West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
With SDOT director Greg Spotts canceling his appearance, most of HPAC‘s monthly meeting Wednesday night focused on the “natural drainage” project newly surfaced for part of SW Holden in Highland Park.
This is far from the first “natural drainage” project in West Seattle; others planned and built by both city and county agencies over the past decade have gone by names including “green stormwater infrastructure” (2011), “bioswales” (2012), and “roadside raingardens” (2014). This time, the “natural drainage” features are proposed for the south side of SW Holden between 16th and 17th, plus the east side of a half-block of 17th south of Holden.
So why that particular section of street? we asked when the meeting got to Q&A. The SPU team in attendance had started their presentation with some generalities about Longfellow Creek pollution and this area being part of the creek’s watershed. Salmon in Longfellow Creek die before spawning at a higher rate than any other creek in the city, they said. So their goal is to “naturally” filter rainwater before it gets to the street and carries vehicle-related toxins into the creek. But no specifics about why this specific block, until they answered our question: SDOT approached SPU about “doing a project” there. SDOT says the street is too wide for its classification as a “residential” street, so there’s room for it. The SPU team said that as part of the project, the curb on the south side of the street would be “bumped out” five feet.
They said the project wasn’t expected to extend further west because of “obstacles” including a gas pipeline. How much street parking would be lost? Kuo insisted they didn’t know yet, since design doesn’t start in earnest until early next year. Before then, they want feedback, she said, so that’s why they went to HPAC.
In addition to the extended curb, they revealed a few more aspects of the project plan. SPU will maintain the project area, they said, adding that they in fact “prefer that (residents) NOT” try to do maintenance. The project will be built north of the existing sidewalk; none of that will be replaced unless there’s damage during the construction process. Some street trees will be removed, but they don’t have a count yet, and they noted the city’s policy of requiring two trees to be planted for every tree removed. (Not necessarily in the same area, though.)
One point of concern in the project zone is the city-owned ex-substation on the southwest corner of 16th/Holden. Despite much discussion in recent years, its future has yet to be determined. An attendee voiced fear that any work at that corner would be torn out when the site is finally redeveloped.
The project team also heard a complaint that this was just becoming public now, when it obviously has been planned for a while (though construction isn’t expected until 2024 or 2025). They said they’re doing what they can to inform everyone now, from doorknocking to mailing a flyer. The project website is here and includes contact information for Kuo, if you have feedback.
ALSO AT HPAC’S MEETING: A few quick notes – gratitude for Seattle Parks‘ recent trail refresh at Riverview Playfield and SDOT’s revision of its south-side sidewalk; the Trick or Trees event with something for everyone (details here) on Saturday afternoon; and an artist selection for the Highland Park Way/Holden intersection improvements’ public-art installation – the art will be a “gigantic Steller’s Jay.” (We’re following up to find out more.) Also, HPAC had a visitor from the Fauntleroy Community Association, continuing to solicit other West Seattle community organizations’ support for its opposition to expanding the ferry dock when it’s rebuilt.
NEXT MEETING: Watch hpacws.org for updates.
After that bus hit a barrier on the westbound West Seattle Bridge near the ramp from southbound 99 on Saturday morning, it was attributed to the driver swerving to avoid another vehicle. But it wasn’t the only crash that day in the same spot – and it was followed by at least two others days later. In comment discussions, other drivers have mentioned something seemed awry when they drove through that same section. So we asked SDOT if the department planned to investigate. We heard back late today from SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson, who said it’s a mystery so far:
After these crashes occurred, we sent one of our inspectors to take a closer look at roadway conditions in this location. They verified that all of the signage, road markings, and pavement was in good condition. Our inspector did not see any standing water in this location, although it is possible that it was wetter at the time of the incidents. We did not make any changes to the road in this location during the West Seattle Bridge closure which would alter how people approach or drive over this particular spot.
While it’s difficult for us to determine a specific cause for this series of collisions, now that this trend has been identified we’ll be aware of the location if we see similar crashes in the future. If we do see an ongoing trend, we’ll continue to consider what we can potentially do to address it.
