West Seattle, Washington
(Photos courtesy Ray Wittmier, at right above with Gene Woodard)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Ray Wittmier has just returned home to West Seattle from a life-saving trip.
Not his life – but potentially thousands of others.
Wittmier and longtime friend Gene Woodard rode bicycles across the country – 3,428 miles, from Puget Sound to the Atlantic Ocean, raising money for childhood-cancer research (and they’re not done yet). Their inspiration: A girl named Maya.
Maya – for whom Woodard, a longtime family friend, and Wittmier are “honorary uncles” – was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor on her kidney at age 7. Wittmier says he and Woodard had long talked about the idea of riding cross-country, but to get it from idea to reality, they needed “one more thing to make it worth doing” – and raising money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation turned out to be exactly that.
They made the trip in 49 days – an average of 70 miles a day – in “every kind of terrain,” from the Rockies to the Plains and beyond. Did we mention, Wittmier is 67 years old, and Woodard 68?
A week and a half ago, we published the answer to a question many West Seattle birdwatchers had been asking – where had all the Caspian Terns, squawking so distinctively as they flew over en route to a Duwamish River nesting spot, gone? Community naturalist Kersti Muul had tracked them to a new hangout atop a building on the south end of the downtown waterfront. Here’s what she has learned since then:
I was able to view the colony (Monday) and found that they have laid eggs, and may still be laying eggs as several are still bringing fish back to their mates.
I will be watching the situation closely as it is very late now, and it is just going to get hotter as summer moves along. Chicks have to be able to fly well, in order to leave with the colony in the fall and they are already two and a half months behind schedule. The colony appears to be about half of what it was last year, and I am still trying to figure out where the rest are. I will be looking at another nest site this weekend to see if they may be there. Last year the Seattle colony had 1978 nests/4000 or so adults (WDFW drone study). My drone study has about half that this year, although I still need to do a formal count.
It’s fascinating to see all the eggs just sitting closely together on the substrate with no nesting material or depressions. You wonder how they know which eggs are theirs. When there is a disturbance and they flush out, they have to come back and know which egg(s) are theirs. It is a vulnerable time for them now with eggs to protect from predators; they are becoming increasingly aggressive, live chicks will only increase this.
Wishing them success and will update again after the weekend!!
Moments after we got a text about “splashes” off Alki, Kersti Muul sent word of a northbound humpback whale in the area. Let us know if you see it!
The signs are still up on the shoreline south of Alki Point, as the closure continues because of contamination from sewage pipes leaking at a nearby condo complex since last week. Seattle Public Utilities spokesperson Sabrina Register tells WSB today that “As a precaution, signs are still in place. Water samples will be taken as soon as the property owner makes repairs to its side sewer. SPU has been notified that the repair work is scheduled for tomorrow.” So you’ll want to continue staying off those shores – from Constellation Park to the SW Andover access point – at least one more day. The Seattle Aquarium beach-naturalist program also has canceled its planned Constellation Park visit tomorrow (but will still have a presence at Lincoln Park, 9:30 am-1 pm Wednesday).
As of minutes ago, the City Council is now officially on the record as supporting a West Seattle Junction tunnel station for Sound Transit light rail, and taking no position on a Delridge station/routing option. The unanimous vote was for the same resolution amended and passed by the Transportation and Utilities Committee last week (WSB coverage here). From the resolution as passed today, here’s what the city goes on record as saying about the West Seattle segment:
A. West Seattle Junction Segment (Avalon and Alaska Junction stations): Preference for WSJ-5, medium tunnel to Alaska Junction station at 41st Street SW with retained cut Avalon station.
B. Delridge Segment (Delridge station): The City is not able to state a preference given the inadequate DEIS analysis of impacted social resources in this segment. The DEIS did not identify the Alki Beach Academy as a potentially impacted social resource, and therefore did not fully analyze the project’s impact on child-care services. The DEIS identified potential impacts to Transitional Resources, which relies on co-located services and housing to provide comprehensive transitional housing services. The City’s future support for DEL-6 is conditioned on avoidance or mitigation of impacts, or relocation, of impacted child-care and transitional housing service providers. The City encourages additional refinements to optimize transit integration and user experience for commuters arriving from Racial Equity Toolkit (RET)-identified communities including South Delridge and White Center. The additional refinements should include the creation of a transit access study for areas further south in the corridor that will access the new station by bus, include protections for Longfellow Creek, and minimize potential conflicts between pedestrians and freight movements.
C. Duwamish Crossing Segment: Preference for DUW-1a, South crossing, conditioned on adequate mitigation of impacts to parks, recreational areas, and natural habitat at Pigeon Point and the West Duwamish Greenbelt.
