West Seattle, Washington
The expanded-capacity Camp Second Chance in southeast West Seattle [map] continues to operate at capacity. That’s part of what the tiny-house encampment’s Community Advisory Committee heard at its online meeting Tuesday night, facilitated by case manager Marjorie Johnson.
CAMP STATUS: 75 people right now, including 10 couples – so its 65 tiny houses are all occupied. Eight pets – four dogs, four cats. Four 911 calls were made in the past month – two medical, two police. Two people had to leave the camp “for violence.” In August, 15 people in all exited the camp – 12 were “abandonments” (meaning they just departed of their own volition, likely back to the street); 2 went to jail; 1 went to permanent housing. 15 IDs and 20+ Social Security cards were procured in August; she has applications out for apartments for more than a dozen campers. Right now there’s a woman at the camp whose two children are with her mom since CSC doesn’t allow children, and Johnson just found out that the woman has a chance at a Section 8 voucher. Also, there’s housing available in Everett, and multiple possibilities for people over 62. One client – “one of our originals” – received an emergency-housing voucher and gave it back because “they’re making over 80 percent median income and don’t need the voucher any more.” (That means CSC got the voucher back to use for someone else.) The camp has a full-time mental-health/chemical-dependency counselor; several tiny-house villages are partnering with Therapeutic Health Services for this kind of support. Johnson said she’s gotten housing for 42 people in the months she’s been at CSC. She had mentioned Dockside at Green Lake, acquired by LIHI to convert quickly into affordable permanent housing; camp operator LIHI‘s Josh Castle said it’ll have almost 100 studio apartments. Move-ins will start “in a matter of weeks.” LIHI has more than 3,100 units of permanent affordable housing in six counties, Castle added. The rapid-acquisition program has been a game-changer, he said. “We hope to be able to do a lot more of that.” One more note from Johnson: Another case manager has yet to be hired but they have a prospect. When that person’s on board, they’ll be able to share the caseload.
CAMP NEEDS: Hygiene items, towels, blankets, pillows, socks, jackets, shoes are among the perennial needs, said Johnson. “We’re getting some of those things but we can always use more.” They’ve had a fair amount of turnover since the 24 new houses were added over the summer, and winter is coming, so it’s time to prepare. The “donation room” will be empty shortly as they transition the space they use to store donated items. The topic of a gift registry came back up – “makes it easy for us to give,” said committee member John Walling of nearby Arrowhead Gardens – and will be looked into.
CONCERNS: One attendee brought up a perennial issue, safety along Myers Way, as there’s no sidewalk for people and streetside fencing pushes pedestrians dangerously close to traffic. Committee member Grace Stiller observed that not only is it a safety issue but potentially a liability issue for adjacent property owners (primarily the City of Seattle). Stiller also brought up “derelict vehicles” that are parked near the camp but not officially on its site. She’s concerned not only about how it looks but also about people working on those vehicles, leading to vehicle-fluid runoff, especially problematic with creek headlands there that eventually feed into the Duwamish River.
KUDOS: Amazon sent volunteers to a Weed Warriors – Stiller’s environmental-stewardship nonprofit – project that removed invasives. “They did a fabulous job,” said Stiller. On Saturday, October 15th, for Orca Day, they’ll have an activity, 10 am-2 pm, at the Myers Way wetlands. LIHI’s Castle said the nonprofit gets lots of offers for volunteer groups to help out and they were glad to have something like that to occupy one group. “We really appreciate you hosting these volunteers.”
NEXT MEETING: They’re hoping the Community Advisory Committee can go back to second Tuesdays next month – online until further notice – so that date would be October 11th.
Three reader reports:
STOLEN TRUCK: The report and photo are from Desiree:
My mother’s truck was stolen yesterday evening around 6:30 pm on 16th and Dakota near West Seattle Recycle.
It’s a 1995 F150 XLT blue teal Ford with a big dent on the passenger side and a medium dent on driver side. It has a tool box in back. Plate number: C12358Y . My mom loves this ugly ol’ truck and is devastated. If anyone sees it I’d love if they could let me (ot the police) know!
STOLEN SUV: This report and photo are from Athena:
Stolen near Fauntleroy and Findlay between 8 pm last night and 6 am today, a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Ohio plate JLD4116. Police report # 2022-252347.
APPARENTLY ABANDONED CAR: From Rachael:
This appears to be an abandoned vehicle on Ferry and Hill street. Spoke with neighbors and it’s been there a week or so. No plates on it but did get a VIN off it. A couple tickets on it. I’ll report it to to (SPD). Just wanted to make sure to let anyone know if they are missing it.
