West Seattle, Washington
The rain cleared early but it was a tough night on the field at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex for the Chief Sealth International High School Seahawks facing Franklin.
Tonight Chief Sealth was unable to get on the board, losing 23-0.
They’re now 1-2. Next week it’s the annual crosstown Huling Bowl game as Chief Sealth takes on West Seattle, 7:30 pm Friday (September 23rd).
Another big chance to shop this weekend – the Fauntleroy Church Second-Time Sale is ready to go! We stopped by today for a preview. Lots of kid stuff, of course:
You can even buy this quilt made by the Fauntleroy Piece Makers:
That’s Pat with the quilt, which is going for $100. Housewares, tools, jewelry, more … the church is at 9140 California SW and the sale runs 9 am-4 pm tomorrow (Saturday, September 17th) and 11:30 am-2 pm Sunday.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Acknowledgments, applause, even a poem were part of an hourlong event this afternoon on Harbor Island commemorating the impending West Seattle Bridge reopening and acknowledging those involved in the repair project.
It seemed that almost everyone who had some role in what’s transpired since the sudden shutdown March 23, 2020, was there, including former Mayor Jenny Durkan and former SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe. They didn’t speak, though; newly confirmed SDOT director Greg Spotts took the podium first, for a land acknowledgment that mentioned the Muckleshoot and Suquamish tribes and their “Duwamish ancestors,” followed by a Native prayer, and then speeches. Here’s the video:
Here’s the group shot of everyone who spoke:
Mayor Bruce Harrell said the most important thing he could offer was to “thank the people whose lives were impacted,” thanking everyone for their patience and acknowledging the “inconvenience” of the last two and a half years.
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell followed, noting that on Sunday, “the nightmare of this congestion [for detouring] is going to end.” She observed that freight was affected too, and talked about the federal funding that covered more than half the cost of repairs (as noted here last night).
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, describing herself as a “proud resident of West Seattle,” said she also is proud of the “patience, grit, and determination” people have shown during the 2 1/2 bridgeless years.
Seattle’s Civic Poet Jourdan Imani Keith read a poem composed for the occasion, musing what the bridge might say if it could speak, and reminding all that it has a name (the Jeanette Williams Memorial Bridge, after the city councilmember who secured funding for it 40-plus years ago).
City Councilmember Lisa Herbold spoke of the “stark effects” of the closure and the dramatic change in traffic patterns. She recalled former mayor Durkan’s “big decision” to proceed with repairs rather than replacement.
Port of Seattle Commissioner Hamdi Mohamed – mentioning her West Seattle roots as a Chief Sealth International High School graduate and South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Running Start student, recapped the port’s partnership on low-bridge access.
Two labor leaders, Monty Anderson of Seattle Building Trades and Katie Garrow of MLK Labor, spoke about their members’ contributions to the repair work. Garrow also served on the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, whose co-chairs followed her at the microphone: Paulina López of the Duwamish River Community Coalition spoke of relief that the Duwamish Valley (South Park and Georgetown) would soon be free of the extra air pollution brought by detour traffic, and hope that people will come back to the area for other reasons, like dining and shopping; Greg Nickels, former Seattle mayor, reminded everyone that Sunday will be the 910th day since the bridge closed, saying two of his grandchildren have been born in that time. He also spoke of a family member having to use the low bridge to get to cancer treatments, something made possible because the WSBCTF pushed for people undergoing “life-saving treatments” to be added to the list of those who could get permission to use the low bridge during restricted times.
In post-speeches Q&A, we asked if anyone at the city would apologize for the bridge shutdown having to happen at all. Mayor Harrell fielded that one, saying he would “apologize on behalf of the city,” asking for “grace” because “leaders … are human; they make mistakes.”
Along those lines, the citizens coalition West Seattle Bridge NOW sent this statement about the event:
We’re relieved that everyone who’s been impacted by the bridge closure can finally get moving again. But a cause for celebration? Not so much. When the bridge closed without warning two and a half years ago Mayor Jenny Durkan declared an emergency. Then what happened? Bureaucracy as usual. While we sat stuck in traffic, with travel times to get almost anywhere outside of West Seattle doubled, tripled or worse, the city took its sweet time exploring replacement options and finally settled on repairs after community pushback. There was nothing about this process that suggested any increased urgency or accelerated timeline.