The next step for the Sound Transit Board is its System Expansion Committee meeting this Thursday (July 14th) at 1:30 pm – here’s the agenda. Last week, ST staff presented a board committee with an “example” to start discussing (WSB coverage here); it too has the tunneled Junction but also proposes the DEL-6 “lower height Andover” station alternative.
(Photo by Vlad Oustimovitch, who explains that ‘butterfly stroke practice’ was happening there today)
ORIGINAL TUESDAY REPORT: West Seattle is home to the city’s only beachfront public saltwater swimming pool, Colman Pool on the Lincoln Park shore. Seattle Parks has announced that renovation work is planned, and it’s hosting an info session at the pool this Sunday:
Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to Colman Pool on Sunday, July 17 from noon to 2 p.m. to learn about and provide input on an upcoming maintenance and improvement project at the pool. Colman Pool is in Lincoln Park at 8603 Fauntleroy Way SW in West Seattle.
Colman Pool, originally constructed in 1941, is one of only two public outdoor pools in Seattle and the only public salt-water pool in King County. Its scenic location on the beach of Lincoln Park offers a unique experience that boasts 50-meter swim lanes and occasional orca sightings. The pool is regularly used for practice by swim teams as well as by recreational lap swimmers.
The current locker rooms remain largely unchanged since their original construction and numerous accessibility barriers have been documented, which prevent potential users of all abilities from easily accessing the pool. Many of the cast-iron pipes and components of the sand filter system that draws water from Puget Sound for swimming are also original, and the main bathhouse building is unreinforced masonry (URM).
The goal of the upcoming maintenance project is to renovate the locker rooms to increase access for people of all abilities, provide family and non-gender-specific restrooms and changing areas (none currently exist), improve the caretaker residence, and provide several other improvements throughout the bathhouse and on the pool deck that will increase access to all users. This project will also provide general much-needed updates to the unique operation-critical filter equipment essential for drawing and filtering water from Puget Sound, and reinforcement to the walls to ensure that building occupants can safely withstand an earthquake. These improvements will allow Colman Pool to continue to serve new generations of users into the future.
We have followup questions out about when this work would start, how long it would take, and what’s budgeted for it; we’ll add answers when we get them. It’s been a decade since the pool’s last major renovations.
ADDED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: Parks spokesperson Karen O’Connor answered our followup questions:
If the proposals for the new Park District are approved, we plan to have Park District funding of $3 million or more for this project to begin planning and design in 2023. We have been awarded a grant from King County for an additional $1.8 million and are working to secure additional funding through Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office grant. Projects that show community involvement are rated higher from the RCO office and generally give projects a better chance of receiving funding. This is primarily a major maintenance project. The scope will include accessibility improvements, renovation of the locker rooms and restrooms, reinforcement of the unreinforced masonry, renovation of the caretaker’s quarters, and replacement and update of some of the mechanical equipment. Additional funding through grants and other sources would allow us to accomplish more. Our goal would be to do the work in the off season and be open for the summer. We anticipate work occurring in 2024 or 2025.
A public hearing on the Park District spending plan is set for tomorrow night – we have a separate story coming up on that later this afternoon.
Time to step up the West Seattle Summer Fest previews, with the festival just a few days away. As previously previewed, the fun starts early, with what’s become unofficially known in recent years as Summer Fest Eve – this year, that’s Thursday (July 14th). One important thing to know this year is that the festival-zone streets are closing earlier than before. Executive director Chris Mackay of the West Seattle Junction Association – which presents the festival – says this is what you can expect:
–California north of Oregon – closing at noon Thursday so stage setup can begin (this area will have the stage and beer garden on Friday and Saturday, Farmers’ Market on Sunday)
–California south of Oregon, to Edmunds, and SW Alaska between 42nd and 44th – closing at 4 pm Thursday for setup of booths (California) and food/kid zones
The street closures will continue until everything is broken down and packed up Sunday night.
FESTIVAL HOURS: If you’ve gone in past years, remember that these are slightly different too. Later start on Friday, with vendors open later, 1 pm-8 pm (with music continuing until 10); Saturday, 10 am-8 pm (also with music until 10); Sunday, 10 am-5 pm (no music on Sunday, because the Farmers’ Market will be on California north of Oregon)
MUSIC LINEUP: Starts at 3 pm Friday and noon Sunday – see the schedule here.
VENDOR LINEUP: See it here – including many year-round Junction businesses with sidewalk sales!
FOOD LINEUP: Here’s our preview.
We’ll be on the Info Booth team at California/Alaska again this year (our 13th) – see you at the festival!
