West Seattle, Washington
We’ve talked before about Seattle Parks‘ recent maintenance woes – including this report from the Alki Community Council‘s June meeting.This afternoon, Parks managers told the City Council’s Public Assets and Homelessness Committee that they’ve been catching up via what they call a “maintenance surge.” That was the first of two Parks presentations to the committee, and you can watch starting at 48 minutes into the video recording of the meeting:
Their priorities so far have been mowing, comfort-station (standalone restroom building) maintenance, graffiti removal, and trash pickup. Staffing was a major reason they got behind, Parks reps told councilmembers, but other challenges hindered their work too – like 21 rainy days in May and 19 rainy days in June. They couldn’t do anything about the weather but they have been working on hiring, starting the year with 80+ job openings in the division responsible for maintenance, filling 50 of those positions by July, and expecting to fill another 10 this month. In the first month of the “surge,” for example, they spent 688 hours on graffiti removal, almost 50 percent more than the same month last year. In the same month, they picked up 330 tons of trash in parks, up from 270 tons a year earlier. As they catch up in these areas, the next tier of priorities includes cleaning up sport courts. Here’s the slide deck with all the numbers they shared.
After that, Parks managers segued into their second presentation, about the 129 “comfort stations” around the system. Unlike the maintenance presentation, this one had a bottom line – the department is looking for more Parks District funding to accelerate replacements and cover repairs required by damage. Right now, comfort stations get replaced in an average of every 42 years; if the current $1.6 million annual budget is increased to $2.8 million, that could drop to every 34 years. The added funding recommendation also includes half a million dollars to cover arson and vandalism. Between that and maintenance/repair needs, they respond to about 1,400 work orders a year, councilmembers were told. The average comfort-station rebuild costs $540,000, Parks said. (The one that opened late last year at 57th/Alki cost $638,000 to build.) Asked how many of the others are due for replacement, interim Superintendent Christopher Williams replied, “Most.” A list of “prioritized” projects shown during the meeting (here’s the full slide deck) included two in West Seattle – Lincoln Park by the wading pool/north play area and Westcrest Park‘s south side, Parks also says it’s working on a system to remotely lock and unlock comfort stations to improve efficiency.
One week ago, we noted that King County was wrapping up voting in its first-ever “participatory budgeting” – asking people who live/work/study/recreate in unincorporated urban areas to choose who should get a share of county funding. White Center/North Highline voters also got to rank proposals for use of cannabis-tax revenues Tonight, the winners were announced. Two of the White Center-area grants will have West Seattle benefits – Nepantla Cultural Arts Center in South Delridge will get $150,000, and the White Center Food Bank – whose service area includes south West Seattle – will get $875,000 as they move to a new site. The project that’s going in where the WCFB is now, the White Center HUB (a center for nonprofits plus affordable housing) is getting $750,000. See the full list of recipients here.
Passing through Arbor Heights, we decided to check the Summit Atlas calendar, recalling that school starts earlier than others – and discovered the first day of school was today. Summit Atlas is West Seattle’s only charter school, with middle- and high-school grades 6-12. The school opened five years ago after renovating and expanding a building that was previously a church and, before that, a supermarket.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After a short hiatus following the departure of its longtime chair, the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee regrouped Tuesday night online and heard a progress report on the camp’s expansion.
We first mentioned more than a year ago that West Seattle’s only sanctioned tiny-house encampment, at 9701 Myers Way South since 2016, was in line for an expansion. After the addition of tiny houses, it has 64, and all but four of them are occupied, said CSC operations manager Scott Harris. That means 75 people are living at CSC now – 62 men, 13 women. (Harris noted the population also includes 4 cats and 8 dogs.) Before the expansion, it was generally around 50 people.