We think instead of celebrating, our elected leaders should take stock of why we had to wait two and a half years for a critical transportation link to be restored. West Seattle has already paid the price for the City and SDOT choosing to respond to a transportation emergency with the usual process. In a city rife with bridges with maintenance backlogs we only hope that no other community has to endure what we have for the past 30 months.
The West Seattle Bridge closure should serve as a cautionary tale. We’d love to see a press conference where elected leaders share lessons learned from the closure and what’s being done to avoid a similar debacle. That way we can all feel like our two and a half year traffic jam at least helped prevent the next one.
Other statements issued after today’s event include:
–SDOT’s news release
–City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Alex Pedersen (who chairs the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee)
As for the bridge itself – the backdrop for this afternoon’s event at Terminal 18 Park – SDOT still isn’t saying exactly when on Sunday it will reopen. Some fencing/signage removal is under way – but SDOT stresses that the bridge is not open yet.
SIDE NOTE: Some people on their way to the event were delayed because, almost predictably, the Duwamish bridges had to open for ship traffic. We waited at the 1st Ave. So. Bridge and by the time we got to the event site, the same vessel was going through the low bridge, a bulk carrier:
That’s one of two seals that Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network dealt with on West Seattle beaches this past week. Seal Sitters MMSN’s David Hutchinson sent the photo and updates, with a reminder for beachgoers:
So far this has been a slow season for Seal Sitters, however the coming fall months typically can be a busy time of year. Young newly weaned harbor seal pups are heading out on their own and will even haul out to rest on our heavily used urban beaches.
This past weekend, Seal Sitters responded to a report of a dead harbor seal at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook. With the assistance of staff and interns from our partner SR3 (SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation and Research), the 4-foot-long carcass was recovered and transported to their facility in Des Moines. A necropsy confirmed that this animal was the victim of a boat strike.
On a happier note, on Monday Seal Sitter volunteers watched over a young harbor seal pup on a beach along Harbor Avenue. This pup, shown in the photo, was able to rest for a few hours before returning to the water due to a rising tide.
As always, if you come across a live or dead marine mammal on West Seattle beaches, please contact Seal Sitters’ hotline at 206-905-7325.
Some of what’s happened in the past two and a half years of West Seattle Bridge closure will change when it reopens – no more low-bridge restrictions, for example. Some things will stay – like all those new speed humps/cushions installed in various neighborhoods. But at least one major matter remains unsettled: The fate of Seattle Fire Ladder 13 and Medic 26.
A few months after the bridge closed, those two units were activated from SFD reserves and added to West Seattle/South Park to supplement what’s already based at the six area fire stations – Ladder 13 was added to Station 37 in Sunrise Heights, Medic 26 was added to Station 26 in South Park. The additions doubled the local availability of those two types of apparatus – previously the only ladder truck and medic unit in the area were Ladder 11 and Medic 32 at Station 32 in the Junction/Triangle area. We don’t know the total cost of basing those resources here, but in the original May 2020 announcement, SFD said that just for the remainder of that year, “funding required for staffing the two new units, apparatus maintenance and fuel, and room accommodations at the fire stations [would be] approximately $2.5 million.” Whether they’ll be deactivated – meaning that in responses where an extra truck or medic unit is needed, they’d be sent from outside the area – has yet to be decided.
A source suggested that Fire Chief Harold Scoggins supports keeping them here, so we asked SFD first; spokesperson Kristin Tinsley would say only that “The future of Ladder 13 and Medic 26 will be determined in the budgetary process.” That process begins shortly, with the mayor presenting a proposed budget and the City Council starting months of reviewing it, culminating with finalization of a budget in November. So we asked West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold – who also chairs the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, which among other things deals with fire/police issues. She meets regularly with Chief Scoggins and told us that in August, “I brought the issue up with him as well and requested that both be maintained. It was apparent to me in that conversation that the Chief understands the clear need for these resources to be maintained.” Right now, SFD confirms, the two units are funded through the end of this year, so they’ll stay at least a few months beyond the bridge reopening. If you have comments for the mayor about this or anything else as he drafts a budget, contact info is here; council contact info is here.