10:21 AM: Thanks to everybody who’s sent photos of this (the one above is by Paul Weatherman) smoke cloud from a fire southeast of West Seattle. The problem with trying to sleuth this is that there are several calls on the logs on both sides of the city-limit line that could apply – but according to a tweet from WSDOT (thanks to @WestSeaWX for pointing us there), it’s a residential fire near Highway 509, which is blocked northbound near South Cloverdale as a result. It’s in the 10400 block of 8th Avenue South [map]. More as we get it.
10:43 AM: Thanks to John Graham for that photo from downtown. We’ve tried to get to the fire scene but got stuck in traffic. Northbound 509 is still closed in the area, according to WSDOT.
11:08 AM: King County Fire District 2 has just tweeted that photo, saying they’re still working to knock down the fire, and adding that no injuries are reported so far.
11:41 AM: They’ve also tweeted acknowledgments: “Thank you to responding agencies for their support, including Skyway Fire, Medic One, Port of Seattle, Tukwila Fire, Renton Fire, Puget Sound RFA, Seattle City Light, PSE, Water District #20, Zone 3 Rehab, and Members of Seattle that were at the training center to assist!” Meantime, WSDOT says one lane of northbound 509 has reopened.
2:10 PM: Two more photos tweeted by fire agencies (via @ZONE3PIOS)
Northbound 509 has fully reopened,
(Osprey family along the Duwamish River, photographed by Steve Bender)
Here’s what’s on the list for another sunny day:
BLOCK DROP: Today’s spot to pick up and return DIY community-cleanup items is Delridge and Findlay, 9 am-5 pm.
LOW-LOW TIDE: Out to -3.5 feet at 10:17 am – but heed the warning signs, if they’re still up, at beaches south of Alki Point (we have an inquiry out for an update).
WADING POOLS & SPRAYPARK OPEN: Sunny, warm day means the city says wading pools will open. That means EC Hughes (2805 SW Holden) and Lincoln Park (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW), both noon-7 pm. Also, Highland Park Spraypark (1100 SW Cloverdale) is open 11 am-8 pm.
COLMAN POOL: The outdoor pool at Lincoln Park will be open today as its 7-days-a-week schedule continues, noon-7 pm.
CITY COUNCIL MEETING: Hybrid meeting (online and in-person at City Hall) at 2 pm; here’s the agenda, which includes the resolution with the city’s recommendations about what Sound Transit should study in the final Environmental Impact Statement for West Seattle/Ballard light rail. Watch live here.
DEMONSTRATION FOR BLACK LIVES: Longstanding weekly 4:30-6 pm sign-waving demonstration at 16th/Holden. Signs available if you don’t have your own.
PLAY-ALONG IN THE PARK: The West Seattle Community Orchestras invite you to play with them at Lincoln Park (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW) tonight, 6-8 pm – details in our calendar listing.
SCRABBLE NIGHT: 6-10 pm, come play at The Missing Piece (9456 35th SW).
FAMILY GAME NIGHT: Meeples Games (3727 California SW) welcomes families 6-8 pm to this weekly hosted game-playing night.
ISLAND VIEW APTS. BLOCK WATCH: If you live at or near the complex, you’re invited to a community-safety meeting tonight at 6 pm. (3033 California SW)
FAUNTLEROY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: 7 pm board meeting, community welcome – in person at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse (9131 California SW) or online (register here).
OPEN MIC: 7 pm, come take the microphone at Otter on the Rocks (4210 SW Admiral Way).
TRIVIA X 3: Three of the venues where you can play tonight – 7 pm at Ounces (3809 Delridge Way SW), 7 pm at Admiral Pub (2306 California SW), 7:30 and 8:30 pm at The Lodge (4209 SW Alaska).
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 info to email@example.com – thank you!
6:02 AM: Good morning; welcome to Tuesday, July 12th.
The forecast is for another sunny and breezy day, high possibly into the mid-80s again (86 was Monday’s high).
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES
Metro buses are on their regular weekday schedule; watch @kcmetroalerts for word of reroutes/trip cancellations.
The West Seattle Water Taxi is, so far, back on its regular schedule.
Ferries: WSF continues on the two-boat schedule for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth – and WSF says that probably won’t change before next spring. Check here for alerts/updates.
West Seattle Summer Fest road closures/bus reroutes start earlier than past years – California north of Oregon will close at noon Thursday for stage setup, while California from Oregon to Edmunds, and SW Alaska from 42nd to 44th, will close at 4 pm Thursday. Closures then continue until everything is cleared post-festivl Sunday night.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
842nd 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 (one of four recently installed cameras):
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
Are movable city bridges opening for vessels? Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed; 1st Ave. S. Bridge openings are tweeted by @wsdot_traffic.
All city traffic cams can be seen here; West Seattle and vicinity-relevant cameras are also on this WSB page
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Please text or call us (when you can do so safely) – 206-293-6302.
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