready to recycle? Fauntleroy Church ‘Roundup’ tomorrow

(WSB photo, last April)

One last reminder – tomorrow’s the day to bring recyclables to Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW) for its next Recycle Roundup, a free dropoff event. 1 Green Planet is scheduled to be there 9 am-3 pm Sunday, so no need to get there early, but organizers ask that you not wait until the last minute, either. Here’s the list of what they’re accepting (and NOT accepting) this time.

YOU’RE INVITED! Registration time for Southwest Seattle Historical Society celebration

April 23, 2022 2:13 pm
|    Comments Off on YOU’RE INVITED! Registration time for Southwest Seattle Historical Society celebration
 |   How to help | West Seattle history | West Seattle news

Big birthday for the home of West Seattle’s history – 25 years for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s Log House Museum. Registration is now open for the celebration that’s coming up at 6 pm Friday, June 3rd – here’s the announcement:

Register today for Bridging Our Communities Together: Celebrating 25 Years of the Log House Museum at Salty’s on Alki. We can’t wait to see you in person and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Log House Museum. Join us for an evening reception, silent auction, and a chance to see three brand new exhibits exploring the history of West Seattle, White Center, and South Park.

Through the last two years, we have focused on collecting and sharing the individual stories of our history through email, through our website, and through Zoom. Now, we are so excited to welcome you back to the Log House Museum and explore our collective history and connections in person. Your support will help us create new programming for schools and families, create bigger, better, and more exciting exhibits than ever before, collect and preserve your stories, and so much more.

Bidding on auction items opens on May 31 and closes on June 3.

Register HERE today and be sure to follow the instructions below. Register today and save – early bird registration closes May 12!

If you registered for last year’s auction, you can utilize the same login information.

If you are registering for the first time click on “Create Account” at the top of the page to register for your Personal Link, which will allow you to bid on auction items. You will need to set up a login which you can use to access the auction items.

The Log House Museum is open again for drop-in visits, noon-4 pm Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, at 61st/Stevens.

SPORTS: Shutout win continues sizzling season for West Seattle High School baseball

(WSB photos)

The West Seattle High School Wildcats had reason to jump for joy after last night’s 7-0 home victory over Bishop Blanchet at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex. They are now 17-1 and leading the Metro League. Last night’s win was a complete-game shutout by #13, junior Miles Gosztola, with 11 strikeouts, only allowing two hits.

He and Blanchet’s Casey Sabiers had a pitching duel going until the 4th inning.

That’s when WSHS’s offense broke loose with four runs, driven in by senior Jaxton Helmstetler, junior Jake Lockwood, and sophomore Tristan Buehring. Head coach Dylan Mclauchlin‘s Wildcats scored 3 more runs in the sixth. Tuesday night at 7, they take on crosstown competitors Chief Sealth International HS (9-7), 7 pm at NCSWAC (2801 SW Thistle).

ORCAS: Saturday sighting

10:44 AM: The transient killer whales that have been in our area in recent days are still here and headed this way again, Kersti Muul tells us. They’re in the Bremerton ferry lane, emerging from Rich Passage, she reports. Let us know if you see them!

10:52 AM: You’ll need good binoculars – Kersti says the orcas are now southbound, staying closer to the west side of the Sound.

WEST SEATTLE SATURDAY: 24 things to know about today/tonight

(Thursday evening, The Brothers as photographed from Alki by David Hutchinson)

This weekend begins with a long list of events and reminders, mostly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

ROAD-WORK REMINDERS: As noted here on Thursday, SDOT crews plan to work 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.

SCHOOL CLEANUP: The Highland Park Elementary PTA invites you: “Join us anytime from 9-noon Saturday for litter pickup, mulch spreading, planting, sweeping, and grounds improvements … We will meet on the blacktop.” Free coffee, doughnuts, and pizza. (1012 SW Trenton)

WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY DAY: You’re invited to a free, fun event on the Lincoln Park shore (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW), with hot dogs and ice cream, nature tours for kids, and field games. 10 am-1 pm.

HIGHLAND PARK CLEANS UP: 10 am-noon, 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.

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.

STUDENT-LED BEACH CLEANUP: Join a student who’s organized a 10 am cleanup at the beach – info’s in our calendar listing.