No, that’s not a bee. Photographer Ann Anderson explains, “Syrphid Flies, while closely resembling bees, are bee imposters. Less than .5” long, and often known as ‘flower flies’; they do not sting, are important pollinators and help control pests – especially aphids.” Now you know! On with what’s happening in the hours ahead, mostly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
BLOCK DROP: DIY cleanup equipment is available at Anchor Park (59th/Stevens) until 6 pm – that’s also where you can drop off what you clean up, as part of closing the Block Drop loop!
SPRAYPARK OPEN: Third-to-last day for Highland Park Spraypark at 1100 SW Cloverdale, 11 am-8 pm, too.
HIGH-SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Today/tonight brings another doubleheader for the Chief Sealth International High School Seahawks and the West Seattle High School Wildcats, playing at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle) – CSIHS plays Franklin at 4:30 pm, WSHS plays Cleveland at 7:30 pm.
SPICE GIRLS TRIBUTE: 5 pm at Easy Street Records (California/Alaska), commemorating the 26th anniversary of the Spice Girls‘ first album.
MUSIC AT THE COFFEEHOUSE: Joel Egan performs at C & P Coffee (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm.
SPELLING BEE AT THE SKYLARK: 8 pm, as announced last month, Friday nights bring Spelldown After Dark – an adult spelling bee. Check to see if there’s room for participants/spectators! (3803 Delridge Way SW)
Have something to add to our Event Calendar? Email info to email@example.com – thank you!
Ann Marie emailed about that stolen pickup truck, which belongs to her neighbor, a firefighter who discovered it missing when she went out to leave for work this morning. Ann adds, “It’s a stick shift, and quite distinctive as it’s older and louder when the engines is on. It has a WA firefighter plate, 09607.”
UPDATE: The car was found less than 10 blocks from where it was stolen.
Spaces remain for a free rooftop workshop overlooking Elliott Bay at Lake Washington Physical Therapy (WSB sponsor)’s West Seattle building – but you need to sign up now! From LWPT’s Mark Bouma:
We are hosting our final FREE rooftop class of the summer this Sunday, Sept 18th at 9 am. We are collaborating with HIIT Lab and West Seattle Runner to provide a running workshop for novice and advanced runners. We’ll be covering key performance tests for runners, training considerations, and guidelines on how to return to running following an injury. West Seattle Runner will discuss how to find the best running shoe for your foot type and will have the latest shoe models for attendees to try on.
6:03 AM: Good morning. It’s Friday, September 16th, last weekday without the West Seattle Bridge.
BUSES, FERRIES, WATER TAXI
Metro buses are on their regular weekday schedules; watch @kcmetroalerts for trip cancellations/reroute alerts. Remember that tomorrow is the next twice-yearly service change – here’s our look at planned West Seattle trip cuts. Metro plans to return buses to the high bridge on Monday.
Ferries: WSF continues the 2-boat schedule for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth. Check here for alerts/updates.
The West Seattle Water Taxi is on its regular schedule.
ROAD WORK THIS WEEKEND
Here’s what SDOT has announced:
Leading up to reopening on Sunday and afterward, we’ll have various SDOT work crews near the bridge and along the detour routes. They will be removing a lot of signs, like the detour route signs and low bridge restriction signs. They’ll also be removing traffic control items like barricades, barrels, and digital messaging boards.
As part of the Reconnect West Seattle program, in addition to ongoing street maintenance and safety improvements, we will be completing a few projects this weekend.
*We began paving parts of SW Admiral Way last week, and we will continue paving through this Saturday.
*On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be replacing concrete panels at the 16th Ave SW and SW Webster St intersection.
Work is expected to begin as early as 7 AM and conclude by 4 PM. Please expect delays, drive safely in work zones, and follow directions from signs and flaggers. Traffic will be maintained in both directions as we complete the work.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
908th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. 2 days until SDOT expects to reopen it – on this Sunday, September 18th. (Still no announcement yet of what time the reopening is expected on Sunday.)
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.
1st Avenue South Bridge:
South Park Bridge:
Highland Park Way/West Marginal 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.