FOLLOWUP: Complaints label 3400 California ‘neighborhood nuisance,’ but that might soon change

Another of the vacant buildings/storefronts on our watch list is the former Swedish clinic at 3400 California SW, a building that’s become a much-tagged eyesore and more, with other problems such as the afternoon two weeks ago when an alarm sounded for hours. 14 months have passed since what’s now Virginia Mason Franciscan Health announced it would be taking over the building. At the time of that announcement in March 2021, VMFH said they expected to open the clinic in fall. But months have gone by with no sign of work, and vandals have abundantly and repeatedly tagged the building (our photo only shows part of it), inside the parking garage as well as on the exterior. One complaint filed with the city two weeks ago declares that the building is “becoming a neighborhood nuisance.” Crime concerns also were noted; last December, the vacant building was hit with what the police report estimated as a $250,000 burglary. Permit records were inconclusive regarding the status of the project, so we inquired with VMFH. After eight days, we received this reply attributed to the organization’s divisional real-estate director Wade Moburg:

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is committed to providing high-quality primary care, women’s health, laboratory and radiology services to West Seattle residents through our new clinic. We experienced some delays to our preliminary timeline and have not yet begun remodeling. However, we recently secured a building permit from the city and hope to begin construction in the near future. We will share more information as it’s available and look forward to serving the community in our new space.

VMFH did not comment on the current state of the building, which it does not own; county records show the owner is an investment firm with an address in Edmonds. The Seattle Municipal Code says property owners are liable for removing graffiti. City records show three complaints about the state of the building filed in the past two months, consolidated with the current status “under investigation.”

23 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Complaints label 3400 California 'neighborhood nuisance,' but that might soon change"

  • Derek May 17, 2022 (1:36 pm)

    You’re never going to stop abandoned buildings from being tagged. Just won’t happen in Seattle. Better to use the building or just demolish it for housing.

  • Jim P. May 17, 2022 (3:54 pm)

    The city simply no linger seems to care about enforcement of this stuff.The concept of an attractive nuisance used to confer liability on property owners to secure stuff like this but no one seems to take responsibility any longer.

  • Mj May 17, 2022 (3:57 pm)

    Property owners are liable to remove graffiti, it should be the perps that are caught that need to be made responsible for tagging a building 

  • SpencerGT May 17, 2022 (3:58 pm)

    I never understood why Swedish left.

    • WSB May 17, 2022 (5:40 pm)

      Because they moved to The Junction.

      • Auntie May 17, 2022 (6:19 pm)

        But for some reason, they split the clinic into two buildings – primary care is over by PetCo/QFC and internal med and pediatrics is behind Jefferson Square. 

        • Neighbor May 18, 2022 (11:01 am)

          You mean across the street from eachother?

    • Peter S. May 17, 2022 (8:34 pm)

      I was told by someone who works at one of the new Swedish clinics that they didn’t leave by choice.  Somebody in their property management department screwed up, so they lost the lease.   They were left scrambling for space and what they have now is the best they could come up with on short notice, and during the height of the COVID pandemic.

      • Shandon May 19, 2022 (8:50 pm)

        I don’t know anything for sure, but I don’t THINK that’s true. I have a shop right by there and the nurses and other employees used to stop in all the time and one of them told me about the move quite a while before it happened. Definitely in person before everything started shutting down. Regardless- I’m excited to have someone back in there again at some point. 

  • Be patient May 17, 2022 (5:22 pm)

    Good to hear. I was wondering what’s going on with the VM clinic. 

  • Gatewood Guy May 17, 2022 (5:54 pm)

    Only 14 months?  The eyesore that includes the old Papa John’s, Thaitan, et al  at California and Brandon is much worse and has gone on a lot longer.

  • Odd son May 17, 2022 (6:17 pm)

    The problem is property owners have 30-90 days to clean it up. So it sits and often attracts more graffiti. Enforcement seems to take even longer on vacant businesses like this former Swedish clinic. Codes need to change if we want graffiti cleaned up more quickly. IMO we should not stand for this to be common in our community. It’s unreasonable to see it for 24 hours much less a year in this case.

  • Jill Loblaw May 17, 2022 (6:44 pm)

    I’m one of those who filed a complaint through the Find it, Fix it app. Per the email response from the city:  Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) manages the enforcement process for graffiti on private property, in which property owners are notified of their responsibility to clean graffiti under the city’s Graffiti Nuisance Ordinance. The private property enforcement process can take between 30 and 90 days depending on how quickly the property owner removes the graffiti.

    • Odd son May 17, 2022 (7:49 pm)

      365 days in this case 😂

    • WSMom May 19, 2022 (12:19 am)

      Where can it be reported? I’d like to file another complaint along side you. 

  • Buddy May 17, 2022 (6:51 pm)

    I really wish that my doctor office was still at this building, the new office that is located in the QFC on the corner feels extremely uncomfortable and I felt that there’s no place to sit in the waiting room when you are sick. I hate the new office!  Plus it was a real pain trying to find parking in the garage and traffic is miserable in the area that the office is located.

    • Buttercup May 17, 2022 (7:53 pm)

      I have given up shopping at QFC in that building because it smells like animals from the pet store downstairs. It nauseates me something terrible,  too bad, I enjoyed QFC

  • Michael Waldo May 17, 2022 (8:20 pm)

    According to my doctor, Swedish left the building because the elevator was constantly breaking down the roof leaked, the HVAC system has old and worn out.

    • Ferns May 18, 2022 (8:29 pm)

      That’s a reasonable explanation. The building owner’s level of integrity may lean toward slumlord. Leaks equal mold and that is especially problematic in a healthcare setting. I found a new dentist recently and their office has an area with concentrated mold smell – nearly walked out. Why should tenants have to put up with that? Especially in this climate? It was an old building with skylights. Duh, it needs extra maintenance.  I feel badly for the people who work there all day. Hope the new offices don’t have those problems or have a more responsible owner. 

  • Git-r-done May 18, 2022 (8:41 am)

    I would like to know the name of the investment firm in Edmonds so that they can hear from the neighbors.  No need to wait 30-90 days!  

  • Chezko Seazich May 18, 2022 (9:03 am)

    I moved to WS 3 years ago and the area has a bad reputation for no reason. It’s a very nice place. I don’t know why people say bad things about the town.. I love  walking my dogs and talking with friendly neighborhood people out here in WS… 

  • KT May 18, 2022 (10:47 am)

    “City records show three complaints about the state of the building filed in the past two months, consolidated with the current status “under investigation.””  Bet if it was a business in the Junction the city would be all over them.  The status “under investigation” makes me laugh.  Investigate?  Drive by, take pictures, see who owns property – investigation done.  Enforce the damn laws.

  • fanny j May 22, 2022 (8:02 am)

    Always thought that bldg. was super ugly and never even really looked liked a clinic. That is a nice location though and hopefully  they’ll fix it up nice.  How about a police/help /community station there?  

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