We also typically see an increase in crashes in rainy weather, especially when it first starts to rain after a relatively dry summer. So we would like to remind all drivers at this time of year to slow down and be extra cautious when driving in the rain, and to make sure to take care of any safety-related car maintenance issues like replacing worn-out tires or windshield wipers.
If you encounter a specific problem there (or on any other city street, which is what The Bridge is) and want to contact SDOT about it, they’re at 206-684-ROAD.
Two more one-of-a-kind West Seattle Halloween displays:
This one is a sight to see by day and by night, on 47th SW between Hinds and Hanford:
Both Ron and Kylie sent photos of this display. Kylie says, “This house is fantastic. … Check it out, the details are incredible.”
Another home to see if you like jack o’lanterns:
Jason sent the video of the first 50 pumpkins he carved this Halloween season – going for an “epic” total of 100! You can see them at 52nd and (corrected) Dakota.
P.S. Even more events – from trick-or-treating to a “GLOW Party” to The Skylark’s famous “Come As You Aren’t” – have just been added to our West Seattle Halloween Guide; don’t miss out on the fun!
Four updates from West Seattle purveyors of beverages and/or food:
ANIMATED CAFE MOVING: Tomorrow is the coffee trailer’s last day in the Tony’s Market lot at 35th/Barton. Proprietor Melanie – aka “Ana” – has been there since launching her business last winter. After a week in transition, she hopes to reopen Animated Coffee in its new location – at 4518 Fauntleroy Way SW, same lot to which El Chapulin Oaxaqueño recently moved – by November 5th. One change: “We will be walk-up only to start but hopefully we can support drive-thru in the future.” If you haven’t been to Animated Café lately, she’s been doing themed weekends in which people dressed for the theme get $2 off their order, Her schedule for November:
5th-6th: Second Halloween (wear it one more time!)
12th-13th: Royal Weekend (everyone is royalty this weekend)
19th-20th: Apocalypse Weekend (Mad Max style)
26th-27th: Thanksgiving Weekend (Get Creative)
LA RUSTICA TEMPORARILY CLOSING: The Italian restaurant at 4100 Beach Drive will be closed for much of November. From proprietor Kat:
La Rustica will be closed the first three weeks of November, so if you want to get your fix in before we close, head down today thru Sunday. Because we are doing some work on our kitchen floors, we don’t have a set reopen date but are taking reservations starting the Friday after Thanksgiving. If we reopen before that, we will be sure to let you know. Thank you all for your support, patience and love.
BEDHEAD COFFEE: After a reader inquiry about the status of the coffee shack at 16th/Holden, we contacted founder Michelle. She tells WSB it closed at the end of September, three months after her former partner bought out her share of the business. Whether it might reopen, she didn’t know.
PORTAGE BAY CAFE, WEST SEATTLE: We’ve been reporting on this breakfast/brunch mini-chain‘s plan to expand into West Seattle, taking over the former Agave Cocina space at 4725 42nd SW. Proprietor John told us he hopes to open in January, and that’s now underscored by a sign on the door:
(Thanks to Arlene for the tip.)
4:49 PM: Also out on the water on this blustery day – orcas! Kersti Muul tells us whales are southbound off Alki Point. Let us know if you see the black fins among the whitecaps!
5:59 PM: Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail just called – no luck watching for them from west-facing West Seattle, so they may have turned around.
West Seattle has a new centenarian-plus! The announcement and photo are from John Van Lierop, Jr.:
Rev. John Van Lierop, Sr., a resident of The Kenney‘s Memory Unit these last 8 years, reached his 101st birthday today. His son, John, Jr., picked up his chocolate birthday cake at the grocery store this morning. As luck would have it, the cake slid out of the grocery cart, smearing the birthday greetings on the cake. John, Jr. went back to the baker to see if anything could be done. The baker was able to re-ice the greeting and even though it wasn’t perfect-looking, it was acceptable. John Jr. knows that this incident would have been an excellent subject for one of his Father’s sermons. It could be titled “The Redeemed Birthday Cake.” Rev. Van Lierop’s message would probably have said “Life can give us heavy blows at times, but we pick up the pieces and keep on going.” Amen, preacher!