Many of the new residents were referred at the same time. The camp has seen four abandonments from among those recent referrals – people shown to their units, who then left, saying they had to go get their stuff, but never returned. Harris says that’s rare, and if it happens, they hold the unit vacant for two days to give the person a chance to show up, but then it’s given to someone else. Case manager Marjorie Johnson said they try to reach out to those who “abandon,” in hopes of encouraging them to come back. (They even call hospitals and the Medical Examiner.) She said it can be overwhelming sometimes for a person who’s been in a community elsewhere to suddenly have to deal with more support, new neighbors, a new place to stay.
The new tiny houses aren’t the only additions and changes to the camp as part of its expansion. A new icemaker arrived earlier this week, in time for the current mini-heat wave. Water tanks were moved to the front of the camp and Seattle Public Utilities is installing fencing around them. They’re near the new hygiene trailer (funded by a budget amendment from West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold last year), which has an attendant on weekdays but is yet to be hooked up to sewer lines; it’s being pumped out every few days until that happens. An emergency-exit gate is being added near the kitchen tent. The new freezer has been malfunctioning but it’s under warranty so they’re working to get a repair specialist out to fix it.
New security cameras have been installed and four more remain. Josh Castle from LIHI, which operates the camp and other tiny-house villages around the region, said cameras are standard for sites like this. In addition to monitoring areas inside the camp, cameras also monitor the parking area outside the camp, which has seen a few vehicle thefts, Harris noted.
That’s not the only way in which that area is being monitored. It was noted that city Parking Enforcement Officers have been ticketing cars for parking there. Community Advisory Committee member Grace Stiller said one camp resident had to go to court to argue against the ticket. Camp managers said they had talked to the city about this problem before and thought they had it resolved until a PEO showed up again last week.
Case manager Johnson provided an update on her work. She has continued working on housing placements and says the camp is down to 7 longtime residents – “more than 2 years” – and she’s working closely with them. Her recent work includes seeking housing for people at apartment buildings recently opened by LIHI, including the Dockside in Green Lake – for which she’s put in 16 applications – and the Frye. Three people are waiting to move into the Harvard and she’s hoping that will happen by December 1st. She added that CSC is having monthly all-village meetings, and that a fulltime mental-health therapist is now on duty at the camp as of this week. Overall, she said, “Just as fast as they’re coming in, I’m moving them out,” and in a few cases where people don’t want to move, she’s working with them to find out why. Fauntleroy Church continues supporting campers with bus passes and hygiene items. They’re hiring to get help for Johnson, too, as CSC moves from “tiny house village to tiny house metropolis,” as Castle termed it.
Asked if they need support for the weather extremes, Harris said “we can always use bottled water and Gatorade.”
GROUP LOGISTICS: The CAC remains without a chair since founding chair Willow Fulton’s resignation earlier this summer. It has room for more members too. Seattle’s sanctioned tiny-house villages are all supposed to have CACs, as required by the city, so even though the leadership change led to a short hiatus, there was no question that it would resume. Their meetings are meant for getting camp updates to the wider community as well as providing a venue for asking questions and surfacing concerns. Now the task for the group is “to get it back to a robust level,” said Castle. Next meeting is TBD.
That gate leads to the Genesee Hill Elementary schoolyard/playground, one of the Seattle Public Schools playground/playfield facilities that readers have noticed were locked this summer. With the new school year now just three weeks away, kids are trying to pack as much playtime into the remaining days of summer as they can, so any inaccessible facility causes concern. After several reader inquiries, we asked SPS why. Assistant superintendent Beverly Redmond replied, “This summer, some of our fields have been less accessible in general due to understaffing. We are currently prioritizing our groundskeeping and custodial resources to prepare facilities for the start of school in September. We anticipate greater access after the start of the academic year. Those decisions will be made on a school-by-school basis.”
Just received from Andreea:
Hi, neighbors! My good friend and I have been contemplating ways to contribute to creating a slightly kinder, more civil city. We’ve embarked personally on what we call our “Seattle Civility Pledge.” I’m sharing here in case any of y’all would care to join – and she’s doing the same in her Rainier Beach neighborhood. Small acts, done with love. We know laws, policies, etc. are critical, but we don’t underestimate the power of small stuff, either. So here we go!