5;26 PM: After being out of service all day with engine issues, leaving the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run with one boat, M/V Issaquah is out on sea trials right now. Washington State Ferries says that if it passes, it’ll be returned to service on the Triangle Route. If not, M/V Sealth will be moved to the run sometime tonight; it’s currently at Eagle Harbor, the WSF maintenance facility on Bainbridge Island. We’ll update when there’s a decision.
7:15 PM: WSF’s David Sowers just announced in the Community Advisory Group that Issaquah is returning to service.
Some readers on the north side of the peninsula asked about what sounded like protesting/chanting early this morning. While we were trying to sleuth the source, a one-line alert from the Northwest Seaport Alliance that Terminal 5 was closed for the day helped us zero in on the port. The resulting inquiries finally pointed us to a tweet (since deleted) in which Climate Action Families took credit, saying “Today we shut down SSA Marine Port of Seattle Terminal 5. Cargo carrier MSC could plug ships into shore power, but chooses not to.” MSC is the shipping line that uses the recently overhauled north berth at Terminal 5 in West Seattle. In the initial months after it opened, we followed up repeatedly on whether the shore-power capability was being used; the answer was “no” last time we checked. Early on, it was described as an issue caught up in labor negotiations. We’re following up to learn its status; we also have an inquiry out with Climate Action Families.
Keith Hughes (above left) from the Rotary explained that this dedication is special because it was arranged to happen on the United Nations International Day of Peace. He read a message from the Rotary International’s peace project chair, observing that “…a single act (can) start a chain of peace. It begins with us.” In this case, it began with C & P proprietors Pete and Cameron Moores (second/third from left) – requesting a Peace Pole for their establishment’s front terrace. Martha Sidlo (second from right) from the Rotary expressed hope that the Peace Pole will spark conversation among both coffee-shop customers and passersby, inspiring them to talk about peace. Promoting peace is one of the Rotary’s seven areas of focus. A special guest for this dedication was Nao Valente (above right), who works with the international Peace Pole Project (and has one outside her home near Lowman Beach). These are among more than 300,000 Peace Poles around the world.
Each pole is decorated and inscribed differently; this one carries its message of peace in Hawaiian, Japanese, Lushootseed, and English – and a solar-powered light on top. The Rotary has at least five more to install around West Seattle; the next scheduled dedication will be in November along Fauntleroy Creek. Earlier this month, we covered the ceremony marking the installation of one in a new Children’s Peace Garden outside Fauntleroy Church/YMCA.
11:11 AM: This week, Madison Middle School teacher Darren D. Hunter was placed on administrative leave because of a rape charge filed against him seven months ago. We received an anonymous tip about this earlier this week; here’s what we have since found out.
Hunter, 51, was charged in February with third-degree rape because of an incident at his home in Kent in August of last year involving a then-43-year-old woman he had been dating. The court documents say she contacted police in November to say he had raped her in August, via sexual contact to which she did not give consent. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office tells WSB the charge was filed shortly after they got case information from Kent Police in February. Hunter appeared at an arraignment hearing after the charge was filed but remained out of custody on personal recognizance. The case has been making its way through the system ever since and is slated for another hearing today, at which the case might be resolved via a plea agreement.
We asked Seattle Public Schools several questions about the situation and district policy on Tuesday. So far, this is the only response we’ve received, from assistant superintendent Beverly Redmond:
On Sunday, Sept. 18, Seattle Public Schools became aware that the employee had been arraigned in February on charges that stemmed from an August 2021 incident when school was not in session. The alleged incident did not involve a minor or take place on school property. The employee was immediately placed on administrative leave on Monday, Sept. 19.
Our source says that the district was notified by a community member who saw a social-media post about the charge against Hunter. So we’ve also asked the district some policy questions, such as what the policy is for notification – how should they have been notified that he had been charged with a felony sex crime? We’ve found some general district policies online here, but they don’t appear to address that particular question. We’ll update when we hear back, as well as when we get information on what happens at this afternoon’s hearing.
1:30 PM: SPS has responded this afternoon to other questions we also asked yesterday. Regarding notification, “The district has an agreement with local law enforcement to work together on cases involving child sexual abuse or assault. In all other instances, the district is not notified directly. SPS is working on self-reporting guidelines, which would be a change in working conditions and be bargained across all labor partners.” Hunter’s future status will be determined by the district per this policy below:
Certificated staff may be disciplined for engaging in unprofessional conduct according to School Board Policies 5280 and 5281.