As reported here two weeks ago, SDOT says the Alki Point “Healthy Street” is permanent – Alki Avenue SW west of 63rd SW, and Beach Drive SW north of 63rd SW. The city says it will become a Neighborhood Greenway, and that the next step is to talk with the community about its design. So they’ve set two events for that – an in-person open house 6:30-7:45 pm Wednesday, November 9, at Alki Bathhouse (2701 Alki SW), and an online open house noon- 1 pm Tuesday, November 15 (no link yet). In both cases, SDOT says it’ll show the “early design” concept, answer questions, and take comments. (Here’s how last year’s survey turned out.) Possible “traffic-calming” elements, according to a project update that’s going out today, include a raised crosswalk and traffic circle. If you can’t make it to either event, they’ll be taking comments by email/phone until December 9th – email@example.com or 206-727-3565. The project was also mentioned recently by the Alki Community Council as an agenda item at their next meeting (7 pm Thursday, November 17).
12:37 PM: Thanks to Brooke for sending the photo. Police have been dealing with that semi-submerged boat at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. We’re headed over to find out about the circumstances.
1:10 PM: Police told us that someone left the boat tied up. They don’t know who owns it. It’ll be pulled out of the water and impounded.
11:21 AM: An SFD water-rescue response was sent to Lincoln Park for reports of a possible paddleboarder in distress. We’re here and checking.
11:26 AM: “This is indeed a wind surfer and they are fine,” dispatch has just been told. The response is being dismissed.
Sunday morning, we reported briefly on what was a short-lived Seattle Fire “full response” that resulted in an arrest in what police said was a domestic-violence case. We have since learned that the arrest happened hours after the suspect was released from jail – despite prosecutors’ objections – following another arrest that we had mentioned here, two shoplift-turned-robbery cases on Friday. The suspect, 37-year-old Farah I. Yusuf (shown at right in a Department of Corrections photo), is now charged in all three incidents. Here’s what we know, according to documents from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office:
Just before 2:30 pm Friday, police were called to the High Point Walgreens after a report that a man shoplifting electronics accessories had threatened an employee with what he said was a Taser. A short time later, a man matching the same description was reported to have brandished a knife at employees trying to stop shoplifting at Westwood Village Ross Dress for Less. After officers working on the incidents realized they were looking for the same suspect, Yusuf was found at Roxhill Park, arrested and booked into jail for investigation of robbery. The next day – Saturday – he had a bail hearing; the prosecutor asked that he be held in lieu of $100,000 bail, but a judge identified by the KCPAO as Pro Tem Judge Walsh declined to set bail and ordered Yusuf released.
The jail register says Yusuf got out of jail at 8:45 pm Saturday. A little over 10 hours late, around 7 am Sunday, he was arrested again, this time for investigation of arson. Two 911 calls came in from High Point addresses a short distance apart – one about broken windows, one saying a relative was trying to kill him and trying to set the house on fire. That house was found to have had some fire/smoke damage, and what appeared to be a makeshift Molotov cocktail was found. Something similar was found at the other location, along with a strong smell suggesting gasoline had been poured. Yusuf was found nearby. Court documents say he admitted what he’d done, including setting a fire, which relatives say they put out after a smoke detector awakened them. Investigators say he told them he was upset because he asked if he could come into either house to sleep and was told no.
He appeared in court on Monday in connection with those allegations, and this time Judge Gregg Hirakawa set bail at $100,000; court documents say prosecutors asked for $600,000. Yusuf is now charged with three counts of second-degree robbery for the Friday incidents and four felonies for what happened Sunday – first-degree arson/domestic violence, attempted first-degree arson/domestic violence, possession of an incendiary device, and felony harassment/domestic violence
Yusuf has a felony record, including assault and theft convictions last year for which he served time, according to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Also, in December 2020, we reported on a robbery charge filed against him for another incident at the High Point Walgreens. Court records show that case ended with reduced charges in a plea bargain; we haven’t yet been able to find records for the sentencing.