1. I pledge to melt the Seattle freeze. A nod, a smile, a wass up, how ya doing– or whatever human action breaks through so that we connect with each other in tiny ways that matter.
2. I pledge to slow my roll. Children crossing, red-light cameras, cyclists galore–I’m going to try my best to ease up on the gas pedal.
3. I pledge to quit trippin’ and let drivers merge and pedestrians cross. When I merge or cross, I pledge to wave a “thanks so much” and offer a smile.
4. I pledge to pick up one piece of garbage when I’m out and about. Yes, yes, I’m gonna pick up someone else’s trash, because it’s my city after all (and thank you to those I see already doing this!)
5. I pledge to give up a seat on the bus or help someone get their groceries into the car or take the cart back for them. Just because.
Civility: pass it on! xo
Back in June, we reported that the Port of Seattle was down to two finalists in its police-chief search. Today, port executive director Steve Metruck announced that he’s chosen interim chief Michael Villa for the permanent job. Villa has been with the department for five years and has been interim chief since last fall, after the previous chief was fired following a year-plus on leave during what regional media described as a misconduct investigation. Villa is a former Tukwila Police chief and will lead a Port department that today’s announcement says “s currently authorized with 130 commissioned police officers along with over 40 non-commissioned personnel.” The other finalist for the job was Seattle Police East Precinct commander Capt. Eric Sano.
We first told you back in June about plans for the first-ever West Seattle Art Hop & Shop, a peninsula-wide event that’s now exactly one month away – 10 am-5 pm Saturday, September 17th. Organizers are still signing up artists to participate. Here’s what it’s all about and how to be part of it:
The Art Hop & Shop is a neighborhood-wide event for local artists and makers to show and sell their work. Artists can host a pop-up in their yard, or “borrow” a yard. The West Seattle Art Hop & Shop publishes an online mobile map for shoppers to find and visit the pop-ups, as well as an artist list on our website.
The Art Hop & Shop boundaries are West Marginal Way to the east, the Seattle city limits to the south, and the water to the north and west. If you do not live in the area, find another artist who does live in the area who can host you. Live in an apartment or condo? Need a place to pop-up? Find a host. Connections made between hosts and artists is one of the wonderful aspects of this event. Please click here to see the do-it-yourself tool for finding match-ups.
An interactive map shows the locations of the sales on September 17th. Artists and makers will enter their own information (including photos and links) on the map. You will receive information about how to add your point to the map when you register. Each artist is responsible for entering their own map information.
How do I sign up?
Visit our Registration Page. The cost is $10, and is non-refundable. The fee covers administrative and promotional costs. This is a “rain or shine” event. You will need a location before you register.
Organizers of the West Seattle Art Hop & Shop are all volunteers. But if you have a question, they’ll be happy to answer it – email wsArtHop@gmail.com. Registration deadline is September 2nd.
Here’s what’s happening in West Seattle in the (very warm) hours ahead:
TODAY’S BLOCK DROP: Until 6 pm, DIY cleanup equipment is available at Arbor Heights Elementary (3700 block of Beach Drive SW).
DAYSTAR RETIREMENT VILLAGE JOB FAIR: Now until 2 pm, stop by 2615 SW Barton and find out about job openings at Daystar Retirement Village (WSB sponsor), which promises “great benefits!”
THRIFT SHOP DAY SALE: Discovery Shop West Seattle is offering 25 percent off everything today to celebrate National Thrift Shop Day, 10 am-4:30 pm. (4535 California SW)
DROPOFF FOOD DRIVE: Take nonperishable food to Admiral Church (4320 SW Hill), 11 am-1 pm.