Conduct violations that are contrary to the core values of the Seattle School District and involve a substantial risk of the safety of students, families, staff or the public including acts of serious misconduct or of acts of criminal conduct could disqualify an employee from continued employment. Convictions of crimes under RCW 28A.400.322, (see crimes listed below) or a crime that is directly related to the position held by the employee or impacts the employee’s ability to perform his or her job duties are subject to termination. Crimes outside of the ones listed below are handled on a case-by-case decision based on what the criminal charges are.
(a) Any felony crime involving the physical neglect of a child under chapter 9A.42 RCW;
(b) The physical injury or death of a child under chapter 9A.32 or 9A.36 RCW, except motor vehicle violations under chapter 46.61 RCW;
(c) Sexual exploitation of a child under chapter 9.68A RCW;
(d) Sexual offenses under chapter 9A.44 RCW where a minor is the victim;
(e) Promoting prostitution of a minor under chapter 9A.88 RCW;
(f) The sale or purchase of a minor child under RCW 9A.64.030;
(g) Violation of laws of another jurisdiction that are similar to those specified in (a) through (f) of this subsection.
(2) RCW 28A.400.320, 28A.400.330, 28A.405.470, * 28A.410.090
(3), 28A.410.110, 9.96A.020, and 43.43.845 apply upon a guilty plea or conviction occurring on or after July 26, 2009, for any of the following felony crimes or attempts, conspiracies, or solicitations to commit any of the following felony crimes:
(a) A felony violation of RCW 9A.88.010, indecent exposure;
(b) A felony violation of chapter 9A.42 RCW involving physical neglect;
(c) A felony violation of chapter 9A.32 RCW;
(d) A violation of RCW 9A.36.011, assault 1; 9A.36.021, assault 2; 9A.36.120, assault of a child 1; 9A.36.130, assault of a child 2; or any other felony violation of chapter 9A.36 RCW involving physical injury except assault 3 where the victim is eighteen years of age or older;
(e) A sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030;
(f) A violation of RCW 9A.40.020, kidnapping 1; or 9A.40.030, kidnapping 2;
(g) A violation of RCW 9A.64.030, child selling or child buying;
(h) A violation of RCW 9A.88.070, promoting prostitution 1;
(i) A violation of RCW 9A.56.200, robbery 1; or
(j) A violation of laws of another jurisdiction that are similar to those specified in (a) through (i) of this subsection.
The district says Madison families were sent a letter this morning about the situation.
4:30 PM UPDATE: Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesperson Casey McNerthney says Hunter pleaded guilty this afternoon to a reduced charge of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation, a gross misdemeanor. McNerthney explains: “After the filing of charges, the defense provided the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office with additional information, including text communications between the victim/survivor and the defendant that occurred after the assault. Based upon this new information and after receiving defense mitigation, the KCPAO believed that a reduction of charge was appropriate. Senior Deputy Prosecutors twice met with the victim/survivor and her advocate to discuss the case and the reduction in charge prior to extending an offer to defense. The victim and an advocate were in court today for Mr. Hunter’s guilty plea.” He will be sentenced later this year.
FAUNTLEROY FERRY DOCK MEETING: The Community Advisory Group for the Fauntleroy ferry-dock replacement project meets for the first time in four months. All are welcome to watch the livestream of the online meeting, which starts at 6 pm. Our preview has the registration link and background info.
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: Play weekly at The Good Society (California/Lander), 7 pm.
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.
SKYLARK OPEN MIC: 7:30 pm signups @ West Seattle’s longest-running open mic – no cover to watch. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
Have a calendar event to add? Please email email@example.com – thank you!
Lots of questions this morning about a smoky smell in the air. Authorities confirm a plume of smoke from the 11-day-old Bolt Creek fire, and if you check out air-quality maps – like this one – things are not looking good right now. This will be a problem until the wind shifts directions.
9:04 AM: Thanks to Sam for the heads-up – SDOT crews are doing tree work on Sylvan Way and that has resulted in a lane reduction.
=6:00 AM: Good morning. It’s Wednesday, September 21st, third weekday with the reopened West Seattle Bridge.
Here’s the forecast – sunny, high in the low 70s.
High Bridge – here’s the reactivated camera atop the span.
Low Bridge: All restrictions were dropped with the high bridge’s reopening, so it’s open to anyone who wants to use it.
Highway 99: Whichever bridge you’re using to get to it, here’s a look at northbound traffic on 99 at Lander.
All currently functional city traffic cams can be seen here, many with video options; West Seattle and vicinity-relevant cameras are also on this WSB page … Are movable city bridges opening for vessels? Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed.
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Please text or call us (when you can do so safely) – 206-293-6302.