Before last weekend, he had been arrested at least four times this year, according to the KCPAO: First, a theft/trespass case in early June, referred to the City Attorney’s Office as a misdemeanor case; arrested in June 22nd in another case referred to the CAO, which charged him with harassment, unlawful use of a weapon, property destruction, obstruction, and property destruction, but the case was dismissed for competency issues; arrested July 28th in a case that police never referred to either the KCPAO or CAO; arrested August 5th for a case in which the CAO charged him with unlawful use of a weapon to intimidate another and unconcealed carry. This too was dismissed by a Municipal Court judge for competency issues.
He remains in jail in connection with the new charges and is scheduled to be arraigned next month.
BLOCK DROP: Today’s location for DIY cleanup equipment (and collection dropoff) is Louisa Boren STEM K-8 (5950 Delridge Way SW), until 6 pm.
CITY COUNCIL BUDGET MEETING: Third and final day of the council’s second phase of budget review, including introduction of proposed changes, 9:30 am and 2 pm sessions. Here’s the agenda; you can watch live via Seattle Channel.
WEST SEATTLE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN: 11 am meeting online.
HISTORY HOUR: 11 am at Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon) – today’s topic, “Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’.”
FAMILY-FRIENDLY HALLOWEEN PARTY: 5-8 pm at Pegasus Pizza (2768 Alki SW), including a costume contest.
HALLOWEEN LIGHT SHOW: Music-synched light show starting tonight, presented by the West Seattle Yuletide team, 6-9:30 pm on 38th SW between Genesee and Dakota.
MUSIC AT OTTER ON THE ROCKS: Piano tonight, starting at 6:30 pm, (4210 SW Admiral Way)
BOARD GAME NIGHT: Go play at Meeples Games (3727 California SW), starting at 6:30 pm.
BENBOW’S COUNTRY NIGHT: Thursday “Nashville Nights“ continue at the Benbow Room (4210 SW Admiral Way), 9 pm. 21+.
Have something to add to our calendar? Email info to firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
6:42 AM: A crash response has closed NB 99 just south of the 1st Ave S Bridge. WSP says it’s a “fatal car/pedestrian collision.”
7:31 AM: SPD clarifies the location as East Marginal/Ellis.
8:14 AM: As noted by commenters, that’s a different collision – both fatal driver/pedestrian crashes.
8:40 AM: WSP says the first crash scene is reopening.
THURSDAY NIGHT: Updates – the person killed on 99/50 was a 32-year-old man from Unalaska, AK, according to the State Patrol; the person killed on East Marginal was a 61-year-old man, according to SPD.
6:03 AM: Good morning. It’s Thursday, October 27th.
Some sunbreaks, possibly more rain, high around 60, windy tonight.
-Closure of the outer southbound lane on West Marginal Way between 17th SW and the Duwamish Longhouse continues, collecting data for the protected-bike-lane project.
-The east end of Sylvan Way remains closed for a drainage project.
–Upcoming road work: SDOT has a project starting this weekend for Corson/Michigan/Bailey in Georgetown – here’s the notice.
(added)-Also note that Sunday’s West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival is closing streets on Sunday beyond the usual Farmers’ Market footprint – the festival is 11 am-5 pm but the closures, California between Oregon and Edmunds and Alaska between 42nd and 44th, will start earlier for setup and go later for breakdown.
–Metro buses are on their regular schedules; watch @kcmetroalerts for trip cancellations/reroute alerts.
-Still a 2-boat schedule for WSF’s Triangle Route (check here for alerts/updates).
-The West Seattle Water Taxi is on its fall/winter schedule (still daily, all dayparts, but no late Friday/Saturday runs).
High Bridge – here’s the camera at the top.
High Bridge – the view from its southwest end (if SDOT points the 35th/Avalon/Fauntleroy camera that way).
Low Bridge: Open to all.
1st Ave. S. Bridge: The alternate route.
Highway 99: Here’s the northbound side at Lander.
All functional city traffic cams can be seen here, most 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.
If you see trouble on the roads/paths/water, please text or call us (when you can do so safely) – 206-293-6302.