WADING POOLS OPEN: In West Seattle today, the pools scheduled to be open are Delridge (noon-5:30 pm) and Lincoln Park (noon-7 pm). (Also, Highland Park Spraypark at 1100 SW Cloverdale is open 11 am-8 pm.) This is also the last day of the season for the South Park wading pool (8319 8th Ave. S.), noon-7 pm.
COLMAN POOL: The outdoor pool at Lincoln Park will be open today as its 7-days-a-week schedule continues, noon-7 pm.
LEARN ABOUT WATER & SALMON: Free family-friendly fun at Roxhill Park (2850 SW Roxbury), 12:30-2:30 pm, with free lunch for 18 and under (though all ages are welcome).
CITY PARKS MAINTENANCE: This is one of the topics when the City Council’s Public Assets and Homelessness Committee meets at 2 pm today, online and at City Hall – the agenda has details on how to comment either way.
NETWORKING: Wind Down Weekly networking at Junction Plaza Park, presented by Work and Play Lounge, 6-8 pm. (42nd/Alaska)
JAZZ NIGHT: It’s time for trio jazz tonight at Otter on the Rocks (4210 SW Admiral Way), starting at 6:30 pm.
LIVE AT LOCOL: Locöl Barley & Vine (7902 35th SW) spotlights live music 6:30-8:30 pm Wednesdays, no cover, 21+, rotating artists.
MUSIC BINGO: Now weekly at The Good Society (California/Lander), 7 pm.
KUNDALINI YOGA, MEDITATION, GONG BATH: Inner Alchemy presents this at Solstice Park, 7 pm Wednesdays. (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW)
SKYLARK OPEN MIC: 7:30 pm signups @ West Seattle’s longest-running open mic – no cover to watch. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
TRIVIA x 4: At 7 pm, you can play trivia at the West Seattle Brewing Mothership (4415 Fauntleroy Way SW); Larry’s Tavern (3405 California SW) hosts Wednesday-night trivia starting at 7:30 pm; trivia starts at 8 pm at Beveridge Place Pub (6413 California SW); at 8:30 pm, trivia is back at Talarico’s (4718 California SW) with Phil T.
Calendar event to add? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
Family and friends are remembering Ann Gilbert, and sharing this with her community:
Ann Gloria DeCarteret Gilbert passed from this earth on May 9, 2022, at 92 years young. She was a lively spirit, always joyful, and committed all her life to seeing peace and justice prevail, especially for those most vulnerable.
A long-time West Seattle resident, Ann was born in Sumner, WA on June 9, 1929. Her most formative experience was seeing her classmates disappear as Japanese families were herded into internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She never forgot how those with power can overwhelm the powerless, and spent many of her 92 years working for peace and justice with numerous organizations, including the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Pledge of Resistance, Conscience and Military Tax Campaign. She was active with West Seattle Neighbors for Peace, passing out peace buttons in the Junction every Sunday during the Farmers’ Market. She was a light and inspiration to so many over the years.
Ann leaves her son Mark Gilbert, daughter Leslie Echtinaw-Bustos, and grandchildren Aaron Echtinaw and Amanda Bustos. She was preceded in death by husband Leland Gilbert and granddaughter Annie (Angela) Echtinaw.
To honor her commitment to making the world a better place, remembrances can be sent to Planned Parenthood, FlipTheVote, Benefits Law Center, or Emily’s List.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
6:01 AM: Good morning! It’s Wednesday, August 17th.
Sunny and hot today, with a high in the 80s.
FERRIES, BUSES, WATER TAXI
Ferries: WSF remains on the 2-boat schedule for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth. Check here for alerts/updates.
Metro buses are on their regular weekday schedules; watch @kcmetroalerts for word of reroutes/trip cancellations.
The West Seattle Water Taxi is on its regular schedule.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
878th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. 32 days until the day SDOT expects to reopen it, September 18th.
Low Bridge: Automated enforcement cameras remain in use until the high bridge reopens; 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:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Please text or call us (when you can do so safely) – 206-293-6302.