JEWELRY SALE: Last day – the entire store at Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) is 30 percent off! Open today at Westwood Village (2600 SW Barton), 10 am-6 pm.

WSHS BENEFITS: You can dine out and/or shop at Lady Jaye (4523 California SW) today and have part of the proceeds go to West Seattle High School students, and there’s a Parents’ Night Out event tonight too – see our preview for details.

LIVE MORNING MUSIC AT C & P COFFEE: 10:30 am-noon, Marco de Carvalho and Friends perform at C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor). No cover.

FREE WEEKLY WRITERS’ GROUP: New participants welcome. 10:30 am – go here to register and to get the meeting address. Full details are in our calendar listing.

WEST SEATTLE BOAT SWAP: Gear up for getting out on the water! 11 am-4 pm at Mountain to Sound Outfitters (3602 SW Alaska).

VIETNAMESE CULTURAL CENTER: Open to visitors noon-3 pm, as noted here. (2234 SW Orchard)

MAKERS’ ART MARKET: Noon-5 pm at Alki Bathhouse (60th/Alki), shop myriad local artists!

LOG HOUSE MUSEUM: The Southwest Seattle Historical Society has reopened its museum on Alki, and you can visit noon-4 pm, (61st/Stevens)

EARTH DAY FAIR: 1-3 pm in High Point Commons Park (3201 SW Graham).

WINE TIME: Viscon Cellars (5910 California SW; WSB sponsor) tasting room is open 1-6 pm, for tasting or by-the-glass/by-the-bottle wine.

TALK WITH SCHOOL BOARD REPS: Our area’s Seattle Public Schools Board rep Leslie Harris and at least one of her colleagues have RSVP’d for the West Seattle school-community meeting we previewed here, 3 pm online. Register here to attend.

MADISON MS PTSA LIVE VIRTUAL AUCTION: A week of online bidding culminates with a live online auction event at 6 pm – info’s in our calendar listing.

OPEN MIC: Go perform at The Spot West Seattle (2920 SW Avalon Way), 6 pm!

EVENING MUSIC @ C & P COFFEE: Mike Rufo at C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor), 7 pm, no cover.

MUSIC AT THE SKYLARK: Bad With Birds, Oh My Eyes! Greg Warns play Americana and swing pop, doors at 7 pm, music at 8 pm, 21+, $10 cover. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

FREE HOUSE CONCERT:Free house show (donations appreciated) at Da Cabin with 2 of Seattle’s finest performers: Ian from Among Authors and Sarah from Larsen Gardens.” 7:30 pm. (9724 30th SW)

‘THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE’: Second night for Twelfth Night Production’s new musical, 7:30 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW). Get tickets here.

DRAG SHOW AT ADMIRAL PUB: Saturday’s the night for Dolly Madison‘s show at Admiral Pub (2306 California SW), 9 pm.

Something to add, for today/tonight or beyond? Email – thank you!

EARTH DAY: 5 ways to keep the greenness going Saturday

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.

HIGH POINT: Residents of High Point are invited to meet at the lot behind award-winning Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW) for a 10 am-noon community cleanup Saturday.

ALKI BEACH: Join a student who’s organized a 10 am cleanup at the beach Saturday – info’s in our calendar listing.

Also Saturday:

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.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Catalytic-converter theft; officer injured

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.

CONGRATULATIONS! Circa, Highland Park Corner Store, Neighborhood House, Keith Hughes honored with Westside Awards

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners of this year’s Westside Awards, chosen from nominations sent by community members:

(WSCC photos from visits to notify recipients)

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.

UPDATE: Brown water in Seaview

April 22, 2022 5:06 pm
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 |   Seaview | Utilities | West Seattle news

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).

POLICE STAFFING: Report shows Southwest Precinct with biggest drop in past year

(WSB file photo)

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.

5 days until registration deadline for West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day 2022!

April 22, 2022 2:20 pm
|    Comments Off on 5 days until registration deadline for West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day 2022!
 |   Community Garage Sale Day | West Seattle news

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.

WHALES: Orcas return to our area

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.

Seattle Lutheran High School to shut down after this school year

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.